The biggest journeys are the ones we make on the inside

My first month in Indonesia brought me little physical movement but still kept me unusually much in motion. From Jakarta to Yogyakarta is not a far way to go in 30 days, but the two cities differences made my transgression from one state of mind to another both beautiful and welcomed. My all in, high energy, outgoing, warm hearted host in Jakarta had an everyday life like a roller coaster that never gets scary, but keeps you floating from place to place, party to party. The huge group of friends kept together like bouncing balls in a spinning wheel, energetic, always happy, always enthusiastic. It was such a warm and overwhelming welcoming group of people I didn’t even care about exploring Jakarta at all. Rumour has it I didn’t miss out on much anyway. I got a lot of work done from my hosts balcony, then together we cooked superb freestyle meals with sweet potato, and had an ever going social event in the evenings. Jakarta is definitely all about the people – a place I probably have to visit again before I leave. It took me a few days to make the transition to hostel stay in Jogjakarta. But thanks to my lucky star, I found one of the best ones in the world. The owners and staff have created a haven for travellers of all categories and though it’s small, it holds a lot of love. Cooking, music sessions, storytelling and the everlasting discussions about life, universe and everything fitted a place like Jogja well. A few visits to the surrounding buddhist temples and a vibrant underground art and music scene makes the city a place where history and future binds together in a progressive and forward thinking way. From jazz clubs to hip coffee shops to traditional batiks and sultan palaces, Jogja is a place where life is as most interesting under the surface. And with a place like Sae Sae hostel, I managed to loose myself for 14 days. And then it was time for another journey to begin.

Vipassana is one of many meditation techniques in the world, but it’s the one which Gautama Buddha used to reach enlightenment. Nothing that’s done in one turn, but a mission for my remaining lives to come. In this life, I will be happy implementing loving kindness, inclusion and the power of remaining equanimous. To start with, as is clarified already when you apply to the course, this is not about religion, this has nothing to do with beliefs, spirituality, souls, or the idea of a being similar to a God. This thinking is all left out and the focus is on your inside, on experiencing your body and mind, and the connections in between. I have never stayed silent for ten days in a row. I dare say most people have not. I never sat still for eleven hours in one day, with my eyes closed focusing on my breathing, a particular spot on my body, or the tensions rising to the surface of my skin. There’s so much on the physical inside of me that I never had the time to feel or find before. With nothing else to do, your brain starts discovering all these things kept hidden in your daily life. The brain is often preoccupied with thoughts of dinner, shopping, work, love and future. A few embarrassing memories are bound to be kept fresh too by mister memory. The first days of meditation is all about letting these thoughts go, find silence in your own mind. Trying to prolong the seconds of focus before your mind flows off into an involuntary stream of consciousness. First night I fell asleep hard as a rock, simply exhausted by fighting to keep my thoughts in line. At that point I could never imagine where I would end up just ten days later. The mind is an amazing force, and learning to control it will bring another dimension to how you perceive your reality. That is basically what Vipassana is all about, and that is, in some ways, how the Buddhas managed to reach a state of mental dissolving. 2500 years ago, Gautama Buddha realised that we are all made of movement, atoms and particles in constant change. Today, that is scientifically proven. But to come to that realisation, he simply studied his own body, intensely, deeply and focused. The religion of Buddhism has added mysticism, rites and sacral content, but the original Buddha didn’t perform any miracles. There’s no logic flaws in the tales of his life. There’s no talk of a higher being who needs our beliefs. It’s just simple observation, experience. No hoola hoola mysticism. Buddhas teaching were strictly based on logic. And by that teaching, I had the most revolutionary journey through my own body, in many ways that I could never imagine or prepare myself for. No matter which path I will walk down from now on, that lesson learnt was priceless.

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