Since January I've been working on a documentary about change. I've got most of the material recorded (350 GB of video and sound files...) – soon I'll be starting the editing process and, if everything goes according to plan, by the end of the year the film will be ready. So far it's been a very steep learning curve and a wonderfully enriching experience.
The main focus of the film is on personal change. I've talked to eight people with different backgrounds, exploring the question of how to deal with the inevitable fact that life is constantly changing and how to make changes voluntarily.
A few days ago, on a long train ride from Germany to Southern Spain, I was reflecting on some experiences that have triggered important transformations in my own life. Here are a few (in no particular order):
Travelling in India
The first time I went to India, in 1998, I arrived with a pretty clear idea of how life works. Spending 6 months in the East, my whole world view was shattered and I had to rebuild everything pretty much from scratch. I got lost and depressed but in the end life became much more fascinating. The depth of aliveness took on a whole new dimension!
Abandoning the daily TV program
Do you know how much time the average person spends sitting in front of the TV? I don't know, and I think I don't want to know. It'd be shocking! There are some amazing films and watching football every now and then is fun too, but other than that, staring at random crap (soaps, news, chat shows, commercials) is extremely dull and mind-destroying. When you are in a completely passive state, transformation can't happen. In order to make changes, you have to actively participate in life!
Experiencing a journey with 'abuelita', the magic teacher from the Amazon, has led to one of the biggest, if not THE biggest change in my life: Realizing that duality is an illusion! Everything is connected, everything is one: people, plants, rocks, oceans, worms, planets – everything! Not in a hippie sense, no. It's really like that. Curious? Here's a link to the book I've written about my experience with Ayahuasca: A CALL FROM THE UNKNOWN
Having a child
Something really nice that I've learned from being a dad is that responsibility can be beautiful. It doesn't have to be a burden when you approach it with the right attitude. Also, my daughter has renewed my belief that unconditional love is possible. No expectations and drama – just love.
Earlier this year I've done a clowning workshop. No, I don't plan to join a circus any time soon. That's not what Clowning is about. It's about shedding thoughts and plans and fears and simply being yourself. Being very present, being forgiving and courageous. So, if you want to learn how to drop from your head into your heart, I recommend you check it out: NOSE TO NOSE
Growing your own vegetables has many benefits: You spend time outdoors, do some exercise and of course you get some food. But for me, the most important benefit I got through gardening is a reconnection with nature. Digging with your hands in the soil is an incredibly grounding, humbling and beautiful thing to do. And your awareness changes too: Suddenly I didn't complain any more that an organic broccoli costs 2 Euros. Looking at how big the plant is, how much effort and water and time goes into it, I mean, any broccoli should cost at least 5 Euros. Seriously!
A while ago I saw a question on Facebook: Which single change would have the biggest impact in the world? Reading through the answers, the one I thought made most sense was this one: To make daily mediation compulsory in every school. Not because meditation leads automatically to more peace in the world, but because it helps you to look at reality and to simply be with what is. The result? Since I'm meditating regularly, there isn't less pain in my life – but far less suffering.
Learning an instrument
Being able to make music is absolutely amazing! First, because music is amazing; second, because being musically creative is amazing; and third, because sharing music is amazing.
Jamming with other people has changed me insofar that it has added many special moments full of joy to my life. And when you add joy, you become a happier person!
If you would like to share some other transformation tools that have proved to be helpful to you, please do so in the comment box below.