Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happiness in Hampi, India

Namaste to you all, well I'm a bit behind in my posts, since Hampi I've covered allot of territory. I've now arrived in Varkala, which is in the south of India, in a state called Kerala. I've been traveling the whole time with Frank, we certainly have seen many different places and landscapes.

After Hampi we journeyed to Banalore, Sravanabelagola(try saying that one ten times quickly), Mysore, Ooty(which is in Tamil Nadu state), Kochin and now Varkala. Varkala is paradise, its not as crazy as Goa, but still has that beach scene, the water is absolutely beautiful and clean.

For myself I've found allot of old emotions coming up and allot of tests. Most of the southern Indians are wonderful, happy, friendly people. Unfortunately there are quite a few that test your patients and your boundaries. I mean I feel in my heart that this is the lesson for everyone that comes to India, to fully learn patients and to try and remain calm and open hearted. It's also big for women, I believe India help's them speak their truth, to not let people walk allover them especially men. So emotionally India has allot of things to offer you, I've fully realized that each country has it's own gifts to help heal you. You would be naive if you think that you don't physically have to go anywhere or do anything to fully heal yourself and to overcome any patterns that you have created. I know this for a fact( remember how I talked about experiential knowledge), believe me that you could not find a better place to heal inpatients and setting your boundaries. I know that we can have simular experiences in our own country, city or even in our own home, but I guarantee it wouldn't be as full on as India. So as I say why do things half hearted, why not go all the way and dive right in.

Here are some more photos of Hampi, I've dedicated two posts to this place because it was so special.

When you get to Hampi there is the main town on one side of the river and a small number of guest houses, Internet cafes and restaurants on the other side. Its allot quieter across the river and a boat is the only way to get across, it doesn't matter what form of transportation you get in India its always packed.

As you can see they still use traditional farming methods.

Me just playing with my camera in another temple.

On one of the days Frank and I were checking out some temples up in the hills. We came across a temple devoted to Lakshmi. As we came out of the temple these guys were having a huge feast to celebrate some holy day. They invited Frank and I to join them, it's very humbling when you get to partake in any spiritual ceremony or holy activity. We spent around two hours with these guys, they were wonderful to us.

This is some of the food that was served to us. Some of the dishes were only made on that holy day once a year, so we felt quite privileged to share their holy food.
These are the elephant stables near the kings palace.

All temples are covered with carvings of deities and daily Indian life.

This is probably the most well known piece in Hampi, its a stone chariot.

This tree I thought was stunning, it made it all the better shot with this beautiful Indian couple.

I found this little one out the front of one of the temples.

This was the highest and the last temple I visited in Hampi.

We found one of the traditional boats downstream, it certainly was a more pleasant journey.

One more shot of those strange rocks.

The final setting sun on a magical place.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Finding Magic in Hampi and India

Namaste beautiful people, I arrived in a wonderful fairytale town in the middle of India called Hampi. This place is one of the most beautiful and at the same time strangest places I've ever been to in the world. This place looks like the Gods or giants have been playing with the rocks and have created a surreal landscape.

The whole place is surrounded by five to six hundred year old ruins and has wonderful water ways flowing all around it. This place is certainly for me, one of the highlights of my trip. The people are wonderful, their hearts are so open. The energy around the place is overwhelming, it certainly opened me up again after Goa to the love and the innocence that all of us have in our beings. I met heaps of amazing people from all walks of life and could feel it opening them up as well. So if you come to India, please put on your itinerary the magical place called Hampi.

My good friend Frank the French man(as he calls himself) found a little book written by a local guru. It's a very simple book, called "Think for yourself". This is something I've tried tell people for years, I've seen time after time people of all walks of life and on different paths, hand over their power to others. They put these gurus, teachers and mystics on such a high pedestal and don't even realize that they have all the answers inside themselves. Unfortunately most teachers, gurus etc, lose the essence of what they are trying to teach and fall for the old trap of ego. They actually start believing that they are higher then others, have something special, are different then others. I have met hundreds of them and yes they are innocent as well, but there is one problem, they are awake and should know better. It's fun to watch them, they become asleep again to their ego and let it run rampant.

This man does not like being called a guru, he doesn't have time for people who put him on a pedestal, he truly comes from his heart, he wants everyone to understand that they have the power within. He talks throughout the book about experiential knowledge, meaning we cant truly grasp something until we fully experience it for ourselves. He talks about blind faith and how it holds us back from true knowledge and I totally agree. You cannot truly know something, understand something unless you personally experience it for yourself. Teachers, gurus and mystics have their place in the world, but you all must realize that they are only stepping stones to the next plateau. Only you can find your own true path, so have a good think about who you give your power away to, you might be surprised how many people you do each and everyday. You might even find that they have more problems then you, that they don't practice what they preach, I know I have had this happen many times.

Here are some of Sadashiva Yogi's sayings.

"life is like air-filled bubbles floating on water. No more than that, there is no difference between big bubbles or small bubbles. Nobody knows when they will burst and what may happen next".

He also talks about religions and the part they play in society, here's a great little story about how humans, criticize each others religious beliefs and even will kill for their own, when will all these people realize their all talking about the same thing.

Four blind men observe different parts of an elephant, one the trunk, one the leg, one the tail and the other the top, they each try to describe the elephant. One will say'an elephant is like a snake, a long fat snake'. 'oh no you're wrong my friend,' retorts another,'an elephant is like a pillar, thick, strong and firm.' 'no, no! you are both wrong,' the third man replies. ' An elephant is broad and rough, with a slight curve.' ' you are all silly, an elephant is small and slender, with a small fluffy bit at one end,' replies the last blind man. None of them has stood back to realize the elephant as a whole, to see that they are in fact describing one and the same thing.

He has lots of wonderful advice, that I know you all know already, some of you just don't realize it yet, lol.

Here are some photos that certainly don't give this place any justice.

This is a view that you see all around Hampi. The rocks look like someone has placed them there.
One of the many Temples around Hampi.

As you can see some of the temples are quite large.

We actually arrived in Hampi when there was one their many religious festivals. These are some boys doing a traditional dance with knives.

India is very different to most countries around the world. The people love getting their photo taken, in fact they go out of their way to get into your photos.

If you look carefully near my right side, that's this ladies dread lock. It's all become one, I guess like all of us as a species have to do. Puts my dreads to shame.

This is my good friend Frank the Frenchman. He's like Peter Pan, everybody loves him, he has time to talk and play with everyone, he's a great inspiration.

This is the largest temple in Hampi, everything takes place around it.

This cute little one, is the daughter of a man who handmade me some wonderful sandals.

This was taken just down from our rooms, Hampi is surrounded by rice fields.

The boys having a jam session, or should I say trying to have a jam session.

Finally I understand why Indians use their hands to eat and not knives and forks.(do not try this at home kids).

Another view of this wonderful place.

See I told you all there's light at the end of the tunnel and don't ever forget it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Motorcycle Diaries of India

Namaste to you all, as most of you all know I hired a bike and road around most of the state of Goa. Here are the pictures I took on my travels. I tell you it was very freeing to cruse around on a beautiful old fashion bike. I must admit I was quite relieved to get the bike back in one piece as well as myself. It's pretty scary out there on the road with mad Indians riding and driving around. Believe me I had quite a few close calls, on one occasion I didn't think I was going to be writing anymore posts, it was lucky I had a spare pair of underwear with me, try to imagine going around a sharp corner at around 70kms per hour and two crazy Indian truck drivers coming for you, I'll tell you now when these guys go they go, there's no room so off into the bush I went. There's no road rules over here, it's every man and woman for themselves.

Here are some more pictures.

Local gypsy lady.
Yes you guessed it, gum trees and there was a forest of them. I stopped the bike and just went and smelt that beautiful eucalypt smell, boy it reminded me of home.

This is Patnem beach, I stayed here for a week, its the best beach in Goa.

Some of the locals getting a tan on Patnem beach.

No it's not what you think, these contraptions had some kind of herb in them, in the bottom they put any kind of flavour you want eg, strawberry, wild berry and even mango. They taste beautiful and it's a bit of fun.
This is Om beach in another state south of Goa, very nice.
Another view of Om Beach.

This is Baga beach, I only spent a few hours there, it was too much, there were umbrellas as far as the eye could see.
The last party in Goa that I went to.
This guy was very talented.

This was the last perfect sunset that I saw in Goa.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Motorcycle Diaries

Namaste to you all, well I've left Goa which is a good thing, its quite an expensive place because of the tourism factor. I left on the 11th of January and arrived in a wonderful place called Hampi. It's a small town with only a very slow dial up system, hence no posts and no newsletter. It's a nightmare to upload images and so forth, so I put it off till I got to Bangalore, which is the I.T city of India if not the world.

Now back to Goa, this place certainly brought up allot of stuff for me. Its the most touristic place in India, a bit like Miami done on the cheap. I sat back and witnessed allot of lost souls in this place from all over the world. Most people that come to Goa come to escape their lives, so 99% of the Westerners here were there for one thing, to get as drunk and as off their heads as possible. Which is OK, but sometimes its quite sad to see 40 to 60 year old people still doing acid or L.S.D if you like and there were a hell of allot of drugs I've never even heard of. Believe me there is no judgement here, for I cannot judge for I have been there my self many, many years ago, I fully understand and could see clearly in these people's eyes, the pain and suffering they were experiencing.

Like all of us, when you break it all down and take it to the core of the matter, every human being on this planet just wants to be loved and accepted. It's what we're all yearning for in one way or another. I could clearly see in these people's eyes that most of them were just trying to fit in, to be accepted by others, so because like in our school days peer pressure plays a big part in their choices, for example taking drugs etc, etc. I can through my teaching see very easily the part alcohol and drugs play, masking the pain, anger and sadness in most of the people I watched and met.

Now for those of you who judge these people, maybe you don't even realise some of your vices. To me T.V is just another form of drug, next time you walk into your living room, stop and look at your family or friends watching the T.V, they look like they're on drugs, the T.V has them mesmerised. No one is communicating anymore, no one is expressing whats coming up for them, they just sit and tune out, just like when your on drugs.

Looking back at Western society from here is quite amusing, technology certainly has played a huge part in human lives to distract us from healing and finding peace and joy. At every turn there are distractions now, our day is full of them. How can one possibly find silence, peace and joy with all the gizmo's and gadgets we've got. I spent time in Hampi and went around the outer villages, the simple life they lead certainly looks allot less stressful then in the West. I'm not saying that we have to all go back to herding sheep and growing crops, but we have to find a balance in our busy daily lives for quietness. In the quietness we find peace, the peace we're all searching for.

To be 'ALONE'(when I look at the word 'ALONE' and break it up, it becomes 'AL-ONE') when we sit in silence and give our busy mind a rest, we become whole again. Some say in this silence you'll find 'GOD', what ever you call it, we as a society don't spend enough time sitting in silence with the breath, not doing just being. So for those of you looking for peace in your heart and mind, just stop and think how much time you give to yourself and GOD. Remember please don't play victim, meaning don't have all the excuses under the sun why you cant just stop, rest and be at peace. If you want to find the peace, then joy that your all searching for, you'll find a way.

Now for the travel agents cap, for all you young people out there Goa is nothing but a party place, it's not India, it's in the middle of Western culture and some Eastern culture. Its got great beaches and some wonderful forests and the local people are quite nice.

Here's some pictures of Goa.

The local Wednesday market, girls there's everything here.

Anjuna market day.

It doesn't matter where you are in India, you just cant get away from those cows. I'm telling you they run this country and they know it.

This the hut I stayed in on Vagator Beach. These huts are everywhere all over Goa.

Don't be fooled, they say that an Italian man sculptured this about 20 to 30 years ago.

View from my hut.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year from India

Namaste to you all, well another year over, I hope you all had a safe Christmas and new years eve party. I've still for some reason got a huge resistance to get on a computer, but like I said to a guy the other night, feel the fear and do it anyway. So here we go, I had one of the most testing times on new years eve(my birthday) the day started off well plenty of fun with my Israeli friends, then I spent the afternoon and dinner with my English friends.

Looking back on it now, I guess I was trying to please everyone and really not my self. It certainly is a common thing amongst us silly humans, that we all try to please everybody around us and forget about ourselves. Then when we burn out we're no good to anybody. Well on my birthday I did exactly that, I thought I could have a BBQ with my English friends then jump on my bike and travel back to my Israeli friends to see in the new year.

After a wonderful BBQ, I left about 8pm and journeyed back up to my other friends. I got there and everyone was in a festive mood. My friends had said that they heard there was a big party just outside of the town we were in, so I thought I would go along and find out for sure, since I had a bike( there's one thing in India you all need to know, when you want to know something you actually have to physically go and see for yourself. If you ask Indians you'll get a hundred different answers, so when there's so called parties in Goa its best to go and find out for yourself). I had never been in that area so got some directions and off I went.

It was about 10.45pm so I thought I had heaps of time to get to the party and return to my friends and tell them the news. Well in the dark everything looks different, I could here loud music so I thought I was heading in the right direction. I stopped and asked some Indians where the party was exactly and of coarse they told me up that hill there. So off I went through the jungle on a little dirt track, looking for the big party. After five minutes the track started to become a goat track so thought no way would they travel this way to the party, so I turned around and started back down the hill.

As I was coming around a corner and big group of Indians were coming up the hill, I stopped them and asked If they were going to the party. 'Yes, we are', 'oh so you know where it is then', 'no, not for sure but we we're told it's up here'. So I turned around and off we went. After some time we could still here the music and now also see flashing lights. This was it for sure, we came up on to a huge plateau, we continued driving towards the lights, by this time the track had turned into a tiny sheep's track and we seemed to not be able to find a way down to the party.

So I shouted out to everyone that it's no use going straight ahead there's no track to the party, there must be another way?, lets turnaround now before we miss everything. The Indians all agreed, well with in about 5 minutes of riding around, we realised we were in a maze of rocks and small tracks. At this point it was about 11.55pm so we stopped the bikes and welcomed in the new year(I certainly didn't think I would be standing on a mountain top in the middle of a paddock singing in the new year with 16 Indian boys, I'd never meet before). At this point I was still positive so I shrug my shoulders and had a giggle to my self.

So off again we went, this track, that track and everything in between. Now we'd been riding for two hours and as you could imagine we weren't happy little campers anymore. Arguments started as well, I was certainly quite upset at this stage, it wasn't funny going around in circles in the dark and I realized after a bit more riding around that we weren't going to make it off the mountain in the dark. So I pulled everyone over, I think at this point it was around 3.30am. I said,'boys its no use, we're just wasting our time and petrol lets just sit down and relax and try to enjoy what we have', they all agreed, so we found a nice area and sat around chatting, then tried to sleep till the sun came up.

We were woken up as soon as the sunlight hit us, I looked around at everyone, we were covered in dirt and grass. A few of us organized to scout around on foot to see where we were. Well you guessed it, I started laughing we had made it back within sixty metres of the main track. We turned around and ran to our bikes laughing, off we went back to civilization.

As I was riding on the road, I thought back to the experience I'd just had, my first thought was only I could manage to get lost on my birthday new years eve, with a bunch of Indian's in the middle of no where. Then I thought what was the lesson? what was the positive out this whole experience? Well I came up with a few, number one, don't try to please to many people, do what makes your heart feel good, as long as your not hurting anyone or going back on a promise, do what makes you happy and if for some silly reason someone gets upset, realize that, that's their problem, they'll get over it and if they don't to bad. Number two, be satisfied with what you've got, if its not broken don't fix it, if your enjoying yourself don't try to chase something bigger, better etc. Be happy with where you are and what you've got, you and only you created it, if it's not for your highest good if your heart isn't open, then recreate it. Accept what it is your doing, even love it, don't blame anyone or anything for what you are experiencing, playing victim, is acting small, take responsibility for your life and accept that this is where your at and that you and only you have the power to change it, no one else can do it for you.

I remember reading a Stuart Wilde book a few years ago, he said something like this, there's only three thing's you can do in any given situation if your not happy with your life, job, relationship etc, etc. Number 1, accept it, 2, change it or 3, leave it, but do something whinging and whining doesn't do anything, other then make you bitter and unhappy. So I thought, well I just have to accept what I did for my birthday was a bit out of the ordinary to say the lease, but there was nothing I could do about it so I might as well just enjoy it.

Then I smiled and laughed all the way back to my guest house. I explained what happened to me. With only a bit of disappointment in my voice, the next thing I know my friends said that it doesn't matter because I came at the perfect time. They we're all just heading out to a huge party down south. So I got changed and off we went, I met all my other friends there and had an absolutely brilliant time. Another moral of the story is yesterday is history, there's nothing you can do about it, it's gone. Tomorrow's a mystery, tomorrow hasn't come yet, so in actual fact there's nothing you can do about it either, other then make a few plans and hope that they come off. Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present, meaning give your all each and everyday be here in the now, don't scatter your energies around, thinking about yesterday's disappointments or tomorrow's worries, be in the moment, because that's all you've got.

Here are some photo's of friends new year's eve and Goa.

BBQ with the my English friends,(sorry guys forgot to put on the red eye reduction)

My Israeli and Japanese friends later on that night.

These two crazy girls are Ana and Zoe playing dress ups as all little girls like to do.

This is my bike, Its an Indian company called Royal Enfield. They're a classic English design. Zoe took some photo's of me just before I was off on my new adventure, called Motorcycle Dairies, stay tuned.