dimanche 12 mai 2013

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.

I've talked about God in a previous post regarding happiness, and I can't talk about happiness without mentioning buddhism. I've said it before, I don't believe in dogma, and the relation I have with God is pretty intense yet personal; I have a very strong affection for Jesus, and I can't help but find many similarities between Him&Buddha. In fact, before meeting God around the age of 16, I had for about two years already  started reading a lot about buddhism and hinduism. You could say I met Buddha, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu before Jesus.

I used to meditate a lot, and do yoga almost everyday for two years, and I suddenly quit for some (still) unknown reason. This had brought me a lot of peace, and I actually remember feeling very at peace at that time, which is, well, quite different from now.

If there are some buddhist concepts I don't entirely agree with, one of them has, however greatly changed my life. I'm still holding onto this important notion, every single day, to remain positive and happy, to face the difficulties that we all have to deal with during our lifetime.

Suffering comes from desire. If I were to be really exact and true to Buddha's words, I should say, suffering comes from desire and attachment. But that's one of the things I'm not 100% agreeing with. Therefore let's stick to desire only(which is already quite a lot to deal with).

There are so many things we long for, want to possess, obtain and just own, so many of our efforts and choices aiming at that sole goal. We put happiness in front of us, always a few clothes, cars, houses, coins ahead of us, somehow convinced that we'll be granted happiness the more goods we can accumulate.

We aspire to look a certain way, never satisfied with our looks, our appearance, our weight, our hair you name it, spending so much of our time focusing on this shell that our body is, but forgetting to treat it well and respect it. We do the same with people. Getting jealous, upset, possessive because we can't accept the fact that no one owe us anything but respect, and that people aren't ours. We grieve and worry too much, for we see others as foreign beings we expect a lot from.

I longued for the love&affection of people who couldn't care less, I cried over my face and body, I expected a lot from friends who already gave me a lot, by just being my friends, and that resulted in me feeling really sad, lonely and somehow angry. I never really felt jealousy nor envy, never upset myself over having more money or more goods, but I definitely felt unhappy because I had too much expectations&desire, and I sure am not the only one.

So what do we do?

Stop wanting, suppress that desire, free yourself from this desire that burns you. Dream, get inspired and inspire, hope for a lot and work hard, but let go of this desire that won't lead you anywhere. Let go.

How can I do that? What would my life be without desire? What would I do everyday if I don't have something to fight for? How am I supposed to behave towards&around people?
These are questions that may come to your mind, and it's crucial to adress them properly, in order to stay away from the misconception that buddhism would be a kind of nihiism.

Bound without clinging to people, bound and love without expecting anything back. Live your life, driven by the power of love, not by the desire to acquire desirable and pleasant things. Be grateful for what you've been given by life, and think of ways to improve yourself, to be a better person rather than how you could improve your material comfort, or the praise/attention you receive from people.

No matter how much you earn, how many material things you can get, you'll never be satisfied. No matter how much someone says he or she loves you, and no matter how much he or she shows and proves this love to you, the fear of this love ending, of your other significant falling for someone else, or lying to you or cheating on you will always be here. If you cling onto this person, you'll never be able to realize that this won't last forever, because nothing last forever, and you'll get hurt. You won't realize it's no point expecting so much from someone, expecting always more because we're already, as human beings all connected to one another. This gap you feel between you and other people is an illusion, that sure may feel very real and may cause you to feel very lonely, but focusing on this connection between all living things make it look a bit ridiculous. 
When there's such a deep, spiritual, natural and simple connection, bound between all of us, hurting because of words we didn't hear, or attention we haven't been given seems really useless&silly.

To put it simply, there's you and the object of your desire. This situation makes you unhappy&sad, causes you a lot of suffering and harmful emotions. If you eventually manage to obtain this object, soon you'll fancy and desire something else. It's quite obvious that getting what you wanted isn't the solution.

There's only one thing between you, and the object of your desire. This is this one thing you must get rid of in order to end your suffering. That is desire itself.

It's not an easy thing, it may be easier for some people, it may be more difficult depending on what you desire the most. But I can tell you from my own experience, that it is an amazing feeling that to love without expecting, to go through life without envying, to wake up every morning with gratitude, and to hope for things within you, or that will make you feel good, and make others feel good.

Just like I felt like I had to share with you about my relationship with God, I think this point (among many others) of buddhism is a really precious lesson we've been given by Buddha, and I really wanted to share it with you. 

Hopefully this was a bit interesting to some of you, let me know what you think about it! :)
Are you familiar with buddhism, are you interested in it? 

jeudi 9 mai 2013

Bella Firenze.

There's a city I haven't properly written about yet, and since I'll be soon there again with my sister this time, I've been reading a lot about it&therefore a lot of memories came back to my mind, making me want to write a post about it.

I've expressed my enthusiasm about Venice a lot, maybe too much? but I haven't really taken the time to say how much I liked Florence. Maybe because when I was there, I was almost unable to think of something else than the humid heat that seemed to weight on my shoulders when I was walking through, what seemed to be back then, a red desertic city.

I know, this isn't the words you'd expect from someone who enjoyed her stay somewhere, but quite unexpectedly I did enjoy Florence a lot. I enjoyed the city itself, I enjoyed the food, the atmospheer, the camping we were staying at, and overall my whole time there. But it was really really really hot.
We stayed only a couple of days in Florence, and didn't see as much as I would have liked to, but that's okay, since I'll be back in the beautiful main city of Tuscany in June, which is going to be way less hot, thus way more enjoyable!

We'll also take time to explore Siena, which I'm very excited about!

The view from  PiazzaleMichel Angelo is probably one of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.

The duomo is the 4th biggest cathedral in the world, and to me one of the most outstanding and unique one.

Unfortunately Florence is an expensive city, that isn't really appropriate for backpackers, at least that's how I felt about it. I'm not into wine, leather, good restaurants and clothes at all, which is also a bit of a downnote, for Florence is known for those. But the city is just beautiful, and would it be only for the Duomo, I'd tell anyone to stop by! This time I'm impatient to wander in the Boboli gardens, enter Santa Croce and explore Tuscany a bit more, with the visit of the beautiful&medieval Siena.

That's kind of funny, how Italy just made its way into my heart, slowly but surely, being now, one of the places on earth I'd say one should absolutely visit no matter what. Last summer during my trip I was exhausted because of the heat, and quite honestly, after being so disappointed of Rome, I thought I'd never come back to Italy. How wrong I was!

Have you ever been to Florence or Italy? Would you like to if not? Let me know! :)