Blog

Monk Undercover.

Everybody wants to be a superhero or superheroine while growing up. Everybody wants to be able to fly like superman and have inhumane strength, saving innocent people from falling skyscrapers. Everybody dreams of being Batman, so they could distribute justice in their own versions of Gotham. Yet, others dream of being Wonder Woman and preserving peace amongst humanity by stopping wars from occurring. Everybody wants to be a Luke Skywalker and save the galaxy from the oppressive regimes. And the list goes on and on.

If nobody did not want to become a hero/heroine, then these stories of superheroes that we go to see in the cinema, or read in comics, would have not been so popular. The point is everybody wants to become a hero/heroine in their own movies i.e. their lives. But then, as everybody grows ups, they start realising that reality is rather different. They realise that one cannot stop people from dying in accidents, one cannot prevent injustices occurring, one cannot stop wars from occurring, and one cannot save countries from oppressive regimes. ‘Grow up!’ they all say to you. ‘Get a job, take responsibility!’ the chant goes. Sure, all these are legitimate and real claims. However, REALITY should not stop one from becoming the hero/heroine of their lives. One can be an ACTUAL hero. And yes, ACTUAL heroes do not have fictional or defying physics like powers. ACTUAL heroes have powers, human powers. ACTUAL heroes follow principles, just like fictional heroes. ACTUAL heroes get inspired from fictional heroes, but yet they act in a human way. What I am suggesting here, is an archetype of an ACTUAL hero. I call it a Monk Undercover.

Everybody can become and act like a Monk Undercover. One does not need any special qualifications. One does not need to be rich like Bruce Wayne. But one could make sacrifices for the greater good of the community. One does not need to fly like Clark Kent. But one could always find an alternative way of helping others. One does not need to carry a sword and shield to stop conflicts like Diana. But one can be peaceful themselves. One does not need a lightsabre and be a Jedi like Luke. But one can see the good in the worst of people. In other words, you can be a Monk in every moment of your existence. However, being a Monk requires cultivation of internal attributes like honesty, non-violence, tolerance, self-disciple etc., rather than external. Therefore, an ACTUAL hero is always Undercover. So get your job, take your responsibilities, buy a house, settle in, educate yourself, build up a family, have a laugh with friends, have dance with friends, read, sing, pray, live!

BUT NEVER FORGET TO BE A MONK UNDERCOVER!

 

 

Grey, but authentic.

To all Bulgarian (and not only) people .

‘-Everybody looks so grey.’- whispered a voice in my head when I was in the local supermarket.

‘-Grey clothes, Grey expressions, grey predominates the whole atmosphere around me’- the internal voice kept on ranting.

This internal realization happened when I was back home in Bulgaria. I spent a whole month in my home country, as I usually do, at end of each academic year. I went to the big cities and smaller ones. I also went to some villages. However, this greyness predominated the whole atmosphere. Do not get me wrong, this phenomenon is something that I have noticed before, while growing up in Bulgaria. However, this time I made the correlation between the colour and the general mood of the people around me. Greyness emanates depressive mood. A hopeless situation. An endless cycle of negative emotions. The ridiculousness of the whole story is that if you ask anyone on the street, they will know what causes this greyness, or rather they will list a few reasons what puts them in this grey mood. For a starter, ‘everybody is corrupt, politicians are crooked, the judiciary is a complete parody’ etc. These are the top most complains. Oh, and of course my favourite the ‘we’ll never get better’ chant. I am not saying that these claims are not legitimate or not real. They are! However, organizing our entire lives around them is rather problematic. This predominating grey mood puts everybody, even the more positive inclined people, in a pathological path of pandemic depression. In addition, as most sociological studies suggest, negative emotions only lead to divisions and conflict, whereas positive emotions, lead to more cooperative patterns of social behaviour. Think about it- if I hate going to the cinema, would I be more willing to go with you to watch a movie or not? In sum, Greyness predominates the scenery.

However, no matter how pathological Bulgarian people might be at times, we are generally authentic people, when it comes to expressing our emotions. We are going to shout at your face, when we are angry. We are going to lough loudly, when we are happy. We are going to cry loudly, when we suffer some pain. We are going to stand our ground strongly, when we are passionate about something. We are going to say things directly as they are. We are not going to be passive-aggressive; we simply will be aggressive when we mean it.

Therefore, greyness is not productive, but authenticity is what keeps us sane. I would rather be grey, but speak my truth, than be bright, but fake and sugarcoat everything I say to others. Authenticity is what makes relationships work, be they family, friends, or business. Authenticity prevents future conflicts occurring. Authenticity is the mother of progress of any kind. Of course, the perfect scenario would be if we could cultivate this authenticity more often, so we can become brighter, rather than grey. Unfortunately, we are not perfect. Or as the song goes… ‘I am only human after all…’

PS: Be grey, but keep on speaking your truth.

Bodies

Bag full of bones, Bag full of veins,

Bag full of fears, Bag full of dreams,

Bag full of desires, Bag full of pains.

Oh, this Bag full of wonders,

Oh, this complicated machine,

this Bag,

our bodies, we name it.

Bodies as diverse as the night sky.

Skinny bodies, fat bodies,

Short bodies, tall bodies,

Black bodies, yellow bodies,

Red bodies, purple bodies

Beautiful bodies, ugly bodies,

That body, this body.

Her body, his body, its body.

All these bodies, but they have one thing in common,

All these bodies, but all they never cease to wane.

From the first breath, all these bodies,

They wane, they die, they cry,

Oh, they collapse, they fail, they break.

They change, they grow, they fall.

And at the last breath, they evaporate.

And what we often forget,

Is that these bodies,

don’t define Us,

don’t describe Us,

but only captivate Us.

If we remembered only,

that we are beyond these bodies,

Infinite we could be!

Bigger than life,

bigger than the boundaries of this Bag full of bones,

a Bag full of waning flesh!

Infinite we could be!

Bigger than fear,

Bigger than Death.

Infinite we could be!

Conquering any heights,

and surrendering with every step!

Oh, Infinite we could be!

If we remembered only,

That we are not these bodies,

but the eternal spark within…

 

She walks away…

 

I met her in the classroom,

We met.

We shared some beautiful moments together,

She smiled,

I smiled,

But then she walked away…

I met her on the street,

We went out,

We kissed,

We hugged,

But she walked away again…

I met her in the club,

We talked,

We walked,

We laughed,

And she walked away…

I met her in the temple,

We danced,

We shared food together,

We talked,

We made love,

But she walked away…

I met her on the Way,

We walked,

We meditated together,

We sang,

But she walked away…

I met her in Yoga class,

We practiced,

We chanted,

We read together,

But she walked away…

She comes, She goes,

She walks away!

She kisses me, she hugs me

She walks away!

She loves me, she surrenders to me,

She walks away!

On and on she walks away…

 

El Camino de Santiago…The One I should have written long time ago!

In August of 2016, I was blessed with the opportunity to walk the Strange Road to Santiago and Beyond! It was a walk to remember, a walk of letting go, of healing, and growing. For those of you who does not know what El Camino de Santiago is, I will quickly summarise.

The Camino, as is widely known at least in the English-speaking world, is a Catholic Pilgrimage path in the north of Spain. It starts from the Spanish-French border in the Pyrenees and it ends in the northwestern city of Santiago. It originated during the Middle Ages and since then millions of pilgrims have made their way to visit the cathedral in Santiago and of course pay their respects to St. James. The length of the Camino is about 800 km and around 200,000 people from each corner of the world walk it every year. Some people walk the Camino for spiritual/religious reasons (including me), others for cultural, historical, or recreational reasons. However, enough is enough; there are hundreds of books, videos, and various materials about the history of this magical path. So if you want to dive deeper in its history and cultural heritage, just go for it!

 

How long did you walk for?

My Camino started on the of 3rd August 2016. I made it to Santiago in 24 days, finishing on the 27th of August 2016. After that I walked another 3 days and more 90 km to Finisterre (the End of the World), which is located on the west coast of Spain. I would walk 20-30-40 km or 6-9 h per day. In total, I walked about 900 km for 30 days. It was vert physically/mentally/ spiritually challenging experience.

How much did it cost you?

If we exclude the price of my flights from the UK to France and from Spain to the UK, the whole 30 days cost me about 1000 €. I would spent about 30 € per day on average. Sometimes less, sometimes more. This 30 € include my accommodation and food.

What would be the most memorable experience for you on the Camino?

This is a though one. I do not know where to begin with. There were so many memorable moments. However, I think one of the most memorable would be my last day on the Camino. After I finished the walking day I climbed up on small hill, which overlooks the vast Ocean. There I watched the Sunset with hundreds of other pilgrims. The Moon came in and with it millions of stars. One could see the Milky Way very clearly. Then the magic happened!  Shooting star after shooting start, even a few at a time, started appearing out of nowhere. I could count about 30 for 1 hour. Then I gave up! I call this moment the Gift of the Camino. It is a gift, because I walked 900 km to this place and there I was granted with such a beautiful scenery by the Universe. It was also kind of humbling experience looking at the vast cosmos and the infinite worlds that are out there.

What people did you meet on the Camino?

I met every kind of people, all carrying their stories and troubles, joys and hopes, scars and pains. I met cancer survivors, who were walking the Camino so they can prove to themselves that they were still alive. For them, every step, no matter how painful, meant they were still amongst the living. I met writers, filmmakers, and artists. I met people who have sold everything back home and have started their Caminos thousands of kilometres away. Some were walking for weeks form Belgium, from Denmark, from Germany, from Hungary. I met people from each continent. I met people who had walked from Rome to Santiago for 3 months (around 3000 km).

What did you learn on the Camino?

So many things, I do not know where to start from! Probably the biggest lessons of the Camino are to learn how to let go easily, live with less, find gratitude for what I had at each moment, trust the way, accept every step of the path, and cultivate some Love for God. In more general terms, the Camino taught me to dream big. It showed me how to speak with the forest. It taught me to love The Great Spirit. It taught me about the Spiritual Ego. It taught me to tolerate other, different people from me. It taught me how to be taken care of and how to take care of others. It gave birth to the New Me- the Gladiator. It inspired me to start this blog. It taught me patience. It showed me how to connect and start a conversation with anyone. It taught me how to overcome mental/spiritual/physical pain. It introduced me to my limits, so now I have new limits. It made me grow. It showed me how to lead a pack and how to be part of the pack. It showed me my ‘friends’ and my ‘enemies’. It showed me beauty. It made me wonder about the mysteries of life. It taught me some Spanish. It taught me how to forgive. It showed me grace. And many more lessons.

Would you recommend the Camino to others?

Definitely! I believe that If you want to know yourself, you have to be alone with yourself. You have to get out there, where each moment is a completely new experience. Only when you challenge your status quo of living, you will be able to understand YourSelf fully! The Camino gives you all these opportunities.

The Tower of Love

Nested high in the Mountains,

away from impure thoughts,

away from selfish desires,

away from anger,

away from frustration,

away from violence,

and away from the toxins of life,

sleeps a beautiful and tall Tower.

The Tower of Love,

is resting on the Mountain peak,

where every second is a smile,

where every minute is a breath,

where every hour is a step,

and where eternity is bliss.

The Tower of Love,

invites us all,

to purify our hearts,

to let go of our minds,

and to nourish our souls.

The Tower of Love,

brings the Sound,

the Sound of the good vibes,

the good vibes emanating from,

‘Hare, Krishna, and Rama.’

Hare, Krishna, and Rama,

they bring us the Love of life,

the Love of existence,

the Love of Nature,

and the Love of All.

In the Tower of Love,

the Good Vibes,

make us dance,

make us scream,

make us shout,

the Good Vibes,

oh they,

heal our hearts.

They give us strength

they help us forgive,

they make us trust,

they make us love,

they make us live.

The Good vibes,

in the Tower of Love,

brings us closer to Ourselves,

brings us closer to Home.

In the Tower of Love,

Mind, Heart, and Spirit,

dance their Cosmic Tango.

Oh, Tower of Love,

You are Heaven on Earth!

Oh, Tower of Love,

You are Our only Hope!

Melancholy

Melancholy

Empty hearts, empty souls,

walking up and down.

This aimless crowd,

lacks the sound,

the sound of joy,

the sound of peace,

the sound of hope,

and the sound of beautiful tomorrow.

Not knowing who they are,

what they are,

how they are,

and why they are.

Numbing spirits pouring down their throats,

Slowly building up their walls.

 Walls defending them from what?!

Clueless, they are about that!

Keep playing up the roles,

 of the sons and  the daughters,

the brothers and the sisters,

the husbands and the wives,

the businessmen and the businesswomen,

the consultants and the advisers,

the politicians and the diplomats,

the artists and the musicians,

the kings and the queens,

the gods and the goddesses.

Ignoring the simple fact,

that the Goddess of All,

Her timeless Majesty the Queen of Death,

Has them All!

Alone they were born,

Alone they will perish!

For them all,

 her Majesty’s Cosmic Dance,

ceaselessly unfolds,

step after step,

breath after breath,

smile after smile,

and teardrop after teardrop.

Leaving only, a trail of Cosmic Stardust,

a basket full of,

 dreams unfollowed,

fears unchallenged,

words unsaid,

and promises never kept!

A veil of melancholy,

remorse,

and darkness

has engulfed this crowd.

The little Lightness left,

 has been buried,

somewhere deep into the hearts.

The little joy, the little beauty,

The little inner peace,

something big, some bigger Force,

a Promethean determination,

would be needed,

to bring it out into the world.

If not that, a little crisis,

A little loss,

A little pain,

A little bit of that, or a little bit of this,

is all is needed,

to remind,

this hopeless and aimless crowd,

about the Beauty that lies within,

within the hearts in each one of them.

Oh, this inner Beauty,

oh, this inner Love,

is the only tool,

 to embrace,

the Cosmic Dance,

of her Majesty,

the Queen, the Goddess of Death,

and then dance with Her,

dance with Her,

‘till the end of times,

‘till their final breath,

‘till their final step, or smile!

And if that’s not recipe for Life,

I don’t know what else there is!?

Metropolis

 

The Metropole,

Mother of all cities

nested in the night,

illuminates the sky.

Billboards,

city lights,

 corner shops,

buses and the cars,

people and the stands,

all part, all a cog,

all a string, or screw,

of this orchestrated mechanical symphony.

All playing their parts,

through the alchemy of their hearts.

All screaming,

shouting,

whispering,

‘Give me more, Give me more! I can’t get enough!’

 Faces, all glued to the ground,

drumming their fingers on the illuminated screens.

Smells,

sounds,

and drives,

constantly bombarding their,

noses,

eyes,

ears,

and minds.

Oh, Metropole, Mother of all cities,

this very symphony of yours,

it does never stop!

In the middle of all,

though,

there in the ground,

lies a flower.

White,

beautiful,

and healthy,

somehow thriving,

defying any logic,

The White Rose withstands,

this final hour.

Standing tall like a soldier,

and shining bright like the Moon,

the White Rose stands there,

in the middle of the square,

in its last stand against the Metropole!

Suddenly, a child appears!

And our last rebel, the White Rose,

is about to disappear.

The violent hand approaches,

and from the ground uproots the flower!

Alas, this is how,

The Mother of all cities, the Metropole,

has silenced her last opponent,

the last rebellion!

Alas, this is how, the Mother of all cities,

the Metropole,

became also the Master of All,

the Master of All among the living…

Faces

Faces walking up and down,

not knowing where and how.

Mindless,

Soulless,

Brainless,

Heartless

Oh, these faces,

they are walking up and down.

Faces coming from afar,

not knowing where they’ve been,

where they are,

nor where they’re going.

All these faces, they are lost.

lacking inner guide,

Hateful,

Angry,

Vicious,

Oh, these faces,

they are walking up and down.

Faces native to the land,

but still not knowing who they are,

walking up and down,

day after day, night after night

step after step, breath after breath,

wasting precious time,

oh, these faces,

they are walking up and down.

Here and there one face,

emerges from the crowd,

Shouting,

Screaming,

Pointing,

Bustling,

Jumping.

‘Wake up! Wake up! Oh, sleepful crowd, please

Wake up!’

Alas, all these faces,

they are still walking up and down.

 

Graceful Death

 

She just finished cleaning the bar area, when her colleague came out of the bathroom. He was also carrying her jacket. She thanked him and put it on. Then both of them left the building. They departed. Each one of them went the opposite direction towards their respective homes.

The night has started its reign and the night queen, the Moon, was shining from the Heavens. It was long way after midnight. It has been a long day for our heroine. She was physically exhausted, but at the same time, in a very peaceful state of mind. She was slowly making her usual after work walk up the hill, where her house was. The air was fresh, as there was a gentle summer breeze, which has blown away all the car pollution. Our heroine was breathing deeply, as she was passing through a public park. The place was soulless. No one was there at this time of the night. Peace and quiet. The pond in the middle of the park was casting almost a perfect reflection of the night sky. This made our heroine realize, how beautiful her surrounding were.

She made her way out of the public park and entered a path that was going through a field.  Our heroine saw that there was a herd of cows in the distance. They were lying on the ground, sleeping quietly and peacefully. Our heroine heard the calling of the Owl coming from the public park behind her. She remembered that she had read that in some Native American folklore the Owl represented death. This memory made our heroine thoughtful, but at the same time made her shiver. She continued walking up the road trying to distract herself from the call of the Owl.

The end of the path led our heroine to the fences and the door of the enclosed field. She opened it and came out on a high street.  She continued walking up the street and headed towards a junction, through which she normally passed, in order to get to the street where her house was. As she approached the traffic lights, our heroine noticed something lying on floor. Something that the passing cars were carefully avoiding. She was suddenly struck by a realization, as she started crossing the street and approaching the thing that the cars were avoiding. A rather grim realization, though. The symbolic call of the Owl has manifested itself into the material world. There was a dead animal of some sort and the cars were trying not to run over it.

At first, our heroine couldn’t discern what the animal was. It looked like a cat from the distance. However, as our heroine was making her way on the other side of the street, she recognized the animal, as a small baby fox. This realization has completely messed up the internal world of our heroine. She stopped at the other side of the street and started staring at the dead animal. She noticed that in reality the baby fox was in the process of dying, as its belly was pumping up and down. However, the baby fox must have been hit by a car that has broken its neck, our heroine thought. At this moment of insight, a wave of emotions has almost drowned our heroine. Disgust, fear, appreciation, awe, humbleness, sadness. She couldn’t move. Tears started trickling down here face. She was paralyzed. All she could do was just wait. Wait for the last dying breath of this baby fox. Wait for the final moment of when the spirit would have left the material body of this poor creature. The end of all suffering.

A Graceful Death our heroine was thinking, as she was looking at the poor baby fox. Graceful because our heroine unintentionally has turned into the Goddess of Time. The time of death for our baby fox. The time of release of this material body. The time of transfiguration of the soul into another life form. She was feeling hopeless and helpless. Tears were still coming down her face. The poundings of the baby fox’s chest were slowing down. The moment was coming. This made our heroine think about her own existence. Her own soul. Her place in this life. Her place in this Universe. Her relations with the surrounding world.  The poundings had stopped abruptly. Death has arrived. It stole away the life force of this creature.

Our heroine couldn’t believe what she was witnessing and experiencing at the same time. Her hands were shaking, but she felt she had an obligation to do something. So she went on the street and moved the soulless body to the side and put it on the pavement. She couldn’t just leave it on the middle of the road. She felt obligated to move it away from the tires of the cars. An obligation she had never experienced before. A Law surpassing any worldly matters. A Spiritual Law. As she left the body on the pavement, our heroine realized that this experience had changed something in her inner world. Something very subtle but yet profound. She felt connected. She felt Grace. Grace manifested itself through the death of this poor creature.

Our heroine started walking away towards her house. Tears still coming down her face. She felt mesmerized and humbled at the same time.

‘Graceful Death, what a Graceful Death!?’- she said out loud  to herself, as she kept walking.