Potential Buddha

Toegevoegd door Saskia Beugel op 30-07-2007 om 00:00

Geertje Couwenbergh is nieuwste blogger van Rishis. Geertje is de oprichter van Potential Buddha
Potential Buddha was the natural result of a life's ambition: promoting and practicing a conscious way of living, that is fashionable and fun at the same time. Founded in a group effort among friends, Potential Buddha is currently runned by Geertje Couwenbergh, a 24 year old cultural anthropologist living in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Potential Buddha is more than a company, it represents an idea grounded in meditation and yoga practice, but not limited to these areas.
Getting Real

‘Always let go, never give up’. Ever since I heard this sentence, it has stuck to me. It has become one of my current life motto’s! It seems that the ‘never give up’ part somehow seems more appropriate in our time and place. Never giving up and keep on going is something I see the majority of people around me doing, resulting in burned out yuppies with dog walking service and never matching schedules by the dozens.

It is the ‘always let go’ part that is the real challenge. Letting go doesn’t seem like our cultural expertise. Happy, fat bellied Buddhism seem appealing to many people, but when it comes down to fundamental Buddhist notions as impermanence, emptiness and dhukka, often translated as suffering, even the most enthusiastic, including myself turn pale.

Not having anything to hold on to (emptiness), having nothing that lasts (impermanence) and unavoidably experiencing a whole lot of suffering (dhukka) are pretty basic assumptions in Buddhism. Not a very appealing team to join on first sight, right? Knowing that they have a point, there is one thing that always prevents me from running straight to all the teams that do promise a happy ending. That is the way that from a Buddhist perspective, these same qualities that we perceive as ‘not good’ actually lead to a more awake, and therefore in a sense more real life. And the intention of having a real life is something that always gets me going (the same way that asking me ‘what would Madonna do?’ gets me going).

Here’s how I’ve interpret the “messy Buddhist” stuff. The impermanence of things, trees, animals, mountains, ideas, era’s and the position of your boobs is all around, reminding you everyday that seasons will end and so will the concept that you recognize as Yourself. And if that isn’t bad enough already, since the coming of quantum mechanics, even science has confirmed that nothing is substantial or solid. From the very atoms to the very thoughts that go through your mind, everything is made up largely out of space. This becomes noticeable when you look into something that we consider to be solid, a rock for example. At atomic level, there’s a lot of space to be found it that rock. Actually, that rock predominantly consists out of space. The famous “emptiness is form, form is emptiness” really does apply.

The same accounts for your thoughts, or beliefs even. Consider how the drama of losing something, your job, loved one, or hair feels one moment and than another, often already a day later. I love the advice: think about how you will remember this in a year’, because it shows exactly the non-substantial nature of things that seem so solid, so real at the time.

That is not to say that living with the notion of impermanence and emptiness can’t be terrifying. In fact, when things fall apart so to say, I’m the first to go into terror, complete panic. The process of undertaking Potential Buddha has more than once freaked me out and will send me running for permanence and solidity many more times probably.

The great thing however of realising the non-substantiality of things, of things falling apart (including the way you think Things Were or how Things Should Be) is that you get a real reality check. Or to put it more Buddhist: it is an opportunity to awaken. It gives you a chance to awaken from the confusion of expecting things to last. This requires courage. It requires compassion for oneself.

The breakdown of the way You Thought Things Were gives space for having the same experiences, but from a totally different perspective. You can aspire to live more in the alignment with rhythms such as impermanence and emptiness. Sometimes you can notice yourself no longer struggling against so much, but surrendering, breaking down and allowing the opportunity of living a more real life. As one teacher said; you probably enjoy eating your chocolate cookie even better knowing that it is a temporary experience, not being under the illusion that it will solve your depression. Life is “like a box of chocolates”.

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Saskia Beugel

Zie www.saskiabeugel.com Mindfulness Trainer (MBSR/MBCT), yogadocent en Oprichter Rishis afgestudeerd a... meer »

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