We barely have a moment in the real world, a world of planning ahead, making ends meet, trying your best at work, complex emotions borne of human relationships, and endless demagogy on the newswire.
The real world… a world not necessarily of your choosing… A world you are living with
What about your own planet? Your own thoughts? Your own ambitions? Are they part of your world, or the one around you? How do you even know where you fit in?
Lost in the world, when emotions and life get the better of you.
We are humans, and we have all been there
Everyone has a different way of coping with it
Building a moment where nothing matters but the now; a moment that symbolises all that you are working towards: rock climbing
It is intimidating, dangerous and unforgiving. I accept that, and I will always respect nature
But when I am on the wall, in a climbing centre or in nature, immersed in the next move and how to move my body to get to the next hold, there is nothing but the now. Work, personal life, money, war and peace do not enter this dominion. No one can.
I am me, my right thumb, my left shoulder blade, my Achilles tendon, the collection of which are working my way through a problem only I can solve, physically and mentally.
The move to balance yourself, feeling your body dedicate itself to that next move, the physical and mental progression up a wall, is unbelievable oneness. The meditative state you enter is the higher plain philosophers have described since the first day of quiescent and spiritual thought. It is hard to describe but I know that all have had that feeling before. Adrenalin and serotonin are the physical working hormones, but accomplishment and belief is the end product, and no amount of chemical reactions in the body can explain this feeling.
I am not a religious person, but I believe that these meditative states are as close to that otherworld feeling I can get, and I consider them extremely important in our crazy lives.
Where this meditative states leads and what it gives you is the capacity to change yourself, and the little bit of the world you know that is around you.
Life is beautiful, complex, amazing and a whirlwind of emotions, but the little moments who render life simple and all about the now are vital. Don’t ever forget that. Find them and you will find yourself
What do you think of when you think of Afghanistan?
War, Taleban, jihad, deserted mountains, insurgency, war, freedom against oppression, America’s war, Pashtun people, war, war and more war?
First of all, Afghanistan is a country, populated by 32 million people. Yes there are horrible people there, just as there are disgusting human beings in western societies. The lack of a unified justice system and corruption in governments allow them more freedom out there it is true, but I would bet we have just as many dishonest and revolting people in the West as they have. Our society is just better at identifying them and cracking down on them
My point is people are just people, wherever you may go.
What Afghanistan is not, contrary to what media outlets try to make you believe, is a country full of people ready to slit your throat to steal the 10 dollars you have in your wallet, ready to kidnap you because of what your skin colour represents, ready to wage holy war and kill every western or Christian person they see indiscriminately.
This article, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/25/under-americas-surveillance-dome/ ) a truly well written account of the “rule of law” in USA, shows the bias western media has when commenting on international polemics. I urge you to read it in order for your mind to have that 10 minutes of balance when reacting to news we receive through our little screens on our desks or in our hands.
I cannot write as well as the author of the article above, Rev William E. Alberts, but I echo his sentiments completely. We in the UK are relatively lucky to possess a media that still has an element of freedom to it (although this is being chipped away at gradually), contrary to state and corporate owned media in the US. I am not going to start becoming holier-than-thou in this blog, as this is probably not why you’ve clicked on it in the first place, but I guess my message would be: please please please make an effort to read news that is balanced and not written for political ends. Research all points of views before simply basing your own opinion on what you see in one article or bulletin. The world is not just black, or just white. Every person sees the world and its history in a different way, and the more you speak and understand others’ point of view, the more learned you will become.
Just a thought on a sunny Friday morning…
For your information, when I see Afghanistan, I see kebabs and fruits, old men smoking hashish in the parks, green tea being brewed on street corners, battered old cars that still carry on, black hair and green eyes. Most of them, just like you and me, revere family, love their friends, respect their wives as their culture dictates, play football or cricket in the park on weekends, drink tea and whose first instinct is to be helpful and smiling if someone approaches them.
And although I feel tense when walking around, I wonder how much of this is created in my head to what is actually happening out there…
When in Afghanistan, we were training some local agricultural workers in how to develop better messages for famers. We were in the agricultural research station in Kabul, called Badam Bagh, and we were interviewing farmers and asked them to comment on our factsheets. Their comments are invaluable in order to promote a consistent and understandable message for the farming community. This agricultural worker was doing an excellent job in listening to the farmer. He was concentrating very hard, and I find it makes a good photo!