Posts Tagged ‘family’
July – August 2009
An imagined story beyond time
Once (in the future) I gave a lecture to The Marines on Spiritual Warfare. The first thing I told them was that I felt to be some sort of a peaceful warrior outside and a child inside. They were surprised, naturally. But then I mentioned that the secret of invulnerability is vulnerability or transparence and that the secret of invincibility is trust. Trust in yourself, trust in the universe, trust in God. They became interested; they later invited me for a weekend workshop, which became a week. That was what really happened in 1980 when I was invited to give a lecture at the Meditation Mount, in Ojai, California.
I told them my father had been a Brigadier-General in the Portuguese Army. In spite of being a friendly person, he was a tough one. That had been the reason why twice in his career he had been deployed to a dangerous and a potentially dangerous theater of war. In 1942 he was sent to the Cape Verde Islands where the Portuguese Government feared a German invasion even though Portugal was a neutral country. In 1965 he was sent to deal with the Northern Mozambique insurrection against Portuguese rule in Africa, a time in which Portugal was fighting three wars at the same time. I still remember seeing him jumping from a jeep when he was already 60. For political reasons not related to him and for his independent and proud spirit he was not promoted to three stars general.
He came from an old line of warrior nobility, from Northern Portugal. Before Portugal was born in 1139, an ancestor of ours, Egas Moniz, a great warrior was the coach, the preceptor of Afonso Henriques who in that year became the first king of Portugal by declaring independence from what would become Spain.
But that is the past. Even though blood and genetics are important, and I will always remember that when we would misbehave, my father would tell us; “Dignity, dignity” (and he said that in English, which made it stronger), what is relevant today is attitude. By that I mean the serenity that comes from trusting yourself, from trusting your comrades and superiors, from trusting the justness of your mission, from knowing that if you die, that was meant to be and you as a spirit will go on in other more noble adventures.
My father would say to his soldiers: “You only die once; a coward dies a thousand times”. At that time I was a coward. I identified with my physical body and with my mind. I had no cause to fight or die for. I thought I was alone. Above all, I did not trust myself…
In that first lecture I could not tell them what I told them later: “You came back here to understand the reason why you made certain choices, you came here to undo certain things you did. You came from your future. And you are creating your future anew. You asked for a second chance.”
In those times I believed in money, the so-called” root of all evils”. Money, the mother of the deception that lures self into false security. I did not believe in energy or information. I believed in my bank account. Like the Americans, who –so funnily to the Europeans – believe in their omnipresent ‘credit score’and say “someone is worth $…”.
When I gave the lecture I could not tell them yet that one cannot change other people’s karma, one cannot change other people’s lives. If you take their past you have to carry it with you. Like with the parents you never made peace with before they died. I could not tell them that it is we who choose the airport in which we land, our mother. I could not tell young people that our parents are exactly what we needed as an experience.
Above all I could not tell them that everything is perfect. Or for that matter that everything is interchangeable, as I explain in another text (‘ a personal synthesis’). They could only accept that everything is possible. And even to that one of them said:” You cannot grow wings”. To which I replied: “How do you know what is in the 90% of your DNA that the scientists in their innocence call junk DNA?”
In those times I was not fire, I was all air and earth and with no emotional waters.
But I did tell them that true warriors are above good and evil and that they know no sentimentality or hate. That is because they are said to come from Shamballah, the Center where the Will of God is known. In that they were interested, they wanted to know more about it. Surprisingly enough for me they wanted to know about Atlantis, Lemuria, the heroes of ancient Greece, some had even heard about the quest for the Golden Fleece…
Yet, only one of them asked me about the warrior of the heart. He was a Christian, he had still been reared in the good principles of solidarity and simplicity and he was a much focused young man. He knew what he wanted and he radiated his determination.
Both Parsifal and Siegfried were warriors. Some people say they are mythical entities, who never lived in our reality. Others know that myth can be truer and more powerful than recorded history…
To him I told the stories of Siegfried and Parsifal. How one bold, adventurous and full of earthly love young man could become the pure lad that finally was admitted to the table of the Holy Grail.
What remains is that The Holy Grail is true and real, only that you can solely find it in your eternal heart, the universal heart which is in everything, everywhere. That is your ‘second’ heart, the inner heart that is beyond time. For if you are in time you are mortal and if you are mortal you are already dead.
From my father I received a sword, a steel blade with its hilt made of gold. That sword was the sword of the last absolute king of Portugal, Michael, the First. This Miguel ruled from 1828 to 1834. Then the tide of European constitutional liberalism, embodied in an ultimatum given to him by France, England and Spain, forced him to go into exile, for the second and final time.
He was a very courageous man, to the point of temerity. He was very young and inexperienced and he was very badly advised, both by his extremist mother and by his commanders-in-chief, who committedi mistakes and did not enjoy stability in their jobs.
The hilt of that sword has an eagle with a serpent in its claws and mouth. The meaning then as nowadays is clear: “Rise above the earthly, transmute the crawling into the winged, soar into the ethers. Conquer yourself!”
The buckle of the belt that comes with the sword is made of finely chiseled gold. It is a serpent with two diamonds as eyes. They are powerful eyes that quiz you. They remind me of what Dom Miguel was not, except in his later years: wise. He was impulsive, quick, bouncing; he loved galloping horses and was a keen bullfighter.But he was not very intelligent, he had no culture or even very good manners and his religious feelings were just inherited and superficial. Only in later life did he become loving and compassionate. In such a way that he died- in the words of the time – “in odor of sanctity”.
Some say that symbols are not real and they are of the past. Yet one full hour of that weekend workshop was devoted to symbols. I believe without a doubt, that from their reactions, they were fully convinced of the extraordinary power of symbols. They certainly saw how symbols have driven mankind throughout the Ages. They certainly understood that symbols are the great motivators, the visible emblem of our deepest aspirations and the synthesis of our collective identity. They drew and found the symbols that personally motivated them; they created personal mottos and they enacted the roles that empowered them.
And then there is the question of medals. On the side of my mother I come from a family that dedicated themselves to Justice and to Law. Both my grandfather and my great grandfather were Judges at the Supreme Court. Then two of my uncles became diplomats and so did an elder brother of mine. I had been impressed with their lives and I wanted to escape the Military College where I did my secondary education. So, like three of my brothers, I took a degree in Law, in order to become a diplomat, which I did become at the age of 22. I then became the Secretary to the Foreign Minister and I thought myself very important because I lived under the shadow of power.
But when I started I had no medals. And the first official journey in which I accompanied the minister was to Brazil, where we, headed by Admiral A. Thomas, the then president of the Portuguese Republic were going to offer to the Brazilian people and their military government the bones of Peter, the elder brother of the Michael I mentioned before.
This Dom Pedro had declared himself and Brazil independent from Portugal in 1822 and he is known in Brazil as Emperor Peter, the First. Both were sons of John, the Sixth, King of Portugal, of the Braganza dynasty.
Anyway, in Brazil, when I arrived, I felt slightly diminished when I was at those big receptions and cocktails in Brasilia’s modern palaces. I was the only man without a medal. Happily I got one very quickly so I was more at ease by the end of the visit…
So fast was I at getting medals that in a year and a half I had already gotten six. It was then, in 1973, that Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh came to Portugal to commemorate the 600th Anniversary of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance. I remember the first time we met, after a state dinner at the Ajuda Royal palace: we, junior people of the worlds of power and society were making an alley through which the high dignitaries were passing. When he passed in front of me, he stopped and stared at my medals. He sort of pointed to all those medals of mine and half jokingly and half patronizingly asked: “What are those?” And I replied with the same noncommittal look and tone:” Some South American decorations, Sir…” Somewhat taken aback, he questioned: “South American? Why? Who are you?” To which I replied nonchalantly; “I am the Secretary to the Foreign Minister, you know how we get them by traveling…” and he laughed.
But I am somewhat but not entirely digressing, for medals are symbols of merit and even though there are no medals in spiritual warfare, there is plenty of kudos that we or others give to us. It is a question of justice and merit and of recognition that we have done well, that some missions were accomplished. That is why when the Queen came to Portugal in 1983 I refused a British medal because I considered that I did not deserve it. Due to my excessive sense of justice, I reasoned that since I was just interim head of a Department and because my department had nothing to do with her visit, I did not need that medal.
During that future workshop I told them about the 2.2s which is a new race that is manifesting on earth. What is a 2.2? Someone for whom its mission is its identity and its identity is its mission. Not bad? But it requires a lot of humility, for all the reasons that you can imagine. And can you imagine not to be tied to a fixed identity? Not to be bound by a bunch of opinions and parochial prejudices? Not to be dragging a past that one day will kill you? Not to be ruled by those emotions that were never digested? Not to be incarcerated by linear time and its mirages of controlling the future? Would you be willing to leave behind this kindergarten cum jail?
In another text (Soul Auctions) I explain what the Earth 1 and the Earth 2 are. Essentially they are games bought at the central galactic stores. The Earth 1 is now fading on this planet and is starting to be discontinued. The Earth 2 is the new game which is beginning to be played here. The 2.2 people, those who accept to be assigned any identity or mission, will be a minute percentage of humans. The great majority of humankind will only and gladly accept the simpler and less demanding 2.1 version, which gives them what they have been longing for throughout the ages.
The 2.2 have a logo and a motto. The motto has been associated with the British Royal Artillery: Ubique quo fas et gloria ducunt. That means: ‘Wherever destiny and glory lead you’. Like the American Indians warriors, who, when in battle, each one was his own chief, the 2.2s are proud of their freedom, they are proud indeed to be free from themselves.
You might be one of them; one of us… All it takes is curiosity to investigate. Once the idea and the energy start making sense to you, things become easy, more and more evident.
A good point of departure is to be open to realize that you are a program. If you study this issue, that is, if you observe yourself and others, you will go beyond the idea that programs are just for computers. The concept is wider: a set of means or instructions to obtain certain ends or results.
A program does not have to be written, ours is biochemical. Our DNA is a program and its four-letter code, as scientists have confirmed, works very similarly to the binary ones that we know. Our nationality, language, race or religion is another type of program. People do not know that they think according to the language which they use. As I speak six languages I know that issue. I know that I feel completely different according to the language I am speaking.
For instance, English is a funny language, where the earth is called dirt and is soiling; where spirit still means alcohol and where intelligence means espionage. If we were to invite an E.T. linguist, it would probably comment: ‘That says it all about the mind and emotions of the Anglo-Saxons; about their view of the world and of the nature of reality…’
People perceive but don’t really realize that those who live in cities abide by a different program than those of the countryside. Generations are also a program. All ‘Boomers’ have much in common and the succeeding generations too. We know how we react to certain things, how predictable we and others are.
These are some of the many things that most people don’t know and few are the people who know something and attempt to put all their knowledge together.
Indeed, humanity has treaded the path of specialization; so few people pursue a wide or integral vista. Most viewpoints (and that is what a human is) are rather limited. Few people are curious. Most, even the rich or the intelligent just prefer to follow their neighbors… People are so afraid of what the others think of them…People have so little trust in their imagination and in the invisible…
I could have given this imaginary talk to many groups. Duty, loyalty, courage, order and justice are not exclusive domain of the Marines or of any Special Forces of any country. What I talk about, martial artists and spiritual activists know already. This talk could have been given to both monks and regular folks. The bettering of one’s life is at stake for everybody. Anybody can have the curiosity and the perseverance to investigate life. And, when there is a will, the way always manifests.
I am a man who deals with a wide range of issues. I believe the time is coming in which people will have to make choices. Those choices might affect their lives, those of their families, eventually those of our planet. People who are not used to thinking will be faced with the need for important decisions. I am starting to present opportunities and alternatives. These are timid for now, but they will probably be bolder with time and definitive in the end.
There comes a moment in a man’s life, sooner or later, in which you have to see yourself in the mirror. Because the mirror has been watching you all along and sooner or later it will catch up with you.
For a long time I believed I was a good person, full of defects, but fundamentally good, honest, transparent. Yet a recent dream, in my interpretation of it, showed me that there also was evil in me. That was sobering and that was good news, because I started a new investigation about what is evil in me. Not what is wrong or morally condemnable, but what is really my inner adversary. The parts of me that sabotage my priorities and the decisions and directions I have taken .The doubts that creep in regarding my standings, alliances and allegiances. And I started seeing these saboteurs coming before they settle in, unsuspectingly.
Moslem scholars and devout people know that the great Jihad is against oneself, against the sub-personalities in you which do not want to evolve and become transformed by the divine. You might be forced by the circumstances to use your sword. But if you have integrated in yourself what you perceive as outer differences, chances are that the environment will respect you and in the end reflect your values.
To know yourself and to conquer yourself are two parallel but converging paths. The one who reaches that point of inner stillness where those too converge is considered a master. Be it in martial arts or in flower arrangement. The field does not matter, because the outer elements are a projection from your inner territory, they are just your field of expression, the way you pay back to the universe what it has taught you.
When you are near that point, and all of us are always within its unconscious reach and within its quantum potential, you feel centered, content and in harmonious flow with the universe.
It could be said that, as a point of departure, a master always positions himself at the center of the matrix. It is later that he knows as a matter of fact that he is the center of the universe.
At the moment a master gets awakened an immediate and invisible connection is created with many things and people. These do not have to be humans and the things do not have to be already known here. That is the time when, spontaneously, things and people start getting attracted to that person.
But one has to realize that one can only become the fire that devours space and time if you have clearly set yourself on the certainty that this world is neither real nor unreal, as the Buddha said and also if you are really willing to die.
That neither real nor unreal teaching about the nature of reality is I believe the Middle Path which that master-god was talking about. Knowing that subtle sensation seems to me the surest and safest state of mind you can travel during life before complete liberation from illusion. This ‘neither real nor unreal’ world can then be seen and felt as an illusion, as a dream or as a matrix of space-time, all according to our temperament. All three ways of seeing it lead to different approaches of research, but in the end you reach the same interconnected conclusions.
The practical consequence of all this is that you are relaxed in the now. That relaxation comes from a center. That center is divine, even if you don’t believe in God. And, if you don’t believe in God, make yourself a god! In the end it will be the same if you don’t let yourself get tainted by arrogance and if you also see, feel and respect the other human beings as gods, even if slumbering.
This center is first needed as a flicker of identity and self-respect, as a point of departure and direction, as a point of regrouping. It is a point outside the emotions, the mind, and the ego where your heart pulsates. It is a point of recognition, of reconciliation. It is a point where the whole universe can converge.
One needs that center until the whole of oneself is aflame with divine enthusiasm, a state in which all our cells have been re-programmed and all our energetic potential has been activated.
After that, nothing more can be said. The center is everywhere.
You are free. You are joy. You are law. You SERVE.
There is NO MEMORY LEFT. Universal memory takes care of itself.
The body moves and dances.
LET THE PARTY BEGIN
PLAY, HIGH SOCIETY AND AMERICA
July – August 2009
Today I was struck by a statement made by Johan Huizinga in his 1938 book Homo Ludens: talking about Japanese culture he said “ The extraordinary seriousness and profound gravity of the Japanese ideal of life are masked by the elegant fiction that everything is but a play”…” By convention, the higher classes are simply playing in whatever they do”. And he gives the example: “I got to know that your father died” is said literally “I got to know that your father was playing death”.
Indeed, that happens because in any part of the world the opposite of playing has been having to work for a living. For someone who is not obligated to work, everything is play, for playing is the absence of time, where nothing is irreversible and everything is starting again all the time.
The problem with high society all over the world is to take things seriously, even life itself.
As is known, high society values are the opposite of those of the middle classes, in the sense that they value lightness, fluidity, time flexibility, space generosity and abundance of options. Quantity in either direction is not an issue. And if it is, it is not taken seriously, namely because aristocrats have an inherent belief in order, harmony, entitlement and providence.
The problem with higher classes and their abundance of time and space is boredom. Everything is “Déjà vu”.
It is thus the terrain where the search for unusual people is both highly needed and desirable as well as threatening and forbidden, because those unusual people by their extreme volatility and risky approach to play, threaten the core beliefs and standards of that world, namely the idea that higher really means superior or different. By showing for instance that decadence or creativeness are just human or that what is really important such as real love, artistic affinity or spiritual yearnings go beyond social structures and are what really bonds people.
Even though certain issues remain, like bad taste, bad manners, bad odors in cooking, lack of fair play, and vulgar or regional accents, by the very existence of which the higher classes feel instinctively offended, even those characteristics can become cause for play, derision and fun, for in the end life is seen as a play, where all type of ingredients and characters have to coexist.
On a personal note I can add that having been born in a palacete (a small palace with 60 rooms or areas), I was privileged to observe the social games and rituals which people play when they go from one drawing room to another in a succession of degrees of intimacy with the hosts. I remember my mother receiving different people in four different rooms according to their social status.
The funniest incidents in which I participated as a child were exactly about play: I was told that when I was about four I was walking around the ladies at an afternoon party in the fireplace room, saying nastily to some of them: “You are silly and your ass is dirty…” This was in Portuguese, my mother tongue. But my mother would dismiss it by saying: “Don’t listen to what he says. He is speaking German”. The ladies very well heard what I had said but they pretended to believe my mother.
In fact I had had a German lady as a sort of a nanny or preceptor who came to take care of me when I was born. She was the baroness Marga von Unger. Her family had lost all their properties in East Prussia in 1944 and she had lost her house in the Berlin bombardments of 1945, so she came to Portugal as a refugee. Her son was the cultural attaché at the German Embassy in Lisbon, but her daughter in law did not like having her living with them, so my mother, out of compassion, hired her even though she was already in her mid seventies. She taught me German, sang to me the Brahms lullaby and I still remember her voice and the softness of her skin. I never recovered from her (for me) sudden departure for an international ladies home when I was about two and a half; even though I continued to visit her.
The other incident, I believe I was a little older, albeit without a very clear sense of money. A group of ladies had come for an afternoon game of canasta and mahjong (in which my mother was very proficient) and they used money to play. While they made a recess and went to the dining room for high tea I came to the room where they had been playing and opened their purses, put all their monies together and then distributed it equally by all of them. Imagine their surprise when they came back and they could not understand what had happened and did not know how to start talking about the subject…
At the time, I like any other child did not have a very clear idea of the difference between play and seriousness or work. So it seemed to me quite plausible and just that they would all start with the same amount of money to play. I did not do it as a trick or to annoy them. If the money was to play anyway why would it be a serious thing? I don’t know how they ever sorted out the issue…
Play also manifests in higher classes all over the world by the use of excessive adjectives to describe things, people or situations. Sometimes these words already exist and are only inflated, while sometimes new fad words are created which eventually percolate or not to the lower ranks. Besides that, the art of the understatement has been refined to great levels, in which only people of that same class understand what they really mean when they are speaking with each other.
For example, when Hillary Clinton gave a recent(June 2009?) talk at the CFR, she said that” the council tells us what to do”. Even though she was somewhat saying the truth (because governmental departments cannot give the time and the money which researchers need to thoroughly think ahead),what she really was meaning, in a cozy higher class lingo, was that she was grateful for being accepted by them, even though she did not have any credentials of her own in international history and foreign policy except her recent new job.
These issues of play are important because deep down in ourselves we all like to play. I for instance play with my Magical Gardens, a sort of miniature scenes which I create in order to both relax and synthesize that moment of my life into a clear mirror and intention. I can play by myself, with other children or even with adults in very revealing moves of deep self expression.
People do not have much time anymore to pray, to meditate or even to think. Yet, games remain universal and there are hundreds of game types, from physical sports to video games, cards, puzzles and crosswords.
I am inventing a game, which for instance could be called the game of life or the great game. To describe it in this more limited context would be self-damaging and would lead nowhere excepting possible plagiarism. But I would like to touch on its essence:
That the best way to learn is by playing, if possible with as many senses as possible involved. And that you learn more and get more excited and motivated if your own identity and interests are directly at stake.
But all that will remain for another context, within or without this site….
This text was just intended to be light and to introduce certain issues…