Well what a couple of days. It all started on Thursday 4th May 2017. I decided to take Lidia’s advice (my Nemesis) and stay in Malta before getting my flight to the UK and get a taxi to the airport. Let’s face it I’m going to be away for around a month so to park in the airport would cost around €600. The last time I flew from Malta I was away 10 days and it cost more for the car park than the flight!!
So the journey started with me arranging for Maria to take care of Peace while I’m away. She was happy to agree and has already been well rewarded. I get to the ferry terminal and get a message from Charlotte my German friend “John when can you take the rest of the barbecue away?” I’d part dismantled the very big and heavy barbecue in her house and moved the lighter part to the roof garden that I’m making on the roof of my house. The base needs at least 2 men to move. Sorry Charlotte on my way to the UK. Her reply 😦 (Now I feel guilty). But I find the hotel very easily with my phone’s satellite navigation system. Checking in and parking my car outside was OK so I decide to go and have an early dinner a delicious pizza just 20-30 paces from the hotel. I go for a swim and then try to get some sleep. No chance! So perhaps I should do some work on the phone, I go downstairs to find an outlet as the charger won’t work in my room. Sitting outside the Chinese massage parlor in the hotel foyer I decide to have a 30 minute aromatherapy session. The Chinese lady says get ready and I’ll come back in. I hear her on the phone shouting at her husband about dinner haha. I joke about it when she comes in. I go back to my room I must get some sleep I nap but I wake around 1-30am and decide to go on my small balcony for a coffee, just as I step into the fresh air Prabhu sends a reply to my previous message, he will arrange for me to be picked up at the airport when I get to Bali. I close the door but it locks behind me. Oh holy crap… I’m stuck on the small balcony in my pyjamas (but I have my phone), I surf the net for the hotel number and call the reception. Help please I’ve locked myself on the balcony! HaHa the lady says I’ll come and let you in, she enters my room I can see her through the glass door and opens up. Thank you so much, are you the lady that made the reservation for me, we start talking, I explain I live in Gozo and am going via the UK to Bali to my Guru’s Ashram. Who’s your Guru, Prabhu DarmaYasa, Oh Lidia she say’s?? Do you know Lidia?, yes she says, I explain that Lidia used to be my partner (BUSINESS partner) that is. We talk for quite some time, I give her one of Prabhu’s books, clearly there was a divine guidance to do so.
I decide there’s no way I’m going to get any sleep so start looking at Facebook, I see a post from Velvet my granddaughter in-law in California, I comment she comments back for once (Velvet and I have slightly different political views to put it mildly), then another from Chuthima in Thailand, Velvet’s mother in law, (my daughter in law) this is getting quite complicated I’ll explain later ha ha. Messages then start coming in from all over the world. It’s amazing how ‘messenger’ helps you keep in touch. I’m writing this on the airplane time for a break the battery is almost drained.
Well it’s now the 10th May and I’m sat in Sarah (my daughter) house in Hull UK. I’m waiting to go to the bank to collect some currency for Bali. I leave tomorrow and will be in Bali about a day later. So I’m travelling from Hull to London Heathrow by train, then Heathrow to Densapar (Bali) via Singapore and then to the Ashram. Then I expect I will have very little time to go ‘online’ so I will quite probably be ‘absent’ for some time (yes I know Oh good you are saying). This part of my journey to become a Buddha is hopefully going to answer many of the questions I have and maybe heal my body and spirit, who knows I may even find the answer to Nirvana, who knows? Whatever happens I’m sure the story will continue to fascinate maybe not you but certainly me.
Well I suppose this is the one common factor all my readers will experience, we all live and we all die but both experiences can be looked forward to with a new fresh look at our alternatives. So I guess the obvious starting point is:- LIFE
From the day we are born we experience all kinds of traumas, being born itself can be quite distressing leaving the safety of our mother’s womb to enter a world where we are no longer protected and nurtured, we are on our own and it’s up to each and every one of us to cope the best we can.
I will take my own life’s experience as an example.
I was born on 10th February 1951, I was born in my mother and fathers house shortly after the war and I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. If it hadn’t been for the retired midwife up the top of our street I wouldn’t be here today she pulled me through.
Fast forward to 2016, I arrived at my new home in Gozo and immediately had problems with my legs. My legs felt like two balloons extremely painful and I could hardly walk. So here I was new to the island and hadn’t a clue what to do (I didn’t even have my residency at this stage). So I went to the local pharmacy Ta Pinu pharmacy and spoke to the lovely Marica (Married). She arranged for me to come back at 2pm later that day to see the lovely Dr Josette Rapa (Married). Now I have had treatment in different parts of the world predominantly the USA and UK and I’ve written about this before. The appointment I had with Dr. Rapa was without a doubt the best I’d ever had in my then 65 years. She arranged for me to go into hospital and I stayed for a few days and was treated very well there.
On leaving my doctor in the hospital (not Dr Rapa) prescribed me medication which I was asked to take over the next few months and was likely to resolve my problem. The service and attention I was given was second to none.
Now as it happens one of the first places I visited and joined was The Lotus Ta Qalb in Gharb, there I learned to meditate (amongst other things). One day during instruction with Lorraine Casey Orlandie I met a lady called Helena. Helena had written a book about the natural plants and remedies on the island and she agreed to treat me with amongst other things her tea made from local plants. WOW! Did that help it was supposed to clear the water from my body and worked so well I was reluctant to leave home. As it happens Helena was due to return to her home in Hungary and suggested (insisted) I visit a Doctor in Malta. Malta! I said why? I have a perfectly good doctor her on Gozo. Helena eventually flew home but later she sent me an email asking if I had seen her doctor yet? NO I said but she insisted that I went.
As it happens one particular day I was meeting a friend at Malta airport Lupie Lou so though OK I’ll call this doctor and see if she can see me. That was when the course of my LIFE changed.
I arrived at the YUE centre with plenty of time to spare, I was expecting a Russian shot putter to arrive and order me around but what I found was a revolutionary approach to my issues (let’s face it the Ruskie’s were the first to get a man into space). Dr Lidia Babenko was not a bulky Russian shot putter she actually reminded me of Meryl Streep. I had an awkward conversation with Lidia she being Russian and me a Brit, but we managed and I had what is called a Bio-Resonance test. It takes an hour and involved some fairly complicated equipment from Russia (from Russia with Love. Hey how could 007 pass this opportunity by). After what turned out to be a 2 hour consultation Dr Lidia sent me a 4 page report and accompanying diets and instructions of what I needed to do. Now then the story gets extremely complicated but I’ll keep to the point, I decided (wrongly as it happens) to take the easier route and go down the traditional route as prescribed by the hospital “just pop a few pills over the next few month a hey presto you’re done”.
But Dr Lidia had different ideas when she found out what I had decided she worked alongside my traditional medicine and within no time at all I was cured. This was amazing to me and since then I’ve introduced Lidia (not sure if she’s married or not hmm) to several other people including my friend Geraldine Ann Ford. Geraldine is regarded as one of the best mediums in Gozo and believe me she can certainly do her stuff. But Geraldine had a heart attack, her blood cholesterol level was over 8 points. I took her to tea one day and we met Lidia who in passing asked Gel how she was doing? Gel went on to explain about her cholesterol issue. “Oh maybe I can make a suggestion Geraldine” Lidia said, just do this and this and see how it goes. Such an off the top of the head suggestion with no ‘formal’ consultation may have saved Gel’s life (well certainly helped her cholesterol). Within weeks Geraldine’s blood cholesterol level fell from over 8 points to under 3. Her cardiologist was stunned he asked Gel what she’d been doing, when she told him he said he would get all of his patients to do that.
Naturally I became intrigued with this completely different way of living my life and over time Lidia introduced me to many new things such as Angka Meditation and eventually my brother, teacher & Guru Prabhu DarmaYasa.
At 65 years old this was a new beginning, I eventually met Prabhu here in Malta and spent many hours with him. He called me Mr John (I’m a bit older than him) but he is far wiser. So move on to 2017 and at 66 I visited his ashram the ParamDarma in Bali. Unfortunately while I was there for my 3 weeks Prabhu was here in Malta Spreading Spiritual Peals, so I didn’t get to see him in the ashram which was the reason I went. But wow how everyone there welcomed me. I stayed in my own bamboo hut, was given food every day and joined in many of the activities etc. Bali, the people at the ashram, Lidia and Prabhu have changed my life. I see new hope, new beginning’s and something to live for after my meltdown in the USA.
I will return to the ashram maybe next February 2018 (but this time will make sure my brother, teacher and Guru is there so I can ‘pick his brains). Inevitably like us all I will face death, but I do so now with a new resolve, in peace and with a smile on my face. I’m not ready to go just yet so I follow Lidia’s rather strict but healthy guidelines but when the inevitable does happen I’ve now planned for that..
WHAT IS CAPSULA MUNDI?
Capsula Mundi is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It’s an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones ashes are placed for burial. The ashes will be held in small egg-shaped urn the Capsula will then be buried as a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands, sacred forests.
HOW CAPSULA MUNDI CAME ABOUT
The Capsula Mundi project roses from a deep examination of the role of designers in our society.
In a culture far removed from nature, overloaded with objects for the needs of daily life and focused on youth, death is often dealt with as a taboo.
They believe that this unavoidable passage, so meaningful, is not the end, but the beginning of a way back to nature.
Inspired by these reflections, they decided to redesign the coffin – an object entirely left out of the design world – using ecological materials, and universal life symbols, such as the egg and the tree.
A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE
The biological cycle of transformation is the same for all living beings. It is time for humans to realize our integrated part in nature. Capsula Mundi wants to emphasize that we are a part of Nature’s cycle of transformation. This universal concept goes beyond cultural and religious traditions. Only a tree, a symbol of the connection between the sky and the earth, will mark the resting place of the deceased. As tree after tree is planted, the cemetery will become a forest, free of the architectural motifs that mark today’s memorial grounds. The cemetery will be transformed into a place of nature, one where families can stroll and learn about the natural world, where communities will come together to tend and care for trees. In short, it will become a sacred forest.
LIMITING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Presently, to make a coffin, a tree must be cut down. The coffin has a short life cycle and strong environmental impact. A tree takes between 10 and 40 years to reach maturity and the coffin is of use for just three days! We want to plant trees instead of cutting them down! Furthermore, Capsula Mundi urns are made from 100% biodegradable material and come from seasonal plants.
Finally the difficult bit, I live in Gozo (Malta) and here despite the need for more space and more trees cremations are not allowed so I’ve taken up the challenge and am looking for a funeral home who can arrange transport to Italy for cremation and the pop me into an egg. So now all this stuff is done and dusted I can continue to live for the day rather than thinking what’s going to happen in the future.
So the journey continues and whilst I continue to learn ‘mostly’ alone I can refer to many online resources such as Essence of Buddhism which has just won an award for its contribution to understanding Buddhism. I’ve found I can ‘fast track’ my learning online and at my age I need to fast track. But nothing compares to the personal teachings of a wise teacher a ‘Guru’. My own teacher is PrabhuDarmaYasa. He continues to surprise and sometimes I think he ‘tests me’. However, it’s all done in a friendly, humorous way, and I can smile when I feel it’s happening.
Just recently Prabhu (DarmaYasa) has taken to posting his teachings on Facebook, in the early hours of the morning. The language is Indonesian and I feel obliged to translate into English, so that English speakers who don’t have time to kill can understand the importance of these messages. The added bonus however is that I get to read these ‘Spiritual Pearls’ before most people here have even woken up. The downside of course is that I don’t get much sleep, something that my old doctor (Dr. L)my Nemesisha ha.. say’s I need. The thing is this awareness seems to have lifted not only my spirit but my energy. So it’s a win-win which I used to teach my team was important in my previous Commercial life.
I’m also fortunate in being a volunteer at the Lotus-Tal-Qalb where there are similar people to me, mostly Brits, (but not quite as crazy), we discus some of the questions and issues we have with each other in our regular Monday talks. Talking helps. If we talked more there would be less trouble in our world.
If you were to ask The Buddha if this style of ‘fast tracking’ was OK I think he’d say “sure that’s what all my teachings are about”. So I continue on happy and blissfully unaware if I’m offending anyone along the way. I hope not…
I’ll take my own journey in my own way, each of us should decide the best way for ourselves. We’re all faced with different responsibilities, whether it’s looking after our family or a commitment to a cause. Fortunately I have the luxury of knowing (as best I can) that my family are fine and I can look after my commitments to any good causes that I’m attached to. So I can focus on ME and finding that Nirvana (that I know is there).
I think that’s enough for today, the cock is crowing in the background, his job is supposed to be about waking people up. I hope his helps bring a wake-up call to everyone who reads my blog.
I started to write this while my Facebook was charging up and then this appeared from my spiritual teacher (my Guru) DarmaYasa.
Life should be about play and laughter when we’re younger. I have many kids, when I’m asked “How many children do you have?” I think “Oh no here we go again”. Because I’ve been blessed with many, at my last count 11 (that I know of). Wow people say eleven, then I have to explain (which in my case could take a lifetime), and at 66 I don’t have all day ha-ha. So before I go any further I will explain.
In my first ‘true marriage’ I first ‘inherited’ 6 children, sure I wasn’t the sperm donor, but I happily ‘took on’ at 23 Oh My God, the Joy these kids brought me. I then had my ‘own’ daughter Sarah (who’s the light of my life). It gets even more complicated ‘cos before Bobbin (my daughter’s nickname) came along I had a relationship with someone else and she gave me another daughter Elizabeth, so Elizabeth is the eldest of my ‘personal children‘. Later my wife and I divorced (long story too long for this post) and I remarried someone with 3 kids, so 6+3+2 = 11 numbers are important…. see Angka meditation for more info.
I’ve learnt a lot as I’ve enjoyed teaching and being taught by my kids through the years, such as ‘I too can become a Buddha‘ and kids know when there’s a swimming pool around especially when they want to go swimming, (I’d be driving along the road and Bobbin would say “wimming pool” she couldn’t pronounce the Ss but she could smell the chlorine in the air, and wanted to go for a swim with her big ‘smiley face’). Even now after some 35 years makes me smile just thinking about it.
So yes I have lots of kids, I don’t like calling them my ‘step children’ ‘cos I knew what I was doing when I married their mothers I ‘adopted’ them, and it’s been a Joy watching them all grow up have their own children, some of whom went on to have even more children. There are now more children bearing my name in the world than ever before (my dad would be proud of his son getting our family name re-established tehe). Sure they don’t have my genes but I hope in some small way I can contribute to showing them the true path, the middle path no extremes are necessary to attain happiness (Buddhahood).
So I call myself a Christian Buddhist, I was born a Christian but later became attached to Buddhism (which to me isn’t a religion but a way of life). It was Bobbin that was instrumental in in bringing me that realization and Leigh her brother that developed it, (long story). But because of all of my ‘earthly’ responsibilities I put this ‘self-realization’ on the back-burner (I had all these kid’s to provide for and what a journey it’s been).
So to the original point I was going to make “You too Anya can be a Buddha” that’s what Chuthima (Anya’s mother) said to Anya when he started moving off that ‘middle path‘ (Anya is my Grandson). It was said on Facebook so everyone saw Chuthima teaching her son a lesson. It amused me at the time but also gave me one of those Aha moments (and there have been many since). Could I become a Buddha? Surely that’s a bit like saying I’m Jesus, and that in Christianity would be a heresy, you’d be burnt at the stake for saying that not so long ago. But Buddhism is much different, The Buddha wanted to teach everyone that no need to go through all these trials and tribulations to reach your Nirvana . I’ll cut through the crap, he would have said in today’s modern lingo and then you can experience true bliss much earlier in this thing we call life (which is just the blink of an eye). So for now its goodbye from me and goodbye from him “all the best”
Hi there, before we go an further I want to say it’s not me who thinks I’m crazy it’s other people. I hope and believe that’s not bad crazy, its just that I may say some crazy things, so don’t be offended. I’ve been writing blogs for a few years now, but really just for my own amusement, and to get stuff off my chest. Only yesterday I went to group meditation and our teacher agreed with me that writing helped to clear my mind and be ready to meditate. So whilst I’ve accused myself of rambling in the past, it’s been for a good reason “MY PEACE”. First of all before we start on this journey I think it would be good to know a little about your companion, (that’s me):
The Crazy Brit (OK the pictures a bit old, but I still have that shirt)
And this is my only tattoo (naughty but nice)
I describe myself as a “Christian Buddhist” on Facebook (haven’t we all got Facebook nowadays). Saying this is a religion is in itself a misnomer ‘cos I don’t accept Buddhism is a religion, and I think even “The Buddha” would agree (but we can discuss that later).
I was born a Christian, so it gets a little complicated and is too long a story as to how I found Buddhism. So today is by means of my introduction and will become my one and only blog (sighs of relief). Here I will re-post not only past blogs, (that I consider worthwhile), but all of my future posts. So enjoy and smile (do you know it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown). If you don’t enjoy reading these then just stop. All I would ask from you, in return for me “opening my soul” is for you tell me what YOU think because it’s only with your comments (good or bad) that I know what everyone wants. So please fill in the comments box below and any special requests you make will be answered, but no candid nude photos of me, sorry ladies, (but there’s no point making a big thing out of a little thing like that).
Today has been a great day, and I continue to learn a lot about this magical island and my village of (No I’m not saying were I live because I don’t want this peaceful village overrun by all you cheapskates). In my previous life working in Texas, the job I had was in Marketing and Public Relations, that’s where I picked up all of the tricks of manipulation and one of the reasons I left, (perhaps I’ll write about that experience in another post). But one of the things I learned was that even though I spent a lot of $s advertising on TV, Cinema, Billboards, Radio, Facebook, Direct mail etc etc. the most effective form of advertising above all else (and with no cost) was and is word of mouth (people talking). Recently I’ve experienced the benefit of talking, apart from the people I’ve been talking to being locals, one of the other bonuses (apart from one or two guys) is that all of the these people have been attractive females, (a big bonus for the Crazy Brit). But wait guys like I said to Marica at Ta’Pinu pharmacy “why is it that all the attractive females here are all accounted for” yep sadly for me they are (I hear sniggers in the background tut tut). Hell I may be crazy, but I’ve still got some fire in my belly! even though it may need kindling. Anyway today I went to see my attractive doctor (yep she’s married), and Marica (who’s engaged) told me about a fab place in Gozo to buy my tea, and what a little gem it was. Vini-e-Capricci is in the Gozitano Agricultural village and it’s packed with wonderful goodies, chocolate, the best teas, coffee, wines and lots of other things, and all in a nice relaxing setting. You’ll see what I mean when you click the link (but please come back here)
What Marica did by telling me about Vini Capricci was not only help a poor crazy Brit, but it helped ‘Abraham Said’ develop his already thriving business (I hope I get a discount from Abraham when I next call in for this plug hint hint). I also realised that I could buy top quality products cheaper than I could anywhere (yep and you guessed it, I’d just placed an order in the UK over the internet for tea). I was so impressed with what they had in tea that I’m considering fulfilling a long held ambition of opening a tea shop. I almost opened a tea shop in Texas called The Crazy Brit (go figure). Over there I’d not only found the location, but I persuaded the mayor of the city (Keller), to do my ribbon cutting. In fact The Crazy Brit tea shop concept is still open on my Facebook, so I may use some of the ideas I came up with there for my tea shop if and when I open one here (if I can be bothered to get from behind my desk and do some real work). Unfortunately my now ex, in Texas has either kept or sold my collection of teapots and she refuses to enter into communication, although maybe if and when she reads this she will “reconsider her position” (name n shame).
But now the name for the Gozo tea shop.
I actually own the domain for TeaZme (no it’s not me launching a porn site, as was suggested in the US) It represents Tea Zen and Me, and is a place where customers can go and have either tea in a formal English tea shop setting, or go into the other room and enjoy the relaxation of herbal teas in a relaxed meditation area.
my “special” teapot
Fortunately I did manage to bring with me one of the dozens of teapots I used to own, and that is my “special” little Chinese pot, that I only use for my special teas. I’ve plenty of other ideas and plans which I’m not telling anyone as I know with some of you lot someone will pinch ’em.So, just by talking I’ve found out a lot today.
Ray (who describes himself as a grumpy old git), has been messaging me through expat.com, and he gave me some great advice on opening a bank account. I was able to walk straight in and start the process without any problems, (and you’ll see the problems I’ve had when I re-post SMILING) which will be incorporated into this blog, along with all the others, so everyone can keep track, not that I’m expecting anyone to want to, but it helps focus me, (and I do admit I can be a bit random at times).
My Texas location
However, apart from the entertainment factor of my sharp, clever, but crazy wit (such modesty), I hope my posts will help anyone embarking on a new life, just as I have. I haven’t “retired” that sounds like I’ve been put out to grass. So remember, it helps to keep talking, but it also helps to keep reading and smiling. There’s a lot more writing to follow, but I’m sure you can only take so much of my ramblings at any one time. So I’ll say goodbye for now, and hope you’ll “come up and see me sometime” (as Mae West said)….PEACE & Love x