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Happy New Year!

So we survived the Maya Calendar. Just in case, we got in the plane when the world was supposed to end. We were happy to notice when we landed, that Bali was still there. I made it a mini retreat by being up early, way before the family and read ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ by Rinpoche. After I finished, all other books turned out too superficial so I restarted reading parts. As an experiment I meditated with a mantra as he emphasizes and had then some physical exercise by swimming for over a kilometer in the the sea. That, he never mentioned but was my own initiative so that I don’t have to lose too much weight back home after all the great food. Did you ever read that you die best, lying on you right side with your left hand on your hip and the right one under your chin? What stages you will go through while dying? How to support friends in the last days of their lives? That you will be back on earth in 21 days on average? Some take 49 days to reincarnate? That in the Bardo state your anxiety and insecurity will be multiplied by seven? So that you better prepare yourself while still being alive?

I was never a serious believer in reincarnation. But what would the world look like if we are all convinced that in 21 days after our death we are back? For sure we would look more after the environment. We might be a little less afraid of dying. We are now spending over 50% of our ‘life-healthcare-budget’ during the last year that we’re living. It will give some rest as well: we have another life to deal with the suffering and challenges we meet. It might take some of the guilt away that I am feeling when I walk with my bottle of water (carried by the guide) through the rice paddies where people work in the middle of the heat to make some kind of living. I must have deeply suffered in other lives that I am now so privileged. But what is this life expecting from me? Rinpoche’s answer is simple: to become enlightened. But that is a bit an easy answer to me. Beware, not to realize, that is not going to happen in my current lifetime.

I am going to look for some answers in Sri Lanka again. Half January I’ll support the NGO Sarvodaya, that is led by an enlightened Buddhist dr. Ariyaratne, to become financially more sustainable. The last time I was there I supported their movement to bring Tamil and Singhalese together after the war. We led workshops for over 2000 community leaders at a time. That was something new to me. This time I am in search for the principles that support people to realize their full potential. They have found some answers in Buddhism that we desperately need in the West. Might be another booklet.

Today we started interior designing our new UNOO office in Vogelenzang: ‘Estate Leyduin‘ (near Haarlem) and next week 2 new projects start. One about the highest potential future of teachers and another one about how we can still pay them in a few years: taxes. I am looking forward to both.

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