Sunday, June 2, 2013

Home is where the heart is

Norwegian painting named "soria Moria castle"
 "Soria Moria castle" painted by Theodor Kittelsen

I'm sitting here at 1:30 am on a monday morning/night(?), and I really feet in the mood to write something, however I just can't come up with anything interesting. So instead, I'm just gonna post a short uninteresting update on my current life situation in order to fulfill my craving to write.

So last year around august, I travelled to the U.S to attend an international high school in New York. I wasn't sure what to expect, but all in all it's been quite a cool experience. I'm attending an IB school, so the work is definitely much harder than what I'm used to back home in Norway. I had a really good start, straight A's, but then I pretty much threw in the towel around spring break, and I don't believe I will be able to finish the year with passing grades. I've skipped way too many classes after spring break. These last couple of weeks have been rough, I've had ridiculous home sickness, and I've felt extremely loneley.
I struggle a bit socially, and haven't really been able to reach out to many people around school, thus I spend most my time in solitude. This really wears on you in the long run, and I think it's the main reason behind my changing mood these days. My head just refuses to focus on the tasks at hand, and I make stupid decisions.

To be honest, theres only one thing on my head these days, and that is home. I really miss my friends. I just.. I really fucking miss you guys!
Although it's only been a few months since i went home for christmas, it felt so short and before I knew it, I was back to the everyday stress of school. Well, now its only about two weeks until I go home (June, 18th), and it's literally the only thing I can think about. The biggest event of the year is waiting for me, summer vacation, and I'm making all kinds of imaginary plans in my head. Mainly I seek to spend more time outside, and be more social. My freinds largely seems to agree, which makes me positive that we'll be able to stick to our plans. We're gradually losing interest in spending all our time in front of the computer, and instead spend more time together, doing something for the environment and evolving as individuals. Which I find thrilling. Secondly, I'm looking for a part time job, in order to make som extra cash to support the fun and save for our big hike a few years down the path.  In addition, my buddy has gotten his drivers license, and we've got both cars and boats ready at our disposal, so I am positive this will be an amazing summer!
How about you? I'd love to hear what you've got planned for the summer!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy, a.. movie review?

Feel good picture of a person jumping in joy.
 No copyright infringement intended.

Its no secret that I've been a person who has struggled with a lot of negative thoughts throughout my life. Thoughts that seeminly popped out of the blue. I've seen this countless times around me in my daily life as well. Confessions from friends, who seemingly seemed perfectly happy and in control of their lives would open up to me, admit self harm and thoughts of taking their own lives. It seems weird, as I live in one of the top ranked HDI countries in the world, which should indicate that we live like kings and queens. Seeing this all around me, for an extended period of time made me question wether true happiness existed. It came to the point where I would no longer believe people who claimes they where happy. I would just take it as another lie or mask they hid behind. However, in recent times, I've question my way of thinking more and more, and today I watched a movie which nearly put the nail in the coffin to my whole theory. The movie "Happy."

The movie tells us the stories of a few people, living quite different lifestyles, who believe they have found true happiness. It also tries to explain us a little bit of the science behind happiness and depression, what causes it and how we can prevent it. We're presented with quite a few different people and personalities. Despite this, there seems to be a repeating pattern in where people find happiness. No surprise, it's not found in money, objects or reputation.  In fact, activities which provide social stimuli seems to be the best cure for depression.

While the movie itself is no masterpiece, the people and stories we're introduced to is just so touching and inspiring, you'd have to be quite cold in order to not enjoy it to some degree. If you're searching for a feel good movie, I wouldn't hesistate to recommend this. It carries an important message of love and compassion, which I believe our world is in desperate need for these days. I'd say its an inspiration for me to continue the "spiritual" lifestyle which I've been pursuing the last six months or so, as I'm getting more and more certain that its the right path for me to someday find true happiness.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pursuing my dreams: Alexander Supertramp

For the last three years I've been completely obsessed with the world around me, the nature, monuments, cultures and animals. The beauty and variation is staggering, and something which we are yet to discover anywhere else in the universe. Just let that sink in.
We are extremely lucky here on earth. The problem is, I've been too young to do all these things, too young to travel alone, too young to work and too young to make my own decision. However, that have all changed now, and I'm going to make the most of it.

I think it all started a few years back, my mom were working, and only my sister, father and me were home. We were stuck in front of the TV like any other family on a friday night, looking for a movie to watch. After browsing the channels for a while we ended up watching the movie "Into the the wild" which I'm sure a lot of you are familar with. If not, I highly recommend it. It's based on the book with the same title, which again is based on a true story. In short, it's about a guy who drops everything to pursue his dream and live in solitude in the Alaskan wilderness. However, its the travel to his destination which i found the most inspirational. The hike itself. All the beautiful sights and people. It made me think wtf I'm doing with my life. I literally live my life in front of a computer screen, living my life inside alternative cyber worlds. It's not the way i want to live my life. I don't want to hide within some fake world with my fake titles and achievements. I want to explore, experience, evolve, and exceed my expectations! - No Excuses!

One of my favorite movies and main source of inspiration, Into the wild.
 No longer to be poisoned by civilization he flees, and walks alone upon the land to become... 
Lost in the wild

I'm afraid I wouldn't have the courage to take on the world alone, but fortunately I have the best like-minded buddy ever, which shares pretty much all my views and dreams. We've decided to leave within two years, when he has finished his education, and we've saved up a little bit of money. Our goal is not to go on a year long vacation, fly around and live on expensive hotels. Not at all. This will be a life lesson, it will be a tough journey were we will carry only the essentials materials for survival. We will travel from destination to destination by foot or hitchhiking dependant on our luck. Our reasoning for this is that we've both grown up in a very rich country, with all the resources we could ever need; shielded from the hardships and struggles that is the everyday life of so many other people. We're afraid we've become unappreciative of what we've got here, and would like a reality check. In addition we think it will provide a more real travel experience.

On our journey we want to help the people we meet, through anything from positive energy or physical labour. I've already browsed the net for potential areas where we can do volunteer work for food and shelter along the way, which I believe will be good for when we need to take a break from the life on the road, breathe and absorb our surroundings. As for now, we've already managed to negotiate a free trip with the Kiel ferry from Norway to Germany through some realtives of my friend. Thus we will have a few lazy days before our true journey kicks off a few years down the road. We are fully aware that this will be very hard, and that we need to prepare sufficiently, but we're also confident that we can do it. Obviously we can't wait to pursue our dreams, and are extremely excited for the experiences the world has in store for us, peace!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lucid dreaming: Controlling the being within

Disclaimer: The following post was written while severely sleep deprived, so the quality of the content might be sub·par.

No copyright infringement intended, picture will be removed upon request.

I'm sure most of you have had a  really  realistic dream at some point in your life. I don't mean one of those dreams where you wake up and think: "Damn, that was a cool dream." I mean one of those dreams that are so realistic you're convinced it actually happened for quite some time even after waking up. For me these kinds of dreams are few and far apart, but when i do have one, it usually sticks in my memory even after waking up, which is quite unusual for dreams.
 Anyways, as an example I'll use one that I had a really long time ago, I might have been around 9-10 years old.

I had been to an outdoor pool with my family the previous day and wasn't exactly a proficient swimmer. I spent most of my time admiring the couragous guys who would throw themselves off the 10 metre tall diving tower while performing a wide variety of acrobatic stunts. I was extremely jealous of how cool they looked, and the only thing I could think of was seeing myself flying of the edge.
Suddenly I felt a rush through my body and I rised to my feet, I was gonna do it. I started the long climb of stairs to the top. I was in my element. Here I was, half the size and age of everyone else who was waiting at the top. They were all staring at me as i ran, leaped off the platform and into the air. I was the center of attention, I could feel their eyes following me as my body closed in on the blank water surface. It was the best day of my life.
I could remember every detail as I lay in my bed, thinking of the miracles that had unfolded the day before. I got out of my bed and ran down the stairs and into the kitchen, eager to brag about yesterdays feat to my parents. "Mom, mom, did you see me yesterday? Did you see me jump?" My mom seemed confused. "What do you mean, jump? " "From the diving tower, you saw it, right?" I responded. It was obvious by the look on her face that she had no idea what i was talking about, and I slowly realised what had happened. I had dreamed that i jumped. In reality I had never even left myspectator spot.

After this I've had a few similar experiences, and only a few years ago did i truly understand what these experiences actually was. Or at least i think I know? The dreams I had was lucid dreams, but instead of consciously taking control of the dream, I had done so unconsciously, resulting in a dream almost inseparable from the real world.
So what exactly is a "lucid dream?" Well, in short, it's any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. What this means is that one can take control of the dream and do all kinds of crazy stuff which would be impossible in the real world, while still maintaining a feel of reality. While these dreams usually come quite randomly, it's actually possible to learn how to control it, and lucid dream on a regular basis.

I've tried to master this for quite a while now, but I find it really hard and have only been successful in one controlled lucid dream thus far. However, I haven't really been trying too much the last couple of months, and it's something I would really love to put more time into this summer. There are quite a few different methods to go about achieving a lucid dream, and the one I've been using is called the WILD technique and seems to be the most straight forward way.

Have you ever had any experiences with lucid dreams, or even tips for me to improve? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

There is no life as complete as the life that is lived by choice.

Im writing this post on the 25th of May, the day of my birthday. And I'd like to write about a topic that i believe is relevant to this day, as I'm turning 18. As of today, I'm officially legal, which means I am "allowed" to make a change in our society. I'm finally allowed to make my own choices. I am my own master, and i intend to make the most of it. Although my parents might argue that I've followed my own path for a long time already, I wouldn't agree fully. While i might have been a bit more stubborn than your average teenager, I've still felt trapped, and desperate. It has felt as I've been living my life for someone else, following the rules set by my parents and the community I grew up in. There was only one path, the one accpeted by society. Any other path would lead to a dessert, and leave me as an outcast.

I'm sure a lot of you can agree that you've felt a certain ammount of pressure from your surroundings, be it cultural or social, to perform, to reach a certain level. A level which might not suit you. Might not be relevant to your interests or strenghts, but it's the only accepted way, right? As a teenager I've seen this all around me the last couple of years. Do a survey at a random high school, and i'll bet you that more than 50% of the students want to become one of these three professions: doctor, engineer or lawyer. Don't get me wrong, it's great that youth are seemingly interested in sciences. However, if you look at said students grades and interest in those related classes, it will quickly reveal itself that there is another aspect determining their answer. The social aspect.
It's outright embarassing for your average high school student to publicly announce that they wish to become a carpenter. So instead of having talented carpenters who legitemately love their job, we get creative talented people trapped in office buildings, doing an half-assed job because they're apalled by their work. Just look at Asia for example, famous for their rigorous studies, brains and exponential suicide rates.
I saw my friends from jr. High make the same mistakes, people whom i knew was not strong in theoretical subjects, but still chose a rigerious science curriculum because anything else "is for scrubs and retards." Then i watched them drop out a year later. I made the same mistake, and it has left me miserable and depressed. Because living a life off of someone else's  premises just straight out sucks. It sucks! We need to explore all our options in order to find something that fits us. Life shouldn't be a battle to get up every morning. We should look forward to our day, with the feeling that today, today I'm gonna evolve and explore.

It's all about finding your area of a specializaton

I've come to my terms. School might not be the thing for me, I've tried my best several times now, but the outcome has been the same. I've reached a conclusion and it does not leave me feeling broke and beaten. I might have my struggles, some challenges i can't overcome, but I am not stupid. I am an intelligent, thinking human being, and I will do with my life as I please. It doesn't matter how society sees me, I will show that commitment, passion and compassion is what gets you far in life. I will do my absolute best to be the best person i can, both to myself and to the people around me. I urge you to do the same. Peace out!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.

Today I'd like to share some thoughts on making that all important first step and thinking like a community. There are more than 7.1 billion people on earth at the time of writing this. That's a huge number, and might make you feel small and insignificant. I know how it feels, and it makes me lazy and out of condition to do anything, because: whats the point, right?

This way of thinking is extremely harmful, not only to myself but to the whole community and the people who are close to me. It hinders me from unlocking the potential within myself and it makes me down and depressed. Becuase joy resides in being kind to the people around us, and by chastesising oneself all of this is thrown directly out the window.

A few months back i decided to become a vegetarian, at this point i had eaten meat my whole life and it came as quite a shock to many of my closest friends and relatives. However, I had read my fair share on the topic, and decided that it made sense for me in order to back my own living ethics. What surprised me though, was the reaction I got. They would ask me why I would go through such a hassle, you're a single person in 7 billion, there's no way you'll make a change. This is a very toxic way of thinking which seems to be quite common. Alone we might not be able to make and impact, but together we most certainly can. It's all about being part of a community, with other likeminded people who wish to achieve the same as oneself. It doesn't have to be something huge as battling world hunger or solving the water crisis. It could be something small, like trying to avoid using plastic bags when going to the store, or start recycling. It's all about battling that little voice in your head that says: "I'll only have one more" or "Throwing away this one thing won't have an impact." Trust me, it will when millions of others are thinking the exact same way. Make sure to dicipline that voice, take control of yourself and make that all important step. You can make a change!

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" - Ghandi

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meditation: An introduction to Vipassana

I was introduced to meditation around 6 months ago by a close friend of mine. At this time i hadn't really explored my 'spiritual' side too much, and I do still see myself as more of a scientific thinker. However, i do find many of the ideas within spirituallity to be very interesting, as they usually expand upon the ideas and theories already established in science. While I'm uttermost critic to most of these spiritual theories, they are extremly facinating and entertaining, and may provide a foundation which science can build upon and either prove or completely shatter.

One of these spitual practises which have been widely practised for decades are meditation. This is one of the practises which benefits are no longer questioned and includes stress reduction, improved attention, better memory, and even increased creativity and feelings of compassion. In addition i would highly recommend it for anyone who suffers from depression, not as the only solution, but in addition to social activities and friendship. My personal  reasons for this, is that a meditation session can completely clean your mind from all thoughts, giving you a fresh start to an otherwise depressing morning.

An artistic display of a Buddhist monk meditating
 A buddhist Monk meditating 
(Origins of photo unknown. No copyright infringement intended. Picture will be immediately removed upon request.)

The technique I would recommend for people to start of with is called "Vipassana" and was the technique used by Buddah as he reached enlightenment under the Bhodi tree. It is easy enough to get into and learn, but extremely hard to master. I'm not going to explain the full extent of the practise myself here on the blog, as this has been done countless times before by better writers than myself all over the internet. Instead I'm going to redirect you to what I've found to be the most complete "guide" on the subject which can be found here. I would a recommend reading everything up to and excluding "walking meditation."

An excuse i hear over and over again when people are introduced to Meditation is that they do not have enough time. Work, kids etc. However, this is not true. In order to be able to function in society and be able to take care of the people around oneself, it's crucial to put of enough time to take care of oneself first. If this is neglected, stress and anxiety will build up over time, with negative consequences. There is an old zen saying that goes like this: "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour." While this might sound absurd, it carries an important message. Humans are never too busy to neglect the basic needs of own health.
These are my two cents on meditatin for now, over to you, what are your thoughts on meditation?