Amsterdam: unexpected delight and lessons


Oh Amsterdam, city of canals and wealthy merchant buildings, still waiting to offload mysterious  goods from ships traveling far across the world; what took me so long to embrace you?  Your soft lit walkways and silent ripples entice strolling feet at any hour. Candle lit pleasure cruises in your narrow canals spreads mystery except for those on whose lips and soft whispers your darkness embraces. Your plesant gables and the soft glow from apartments brings a measure of homeliness to your streets, the like I have not experienced before. 

In this city of import commodities and business deals it is of course the prostitute archetype that hits me for a new lesson. Every person has this archetypal pattern, it is the lesson of building self esteem and self respect. To learn at what price will you sell yourself, body, mind or soul. Once you build a solid self esteem you will know that no price can ever move you to sell yourself for physical or financial fear of supporting yourself. The new lesson to learn this time is another aspect to this pattern: to release the belief that you can buy a controlling stake over someone else, to be the buyer of someone else’s self esteem. 

Amsterdam, notorious for its red light district is just one straightforward example of selling ones self esteem. It is more interesting to me at this point to look at the one who thinks they can buy another person. The belief that power, money or coercion can buy you something of great value from another human being. This happens all the time obviously because people sell their gifts, time, bodies, and talents for money everyday. Those who buy these commodities must also be in a delusion over what power they really have as well. Which brings me to question where in my life do I try to control another in any form to get from them perhaps something they don’t wish to give away by their own aware choice?

To think that anything you can buy, taking possession and control over it, will ever bring you lasting happiness is absurd. I am learning to let go of any belief that I can purchase my future in any form and enjoy it. Some things will be ‘bought’, but the energy is such that co-creation with the universe is the only thing that will bring lasting meaning to any endeavor. Money can’t buy you happiness. It’s function can buy you experiences which if you choose can turn into happiness. Only a place of insecurity propounds the idea that money can make you safe and buy what you truly want. As I am learning quite directly, whatever you really need will show up just as you need it. Live true to your pure intentions and allow yourself to be taken care of. 

There is a beautiful crispness to a perfect fall morning that brings a certain aliveness to your senses.  Families on their way to school stand out in stark relief and you are able to step back into the shoes of years gone by. Remember being a child and what it really felt like to go to school. Your whole day was a mystery to you and yet you met it with clear cut awareness. Your only responsibilities were relying on your alive senses to navigate you from home to desk with as much curiosity as possible. Noticing every leaf and insect that might spark an infinitude of imaginations on your journey. The adults had arranged the world for you, activities to engage your mind and the meals are all provided. Nothing has changed except your awareness of how things are provided. On this morning I am blissfully aware of how we are taken care of by a thoughtful universe striving to brighten our days and engage our imaginations. It is only our belief that we control any of it rather than participating with it that we call ourselves a grown up. I intend to take my inner child with me and continue to learn how to be in delight and awe with the world. 

When I was 6 years old my parents divorced and consciously and unconsciously I became the man of the house and decided to be grown up. Much to my sisters everlasting chargrin, I was the golden child that could do no wrong. Of course I realize now that I had no obligation to become this new person and forgoe a part of my childhood, but I felt it was my duty to cause no problems, fix anything that needed repair and enjoy the rest of my time playing with Legos, computers and building forts. In understanding the prostitute archetype on my walks here I have to admit that I sold part of my childhood not only to my family, but as all children, to school and the system. 

I asked myself this question, what is the difference between a child living in the world where adults seem to order the world and an adult living in the world where God/Source/Universe orders the world?  To a child everything in the universe is arranged and happens as if by magic, which of course they never seriously ponder because they live in the moment and the adults are taking care of the planning and executing.  Adults think they exist in the world by their own choices and control, but forget that the universe runs along smoothly beyond their awareness and control. The contrast occurs only when something goes the other way of what you planned. Children, bless them, plan less and just go along with the flow of experiences. 

In evaluating what has been lost from that magical childlike time I have to admit quite a few important things got left behind. Each and every day had a theme, roughly a loose schedule, meals, school, play and clean up. Between those times your primary focus was to engage the world through learning and your imagination. Everything could be turned into a game and I hope you enjoyed it. We had such immense trust in everything. Look at a child in his mothers arms, or the light in a child’s eyes on the way to school. The world is perfect and something wonderful is always happening. What changed? We learned too many things. We forgot to trust that life provides for us, that playfulness and abundance is the theme for this world. This is why we have lost touch with the flow of life that runs through children, so alive and fresh. We know too much and use it to hurt ourselves. We use it to shape our thoughts and behavior instead of using the wild creativity and fearlessness of the child to breakthrough into a better existence. Learning was necessary, and remembering how to trust is again necessary. 

I plan to take all that learning, along with the mind, and put it on a side table, to be used when needed and left alone when not. I will become the master of my experience and childlike innocence will rule my reality. Knowledge is needed for without it you remain childish, but again to become childlike with wisdom is the goal. There, great masters can behave like children and enjoy this playground that was given to each of us. I implore you all to embrace your child archetype and learn to free yourself of any constraints you may have placed between you and joy. 


Thank you Amsterdam for the wonderful lessons.  I’ll be back to explore the countryside, enjoy more of your delicious cheese samples, and stroll your entertaining canal streets. Who knows, maybe I’ll even want to live on one of the 2,000 cargo ships turned houseboats that decorate your canals. Till next time. 

The wandering monk~

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