RIP George Michael

George Michael is heen gegaan. Voor mij was hij lange tijd een guilty pleasure, tot het moment dat ik mij realiseerde dat ik hem hiermee tekort deed. Nee, aan de muziek van George Michael was niets guilties aan. Hij deed iets heel bijzonders met zijn muziek. Want ook al was zijn muziek zeer gelikt en soms mierzoet: de zoetheid werd altijd overtroffen door een bijna ondefinieerbare echtheid. Je voelde dat hij meende wat hij zei. Dat maakte George een van de beste zangers. George ging daarin verder dan andere zangers. George was op een queeste naar de heilige graal genaamd liefde. En de enige manier om de graal te bereiken is door jezelf onvoorwaardelijk te geven. In zijn liefdesliedjes zie je hem dit doen op een naïeve, bijna domme manier. Want hoe kun je nu een nummer lang zingen en inzien dat iemand niet goed voor je is (One More Try), maar in de  laatste zin je nog afvragen of je het misschien toch nog een keer zal proberen? Maar daarmee slaat George de spijker op zijn kop: liefde is niet verstandelijk, maar een zaak van het hart. En dit (zoete) lijden is een hoeksteen van het geloof en de mystiek die door veel van zijn muziek heen klinkt. Liefde en geloof waren een voor George.

 

George was zeker geen eendimensionaal mens: hij was alles. Hij was heilig en zondig. Goed en stout. Hield van rustige romantische muziek en up tempo dansmuziek. (op de plaat Older wordt Jesus to a Child gevolgd  door het nummer Fastlove). En die zelfacceptatie is ook vrijheid. George kon vele (ogenschijnlijke) tegenstellingen met elkaar verenigen. Liefde en vrijheid waren voor George een rode draad door zijn oeuvre. In verschillende nummers lijk hij daar op verschillende manieren mee om te zijn gegaan.

Wham!’s Freedom (http://bit.ly/1gsRHGu )

Wham! – Freedom

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Lyrics♥ Everyday I hear a different story People say that you’re no good for me So you love another And she’s making a fool of you Oh If you love me baby Don…

Dit is een geweldig voorbeeld van George’s vakmanschap. Muzikaal is het een up tempo nummer en muzikaal jam packed met verschillende stukken en melodieën. Het lijkt wel alsof hij drie nummers ineen probeert te proppen. En wanneer je niet naar de tekst luistert, zou je denken dat het heel vrolijk is. Echter, schijn bedriegt. Want wanneer je de tekst goed beluisterd, hoor je de typerende George met liefdesverdriet die hoopt op liefde in plaats van vrijheid (i dont want your freedom). Dit nummer gaat gepaard met veel zelfinzicht: ‘but you know that I’ll forgive you. Just this once, twice, forever.’ En ook al lijdt hij, hij wil niet vrij zijn. ‘Like a prisoner who has his own key, but I can’t escape until you love me.’ Ondanks alle smart, kiest hij er toch voor om de ander niet te laten gaan.  Het is pikant dat hij in 1990 een andere versie van dit nummer heeft opgenomen waarbij hij juist wel pleit voor vrijheid. Kennelijk had hij toen wel geleerd hoe hij zichzelf kon bevrijden.

Een voorbeeld van George’s ultieme kwaliteiten als vertolker is in het nummer I Can’t Make You Love Me (http://bit.ly/2hmmX0q

George Michael – I Can’t Make You Love Me

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George Michael – I Can’t Make You Love Me (MTV Unplugged 1996)

). Dit nummer gaat over iemand die zich realiseert dat zijn liefde niet beantwoordt wordt. Maar nu is hij wel in staat om los te laten, hoe moeilijk dat ook is. De volgende ochtend zal hij zijn verliest toegeven. De muzikale uithaal bij ‘And I will give up this fight’ gaat door merg en been.

 

Maar het magnum opus van George is voor mij Jesus to a child (http://tinyurl.com/78doe9h

George Michael – Jesus To A Child – Vìdeo Dailymotion

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George Michael – Jesus To A Child Album: Older (1996)


). Dit nummer gaat over het verlies van een geliefde, het rouwproces en hoe hij uiteindelijk hier uit is gekomen door de realisatie dat liefde niet vergaat. Liefde en vrijheid zijn een.

So the words you could not say
I’ll sing them for you
And the love we would have made
I’ll make it for two

For every single memory
Has become a part of me
You will always be
My love

Persoonlijk heeft dit nummer zeer veel voor mij betekend. De clip is van een prachtige schoonheid gevuld met mystieke geheimen. Dit is geen popmuziek meer. Dit nummer kan opgenomen worden in de Christelijke liedbundels.

Nee, George Michael was geen guilty pleasure, maar een hidden treasure. Dat hij op 1e kerstdag komt te overlijden zou zijn grootste kersthit Last Christmas wel een hele cheesy lading kunnen geven. Bij ieder ander, want bij George Michael ligt er onder die hele grote hoop zoetigheid, wel degelijk een diepe waarheid. Op de dag dat het Licht geboren werd, ging een ander Licht terug naar huis. Ik wens dat hij met open armen is ontvangen.

De woorden die hij zou zeggen, zullen we zingen. En de liefde die hij zou bedrijven, maken we voor twee.

13th – About how a loophole in the abolishment of American slavery blackfired

The 13th amendment to the American constitution forbids slavery. But it has one exception: criminals are allowed to be taken away their freedom. This documentary shows how the treatment of black people in the American history basically did not change. It merely moved from slavery, KKK lynchings, segregations to 2nd class citizens to mass incarcerations after the civil rights act. Where in 1970 there were 357 thousand people imprisoned, this figure grew to 513K in 1980, 759K in 1985, 1.179K in 1990, 2.000 K in 2000 and finally exploded to 2.306K in 2014. The documentary further shows how through different laws the prison population exploded: first the war on drugs in 1982. Then Bill Clinton introduced laws such as ‘3 strikes you’re out’, mandatory minimums and loss of parole in 1992. Next, this documentary sheds light on how the inmate prison system has become a billion dollar business. CCA, a private prison company, once made a 1.7 billion $ profit. The documentary discussed how the plea bargain system has effectively removed the basic right to go to court. The bail is effectively too high to pay for poor (black) Americans and without pleading bargain and with minimum sentencing a 3 year plea bargain can become 30 years in court. As a result 97% of all court cases never see trial.

‘The criminal system is a beast. It eats blacks and Hispanics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.’

The criminalization extends outside the prisons into daily life by means of so-called SB1070: a law which allows that everyone can be stopped and searched without any reason. Guess which group is mostly affected by this measure? It is heartbreaking to see the footages of how police brutality kill unarmed black men. Their families gave permission to show these painful images because the message needs to go out. But for what?

Although black culture has become mainstream and we have had a black president, effectively the lower class black people are segregated and criminalized today more than ever. Instead of addressing the issues of why black people have higher crime rates and drug abuse (bad social circumstances, low education, broken families?), they are treated as 2nd class people. First they were demonized, today they are criminalized.

USA needs to take a good look into the mirror and clean up its act and make up to its claim that it truly is the land of the free.

In the end this is a sobering and depressing documentary which sickened me. It required me to take a beer in order to drain the disgusting taste of the reality of the American Dream.

About why I am a free dancing Hermetist

Recently, in a discussion, I compared my spirituality with my profession as a business analyst. I wrote: ‘There are many ways to Rome, but some are faster than others. The Hermetic tradition studies the Laws of the Universe. And as such it explains the above and the below. In my work as a business analyst, I also study processes: business processes. In this role I am able to find root causes much faster than others who look at events. In the end our time and resources are limited and I like to be as efficient as possible.’

Although there are many similarities between a Hermetist and a business analyst, it led me to ask the following question to myself: why is dancing so important for me as a Hermetist?

Again, I will make an analogy with my work as a business analyst. Dance for me as Hermetist has the same importance as the accounting journal and recorded data as business analyst. I can have beautiful spiritual visions, but the devil lies in the details and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Only when I am able to fully integrate my visions, thoughts and emotions all the way through into my body, my spiritual growth is complete. Only when my body recognizes energy intuitively, then it becomes real for me. In this sense my body is the grail who receives and integrates spiritual impulses by means of a ritual.

As a business analyst, when implementing a new project (which can be compared to a ritual), I encounter all the relevant existing data at the lowest level. This is organizational Know Thyself. I become aware of what actually is and often it is less pretty as what I initially thought! This data was previously not structured, misused or not used at all. I ‘dance’ through the data and restructure it for the correct purpose. Only when the data on the lowest level is correct, the goal of a project (ritual) can be fulfilled and the project is successful.

Dance is activating a ritual similar as implementing a project and it has similar characteristics. When I want to connect to a high energy, I need to integrate it into my body. In the dance all existing energies which reside within me and which are linked to the ritual become activated and must be structured. This structuring occurs in the dance: by connecting intensely with the flow, gradually the energies in my body become aligned with the energy of the spiritual impulse.
There is one more thing which is interesting: my dancing consists of both structured and free dance. Over the years I realized that free dance is very important for me as well. Why would a Hermetist also use free dancing?

As a business analyst, I test if implementations are successful in two ways: positive testing (processes according to the design) and negative testing (processes against the design). With positive testing I follow steps and procedures to see if the design works according to plan. With negative testing I try to break the system and find any loopholes around the new development.

With hermetic flow dance, I follow the same pattern. First, I connect with the energy, integrate it and raise the energy as much as possible in a stable form. But then I let go of the structure and form changes into chaos (free dance). When I am able to dance in all directions on a high level of energy, then I know that I have successfully integrated this energy in my body and the ritual has succeeded.

This is the mission of Hermetic Flow Dance: to truly integrate Hermetism with the body and to connect flow with the soul.

My dance journey – exploring structure and freedom

I started with dancing when I was having a fixed office job as a business analyst. Although I have always liked to dance, I only started with dance lessons in November 2009: salsa. Dancing salsa taught me to have a posture, to lead, timing and how to have lots of fun! Three years later, I reached my limits in salsa. The movements became more and more difficult and for me I lost the freedom in the dance. I realized that there was something very interesting when you dance off the beat, but this led to difficulties on the salsa dance floor.

In the end of 2012 my journey took a different turn: I stumbled upon a barefoot free dance party. Here I found the freedom what I was looking for! All movements were allowed. I learned how to dance by myself. The dance became a personal journey within myself: whatever I was dealing with at that moment, I would dance with it. This was a complete different way of handling my stress and emotions than that I was used to. Later, I found Ecstatic Dance in Amsterdam and up to this day I still go to Ecstatic Dance about twice a week. Ecstatic Dance further reinforced the personal journey by introducing the rule that you are not allowed to speak during the dance.

In September 2014, I started with Gurdjieff Movements. These Movements are sacred temple dances which the mystic Gurdjieff collected during his journeys throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. This dance is highly structured and repetitive and it aims to integrate the different parts of our being: body, heart, and mind. It is a dance in group formation, but you dance alone. Here, I learned what Hermetic dance is: dancing while containing energy. I learned that there is great freedom in discipline. The Movements are magical as they thought me that this type of dance is prayer and invocation. But, after two intensive years, the disciplined Movements, made me feel caged again and I was yearning for freedom. 

Returning to Ecstatic Dance, I found that although I did perform the Gurdjieff Movements, I still was applying their principles. I contained my energy, body parts were able to move at different rhythms and shapes at the same time. But with Ecstatic Dance I was able to spontaneously move as I would see fit. 

In November 2014 I came across Sufi whirling in Amsterdam. Sufi whirling is also a contained dance as the Movements, but there is only one movement: circling. Luckily, the Sufi whirling group in Amsterdam is not dogmatic, so I could whirl and still be free. The centrifuge movement of whirling brings to rise a feeling of ecstasy and devotion. Dance as a way to connect with God. 

Looking back at this dance journey, I see that for me the Dance is within the polarity of structure and freedom, form and force. You need the form and structure in order to hold your energy, and at a certain moment you need to let go and feel the ecstasy. The dance as a way to transmute lower energies such as stress and sadness into higher energies such as joy and pleasure. 

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“Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.”
― G.I. Gurdjieff

Spiritual fusion and confusion

Vandaag naar boekpresentatie geweest over Flexibele geesten. Erg interessant. Dit gaat over een nieuwe trend dat mensen steeds vaker meedere spirituele basis kiezen. Dus christen en moslim, ect. Dit zien we overal al in meer of mindere mate om ons heen: wie heeft er geen Buddha in zijn huis?! Hiervoor is een nieuwe term bedacht: MBR – multiple religious belongings. In het boek delen 11 mensen hoe dit voor ze is en welke afwegingen ze hebben gemaakt. Het was een mooie dag met veel openhartige gesprekken. Ikzelf had liever meer discussie over dit fenomeen gezien. Ontstaat er daadwerkelijk spirituele meerstemmigheid of zijn mensen spiritueel aan het shoppen? Of raken mensen misschien wel de weg kwijt? Kun je zelf een nieuw spiritueel pad bewandelen of dient dit onder begeleiding van een mentor / goeroe? Kun je concepten uit het Westen energetisch zomaar combineren met de uit het Oosten? Ik vind het fantastisch dat we nu de ruimte hebben om zelf onze spirituele keuzes te maken. Iets wat gevierd mag worden. Toch weet ik uit ervaring dat men hiermee moet oppassen: zonder een solide basis kun je in chaos vervallen.

Een mooi voorbeeld van problematiek rondom combineren spirituele stromingen is het concept hoop. In het Christendom is hoop een belangrijke waarde. Hoop op verlossing. Hoop sleept je ergens doorheen. In het Boeddhisme staat hoop minder positief bekend. Je hoopt op iets wat er niet is en je stapt uit het nu. In dat opzicht is hoop de wortel van het lijden. Door tegengestelde definities van hetzelfde concept, kom je in een spirituele spagaat waar alleen heel flexibele geesten uit kunnen komen 🙂

I have a dream

On Facebook I put a lot of my thoughts. More than by my friends, these thoughts are ‘read’ by Facebook and other companies to find relevant information about my interests and to sell me stuff via advertising.

On one side, I am OK with this: I think (perhaps in vain) that I am strong enough to withstand these kind of sales tactics. But on the other end I am not. They take my personal confersations and thoughts, and this they disect into small data pieces. Nothing of my origional story they will receive. Also, it is not possible for me to have a conversation. My personal thoughts disected into data are returned to me with other data (buy this and you will become much happier!).

But somewhere I have a dream that the essence of my (and many other people with me!) origional message will come through. That we are longing for a different way of thinking. That we want to become free instead of slaves of a consumption society.

It reminds me of the final scene of the Matrix. Agent Smith has finally completely taken over Neo, but by doing this, he also integrated the essential light that Neo is.

This is what I hope for digital marketing as well. That they eventually know what we really want and will ‘sell’ us this. Freedom. Hope. Love.

At 2.30 below you see how agen Smith takes over Neo, only to find that he himself has become the light.

How rules give freedom

Many people think that without rules you are free to do what you want. You can choose what you want to do. The truth is: every action we take is based on rules: on subconscious processes in different levels of our being. Without consciousness you live on autopilot mode. Rules are great because they give boundaries of which you can become conscious (If you don’t follow rules blindly without thinking). You learn nothing in complete freedom. It is like going from A to B into space: you have nothing to hold on to or to push away from. Personally, I like to break the rules as often as possible. Rules are often absurd and therefore a great source of humor. But the boundaries of rules allow us to choose what we want (agree with them or not). And without rules we remain clueless and float around in space without direction.

Why we should teach meditation on schools

Why we should teach meditation as a basic skill in primary and secondary schools (and why most likely it will not happen).

The purpose of education is to give everyone the same chances of developing themselves depending on their abilities. And another task of education is to make people resilient in the society. For example, you learn math so that you know how much you are spending and you will not so easily be fooled by a slick seller of pre-pension schemes (… maybe a bad example). For this reason math is taught on all school levels as opposed to Latin which is only taught on the higher school levels.

Now our current society is faced with a massive information overload driven to enhance consumption. This information overload is so enormous that it is safe to say that a new form of mental slavery exists. There is a large group of people who are so much influenced by external stimuli, that they can hardly make up their own mind. I feel it is the task of our education system to restore this balance.

The occasion of my plea, was this text by Dion Fortune as early as April 1943:
“The application of psychology to salesmanship did not stop at the cultivation of the personality of the salesman, however, but went on to study the use of mental suggestion by means of advertisement. This has been worked out with great skill in the drink trade, wherein a realistic picture of an overflowing glass and a slogan concerning its medicinal nature are widely used. The suggestion of health value supplies an excuse, and the sight of the overflowing glass awakens desire. The path of an inebriate striving to overcome his craving is made indefinitely harder by such pictorial publicity, and it ought to be prohibited for the same reason as pornography is prohibited. Other examples of such trading in human weakness are those which exploit snobbery in the cause of soap, less harmful no doubt, but equally illegitimate in principle.”

80 year later marketing and pornography are all surrounding and are far beyond prohibition. The only way to deal with this is to make the people themselves resilient against these kinds of unwanted influences. And here is the thing. People who are better educated are usually better able to do this. They are able to discern fact from fiction, have their own thoughts and options and are able to find peace and quiet in their minds from time to time. People with less education often are not able to do so. These people do not have the means to think for themselves and are programmed subconsciously. In this sense we are not that far from 1984 or the Matrix.

For this reason I propose to have meditation classes in primary and secondary schools. The goal is make children aware of outside mental influences and to teach them free thinking. But also for the same reason I think my proposal will not be accepted. You reap what you sow. Our society seems not to be interested in individual critical thought. Our society seems to be more interested in people who work and consume as much as possible. It would be a task for the left wing parties (PVDA and SP) with their historical aim to raise the level of the lower classes in society to put this topic on the political agenda.