Gili Trawangan

No leg to stand on

72 posts in this topic

I don't really know why I feel compelled to start writing here. Is this any different from a private journal? Probably not.

At some point I'll probably write about the so-called self-actualization journey, whatever that is, but right now I just want to write about today. Granted, all of this is going to be a story. There is only what's happening, the Now, but in the Now one can write about a story, why not? In the last few days the illusion of ego has been seen through again and again, and there are moments when everything is brand new, fresh, with no memory or me in them. Just the present moment, without thoughts. Then there are moments of pure ecstasy, for example today when listening to the Rupert Spira meditation "Nothing can make you happy". It is recognised that happiness is This already, only sometimes clouded by thoughts and feelings. And the feeling then was Home. Nothing needs to be done, this is it.

But then I go to a work event in the evening, and a gorgeous girl sits in front of me, and the life story starts to appear in the form of thoughts and feelings. And a pull towards her. And jealousy of every guy who is talking to her. And the feeling of inferiority. And the wanting to live up to a formerly created identity of being good with women. Oh, but right now I can hardly talk to women, or anybody else, for that matter. Attention falls away from chit-chat into something else, and there's no presence in the conversation. And there is the thought and the projection that I'm weird. "Nobody else behaves this way. Everybody else is just focused on what's in front of them." And all of these stories make me feel queasy, until the event is over and I come home. And on the way there are horrible self-defeating thoughts that I'm a hypocrite, telling myself that there is no me and I'm home when all it takes is a pretty girl to bring me right back into believing the story of me, the story of the guy who has a certain history and inclination. With the wind in my hair, thoughts give way to what's happening, and everything starts fresh again. There is no me, there is constant renewal, nothing ever sticks. And it's so fucking overwhelming, it's utterly groundless, there's no leg to stand on.

I don't know how anyone can do ANYTHING in this world. There's nobody here, how the fuck does anything get done?!

Yet tomorrow is another day, and something else is bound to appear, out of nothing, into the everything that is Now.

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In the midst of tremendous ego backlash, I want to have a positive outlook. It seems like the ego is just trying to say "I DO fucking exist!" and there's so much mental havoc that it might be good to look from a different perspective and maybe give it a treat.

Five years ago I was in a relationship that made me miserable. We were living together and she'd had a miscarriage from an unwanted pregnancy (unwanted by me). The relationship was about to fall apart, and I was deeply depressed. Everything seemed bleak. I was a materialistic atheist with a very strong ego, and it seemed like I would never be able to have a life that would satisfy me. After the break-up, and rock bottom, there was a gut decision that came out of nowhere. I would quit everything and go travelling around the world for a year. Back then, many dreams were still unfulfilled. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to quit the rat race and stop working a 9-5 job. I wanted to be attractive and have women desire me, and fulfill my sexual fantasies. I wanted to be important, to contribute to the world, to be acknowledged. Or so I thought at the time. What was clearly there was a sense of lack. Something was missing and I didn't know exactly what it was.

During the next four years so much was accomplished, at least from that initial perspective. I was able to find a new career where I no longer work 9-5, and it's actually become very enjoyable, as well as flexible. I have seen much of the world, and had so many adventures during those eighteen months of travel (stretched the one year to eighteen months in the end). I have had countless affairs which fulfilled every possible fantasy I could have imagined (and learned in the process that women can't make you happy). And in the last year there were the awakenings, and the discovery of the true nature of Reality. And the confirmation that no object, or relationship, or accomplishment, can make you happy, happiness is always Here and Now.

But the ego is alive. The stories come back and are still believed, yesterday that was made pretty clear. There are deep issues that surface every now and then and they have to be dealt with. But that's okay, it's for another time. I just wanted to give the ego a pat on the back, look at how much things are better now compared to five years ago. I look at life in a completely different way now. There's gratitude and wonder, there is acceptance and joy, at least most of the time. And then there are moments of self-sabotage, and feeling like I'm going insane, and anger, and shame, and every possible emotion, a roller coaster. What doesn't seem to be here yet is balance. Right now, it's a bumpy ride.

Edited by Gili Trawangan

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My one-day trip to Cambodia:

Today I went on a visa run. Took the bus from Saigon to the Cambodian border and came back on the same day, the whole trip lasted about six hours. I took the exact money needed in dollars for the administrative fees, and had a hunch that it wouldn't be enough or that I would have problems with it. Didn't care, including when the guy on the bus told me that I needed 40 dollars instead of the official fee of 25. On the Cambodian border everything went fine, smooth and easy, but as soon as I got into the building for the Vietnamese border I was stopped by two guys who were wearing blue overalls, they looked like house painters. One of them told me to sit down, asked to see my documents, and said that I needed to pay 40 dollars. I thought "there's no way this guy works here, it's a scam", so I immediately dismissed him, took my documents and left. I'm sure he didn't like that at all. So I went to an official counter, where the officers were fully dressed in uniforms. "Ah, this is where I get things done", so I go there and ask one of them and he refers me to a hidden little room that I hadn't seen.

Then I go to that little booth, and there is a young guy, in uniform, taking care of some papers. I show him my documents, he asks for twenty-five dollars, I give it to him. He says "No, thirty-five". I guess I misunderstood what he had said. "Sir, I was told that this costs 25 dollars, so I didn't bring any more money". He says "no, 35" and stops engaging me. I try to explain the situation, he says "no English", proceeds to look at the dollar bills, and then writes down on Google Translate that they don't accept 2-dollar bills and that one of my 5-dollar bills has a tear. It does have a hardly noticeable little tear, but he's just fucking with me now. He sends me away, and I start thinking about what to do. There's no ATM in sight, this is a third-world border town, there's nothing around for miles. I find another one of the guys wearing blue overalls and I ask him if he speaks English. He says that he does and I explain the situation. He says "sit down and wait please". Then I'm pretty sure that he's warned by the others and never comes back.

I call the people who arranged the visa letter for me, and they confirm that the official price for the stamp is 25 dollars. They tell me that I should talk to the police, i.e. the guys in uniform who are checking passports. I go to one of them and he gives me a half-guilty, half-entertained look that says "I won't do anything about this, you're on your own". He also pretends not to speak English and sends me away. The next hour is a silly play where I try to talk to any person who works there, and find that they are obviously all in on it and that corruption here is mainstream and EVERYONE turns a blind eye to it. They couldn't care less, when I try to explain that I don't have any more money, they just say repeatedly "no, no, no", like a kid covering his ears and pretending not to hear something.

The stress gets to me, I start to feel very much alone. There's nobody who can help me and I'm stuck here, I can't go back to Cambodia cause I already have an exit stamp, and I can't go into Vietnam cause every single person here is trying to extort me. I know it's not personal, they must do it to everyone, but at this point I've tried speaking to every possible person of authority and there's no help coming. So I go back to the guy who is supposed to take care of the visa and start pleading with him. "Sir, I really DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE MONEY on me. Would you please help me? Tell me what to do..." He couldn't fucking care less, it's incredible. He's now ostensibly ignoring me.

And then, out of the blue, I hear a voice speaking English: "How many dollars do you need, mate?" I turn around, it's a tourist traveling with his girlfriend, he offers to give me the fifteen extra dollars. I take the money, there's just no other way, and I thank him as much as I can. He says something like "I would have burned it on beer anyway". I give the fucking guy in the booth his extortion money, he now accepts the "torn" bill and the two-dollar bills and everything that is given to him. I get my visa in less than a minute. When I show the passport to one of the officers I see the smile on his face. He's not even hiding it, he finds this very amusing, another foreigner leaving with the tail between his legs. Maybe he's right, it is funny in a way. It sure must be for them. I wasn't seeing it that way at the time though.

I take the same bus back to Saigon as the couple who helped me. I thank them again. Then I think to myself that I can pay them back if we get to Saigon and there is an ATM where I can withdraw money. The drive goes by fast, but all the adrenaline burst is now over and I feel so tired. As we're getting to Saigon, the bus drives through the street where i live. Oh shit man, I can't resist this. I feel exhausted, all I want is to get home, not stay on the bus for another half an hour and then have to come back by taxi. So I ask the bus driver to get off there, and I'll never be able to give the money back to that nice couple. And I feel guilty, but there it is. I just couldn't help myself.

Within a few hours of a single day, I'm confronted with the devilry in others and in myself. And goodness and generosity in others too. That is Reality, the "bad" and the "good", all meshed together in One.

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Taking a holiday by myself on an island. Arrived a few hours ago, and have no idea what to do during the next two weeks. It feels like a retreat, I really can't fathom what I'll be doing with the time. Plus there's no energy in the body or mind at the moment.

The hostel seems quite nice, the people as well. But I feel disconnected.

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A few minutes after writing that I don't know what to do here, the guys from my dorm room invited me to have dinner with them. One guy from South Africa, one from the US and one from Thailand. Nice people, we had some beers and played some pool.

The next day I went with the Thai guy to a beach with thousands of starfish in it. It was a great day, apart from being pulled over by a Vietnamese officer that literally tried to grab my balls. Actually he went for the penis. I was shocked but couldn't react aggressively, for obvious reasons. So I just shoved his arm away and asked my new friend to drive away. My experiences with Vietnamese authorities are reaching new levels of fucked upness.

Anyway, a full day spent hanging out in nice beaches, driving around, watching the sunset, grabbing beers with nice people. Saved from that eerie feeling when I first arrived.

The next step for this holiday is facing one of my biggest fears: driving (a motorbike). It sounds trivial, but I've had bad experiences driving a car and traffic in Vietnam is insane. So there are thoughts that appear every time I think about driving. Memories, identification, ego stuff. It's time to change the story.

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What a beautiful day, swimming pool, beach, a lovely sunset and dinner with nice people. I feel my energy recharging and gratitude is present throughout the day. Perfection, paradise. Excitement, freshness.

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These last few days have brought back a side of me that had been missing. The social side. I spent these days with two guys who stayed in the same dorm room and we had a great time together. Riding around, hitting the beach, swimming, drinking beer, having meals, hanging out. And it was all so effortless. There was no ego there doubting what was being said or done, it was all just happening. And the joy of it was tremendous.

Now that they are gone, there is more time for thoughts again, but I was reminded of how life can just seamlessly flow when there are no thoughts of how things should be. And there's so much gratitude for life.

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First day of driving a motorbike, plenty of fear beforehand. There was a lot of build up to it and then it ended up being quite easy. If there are no thoughts creeping in, it's ok. Of course, I didn't go into any busy roads, only drove for about thirty minutes trying to get the hang of it.

Tomorrow I'll try something harder, busier roads and some more traffic. It feels good to face one's fears.

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I've just come back from another nice drive, this time I went on a busy road with lots of trucks, buses, cars and other bikes. Man, what a rush!

And when there weren't many vehicles, I could see thoughts and memories appearing, of my past bad driving experiences. And they were seen, they appeared, they disappeared, and there was no fear or stress. It's part of the story, it's amazing when there's no identification going on. It's freedom. Then memories resurface of past memories when I did drive well, and felt confident doing it. Those had been forgotten. But there's no need to identify with those either, there is only good driving going on in the present.

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A few days ago a girl entered the picture, she checked into the same dorm. We hung out during the day and at night we kissed. I saw some hesitation the moment after and then she came clean, she's in a relationship.

I told her I would back off and I did. She then told me "you know how to be with girls", which, I'm not gonna lie, was an ego boost. I've spent most of the last year alone, totally focused on spirituality, and was afraid that I'd lost my touch. It's good to know that I can still smoothly escalate. 

The other thing that felt really good is that I backed off after she told me, and it wasn't difficult. A few years ago I would have pushed it and it probably would have happened, she might have given in. I don't want to do those things anymore. I don't want to potentially ruin a relationship for a lay.

Anyway, we now hang out every day while we're still here and it's platonic, and she's good company. The focus is on driving, and I'm getting better at it every day.

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Today I went into town on the bike, and drove around with city traffic. I went through a Vietnamese fish market, with very little space to maneuver, and everything went great.

In the evening, I drove with a passenger in the back seat for the first time and all good.

I feel very comfortable with the idea now. Will buy a motorbike in Saigon and improve my quality of life.

The overcoming of this fear feels amazing. Grateful for God's push, it was felt all along.

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This holiday has served another purpose besides learning how to drive and having fun. It was a way of staying away from sex/masturbation/porn addiction. It has worked, I've been so busy, always outside, and living in a dorm room, so I can't indulge in those things.

But it feels like it's here, underneath it all. Some underlying need for sex or intimacy. Seeking. The first week of holiday felt amazing, perfection, like nothing needed to be changed. But as time passes, the urges come. Today another girl checked into the dorm and I felt an immediate pull towards her. And if I'm not mistaken she's attracted to me too. But it somehow doesn't feel like it's coming from a good place, it's raw desire combined with the thought 'it's the addiction kicking in'.

I KNOW this is wrong thinking, none of it is really true. It's the mind coming up with problems to solve. Just Being isn't enough, there have to be thoughts and the feelings that come along. And it doesn't feel good. Maybe it is the addiction, I just feel like masturbating and ending the desire. The desire makes me feel vulnerable, it makes me feel like women have power over me. Ok, just let it be. Whatever happens is what needed to happen. I wish these scenarios would stop playing out in my mind, I'm already thinking about how I can seduce her. Fuck, it's tricky to let go of thought sometimes.

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Karma: for every action there's a reaction. I had three coffees before 1pm. The body-mind reacts with self-defeating thoughts and sexual desire. Hence the last post. It shows me how crucial wisdom is. In something as small as having an extra cup of coffee.

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In the end, I had sex with the girl who had checked in the dorm yesterday. She checked in at midday, we exchanged contacts, met up at the beach around three and spent the rest of the day together. She's a fun and good-looking girl, I was attracted to her and her to me. We had sex outside the hostel, in the bushes, there was nowhere else to go... during the act she told me she wasn't sure if I was into her earlier. I know how to hold back.

I'm reminded that I'm my most attractive self when there's no masturbation going on. My voice gets deeper (the difference is huge for me), I'm more confident. And this is stuff that most guys report when going on nofap. 

The problem is that in Vietnam I don't find most girls interesting enough. Both girls I got involved with during this holiday were westerners, a Czech and an American. Vietnamese women are much more reserved, usually not intellectually stimulating, hard to flirt with. On this forum people would say they are stage Blue.

Anyway, I couldn't have asked for a better holiday, it was perfect. Two days left to go, but I feel re-energized. Some changes need to happen when I get to Saigon, in order to keep the momentum and improve quality of life.

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My understanding of nonduality completely flies out the window when I'm interacting with people. As they tell me a personal story I imagine that we are separate and that their experiences are theirs whilst mine are mine. I believe it fully without being aware of the belief in action.

The girl I got involved with was telling me about her sexual openness and experiences, and I could see a sense of jealousy arise in me. Mild when compared to the past, but nevertheless there. I have a history of strong feelings of jealousy and suffering under the idea of a woman I'm involved with being with other men. It's completely irrational, where does it come from? It has to be a sense of inadequacy, like I imagine that I fall short by comparison. Otherwise, why would I care? Yes, that must be it. When I was a teenager I was completely ignored by girls. I saw other guys having their experiences with girls and felt horribly inadequate. I couldn't understand why they didn't like me but that experience was so consistent that the one time a girl did seem to like me, when I was maybe 16, I didn't believe it. So I sabotaged it and remained invisible to girls. I only kissed a girl for the first time when I was 18, already as a university student. I think my teenage self is the part that conjures up these feelings of jealousy. If I don't clear these up, there will never be peace in my relationships with women, whether they are short term or long term. 

It's definitely getting better, I'm nowhere near as jealous today as I used to be. But I'm not entirely clear of these feelings yet. This story of inadequacy is just a story, it's not true. I guess I just have to keep shining awareness on these thoughts and feelings whenever they arise. I'm not separate from anyone, how can I be inadequate? Everything is perfect, everything is alright.

Edited by Gili Trawangan

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A few random thoughts on the last day of this holiday, as I lay by the swimming pool in the sun:

- my awakening is the beginning of an amazing life. the difference before and after is undeniable, every storm that comes these days is short lived and a return to joy, acceptance and gratitude ensues. There is still fear, as I write this there is a subtle thought of "Don't jinx it", but this too is seen as nothing but fear arising;

- masturbation and porn are poison, they take away energy, masculinity and natural charisma. today, before leaving, the Czech girl couldn't help but say how charming she thinks I am. She said she'd heard me interact with the American girl when we first met and she could just see how good I am with girls. she also said "and you have a great voice, just wanted you to know all that". the voice, again, which I ruin when I'm masturbating daily and depleting myself of testosterone. this addiction must go;

- buying a motorbike in Saigon is fundamental from now on. all fear of driving is gone, I now hop on the bike without a second thought and drive just about anywhere. life in Saigon will be so much better when I'm mobile, and it will also hopefully help with the addiction, cause whenever I get urges I can just go for a drive and maybe even approach some good-looking ladies.

There's no way to express how much gratitude, love and happiness is here. People would think I'm weird if I talked about it.

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Back in Saigon, the holiday continues, since the Vietnamese Ministry of Education has closed down schools this week and the next because of the coronavirus. Had I known, I would have stayed in Phu Quoc longer.

I find myself making plans for this year 2020. The main one is starting my music project. I now have the gear to record in my bedroom, and have begun writing and arranging new songs. One of them is close to being done, and it sounds good to me. The possibilities of the Digital Audio Workstation I bought are endless, there is every possible instrumental sound, as well as other sounds for producing. I don't need a single musician in order to make a full record. Or at least that's how I currently see it, am still learning the ropes. The idea is to release an EP within the next six months. It's going to take a lot of work, but it's also very exciting. If there is such a thing as a life purpose for this "individual me", besides awakening, it must be music. It's the one talent that shines through and flows effortlessly from within.

Edited by Gili Trawangan

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Feeling very happy today, but also uninspired. I try going to the keyboard and make something happen, but my heart is not in it. Procrastination is what usually keeps me from getting more things done.

However, I'm not beating myself up about it, still feeling really good just hanging around and being, nothing else. Will probably watch the movie that won the Oscar last night and be okay with not being productive today.

The (unexpected) holiday continues, why not just enjoy it guilt-free?

Incidentally, yesterday I hooked up with another girl, this time from a dating app. She was very attractive, much more than I had expected from her pictures. She gave me a lot of shit tests before we had sex, one crazy question after another, and I was completely honest with her. I told her I'm not looking for a relationship, I told her that I often hook up with other women, all the while unsure of how she would react to it, she could have walked away. But that's not how it works, women respond to honesty. I could see her getting more and more attracted to and comfortable with me, until she just let go and made her decision. We had a great time and when she left this morning she thanked me "for everything".

I wouldn't mind seeing her again. We'll see. Movie time.

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Getting a lot of tension in the body, not just today, but yesterday as well, don't know what this is. Is it existential fear? I've been crying easily, and searching for grounding. There's this sense that ANYTHING could happen, I could disappear in a second. I can't seem to find the thoughts that might be provoking this. Is it the lack of identity?

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On Valentine's Day I went to a speed dating event at some coffee shop. I deliberately set out to not have any expectations as to what would happen. Just went to see what was up. Dressed better than usual for Saigon standards, and I don't have much memory of going there, but I must have been very present, because the actual event was something to be acknowledged.

There were mostly Vietnamese women and Western men. I immediately noticed a very attractive girl, was drawn to her. The first conversation, with another girl, was awkward, I was still in my head. Resisting the whole set up, it all seemed so silly and unnatural. I have no memory of the second and third conversations, but something must have happened in the meantime. I completely let go. There was no ego left, it was just happening, complete authenticity. I was energized, cheeky, having loads of fun, and by the time I got to the girl I was most attracted to I was completely uninhibited. I told her to skip the small talk and come up with an interesting topic and she went into polyamory. I was utterly honest about I wouldn't want to have a polyamorous relationship, and that's why I'm single. For me, it's either single, where I can meet as many women as I want, or monogamous. The next girl in line was her friend, and she introduced the topic of BDSM. Now I was sure these girls were kinky. I made it sexual fast, but not in a crass way. Then I went through a few more conversations in the same uninhibited manner. One told me I was "special" and pretty much all were attracted. It was just an incredible energy coming out of me. When I went to the bathroom there was a cute blonde, probably from Europe, I just exchanged a few words with her and later she wouldn't stop staring at me. It's like I had a magnet, it was incredible to observe.

When it was over, we were supposed to pick two girls and then we would see if there was a match. I picked the two kinky girls, and they picked me. After the event, people were just hanging out, I hung out with both girls and then we all went out for some food. By then we all knew that we had picked each other. For a moment there, I thought I would bring both girls home, and invited them both. But the less attractive one wanted to go home. I was left with the hot girl that I had wanted from the beginning of the event and took her home. Effortlessly so. There was no resistance on her part and no hesitation on mine.

Afterwards she told me how every other guy at the event had been so boring, asking the same questions over and over again. And there were some handsome guys there, probably more physically attractive than me. But they were trying, and I wasn't. My ego simply wasn't there. 

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