Tree of Life

This is one tree, enormous and ancient. It is the cutting of a cutting of the Bodhi tree where Buddha was born, Lumbini, Nepal

If Buddha's soul entered this world right here in Lumbini, Nepal, would that mean anything today, could that be of relevance to me, some 2600 years later? If this site has any merit, so let it manifest within me for the sake of myself and all sentient beings, as they say in Buddhism. May I receive a sign, an insight, a revelation, any form of enlightenment, whatever that may mean in this moment and time. With this request in mind I began to breathe in a way that strengthens life force energy and used it to connect with the site.

Immediately an image sprung to mind of a mandala surrounded by a circle, similar to the plan of a stupa. "But what does that mean?", I wondered. I barely had time to wait for an answer: "Walk around in circles, getting nowhere, let go of striving, of trying to get somewhere, plans, aspirations, expectations, just be. The mind will know the circle after one circumambulation and not expect anything new, get bored, switch off and be 'side-lined'. It is then that peace, new insights and purpose can be experienced.

Well, what can I say to that?


Newari woman in the town of Tansen, Nepal

Like 22 years ago, the first time I went to Nepal, I am so happy to be here. It is my fifth time, and if you wonder why, just look at this photo. The people are one of the best in the world. I do not speak the language except some basics, but you don't need that to have a great time with the locals here, no matter their age, caste or gender. This is specially so when you step away from the touristy areas.

This woman was part of a group stitching leaves together that are being used as plates. The kids belonging to the women yelled from a distance "Namaste" (hello, welcome). I had a ball hanging out with them, filming, teasing, playing. When I was ready to leave them they insisted I had a cuppa tea first that was specially brewed for me. The pleasure was totally mutual.

Some Make It Some Don't.

The road to Nepal is not without hick-ups and challenges. The bus I traveled on got there in one piece, in twice the time it was supposed to take, but had great company of two Dutch and two Spanish travelers, making time fly by.

30 Second Presence: Clip 4: Bag Lady

Sofia, Bulgaria.

Click HERE to be taken to clip4 of the '30 Second Presence collection'. This collection has also a link under 'More pages by Marcel' on the right of this page.

30 Second Presence: Clip 3: 30 Second Wait

Click HERE to be taken to clip3 of the '30 Second Presence collection'. This collection has also a link under 'More pages by Marcel' on the right of this page.

30 Second Presence: Clip 2: Istanbul

Click HERE
and you will be taken to the second clip from the 30 Second Presence collection.

The Colour Orange

I love the colour orange, to such an extend that as long as something orange, no matter how gross or ugly, I will like it. Well this is heaven for me as India is a very colourful place with lots of orange. Unfortunately wearing orange is reserved for holy men so I can't wear my bright orange top here. Its too hot for that anyway.

Orange is also the colour representing anything Dutch. This because the surname of the Dutch royal family is 'Oranje' or Orange. That is not the reason why I like that colour, but it is a funny coincidence. It is also the colour associated with the second chakra or energy centre of the body, the centre of procreation and creativity. It is also a colour that I associate with Buddhism, novice monks in Thailand wear only orange for example.

Why I like this colour so much, I really don't know, it is not because of any of the cultural associations above. It just pulls me in, overrides my rational mind, almost like an addiction. I want it so badly, I like it so much, as if I have an unsatisfying hunger for... well for what? What is it about orange that I want so much, any of its associated cultural meanings, its frequency (as in light)?

Click HERE to visit a site that talks about other meanings associated with the colour orange


9/11/2007: Tibetan temple Sarnath, India

Past the gate
Round the corner
A faint but firm rumbling approaches
Like a flash flood
Washes over me
Lifts my spirit
Straightens my body
Up and out
As if floating in the universe
Carrying me closer to its source
Familiar, earthy, heavenly
Filling me with peace
Deep grounded inner peace
Need not go anywhere
Do, think or plan anything
Just be... home
But vibrations carries me further
So close
Need to look up
Up some steps
Through wide open doors
Tibetan monks beating drums, mumbling words
Resonating into one
Delightfully so
Into the core of my being

30 Second Presence: The Show

Video clip: Varanasi, India.

30 Second Presence will be a new show, my first one, where I will present clips observing one scene, one soundscape.

Filming, like meditation demands focus, concentration and presence.
In today's fast world, a 30 second red light is too much.
Media, such as TV, reflect that world.
This show will be different, featuring weekly a 30-second clip documenting one scene, one soundscape.
Precious time to just be.

I have created a separate page where this weekly show will be hosted. A link to this page can be found on the right, under 'More pages by Marcel'. At the bottom of that page you will find a link where you can subscribe to the page, so you will be notified when the next episode is posted.

Comments of any kind will be much appreciated as always.

Melting Pot

Varanasi, India.

A dead man just passed below my balcony. No he did not..., carried on a bamboo stretcher, by shouting men, stopping above the monkeys staring at the shimmering golden silk shroud with orange and white flowers. The procession winds through the maze of narrow alleys that magically accommodate wandering holy cows, scruffy barking dogs, motorbikes, hand-pulled carts, shoppers, tourists and pilgrims.

All need to nightly navigate the cow pads, sleeping dogs, gutters, sewers, rubbish and uneven pavement during power cuts. However should they choose to they will be carried by the sounds of sitars, temple bells and “hello sir, werrr you frrom?” smelling shit, spice and incense.

Life is tough in Varanasi, challenging to say the least, but honestly dirty, beautiful, alive, suffering, dying, burning, dead, rich, poor, mundane, holy, calm, chaotic, insane, sensible, harsh and sensitive. Nothing hidden, excluded, censured, edited or sanitised, its all there, in your face, like a mirror exposing your attitudes, belief systems and comfort zones.

The ghost that left...

Boat on the river Ganges, Varanasi, India, my harbour for the time being.

One year and two days ago
I set out
on a journey
of transformation

"Of what?"
You may ask
"Of what?"
I ask myself

"You still look the same"
You may say
"No I don't"
I reply

"Just look"
I continue
"At the proof below,
I am no longer am the ghost that left"

Passport photos are seldom flattering, but these don't lie. (photo left: when I left, photo right: right now)