Note: These are short articles. For a selection of my books and translations see the top menu.
Another note: Some of the stuff doesn't reflect my thinking anymore but I like the craftiness, so there you go.

Two Spiritual Journeys

At the age of eleven I found out that what my parents told me wasn’t true. They said having an earring was uncool, but my friends at school said „no, it is“.

From this point on, I wanted to look for the truth. So I did. With a pressure hammer. With drugs. Throwing away my belongings. Begging. Sleeping in the streets. Stopping to sleep. Going bananas. Going normal. Smoking weed. Playing endless Konami sessions. Watching repetitions of 7th Heaven. Reading. Listening. Suffering. Searching.

Then, I set out to do some journeys, that retrospectively could be interpreted as spiritual on purpose. They weren’t. But hey, it’s the internet. I can write anything in here (unless the NSA strikes through). I formatted these spiritual journeys in a table so you can read them parallel, although India was 2010 and Uruguay 2013.

Morning time in India
Respect for the land

I had a lot of respect for India before going. It was something like a mysterious playground of the Gods to me, the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism, the origin of our languages. Did they maybe invent the world or did they know some secrets? I prepared myself – like for any journey – by getting wasted on beer, vodka and cigarettes, shooting myself off into space in a cheap Vienna bar. Anyways, after three days in India I converted to vegetarian, anti-alcoholic, non-smoker. Everything went according to plan.
Me and my girlfriend just had a vague idea of doing some woofing in Brazil and then took it from there. We never planned to go to Uruguay. Regards shamanic tribes of ayahuasca, there was an instinctive feeling only, based on the reports of a few friends who had done it before.
Uruguay, People, Palm Tree
As I had taken a course in Austria already, Vipassana in the style of S.N. Goenka was to become my spiritual path of choice in India. Courses consist of sitting 10 hours of meditation per day, observing breath or bodily sensations, no speaking to anybody, no looking into eyes, no reading, no writing.
After two weeks in India, I went to Vipassana’s Dhera Dun office and got ready for the course.

Spiritual Practice

I was expecting to find kind of a secretive community when I went for my first ayahuasca experience in Uruguay, just on the Argentinian border. But I was entirely wrong. On arrival we found families, young and old, men and women, laughing, smoking, joking. Same goes for expectations of the plant. When it kicked in, the inner voice screamed “Holy Moses!! Why didn’t they tell me??” Only afterwards I found out it was impossible to put into words. Here is an attempted account:

First, we had a good long time to ask questions and get in the right vibe for the ritual. All were dressed in white, and soon after taking the first cup, music was put on. I meditated in upright position until I could empty my bowels. Then I entered into a state of revelation, in which I could understand that all is consciousness. In the same line, I could arrive at perceiving that the human comedy of samsara is just one big illusion. Interestingly enough, tobacco was part of the whole thing. Smoking natural cigarettes in corn leaves and snoring toasted tobacco through the nose at times helped connecting with the spirits and soothed the nerves as well. The second cup held the dark side of this full moon night in store for me. I penetrated the realms of hell, of carnal desires and, most of all, of my own arrogance and egoistic psychopathy. I was still strongly in the vibe when the shaman turned on the light and ended the ceremony. His conclusive words and sharing fruits and juices at the end facilitated the return to earth.
In this bottle lies a lot of something
Spiritual Practice Continued

The meditation centre was a marvellous place, right by a river, close to the foothills of the Himalayas, surrounded by jungle with monkeys in the trees. A pagoda formed the centre with cells for individual practice. There were rooms to relax, a big meditation hall and a dining area for 80 people. I was full of awe and respect, whilst my fellow Indian meditators were rather chilled, not always respecting noble silence and chatting to each other. Maybe because their companies force them to do this at times. Or maybe because they are used to spiritual environments.I carried on doing meditation with some new found friends after the course. India has perfect circumstances to live healthy – entire cities are alcohol free and vegetarian. Many people do yoga or meditation. I came across two more Vipassana centres and did another full course before heading back to my home country.

I stayed with the group for a year, doing two retreats and dozens of ceremonies in four different locations. It is not a fixed set of people, only the shaman and trained guides always show up. They call themselves spiritual shamanic institute, providing infrastructure to explore yourself, using plant medicines as ayahuasca, but also kambô (frog poison), rapé (toasted tobacco), natural tobacco, meditative techniques and temazcal (sweat tent).
José in front of the Pagoda of Dehradun’s Vipassana Centre

Vipassana, in the school of S.N. Goenka, is a radical project. It aims at householders, i.e. normal people not monks, but its rules are tough. No stealing, no sexual misconduct, no intoxicants, no lying, no killing. These rules imply a lot of lifestyle changes. E.g. no killing means being vegetarian and letting mosquitoes bite you. For Goenka it was simple. Observe these five precepts, do one Vipassana course per year, and develop your ethics, concentration and wisdom. Fill up all parameters to succeed.This is where a spiritual yo-yo effect kicked in for me. I had been rather a rock n’roller than a churchgoer, so even though I kept practice (1h of meditation in the morning, 1h in the evening) and rules for months, I exploded at one point, returning to relentless alcoholism and other stuff, that is not allowed to say on the internet. Eventually, I detached, though always being deeply grateful for this technique. To observe emotions, sensations, thoughts, pain and pleasure instead of becoming a victim of them was something entirely new for me at that point.
I quickly became highly amazed with the healing potential and the beauty of shamanic society. The ayahuasca retreats as well as the one-night ceremonies are events, in which human communication and relationships rise to another level. Here you could talk about stuff like energies, interconnectedness, reincarnation, realms of existence etc. without being a weirdo. Ayahuasqueros bring you some of the most incredible stories directly after intake.After a while, I came into contact with the schools of advaita and more so of neo-advaita (e.g. Tony Parsons). They assume that the self is just a false centre, created around the fact, that you have been given a name. „You“ don’t exist.“I” faced a lot of fear when bringing these concepts to ayahuasca sessions. It threatened myself with hell, all just to survive. But at one point it revealed itself. There is nothing to be searched. And all that remained was everything. Water of the river, looking, feeling, walking, wind, temperature, a body, objects, colours, plants, trees, the sky. Everything is right here, now too.Therefore, all talk of discipline, of holy plants, of healing, of ascending became absurd to me. I left the community shortly after. Still, I highly recommend the plant’s intake, no doubt about it, it’s an excellent medicine. Also, my love for the institute and its people remains.
Q How can I get to the subtle realms?
A Take the bridge, go on for two blocks straight, it’s the first one on the left.

I don’t consider myself a spiritual tourist. I am somebody going radically into what is seeming right at the moment. Maybe that is why it takes me a few years to overcome stuff, when others need decades. Maybe I am the prototype of the “bad spiritual student” and just very lazy. But I feel the non-dualist message leaves no choice. I cannot go back to believing in the stories of „working on the self“, through meditation or substances, to achieve progress, to rise to a certain plateau. How can I work on something that ultimately needs to dissolve? It’s impossible. You can only work on skills, like cooking or learning a language. The self needs no work. Its fabric is fantasy.

Originally published 18th April 2014 at Discountbuddhism
Photo Credits Katharina (1), Anso Fourmont (2), Indietravel (3) Jose Monguilner (4) and Mathilde (4)

10 insights received from drinking Ayahuasca
Spiritual Shamanic Institute in Spanish

Shamanic Institute in English
Vipassana Centre Dehradun
Vipassana Centre Dharamkot

Vipassana New Dehli 
Vipassana worldwide 
Woofing Organization Brazil
IndieTravel: Friends and Photo 3
Webpage of Tony Parsons‘ Non-Dual Message

The four noble paths of prison life

So, I ask you, brothers and sisters, are you afraid of being sent to prison? Do you fear – similar to becoming blind or handicapped – the hedonist deprivation, forcing you to live in a dark corner of existence, instead of in the lush fullness of this young and powerful dream? Do you think maybe due to a mistake of the justice system, or a flaw in the law, or maybe due to the mistake of robbing a bank, completely fucked up on amphetamines, you might end up living behind bars? 

This is frequently happening outside in the wild. Flatmates prefer to watch entire seasons of “Friends” six times (i.e. 83 hours complete runtime times six equals 21 days, the time the opposum needs to go all the way from non-existence, through pregnancy, to step into the light of the day) instead of talking a walk in town for fucking once, sitting on top of a hill, listening to the resonance of consciousness echoing in streets, antennas, cars in traffic jams, birds flying randomly through clouds, old people clearing the pavement. Yes, we construct our personal prisons, anyways.

WTF is happening?

But living in prison offers various spiritual lifestyle opportunities. In fact, 99% of human potential can be lived up to within four walls (selfmade statistics Feb 24/14 by DB). Why not hang out in prison for a change and experience the four noble paths of prison lifeas listed below? Check them out.


The first path is the path of suffering, the most obvious path. You are locked up in prison and the mind goes off, wandering, going tenser and tenser:

I am locked up. I want to be on the other side of that wall here.

I want to walk the street, I want to run, wild like a dog.

On meadows, down through forest slopes,

Jumping into rivers, laughing out loud.

And falling asleep, wherever I am.

Waking up and doing it again.

I never did that, I know, 

I was very depressed,

  Clicking up & down,

Facebook, all day.

But now I would! 

I would love to!

I am dying to!

But I can’t.

Oh Lord,

I can’t

And you lie there, day and night, with a broken heart. You cannot understand your fellow humans, why do they do this to you? Whichever crime you have committed, it doesn’t ask for such a tragedy in return. You can see the sky, but you are not allowed to touch it.

The failure of a human. Illustration.


The second noble path, in the ever spinning wheel of Samsara, is accompanied by relish and lust.

 Go homosexual

Turn prison into a free 24h-XXX-holodeck. Develop the fetishes of violence and masochism. Increase pleasure. Forget everything you have learned about social acceptance, about what is sexy according to your friends, what the erotic story of your character is. Even if you are the proudest hetero, there is a bit of a homo-chimpanzee in all of us. Sail off from the shore of depression to the haven of lust. When the prison guards let you go at the end, you will cling firmly to the bars of your cell and shout: „No! Nooo! Nooo! Noo!“ And you will keep on writing love letters. You will kind of want to go back.


The third noble path, students of Discounted Buddhism, freely available on the internet, illustrated with childish pictures, delivering up to three quarters of the truth for the price of half, the third noble path is about the end of suffering, for the first path converts all prisoner life to suffering, and the second only temporarily covers up the depth of pain. You shall now become a hero.

Turn to Jesus, Buddha or download other spiritual applications to your mental program. Jesus, for example, has proven to be of great benefit in many prison related motion pictures. With him by your side it is not about interpreting the small catastrophes of life as bad luck anymore. There’s a greater good. Who cares about the terrible sausage with wet potatoes in the jail’s canteen that afternoon, when your divine purpose is building the New Jerusalem? Now you’re rising above the others, the other inmates, the others outside, the other you. What a story, „He was saved from drugs and crime, he was feared all across town, now he is doing yoga, praying to the Gods and meditating with great discipline – he has found salvation“. You are becoming a saint.

This is what a Saint looks like.


What, penetrating all this quark, can thus be the fourth noble path of prison life? Is there any other option available than 1) Suffering from the obvious, 2) Indulging in orgy, 3) Turning away from misery to talk to imaginary prophet friends? Now, monks and monquettes, is the time to mention Non-Duality.

You have stopped existing, and everything came into existence! Suddenly, the grey matrix of prison life has dimensions, feelings, sensual inputs, infinite possibilities, plenty of perfect constellations. You don’t care about not being able to leave, you’re not even there! It is just a glorious cosmic screen display. Being inside or outside of prison, it doesn’t matter. Walking the path of misery, of pleasure, of spiritual elevation, or of natural free fall, it doesn’t matter either. 

There is no free will. There is no morale to be imprinted into lost souls. Everything happens, even policemen happen, in this spectacular show of counterparts, called Lila. You have abandoned interpreting being locked up as a misery. You have stopped explaining everything. You have stopped being a story. There is just what is.

Abstraction of „what is“

Originally published 17th March 2014 at Discountbuddhism
Illustrations Credits Photopic

Ten Insights Received from Drinking Ayahuasca

Ayahuasca is a drink containing DMT, a substance released in great doses in two moments in the human brain – during birth and death. The use of this magic substance allows you to see through some of the patterns of suffering in your own life. Check out what it has taught to me.

“You are sick”, says my flatmate after I am barking like a dog in the entrance stairway at passers-by in the street. “Wrong”, I reply “I just don’t give a fuck”. And that’s only one of the many beautiful lessons I learned from Ayahuasca down here in Uruguay in the past year. If you want to read up on what Ayahuasca actually is, check this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca is a holistic experience. You might come across some of the things in my list and go like, “yeah, I knew that already”, but this is often intellectual knowledge only. An insight from the powerful hands of Mother Ayahuasca is felt thoroughly, it is not like a Things-should-probably-be-like-this-or-that moment, it’s more of a AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH-I-am-dead-and-reborn-and-dead-and-reborn-again experience. Well, here is the list:

1 Sex

Shamans often refer to drinking Ayahuasca as having a conversation with a plant. You use your everyday inner rational voice to communicate with a type of inner superconsciousness mirror, usually inaccessible in everyday life. Therefore, you can form a concise intention before taking part in a ceremony. I often had the time to really look at my life and find out, which questions I wanted to ask. This one time I chose sex, what it means, how to practice it, if it is good or bad etc. That’s what she said:

Sex is a magical knot, tied in physical memory, to remind us of where we come from – the intercourse of our father and mother – and how we can repeat reproduction. This memory is so strong, that you cannot forget it. On the contrary, it might lead you to change direction on an inner city walk just to follow a hot ass for two more blocks like a neanderthal. 

What you do with this information is up to you. Mother Ayahuasca, from my perspective, advises to do whatever you want. If you have sex, have it fully, don’t try to be the nice guy, make your partner happy, go wild and intense. If you don’t want to have sex, that is perfectly fine as well. Don’t center your life around your sexual fetish though, you might end up in your personal hell.

2 Arrogance

No matter how much you think that you, especially you, got the gift to rise above things, to go down to the bottom of wisdom, or any of that; “Enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment of the Ego” (Chögyam Trungpa), always. If you don’t want to transform into a Demi-God with tremendous football skills, a Maserati and many hot love affairs, the ego must bend away, for a brief moment at least, to take a glimpse at the nature of things. Enlightenment is not the result of your efforts. It is always there. It is not achieved, it is unachieved. Let it disappoint your pride.

3 Pity

Seen a homeless guy on the street and you gave him some money – he didn’t even say thank you and you’ve been pissed? We have a case of confusion of love and pity here. If your motivation would have been love, you would have been happy anyways. Pity is good for nothing. Compassion is what we need. A disabled person certainly cannot appreciate your company out of pity. A poor person does not enjoy your pitiful looks. Your girlfriend doesn’t benefit from staying with her out of pity. Only actions motivated by the seed of love will blossom into beautiful flowers in spring.

4 To Not Give A Fuck

This is non-dualist: It doesn’t matter in a way that it really matters. You can view every moment of your life from your death bed perspective. Every situation in which you didn’t invest everything will be a moment of repent. Give passionate love to your mother, sing aloud in the street on your way to work, act like a dog when visitors come in, swim in the river like a ten year old in summer. Don’t give a fuck about social norms internalized in behaviour, they don’t serve your divine purpose.

5 Posture

Posture is not just something your grandmother blindly enforces to get better photos off of you at the dinner table. If you slouch, you let the spirit slouch. When staying straight, so does the attitude. Try standing, feeling and thinking straight under an ice cold shower for example. There will be much less suffering.

6 Planets

Our current belief system, namely that we are orbiting around the sun and have evolved from a bing bang, is kind of equally off like the former system that the earth is flat and the center of the universe. Planets are not millions of kilometers away from us. They are at the tip of our fingers. We just believe very strongly, that we need to build spaceships and go very, very far, with lots of horsepower. Basically, a lentil stew digesting in my intestines is equally far from my mind than Jupiter.

7 The Sun

The sun is God. Finally something to reconcile the rationalists and the religious. Think of it, all those allusions to light, to an omnipotent, endlessly loving being, the creator… This is the sun we have always been talking about here! What a tremendous relief!

8 The Purpose Of Life

All phenomena are nothing but illusions, the result of a dream. We experience them as a collective, solid world, but our history, our personal life data, our sufferings, our passions, they are all empty. We might even go as far as to say that the connection between our body parts is untrue. There is just molecules beside each other, without any reason.

In all this emptiness, it makes a difference, how others treat you. You have proof from every single day of your life. Simple equation: The meaning of life = love and compassion.

9 Alcohol And Drugs

One of the more terrible experiences with Ayahuasca is when you find out that there is no place to hide, no place to escape to. “There ain’t no easy way out” as the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club sings. I cannot fall asleep, I cannot get hardcore drunk, I cannot watch twelve hours of cable television without the elastic rubber band attached to divine consciousness snatching back to initial position.

With this revelation comes the lessened craving for drugs. Of course you can still get drunk. Of course you can still eat junk food and spend hours on Facebook. But you realize you can’t go anywhere with that. You will need to deal with your issues face to face, otherwise they just won’t go away.

10 There Is Nothing To Be Done

All the narrative about career and responsibility in the west is hokus pokus. There is no need to do anything, not even in a spiritual sense. Everything is done already. Simultaneously, we can do whatever we want. Build houses, ride horses, run companies, hang out on the beach, go skiing, meditate for years, eat four liters of ice cream, there is no end. That is the paradox conclusion to all of the above, sparking fiery happiness in the heart.

Thanks Grandmother Ayahuasca!

Originally published 10th February 2014 at Discountbuddhism
Illustration Credits Photopic

Ten Things Different about Uruguay

Although Uruguay is small, squeezed in between the monstrous bodies of Brazil (5th largest country in the world) and Argentina (8th), it isn’t dreaming of giving up. To start, everything inside the country is the same size as anywhere else: 

– They drink beer in 1 liter bottles

– Average male height: 173.6 cm (1990)

– They play a size 5 football

– Toilet seats are comfortable

The Uruguayan female derriere is even outstandingly juicy, miaow, maybe rounder than in other countries, so curvy, you want to smack it, rip off the garmentBEHOLD! This is a philosophical-religious-transcendental blog. Let me take you somewhere else.

Empty beach matrix in Rocha, Uruguay

In population density, Uruguay is empty. 3,4 million people in an area as large as that of New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut combined (pop. 32 million). Or of Austria and Hungary in Europe (pop. 18 million). Drive hours and hours through landscapes with nothing but scarce trees and animals. An empty part of the matrix here. Sure, human population generally acts no different; they eat, breathe, reproduce, sleep, pretend to be morally good and grey men of the north control everything. Only very, very few aspects can be considered slightly distinct. In my function as cultural  anthropologist I have packed them in 2000 words and delivered them below.

1 Cheek-Hello-Kiss

This is the first place on earth where kissing on the cheek is universal. Just yesterday I went to an office I had shortly before left unelegantly, without notice, in the busiest time of year, to pick up my last check. I kissed the male platform manager on the cheek. In Uruguay, you kiss old people, kids, friends, friends of friends, supermarket cashiers, men, women, the dentist, football opponents, everybody. It’s a beautiful habit.

I was unsure, when I found work at a language school, and asked a student if I had to kiss everybody at all times. He said, “just do as you feel, sometimes yes, sometimes no”. So, I tended not to kiss the lady at the reception because I had to kind of bend over complicately. She got pissed. Complication is no excuse. Enter a room with ten people, kiss all of them hello, say two words, exchange three more, and kiss all ten of them good-bye.

2 Coming Late

All over America Latina coming late is standard, so people like me from German speaking countries need a conversion table. If Huberto says he is dropping by in thirty minutes, I look it up:

5 Minutes30 Minutes
30 MinutesPrepare some coffee, take a shower, watch TV for the rest
MañanaNever, tomorrow, or day after tomorrow

My students at the language center would easily come in 45min late for a 90min lesson. At my job at the call center I arrived early at the beginning, just five minutes, only to find the whole place closed, several times over. This other time, when I wanted to visit Buenos Aires with my mother, it said ‘be at the station 60 minutes before departure’ on the ticket. I asked an Uruguayan friend whether this was referring to 60 real minutes:

“Yeah, sure one hour before, to fill in the migration forms”

“You mean like one actual, real hour?”

“Yeah, to fill in the forms and get the tickets.”

“I mean, do we have to literally be there at 6:30?”

That meant being there at 6:25 for us, obviously. And, as if shifting temporarily over into our dimension, she came closer, looked into my eyes, and clarified:

“Ah, no, Markus. Like half hour before is fine.”

3 Crime, Danger, Fear

Regards street crime, Uruguay is the safest country in Southern America. But it has diametrically opposed statistics for the perception of danger, too. People think they live in sort of a dangerous hell house.

This guy Luis for example has a small grocery store around the corner. He was robbed once. Then, he set up a steel bar gate, then they tried to rob him through the gate. Now he has the steel bar gate day and night, mistrusts everybody, avoids physical contact, works seven days a week and practically never leaves his place. All for “security reasons”. But is the brutalisation of society really the problem? The lack of morals? The fact that we have to lock our back door and pull barbed wire over our gardens these days? Isn’t the much bigger problem that we cling so much to our security, to our material, to our illusions? That is the real tragedy. Why not lose a fucking mobile phone sometimes? Why not hand over your purse to a thief at night, after twelve beers, when all there is left is more beer moeny? The thief and his evil intentions aren’t our problem. That’s his problem. Our problem is us fixing up our house like a military bunker in a warzone, when we no longer dare to go to the beach to walk under the moon, when we drown in our own whining. I don’t know this guy God but I am sure that is not what he wanted.

Getting beers at night in underpants and rain

4 Drinking and Consumption

A great salary in Uruguay is like 600 EUR, minimum wage is less than 300 EUR, a beer costs 2 EUR per liter, a packed sandwich would be around 2,50. This is not a cheap country, especially if you need to make your money here. But society adapts, they don’t really go wasting their cash in restaurants and bars, many sectors of the market aren’t even developed for those purposes. Kilometers and kilometers of prime beach locations in Montevideo are without bars or shops, for example.

People, therefore, hang out and drink the traditional Mate tea, consumed in ceramic or pumpkin cups, with hot water refills. Famously, president Mujica does his TV interviews drinking Mate and is well known to donate ninety percent of his income. While this might be a show effect only, I do keep confirming with foreigners that the general Uruguayan just seems to care less about the quality of their house, their make-up when going out, the brand of their car and so forth. One is not so much required to achieve things here.

5 Trash

There is no awareness of pollution. People just eat their ice cream, drink their soda, munch their chips and drop the packaging, wherever they are, without a moment of hesitation. If trash does land in a container, it may not remain there either. There are a lot of horse carriages everywhere around town trashing trashcans by taking out all recyclable materials (bottle caps, aluminum, plastic etc.), leaving the useless crap scattered on the street. Draw your own conclusions from that, while I am filling up the 10-item list.

6 Famous Social Happiness

I had heard a few times about Latin American countries leading social happiness rankings, when I came here one year ago. I expected it would be like me going to work, being at my place most of the time, finding some friends, and then enjoying social happiness with them. But no, it has a lot to do with people you don’t even know. Go to a shop and chat about linguistic specialties of the La Plata region, find out at a bus stop about what it is like to work in a Casino with gambling addicts, let a bank accountant casually inform you on where to best make a living in Uruguay as a foreigner. Social warmth is an opening of the heart happening everywhere, it is not arranged by cell phone to occur at 7:30 on Tuesday. 

Social Happiness Pose

7 Traffic and General Signage

On the highways, which I got to know well for waiting hours hitch-hiking, it seems the road authorities make all of the signs in advance and then fix them up on the ramps, regardless of the road layout. So, sometimes you would have a sign indicating “right”, when the only option is “left. Similar stuff goes for shop opening hours, bus station information, signage of university institutes, hostels, pensions, casting agencies, anything. They are just usually absent. Is this a sign of a third world country, lagging behind? What did the Uruguayan highway authorities do in the time that the German highway authorities measured every single exception? (Edit: loose fantasy, plz)

8 Emotional Men

I have met this guy Gonzalo here, he is the prototype cliché of the Latin American man. He judges the opposite sex entirely by their fuckability on a scale from 1-10, despises fags because they are threatening family values and praises the culture of competitive capitalism to push things forward. But when it comes to playing football, he has a childhood trauma and has to turn away from shots when goalkeeping. When he is drinking Ayahuasca, he is panicking because he is scared of the devil. For his mommy’s birthday he makes romantic Youtube videos full of warm wishes. These are strong contradictions to my central European understanding. I find it sometimes hard to believe Gonzalo isn’t acting. But he is no exception. The tough, sexualized macho, erupting into public tears when you least expect is, is a psycho-cultural phenomenon here; definitely too complex to be investigated by our Supermarket-Buddhism platform.

9 Noise Tolerance

At the beginning I thought I was exceptionally unlucky, when right beneath my Montevideo youth hostel window, heavy busses shifted gears, tons of house & car alarms went off, and people shouted their conversations instead of talking when they passed by at night. But I was not. Noise is just not taken as seriously as in Europe. While tourists cover their ears and shake their heads in disbelief, the rest of the block will keep on “quietly” doing their stuff, no notice taken. Realized that recently again, when I borrowed a friends bike to drive down to the Rambla on a quiet late summer’s Sunday afternoon. The brakes were howling like an old steam train, penetrating the peaceful silence. Embarrassed, I kept looking at people’s reactions. There were none.

10 Chill factor set to “Terrorist”

As seen in the time conversion table above, when you want to go to take a walk with your friend now, you might have to wait an hour. That is why the Spanish word „Ahora“ (Now) has a diminutive nickname, “Ahorita”. The small now is actually the huge one, eternal infinity. Enter a divine, timeless realm of peace, walking through the park backwards in slow motion. Uruguayans are so relaxed, it would be considered a rebellious act in my country. Your supermarket cashier might allow the customer to look for some Salami on the very other end of the hall, while dozens queue up behind. Tranki. In Uruguay you learn to take your time, every single step of the way. Thus, my Latin American imaginary friend logically interprets the pointers of his wrist-watch:

“They always go around in circles. Cannot be so important.”

Nothing Happening Over There

Originally published 20th February 2014 at Discountbuddhism
Foto-Thanks to Jose Pereñiguez (1), Maëva Perruchione (2/4), Jean-Miguel Leiva Reyes (3)