How to be a Buddha - Take 2 !?!

Wed 9th April 2014
Living to Be Happy 

After carrying out my investigative report into Colombian carnival, cocaine and corruption, I left Katharina in Cartagena and flew back to Medellin with what I call a ‘karma krash’ – I was left feeling disconnected from my journey of the Self, and needed to re-inflate my positive bubble and restore balance back into my life.

While staying again for a few days with scooby Isabella (who is actually called Julia and never told me!), I took action. I signed up for a revisit to a 10-day vispassana meditation course, and pimped up (that means pumped up the tyres) my foldable bike ready for my planned bicycle trip from Medellin to the meditation course location in Bogota – experiencing several nights camping in the wild along the way.

Then I moved into a hostel in Medellin for a few days and enjoyed a few days of trying out an Xbox 360 while I read through and updated my entire blog-site - reconnecting me to my mission and my inner Higher Self.

With the perfect plan in place, and fully ready to be Robito the Buddha again, I answered a call from Katharina on Skype … and the whole plan changed.

It was not yet time to once again be alone with just me, my Self and I. First, as it turned out, I was to delve deep down into my biggest issue, and face my greatest fear of all!


We all have issues. Some people feel that they are not worth anything, or feel that the world is not on their side. Other people worry about their physical appearance or what others think about them. There are people who have to always be right even when they know they are wrong, and then there are others who can’t help feeling envious of those who have what they don’t.

These are just some of the many issues that influence our lives, and they are of course very complex, but, nevertheless, our deepest issues always seem to stem from one life experience that has had a particularly traumatic emotional impact, and more often than not, that traumatic life experience usually seems to come from our childhood. I would even go so far as to say, based on the conversations I have had with people in my life, that our biggest issues can most often even be linked back directly to our parents.

My biggest issue, for example, is a fear of being alone, and I have self-diagnosed this as coming from the fact that my dad left my mum before I was born, and chose to have nothing to do with me. In other words, he abandoned me, which perhaps left me with a craving for attention, but definitely left me with a deep need to be wanted.

During my teenage years and early twenties, I got that attention from being the centre of my social scene and chasing the ladies, but at some point I of course realised that ultimately you are still left feeling alone.

I hadn’t worked out yet that real happiness comes from within, so I next found solace from a series of serious relationships. My mum named me a ‘serial monogamist’ after the ‘serial killer’ who repeatedly moves from one highly destructive experience to another. :p

I was always faithful and highly committed in these relationships, but the formula was all wrong and the pattern destructive. I was getting involved first and foremost because she was attractive and interested in me and that made me feel good about myself. Furthermore, she was also lacking on some deep level in her own confidence, which meant that she would want me to be there for her, and turn to me to feel more secure.

Ultimately in such a relationship when both of you are so unconfident with who you really are or what you really want, you start to defend what you do know. You first start to force your opinions on the other person, and then, before long, you are both trying to change each other. This causes a lot of pain and heart ache.

Eventually I repeated this pattern one time too many, and after another nasty painful break up, I made a conscious decision that I will never repeat this destructive experience again - ever!

I already knew all about spirituality at this point, and understood that my pain was coming from looking to something outside of my Self to make me happy.

This is why spirituality teaches that we must first take time to be alone in order to discover our Self (who we are) before we can be of any use to anyone else, so when I decided to actually take the plunge and live by the teachings of spirituality to see what happens, it was with a very profound purpose to first and foremost be completely on my own for a while.


Katharina and I met in Santa Marta and got along really well instantly. You know the situation – when you meet someone and it feels like you have always known each other. By the time we reached Cartagena, this had developed into a romance. Then we said our ‘good byes’ and I returned to Medellin while Katharina made her plans to travel north to Nicaragua via Panama.

This made perfect sense to both of us. I wanted to continue my journey on my own, and since Katharina's travel partner Lena had left, Katharina wanted to also have some experience travelling without company before her upcoming flight back to Germany.

But now we were talking on the phone about the fact that we could choose to spend some more time together before continuing in separate directions if we wanted. It was me who originally suggested it, and it came from a real desire to spend some more quality time with Katharina while we still had the opportunity, but at the same time it opened up an internal can of worms, and suddenly I was not a happy bunny at all!

I felt intensely conflicted by my own suggestion. I was thinking to myself that this is what I always do. I choose to be with a girl instead of being on my own – always with devastating results!

Katharina tried to console me by explaining that we will get to know each other much better, and in the end walk away as friends, or as much more, but nothing really bad can happen.

I knew from past experience that she was wrong. It can go very badly indeed. We could fight and blame and shout and cause pain, and I’m not going to go through that again!

I messaged Katharina that it was not worth the risk.

But as I calmed down and my internal panic subsided, I was able to listen more closely to my intuition, rather than to my mind going through past experience overload.

Whereas in the past, my intuition would tell me that getting further involved with this girl is not a good idea, my head would be saying that nothing bad can really happen so just go for it. My head was always wrong!

Now my head was telling me that it is madness to hang out with this girl more, whilst it was my intuitive spirit telling me that nothing will go wrong. This time it was the other way round, and what was changing my mind was my Self!

On Mon 24th March, I flew back to Cartagena airport.


My mind did not listen to my intuition for long though, and those first two days in Cartagena, internally I was freaking out! Externally, this was expressed through a short temper, general frustration and quick annoyance.

I was facing my greatest fear head on, and just like doing anything we are afraid of, full of our own doubt and apprehension we fight against it. This was not the best time for Katharina to be around me, but she knew that she had willingly jumped into the deep end of my issue, and she was amazing understanding.

There was very little new for us to do in or around Cartagena after both spending so much time there already, and since Katharina would next go north to finish her travels and I would go south to continue mine, we agreed on heading west for a while together – on Thur 27th March we made our way to Nuqui.

Nuqui is an African Colombian village deep in the Guerrilla occupied jungle that can only be reached by plane. Protected by the military and considered safe for tourists, its main attraction are the pristine almost completely uninhabited beaches.

The plane ride there was awesome! Proper Indiana Jones style! I was like a kid on Christmas morning (or the night before Christmas if you are from one of those weird countries where Santa comes while you’re awake).

Nuqui helped me a lot because as soon as I had arrived there, I quickly started to absorb the chilled out, relaxed, calm and friendly atmosphere. Internally I was now feeling much more at peace with my decision, and ready to be a buddha with someone else along for the ride!


The first share the love activity I undertook was vegetarianism. It is something that I knew that I would have to and also wanted to start doing at some point because you cannot be compassionate to others and then eat them. It just doesn’t fit.

Katharina has been a vegetarian for 19 years, so she was the perfect person to help me get into the mindset of living without dead animals on my plate.

Along with this, we also did our best to be really conscious of the foods we were eating and eat a really healthy diet together. This is a great thing to do together because you can support and encourage each other to make the right decisions on what you eat, how much, and when.

The next thing that was also nice was that I got to enjoy wonderful moments of awareness. I didn’t really go into this much with Katharina, but there was one moment (that is at the end of the following video) when Katharina and I lay on the bed looking at a silk dress floating around in the wind and just watched and observed the moment.

One of my most enjoyable moments being mindful of my surroundings was when, on Sat 29th March, we went to Nuqui’s near by beach called Olympica. Katharina fell fast asleep on the sunny beach, which allowed me to really sit alone in silence and focus on the nature all around me. I observed the immense variety of crabs that started to creep out of their holes around the beach, discovered that they liked the coconut we had left over from breakfast, and I ended up spending a good couple of hours making my own nature program entitled ‘crabs like coconut’. I had an amazing time playing with my inner child!

On Sun 30th March, we went to Guachalito, one of the paradise beaches that are only accessible by boat across the ocean from Nuqui. Here I was in my element at one with nature! – waterfalls, huge rocks, jungle, sand, sea, and camping. Also the perfect place to be romantic! :-)

I was feeling my positive bubble back in full swing at this point, and very content with the adventure we were having, but it didn’t stop there because then we met Ruben – the Colombian king of ‘share the love’ (see the following video).

We returned to Nuqui on Thur 3rd April with enough time to make videos and take photos of this amazing village that is full of the happiest and kindest people we have both ever met. Then on Fri 4th April we climbed into another Indiana Jones plane and made our way back to Medellin.


Katharina has the same vision for a new world without the unhelpful power structures that are in place in society today. But whereas she comes from a radical left activist approach to world change, I prefer the peaceful and loving pacifist approach.

We joked that if I am Batman on a caped crusade to make the world a better place, Katharina would be Catwoman. Basically, I’m fighting the just cause without wanting to hurt anyone, whilst she has no qualms about causing real physical and emotional damage.

Here is a case in point. In protest against the evils of nationalism, Katharina is fully prepared to wander around Hamburg snipping off the plastic German flags that people stick to their cars during the World Cup. I on the other hand feel sorry for the poor child who goes to the car with mum and dad one morning only to find that his or her newly bought flag has just been cut in half.

We may have the same goal, but the question is whether it is possible for two people who are so passionate about their own approach, and happen to be attempting the same thing from two opposite ends of the spectrum, to support and learn from each other – instead of becoming Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the X-men and reluctantly having to try to kill each other.

Neither Katharina nor I know the answer to this question, but our very heated discussions aside, we do have a lot in common and there is definite possible future potential there.

For now though, I still feel an uncontrollable need to not just fight my corner but also ultimately be right, and that comes from a lack of security within myself. In other words, I still need to discover my Self and find out who I am before I can be of much use to someone else in the long term. :p

For the present then, and with the greatest understanding on both sides, we decided our return to Medellin was a good time to return to our original journeys. We finished our time together with a few last excellent days, including one particularly brilliant day on Sun 6th April when we travelled the skies on the Medellin cable car metro.

One day while I was sitting with Katharina on the beach in Guachalito, I finished the book 1984 by George Orwell. He concludes that we human beings are doomed because everyone has a fear that is so great that they would rather give up love than face that fear. I conclude that I proved George Orwell wrong.

Be inspired ♥

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