There is this most beautiful phrase of Ram Dass when he says – ’We’re all just walking each other home…’.
When I felt the call to sit down and write about changing my name this quote came to my mind and also along with that an old memory from maybe 25 years ago when I spent a couple of weeks in Ivory Coast.
I studied theology and philosophy in France at that time and so I was part of a small international group of people who went for the journey but we were in general reffered to as the „French delegation”… even though we were just a bunch of university students guided around in the country by a former protestant priest who used to be a missionaire in the region.
Wherever we travelled, we were welcomed and treated everywhere with an amazing love and care and respect and we also had the honour of being accomodated at local families instead of hostels.
There was a place where we stayed for longer so we had the chance to quite naturally being introduced and involved into one of the rituals of the young people who took care of us… even though they did not call the whole thing anything, for them it was just life happening.
After the daily activities or smaller trips we did, when we got back to the village with our minibus to the church that was our meeting point, our hosts have sent their children to bring each of us back to their homes.
And so that’s when it started.
The walking each other home ritual.
To begin with these local young folks have decided who we were going to walk home first. When they picked the first person and location then all of us, 15-20 people, randomly in hugs or hands in hands, started to walk to the address of that family.
The first surprising moment came when a boy grabbed my hand and just started to walk with me like that… and it turned out that boys where walking hands in hands or in hugs just as naturally in their culture like girls did.
When we got to the address, we all stopped, chatted in front of the house, then the next person and location was decided, and then again – all of us, including the people that we have just walked home – started our next round to walk someone else home.
… and then this just went on and on and on. We decided about the next person and address. Walked them home and then they „joined us” and we started to walk home the following person.
We did these rounds for hours, until it got dark and then somehow the whole thing came to an end and people started to really arrive home and the day was over. And then the next evening we did it again.
It was beautiful.
The sounds and smells and colours of Africa… combined with these timeless, goalless trips around the dusty roads of the village, round and round the same places, just walking each other home.
I can’t stop smiling as I think back… and at the same time I also sigh… as it is just challenging to find the right words to give back the magic of those evenings.
I think this is pretty much how we walk each other home in the sense Ram Dass meant it.
Once I do it for you. Then you do it for me. Then we do it for someone else. We take rounds. We remind each other where is home.
And in a way the whole thing is no big deal, as the Dalai Lama often says, it is just about ’loving kindness’.
At the same time… somehow, you either need to already have been home to be able to walk someone home, or at least you should have a clue how to get there.
The clue that appeared in my awareness a few month ago is nothing new, the important thing is not the intellectual undestanding of it, rather the practice of it and the realisations that followed.
So first it came one day as I was exhaling… that maybe I could just think of being in the NOW as I do that.
Then a few days later as I was playfully experimenting with that it came as I was inhaling… that maybe I could just add to think of being HERE as I do that.
And then it just ’clicked’ together… and the realisation came that maybe I could just do that until I breathe in other words until I die.
To put it the other way: it gradually dawn on me that breathing could be my most trustworthy and reliable ally for this life, a non-stop non-Google-calendar reminder to be present, as it is going to be there as long as I am alive.
The more this simple practice started to take place in my life – teaching myself a new habit and using my inhalation and exhalation to remind myself be to be here and now – the more the realisations started to come.
That in a way the search is over.
I will continue to train myself and evolve in so many different ways… but regarding being present in my own life – there is no next thing I am looking for. This one simple ’thing’ is just going to be enough.
So then waives of gratitude came that actually I can’t really screw this up.
Like a good virus, I got this – or like a magnet, it got me – no way of turning back, I can’t forget this, with every breath in and out this is becoming more and more a habit and the whole conditioning is just becoming more and more deep, easy and effortless. In life coaching we often ask this magical question: „So how would it change your life if you knew that you can’t fail?”. So now I find myself asking the question: „So how does it change my life that I know that I can’t fail with this?” Best case I realise total liberation, worst case I will be a human being that is more and more present in its own life – basically more and more with every conscious breath.
OK, OK… the thinking mind does have a few concerns about how to live life with such a practice and granted, there might be space to practice how to embody all this in human interactions, when to focus on the mind and the thinking process because it is relevant or how not to be absorbed in the practice and stay compassionate with others.
But in a way… breathing in, breathing out… and the more awareness is around being here and now, the more clarity there is around all the above questions.
Of course, again, from an intellectual point of view, this is nothing extraordinary, it is just a form of anapana meditation, I did not invent the wheel, for thousands of years people have been practicing focusing awareness on so-ham and so forth.
All that does not matter too much though, when, a couple of weeks ago, I was crossing the road, and again, the words here and now appeared in my awareness, I pull back my attention from the actual stream of thoughts, breathing in, breathing out, tears come, from joy, from gratitude, what a freedom it is to be able to just breathe, be present… and then I realise: this is home.
That this is my home. To be here and now. Available all the time. I can come here anytime. And even the ’get there’ part is nothing more than to have my awareness on breathing in and breathing out that is happening anyway… as long as I am alive… so what could go wrong?
I am either home or I have a non-stop reminder to come home.
And then of course there are already the signs showing up of the various layers of this practice…
The words or the notion of ’here’ and ’now’ just already by this short time of practice start to lose their importance.
Then there is the question: to where exactly put the focus of my awareness?
Initially it was more around my head… as it was just so natural to observe the breathing around the nose and the mouth.
Then breathing into and from the heart and chest area… so delicious, I remembered that I have already been doing this in the past.
And then a few days ago… landing at the stomach and gut area. That is the end station for now.
This is where most of my existential fears, deep shames, unworthiness, the lack of trust and (self)confidence resides. So I am breathing in and out from here. Relaxing the stretching and tensing and contraction of the area that now that I focus here seems to be pretty much constant. I wonder away. Come back. Relax. And again. And again. I am here… down here and now.
The home expands and embraces all of me, everywhere, no escape, no hiding, no spot left out.
So it seems… that I am coming home.
And again… words fail to describe the beaty of these paradoxe moves: I am coming home into this body, into this mind, awareness is coming back home to fully reside here and takes over with its focus, and at the same time there is this expansion happening that opens up from this body and mind towards and into an infinite and timeless awareness.
… and so not to forget about the change of my name 😉
About three weeks ago came the realisation during my birthday that the joy I am looking for, the joy I want to offer my life, the joy I want to share with others… well, this is it.
The source of my joy is within, in the here and now, and breathing in and out is just enough to remember and to realise that.
I did not see that coming as I changed my name in October 2019, at least not to this depth.
So where the idea of changing my name came from?
It has been there for several years.
From time to time ther was this urge that I need to do something about marking a milestone in my journey. Changing my name. And/or changing my email address. Tabula rasa. Having a fresh and new start. Then the whole thing faded away… and for months or years it was buried. Until it came again. And went away.
The first time the motivation came about 5 years ago when we spent 2 weeks at Mooji’s ashram in Portugal with Dora doing karma yoga. I got to know about this beautiful ritual how people can receive a new name: the old name is written on a piece of paper then it is thrown into the fire. Then the new name is written on another piece of paper… and then it is thrown into the fire too.
So in a way, right from the beginning I knew that taking on a new name should not happen to be out of the frying-pan into the fire and to create another type of attachment or a new identity the mind can now start to cling onto.
But I had no idea how this could happen in a natural, organic way. Sometimes I wished I found a cool name in a dream or a master would give me a super sacred one… but nothing like that happened.
What did happen though was that over 1.5 years ago we started a coaching process with a friend, dr. Balazs Laszlo Karafiath, working on my purpose. Part of the process was to find out the essence of my purpose, so we worked on that in guided mediations, asked friends and relatives, had conversations around that… and so after a year or so we tumbled on this expression: liberating joyfulness. Balázs abbreviated it, rightly so, to liberating joy – and the moment I heard that… I knew: that is it. To the spot. That is the essence of my purpose.
From that moment on there was almost 8-10 month until this whole thread with changing my name came up again.
Following some retreats and personal journeys during these months, partly working with an underlying depression I have never encountered during my self-development processes and therapies to the depth it happened now, I realised that liberating joy is not just something that I embody and often bring into people’s life… but it is also the source of my own transformation. The quality or energy that is a key to my own healing and self-expression.
So in alignment with the various explorations of what self-care and self-acceptance means I had this emerging wish and thirst and opening to bring more joy into my and others’ life.
In September or October, I went to a workshop, where people again started to ask back about my name when I introduced myself – it often happened that I had to spell Daniel twice or three times until someone got it… let alone my family name: Roszik-Csendes… – and then I just caught myself saying ’Dan’ and then I added ’Dan Joy’. I am called Dan Joy.
So there is was. Not that I took it utterly seriously… but it was out there. It was more like a joke. Like saying… shit, not again, can’t you get my name?, OK, then I am Dan Joy for you guys. Capisce?!
But then the following days and weeks… I just started to like it more and more. And then I just got it: this will make it. I realised that I really liked it! 🙂
It is a declaration and setting of intention at the same time: I’d like to offer the rest of my life to take care of myself in a way that my life would be abundant in joy, so I could share then that joy with others.
The tools and vehicles for sharing?
Part of it is under construction, part of it I already know and practice.
Breathing in and breathing out and letting others know about this clue. That is where it all begins. Doing and teaching lomi lomi. Offering cuddle therapy. Singing and playing music.
I guess these will do for this life. The rest… we’ll be.