Two Days for Myself Outdoorworkshop in Marmaris from 20.05.2022-22.05.2022
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Healing Fasting at home (ambulant Fasting) in Istanbul/Pendik-Ballıca from 09.04.2022-16.04.2022
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Healing Fasting (Buchingerfasting) outdoor in Bolu in September 2022.
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At the end of the 1980s I made my first business trip to Cairo. I remember the city as noisy, vibrant and tumultuous: people, cars, shops and restaurants. And during prayer time hundreds of mosques came to life. For a few minutes the tonally transposed and superimposed prayer calls of all the mosques of Cairo drowned out the many voices of the city. Imagine a thousand piano players who play the same piece at the same time but tonally transposed by a half-tone. That was the sound of Cairo. This polyphonic mighty canon of the many and widely dispersed mosques immediately changed the perception of the city. Sun, heat, the smell of human sweat, the many street restaurants and the exhaust fumes were momentarily transformed. An indescribable atmosphere, like the city was trying – in vain – to come to rest.
The mosques of Cairo and anywhere else in the Islamic world find their counterpart in churches in Germany and the Christian world. The sound of church bells may equally superimpose in places where they ring at the same time.
For more than 30 years I have been away from my native home in southern Germany, living the life of a temporary emigrant. Now that I am retired I have the opportunity to travel more often and for longer intervals to Germany, into the region where I grew up, where by parents lived, but also to see my children and grand-children. In my native Heilbronn, in the Südviertel district, the bells of the Südkirche ring out twice a day, at 7 a.m. and at 7 p.m. That is a moment when I stand still, lay down my work and calm my thoughts, listening to the beautiful sound. Letting the vibrations in, may open the window to let more sounds come in, vibrating in harmony. Via the ear, the sounds of the bell directly reach the soul. For me, the bells’ music is a calling: “Let go, leave your worries and obligations to me, my will be done now and always, for all times.”
Church bells can, of course, also be a warning in times of disaster, or a message of peace in the night of New Year’s Eve at 00:00 hours.
“And be her purpose thus fulfilled,
For which the Master did her build:
On high above low earthly living,
Shall she in heav’n’s blue tent unfurl’d,
Be thunder’s neighbor, ever-pending,
And border on the starry world,
A single voice from high she raises
Like constellations’ band so bright,
Which its creator wand’ring praises,
And leads the wreathed year a-right.
Alone to grave, eternal singing
Her metal mouth be consecrate,
And hourly with all swiftness winging,
Shall she be moved by time in flight,
Her tongue to destiny is lending,
Herself has heart and pity not,
With nothing but her swing attending
The game of life’s e’er-changing lot.
And as the ring in ears is passing
Sent by her mighty sounding play,
So let her teach, that naught is lasting,
That all things earthly fade away.”
(Friedrich Schiller, The Song of the Bell, excerpt; translation by Marianna Wertz)
The sound of the bell provides order. The sound is direct. We feel intuitively that there is something beyond thought. Our guardian angels feel well in this sound harmony. They hide behind the notes, but they are so close to use. They touch our shoulders and take the burden off us. They whisper in our ears: Let go!
We have so many thoughts on our mind, worries, duties, happiness, ideas, sorrow; our brain is flooded and over-exited in our day-to-day lives that we do not even know any more how to weep when something sad happens. We are in full control in a world that cares less and less. The chime of a bell may open the door to our soul. What a relief to weep, even if only inside, how healing that can be. The final chimes, sometimes the last sound, permit us to relent, to let go, if we still can let go at all.
The “Limits of Glasgow” (report in the November 2021 issue of the German newspaper FAZ on the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow) reveal to the reader the dramatic situation our world is in. Everything is at stake. It is about the survival of future generations at the latitude we live in, and about today’s survival of people living in countries further south in Asia, Africa and America. At the climate conference in Glasgow almost 200 states have reached an understanding on how to prevent a global temperature rise of over 1.5 centigrade caused by carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Targets are important in order not to miss the direction. They are important to define the necessary actions. In these November weeks the newspapers are full of information on this important event in Glasgow. However, if we turn the pages we find full-page colour adverts of high end car manufacturers for their latest, biggest, most powerful and fastest saloon cars, destined for markets whose climate consciousness is not yet fully developed.
Are we – in Germany and other countries – not complicit? How can we be at ease since the deforestation of virgin forests is connected to our thirst and hunger for agricultural products, be they soy beans, maize, palm oil or other things?
We and coming generations will only have a future on earth if we use better technologies to ensure a lower impact on the environment while maintaining or even improving our standard of living, and to solve legacy issues step by step.
On the other hand: We and coming generations will only have a future on earth if we simply exploit earth less, if we consume less, if we produce sustainably and to the extent permissible by climate balance. Technologies will help us to achieve more growth and prosperity for some time. However, population growth will show us the limits and the necessity to limit our prosperity growth in the medium term.
All in all, the climate conference was a strong reminder that we have already exceeded the limits of our growth. For many states and the people living there a temperature increase of 1.5 centigrade means – already today – disaster, ruined harvests, displacement, disease and death.
Reducing future growth expectations or completely forfeiting growth? Who will be the first?
Letting go is something we, as human beings, are faced with over and over again. We burden us with problems and worries, and we are stressed by overweight and lifestyle diseases (diseases of civilisation). Healing fasting in connection with meditation and hiking can work wonders. It may help to release mental cramps (worries), to heal lifestyle diseases through weight reduction, and a readjustment of our psychological processes that are out of balance.
Letting go becomes a big human challenge when it is associated with core human issues, when the unity of body, soul and mind is at its centre. Have we learned the right profession? This question becomes decisive for our life, if one day we tragically recognise that our profession and our calling do not fit. Are we together with the right partner? We have made a bond for life with him or her, but years later we recognise that the path we once took together has become two diverging paths. Wanting to let go? Before the partner who wants to let go turns their wish into action and leaves the partnership or marriage they should, if still possible, think through the immense sorrow they will cause the other partner, and perhaps suspend the decision. This is of particular importance, if the bond for life has been brought into disarray by external forces. If however the rift between them can no longer be healed, the decision to let go may be the right one. A precondition for letting go should be to always check the sustainability and veracity of the perceptions, ideas and plans that have emerged over the years, and to consider the possible suffering the decision may entail. Buddhist meditation teaches us that our thoughts, even our intellect, are not absolute. At times our inner voice may point us in the wrong direction. What are the criteria? Who is competent enough to give us the right advice in vital questions?
Recently I received a book written by Eckhart Tolle “Lebe im Jetzt – Live in the here and now” as a present. The author writes in simple words that “freedom begins with the insight that you are not the person who thinks (`thinker’). The moment you start to observe the thinker, a new level of consciousness is activated. You realise the existence of a vast area of intelligence beyond thinking, of which thinking is only a tiny fraction. You realise that all things of real importance – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – originate beyond the intellect. You begin to wake up.”
In the years of my life I have learned that it was not always good to take fast decisions (“It is best to get unpleasant things over and done with”. A more literal translation of the German saying conveys the meaning better: “Rather be scared when it ends, than be endlessly scared”). Today, I take my time or do not decide at all. A solution will develop out of the situation. And sometimes there are no solutions. The more I have distanced myself from the demand to find a solution at all cost, I let go of the problem through mindful waiting. Silence and healing have returned. Thing may regulate themselves without our intervention, in particular when they are very important.
“He, who has become free of himself, who does not seek what is his, be it big or small,
he, who neither looks down nor up, nor left nor right nor at himself,
he, who neither seeks money nor honour, nor amenities nor lust, nor benefit nor intimacy, nor
holiness nor reward, not even heaven, he, who frees himself of all his own,
he honours God, he truly honours Him and gives to God what is His.”
(Master Eckhart, Becoming-One)
And I do not want to forget Dogen Zenji, the great Japanese Zen master of the 13th century:
“Let go of all objects of the mind, ease your mind of all the sorrow, do not think of good and evil!”
Now that the year 2021 is coming to an end, I want to thank you for your interest in my articles and the work of the Fasting Academy Bauer. I wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and a healthy and satisfactory New Year 2022.
Otto Bauer, Istanbul/Heilbronn in November 2021
(Management Consultant and Fasting Coach)
- The Middle Way in ancient Indian, Christian and Islamic philosophy
- The Middle Way in everyday life
- Advice for a relaxed life manager
- The Middle Way in modern enterprises
- Selected life lessons
- The oracle
News about a serious disease or even the death of a close companion or friend or a relative of a person we have close contact with is part of everyday life. Death is a common experience. Once we have reached 65 years of age, we feel the changes in our body. We are slower than before, we need more time, jogging becomes more of a challenge, as does garden work. We like to sit down and rest more. The opposite happens to our thoughts, they are as active as never before. However, certain topics capture our attention more than others. Thoughts we would have earlier processed fast and then forgotten stay with us or pop up again and again like the update reminder on our smartphone.
When we grow older unfinished issues become ever more important and demand a solution. Old age also brings up memories of past events where we may have made mistakes; small sins but also larger ones where we hurt others. For me, the insight is important that nothing can be deleted in our consciousness. The law of nature that actio is equal reactio applies not only to inanimate physical objects but also to animate human processes. Whatever we have thought, expressed or done, whether good or less so, is like a seed in our own nature and will sooner or later carry fruit. And in the end, our proverbial apple tree will carry beautiful or worm-ridden apples or no apples at all. Through the ages, great saints have always said that no sin will go unpunished. And one cannot simply atone for bad deeds with donations, confessions, positive thought, a saintly life or more meditation. In their teachings, mystics in the tradition of Master Eckhard praise suffering as God’s greatest gift. Only suffering can purify us and lead us to saintliness (modern medicine has most likely a very different opinion about this). Suffering is a very important reality and necessity in our life, without suffering no development.
However, to solely think in terms of suffering would make our daily life sad and gloomy. The main task we face is: how to prevent or overcome suffering in life.
Fortunately, in his contemplations on the final purpose of human life, Thomas Aquinas states: happiness! And Buddha proposes eight ways to overcome suffering and achieve happiness.
The Middle Way in ancient Indian, Christian and Islamic philosophy
When, about 2,500 years ago, a prince in Northern India left the palace, where he had until then led a well-protected life, for a trip in the surrounding area, it was the first time he saw old, sick people and death in the cemeteries where vultures waited for their prey. For him a happy life was a life in luxury, that was the traditional view. The palace and he in particular were kept oblivious of famines, calamities and disasters. In the long tradition of Vedic scriptures, the Upanishads, gods were kept happy through sacrifice, because only happy gods spread happiness among the people. The prince no longer agreed with this tradition. He left the palace, wandered through the country for many years, became an ascetic and meditated until he almost despaired. Close to death he gained the insight that extreme ways of life, be it the attempt to find happiness through luxury and tradition or wisdom through excessive devotion do not succeed in solving inner unhappiness and restlessness and bringing never ending inner peace. It is the Middle Way which must be pursued. Having reached this conclusion, the ascetic reduced his self-torment, began to eat again, looked after his body and continued his journey to his inner self. While pursing the Middle Way on his path to enlightenment he met other ascetics from whom he learned and who he finally surpassed in his long nightly meditations until the moment of deep understanding while sitting under a Bodhi tree. That was the moment of his enlightenment when he saw the connection between happiness and unhappiness, life and death, deeds and their consequences, suffering and the overcoming of suffering. That has changed him. His teaching became clear and salutary. People flocked to him; he became the Buddha, The Enlightened One.
We have to thank Alexander the Great whose expeditions of conquest from Macedonia eastwards to the Middle East and India established the first trade and cultural exchange between the old West or Occident and the until then unknown worlds of the Indian subcontinent and the Far East, including the exchange of philosophical ideas. Regular contact along the Silk Road proved fertile for the transmission of new world views from the Orient to the Occident and vice versa. Orders of Christian monks in Egypt and Syria learned about the “Middle Way”. Sufis such as Muhammad Iqbal talked early about the importance of finding and maintaining balance between intuition and intellect. With the beautiful meditative dances of the dervish, dancers, who normally lead a regular professional life, practice the mythical energy transformation from the heavens to earth. The dancers start from a central point, spread out in a spiral form and finish their performance with absolute standstill. The path between the heavens and earth is also a form of Middle Way.
The Middle Way in everyday life
In our everyday life we can follow the Middle Way. We can leave the fast lane without suffering any disadvantage. Success is not a matter of career and income, but a matter of my personal satisfaction, of living happier and healthier with my friends or my family or without anyone else. Peace of mind in our everyday life is achievable through regular daily meditation in the morning and in the evening. Sit down for 30 minutes, focus on your breath and transform yourself from creator to observer. Becoming aware that many things are far less important than we thought, that we need far less to live, can do with less and reach a state of happiness faster, because a simpler life can be a more fulfilling life.
Advice for a relaxed life manager
When we become aware that our way of life has alienated us from our inner self, when we have put too much one-sided strain on the unity of body mind and soul, be it through excessive focus on the body, by performing too much physical work or doing too much sports, or be it through excessive focus on cognitive processes (e.g. 8 hours at the till or 10 hours in front of a computer screen or 3 hours daily looking at a smartphone screen…), when we feel that our soul has withdrawn or rather we have squeezed our soul between the excessive body dimension and the stressed mind dimension, when God knocks on the door to our heart-soul quite hard and, yet, we do not even recognise His powerful and liberating sound, then it is high time to rebalance our life, time to see, to hear, time to drop our tools.
Everyday professional life: One-sided activity, doing something we do not understand, which exceeds us, which makes no sense. Also that causes stress, and stress leads to illness. There are great instructions and exercises to become a relaxed life manager, to master everyday life, private as well as professional, with more awareness but also with more knowledge and better methods. We must learn to be optimistic and hopeful, we must take care of our life balance, motivate ourselves, dispose of any accumulated waste in our body (fasting), carefully manage our remaining life-time and be more respectful to ourselves as well as to others.
Climate change concerns us all, as consumers, as market participants, as employees, as managers or company owners. The classic business management models based on performance-oriented company management and the assumption of unlimited markets and unlimited growth have had their day. Through their impact the world is literally coming apart at the seams. We do not only need – as fast as possible – new methods to generate environmentally friendly energy but also environmentally friendly methods of production and products. For quite some time now the question is no longer how to protect the environment but who to regenerate it. Schools and universities should be encouraged to teach environment-compatible and environment-regenerating business management. This is a huge challenge for us, after all it requires a fundamental re-orientation towards the new and sustainable economic and societal order of tomorrow. Future managers shall not be considered managers unless their actions are determined by simplicity and humility, and unless they develop – on a daily basis – new regenerative strategies and business plans which respect nature and a humanity under threat. A manager who learns to fast and meditate regularly will automatically become more aware, more respectful, simpler and humbler both to themselves , their employees and their customers. Maybe such a manager, through intuition and awareness, can create a new corporate consciousness, become a pioneer and inspire other companies.
A selection of wise words related to our topic
To seek Mind with the discriminating mind is the greatest of all mistakes. (Sengcan)
Know how to wait. It shows a great heart with deep reserves of patience. Never hurry and never give way to your emotions. A man who is master of himself will soon be of others. (Baltasar Gracian)
The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. (Dalai Lama)
You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible (Hermann Hesse)
ln being quiet there is a miraculous power of clarification, of purification, of bringing together what is important. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Think a current thought to its conclusion before you admit a new thought in your head (Otto Bauer)
Qu Yuan had already been living in exile for three years and was no longer permitted to see his emperor. He had offered his wisdom and his loyalty, but his detractors had defeated him. Saddened and anxious, he did not know where else to go. In the end he went to see a famous soothsayer and said: “I am in doubt and I ask you to decide on my behalf.” The soothsayer arranged his oracle bones, took a holy device made of tortoise shell and said: “Tell me Sir, what aggrieves you?” Qu Yuan said: “Should I rather be of firm will, true and loyal? Or should I permanently re-adjust in order to conform? Should I rather clear weeds with a hoe? Or should I become famous myself as servant of the great? Should I rather face the dangers of speaking the truth? Or should I flatter the rich to earn my living? Should I rather fight for the truth with my head held high? Or should I serve women as a babbling, chatting, flattering and smiling lakey? Should I rather be straight and incorruptible, and preserve my purity? Or should I be a smooth, subservient, soft and weak lickspittle? Should I rather present myself proud and courageous like a noble steed? Or should I keep my head above water like a duck riding out the waves? Should I rather take the lead like a race horse? Or should I follow idle cart horses? Should I rather rise high like a swan? Or should I quarrel with the chickens about food? What brings good fortune? What brings doom? What should I do, what should I not? The world is filthy and not pure. The wing of a fly weighs heavily and one hundred thousand pounds are light. The great bell has fallen and a thousand little bells ring out clangorously [noisily]. Courtiers are held in high esteem. Capable men are despised. Alas, I shall say no more! Who knows my purity!” Upon hearing this, the soothsayer put aside his oracle bones and declared: “Often a foot is too small and an inch too large. All things have imperfections and all wisdom has a final limit. Fate itself has its mysteries and even a god is not all-knowing. Do what you have to do! Follow your star! Because no oracle can show you the way.” (Qu Yuan – Songs of Chu (Chuci), 3rd – 4th century BC).
Management consultant and fasting coach dfa
- Mindfulness in everyday life
- Mindful aging
- Mindful corporate management
- Do not tempt your guardian angel
- To be there where you are
You all know this from daily experience: A tea glass ends up broken in the dishwasher because the machine was too full or the dishes and cups were placed a bit carelessly. “That was close” when driving your car while talking on the phone and narrowly avoiding a fender bender or worse. Impolite or incorrect answer to an important mail because you were busy checking your Facebook account. A fleeting good-bye kiss in the morning which may give rise to a serious dispute in the evening (you don’t love me anymore …). A wrong investment decision in the company because you did not take your time to read the entire report. Blaming yourself for having made the wrong decisions in life while your retirement is approaching fast, because profession and calling never matched, because for 40 years you have failed to pursue your real goals in life, even if you could not define them precisely… When any of the above events occurs and we take a minute and look back and ask us why this or that has happened we always arrive at the same conclusion: I was distracted! I was on the phone with a business partner or friend while answering important mails or eating or looking pensively at the picture of a loved one on my desk, or communicating through eye-contact with my secretary about a new business date, or holding back again on visiting the restroom…
Mindfulness in everyday life
Be mindful whatever you are currently doing: peeling potatoes, hoovering, cooking, writing an email, driving a car. Keep in mind that mindfulness requires you to do just one task at a time. Do not peel potatoes while listening to music or talking on the phone to your children. Our brain is no “multitasker”, that is a phantasy. Multitasking is an invitation to mindless muddle in our head and our environment. It is a recipe for mistakes and accidents.
Our physical and mental agility decreases with age. We will all experience it, at first while observing our parents, later in ourselves. We become more insecure, fearful of new things and fearful of falling. Climbing the steps carefully and mindfully becomes an important habit. Mindfulness training before aging sets in helps us to better cope with it. It can be learned through mindful movements, simple yoga exercises and simple highly mindful walking. Be there where your foot is lifted from or put on the ground. Embracing age opens the path to a more mindful and richer life. Listening or looking attentively for an extended period of time opens up new and rich layers of experience unknown to younger persons.
Mindful corporate management
The world of technology, business administration and political economics is subject to permanent internal and external challenges with an impact on individuals, society and the entire state. Internal challenges originate with people inside the corporate process itself, be they employees, managers or owners. Examples of external challenges are global epidemics (pandemics) – like the one we are currently living through – and the coming climate change. Climate change in particular is putting humanity on the brink. The challenges are multiple: scarcity of arable land, water scarcity, population growth, raw materials scarcity and an ever-warmer planet. Industry needs mindful managers and mindful owners not only today but mainly and increasingly for tomorrow. A mindful manager is fully aware of the consequences of their decisions. A mindful manager will select products to be manufactured and the manufacturing technology based on the criteria of harmless to the environment, fully recyclable and meaningful as well as useful in application and production quantities. Before deciding about an international presence, a mindful manager will at first examine the ethics of the planned action. Countries and systems where human rights are violated are not suitable investment alternatives. A mindful businessperson has spine and takes responsibility in their internal and external actions, and leads and develops the company by carefully balancing the aspects of corporate goals as well as environmental and health parameters, and integrating them into a holistic and well-balanced management system. A mindful manager has an inner compass for their corporate actions, for what is feasible and what makes sense.
Do not tempt your guardian angel
They are here, the little helpers, very close. At night they sleep under fir trees, hidden deep inside the forest. Don’t let anyone talk you out of such ideas and your dreams. Guardian angel – all nonsense? No, it is not that simple!
Someone who, like me, has tested the limits of what is bearable in life or even passed this limit, who has experienced how in extreme professional or familial situations (illness of a child, separation from a partner) the hair on his arms stood on ends, his stomach ached and a cold sweat broke out, will also have experienced this: some power finally guides you out of this chaos!
There are, of course plenty of counter experiences of the people around us, where no-one came to the rescue: Why did my child, partner, mother or father have to die so early? Why am I in such great pain? Maybe our guardian angels can only do so much? Maybe they cannot or need not solve everything?
I have become a friend of my guardian angel. He (or she) talks to me; the final decision, however, always rests with me.
That makes it so difficult. In the end, I am responsible for my actions and inactions. When our guardian angel symbolically signals “no”, we can still do “yes”. That is the huge challenge we face as human beings: to recognise and cherish the paradise we have been born into, and yet to destroy it and grow and mature with this destruction. We need the pain, to value the painless state. That is where our guardian angels come into play. However, if we demand too much from them in their coaching work, they fly off never to return. At night, deep in the woods under fir trees they share their experiences: yet another know-it-all, self-assured head-in-the-sky, stressed-out person, world destroyer… Then they cry themselves to sleep, saddened about all the pain in the world.
And the next morning, before sunrise they fly off to help other people. Soon a shy deer will appear at their sleeping place under the fir trees and lick up the angles’ tears. They are like due but salty with a tinge of pain. Then a shot is fired! The deer is killed at the dawn of day by a hunter to end as roast venison with fresh girolles on the plate of jovial people in a restaurant. This is God’s creation.
To be there where you are
To be there, not a minute too early or a minute too late, can be trained, but it too is difficult to learn. We are used to distractions. Pure mindfulness is without distraction. To be there, where you are right now, what you do right now, what you think right now, without judgement of good or bad. Taken as it is, you are who you are. Look at yourself in the mirror: that is you – period. Living mindfully means to live in the current moment in such a way as to see the things as they are, not as they should be. How can that be trained? Through periods of undistracted solitude – I with myself, or through playing an instrument, or fasting, or meditative seclusion (Dr. O. Buchinger jun.). During meditative fasting I shed all artificiality an unrealisable lifelong dream. I am there, with my body, with my mind and see myself how I have always been. Living and working mindfully means I do what I can, what is feasible, what makes sense. Working mindfully means not to harm anyone, not myself, not others not the environment. A mindful life is thus a healthy and happy life and without fear of expectations that cannot be fulfilled. Mindful people are quiet people. Mindful are beautiful people. They attract guardian angels. And such people no longer challenge their guardian angels. In absolute and quiet mindfulness they accept the thought of the guardian angels with gratitude.
I wish you and your family to stay healthy in the coming weeks and months, to be happy and content. Less is more. I am grateful for your interest in my work. Contact me I you if you feel like it.
Cordial regards from Ballıca/Pendik-Istanbul
Otto Bauer, in February 2021
(Corporate consultant and fasting coach dfa)