Is Costa Rica paradise on earth?

 

Is Costa Rica paradise on earth?

I didn’t know much about Costa Rica before coming down here to visit my friends in this lush Central American country. Now that I’ve made it down to Costa Rica, I’d say that Costa Rica is paradise on earth!

What’s the deal with Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is everything that I had heard about and more than everything that I had imagined it to be. Lush greenery fills the Costa Rican landscape like a permanent stunning backdrop. The proximity to the Equator and plentiful rain has created a vibrant natural environment shared by a myriad of greenery, vegetation, and animals. Even San Jose, the capital and big city, is filled with lush greenery all around it.

I was born and raised in the tropical Equator-near peninsula of Malaysia which is not nearly as lush or green as it is here Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans care deeply about the environment and protecting the natural habitats for their wildlife and tropical rainforests.

I’m staying in the Southern tip of Costa Rica near the Panama border near a region called Biolley on a friend’s farm. The farm is occupied by many goats, cows, horses, sheep, dogs and people. I’m enjoying spending some time down here improving my Spanish, helping out on the farm, doing some writing and embracing the beautiful Costa Rican landscape. The cabin I’m staying in feels like the penthouse suite overlooking the natural rainforests and waterfalls below.  Photos can’t really do the landscape justice but here’s my attempt to show you what the view outside my window looks like.

Gushing waterfalls
Vibrant greenery and blue skies
A paradise in the rainforest (or where I'm spending a couple of months:) )
Valentina and baby Marigold
Nature inspires reflection.

*I’m spending May and June 2012 in my friend Jennifer and Bruce’s Finca de Lilo.  The closest national park is La Amistad National Park. Jennifer regularly blogs about her coffee farm at Biolley Buzz.

7 reasons why rational people run from spirituality like their hair’s on fire.

Are you a green-tea drinking, yoga-practicing, Hybrid-driving soul-searcher who spends your free time meditating at awareness-retreats; doing Hanuman-like acrobatic postures at yoga retreats; and dancing like a possessed Lord Krishna at kirtans?

Are you a regular alms-giving, Biblically-versed, choir-singing evangelical disciple who goes to church every Sunday without fail, attends Monday night Bible-studies in spite of Monday night football and Friday night fellowship in spite of the Jersey Shore reruns?

Does your Sanskrit, Jewish, Arabic or Hewbrew name translate to “the great one”, “our savior”, “the creator of the universe” or “the divine one and only”?

Are you spiritual or do you need therapy?

If you answered yes to any question above, you are most likely a highly religious human being. If you answered yes to any two of the above questions, therapy is most likely needed. If you answered yes to all three above circumstances, please let me know which psychiatric hospital you’re residing in.

Yes, you’re living on a spiritual plane but not many of your neighbors, friends or family are. And why the hell not? Why do people run from spirituality like their hair’s on fire?

7 reasons why spirituality gets a bad rap:

1)   Dogma and tradition of religion. Many can’t relate to stories of the ancient world. Modern science and our increased sophistication raises doubts about seas parting, angels singing, and miracle healings. Spirituality tends to be wrapped up in religion and religion is outdated, archaic and far removed from the realities of the modern day.

2)   No instant gratification. Every gadget and comfort of the modern world gives us instant pleasure. We watch television and are intrigued. We can instantly purchase real farm animals for our social media farms. We can order books with a click of a mouse, chat with our relatives in remote parts of Uganda or order flowers that can be delivered on the same day. The benefits of spirituality can take months, years or lifetimes to materialize.

3)   Not practical to daily life. Spirituality has a difficult time fitting into our everyday lives. In a dog-eat-dog world where corporations are focused on the bottom line, spirituality seems to get in the way of making money and succeeding in the material world. There’s never enough time to run all the errands, answer every text message and email, and watch every episode of the Jersey shore.

4)   Leaders gone wild. Our esteemed spiritual leaders are supposed to lead and inspire. Yet, like all humans, they fail too. Fallen televangelists, shake-you-down con men and spiritual gurus of old and new seem to be distracted from the spiritual journey. Their own journeys to enjoy the modern comforts of life, corruption and sensuality have turned off spiritual-seekers altogether.

5)   Controversies & Scams. Controversy (along with wars and persecution) have accompanied religions and spiritual practices for ages. Controversies have risen about the abuse of power in religious organizations, sex and child abuse charges, and lawsuits about church or temple management. Scams have usually revolved around ripping off the congregation, embezzlement and even money laundering.

6)   If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense. It costs money to run a place of worship like a temple or church. While the church-attending and religious minded amongst us have grown up making our weekly alms, more people are tightening their belts. If one approaches spirituality as a financial investment, they will soon realize their investment is better off in the stock market! Regardless of how priceless self-awareness can be, most spiritual practices cost money.

7)   Looney-toon practices. Many of the practices of modern day spirituality get at self-awareness and enlightenment. With so many practices out there, some practices become questionable. Sacrifice killings, possessed trances, tantra, end-of-the-world zealots, and most “herbal” practices, make many look at spirituality with suspicion and doubt.

How do you view spirituality and religion? Do you run away from spirituality like your hair’s on fire?

For my book on spirituality and staying resilient during tough times, click here for Is God Listening?

Cancel the plane tickets; how to start your spiritual journey without moving to the Himalayas.

Spirituality when everything goes wrong

It’s 6 am. There’s a mystical darkness outside your window as the coffee brews. You’re sitting at your computer and pulling up your checking account to check your balance.

Tick tock tick tock tick tock. It’s Internet Explorer – it will take a minute or 5.

The checking account pulls up – (minus) $3000. Someone hacked into your account and just bought 2 roundtrip tickets to Paris while you were asleep.

%)(*!%$)(*!@#)(%$

You close your browser window to see your Twitter page. One of your friends did something brave and broke up with her boy-friend.

“I hate that bastard – I can’t believe we broke up – good riddance to bad garbage. Mail me my clothes back you punk.” Now, that took a lot of courage. Such powerful words in one short tweet.

Then you realize it’s your girl-friend.

)%*@)(%*)@(#*

You lean back on your chair to take a deep breath. You fall back and hit your head on the floor.

When you wake up, you see your friends and family at the hospital. The doctor tells you that you’re going to be spending the next 3 months at home on bed rest. Your little cousin holds up your Iphone.

“Late again – you’re fired dude”.

By 10 am, you’ve broken your head, your relationship, your bank account and been fired from your job.

Time for your eat, pray, love adventure.

Your head and heart hurt. Your bank account is going to hurt even more when you’re sitting in bed at home without a job.

You saw that Eat, Pray Love movie with your girlfriend two weeks ago (the one who just broke up with you on Twitter). She predicted that you would be going on a long trip – just like Julia Robert’s worldwide adventure to Italy, Indonesia and India.

Is now the time to pick up and go?

If you are hurting, financially, emotionally or spiritually, you might feel that you need a change of pace. And a change of scenery. It’s time to find yourself or to find God. Or to find God so you can find yourself.

You have so many questions and not so many answers. Life seems to have hit a wall – you’re asking ‘why me’, ‘why now’ or may be even ‘who am I?’

Leave your life, and journey into world? You could but do you need a worldwide spiritual journey to get in touch with your inner self?

Time for your spiritual journey.

You’ve come to a point in your life when you feel like something is missing. What are you going to do? Are you going to escape?

As much as the grief of common life events may get to you – break-ups, deaths, job losses, financial ruin, you may not have to go very far to find answers.

The answers actually are within you – you have the answers to all the questions you seek. Now, you must find the spiritual tools to help you uncover those answers.

Your spiritual journey begins at home.

Cancel your flights and throw away the travel guides.

No need to go out to the Himalayas, Tibet, Jerusalem or India.

No need to search for spirituality. No need to get away from your life – your spiritual life starts exactly where you are.

How can you practice spirituality every day and wherever you are?

It’s a good question for someone like me who wanted to join a monastery. But I decided no. I wasn’t going to be like the Budha. Or Liz Gilbert.

I wasn’t jumping the palace gate like the Buddha to discover myself.

Not going across the world (eating pizza and being a landing pad for mosquitos) to find out who I really am.

I’m going to do it here. In the present and in the real world.

And here on this blog, I’ll show you how to live a spiritual life too, starting right now.

Are you on a spiritual journey? Were you able to reach nirvana from your recliner or did you take a pilgrimage around the world to find the truth?

For my book on spirituality, God and to surviving tough times, click here for more information on Is God Listening?