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And this is exactly what happened, they were drawn to particularly peaceful people with welcoming auras and with whom even western Atreya and Jeroen could connect and feel their inner freedom and ease of minds. Thus, by coincidence, over and over again, they bumped into Buddhist Tibetan refugees who live in exile across the Chinese – Nepalese border areas. Ever since the Chinese Tibet's takeover by the Chinese in 1949, these Tibetan people feel that they have lost their freedom and many have fled 4FREEDOM and left their beloved country and the corresponding oppression. As two unwary non-Buddhist backpackers, Atreya and Jeroen came across the traditional Tibetan lifestyle and found freedom among refugees in the form of a fine human warmth, which they had never felt before. These refugees told them so many stirring stories about the torment and torture of the Tibetan people, human rights violations of the worst possible kind and the total destruction of their devoted and unique Tibetan culture. At least as impressive and touching was the Tibetan 'spirit', a combination of compassion, mind- and resilience, inner freedom and the qualities more or less the result from meditation. No doubt about it. How these people seemed free from suffering and dedicated to doing good, they were the modern day superheroes. Being bathed in Buddhism by meditational masters, Jeroen and Atreya soon shifted their perspective through concentration and careful analysis of the mind. These special encounters gave Atreya and Jeroen something super-heroic, unforgettable and very valuable.
Back in Amsterdam, these two changed individuals bring back home Buddhism, as well as superb superhero stories, in-erasable epic experiences and traditional techniques that Jeroen and Atreya can easily apply whenever life treats them unfair. Lasting was the awareness and importance and vulnerability of freedom and the connection between the so-called, two freedoms: the external/outer freedom (i.e. human rights and the right to be yourself/BSUR) and the opposite internal/inner freedom (such as being free from stress, worries and other mind-bobbling issues). Once back in The Netherlands, Amsterdam's fine freedom felt like a warm welcome, yet, it was hard to adjust to the hustle and bustle of daily life in a much more materialistic, luxurious and not-so super-heroic 'selfish' society. Their travel experiences made it impossible to forget the power of those positive people and their correspondingly super sad situation. Unfortunately, and similar to Atreya and Jeroen, before they had made their trip, the majority in Europe were not so aware or familiar with the value of freedom or the hardships of the Tibetan people. In addition, Jeroen and Atreya discovered that the media attention and political agendas on this topic were way too weak or either absolutely absent. It came as a surprise for ALL4FREEDOM's two initiators that so little was known of a country the size of Western Europe oppressed by the world's superpower, we all do business with as usual. Furthermore, within the fine freedom of, for example, Barcelona and Amsterdam, Jeroen and Atreya soon noticed a constant suffering on every corner, in each and every household and head, so often filled with fear, stress, anger, etc. So many of their friends and family had it all but weren't happy. However, our newly arrived and trained-to-be superheroes had just come from communities without craving or aversion, living the moment, mindful from meditational moment to meditational moment and although they lived in poverty and lack of liberty, they were happy, peaceful and free. Jeroen and Atreya now knew both worlds, west and east, freedom from within and a freedom stolen by bad-guys, outside invaders bringing oppression from above to tirelessly test Tibetan love. Such superhero, meditative and memorable moments could not be kept to themselves and had to spread to those in need and those who would want to hear it. All the aforementioned laid the path of personal and global liberation and inspired them to take action. Their newly-found inner freedom was more than welcome here, which is why Jeroen and Atreya continued their compassion, mindfulness and meditational practice, for themselves, for all those around them, for the world, 4FREEDOM and FREEDOM4ALL!
From that very freedom-valuing 'vacation' onwards, nothing was never/no longer going to be as it was or as Jeroen and Atreya wanted it to be. Reality had roared its ugly head and it was up to us to change what lies ahead. After their personal 'Tibetan' transformation, it was time for change. Jeroen and Atreya quit their jobs, as there was no time and place for dominating and demanding careers, nor cook and clean, kids, a car-wash and all other somewhat small, superficial, non-superhero and/or self-centred things so-called normal people tend to continuously cling to. Their lives were no longer lost and had a common cause. The sowed superhero seeds started flourishing into an unavoidable focus 4FREEDOM and needed space and to be set free. Jeroen and Atreya sat together and talked about what they were to do now, now that they fully valued freedom over all. What if we could offer a similar process of awareness to all those who did not yet know?
Next, they founded Project Aware and found it of utmost importance to inspire others in order stimulate a similar somewhat super-heroic awareness process. The idea for Project Aware and Buddhist practice was born. Perhaps better said, these ideas became their life's missions. Initiator and singer-songwriter Atreya wrote a special song for the cause. After the recordings, a matching video clip and radio- and TV-commercials followed. This very successful promotional campaign, where almost all the largest national media joined in altruistic cooperation, boosted Project Aware's 'everything starts with awareness' name and fame, number of supporters and promising projects. All former 4FREEDOM projects and planted Project Aware potential, paved the way and created this community, which could (at least try to) tilt freedom's fate to the favourable side. Thus, the old and new 4FREEDOM projects and all positive people of this planet now unite under the umbrella of IAM4FREEDOM, ALL4FREEDOM, 4FREEDOM and FREEDOM4ALL. After a short meditational moment of awareness, everybody will have to agree, what had happened to the Tibetans and i.e. in Europe during the Second World War and/or on some school playground, should never happen again and certainly not on a global scale. At least, some Tibetans had managed to cross the Himalayan mountain range, flee for freedom and get the word out but what if some superpower or greedy government would perfectly plan to oppress the people of this planet. Where would we go, to the moon? The rest is history... or should we say, the present, future and/or you.