Deep Inside the Palace of Atman
A text and video about 'Interiority'.
Published in Reflections 17, KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture, June 2013 ISSN: 1784-7052
In 2005, I left the Christmas party at midnight, my home and job in Europe to relocate to Singapore. I left without having any keys anymore.
The only key to places in the world was my passport.
I went to a place where I did not know anyone, did not know where to live and had never been before.
When I arrived, I found a room to live in. The place is called Monks Hill.
I shared the place with a Chinese actor. He said that Chinese believe it is not good to sleep with your feet facing the window, so I didn’t.
I felt like a monk, locked up from home but endlessly open to the world of other cultures and experiences.
After 2 months roaming through the city, celebrating New Year, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Haji, and meeting people from all sorts of cultures except European,
I convinced the ministry of “MAN”-power to get a work permit and stay longer then a tourist.
Suddenly my monks room felt too small and I decided to move.
I found a new place to stay because the landlord needed a Stupa and asked me if I could build him one. I immediately said ‘yes’ because I was really eager to be creative and build things in my new country.
The place is called “Mahal” which means palace and the landlord is called “Atman”, which means breath or spirit.
The house has a meditation room with Hindu gods in it, but I am allowed to put my own gods there too.
That day, I felt like a princess in a palace and went to bed while asking the gods if they can please tell me what a stupa is.