God Was Always There! (A Real Story of Zen, Rock, and The Peace Within)
A kid, who was
involved with various kinds of art since his 3, who found himself in front of a
microphone as a dubbing and radio actor at national government radio and
television establishment at his 8, who had a taste of stage dust at his 11,
felt like a fish out of water at a commercial high school he enrolled due to a
mistake that his father made.
This kid, who got a taste of fame since his early childhood, breathed art in and out until his adolescence, was snatched away from the environment he belonged to, and because of the social disharmony among his peers, being pulled and pushed around, getting kicked out of his community. The wonder boy of old days had become the black sheep in the herd.
With anger and hurt within, he found a way to prove himself to others around him, thanks to a song he heard from the radio someday: he would become a rock star. He would kick those, who make fun of him, into the mud, and show them who he was. Thus, he found an old classic guitar from a friend of his parents, and began to learn how to play it. For the first time in his life, he saved his allowance to buy his first electric guitar; in spite of his father thought it was just a whim, and his son would eventually see the right path!
Interestingly, it seems that everywhere on this planet, the journey of a rock musician seems similar regardless what country or continent they live. Spite of his father’s best hopes, this kid didn’t give up of his love for music, because the only thing that bound him to life in his endless loneliness was music, and his guitar. After high school, he started his first heavy metal band and at his 18, exactly 4 years after he was snapped away from art, he was back on the stage – for music this time – and had his first concert. He was determined to make his dream come true; even if rock music wasn’t well known in his country, he would be a rock star!
He met someone, who would inspire him for years to come: Blackie Lawless, the founder and lead singer of the band W.A.S.P. Blackie, too, was an artist who came out of the streets, and created his own fame and glory all around the world. Moreover, he hadn’t given in to his father’s objections about a musical career, either. With his wild stage shows and aggressive attitude, Blackie became one of the top heroes of this kid in no time. He gave the kid a dream, an ideal, an inspiration unknowingly. Fighting his own fight, the kid began to follow the life of a person, who didn’t even know this kid existed. The entire walls and ceiling of his room were covered to the last inch with posters, magazine and newspaper clippings about Blackie. The kid was dreaming away looking at those posters and pictures, believing he would be like them someday.
Next year, he earned the right to study at the oldest and most famous academy of fine arts in his country, getting back on the track as an artist. Letting his hair fall to the middle of his back, he began to wear leather jackets, jeans, high boots, wrist bands, leather gloves, and of course, metal accessories. Music was the whole life, the entire universe for him, and he had no doubt of his talents. He would finally show those that kicked him around during his adolescence who he was.
During his years at academy, he spent his all spare times working on music. He kept listening to the albums, watching the videos of various rock bands, especially Manowar, Savatage, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Dokken, Dio, Iron Maiden, and of course, W.A.S.P. Since he had no means, and since his father didn’t back him in this endeavor, he couldn’t have a proper musical education, or private lessons, but following all these great rock heroes, he kept improving his musical knowledge and guitar techniques.
Also he had a philosophical and responsible approach to the subject. Since he had spent most of his childhood in an academic atmosphere at TRT, and since now he studied at the best academy of fine arts, he had social responsibility in his mind about his works. So, he took out the best qualities of these stars he followed, and not only their personalities, but also personal tragedies gave him a point of view.
At the other hand, they somehow reminded him about the fairytales his mother read him when he was a little boy, in a way that the established system of the planet was a huge kingdom, and these rock stars were the knights in their shining armors who defy the evil.
And he was perfectly right about his musical talent. At all the concerts he had with his band, and at all the bars they played, they really rocked hard. However, after a while, disappointments began to follow one another. Realizing it was just a hobby for the others in his band, whereas it was life’s itself for him, he left his band, and kept working solo. But he had no support, his personal finance was zero, and people around him didn’t believe such a dream might be a foundation of existence. Naturally, the first doubts about his success began to appear in his mind.
But Blackie kept inspiring him with his songs, posters, and his lifestyle. Didn’t he overcome many obstacles himself, too? Without giving up of his dreams, didn’t he create one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all times?
However, this kid’s country was different. Music producers didn’t give a chance to this kind of music. Most of the population listened to arabesque, or low quality commercial music under the name of pop. The kid felt it was becoming harder and harder to keep his faith.
Yet, there was something in this course he didn’t realize. While working on and listening to the music that was written in a foreign language, his ability of speaking English was reaching the skies. Finally, after his academic education, he began to translate books to read for free, and at least, to earn some pocket money. And thus, he discovered a way to make money out of his second greatest passion: books!
While music meant an endless fight and anger, books provided a sanctuary. Furthermore, even if he didn’t aim it first, he found an alternative career that suited him perfectly. Eventually, he would become one of the most famous and productive book translators in his country. As a bonus, he was improving his skills as a writer while translating books by other authors. He thought this process was similar to what he had done at the academy of fine arts: refining his skills of painting through replicating the works of masters.
However, it’s really difficult to keep faith through disappointments that come one after another. He made his dream come true, recording his first album financing with his own money, but due to global financial crisis in 2001, he couldn’t release it. Then another defeat came in his writing career, since the publishers didn’t back his two novels, in spite the fact readers were amazed by them. So, at his 29 year of age, the kid accepted the defeat finally, deciding to be contented with an ordinary life.
He was tired. He was sick to the bone. And he accepted the defeat. The only thing he wanted was to get married, start a family, and have a child, because the third greatest dream of his was to be a good father. He couldn’t achieve his dream of becoming a rock star; he couldn’t achieve his dream of becoming a famous author; but now he was determined to be a good father.
He married to the first girl he met, and they had a son three years later. He looked at his life now, and it seemed his life would be like this to the very end. He waved a farewell to his dreams, and accepted the reality of life.
Finally… he had given up…
* * *
Trying to shape yourself into a different mold for various reasons leads to lose your soul in the end.
“Tiger’s stripes can’t be washed away,” say Manowar, in one of their songs. Shortly, you are what you are. Trying to shape yourself into a different mold for various reasons leads to lose your soul in the end.
After seven years of marriage, this was how I felt. I was fading, shrinking, diminishing into myself, getting away from life. It was difficult for me to decide reawake myself, because it also meant the end of my marriage, and I had a little son. But the main question in my mind was: How will I be an ideal father to my son, if I can’t be myself first?
Everybody has to follow his dharma; if not, they can’t find self, and can never follow a satisfying life.
Fate made this decision for me, and pulled me back to the road I belonged in the first place. Everybody has to follow his dharma; if not, they can’t find self, and can never follow a satisfying life. In spite of all the sacrifices I’d have to make, I decided to get back to my way of life, and to stick to the life wholeheartedly. Interestingly, when I made this decision, especially my career as a book translator took a turn I never expected.
I began to ask myself why I had the success that I couldn’t achieve in music career, but as a book translator instead, and I found the answer in the end: my rage and greed for a musical career went beyond of my love for music. I didn’t enjoy the process, but focused only on the outcome, or more precisely, on my fear of failure for the outcome, which brought me the real defeat in the end, meaning giving up. I had hang my guitar on the wall, and left it there for almost a decade.
In my career as a book translator, I liked books, and thus, I never felt like I was working. There was no struggle, no fights, but only the joy of doing it. When I found the courage to get my guitar in hand once again, I didn’t care of fame, being a star, or being the idol of millions, as Blackie put it. What mattered was music itself.
However, since I kept far from my guitar for a very long time, I thought I wouldn’t be able to play as I did in old days, and this freaked me out, because I was afraid that I would never be able to make peace with my guitar if I couldn’t play. But it wasn’t the case at all. Believe it or not, getting rid of the rust in a short while, I realized I was far better than before, and I was feeling the energy of life within this time. Throughout my entire life, I didn’t another time I enjoyed playing my guitar so much, with such a joy; so much that while playing I often felt my eyes got wet, and with the happiness of regaining the touch with my soul once again, tears were coming down my cheeks. After eight years of emotional and spiritual idleness, I was back to playing, singing and composing again! With each hit of the pick to the string, I felt it was a punch to the soil of grave over my spirit.
And in the end, I was back out of that spiritual grave!
I decided to tell my story to the young people, writing and talking about my spiritual journey in the form of two different careers, and I signed a contract with Yakamoz Publishing – one of the greatest publishers in Turkey – for my book titled KompleksSİZ Yaşam: Önemli Olan Nasıl Başladığın Değil, Nasıl Bitirdiğindir (A Life Without Complexes: It’s Not How You Start, But How You Finish). Writing this book, I also realized I had forgotten my own life principles in this period of almost a decade. As the book was an inspirational self-help piece, and while I shared my story and success principles in it, actually I was giving messages to myself, waking and warming up myself to the life once again.
My relationship with my five year old son never has been better before. Through a divorce period that we shouldered together as a father and son, I was discovering that a little child could teach a lot about life and existence to an adult. Shortly, now my life had a deep meaning that never had before. And when I asked him what he wanted as a gift for his approaching fifth birthday, this little guy wasn’t aware that he gave me a gift with his answer instead: he wanted a guitar!
At the other hand, still having hesitations about the correctness of my decision about my life and career, I got a message from the Universe!
When I was talking to my art-director and graphics designer friend Kamil Temizel about the cover shoots of my new book, he also told me to leave my night on that day, because he would take me to a concert. I asked whose concert it was, and his answer made me think he was kidding me.
* * *
While the crowd of rockers began to flow into Kucukciftlik Park in Istanbul , Dolmabahce, this was something I didn’t expect at all, because nor there were no numbered seats, neither we bought tickets for the front stage. But somehow, I found myself at front row in that crowd.
When the concert of a worldwide famous band began, the audience was both highly emotional, and rapturous. As awesome songs and hard guitar melodies followed one another, I was watching the concert with my eyes brimmed with tears, because this wasn’t only a great concert night, but also a fateful one for me. Blackie Lawless, whose music I listened for years, whom I saw as a role model, and a hero due to his biography, and whom I listened live for the first time in my life, was talking to me through his guitar, and screaming his songs ten yards away from where I stood!
He seemed to say “See, I’m not a dream, but real!” I felt as if he was talking only to me among that crowd. As if he was in Turkey for the first time just for me. Furthermore, while I was among the audience, in fact, I was singing along with him onstage.
At the end of the concert, leaving the place with a silent “thank you” to Blackie Lawless in my lips, I realized two important things: firstly, I had some kind of a spiritual connection with Blackie. Who knows, may be we meet face to face in this lifetime, or when we both passed away, we sing and play together in Heavens.
Even if you forget who you are, Almighty Lord never does!
Secondly, there was a phrase that repeated often in my mind after that night: even if you forget who you are, Almighty Lord never does!
That nigh, it was as if the Universe leaned over me, and said, “Do you remember where you belong? Leave the worries aside, you made the right decision, and the time has come.” I couldn’t believe what I experienced right there. A concert by W.A.S.P. aside, I didn’t even know they were in Turkey until the previous night. When I decided to follow my dharma, accepting my real identity and way of life, suddenly the Universe had put a message that I would receive personally in front of me. This was the reward for I made peace with myself, and accepted the existence the Almighty had chosen for me, which it wasn’t being a rock star, but a thinker and artist, who uses various forms of art – with music among them – to deliver his messages and His inspirations to the masses!
When I began to my journey years ago, with the thirst of revenge for what I’ve been through during my adolescence, and with rage, I was only after fame, money, and glory. However, now I realized that the spiritual and personal lessons I learned along this journey, which I called “Road of The Kings,” were far more important and valuable.
A while ago, the first person to teach me to say “you” first, instead of “me,” my little son, paused during dinner and looked at my eyes, saying, “You know, you’re a very great father!”
I have to admit that I did lots of things many people would be proud of; and other lots of things that I wouldn’t be proud at all. Perhaps the things I achieved so far – more than 200 books translated and around 10 books written for more than a dozen of publishers, hundreds of radio plays for TRT, dozens of songs written, composed and performed, hundreds of illustrations drawn, numerous concerts and pub shows, etc. – might be enough for many people. However, when I saw the look in my little son’s eyes, and heard what the told me, I realized it was the first time I did something that I must be really proud of: to be a great parent – as best as I can, but I’m inclined to believe, because a little child was saying it – and to leave a real legacy in the form of a lifestyle, and worldview.
When I began to put others in front of me, through the lesson my son taught me, incredible changes began to show up in every aspects of my life. Not only about career, or friends, but I also realized what kind of a diamond mine I was sitting on.
Another principle of life proved to be true: when you learn to be happy without something you see as the foundation of your happiness, it comes to you naturally.
Being famous, or a star, money, glory, success in career… these are all irrelevant now. Funny, and interestingly enough, I began to enjoy these, too, when I learned to be happy without them. However, these all may come and go for anyone, and everyone. These are all just details. What really matters is the quality of people around you, and the value they add to your life. Even if you have it all what I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, if you lack people whom you hold dear, and whom you share what you have, your life has only one meaning: a huge NOTHING!
When I stopped fighting myself, put my ego in my pocket, and focused on other people instead, I realized actually I had everything I ever wanted. There’s only one thing left to say for me now: I always complained of being alone throughout my entire life; after that night, I realized that I was never alone in fact…
God was always there, right next to me!...