The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of many of the most important pieces on this blog. The list makes it easy for you to understand at a glance what is necessary in this work. It takes you through the process of self-development and self-realisation – from awareness, observation and reflection, and back to awareness – offering you guidance on what to expect along the way and what you can do to help yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Infinity In A Box

Saturday 10 June, 2017

One common and understandable conclusion we draw in this work is that ‘If I work hard enough I will rid myself of the issues I have. One day, I will no longer feel anxious or angry, and I will stop wishing the world were different.’ I used to look forward to a time when all my problems would be solved. I used think I would wake up one day and be different because the painful parts would be gone and the struggle would be over. And I used to think that working on myself was the way to do that. It is, but it’s only half the story because self-development is a stepping stone to a greater awareness that we already possess what we desire.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yes, It Is That Simple

Sunday 30 April, 2017

We can be forgiven for thinking life is complicated. We can even make allowances for those who expect complicated solutions to life’s problems. But why do we question something just because it’s simple? Perhaps the mind feels insulted, preferring solutions akin to its own complexity. Maybe we struggle to accept the simplicity because it trivialises our predicament. Whatever the reason, the same question can be seen on every face at some point in their personal development: ‘Surely it can’t be that simple?

Read the rest of this entry »

TS 7 – Don’t Get Cocky

Friday 27 May, 2016

Whilst there are clear benefits of a certain level of self-confidence because it empowers us to take on things without fear of failure, or because it allows us to push ourselves further than we would otherwise go, we should avoid getting cocky (over-confident). Cockiness leads to a loss of focus and we relax too much, thinking we’ve made it. Alternatively, we push ourselves too much, thinking we can do it all. When I was 18 I was playing football and having the game of my life. I felt like I could do anything. Then, 20 minutes before the end, I tried to do too much, tore my cruciate ligament and never played again. That experience, and the constant reminders I received during my training, all help me to remain grounded and not get cocky.

Read the rest of this entry »

It can be as simple as making a cup of coffee. That’s the procedure which one participant offered as an example of something he already does whenever he gets stuck or frustrated in his work. He explained that the process of making the coffee changes his focus, calms his mind, and allows him the space to gain enough distance from a particular problem to be able to solve it much quicker than if he were to remain at his desk. It was the ideal example of what this seminar was all about: look after yourself, discover what’s best for you, and use your discoveries to make life easier for yourself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Be Careful So Close To The Finish

Friday 19 September, 2014

Five weeks from today it will all be over. I have been working on this blog for almost four years and in just over a month it will be complete. As much as I’m tempted to get excited about it, and as much as there is also a part of me which just wants to reach the finish line, I need to remain focused and I need to be careful. Very careful. It’s a general rule I learnt early in my training, but it’s one which always has the capacity to catch me unawares, because it’s easy to think I am being careful enough. This post is a reminder to me – at a crucial time near the end of a prolonged and intense process – to be calm, focused, alert and safe.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Doubt Will Always Be There

Thursday 21 August, 2014

It is said of Richard Feynman, the great 20th century physicist, that when he lectured, his students understood the subject matter clearly, yet as soon as they left the lecture hall their understanding evapourated. I had a similar experience when I wrote and posted the previous entry, ‘Desperate To Belong’. During the writing of it, I had clarity about the injunction of not being allowed to dream and the reasons behind my struggle of wanting to conform but also go my own way. Yet as soon as I published the post, the sadness I had written of returned, followed inevitably by the familiar doubt that maybe I am making the wrong choice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Self-Doubt & Emergency Procedures

Wednesday 13 August, 2014

Once in a while I experience periods of self-doubt. They appear without warning, taint everything, strip me of my confidence, and make me question all that is important to me. It happened to me earlier this year; and last week it happened again. Fortunately, my experience and my writing tell me it doesn’t last forever and there are things I can do to help myself. This post looks at the process of dealing with the doubt, and highlights three aspects which helped to minimise the effect it had on me: (1) the value of recording events; (2) the use of emergency procedures; and (3) the awareness that there is more than one way to deal with things.

Read the rest of this entry »

300 Days

Thursday 24 July, 2014

Every day for the last 300 days I have followed a 25-minute exercise routine. It has been a goal of mine for some time to establish such a habit. There have been numerous attempts over the years with plenty of tinkering along the way to get it right. Early routines were dotted with painful episodes because I overdid things. I pushed myself too hard, in too much of a hurry to make progress. Back problems have littered all previous attempts, enticing me each time to throw in the towel. And I did give up. But I came back to it again and again. This current run is my most successful ever.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Still Breathing?

Friday 13 June, 2014

There were two occasions during the presentation, when the word breathe appeared on the screen. I had put it there for my own benefit, as a reminder for me to take a moment, breathe and calm down. I tend to get excited about my work and any reminder to calm myself is always welcome. After the presentation, my teacher offered me his feedback. He suggested I use more of the breathe slides, adding that they should be the focus of my presentation and the focus of my life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Write Your Own Feedback

Sunday 27 April, 2014

It was the third day of his visit and the end of another productive day of silences, conversations, reading, writing and reflection. I had given the TA presentation in Amsterdam that evening and, as part of the process, I had asked the participants for their written feedback. I explained to them that although it obviously helps me, it is more important for them to take a couple of minutes to reflect for themselves. The exercise will bring more clarity to their experience and reinforce their learning. At home afterwards, as I knelt by the open, floor-level window of my apartment and Karaj sat in the armchair, we reflected on how well it had all gone. Outside, the country was celebrating. It was the first King’s Night here in the Netherlands for 122 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Patterns, Procedures & Routines

Friday 14 March, 2014

There are times when even the best intention to succeed is not enough because events or, more commonly, emotions conspire against us. When that happens, it is worth remembering that there is almost always something you can do about it. This post is a reminder of that, and offers ways to facilitate a more effective process away from those unwanted scenarios.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stay Grounded

Thursday 21 November, 2013

Two things are likely to happen as we progress with our personal development (actually, as we progress with anything). First we get excited, then we stop doing what worked for us in the first place. This post is about the excitement of progress, how important it is to enjoy it and celebrate as much as we can, but also keep our feet on the ground. It is written primarily for a friend, so I don’t have to keep reminding him to do what he knows he needs to do. But it’s also for the rest of us because when our excitement gives rise to complacency we begin to undo all our good work.

Read the rest of this entry »

It All Comes Down To This

Monday 14 October, 2013

When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:

Read the rest of this entry »