A Very Early Transcript

Tuesday 17 July, 2018

I was looking through my old journals recently, and I found a transcript from a very early group session in which I was asked by Karaj to read from the pages of my journal. At that point I had only been writing for 4½ months. I read two passages, and what follows is the feedback I received. I include this on my blog because it reinforces the power of writing, and because the brief comments from Karaj are hugely reminiscent of how he was in his work. He doesn’t say much in these exchanges but when I read his words I can picture the scene as clearly as if it were happening now, rather than 18 years ago. His comments will also be familiar to the people who attended our recent retreat, because my way of doing things is heavily influenced by what I learnt from Karaj.

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A Magical Retreat

Thursday 12 July, 2018

It was serene and gentle, but equally powerful and intense. The house and surrounding countryside offered immediate peace and quiet, with a faint promise of revelation. It was an environment which heralded the high level of quality we would experience in every facet of the retreat. Attendees arrived with a little apprehension; understandable, really, because there is no way of knowing quite what to expect. It was the same for the trainers. Marcus and I were poised, ready to go down any avenue the process and the people took us; equipped with our versatility and expertise, and a willingness to support and enrich the lives of those bold enough to be themselves.

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Slow & Steady

Friday 6 July, 2018

I thought I might be able to summarise the essence of our first retreat in one blog post, but I’m not even going to try. Instead, I shall simply begin with this entry, in the hope that the rest will emerge in a manner in keeping with the title of this post. It uses an example from our weekend which made us smile and laugh throughout. It shows how one simple comment can open up into a world of information and learning for all involved; and how returning to the lessons can reinforce a simple yet powerful habit without any effort at all.

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Focus It All Away

Thursday 21 June, 2018

Life exerts such a guiding influence that, regardless of where we think we want to go, if we relax and engage with it in an open and trusting manner, it will show us the way. It repeatedly leads us back to what we need to see until the integration is complete. This series, which began with an intention to establish a new habit, has led me back to a powerful truth; a subject so familiar that I have old journal entries from 17 and 18 years ago which say much the same thing: Focus is the key to a quiet mind and the dissolution of the self.

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When The Novelty Wears Off

Friday 15 June, 2018

The novelty has well and truly worn off my latest attempt to create a new habit. Six weeks ago it began with the intention to get up very early every day and exercise, meditate and write. As I wrote in the previous post, that intention transformed itself a few times, finally becoming a desire to improve my sleeping habits by training my mind more. (This has been an issue for me for years, which itself is a demonstration of the habit forming process – repetition over time.)

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The Best Time To Plant A Tree

Thursday 7 June, 2018

When faced with something we consider to be a mammoth task – and behavioural change can certainly fall into that category – it’s easy to feel daunted, or to find reasons not to make a start. It is particularly difficult when life is hard and everything seems to be going against us. But it is especially when problems appear insurmountable that we must remind ourselves of the importance of taking one step, and the wisdom of what time can do for us. We can, therefore, take great encouragement from this saying:

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Step Into Emergence

Tuesday 29 May, 2018

Prior to any undertaking, it is impossible to predict exactly what will happen. Only through some form of commitment – no matter how large or small – does the path ahead begin to take shape. This is the fourth post in the ‘Creating A New Habit’ series. It seeks to explain that, as we step into the unknown, all we can predict with any certainty is that emergent properties will arise as a result of the self-organising power of life itself.

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A Break In The Routine

Wednesday 16 May, 2018

Twelve days into creating the new early morning habit, a familiar obstacle came into view: a break in the routine. It can happen for a number of reasons (in my case it was a two-day trip to see friends) but when it comes it can be surprisingly disorienting. It’s almost unavoidable to begin with, so don’t be hard on yourself when it happens, take a deep breath, and get back into your routine as soon as you can. The longer the break, the more difficult it becomes to find your way back.

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Use Whatever You Learn

Wednesday 9 May, 2018

Using the same example as the previous post – creating a new habit of early morning exercise, meditation and writing – this post is a reminder of the benefit of using everything you learn to make it easier for yourself. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t always what we do. Look at your own life and examine how many times you had to make the same mistake before you learnt the lesson. At the time, we swear we won’t forget, and we assure ourselves (and others) that it won’t happen again, but then it does.

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Creating A New Habit

Tuesday 1 May, 2018

How easy is it to create a new habit? That depends on the habit. Bad ones are a breeze and can develop without us noticing. Good ones, on the other hand, always seem to involve some discipline, effort or sacrifice – those not-so-magic words which can immediately put people off. This and subsequent posts will follow my own attempts to create a new habit, offering insights into the process so that you can see for yourself what happens, what is necessary, and what to look out for.

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A Balance Of Mind & Body

Saturday 28 April, 2018

This entry is a summary of the kind of effect which Marcus and I will be offering during our retreat in June. It comes from a friend of mine who, having gone straight to the gym from our coffee conversation, noticed how well he felt after his workout because he’d given his mind something deep and meaningful to contemplate, and his body the kind of workout our bodies are born to do, but so rarely get the chance to enjoy.

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Outside & Inside

Friday 20 April, 2018

As explored in the previous two posts*, we need regular reminders in order to remain on track with the life we prefer to lead and the person we wish to be. Those reminders can be simple instructions; or they can take the form of retreats, where we immerse ourselves in our lifestyle of choice and gain some momentum to take back with us into our regular lives.

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Retreats & Reminders

Thursday 19 April, 2018

Assuming there is a desire to learn in the way addressed in the previous post, what can we do? How might we create the learning pressure and supportive prompting which proved so effective for us in our early years? The answer can be found in retreats and reminders, two things which are designed to provide us with the environment to be able to practise our chosen way of being, and the cues to return there when we forget.

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Childish Learning

Wednesday 18 April, 2018

Imagine if someone followed you around all day, observing what goes on around you and asking questions. Questions about what’s happening with you and the interplay between external events and your perception of those events. Imagine if that person had the singular focus to make sure you gained as much from the day as possible, halting the process where necessary to ask for your appraisal and your feedback and then giving you theirs:

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