Forgetting & Remembering

Tuesday 15 January, 2019

The previous post was all about gathering the most useful prompts to remind me of what I want to be doing every day this year: Letting go and being empty. This post is primarily meant to help, too, because as I have written before, we forget. We are distracted so easily by life and the world, that our focus is often restricted to mere seconds. The distractions are so frequent and persuasive that it might be hours before we eventually remember to return to even the simplest of practices – breathing, for example. When those stretches of time continue for more than a few days, the new habit is forgotten; swallowed up by the swirling familiarity of immediate life.

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Let Go. Be Empty.

Wednesday 9 January, 2019

This collection of quotes from various posts (mostly from last year) are meant to serve as reminders in my daily practice of letting go, remaining in the emptiness, and experiencing all of life in the purity of its momentary essence, without expectation, judgement or attachment. There are also quotes from the days in November when I was too tempted by my mind. They have been included here as a reminder to remain vigilant and not get cocky.

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Mastering The Climb

Thursday 3 January, 2019

The aim of this post is to record what I need to be doing to ensure that the life-changing events of last year do indeed change my life, rather than slip gradually out of sight and become more like obscured signposts. The title comes from a thought I had whilst watching a talk (linked below) by the free solo climber Alex Honnold, who spoke of his meticulous preparation for an ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

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One Year, Three Retreats

Wednesday 26 December, 2018

When I began to write this review of 2018, I couldn’t see much beyond the two main experiences of the year. The Silent Retreat, and what can perhaps be referred to as the Angry Retreat. Each provided a breakthrough which has the potential to transform my life. They help to emphasise this year as both the culmination of 19 years of work, and the beginning of the rest of my life; a turning point in my development, taking me further away from my conditioning and towards the emptiness which has so informed my writing since the end of last year.

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The Arena Of Transformation

Monday 17 December, 2018

The previous five posts show how it is possible to transform a difficult experience into a burgeoning source of learning and development. They also provide insight into the idea of punctuated equilibrium: how it can feel as though one is not moving (or even going backwards), before suddenly being thrust forwards onto a new level. This post is the last in this series, and takes a general look at what happened, placing it in the context of a number of different areas:

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A Mental Breakthrough

Tuesday 11 December, 2018

The fourth meeting was the sales pitch we had been working towards for the past few months. It took place at a company in Amsterdam, but had been in jeopardy up until a week before. In light of earlier events, we were not sure whether it should go ahead. I needed to be ready and it looked very much as if I wasn’t. Thankfully, our reflection session opened the door again, and on the day itself, having delivered a good pitch in rehearsal, I made sure I practised it another three or four times to myself. I was ready.

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This Is Not Who You Are

Wednesday 5 December, 2018

The words came when she asked me how I wanted to be in the third meeting. We agreed on open, loving and calm. She wrote them on my hand because it was far from certain whether I could embody them. I was still smouldering on the inside, struggling to extricate my Self from myself. As it turned out, it was a breeze. The reflection session went very well.

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Remember Your Starting Point

Thursday 29 November, 2018

During the whole episode, I was not the only one to question whether it is even possible to change oneself. It’s an obvious and natural question to ask when we fall back so heavily into the habits we say we wish to change. The question feels loaded, as if there is only one conclusion: No, it isn’t possible. No wonder I had such a strong urge to walk away during those two weeks. But there is another perspective: This is a lifelong process, there is always work to be done, and (believe it or not) you are progressing every day. Seen in that way, it helps enormously to remember where you started.

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Another Step Forward

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

The anger turned to sadness, but still there seemed no way out. There was some shame, too, as there always is, because as hard as I work and as long as I have been focused on improvement, such lapses as I describe in the previous post, always make me wonder whether I am actually getting anywhere. This post and the three which follow are meant to record, in case I doubt myself again, that I am getting somewhere. They also detail how written reflection and a well-intentioned, open discussion are key to dispelling the clouds which obscure the purity of who we truly are.

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It All Feels So Real

Saturday 24 November, 2018

I was caught out again recently; dragged once more, over the course of two discussions, into the world of emotions. They are so unbelievably real at the time. There seems no room for anything else apart from the strength of feeling and the conviction of thoughts which support and perpetuate. When the fog lifts and the chance comes to reflect, it is clear just how tricky it can be to remain centred in the Self when the pull of worldly existence is so convincingly real.

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Tending Your Garden

Tuesday 20 November, 2018

Over the years it became overgrown.
But it was cared for once,
At the beginning.
By others who loved and nurtured it.

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Shut Up & Listen

Thursday 18 October, 2018

A friend read my book and decided to try something out. Whilst reading, he had come across repeated encouragements to be quiet and just listen or observe what happens. He decided to give it a go. In a familiar environment, among friends with whom he would normally engage comfortably and confidently, he decided to shut up and listen. Resisting the pull to get involved, and without the distraction of interaction, he saw others’ behaviour more clearly. They were so wrapped up in their own stories, for example, that no-one even noticed he was quieter than usual.

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Stop Searching, Look Inside

Wednesday 17 October, 2018

Three years ago I finished wringing everything I could from my training journals. Having taken time to edit them thoroughly for my blog, I then edited the most suitable ones again and again (and again) for the book. I spent almost five years examining my own detailed reflections from an intense period of learning. It left me wondering where to go next with my development. When I eventually found what I was searching for (in Self Enquiry and the Silent Retreat), I saw that I’d had everything all along. All I needed to do was continue what I had been doing, and see it through to its ultimate conclusion.

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The Team & The Individual

Monday 15 October, 2018

The best thing you can do for your team is to work on yourself. If everyone does that, and people support each other in their respective development, the team will grow and mature. So, too, will the individual. PRACTICE and DISCIPLINE are the foundations of the work. They are qualities you will need to return to again and again as you seek to change certain habits. It can be difficult at first, but if you pay close attention you will be able to SEE YOUR PROGRESS, no matter how small. And it’s important that you see the small steps, because if you wait for the big leaps you will easily become downhearted.

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