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 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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Connecting In The Stillness

Monday 8 October, 2018

I attended another event from Mind Work Productions. (See also, ‘Courage In The Darkness’.) A whole afternoon of workshops and connection. I felt at home, but I also felt reluctance; not only at the invitation to leave my comfort zone, but also the confrontation of having no real choice. It was an almost breathless journey towards familiarity – familiarity with the environment, with the people, and with the self. This blog post focuses on the three main insights I took from two of the workshops I attended.

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Five Years Later

Sunday 30 September, 2018

When I began, there was no thought about making it beyond the first 100 days. However, the more I carried on, the more inevitable it became. Each milestone made it easier to continue, and each played its part in carrying me to where I am now, five years later. I have recorded my progress on two previous occasions. (See ‘300 Days’ and ‘One Thousand Days’.) What follows are my latest observations of what I have gained from doing a 25-minute exercise routine every day for 1,829 days.

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Courage In The Darkness

Saturday 22 September, 2018

Whenever I see something growing through a crack in the pavement, I remark on life’s incredible ability to flourish in places you might not expect. That thought occurred to me again, the morning after a lunch experience in a pitch-black restaurant, and a talk by a man who had gradually lost his sight. In the absolute darkness, after enjoying an unseen meal with a roomful of voice-only strangers, Joost’s own voice rose up above the general chatter.

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A Shift Of Perspective

Tuesday 18 September, 2018

In the previous post, I talked about how it can take years for certain steps to be taken, even when things seem to be in place for progress to occur. Sometimes we are simply not ready. This is due in part to our conviction that the way we see the world is the only way to see it. No other perspectives exist, or if they do they are out of reach and out of sight, too easily dismissed or ignored in favour of the familiar. (A version of this occurs when two people vehemently disagree with each other’s view of the world.)

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Always Where We Need To Be

Wednesday 12 September, 2018

I finally read a book which has been on my bookshelf for more than two decades. I’ve dipped into it every so often over the years, but on each occasion a feeling would surface that the material was out of reach of my understanding. Sufficiently out of reach, in fact, that perseverance never seemed a worthwhile option.

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