A Conversation About Dying

Tuesday 19 May, 2020

Two days ago I talked with someone about death and dying. It was an open, accepting and honest conversation full of liberation and beauty. The person with whom I spoke has suffered so much for so many years that, even at their relatively young age, they are ready for an end to it all. If life happens to improve soon, then great, that’s one way for the pain to end. But they are no longer holding out any hope, having already sailed over that particular horizon. Another way for the pain to end is death, and the more we talked about it and embraced the idea as a realistic possibility imbued with permission and blessing, the lighter and more beautiful the conversation became.

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Make Peace With Your Truth

Wednesday 22 April, 2020

This is the second assignment from the course mentioned in the previous post. The session itself was entitled, Navigating Uncertainty, and the main message of the lesson was not necessarily that we need take any action, nor that we can passively expect something to come our way, but that we are more likely to act ‘when we make peace with the truth‘. The assignment, therefore, was this:

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It Was Never Just A Colour

Wednesday 25 March, 2020

Pink has always been my favourite colour. But for decades, paradoxically, it wasn’t. At some point in my childhood, I chose a different one. At the time, I didn’t realise any of the significance of what was happening. I just thought to myself, ‘Okay, people seem to have a favourite colour, so mine is red.’ It was only much later – 30 years later – that I fully reclaimed my true colour. This post is the story of how the innocence of a simple colour became the basis for a stifling injunction. It is also highlights how our treatment (good or bad) of each other can have staggering effects.

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When Trust Is Present

Thursday 30 January, 2020

Scrolling through the blog archive, I came across an entry called ‘It’s What You Say, Not How You Say It’. It addresses a small element of a much broader experience highlighted by Karaj during an intense day of forensic feedback. I remember the lesson well and the title is correct, but every time I encounter it, I am always left questioning whether the elements of that line should be reversed.

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Beyond Caring

Thursday 7 March, 2019

I recorded the second episode of the Tile9 podcast this week. In each episode I read from my book, stopping to relate the entries to all 9 Tiles of The Instruction Manual. During the recording, there were a number of lines which reminded me of something Karaj had said to me during a phone call two days earlier.

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One Instruction: Let Go

Wednesday 27 February, 2019

This post is an intriguing example of what happens when you let go. It reaffirms the old issues of how easily the mind can dominate; how convinced we can be by its stories; how it takes effort and intent to release ourselves from their entanglement; and how life really looks when you see the truth beyond the veneer.

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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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Astonishingly Simple

Tuesday 11 July, 2017

Standing on my head, looking across the room at the empty wall, I wondered whether I might put a poster there, upside down, to remind me of a few simple things I forget to do on a daily basis. Simple but powerful practices which, when done regularly and in a focused way, can improve my life. A couple of days later I thought about it again and three things came to mind: smile, breathe, and let go. This post is about the astonishingly simple things which can transform our experience of ourselves and of life itself, and how important it is to practise them whenever we can because, when we need them most, they can be slippery and elusive.

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It Is What It Is

Thursday 15 June, 2017

In 2001, during my recovery from back surgery, the physiotherapist explained, ‘You will have good days and you will have bad days. On your good days, don’t overdo it!’ There is so much wisdom in that advice because, indeed, there are days when things work, and there are days when they don’t. Equally, just as it is important not to get too excited and carried away on the good days, it is also wise not to allow yourself to get too down on the difficult days.

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We Think We Know

Saturday 27 May, 2017

We think we know, but we don’t. We think we have a good idea of how life should be – our own life, other people’s lives, life in general – but we don’t. Given the magnitude of it all and the small scales we operate on, how can we possibly think we can see the biggest picture? From our narrow perspective it’s unfathomable, and with our arrogance of assuming we know, we restrict ourselves and make life unnecessarily complicated.

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Back Again, But Different

Monday 6 March, 2017

There’s a glorious moment of not-knowing first thing in the morning. Just on the edge of wakefulness, as consciousness beckons, life takes a deep, silent breath and waits. In that moment, before reality comes rushing back in, potential is at its peak. Everything is possible because nothing yet exists. Nothing of our past is present, and the future can’t exist because it has no present to work with. There is only emptiness and silence, both waiting to be filled with whatever comes their way.

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Life Is Unimaginably Large

Tuesday 31 January, 2017

Everyone at some point in their life – whether out of desperation or curiosity – has wondered about the meaning or purpose of life. It’s the biggest question there is; and the reason the answer is so elusive is because life itself is so unimaginably large. We struggle to wrap our heads around the size and scope of it and yet, paradoxically, we are life. Fortunately, as I discovered years ago, the solution lies within the paradox. It helps to see life as a fractal, in which the whole is contained in every part: we are a fraction of life, and yet every feature of life is within each of us.

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Distracted By The Shiny Stuff

Thursday 15 December, 2016

This year it has become clear to me why we are so easily distracted by the shiny stuff, even when the evidence tells us that consumption does not offer long-term contentment: We think this is all there is. We have no idea that there is an alternative. For so many of us there is only the physical plane. Anything which might exist beyond what we perceive with our immediate senses is too abstract for our rational minds to comprehend. We see only what is there, and we dismiss all notions of what might exist beyond that. Life, therefore, quickly becomes focused on the pursuit of earthly pleasures and the avoidance of any kind of pain.

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TS 18 – Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Monday 14 November, 2016

Although I didn’t know it at the time, this turned out to be the last of these seminars. I thought I might do a few more, but the way this one ended was the perfect way to round off a series of talks, blogs, and videos which cover so much of what personal development work is all about. The topic itself is also a suitable way to finish: see yourself clearly, acknowledge your beauty and power, and celebrate your uniqueness; whilst all the time knowing that, paradoxically, you are also one with everyone and everything else in existence.

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