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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Letting Go On The Bridge

Wednesday 21 September, 2016

There is a bridge near my apartment across which I cycle most days. It has a slalom element at each end which makes it fun to negotiate, especially when the bridge is empty. Every time I cycle towards it, I want a clear path. I want it to be easy, smooth and enjoyable. But the path isn’t always clear because half the time there are people on it. Some are tourists taking photos, some are locals going about their day, and others are just like me: people on their bikes hoping for a clear run. Over the past few weeks that bridge has become the place where I practise letting go.

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Lead By Example

Monday 12 September, 2016

It has been an issue of mine for years. I am always trying to prove myself. Karaj highlighted it back in 2003, yet still I seem to be seeking confirmation from others, validation that I am okay and doing well, when there is no need for any of it. Slowly, however, I am learning to be quiet and keep my own counsel. The silence allows me to be more at peace with myself and my work. It urges me to trust myself more, relax with who I am, stop projecting, and just be.

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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.

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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.

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Desperate To Belong

Tuesday 19 August, 2014

We talked into the early hours of the morning, and he explained to me how I am torn between my need to belong and my desire to go my own way. For years I have been frustrated by the world and my place in it, feeling that if only the world were more like me, then I wouldn’t have to struggle in isolation. In my moments of clarity I reprimand myself, saying it’s my problem, not the world’s, and that if I really had the courage of my own convictions I would stride on down my chosen path, without the need for the world to come with me and keep me company.

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No Past, No Future, Just Today

Tuesday 15 April, 2014

I was woken last Saturday at 06:30 by a phone call from a good friend on the other side of the world. We caught up on the recent events of our respective lives, re-connecting with a familiar ease and appreciation. As our conversation drew to a close he told me to have a great day, adding the simplest of instructions: ‘No past, no future, just today.‘ His words reminded me of the book I am reading; a book I was prompted to pick up again after another recent contact with a different friend.

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Acceptance & Permission

Sunday 16 March, 2014

The previous post was all about dealing with undesirable situations in a procedural way. This one looks at the flip side of that approach, suggesting that sometimes it is better just to accept where and who we are, and give ourselves the permission to be. In doing so, we can relax and conserve our energy, or focus it more effectively, instead of struggling against what is often just a natural part of life’s process.

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