Focus On Love. That’s All.

Saturday 11 July, 2020

I had a conversation with Karaj about the previous post. We talked about love and he told me to focus on nothing else. For a day or two afterwards, I was left with a profound connection to a love which I have never fully embraced, nor nurtured, nor deliberately explored. His message was that I should acknowledge that I am deeply loved, and that I need to see more clearly what is always there.

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Finding Common Ground

Tuesday 9 June, 2020

I am not one for courting controversy (not any more, at least) and have little interest in posting anything political or contentious online. My writings are, in some measure, influenced by a lesson I learnt in my early 20s – that when people judge you, confirmation bias will drag your past behaviour, comments you made, even unrelated factors, into an unfair and unwavering condemnation. And so it is that I have been content to write about the strength of personal development and offer my contribution to a better world that way.

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The Richness Of Not-Knowing

Wednesday 29 April, 2020

What if you abandoned everything you thought you knew, relinquished your beliefs, and became more acquainted with not-knowing? It’s not a commonly expressed idea, but every time I hear it, it stands out, offering an enticing alternative to our conditioned way of life. It’s a sanctuary, but we treat it like a taboo because from a very early age we fear being mocked or punished or disadvantaged if we don’t know.

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A Better World For Everyone

Tuesday 31 March, 2020

The world is increasingly in lockdown and life as we have hitherto known it is breaking down, yet my recurring thought amongst all the fear and uncertainty is that transformation often comes through suffering. The potential for change is always there, awaiting action or awareness, but as long as we’re comfortable nothing is likely to change. The pain wakes us up and motivates us to move. It screams at us that this cannot be the only way.

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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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A 35-Year Round Trip

Sunday 31 March, 2019

The seeds of where I now stand were sown in my mid-teens. All those years ago I talked to people about how we are products of our environment and the parents and teachers who influenced our lives. It followed that if we could take control of the development process, we could be whoever we want to be. People’s sole response was that, ‘You can’t change who you are.’

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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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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 Conclusion Is Emptiness

Monday 30 October, 2017

The content of this blog stretches back over almost 18 years. It began as a search of the truth of human behaviour, prompted by a curiosity about why people behave the way they do. The short answer, I discovered, is conditioning. In whichever direction we look, it’s there; an intense and intrusive force with a seemingly unstoppable momentum behind it. There are the years of societal conditioning for example; generations of familial conditioning; and centuries of cultural conditioning.

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The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of the most important and most helpful pieces from this blog. The list makes it easy for you to understand at a glance what is necessary in this work. It takes you through the process of self-development and self-realisation – from awareness, observation and reflection… and back to awareness – offering you guidance on what to expect along the way and what you can do to help yourself.

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Begin Again

Friday 28 July, 2017

This entry is an example of what I alluded to in the previous post about using the words of others to remind me of what I easily forget. Listening to a Q&A with Sharon Salzberg, who has been teaching meditation for decades, all it took was two words – begin again – to jog my memory in a number of ways. The first related to her topic: meditation. She explained that when you notice that your thoughts have taken away your attention, start over. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to do it, just begin again. And again, and again. Do that and you’re meditating.

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Distractions Of The Familiar

Wednesday 19 July, 2017

My training was tough at times. It was confrontational and challenging, and I left exhausted but forever different. For years afterwards I questioned the intensity of Karaj’s exacting approach, but in 2014 he and I met again and began a series of conversations about the whole adventure. Time and again we touched on the question of my progress compared to that of the others in the group, but we had so much to talk about that the question repeatedly got lost. Earlier this year he raised it again.

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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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