Beyond Expectations

Friday 27 October, 2017

Nothing you ever achieved came as a result of expectations, but you will certainly have experienced disappointment because they were not met. Equally, some of your most memorable times were rooted in a lack of expectations – those evenings you went out even though you didn’t want to; or planned to go home early but stayed out all night because events swept you up and whispered not to think too much but relax and be where you are.

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Observation As The Gateway

Friday 22 September, 2017

If it’s correct that we are so wrapped up in the worldly self and the experience of life, then how do we extricate ourselves from their allure and rest in the true self. One very good way is to observe. While composing this piece, I looked for the earliest example of observation in my writing and found the entry, Silent, Attentive & Aware, which came a week after I had begun my journal. It is a short piece but an excellent description of my early forays into observation and the distinct benefits I gained from it.

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The List

Wednesday 16 August, 2017

What follows is a list of many of the most important 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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Better Than Yesterday

Wednesday 31 May, 2017

There are a few barriers to personal development, but there is nothing in the external world which can compare with the obstacles we place in our own way. It starts with our expectations: we expect too much. It’s not that our goals are unrealistic, it’s just that we seem to want everything too quickly (not to mention with as little effort as possible). This means that, because we are looking for fireworks, we miss the the incremental steps we make every day. Sometimes those changes are so small as to be indiscernible, and if that happens for too many days or weeks in a row, we tend to give up and, before we know it, the show is over.

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Rubbish At Meditation?

Friday 12 May, 2017

Whenever I talk to people about meditation, especially people who are new to it, I tell them I’m rubbish at it. It’s a little exaggerated perhaps, but nevertheless a good reflection of how I often feel. I’ve been doing it at least once a day for over three years, but can’t shake the feeling that I’m not getting very far with it. This blog post looks at the familiar themes behind that feeling – expectation, judgment, comparison, the nature of progress, and the process itself – and concludes that I’m not rubbish at all. It’s all part of the meditation.

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Already Perfect

Wednesday 19 April, 2017

Why is it that when I begin something, or even just contemplate beginning something, my mind immediately turns to thoughts of perfection? TA theory points to my Be Perfect driver saying that, having examined my world at an early age and considered how I could best secure the love, care and attention we all crave, I drew the following conclusion: if I do things perfectly I will be loved.

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Expectations High & Low

Thursday 30 March, 2017

This piece examines what happens when expectations are left to run their course, and how easily and unknowingly we are captured by the mind. It is a reminder of the repetitive nature of this work and the need for vigilance. More than anything, it highlights the importance of reflection in seeing more clearly what is happening and in helping to understand that whilst there is always so much noise on the surface of our persona, the deeper we go, the calmer, more peaceful, and more beautiful we are.

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Yesterday I Was Clever

Wednesday 22 February, 2017

A common desire which people express about their interactions with others, is their wish to see the other person change, or grow, or at least move away from what seem to be unhelpful ways of doing things. We all recognise it. We have all felt the same about someone close to us – a friend, a colleague, or a loved one. The thing is, we cannot change anyone, and the sooner we learn this, the better it is for everyone. The title of this post is taken from a poet’s words about the desire to change others and the wisdom it eventually brings:

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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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Give Yourself Two Years

Friday 26 August, 2016

First comes the relief. Then, as the emotional fog begins to lift and calmness descends, there is clarity. With the clarity comes a renewed sense of purpose, and in the background – feint but nevertheless present – the possibility of success. That’s what happens whenever you give yourself sufficient time and space to achieve whatever it is you want to work on. Two years is usually a good place to start.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Thursday 8 May, 2014

Every birthday was a chance to make a wish, and throughout my childhood I only remember wishing for two things: a pair of roller skates when I was very young, and a proper leather football. Those wishes spanned close to a decade but it was only some years later that I realised both had come true. For the last 25 years I have been wishing for my health and well-being. As with the roller skates and the football, they too have come my way. This post assumes that wishes can come true and asks the inevitable question: if we get what we wish for, then maybe what we already have is something for which we have already wished.

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Acknowledging Our Nature

Tuesday 31 July, 2012

We are not perfect. Far from it. We are able to love, create and nurture but we can also hate, neglect and destroy. When I witness human kindness I am deeply touched. Conversely, when I experience malice I feel dispirited. It is naïve to think we can keep the good and rid ourselves of the bad, but there is something we can do to improve humanity. We can acknowledge our nature. Acknowledge who we are.

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Monday 16 July, 2012

I remember clearly where I was the first time I was told that confusion is a good thing. I was attending a cross-cultural counselling course in 1999 run by Karaj and we had both just arrived. We chatted outside for a while and I happened to say I was confused about something. He just said, ‘That’s good‘. I was intrigued. How could confusion be good?

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An event occurs or a feeling arises and in an instant we make a value judgment about whether it is good or bad, harmful or beneficial. This entry argues that there is a valid evolutionary reason for this process, but that when the same process has more to do with desire than development it ceases to be of benefit to us. It’s about the difference between exploration and expectation. Exploration uses our value judgments as a feedback mechanism to cement discovery and learning. Expectation signifies an attachment to the outcome of events or to particular feelings.

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