What Should I Write?

Monday 25 November, 2019

For people new to written reflection, the first question they often ask is, ‘What should I write?’ My answer is always the same: ‘It doesn’t matter. There’s no right or wrong. You can write whatever you like. To begin with it’s not important what you write. What’s important is that you write.’ This blog post aims to provide a little more texture to that response, as well as a few ideas for where to begin.

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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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Retreat Insights & Learning

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

This entry is a brief summary of what I took from the summer retreat. Just because I was working, there is no reason why I cannot gain insight and learning. That’s one of the things which Karaj always instilled in us – every experience is a chance to learn. Such an outlook ensures continual improvement, whilst also helping to cultivate humility. Here’s what I took from those 2½ days:

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Slow & Steady

Friday 6 July, 2018

I thought I might be able to summarise the essence of our first retreat in one blog post, but I’m not even going to try. Instead, I shall simply begin with this entry, in the hope that the rest will emerge in a manner in keeping with the title of this post. It uses an example from our weekend which made us smile and laugh throughout. It shows how one simple comment can open up into a world of information and learning for all involved; and how returning to the lessons can reinforce a simple yet powerful habit without any effort at all.

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Use Whatever You Learn

Wednesday 9 May, 2018

Using the same example as the previous post – creating a new habit of early morning exercise, meditation and writing – this post is a reminder of the benefit of using everything you learn to make it easier for yourself. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t always what we do. Look at your own life and examine how many times you had to make the same mistake before you learnt the lesson. At the time, we swear we won’t forget, and we assure ourselves (and others) that it won’t happen again, but then it does.

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Use Life To Make Life Easier

Monday 13 February, 2017

Who wouldn’t want to make their life easier? Whenever I see a list of the things we apparently need to be doing in order to improve our lives, the same six instructions keep appearing: Eat well, sleep, exercise, meditate, reflect, and be grateful. That’s it. If we do those six things every day, we’ll live a better life. And it’s true. It works. Furthermore, everything on that list is simple to understand and easy to do.

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Journeys Within Journeys

Thursday 2 October, 2014

In the days before I set off to spend a month in the sunshine, there was reluctance. I had booked the trip primarily out of need, rather than desire. Desire alone would not have sufficed to make it happen, because I have come to value routine over adventure; repetition over novelty. These past weeks have re-awakened the adventurous side of my character in the most gentle way possible: within the secure friendship of good people, and in a beautiful, warm part of the world where everything was in place for me to create my normal routine, meet new people, indulge ever more effortlessly in new experiences, and see myself in sharper focus.

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Make Sure You’re Okay

Wednesday 30 July, 2014

The inspiration for this post comes from the very beginning of my training, almost 15 years ago. It was the first men’s group I attended, a few weeks before I began writing my journal. As the newest member of the group and the youngest by a number of years, it was a new experience for me and I was unsure of the format and my place in the evening’s events. So I sought solace and security in my default behaviour: say nothing and watch what happens, all the while looking for clues on how to behave and how best to fit in. I have two main memories of the occasion. The first relates to the goals I had been asked to write down prior to the group. The other is of an answer to a question, the simplicity and power of which has stayed with me ever since.

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300 Days

Thursday 24 July, 2014

Every day for the last 300 days I have followed a 25-minute exercise routine. It has been a goal of mine for some time to establish such a habit. There have been numerous attempts over the years with plenty of tinkering along the way to get it right. Early routines were dotted with painful episodes because I overdid things. I pushed myself too hard, in too much of a hurry to make progress. Back problems have littered all previous attempts, enticing me each time to throw in the towel. And I did give up. But I came back to it again and again. This current run is my most successful ever.

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It All Comes Down To This

Monday 14 October, 2013

When we forget the simplicity of it all, or we’re convinced there must be another way; when we are stuck, or frustrated by the lack of novelty, this is the post to read. It’s a reminder of the value of repetition and practise. Every day, every minute, every breath. In the end, it all comes down to this:

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It Can Happen In An Instant

Sunday 31 March, 2013

My morning exercises get a regular mention in these pages. I have used them to highlight the benefits of discipline and routine; of doing something in awareness; and of pushing through to the very end. But this is one aspect I was unsure I’d get to write about, although I shouldn’t be too surprised. It’s about how persistence pays off; proof that you were right to carry on even though prospects appeared bleak sometimes; and that it can all change in an instant.

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The Struggle Is Ongoing

Monday 20 October, 2003

Karaj, Shona and I sat together at the start of the day. When Karaj mentioned the fact that Simran (and others) missed an opportunity to sort something out for Priya yesterday, Shona resurrected her jealousy regarding Priya. The ensuing discussion was a long and heated one. I felt some despair at being involved, but mainly it brought up the feelings I have had recently about Karaj and this place. I heard Shona saying precisely the things I have had running through my head over the last weeks, and I wondered why it is that those closest to him reach the same conclusions.

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Back To The Beginning

Sunday 19 October, 2003

Supervision. (Karaj, Simran, Dev, Priya, Michelle, Shona and me). Karaj and the others prepared for their trip to Priya’s to sort out her house and garden. I reflected on yesterday: the togetherness of the men and the quality of Ishwar’s work. Karaj told me that the quality of everyone’s work has always been there but I go blind to it all because of my intellect and arrogance; I don’t want to see it. Same goes for my own brilliance. I go blind to it. Karaj told me to reflect today and look at what needs doing rather than relying on him to sort things out. I need to look at what we need to sort out in the office so that we can hand it over and go out into the world.

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Deciding In Every Instant

Thursday 9 October, 2003

Karaj talked to Ishwar about me as if I weren’t there. The implication was that I am not going to be here for  much longer – can’t argue with that – and Karaj ended by saying, ‘I have done all I can for Jonathan. If I try to do any more I will kill him – I’ll do what his parents have done. There is nothing for Jonathan to do except practice what he has learnt here.’ There was some more about choosing to be with winners, and that if I do not own what I have achieved here and how good I am, then I will walk out myself.

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