Go Slower, Go Deeper

Tuesday 21 January, 2020

For a few weeks now, the pain of a swollen knee has induced a combination of caution and conscious, deliberate movement. More pain, for no obvious reason, and with no clear cause. It affected me mentally as well as physically, and although it has improved gradually, it’s still not quite right. Given what I wrote in the previous post, I have looked deeper to see if there is something I can take from the experience.

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A Master’s Rules

Thursday 31 October, 2019

The following list comprises Thich Nhat Hanh’s 15 Practical Ways To Find Zen at Work. I came across it a few weeks ago. Each point helps to create a new environment for oneself. An alternative way of being. A calmer, more appreciative, more connected existence. In the time since I first read it, I saw another quote from him which underpins what this list is all about: ‘It’s simple: to really relate to the world, you have to first go back and relate to yourself.

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The Mandala Of Personhood

Friday 17 August, 2018

The first thought when I woke up on day two, was a realisation that I am attached to my identity. Just as with the previous day’s insight – everything is a distraction – this is not a new idea. As the sunrise shone through the open window, I lay in contemplation. It didn’t feel like a big deal. My mind started to wander away from the insight. There hadn’t been the revelatory feel I’d had the day before, so I began to question whether I am indeed attached to who I am.

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Focus It All Away

Thursday 21 June, 2018

Life exerts such a guiding influence that, regardless of where we think we want to go, if we relax and engage with it in an open and trusting manner, it will show us the way. It repeatedly leads us back to what we need to see until the integration is complete. This series, which began with an intention to establish a new habit, has led me back to a powerful truth; a subject so familiar that I have old journal entries from 17 and 18 years ago which say much the same thing: Focus is the key to a quiet mind and the dissolution of the self.

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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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The Subtlety Of Feeling

Tuesday 27 May, 2014

On one particular day last month, a client was struggling to get himself going. He had a routine and a plan, and he had procedures in place for when things got difficult, but whenever he tried to get into his work his efforts were thwarted; partly by a lack of motivation but also – and predominantly – by external conditions: a telephone call, technical problems, unexpected visitors. We had spoken often enough about dealing with such obstacles, but on this occasion I shifted the focus to a more detailed level.

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You Think Too Much

Monday 30 September, 2013

People have been telling me for years. And they’re right, I do think too much. In the past, whenever it was pointed out to me, I felt a sense of pride because I thought thinking too much was better than thinking too little. The trick, of course, is to find the balance between the two; to know when it’s necessary to think long and hard, and when it’s better to think only a little or not at all. This post looks at awareness, mindfulness and mastery as tools to harness our thinking process, rather than allow ourselves to be governed or distracted by our thoughts.

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Quietening The Mind

Friday 1 February, 2013

In the previous post I talked about how writing allows thoughts to surface which otherwise have little opportunity to make it to the daylight of our consciousness. Writing is our chance to focus on one aspect of our lives, slow everything down and, in doing so, gain greater control over our thoughts. Meditation has a similar effect. This post looks at the mind’s restless influence and how meditation can help to quieten it.

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Confidence & Self-Belief

Wednesday 16 January, 2013

Confidence is vital. In sport any competitor with confidence in their abilities will excel. In social situations it is a prized asset which allows those who possess it to move freely and comfortably from one interaction to another. And in business and politics it can be a highly persuasive attribute used to inspire or, sadly, to deceive. (The word con is an abbreviation of confidence.)

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Think Whatever You Want

Wednesday 31 October, 2012

I joined a meditation course last month. Our teacher told us that meditation is not about sitting quietly with an empty mind. It’s about becoming aware of the thoughts our mind is producing. More accurately, it is about becoming aware that our mind is thinking at all, rather than the thoughts themselves. Once we become aware, it’s about refocusing our mind by counting our breaths. The counting serves as a simple, purposeful thought designed to help draw the mind away from its random, unfocused ramblings. With awareness we can redirect it to something more useful, more helpful, more constructive. In short, we can think what we want.

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Thursday 10 March, 2011

I worry. I know I do it and sometimes I feel powerless to prevent it. It can often seem like an instinctive reaction but, in fact, it is only a conditioned response. I also have a tendency to get overexcited and when that happens I have been known to injure myself (accidentally). My journal entry for 30th August 2001 is a good example of this although, given the format of this blog, it will not be published until 30.08.2012.

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Be Fully Present

Sunday 24 March, 2002

07.45 E&M 25 mins. As I sat quietly after finishing my exercises I began to feel the negativity. I told myself I have a lot to be positive about (from yesterday alone) and that I should grab hold of it and use it. I also predicted that I would have an initial problem with Robert when we met, as I always do. Consequently, I left the house in a much better frame of mind than I would otherwise have done. When the men arrived I noticed that I did not have to negotiate any hurdle with Robert. The day had started very well.

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Still Complacent

Sunday 3 June, 2001

6.30 E&M 90 mins. I walked to the house this afternoon and felt the same resentment as yesterday for the disturbance to my withdrawal. At the house I enjoyed Kuldip’s company but when Karaj arrived and we came to do some work on the final hedge, I really had no enthusiasm at all. It took well over an hour for me to feel any sort of motivation but, as usual, I eventually felt great for the physical exertion and the accompanying quietening of the mind.

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Focus on My Sensations

Saturday 2 June, 2001

8.30 E&M 90 mins. The meditation went very well. By focusing on my sensations my mind remained very quiet, and I sat very comfortably. I made a start on strengthening my legs too. During my walk I noticed that I can observe my moods and lessen their effect by doing so. For example, on the way to the house I began to resent having to go there because I had enjoyed having the morning to myself and wanted to spend the rest of the day on my own too. However, by observing and being aware of this feeling I did, at least, manage to halt any downward spiral.

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