Another Step Forward

Wednesday 28 November, 2018

The anger turned to sadness, but still there seemed no way out. There was some shame, too, as there always is, because as hard as I work and as long as I have been focused on improvement, such lapses as I describe in the previous post, always make me wonder whether I am actually getting anywhere. This post and the three which follow are meant to record, in case I doubt myself again, that I am getting somewhere. They also detail how written reflection and a well-intentioned, open discussion are key to dispelling the clouds which obscure the purity of who we truly are.

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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 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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The Silence Was Beautiful

Tuesday 21 August, 2018

Before leaving for the retreat, I reasoned that the silence might take a day or two to get used to. How wrong I was. Even in my initial distraction on that first afternoon, I felt as though I had come home. Nobody talking, no eye contact, no communication of any kind. Just silence and an inward focus. I can only imagine the number and depth of insights experienced by people during those days. All made possible by the silence. It was beautiful, and at times it took my breath away.

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A Very Early Transcript

Tuesday 17 July, 2018

I was looking through my old journals recently, and I found a transcript from a very early group session in which I was asked by Karaj to read from the pages of my journal. At that point I had only been writing for 4½ months. I read two passages, and what follows is the feedback I received. I include this on my blog because it reinforces the power of writing, and because the brief comments from Karaj are hugely reminiscent of how he was in his work. He doesn’t say much in these exchanges but when I read his words I can picture the scene as clearly as if it were happening now, rather than 18 years ago. His comments will also be familiar to the people who attended our recent retreat, because my way of doing things is heavily influenced by what I learnt from Karaj.

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A Magical Retreat

Thursday 12 July, 2018

It was serene and gentle, but equally powerful and intense. The house and surrounding countryside offered immediate peace and quiet, with a faint promise of revelation. It was an environment which heralded the high level of quality we would experience in every facet of the retreat. Attendees arrived with a little apprehension; understandable, really, because there is no way of knowing quite what to expect. It was the same for the trainers. Marcus and I were poised, ready to go down any avenue the process and the people took us; equipped with our versatility and expertise, and a willingness to support and enrich the lives of those bold enough to be themselves.

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When The Novelty Wears Off

Friday 15 June, 2018

The novelty has well and truly worn off my latest attempt to create a new habit. Six weeks ago it began with the intention to get up very early every day and exercise, meditate and write. As I wrote in the previous post, that intention transformed itself a few times, finally becoming a desire to improve my sleeping habits by training my mind more. (This has been an issue for me for years, which itself is a demonstration of the habit forming process – repetition over time.)

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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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Reflection Of What’s There

Tuesday 16 May, 2017

Sitting on the train, I look at the people standing on the platform as they catch themselves in the darkened glass of the train window. They move their head slightly from side to side, but their gaze remains fixed, fascinated by a face they see every day. What is it about our own reflection that captivates us so much? Is it because we make an effort to look good and we like to admire our work? Or are we looking for flaws which might need correcting? Whether it’s admiration, correction, or curious fascination, we require our reflection to be able to do it.

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Yes, It Is That Simple

Sunday 30 April, 2017

We can be forgiven for thinking life is complicated. We can even make allowances for those who expect complicated solutions to life’s problems. But why do we question something just because it’s simple? Perhaps the mind feels insulted, preferring solutions akin to its own complexity. Maybe we struggle to accept the simplicity because it trivialises our predicament. Whatever the reason, the same question can be seen on every face at some point in their personal development: ‘Surely it can’t be that simple?

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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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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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Novelty & Repetition

Tuesday 23 September, 2014

I’m in Northern California for a few weeks, and last Friday a friend took me on a visit to her home town; an idyllic place where coat shops don’t exist because the sun always shines. We drove past the local cinema, outside which a long queue of people had formed. As I was wondering what movie could possibly cause such an extended line of eager people, my friend pointed out that there was a particular technology store a little further down the road. Renowned for their quality and design, and masters of expectation, on this particular day they happened to be selling their brand new phone.

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Leading From Within

Friday 20 June, 2014

This post takes its title from a workshop I was invited to give this week to a global leadership academy. Leadership begins with the self and I wanted people to gain insight into the many thoughts and feelings we have every day, and to share their respective experiences. When we harness the information our mind and body continually make available to us, we become incredibly effective. Observation, reflection and feedback are the mainstays of this work but, ultimately, it’s about connecting with the self first, in order to be able to connect with others.

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