A 35-Year Round Trip

Sunday 31 March, 2019

During the recording of Episode 4 of the Tile 9 video, A Proper Introduction, I talked about how 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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Let Go. Be Empty.

Wednesday 9 January, 2019

This collection of quotes from various posts (mostly from last year) are meant to serve as reminders in my daily practice of letting go, remaining in the emptiness, and experiencing all of life in the purity of its momentary essence, without expectation, judgement or attachment. There are also quotes from the days in November when I was too tempted by my mind. They have been included here as a reminder to remain vigilant and not get cocky.

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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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Shut Up & Listen

Thursday 18 October, 2018

A friend read my book and decided to try something out. Whilst reading, he had come across repeated encouragements to be quiet and just listen or observe what happens. He decided to give it a go. In a familiar environment, among friends with whom he would normally engage comfortably and confidently, he decided to shut up and listen. Resisting the pull to get involved, and without the distraction of interaction, he saw others’ behaviour more clearly. They were so wrapped up in their own stories, for example, that no-one even noticed he was quieter than usual.

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Connecting In The Stillness

Monday 8 October, 2018

I attended another event from Mind Work Productions. (See also, ‘Courage In The Darkness’.) A whole afternoon of workshops and connection. I felt at home, but I also felt reluctance; not only at the invitation to leave my comfort zone, but also the confrontation of having no real choice. It was an almost breathless journey towards familiarity – familiarity with the environment, with the people, and with the self. This blog post focuses on the three main insights I took from two of the workshops I attended.

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Update – One Week On

Thursday 23 August, 2018

Just over a week has gone by since the end of the silent retreat. Initially, I had wondered how long the effects would last. Given the previous post, it’s no surprise to report that the effects are still there. The intensity from the silence and the satsangs has understandably dropped off a little, but there is a fundamental change to how I feel. And it’s building momentum. It is precisely as Mooji had said: The more you are with the is-ness, the more it will draw you in.

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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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Observing From The Is-ness

Saturday 18 August, 2018

Day three began with doubt and ended with laughter. The laughter had a purity to it. It arose in the lottery queue for the evening Satsang, as 900 people stood in 15 lines waiting for lots to be drawn. Those lots determined in which order we would file into the hall. It started at the back of the block and spread in gentle waves throughout the silent crowd. Mooji had referred to someone’s joyful laughter the previous evening, saying, ‘There is no way that this laughter comes from the mind’. So maybe what I was hearing from myself and the pockets of people around me, was the sound of the is-ness. In any case, it was a very different feeling to how the day had begun.

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Everything Is A Distraction

Thursday 16 August, 2018

What surprised me most about the first few hours, was how distracted I was. Having registered, found my room, and left one final voice message for her, I walked around the castle grounds, doing what I thought people did on a silent retreat. I was quiet. But others were still talking. That was perplexing, but not necessarily distracting. My attention, instead, had been captured by the people themselves.

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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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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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Beyond The Noise

Sunday 9 April, 2017

Beyond the enticing noise of experience and identity, there is a silent place of observation. A place without judgement or questioning. We’re unaware of it because we are so caught up in the surface-level events of life. It makes sense for us to be that way, with our focus so intensely on the world and the self, because it’s a good survival strategy.

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Inhabiting The Silence

Friday 17 February, 2017

During a conversation this week about my desire to be quieter, a friend demonstrated the kind of action I associate with people who are in tune with themselves. Pausing for a moment, she reflected before offering the thought which had come to her. Conveying messages in such a way suggests that we are sometimes just channels for each other; gateways, open to the infinite, allowing whatever is on the other side to pass through in its purest form. The information appears to come from nowhere, and when we honour our role in its delivery, we are able to glimpse the simplicity of existence.

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Be Quiet, Be Still, & Listen

Saturday 24 December, 2016

If there is one thing which this year has demonstrated more than anything else, it is that we find it infuriatingly difficult to listen to opinions which are contrary to our own. The postmortem discussions following the UK referendum and the US election were at times hysterical and exaggerated, but eventually also insightful. It turns out we have a problem performing the simplest of tasks; one which could fast track our evolution: listening. As someone close to me always says: ‘People just want to be heard.’ Unfortunately, we can barely hear each other over the sound of our own voices. There are too many people making too much noise.

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