Friday, September 28, 2007

finding my Space

I really enjoyed the blog by Mo “a nice way to live”. It’s something that I’ve been giving some thought to recently. We’re here in the world bobbing along, and we all want to live in a happier and more peaceful way right? It’s as if there is a perfect fit between us all, where there is love, respect and harmony – sometimes I’m there sometimes I’m not, it feels like it’s something to do with knowing my place. When we just look at our own lives and step away from the world at large, we can see in our day to day living when we do experience being in tune with others, and in the moment. We sometimes see this when the pressure is off or at extreme moments in life where we “do the right thing” without even thinking about it. I was asking myself apart from meditating every day and being aware of myself as spiritual being, that has an eternal and unique connection with the Source how can I really begin to learn what my unique specialities (gifts) are, and begin to understand exactly what I have been given. The feeling I get sometimes is that I have just gone a bit wayward, and it’s this that distorts my reality and causes the turbulence every now and then.

When I stood back a few question came to mind, where does my happiness come from, and what do I really think is my purpose at this time? (I have been asking this for a long time now and it feels as if it is starting to unravel, I feel like I know it at a high level I just want to connect more to it)

In this game of life, it could be said that we are creating our lives as we speak, through our thoughts and actions and we are then responding to that creation (1st cause and then effect). I was thinking to myself my value and happiness is not in the “final product” like doing a task well, or even helping someone out. My value is in the response if I choose to put my value into my responses. It has really made me think about what is my speciality is and how in a way it is my greatest weakness. My part is so different to everyone else’s just as your's is. So if we never compare ourselves (to the good or bad in others) and their final products or their responses, I can be happy, and be happy to facilitate bringing the best out in everyone and their specialities. A bit like a great, Mum. A great Mum has the heart to always see the best in her kids even if they are playing up a bit, because they belong to her. I need make this more tangible it’s been at the crux of my spiritual development for sometime now. Thinking in this way and putting the value on myself in this way does make me feel like I could let go of old weaknesses and begin to be in harmony more, be more respectful of myself and others, more real. I don’t have to be great at anything particularly, I think that’s someone else’s job (Don’t tell my boss I said that). Years ago I came across a really nice definition of what it means to have Good wishes. “My heart is filled with recognition of the value of others. I feel I want them to do well and be successful. The success of others is really my success”. It makes you think hey?

I need to give this some more thought, for now it feels like I’m on the right track…. Let’s see what the week brings. I’ll keep this with me and give it some thought each day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Teachers I

Decades ago, one old monk at school told us the following story: as a young novice, it had been his task to rise especially early, before the others in his community, and fill and light all the oil-lamps in the Abbey, in preparation for the first prayer of the day.

In the days before the mass electrification of the country, one can imagine how a bitter English night must have felt inside the dark vaulted interior of the place; the pale limestone walls cold and echoing, whilst one slight and shivering figure shuffled a jerry-can of black lamp-oil from station to station, with only an old set of wooden library steps to assist him in reaching up for the empty lamps, then replacing them again, full and unwieldly, with increasingly tired outstretched arms.

One morning, due to whatever combination of cold and tiredness, the inevitable occured, and, in some dark corner behind the alter, down fell one of the lamps, full of bitumous liquid, though, luckily for the mortified novice, not yet lit. The porous stone almost immediately soaked up the oil, and despite his best efforts that day, and for years to come, the floor of the Abbey remained indelibly marked with a dark splash where the old oil lamp had shattered.

Our old monk probably never forgot the lesson, about taking care of the smallest things, as everything leaves a lasting impression; last February, in an Abbey now better heated and lit, like everywhere else, after the old monk's funeral, I went looking, and, there, still, was a faint darkening in the smooth stone floor.

Not all mistakes are bad, not when they can still teach long after the teacher is gone and forgotten.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Annie Lenox has a beautiful song:
‘Hey, hey I saved the world today
Everybody is happy now'
This is how I felt yesterday.
‘I killed my ego yesterday!
Everybody is happy now!’
I had to go and talk to someone but my ego was saying, no, nO, NO! Then an image jumped into my mind. I saw myself on a cinema screen, the audience is watching holding their breath. They know if I go and talk to my friend, the film will end happily. They can see this because they are not hearing the strong recommendations and reasoning of my ego. I was hearing them saying: ‘Come on, go and speak to her!’ I said, okay then, and I did! It was so cool! The conflict was resolved. I could hear the audience cheering happily and clapping, it was like living in a sitcom! Then I thought about it. How could I kill my ego? Where did I get the power?
Then it clicked, I was practising ‘suddenly dropping a wall’ between the chattering of my mind and myself on that day. I was just going inside, and saying to myself; ‘it is so nice to be in here’. I was trying to feel relaxed, as if I was lying in a hot bath or something. Just realising that space inside me; makes it easy to access at times of need! Try and please share the comments of your audience!

Monday, September 24, 2007

the monks next door...

Not sure if you can see what this image is (I took the photo from my window) - I work from home...and everyday I look out onto the sky and directly opposite to another window where for the past few months they've had this cardboard box resting against the window and on the outer side of the box facing me are pictured four monks sitting around a table. Everyday when I see this I reflect on the story that I once heard and it went something like this...'s an old story about a group of monks living with their master in a Tibetan monastery. Their lives were disciplined and dedicated, and the atmosphere in which they lived harmonious and peaceful. People from villages far and wide flocked to the monastery to bask in the warmth of such a loving spiritual environment. Then one day the master departed his earthly form. At first the monks continued on as they had in the past, but after a time, the discipline and devotion that had been hallmarks of their daily routine slackened. The number of villagers coming through the doors each day began to drop, and little by little, the monastery fell into a state of disrepair. Soon the monks were bickering among themselves, some pointing fingers of blame, others feeling guilt. Finally, the senior monk could take it no longer. Hearing that a spiritual master lived as a hermit two days walk away, the monk wasted no time in seeking him out. Finding the master in his forest hermitage, the monk told him of the sad state the monastery had fallen into and asked his advice. The master smiled. "There is one living among you who is the incarnation of God..." With those words spoken, the master fell silent and would say no more. All the way back to the monastery, the monk wondered which of his brothers might be the incarnated One. "Perhaps it is Brother Jaspar who does our cooking," the monk said aloud. "Perhaps our gardener, Brother Timor, is the one," he then thought. Reaching the monastery, he immediately told his brothers what the master had said and all were just as astonished as he had been to learn the Divine was living among them. Since each knew it was not himself who was God Incarnate, each began to study his brothers carefully, all trying to determine who among them was the Holy One. Each so concentrated on seeing God in the other that soon their hearts filled with such love for one another the chains of negativity that held them bound fell away. As time passed, they began seeing God not just in each other, but in every one and everything. Days were spent in joyful reverence, rejoicing in His Holy Presence. The monastery radiated this joy like a beacon and soon the villagers returned, streaming through the doors as they had before, seeking to be touched by the love and devotion present there. It was some time later that the senior monk decided to pay the master another visit to thank him for the secret he had revealed. "Did you discover the identity of the Incarnated One?" the master asked. "We did," the senior monk replied. "We found him residing in all of us." The master smiled.

...this story reminds me of the power of our own vision, & what we choose to see and focus on is what will ultimately be our reality...changing our vision of each other (maybe first of our ownselves) could be the start of visibly see a change in the world.

Monday Spiritual Joke #28

A woman was walking along the beach when she stumbled upon a genie's lamp. She picked it up and rubbed it. Lo-and-behold a genie appeared. The amazed woman asked if she got three wishes.

The Genie said, "Nope. Due to inflation, constant downsizing, low wages in third-world countries and fierce global competition, I can only grant you one wish. So, what'll it be?"

The woman didn't hesitate. She said, "I want peace in the Middle East. See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other."

The Genie looked at the map and exclaimed, "Gadzooks, lady! These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I'm good, but not THAT good! I don't think it can be done. Make another wish."

The woman thought for a minute. She said, "Well, I've been trying to find the right husband. You know, one that's considerate and fun, likes to cook and helps with the housecleaning, has a great sense of humor and gets along with my family, doesn't watch sports all the time and is faithful. That's what I wish for. A good mate."

The Genie let out a long sigh and said, "Let me see that map again."

Try this out!

I randomly picked up a book recently and just loved this...

Do this simple exercise for one minute each hour and you will be amazed at the result.

Breathe slowly and deeply, relax and think...
I am a peaceful being...
I am peaceful...
I love peace...
and I share peace with others...

I tried it out of curiosity (and a bit of boredom) and just could not believe the change I felt in myself.

So for anyone who's feeling time's tight and in short supply, here's a simple solution.

Diversion continues...

.... Continuing from my previous post...

Diversion does not mean distraction. We can easily distract the mind with the telly or watching a movie. When sitting in front of the telly, my mind is bombarded with what is shown. My mind becomes subservient to the telly and absorbs anything coming its way - without filtering the good or the bad for me.

So, diversion is an active process not a passive one. Diversion is when I fully take charge of how I want to feel and what I want to experience. Diversion takes many forms - a few of them which have worked for me: -
  • Writing / blogging
  • Going for a swim or doing some form of sports
  • Singing out loud in the showers
  • Going for a long walk
  • Cooking and baking for your neighbours and friends
  • Cleaning
How does this process help? When my mind is weak at times, by creating a diversion I allow my mind some breathing space to step away from the situation. And when I do come back to face the situation, my mind would have had the clarity and space to deal with it.

I understand that we will eventually reach our destination regardless but do I want to wait for 3 months or 6 months before the road block is cleared for me to move forward or do I want to get there sooner? Again, my choice...

So, do you have any diversions which have worked for you?

Diversion ends here...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Rather than letting the headache and flu occupy my mind, I decided to channel this energy into blogging something tonight.

There's nothing insightful of what I'm going to write about but I didn't want my mind to focus on the pain because it is rather affecting me. As I can't seem to meditate or sleep because of the headache and the blocked nose, I decided to blog instead - hoping that this would help refocus my mind, redirecting it away from the pain the body is experiencing. This is called creating a diversion.

There are times when I'm driving through the streets of London where frequently I come across road works or road blocks. However, with every road works or road blocks comes a 'diversion' sign - helping motorist to avoid the area. This situation also applies to my internal world. When my mind comes across a road block (emotional or mental), it is important to learn to follow the 'diversion' signs. If there isn't one in place then let me create one. If not, I would come to a halt either dwelling on the past, future or just trivial matters. So, I have to learn to recognise where to place those 'diversion' signs so that I don't end up meeting road blocks or worst falling into the pit of the road blocks.

I'm already feeling much better whilst writing this blog!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

We'll be back soon....

We've taken a holiday from the blogging world but not from the spiritual world. We're getting our acts back together after a very long break and we're definitely missing it.

So, stay tune and you'll have us back on full force!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Spiritual Joke #27

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the Midwest? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it -- sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord...

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.