Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We are not alone...

Yesterday, a friend of ours came back from a couple of weeks' retreat, and what an experience it was just listening to her speak about it. She had been part of a large number of people who had gone away to study, meditate, discuss, and study some more; our friend had come back visibly transformed. Was it the rest, the tan, the chance to get away for a while, or something more? She gave me such inspiration, not just because of how she was, but because of the way I felt about how she was.

We all live our thoroughly modern little lives in our thoroughly modern little silos, blinkered and bunkered with our own fears, hopes, and petty likes and dislikes about ourselves and the world around us. If by some twist of fate we find we are no longer happy to accept our sorry lot, and, stumbling and groping in the murk of our modernity for glimmerings of what seem like knowledge and truth, then we are still left with one further mountain to climb: how are we supposed to really change anything, ourselves or our world, when there is just so much to change, and so little time in which to change it?

Our friend seemed to be showing me a way: don't think you can do it alone; don't even try.

We live in a world that seems, almost by design, to be driving us apart with its every attempt to bring us together: Religion preaches brotherhood, yet practices fratricide; Politics promises unity, yet delivers division; and Science offers answers to questions it clearly does not even understand.

Life seems to constantly provide us with only microscopes that, as one poet wrote, ‘deify one razor blade into a mountain range’; yesterday, our friend seemed to be showing a way to transform life's mountain ranges back into mustard seeds.

If we have spent all our lives thinking it's just oneself that we can rely on, just number one that we have to look after, just me here all alone, then, understandably, we may find it hard to think there is anything outside of our own intellect and effort to which we can turn to achieve anything.

Western philosophy has perhaps put too much store in the gnarly old epithet: "I think, therefore I am", a phrase that sounds less brilliant and more desperate with every passing war, technological disaster, and economic slow-down.

If we stopped thinking about ourselves for just long enough to look at each other properly, then we may be part of the way to getting ourselves out of our solipsistic little holes. After that, what if we could take the best of what we saw in others and make that part of our own make-up? What if we could then pass that on to others too?

Our friend, after spending a few short days in the company of other enlightened and illuminated souls, was able to bring back some of that light and illumination for me, just by being her own enlightened self. Everything seems possible when you are prepared to accept that you are part of something bigger than any mountain range in your way, and that the people around you are lighting the path to your own illumination.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hole in the World

I heard this song from a friend's ipod and went looking for the lyrics (see below). This song truly reflects the condition of the world and all that's happening around us. Forget about fighting for peace, forget about fighting for freedom - all we need to learn is to love one another.

Before we can enter the arena of love, we need to break down the barriers of race, gender, nationality, culture, religion, ideas, opinions and beliefs. Until we learn to accept one another as human beings, as living beings, as feeling beings and nothing more, can the cloud of fear and sorrow disperse and there'll be hope in the world.

The beauty of it is that it can all start from you and me...

Eagles: Hole in The World (lyrics)

There's a hole in the world tonight.
There's a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There's a hole in the world tonight.
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

They say that anger is just love disappointed.
They say that love is just a state of mind,
but all this fighting over who will be anointed.
Oh how can people be so blind

There's a hole in the world tonight.
There's a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There's a hole in the world tonight.
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

Oh they tell me there's a place over yonder,
cool water running through the burning sand,
until we we learn to love one
another we never reach the promise land.

There's a hole in the world tonight.
There's a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There's a hole in the world tonight.
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In Partnership with Life

Response Able
We now know that the true meaning of responsibility is response able or ability to respond. Whatever we may think, say, do, or feel - these are our responses for which we, and no one else, are responsible. This is easy to see but hard to live, for we have been taught to believe and think the opposite. So we don't consciously choose our response, we react instead, and then we blame others for our reaction. No wonder we feel imprisoned by others and our circumstances. The enlightened, on the other hand, have broken the spell, they see the illusion. They take full responsibility for their response abilities and as a consequence, they always hold their own destiny in their own hands. They are free spirits. From

Today I read this and thought, I want to be a free spirit. But sometimes I get trapped. As you know I have been looking at all the different things happening with me at work and my responses to them. Recently I have been working on a compassionate view towards myself and everyone else, it feels good and helps me see the best in everyone and in life and allows me to open to healing rather than what can feel like an addictive nature that has wanted to take from external sources to feel good about itself (someone put it very well recently at a lecture I attended - lustful, anxious nature - it's not so gross as it sounds a bit more subtle but still the same stuff going on). So with this compassionate view point I've been thinking how good like is and how benevolent it is, helping me face that false satisfaction that I can get from the identities that trap me like - "being good at my job". When I Identify with this I'm in big trouble, my ego is inflated and anyone can come along and pinch me and pop it the bubble, with some negative feedback - OUCH! The question of the day is where do I place my value in life?

So at the moment, I'd like to grow a relationship of trust with life, give the best of myself to it - because the best is in me, let life help me learn to see it more and more of the best that's below the surface - the real diamonds, pearls and wonder of ones nature. I'll do my work life and you do your work life and we will get there. Today if feels so nice to be in Partnership with life. I'd like to beat life to it though, I wonder how I can do that?

"loves the jobs you hate"

I was sitting in meditation this morning & out of the blue - in my minds eye I see a pool of rubbish - not a pleasant sight to wake up to I know...but in fact it was quite a pleasant experience as I somehow I didn't identify with it. I then thought meditation is like plumbing - when the drain is clogged you use a suction tool to pump out whatever is blocking the drain...when finally you see the rubbish coming up you're almost happy to see the drain being cleaned. That was the feeling this morning - it felt like I was the drain being cleaned and quite happily seeing the rubbish come out and to be honest it was quite liberating to see it, not to identify with it and end up with a clean drain (well, fairly clean that is - still some more work to do:)). The drain for me can be likened to the Intellect - so long as it's clogged, stagnant, not functioning properly it won't be able to hold wisdom and strength. Aha so I have an idea - they say that if you want to keep the drains clean - occasionally use bleach to keep the drains clean and odour the Mr Muscle cleaning agent is for me daily meditation where I remove any slight residue that's creating a blockage - in fact I wonder if not God is the true Mr Muscle that daily cleans the soul:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ask the Cosmos?

It's interesting to see what happens when you pose a question to life and just watch what comes back - right now so many different options seem available, a week ago the answers were not so clear. My recent question was "How can I be stronger and stonger, more resilient - fearless!" The answers have been raining down from many directions - here's a few splatterings in essence - "take all your energy from inside yourself and from your connection with the divine, don't take expect praise from anyone, if you do life will find it's way of teaching you that you have everything you need inside yourself and what you need to do is stop looking for it". Do everthing with love and let go of expecations of anything coming back, that way you don't cause any sorrow and you face everything (you can't kid yourself, it's like an arrow that has to strike the target. It either does or it doesn't!). But the best of all - was be like a little child and anything that is causing you any obstacles in your mind give that to the Divine. So for me it was the pain I had caused myself for making mistakes and taking sorrow from it (yes it's taking time) give it like it's something smelly (we've all seen children when they don't like something and they say, yours, yours...don't like it ....) feel the Divine taking it and in return all the love of the Divine coming back to you, see that you have everything inside and you need nothing.... As you can see my last post was about facing the gremlins inside with love and forgiveness - so it was great to get all of these other wonders sent my way this week! Finally check this out it was a recent Thought for Today it really struck me, I got it from

Everything's Fine
To a truly contented and enlightened soul everything in the world, which means the way the world is right now, is just fine. To the unenlightened and discontented soul this will sound like a massive avoidance. But think about it. Does the masterful actor go to the theatre for their evening performance, and on entering the stage start shifting the backdrop, altering the scenery and moving the props around? Of course not, they are totally concentrated on the role they need to create and play to the best of their ability. And so it is with the world. The backdrop to our life is the way things are at this moment in time. The props are exactly where they are meant to be at this moment in time. Many people spend their whole lives trying to change the backdrop and move the props around, little realising the futility of the exercise. Yes they may succeed in altering an angle here, a minute part of the picture there. But all at the cost of the focus and the energy needed to put on their best performance. Little did they realise that if they had fully focused on their performance and achieved their own highest standards of excellence, not only would those around them be immensely enriched, but the backdrop and the props of their life would have changed automatically, as the invitations roll in to perform their life elsewhere. Excellence is a much more powerful influence in the world than discontent. So everything is fine out there. No one said it's perfect. But it is exactly the way it should be this moment. So here is the paradox of effective change - if you want to influence change for the better, then the most effective way to begin is with contentment with the way things are. The way things are, are the way things are meant to be!

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Negative World...

I was remembering recently when I was very young, and discovering the afterimages one could make on one’s eye-lids, by staring at objects intently, then closing one’s eyes tightly. It was like having an internal camera, I thought, with you developing strange pictures from the photographic negatives in your mind. I remember being amazed that you could ‘see’ something so differently, just by looking at it another way.

A few years later, the first documentary I saw on the Turin Shroud reminded me of that same experience; an ordinary-looking piece of ancient linen revealed startling images, when, with the newest technology of the 19th Century, photographic negatives were first made of it. The sensation these negatives caused reverberated well into the next century; the shift in perception it triggered in some is no doubt reverberating still.

It made for fascinating, if slightly hallucinogenic, viewing; a plain object visually inverted, which in turn inverted my idea of that thing. Is it not strange when we are shown a familiar object in an unfamiliar way? It struck me how easily we fool ourselves into thinking the world is just as we perceive it, when we may hardly ever perceive it accurately in the first place, be it with our eye or our intellect, our science or our philosophy, our culture or our religion.

As a child, I was never struck with unease by the inversion of colours and shapes that these mental ‘negatives’ created; the bliss of ignorance is no proper explanation for my being able to thrill at it all then, because age has brought only a widening of my horizons with no automatic increase in the wisdom needed to understand those horizons. Indeed, until recently when I began to actively practice daily meditation, mounting unease and fear had begun to cause me to want to stop looking to my horizons quite so much, or quite so anew.

A need to cling to the familiar, to crystallise perceptions and ideas, to polarise intellectual and political positions, to accept a little dogma and other ‘received wisdom’; all this seemed to be a necessary and intrinsic part of growing up, settling down and getting on. Limit your horizons, don’t look too closely or too differently, and the unease might, well, ease.

I’m finding there may be another way to see the world again; rather than reduce my horizons, how about I just reduce my fear? If I can keep remembering how it felt to see the world inverted when I was young, then I am also remembering who I was then and what I could be again in future, if I just stop getting in my own way.

Because it may be that fear is also just an afterimage, a photographic negative of my world; If I keep in mind that when I was young I had nothing to fear from seeing the world differently, and only wider horizons to explore, then I may have begun to make my whole Negative World a place of positive beauty and wonder once again.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What an amazing experience it was this morning walking through the streets of London. It was early, everyone busily walking to work, drizzling with rain - I couldn't help but to keep looking at the buildings and aware of all the construction work - literally everywhere you looked - the City in constant change.

I remember when I used to go skiing as a child and we would be at the bottom of the mountain and all you could see were tiny dots moving up & down the father used to say that we look alot like ants - almost stating how insignificant we are when you look at the larger picture. I suppose the City this morning wasn't much different - like workers - each one having their destination, their task, their purpose for felt good to be able to watch it all without being part of it. And there I come around the bend, looking at this most unusual building which had almost all its foundation removed and just the top part of the building remaining and then I see a huge banner 'be the change you want to see in the world'.

And for a moment, I did wonder how many people live by's usually when our environment or a relationship changes that we feel the impact of it and we get molded by those changes and we might complain in the process. Is it possible to think of myself bringing about change and leaving an impact. I remember someone sharing something quite insightful - extroverted people taking their inspiration and resources from the outside, whereas introverted people draw it out from within themselves.

The banner itself was like a flag of insight, of creativity, of individuality amidst the blurred rush of the City...

Monday, October 08, 2007


Recently we moved into a flat with a garden. We never had a garden before so the thought of having a garden was an exciting one - It's so easy to imagine the beautiful flowers and plants growing in all sorts of colours and trees gently swaying to the rhythm of the wind.

However, reality finally sunk in. The garden was neglected and slowly grew into a forest. The grass was growing as high as my waist with the trees and shrubs unkempt.

I've never done any gardening in my life before. With a mum who is an exceptional gardener, I never helped in the garden at all. Unfortunately, she now lives on the other side of the world and it's now down to me to learn. I was so enthusiastic at first that I bought many books on gardening and thought by reading it, I would know how to do it.

So, yesterday I had a go at clearing the weeds and pruning the shrubs and trees. Man - that was hard work! I don't know what about you, but after two hours I was completely shattered. I was grumpy and didn't want to know the garden anymore. I walked back into the house and told my husband that we are going to get a gardener in because I had enough of this! He laughed at me while seeing me all worked up and said, "You've never done any gardening work before and you expect it to be transformed in one day?!" I took a step back and look at myself and how ridicules I sound. I sighed and asked, "Will you help me next weekend to do the gardening then? It'll make it a lot easier" He answered, "For my sanity, yes". :)

So, this is a new challenge for me for the coming year. It is going to help me learn about patience - patient with myself and with others. I thought by reading a book on gardening, I will be an expert in gardening. However, this is not the case. It is the experience that make it real for me. With the aches and pains, comes the joy and laughter - I'm can't wait for it! (Oppsss... there goes my impatience...)

I will post some photos up once I got the garden sorted.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Face the Gremlins with Love and Forgiveness

Today I was reflecting on the past week and how I had either sailed the storms or got swept up in them. My meditation experience today was reflective of my current inner work on forgiveness, love, experiencing the love of the Divine and becoming detached through that forgiveness and acceptance. There's a lot that's been going on at work recently that has brought up some interesting and insightful moments (looking at it from a purely positive perspective!) It's been challenging. It feels as if it has all been about moving on and letting go, and I need to learn to pick up the pace as - like any corporate environment nowadays - it's getting more and more full on. My key experience to moving on and letting go has been experiencing love and forgiveness for the self, creating a clean space for myself to breath in, to step back into, to be light in and to give light. This is where it has been interesting. Just to look the situations in the face and see the gremlins that come up in my mind to try and make me feel inadequate - and the thing that seems to be working to combat this is looking at what I can learn from this and saying: I forgive myself. I forgive everyone else....(all the other people I work with who are also feeling any tension from the way that they are dealing with their situations right now and the way that they projecting that on to me.) I Forgive you..............I love and accept myself. Sounds corny but it is a healing balm of truth and in a quiet mind it feels so so good.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Teachers II

I hope you don't mind if I share a small bit of personal history with you: one of my uncles, my mother's youngest brother, died in March this year, in his mid-sixties. I was not able to go to his funeral, though my sister-in-law and brother were there, and they told me just what an extraordinary event it turned out to be, as I would have expected from such a loved man, given the positive way he had touched so many lives.

My uncle Francis Xavier was born in the mid-Forties; the last of eight children, he was born with Down's Syndrome. This was the least interesting thing about him; though, I've always felt that the extra chromosome with which he was endowed also made him more capable than other people of giving love to those around him.

My mother said he was always everyone's favourite, because he was guaranteed to cheer up grumpy members of the family with a kind word, a pithy observation, and, failing all else, a little hug. He wasn't all sweetness and light, by any means: he was just as capable of moodiness and tantrums as any kid (and that got dealt with in the same way as with the other children); he had a typical teenage period, too, and was a sly wit, always being able to mask a shrewd observation with a well-intentioned joke. But the thing that made him forever different to others was his naturalness, his honesty, and his love.

My earliest memories of him must have been when he was in his early thirties; he always made time for his sibling's children, and he was especially good at calming down babies, who would always fall asleep when he gently held them. He had impeccable manners, both at the table and at other social events, nor he was he slow in correcting those younger than him on theirs. He had his little routines that he stuck to - reading in the mornings, and a favourite radio program at night - but he loved travelling, and being outdoors; he was a mean flower and vegetable gardener.

But the extraordinary thing about him was his love for others. It may have been because love was all he had ever known from the people around him all his life, but, regardless, it was all he ever seemed to radiate. The affect it had on everyone in our family, from his own siblings, to their children, was profound. Patient and kind, he brought these qualities out in others; he may well have been the person who inspired my mother to become a teacher for toddlers with learning difficulties. My grandmother may have been the family matriarch, but my uncle Francis Xavier also held the family together with his presence.

He lived with my grandmother until she died when he was around fifty, though he had always had his own room at a special school he attended 3 days a week in his later years, where he was taught a variety of skills; he turned out to have a real talent as a baker and chocolatier.

He was luckier than most in many ways, to be sure: the family was fortunate enough to have been financially secure, so, from an early age, he was always provided for and attended to with the best and latest education, which made a real difference to the quality of his later life. Also, he had no serious physical disabilities, for in those decades there was not the expertise or knowledge that exists now to identify and successfully treat some childhood conditions.

He himself never married, though he had a number of girlfriends; he was a regular church-goer, and he led the singing at his mother's funeral in his usual quiet and thoughtful manner. He was generously provided for in her will; his brothers and sisters, many years prior to my grandmother's death, had already worked out between them a schedule to allow Francis Xavier to come and go between their homes, and there was never any lack of people willing to let him stay with them.

Certainly he was lucky, but I know that my whole family felt blessed by him too. He was never going to develop a drug habit or drive drunk, or get conceited or deceitful, and he would forever be free of some of the more immediate financial and social pressures that most adults have. Most of us may feel that we would be better people than we are now, given the same circumstances; but he truly was that better person, and so made better people of those around him.

I sometimes miss my smiley uncle Francis Xavier, but I'll never forget him, and what he taught the people around him. I'm sure it wasn't all a bed of roses whilst he was growing up - but when is it ever with children? Like all children, my family never expected him, or knew at the beginning what they would be getting with him. But, by the end, we all knew, and wouldn't have changed a day of his whole beautiful life if we had all had the choice.

Monday, October 01, 2007

all things beautiful...

How often are we clear which direction we'd like to go - do we ever questions...whether it is to God or to the universe or even to oneself...and most importantly be open enough to receive an answer.
This morning I did this & I felt more proactive for it. I suppose most of the time I am content coasting along but how often do we challenge ourselves and take often are we closed in within our own little (narrow) worlds.
Upon asking the question, I found it difficult initially as there was just a general feeling of being ok, but then I realised 'no' I could actually be more like this or like that...and so I felt myself beginning to look outside of the box of my own thinking, my own ideas, my own beliefs.

I listened to something quite inspiring over the weekend - it compared the awareness and attitude between someone who is 'self-centred' and someone who is 'open-hearted'.

Self-centered: narrow vision, local impact, rigidity in behaviour, limited sphere of connection with others, no interest to learn
Open-hearted: broad vision, flexibility, positivity, sees the bigger picture, an openness to learn and retain information, interact with others with more empathy & compassion

And now on a slightly different note but I suppose still relevant - I occasionally take photos of things that look beautiful - it helps for the 'eye' to see things in different ways - to look, to discover, to question. It's a captured moment of someone elses own quiet time (an old man fishing in a canal) & others quite bemused by it - including me:)