The importance of feeling wonder

For me, a vital part of my wellbeing is to experience the sensation of wonder. Wonder gives me perspective; it helps to raise my eyes, my awareness. Instead of scratching around like a chicken in the dust of my ego, the experience wonder is to soar like an eagle. A sense of wonder arises when you step out of your ego, connect with and experience the “bigger picture” - the miracle and mystery of existence. However one chooses to look at it, we are the way the universe understands and appreciates itself. Science indicates that a little under 14 billion years ago the universe came into existence through the “Big…

3 Ideas to be more in the present moment

Be where you are or before you know it your life will have gone past without you living it- by Geoffrey Molloy. Try this: 1.- When you remember, ask yourself, “Am I in the present moment?” or “Where am I now?” Make asking yourself these questions into a regular practice in your life. Watch what happens when you do this; you will see that you find yourself naturally in the present moment. 2.- Stop whatever you are doing and silently watch what is happening around you in that moment. Put your attention fully in your senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What can you smell? What can…

Turn towards or turn away

A sensation of discomfort arises, but before you consciously register your discomfort,  your “autopilot” cuts in and you turn away from the sensation. You turn towards your habitual distractions - distractions we’ve all been conditioned to pursue: work, shopping, TV, sex, alcohol or another drug/activity. We are very creative, so there are lots to choose from. All of this happens in a split second. It’s so automatic, so fast, you don’t see it; you don’t know it’s happened, but it is precisely this loop which keeps you stuck, repeating unwanted behaviours in spite of your conscious desire to change. If we are ever to find peace in our hearts then…

Notes from this morning’s meditation

The mind initially active, begins to settle. A wrong someone has done to me arises in my thoughts and I see that person’s suffering. I breathe in that person’s suffering and as I breathe out a desire for happiness for that person, so the tightness loosens; the thought fades, losing its power. New thoughts arise – planning, a “to do” list, but as they arise so they are released. Thoughts now appear and disappear like ripples on the surface of a lake in a light breeze. As the space between thoughts expands so the ego fades. All that is left is consciousness, the observer at one with the observed. A…

How do you perceive the passing of time?

We learn to meditate so that we can be more present - more connected to our lives. Nearly all of our training is in the rational mind. We are most used to living with the rational mind and its linear perception of time. We have become quite attached to this perception. It gives us the feeling that we are going somewhere, developing and that we are progressing towards some future goal, time or thing. I think it is fair to say that most of us have a desire to progress, to feel that we are getting somewhere. However, true progress lies not in the passage of time, but in our…

The problem with self esteem

Several people have wondered why I insist on the importance of self-compassion over self-esteem. Therefore I share this newsletter I wrote a while back. I recently read an article in the Wall Street journal talking about the death of the self-esteem movement. This is good news. The self-esteem movement started in 1969 when a psychologist, Nathaniel Brandon, identified (wrongly in my opinion) high self-esteem as being the key to success in life. I have been teaching for more than 17 years now that what is far more important than self-esteem is self-compassion. This idea of self-compassion, of being kind to oneself, is as old as meditation itself and very much…

Learn to disconnect before it’s too late

The world we see outside, the world we have created is simply a reflection, a projection of our inner world. Global warming, corruption, violence, greed, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, love - all of these we first create within us before we manifest the same in the material world. You do not have to look very far to find news of how our species is destroying the only home we have. According to the World Wild-life Fund for nature, since just 1970 we have destroyed more than 30% of all forests and about the same of the marine eco system. This destruction is the direct result of a growing population and its…

Is there a shortcut to happiness?

For many years I confused happiness with having a good time. I had no idea that happiness and having a good time were completely different things. During many years of my life having a good time meant chemically altering myself, with alcohol or another psychotropic substance. Then and only then did I believe that I was happy. I simply couldn’t imagine a good time (“being happy”) without taking something. I felt that, unless something was “intense”, then it was boring. I was stuck, looking for happiness outside of myself, which is why, at that time, my idea of happiness was anything that distracted me from myself. Chemical shortcuts seemed an…

Your children are not your children

This morning at breakfast with the brave people attending our Resilience Training retreat, the subject of children came up which reminded me of the wise words of Kahlil Gibran: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You…