LAUGHTER – your secret anti-coronavirus weapon

Laughter strengthens the immune system, reduces pain and lowers stress. An excellent way to take care of yourself in these times is to dedicate some time each day to laughter. For example, I love watching the movie “Young Frankenstein”; sharing a funny situation, acting the clown, telling jokes (never at the expense of others; try to “laugh with” rather than “laugh at”). One of the greatest stress relievers is our ability to laugh at ourselves. So what does science say about laughter?     Good Mood and More Laughter: Laughter helps to change your mood within minutes by releasing certain chemicals from your brain cells called endorphins. It will help to…

What is knocking and shouting at your door?

I had thought about writing something about keeping sane during the COVID-9 lockdown, but it seems that wherever you look there is an endless, infinite stream of news about Coronavirus and most of the news isn’t good. The fact is that we are rarely awake in our lives; mostly we run on autopilot: an “autopilot” perception followed by the “autopilot” reaction. When we live like this (and most of us do) we naturally and unsurprisingly find ourselves repeatedly in a place we would rather not be. This is especially true about unpleasant feelings. They come banging at our door, shouting for our attention. However, we are practiced at ignoring the…

What is meditation for me?

Briefly: Meditation is about reducing suffering and the causes of suffering in my life and the life of others; also increasing happiness and the causes of happiness in my life and the life of others.  In more detail: Meditation for me is the basis of emotional intelligence - also peace, health, happiness and having a meaningful life. A healthy mind means a happy heart. I learned that happiness and peace are always there within me; I just have to learn to get out of my own way to experience it. I experienced a difficult, chaotic, and abusive childhood. I have worked many workshops, therapies; all have been useful but the…

Your mind: Your Greatest Friend and greatest enemy

Who is your enemy? Mind is your enemy. No one can harm you more than your own mind untamed. And who is your friend? Mind is your friend. No one can help you more than your own mind, wisely trained—not even your own mother and father. —Buddha One of the things that would improve my experience of bars and restaurants, would be to not have the television relentlessly blaring away. Just the other day I found myself becoming irritated by some stupid program which seemed to consist of weirdly plastic people gossiping, criticising and being horrible to each other; at other times it has been telesales  — the voice of…

How to find the right partner – stop looking!

It is one of the most common reasons for coming to see us in Cantabria. “I am without a partner. I want to find the man/woman of my life.” Finding a partner and having children is hardwired into most of us. It can feel like a hunger or emptiness that we have to fill. “I still haven’t met anyone suitable and time is running out!” Our evolutionary mission is to survive and procreate. We are driven to make this happen. My experience is that this drive is usually stronger in women than men, although many men do experience something similar but usually later in life. When we are in this…

Top tips for living happily without alcohol

Some facts before we start. Everything I write here is based on independent science by some of the best researchers in the field. Alcoholism is not an incurable disease.  It is a fact that most people who get addicted get free. There is no gene that causes alcoholism. Alcohol is an addictive drug like any other addictive drug. It is a class 1 carcinogen (IARC, WHO 1988) and it the most harmful drug in our society. (D. Nutt et al Lancet 2007) Most people who drink alcohol habitually are addicted. They don’t see it like that. They cannot imagine certain situations without alcohol. Just like the tobacco industry, the alcohol…

On Emptiness

A common experience I encounter is that of a sense of emptiness - the feeling that “there must be something more”, that “I am missing something”, the sense of “my life should feel more fulfilling, more meaningful”. This empty feeling is behind all addiction, consumerism (which is just another type of addiction). It’s also behind cults, religion, tribalism and the obsessive acquisition of wealth and power. This is the hungry ego in action… tooth and nail. This feeling is most acutely experienced in such conditions as anxiety, depression and loneliness.  But here’s the thing, this feeling cannot be “fixed” by the acquisition of stuff. There is nothing outside of you…

Your hairstyle or your mind?

Our culture prizes the illusory idea of personal autonomy. This severely limited perception and the behaviour it creates is making us unwell and destroying the planet. Many people have described the experience of life arising from this idea as the sense of  “doing better, but feeling worse”. The very best thing that you could do for you, your family, the people close to you and everyone else on this earth is to train your mind and raise your consciousness - experience yourself as more than an insatiably hungry ego. The fundamental nature of ego is separation.  Ego is also the root of most suffering. Most members of our society spend…

Eyes wide-shut
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Eyes wide-shut

At school we were taught that in AD 64 the emperor Nero played the violin or something similar as Rome burned. As a child I saw this story as the epitome of evil and depravity. As I grew older it became clear that the story also spoke of the human condition: “To occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect priorities during a crisis”.  Also “Heedless and irresponsible behaviour in the midst of a crisis”. You don’t have to be a Claudian emperor to behave like Nero. Our genetic mission is to survive and pro-create. For this we need a sense of what we must protect and pass on. This is…