The benefits of 20/20 hindsight.

If you have ever taken the time to observe your rational mind at work you will have noticed two compulsive aspects namely: “time-machine” and “auto pilot”. You have probably experienced these two behaviours working together. It can happen when some event in the present triggers the memory of a past “mistake”, some unpleasant behaviour or a horrible event. An acutely uncomfortable memory arises. It might feel so uncomfortable that it makes you want to cringe. Straightaway, the mental autopilot cuts in with pointless criticism on what you “should have”, “could have” all that you “ought to have” done;  “I should have done that differently”; I wouldn’t be here if I’d…

I’m right

A question I often ask of a group is the following: “What is most important to you, to be right, or to be happy?” People look at me like the question is a “no brainer” as they answer, “to be happy of course!”  I then ask, “how do you behave in your everyday life? The answer is usually accompanied by a smile of realization as they reply, “To be right”. The thing that the ego hates the most is to not be right. So much discord is created by the ego’s need to be right. We are all guilty of this. I certainly am. For example, you are arguing with…

The rudiments of happiness

Be present: Most suffering is caused by too much thinking. Choose to be present in your physical life, rather than in the drama of your imagined mental life. “Think less, be more!” Be kind to yourself and to others: Treat yourself at least as well as you would treat a good friend! Unless we take care of ourselves, we will not be able to take care of others effectively. You could search the whole world, but you will not find anyone who deserves your love and kindness more than you do. Be grateful: Never lose sight of the mind-boggling miracle, the privilege of being alive, being conscious and being here.…

If it doesn’t work do something else

So much suffering is caused by not taking care of ourselves because we do not know how to be kind to ourselves. Most of our lives it is drummed into us that we should think of others first and that to think of oneself is selfish - which we must never be. However, unless we take care of ourselves we will sooner or later pay the price in our relationships, our health, our happiness and our sense of wellbeing. So the first step of taking care of ourselves is to learn to be kind to ourselves. When I first came across this idea of  ”being kind to myself” I felt…

Grief

Only two things in this life are certain: you will die and you don’t know when. These are certainties yet we spend most of our time trying to avoid thinking about such “unpleasant” things. Thus, when someone dies or is seriously ill it becomes a calamity. We are unprepared. Everything about our physical bodies has been shaped by evolution. Our evolutionary mission is simply to survive and reproduce. Any adaptation which increases the chances of success in this mission is kept and becomes a part of our genome. Grief is one such adaptation. Grief is a healing process. It allows us to assume the terrible pain of loss, abandonment and…

Do you take time to stand and stare?
The ruin of Crackpot Hall near Keld, Swaledale

Do you take time to stand and stare?

Rhea is writing: To my surprise, James Herriot’s books are now considered “classics”.  I just enjoy reading them. James Herriot began work as a rural vet in the Yorkshire Dales in the thirties. Here is an extract from his book “All creatures great and small”. His work involved driving to isolated farms in the country... My first visit took me up one of the unfenced roads…  When I had ground my way to the top in bottom gear, I did what I so often did: I pulled the car onto the roadside turf and got out. That quotation about not having time to stand and stare had never applied to…

The Great Mystery

Most of our assumptions about reality are both limited and deeply flawed because our minds have evolved to perceive things in a way to optimise survival not to see things as they are. Meditation - the best technique to remove distractions and improve perception

Life is a gift

Our motto is: “Perception is everything”. Mindfulness is a wonderful way to be more present in your life. However, if you wish to experience real movement, connection then meditation and its associated practices, in my experience, offer the best way. We can grasp intellectually certain key interesting and attractive ideas, for example: we are all connected; separation is simply an illusion created by the ego; I am part of something much greater; I am a way the universe is able to admire itself; the observer and the observed are the same thing. Thinking about these things and the intellectual understanding it brings of these concepts, can, in a limited way,…

Now – Today

Rhea is writing today: When I was at school (just a “few” years ago) they made us read “the classics” and all through those years I did all I could to avoid reading those books which I assumed were boring. When I had to do exams about such books, I would read shortened versions or borrow notes from some swottier friend. Not sure what’s happening now as I approach my sixties but suddenly I’m discovering why they were called “classics”… So here we go, I now quote Ernest Hemmingway and his character Richard Jordan in “For whom the bell tolls”. These words are clearly all the more poignant if you…

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