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…

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…

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,…

Children, sunshine and mountains – happy apes

In order to notice the wonderful moments in life, we have to be there to appreciate them. This Saturday was spent walking the Ruta del Cares in Cantabria. The first two and a half kilometres is a steady uphill slog all in the bright, hot spring sunshine. I feel my heart pumping, sweat soaking through my tee-shirt, the awe inspiring views flavoured with a touch of vertigo, feet crunching on the stony surface, contrasting with the river’s sound of rushing water. There is sporadic conversation and long periods of silence without any need to talk. A deep feeling of gratitude and privilege to be there beneath the infinite powder blue…

ADOPT AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

Gratitude is the most effective investment that you can make in your own wellbeing, health and happiness. In terms of return on investment (effort versus result) there is no more effective attitude or practice to adopt, than that of gratitude. It gives us access to the joy and wonderment of life which in turn, are antidotes to feelings of scarcity and loss. It helps you meet life's difficulties with a more open heart ─ to simply meet life in each moment as it rises. We're told (particularly as children) to be grateful for our blessings or good fortune. This is an excellent idea but does not go far enough. We…

Joy – it’s contagious

We get it from our dogs. This Christmas I received a present of a 3 month-old “lobero” (wolf-dog)  puppy from Diego, my son-in-law. We already have Haku, a two year old wolf-dog. Some of you reading this will already have met him if you have visited us in Cantabria.  For both Rhea and I dogs have been a source of joy throughout our lives.  Although for many years we were involved in horses and riding, dogs have always been an integral part of the extended family. Having a dog in the family is an interesting phenomenon as there is no real justifiable, rational reason  or need for it.  Our dogs…

Adventure in Marseille

The best opportunities to practice are often disguised and often feel unpleasant. Two weeks ago I travelled to Aix-en-Provence to work. It turned out to be one of those rare and slightly bizarre trips; everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong; my credits cards did not work so I found I could not hire a car. My arrival coincided with the national yellow-vests’ protest which meant extra time on any journey as we negotiated the road blocks. There was also a group manning a road block just 300 metres from my hotel which managed to make for a night of shouting, cars and trucks honking fire engines police, only…