Your mind is like a vegetable patch

Between the ages of 10 and 14 I was, amongst other things, an altar boy. I did this mostly to get the approval of the nuns and priests of the children’s homes I lived in. It also gave me a sense of being holier than the other boys, a balm for the pain of a damaged ego. Later, in 1981, I went to a weekend workshop where I first encountered the “alternative” or “spiritual” world. It was a mind-blowing experience. However, in my deep ignorance and insecurity I used my discoveries in the same way as that altar boy. This discovery created an amazing range of new possibilities for my…

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…

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…