Spirituality includes being silent and present with what is

It’s interesting how appearances can deceive. If I talk to people about religion and spirituality here in the UK, what I’m struck by is a prevailing desire, it seems, for things to be “secular”. In business for example, the two things you don’t discuss is politics and religion. It’s an unspoken assumption, and you could get a sense that that is to the great relief of all concerned! But what is really going on? Are we a nation of agnostics, or is it really something that today we simply choose to keep to ourselves? So, in this context I was … Read more

To know the value of quiet

In trawling through a range of business articles online I came across a delight* which praised the value of quiet and affirmed the value of of introverts. As another “introvert”, I read with enthusiasm: how nice to see people being positive about introversion, and about being quiet! As the writer states, in a world seemingly dominated by extroversion and the valuing of extrovert behaviours, and the noise that ensues, the pressure is seemingly on the introvert to change. She is very clear that those of us who are quiet can also serve. I wonder how you react when you see … Read more

Being who you are brings others closer to you

It can be a big step to share of yourself but it brings others closer to you. If you are being who you are and truly share of yourself others are more likely to trust you. Why is this? When we learn what is really going on for another, we can potentially get the “real” person. It’s like nothing is hidden, it’s all out there in the open. That’s why organisations often encourage openness, because it helps people to work together better. We feel safer with it. We know what we’re dealing with. Also we can more easily relate to … Read more

Between science and religion can we find a middle ground?

It might be a sign that there is not a uniform atheism in the world of science that a group of scientists have been meeting with theologians and philosphers to debate the implications of the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. I say “might be” since clearly not all are happy to associate such a meeting with the idea that they might be about to recant long-held scepticism about religious interpretations of the origin of the universe. Science and religion have long been polarised. This might not be surprising. Does one necessarily have to leap from a … Read more

To keep going could be to have blind faith

Keeping going despite the apparent odds – that’s what life can sometimes seem to be like. It’s a moot point whether to decide to abandon what you’re doing because it’s getting difficult, or whether to soldier on, as they say, in order to somehow accomplish your goal. You might for example be really feeling up against it at the moment. You might be in a state of fear or panic and be really concerned that it’s all going to go belly up. People doing business start-ups, or people in a new product launch, would recognise this frequently at various stages … Read more

There are always reminders of our inner presence

Yesterday we went out to visit a friend for her birthday and took the chance of this “re-birth” day too to go to a local architectural beauty, Tewkesbury Abbey. Inside the building was decorated with yellow spring flowers and it was filled with incense from the morning Easter Sunday service. The incense hung in the building as a thin mist, which gave an even more ethereal feel to the place. It was suitably mysterious but full of energy from the earlier celebration. Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ, and whatever your views about this or other aspects of Christian … Read more

A time to leave your past behind and open to a new self

A Course in Miracles describes the notion of resurrection thus: “Your resurrection is your awakening.” Re-birth is potentially an awakening to “the best which is within us” (Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love). We leave our past behind, we open to a new Self. The Christian tradition will for the past few weeks have been focused on purging that which limits us during Lent. This is a time for letting go, discipline, self-denial, and spiritual growth. As was pointed out in this blog earlier, it’s not very fashionable. In the Christian tradition it is also a time for penitence, in … Read more

Devotion to a spiritual practice may not be easy

The idea of following a spiritual practice is one that is likely to be an instant turn-off to the “I must have it now” culture. Yet, the real fruits of a turn-around at the level of consciousness tend to come after long periods of focused devotion to that which uplifts you. I say it’s a turn-off for many and it’s therefore important to ask what that’s about, since even a new devotee to adopting a practice needs to be aware of what can get in the way, so as to be able to counter it. We’re many of us used … Read more

What part of you now needs to open up?

No doubt many people are now either on holiday or preparing for one, or at least looking forward to a little time off over Easter next weekend. Does it feel like it’s well-deserved? Traditionally at this time in the west we’re coming up to Easter and the celebrations to mark Christ’s execution and resurrection. As a feast, it’s partly pagan in origin in connection with fertility and in religious terms seems to have roots in such areas as the Jewish Passover. More broadly, we could look at this time as one of re-birth  or re-awakening. After the winter, spring is … Read more

In longing for inner peace don’t neglect its polar opposite

The longing for peace is as ancient as you can get: it’s called “Shantih” in Sanskrit and part of the practice of yoga was, and is, to focus on inner awareness in order to open up the pathways to the peace of the Self (Atman). I wrote in an earlier posting about meditating on the mantra Om Shantih. It’s interesting therefore that our current perceived reality is often very much the reverse, busy lives, busy minds, busy environment, conflict, aggravation. It’s a polar opposite. In this way, as in other ways, we humans experience duality, in this case between the … Read more