Having trust in a world of lies where things are not as they seem

In today’s digitally dominated and manipulated world it can often feel like there are things that are not as they seem and we are left asking ourselves, “Is that true?” and “Can I trust it?” There is a BBC TV drama currently running, The Capture, in which a man is arrested because he is seen on CCTV attacking a woman who subsequently disappears, when he believes that they kissed and she simply got on a bus. The man seems to be unjustly accused and yet the video evidence is plain. Gradually the investigating police officer realises that the video may … Read more

Can you have engaged awareness in a world seemingly going crazy?

Is there a contradiction between being socially or politically engaged and personal growth and spirituality? Many traditions point to the evil of humankind’s ways and how we need to turn to “the truth”. Many encourage people to step aside from everyday life in order to do this. Can we have “engaged awareness”? Yesterday my wife and I were on our terrace enjoying the view over the Lot valley in the evening sun, sipping an apĂ©ritif, absorbed in a discussion about the state of the world, and suddenly we became aware that we had hardly given the beauty of the view … Read more

Do you feel like you’re going nowhere?

If someone asked you where are you heading, what would your reply be? Might it be going nowhere? That’s not intended as a frivolous question, though many right now might feel tempted to reply with variations around “get lost!”. It could be something around, “don’t ask me questions I can’t answer”. Because such is the state of the world right now that there don’t seem to be answers and many people feel incredibly uncertain and anxious about the future, and even focusing on the immediate can be really hard work and tiring. What’s your state of the world? In the … Read more

There’s so much fear around at the moment and people are pessimistic

People say that there’s so much fear around at the moment and people are sad and pessimistic about the future. Events, issues and personal circumstances combine to give a negative outlook on life. In fact we can get completely absorbed in it. Is this how things are? Need they be? I’ve been struck how people are saying that everything seems really miserable at the moment. Maybe it’s the weather, repeated bouts of very cold spells when we’re weary with winter, even as spring is in the offing. For many, national and world events are troubling and there seems so much … Read more

What do you take for granted that you’d miss if you lost it?

What do you take for granted which you’d miss if it or they weren’t there? We live large chunks of our lives in a “knee-jerk” way. We get on with it, carry out our daily chores, converse with others, get from A to B, earn our daily bread, complete tasks, make connections, and more. All this makes up the necessities and desirables of life. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of all that are you consciously paying attention to? And what gets left out, that you value if you thought about it, and that you’re not noticing? … Read more

How to be present when others are losing it

Do you struggle to know how to be present with someone when they are upset or angry, or when you are tired or going through it yourself? I’m very often struck by how people can lack the ability to “be with” people emotionally, especially those who work professionally with people in challenging situations. It’s like our buttons get pushed or we feel inadequate or lack the resources we need. Somehow, people say, they “aren’t qualified” to handle it. When people kick off I remember once on a Gestalt training course unpacking a whole load of grief around the impact of … Read more

Do you worry that your mind keeps you awake?

It’s a dilemma when you can’t sleep at night because your mind is busy, and then you start to worry that your mind is keeping you awake. Your mind might be churning things over and then you’re fearful that it is doing this and stopping you sleeping. Worrying that we can’t sleep is a major factor in insomnia, and having a busy mind is a major contributor to the problem. It’s a very good reason to learn to manage your mind and is where mindfulness can be so powerful. You might for example lie down after a busy day in … Read more

Are we losing our ability to have empathy and to connect?

We must have all done it, a family gathering at Christmas and at a quiet moment you come into the room and everybody is on their phones or tablets, with snippets of conversation in between. Perfectly normal, you might think: everybody is wishing friends a Happy Christmas. Except that that is what occurs a lot right through the year where people are together or alone. This world is now getting brilliantly connected. Yet do we notice any disconnect with others we’re with? Being a big user myself but also a coach of relationship and interpersonal dynamics, I’m frequently observing what … Read more

How hard do you find it to step back to see whats going on for you?

We can be so caught up in the drama of what’s happening in our lives that we can find it difficult to step back to see whats going on, and yet this is a crucial step to take in regaining control for ourselves. This is an invaluable skill of mindfulness, metacognition, to see what you are thinking, feeling and sensing as it happens. To do that we need to be able to step back from the content of our minds. Yet, for many of us that can seem impossible: “I can’t”, people often say. It is first important to develop … Read more

Being mindful of what you are thinking feeling and sensing

I’ve recently been preparing a new mindfulness course and in the process reflecting on what for me was one of the most invaluable things I learned from mindfulness many years ago, that of what is called metacognition. This is where your mind is aware that you are thinking, feeling and sensing as it is happening. For me, this experience of being mindful, once I had learned how to practice it, was truly transformative. At the time I knew it as “witnessing”, since my training had also been with people versed in certain traditions that integrated Eastern mysticism with Western Transpersonal … Read more

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