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 apéritif, 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

How do we keep our cool while everybody else is losing theirs

How do we keep our cool right now? How do we stay connected to who we are and yet also deal with the s**t that goes on in the world? It’s a very pertinent question in a world going seemingly mad. It’s a question many ask and struggle to come up with answers. Do we sit and meditate and gaze on the world in a non-attached way like the all-knowing guru or do we beat our hearts out trying to change it all and end up harming ourselves? After all, some say, it’s going to carry on like this, so … Read more

Healing conflict in ourselves and in the world is needed right now

These are undoubtedly very testing times for very many of us. Countries are beset by political conflict and division. People in the UK are about to be confronted by a very serious political crisis, but they are not alone. In other countries in Europe and America, there are also serious crises. So what does the concerned, consciously aware person do in such circumstances? Is there something that can be done around reducing or healing conflict? You might feel yourself getting caught up in the conflict, taking sides, feeling angry about what is happening and indignant about certain actions. Or you … Read more

When we let go it all flows

When we let go, it all flows. However, the ego won’t have it like that. Do you find yourself so wrapped up with stuff that you can’t solve it or make it work, and the more bogged down in it you get the worse it gets, and still you don’t want to let go of it? Today I was having great problems with my website. I couldn’t figure out why it was misdirecting links and I felt bogged down in a problem I felt unable to resolve. In the middle of “all that stuff”, there was a distant and growing … Read more

Is practicing mindfulness something you don’t get round to?

The hard bit about mindfulness is the discipline of practicing it every day, particularly when we don’t feel like it. It’s one powerful way the ego has of deflecting us from what we need for our path. Thus it can be very easy to drop the practice after a while because it seems like “it isn’t working”. Practicing mindfulness needs to be regular to see the benefits. Lets say your practice includes an early morning meditation. You’ve committed to this time to give yourself some space before the day starts for you to go within, be still, let go of … Read more

Is the love-hate relationship between peoples out of control today?

Am I imagining it or is the love-hate balance tipping too far towards hate? Are you feeling uncomfortable about the seeming rise in antagonism towards minorities? Where’s the love and peace? We seem to be in the middle of one of those phases in public life where there’s a desire to blame the ills of life on scapegoats, be they Muslims, benefit claimants, Roma gypsies, immigrants, another religion, another nationality or whoever. Equally we have extremists who have fundamentalist outlooks and see themselves engaged in some climatic struggle against the forces of evil. So, how do we respond from a … Read more

I want it now won’t bring you happiness

You might be pardoned for thinking that the words “I want it now” might be what you hear your small child say when he or she wants something that you are reluctant to agree to. Except that it is also something we adults have come to accept as the norm too, as a recent conference on ethical capitalism showed. While we might feel indignant at the practices of bankers and corporate executives in their chasing short-term rewards at the expense of long-term needs like investment or the needs of the wider society of which they are a part, it is … Read more

Do you feel driven by wanting and desire

How much are you driven by issues around wanting and desire? As notions like getting what you want or getting your needs met are very common, this might seem an odd question to ask. Surely, one might think, asking for what I want is a natural thing to do? We as humans have needs that need to be met, as it were. Yet desire, wanting, has huge issues attached to it that can lead us into all sorts of difficulties, ones that don’t serve us. So it’s worth reflecting on how much desire can get in the way and where … Read more

Having expectations can be a set-up for not getting what you want

People are often mystified when I challenge them in coaching for having expectations. “What’s wrong with that?” they ask. I don’t mean it is wrong because that would be a judgement, but I do question its efficacy in certain situations. It usually requires some explanation, and invariably is related to the particular expectation the individual is making and the level of investment they have in the outcome. Here are a few general pointers. Expectations from a self development perspective  is a requirement of other people, life and the universe by you or I. We are expecting that something will or … Read more

One major obstacle to mindfulness is not remembering to do it

One major obstacle many who practice mindfulness will say is that of remembering to do it. It’s a true test of commitment. Something comes along and we put off doing our practice, or say to ourselves that it’s OK, we can just do it tomorrow, and then tomorrow comes and we do the same. Then, if we carry on along this track, the whole thing can very easily go “on the back burner”, and get postponed. The ego finds all sorts of ways of resisting what we’ve committed to. Habits are often deeply ingrained and can be very subtle in … Read more