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

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

Need and want can be very destructive ego strategies

Two of the most powerful self-limiting strategies must be that of need and want, especially when fuelled by a sense of lack, of “not enough”. After all they are thoughts that not only fuel much of our economics and politics at the macro level but also, at the micro level, for some it drives the need to meet every-day needs in order to survive, and for others to satisfy the seemingly insatiable hunger for more and more of the material trappings of life. It is so pervasive that we don’t think of questioning it, but instead we assume it to … Read more

Being in survival mode is ego

For our ego watch today we’ll take the whole survival mentality, since this is where people can so easily go when faced with economic challenge and hardship. It’s become really salient with climate change. After all, it’s so easy, although that’s not how we’d like to see it! You read all sorts of scary headlines about the economy, share or stock prices, house prices, flooding, forest fires, or whatever, and the heart starts beating fast, you go cold, a terror gets a hold, and in a panic you start thinking of all sorts of cataclysmic scenarios. Or you feel like … Read more

Seeing perfection in what seems imperfect

When things are messy and it feels like it’s all gone wrong, it can be very hard to get that it’s also just perfect. Seeing perfection in the midst of adversity goes right against our belief system. It could be that despite what’s going on for you right now, where you are is perfect. Usually our belief is that we’ve “got to get it right”, “be better”, in other words live up to some imagined external standard which is more likely one we’ve internalised. Of course, there may be people in your world who want it to be better than … Read more

Being who you really are

Do you “know who you really are”? Do you know what “being who you really are” is? Unless you are an enlightened guru, deep spiritual teacher, leading psychotherapist, or major philosopher, for example, you might, if you were honest, struggle with the answer. And honesty is partly what it’s about. To use the now well-known words “Being who you really are” is to open up a multi-layered question around what we mean by the phrase and, when it is contemplated, we may not get any clear, definitive answer. It serves us better to simply ask it as a question as … Read more

How is it that what you truly want eludes you?

When you try to grab hold of it, it isn’t there. Have you had that experience, really pushing to get hold of what you truly want and it keeps eluding your grasp? No wonder people get cynical about life. It doesn’t seem to deliver. The more we want, the more we don’t get what we want. What we get instead is wanting. I was giving a talk last night to a group of interested people about how to connect with inner peace and one questioner expressed the dilemma she experienced of having seemingly spontaneous feelings of contentment and yet when … Read more

Being unattached to the outcome

Do you find you can’t let go of what you want and keep on at it even when all the signs are that it probably won’t work. This is where one gets “attached” to an outcome. It’s all too familiar and often doesn’t serve us. Instead we can benefit from being unattached instead. For example, have you ever found you’ve wanted someone else to do something for you and despite your efforts he or she persists in not doing what you ask? You think you’ve made your request pretty plain but what you get back is not what you wanted. … Read more