Learning to love simply and purely for its own sake

Teachers and gurus of many traditions all urge us to apply love in our daily lives. Without it we are, as St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal“. It’s a brilliantly simple way to experience more love in our lives. Muktananda wrote, “In your ordinary life, learn to love. This love should be pure, unattached and given for its own sake. If it contains any demands, it is just a commercial exchange – the motions of love but not love itself.” If the pursuit of the awareness of love is taken further, if for … Read more

Allow yourself to meditate on love

Reading the news today, and the usual catalogue of disagreements, upsets and conflicts as presented by our media, I was reminded of an excellent book by James Twyman, Emissary of Light, which describes the author’s visit during the Bosnian conflict to a group of people who devoted years during the conflict to meditating together right in the midst of the conflict in the cause of peace. Every day, this group would meditate for most of the day and they would send out light to the world. James describes how on one occasion, a large group of soldiers were advancing and … Read more

The paradox of quiet in the midst of crazy activity

Between one moment and the next, between one thought and the next, or between one breath and the next, there is a tiny, often imperceptible gap, a pause point. In the cycle of awareness, we let go of one experience before turning our awareness to another. Before going through another cycle of becoming aware, engaging and taking action, there’s a slight gap, a tiny pause, infinitesimal even. We’re reaching such a natural pause point at present, not that you would think it. This is in some ways a strange time of year. In the west we all dash madly around … Read more

the Winter Solstice is a good time to tune into nature

At this time of the year, as we get closer to Christmas and many of us in the West scurry around before Christmas on the annual pre-festival spending spree, it is not so obvious that this is also the time of year for more ancient festivals that are timed for the Winter Solstice, such as Yuletide in the UK. The earth energy seems to slow down and there’s a natural still point around the time of the Solstice, a pause in the earth’s cycle. Because I think of the pre-Christmas splurge, people don’t notice this time. For the aware, however, … Read more

Watching where your mind keeps going

Most of us are probably very used to our mind doing its own thing and no doubt complain that when they try to be still, for example in meditation, their minds are persistently busy. Many say to me that it’s only when they try meditation that they notice how active their minds really are. Most of the time, they somehow didn’t notice it or took it for granted. In the east, the need to take care of and manage the mind is a key part of their practices. My guru’s guru, Swami Muktananda told a story in which a poor … Read more

Being aware of the mind as contracted consciousness

My own spiritual practice is that of Siddha Yoga, which is derived from the Kashmir Shaivic tradition in India. In that tradition, the mind, chitta, is simply a contracted form of universal Consciousness or Shakti, chiti, the great Consciousness that creates the universe. It is a very useful concept to remember, particularly in meditation. Those words chitta and chiti come from the same root, chit, meaning Awareness or Consciousness. What troubles many people in meditation are their thoughts. Despite their best efforts, their minds get absorbed in trains of thought and they think they aren’t meditating. In Siddha Yoga, we … Read more

A good time to practice meditation

Reaching the end of the last week in October, it is appropriately sunny and almost warm here, with the last very golden colours on the trees before the autumn winds wisk them away no doubt very soon. There’s perhaps a sense of a turning point in the earth’s seasonal cycle, before we descend more rapidly into winter and the animals who hiberate start burrowing underground or wherever for their sleep, our evenings are now very much darker and the clocks about to go back. To me it feels like we almost close within ourselves more. I often recommend people do … Read more

Learning to truly connect takes time, patience and practice

Last weekend I wrote about the importance of having a spiritual practice to support you on your path, some regular set of activities that met different aspects of your needs. Weekends are a good time to be thinking about this, and planning ahead. Thinking about it of course is all that can happen. There’s an old expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Not that I believe in hell, but we can often carry on in the same old unsatisfactory way while expressing a desire for change. That expression needs to be accompanied by planning and action. … Read more

Be at peace with yourself today

Absorbed in our ego mind, we stay disconnected from Who we really Are. In our ego states, we get caught up in dramas, act out repeat patterns, stay attached to that which does not serve us, and stay stuck in persistent “thought chatter”. No wonder we somehow make our minds “not OK”. Yet our minds are also our route to inner contentment. “Love your mind. The mind is the friend who leads you by its restlessness to search for God. The mind is the instrument by which you detect the inner world.” (Swami Muktananda). We use the mind to become … Read more

Time out to renew yourself

If you’re having a holiday at the moment, how easy has it been to stop and take time out for yourself? Was there a period of transition, of adapting to a holiday mode? Living everyday existence can become automatic. We can be so absorbed in everyday living that it can get hard to step outside it and take time out. It is as though we’re addicted to this. It can seem so compulsive that this adjustment to “time out” is a hard one to do. Yet it is so important to do it. There’s the obvious points about the need … Read more