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

Being driven can drive us to illness

People who help others can neglect looking after themselves. It’s a well-known hazard in the helping professions and Christmas here in the UK can serve as a useful reminder, if only that it is a common time for people to go down with bugs and be sick. It’s like we chase around after our own tails, get to the Christmas holiday and collapse in a sorry heap, like much of the rest of the workforce. One characteristic is not knowing you’re exhausted till you stop. It’s slipped out of our conscious awareness. For the skilled helper, like coaches, counsellors, nurses … 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

Do you keep Sunday special?

A news report today is suggesting that the UK government is considering the temporary suspension of the Sunday trading laws.  These laws limit the hours shops can be open that day, and they are proposing suspending them because it is thought advantageous to have the big shops open over the period of the summer Olympic and Para-Olympic games this year. Immediately the “Keep Sunday Special” lobby has sprung into action in defence of limited opening hours and there are accusations of more anti-Christian behaviour in government. For those outside the UK who might be bemused by all this, once upon … Read more

Try just being and not doing for a while

In an activity-orientated society such as ours, the thought of not doing very much might seem a bit strange. Which begs some interesting questions. This came up recently in a conversation I was having. “What do you like doing?” I asked, to get the reply, “Not very much. I just like being.” Now I guess a lot of people would find the prospect of that a bit uncomfortable for them. We’re all very busy, so much so that it’s a pretty regular question to ask, “How are you? Keeping busy?” So, to say “No”, would put presumably put you in … Read more

Being present in the silence

As it’s snowing at present here and in much of Europe, people may find their activities restricted. Apart from those perhaps stuck somewhere and having difficulty, and we should keep them in our thoughts during this freeze-up, for those  of us perhaps stuck in-doors we might feel frustrated by the limitation, and then we could reflect on what it might have to teach us. Enforced idleness, lets say, in a society accustomed to feeling driven and busy, can be a strange one. We might look round for “something to do”. Our minds could “go off on one”. And then we … 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

Aching for stillness

I’ve crawled around the place today, having picked up a mild flu-like bug. There’snow outside and I’m thankful to be at home and not needing to travel. I’m interestingly enjoying not doing very much, just admin tasks and now some blogging. The house is very silent and still, snugly wrapped in its snow coat, and the fire is going. I like this dark stillness that descends at this upcoming Solstice time. Since I need to look after myself, I’m gently nursing the aches and pains and being very attentive to my body. Doing that helps me to be very present … Read more

When it’s cold outside, make the inner space warm

Outside the chill continues. Now the intense frosty clear days are replaced by snow. It’s been a day of sleet and snow, as I’ve been driving up to London, with a icy, chilling north-easterly wind. The UK doesn’t do snow very well, probably because we don’t usually get much of it and it melts quickly. So often it’s a wet snow, as today. As I’ve been writing in this blog, this is a great time to make good inner space, not just literally in your home but also in yourself inside. There’s a natural drawing within at this time. Many … Read more

Going inside

This is a time when one gets really aware of the changing seasons here in the Northern hemisphere, as autumn deepens, the leaves turn gold and start to fall, it gets colder and the nights draw in. Sometimes to me it can feel a sad time. I think that is an association with the return to school after the summer holidays, especially when I went to a boarding school and thus was away from home. But I think there’s also a sadness with the summer ending more generally, things coming to an end. After all, the fruit is ripening, food … Read more