Can calm thoughts create a calmer life?

28/05/2014 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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In a couple of weeks’ time, I’m running a meditation workshop on The Healing Power of Calm. A few months back, I decided to be rather organised. I decided to meditate regularly on the word ‘calm’ for 30 days. There was a question I wanted to answer. Could meditating on the word ‘calm’ actually create a calmer life for oneself? Here are some extracts from my diary.

Day 1. There begins to be a sense, with every out breath, of every cell in the body releasing stuff it has been hanging on to: letting it go. No longer trying to control, hold on or sit on top of stuff. Just letting it go… Outside, wood doves coo and blackbirds sing, and the mild winter air feels fresh and sweet.

Day 2. I realise that the cells as I visualise them are faithfully taking on the colour of the air outside. Today it is that time just before dawn, so my cells are night-dark, with early glimmerings of light.

Day 4. It seems to me that each day is like a mandala: a circular or perhaps spherical pattern. The mandala begins at the very centre of me with a seed thought: ‘calm’. And as the day and the mandala expand, the seed’s qualities of calm permeate and manifest. This happens in ways that perfectly reflect my seed intention.

Day 5. Now I understand that what has stood between ‘calm’ and me is a need to control. I have been trying to control life itself by building a house of cards, to protect those I love, and myself, from the inchoate chaos that lies beyond all things. Yet there is only one thing that can save me: I need to surrender. I cannot hold back chaos. That is impossible.  Instead, I need to step into the abyss, with a sense of trust. As I realise this, my whole body relaxes. A tingling makes itself felt at the top of my head. I feel myself beginning to grow, like a flower. But not too far, not yet. And the moment of growing passes, and is gone. But I have glimpsed it.

Day 6.  After yesterday’s brief sensation of surrender, today’s meditation brings sadness – a sense of regret, of what might have been. It feels good to let the emotions flow. I realise that is all I need to do: let it flow, let it go. I understand that to experience calm, we do need to travel through our bottled-up emotions. There is no other way. Beneath, beyond and through the sadness lies that deep, infinite calm.

Day 13. Things have been busy lately. My son turned 18 (true cause to celebrate: it was never a given). A party. Many overnight guests. A welcome time of celebration and gratitude. I notice, unsurprisingly, that my meditation sessions have been patchy: ten minutes here, five minutes there. When I do succeed in calming my mind, I learn that it is necessary to value oneself in order to maintain one’s calm. If I am constantly available to all, I am present for none, least of all myself. I need to reconnect with the stillness within me in order to make sense of a busy world.

Day 24. I have been able to reach a point where my days do not feel pressured. Many of my commitments seem to have melted away. For example, out of the blue, the school run is now being handled largely by others. This liberates extra hours in my days. Life has become more spacious – a beautiful word. I feel as though I haven’t experienced this since becoming a mother, 18 years ago.

Day 30. I notice that I have become more ordered in my life. I am better at completing one project before starting the next. There continues to be more space in my days, and in the ‘to do’ list in my mind.

For the first time in many years I feel as though I am one with the rhythms of my life and of the wider world – not all the time, but more often.

Conclusion:

In one month, the outer world around me did seem to rearrange itself to reflect the calm that I was focusing on. Some of the changes were initiated by me. But many, such as the lighter school run commitment, were initiated by changes in the outer world. And that change made a big difference!

I notice from the diary entries that just as I was beginning to get real breakthroughs – expressed through the sadness flowing – I got busy. On some level it seems to me that I decided that I had dealt with enough bottled-up emotions for the time being. After that point, the practice felt like more a consolidation of new habits. It felt ok to do that. But I wonder what would have happened if I had, for example, gone on a longer retreat and effectively forced myself to go into the subject more fully. However, the beauty of this daily system was that I could make changes at a comfortable pace. Over all, I liked it a lot. I will do it again, perhaps soon.

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PS The pebbles photographed above were three that I picked up on Brey Beach on the Island of Alderney last summer, and placed on a window sill. I have discovered that calm lies in such simple, sunlit moments.

Base chakra meditation: red shimmer

02/05/2014 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Red rose 2

I am sitting in a small group meditating on the colour red. This is a challenging subject, because as Jennie will point out during the chat session afterwards, there is a duality around the colour red, as far as we humans are concerned.

On the one hand, red is about life and passion. It’s the colour of Valentine’s Day roses, a symbol of romantic love. On the other hand, red is about danger and anger. When we ‘see red’ in our minds, we are said to be furious. And when, in real life, we see red blood, it often means that someone has been injured or worse.

Red is also the colour associated with the base chakra, or root chakra. We can view this chakra as a concentration of spinning energy at the base of the spine, an energetic interface between the individual human and the wider world.

Primal survival

The base chakra is intimately concerned with survival, at the primal level. It’s about the building of the blood and bones of a being from the clay and water of Mother Earth. It’s about the creation and maintenance of the earthly vessel that contains our spirit.

And here’s the thing: the vessel, your human body, is fragile. Every day there are at least a thousand ways in which it could crash and die. And yet, most of the time, it doesn’t. It keeps going. Somehow, it contains the cellular wherewithal to grow and mend itself again and again. It is a spectacular example of self-regeneration.

Of course our bodies are vital to us. At this period in our evolution, we couldn’t function for long on this planet without them. And most of us grow very attached to the personality that goes with our own individual body, though sometimes it’s a love/hate relationship. We may or may not believe that our spirit endures. But we can be sure that the personality that occupies the body will never be quite the same without it.

Given the miracle of our bodies, it’s ironic that so many of us look at them with criticism. Why would we do that?

Red rose 1

However, at this moment, while I am meditating, only fragments of those thoughts come through. They will be developed in the conversation afterwards. Meanwhile, I am trying to focus on the deep, velvety red colour of a flower petal. I am becoming that colour. I am imagining all the cells of my body are that same velvety red. I am an embodiment of the colour red. It is a good feeling, and I am enjoying it.

Roller coaster journey

Still meditating, I become, briefly, a blood cell, travelling through the amazing branched corridors of my body’s circulatory system. I am surprised and delighted to see that the blood cells all around me as I travel the roller coaster corridors are shimmering. They are vibrant with life and vitality.

And then comes a new insight: the blood we invariably see is not living blood. It is always injured blood: stressed, altered and either dead or dying. We can never see blood in its living, vibrant state, because it is in a closed system, away from our view.

Yes, we might see it through the lens of an endoscope. But that’s not real. It’s a digitised representation. It does not, and cannot shimmer like the real thing.

As I am marvelling over this insight, I hear a voice. Its tone is reassuring and calming.

“You can never see all of the shimmer,” says the voice, confirming my thoughts. Then it adds something else, totally unexpected:

“You can never see all of the angels.”

And suddenly I am suffused with a feeling of happiness, laced with tears. I am touched, immeasurably, by the wonder and mystery of our physical existence. It is such a mystery, such a miracle, so magical. Our physical lives, yours and mine, are unbelievable treasures. How did we get to be so lucky to step into these vessels?

And then I am travelling through vast, endless, complex tunnels. They branch and rejoin and keep on going. This isn’t my blood system any more. It’s immeasurably bigger than that.

It feels like I’m in a cosmic circulatory system of which we are all part. Forget evasive politicians and corrupt bankers: their actions are smaller than dust particles. These are the real corridors of power. We are each of us part of the cosmic system. It’s breathtaking, elegant and immense.

You can read more about the themes we’re meditating on this term here.

Red rose 2

 

Wabi sabi: learning to love the ‘imperfect’

28/01/2014 at 7:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Damsons

Thirteen years ago…

I am living in Richmond, Surrey, in a small terraced house with my partner Steven, and our young, disabled son. At night I am dreaming of floods. I see Britain covered in sheets of silvery water. The border between meadow land and rivers becomes indeterminate. In my dreams I see people leaving the flood plains, moving higher up. Some want to go shopping, to buy up supplies. But in the background there is a quiet, wise voice, pointing out that this is not a time for shopping. 

Twelve years ago…

We have decided to move to rural Wiltshire. I notice that I absolutely do not want to live near any flood plains. I want to be on a hill. We buy a place on a hill.  We arrive on the eve of the Winter Solstice. During the following seasons, I study the countryside around us with a burgeoning sense of love. I have the dim understanding that out there, beyond our home, is the equivalent of a supermarket, if only I knew what I was looking at. There is food here, wild, unrecognised, unpackaged, unremarkable to look at… but food, nevertheless.

Damsons on tree

The present day…

Britain has been having a wet winter. It’s fair to say that the weather world-wide has become more extreme in recent years. At the foot of our hill, fields have been submerged in water for weeks now. Pilots flying over our neighbouring county have started referring to ‘Lake Somerset’.

I know a little, just a little, about the plants that grow around me. Depending on the time of year, I gather leaves, roots and berries. Elderflowers, mint and nettles become refreshing herbal teas. Marshmallow and elecampane roots are harvested for nourishing decoctions. Elderberries and damsons (pictured above) are transformed into ruby-coloured jams and cordials. Wild garlic and tender young ground elder add nutrients to casseroles, soups and salads. Small, juicy apples and plums (below) feed us for weeks from a few small trees.

The fruit my daughter and I collect bears no resemblance to the plump, perfect specimens in the nearby supermarkets. It’s as if the fruits in the shops have been photo-shopped. I wonder how many individual plums and apples are rejected by the store buyers. Ours, in comparison, are half-wild fruit: small and mottled. But they are still food, and vibrant food at that.

Plums

Recently I learnt that the Japanese have a name for what I have been learning in the English countryside: wabi sabi. This is the understanding and acceptance of the transience of things. Fruit and people age. None of us is perfectly shaped. The imperfections are to be appreciated. They add to the beauty of the whole.

Back in the nights when I dreamt of floods, my wise dream narrator told me that the floods were the sadness of people made manifest. That included myself, of course. At that time my disabled son was five years old. He had just started at mainstream school with one-to-one support. There were challenges, and we were still adjusting.

But I always felt the dreams were a comment on the wider community too. In the language of dreams, floods may signify suppressed emotions, which will find an outlet despite ourselves.

To put it another way, when a people cannot cry, the planet will cry for them. We have a legacy of not accepting ourselves – of believing that we, like the food we eat, need to be standardised to what we think is a perfect state. We cannot attain that state. I cannot. My disabled son cannot. No one can. No one should really want to. But many of us try to, or else we give up and feel disappointed at ourselves.

We don’t tend to talk about this, though people have recently begun the conversation. We get on with life, finding the funny side, suppressing the sadness. But the land becomes unbalanced, and the tears will out.  Only then does the healing begin.

Damsons

The answer is gazing right back at you

02/09/2013 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Sky glow

Yesterday evening, I was tidying up indoors. My hands were present, but my mind was elsewhere. I was wondering about the new term of meditations I’d be running in the Studio. Would it go ok? The theme I’ve chosen for this week is ‘glow’. Would ‘glow’ be a good word to meditate on?

“Come outside,” called Steven. You’ve got to see this.”

His voice was light and excited.

I went outside.

And I saw this sunset.

Just to be clear, I have not altered the image in any way. The sky truly was lit with orange and red, with a tiny sprinkling of town lights below.

The sky was simply glowing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it glow so fully before.

So I guess that answers my question. Thank you Universe, for a very big answer to my question.

Avebury vision: gateway to the Universe

01/09/2013 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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Avebury stones 1

John Wilding lives with his family in the centre of Avebury Stone Circle. It must be a little like living in a fairy tale, full of myth and magic. Do you know Avebury? It’s a picturesque Wiltshire village which contains the largest stone circle in the world. (Or maybe, even, the stone circle contains the village).

John runs the Henge Shop, which is full of delightful mystic gems and esoteric books. It’s a hub for spiritual travellers from all around the world.

To help the visitors, John is setting up a new website, to be called Visit Avebury. Last week he asked me to write 200 words on sacred sites and meditation for the new website. “I’d love to,” I emailed back.

It then occurred to me that I can’t remember the last time I meditated at Avebury. How can that be? I only live 15 minutes’ drive away. So I decided to get up early at the weekend and do my usual morning meditation there, within the circle…

First, I share a quick breakfast with my nine-year-old daughter, who usually loves a trip. She wants to know why I am going to Avebury. She doesn’t look impressed when I explain.

“Are you definitely going to meditate at the stones?” she asks.

“I am.”

“Then I’m definitely not coming,” she decides.

I smile. It appears that my daughter has just started to understand that parents can be Seriously Embarrassing.

As I walk down to the garage, I happen to glance into our front yard. I see the words ‘hope’, ‘joy’ and ‘love’ chalked onto the stone slabs in a childish hand. I smile again. Maybe she and I are not so different after all.

At Avebury, I walk over to my favourite part of the circle, the quieter north semi-circle. There are no people here, just sheep. I go up to several of the stones and place the palms of my hands against their rough surface. It feels like a form of greeting, a ‘signing in’ as it were. I study the patterns of rock and lichen. I am tuning in.

I notice that I am feeling distinctly light-headed, and the feeling persists.

Carefully, I choose a stone in the outer circle to sit by – then walk to an entirely different one. I sit on the ground and lean back. The stone supports my back so well, it almost feels soft.

Meditation stone

The sun is warm in front of me. The stone is cool behind me.

A gentle wind brushes a few hairs against my face. I hear wood pigeons cooing placidly high in the trees.

I decide to do a listening meditation. Simply breathe, and listen, and feel, and listen.

Meanwhile, my mind has decided to do its bit to unlock the mysteries of the circle. No one really knows why Avebury Stone Circle is here, and there are countless theories. My mind is intrigued by the fact that there are two smaller inner circles within the outer circle. Within the best surviving inner circle, near where I’m sitting, there are two giant stones which many people call a female  and a male stone. Guess which is which…

Avebury stones 2

And then I remember that I am here to meditate. I am here to breathe, listen and feel…

Maybe, my mind points out, the stone circle is a Neolithic depiction of Yin and Yang? All physical matter is composed of binary opposites: sun and moon, male and female, hot and cold and so on… surely Avebury is a beautiful representation of that?

And then I remember, once more, that I am here to meditate…

The area around my heart begins to feel warm: a spreading, pleasant glow.

It’s then that I notice that a particular, unusual word keeps popping up in my mind:

“Locus. The circle is a locus.”

Just in case there is any doubt, the voice repeats itself.

“Locus.”

And then… it happens.

I hear these words:

“It is not the stones themselves that matter. It’s the spaces in between. “

Without any warning, there is a whoosh!

I see a gateway to the All That Is. The stones are the gateway.  Through them, I can see the Universe.

And on my right side, between the stones, laughing, I can see women, very like those I have seen before. Maybe they are the same. Natural, lean and bare-limbed, they are laughing at me, though not unkindly.

At least you are beginning to get it,” they are saying.

And then I am through the gateway and I am dancing between the particles of matter.

I am bigger than the stars and smaller than the atoms.

My previous light-headed feeling has gone, because I am now in the space in which  I am meant to be. This is my normal state of being, I realise. The rest is just a crammed up, box-like dream.

This is real life. This is reality.

I am in bliss.

I am bliss.

There is only bliss… bliss stretching out to infinity….

Gradually, as if from above, I become aware of the pattern of the stones again. I understand now how they act as a locus. The circular structure is helpful for returning back to your body.

We can think it, perhaps, as a Neolithic landing pad for the soul.

And then I am back again, sitting on baked bare earth, the sun on my face, cool stone behind my back. My heart area still feels pleasantly warm and glowing.

I am happy.

I return home via Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe.

Silbury

In my psychically open state, I can see a man directing others in front of a younger and smaller mound. A wise woman, well-regarded, is behind him. She is in the light. Younger men are asking why they are building up the sky.

The old man says, “It will remind them. 

“The time of forgetting will come. 

“The time of forgetting is necessary.

But then, the time of remembering will come. “

This is fascinating, and I want to stay, to learn more. But I am feeling a growing pressure. At home, my family are waiting for my return. So Silbury must be a story for another day.

Avebury stones 3

What I wish I’d said to Anita Moorjani

26/08/2013 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 58 Comments
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There’s an autumnal edge to the air, and outside the leaves are speckled brown in places. The apples are reddening on the trees, and children’s school shoes are flying out of the shops. I’m about to plan the meditation themes for a new term in the Studio. So, all in all, I have that ‘going back to school’ feeling. The weather is cooling off and it’s time to learn again (as if we ever stop).

Instead of working, I keep thinking about a ‘nearly’ conversation I had with Anita Moorjani at the Hay House ‘I can do it!’ London conference last autumn. It keeps playing on my mind. I haven’t thought about it for months. So there must be a reason why it’s coming up now.

I heard Anita speak about her near death experience at the conference. I had previously read her book, Dying to be Me, and loved it. Last year, Anita was still fairly new to public speaking, and she was accompanied on stage by Dr Wayne Dyer. I liked her lack of ego. She wasn’t trying to prove anything. She simply had an amazing experience to share. Anita’s essential message seemed to be: Live your life fearlessly. You are always loved. You are magnificent. You are meant to be you, no one else. Live your life to the full. Enjoy being you.

At the end of the conference, I saw Anita again. I was standing in a long queue on the stairs, waiting for luggage from the cloakroom. Anita walked up the steps with her husband Danny. I said a quiet, heartfelt ‘Thank you’.

To my surprise, in all that noise Anita heard me and stopped. She looked at me, waiting for more. I didn’t know what to say. So I opted for: “Thank you for your talk. I really enjoyed it.”

“Why, thank you so much,” said Anita, and carried on her way.

Now the thing is, I wasn’t being honest. There was more I could have said. Much more.

What was I really thanking Anita for?

The clue is in this photo.

Timothy and Steven

It’s a picture of my teenaged son, Timothy, with his lovely, supportive dad – my partner Steven. You will notice that Timothy is disabled. He has an undiagnosed condition which means that he cannot walk, except for a few wobbly steps. He cannot talk, beyond a few basic words. “Ready, steady go!” is his favourite expression. He uses signs to communicate. He is holding his ‘taggy’, a favourite soft shape covered with labels that he likes to play with.

You may also notice that Timothy is smiling. Timothy smiles a lot. He loves people. When I’m with him I always have a sense that I am unconditionally loved and accepted. Other people experience the same thing. Timothy feels good to be around.

So what does this have to do with Anita Moorjani?

A vision of bliss

Unlike Anita, I have not had a near death experience. But the year before Timothy was born I had an experience which was very like one. I call it a vision, but it involved other senses too.

In my vision, I wasn’t in my body. It felt to me that I was pure energy. Somehow, I was occupying the space between matter, between the particles of matter. Matter itself, our physical world, appeared insubstantial, like a movie image that you could put your hands through.

The feeling I had was pure, absolute bliss. I was known, and witnessed and absolutely loved by the overriding intelligence that was everywhere in that space. For want of a better word, I called that intelligent being, ‘God’. But I knew it had nothing in common with external views of God.  I was unconditionally loved. I was incapable of sinning. I was this shining, wondrously loving consciousness in which I bathed, and it was me. There was no separation. And these same truths applied to every being on this earth.

Hard lessons

My vision of bliss has never completely left me. It sustained me when Timothy was born with complex and life-threatening issues, which became more apparent as he grew older.

As every parent of a disabled child knows, it is incredibly difficult dealing with the complex medical decisions for someone you adore, whose survival may at times seem fragile at best. It took me a while, and I stumbled many times, but gradually I learnt to trust my intuition – the inner voice of wisdom. And I believe this has helped Timothy immeasurably, many times over.

Not only that, after the vision it was as if a door remained open to the Other Realm. I have had, and continue to have, other visions that teach, sustain and delight me. Increasingly, I share these with others.

To me, it seems that Timothy himself occupies a space between this world and the Other Realm. He can appear immensely intuitive. He can sign an answer to me when I’ve only just framed the question in my mind – before I’ve spoken it aloud. And his unconditional love, his lack of judgement, is powerfully like the energy I experienced in my original vision of bliss.

 

So what exactly was I thanking Anita for? 

In a word, validation.

Anita appeared to be terminally ill with cancer, on the verge of complete organ failure, when she had her near-death experience. In her book, Dying to be Me, she describes how she experienced a state of extreme bliss while also being aware of what was going on in the hospital, and also where her brother was, many hundreds of miles away. She describes how she understood that she was completely loved, and magnificent. And when she returned, her body healed within days.

What Anita describes corresponds to my own vision, although our circumstances were very different. I am grateful that Anita worked hard to share her experiences in a thoughtful and balanced way. Eighteen years ago, when I experienced my vision, these things were less talked about. I have always felt that I live two lives: the physical one here, and the blissful one, in the space between the particles.  The first I talked about; the second, I did not.

Well, that is changing. Now I am talking about my experience of bliss – why ever wouldn’t I? Seeing Anita stand up and speak her truth, with dignity, on a stage before  hundreds of people has got a lot to do with that.

The autumn term begins here in one week’s time. There’s one thing I’m sure about, whether I’m learning, or sharing what I’ve learnt: I will speak my truth.

What did you do today?

07/07/2013 at 10:36 pm | Posted in Happiness, Inspiration, Nature, Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Yarrow“What did you do today?”

I breathed. I lived. I put my bare feet on the earth.

“Yes, but what did you do?”

I’ve just told you what I did.

“What else did you do?”

I had a laugh with ones I love. I ate almonds under a wild cherry tree. I breathed the sweet scent of a pure white rose.

“Sounds nice. Anything else?”

Yes, now that you come to mention it, I gathered yarrow under a cloudless sky. I touched a silver birch whose leaves were shimmering in the breeze. And I watched the red sun go down, while a handsome man held me close…

That’s what I did today. And what about you; what did you do? Don’t tell me the stuff you didn’t really care about. Tell me what mattered to you.

5 reasons to love December 2012

30/11/2012 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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Solstice 2012“What is all this about December 2012?” asked a meditation student. “I’ve been hearing some scary stories about the 21st, the Solstice. Should we be worried? Should I be preparing in any way?”

“What kind of scary stories?” I asked, though I had a pretty good idea.

“Oh, that there’s going to be some kind of natural disaster. You know, the world coming to an end; the Apocalypse…I’ve been reading about it.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’m going to give you some good reasons why we should love December  2012.” And here they are…

1) December 21st 2012 is the shortest day of the year, and also the date when a long cycle in an ancient South American calendar system, known as the Mayan Calendar, comes to an end. It has been suggested that this date will bring calamity. But calendars don’t create or predict events. They simply mark the days. And in any case, a new Mayan cycle starts on December 22nd.

Borders are always significant, and this border between two vast periods of time creates a pause. Within that pause there is an opportunity for old, outmoded ways of thinking to vanish, and a new, more humane outlook to flourish. This can be good for all of us.

2) Alarmist predictions about this month can actually teach us how to tell the difference between our ungrounded fears – in this case, a fear of the unknown – and our intuition. Intuition literally means ‘in-tuition’ and it is a form of teaching. We all know that good teachers care for their students and help them to achieve their best. So true guidance, whether it’s within you, or from someone in the wider world, is reassuring and uplifting – always. Trust your guidance.

3) A date can have powerful symbolic meaning, and this can be used in good and helpful ways. So, for example, December 21st 2012 is acting as a powerful focus for the ever-growing holistic movement. This movement can be summed up as this: the realization that we are all one. Humanity is one, magnificent, glorious being who is just beginning to learn that the only person we’ve been fighting all this time is ourselves – and that when we are kind to others, we are kind to ourselves.

4) This month may truly turn out to be an Apocalypse, in a positive way.  The word ‘apocalypse’ comes from ancient Greek, and originally meant ‘uncover, reveal’. It developed an additional meaning of ‘insight’ or ‘vision’. So perhaps we are living through an apocalypse; perhaps it has already started. But this is a good thing. Over the past 12 months we’ve had covert wrong-doings exposed in people who run countries, businesses, banks and charities.  We are living in a more transparent time, and that is to be welcomed. We are also, finally, accepting our intuitive and visionary abilities, having learnt in the last century that science and logic can lead to inhumane actions on a planetary scale.  We need our insight. We need our vision.

5) Each of us can use the potential energy of this time in excellent ways. You can focus during the whole of December, and especially around the time of the Winter Solstice on the 21st, on love and peace, feeling it in your own heart, towards yourself, your family, your community, your country, and this whole beautiful planet. While you do this, you will know that countless other people are doing the same, all over the world. What we think and feel does manifest in the outer world – and the positive energy we can generate together is beautiful. Be loving to yourself, and loving to the world.

That is the real meaning of this amazing time that we are living in.

PS For your free copy of my Happiness Meditation mp3, just click here. 

The real meaning of home

28/09/2012 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Happiness, Meditation, Nature, Wellbeing | 12 Comments
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In our distant nomadic past, home was where we settled for the night: it was shelter, a place we lay down – a place of rest. Recently, on the West Coast of Scotland, I came across a perfect example of home at its simplest. This stone outcrop at Sand provided shelter for our ancestors nearly 10,000 years ago. It was their bedroom, and also their kitchen: there is evidence that they collected limpets from the sea shore and boiled them up in water before eating them.

My daughter led me up and onto the roof of the shelter. “There’s a place I’ve got to show you,” she said. “You’re going to love it; it’s really special.” And she was right. On the heather-clad roof there were several broad stones: slabs of natural paving. One, in particular, was a perfect meditation seat. It was easy to sit there, gaze out to sea and  simply let your thoughts drift into that in-between place – the other realm.

When I did so, I found myself talking to the inhabitants of that time. We weren’t using words, exactly, but we were communicating. To my surprise, I found they were admiring my build: the fact that compared with them I looked immensely well fed. I was aware of their lightness and slimness and superb fitness, and found myself wishing that I exercised more.

Self-acceptance

They were surprised at my lack of self-acceptance on this matter. They reminded me of the goodness of Mother Earth, or the Mother as they called her. She provided what we needed, and it made no sense to disparage her gifts. Abundance was a blessing. Each of us was a creation of the Mother. Each of us was divine. How could we criticise ourselves in that context? Criticism was utterly meaningless.

I actually had the sense they were laughing at me, as if I were a child who didn’t quite understand. And yet there was also respect. It was as if they saw wisdom in me, as I saw wisdom in them. And the wisdom wasn’t individual wisdom; it was collective. We all shared knowledge… and this knowledge was infinite awareness.

And then I understood the true meaning of home. It is unconditional love, and it is acceptance. When you are at home – truly at home –  you are loved, you are accepted. During the many times we find ourselves on our own, we can still feel unconditional love and acceptance towards ourselves. And when we are with others – however distant in terms of culture, or the passage of time – we can feel that exact same connection. As I did on that rock.

Down below, a car horn was sounding. I was being summoned back to the 21st Century. I clambered down the heather slopes, sea breeze in my hair, aware that the bliss I was feeling is our natural birthright.

It’s your birthright; it truly is.

This moment now

30/07/2012 at 10:25 am | Posted in Happiness, Meditation, Nature, Uncategorized, Wellbeing | 1 Comment
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This moment now is all we ever have, but it’s enough, because it’s everything.

Have a magical day.

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