How avoiding the thought buses helps me with Agoraphobia By Natalie Hind
Until most recently, I heavily relied on public transport. My life was full of things I could only get to via a bus or a train. Work, college, fun, relationships, right down to my healthcare. I would travel overseas; jetting off on exotic holidays and city breaks. In my not-so-regular down time, I would catch up with friends and family all over the country to step away from the hum of my busy life. I would occasionally jump in a car with L plates on, hoping to add ‘drive’ to the list of available transport options open to me, particularly on the days where the countryside took its toll on my much-needed service.
I eventually moved away from the countryside, and into the city. I accepted a place at a drama school, a short train journey from one of the liveliest and most exciting areas in London, and an easy ride away from a host of theatres, workshops and like-minded people; once a dream and now a very real opportunity. Read More
This excellent blog which comes in 6 weekly articles is by the Radio Presenter Naomi Kent. Please click READ MORE below.
This is week 1 of the level 2, Six-week course.
WHAT ABOUT THE BUDDHA’S WIFE?
So I’m back in the throngs of meditation education, in the Kuti in Surya’s back garden. A Kuti, FYI, is a hut or a home for a monk – thank you, Google – and this is where the mindfulness courses take place. Last time I was here it was the depths of winter so I couldn’t appreciate the tranquil setting, nestled amongst pretty flower beds & presently dusted in April showers, but here were a small group of meditation fans admiring the view, and wanting to learn more.
Why did we want to learn more? Honestly, I get a bit slack when I don’t have a whip-cracker encouraging mindfulness and meditation and some days I forget my sitting practise, or I find myself the victim of the two daggers. The two daggers, if you missed the first course, are the process of giving yourself a mental beating if and when something goes wrong. Dagger one: The bad thing happening. Dagger two: Getting cross about the bad thing happening and repeatedly going over why it’s such a disgrace to humanity that this bad thing happened and how very dare it and if only you’d done X Y and Z then maybe this wouldn’t have happened but god it’s a tragedy etc. etc. Get the drift? Good. Read More
NO MORE BLAME – THOUGHT FOR THE DAY BY SURYACITTA ON BBC RADIO JANUARY 2016
It seems to me that whenever I listen to the news, read a newspaper a good portion of the news is somebody blaming somebody else. To me, it looks like the art of politics is who can blame the other party most eloquently.
We all know that blaming others creates tension and even war between nations.
It appears we are taught that if something is not to our liking then somebody else is responsible. If we are criticised we often blame the other person for making us feel bad. Or alternatively, we may blame ourselves.
Our attention normally goes OUT THERE to find the source of pain. This keeps our minds very busy trying to work it all out.
So how to end this cycle of BLAME?
Well we need to be willing to turn our attention from the external world to the internal. We need to feel the hurt that is beneath the anger of blame.
It is very easy to blame others – it is actually very lazy. It means we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions.
When we take our attention from our thoughts about who said what, and to feel the underlying hurt, our minds begin to calm down and we have more clarity about what to do in any situation.
Yeah, you read that right – do nothing. It’s not easy, is it? What happens when we just sit quietly? Thoughts; I should be doing this or that, glimpses at past events and conversations, daydreaming about happy events, guilt for not doing something, anything – the list is endless. It’s almost harder to sit still than it is to keep on doing. Isn’t it?
However, by spending time doing nothing; resting, following the breath, noticing thoughts and emotions as they rise and fall, we allow our minds to rest. It’s so easy to get caught up in busyness and not make time for ourselves to just ‘be’. It feels satisfying to delete all of the emails, hang the washing out, and squeeze that extra meeting in? My meditation teacher Suryacitta talks often about how busyness is the height of laziness. By never sitting with ourselves and just observing our thoughts and emotions we are not allowing ourselves to grow and our insight to deepen. We will remain in busy mode, without a greater perception and a sense of more ease in our lives. Read More
BY DAVID EDWARDS
It is said that God plays a joke on every new-born, whispering:
‘You are the special one!’
The joke quickly wears thin when we start running up against the seven billion other people on the planet who all know that they are ‘the special one’. Deep ego wounds are received every time we fall short; when she chooses him over us. When our best friend gets the grades but we don’t. When we get to the final interview, but no further.
If the ultimate physical battle is to continue breathing, the ego’s ‘life-and-death’ struggle is to be ‘special’ rather than ‘a loser’. This is why we fight to defend even the most trivial argument as if our lives depended on it. The pain of the ego – as though in its death throes – has children (and adults!) hurling themselves to the floor and writhing in agony. Read More
A MINDFULNESS POEM BY STUART STEVENS
What does the word mindfulness mean to you?
Is it something you are or something you do.
Is it an adjective or is it a verb?
Or is it quite simply just a word.
You can spend your time living in your head,
And not even remember the words you’ve just read.
You’re walking along with your head in the clouds
And all you can hear are your thoughts shouting loud.
So next time you find yourself walking along
And you’re reliving the day, and what has gone wrong.
Take a moment and find time to pause,
Stop all your worries about all your flaws.
Your thoughts are transitory and nothing more
So leave them behind as you walk out the door.
Take time to be mindful of all that you do
Just open your eyes and enjoy the view.
Zen Master and the Vase
Recently I noticed how irritated I was becoming with our new printer which seemed incapable of doing the most basic of things, like printing. This got me thinking about my relationship to my possessions. I lived for five years with very few possessions whilst living in a Buddhist retreat centre, and I must say I was very happy indeed. I rarely missed the THINGS of this world.
One of my reflections has been that it is not really about possessions but about my relationship to my possessions that matters.
I am reminded of Hakuin the meditation master who was 90 years old and who decides to visit his old friend Basho in the next valley. Basho was also 90 years old. They have been friends since they were 8 years old. They entered monastic life together as children and trained together for decades. He gatherers all his monks and nuns together and tells them that he intends to go see his dear old friend Basho. He tells them neither of them has long to live and it was time for them to see each other one last time. He asks them to look after each other in his absence and to practice well. Read More
Working with fear and anxiety
And just about everything else you don’t want.
The questions on a recent webinar I run seemed to be centred around difficult emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt and a busy mind.
I want to get straight to the point. The question we all have is, what can I do about them? How can I have a quieter mind and not be dominated by fear and anxiety?
The main key to this is willingness. We need to be willing to do the work, to do what is necessary to be free of them.
Fear, guilt, anxiety etc, though they vary in ‘flavour’ and intensity, they are from the point of view of our mindfulness practice, made of the same stuff – thoughts and bodily sensations.