Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Reassurance always comes....

This morning I got up when my alarm clock went at 4.30am. I had a gym re-programme at 6am. When I am spinning I wear a heart rate monitor to see how far I can push my heart rate but I have never worn it for any gym assessments. This morning I had the idea to wear it.

I arrived at the gym and met the instructor. I explained that I wanted different exercises that I was bored with the ones I was doing and I didn't feel they were of much benefit anymore. He understood and asked me how much running I did. In the past I did a lot of running and I would love to get back into it. He set me up on the treadmill and watched my technique. He gave me a few pointers and I was amazed at how immediate the difference was. The spiritual is exactly the same, without a guide or someone who knows more or has advanced further there is a danger of missing that one vital thing that could shift the consciousness into expanding fully.

At one point in the assessment he looked at my heart monitor and couldn't believe how slow it was. He told me that only once had he seen a heart rate as slow as mine and that was in a cyclist on the tour de France. The first thing I was aware of when he told me this was of a feeling of pride and a compulsion to boast about it to everyone. I watched these feelings arise in myself with interest. I understand where this slow heart beat has come from. It is as a direct result of a profound experience I had when I was on a meditation retreat in Devon. Ironically the retreat was called 'awakening the heart' Since then I am aware that I don't suffer from any stress. This is why life is so calm and balanced. Yes my mind and the thoughts can be vicious but I know that as long as I maintain the witness mentality which is watching the play of the mind like a detached observer that my body will not be affected. The thoughts which came up when he said that were 'I always knew I was special' and 'now people will understand' and I had to ruthlessly cut off this train of thought.

I went into work and at one point in the morning was getting a cup of coffee from the machine and for a split second my mind went blank there was nothing there, no thoughts, no fear, just a deep relaxation. I was surprised at this because it has never happened before. When I returned to my desk which has a lovely view out of the window I looked deeply at the sky and felt such a deep connection to something.

There are many times that I miss not having a teacher. For many years books have been my teachers. At the moment I am reading The Soul by Alice Bailey. This is resonating with me on so many levels at the moment. I have been grappling with one time having a profound powerful experience and the next minute losing this state. It tends to happen once I have the thought 'is this the utlimate state'. The minute I think this, the state is gone and in its place is frustration and then another thought, mustn't be frustrated, must accept that this is the way it is and round and round like a mouse on a wheel.

Today I read a few sentences in this book which gave me an amazing clarity and I would like to record these in this blog pg 104 'we sense beauties and glories surrounding us that as yet we cannot revel in; they flit into our vision, and we touch the glory at a lofty moment, only again to lose the contact and to sink back again into the murky gloom that envelopes'. When I read this I experienced such relief and gratitude that the universe would reassure me in this way. Just this little confirmation that the spiritual path is so much a mixture of agony and ecstasy gives me the faith and commitment to keep going.

I don't know if this blog is ever going to be read by anyone but if someone is reading this. The journey is real. What saints and other realized people have written about is real and achievable in one's life time. I would bet my life on this. However there is a saying 'many are called but few are chosen. I don't consider myself 'chosen' in fact I consider myself someone who has got this far because of a deception - that of not having 2 properly functioning eyes. So I can never be arrogant about the insights or experiences I have had because I will never know that if I had 2 proper functioning eyes would I have had the kind of experiences which I have had. I don't know and it is that uncertainty that keeps me humble.

Monday, 30 July 2007

And so the agony goes on......

My irritable mood followed me into work today. Felt really restless and tired. The mind didn't seem to want to work. I haven't heard anything from the centre and this morning when I was reading the spiritual autobiography of Irwina Tweedie came across a sentence which says 'if you say you are pure, people will hate you. Make people pure by your company; don't advertise it'. When I read this I wondered whether this is a lesson to me not to pursue the meditation course. That perhaps I am not ready. It is times like this when I really miss a Guru or teacher who could guide me.

I'm also experiencing terrible conflict and tension with regard to 2 men that are in my life. One consequence I have found of following a spiritual path is that the mind thinks differently. I have struggled with relationships and have not been able to have a deep, long satisfying intimate bond with a man for very long. For the last many years I have been celibate. When the yearning for enlightenment is so strong and the thought of enlightenment is the first thought in the morning and the last thought at night as it has been for me for many years there isn't any energy left for anything else. But this path is lonely. I don't want to make it seem that it isn't. It is. I have times of such deep loneliness, even when surroundered by people I often feel so alone.

A couple of boyfriends in the past have tried to get me to stop my spiritual journey but that is never going to happen. I remember one Christmas a couple of years ago being alone in a cottage in rural Ireland without any of my family. I was crying and remonstrating with God 'is this really the kind of life you want for me.' Then suddenly I became aware of words forming in my mind to the effect of 'why do you think I have kept you alone like this, it is to have the time to ponder and think about me' and immediately all the pain of loneliness disappeared and I felt such deep comfort.

I don't believe in treating this path like it's a bed of roses and I have often protested to God or whatever label you want to put on it about why I can't seem to have a satisfying relationship, I often rebel like a spoilt child and always a benevolent energy will seem to envelop me and all my self-pity will evaporate.

This morning I was reading about the energetic vibrations which the Guru produced in Irwina Tweedie. These vibrations are necessary to clear energy blockages from the chakras. The chakras are vortices of energy which lie along the spinal cord in the etheric. I have also experienced these vibrations. Afterwards I have a clarity and a deeper understanding of spiritual truths so I know that they are serving the purpose of quickening the awareness in readiness for something....I feel it but without a Guru it is something I will have to discover and experience alone.

I still haven't heard anything from the publishers about whether or not they will take my book. All of this is adding to my frustration. It can feel right to want to go and out and share but the practicalities of doing it or even the recognition that there is something useful and worthwhile to share is not achieved easily. I must be patient and wait for the right time.

I hope my mind works better at work tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

How different a day is.....

This morning I woke up feeling tired. My own fault entirely because instead of getting up when I woke I went back to sleep. The result of this is to feel even more tired when I woke up the 2nd time. Went to my usual class at the gym but I noticed that my mind was irritable, finding fault with the exercises and the teacher. At times the irritation became so intense that I wanted to just leave. I was amazed at the contrast between today and yesterday and wondered what had made it change so drastically. Nothing happened to me to shift my mood like this. It is quite fascinating but this is the quality of the spiritual path. One day an amazing connection and I realization that everything is one and the next it's like being thrown back into the world of separation and confusion. I know that all that is expected of me is to watch all of this happening within myself without fear or judgement. It seems hard to believe that just by watching the irritation it is diminishing its intensity. I found this hard because my mood didn't seem to improve for the day.

This evening I went with a friend to see a play which is going to the Edinburgh fringe festival. I have never attended the fringe festival so had no idea what this play was going to be like. The play began and it was full of short vignettes about the people in a small community town. I expected there to be a plot and when I realized that there wasn't and I accepted the play for what it was and just relaxed into it and didn't try to figure it out I really enjoyed it.

What I learned today is the power of acceptance and non-attachment. I fully expected today to be a day like yesterday and it wasn't. I saw how attached I was to wanting another day like yesterday and when it didn't happen caused myself misery. Memory is a double edged sword because it has a recognition of something pleasurable and seeks for this to be repeated. However this is not how the spiritual journey progresses. Yes there are time of amazing light and insight but to balance that there are also times of complete darkness. The contrast is necessary in order for us to recognise difference. If everything is light, then nothing is light, the dark is needed to show up the light. This is the way it is on the spiritual path.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

The importance of gratitude

I woke up early this morning and went for my early morning spinning class in the gym. I decided to make gratitude my theme for the spin. While I was cycling I thought about all the things I am grateful for and such a loving feeling welled up from deep within me. I felt like my consciousness had expanded and filled the entire room. I was quite near the speaker for the music which was very loud and funky and I lost all awareness of where I was. These times are so special for me because I cannot achieve the state by meditation in the normal sense. Thinking about gratitude and bringing to mind times where something happened and I was grateful opens the heart. Awakening the heart is one of the most significant experiences of the spiritual path. When the heart awakenes there is a genuine feeling of one-ness between oneself and others. There is no feeling of separation. There is a connection and closeness with everyone and everything. Gratitude brings about this feeling.

After the class I went for a coffee with some of my fellow spinners and we chatted about the class. I was aware of a deep unexplained contentment. I came home and went for a walk and came across some people who were claiming to bring messages through from God in the answers people provided from the way they analysed various pictures. I was intrigued and stopped to speak to them. They told me that they brought messages through from God and it has brought comfort to many people. They asked me to choose a picture and I chose one which had a dolphin and a cow jumping out of the water. This picture struck me because it seemed to reflect where I feel I am at the moment. I would love to be as free and spiritual and light as the Dolphin but I feel more like the cow, dense and heavy. The words which came through from God for this picture were synchronicity, peace, spiritual. There was something about the experience that was compelling. It ended by them telling me that they would ask God to send me a dream. This would be some feat because I never remember my dreams, in fact I don't think I have them. Even though I am sceptical, if they are bringing comfort to people and people feel better and feel greater belonging after speaking to them then who am I to knock it. Even though they gave me a card with their internet details on it there was no hard sell of any description.

Afterwards I walked home through the park and the feeling of joy, peace, bliss was so overwhelming. I looked at the trees and noticed the various shades of green and some yellow as nature gears up for autumn and I filled with awe and amazement once again for the natural world. I was so grateful for the eyes with which I could see it all. As I connected again with the energy of gratitude I felt something shift deep within me and I thought to myself 'is it possible to this happy for no particular reason' and I thought yes, it is gratitude which gives access to such deep joy. Every night before I sleep I always say thank you for the day I am saying goodbye to. I am aware that everything I did today and said today I will never say again in exactly the same way. I created my day and it is right to give thanks when the creation ends.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Let life flow

I hadn't heard from the centre and I was convinced that this was because the manager did not want me to have the room and didn't want to tell me. This is what I made him not ringing me back mean. Finally I called him and the truth is that the owner who he needs to speak to to get authorisation is ill and he hasn't managed to speak to her. With the blinding flash of insight I saw that what I had made it mean was just a story, it wasn't the truth. And I saw how much I suffered when I believed my interpretation to be the truth. All I could know about the event was that he said he would call and he didn't. Everything else is just a story on my part and one which caused me suffering. The nature of us as humans is that we tend to make our stories about events that happen in our lives one's which do not empower us but rather bring us down. Why didn't I make it mean that he was so impressed with me that he was still trying to come to terms at the impact I had on him'......far more empowering for me it would have been. What this shows me is that we always have a choice about how we interpret the things that happen to us in life.

But why put an interpretation on the things that happen. If we don't make up such stories but just allow life to flow as it will then the mind is calmer and life is in balance. It is adding to life which puts stress and pressure onto life. Things happen in life, it is the nature of life. They happen because they happen and not because I said or did anything.

If I am waiting for someone and they are late. All it means is 'they are late'. It doesn't mean that they don't want to meet me, got a better offer etc, all it means is that he/she is late. By living life like this, it is far simpler and I am happier.

Having been dreading my performance appraisal at work it wasn't too bad. I am aware of how differently I think and sometimes when I'm in such a left brain environment I really strugggle to understand what is going on. I have a big picture vision which I find difficult to translate into tables and spreadsheets. Someone shows me a spreadsheet and my eyes glaze over and I lose the will to live. Yet this work is how I pay my bills so for the moment I must put more effort in but it is so difficult when my energy and attention is somewhere else.

This morning I walked through the park to work. It was a beautiful morning, blue sky and majestic trees. I just love walking in nature. I feel such deep inner contentment and the mind seems to be blank, there are no thoughts. Instead there is a feeling of being filled by something. As I write this I am aware that I am not doing justice to the experience but it is difficult to describe in words. Words seem in someway to diminish the power of the experience.

I believe that spending time in nature expands the consciousness because of the beauty and perfection of the natural world. It reminds me that this is the way the world is too but it is our perception which has distorted it so it doesn't appear to be whole complete and perfect. When the veil of illusion is removed from our eyes we will see the world as the perfect place it is.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

The value of group meditation

Yesterday I was asked why should I attend a meditation course when I can meditate at home. This is a valid question and set me thinking. The whole purpose of the spiritual journey is to raise and expand the consciousness. This is done by raising the energetic vibration of the body.

In the majority of people the energetic vibrations of the body are dense and heavy. This is because of the influence of the personality with its physical, emotional, and mental energy and our bondage to these and our conviction that our personality is who we are. Believing that we are only our personalities keep the vibration low and heavy. Meditation is the tool for raising the vibration and expanding the consciousness.

How does meditation do this. By being still and observing the contents of the mind, there is a separation which is the beginning of the expansion of consciousness. The raising of the vibration follows the expansion of consciousness and is in direct proportion. From meditation we see that while we have thoughts, we are not our thoughts. We have feelings, but we are not our feelings. If I have a headache, there is a part of me which is aware that I have a headache - what is this part. If I was the headache I wouldn't see any separation but we do. We often say I have a pain, who is it that is seeing us having the pain. Pondering on questions like these is the first step to raising the consciousness and hence the vibration.

The purpose and value of group meditation is firstly the commitment to give a certain length of time to practice each week. The meditation teacher is likely to have achieved a level of expanded consciousnes that the students don't and thus the students can benefit from this expanded level by being in the presence and meditating. I think this is why people who receive blessings from Avatars such as Mother Meera feel so good and uplifted in their presence. It is the transmission of a higher energy vibration to a lower to momentarily lift the lower vibration.

The value of a shared purpose and intent for a group meditation cannot be underestimated. Sincerity and a willingness to experiment within a group setting is powerful for expanding consciousness. There is also the value of sharing experiences. I remember when I first began meditating with the Buddhist group I belonged to for many years. I used to sit there bored, looking at the others who seemed to be in some place where I was denied. Afterwards I used to be dying to ask them about their experiences but this was never done. I know that sharing meditation experiences can be a trap because it can cause feelings of envy if someone has managed to enter into a state of meditative absorption. But these feelings can be looked at and let go as 'not me'. I have learned through my years of journeying on the spiritual is that there is nothing in the inner life to be afraid of.

I have my 1/2 yearly review at work today and I am not looking forward to it. I often wonder how is it that I can write about deep spiritual truths, have profound experiences which I consider to be quite right brain experiences and yet function in a left brain working environment. I realise that I was better in this environment in the past. I find that over the last 6 months and especially since I finished writing my book that spiritual insights and intuitions which were largely not part of my everyday experience at work are now interrupting my work and I find myself reaching for some paper each time they come through to write them down. This is throwing me into quite a state of confusion and I am remembered of the great Sufi warning - you can't serve 2 masters. I feel that the time is rapidly coming for me to choose which of the masters I am going to serve......

There are days like this.....

Gosh am I pleased that today is over. Somedays are worse for me at work than others and today was one of those days. My team had to do a presentation and each of us had to give a 4 minute presentation. Now I am a competent communicator as identified when you have completed 10 speeches from the toastmasters manual and have been evaluated on those speeches. Given this you would think that I would give a chic polished performance - not a bit of it. All I could hear was my voice shaking. Anyway, got through it and sat down, then it was the turn of the others.

My mind had a field-day with thoughts like 'he'/she is better than you, did more preparation, has a nicer voice...and on and on and on.......In these kind of situations it is a challenge to turn around the situation and learn something spiritually from it, but I did. I recognised that these were just thoughts and they are a product of the mind like sights are a product of seeing. I never analyse what I see or allow the things I see to make me feel bad but I allow my thoughts to do this. Why? They have the same truth as the things I see yet, I analyse and give importance and validity to my thoughts that I don't give to what I see with my eyes. In one way this is quite tragic and in another way it is funny.

I think I am also unsettled because it is almost the end of the day and I haven't had a telephone call from the meditation centre with a decision as to whether or not they will rent me the room to have the course. How difficult the theory is when faced with the reality. I have written how if I don't get this room that it will be alright but the truth is that I will be very disappointed....so now I wait. I will not call the manager back until tomorrow because he said that he would call me today.

This brings me to another point and that is the importance of keeping one's word. If you say you are going to do something then do it. This is not only good manners but it also gives confidence to the inner life that you do what you say you will do. Everytime I keep my word and have integrity which is doing what I say I will do when I say I will do it the inner assistance for the spiritual journey becomes stronger. At the beginning this level of integrity is difficult to maintain but with perseverence it will become a natural part of the character. I have been doing this for so long that now when I say I will be somewhere and it looks like I will be late something will happen and I will always arrive in time. It is like the universe trusts me when I say I will do something and works to make it happen for me. Living a life with integrity makes for a much simpler and more fulfilling life. Commit to something and see it through no matter how strong the temptation not to keep your word is. Integrity builds a foundation for power.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Commitment to meditate

Hurrah, I got up when my alarm clock went this morning and as a result am feeling awake and refreshed even though it is 5.30am. I didn't meditate last night and so I found my shawl, lit a candle and sat down on my meditation stool to meditate. I would be lying if I said that I found it easy to meditate. I don't. I can be sitting on my sofa having a strong urge to meditate and then the minute I actually do it, the mind starts to go crazy with thoughts like, you can't meditate when you're thirsty, make yourself a cup of tea', or it will suddenly come up with some insight and makes the demand to 'write it down'. This is both frustrating and intriguing. How is it that when I am thinking about meditating the mind is quiet and yet when I actually sit down to meditate it goes crazy trying to sabotage the process.

It wouldn't do this if there wasn't something in meditation which it sees as a threat. The mind is afraid of the stillness which meditation produces. The nature of the mind is to want to be busy, not to stop and be still. It will even do this with the spiritual journey in that lots of books can be bought and studied. The mind is happy with this because it knows that the truth will never be experienced through the pages of a book. The contents of a book, can help, guide, give explanation but it cannot produce experience. The experience will come when the mind is still and quiet to allow the gifts from the no-mind to come through.

For many years I wanted my meditation sessions to be something other than what they were. I have learned and practiced the meditation technique for Vippasana meditation. This is where I am aware of every thought that comes into the mind when I am meditating. I recognise these thoughts as 'not me' and I say that and then watch the thought disappear. The idea is that after a time of saying 'not me' to everything that arises in the mind a point will be reached when there are no thoughts in the mind - this is the state of meditative absorption or Samadhi.

Unfortunately I have not been able to reach this state. For me there is always the separation as I am constantly aware of the frequency and nature of my thoughts when I am meditating. It takes self-discipline from me to accept that this is the way it is and it is OK. I have experienced spiritual awakening in a meditative setting in Devon and that is the one time where I did enter into total meditative absorption, the kind of absorption which heralds Awakening.

What is spiritual awakening? It is when the consciousness expands so that the deepest secrets of the universe are revealed to the expanded consciousness. This is state which is not common place and requires working at. The other evening I went to a talk by Dr Peter Fenwick. He is best known for his work on NDE (near death experiences) but this talk was about Enlightenment and practical steps for how to achieve it.

It was interesting in that the room was absolutely full. It seems that wisdom on Enlightenment is much sought after. Peter began by giving some statistics on the likelihood of people achieving the state of enlightment. I was amazed to learn that of 10,000 salmon who begin their journey upstream that only 4 or 5 will make it to the top. Of 10,000 sperm released only 1 will make it to the egg and be successful. This brought home to me just how rare and precious the jewel of enlightenment and sitting there I felt such humility that for whatever reason I have been given a taster of what life is like when living from an enlightened state. He spoke about 'throwing your consciousness so we realise the one-ness of everything'. I was interested in this because while I feel connected with everything there is still some separation and so this tip of throwing the consciousness was interesting. At the end of the talk I went up to him and asked him about this and how to do it. It's not as easy as it seems. The next day I was walking through the park to work. It was a beautiful morning and I was feeling so contented. I remembered what Peter said about 'throwing the consciousness' and I said to myself 'OK here goes'. I threw my head back and visualised my consciousness up in the sky.....what happened.....absolutely nothing, no cosmic one-ness or leaving the physical world. I threw my head back with so much violence that all it gave me was the experience of a headache. So this state of one-ness is still a state that is denied to me at this time.

However, my life is truly peaceful, joyous, calm and balanced without having such mystical experiences. It wasn't always like this. I can remember when I was first introduced to Buddhism and committed to following this path, I fully expected my life to improve. Everything about it was a mess. What I found was that as well as circumstances being difficult my mind which up to then didn't really get involved with much started to give me a hard time about following the Buddhist philosophy. Such thoughts like 'you know that you are knowing going to be seen as even more weird by your family if you continue to do this, and 'what if there's nothing there at the end of all the study and sacrifice'. These thoughts were real and unrelenting but I pushed through them and kept going. Doing a little every day - reading, walking in nature, thinking about something a writer had said, peforming one small kind deed with awareness that this deed would make a difference but not attached to whether it did or not.

It is this concept of attachment without desire which is most difficult to grasp. It requires a detachment which is not cold or unemotional. To perform actions with the intent of doing good and then to let it go. For us as humans this is hard because we like to be able to assess how well we are doing and on the spiriutal path this really is the worst thing you could do.

In one of Alice Bailey's books which I subscribe to because they contain material which had to have come from outside of the mind. I can be sceptical of books which have been 'channelled' - brought through from the metaphysical world by someone living but there is something about the books of Alice Bailey which resonate with me as being true. In one of these books she says something to the effect of 'make humble application for initiation and then forget about it'. I liken it to planting a seed. The ground is prepared and the seed is planted and given a little water and then it is left alone. The spiritual journey is just like this. An event will happen which will result in a deep desire to know Truth, some study will be undertaken and then at some point there will be some disillusionment or something which will cause the person to take a break from the journey.

This is what happened to me. For 9 years I had studied and practiced Mahayana Buddhism. This culminated in a visit to India where I tracked the life of the Buddha and gave thanks to all of the insights and understandings into suffering and the nature of suffering which Buddhism had given to me. While in India I did a 10 day silent Vippassana meditation retreat. It was here that I experienced the peace that comes when the mind is still.

On my return to London I was pondering the next step on my spiritual path. Suddenly I heard what seemed like a voice or loud authoritative thoughts which said only three words 'give it up'. There was no elaboration, no alternative suggestion just those three words. My heart sank because reading spiriutal books, going to conferences and this whole world had been such a part of my life but I listened and gave up. Then I think it was about six months later I had a most incredible experience. An experience which has resulted in me being calm, serene, without stress and able to transform my environment. But to gain this I had to pass the test of non-attachment. I had to agree to give everything up unconditionally. Not give up with the thought - there's something better to come. No, I gave up with the thought, 'that's it I have come as far as I can given my karma and what I have to do for the rest of this life is to live a life which does not cause suffering for myself or others'. Then I can have the kind of karma which will enable me to go further in my next life-time. So I gave up totally and completely.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the experience because I have written about it in detail in my book. But as a result I understand about the importance of non-attachment to the spiritual path. Much is said about material attachment but spiritual attachment is more subtle and mischievious for the spiritual path.

So if anyone is reading this blog and you are at the point where you are thinking 'I have done this and that for x number of years and I don't seem to be making any progress', maybe it is time to take a break and do something else and let the seed that has been planted find its own course without interference from you. I want to suggest that you be aware of your own inner reactions as you read this. Has the mind immediately said 'that doesn't apply to you, or you're not there yet or something else. Just watch your reaction when you read that sentence, it will provide a wealth of information for you about whethe or not you are attached.

Must get ready for work now....gosh sometimes I feel like I lead such a double life. My job to pay the bills couldn't be more different than anything in the spiritual world, but maybe I need this to ensure balance.......Let's hope I get good news from the meditation centre and that they allow me the space to hold the 4 week course. More anon.....

Beginning Again

This morning I woke up early and resisted my urge to turn over to sleep. I got up and read some more of the diary of Irwina Tweedie and then got everything ready to go to the gym for my spinning class which began at 6am. I was amazed at how different and fresh I felt when I was up and dressed and how I was able to read and absorb what I was reading without being in the least tired. I was struck with the contrast with how I am when I allow myself to go back to sleep. I wake more tired and somehow the day doesn't go right. This has given me renewed resolve to get up the minute I wake up - if this is before my alarm clock or after.

I love spinning or what is now called group cycling. For me it is a meditation because the music is good and loud and the lights are down. I treat it like a meditation and at some point during the cycling the separation between me, the bike and the act of cycling disappears and everything becomes one and in that experience of one-ness is the deepest joy. I feel such bliss that it feels like my heart is going to explode. This is for me the closest I can get to the Buddhist idea of Samadhi which is where there is a loss of all physical boundaries when in deep meditation.

Exercise is vital for the spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is all about expanding one's consciousness and exercise accelerates this because it stimulates areas in the brain which are normally dormant. The body is designed to have some exercise because of its closeness to the mind. It is my belief based on my experience that where the mind is calm the body is healthy. A fit body also assists the mind. Many of the writings of realized people speak about the importance of exercise and of keeping the body fit. On the spiritual journey the body is being prepared to withstand a huge surge of energy and it will only emerge stronger if it is fit.

Yesterday I had such a strong urge that it was now time for me to go out and teach what I know. I remembered a centre in West London that hired out rooms and I called them to see about renting a room to hold a meditation and spiritual counselling course. The manager was cool on the phone. He started speaking to me about having insurance! I studied and practiced Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism in 1988 for 9 years, there was no mention of the need for insurance - I was quite shocked and sad that such a powerful inner spiritual practice which is vital for the spiritual journey should now be tainted with the threat of litigation. He also mentioned the need for course certificates - I don't have any of these. I have Reiki certificates from when I was trained as a Reiki healer for 1st and 2nd level but no certificate for all my years meditating. He also asked for some testimonials to prove that I would be an effective teacher. Luckily I had these from when I worked as a volunteer for Alternatives, which is a mind body spirit centre in the heart of London. The manager told me how he had to be careful with who they allowed to teach because a not so effective teacher reflects badly on the centre. This I completely understand.

It is so important when following this path to be grounded. I have worked very hard at this throughout my 30 years of being involved with spirituality. I want to be effective with people in the world, I want to touch, move and inspire the masses, not only a select few and to do this I must be grounded. I explained this to the manager and I could tell by the change of tone in his voice that this had resonated.

He agreed to see me and so this evening armed with my Reiki certificates and my testimonials I went to see him at the centre. He had a firm handshake and met my gaze head on without flinching. He showed me 2 rooms and I fell in love with the 2nd, it was lovely and bright and I could use the stereo system, stools and blankets. I tried to show him the certificates but he didn't seem to want to see them. He didn't even ask me about insurance. He was positive. However I have to wait for him to call me tomorrow to see if I can have the room for a 4 week meditation and spiritual counselling course. He has to speak to the owner of the centre. Then he will call me.

Whatever the outcome it is what is meant to be. The important thing is that I have made a start in being true to myself and doing what it is I have known deep down I should be doing but have been too afraid. I have done meditation courses in the past and while the feedback to me was that they were useful I didn't feel that I had enough experience and knowledge and so felt a bit like a fraud.

This time I feel so differently. Finishing the book 'journey to self' and documenting all my experiences has made me realise that I do have something of use and value to share. I know that I will be much more confident this time around if I am given the opportunity. If for whatever reason the decision is made not to allow me the space then I will accept that it is not right for me at this time. I have learned that acceptance is the route to joy, not happiness because happiness is dependent on events in the emotional world going my way and because of this is not stable or reliable. Joy is different, it is stable and doesn't rely on events in the physical world. I strive for joy and not happiness.

So today has been a good day and it began when I listened to my inner voice of intuition and committed to the journey to self.

Tomorrow morning listen to your own intuition and get up the little bit early to read or just ponder in silence

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The importance of being true to yourself

On a spiritual path it is so important to be true to yourself. What does this mean in reality. It means being very clear about your own thoughts, feelings and actions. This is the first step in knowing ourselves. When we have a mind which is aware of every single, thought, feeling and behaviour then we are on our road to mastery. What is this mastery? It is mastery over our thoughts, feelings and actions so that we control and direct them and are not controlled and directed by them. But this doesn't happen overnight. It takes self-discipline, courage and commitment. It is not an easy thing to do and the mind will find lots of ways not to do it. The message of this blog today is to commit to doing this and persevere. One day all of the effort will pay off, of that I am certain.

I've just got an example. A woman in another office got married last week. There was no collection for her so a woman in my office bought her a bottle of champagne. She showed me and I said that I would give her some money and go in with the gift. She agreed to this. We gave the woman the gift and left.

The woman came back to the office after getting married. I was passing through the department saw her and congratulated her and asked her how it had gone. She was n0t emotional and didn't say much about the wedding. In my head I had got annoyed and was saying 'you miserable cow, I contributed to champagne for you, tell me how it went' these were my thoughts. I saw that this was what I was thinking and was feeling upset but I recognised this and because I recognised this was able to stop myself from saying things, choosing instead to say 'well done again' and leaving. This is a concrete example of how to monitor all thoughts and feelings, not to judge them. I didn't judge these thoughts as being right or wrong, I acknowledged they were there and as a result increased my level of self-awareness. This is what the spiritual journey is all about.

Monday, 23 July 2007

This is about the spiritual journey which we are all on because we are humans. This journey is the hardest journey that one can make. There are all kinds of forces that are hell bent on sabotaging this journey. In my book 'Journey to the self' which I have just sent to the publishers I document all of the stages of this journey. What I realise is that the journey is not so much of a one off but one that goes in cycles. The book represents my experiences going through one cycle, this blog is going to details the experiences of this 2nd cycle.

One of the key signs of resistance is not wanting to get up in the morning to read some spiritual writings or meditate. In the early stages of the path this is so characteristic and so it is again with me as I begin my 2nd cycle. This morning I woke up at 5am and that small voice said 'get up and read some of 'Daughter of Fire'. This is the diary of Irwina Tweedie and the spiritual training she received from a Sufi master. Instead of listening and getting up I rolled over and slept again for another hour and now there is no time because I have to go to work. Walking through the park I will berate myself for my lack of willpower. As it is my 2nd cycle I should understand the traps that are there and not fall into them but this force which will be hell bent on sabotaging my spiritual journey is never going to go away. I must learn to be stronger and not give into the temptation to be lazy. I know that laziness will get me nowhere and I have had a glimpse of the peace, joy, love, serenity and balance which comes when a person wants to experience truth as badly as a drowning man wants air.

I wanted it this badly once. The evening I went to my first Buddhist beginner class and heard about the concept of the Bodhissatva that was who and what I wanted to be. A Bodhissatva is someone who has realized truth and the nature of suffering but who refuses to leave the world until everybody else is releived of their suffering. Words cannot explain the force that gripped me when I heard those words. My body became rigid and I was filled with the greatest yearning I have ever experienced. In that moment there was nothing except me and that aspiration. For those few moments the world stood still as if in a freeze frame. After this I studied and practiced Mahayana Buddhism for 9 years. I feel that all that study and practice was part of this path of the Bodhissatva.

During my first cycle I experienced the rising of energy from the base of the spine on many different occasions. This energy is the sexual energy which arises during orgasm but none of my experiences of this rising of energy was through sex. The most profound arose on a meditation retreat in Devon in 1999. It is as a result of this that I enjoy the kind of peaceful, calm stress-free life that I do at present.

Yet that is the past and to progress I must not be attached to the past or the experiences I have had in the past. I know that I am at the beginning of a new cycle. I know that I have learned much but now I have to let it all go and use this blog as a diary to record dilligently and with integrity my thoughts and experiences now I am at the beginning of the 2nd cycle of this journey from the non-self to the Self. The non-self is everything we take to be ourselves that is our thoughts, feelings, behaviour. We think this is who we are but I have direct experience that this is not who we think we are and the spiritual journey is all about getting at who we are by identifying and giving up we are not.

I can appreciate that the last sentence is difficult for the mind to grasp. The irony is that although the mind will try to understand it never can. The understanding comes from no-mind or the intuition. The spiritual journey is about strengthening the intuition and weakening the mind.

So now I leave this very important part of myself and go into an office environment which is slowly but surely killing me. But I am afraid, afraid to leave it and make a living teaching what I know and have experienced. This is the coward in me. This is the part that doesn't want to upset the comfort that I have. Sometimes I think what a waste of time and effort it was for the universe to have given me so much when I'm such a coward. But then I think of my commitment as the Bodhissatva and I commit once more to the path and at work today I will demonstrate my spiritual commitment by really being there for my work mates in terms of listening from a place which has nothing to do with me and my own self interest.

The importance of keeping one's nerve

I have decided to start a blog because I feel strongly that the years coming up to 2012 are going to be one's where it will be important not to get pannicked. There are changes coming, environmental and others. The greatest defence will be to really understand ourselves and how we operate in the world. Hundreds of years ago Socrates said 'know yourself'. It is as true today as it was then but how do we do this.

I am going to use this blog to begin the process of doing this. There is a deep inner urge for me to share the wisdom and experiences I have had on this journey to knowing ourselves. I hope through this blog that people will enjoy and also contribute. It is my promise to write something on this blog everyday.