Thursday, 27 November 2008

The highs and lows....of the spiritual path

This is going to be one of those blog entries that I don't particularly want to write. However I have given my word to be authentic and write when I'm feeling in a dark tunnel as well as when I am in glorious sunshine.

Last night and today is like this. Last night was the completion of the weekend communication course. For some reason I was feeling restless. On these evenings the Coaches are required to be at the centre for 5.45pm. This put me in a conflict with work as my contracted hours are 9am - 5pm and I hadn't cleared it that I would be leaving early. I left it as late as I could and then experienced rare stress as I waited for the tube. I usually leave myself plenty of time so that I don't experience this rushed feeling. At Euston I had a moment of truth, if I stopped to buy something to eat I would not arrive at the centre for 5.45pm which is what I had given my word to. Torn with the conflict of getting something to eat and being out of integrity - the horror of being out of integrity won and I set off running to the centre.

Admirable you might think, but once inside and sitting down my inner voice went on a vicious rant with thoughts like 'what did you run like that for, there's hardly anyone here', you're not comfortable among these people anyway so what was the big deal about integrity, yada, yada, yada..on and on it went. Then I received a voice mail from a friend who had said she was going to come up and hear what the communication curriculum was about and now wasn't coming. In this training I am learning to be committed without being attached. However I'm afraid in that moment that I learned she wasn't coming what I felt was the sharp thud in the stomach that signals attachment and then the corresponding plunge into thoughts like 'what am I doing here', I don't feel I belong, I'm not related to these people'. It was horrible.

This feeling of being in a dark tunnel persisted throughout the evening. Things came to a head with an incident which was quite minor but which my dark frame of mind made much bigger. The result was a comment about me doing 'my martyr thing'. This made no sense to me but I could feel the anger energy rising very quickly. I left the situation and went back into the room. The participants were just about to start an exercise which was on acknowledgement. I had the greatest desire to leave but then said to myself'no acknowledgement is powerful, stay and do this' It was a gorgeous exercise but my identity was in full and total control so that the full magic of acknowledgment did not move me. The word 'martyr' was ringing in my ears. Here again through the presence and actions of another is a lesson for me. For me this is the journey, taking on what someone else says and sitting with it until an insight breaks through and frees up the energy that is running this way of being that I sometimes have.

Herein lies my dilemma in using this programme as my spiritual training. The dilemma is that the programme is not run as a spiritual programme yet this is what I am using it as. I know that training is essential on this path but I do not want to go to an Ashram, this programme is my Ashram. I am clear that what was running the show last night was my identity, the soul was nowhere in sight. Even though I got angry I don't think I showed it. I just noticed that it was there for myself. There was no defending or hitting back at her for what she said. I didn't defend or hit back because I know that if I can stay with it even though it is painful and confusing that I will have a breakthrough and the energy that is freed up can be used to create. So to some readers it can look martyrish to just take what could be seen as an insult like that on the chin so to speak but this is exactly what is required on the spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is the transformation of identity. This can only happen in complete and total surrender.

Today I was tired as I do the work of getting into a street fight with myself to uncover that which is hidden from my view in relation to this way of being. I don't know how long it is going to take for the relevant insight to emerge from the depths of my unconscious that will free the energy. All I know is that I am committed to doing whatever it takes to have that insight no matter what the cost to my identity. It is this single-mindedness of purpose that is essential for the spiritual path.

This evening on my way home from work I was thinking that I would have a bagel for my tea. I went into my local garage and I couldn't believe it when on the shelf where all the bread is kept there was only 1 bag of bagels. I looked around me to see if I could see another shelf where all the bread was and someone had just taken the bag of bagels and dropped them on the empty shelf - but no there was no more bread to be seen. Bemused I brought the bagels to the counter to pay for them. Walking home I mused to myself.....did I create the bagels being there or did the universe conspire to have them there for me. The more I see the correlation between me freeing up energy that is trapped around different points of views I had, ways of being, and giving it all up the more magic and miracles there seems to be in my life. It feels like I am creating this from the energy that has been freed up. I have no evidence for this, it just feels this way.....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

To control or opportunity to choose.....

A short post.....because I am leaving early from work to go to the final evening of the communication course I was a coach for over the weekend. Since I have let go of the need to control, everything life has an ease and freedom that is nothing short of miraculous.

This was so obvious to me this this weekend. The last time I was a coach for this programme I was in my 'I have to control all of this' way of being. The result was me feeling stressed with papers flying everywhere and the people I was coaching not having the full benefit and feeling rushed. This weekend it was all so different. I had more people to coach than last time but the ease and freedom that was present was simply magical. I could see options and ways of being with my coachees that I couldn't last time and the whole experience was one of my most rewarding to date.

This morning was my last phone call with my coachees and each of them acknowledged me for how my coaching had made a difference. It is this yearning to 'make a difference' that is at the heart of the human spirit. No amount of money gives me the same high as hearing someone say to me 'what you said made a difference to me'. This is the reason I get out of bed in the morning....for the profound privilege of making a difference. While I was still being run by my need to control, the ability I had to make a difference was limited and dictated by my own 'control' agenda. Since being freed of that I can see just how free I am in being committed without being attached. Control comes with attachment, freedom with creation.

When we see something like a way of being that limits our potential (in my case control) and give it up, the energy that it was taking to maintain this obsession to control is freed up. What is it freed up to do? Wait for's freed up to Create! amazing is that. ...Energy is no longer needed to 'control' so on the other side of control is 'create' and this is what I did with my coachees this week. We created ways of being that resulted in them having huge breakthroughs in communication with people whom they had not been in communication with, in some cases, for many years. Given my assertion that once an insight is seen that the act of 'seeing' frees trapped energy, one has to ask oneself why hang on to perceived wrong-doings either against others or ourselves? To do this is only to trap energy that could be used to create the kind of wonderful magical life that we all dream about but are sceptical is possible. The result of this scepticism and trapped energy are ordinary and not extraordinary lives.

To opt for ordinary when the nature of our being, (if energy was allowed to flow freely and wasn't caught up in nurturing old hurts) is to be extraordinary is to deny what is our natural birthright as human being......

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The spiritual journey is about being powerful in the world.....not isolated from the world

Last Saturday I went up to one of the bookshops where I had left some copies of my book. The manager there had told me a couple of weeks ago that he was going to make it the book of the month in the next edition of the journal the shop publishes. When I went up to leave some more copies, he said that he had read some of the book and that it was 'very honest' and when he said this he looked at me strangely. I didn't know what to make of this and the first thought that came into my head was 'why be a writer if you're not going to be honest'. I didn't say this though. There was one of those silences that can be seen as awkward but I wasn't awkward I just waited patiently to see what he would say next. He then asked me if I would come up the next Saturday and have a coffee to speak in more detail about the book. I agreed and last Saturday was THE day.

When I arrived he greeted me with a warm smile and told me that it would be a few minutes before he could leave. I was in no hurry and so I turned to look at some books on a table. 1 of the books I felt compelled to pick up was called 'blueprints for awakening' and it is a book that asks a number of different Masters the exact same questions that Sri Ramana Maharishi had asked. I quickly went through a couple of pages and was struck by how it is all the one Truth that is said and expressed in so many different ways. I was also struck by the eloquence by which the Masters spoke and had a fleeting thought that my spirituality is so much more practical. I was musing on this when I heard a cheery 'I'm ready now'.

We set off down some back streets to where he knew there was a nice coffee bar. On the way there we chatted amiably about the book shop and how busy it was. Once inside the coffee bar he started to speak to me about one day where he had not been feeling well. He had picked up a book from the shop floor which was about a persons experience of having a stroke. It was written by the same person who is also a neuroscientisit so similar to me, he wrote about having an experience while being totally rational and conscious. He said that after reading this he didn't feel that well. He then went out to the shop and on his way back thought that he would lie down. He entered into the shop and immediately a lady asked him about my book. I didn't really understand the point he was making and so I said 'is it something about the power of reading accounts of direct experiences and the power of suggestion that could have resulted in psychosomatic symptoms? He looked thoughtful but didn't answer and I didn't pursue it.

We collected our coffees and then seats....potential here for lots of awkwardness and tension. But there was none. We stood patiently at the side and waited for a table to come available which it did after a couple of minutes. We sat down and he then said 'I want to congratulate you for how grounded you are given everything you have been through'. I told him my truth that it was taking on the Witness of watching the strange things that were happening like they were happening to someone else that meant the gradual integration of the experience and the altered state of consciousness into the grounded person I am today. He then went on to tell me about his brother who is currently involved with some Buddhist group and as a result has lost all grip on reality. When he first told me this I experienced some irritation as the thought 'what kind of interview is this' came into my mind. I quickly gave that up and became really present to him and to what he was telling me. The more he spoke about the fragile grip his brother has on reality and the impact in terms of him not pulling his weight within the family the sadder I got that the spiritual path would be used in this way.

The spiritual path is not about isolating or cutting oneself from society to engage in solitary meditation trances. It is about being active and powerful in the world, not an outsider to the world. And sadly this man's brother is not alone. The potential of that first psychic experience is the point of greatest danger on the spiritual path. It is at this point that many take the illusion of the glamour and hallucinatory experiences to be the real deal and they are not. It takes great presence and I assert the awareness of the Witness to remain grounded during and after the first of these experiences. Such experiences are a natural result of an expanded consciousness and are an indication that certain areas of the brain that were dormant have now been awakened. To take these experiences as more than this and to then use desire to have these experiences more and more is to shut the door to the spiritual in favour of the psychic. Once this is done the inner peace, joy, ease and freedom that comes with spiritual enlightenment is denied to the psychic. I don't deny the reality of the psychic. The point I want to make is that it shouldn't be taken as either the end point or the real deal.....

Monday, 17 November 2008

To have abundance....have faith in the Truth of unity not the appearance of separation...

I had such an amazing weekend at my 3rd Team Management and Leadership weekend in Amsterdam. This was a global communication weekend so there were teams there from Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. It was the global communication programme for Europe and the Middle East. It is so inspiring what is being caused in communication across Europe and the Middle East. I feel that I am a part of something so huge and transformative. At times the weekend was challenging.

I have written in this blog how in the last quarter I had responsibility for a team of people. The aim was to inspire all of my team members to enroll someone purely through the way they were being into the first of the programmes offered by Landmark Education for transformation - The Forum. Early on into the quarter it was clear that my way of working was not effective. Eventually I was asked to stand down and from that point on in spite of 2 different people stepping up to take it on there was no movement in the game. At the weekend I admitted my part in the non-results for the game. What I saw clearly was that my obsession to have it go a certain way and to control it in the way that I wanted to killed the game. I didn't see this so much as was coached to see it. As you can imagine this experience was not pleasant but I took it on and out of it have become much more powerful. I had known for such a long time that I had only 1 way of doing things, I have written about it many times in this blog. What I didn't take responsibility for was how my obsession with 1 way and controlling was also my way of killing the game. To take responsibility and ownership for that when every cell in my body was crying 'no' and wanting to fight against. To surrender and consider that this might be what I was doing that was hidden from my view was immensely liberating.

This is the value in this kind of programme. But it takes something to get the transformative effects. It takes the courage to look, the humility to consider what is said when it hurts, or is not nice. It takes the faith to accept that what I take as appearance to be the truth is not so. It takes faith to accept that the natural way of the universe is for connection and unity not for separation and division. But I am convinced that if all of this is taken on then the result without fail is abundance in every way.

On a practical level I had the opportunity to change my mortgage from variable to fixed. I didn't do this. The result is that yesterday as a result of lowering interest rates I got a letter explaining that my monthly repayments had gone down and so I am so many more pounds richer each month as a result. This is the delivery of abundance that I assert comes as a direct result of taking on the qualities of courage, humility and faith. Of all of these, the most important is faith in unity and connection in the face of the overwhelming appearance of separation......Maintain this faith at all costs and in all circumstances and what follows is.......abundance.

Another practical example is that a couple of months ago at a conference I was at I was speaking with a lady. From the conversation I had an idea for my work. I passed the idea to my immediate line manager and then promptly forgot about it. On Friday a contract for a substantial amount of money was signed between the company this woman works for and my organisation. What struck me among all the acknowledgements I got for being the lead to bringing this in was one email that said 'it is the ease with which it has all happened that is amazing'. This is the power of what I write about and practice. If what I say in this blog this morning resonates.....then take it on and become alert for ABUNDANCE

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The importance......of staying steady....

Yesterday and today I had a 2 day training course and presentation skills. This couldn't be better timing given the speaking opportunities I will create in 2009 to promote my book. Yet I'm feeling a bit flat and deflated and I don't know what that's about. I am going to Amsterdam to start my 3rd weekend of the Team Management and Leadership programme with Landmark Education tomorrow. The programme is about expanding communication in Europe and the Middle East. I look back on this quarter as the quarter in which I lost my accountability for the customer delight game. Or to be more correct, first it was taken and then I let it go. I have chosen this quarter not to take on an accountability role of any of the games but to be the accountability for love & acknowledgement.

What this involves is having a team of people with me and ensure that all members of Team are acknowledged each week. I find receiving acknowledgement difficult. I love to give acknowledgement because it is a powerful practice for touching and awakening the heart. Also because at the most fundamental level there is no separation between me and another when I acknowledge someone else I am also acknowledging me. What I do for another I get back twice-fold for me but this is not the reason to acknowledge someone.

Acknowledgement that touches and moves the heart has to come from nothing. It is not acknowledging in order to get something or for some reason it is acknowledgement for the beauty of it and if it comes from that place of purity and nothingness it is powerful. Being accountable for love and acknowledgment next quarter will demand that I build up a relationship with the 46 other members of Team. This is something I have not done in this quarter or in my 1st quarter. Yet I know that transformation does not happen without connection and communication.

Such communication and connection does not always have to be through speaking. The power of listening to build up relatedness is often underestimated. I have found that I am most self-expressed and able to communicate effectively when I feel listened to. When I speak and I have the complete attention of the person I am speaking to then the words flow with an ease and grace that is not there when I don't feel I have the listening of another. This shows that how well we are able to communicate does not depend on ourselves but on the quality of the listening that is given to us. I will communicate most effectively with Team members if I listen and am completely and totally present to what is being said that if I speak.

But again listening brings about stillness which as I said in an earlier post the mind will fight against at all costs. It does this by bringing into consciousness judgements and evaluations about what is being said or else by speaking out opinions and judgements. One of the greatest achievements on the spiritual path is the ability to be with silence.......

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The life I am now a rolllercoaster...

Yesterday I went to the shop that had called me to bring in 4 more copies of my book. When I got there the manager told me that he was going to make the book his book of the month next month. As you can imagine I was overjoyed by this. He then looked at me and said 'it is a very honest book, I mean like honest'. I looked at him trying to figure out what it was he was trying to say. I held his gaze and I said 'it is an account of my experiences, it is not the Truth and I'm not claiming it to be the Truth'. At this he smiled and asked me if I would like to go out to have a cup of coffee next week. I agreed because it is better than carying on a conversation on the shop floor and so on Saturday week 22 November I will be returning to to the book shop to have that cup of coffee and a chat.

But it got me thinking. Why write if one is not going to be honest? I thought that was the whole idea of being a writer. Writing for me is like the spiritual path it demands complete and total vulnerability. As a result of the spiritual experiences I have had I am vulnerable. I have nothing to defend or control and the result is an open vulnerability. I think this vulnerability scares the mind because it ultimately results in a space of emptiness or nothingness that the mind cannot be with. We claim to want inner peace and stillness and yet for many of us when this state is about to happen we get scared and immediately fill the space with ideas, thoughts and so we are scared about that which we most crave for.

The spiritual path demands stillness. Without stillness there is not the spiritual transformation that results from the expansion of consciousness. When there is nothing to hide, nothing to control, nothing to fear then and only then is the state of inner peace and calm possible. And there is nothing to hide, or fear or control because ultimately these are empty. They have no power only that which we give to them. I have seen this and have come out on the other side. The result of it is that I have a vulnerability and lack of protection around myself that to others may seem scary. I accept that. It is a very long journey to get to this point. By saying this I am not saying that I am in anyway different to others but I have been on the spiritual path for a very long time. For me spiritual development is just as important as all of the other lines of development i.e. physical, intellectual, emotional, social but it has been neglected for so long. Yet the irony is that it is spiritual development that drives all of the others. This is my assertion and I can't say this enough or too many times. What I have written in my book, what I write in this blog are my own views that I have got from observation or from insights. I do not claim anything of what I write to be the Truth, only ideas to be considered. Each one has to find their own Truth.

What I really liked about Buddhism when I first heard about it in 1998 was its emphasis on testing it to see if it feels right and if it doesn't to look for something else. I really believe this. Listen to what is written and spoken but then go within and see if it fits with your own observations and experiences of life. This is being authentic about the spiritual path. It is how I have journeyed on it. I have listened respectfully to teachings and then have looked to see how it fits with my own observations. This is not to be arrogant but to acknowledge and accept that no two of us have exactly the same path. The end is the same for all but the paths are different.

Tomorrow I leave for my 3rd weekend of the Team Management and Leadership Programme which is in Amsterdam. This quarter has been such a rollercoaster. I have had to confront many things about my life that weren't working. The toughest being how my identity used my obsession with control to keep me down and playing small. This was a phenomenal breakthrough for me and resulted in the publication of a book that I had written for almost 2 years but wouldn't publish. I wouldn't publish it because I couldn't control what would happen to it when it was published. But I wasn't aware of any of this. All I was aware of was a resistance towards publishing the book together with a very rigid way of looking at things. A tough conversation that I could never had had with myself resulted in the breakthrough of seeing the power of a decision I had made when I was 11 around my need to control life. This resulted in me giving up the need to control and then creating a whole new world around freedom and from then on to the end of this quarter, it is freedom that has been showing up.

Now I am about to start my 3rd quarter of this programme, new games, new challenges but I know that transformation doesn't end....what ends are cycles on the spiritual journey from non-Self to Self........

Monday, 10 November 2008

Enlightenment is......the letting go of control....

How life is flowing since I gave up that I was in control of anything. To see that it was my obsession with being in control that stopped the free flow of energy has been so liberating. This has been a huge insight only because it has been so deeply hidden from my view. It had been operating powerfully below the level of my consciousness. It is only when hidden motives like this become exposed and in the process of being exposed, transform that living from an enlightened state is possible.

Yesterday I received a call from the book shop where I had left 2 of my books asking me to bring in another 4 so there will be 5 copies around on tables in the book shop. I was so happy. The happiness that comes from making a difference. It is this yearning that will be so central when the consciousness shifts from the human to the spiritual. I see it happening already and as we move towards 2012 it is going to speed up. Only last night I heard on the radio that the Prime Minister in England Gordon Brown has called on world leaders to form a new one global world (or words to that effect). All of this is shifting from the human that was characterized by separation and individuality to the unity and connection of the next kingdom.

Last night I went back to Alternatives where I had worked as a volunteer for 3 years. I brought a couple of my books to see if they would take them on a 'sale or return' basis. I walked in at the point where the opening circle was being performed. This is where the volunteers come together and hold the space for the speaker of the evening. Last night the speaker was Mantak Chia who has done a lot of work on Taoist sexuality. It was strange for me to be there because this kind of talk is not something I would usually go to. From early on in his talk he spoke about raising the kundalini and using this transformative energy to heal and nourish the internal organs. Given what I have experienced of this energy I was wary about doing the exercises because I have promised that I will never force the energy to rise unnaturally. I watched others doing these exercises and was concerned at the potential dangers. Then I had an insight that this energy has its own intelligence and won't rise in the unprepared body and mind unless it is powerfully forced. I noticed that the chakra which is most powerful in raising this energy was not stimulated much last night. Mantak spoke about the heart chakra being much more powerful than the brain and this makes sense to me. The expansion of spiritual consciousness comes when the heart awakens. It is the experience of unity and connection which happens at heart level and not brain level.....

Alternatives took 2 of my books so slowly but surely my message about the spiritual state being real and achievable is getting out there. The team invited me back anytime which was lovely, It is great to have the freedom to leave and then have the welcome when I return. It is this ease and freedom that makes Alternatives in St James' Church, Piccadilly a very special place for me. It is where I first got to hear different speakers and in that I have been so privileged. From seeing how different speakers were before a talk and how they were after showed me how to look for authenticity. An authentic speaker is the same on the stage as off........

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A very sad but special day.....the Meditation memorial service for Manuel Schoch

This morning I woke up with sadness in my heart as I remembered that it is the day of the memorial service for Manuel Schoch. I showered and dressed quickly. I felt an urgency to leave my flat and be at the hotel early where the service was to be held. It is amazing that it is the same hotel where I launched my book 'Journey to Self' on Thursday night. At the last training session I went to with Manuel he signed a small book that contained some of his insights which had been compiled by one of his students. That little book is now so precious to me.

I arrived early at the hotel and to my surprise saw that the room where the service was to be held is directly next door to where my launch was on Thursday night. Again, I wondered at the synchronicity of it all. I entered and sat down on the 1st seat of the 2nd row. At the centre was a table with a lighted candle and a picture of Manuel and some words of love and acknowledgement. Seeing this brought tears to my eyes as I was forced to face the reality that he was really gone. Gradually the room filled up with people, some I recognised from the training courses, others I didn't.

At 10.30am the man who has studied with Manuel for 25 years welcomed everyone. My heart went out to him because I could see the pain and sadness he was feeling. He explained that the meditation would be similar to the services that were happening in Zurich and in Athens. One of Manuel's favourite songs would be played and then there would be a 45 minute meditation, then another song and another 45 minute meditation and then a 5 minute talk by Manuel on the nature of love. The first song was just like Manuel upbeat and lively, the gist of it was that it was a song about everything passing. Then it was the 45 minute meditation. Manuel believed in the power of stillness for bringing about shifts of consciousness so this was the meditation. I found myself being very still but my consciousness did wander. However each time I became aware of this I gently and lovingly brought it back to focussing on my breath. I didn't experience the boredom and agitation that I have in previous meditations.

The 2nd song was somewhat more reflective and I cried a lot. It was about the spirit taking 'me home'. I cried for the loss of his teaching to me and to the world. The 2nd 45 minute meditation was deeper and more relaxed for me. Finally came the 5 minute talk on love. Hearing his voice broke down what little resistance I had left to not crying and in spite of me the tears flowed freely. Manuel's whole being was love. He said that to love was to give space to things and people. For Manuel, Love was the most powerful force in the universe. I wish I could remember what else was in the 5 minute talk but my consciousness was taking in the essence of the words and not the words themselves.

After the service I felt disorientated and not sure what to do. To ground myself I went for a walk in nearby Hyde Park. I connected with the leaves and the trees and felt such a deep and abiding calm. After the service I bought a DVD of the last talk Manuel gave at Alternatives. I felt this urgency to come home and listen to it. When I saw him speaking on it instead of the tears there was a smile and a deep gratitude that I have been able to meet and learn from what for me has been the most inspirational Avatar I have had the privilege to meet.

My feelings ran the full gamut today - from sadness to love and acceptance for what is so. In the end the only way to live is have an acceptance for what is so in life. To acknowledge life and everything that happens in life as being real and not resisting life or what happens because we want it to be another way. In such acknowledgement and peace.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

What a truly magical day.......

Today I went to some small independent bookshops to see if any of them would take my book 'Journey to Self' on a buy or return basis. I had a strong intuition to go to a small alternative bookshop that is near me. I knew that the bookshop was largely run by volunteers from some spiritual organisation. I packed up 5 books and went on my way. When I reached the shop I saw that it was empty and there was a woman sitting inside by the cash register. Without any fear or apprehension and with the conviction that this book is going to inspire everyone who reads it I explained what the book was about and briefly what it covered.

To my amazement the woman was the manager of the shop. She looked at me keenly while I was speaking and I then gave her a copy. She skimmed a couple of pages and then said 'I will take a copy and I will also arrange for a review to be done of it'. This was more than I could have hoped for. The woman explained that she was going to be away for 6 weeks but would contact me when she returned. I thanked her and I walked out. Money could not buy how I felt walking out of the shop. I took a minute to connect with some leaves on the tree - to drink in their beauty and the beauty of a universe that has always been so kind to me.

The next shop I passed was a natural health food shop. I saw that there were a couple of books in the window and I thought 'what the heck' and walked in. I immediately picked up on the different atmosphere, more tense. The man was dismissive of my request stating that he had taken books before on a sale or return basis and it had caused a lot of problems. I was interested in this from the point of view of me learning what not to do as this is all so new to me. When I pressed him on what I could do not to cause problems like he has experienced he was so cagey and evasive that I simply thanked him for his time I walked out.

Then my ego started 'what are you doing walking around in the rain like this, you are a spiritual person who has written a book, there should be others doing this for you'. But I just laughed it off. I am constantly aware of the spiritual ego which is part and parcel of the spiritual journey. By acknowledging it and being OK about the way I was feeling it had no control or power over me.

I took the train to Covent Garden where I knew there was a branch of the Brahma Kumaris and a bookshop. I had an inkling that it would only stock books by those people who were registered with their organisation but I had been in the shop before and thought I would give it a try. It was as I thought, but I had such a lovely conversation with the lady in the bookshop. I found myself talking to her about the 3 stages of spiritual development that I have distinguished. By far the longest and hardest stage is the 1st - Know Yourself - this is long and difficult solely because of the flexibility and cameleon like behaviour of the ego. I can think that I am doing something for 1 reason when the real truth is that it is for something else which the ego keeps hidden from my view. It is vital for this stage to have some means of training whereby it's possible to distinguish where inauthenticity is covered up by something else. For me that means of training has been the technology offered by Landmark Education, but this is not the only one. The important thing is to do something that is different to a purely spiritual training. I found this out when after I had spent 9 years studying and practicing Mahayana Buddhism I took the weekend Landmark Forum and I learned more about myself and how I have been constructed as a human than I had in my 9 years studying and practicing Buddhism. But after that weekend it was my spiritual insights and intuitions which increased.

I walked from Covent Garden to Leicester Square where I knew there was famous mind, body and spirit bookshop. It is a shop I have been to many times but I have never spoken to the staff there. I walked downstairs and I recognised a man who I have seen there many times over the years. I explained about my book and the benefits I thought there would be and I offered him the same terms of trade on a sale or return basis. He asked me some questions and I was so free and easy with the answers I gave him. Then he surprised me by saying 'do you have another copy, I think I am going to buy one. I said 'yes' and opened my bag and gave it to him. Then he said 'I'm not promising anything but each month I recommend a book of the month and if I really like it I will recommend it as the book of the month next month!' I was completely speechless and didn't know what to say for a minute (no more!) I said how great that would be if he did write a review and he said he would call me on Monday.

I left there feeling that I was going to burst with happiness and I was struck at just how easy it had all been. I was so relaxed and willing to have fun with it all. I understand now that everything in life is a game and this is my game. My game to have this book available so that it can make a difference in peoples' lives......

Thursday, 6 November 2008

This morning I woke up.....and I am a published author...

Last night I launched my book 'Journey to Self' at a hotel in London. It had been quite a tense day as I waited sometimes patiently but more impatiently if I am to be honest for confirmation from the hotel that the books had arrived. At 5.30pm I received the news that 25 copies had been delivered to the hotel. For the first time that day.....I breathed! Yesterday I took the day off from work and went for an interview to apply for a fast-track course in magazine journalism. The interview and aptitude tests were in Brighton. Both went well and I will know whether I have been accepted onto the course which starts in February 2009 at the end of next week. I know that I can write, what I want are the much valued National Council for training of journalists qualification. I want to understand how a magazine is put together and learn the skills necessary so that in time I can produce my own spiritual magazine that will move and inspire others to take on the spiritual path with faith and commitment.

My book looks great. The cover picture of St Pancras Station in London which shows people walking similar to being on a journey captures the imagination which is what I wanted it to do. What has amazed me though is the ease by which the book was published in the end. Once I saw that it was my inability to let go of the need to control where this book went when it was published and created a new world of freedom for myself and the book things moved very rapidly. This is how shifts of consciousness come about. Something is seen, and in that seeing is transformed and the energy that was being taken up in keeping whatever it is in place (in my case it was control) is freed, and then things happen with velocity.

This feeling of not needing to control anything came through in my talk last night. The way I structured the evening was that I started with a short relaxation exercise. Then I launched straight into one of the experiences that is the motivation for the book. I then spoke about what this energy is at the base of the spine and how the experiences I have had are available to everyone if there is unwavering, faith, commitment and determination to achieve what is possible from this path with non-attachment (I recognise how difficult the latter is to achieve). Then I handed over to my good friend Wai who put this experience into the bigger context of esoteric and mystical traditions. Wai had a powerpoint diagram of all the main traditions and the mystical paths within them. He explained his theory of how everyone is God using quotes from different religious traditions and outlined how the prophesies are now. Afterwards we took questions from some people in the audience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I have given talks before but I have never felt the ease and freedom with words that I felt last night. I understand why this is. Last night I spoke from my heart. I spoke about my own experience and how life was before it and how it is now. It was only at the end that I spoke about what it was and meant. My speech was slower than it had been on other talks and for the first time I felt a real belonging and ownership to what I was saying. I could stand by every word I said authentically and powerfully and that made all the difference.

The entire evening was magical for me but if I had to pick out one highlight it is the woman who introduced herself and said that she had come to hear me speak as a result of reading this blog. That moved me more than anything. Through this post (you will know who you are), I want to thank you for coming last night and for the difference you have made to me.

In my last posts I wrote about the 'Point of View' that we put in place when we are young. I am clear that without that point of view, there is nothing. Without the point from view from which comes thoughts, feelings, experiences there would be nothing only a space from which to create. Last night I created the space to be an evening which would have clarity and be inspirational. From the feedback of those who attended and spoke to me, this is what was created. On the spiritual path.....everything is possible.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The triumph of Barack Obama .....heralds a major shift in world consciousness...

Today, with the presidency of Barack Obama there is a new consciousness in the world. In my last blog I spoke about the power of the future that is created when the consciousness is gripped by something. Today the consciousness of the world was gripped by the events in America and in that grip and unity of thought, I assert there has been a shift in world consciousness. How this shift in consciousness is going to play itself out has yet to be seen. I think that we are moving from the 4th kingdom which is the human into the 5th kingdom which is the spiritual kingdom and this shift of consciousness on a massive scale is the way it is being brought about. The election of the first black African American to the highest office in the land is aimed at uniting and connecting like nothing else. I see the current crisis in the financial world as also being part of this shift because materialism has defined the human kingdom.

Barack Obama stands for unity and already today I sensed a new connection around London . When I was buying a paper this morning, the lady who was black asked me how was my day, I said it was good. She looked at me, I looked at her full in the eyes and she said 'yes it is a great day and we shared a huge smile'. It was a very special moment. I feel that as a result of what happened yesterday that the characteristics of separation and individuality which characterise the 4th kingdom are weakening. Yet the dragon is always at its strongest when it is dying so I am anticipating more upheaval. With each shock, (shift) to the consciousness a state of uncertainty is created. It is in this state of uncertainty that the greatest amount of growth is possible so it is to be welcomed and not feared. As humans we dislike uncertainty and I assert that this is why up to now there hasn't been the massive shift in consciousness that is necessary to shift kingdoms.

Today is a huge day for me as it marks my offering to the wealth of material left by those who have taken on the spiritual path and left a record. My record is my book 'Journey to Self' which will be hot off the press for my talk this evening. On Sunday I became incredibly nervous about this evening. This is ridiculous because every word I have written and will speak is the Truth. It is the Truth as far as the experiences are concerned. The interpretation and what I have made them mean is just my interpretation, this is not the Truth. The Truth of my experiences I will always stand by and will welcome debate about all other aspects......

I was not able to have the researcher who has done a lot of work into identifying what causes the spiritual energy at the base of the spine to rise when the consciousness shifts with me this evening. Instead my good friend Wai who has written a book entitled 'Everyone is God' is sharing the evening. . I am going to speak about one of the experiences which motivated the book and then Wai is going to put it into the context of the mystical and esoteric traditions. What I am keen to get across to those who come is that I am an ordinary person who has had extraordinary experiences. These experiences are open to everyone and are not just for the few. The energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine is not just at the base of my spine, it is at the base of everyone's spine. So spiritual transformation and transcendence is possible for everyone in one lifetime. I firmly believe this.

One sentence which is on my mind these days is the sentence which I think comes from the bible 'many are called, but few are chosen'. I dislike this sentence because I think it puts many off from taking on the spiritual path seriously. I don't believe in 'chosen' I believe in having a burning yearning and aspiration and then doing the work. Putting in place a strong 'Point of View' and then pulling from the world those experiences that will realise it. What is so exciting about Barack Obama being elected as president is the aspiration and yearning it has created in the minds of young black people. For how many young people did time stop with the force of the declaration 'I can do that'. What has more strength is 'I will BE that'. Once declared it has to be nurtured, developed and worked at. The reality and sadness is that for many of those young people through a combination of circumstances and lack of support this declaration will not be strong enough to create the future which the declaration calls for. The shift from the human to the spiritual kingdom is marked by inspiration, connection, having a connected and not separated world President Barack Obama the world has that.....

Monday, 3 November 2008

The point of view in action......look at what Lewis Hamilton has achieved...

I was so excited to learn that Lewis Hamilton has become the youngest Formula One world champion and I had the insight that it was the power of a point of view or a declaration made when he was a young boy that has brought the future to himself that he created and realized when he won the race on Sunday. This is a bold assertion I make but I stick by it based on my own experience.

At some point when he was young he was gripped by something that was bigger than him. It might have been something that was said, that he saw, but something caused his consciousness to shift and in that moment he created from nothing the possibility of being a world champion Formula 1 driver. After that he took the steps necessary to achieve that. I don't disagree that other factors played a part in his success. However, I would argue that it was the strength of the point of view or declaration made the very first time that pulled towards it all of those experiences and qualities that he needed to do to achieve what he did on Sunday.

The power of that aspiration made as a child which comes from a pure and empty consciousness is incredibly powerful. One could argue, given how open and impressionable young children are, why doesn't every child become a child prodigy in some field. I have no answer for that. I know that it is the strength of the declaration that is put in place that brings about the future we then live into. Life is all about a future we are living into. It's not about the past.

For me when I was in boarding school and at the impressionable age of 12 I heard a priest say 'God wants spiritual fruits not religious nuts'. I had the same grip. Spiritual, Religious, the words ricocheted around my brain. I knew dimly that there was a difference. I didn't know what but in that moment I declared 'I will be spiritual'. It is as clear to me now as it was on the morning that I declared it. Now when I look at my life I see that all of my reading, studying experiences have all been taking me into the future that I declared. I am not there yet, I have a very long way to go but now I am conscious of the journey I am taking. I know how my first step began and I know roughly the steps I have to take. I trust that those steps will be available to me because of the power of the declaration I made when I was gripped by the aspiration so many years ago. A declaration like this, coming from nothing in terms of I had nothing to compare it to, there was no past memory. I didn't know what the word meant. The declaration came from a place where there was nothing else and in that lies its power.

I would assert that a similar thing has happened to those who have gone on to inspire us in some field. It has been labelled talent but in this blog (because it is a personal account and I don't claim anything of what I write to be the Truth, it is just my point of view) I think talent is more about making a strong powerful declaration 'X will be' from a clear consciousness and then working hard in that area and taking the opportunities that will come. Failure comes if the point of view or declaration is not strong enough or the opportunities are not taken up. Something else displaces the Declaration or Point of View. To keep declarations or points of view alive takes work. If I hadn't continued to study and read in the way that I have I am clear that I wouldn't have had the experiences and realizations that I have now. And yet, the strength of the declaration I made when I was young meant that I have always been drawn to this field. Even during the very dark times I was still drawn to this world.

Last night I was planning my talk for the launch of my book on Thursday. It's going to be tight to have the books available. The printers have promised the delivery of the books direct to the hotel. This works better for me because otherwise I would have had to pick them up from the publishers. It is events like this which may be seen as trivial to others that give me the reassurance that what is happening is exactly what is meant to be happening. I have complete trust in and surrender to the declaration I made when I was 12. It is as real for me now as it was then........

So today allow the consciousness to be gripped by something. This can only happen when there is an openness and a vulnerability. It is feeling that we need to protect ourselves that stops more of us from experiencing the grip that shifts consciousness to a new level to give us a new future.....

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Getting the launch of my book............

I met with my friend Wai this evening to plan how we are going to present the talk on Thursday evening. It is great sharing the evening with him because we have known each other for many years and I have been to many of the talks he has given around London. We understand each other well and he gave me some great tips on how to prepare my part of the presentation. His aspiration is to be a great world leader and in order to do this he has been working for many years on a brain theory that will explain the mystical concept that 'everyone is God'. It seems impossible to see how this thinking could ever become mainstream but I've learned on this path not to rule anything out.

I have been thinking more and more about what I wrote about the 'point of view' in my last post. How critical the point of view we hold about things is in pulling to ourselves experiences that support that point of view. Now I am wondering because of my 'point of view being 'I am spiritual' whether I pulled those experiences to me, or if I created those experiences to support the point of view that I was going to be spiritual. When I declared this, I had no idea what spiritual meant. But looking back now, all of my experiences I have interpreted as being spiritual to a greater or lesser extent.

I don't know who or how many are going to come on Thursday evening. I want people to leave the evening inspired to deepen their understanding of the spiritual path and committed to do what it takes to release the consciousness from the web of maya. I am clear that at no time during the evening am I going to do any exercises to raise the spiritual kundalini energy. To do this would be irresponsible of me because of the physical and mental preparation that is needed to ensure that the energy rises safely and naturally and is not forced. What I have become more and more convinced of however is the truth that if something is desired deeply enough that it can come about.

However this desire has to be felt once and then forgotten. Paradoxically it is the desire for the state of Enlightenment that ensures that the state is not experienced. The wanting of it ensures that it is not experienced. And yet, without the desire it is not experienced. So it is wished for once with everything one has and then is forgotten. After this what there is to do is to be self-disciplined, live a life where the emphasis is on service and contribution to others not to oneself and have a constant mindfulness, alertness and vigilance over our, thoughts and actions...