Tuesday, June 10, 2008

JK Rowling

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

Here's a link to the commencement address JK Rowling recently delivered at Harvard. It's inspiring, thought-provoking and at times very moving. And it's very definitely worth reading:


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We're not breathing ~ We're being breathed

Every so often I get bogged down in the old ways of thinking: that life is a struggle, that you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want, that life is something to be conquered or mastered...that's how most people are conditioned to see life and it's perhaps little wonder that 'stress' is now more the norm than the exception and that freakishly high numbers of people are medicated. It's clear that our 'win or lose' materialistic, acquisition-driven culture is just running people into the ground, creating fear, avarice and disillusionment.

When we're conceived and begin developing in our mother's womb, the process of life happens to us of its own accord - we don't have to do anything. We don't have to struggle or fret or worry that we're somehow not 'doing it right' - because really, we're not 'doing' anything: we're being done. Same goes for when we're born and begin developing and growing. We are life unfolding in inherent perfection.

When the human mind kicks in and the 'ego' is formed (that part of us that thinks we are what we think we are; that we're separate, that we're this, that we're that), that's when we try to take over the process. Life is no longer something that effortlessly expresses through us, instead it is something we have to take charge of and manipulate and mould to our own intent. In other words, we lose touch with our essential nature and begin to think that we know better. We no longer see ourselves as an inseparate part of the whole. Instead, we see ourselves as being separate little egos, always in search of wholeness, little realising that the ego can never be whole - because it isn't even real in the first place, it's just a mental abstraction, which we use to compartmentalise our experiences.

Look at any animal and you will see how it is still in full alignment with its inherent nature - it just is what it is and it does what it does because that's what IS. Mind hasn't crept in to make it think that it should be something other than what it is - that it isn't good enough as it already is, that it must achieve and acquire and fight against life. I'm not suggesting that we all revert to an animalistic state, but we have a lot to learn from animals because they live in a far more authentic manner than the vast majority of people ever will.

We don't trust the process of life. We compartmentalise it. As Eckhart Tolle points out, it's even in our language: we say that we 'have' a life, which in truth is a contradiction in terms, because if we have a life than that implies we are separate from life. If we are separate from life, then what are we? In truth, we don't 'have a life', rather we ARE life: life expressing itself through us. Only the human ego could suppose that it knows more and knows better than LIFE itself, which is why most of us try to 'master' life and strive to 'get all we can' out of life. Hence the epidemic of stress that is all around us; hence the way the world is in the horrifically shambolic state it is in.

We don't have to 'do' anything in life, because ultimately any attempts to control life are illusory...instead, we're being 'done' by life. Case in point: observe your body. You don't have to breathe your body; your body is BEING breathed. You don't need to do anything or stress or fear that your body isn't 'good enough' at breathing - all you need to do is surrender and trust that LIFE knows more than you do. You don't have to worry about healing cuts, growing your fingernails or hair or digesting your food: it's all being done for you. Life is breathing you - and the moment that you let go and surrender to that fact, to the innate perfection that is within you and sustaining you, then you'll be free and you'll know peace.

This doesn't mean you don't have to do anything in life, of course, but it's just a reminder that ultimately there's no point in stressing or fretting about all the outward stuff, because that's all it is: 'stuff'. Just remember that life is breathing you, and all the rest is really secondary. So many people get totally lost and carried away by mental abstraction (with thoughts of 'I am this', 'I am that', 'this should happen', 'this shouldn't happen') that they lose sight of the basic fact that we don't have to make life happen. How could we? Life is happening to us. By all means we can hold intentions of how we might want our life to be, but ultimately life is what is is and it's time to relinquish the perpetual war that creates so much unnecessary suffering in our world; just let go and let life express itself through you.

You'll never find a seedling that gets upset thinking it should be growing faster, or that it should be taller or stronger. It just is what it is and so are we. We just tell ourselves otherwise. Let go of the need to 'be something', of not being 'good enough', of striving and struggling, of wanting and needing, of attachment and aversion. Let it all go and be free.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eckhart Tolle

I'd like to recommend a series of web seminars being held by Oprah Winfrey via her website, featuring Eckhart Tolle, who is one of my favourite authors and whose books have quite literally changed my life (I know that's a real cliche, but it has the virtue of being the truth).

For anyone who isn't familiar with Eckhart, he is a guy who spent the first 29 years of his life in a terrible state, suffering extreme bouts of suicidal depression. Then one day, when he was 29 years old, he reached rock bottom and finally decided that he "couldn't live with himself". In that moment, a light bulb seemed to flash in his brain and he suddenly realised the paradox that most of us take as a given: who is this 'me' that 'I' can't live with? That implies that we are somehow split in two: a 'me' and an 'I'. Think about it, it's common to say things like 'I don't like myself', or 'I'm proud of myself', or 'I'm not confident with myself'. What's that all about?? Who is this 'me' and who is the 'I' that is aware of 'me' and 'myself'? In that moment of awakening, Eckhart finally snapped out of this split personality disorder that people take as 'normal' and woke up to reality: there only is one 'I' - there only can be one I, and the rest is just 'ego', a fictitious 'self' created by the mind, an illusion of consciousness, and the number one cause of all our suffering (he explains this in much more detail in his books - and my God, it all makes so much sense...).

Eckhart's two books have been life-savers for me. The past couple of years could have been quite hellish for me, but thanks to what I've learned (or rather unlearned) from Eckhart, it's a strange thing that I have completely accepted all the adversity and instead never been more at peace in my life. So for anyone who has suffered enough in life, I totally recommend his books 'The Power of Now' and 'A New Earth', the latter of which is the focus of Oprah's 'book club' and online seminars. His work is beyond categorisation and is focused around letting go of the mental constructs of past and future and living fully in the Now...he talks about how to relinquish all suffering by disidentifying from the ego (the false 'me') and also dealing with what he calls the 'pain body', which is basically a repository of painful/unresolved emotion that is lodged in our pysche and which is triggered by painful events, patterns and relationships. I can't recommend his books highly enough - they have helped me more than just about anything I have ever read and really, really helped me through some very tough times. I have to say that having studied degree level psychology, Tolle's books are FAR and above any pyschology texts I have ever read. This stuff is powerful, practical, insightful and if you put it into practise, you'll be amazed at how much more at peace you will be with life and how much joy can be found in each moment.

The 10 week web seminar is available to download for FREE via iTunes (or via Oprah's website at and has been transforming people's lives all across the globe. I truly believe that this is a gift to the world and something that is desperately needed right now. As Eckhart says in the first chapter of 'A New Earth', we're simply not going to survive as a species unless we move beyond the collective insanity that has characterised the human race throughout history and start waking up to who we truly are. It's not a difficult process, in fact nothing could be simpler, so long as we have an open mind and heart and are willing to let go of all the beliefs/thoughts/identifications that have held us back. But it's so vital. Right now, the human race has a choice: evolve or die.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A fresh start

It's been nearly 2 years (yes, 2 years!) since I last posted here, but I am well and truly back! Although I migrated my blog over to myspace in the interim, I've decided to make a fresh start and recommence this blog with a vengeance. Nothing against myspace, but I kind of prefer blogspot, or blogger, or whatever it's called these days.

I've actually gone through my old posts and deleted some things, things which I felt no longer resonated with who I am now, or who I want to be, or how I want to look back on my life. Rewriting personal history? Maybe. But who's to say it ever happened in the first place? One of the gaping realisations I've experienced (and I don't just mean an intellectual understanding, but a very powerful realisation) is that the past doesn't exist. And it never really existed other than as a sense perception in my mind. Whether it was a pleasant or unpleasant perception is immaterial - there's simply nothing remotely objective in life. It's all subjective: all a projection of our minds. If it wasn't a pleasant perception, then simply flip it around or better yet, LET IT GO. It's not real. Who's to say it ever was?

This blog is going to be the repository of all kinds of deeeep stuff. Philosophical and existential, spiritual and metaphysical...all labels I know, and therefore quite meaningless. But I can't get over the profound feeling that we all have to wake up now. No more time for petty indulgences, no more time for the usual BS that we let characterise our 'life'. It's really, really time to open our eyes and be present, be awake, be aware, be alive.

It's now or never. Wake up or dream on. Red pill or blue pill. It's a choice each of us have to make.

(As you might see, this blog will either kind of make 'sense' to you, or you'll find it meaningless and nonsensical. Either is good.)