A few thoughts for the Christmas Season

In the past month the world has been shattered by the tragedy of hatred, anger, bitterness, frustration and human pain.

And now, the month of December, heralds the season of Christmas, a season of celebration which, in contrast, should be all about the real message of Love.

In our Western world December brings with it the onset of decorations, glitter, Santa, presents, carols, parties, food and drink in anticipation of a celebration … but what are we all celebrating?

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Simple Things

On a recent day ‘off’ I happened to have one whole hour, wholly to myself. At 2pm on this sunshiny afternoon I was out of town with a commitment to meet someone at 3pm  There were no other obligations, no dog to walk (my morning walk having already taken place), or pressing requirements for the fridge or even otherwise interesting diversions.  And having already meditated generously for the day, here was an hour, stretching before me to use – or not use – as I wished.

An hour of 60 minutes’ time can seem lengthy – but when filled with the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, an hour is very little time. On that sunny afternoon I was struck by the impulse and temptation to do something productive – an impulse that almost caused me a moment of confusion! Read more


Personal peace for world peace

How challenging it is to be confronted with the news each day and to witness so many levels of violence occurring.

Our new Prime Minister has taken up the cause against domestic violence.  This is admirable and a grand step in the right direction.  But personally I believe that we are living in times where violence readily expressed, exists not only within families, but across the scope society.

Unfortunately, all people are capable of violent behaviour when true control is absent and when reaction takes the place of considered response. Read more


How much does your mind matter?

Do we ever stop to think about what we’re thinking?  Are the thoughts that we’re thinking relevant, useful, productive, reactive, peaceful or distressing?  Even more importantly, do we stop to think that we might be thinking too much?

In a gorgeous conversation with my eldest granddaughter recently we began to dissect the mystery of that amazing treasure contained within the brain – our mind!

We pondered that ethereal gift: is ‘mind’ our spirit?  Is mind everlasting?  Is mind the product of our physiology – or the other way around?  Are we, in fact, our mind?  And what would we do without our mind – for mind in itself, perhaps, is life-giving.  Our mind is the receptacle of our entire life experience, the keeper of our secrets, thoughts, wishes, hopes and dreams.  Our mind can contribute to conversation and discussion … the mind is our communicator and our communication.  Read more


Courtesy, discipline and respect

In our busy new world have we forgotten three small words?

At a time when ‘enquiries’, ‘task forces’ and Royal Commissions proliferate, I’d like to begin improving all our many societal issues by doing it slightly differently. While all those are worthy of attention, I can’t help wondering whether their complex ponderings and costly outcomes are rather like having new furniture delivered before we’ve established the family or even completed the building construction. We’re not going to fix the environment, or integrate indigenous people, or cut greenhouse gas, or fuel emissions, or save water, or address the problem of family violence or criminal activities or even modify serious health issues until we retrieve a community that upholds societal values.

Rather than wasting time on gastronomical extravaganzas or multitudinous movies to watch, could we not encourage three ideals to lift our collective game: chill out with some courtesy, dive into a little discipline and saturate ourselves in the sensation of respect – and maybe a little kindness for ourselves and for others. Read more


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a reflection

From the time I went public with my own story, to the similar stories we hear in our work at the SMTC today, my colleagues and I are well versed in the governing limitations of anxiety.

One of those limitations is the diagnosed condition of OCD – obsessive, compulsive disorder.  Here are a couple of extracts from my story – In Stillness Conquer Fear, circa 1983.

“Acceptance of the existence of anxiety in life is realistic. But to accept a specific label for oneself according to that anxiety is practically to accept the accusation of personal limitation. Today, people are categorised as having anxiety disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia or obsessive compulsive disorder.  Such categorisation may be diagnostically useful to the clinician. But I find that these labels are rarely helpful to individuals who have, for unknown reason, developed unhelpful, defensive habits. Read more


Childhood magic, magic of life …

What’s it like to be a kid?  Can you remember?

Roll back the years for a bit … to recall being about 7 years old again … and from those recollections, who do you think you have grown into now?

We’re all different beings but our beginnings set the scene for the person we eventually become.
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STILLNESS: The space between the words

After a couple of blogs on the power of words, and how we are influenced by the words we talk to our self about, I thought it would be interesting here to have a look at something about the space between all those words.

For instance, iftherewerenospacesbetweenourwordsyouprobablywouldnothavethefaintestideaofwhatIamwritinghere … and you wouldn’t have the patience to read on!

If we all spoke in one long unfinished sentence we would be incomprehensible, too – as if speaking in tongues, or speaking a very foreign language – or creating even more than a stream of consciousness as James Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  (Even he managed to leave spaces between his words in that masterpiece!)

And yet, think about that.  Using the example of our hasty texting today, unless we take the time and trouble to care, the sense is pretty much like that long gobbledegook above … an example … were will u b or …  I met to sa i kant b ther … and far worse, too.  This means, of course, that the writer of the text is in a big rush – and is really not caring; and the recipient of the text immediately becomes rushed too, and very likely becomes very frustrated by having to take the trouble to interpret the message.  So space means everything when it comes to communication.

But even more importantly, space means a great deal in the whole of life. Read more


The power of words: self talk – to harm or to heal?

Last month I wrote about the power of words and how the words that surround us can uplift or destroy the moment.

But what about the conversations we hold with our self … in other words, our self-talk. Self talk is present with us all, a collection of things we are involved in or a jumble of random suggestions accumulated over time. Unfortunately very often the thoughts we present to ourselves are not helpful.

A great deal is written and argued upon about the way we are thinking and the strong influence of negative thinking. And there’s also lots written about positive self-talk in a bid to counteract the power of the negative. The general conclusion on the topic of self-talk is that our negative internal discussions may well lead to depression, anxiety, dis-ease and a sense of worthlessness. Let’s look at the how and why behind self-talk, because its’ existence, in reality, all relates to the history of information given to us. Read more


The Power of Words

Raise your words
Not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers,
Not thunder.

The Persian Master, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī gives much food for thought, and for action.  Rumi has been described in recent times as the most popular poet in the United States with translations of his works spread throughout many parts of the world.  Like the works of all sages, from these words, something in our own life may shift a little – and change for the better. Read more