A quiet revolution

There is no denying that there is a lot of pretty shitty stuff going on just now in the world – what with the POTUS being such a caricature of Dr. Evil – a whole load of young people being misled into thinking that blowing themselves up or ramming people with vans will be good for them , for God and for Islam – the people of Britain being scaremongered into Brexit, making the most divisive and stupid decision in centuries – a bunch of misguided neo-nazis, white supremacists and other general right wingers, suddenly feeling entitled and empowered by the likes of Trump, Farage and company – and the list goes on!

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The end of hate

Do you ever find that some changes, even some pretty dramatic ones, kind of creep up on you? That seems to happen a lot to me the more I practice Yoga and meditation.

Twisted plant

And yes, I am a lot more flexible, I can do poses that a few years ago I would have thought impossible, but the biggest changes, the important and most rewarding ones are totally internal.

The other day  I was having a conversation with a friend about how Yoga and meditation had totally changed my worldview. And while I was describing some of the changes, I realised something I hadn’t quite verbalised, not even internally, yet: I seem to have lost the ability to hate.

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Really annoying quotes

“Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.”
This anonymous quote is as annoying as it is true. The last thing we want to hear when in the middle of suffering is that it is only and entirely our responsibility! “But, he was horrible to me!” – “But, I just broke my leg!”.
Shut the fuck up
The reality is that the events in our lives are not, in themselves, a cause of suffering, although they can definitely be a cause of pain, be that physical or emotional. Before you shrug this off,  I am not talking semantics here, there is a really big difference between pain and suffering. Pain is what the world does to us, suffering is what WE do to ourselves. Suffering is how we react to pain, it is the response we give to the stimulus of pain.

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You will never get there…

…simply because there is no ‘there’. Yoga and Zazen have been a constant in my life for some years now, one of the biggest lessons I am learning is that there is no endpoint. Both Yoga and Zazen are non-attainment practices, in different, yet very similar ways.

“nowhere” by endre tót (1980)

“nowhere” by endre tót (1980)

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I hate (spiritual) carrots!

As part of Yoga teacher training we have a fairly long reading list, some books I love, some a bit less, and some really irritate me.

The sections I most resent are invariably about some kind of  supernatural phenomenon, attainment or power. Stories of Yogis happily being buried alive for months, stories of energy fields, of chakras opening, of cancers cured and states of higher consciousness being attained. Horse and carrotI actually came out in long and passionate rants about some of them (apologies to the poor folk I subjected to these!) and have several scribbles on the books like  “bollocks!”, “really?!?!?!”, “get the feck out!” etc. Continue reading