Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Big Question: Who Dies?

What we need to know before we go...

Only one thing in life is absolutely certain. All of us will die one day. Understanding death empowers us to live fully in the present.

I have launched a project on Kickstarter.

Although it has very obvious flaws, i would encourage you to Iook past these and consider the subject matter which so deeply concerns us all. 

You can take a look by clicking on the link above.

Although we all need at least a bit of money to survive in today's society, it is not my primary aim in launching this project, not by a long shot. I lived for 3 decades in the forests of the Himalayas without a single western sponsor and i managed just fine. In fact, these were, by far, the happiest years of my life.

In launching this project i wanted to gauge if there is interest and if the interest is sufficient for people to reach into their pockets and then make the effort of clicking a few buttons to pledge a small amount, as a token of encouragement.

So far the response is anything but encouraging, and as such, it remains to be seen whether this book will in fact be written and published by March. 

I can only conclude that my presentation skills are very sorely lacking and sincerely apologize for this, more especially so, if they have kept you from whole heartedly embracing this project with me.

When i told my Mother that i would like to bring to fruition a project that is very dear to my heart, and mentioned the subject, she sighed and asked me why on earth i could not write about something amusing and light hearted... Her response was natural enough but it also made me realise that, in general, we do not easily give up our tendency to fritter away our precious time.

If we really believe that we come into this world merely to spend it in unceasing distraction and gratification of the endless desires of what ever our minds are able to dream up, then we miss out on

noticing something incredibly important.

What this is is being pointed out clearly, repeatedly and tirelessly, but we only live a certain number of years and with every passing moment we are in a count down.

Its a good time to WAKE UP...

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Original Mind

I want to share with my readers a wonderful verse by the Poet
Gary Rosenthal. It is so lucidly written and so evocative of the simple awareness which is the true, but too often overlooked source of glory, peace and happiness within each and every one of us...


How many evenings 
have you turned away?
As if the life you really want
could only begin
once something else had happened, 
something else that was not yet here… 
All the unmet conditions
you’ve placed before happiness
have kept you a person in waiting
like someone overlooked, someone
whose time has yet to come,
as if God somehow
forgot to pack you a lunch… 
Right now
a wheel of fortune is spinning
but notice: its center is completely still,
unchanging, completely empty
Bet all your money here
on a clear reception
of that hollowness
a nothing that lacks nothing.
It’s like we have two minds. 
One is conditioned, and conditional…
And it’s filled with drama:
—your anchorless ship ever drawing close
to fearful rocks of lossor hopeful shores of gain. 
But we don’t need all the drama
‐‐or special conditions, for happiness 
to visit and stay awhile. 
It doesn’t need to be imported,
doesn’t need to be Maui 
under a full moon, 
with a special enchanting 
someone in tow. Nor do we need 
all our duckies
finally lined up in a row.
Our original mind 
is already content 
standing in any line, sitting in any chair, 
or parked in an old jalopy
in any Safeway parking lot.  
This mind is empty
of all that clutching
to outcomes and conditions. 
Less picky, more eco‐friendly. 
Just this is enough.

‐  Gary Rosenthal

Thursday, 4 September 2014

What Dreams May Come

There is an old and well aired fable that is often told by Tibetan Lamas on various occasions. I always enjoy hearing it as it brings up rather clear visual associations and instantly helps to shift the perspective on things. Here i offer my own embellished version.

One evening, a farmer looked out over his fields as they shimmered in the golden sunshine. The gentle ripple of a breeze ruffled the laden bushels and cast a hazy sheen into the westering light.

The lone voice of a peasant rose and fell in the silent air. In that moment all felt well in the world and he was pleased; even joyful.

Looking out over his fields he knew that this season would be unusually good. He would have an ample harvest and there would be money and food to spare. 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The More we Learn the Less we Know

I lived for a time with someone who did not function from the center of rational thinking.  This does not mean that He was incapable of rational thinking, quite the opposite. In fact i never met with anyone who was so practical, ingenious and down to earth, all in one. He tended to use rational thinking as a tool, He was not ruled by the rational mind. Someone who can live and function from an inner intuitive sense of spontaneous clarity will leave no footprints in the world and will move through life with spontaneous expressions of light and joy. Such a being lives with an intensity which is always fresh, completely un-contrived and uncompromisingly relevant.

To have had the chance to come within the orbit of someone who moves in complete harmony with the present moment is an extra ordinary privilege and something rare and beautiful to behold.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Mystery of Now

Photo Credit: Mandala Madness
In the early nineteen nineties, I met an aged Tibetan Lama in the Himalayan foothills of the Kathmandu Valley. Back then He was already well into His eighties.
He looked like something out of a Santa Claus play or some magical mystery novel.

He had pure white hair and a long grey beard that seemed to extend into the four directions like tiny antennas. He wore an interesting array of clothing that often consisted of bloomers or a lungi, Birkenstock s, long fur lined capes that reached all the way to His ankles, or, when duty called, red robes draped in an extensive white and red hand woven silk shawl.

Chadral Rinpoche, despite being a very venerable Lama, has absolutely no airs whatsoever about Him. He lives, breathes and moves in the ever fresh atmosphere of the present moment. And yes, i use the present tense because He is still alive and well and now crossed the venerable age of 100.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Perspective, Why it is so Important?

This is the reason why it is so important to take moments to stop and breath and by this i mean really letting go into the breath. This requires a certain letting things be. There is a natural rhythm in the cycle of our breathing which can easily convey us into a the place of silence.

Expand into the present moment which is un-contrived and effortless. This simple non-movement takes us instantly to the edge of infinity, the expanse of the true self.

We get so caught up in the little dramas going on in our lives and in our minds. When we stop for a moment and look up into the sky, be it day or night and let it touch us in that secret, silent place beyond thoughts and words, something happens...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Why Not Be A Nobody

Leunig has the magical and artist knack of being able to capture, with a single, simple drawing, the tragic self incarceration of individuals living in modern societies which revolve almost entirely around the attainment of money, goods and services.

Where there is no due consideration for the deep inner spiritual awareness and interconnection that permeates the entire fabric of life upon our planet, existence becomes artificial and meaningless.

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Mystery of Awareness

Snoopy Wisdom

If your awareness comes knocking, will you hear it and will you take heed of it's call?

When a friend of mine was very young, barely seven years old, the mystery of being jumped out right in front of him and looked him straight in the face. This moment of crisis; this merging into 'being,' was so utterly riveting and compelling that 'rediscovering it' shaped and molded his life for the next three decades.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Power of Listening

What is it that connects us consciously to all life?


This is not something that we generally give much thought to, but it is crucial in all sorts of ways.

Listening is all about generosity.
The generosity that can enable us to let go of self clinging.
The generosity that can enable us to let be and allow the present moment to arise before our consciousness, just as it is...

The untapped and potential power inherent within the our capacity to just 'listen' is immense and usually completely unrecognized

Monday, 5 May 2014

Our Only Certainty in Life is Uncertainty

"That which is impermanent attracts compassion. That which is not provides wisdom."

Steven Levine

The Thank God Ledge. Yosemites

We may like to feel that we are in charge of our lives, that we are in full control, making our own decisions, going our own way. 

Yet that is all just a trick of the mind, a tweak of the ego. 

The only certainty we can ever have in this life, is uncertainty.

That may seem frightening to many and yet it is an unavoidable fact. We can run away and try to hide from this all too evident truth for a while, but we can never escape it and whether we acknowledge this fact or not, somewhere deep inside, we all know that this is what we live with every moment of our lives.

We are in fact standing on a narrow ledge...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Ordinary Happiness

It has been said, often enough in 'spiritual' circles, that we create our own happiness or misery. As creatures of habit, locked into our 'perceptions' of 'reality', we can coast through an entire lifetime without ever stopping to question the premise upon which those 'perceptions' are based. If questioning does in fact arise, it is usually the direct result of some crisis; some confrontation with change and its associated loss or gain...

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Going With the Flowing

Thunder Down Under
Barron Falls
Its not always moving at this level of intensity, but isn't it true that at times life can be pretty damn full on!

When the flow is just too massive, we need to let go. Why resist the tumble, why resist what ever is happening? I guess 'resistance' is in our bones and our innate fear of change is instinctive...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mingyur Rinpoche, Compassionately Wise

Mingyur Rinpoche in the Mountains

When i saw these photos and this link on FaceBook there was a rush of joy and inspiration and then a flood of tears...

Its hard to describe all the feelings that arise. Here is someone that inspires me and in these days and times such 'beings' can be hard to come by. Mingyur Rinpoche was prepared to give up all the comforts, routines, pleasures and fame of his life, as an internationally renown Lama, and go out into the world with only the clothes on his back. He was prepared to face all the harsh conditions that such a lifestyle can throw at you...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Do We Need A Guru?

Cartoon by Leunig
These days fake 'Gurus' by far out number genuine ones, so we can hardly feel surprised at the amount of cynicism that abounds with regards to this particular topic. However this should not discount the importance of and the need for, not only authentic and genuine 'Gurus,' but also sincere and deserving 'Disciples.' Both are certainly out there, but many are not able to discern the difference between the 'pretenders' and the 'genuine' thing...

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Don't Miss the Sunrise

Leunig. Sunrise
We think we are immersed in 'life' but how much of it REALLY touches us. How much of it truly engages our heart, how much do we really feel?

We may actually get up early enough to watch a sunrise, but do we really see it? Are we fully alert to the freshness of this present moment or is the mind wandering somewhere in a past memory or a future hope or desire?