Thursday 23 January 2014



Being present means accepting whatever is happening right now and just staying with it as long as it lasts.

If we stop to think for a moment how much time we spend pushing away the things that we don't want to deal with, trying to change things, trying to feel better, it is amazing how much time and energy we actually spend trying to avoid whatever is happening right now.

A little shift in perspective here can be very revealing. If we turn the 'camera' of our mind around and take a selfie, just as we are now and if we are prepared to stand by what is reflected back to us, without trying to manipulate the image in any way, then we are taking our first little baby steps in 'owning' this present moment.

If true freedom is about letting go of our concepts, then imagine the feelings that will flood us when we begin to just start 'living our lives.' This means living ALL of whatever comes our way, not trying to deflect what is not wanted or invite what is. Not trying to manipulate the moment in order to change an outcome, not trying to change how we are, by replacing it with an image of what we 'think' we are.

Usually, depending on our innate tenancies, the minute we begin to feel the slightest twinge of discomfort our habit is to 'reach for something.' Be it the phone, the TV, something to eat, a cigarette.
Anything that will distract us from what is actually happening.

Its true isn't it? We don't even realise that we do this constantly. Yet we are all, almost obsessively, busy with nonsense most of the time. When we are already distracted and our attention drawn elsewhere we are fine. The moment a space opens up before us we shut it off by turning our attention elsewhere. Why are we afraid?

We don't know how to just be any more. Our modern age has robbed us of 'ourselves.' Whether we are actually doing anything or not our attention is constantly engaged in the 'outer,' whatever that may be at any given moment.

This is a kind of modern epidemic of constant engagement and busyness. The incessant inner 'noise' prevents our natural ability to just abide.  It prevents us from just letting ourselves go and allowing whatever is arising in this present moment to wash over us without any resistance from our side, without any judgement, without trying to change anything.

If it is painful, let it be. Taste the pain, know the pain. Accept the pain and above all look into 'who is feeling the pain.'
If it is fear, watch it rising up inside, let it come, look it in the face. Look at what and who it is that feels the fear.
If it is sadness, allow the tears to flow, don't judge yourself, don't try to interpret your moods, don't try to stop them. Simply recognise them.

Our inherent power arises from tasting all the moods and emotions that arise within us without accepting or rejecting. When we are familiar with the moods, we no longer fear them. At a certain point, we come to see that what it is that is watching the moods is never in any way affected by what is going on. We begin to understand that we are not our moods, that moods arise and pass away, yet something is always present and aware.

Our thoughts operate in the same way, they are constantly coming and going, yet can we say that 'we are our thoughts?' Can we identify the thoughts as ours? Can we find the source of our thoughts?

Read on in Pieces of a Dream

Sunday 19 January 2014

Satsang, Gathering Together in Truth

What is Satsang?

According to Wikipedia,  it means "In the company of the highest truth."
Satsang first originated in India with the Rishis (Enlightened Beings).

It is a coming together, a gathering 'for truth.'

Being with the truth is another way of putting it. One should join such a gathering without 'agendas' or 'conditions,' save simple, clear openness, awareness and goodwill.

When we come together in 'truth' we are giving ourselves the opportunity to open our minds and our hearts; to 'listen' to the present moment.

With the right motivation, this can be a potent sort of gathering. When individuals come together as a group and relinquish their clinging to the 'known world,' and what they perceive as 'themselves' within that world, it creates an atmosphere which is very conducive to recognising 'truth.'

Read on in Pieces of a Dream

Thursday 9 January 2014

Accepting What Is

Chadral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche
(Photo by Lyse Lauren, Kolkata Fish Release, 2004)
During the years (1991-2006) when I used to spend quite a lot of time near my teacher Chadral Rinpoche, I never thought of requesting teachings from him. I had numerous opportunities to do so but somehow in his presence, it did not feel necessary. Just being near him was a constant and unceasing teaching of the highest kind.

People would come and go endlessly, asking all sorts of things and making all manner of requests. Some were trying to cope with tragic circumstances in their lives, many were greedy for favours of a spiritual or even material kind, a few were deeply devoted and occasionally one also spotted true practitioners. Rinpoche watched the streams of people who came to him with all of their different reasons and motivations like an unshakable mountain of grace.

Simply to witness how a 'Jnani' lives and moves in the midst of this seemingly endless throng was utterly compelling and gave me far deeper insights into the nature of reality and non-reality than anything else could have.

Rinpoche played out every scene in the 'drama' of his life in a way that always appeared to me to be absolutely appropriate and yet nothing was ever in the least bit 'contrived.' Life just unfolded around him in a very natural way.

He did not try to make things go one way or another, he simply moved through whatever was playing itself out at the time, from the silence and simplicity of what is.

A good number of us fortunate 'students' had the opportunity to serve him in various ways during these years. Some of these were very efficient and helpful, others were hopelessly unorganized and clumsy.

Throughout it all, i never once saw Rinpoche complain or show any signs of irritation when he happened to be in the hands of one of his 'clumsy' disciples. He accepted whatever was playing itself out with the utmost dignity and grace and with unflinching childlike innocence and humour.

This engendered an atmosphere around him which was always fresh, unpredictable and intensely joyful. No matter how unfavourable conditions might have appeared to be, at any given time, he was always at ease, always able to see the funny side of things.

The way that he moved through life was masterful and set a precedent for all us who hovered within his orbit.

Often, without words and yet enhanced by every move, gesture, and look, he taught us how to let life wash over us; how to be in this world and yet remain unaffected by it. We were given the rare privilege of being able to witness this first hand in his benign presence.

Learning not to fight against life, not to try to change things when they become uncomfortable, not to try to manipulate outcomes or grieve when things do not turn out as we would like them to, is a skill that requires diligence to cultivate; it requires patience and above all acceptance.

When we do not invest all our energy into trying to avoid what is actually happening to us, and most of us do this almost all of the time, we free up immense reserves of inner power.

This ‘power,’ which has been released from its endless dissipation in day-to-day happenings and our reactions to those happenings, is then available for the greater and most urgent task of recognizing who and what we really are.

Simply accepting what is enables us quickly to exhaust our karma and opens the way to true and unshakable happiness and peace.


This excerpt is quoted from the book; Masters, Mice and Men

Volume Three in series Shades of Awareness

Saturday 4 January 2014

The Song of a Heart in Action

H.H. Dalai Lama.
"I truly believe that compassion provides the basis of human survival."
"It is not religious business, it is human business, it is not a luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival." 

If you want to witness the phenomenon of 'ego-less-ness in action', a current and very well known example of this can be found in the day to day life and expression of H.H. Dalai Lama.

Having had the enormous good fortune to spend time in his vicinity on a number of occasions during the past thirty years, I have had plenty of opportunities to notice the way that he affects not only myself but almost all those who come into contact with him.

The Dalai Lama is pre-eminently a very public and highly respected spiritual figure. There are few in the West and throughout South East Asia who would dispute that, and yet what exactly is it that sets Him apart?

Compassion. This word embraces the long and the short of it; the entire story.

Compassion flows spontaneously from the heart; it is transformative and healing.  It has no boundaries. It can enter places where others would fear to go. H.H. Dalai Lama is a supremely practical man, supremely balanced and supremely kind.

If there is one language that is 'universal' it would have to be the language of spontaneous and unpretentious compassion. Thus we can find this man welcomed in almost every country on the planet, save those few with vested interests.

Read on in Pieces of a Dream