Hidden Agendas

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“Welcome it, open to it, embrace it, love it, honour it, accept it as it is”. These are the words of guidance we’re often used to hearing when we find ourself immersed in difficult, upsetting or emotionally painful moments in life. But when we try to follow that guidance, and the pain doesn’t go away, we can become increasingly frustrated. It’s that frustration which reveals our hidden agenda: we are actually only ‘honouring’ and ‘welcoming’ the pain in order to get rid of it. Beneath our spiritual disguise it’s the same old separate ‘me’ hard at work, still resisting, still…

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The Fool

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“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” William Shakespeare, As You Like It: Act 5, Sc 1. Why is it that Chinese Emperors, Egyptian Pharaohs and English Kings and Queens all reputedly consulted with fools and court jesters? Because the fool is unburdened by the expectations and conventions of society; is unconstrained by all the shoulds and shouldn’ts, and the need to keep up appearances; is entirely free to cut through our man-made-up concepts and beliefs to expose the unmodified truth at the heart. So what if we are the…

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Teetering on the Brink

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All our seeking and exploring brings us to the edge of our certainties. We yearn to dive into the unknown but fear continually pulls us back, back into life-as-we-think-we-know-it, and so we remain there, teetering on the brink. But what if we dip our toe into those unchartered waters and, despite our racing heartbeat and urge to run away, we see that we’re still here, still breathing, that nothing gets destroyed? Then maybe we get a little more courageous, we put our feet in, we go in up to our waist, up to our neck, we become entirely immersed. And…

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Overwhelm

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When our heart bursts wide open, it can sometimes seem overwhelming. And so, out of habit, we immediately retreat back into our mental world for ‘safety’, and the wonder of the moment seems lost. We become impatient. Frustrated. Thinking, “What can I do to get back there again?”, “How can I hold on to it?” But that glorious homecoming could never be held onto, grasped or attained. It’s in the opposite movement – an easing, a softening, a deep letting go – that the immense, incomprehensible, indescribable love for which we so long, is miraculously revealed as what we always,…

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‘To Do’ Lists

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We all have our ‘to do’ lists. Chores to finish, projects to complete, people to see, places to go, to read more, to exercise more, to eat more healthily, to become more ‘realised’ or whatever it might be. But why is it that they often provoke such agitation, such impatience, such aggravating tightness? Because we have come to believe that our happiness is dependent on completing our list of tasks, and so we yearn to reach that longed for goal. But this anxiety, this tension is so uncomfortable that we use more thought to escape it. Thoughts which reaffirm that…

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Pushing Buttons

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When all our buttons are pushed, when we argue with our loved ones and it snowballs into a blazing row, when things get broken and doors get slammed, it can really seem like there’s no way back. But, as the storm settles, maybe we can start to see it not as tragedy but an opportunity. A chance to explore what lies behind those triggers; to tenderly approach that dark, torturous place that feels too uncomfortable, too vulnerable, too raw. And as we meet right there, on the sharp edge of our pain – without judgement, without protection – rather than…

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The Momentum of ‘Me’

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“Recognising your real nature is the beginning, it’s not the end. It’s so often sold as a big bang, that’s it, all over, thank you very much. It’s the beginning because this ‘me’ mechanism is still there, still in operation. It’s like a heavy locomotive; even though you’ve put out the firebox it’s still charging down the track, it’s got momentum. But now you recognise it for what it is. Every time you come from that protective place, as soon as you see it you can disassemble right there, you can apologies, you can reveal the game that you’re playing…

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Crossroads

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It’s easy to look back on those big ‘crossroads’ moments in life with regret. Regretting that you went left, out of fear, when you’d much rather have gone right. But instead of being caught up in the past, what about the crossroads here now, in this moment? Will fear be your guide or your longing for the truth? When truth becomes your master the whole notion of a ‘crossroads’ evaporates, for there is only one way left to go, and that’s home.

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Double Bind

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Do you feel bound, longing for freedom? Do you feel doubly bound, having denied your natural instinct to seek a solution because of the spiritual belief that ‘there’s nothing to do’ because ‘there’s no one to do it’? Imagine you are a small child, and you’re convinced that 2 + 2 = 5. One day you’re sitting with a friendly school teacher and you ask them about it. They invite you to see how 2 is made up of 1 + 1, so 2 + 2 is actually 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. You count the 1s diligently…

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