Watch, observe and be…


Every morning when I awake, I am reborn. The self of yesterday is a memory that functions as a useful guide. The habits and routines I have in place make a certain amount of automaticity evident. Get up, meditate, walk, shower, coffee n breakfast (or not)… and so on. If, however, I were to take a snapshot of “my world” at exactly the same time every day, we would find differences at all levels from the gross to the minute. The larger cycles of time, season and date are obviously in play, but so too are the day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second swirls of energetic movement that ensures that we live precipitously balanced on the edge of an abyss of constant change in which absolutely nothing endures. Even “I” appears to be a fiction.

We could say that the only reason we do not all go barking mad at once, is that we are taught to believe that what we experience as reality is stable and reliable. However, when that belief is undermined through the myriad types of loss we face through the simple fact of living and being alive, then fear and anxiety can send us into a tailspin. We suffer because what we are emotionally attached to, and invested in, is ephemeral.

A friend of mine once scoffed at the idea I gave voice to that all human endevour is due to desire. It is desire that propels us to seek comfort when we are uncomfortable, to eat when we are hungry, to socialize when we are lonely, to create stability and order where chaos reigns. The basic desire to fit in with our peers will work to modify our behaviours so that we become “like them,” rather than risk the chance of being outcast and susceptible to the vagaries of the environment. The trouble is though, that as we expend efforts to fit in and fulfil our desires, that we become thoroughly attached to the idea of a separate and individual self with unique personality traits, ideas, opinions and possessions. There rises the idea of “mine” as opposed to “yours” – or further definitions that divide the “us” from the “them,” with perceived differences in statehood and religious beliefs having expressed themselves in conflict and war.

The reality is that when we become aware of our propensity to attach to self, person, place and thing… that we can release ourselves gradually from this bondage through the gentle art of non-engaged observation. Oddly enough what emerges, over time, is not some callous and distant automaton, but a compassion filled nature that loves and nurtures the ephemeral even more. A paradox.

Watch, observe and be.


Meditation – Finally, the real thing!


After many years of following instructions and methods regarding meditation and meditation practice, I have finally discovered the simple reality.

Do Nothing.

Not as easy as it sounds, actually. Especially when at the outset the racing mind has every other intention BUT to do nothing. The path of the meditator is a long one and in these days of the quick fix and minimal attention spans exacerbated by flickering media vying for validation, it is all too easy to set aside sitting on a cushion for protracted periods of time.

The benefits of meditation have been clearly established through numerous randomised control trials that have listed outcomes from lowered heart rates and blood pressure to increased concentration spans and mental clarity. There are some who venture on the path in order to become “enlightened,” however, as we shall see later on, this intent is in itself a trap for the mind created by the mind to entertain itself.

A veritable smorgasbord of meditation styles exist. In the 1960s The Beatles were the vehicle on which Maharishi jumped to promote Transcendental Mediation (TM). The popularity of Yoga and its spread added further fuel, although in the West it is seen more as a system of physical exercise to develop strength and flexibility rather than for its original intent. Buddhism became a popular alternative to staid conservative religions and now has a growing influence globally through the secularised offshoot of Mindfulness. It is cool to be Zen.

So then, what works? More importantly, how do we know that what we are doing “works,” especially when we are doing “nothing”?


Truth is everything works. Kindasorta. Mumbling mantras, prayerful visualised absorptions, bendy asanas, mudras, cold showers, imbibing sacred green teas and munching on weeds. Yes, it all works in the sense that it gives the mind material to play with. There are benefits in all the above (and besides), with the practitioner getting a sense that their spiritual practices are making them better and more godly – all good, if that is so. But…. mind play is mind play – and that is all there is to it.

Alternatively, when the mind is given an object to concentrate on, and then is repeatedly brought back to this object, it will, after some time, become quiet. A quiet, still mind is the diamond find.

The object of concentration is the sensation of the breath. The focus is on the part of the body at which the breath enters and exits the body. Non-judgemental observation of the breath whilst maintaining a peripheral awareness is the key.

Over time, the focus on breath can be dropped and attention can dwell in full expansive clarity. This is the state of being in which nothing is done.