Spirituality

What the Bhagavad Gita Teaches About Creative Expression

Inspiration often comes from unlikely places. That’s not to say I was surprised to be inspired by the Bhagavad Gita. It’s one of the most enduring spiritual texts in human history, its wisdom reverberating into hearts, minds, and spirits some 5,000 years after it was written.

What was a surprise was how the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna stoked the fire of creative expression within me. Before diving into Jack Hawley’s translation (conveniently “borrowed” from my partner’s bookshelf and yet-to-be returned) my creative flow had stagnated.

Philosophy

This Is The World’s Dark Night Of The Soul

The union of science and spirituality has never been more important [Credit: Elena Mozhvilo]

Now is a time of global emergency. But this isn’t cause for despair. Emergencies require urgent attention and often cause panic. Yet emergencies offer opportunities to learn, evidenced by the Latin etymology of emergere: to arise, or bring to light.

Our collective response to the current coronavirus pandemic has the potential to drastically alter the future of humanity and lead to lasting change. What is brought to light emerges from the shadows, and at a time of collective crisis, a spiritual emergence is possible.

Philosophy

Stoicism And Depression Teach A Valuable Lesson About Lockdown Grief

stoicism negative visualisation

I’ve died many times. It’s a strange thing about depression. At least, a strange thing about how my mind works: from a young age, I’ve been presented with worst-case-scenarios in technicolor, painting a picture of catastrophic what ifs. More than once, I’ve lost everything I’ve loved. My world has fallen apart without a brick crumbling in real life.

There are similarities between depression, philosophy and spirituality. Each seeks to understand the existential. I’m fortunate I discovered a spiritual practice which offers refuge from existential anxiety. Thanks to my practice, the context of these mini deaths has shifted — I don’t see them as depressive dysfunction but powerful markers of growth.

Mental Health

11 Tips For Staying Sane During Self-Isolation

By that guy who self-isolates by choice.

I love solitude. I’m the guy who decided to spend New Year’s Eve alone, in a hut, in the middle of nowhere, for fun. Vipassana was too social for my liking. I regularly self-isolate, happily, by choice. But it’s not always been that way. I know what it’s like to choose self-isolation due to depression and social anxiety, and I’m aware there’s a big difference between what I call skilled and unskilled solitude.

Right now, all across the world, people are confined to their homes, self-isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic. At a time where most of us feel free to make our own choices, being constricted to solitude, against our choice, can feel extremely challenging. In this article, I’ll guide you through the shift in mindset to stay sane during self-isolation.

Relationships

For Jeannette: Reflections On Our Last Meeting

In memory of my auntie Jeannette.

“Did you come alone?” Jeannette asks. I know this code. My conversations with Jeannette have been rare since I left Bristol, left home, limited to Christmas pop-ins or off-chance visits. But our interactions always share a common theme. Questions include “shall I get my wedding hat?”, and “is she the one?”, though this is more subtle. “Yes, I came alone,” I say, and we both understand the language between words, the communicated yet unspoken, the space between lines.

By the law of the family tree, Jeannette was my auntie. But by the law of heart and the law of feeling, she was my grandmother. Sadly, by the laws of nature, her body was slowly giving up on her, the effects of a stroke compounded by rapidly-developing cancer and old age. Physically she was frail; bones protruding, cheeks hollow. But in spirit?