Meditation

Your Mind Is Theatre, And You’re The Audience

Indulging in thought intereferes with the play.

Insights often arise during meditation. Sometimes they are truths vaguely understood, now gleaning with clarity. As they burst into consciousness, their simplicity doesn’t quite match the intense feeling of resonance.

On the spiritual path, simple truths return, with added vigour, over and over, each time their meaning more profound.

This morning’s meditation provided one of these moments. For a number of years, I’ve practiced mindfulness meditation. The anchor is attention on the breath and sensations in the body. From early on, I’ve practiced the Buddhist concept of the Middle Way — an equanimous approach to all phenomena, including thoughts, feelings, sensations.

Gently guiding the mind away from extremes of aversion and indulgence revolutionises the relationship with thoughts and emotions. It’s a practice to be repeated, over, and over, and over, and over. Each time, bringing attention back to the anchor. This is the basic premise of non-attachment.

Meditation, Spirituality

I Welcomed 2020 On Solo Retreat — It Renewed My Zest For Life

solo retreat
A process of reconnection during a solo retreat in Babelsberg, Germany.

My suitcase is full of food, books, my meditation cushion, a few clothes. I’m full of intent, anticipation, eagerness to return home. As the decade nears its end, for my journey inward, I’m travelling away — in the physical sense.

The wheels of the suitcase recently rolled across Bristol Airport post-Christmas visit. Now they transverse gravel, covered in dirt, a metaphor for the work awaiting my solo retreat in Babelsberg, Germany.

Their rhythmic hum is reminiscent of the sounds of aviation, low and thunderous. As I stop to check directions, the sounds stop too, and I’m confronted with silence. I’m five minutes from the modest hut where I’ll spend New Year’s alone.

I pause, breathe deeply, smile at the sky, purr at the silence. Gone is the percussion of sirens, shouts, smashes, the instruments of noise pollution of the busy city where I live. I’m sure my thoughts, without background noise, just got louder.

The silence is confrontational. Even playful.

MindThatEgo Podcast

🎧 MTE Podcast #8: How to Change Your Life and Live Authentically


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How do you overcome temptation, build new habits, and behave and express authentically? How do you move from daydreaming to action? How do you change your life?

Most of us view change as all-or-nothing. But this linear approach of success and failure makes it difficult to create lasting change.

In this episode I explore an alternative — the Stages of Change Model of behavioural change. Struggling to stop drinking alcohol? Struggling to go to the gym regularly? Looking to overcome ego-temptation and live from the heart?

Crucially, these stages are cyclical and every-changing. The stages are:

  1. Pre-contemplation.
  2. Contemplation.
  3. Preparation.
  4. Action.
  5. Maintenance.
  6. Termination.

This model is a useful tool to apply to all areas of life. It promotes a balanced, realistic approach to significant change. After all, self-actualisation authenticity require continuous change in all areas of life. But it all begins with small steps.

Ego, Meditation

7 Mindset Hacks To Thrive On A 10-Day Vipassana Retreat

vipassana retreat
Mindsets to thrive during a Vipassana retreat.

A Vipassana retreat is a special experience. How often are we gifted 10 days of silent solitude, away from busyness, obligations and responsibilities? Meals prepared, an hour-by-hour schedule, accommodation sorted?

The environment is primed for laser-like focus on meditation, self-enquiry and insight. Even so, thriving on retreat, and maximising the benefits… that’s down to you.

I attended my first retreat in April. I’d waited six years from when I started meditation. I knew the time would come when it felt right. And I’d known for a few years I wanted to jump in the deep end with a 10-Day silent Vipassana retreat.

I was attracted to the level of self-discipline. It was a challenge I wanted to prove myself capable of overcoming. Even more, it was an act of gratitude and dedication towards a practice that has added so much to my life.

MindThatEgo Podcast

🎧 MTE Podcast #7: Emotional Perfectionism

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Perfectionism is defined as a “combination of excessively high personal standards and overly-critical self-evaluation.”

This episode focuses on perfectionist tendencies with emotions. Beliefs such as “I should always be happy,” “anxiety is weakness,” or “normal people don’t feel so low” fuel feelings of frustration, shame, or hopelessness.

In truth, common concepts of healthy emotionality is skewed, in favour of positivity and fear of so-called negative emotions.

I unpack emotional perfectionism and it’s various guises (self-oriented, socially prescribed and other-orientated) and offer applicable solutions to move towards a place of acceptance and self-compassion.