Infinite experiences

There are infinite experiences available within a moment.

Generally, our habit is to work with a narrow field of attention. This applies to our sensory experiences, but also to our thought processes and spiritual connection.

Visually, we tend to only see what is directly ahead of us. Mentally, we often focus right in on our problems or obsessive thoughts. Spiritually, we become disconnected from the bliss of presence and connection.

We have unconsciously trained ourselves to notice only what we feel is necessary. We do it so much that it becomes our reality. Only when we stop and open our senses and perception to the moment do we discover what we are missing!

I’m seeing this so much now in my daily life. Within each moment there is infinite possibility; I am simply choosing what I want to experience.

When I eat I can decide to be disconnected from the activity- losing myself in thoughts and daydreams as I shovel the food in. My meal becomes merely functional.

But there’s so much more to be had! If I stop and pay attention to the taste of the food, my experience becomes richer and more pleasant.

And that’s not all. I can also notice the colours and textures on my plate- my experience deepens.

And yet there is more. I can observe how my body becomes satiated and energised by the food- and feel gratitude. I can have an awareness of the hard work of others that brought my food to the table- and feel connection and love.

It’s all there, within my forkful of food. Layer upon layer of deep and delicious experience.

What will I choose to see in that moment? How much am I willing to experience?

It takes practice of course, and a continual reminder to expand my focus and open up my senses.

If this is something that interests you too I’ve recorded a guided meditation that will help. It’s all about finely tuning the attention so that we can begin to notice the layers of experience- within the body and around us. It focuses on the flow and movement of the breath through the body, changes in energy, and the rise and fall of sounds and of thoughts.

It’s also utterly relaxing!


You can find it here on Soundcloud.


How To ‘Be’

I always look forward to my Tuesday evening meditation group. I love the opportunity to practice with others. We sit on our cushions in the candlelit room and we share the stillness. (Albeit with the occasional interruption from traffic outside. This week it was James Brown blasting from a car stereo.)

Then we’ll have tea, and chew the fat of spiritual practice.

Last night we talked about the joy of ‘non-doing’…one of those gloriously Zen subjects that really messes with your head.

It’s good to remember that as humans we have a tendency to overcomplicate things. It happens out there in life, but it also happens on the cushion. As beginners, meditation practice is simple- we follow the breath (or our object of focus).

But then in a sneaky kind of fashion so we can barely notice, ego creeps in and we start trying to ‘do’ meditation. We suddenly want to be better at it. We want to think less, we want to relax, we want to feel a certain way.  And we’re no longer just sitting on the cushion- we’re striving. We’re seeking for something outside of the present. We lose the joy and contentment  because we’ve forgotten that everything we need is here with the breath and with the cushion. There’s nothing that needs ‘doing’.

What we experience on the cushion reflects what we experience in our daily life. If we can see that we push ourselves even as we sit with a simple practice, we can know for CERTAIN that we’re pushing ourselves out there in our daily life.

So it’s great to use our time in stillness to practice non-doing- just being with the present moment in it’s sheer perfection (‘Hotpants’ included!). Then we can take that practice out into the world, and learn to be in life without so much striving or pushing or pressure or trying to be what we’re not.

We hear all the time that joy is found in the acceptance of life as it is right now. But that’s not so easy. How do we begin?

We begin with the cushion. We practice on the cushion, without distraction.

We don’t have to be better at meditation. We don’t have to think less.

We simply watch the breath or repeat our mantra, and learn to be still within the moment

Unexpected gifts

I spent New Year’s Eve at a tiny, run down Buddhist monastery in the heart of the Devon hills.

While I was there I met a man called Pete. Pete lived and worked at the monastery. He’d suffered a head injury years ago and spoke very slowly and quietly. I had to lean right in to hear him. He took a long time to express himself, and at first I tried to avoid him- because I wanted to be alone. Continue reading “Unexpected gifts”

The mindful breath

Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath”

Breath is the essence of life.
When we breathe, we live.
When we breathe mindfully, we are alive.

What is mindful breathing?
It’s a deliberate awareness of the breath.
It is feeling the sensation of breath moving in and out of the body. We watch the rise and fall of the belly or the chest; we feel the air moving through the nostrils.
Continue reading “The mindful breath”