Archive | December, 2015

The journey of one hundred thousand paces begins with

I try to have a few more meditations on Christmas Eve. It’s a good feeling as the world slows down and becomes a little more reflective.

With the sun setting below the hills, I closed my door and burnt some incense. The pungent fragrance filling the room. Settled in the chair I felt unusually receptive for meditation. I started to chant AUM, AUM, AUM … – when from above, I heard an unexpected sound.

“The journey of one hundred thousand paces begins with a flat tyre and a broken fan-belt.” Continue Reading →


The unexpected peace

From a concert by the music group, Ananda – performing the songs of Sri Chinmoy.  Lord Mayor’s Chapel, Bristol, 13 December, 2015.

The entrance to the concert was through a modest wooden door. In a street filled with the brilliance of commerce, it would have been quite easy to walk straight past. But this reserved entrance, hid an unexpected sanctuary of peace – within the chapel a generosity of light and calm.

A small crowd gathers, patiently in the ancient wooden pews; a few intrepid souls, perhaps wondering what is to come.

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News, views and switching off

Everyday I make a resolution not to read the paper. Nearly every day, I fail.

But, I can admire the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson:

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

I wanted to try spend 24 hours without any access to news. Was it possible? Will the world stop revolving? What will happen to all those spare minutes saved?

I wrote about experience here: problem 24 hour news



A visit to a local church

A dull winter’s day, but I drag myself from the comfy, soporific atmosphere of being glued to a screen.

The chill bites through a thin winter’s jacket, so I walk at a quicker pace up the hill. Still, a rather aimless march – just a break for blurry eyes and cramped legs.

I contemplate the local church on the hill. The sombre graveyard, the memories of a young child – sitting in a service I didn’t understand, counting off hymns, thinking of football. I’m not so comfortable with the glare of gravestones, but the church still pulls me in. What do you find in a church these days?

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The Buddha’s silence wins

One day the Lord Buddha was meditating. An elderly man came in and started abusing the Buddha most ruthlessly. The Buddha remained absolutely silent.

Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura

Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura

How long could he continue his abuse? After a while he stopped and was about to leave the place. But the Buddha said, “Just wait, please. I have something to ask you. Tell me, when you offer gifts to a person, if he does not accept your gifts, what do you do?

“I just take them back.”

The Buddha said, “Well, you have been trying to offer me the gifts that you brought with you. Since I have not accepted your gifts, you are taking them back with you.”

The man felt sad and ashamed of his conduct. He begged forgiveness of the Buddha. The Buddha forgave him and eventually he became a close disciple of the Buddha.


– Story from AUM Magazine, January 1974. Originally written by Mano Ranjan Ghose. Translated from the original Bengali by his younger brother, Sri Chinmoy.


There is a saying kindness is its own reward. Hatred is its own punishment. Also, whatever you give out, comes back to you like a boomerang. In this story, the Buddha’s silence illumines the person filled with anger.


Doping and cycling

I started watching professional cycling in the mid 1990s. One of my earliest memories was watching Bjarne Riis accelerating up a mountain  to defeat the five times winner Miguel Indurain. I didn’t know at the time, but Riis was doping on an industrial scale. His amazing speed was almost entirely due to the huge quantities of EPO in his system.


To later learn that the sport was essentially corrupt and full of doping was hard. The joy of sport diminished, and the result irrelevant.

In 2005, the journalist David Walsh was asked who do you want to win the Tour de France? He replied “I don’t mind. Anyone who is clean”. I agree with that sentiment 100%.

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