Author Archive | tejvan

Picture of tree and thought for the day

autumn-iffley-tree

This is a tree in Iffley Village – part of my extended commute into town. It’s a beautiful time of the year.

I am currently reading a book on the “Alexander Technique” I like it because it encourages a moment of reflection before doing anything – trying to avoid bad habits we get into. In terms, of my understanding, it reminds me of Sri Chinmoy’s encouragement to meditate before doing anything. Continue Reading →

0

The meaning of remembrance and a better future

In the UK, Remembrance Sunday is a significant event to honour those who died during the world wars. This year is of special significance because it marks 100 years since the armistice ending the First World War.

poppies

When I was young, our school went on a trip to Belgium to visit former battlefields and cemeteries. The most striking thing was the realisation that easily I could have been born 100 years earlier and faced the prospect of going to war. I have always been grateful for being born in a time of peace and not have to face the challenges of that generation.

***

Once, I watched a long documentary about the First World War. One striking thing was in the first episode. They interviewed Bertrand Russell (a famous pacifist who was later sent to jail for later campaigning against the war) Russell noted that when war was declared he couldn’t help but notice and feel a wave of enthusiasm for the war sweep the whole nation – like an external force. He was shocked to be aware of and feel this enthusiasm in the air, even though his whole nature was personally against war. Perhaps the war was the unstoppable culmination from many years of inner aggression and striving for supremacy amongst the powerful nations.

***

Often I have thought – how would I respond if I was a young male in 1914? The over-riding feeling is gratitude I don’t have to make a choice. I am not a pacifist – there are times when it is necessary to fight – but also I do not believe you should fight simply out of patriotism or because your government tells you to. Continue Reading →

0

Spiritual significance of running

I wrote an article for Sri Chinmoy Races ‘The spiritual significance of running.’

I feel slightly embarrassed in the sense that my personal experiences of running are pretty lame.

tejvan-uphill-running

Running uphill.

I once did the Menston four-mile fun run. I would have won the under seven category except for half-way around; I stopped to take my number off my front and put it on my back (so it wouldn’t flap in my face). I got pipped on the line and finished 2nd. It was an early lesson in marginal gains. Put your number on properly.

tejvan

Me on the left

Aged 14, I ran for my school – Bradford Grammar School. In those days, I doubt very much I was meditating on the spiritual significance of running – rather cross-country seemed a less bad choice than having to play rugby. Once I came last in a race, so I used this as an excuse to give up cross-country running and take up being a teenager instead.

When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s Path, I took up running for a short while. It was great for a few months, but then I got a knee injury for a few years, so I took up cycling instead. Continue Reading →

0

The benefits of joining the back of the queue

cafe-nero-heathrow

The thing about Heathrow Terminal 3 is that – like any airport – all people want to do is be somewhere else.

Cafe Nero is one of the better options for passing some time. It has six tills split between two halves, which gives you a split second to choose the queue of shortest wait. I choose right, but am soon disconcerted by the lack of clarity. Is it just one queue for three tills or is it three separate queues? There is a corridor of uncertainty, with a long queue on the right, but a tempting shorter queue on the left.

The only choice is to join the longest queue. But that creates a subtle fear that someone could come from behind and join the half-formed queues in front. If I deny myself a shortcut, I need to deny others too!

So I perform an act of self-interest and civic duty all at once. I queue at a diagonal to move the queue away from the right flank – right into the middle where it should be by the natural law of things. Then I nervously wait, using my psychic energy to secretly discourage people from sneaking through on the flanks.

The tension is palpable, heightened by the fact all the queues in front seem to grind to a halt. As Murphy’s Law would have it, the queue on the other side of the cafe is speeding through. For a split second, I contemplate jumping ship and moving to the other side. I would probably get served quicker, but I’m too invested in my own queue¬† – which, if not moving very quickly, is at least bringing a little order into the chaos of Heathrow.¬† Even the people in front seem to be shifting a little to the centre, as if there is an unconscious recognition for the proper, invisible line of our queue. The centre ground is holding. A very small victory in life’s battleground.

Continue Reading →

1

Peace Run in Oxford 2018

The Peace Run at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University- where I studied 1995-99.

Recently the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run came to Oxford. I helped as a local co-ordinator to arrange a few meetings. I also cycled with the runners around Oxford.

One of the great things about the Peace Run is that you have to expect the unexpected. Even the best-laid plans need to be flexible. When you are on the run, you soon realise you are very much living in the moment. Continue Reading →

1

Benefits of cold showers

Since my cycling has come to a virtual standstill, I have been looking for alternative physical challenges.

This is a blast from the past. I used to work at a private tutorial college in Oxford. The millionaire owner was a real miser so would turn off the heating during the middle of the day to save money. I once bought an electric heater and that got confiscated (that’s another blog itself) Here I am wrapped up to stay warm.

As a means to an end (recover from injury) I have been trying different exercises – Egoscue, Pilates, Tibetan Rites, physiotherapy e.t.c.

They haven’t succeeded in doing anything for the injury, but they have become useful in their own right. The ‘means’ has become the ‘end’. Some movement/exercise is much better than none.

I was speaking to a friend from the Sri Chinmoy Centre and he mentioned that, recently while on the Peace Run, they met the “Ice Man” – Vim Hof, who recommends cold showers, breathing exercises and meditation as a way to improve your health and gain immunisation against the cold.

I was intrigued because at 190cm – 61kg I’m a good heat diffuser. I get so cold it has become partly a mental expectation that I will be cold. I’m not trying to run a marathon in the Arctic in shorts and t-shirt like Vim Hof – just staying a little warmer meditating outside at Aspiration-Ground in New York would be fine.

Anyway, cold showers remind me a little of hill climb intervals – you never look forward to them, they hurt during the event, but after you get a great euphoria and sense of satisfaction. I thought I would be unable to tolerate cold showers at all, but after a week, my tolerance has already improved quite a bit. It’s quite an interesting experience.

I wrote more on my cycling blog – “What to do when you can’t cycle

0

Eid in New York

Eid in New York

I was in New York in August. Opposite my breakfast diner, the police closed off a street so Muslim worshippers could celebrate Eid on the road. There probably wasn’t enough room inside the small mosque.

It was an interesting sight. These tough redneck, NYPD officers and a hundred Muslims praying in the street. That’s America for you.

0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes