Author Archive | tejvan

Science is offering to humanity more leisure time…

The theme of this month is “The Good Life

Another reason I like the BBC comedy “The Good Life” – (apart from growing organic potatoes on your front lawn in suburbia) is that it is about the work-life balance – giving up the opportunity to earn money to do something more fulfilling. When I left university I wanted a job which gave the most free-time. Enough money to get by, but I was more interested in meditation. That’s why I stayed in Oxford and never applied for any ‘proper jobs!’

I liked this poem by Sri Chinmoy

He says that science
Has made life too easy.
Human beings have become
Lazy and lethargic.

I say that science
Is offering to humanity
More leisure time
To pray and meditate.
It is up to the individual
To avail himself
Of that golden opportunity.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, part 15, Agni Press, 1983

I wrote an article on it at Write Spirit – “How science can help spirituality”

Although I enjoy my work (writing economics) I do try to use technology and science to find more time for meditation, selfless-service and cycling.

It’s also a real challenge to make science and technology work for us, and not the other way around.

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Generosity of spirit

I have been seeking treatment for a persistent hip problem. One of those injuries which stubbornly hangs around longer than it should. Not particularly painful but enough to halt cycling.

I have gone through numerous practitioners – physiotherapists, osteopaths – to no avail. I remember Sri Chinmoy saying ( I paraphrase) we should choose one doctor and stick with them until it is clear nothing is improving.

The time period to stay with a doctor (with a problem like this) is not an easy judgement to make. Everyone offers a different viewpoint depending on their background.

Anyway after trying several options. I decided I would stick with one particular osteopath until it got better. Unfortunately, after several visits – it wasn’t getting any better – if anything getting worse.

When I was about to book another appointment, the osteopath suggested I see another colleague who might have different ideas. He wasn’t happy no progress was being made. Continue Reading →

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Greed isn’t good – Stories II by Sri Chinmoy

I am reading “Stories II” (2016) by Sri Chinmoy – a collection of instructional and spiritual stories. I am interested how many of the stories have a theme of human greed (we could say – a close brother of human stupidity). One thing I like about these stories is that greed and avarice usually lead to some form of cosmic retaliation and karmic boomerang. Whether it leads to the illumination of the unfortunate, greedy person is not always clear, but it reminds us there is nothing to be gained by a selfish attitude – Generosity, oneness of spirit and kindness are the qualities we should try to cultivate. Continue Reading →

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Iceland in the middle of winter

I made my first visit to the Arctic Circle (give or take a few 100km) and visited Iceland. If you’re going to visit Iceland, you might as well do it in the middle of December when the sun rises at 11am and sets a few hours later.

iceland

Throughout my visit I was frequently told how lucky I was with the weather

“it may well be -10 degrees – but at least you can see the sky and some light.”

“We’ve just had a month of wind, rain and darkness” – these were frequent refrains.

I should add on Saturday we went to an outdoor hot water spring. It sounded crazy to go in water outside when it’s so cold, but the water was very warm. I’ve never done that before on a Saturday night.

iceland-2

Ironically, I left during a snow-storm in England, which left the area around London, paralysed by an inch of snow. I’m sure the Icelanders would have coped better with a bit of snow. Continue Reading →

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The good life and a new vegetable plot

One of my favourite comedies when growing up was “The Good Life”. A warm-hearted satire on suburban life and the attempts of a middle-class couple to become self-sufficient growing potatoes and raising chickens in their back-garden. It was a funny comedy but also the idea of being self-sufficient was quite appealing as an idealistic teenager.

Well, I never did make the plunge of living on a self-sufficient organic farm. I don’t know whether being an economist counts as the good-life, but there’s only so many airplane flights you can buy with surplus beetroot.

Still the process of growing vegetables is something I’m going to have another go at.

veg-plot

It may not look much at the moment, but someday, there might be prize leeks growing here.

Continue Reading →

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Competitiveness and detachment

A few thoughts on the competitive spirit and the philosophy of detachment.


In Sri Chinmoy’s book on Emil Zatopek, he mentions an anecdote.

“Zatopek is sincerity incarnate. He has always given the topmost priority to truth in every aspect of his life. At times, his sincerity has been so soulfully moving. On the eve of the 1948 Olympics, his sincerity reached the highest height. “It was my first competition in Olympic Games and I was surprised to come to Olympic stadium and to read most important things about the Games: ‘Not to win but to take part’. What — not to win? Ah, but I wish to win!”

Emil Zatopek: earth’s tearing cry and Heaven’s beaming smile, Agni Press, 1980

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Belphegor’s prime

Belphegor’s prime is 1,000,000,000,000,066,600,000,000,000,001: a palindromic prime number with 666 in the middle and 13 0s on either side. It is named after Belphegor, one of the seven princes of hell.

Source: QI

In the western world, the number 13 is often considered an ‘unlucky’ number. But, Sri Chinmoy felt thirteen was a divine number (or words to that effect) – a number with special significance in his own life.

Many significant events in his lifetime became associated with the number 13. For example, his arrival in the West (New York) April 13th.


There are always so many ways of looking at the same thing.

In this case, we might think 13 and 666 are numbers representing ‘ignorance’

Alternatively, we can see the Creator’s hand in every aspect of life – hiding a few secret jokes, even in numbers.

If you take 13 as a divine number, you can see Belphegor’s prime as an example of how World ignorance (represented by 666) is perfectly surrounded by the divine.

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