Ganapati

Ganapati

We have a new statue of Ganapati.

Ganapati or Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom.

dec-gardenThere’s not much left in the garden apart from a few Brussel Sprouts (yum!) and some Kale. I have one or two lettuces under a cloche.

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Star Wars and a blast from the past

These days I rarely watch films. Unless I’m a captive audience on trans-atlantic flights, I tend to get bored half-way through or annoyed at some predictable storyline. To sound like an old codger – a lot of the modern stuff isn’t my cup of tea.

The other thing is that when I revisit things from childhood – the magic is usually gone. When I was a kid, nothing was greater than the prospect of Christmas. I loved Lord of the Rings to the point of religious devotion and I thought playing ‘Howzat’ Cricket with rolling dice and noting imaginary scores in beautifully kept scorebooks (plus working out all the batting and bowling averages of course!) – was the greatest way to spend hours and hours of time.

I spent literally whole summers playing ‘Owzthat’ against myself.

(In retrospect, I’m glad I had Howzat rather than the modern video games/screens. We did see computers come in but I was never that taken with them. I remember the family getting a BBC 32k computer. You loaded games on a cassette and it took three minutes to load ‘Chuckie Egg.’

But, sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past. Your idea of perfection can’t stay the same as when you are seven years old. My rare foray into social activities as a young child was when we used to play teddy bear cricket with a wooden peg snapped in half for a bat and a small red ball. But, that’s another story!)


Anyway, the one exception to getting bored by films was watching ‘Star Wars’ I watched the film at the weekend and I surprised myself by really enjoying it. I haven’t seen the film for years and years. But, I think I enjoyed it more now than I did as a child. Maybe it helped that I heard my teacher Sri Chinmoy say it was a good film with a spiritual theme  (don’t know the exact words) Anyway it was great. A good film and I was suitably inspired to try and clear the mind and follow the way of the Jedi Master’s in their battle against darkness and ignorance!

May the force be with you!

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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 →

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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.

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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.

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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