Archive | spirituality

A Moment’s Peace at the Olympics

At the 2012 London Olympics, I participated in an event “A Moment’s Peace” – it was an event run to celebrate the true Olympic spirit – promoting the ideal of peace, unity in diversity and the hope for creating a better world.

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The London 2012 Olympics was a special time. There was so much good energy and positive feeling across the country. I attended the mens Olympic road race and felt a unique atmosphere amongst the crowds watching by the side of the road. After watching the road race, I went to this ceremony at University College London. The ceremony involved unveiling a bronze sculpture of Sri Chinmoy holding an Olympic style peace torch. Tegla Laroupe said:

“This statue embodies the same spirit of oneness, brotherhood and friendship which has infused the origins and traditions of the Olympics, both ancient and modern, and which to this day gives the Games their unique appeal,”

I have written an article on the inner significance of the Olympics at Sri Chinmoy Races.

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Keep calm and carry on

As a general rule I try to avoid politics. However, the recent referendum on EU membership is more than your average political issue. Save living in a cave it’s been hard to avoid. In particular I am concerned how it has divided the nation on grounds of identity, nationality, age and more.

For me the ideal political climate is one where there is calm, and respect for people of different nationalities, race and political views. I also hope the nation will aspire to the ideal of unity in diversity. The UK is melting pot of different nations, cultures and nationalities. Understanding that, despite these differences, there is more that unites than separates is very important for creating a society where everyone feels welcomed. Continue Reading →

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New Address for Self-Improvement blog

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“Everything in life is a choice.”

– Sri Chinmoy

For a few reasons, I’ve moved my ‘self-improvement‘ blog to a new address. It a blog based on the personal experience of moving through life and trying to work out a slightly better ways of living. The latest post is dealing with personal difficulties or more accurately ‘how to deal with that annoying work colleague’.

Photo top: Bolton Abbey Bridge April 30, 2016.

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The honest Buddhist

I gave meditation classes, on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Centre at a local Friends Meeting House (Quakers) in Oxford. It is useful location, and is used by quite a few different meditation groups and spiritual paths. At the back, there is a small private car park, which, in the dark, is not so easy to park in.

Buddha Daibutsu, Kamakura

Last week, I got back to the car park to find a notice on my windscreen. “Sorry I might have hit your car, if there is any problem, let us know. It included someone’s name and phone number”. I didn’t worry too much; over the years, my car has picked up quite a few scratches and dents. It has been a great car – 120,000 miles and is well loved, but these days, I’m not overly attached to perfect paintwork.

I appreciated the honesty and thought about texting the person back, but I was too busy. This week I arrived and a young women in Buddhist robes was sitting in her car, as if meditating. I parked, and meditated myself for a minute before getting the stuff out of the car. When she saw me, she got out of her car and mentioned she was worried she had hit my car the previous week. I smiled and told her not to worry! I already have enough dents, a few more won’t make any difference! She looked relieved to see a fellow person had non-attachment to their car paintwork. Continue Reading →

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The shadow of trees in winter

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Sometimes you go through life and at a certain point – you start to notice something, that had always been there, but for some reason you never paid any attention to.

There are many things all around us, that can easily pass us by – but then something subtly changes, and we start to appreciate it. There have been many things, from classical music to  meditation and aspects of nature, that for a long time I didn’t recognise, but at a certain point, you develop an appreciation for, and then you wonder why you never noticed before.

Winter

Winter is always that quiet cold few months, where you impatiently wait for flowers to bloom and trees to come into leaf. Winter in the UK can be on the dismal side – grey skies, wet and windy. There is always part of you wishing the winter away.

tree-silhouette

However, there is a different kind of beauty in winter. Usually, when I’m cycling, I have my head down, training hard – trying to keep the average speed up. But, sometimes I take it easier and have the relaxation to look at the scenery. In winter it can be quite bleak, but this winter, I have become fascinated at the simple beauty of bare trees illuminated against the sky. It is not the abundance of spring or summer, but it has its own beauty of nature’s contrasts. Continue Reading →

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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.

church-graveyard
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.

Comment

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.

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Recognising old friends

Recently, I was staying in the outskirts of Paris in an old French château owned by the Ramakrishna Centre. Whilst there, I read a leaflet about Swami Vivekananda’s travels in Paris in 1900, shortly before he left the body.

Swami-vivekanandaVivekananda would give lectures on spirituality to spread his message of Vedanta. At the end of one particular lecture, Vivekananda went up to a stranger in the audience and politely asked if he could stay with him. Continue Reading →

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Lourdes and the Pyrenees

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Many years ago I watched a film ‘The Song of Bernadette’ – it was a captivating story, which made me research a little more. Reading first hand accounts, and the words of Bernadette Soubirous herself gave a much deeper insight into the events that took place over 150 years ago.The film was somewhat liberal with the truth, and (in my view) overly sentimental. Still it was interesting to see a spiritual story told in a certain way, but later realise there is a  greater spiritual depth to be discovered. Continue Reading →

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