Casual Causes Casualty

It’s been three weeks since a raging fire tore through Grenfell Tower and destroyed the 120 flats inside. With the official death toll currently at 80, the tragic inferno has sparked widespread anger and a resounding call for justice. Though fingers are being pointed, the investigation continues as to why this fire was so fatal….

Destructive Enlightenment

When a budding sculptor approached his master for guidance, he received some cryptic advice. After quizzing him on his purpose, the young craftsman replied: “More than anything else, I would like to sculpt a beautiful elephant.” Without the blink of an eyelid, the master set a block of stone and some tools in front of…

As Sure As

Life is like a game of chess – whether you’re the king, queen or pawn, at the end of the game everyone ends up in the box. Unless, of course, you get cremated. Morbid? Depressing? Dark? Though discussions on death are not usually number one on our conversation list, I was invited to the Southbank…

The Best Policy

According to the cosmic cycle described in the Vedas, we are living in the most corrupted epoch. Four fundamental principles underpin any functional society, organization, family or group; self-control, cleanliness, compassion, and truthfulness. When individuals wholeheartedly embrace these virtues, success is guaranteed on every level – physically, emotionally, socially, and most importantly, spiritually. The analysis…

Sensitively Strong

The Sages of the East describe the paradoxical demeanor of perfected spiritualists: harder than a thunderbolt, and simultaneously softer than a rose. To accommodate such strength and sensitivity side-by-side, and perfectly administer the necessary doses at the appropriate time, is indeed a tough balance to strike! When do we emotionally invest, and when do we…

Soft Love

At 7.30am every morning, the temple residents and community gather for philosophical discussion. This morning’s speaker was emphasizing how insignificant we are. It seems to be a running theme through the scriptures, with innumerable stories and passages reminding us not to over-rate ourselves. A celebrated verse recommends we think ourselves lower than the straw in…

Willing & Able

Various leadership responsibilities, whether manager, mother or mentor, offer us the privileged opportunity in assisting people to excel. Though the most rewarding role in life, they all come with a good dose of frustration and annoyance. How many times has your sincere and informed advice been received with unresponsiveness and neglect? What to do when…

Living with Chaos

16 years ago, after graduating from UCL with a management degree, I opted to leave it aside and embrace monastic life instead. Ironically, it’s all come full circle; dealing with people, projects and practicalities is a sizeable section on the modern monastic menu. I must have some management karma to burn off. Balancing spiritual immersion…

Psychological Atheism

Atheists come in a variety of shapes and sizes: Default Atheists – those who never really thought about it, and hence don’t really believe it. The big questions don’t resonate with them, and blindly accepting the absence of spiritual phenomena justifies their lethargy in exploration. Ignorance is bliss. Philosophical Atheists – those who profess that…

The spirituality of money

I recently connected with a childhood friend who also became a monk. As you can imagine, we had lots to talk about, and lots in common. In his tradition, one of the monastic vows is to never touch money; and if he does, even by accident, he observes complete fasting for a day. Serious detachment….

Attention or Attachment

Without giving attention to and genuinely caring about relationships, situations and aspirations, how can we achieve any real traction in life? Where the attention goes, energy flows, and results invariably show. Simultaneously, however, wisdom teachers constantly remind us to remain detached and aloof; everything in this world is a fleeting reality destined for destruction at…

Street Spirituality

High streets are intriguing places; a microcosm of modern life. It’s where people descend in their thousands, searching for something extra to enrich their existence. These urban hubs are a melting pot of entertainers, campaigners, shoppers, beggars and advertisers, a marketplace for the latest commodities and ideas, a space for meeting, sharing and exploring. Here…