Bin It!

It’s amazing what you can buy in the Pound Shop. Cheap and cheerful is definitely the order of the day. My Dell laptop was priced at a mere £250. I got five years of mileage from it before it broke down. There was the option to fix, but the price of a new one meant…

Induced Selflessness

“Should I get married or become a monk? Which one is best?” It’s a question people ask time and time again. It’s also a question which can’t be answered off-the-cuff. Imagine going into a hospital and inquiring which operation is the best. It’s illogical. Unless they sign you in, run some tests and peruse the…

Proud Block

Pride is a formidable block on the road of spirituality. When it rears its ugly head it’s painstakingly obvious – to ourselves and others. We may deny it, cover it up or justify it, but deep down we know something is out of tune. A mentor once told me that there is a fine net…

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…

Spiritual Health Check

Arrived in Sweden yesterday. The silence is deafening, the stillness makes me restless, but it’s the ideal setting to hear the unheard. Though we live in times of chronic movement, we must pause for thought, reflect, and carefully examine our desires and motivations. In a society where life’s success factors tend to be external and…

Comparitive Religion

It seems a natural instinct to measure success by comparing and competing with others. When Swami Prabhupada met a top Japanese manager at the Dai Nippon Press, he asked him what his goal in life was. Without saying a word, the corporate cat looked at a stack of business cards of all his acquaintances, carefully…

Divine Intervention

On recent travels around the country I met a lady who expressed frustration in her attempts to find God. She told me her story: two years of spiritual travels, countless nights of prayer, careful scriptural exploration and persistent introspection, but still no sign! “Will I ever find Him?” she asked. “I’m beginning to question whether…

Mechanics of Spirituality

At 4.30am each morning the monks commence their 4-hour spiritual workout. Each and every day, 365 days a year. To an onlooker it may seem like a monotonous and mechanical regime; somewhat of a holy ‘boot camp.’ Seasoned practitioners, however, will testify that these tried and tested external practices open up an internal world of…

Don’t Look Back

Yesterday I went on Parikrama, which literally means to “walk around.” Circumambulation of holy places has a symbolic meaning – to always keep our spiritual aspirations central and close, regardless of where we are in life (whatever point on the circle, one is never further away from the centre). There is also a transcendental benefit:…

Acid Test

Sometimes I pause for thought – “what is motivating my spiritual journey?” The fact that one continues on with a seeming enthusiasm, year after year, may not tell the full story. When we receive appreciation, respect, encouragement and a plethora of impending opportunity, it’s somewhat easy to carry on with a gusto and drive. There…

Free Speech

We live in an overcommunicated world. The prevailing culture insists we reply to all text messages within 10 minutes, be mindful of the mountain of emails building up in our inbox, and religiously return random ‘missed calls’ on our phones. Don’t forget to regularly post something witty on Facebook, follow your best friends on twitter…