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…

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…

Dharma

In recent times, a common theme keeps surfacing in our spiritual circles: the need to find yourself, your purpose, nature, contribution and calling. Here’s an exercise: grab a piece of paper, pick up a pen, and quickly scribble down your name using your non-writing hand. Unless you’re ambidextrous, the experience is pretty much universal –…

Look back to look forward

One month into 2017; an appropriate time to review our resolutions. Realistic, achievable and still alive? Need some tweaking? If Plan A is falling apart don’t worry – there are another 25 letters in the alphabet! In fact, modern-day motivators reassuringly remind us that the most successful people in the world are those who wholeheartedly…

Intensive Care

Time is ticking and I’m reflecting on what I’ve actually contributed to the world. Though trying to avoid the egotistical desire to ‘make a mark,’ we are impelled to share the ‘fruits’ we have received. Spiritually, morally, and even legally, knowledge brings a certain responsibility. In certain circumstances, to withhold information that can greatly assist…

The Thinking Gym

Gyms are opening up on every street corner – burn more in less time and be a better version of yourself, we’re told. Whether it’s a genuine call for health and wellbeing, or an enticement to be attractive and eligible, is another story! Either way, the body is a valuable gift that needs to be…

Course of Life

As I navigated the winding roads of the South West Coast last week, I passed a series of golf courses. I stopped to observe an elderly player heading to the 18th hole. He stepped forward and squatted down to position his shining white golf ball on the perfectly cut lawn. There the ball sat triumphantly…

Good to Talk

The average person spends 23 days a year on the phone. Ironically, we seldom use them for the purpose they were invented – to audibly speak to people. Messaging, social media, browsing and entertainment apps have officially taken over. It’s another development in the impersonalism of the information age; not only are our interactions faceless,…