Character or Capability?

Scriptures are often replete with long lists of names, exalted personalities who most have never heard of, but who are nevertheless immortalised in the pages of history. In the material world people are remembered for what they do – their ground-breaking achievements, their high ranking positions of responsibility, and their impactful influence on others. In…

Mission Impossible

People have a romantic idea of spirituality: escape worldly distraction, access higher states of consciousness, and settle into an internal serenity. The dedicated (and honest) practitioners, however, will frankly admit that it doesn’t always work like that. There are good days and bad days. Sometimes we experience a sweet pleasure from simple and sublime spiritual…

i-Gnore

Good advice is easy to give but hard to take. As soon as we’re offered those words of wisdom, the defence systems kick in and the mind reels off a thousand justifications. A man is seldom corrected without significant resistance. A shame, since the critical feedback of others is an invaluable component of spiritual growth….

Spirit Secret

Seven years after its first release and people are still talking about it. ‘The Secret’ that Rhonda Byrne felt she had discovered was the ‘law of attraction’; whatever you think about and focus on, eventually becomes reality in your life. The universe, she says, is essentially energy, and all energy vibrates at different frequencies. Since…

Divine Power

Ancient texts poetically describe the effects of divine empowerment. Through it, the lame can cross mountains, the dumb can speak eloquently and the blind can see stars in the sky. Observing my spiritual friends achieve amazing things is living testimony to this (not that any of them are lame, dumb or blind, nor that it…

Market Fluctuations

Swami Prabhupada explained how an expert businessman can thrive in any economic climate. When the market booms he sells commodities and makes a healthy profit. When the market is down, he buys abundantly, remaining alert to sell when the demand rebuilds. Either way, lucrative business as usual. In the same way, the ups and downs…

Constant Change

Constant change has become the underlying theme of the age – update your fashion, contrast your scenery, evolve your goals and upgrade your gadgets. After all, variety is the mother of enjoyment. If someone maintains the same job for over ten years they may well be viewed as dull, unambitious and dysfunctional. Stability and steadiness…

Unconscious Competence

Sometimes it seems so hard to change. The ‘lower nature’ returns to haunt us, we easily slip back into bad habits, and annoying desires (which we thought were dead and buried) somehow re-appear. It’s frustrating and disappointing when one falls short of the spiritual ideals they seek. They know where they want to be, but…

Flying Solo

It’s a brave and bold step to strive for purity in a world of degradation, to embrace simplicity amongst rampant materialism, and to cultivate selflessness in an atmosphere surcharged with exploitation. Anyone who cuts against the grain will face temptation, doubt, ridicule and moments of weakness. Without the encouragement, support and good advice of spiritual…

Top Gear

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that our monks don’t have the best track record with vehicles. We seem to be in and out of the mechanics every couple of weeks. As I patiently waited for a tyre change on Monday, I began thinking of how a spiritual movement is just like…

Free Speech

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

Dancing God

Nowadays you have to use the word “God” with great caution – it can conjure up all kinds of images. Some think of God as a strict and unforgiving judge; the old man who sits on a grand throne and hurls down thunderbolts every time someone deviates. Others consider Him a crutch for the weak;…