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…

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…

The Wrongs of Being Right

We are surrounded by imperfection. Sages rubber-stamp the world as an ocean of faults, where hypocrisy hits an all-time high. In this climate, you don’t have to look far to catch someone doing something amiss, though they’re often completely oblivious to it! I guess it’s difficult to see the picture when you are inside the…

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…

New Book – Gita Life

Download “Gita Life” by clicking here (right click and “save link as…”) The Bhagavad-Gita is a theological and philosophical classic. If we had to choose a single book to represent the spiritual and cultural traditions of India, we would certainly choose the Gita. In 700 beautiful verses it summarises the philosophical conclusions of the Vedas,…