Wednesday, 31 August 2011

This made me think again about Near Death Experiences!

This rings too true to be dismissed in the normal ways;

YouTube notes say;

Anita was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and doctors told her family she was just hours away from death. It was at this point that she "crossed over" and then returned again into this world with a clearer understanding of her life and purpose on earth. This understanding subsequently led to a total recovery of her health.

Anita was born in Singapore of Indian parents, moved to Hong Kong at the age of two, and has lived in Hong Kong most of her life. Because of her background and British education, she is multi lingual and, from the age of two, grew up speaking English, Cantonese and two Indian dialects simultaneously, and later learned French at school.

She had been working in the corporate field for many years before being diagnosed with cancer in April of 2002. Her fascinating and moving near-death experience in early 2006 has tremendously changed her perspective on life. Her work is now ingrained with the depths and insights she gained while in the other realm. She works on the premise that our inner world (consciousness) is our primary reality, and if our internal state is healthy and strong, then our external world will align itself and fall into place as a result.

She is the embodiment of the truth that we all have the inner power and wisdom to overcome even life's most adverse situations, as she is the living proof of this possibility.

Anita is a compassionate and empathic person who seems to have a gift for articulating and simplifying metaphysical concepts, so that they may be applied in our daily lives.

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Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Zen Mind - an introduction

Beautiful simplicity.  I think Thich Nhat Hanh would say 'interbeing'.

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Is spirituality an intrinsic part of being human? (updated)

450px-Terry_Eagleton_in_Manchester_2008_WikiPediaIs spirituality an intrinsic part of being human?

Two of my favourite authors have challenged the fundamentalist-materialist position of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens that is so entirely unsympathetic to the religious, or more accurately the non-rationalist.  They are Reason, Faith and Revolution, by Terry Eagleton and The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong.  (They are reviewed HERE by Paul Vallely in the Independent.)

Here I want to appreciatively critique a passage from Chapter 2 of Eagleton’s book (p 83).  The passage says;

Transcendence, however, did not simply go away. In one sense, this is precisely what Ditchkins (Dawkins + Hitchens) is complaining about; but the matter is more complex than that.  The less plausibly religion seemed to answer to the human desire for a realm beyond science, material welfare, democratic politics and economic utility, the more robustly literature, the arts, culture, the humanities, psychoanalysis, and (the most recent candidate) ecology have sought to install themselves in that vacant spot.  If the arts have accrued an extraordinary significance in a modern era for which they are, practically speaking, just another kind of commodity, it is because they provide an ersatz sort of transcendence in a world from which spiritual values have been largely banished.

The issues I have are;

1 Transcendence is a, more or less, normal part of being human like the mystical, of which transcendence is an essential part, like philosophizing, like sexuality, like breathing.  It couldn’t go away unless every new human was subjected to a radical lobotomy.  The ‘more or less’ depends on how crass or sensitive the individual’s education has been.

2 Instead of ‘desire for a realm’ I would prefer something like ‘intrinsic state of being’.  That which Dawkins and Hitchens would expunge is not a faulty behaviour but an essential part of being human – possible hard-wired, associated with the structure and functioning of the right hemisphere of the brain.

3 Eagleton, like Armstrong is a successful critic of those he calls Ditchkins and a successful champion of this other ‘thing’ that isn’t the rational mind.  But the ‘thing’ is not an aberration, a sop, a weakness, a behavioural defect, a culturally-induced pattern – it is a universal part of being human.  Eagleton needs a better term for this ‘thing’, this part of being human that provides certain states being and engaging and knowing.  He might do well to study Armstrong’s use of, and explanations of, ‘mythos’.  However with her use I would plead that it start intra-personally otherwise it gets easily pushed out to being a thing in the social and cultural inter-personal world.

4 Failing to place mythos as art of being human leads Eagleton a set of judgments that are Ditchkins-esque in their severity.  His list of literature, the arts, culture, the humanities, psychoanalysis, and (the most recent candidate) ecology are not vehicles for ersatz transcendence but vehicles for the real thing – because the transcendent or mystical experience is part of being human – from nature mysticism to sexuality.

5 To bring in, in this context, the horror of arts commodity-fication clouds the most important argument.

At the community level 60-80% of our friends are artists.  They aren’t all crippled by commodity-fication.  One or two perhaps but the possession of spiritual values is not synonymous with being religious, nor is the absence of conventional religiosity any bar to possessing spiritual values – as the Marxist Eagleton fully demonstrates.

Even at the Tate level of the arts commodity-fication is not primarily the issue.  ‘Art now doing the job that philosophy used to do’ is as much the case as ‘art is now doing the job that religion used to do’.  Then there is the issue of what gets in and what doesn’t get in.  This is the prerogative of individual gate-keepers called curators, who along with particular critics, determine the particular kinds of discourse that will be presented.  They only indirectly serve ‘the market’.

Transcendence, mystical experience and the possession or non-possession of spiritual values exist because we are human, and in the world with others.  Good religion feeds these aspects of being human – and rationality for that matter.  Bad religion blocks or distorts them.

Eagleton fails to establish that -”beyond-the-reasoning-mind part of being human which I feel is essential for the full success of his arguments. This is for want of a term such as mythos and secondly because he doesn’t start with the psycho-spiritual reality of what it is to be human.

Armstrong does so much better in this via her ‘we-need-a-balance-of-mythos-and-logos’ arguments in her ‘Case for God’, something I will celebrate in future posts.

I deal further with these and allied issues in my Spiritualizing Pedagogy: education as the art of working with the human spirit

As to the question, ‘Is spirituality an intrinsic part of being human?’ my answer is yes – good religion feeds these deeper aspects of being human – including rationality.  Bad religion blocks or distorts them.  As to the differences between the two that also is the subject for further pieces.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Incredible Human Journey : Out Of Africa (BBC)

All  5 of these wonderfully good 50 min videos on The Incredible Human Journey: out of Africa are HERE

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HUMAN SPIRIT: What makes us human? (52 meditations)

HUMAN SPIRIT:  In what are we human?

If you are busy just do Part A the breath-mantra/s - repeated as often as you bring the centreing and healing nature of the breath into consciousness, supported by your 'reminders'.  

If you have more time do contemplative study on Part B using the Personal Study Method or the Group Study Method (if you have one or more study-buddies).

PART A)  This week the breath-mantra practice is to raise our awareness of how the life-force/the human spirit flows through us - in our caring, our creativity, our criticality and in our life in our communities.  

In-breaths as 'My humanity...' and the remainder of each of the 4 mantra statements as the out breaths.

My humanity is my caring
My humanity is my creativity
My humanity is my criticality
My humanity is my community-life


If it feels more right some other form of breath-mantra that gives you the experience of the same thought-feeling.



Q. What does  


The first 3 represent truth (as science), beauty & goodness.  The fourth is Community as represented via The Incredible Human Journey, presented by Dr Alice Roberts on BBC TV.  This wonderful documentary (available on DVD) showed the great diversity of human cultures AND the oneness of the peoples of the world since we are all 'out of Africa'.


A. The human spirit - science, art & the humanities -  truth, beauty, goodness - objectivity, subjectivity & morality -  IT, I & WE voices - 4Cs (3 inner and 1 (Community) outer)

The first 3 arise from within us, but have outer counter-parts in the artifacts and methods within the arts, sciences and humanities. 

The 4th, Community, is how we live together with others in the world.

The ultimately mysterious life-force we call the human spirit Essentially we are human via the 4 Cs.  That is we each have the three inner modes of being, and corresponding forms of truth-telling expression - we do science, make art, act caringly - and do these 3 in Communities.  The 4 Cs.

the 'IT' mode of science & philosophy - objective truth-seeking and knowledge ('left-brain') -This is stuff we can demonstrate, repeat and support with reason, logic, maths.

the 'I' mode of art - subjective truth-seeking and knowledge ('right-brain') - This shows what it's like to be me, seeing things from where I stand and encounter and experience my world.

the 'WE' model humanities - essentially the caring and moral mode - its the expression of what societies have decided matter in caring for each other and the world.  It draws upon IT and I modes.

The fourth 'C' is this.  We learn & express the I, WE and IT modes in the world with others i.e. in the 4th C - Communities.

All 4 Cs are necessary vital expressions of the human spirit.  Understanding their strengths and limitations as truth-telling forms is vital.  All draw on each other.  We switch between one mode and the others - sometimes in milli-seconds.  They are NOT ways of thinking they are modes of being and expressing 3 forms of truth.  We are foundering the inability to understand the difference between thinking and the overall awareness of the heart-mind.  Strictly speaking thinking applies to the IT mode - I am thinking here of the distinction between thinking and 'non-thinking awareness' as taught e.g. by Eckhart Tolle.  The same distinction is the foundation of mindfulness - as taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, amongst others.


We need to teach this model to every teacher and every pupil - as the basis for education generally and human-centred education in particular.

All three are about the human condition.  Without this model there is unending, very destructive confusion - people don't realize that there are these 3 distinct truth forms, they look to each truth form for answers that are more appropriately gleaned from one of the other truth-creating ways.  For example science isn't about morality - but it needs to be conducted in a moral context (if we are to survive). The arts aren't about objectivity - we can study them objectively, in which case we are no longer having and arts-aesthetic experience

Nowhere is there greater confusion generated by failing to realize the strengths and limitations of each of the arts-sciences-humanities truth claims than in the religion versus science domain. 

Science can't give you religious experience any more than it can give you experience of acting caringly/morally.  It might count types of religious affiliation in a population or map brain wave patterns in people upon being shown religious ikons - but that's the stuff of science.  On the other hand spirituality/religion is quintessentially subjective experience - it isn't about ticking beliefs from a list.  Nothing matters more than helping yourself, and others, to be true, beauty-creating and actively good.  If religion helps in this it is worth having.  If it leads to falsity, hypocrisy, ugliness and hurting others stay away from it.  The only value in religion is in it's ability to enable us to be more fully ad wholly human - including reflecting the higher-order 'divine' qualities.  Religion is story, stories of subjective experiences that, ideally, not only enable us to be more moral but also to see into the reality of ourselves and of the communities and world in which we live.  The truths of religions are conveyed via metaphor, metaphor is the language of the spiritual.  The stories are intending to create relationships and action - not belief box-ticking.

Two final points.

Truth beauty and goodness i.e our Criticality, Creativity & Caring are conditioned by one other supreme virtue - justice.  Justice, as a quality of our heart-mind, is what enables us to self-evaluate as well as conditioning our relationships with others, notably our compassion and our living by the Golden Rule.

The 3Cs are NOT primarily ways of thinking in the narrow left-brain sense that we have deified because of the rise of science - they are modes of being and acting.  Thought, servant not  master, can come in as a support activity.  By his own account Einstein arrived at his theory of relativity riding on a beam of light, the maths came later.  Relativity is a translation from what was essentially a mystical experience into the laughter of mathematics.

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Sunday, 21 August 2011

All we are is all we see


"Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself." 
— Rumi


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You are invited to view "Roger's photo"

Message from Roger:
"Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself."
— Rumi
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Friday, 19 August 2011

'Rumi, Einstein and a Video by Jeremy Fiest'

I suggest you read the poem first, Einstein piece second and the the video;

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks


A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
(Albert Einstein, 1954)



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Where the world is too full to talk about - Rumi


"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field. 
I'll meet you there. 

When the soul lies down in that grass 
the world is too full to talk about." 
— Rumi

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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Equality Trust reports 99 MPs signed up so far to 'reduce inequality' motion

Submitted by Kathryn Busby on 14 July 2011

On 4th May, six MPs sponsored the following Early Day Motion (EDM 1775): [external link]

That this House notes the findings of The Equality Trust that societies with smaller income differences between rich and poor have fewer health and social problems, such as teenage births, violence, mental illness and drug abuse; further notes that such societies have higher levels of trust between citizens and more social mobility; and therefore encourages the Government to promote policies that reduce income inequality.

Westminter - David Iliff

So far 

99 MPs 
have signed. See the complete list here. [external link]

We are having one last push to ensure that as many MPs as possible sign up.

If your MPs has not yet done so (and is not a government minister, whip, shadow minister, PPS, speaker or deputy speaker, who by convention do not sign EDMs) then please use our quick and easy online form [external link] to write to him/her - it takes less than five minutes and you can use our template text.

Photograph of the Palace of Westminster: David Iliff [external link]

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Independent reports that The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB, Barclays & HSBC all involved in funding cluster bombs

The Independent alleges;

British high-street banks, including two institutions that were bailed out by taxpayers, are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in companies that manufacture cluster bombs – despite a growing global ban outlawing the production and trade of the weapons.

A victim in Iraq receives treatment


Go HERE to read story by Jerome Taylor

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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Deeply Moving love story of Paul and Mary


Click HERE to read the deeply moving love story of Paul & Mary by an outstanding documentary & street photographer.

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Edinburgh - Ruby Wax ' theatre as therapy or confessional cabaret?' - asks Jackie McGlone

altAs feisty and outspoken as ever, Ruby Wax is on a mission to smash the stigma of mental illness, ably assisted by her best friend Judith Owen.

It’s four years and one month since Ruby Wax last plunged into the dark depths of the manic depression that has plagued her since childhood. “It’s cyclical,” she says, spooning honey into her tea.

“So I usually get an attack every five years,” continues the erstwhile fearsomely mouthy and audacious TV interviewer of Pamela Anderson and O J Simpson among many others, and the co-author, with Jennifer Saunders, of Absolutely Fabulous.

Does that mean the ballsy broad, who made a career out of shooting from the lip, is living in fear that the black cloud will descend upon her again in 11 months’ time?

Great article - click on link to read it

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Depressed? consider Rumi's view of our shadow self



With the in-breath -    I breathe in wholeness
With the out-breath -  letting go negatives

or simply

Wholeness     (in-breath)
Negatives      (out-breath

MEDITATION: Many people suffer from the belief that they are 'bad', defective, cursed or some such thing because the shadow side throws up thoughts that are violent, inappropriately sexual or otherwise 'wrong'.

We now know that our brains are each a history of human evolution and that they contain a part that people refer to as the reptilian brain.  This most ancient part of the brain is solely concerned with the Four Fs = flight, fighting, feeding or mating.  That's the animal in us.   The unbridled animal pops up in dreams or in the conscious mind.    It's not a defect, but it is the lower self which in civilized people is socialized into socially acceptable forms.

The question arises as to how to reduce the effects of the lower self. Repression, suppression and destruction are likely to produce distortion or even perversion. The first and most important thing is to recognize that all four are part of our history and part of our nature and more to the point God-given - not to indulge but to learn from as with all dualities, sorrow teaches us to appreciate happiness.  

The key is first acceptance, secondly recognition that it is all part of God's great learning plan and thirdly an accentuation of the positive - dilution not suppression.

One way to work at this process of balanced integration is to not repress what comes up but just to say 'high, welcome, thanks and goodbye' - as if the though was a character that appeared from stage left - and exits stage-right.

It is always astonishing and delightful to find that great teachers in earlier times understood these phenomena of the human heart-mind and gave solutions. Here is Rumi on welcoming visitors from the negative side;


This being human is a guest house. 
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house 
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be cleaning you out 
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
Because each has been sent 
As a guide from beyond. 


(Translation by Coleman Barks) 
Published by:Harper San Francisco, 2004, ISBN  0-06-250959-4 

Karen Armstrong writes wonderfully in Shambhala magazine about this area;

From "The Four Fs" to The Four Immeasurables

How might we control destructive impulses and promote positive emotions? Religious historian and compassion activist Karen Armstrong explains, in an excerpt of her article, "The Golden Rule," from our March 2011 magazine.

Why do we find it so difficult to make compassion our reality? I did some reading on the neuroscience of compassion, and what I understood the science to say made a lot of sense to me, because I recognized it in myself. We’ve inherited a sort of reptilian brain from our distant ancestors, which still contains a lot of ferocious drives that helped our species survive. Often these drives are called the four Fs: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and… reproduction (laughter).

These drives are automatic, and they are powerful. If a lion suddenly ran into this theater, we’d be right to immediately abandon our high-minded deliberations and run for our lives. These drives are about survival, and they are all about “me.” When people were freed from the desperate struggle for daily survival that dominated the species for thousands of years and had the leisure to reflect upon their experience, they began to explore ways to enhance the more positive emotions of the so-called mammalian brain and put the four Fs in their place, to keep them under control. Because we have a duty to protect each other from our destructive impulses, whether that involves killing somebody or uttering an unkind word that remains lodged like a piece of ice in the heart for years to come.

Go HERE to read more of her article.

The picture SOURCE and the top of this post?


it is Abraham offering hospitality to angels - the trick is to see apparent negatives as angels, because through them we progress and learn to grow more into our true Self.

All is God - the dangly bits, the squidgy bits as well as our highest thoughts and our most self-less acts!   All parts point to the Whole - that infinity of which we are an infinitesimal, temporary, form.  But the Self is eternal - now.  

Step into heaven.

With the in-breath -    I breathe in wholeness
With the out-breath -  letting go negatives

or simply

Wholeness     (in-breath)
Negatives      (out-breath


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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Could you do this? - to help Stop the Traffik?



Dr Roger Prentice - Professional life-coach, Speaker, Writer, Workshop provider - TEL: 07 724 062 875 

Personal Development & inter-spirituality - 'Soul Needs - spirit moves - join the discussion HERE!

WEB: New stuff posted most days HERE - Archive of 1600+ past posts HERE

SunWALK: a human-centred learning, education & development model/PhD HERE


Marion Prentice art HERE - visit Marion's online gallery

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

12 years in Evin prison Teheran for asking for equality & justice


Dear sister/brother this is a heart breaking letter by a brave Iranian woman “Bahareh Hedayat ” to her husband Amin from prison on a piece of tissue: from my dear Iranian friend Farbia…

” I long to know where you are and how you are spending your days. What time do you wake up in the morning? When do you arrive at work? What do you wear? When do you take a shower? Are you impatient? Do you think the whether is too warm or too cold? If the weather is polluted or dusty do you feel it? I want to know how you get to the office. I yearn for the light that illuminates the steps to our house. I have forgotten, what did you say were the color of the walls of our apartment building? I yearn to know where you sleep. How do you wash your clothes? How many new people have you met that I don’t know? Who have you argued with that I am unaware of? What are you reading? What are you listening to? Do you still stay awake until the early hours of the morning surfing the internet?

I want to know how you are and what you are up to. I want to know where you shop. Do you eat any fruit? It is summer now. Have you eaten any watermelon, strawberries, green plums, apricots or cantaloupe? Were they delicious? Did you enjoy them? I yearn to know if you still get a headache if your afternoon tea is delayed. Does you cell phone still need recharging all the time? Do you still forget to take it with you? Do you still wash you hair some mornings in the bathroom sink? Do you still sometimes eat yogurt with dry bread? Have you still not bought yourself a new bag and a new shirt? I yearn to know what you think of when you think of me. What do you want to know? What do you think of when you shop for me? What do you remember of our past together? Do you still pay attention to our anniversaries? Do you still remember that June 22nd and June 23rd in 2003 the first time I came to Majidiyeh? Do you remember that you showed me Esfahan for the first time on the 25th and 26th of June in 2002?

Do you recall the days when we went to the streets so we could be together? Do you still remember the afternoons we spent at Saati Park? Do you remember Zav? Do you remember way back when you used to take me to Darband? Do you remember that we went there the last time with Ahmad in the spring of 2008? Do you still remember the taste of my cooking? I don’t remember it anymore… Do you recall how we slowly bought all our furniture together? Do you remember the new year in 2008? Do you remember that we went to the Caspian Sea and went to the beach? Ahmad was with us too. Do you recall June 6th in 2002 when you gave me an ultimatum and told me to move on with my life? Do you recall the first time I was released from Evin in June 2006? Do you recall March 9th, 2007 when I went to the Central Council? Do you recall August 8th, 2007 the afternoon I was released from prison when on the doorsteps at my father’s house you said: “Wait a little longer…” You said: “In this one month I finally came to the realization that I can’t live without you.” Do you remember March 7th? I know you remember it. It was 7 1/2 years ago.

Amin I miss everything… every single thing… ever cell in my body is in pain as a result of my longing… I am tired of the small dreams that are draining me of air… Envy… envy … do you know what it is? I know that you do… but you don’t know what it feels like to be held in this damn cage and watch three people buried in front of your very eyes; two of whom, particularly the last were angels with exemplary character… You can’t imagine what it feels like… and I hope you never have to experience it…

I yearn for your calm embrace…

Forever Your Bahareh

June 2011

Evin Prison

( Please re-post this letter, as was requested by my Iranian friend to bring awareness to Bahareh as a political prisoner. Often times world awareness can be an important variable in keeping the prisoner alive. May the best possible outcome come for Bahareh and her beloved family and friends.)

This is a video of Bahareh when she was nominated for a peace award for her work……


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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Mouth yoga: Breathing, smiling, healing Thich Nhat Hanh on meditation & mindfulness



"In, out
Deep, slow
Calm, ease
Smile, release
Present moment, wonderful moment.


I have posted before about the astonishing profundity and simplicity of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings.  Nothing encapsulates that simplicity and profundity more than this short 'meditation poem' to be found in his book;  The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching

Quotation from The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh 

"The fourth element of our body is air. The best way to experience the air element is the practice of mindful breathing. "Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out." After saying these sentences we can abbreviate them by saying "In" as we breath in and "Out" as we breath out. We don't try to control our breathing. Whether our in-breath is long or short, deep or shallow, we just breath naturally and shine the light of mindfulness on it. When we do this we notice that, in fact, our breathing does become slower and deeper naturally. "Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow." Now we can practice, "Deep/slow". We don't have to make an extra effort. It just becomes deeper and slower by itself, and we recognize that.

"Later on, you will notice that you have become calmer and more at ease. "Breathing in, I feel calm. Breathing out, I feel at ease." I am not struggling anymore. Calm/ease." And then, "Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxieties. Smile/release." We are able to smile to ourselves and release all our worries. There are more than three hundred muscles in our face, and when we know how to breath in and smile, these muscles can relax. This is "mouth yoga." We smile and are able to release all our feelings and emotions. The last practice is, "Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment. Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment. Present moment/wonderful moment." Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment fully alive and aware.

"In, out

Deep, slow

Calm, ease

Smile, release

Present moment, wonderful moment.

"If you use this poem during sitting or walking meditation, it can be very nourishing and healing.  Practice each line for as long as you wish.

"Another practice to help us be aware of our breathing is counting. As you breathe in, count "one" and as you breathe out, count "one" again. Then "Two/two," "Three/three," until you arrive at ten. After that, go back in the other direction: "Ten/ten," "Nine/nine," and so on, until you arrive back at one.  If you do get lost go back to "one" and begin again. Relax. It's only a game. When you succeed in counting , you can drop the numbers if you like and just say "in" and "out." Conscious breathing is a joy."


Posted 9th August 20111 - after the third night of the London Riots.


Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk born in 1926. His lifelong efforts toward peace -- particularly during the war in Vietnam - inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. 

Plum Village, in France is where Thich Nhat Hanh lives in exhile and teaches, writes, gardens, and works to help refugees worldwide.

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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Heart of the Prajnaparamita- Thich Nhat Hanh Tradition‬‏ - YouTube

Chanting From the Heart

Sisters and brothers in the community, this is the moment when we enjoy reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings together. The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.

1. Opening the Ceremony

Sitting Meditation [10 - 15 MINUTES]

2. Opening Verse


Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa

The Dharma is deep and lovely.
We now have a chance to see, study, and practice it.
We vow to realize its true meaning.

Last Updated (Monday, 24 August 2009 03:42)


Much more here -

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‪Richard Rohr - "It's not what we believe, it's what we do" - - YouTube

Which faiths are 'emergent churches' - via the experiential, mindfulness practice and service?

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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Heart-knowing & detaching from intellect and learning

Spiritual insight and progress doesn't come through knowing ABOUT but from knowing IN.

When we quieten the mind, and let go learning and arguments, we can truly listen to our heart which is where God speaks to us.



Breathing-in: I listen and
Breathing-out: I let go all learning

It seems that this understanding was taught in many traditions and down through the ages as these quotations show;

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature. Lao Tzu
* * * * * *
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Franz Kafka
* * * * * *
…Where and when God finds you ready, he must act and overflow into you, just as when the air is clear and pure, the sun must overflow into it and cannot refrain from doing that. Meister Eckhart

Relating to God Directly
We often confuse spiritual knowledge with spiritual attainment. Spirituality is not a matter of knowing scriptures and engaging in philosophical discussions. It is a matter of heart culture, of unmeasurable strength. Mahatma Gandhi
* * * * * *
By love He may be gotten and holden, but by thought and understanding, never. Cloud of Unknowing
* * * * * *
Those who seek the truth by means of intellect and learning only get further and further away from it. Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate. Huang



There is also the Zen story of the professor who visited a Zen master but talked and talked and talked.  The Zen master  poured tea without stopping all over the cup, the tray the table until the professor said "Look what you are doing."  The master then told him that he could show the professor nothing until he had emptied himself!

When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge..... CXXV  Gleanings Baha'u'llah

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