Leaving the Toddler Mind at the Porch of the Church

An art historian with a spooky and potentially kinky relationship I was just reading a lovely article by the New York composer Nico Muhly in the London Review of Books. He was describing his method of composition – which seems to involve a dizzying array of folders and layers and copies and projects which he […]

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The Morning Dread: Shaking Hands with Anxiety

A horrible year of anxiety  completely ruined my sleep cycle. I used to sleep like a log. Like my father in fact, who falls asleep instantly and wakes early each morning. I used to sleep like that. A satisfying black-out with no consequences that I can remember. I simply got up and started my day.  […]

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The pleasure of being scared in the dark

Frensham Pond in Surrey was where I felt it.  Feeling pretty crappy after a weird virus that left me with really sore knuckle-joints and ankles, I bailed on a team dinner and stayed at the hotel. I thought it would be good to go for a little walk before crashing under the duvet. All week […]

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After a lifetime of searching Alistair finds himself

I have spend four decades (probably more) looking to find myself There’s a great cartoon I saw recently which shows a man looking under a bed at his double  – same shirt, same trousers, same hair – who’s lying there, hiding. The caption runs: “After a lifetime of searching, Leonard finds himself.” The more I […]

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Working with emotions using meditation

The evolutionary background of working with emotions using meditation. We are emotional creatures.  From an evolutionary perspective, we’ve been emotional about 54x longer than we’ve been rational. And this is reflected in our bodies and brains.  Evolution doesn’t work by clean starts. It’s always working with what  was there before. So when our hominid forebears […]

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My Teacher Reggie

Some basic facts about my teacher Reggie Ray I’m about to head off across the Atlantic and spend three weeks in the Rockies with my teacher Reggie.  So I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts and feelings about him – since I’m constantly referring, at least obliquely, to him in so many of my […]

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“Are you sitting uncomfortably…?” – The perils of being comfortable

A failure to empty the dishwasher correctly amounts to a War Crime There’s a great Milan Kundera quote: “The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order.” This is something that I have – in a slightly more buoyant fashion – been contemplating […]

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Football and Buddhism: A post-match analysis

England 1-Croatia 2: how football and Buddhism mix Like great swathes of the UK I was watching the football World Cup Semi-Final this Wednesday.  I’m not a huge soccer fan. I sometimes get swept up in the World Cup fever but, to be honest, I prefer Rugby for that. (More points scored, bigger thighs.) But […]

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Between retreat. 

Moving from field to field It is a week since we packed up and left Croydon Hall in Somerset. That was the location of Reggie and Caroline’s UK retreat for Dharma Ocean. A 10-day experience of blistering intensity and also beauty. It was called “Fields of enlightenment”.  The day after tomorrow I head up to […]

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