Uncomfortable Quotes #3: MLK on thinking poorly

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think…” [many thanks to Jane Davies for the quote]

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Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now : On reading writers you might not like

Steven Pinker, a bone fide factual juggernaut On a random walk through London last year, I stopped at a lovely bookshop and splurged on a handful of random titles that piqued my interest. One was a little book. A transcript of a Canadian debate between Steven Pinker and Matt Ridley on one side and Alain […]

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Dissociation: Greying out the Mind

Since finishing my therapy degree 6 years ago, dissociation has haunted me…   The image I often use to describe dissociation is the ‘greyed out’ options you see on your computer when you click on a tab. You really want to press it but, for some reason,  the system has greyed it out. For humans, […]

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FROM RETREAT #3: Field becomes Figure, Background becomes Foreground

Bimbling around the wintery garden in my ‘chores’ window each afternoon, I was very aware of that inner soundtrack of my thoughts – often irritated or obsessive – cycling round just as, days before, strains of “Jesus Christ Superstar” had cycled round. Sometimes as I yanked at resistant clumps of grass or grappled dandelion roots […]

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FROM RETREAT #2: Cushion in the Filth

Shortly after I shook off ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, the next layer of neurosis came out of the haze. I have often notice that my default mode when I’m pootling about the house and garden is one of rather anxious or irritable unsettledness. There’s a running burble of unsettling agitation. Usually it’s swamped by the other […]

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FROM RETREAT #1: Jesus Christ Superstar

Daniel was away in the Rockies on Dathun (the silent sitting retreat that Dharma Ocean runs) this New Year, so to start 2018, I stayed in Newhaven and did a 2 week solitary ‘home retreat’ in my house. I’ve never done that before. Retreated in the place where I live. But I can highly recommend […]

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THE THREE GREAT AGENDAS: #3 Ignorance or Melting the Iceberg of Dissociation

The last and final and most powerful agenda of all is not-seeing. The much-overlooked but ground-breaking American psychologist Harry Stacks Sullivan spoke of the “selective inattention that covers the world like a tent” and this accurately describes the third great strategy of the ego: our dizzying ability to semi-deliberately ignore things. Hence the rather confusing […]

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THE THREE GREAT AGENDAS: #2 Greed and “Self-Snugness”

The second great agenda is Greed. This is the one I had most problems identifying. I could sheepishly get in contact with my inner Nazi, even if it felt grisly to do so, but I could never quite see myself as a greedy, acquisitive person. I’ve never really craved material things particularly and have been […]

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THE THREE GREAT AGENDAS: #1 Aggression, your inner Ghengis Khan

This is the first of a set of three blog posts on the three great agendas that we secretly (or not so secretly) commit to when we let the Ego run things. The first of the three agendas is… Aggression
 Not many of us want to admit to being aggressive. It’s not ‘done’ in polite […]

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HEATH-ROBINSON MACHINES: Uninventing the Ego-Contraption

While we up on Holy Island this month, the retreatants and I were discussing the ludicrous tangles our thinking minds get into. When we first sit down on the cushion as practitioners, we are mostly dealing with the chattering of the thinking mind. Then, as we practice mindfulness and start to get a bit familiar […]

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