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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The toad that croaks “No!”


This was the second of our Mindsprings summer retreats exploring the overlap of marking-marking and meditating. Isobel, my friend and co-facilitator, makes it very clear that there is a distinction between making marks and making Art. So often, the ‘idea’ of Art is one of perfection, of perfect versimilitude, of accurate draughtmanship and photographic realism. […]

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“I don’t eat that vegetarian shit”


The other day over lunch, Sussex acquaintance of mine – a “shooting, hunting’n’riding” type – was pointing out to me how his hippy and Reiki master brother wouldn’t do anything to help him if he were in trouble whereas the cantankerous, old farmer he hunted with would go out of his way to help when […]

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Finding meaning in dark days:


There was a great podcast from Reggie this week. I don’t know who choses the bits of his back catalogue to excerpt but it felt like it was masterfully matched to all the listeners in the UK trying to process the referendum vote last Thursday. He’s talking to the 100 or so meditators on the […]

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Stress Less:


There was a madcap article in the New Statesman this week which tried to argue that stress was a hoax dreamed up by the tobacco industry to sell more cigarettes in the 1960s. Leaving aside its very partial use of research to back up its claims, the article also plays suspiciously into the idea that […]

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not-at-homeness and the “They”


I’ve been thinking a lot about stress lately. Partly because I’m teaching a course about it in London later in the year but also because I’ve been feeling stressed even though I’ve just had (on paper) one of the most stress-free winters on record.

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Colouring-in cats is the opium of the people.


I was just down in Cardiff to teach and on Friday evening I gave a talk on mindfulness, exploring what it is and what is definitely isn’t. In the Q&A afterwards we got into an interesting discussion about mindful colouring-in books. Glancing at Amazon on the train down to Wales I was unsurprised to see […]

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On freezing time and the light on Seaford Head


Another sunny Spring day fades away in Newhaven. And I see it: I am happy when the sun is shining and there is daylight but I get edgy when it dims. When I’m in Brazil, I always find it unbearable that the sun drops like a rock at six o’clock every day. No twilight, no […]

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“Os Últimos Dias” and the Vixen of Newhaven


And the earth will swallow us. But not yet, not yet. Keep on moving, keep producing and possessing. See some old places, visit some new ones. Feel the cold, the heat, fatigue. Stop for a moment; continue. Discover in your movements unknown forces, connections. The pleasure of stretching; the pleasure of crouching, holding still. Pleasure […]

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Urizen & le Train-Train


I spend most of yesterday having cups of tea and meals with different people, talking about the desire to break free of the humdrum patterns of life and the hypnotic compulsion of ‘to-do’ lists. How to unwind the daily grind – what the French concisely call “le train-train”. It’s only three weeks since I came […]

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