Thursday, 29 March 2018

Self Concern...and true Inquiry

This is poem that wrote itself at about 5am on the last day of a stunning (and very challenging) 2 week retreat this February.

I feel very vulnerable sharing this because it feels like a very precious revelation and because my mind is fearful that I can't or won't live it.  And living this revelation is what my heart yearns for over and above anything else. So here it is...

Self concern 

Tonight at 4.30am I experienced 
True inquiry
Perhaps for the first time. 

It was touching. 
It was beautiful 
It was stunning. 
It was undeniable. 

Awareness noticed that the being was indentified
So it remembered itself
It entered life through the heart as Presence 
And simply recovered intimacy with itself
And wept as it remembered
The heart of intimacy. 

Tears of gratitude. Coming home. At last. 

Then it said:
“From here we can start”
Touched it cried gently again and said:
Now we can start”

Awareness as love
Noticed an attitude of self concern arise 
Gosh! It said. 
What’s that?
So it started by asking “what’s it like?”
And by becoming in it and as it very soon 
From the inside it simply knew. 

But the inquiry didn’t stop
It continued dropping 
And unfolding
By itself 
Until something like a deep resting place was found 
And awareness was satisfied 
And touched. 
That it understood. 
Then inquiry went on inquiring into other things 
Such as appreciating the nature of inquiry!


It wrote the above 
With the help of clear rested mind
At 5am
When being decided it had better things
To do than 


The self concern:
“Am I ok?” is
Really “Am I fundamentally broken?”
Fundamentally useless and unloveable 
Will I be left alone and unloved?
A broken thing
On the scrapheap 
Alone, lonely and suffering 

From a place of self intimacy 
It can be seen that this was never true. 
I was never broken/wrong/
That this was just a painful untrue cherished belief 
At the core of who I thought I was
And who I have habitually taken myself to be

I didn’t discover the truth of this 
Love discovered the truth of this 
Through inquiry 
Because it wanted to find out 
What was at the heart of suffering
Because love is interested 
In everything 
Including pain. 

Inquiry did inquiry 
Being discovering itself 
Because it wants to find out
Because it cares. 

Awareness was doing inquiry 
Into “me”. 


Having been fully understood. 
From the inside
The attitude of self concern
Need not 
Ever be taken seriously 
Instead it can be consumed
As the first course
Of the banquet
Of the remains of who I was.

Looking after the vulnerable and young parts...

Over the past 5 years I've had a series of increasingly touching set of meetings with the vulnerable "young" parts of my being, which psychologists or psychotherapists tend to call "the Inner Child".

My understanding of this framing is that the parts of us that get emotional (and especially scared) never really grow up and forever function as if they are a small child.  That's certainly how it feels to me when I meet these parts of me.

This "child" doesn't really engage via rational reasoning - it's too young for that.  The main language it speaks is feelings and the main things it needs are being listened to with love and reassurance that it is OK and loved just as it is, and that in the midst of the fear it is feeling, all is in fact well.

This is essentially the way we would relate with a young pre-verbal child - love, warmth, attention and hugs.  And it makes the most beautiful difference.

I had some very touching realisations about this following a recent retreat and two poems arose.

Here they are:

Running and Resting

I have spent 
the whole of my life
until now
running on empty

driven by the distress
of a child inside me
desperate to be held
and stroked 

and told “It’s ok, I’m here”
and told “you’re ok exactly as you are...
...I love you
just like this.

No need to move a muscle
No need to change a thing
You are safe
You are so very very loved
Just like this.”

Rest now honey.
No need to run
Ever again. 

I’m with you. 

We can rest

With love, gratitude and gentle resting. 



My little one
Is my first priority.

He had had some 
Pretty scary experiences
Coming into the world 
So he’s often not sure
If he can trust

If left without reassurance 
He spends most of his time
On amber or red alert. 
With alarm bells ringing. 
Which is really understandable. 
In the circumstances. 

When doesn’t get the reassurance,
That he needs 
To feel safe enough,
he feels desperate.
And desperate measures are called for...
Something, anything will do
To switch off the alarm
Or distract from the pain.

Life for both of us,
He and me,
Becomes a scrabble 
For safety -
Doing deals
Trying to manipulate or control the world 
Trying to get reassurance “you’re ok”. 
Yet it is never enough. 

When I remember that he
Is only a part of me
When I remember myself
As the vast open space
When I fall in love with silence...

I can hold him 
so very gently
with no agenda 
other to be with him
and everything else 
that appears in me
exactly as they are. 

And everything can feel held
In love. 

And can feel safe enough to
Come out to play
And dance
With no motive 
Other than to be life 
Meeting life. 

Like waves waving 
And meeting
On a vast ocean. 

The ocean doesn’t mind
 a few choppy waves 
The ocean doesn’t mind being a huge tsunami 
The ocean doesn’t mind being as flat as a millpond. 

This is how god loves us. 

This is who we are. 


With love, tenderness, wonder and vast vast space 


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Tasting silence

I sit
Appreciating the silence
That forever

As the M1
Thunders and swooshes
Around me

As feelings
And sensations
Dance, sparkle
Fight and play
Within me.

I sit,

And luxuriate
In gratitude
For the silence
That has never left me.

That has always
Accompanied me.

The exquisite bridge
Between the world
And eternity.

A tear forms.

I know
I am home.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Rest now my brave warrior

Today I met another part of me.

A part dedicated to trying to control and suppress my feelings.

It was angry, violent, terrified, despairing and exhausted.
Because it had been given an impossible job
when I was only 3 or 4 years old.

And it had been trying to do this impossible job
without any success for all these years
creating an exhausting unending war inside me.

When I was small

It wasn’t OK to be angry.

It wasn’t OK to be sad.

It wasn’t OK to be scared.

It was made clear to me that these feelings
were not acceptable.

They needed to be controlled.

There was no other way.
I was shown no other way.
None of the adults around me knew any other way.
So for me there was no other way.

And so this part was born
At age 3 or 4
Whose job
Was to control these “bad” feelings
By any means necessary.

But feelings can’t be controlled
And he didn’t have the means
Although every day he tried
Even though it tired him out.

And he became angry with these feelings
That kept on coming
And that he could not control.

And he felt violent towards
These feelings
Over which he had no power
And he could not control.

And he wanted to push away
Hurt, kill or destroy
These feelings
That he could not control
And that he feared
Would overwhelm
And destroy him.

And so the war inside

Now it turns out
That what these feelings needed
Was love.

All they needed was

They needed nothing
but love.

But when I was small
There were no adults
Who could teach me that.

No one who could show me
the way of internal love.

So the birth of my brave internal warrior
was indeed my best shot back then.
Although his mission
was always doomed
to failure and frustration.

Today I really met him
for the first time
Though he has travelled
with me
through the decades

And I found out from him
what he believed his job to be.
And I was sad.
And it all made sense.

And I told him
For the first time
You don’t need to do that job
It’s not your job to try to control the feelings.

It was never your job honey.
It was never your job.

And he wept.
Because it had been so hard
And so painful
And so exhausting
And so frustrating
And so desperate
And so futile
And so impossible.

He wept
In sorrow
And in deep deep relief.

And for perhaps
One of the first times
In 42 years
He really allowed himself
To rest.

And I felt the start
Of the possibility
Of exchanging war
For peace

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

What the mind really wants

Sitting in a satsang this evening with Pamela Wilson I found myself writing this and I felt to share...


The minds deepest wish is to relax open.

Repetitive circular thinking is the minds attempt to self soothe.

It is mainly trying to soothe itself from the agitation from the terrified places in the body,

Which doesn't work...

In fact, it's about as effective as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic

But it's the mind's best shot.

The mind has simply mis-understood its function and the range of its capabilities.

The agitation in the body can only be soothed by the heart.

The agitation can rest in the heart.

The mind can rest in the heart.

Then the mind can return to its job of creative thinking...

And for the remainder of the the time when it isn't required to think creatively,

To relax open and hang out in openness.

The mind is scared that if it relaxes open it won't be able to protect the terrified places, and all will be lost.

But in fact it never could.

This is just a simple innocent mis-understanding of the mind.

There aren't many big misunderstandings the mind has...but their effects can be significant, frustrating and painful.

No need for that any more.


Monday, 18 April 2016

On the wolves and trying

I've been revisiting my relationship with trying recently.

I realise that I last wrote about this 6 years ago!

I'm now recognising that trying is completely tangled up in everything, and that it's a great route into seeing where I'm coming from.

When I'm coming from my personality, there's trying happening.  When I'm coming from space, curiosity and love, on the whole it isn't.

And it's not black and white - the more I'm rooted in personality, the more trying and vice versa.

So, when I notice myself trying, this gives me a choice.  To continue doing what I was doing and carry on trying, or to drop it and enjoy the space that arises.

Here are 2 poems that arrived yesterday out of this inquiry:


An old man tells a young boy a story
Of the two wolves fighting inside every person
One is black, unkind and mean
One is white and noble
They are engaged in an eternal struggle
Upon its outcome rests the fate of the world.
"But which one wins?" asks the young boy?
"Whichever one you feed." replies the old man, "Whichever one you feed".

True Inquiry is the opposite of doing
It is allowing.

It doesn't know where it's going.

There is no destination
Just a constant unfolding.

There is no trying
Because trying is trying to achieve something
And that presumes a known goal
And a person who will achieve it.

The truth is we don't know our destination
Or what is, in fact, for the best.

The one who thinks they know
Is not the one we really are.

When trying falls away
Space remains.

Not knowing becomes apparent,
Curiosity arises
Love arises.

Things unfold

Including pain and difficulty
With love
In the midst of vast space
Including ease, grace and joy
With love
In kind space.

Being as interested in the space
As what arises.
No destination
Just an open heart.

If you find yourself trying,
You are not wrong.
You're just feeding the other wolf.


Where you're coming from
Determines where you're going.

If you're trying
You're not ready.



With love and letting go


Friday, 15 January 2016

Wintry afternoon poem

Trees sway
Ever so slightly
Against a wintry
Sun-setting sky
Outside my window.

Naked branches
Tickling the blue and orangey-pink.

A gentle warm sadness
Touches my mouth and heart
For no discernible reason.

An ineffable sense of wellbeing
Suffuses my core
And seems to fill the space
Where I sit writing.

Soft, kind, mother-like.

"It's all OK, you know"
she says.