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Happy Thanksgiving

What will you be doing this Thanksgiving?

In a world of gratitude this is the best time of year. A time of mellow fruitfulness and harvest festivals. The barns are filled with food and we relax into the warm fire glow of dark cosy evenings. This was always the time of story telling and craft making, a time when people get together and enjoyed each others company. Being thankful for all that you have and, all that you will have, raises your mood and increases your sense of wellbeing and happiness.

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What happens every time we get a bit of shut eye?

We spend a third of our lives doing it. Napoleon, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher got by on four hours a night. Thomas Edison claimed it was waste of time.

So why do we sleep and what happens every time we get a bit of shut eye?

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What do you learn from those you meet?

It is Sunday morning I am in bed reading the Guardian on my IPad, I opened the page about a new discovery and this picture hit me with a bang, it was as though I knew the person in the picture. I have always been fascinated by eyes and looking into them, discovering hidden messages within.

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A Two Week Experiment in Happiness

What does it take to make you happy?

I have been away from the world for my ten day silent meditation retreat. That for me created a wonderful sense of happiness and joy, quite euphoric really. The silence of ten days begins with apprehension, moves to fascinated interest, and then the real work begins as the past rushes out of the cupboard of the mind as everything that has ever been avoided demands attention. Eventually the storm passes and the ability to sit in silence at peace finally arrives. Recommend it to anyone and everyone take a look, Vipassana.

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Deep mind diving

Well today is Wednesday and I am perched on the diving board getting ready to jump into my mind. I decided that I would need to finish off some work before I go, so I visited one of the factories, I have seen a couple of clients and then Rie picked me up, car loaded with my camping gear and we were off to Vipassana Lancashire for my ten day boot camp.

For the next ten days it will be up at 4am to begin the days meditation and on through the day with one hour and two hour meditations until 9.00pm. The day is guided and support is there, but from the outset it is a world of silence and stillness so that although there are over one hundred people, there is no conversation and no distraction from your inner voice.

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Why Meditate 4 – Breathing

There are two words in the English language that make me smile. The first is ‘Inspiration’ that we use to mean when we get that flash of genius that solves a problem or creates a wonderful work of art or a scientific breakthrough and so on. The second is ‘Respiration” that we use to describe both the process and product of breathing. I smile because when any of us use these words, even the most committed atheist among us, we are really talking about spirit.

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Happy Chinese New Year – The Year of the Dragon

Today is New Year in the Chinese system, it will mark the beginning of the one year in 12 presided over by a mythical creature – the dragon.

To the western mind, the dragon was always something to be feared, the fear of dragons living at the edge of the world, “there be dragons”.   Though the medieval knight, as a hero, would seek to fight the dragon as an honour.  This was as a moral victory, often set in a spiritual journey to spiritual perfection.  The myth was that of the knight slaying a dragon to save a maiden.  In psychology we would often use phrases such as “facing your dragons” as clients come to terms with their fears and phobias.  St George, the patron saint of England, was the quintessential hero and dragon slayer.

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New Beginnings Require Endings

Our collective psyche is filled with the idea that one thing follows another; when someone dies and then a baby is born, we see it as an ending and a beginning. We say things like, “when one door closes, another one opens”. The magical idea of endings and beginnings is with us throughout life. In the past, I feel that we were better at marking these rites of passage as we moved from one stage to another in life.

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And then there was light, and William arrived

Following the darkness of winter, that has its depth at the winter solstice and the longest night, comes the lightening, as the days draw out. This sense of the light coming to dispel the darkness has been ever present in the psychological cycle of the year. The festivals of Solstice (Yuletide), originally the three days around midwinter’s day, December 21st, was gradually superseded by Christmas or “Christmastide”. In some parts of the pagan world, the festival of “Yule” lasted for twelve days which became the twelve days of “Christmastide”.

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The Darkest Night

The winter solstice, December 21, is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. After that, the days begin to draw out again, the nights get shorter and the world becomes lighter all around.

I often see the parallels between nature and our experience of life. The idea that, in life, we have a spring, when we are developing our self as a person, a summer, when, hopefully, we blossom into luscious fruitfulness, autumn, when we review and enjoy the fruits of our labours, and a winter, when it all goes to sleep and there are endings, hopefully not too stormy.

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