Sleep 93%

AM 1 hour

The course being over and the international committee meetings finished, a sense of space opened up during yesterday, a feeling of wanting to go within, to return to myself, to let scattered fragments find a place and everything settle down. This was the want, the yearning and it was clear that time in quiet was needed. So I sat for an hour instead of the 20 minutes I’d become used to lately. 20 minutes is enough for a quick reset but not for real integration and to touch upon deeper aches, thoughts and themes.

Within the open space of an hour, the drive of compulsive doing, and wanting to do, has to have an answer, has to quieten or understand itself, since it clearly has no place in doing nothing, sitting quietly in a corner. It can take some time to settle and that can be bumpy. It’s certainly a ride worth riding out, maybe like a bucking bronco. And the rider can’t be stern or controlling as every attempt makes it worse, prolonging the agitation. You have to go with it, lightly.

The bitter taste of some recent events sweetened during the hour. The sadness of leaving my college peers was touched upon again, a feeling that even though I cried at the time, it hadn’t fully released given the activities of the weekend and evening avoidance. Why is emotion scary? What is the resistance to feeling fully? Entering the unknown. I like to be in control and yet that’s an exhausting illusion that I ever can be in control where emotion is concerned. My sadness or fear is no worse than anyone else’s and may even be exactly the same.

A very enjoyable lunch with two old friends here for the work party. Relaxed talk as we caught up and shared where we were at with a few things – study, love life, work. Then after eating, messing around with Jenga bricks, stacking them high in vertical stonehenges. Then siesta as the rain fell beyond the window.

I had my final free session with the crystal healer this evening and like lunch it was very relaxed but in a very different way. An inward unwinding and releasing of past events, feelings of great joy and wellbeing coursing through me. I lingered between awake and asleep and got so relaxed I didn’t realise how long I lay. She finally ‘brought me back’ after over an hour (usual sessions are 40 minutes) saying she was quite happy to let me lie there peacefully while she did paperwork for her professional development. I felt blissful.

Later I started on my assignments for Chichester University entry, allowing me to skip level 4 study. I have two weeks. Meanwhile Portsmouth are looking for the accreditation of my degree year I got when thinking of studying modularly in 1994, which negates the need for the assignments.

PM 20 minutes 

Erect spine with no effort, its natural lift allowing the body to sink down and relax, everything in balance. Waves of bliss again on cessation of thought, revisiting the feeling during the healing (which I sense will return on retiring for the night after some online chats and posting this). A clearing of the mind of the day whilst clarity arose about necessary things to do in the coming days and social life.

A quote from an article I read this morning about the ongoing 6th Mass Extinction Event:

“Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.”

As a friend said, that’s quite a line.


170712 Counselling Skills Personal Presentation

This week has been a slow comedown and processing of everything that went on during my personal presentation at college.

It went really well! Doing it also touched me in deep places, having been afraid of that killed Be of situation for so very long.

Today in a healing session there was the six year old again, whom I’d also mentioned in the presentation, terrified in front of the class and mocked. Bullied a bit a teased by the older boys. Bowyers, Bowyers! Chasing me round the shed. 

The healer was able to clear up this residue, however she works, and finally I feel integrated after the process. I haven’t quite been myself this week despite the talk being one of the most overwhelmingly positive events in my adult life. No, in my whole life.

To express what I wanted to, and do it clearly, be attended to and even enthrall and give hope was so powerful and new to me. I sat and received feedback after (we weren’t to respond to it) and I felt the love even if I still can’t remember what was said. My voice filled the room, no longer meek, my eyes no longer almost losing vision.

After each presentation we wrote messages to the speaker about the presentation and the course. These are always bound to be encouraging but I wasn’t prepared for how caring and loving mine were. It validated that I am okay, that I’m a valued member of the group, that I’m a good influence. I’m usually hovering awkward on the edge of groups, but not this time. Having avoided situations of feedback and trying not to affect and influence people for a long time, this too was overwhelming. 

Maybe I’ll post my talk at some point. 

I started with a simple chair yoga class which I am more comfortable leading. That went down well too.
During the healing we both felt so many dispersed and divided aspects of myself coming together in a mature(r) adult, a real integration. Hello Duncan! This has been a definite theme during the course, a course which has been so good for me on so many levels. Another theme or direction has been this stepping back into society. I no longer feel like an underachiever or dropout.

I’m now ready to be assessed this weeken, quietly confident.

170612 To the hobbit trail and back again

Woke with the birds and dozed until 0530

Yoga nidra, the long one that goes through the different layers of being, from physical to blissful.

A tangible sense of calming down throughout, accelerated by touching upon true feeling.

Interesting how after a night of rest I can wake stressed, scattered. Sleep is not enough to allow change. I get the sense I’m much the same in sleep as awake. So moments of stillness and connection in awareness become all the more necessary.

Half an hour browsing, reading an extract from Creatures of a Day by Irvin Yalom as recommended by Derren Brown. Facebook can be all right.

Sitting. Head shaking rapidly, jaw realeasing, then when everything is still, that buzz of fear in the lower chest. Why have I spent so much time avoiding this, repelled by it? Where might feeling it fully take me? It is a powerful force but it’s not supreme.

After work, walked along the lane under the copper beeches now liquorice. Turned into the ancient woodland and onto my favourite local path, a singletrack that winds through the trees where it gets too muddy, taking those routes even when dry. Out into the head height ferns, chopping the path clear with a whipping stick. They are still unfurling.

Over the style that’s got no plank into the horse meadow, crows cawing overhead. Why? Then I see. A young ‘un in the long grass, unable to fly. It hops away as best it can. I catch up with it to see if there’s something I could free it from. Twine? Plastic? But there’s nothing so I leave it be. I briefly think of the bird man who once lived over the road and who would rescue needy birds. He had a huge snowy owl that the local owls would come to talk to in the night. The crows still circled, warning me off. I continued towards the Meon lane. A friendly spaniel and a smiling but apologetic wealthy lady. People always apologise for their dogs. Then along the bridleway and following the track downhill, where it becomes hobbity, sunken below complex roots and earth banks. 

Suddenly a view. East towards Meon Hut.

I turned back when I got to the yard with the bad vibes and old cars. There was no sign of the young crow back in the meadow and then there were more ferns to slice.


A glorious morning for walking, the sun bright and the wind gently buffeting. After a restful night and packing a smoothie breakfast I set out for a couple of hours hiking. Around West Meon, much of it was on grass and so I walked barefoot, grounding being a current theme. On taking a break overlooking the Meon Valley, I met a woman with a pug, panting and sniffling. It was out for a longer walk to lose weight ahead of the vets in a few days. Previously it had passed out in the excitement of its owner arriving home. She also told me about her three cats which compete to bring her rats, often live. Country living.

Grounding… A crystal healer yesterday told me I was ungrounded and worked to balance this. I don’t know if it’s ‘real’ but I definitely noticed an effect between lying still and lying still with just one stone. With several on and around me I felt safe, balanced, protected. These are free sessions; I wouldn’t go otherwise, or at least it wouldn’t be my first choice of therapy. I went years ago and a protective shield was put around me, again very noticeable. If it’s all in the mind it’s a very powerful way to tap into that. Today I felt very good out for the walk and positive about the presentation ahead. Being back at college also helped along with good advice from a friend.

170605 Awareness

It’s all about awareness 

I suspect it’s a default state

It certainly isn’t something to do

It is when doing is not

The rain fell and my head ached

Finished watching the film Paterson, which I highly recommend. Observational, balanced, subtle. Poetic, touching, with sadness and humour.

Counselling skills level two personal presentation

Here is the presentation I made to at the end of level 2 counselling skills at college. I’m using it as a basis for the level 3 one this month. Note that this story is by no means total and I have abridged some aspects for simplicity and ease of understanding.


Hmm, there’s rather a lot of speaking on this course! And there was me thinking it was about listening! I’m not used to it – I think I’ve talked more about myself in the last few months than ever before!


Today I’ll talk about some of my story, leading to where I was at the start of this course, some changes I’ve noticed, and where I am now.


At primary school I was teased or bullied for a while. I’m not sure why, maybe I was just too shy or different, or something. The teacher made us do our times tables in front of the class. I must have got something wrong, or did something odd, because I was laughed at or mocked and I was ashamed. This incident and others like it, together with my natural shyness, stayed with me throughout school, university – the whole year I managed – and beyond. I would avoid group situations. I would excuse myself out of presentations, if I could.


In the mid 90s, some time after dropping out of university, a non-marriage and my father’s death, I woke up to my life. I was in my mid 20s, really not feeling good, and not knowing what to do with my life. I had a good job but I was living in a fog of hedonism, escapism, drinking heavily and using drugs every day. Something was very wrong.


I started to learn for myself. I began to explore diet and yoga and follow the signals from my body about what is and what isn’t healthy. And this is how I’ve learnt ever since, by listening to what works and what doesn’t. I steadily decreased the self-medication and made many changes. I began to get well.


Towards the end of the 90s I had an urge to get out of the city. An interest in spirituality led me to India. This was a great opportunity to do little else than practice yoga and some meditation. On returning, I lived in Cornwall, a cottage near the coast, where I wrote, learnt to surf, and did a yoga foundation course. After volunteering I was offered a job working for a charity looking after the teachings of a philosopher I liked, and I lived and worked at Brockwood Park in Hampshire, where there is a school and a retreat centre.


In 2008, my life being quite together, I still felt like I was slightly crippled. This limp was my remaining difficulty with being in groups. I thought by learning to teach yoga I could help to heal this, and also learn to share one of my passions with others. After an intense but enjoyable month in America, I qualified as a yoga teacher. The course also included some listening skills, which I enjoyed, felt were valuable, and I guess sowed the seed for coming on this course.


I was 45 on Wednesday. For me it is true in some ways that life begins at 40. Since then there has been a real integration of what I’ve learnt. Year by year I’m feeling more myself, more balanced. Some of this is down to regular meditation which only began properly in my 40s. I’d been interested for a long time, but kept meeting resistances after a few days. I was meeting my own fears and they were too powerful, so I wouldn’t or couldn’t continue. Then I’d start again some time later, meet a wall of emotion, and quit again.


I finally dared to do the course many friends had mentioned since my time in India. Vipassana. It’s ten days of meditation, for ten hours a day, in an environment of silent togetherness. The teaching is that everything changes, nothing is permanent. By scanning the body and noticing sensation, our reactions are met in awareness and equanimity, and they drop away. It is these sensations in our body that disturb us and the reactions direct a lot of our behaviour. Anyway, that’s the theory, and there’s nothing to do on the course but to test it for myself, hour after hour, day after day. Issues and difficulties are faced head on. It’s as if I ran out of things to do about them, and there was nowhere else to run, no more tricks to play. But this time I had energy to proceed. I’ve now done four of these courses, supplementing my daily practice.


In exploring and discussing philosophically and spiritually over the years, I noticed my tendency to skip over difficulties actually going on in my daily life, and I wanted to get a step nearer to them, and allow others to do so. Counselling skills seemed a good way to take this step, and should also help my yoga teaching.


So, where was I at the start of this course? I was feeling pretty good in myself but the feeling of having a limp was back, still feeling very afraid of groups of people, and a disproportionate shyness. I wanted to address this. I instinctively knew the course would help. My hopes were to expand on my ability to listen. I wanted a new context to be able to help others, besides teaching yoga. And I wanted to continue the ongoing learning about myself.


At first I thought just Level 2 would probably be enough for me. Little did I know how insightful, meaningful and… fun the course would be.


The first day coming into the classroom was quite nerve-racking. A circle of chairs. Bright lights. No one chatting. A little intimidating. ‘This is counselling skills, right?’ I whispered to a friendly-looking person next to me.


My fears near the start of the course also included dropping out if it got too tough, or losing interest. But I’ve been surprised at how interesting and meaningful this subject is.


I was a rusty student. I’d studied yoga, but that was a very informal training. Counselling skills is the first proper studying I’ve done for 25 years. I wasn’t anxious about the assignments but I was surprised at how much time each one took. I soon learnt not to wait until the last moment to write, as was my old habit at school. My attitude to study is changing a lot.


As I said, I’ve never spoken so much about myself as on this course. It’s hard but it feels healthy. It made me realise having a counsellor could really help me too.


As the course ends, I have more awareness when with others, I can listen more comfortably and I feel more in control when doing so. Before, it felt like I was being bombarded by speech and I often wanted to withdraw as soon as I could. I now have some subtle but effective skills to turn a conversation around, and allow people to get to what they are feeling instead of remaining on the level of moaning, where nothing much changes. One colleague was very surprised when I reflected a feeling word he’d used. He didn’t quite know what to do next. But it changed the conversation, making it much more real, much more genuine. He thanked me later for listening to him.


Having these listening skills is making it easier for me to actually listen to people, even when I don’t use any of the skills directly. I’m more centred in myself, so I can notice if I’m drifting off or waiting to say something, or reacting, or imagining I already know someone.


I have really appreciated this course. We learnt some really good stuff and I look forward to learning more. There’s something very special about coming together in a circle week by week. To speak about how we’re feeling, to share, and most importantly, to be heard. This experience has been profound for me. I learnt quite quickly that it’s a safe group here, that nothing bad happens when I speak. This isn’t like most groups I’ve known. Groups may even be… all right!


From my heart, I thank you all!

170604 What does fear feel like?

Woke at 0500. Yoga nidra with Julie Rader, her of the dolphins and meeting a teacher in a cave near the beach. She brings in elements of visualisation and guided meditation. Slept a little afterwards until 0630. 

AM 45 minutes 

Breathing in for four, out for eight, a clearing, resetting and grounding breath. As yesterday, groans and moans on the exhalations. Tightness in lower jaw and shoulders. Moving through the body, realising how scattered the mind is, subject to subject, fear nearby. On noticing this I calmed down and could feel that the jumbled thoughts were responses to the fear, moving moving. Again, what does it really feel like, fear? It’s been so common in my life but it’s still a stranger to me; I know it from afar. Inviting it closer, easing nearer. Nausea. Fizziness at the solar plexus. Intense awkwardness and lots of energy seeming to be swirling like a whirlpool or vortex. Reactions easing as the sensations were felt. No sense of anything changing but maybe the intensity was fading. I could only handle so much of this directness, it seemed and attention was drawn elsewhere: legs tight and a slight headache. Sleepy. The feeling I need to rest and rest. 

Aiming for steady days, with so much happening this month: two essays to finish (tidy), presentation about myself for 15-20 minutes, portfolio to put together, skills assessment, interview for next course. Step by step, acknowledging achievements. 

My sleep is improving, averaging 83% over the month, up from 70% or so the month before.

Evening sit a bit dreamy and full of pleasant sensation, like drifting off into sleep…

Tree I sat next to at lunchtime, chatting with a friend, beautiful even in death:


Woke at 0420 for a pee behind the tent, the sky just breaking and the birds begun. 45 minutes yoga nidra with Tim Rowe, he of the soothing voice. Then got real cosy against the dawn chill under my duvet, tucked up tight, just a little breathing hole. Slept through to 0730 and in my dream I was looking for my dad, lost to me. I could hear his faint music coming from one of the many tents in our old back garden. I looked in a few but no one was there. Then I looked in the garage which was more like a cave but my vision faded, and I couldn’t see a thing. He was near but not in there. I’d have liked to have made contact again. 

The blindness has been common in my dreams over the years but recently dreams seem to have been more about making connections between aspects of myself.

Lovely morning, some sun salutations at the top of the field, sun climbing over Swanage Bay. Caught the sun in my skin.

Possions by the side of my bed in the tent:

170602 Acton Fields

Towards close of the day at the campsite, a pleasant atmosphere of families chattering and distant conversations, the smell of charcoal in the calm air. It’s not a noisy place and every person I’ve met has been friendly and happy to be here. The mist cleared revealing the white of The Needles over the sea. Helped a lady alone with her tent, she was really struggling to figure it out. Later she asked me to help move it as she’d pitched on a bee hole!

A short visit to Corfe Castle, the first time inside for me. Cromwell blowing it up created a unique ruin.

Wrote more of the counselling essay this afternoon, about self development needs and blocks and ways to overcome them. 7/8 done now, and after I can focus on the presentation. I aim to finish and polish both essays tomorrow.

Short walk this evening at Shell Bay and a little paddle near the ferry, short excursions being all C can manage right now, mostly just wanting to rest. 

I liked this phone box on the beach; really it’s between two beaches, to the harbour (ahead) side and to Studland Bay (behind).

Felt more relaxed as the day went on. Meditation for twenty minutes, the sounds all around becoming part of it, no resistence.


Yoga nidra on waking.

AM 20 minutes

Emotions moving in cycles. The clear necessity to meet each one as fully as possible with my whole being, there being nothing else to do. Sitting with perceived rejection. Sitting with the awkwardness of having upset someone. Wanting people to like me and all to be smooth. Fear of presentation at college, images of everything I’ve been through in that circle and with that group, a feeling of care and support remaining after the fear dissolved. 

Afterwards I was left with strong feelings of independence and liberation, acknowledging my repeating of patterns of relationship, of using people to cure loneliness and seeing it doesn’t work that way.

I’m facing being truly alone, the feeling I ran from all those years ago. It’s okay this time.

By evening, pitched up in Dorset, at a new site next door to Tom’s field, which looked crowded and claustrophobic compared to the wild openness of Acton Fields. Views to the sea at Swanage and the Purbook Hills


Up late so instead of sitting I listened to a long yoga nidra by Maalika Shay Devi Dasi. It goes deep, through all five koshas or sheaths of our being. From Yoga Journal:

The outermost layer is the physical sheath, which the sages called the food sheath, not only because it is made of the food we take in from the earth but also because it will ultimately become food for other creatures. Encased by the physical sheath, interpenetrating it and transcending it are the three layers of the subtle body: the pranamaya kosha, or vital energy sheath; the manomaya kosha, or mental sheath; and the vijnanamaya kosha, or wisdom sheath. Deeper than these is the anandamaya kosha, the bliss sheath.

It’s good stuff if you have 80 minutes and not as woo as the above might sound. I was conscious throughout except for, interestingly, the guided breathing section. Ended relaxed, towards 8am. 

At one point during nidra I suddenly met a reluctant petulant aspect of myself, standing. He resolutely had his back to me and to the world and just didn’t want to know. He was angry and refused to communicate. I lingered, caringly, curious, glad to meet despite the back and the lack of communication, as there was a connection and immediate understanding of a long term upset part of me. I am pretty sure it is this aspect of me that used to fight others at school. A healer recently met him too. She said he said ‘Go away, I’m pissed off!’ to her. I wonder if there aren’t parts of us stuck at various stages, in various states, and I wonder if in sitting, in yoga, in gently listening and being attentive these start to free up. It seems that way. 

The photo is one I found yesterday in going through my papers. 1990s pissed off Duncan, age 27.


AM 1 hour 

It’s hard to remember the beginning of the session, the end of second-half being so different. I do remember a moment when I came together, aware of the breath. Before that, scattered in the hundred directions and suddenly I was back, me, simple me, good old me, watching, aware. The session is coming back to me now, I remember I’m moving through the body, feeling all the sensations, aware of the familiar fear, its focus on the upcoming presentation about my personal journey and development, to share with the counselling skills class. This focus and context meant that as I moved through the body feeling it all, the presentation started writing itself, as if my story is right there in my body. I am no longer afraid of it, more excited to share something real. Ideas were doubling up freely and fitting into place. If this is not proper meditation I don’t care, its meaningful and valuable to me. Once I’d gone through the body a few times and the main structure of the presentation had formed, a delightful stillness eased through my whole being. I rested there. And then areas of tightness were super apparent and attention moved to these spots, such as behind the eyes and at the lower throat. And then it was naturally over and the timer went to begin lovingkindness, in which I felt very sleepy and restfully content. Now I feel I could sleep peacefully for some hours after a stirred up few days. I’m going to give myself half an hour before work instead of yoga.


Such a good day, back together, balanced, energised, well.

Good progress on assignments this evening.

Sat in the sun for supper with an old friend back from Thailand and New Zealand

PM 20 minutes

Breathing in four out eight really helps relax, release, ground and balance. Ten minutes first half, then feeling sensation, penetrating deeply, easily feeling the whole body in blissy tingles and yet restful. 


AM 1 hour

I’ve been afraid for much of my life, the sensation familiar and to be avoided. And yet I don’t really know what fear is. It seems that it’s a projection of a future event based on the past memory merged with imagination. This is combined with a fizzy sensation in the chest and solar plexus, fizzy and a bit sweet like the beginnings of nausea. And there it was, dominant of all sensation as I sat in the post dawn. At first there was the usual skirting around it, thoughts bouncing off it, generated by it, imagination of the presentation in mid June. I’m not sure if I got closer to the fear or the fear got closer to me but there was a point when I truly didn’t know what the sensation was any more. It was brand-new and and unknown. From here my thoughts about the subject became clear and even logical, rational in its imagery of the future event, even going round each classmate and realising there is nothing to fear in any of them, and that the fear really relates to past events not the future.

In the second half of the meditation was dreamier and less precise, but within this I felt a deep rest, perhaps deeper than sleep. I ended with the usual five minutes of loving kindness meditation, only this time with my eyes open, me on the mat, speaking aloud.

Before sitting it became very clear what my compulsive browsing and checking for newness online is about. It starts when there is something I don’t want to feel and I reach the phone. Once this chain of avoiding sensation begins, it’s almost automatic. However the chain can be broken at any moment given awareness, and this happened this morning after a minute or two online.


When I look this way and that way and everything I look at is disturbing, there’s no settledness or peace to be found. An old familiar feeling, much of my life being like this, bouncing around in mild panic. Even the assured undertone so prominent over the last weeks this morning seems to have dissipated. 

Anyone who’s got my back seems to be a long way off , even if I know they are down the road, across a lawn or just a text away, and thus Sunday morning I feel isolated in my fear.

An essay to finish, another to write and a personal presentation to prepare and give on the 15th. From a high on Thursday at college – the support, the togetherness, the genuinity – to this troubled morning. 

I claim one and resist the other, hoping for escape in sleep or frittering time away online. It’s time to get up and journey a few steps to the bathroom then mat.

AM 1 hour

Dared to sit with it despite the compulsion to KEEP BROWSING. The very word ‘browsing’ suggests shallowness, the movement of fleeting interest. Sitting still is the opposite of browsing, the very physicality of the stationary body rippling into the brain sending messages of ‘this is what we’re doing right now, it’s okay.’ 

The fears on waking were felt deeply, in and of themselves rather than a me doing something to them. Emotions have their own story to tell, there’s nothing to do about them. Yet I try.

Moving through the body, thoughts intensifying then relaxing as I went. Then last ten minutes I stayed with the most intense physical feeling, a spot mid back, right of spine. Immediately the back arched, the right arm and hand stiffening, flexing.

Final five minutes, loving kindness, meeting myself, saying hi. May I be happy, may I be peaceful, may I be liberated. Then the same for someone I don’t know well, someone I like, someone I dislike, the local community, the country, the continent, then: may all beings be happy, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be liberated.

PM 20 minutes

It’s about inclusion, acknowledging everything that’s going on, or as much of it as possible. For example, after about 10 minutes a ground of bliss took over from the more usual state of to-ing and fro-ing on realising there is nothing to do. Settling into the bliss I thought: this is it, nothing more to do but settle here in this loveliness. But then I also noticed a feeling that I can’t wait for the session to end. But if it’s so blissful why the urge to stop? So the bliss was partial and the urge to stop was partial, and unrelated. Yet in a peaceful state the other activity of wanting and doing is easily identifiable and in its recognition of itself, it more readily fades or  dissolves, or is at least understood.

The last birds awake called out. Two men arrived (back) at the retreat centre, an aeroplane passed over.

Finished my assignment on ethics, so tomorrow it’s on to the personal development writeup.  I can combine this with preparing for the presentation.
Began to watch the rather good Paterson, before my 9 o’clock screen curfew (apart from writing this.)


AM 20 mins

After a shorter yoga nidra after a lie-in after a good morning conversation with my ex, after a slow waking up, the end of my dream finding a node of some sort, like a leyline but marked in the walls of an old house, a single line diffracting into twenty or more. My dreams more coherent these days, less lost, figuring out rather than stumbling about. This is good.

Sitting: peaceful in my former bedroom, warm in the late spring morning. Body and mind at relative ease, memories of last weekend’s intimacy, last nights intimacy of a very different kind and this morning’s different again; intimacy, connection, sharing something real; the false ideas encountered and espoused online yesterday a mere shadow.

Bed at 2030, no evening sit


AM 30 minutes 

On waking at 630 it’s so easy to slip into half an hour of Facebook, Reddit, news. It starts with a simple: ‘I’ll just check…’ I noticed this morning the compulsion to check only came when an unwanted feeling arose, the learned solution being to distract. And in the background a slight fear of going to the mat. After thirty minutes I’m full of online and then I’m ready, for a reduced sit. But still I sat and that’s what matters and that’s good; by the end of the next thirty minutes the fizz and series of reactions to that initial unwanted thought-sensation has calmed and I’m able to feel it at its source. And the thing is, it is only ever sensation. There’s that basic choice: attraction or repulsion, aversion or craving, towards liked, away from unliked. From this basic movement all the frittering and chain reaction stems.

Then I got into a fun but angrifying tussle on fb with an ex Brockwoodian who used his sharp intellect to expound his so called inquiry. It winds me up, his curruption of Krishnamurti in an arrogant facsimile. I too quickly responded and he tried to pick my words apart. He has a clear mind but none of it seems genuine, he never admits to struggling with anything and it’s ideas about ideas at the end of the day. I defrienfed him but not before I’d called his writing arrogant, conceited and I called him a K-bot.

I’m feeling so much more these days and that anger I felt at his preaching under the guise of questioning stayed with me, merging with every anyoing character at school who I’d sometimes even physically fight. On walking into college I suddenly realised: hey you are angry. This acknowledgement made it all okay and not something to resist. And then in skills practice I didn’t even talk about it but about stepping back in the education system, things out of my hands, paranoia and shame. Even though it was a practice it felt real. It was real inquiry together not like the intellectualism of this morning.

We also opened our letters to ourselves written at the start of the course and I cried just looking at the envelope, feeling the genuine difference between now me and then me, then me writing to the now me ‘…my dear future self’. Fantastic course.

170524 A body in the woods 

AM 30 mins

Soon after sitting there was a sudden awareness of the whole organism, whilst being aware of the breath at the diaphragm. In that sudden moment everything shifted from me ‘doing’ awareness and doing breathing, to the body’s sensation itself. The abdomen then moved in and out rapidly and there was an ache there. My feet flexed and pointed and my back arched forwards. The body took over. After some minutes of this intensity, things settled down into a relaxed easyness, still the awareness of the whole rather than parts, and in the whole –  wholesome – feeling, thought was subdued, as if it knew its place.

Yesterday’s headache and aches and fears dispelled in the night.

PM 20 mins

Near the end of a walk after work I decided to sit outside for a change. I left the path and ventured deeper in the ancient woodland. In a half shaded spot I found a fallen tree and on it I sat, sometimes eyes open sometimes closed. I now understand why it is said to begin inside; the wonder of nature was all around and I wanted to look and take it in instead of going within. Also the flies were checking to see if I was dead or had something tasty going on. 

Feet in the leaves of 2016, 15, 14, 13, the light flickered as the trees swayed and the sun slowly moved in the sky. I imagined woodland animals shyly approaching like in a film but none did or there were none and it was just me on the tree surrounded by untouched nature.

170523 Sugar spiked

Am 1 hour

Sitting with uncertainty, the feeling of a situation being out of my hands now, dependent first on the action and word of another, then dependent on the decision of a university. The next years of my life out of my control. 

Sitting with annoyance, frustration in another’s actions tinged with arrogance.

Both sensations fading within minutes, slight returns as the hour unfolded, an underlying shiftiness.

Sitting with nerves in chest and belly, the familiar yet new sensation of tingles, awkward sweetness, powering reaction and thought. Unaddressed this would run all day and night would come and next morning will be the same. Sitting and not responding, breaking this cycle in stillness, sensation seen anew.

Deep aches in the eyes and a fatigue that is not relieved in sleep, only touched in the undoing of aware non-doing.
Pm 5 mins

Felt off today, probably sugar in yesterday’s lunch. Headaches, tired, didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. Did have a good conversation with Ashleigh at lunch about her art classes and then we went to see the old geodesic structure hidden in the big hedge.

Otherwise hiding away. Watched the first of the new Twin Peaks which was equally violent, scary and somehow funny. I hope Cooper gets to stay out of the Black Lodge. We need him.

“May there be peace among the gods, 

in heaven and among the stars; 

may there be peace on earth, among men and animals; 

may we not hurt each other; 

may we be generous to each other; 

may we have that intelligence which will guide our life and action; 

may there be peace in our prayer, on our lips and in our hearts.” 

– Sanskrit Prayer.

170522 Return to two hours

Am 1 hour

Half an hour or twenty minutes is more appealing but it’s easy to rush fizzily through those shorter sessions, underlying states remaining unaddressed.

Scattered on starting, recent elements and images and incidents bumping off each other, a sense of flying and bouncing around, or rather each element bouncing off the last in a series of reactions. The force behind this quickly traced, revealed as an unsettled sensation in the brain itself. In awareness this unsettledness rapidly eased and there was a tangible feeling of a grounded steadiness, a return to myself, a centredness.

Physically an old pain to the right of the spine, stiffness of the neck and then tight hands stretching out, of their own accord. Each undoing.

By the end a sense of resetting and new beginnings, independent yet connected. 

Pm 1 hour

Actually looked forward to it when I thought ahead during the day, to the peace and space.

Of course when it comes down to it there’s not a whole lot of peace. But there is a touching on the real, a shift from head to body, and a definite undoing of the day, incidents, episodes and speech replaying itself, once only, then falling away as awareness moved through the body.

Extremely tired when it came to the pelvis and hip area, suddenly lapsing into dreams, from being quite awake seconds before.

Tension freeing from the deep muscles of the face, feeling intense around the eyes, then mouth, then neck and shoulders.

I give five minutes at the end now for loving kindness meditation, though this evening I was drifting off by then.

Warm, sunny day. Good progress at work, mind relatively settled.

Lunch in the sun with one of the principals of the school, who I haven’t really talked to since the January staff week.

A wander in the grove and after work another walk, down part the peacock house, views to Sold Winchester Hill awhile.

An hour on the ethics assignment for college.