Reflections – Harmony

April 9, 2012

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land”, noted the American ecologist Aldo Leopold.

As a backdrop for life, rather than illustrating an ongoing battle for supremacy, nature offers us an example of harmony.

Striving for harmony in our daily activities, possibly attempting to balance things we are obliged to undertake with those we wish to do, takes care and attention. But as the seasons change and we progress through life, just like the castle wall our objectives may provide protection against the fickle winds of the moment.

Holding our goals in mind is something we can do regardless of the work we have to complete. Today’s efforts form tomorrow’s results. Being conscious of this can itself lighten the burden of heavy or tiresome chores.

Harmony: cooperation, collaboration, coaction. The words may change yet the spirit remains the same.

Thanks for reading this today. If you’d like to share your thoughts on the question of harmony, please leave a comment below.

Kindest regards.




May 3, 2010

Walking on Stones

Would you walk around all day with a small stone or piece of grit in your shoe? The majority of people most certainly would not. Taking a few seconds to remove the offending item brings relief from this minor but insistent irritation.

Perhaps I am wrong, maybe most people don’t remove such items from their shoes. Being in town the other day and noticing how so many people appeared stressed and angry makes me think we might be in an age in which problems and irritations are encouraged, held up as status symbols almost: “Look how many stones I have in my shoes, I’m more stressed than you.”

OK so I’m being silly, yet I do wonder why we put up with ‘stones’ in various areas of day-to day life when with a tiny effort we could address the problem and return to well-being. The perspective I’m coming from here is one of ‘let’s be realistic about life’ as opposed to ‘life is tough.’ I do believe life is wonderful, even if we need to occasionally take away some stones from our shoes.

Putting up with squeaky doors
The policy of mending broken windows immediately is touted as being one of the first steps to reclaiming run-down urban areas. In our homes it could be likened to keeping the rooms tidy or putting a drop of oil on the squeaky door hinge. Rarely can we clear mountains of household tasks in one go. So why do we let them reach such proportions and then feel overwhelmed by them?

Delay decisions; accept the decisions of others
If we are in a position to decide and don’t, we are handing over the decision-making power to someone else. If the subsequent decision is not in our favour we can only blame ourselves. Consciously choosing not to choose is one thing. Delaying, being disinterested are other things. Taking responsibility allows us to occasionally determine the size of the stones we walk on.

The Golden Rule
Can we really expect others to treat us as we want to be treated if we treat others badly? Embracing rather than despising differences might lead to a reduction in the tension, anger and intolerance so prevalent in our societies today. Yes, life can be difficult but rarely is it eased by us taking out our frustration on others, whilst expecting others not to do the same to us …

So, what are the stones in your life and why do you keep them there? Maybe they have been with you for so long you can’t imagine being without them? ‘It’s always been like that’ is a phrase many use to keep things as they are. Do please let me hear your perspective on this aspect of life. After all, what is life but a collection of tiny stones arranged into a variety of patterns, some contained in our shoes.

Thanks for taking time out to read this; keep in touch.



April 26, 2010

Meditating with Buddy

“When we take time to quiet ourselves, every human being can sense that our lives could be lived with greater compassion and greater wakefulness. To meditate is to support this inner potential and allow it to come forth into our lives.” These words by Jack Kornfield, from his book Meditation For Beginners, explain my activity last Sunday evening; meditating with a guided meditation on my mp3 player.

Nothing strange in that except for what happened after. On completing the exercise, I failed to stop the player and found myself, no pun intended, still in a meditative state with Buddy Holly singing Rave On in my ears. Rather than interrupt the performance I chose to just ‘be with’ the music and let the emotions, feelings and energy it was creating flow by me, as if I were outside the sensations.

The Clash followed with (White man) in Hammersmith Palais. Still I sat there as memories of the late 70s passed by. Billy Joel came and went with This Is The Time. The Kinks attempted to stir me with Waterloo Sunset and yet the calmness continued. My breathing was regular, for once my legs weren’t aching and even my curiosity around the stillness within the music wasn’t distracting me. It was only another thought drifting by like a leaf floating down the stream.

I was finally roused as the piece of music I use before each training session entered my head. Supertramps’s Give A Little Bit brought the sitting to an end. Somewhat taken aback by the exercise, I was nevertheless content not to have gotten up immediately after the guided meditation.

Giving ourselves moments of space to step back from the daily pace – or should that be race – of life is considered in many societies as a healthy practice. For me it is like taking off a heavy overcoat and enjoying the sense of lightness the action brings with it.

We each have our own methods of meditation, perhaps even without using that particular word. Some walk, others swim, jog or read. Maybe you prefer to be surrounded by nature. Yoga or T’ai chi might be for you. I’d love to hear what works for you in the area of well-being. Your input is always welcomed here.

Rave On!



April 23, 2009

At One with the World

You possibly know or have heard of the 1970 book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It’s described as “a story for people who follow their dreams and make their own rules”. In explaining the book’s central message, the author was quoted in 1972 as saying, “Jonathan is that brilliant little fire that burns within us all, that lives only for those moments when we reach perfection.”

One way or another we can relate to the idea of reaching perfection, an instance in which we feel truly alive and in harmony with the present. It might occur as we catch ourselves being fully focused on a task at work. Time seems to stop, yet our awareness is absolute and our productivity almost machine-like. Outside of work we might experience it whilst participating in our favourite sport or leisure activity. Perhaps it’s found in the pleasure of consciously watching the sun set over the horizon. Life is enriched by such moments.

Living from a position of such perfection seems an idealistic dream. Daily life is concerned with to-do lists and concreteness, not obscure nonsense. Yet let’s consider the question further. Isn’t a presentation run-through, a rehearsal in the theatre, a session on the training pitch, or a meditation sitting preparation for ‘reaching perfection’? From this perspective we’re probably already striving for perfection. Our daily efforts are most likely wrapped up in our search for it.

I just can’t help wondering, however, whether in all our efforts we aren’t missing the perfection present in our actions, the magnificence of being whilst doing, as it were. I don’t know the answer but I feel life consists of a series of continuous ‘now’ moments. If we can learn to savour each one as we move through the day then possibly we will be soaring high with Jonathan.

Ciao for now.


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