A visit to Boulder

Wednesday was departure day for me after a retreat at Shambhala Mountain Centre. Some 180 participants had spent time together in the slightly rarefied air at 8000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. With Laramie and Cheyenne evocatively within striking distance to the north, it was not hard to reconcile this hardy yet elegant landscape … Continue 

Psychoanalysis and Buddhism

Words have a magical power. They can bring either the greatest happiness or deepest despair; they can transfer knowledge from teacher to student; words enable the orator to sway his audience and dictate its decisions. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all men’s actions. – Sigmund Freud I first started practicing … Continue 

Mindfulness and Shambhala

Mindfulness has become a big buzzword, as you’ve probably noticed unless you’ve been meditating in a Himalayan cave for the past couple of years.  My own experience of this sudden fad has been quite extraordinary, being asked to run sessions in the past year for Parliamentarians, bankers, university teachers, publishers, carers, and TfL staff among … Continue 

Photography and Awareness

I have been a photographer most of my life but only made it into a business 10 years ago after a heart attack left me unsure whether I was going to be able to continue as a furniture maker. As it was, I carried on making furniture until 2 years ago when I took the … Continue 

Running (And Not Running) with the Mind of Meditation

Why do you run? Why do you stop? What is feeling? These were some of the questions in the air during the recent Running with the Mind of Meditation course at Hawkwood College, near Stroud. Inspired by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s book of the same name, the weekend was an invitation to explore the moment-by-moment experience … Continue 

Watch | Read | Listen

Watch: The Power of Vulnerability Is vulnerability the same as weakness? “In our culture,” argues Dr. Brené Brown, “we associate vulnerability with emotions that we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and … Continue 

Shambhala London in July: The Path of the Warrior

This month we have a series of articles exploring the notion of Warriorship. Of course this being Shambhala the term ‘warrior’ is not identified with war and violence, however it does rely on fearlessness. To quote Chögyam Trungpa, “the first principle of warriorship is not being afraid of who you are.” It takes bravery to meditate because it’s uncomfortable. … Continue 

Heroism in Everyday Life

The novelist Sir Angus Wilson was my teacher and my friend and in 1997 I wrote a short book about his work. Born in 1913, he lived through WW2 working in the Japanese decoding section at Bletchley Park (where, curiously my future step-mother was also working). He had a breakdown while there and started writing … Continue 

Meeting a Warrior: Chögyam Trungpa

It’s hard to say exactly when I met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche – was it when I read his first book Meditation in Action or when I heard his voice on tape? Or was it when I bumped into a smallish, strange Tibetan man dressed in khaki army clothes in the corridor of a hotel in Lake Louise? Trungpa’s books … Continue 

Warriorship in Relationships

There is a scene in The Karate Kid, towards the beginning of the film, where Mr Miyagi walks into a room past Daniel (the karate kid) who has a black eye and is kicking up and down through the air: ‘Ooooh karate!’ Mr Miyagi says, and with faint irony: ‘learn from books?’ In my last article, for the … Continue