My original spiritual memoir republished as ebook and paperback in most countries on Amazon
15 Friday Jul 2022
15 Friday Jul 2022
18 Sunday Jul 2021
We’re on the move! We will soon be leaving the easy stationary lifestyle of the busy marina for the freedom and peaceful nature of being out cruising on the canal. We’ll still have access to the marina facilities (laundry, showers, chemical toilet emptying and rubbish disposal) for a few months before being completely independent.
John has already joined a gym, I’ll be next, if only for the showers. John actually goes to the gym, I’m not sure if I will, although I did used to get a buzz off the treadmill at my old work. We have a shower on the boat it’s just easier if you use one elsewhere so that you don’t have to constantly fill up the water tank.
Along the canal there are chemical toilet, rubbish disposal and water points, provided by the Canal and River Trust and funded by the licence which all boaters pay.
Continuous cruising means exactly that, that you have to move every two weeks or so, up and down a stretch of reasonable length, in order to satisfy the definition. Like most people, we have to stay in one broad area in order to not be too far from work. We have our route planned, with John able to remember a lot of his old haunts as he continuously cruised here for five years, and was doing so when we met almost twelve years ago.
John goes to the gym on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I’ve spent a couple of those mornings making practice videos, of meditation/relaxation techniques. I’m focussing on content first, before I buy a camera and put a nice top and a bit of makeup on. My plan is to put a few videos up on a new Instagram account and offer bespoke one to one relaxation/meditation/stress management using a down-to-earth occupational therapy and spiritual wellbeing approach.
Netflix: Recently watched two French series- Call my Agent, complete at four series not cancelled in the middle of the story (I find that so irritating about Netflix), and then Family Business (season one with season two confirmed), and have now started watching Atypical from the start as the new season is out.
It seems quiet on WordPress, what’s everyone been up to? I think writing posts has been hard during the pandemic, if so, please let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments, and who knows, maybe it will help inspire a post. I’m grateful to everyone who’s been able to keep on posting whether regularly or occasionally. I love reading blogs rather than scrolling, although I am guilty of that too. Speaking of which, follow me on Instagram always_evolving_ever_real
17 Saturday Oct 2020
Posted awareness, spirituality, Uncategorizedin
awe, awe walks, buddhism, meditation, mindfulness, nature walk, Self realisation, spiritual awakening
Apparently ‘Awe Walks’ is a thing now, I read about it in an online article suggesting ways to feel better about our current situation and the approaching winter. I thought it seemed strange at first, because my own experiences of experiencing awe during a walk were for me the first step on my ‘spiritual journey,’ rather than an end in themselves. It reminded me of when everyone started getting into mindfulness and businesses started using it for their employees; some Buddhists commented that it was being practised without any underpinning theory or spiritual foundation. But I still think most people would agree that practising mindfulness, with or without anything underpinning it, is a good thing. So I’m supportive of the idea of Awe Walks, however they are conceptualised by the person experiencing them!
This description of my very own Awe Walk is taken from the little book I wrote which documented my spiritual awakening (available super cheap on amazon)
Let’s go for a walk… or, How to find Heaven on Earth
I plant my feet on the ground, about hip width apart, my weight equally balanced on both feet and on the balls and the heels of each foot. I soften my knees, bending them ever so slightly so that the soles of my feet seem to stick to the ground as if I am fixed, rooted to the ground as surely as a tree. Connected. I am connected to the ground, to the Earth.
I feel the breeze play on my face, feel the wind lifting and moving my hair. A strand of hair falls across my face, in front of my eyes; lit by the sun, it is tiger eye, spun gold. It is still winter and the sun is white and hazy but I can feel the warmth on my cheek, feel the energy warming me, bringing me back to life.
Everything seems interesting. Almost anything can be of interest if I notice it and pause to observe it. I used to march without pause down the street, across the fields but now I walk steadily and stop often. The sight of tiny leaves of ivy growing up a fence; brown pinecones on a bush silhouetted against a blue sky; a holly bush, impossibly shiny, almost plastic looking; all these and more stop me in my tracks.
The trees… one looks like a peacock, one looks like a creature from Where the Wild Things are, standing guard in front of the village church; one looks like an old man with flowing beard. Best of all I like to stand under their branches and stare at the old ivy limbs winding their way around the trunk, dusty and hairy and beautiful.
Halfway along my walk I come to a stream that runs through a small patch of woodland. I stop, facing along its length. The tall trees are reflected in the water. At the top as far as I can see, the trees disappear down. In the middle, their reflections overlap and join with those of the trees nearest me, giving a sensation of depth. A ripple appears, making the image iridescent with sparkling light. I follow the river down to my feet where the reflections travel into darkness, deeper below than the trees are high above.
I could stare into the river for hours. Even in this ordinary little village, there is so much beauty. The summer evening sunsets. At night, the stars.
Thank you very much for reading
Please feel free to share your awe walk experiences
About the author
In 2018 in our forties and fifties my husband and I sold up, gave away most of our possessions, and went travelling for a year, mainly in India, and also to Thailand, Tokyo, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam. My personal/spiritual/travel memoir of the year is completed and out with agents. I live on a narrowboat in rural Northamptonshire UK with my husband and two cats.
Follow me on Instagram thisisrachelhill
04 Saturday Apr 2020
Against the cult of busy, Go inwards, Knowing oneself, Magic mushrooms, meditation, Self exploration, spiritual awakening, Spiritual journey, spirituality, The meaning of life, Trip
First published in July 2017. It doesn’t matter that it’s not really Thursday does it?
Feeling roots coming up from the earth and wrapping themselves around me. At the same time the bones and muscles of my body turning themselves into vines. My whole body feeling more plant-like than animal-like.
And in my mind, beyond thoughts, I see a bird’s wing, at its edges iridescent rainbow layered feathers. And out beyond the edges of the bird’s wing, beyond everything, lies the sleek white edge of an aeroplane’s wing. And beyond that: nothing. And then, the why, the what: There is only the moment, you sitting there in the room- the wing enclosing all of it- and beyond it, nothing.
I had come up through the mind, through and beyond thoughts, not even interested in looking at the thoughts on the way; the past just a collection of thoughts after all, like a tangled ball of wool. If you are okay now what does it matter what happened in the past. Memories just seemed like a clump of thoughts, irrelevant, as I went beyond all that to the clean white surface of the aeroplane’s wing…
We are more than thoughts, and I passed through the complex workings of the mind to: Nothing. A bird’s wing closed around the experience, around me, around John, underneath the rainbow feathers a network of bones, complex and strong. Could fly but chooses not to, chooses to encircle, to be a protector instead. Bird’s wing chooses not to fly. Chooses to settle here.
You are a facilitator. Wanting to facilitate John for a change (he is usually the one who supports me as I work through stuff in my head). In life: you are a facilitator. Make life easier, and more peaceful. All I want is to be in touch with this: my spiritual side. I don’t need to be or to do anything. We come here to remind our self who we really are, and then we go back to the day to day. Neither place is better or worse; it’s cyclical, in and out, like social-alone-together-apart.
Since then my mind has been much quieter. Cracks let the light in. A certain amount of friction, strife, variety and challenge creates learning, and keeps me ‘spiritual’. I am a safe harbour.
I have moved away from throwing myself too much into being something to make up for being me not being enough. I don’t need to go around ‘being a healer’ although I do healing and I like doing it, but I have a tendency to over schedule. And I feel there is something more than me just rushing around being me at work. There’s Me.
Rather than being a collection of labels or skills, being very open and flexible is nice. A facilitator. A safe harbour. Can do healing. Enjoys exploring the mind and ‘spirituality’. Tries to eat a mainly vegan diet. Complex and strong. Like nailing jelly to a wall, but describing self in an open way is nice…
About the author
I am forty nine years old, married to John Hill, we live on a narrowboat in rural Northamptonshire, UK.
In March 2018 after selling our house and giving away 95% of our possessions we embarked on a year of slow travel in South East Asia, mainly India.
I’m writing a personal/spiritual/travel memoir of that year. This is my personal blog.
Thank you for visiting
Follow me on Instagram thisisrachelhill
26 Thursday Dec 2019
Posted Throwback Thursday, Uncategorizedin
awareness, buddhism, Hare krishna, meditation, spiritual awakening, spiritual enlightenment, Spiritual experience, Spiritual journey, Spiritual practice, spirituality
A book should be an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us
For Book, you can substitute Love. This is my story:
In 2009 I drove to work in the morning and watched the pink and gold sky split open. Driving home in the evening I passed outrageously lit up lorries that looked like fun fair rides. Somehow I managed to keep one foot in the visible and one foot in the invisible. For the next six years, I followed the trail. I always joke that it was like Eat Pray Love but without the travel.
I meditated and felt as if my skin was being bathed in soap and soft water. I saw situations worked out from behind my closed eyelids. I had the most amazing physical sensations. I took up Yoga. I had deep tissue massage and experienced profound physical and emotional release as she worked my knots out until her fingers got down to my bones.
I practiced Paganism and Wicca, I went for walks and stared at leaves, gathered foliage, wrote spells and held rituals every full moon for almost a year. I was invited to a women and Islam open day. I bought books and began praying five times a day. For a few weeks my life was illuminated.
I chanted the Hare Krishna Mantra every morning for three months. Things led on from each other. I felt purified, and wanted to feel even better. I had trouble with someone at work. In meditation I said, I have no protection against this person. The answer came: oh yes you do, you have this.
I did an evening class in Buddhism. Stepping out onto the top floor of the car park after class, the sky filled with birds, the breeze cool and warm at the same time. Listening to The Stone Roses on the way home: This is the one, this is the one she’s waited for, yes, I thought, yes, this is it. But no sooner had I filled the house with Buddhas than I woke up one day and realised I had burned through that as well. Or it had burned through me, whatever.
I read The Secret and practiced The Law of Attraction. Not to get cheques in the post or to get parking spaces, but just because it made life easy and more beautiful. Simple things like walking up to a crossing and it turns green just as I get there. To the sublime: Arriving home one night I pulled into the car park, and in the second before I turned into the parking space the headlights lit up the hedge in front of me and I saw a mouse on a branch. A mouse on a branch! Almost immediately, the thought came into my head: I hope you enjoyed that, because it won’t happen again. I thought straight back, yeah, I did enjoy it, and no, I don’t expect it to happen again, who would. And I don’t need it to happen again, because I saw it the first time.
As well as experiencing anything and everything I was also searching for a spiritual or scientific explanation that made sense to me. A unifying theory, if you like. After about six years of searching it arrived in my mind fully realised in a dream: We’re all green mist, we created these bodies because without bodies we can’t pick up a pen and write poetry or kiss each other. But the kissing and the poetry are so distracting that we forgot that we’re green mist come down for a human experience… but maybe that’s the point. You can’t enjoy a party if you stand at the door with your coat on and maybe spiritual beings can’t enjoy a human experience on earth unless they fall in feet first and forget their previous incarnation….
I woke up on the massage table as if I had just arrived there and looked at this new person in the mirror: hair everywhere, skin glowing, mind wiped clean of all previous concerns. But you wake up again every moment, and in this moment I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be than right here.
Thank you very much for reading
05 Thursday Dec 2019
Posted Throwback Thursday, Uncategorizedin
Body work, breathing meditation, buddhism, meditation, Meditation exercises, Personal growth, Seeking, Throwback Thursday
John (Anthony) started a course in Buddhism, bringing home information sheets to read which I fell on and read each week and we discussed them in preparation for the next week. They advise don’t start with meditation, as most people do, me included, instead start with the theory and the ethics, then do the meditation, because then you have a framework. I look back to how crazy I was when I first started meditating, and realise this makes sense. So on John’s course they didn’t get onto meditation until later, but as they did, I started doing it too. I switched from the Hare Krishna mantra to Buddhist meditation, one day Metta Bhavna and the other day mindfulness of breathing.
Focus on the breath not the breathing, as you follow it, it quietens and disappears, so you think, what am I following, and then, I’m not breathing, I’d better breathe, and then you are focussing on the act of breathing not on following the breath which you are doing consciously, so you are doing two things at once, actively breathing, and following the breath, which doesn’t work. So you have to let go, and let the breath be as it is, sometimes big and fast and gasping, sometimes so faint you can hardly find it, and sometimes disappeared or stopped altogether, but you have to trust your body will take care of breathing when and as it needs to.
I started a different Buddhism course a bit later, each week we were given homework, such as The Four Winds (Loss and Gain, Pain and Pleasure, Praise and Blame, Fame and Obscurity): We were told to pick a pair and focus on that for the week. I focussed on Loss and Gain, or how I specifically in my life seek to avoid loss and sought to gain: thinking about mine and other’s air time in conversations; wanting to be asked questions, wanting to ask questions but not asking them, also like praise and blame or fame and obscurity, at my mum’s seeing an old family friend, I wanted to say, look at me, look what I am, look what I’m into, but he just wanted to talk about old age, house prices, people I don’t know, and although he seemed pleased to see me, he was not interested in any of the things I was interested in, and even poured cold water on my plans, (I felt) and I came home in a bad mood.
But it did have a positive effect, the Buddhism course(s):
Before work, John and me had one of those hugs that are really close, well almost all of the hugs he gives me are like that, where he folds me in really tight, and I put my hand on the base of his neck, in between the shoulder blades, where it always feels hot for me, a healing point/love point, and it felt really good, the hug, and I said, ‘things are good’ and he said, ‘yeah, things are good.’
I went to see my son and as there was no parking at his we went straight to the park and had a walk in the only break in the weather. I did an extra hour of healing at the mind body spirit fair and even though I’d got up early and been out for hours, I felt relaxed and unpressured. I went home and made a complicated new vegan meal effortlessly with no stress.
One night after my Buddhism class:
I stepped out of the double doors and into the open air of the top floor of the multi-storey car park. I always park on the top floor, ostensibly for exercise, and while that is true, it’s also because it’s always got plenty of empty spaces and I get anxious about parking. And at the end of an evening or an afternoon of shopping I like to look at the view, the big sky, the cathedrals, the whirling flocks of birds that always seem to be there. My husband and son find my choice of parking annoying and always complain about the six flights of stairs or make us go up in the lift. I do it for me though, for the view, to take away the parking anxiety, to test my fitness, or perhaps, just to give me this moment tonight:
It was cool and warm at the same time, the sky grey with clouds, still light at around 9.30pm. I paused, leaning on the barriers, looking, and I just thought/felt: This is it
Earlier, the teacher had said, ‘if you catch Buddhism… but you may not, you may leave this and go off onto something else’, my neighbour said, ‘Islam’, which was funny because I’d been through an Islam phase a few months back. But I thought, please no… I wanted to say, ‘Don’t let me be out there again’ (like that bit in When Harry met Sally when the couple say to each other, ‘please say I’ll never have to be out there (dating) again’); but I am working on not talking as much and certainly not interrupting, so I didn’t.
I have tried things: Islam, Paganism, various different New Age Practices, Hare Krishna, worship of a man, self abasement, therapy, all for three weeks or three months. It’s over
In the car, I put some music on The Stone Roses: This is the one, this is the one she’s waiting for. Windows down, warm cool breeze, lights bright…
This turned out to be yet another one of those moments when I think, this is it, I’ve found it, this is the thing, this is what I believe in, that later slips away. And yet, I don’t regard any of it as a waste of time. And even though this was one of the strongest incidents in recent times, as the same Buddhist course later taught me, there is nothing to find.
There is nothing permanent, nothing lasts, nothing exists, only interactions. We all just knock against each other but all our scaffolding stops us connecting properly. Re finding yourself, your identity, personality, Buddhism says there is nothing to find= Scary. We are not fixed, we can change= Comforting. Suffering doesn’t last either. We do have a ‘relative self’- it’s good to be predictable to children (and patients) etc but with others this can be limiting (e.g. how we behave in our family). It’s hard to be your (new)self with family as they like to keep you the same.
The death of spiritual ignorance, is when you see things as they really are, e.g. work. Things are both much better and much worse than you previously thought.
Meditate on our bodies being made of the same things as everything else
Our teacher, in meditation, became aware that a strand of hair, attractive on the head, becomes repulsive in a plate of food. Same with toenails, she put all her nail clippings and hair onto her shrine and thought, is it ‘repulsive’ because it reminds us of death and decay?
The mind changes much more than the body; at least the body persists relatively the same week to week, year to year; whilst the mind changes all the time, likes and dislike change. Tastes change with Buddhism (me and The News Quiz on Radio 4, I used to think it was funny, suddenly it just seemed mean). People refine their tastes with Buddhism (or with anything that increases your awareness?)
Where is yourself? Your self? In front? Above? Colour? Shape? Can’t find it? Because it isn’t anywhere; it doesn’t exist.
It is the clinging to the sense of self that causes all the suffering.
Get out of yourself. With more happiness and helping others. A cause outside of themselves, a musician, artist, all else swept aside in the service of what is. Really focussed; most people don’t do this and are dissipated. What is it that we really want and go for it. Hone in on (one) something. Realise how we dissipate our energies.
See ways that we let life happen to us rather than directing life in a way that can be more fulfilling.
Buddhism advocates doing creative things, artistic things, if you decide you can, e.g. live without much money etc. Self expression is a generous act.
‘The spiritual life is a continual process of purification and elimination of unskilful states.’
‘Our experience is much richer than we realise. We are much better and much worse than we realise’ Deeper meditation helps to integrate this.
Buddhism helped, but I don’t know about the future… don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater- this clear awareness is great, don’t mess it up with caffeine, drinking, etc, yoga is good, meditation is probably good. Everything I’ve done has been part of what got me here, but what got me right here was not meditating for a week or so, and going to bed early. I’m even wondering if helping others really is all that, maybe it could just be about yourself, and those around you…
Re working, re healing, re thinking up an alternative career: when do I get to just enjoy life as it is, to do what I’m doing with both feet and not always be thinking I should be doing something else?
So right now, reading this, I feel wistful: I feel, I want to meditate, I want to do the Buddhism course, I want to get back into being spiritual again. But what would that do? What do I think that would do? I could do a load of yoga and meditating, do more healing, whenever I do it it feels so good, I want to focus on that… But what about the writing, not sure what is happening with that…
How do I get to a place where I can conceptualise what it is I am doing- every time I get to where I think ‘this is it’, it changes, so where is my vantage point? There isn’t one, or there is, but it shifts from (and form) moment to moment. Suggestion: Pick one and write from that? What is the vantage point that I want to select and choose to write from- with so much choice I can choose one- after Buddhism, when I am into Krishnamurti? When I am just coming back from practical house selling and working mode? When I am back to meditating? When I am reflecting on all the things that have got me here? All the spiritual processes, yoga, body work, healing, reading?
Why not just admit that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than here: waking up on the massage table and realising, I am the kind of person who has this in her diary, and this, and this, and does this, and does this, and does this, and laughs at this and cries at this, and cannot watch horror films and is scared of big ships and on and on and on and on…
Everything is good, you are just making up things to worry about because you are scared of realising how good things are.
Thank you very much for reading
21 Thursday Nov 2019
Posted Throwback Thursday, Uncategorizedin
I dreamt I was about to go out in front of an audience, in a play. I thought, That’s not me, then I thought, Well I obviously chose to do it, I must have signed up, gone to rehearsals and so on, been a willing participant, so it obviously is me now.
Are dreams something to do with it? I dreamed of walking though the ruins of a once grand hotel, all red velvet, mahogany and broken mirrors, with arty alternative people, smouldering bonfires, and a cool punk band playing in the bandstand. Twenty years ago this would have been the place of my dreams but I didn’t stop, I just walked on past. I was hungry, I was looking for toasted sandwiches and a cup of tea.
Are dreams a pictorial version, an easy-read explanation of The Field of Possibilities and how to navigate and understand it? As well as showing me that the things that I liked 20 years ago, however much I liked them, it is okay to not be interested in them now.
For the first time in forever I haven’t got a to do list or a pile of lists of half done things or scribbles on leaflets. Stuff is done, put in the diary or on the mantelpiece or does not need to be written down (not that that used to stop me). This is so much more momentous than it sounds.
‘Fall into the Vortex and let the Universe do its stuff’. And this is what it does- it sorts everything out with the minimum of fuss, stress and effort (all you have to do is meditate).
I get hot, a lot of heat, hands, feet and heart, tingly, itchy, uncomfortable, like it’s burning through me, burning away all my mistakes, regrets, who I used to be. Leaving only who I am now, who I am, who am I? Who am I? Echoes back, just an echo?
Is anything we experience just a sonar echo, just ourselves, plumbing and gauging the depths, pretending there’s something else out there when really we are all alone. Except that we aren’t all alone, we have ourselves.
Last night’s meditation: burning, searing, at my heart, clearing old issues, attitudes to middle age and also accepting my age and accepting that a lot of my antipathy was due to how I felt about myself getting older. (I used to be very down on salt and pepper bobs, parrot earrings and yoga cliques; I was searching for my own role model)
Scary dream re Sydney bridge: wobbly, huge, glass floor, felt as if could fall in, etc, then the morning after I read in a magazine about ‘housewife dreams’- the nicer and calmer you have to be during the day, the more violent your dreams! Maybe it’s the same with getting braver in the day= being scared in dreams?
Thank you very much for reading
07 Thursday Nov 2019
Albion Fayres, Collective unconscious, Festivals, gong meditation, healing, Law of Attraction, Lynn McTaggart, meditation, Rumi, The Field, The Secret, Yoga
Around the same time as I was in the Hare Krishna phase, Anthony was reading Lynn Mc Taggart’s book The Field.
The idea is that there is a field around us that holds all the ideas and possibilities that we can connect to and that it connects to us. Like the collective unconscious, a reciprocal entity like The Secret and the Law of Attraction, the feeling that it’s a two way thing. Living, alive, a love on both sides.
One winter’s day I went to the beach at Weybourne, North Norfolk. I stood on my own looking out at the sea, watching the waves come in. It was a bright day and the waves were lit up silver and shiny, the horizon a dark blue line against the pale blue of the sky. Me just standing there watching as if rooted to the spot. Hello Universe, I said, looking at the waves. Hello Rachel, The Universe said back.
My yoga teacher always said that I was good at being still: when he went around the class dishing out specific praise, Karen is good at boat pose, Sarah is good at head stands, well, I knew I was never the most bendy or fit and so I wasn’t surprised when he paused for a moment when he got to me. You’re very still in the poses, Rachel, yes, that’s your thing, you’re very still. I was pleased, I knew what he meant. I take it very seriously; I concentrate, I try hard, I’m really there.
It’s not just Yoga. Even when I’m standing looking at the sea, I’m really doing it. Later in meditation I saw a blue planet, at its edge a line of paler blue against the black of space. I was focussed on the edges, the place where things meet. Those words again, Hello Universe, Hello Rachel. I held onto them, suspending myself in the sweet moment of introduction. The place we arrive at before thoughts come in.
Like Rumi’s field: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Or Pulp’s: Oh is this the way they say the future’s meant to feel/Or just 20,000 people standing in a field?
I also wondered whether the idea of the field could be taken more literally as well; like when I go to the Harlequin Fayre and feel so free, a group of us all go and live in a field for a few days at a festival, with healing areas, yoga, gong meditation, music, cooking and eating together, lying in the sun, sleeping in tents. I like things to be concrete as well; I get just as excited about the concrete as I do the mystical. (You can read about my previous experiences at Harlequin Fayre HERE and HERE.)
I’ve got this lovely quote that I got, strangely enough, or at least I used to think such things were strange, from an interview in the council magazine they deliver free when they empty your bins. I tend to read everything and I’m glad that I do: ‘Life has its own hidden forces, which you can only discover by living.’
In order to gain all the knowledge and insights of the collective consciousness, perhaps I have to let go of the idea of being an individual altogether, at least while I am actually doing it. I feel my sense of self dissolving. Like being on a boat bobbing around, uncertain, unsettling at first, because I am letting go of control and allowing myself to feel something of the way the force field operates. Faster than the speed of light; in fact no sense of speed or time whatsoever. The dinosaurs were yesterday, a dream, an idea and the past, simultaneously. You think it, it happens, that’s how fast it can be.
This is the way angels and guides operate, this is why Maya Angelou or Archangel Raphael or anyone else living or dead for that matter could be with me and with any number of other earthlings simultaneously.
So the visions, the planets, the strange experiences we are warned about in meditation, are not inconsequential side effects, but communications from the force field/collective unconscious. Buddhism is too reductive for me, dismissing such experiences as ‘beginners mind’. Most religions are too one sided, simply asking for things passively when praying, and only a few lucky or special ones hear messages or get guidance.
We are not passive recipients of force field controller’s whims, we are not passive worshippers asking for things, we are active. Anyone can commune, receive ideas, insights, that we can choose to select or not. We can ask for support and choose which answers to act on. We can tune in and re-power so that we can have the energy to live and do.
More than just a space to work stuff out, the force field is simultaneously an agony aunt, a power source, an oracle and a monk. Bring your problems to the force field. Bring your everyday problems, however small, because these are the things that cause dis-ease (worry, fear and over thinking) and get in the way.
Going for a walk I saw two horses in a field. I realised, it’s not just dinosaurs, it’s everything. Horses, cats… okay maybe some have been ‘made out of’ or followed on from others ideas-wise, which we link together and see as evolution, but that’s because for us time is linear; in The Field, it isn’t, they all just plonked down fully created. They/we kept trying until they/we created us.
Opening yourself up to the field of possibilities can be scary, as in theory it means opening up to all and everything: wars, racism, murder, but of course you aren’t just a passive vessel waiting to be possessed by an idea. You have what you want to do; you have discernment and you have free will. It’s just that we scare ourselves, the possibilities scare us. We look for things to be afraid of, rather than opportunities. Like when people go mad.
Like how you see lots of whatever car you are looking into buying, not because you create more of them but you see what is already there, the universe holds everything, you just pick it out. So don’t focus on bad stuff more than necessary, e.g. people get obsessed with crime or fire risk, you need to think about it briefly and just enough to action it i.e. locks to stop burglars, smoke detectors, you install them, but you don’t spend all week looking at burglary or fire tragedy stories. Nothing new here- same as the old sayings, don’t dwell on it, think positive etc, but this is a more scientific way of presenting it and also provides a way of not doing the ostrich bit which can be a side effect of relentless Pollyanna-ness (I should know), where you refuse to even look at any bad stuff.
What is the one true thing I can rely on: Anthony, I guess, family, maybe, but even them, even him, will die, even if we stay happily together forever which I hope and intend to. The only thing I can really be sure will be with me until the end is me, my breath. I can’t even rely on a body part really, or maybe my heartbeat, okay, my beating heart and my breath, these are the only certainties in life, these are the things that will be with me until the end. Maybe I should write an anti smoking advert? Why would you want to poison and disable your only lifelong companions?
Certainties came up as constraints on the spell check and I thought, yes, our certainties can be our constraints too.
What would it take for people to believe? Something on the News at Ten? Basically, we are telepathic, able to do remote viewing and healing but most of the time the signal is drowned out by all the distractions- activities, media, our unfocussed, haphazard thoughts etc. What if the ordinary way, of success being about money, career, what you do for a living etc, what if it isn’t about that at all, it’s about being able to connect with the force field and connect with each other e.g. by telepathy, that these are the new skills and values, nothing to do with jobs and money. Also having empathy would make it hard to hurt others as we’d feel and connect.
In meditation I saw red curtain fabric, like in Twin Peaks going into the other world, and I got scared. Twin Peaks was creepy, about spirit possession, and then I got a flier for a conference on spirit possession. In Twin Peaks, fear opens the door to the bad world, but love opens the door to another, good world. Healing, is good, feels good. Energy forces exist, like nature, they are morally neutral. It is the intention of the person accessing them that determines whether they are good or bad. We have the power to direct energy, to channel it, and to use it for good or bad. The power exists, outside of us, it is strong, and it is morally neutral.
Me saying to someone at work, I am so thin skinned, and her saying kindly: ‘It’s the flipside of being caring’. I’ve almost no protection when I bump into people who aren’t very nice. Wondering if what we call ‘evil’ is really just a profound lack of empathy for others. Like how a greyhound needs a coat in winter because they have almost no natural protection from the weather, I have almost no natural protection against people who aren’t very nice. Or have I? Last night before bed I meditated. I thought about this, thought, I have no natural protection against people who aren’t very nice.
‘You do’ the answer came clearly.
‘You have this’.
Today, on the way home from work, Monday, I noticed a rare moment of the absence of worry, I wonder if that’s the goal, the absence of worry, leaving one to revel in the still moment. But our minds search for problems, and those moments are rare.
This was just one of several times where I’ve felt, this is it, I’ve got it, my unifying theory, my one true thing I can hold onto… and just when I think that, it’s gone. But when I’m in it, whatever it is, I’m hot, I’m connected, I’m awake.
Photograph: sunrise at Ramsgate during a trip away. We got up very early and the kids and I went to see the sun rise, afterwards we got hot chocolate.
Thank you very much for reading
17 Thursday Oct 2019
awareness, Hare krishna, London meditation, Mantra, meditation, mindfulness, Seeking, spiritual awakening, Spiritual experience, Spiritual practice, spirituality
On New Year’s Eve 2014 I took my step daughter back to her mum in London and then I had several hours until my return train. I had no desire to go shopping. I went to the Hare Krishna Temple near Tottenham Court Road. It seemed to me like an appropriate thing to do on New Year’s Eve.
I’ve felt like that a lot since. When asked what would I like most of all, or what would my dream experience be, and when trying to guess what a surprise day experience present was*, I’ve refined it down to this: To go into a room, like a church but not a church, all alone, with perhaps maybe some kind of a priest or a monk on hand to answer any questions I might have. That’s it, that’s my dream experience.
The Hare Krishna Temple Room was as beautiful as I had hoped. A radiant young woman sat next to me, befriended me and gave me books to take away. There were musicians. We chanted the Hare Krishna mantra for a long time. On the way out I picked up a leaflet that said:
Every now and again it’s good to pause in your pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
And so 2015 began with me chanting (in my head) the Hare Krishna Mantra every morning before work, using the beads of a choker my mum had given me for Christmas. This exemplifies my do-it-yourself, just-do-it-now, no-need-to-shop-for-all-the special-equipment approach I take to spiritual seeking (and to exercise, I will do a yoga class in my work clothes if I haven’t had time to change, and I go to the gym in ancient trainers and any old clothes); as well as my practical approach: I didn’t have time to do a whole circuit on Japa Mala meditation beads (those long strings of beads that are traditionally used to meditate with) but I did have time to do one or two lengths of the choker. You do one full recitation of the mantra on each bead, rolling each bead between your fingers and gradually inching your way along the whole string. The beads help you keep your place as to how many you have done and help keep concentration and focus as well. (And enable you to time your practice so you aren’t late for work). The radiant woman at the temple had given me a little card with the Hare Krishna Mantra printed on:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Chanting a mantra: the idea that you are meditating and praying without actually having to think or do anything other than just say those words over and over, was very attractive and very easy to do and yet it was so purifying, the effects were so strong:
Feeling my lungs expanding and the whole mantra like a wave rising and falling, heading towards the light: We are always heading towards the light; it’s just that dying concentrates the mind so that we notice it. Dying is the same as living, just keep on heading towards the light.
Noticing the little stillness that lives underneath everything but that is normally buried in my chest under my breathing and in my mind under the chatter of thoughts. I breathe and I notice it. It feels good.
Thinking in meditation one morning about how maybe God is an abstract concept like time, something we make up to conceptualise the impossible to conceptualise, something to hang our thoughts on.
I turn over hard decisions or stuff I am stuck with or unsure of to God and/or The Universe, or to Time (maybe they all the same thing) and then later I come up with the answer. So that in time, inspiration strikes or the way becomes clear. Could be due to Time, or could be God or The Universe but could equally just be our future selves like in the film Interstellar, or even The Future Itself, presenting the answers as it and them arrive and arise.
How much personal responsibility are we able or willing to take on and credit ourselves with? Like when we ask God: ‘Why don’t you do something, why don’t you send someone?’ and God says: ‘I did send someone, I sent you.’
What did for me with the Hare Krishnas was that to get right into it you start at the bottom as a book distributor, giving out books on the street. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to do that. Maybe that’s why I haven’t thus far ever fully signed up to any one particular religion, because I baulk at doing anything that I don’t actually want to do….
Anthony’s sister wants to talk to me about spirituality- strange stuff is happening for her, she has just started meditating. I reconnected with my friend from years ago; she said ‘I want to talk to you about spirituality’. Anthony said, ‘See, you always wanted someone to talk to about that stuff, now you are the person people talk to.’
*it was a flotation tank session, the photo was taken during the trip to London for it
Thank you very much for reading
27 Friday Sep 2019
Posted Uncategorized, Vietnamin
anxiety, Atypical, Dalat, death, Enlightenment, meditation, Netflix, spiritual awakening, Vietnam, waking up
For more photographs of Da Lat see a previous blog here
Straightaway we loved DaLat. All of a sudden there were old buildings, full of character, old shops and old flats above shops. Apparently there was a tacit agreement from both sides not to bomb Da Lat during the American/Vietnam War hence all the old buildings. It made us realise the contrast with where we’d been before, that all the new, boxy, functional buildings were new buildings built after the war.
There were street food stalls with great big pans of eggs, some looked like chicken eggs, some were small like quail eggs, and big pans of stew or noodle soup. There were grills with tortillas on, with egg poured on to cook omelettes on top of the tortillas. In the street were stalls with piles of scarves, and furry hats with ears on and ear flaps with long furry scarves attached, like kids hats. It was a big change of temperature, again.
From the window of the taxi we saw lots of hair dressers and shops selling cool looking vintage clothes, and tried to remember where we were relative to our guesthouse. It was such a relief to be in DaLat, it was as if we’d left the bad behind in Nha Trang, immediately we both felt better even just driving through.
Ours was a family run hotel, we tried the wrong one at first, we knew it was wrong as it looked too posh, but both had similar names something like My Dream and Dream Hotel both with dream in the name anyway. Ours was a small homely guesthouse run by a well dressed woman with nice waved hair. In the reception were two little dogs.
Our room was in some ways old fashioned with a big wooden wardrobe and a sideboard, and in some ways modern with black and silver flock wallpaper. In the room we were aware of the change in climate; the room smelled very slightly damp, and a bit of mildew when we opened the wardrobe. In the wardrobe, and in a neat folded pile at the bottom of the stairs, were the thick synthetic blankets that were so popular in Nepal and which we’d seen elsewhere too, in Pushkar. I always like to know there’s another blanket, just in case.
Again we were reminded of the difference in tolerance for noise between us from the UK and people in South East Asia generally. Across the road from our guesthouse was a van parked outside which beeped all day, apparently no one complained.
I continued watching Atypical on Netflix which I’d started on the train to Nha Trang. The show is about a teen with autism, in one of the episodes I saw in DaLat he goes to stay at a friend’s house for the first time. His friend has done his best but we see the unfamiliar environment through the main character’s eyes; there’s a waving cat, (the gold cats originally from Japan and China with beckoning paws), an aromatherapy diffuser glowing a colour and puffing out visible scent, and a gold and noisy halogen heater. All these things loom large and become too much for him to cope with.
The next day I saw a waving cat just like the one in Atypical. And on the stairs of our guesthouse was the very same aromatherapy diffuser, the same style but in a different colour…
Mind you, as it turned out, there were waving cats everywhere. One day we sat at an Italian vegetarian cafe, we had vegan cookies and tea. On the sofa next to me sat a real small orange cat, who let me stroke them and purred. In the window of a shop across the road was a waving cat positioned at such an angle that we were facing each other both at matching angles, me turned slightly towards the real cat, the waving cat turned slightly towards me, so that it seemed to be waving directly at me.
I can’t remember if we meditated in Nha Trang or not but we did in Hue and we did in DaLat. In DaLat I found that meditation was helpful for my anxiety. In meditation I felt my anxiety change to excitement, or maybe I was able to reinterpret the anxiety as excitement and to change fear into possibility or excitement; rather than fear of the future, excitement about life’s unknown possibilities. In meditation I was distracted by wanting to think about to my do list. With great effort I dragged myself away from that and asked myself, Why do I want to do this? The answer: because I’m anxious. But beyond anxiety, there was calm, and in meditation I was able to access that, the calm that is always with us.
For every meditation in DaLat I sat on the end of the bed facing the window with my eyes open. There was a pair of silvery white curtains, a net curtain, and a slight gap where I could see out unhindered. Outside the window wasn’t much of a view. I could see two electricity wires. In meditation these represented free will and fate, or free will and possibilities, or ‘you’ and ‘environment.’ I thought about how molecules bond. About how if you raise your frequency you attract ‘better’ things or at least you attract a match.
The mind tries everything- the past, the future, guilt, ‘shoulds,’ things to do, but if you step back from that and let it go you realise that in order to have peace that’s all you have to do: Not do anything the mind is telling you to, or not then anyway. Most of it is not practical or possible, you can’t go into past, for example, so just experience peace, without thoughts. Choose not to think about it. Even if it is practical or possible you can’t do when sitting. Deal with stuff in its present moment when the time arises. Or not…
I thought of what someone (Peter Klopp) had said on WordPress, about light and shadow. He had said, ‘The brighter the light the darker the shadow.’ This was different; people say, the darkness lets the light in, know suffering to know happiness etc. But this seemed to be saying that if you have a bright light, you have a dark shadow as well, as a kind of balance or side effect, something that has to be managed, or accepted maybe. It resonated strongly with me and was strangely comforting even though I felt like I didn’t understand it fully.
In meditation I often thought about Atypical, that’s okay I thought, at least I’m not thinking about stuff I’m anxious about. I felt a pain in one arm and the centre of my chest. I thought about heart attacks, and the tarot man in Thailand telling me I needed to look after my heart. Both my granddads died of heart attacks, I hoped that’d be how I went, easy, one in his arm chair, one at the pool side at the swimming pool.
We are animals that have become conscious. We know we’re alive and that we’re going to die. It’s not ‘spiritual’ or new age or complicated. It’s just if you realise, really realise, I’m a being, I’ve got a life, I’m here, wow, it’s going to end, I don’t know when; then that’s so exciting! Is that waking up/enlightenment? And maybe that’s why people in the East seem to enjoy themselves more, because they are okay with death, whereas we in the West tend to push it away. Oasis in Nepal saying matter of factly, ‘So I die, I die, they be sad for a couple of weeks.’ People of all ages in Vietnam and Cambodia dancing and exercising and socialising simply and cheaply, our Thai friend always laughing and joking…
I began to see the benefits of yoga and meditation, after the low period in Nha Trang. Even my arms felt a little different. I used to do loads of yoga and arm exercises at Sea Win in Kerala relative to now or before now although at the time I didn’t think it was that much/very good.
Just like hitting x number of followers, I look forward to it but when it comes it doesn’t actually do anything. Or when I was one stone lighter, yes I was pleased but I don’t think I ever felt I was there, I always wanted to be thinner, I never felt my body was perfect. Although, I didn’t have a sense of it being wrong, even before that, just kind of neutral. I could wear all these clothes, buy stuff on eBay, anything fitted and felt good, but it didn’t really do anything, I knew it was just a surface thing.
Thank you very much for reading!
Sold house, left career, gave away almost everything else. Went travelling with my husband for a year, mostly in India. Here are my India highlights. Now back in the UK, living on a narrowboat and writing a book about the trip, a spiritual/travel memoir, extracts from which appear regularly on this blog.