Friday, 17 December 2010


Work has been crazy lately: Hundreds of xmas cards to deliver and the amount of packets that we're getting is unbelievable. Everybody's rushing around, losing their temper and taking it all too seriously. Just before leaving the office yesterday I went into the toilets and another postie was stood having a leak. He turned to me and said, 'What's the rush, eh? It's not good for you to rush. It'll catch up with you in the long-run.'

'It will, mate, yeah,' I said, and went into a cubicle and locked the door behind me.

I got my pen out and wrote 'What's the rush?' on the wall.

This morning I went into the same cubicle and someone had changed the word rush for the word rash.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Barfing Mad

It's funny; I've just finished reading a book on Zen and the author said she would like to see how I (the reader) would react the next time there's a challenging situation. At the time of reading it I was on a Zen high so I thought yeah, no problem.

Then today happened.

I was having a crappy day at work - crap as in loads of weight to carry on icy roads and footpaths, and I can't seem to turn my neck for some reason - got a problem with a gland I think.

So I get home an hour later than usual. I'm hungry and tired. All I want to do is let the dog out for a wee, feed her and the cat, feed myself and sit and chill for a bit.

But what I find when I get home is that the dog has done a poo in the kitchen, eaten it, and is now looking sorry for herself because she feels like crap. I clean up the left-overs on the kitchen floor, wash my hands and start thinking what I can have for lunch.

Then the dog is sick (not just a little bit - we're talking a puddle of the stuff!) in her basket covering her tail and one of her paws.

I rush into her and tell her to 'STAY' as I go and get some kitchen roll. I turn around and she has headed towards the backdoor, trailing sick all across the livingroom carpet.

Not happy.

I go around trying to find where the sick is. I clean it up with cloths and more kitchen roll. I spray the carpet with carpet cleaner and get on my hands and knees and start scrubbing. 

Then she's sick again!

'What the &%^£!?'

So I go and clean that bit, too. 

Then my girlfriend sends me a text asking if it's OK for me to pick her up from the trainstation in 20mins. 'Yeah sure'.

I clean up the mess, put the dogs bedding in the wash, along with the dozens of cloths I've used - - - - - - and she's sick again!!

'You've got to be freaking kidding me!'

Then she's sick again!!!

Proper projectile vomming!

Not happy.

I lost my temper at the dog for hurling on the carpet because I told her to go on the cheap rug in the doorway (as if she would understand what I'm saying). 

The dog had hurled seven times in total.

I totally lost the plot.

I allowed the situation to get a hold of me and rip me to shreds.

I got the dog in my car and we set off to go to the trainstation - I forgot to clean her tail and paw so my car stunk of vomit.

I started to replay the whole scene over and over again in my head but from an observer's point of view.

Boy, did I look stupid.

The situation was as it was.

It was fine as it was.

Perfect, really.

My little self (as opposed to my Self) crept in and stole the limelight.

What it was saying was,

'This is not fair!'

'This isn't the way I wanted to spend my afternoon!'

'I shouldn't have to clean sick up!'

'I'm hungry!'

'I've had a crap day as it is, all I want to do is sit and chill.'

Basically it was showing complete resistance to what already was.

What a complete waste of energy!


In hindsight (Oh sweet, old hindsight) I can see that it was all part of my practice.

If I had have just dealt with the situation head-on, stuck to the facts, and done what needed to be done in the moment then the whole escapade would have gone a lot more smoothly.

Self observation is key.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Everything Just Is As It Is

I started off today moaning. Moaning at what already was. I was in a mode of complete resistance. And what was I resisting? The fact that I had to work in the snow! I really didn't want to do it. Why? Because I thought that I shouldn't have to work in the snow.

Silly ego.

It was only until I started my walk - which, by the way, weighed a tonne - that it occurred to me how perfect everything was. 

I started to be aware of the present moment. 

Everything just was as it was.

Resistance would only cause suffering - as it always does.

I started to notice individual snowflakes, watching them fall at their own pace and land in their perfect spot.

I noticed and felt the icy wind against my face and the numbness of my fingers.

I listened to the birds and they never gave up their song.

I looked up at one point and noticed a V of geese flying overhead. I could hear them; they all seemed to be celebrating.

Everything was as it was - everything is as it is.

Everyday I try remind myself of this.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Song of a Bird

Last year I can remember walking down a country road with my girlfriend.

'Isn't that amazing', I said stopping and looking up at a tree.

She stopped, looked up and agreed.

A car slowly drove passed and a head stuck out of the passenger window and shouted, 'It's a tree!!!'

It was hilarious.

The thing is, though, it wasn't a tree. It was a tree if we're clinging to labels, but what if we take the label away? You've got something unknowable. Something beautiful. A miracle. 

I like this story taken from Anthony De Mello's The Song of a Bird:







If you really heard the bird sing, if you really saw a tree... you would know. Beyond words and concepts.

What was that you said? You have heard dozens of birds sing and seen hundreds of trees? Ah, was it the tree you saw or the label? If you look at a tree and see a tree, you have really not seen the tree. When you look at a tree and see a miracle-then, at last, you have seen! Did your heart never fill with wordless wonder when you heard a bird in song?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Waving Goodbye

Today when I was on my round I noticed an elderly man waving goodbye to his wife as he left the house. He crossed over the road and carried on looking over his shoulder, waving to her as she stood at the living room window.
We were just about to cross paths when I said, "I thought she was waving to me then, mate. I was going to wave back."
He laughed and said, "You have to say goodbye when you leave the house, you never know if you're going to come back."
He carried on walking down the street and didn't stop waving until his wife was out of sight.
Nice, I thought.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What a Brick?

Whilst delivering post today I was approached by a small elderly lady who kindly asked me if I had any mail for her. I fumbled around with the bundle of mail which was in my hand and pulled out one letter for her. I gave it to her and she took one look at it and said:

'Oh shit a brick!'

Sorry old lady.

Old Indian Man

I deliver to a main road in Huddersfield called Bradley Road, and have done for the passed five years. One day last year I was walking back to my car after doing my post round. I can remember feeling fed up because it had been a bad day and I was running late.
So, I'm walking back to my car up Bradley Road and I see an old Indian man sat on a low wall at the side of the road. He is sat motionless. I get closer and realise that he's meditating. I couldn't believe it. I started to shake with excitement and shock. There was a man on Bradley Road meditating with cars, trucks, motorbikes whizzing passed him!! This was something you don't see everyday. I didn't say anything as I walked passed him, I didn't want to disturb him.
I got back to my car and sat there for about 30 seconds before a voice in my head said, "Go and ask him what he's doing." I hesitated but the voice carried on. I started my car up and I went and parked next to him. I got out of the car and said, "Excuse me, what are you doing?"
His eyes were open the entire time but fixed on a position somewhere on the floor. His hands were resting on his knees and his thumbs were touching his middle fingers. His walking stick was resting beside him on the wall. He glanced up at me and smiled - a huge cheeky child-like smile. "I'm meditating," he said in a strong Indian accent. I was speechless and just laughed.
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"I'm from India," he said.
"How long have you been meditating for?"
"About 15 years. I meditate as much as I can, all my spare time I meditate."
Then the roles changed and he started to ask me questions.
"Are you Christian?" he asked.
"No," I said.
"When you meditate," he said, "you'll see a light." He pointed to the area in between his eyebrows. "You will hear sounds, too. The more you meditate the more you will realise that God is within. You are God. People look outside for God but God is within."
All I could do was smile and nod my head.
"Are you religious?" he asked.
Now, at this point I said yes, but what I meant was I was spiritual not religious, but it felt easier just to say yes.
He pointed to my body. "Your body is a temple. Your body is God's temple. You are God and the more you meditate you will see that everyone else is God too and we are all one."
Although I've read these words before and even come to such conclusions myself, to hear them come from his mouth was something special. He had such a child-like quality to him.
"What are you doing now?" I asked, referring to the type of meditation he was practising.
He then said a word in Punjab that I didn't understand so he said it again. Again, I didn't understand. "Breathing exercises!" he said with enthusiasm.
I shook my head in amazement and said, "Wow, that's just brilliant." (Geeky in hindsight, I know)
I held out my hand for him to shake it, which he did, and then he said, "I'm really happy to see you." He put his hands together like he was praying, he shut his eyes, smiled and bowed his head.
I got back in my car and drove off slowly, gradually trying to make sense out of what just happened.
All this wouldn't have happened if I was 'running on time'.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Today I attended a spirituality class run by Elaine Lumb - a very good friend of mine. She holds the class every Thursday morning from 10am to 1pm at her converted farmhouse in Marsden (a very beautiful home with amazing views). She has held the class for more than 10 years!! It just shows how vast the topic of spirituality is. About 15 people attend, and everyone's always very friendly and warm. 

This morning an elderly lady called Grace came. The moment she opened her mouth I knew I was in the presence of someone knowledgeable and wise. She only spoke when necessary and listened attentively when others were speaking. 

"There are two words that I keep tripping over," she said, "right and wrong. I find them ridiculous. How can we know if something is right or wrong?" These words set the group off in a whole new direction of discussion.

Another thing she said was this: "It is very simple for me: Respect and honour everyone and everything, and accept other people's opinions."

Thank you, Grace.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Riding the Wave

I've just got an article published in Kindred Spirit magazine about stopping, looking and listening. How by doing this you can step out of your story and see reality for what it is.
That said, I read books on spirituality and I sometimes wonder if the authors sometimes have crap days. Days where they can't soak up what they preach.

I know I haven't written a book on spirituality (as of yet) but if anyone's reading my article and wonders if I practise what I preach, the answer is yes - but my God, it's bloody hard when I'm having a 'low' day.

I don't believe anyone who says they don't feel down from time to time.

Being human, experiencing form, is all about riding the wave.

It's all about how one copes with the wave - do you sink or swim?

(sometimes I sink, and sometimes I swim)

The Big Silence

I've been watching BBC 2 program 'The Big Silence'. It's made me realise how important silence is. We bombard ourselves with noise and 'business', as is said many times on the program by Abbot Christopher Jamison. Another thing he says is that silence is the gateway to the soul and the soul is the gateway to God.


(I also like the fact that it brings meditation into the limelight).

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Kindred Spirit

Tania Ahsan, the editor of Kindred Spirit magazine, has kindly published a piece of mine in the NOV/DEC issue.

Check out their website at:

and, whilst your there you might as well order a copy! : )

(I'm on page 76..)

Falling Leaves (A short story)

The following is a short story I wrote for an exercise at my writing class. My writing tutor (Gale Barker) said it had to start with the sentence, 'Almost anything in life is easier to get into than to get out of'. I thought the story would fit in well with the content of this blog. I hope you will agree. 

Falling Leaves

Almost anything in life is easier to get into than to get out of. Trust me on this one, I should know. It’s three minutes past nine, I need to pay a visit to the gent’s, and the nurse is late again. Three minutes late, to be precise. I would try and get out by myself but the last time I tried I fell to the floor like a sack of new baby spuds.
It’s funny, this aging business. I seem to be split in two: my body and my mind. My body has been declining since the day I was born, unfortunately that’s the way of the outer-world. Whereas my mind, well . . . my mind is like a seed that’s constantly being watered by experience. Have you noticed that I say my body and my mind? When desires of the outer-world start to lose their grip and you feel sure your exit is near, you start to look within yourself for answers, whereas before you just looked ‘out there’. So let me say it again: my body. Does that mean I’m not my body? My mind - does that mean I’m not my mind? Does it mean I’m separate from them? Separate yourself from your body and what do you have left? You have I left. Now ask, who am I? It’s one of those taboo questions that people don’t like to delve in to, just in case they find something out about themselves that they don’t like.
               You may think I’m some crazy old fool who can’t get out of bed. Or an old fart who needs help to go to the toilet and is losing it a bit up there, but let me tell you, I’m more with it than ever before.
            My eyes are tired, yet I see more clearly than when I was twenty. My ears are worn out like an old pair of headphones, yet I hear sounds that many people ignore.
            This is just what happens when you go within.
            Just yesterday, for instance, I showed Nina, a pleasant young nurse at the home, how to go within and see the world the way it’s supposed to be seen. It was a beautiful autumn day with a slight cool breeze, similar to today, I think. Amazing, it was. Her job is to wheel patients around the gardens for their daily dose of fresh air; poor beggar. After about five minutes she parked me up next to a bench so she could sit and have a smoke. Nothing wrong with that. I used to like the odd cigarette now and again until they took my Yelena away ten years ago. I never touched one after that.
            Where was I?
            Ah yes, so she was smoking away and I asked her, ‘Why do you smoke?’
            She looked at me and then at the cigarette.
            ‘Bored, I guess,’ she said.
            ‘Bored?’ I blurted out. ‘How can you be bored? Look around you!’
            She was a bit taken aback by my shrill response, but I couldn’t help it. Here is this twenty-something young lady with a pair of perfectly functioning legs; her joints don’t ache with arthritis; she has all her own teeth and she can take herself to the damn toilet whenever she pleases!
            ‘I don’t know why I’m bored,’ she said, shrugging her shoulders.
            ‘Look at this tree,’ I said, pointing to the large oak that was casting its shadow over us. ‘What do you see?’
            She looked up and then back down at me.
            ‘Just a tree,’ she said frowning.
            ‘Just a tree?’ I laughed. ‘We humans label everything. We do this to help us believe that we know what something is, to separate it from something else. Labels are just noises made with our teeth, tongue and the roof of our mouth. Nina, I asked you to look and you labeled. Now try again, without the label. What do you see?’
            She looked up and started to concentrate on the giant tree. After thirty seconds she looked at me with a big smile and a tear rolled down her cheek. She wiped it with the back of her hand and laughed and looked embarrassed.
            ‘Well?’ I said smiling.  
            ‘What have you done to me, Mr Harty?’ she said laughing. ‘A feeling of joy came over me and I saw the tree in a whole new light. What the hell happened?’
            I took her hand.
            ‘Well, first of all, love, call me Fred. Second of all, you saw the tree as if for the first time. But not only that, the I you speak of when you say I was one with the tree.’
            She looked up at the tree again and smiled.
            ‘What do you mean?’
            ‘You’re not who you think you are, Nina,’ I said. ‘None of us are. Only a handful of people have done what you just did. You became one with the tree. Now you can practice the same method with flowers, animals and even people. Practice it with things you hear, too.’
            ‘How do you know all of this stuff?’
            ‘I’m the book you judged,’ I said smiling. ‘And believe me I’ve had years of collecting pages.’    
            Five minutes past nine now. Where are they? I’m busting. My Yelena used to get annoyed with the size of my bladder. Not long after we married we went to visit her parents who lived down south. We got on the train in good time but I felt I needed to go to the men’s. Now, the trains back then didn’t have toilets on them, so I ran off to the toilets in the station. She was not a happy bunny. ‘What if the train had gone?’ she shouted when I sat back down. ‘What if I had to go all that way by myself?’ I always laughed at her when she was angry. It was mostly over what ifs, and they stayed that way, too.
            I miss her. I miss her company. I miss her smell and the sound of her voice. I hope she’s waiting for me when my time comes.
            Death is another one of those taboo topics. Death and people don’t tend to mix, do they? It makes me laugh how people in the west respond to it. “Don’t talk about death, you’ll tempt fate and it’ll come knocking on your door.”
            I made peace with death when my Mum died over fifty years ago. I once heard that death is like taking off a tight shoe. I like that. I like to think that my Mum, Yelena and all those who have come and gone before me have had that same ‘Ahhh’ feeling.
            People think I’m crazy when I talk about death. ‘Stop it,’ they say. But why? What is there to be scared of?
            Good old Jimmy, who used to be in the bed opposite me, died two days ago. He came to this place the same day as me and five weeks later I watch them take his body away. Covering it up like it was something that shouldn’t be seen; like they don’t want to remind us of where we’re all heading. Do you know which part of Jimmy survived death? The I he spoke of when he said I. Although I doubt he knew that.
            I’ve seen people talking to someone who they say is stood at their bedside. I’ve seen people wave to thin air and say things like, ‘I thought you had died’.
            Of course, I don’t know if there’s anything else after we pop our clogs. Do I want to know? Not really. I like the whole idea of having blind faith. It allows my imagination to wonder.
            Ten past nine and she stumbles in without a care in the world. 
            ‘Morning, love, sorry I’m late,’ she says. ‘Are you busting for the toilet again?’
            ‘I bloody am, you beggar.’
            She laughs.
            ‘Who were you talking to when I came in?’ she asks.
            ‘Never you mind.’
            She helps me up out of my bed and lowers me into the wheelchair. I look out of the window and see the golden leaves blowing off the trees onto the flower beds. A single leaf with brown, red and yellow on it blows against the window and stays there as if it’s taking a peek inside.  
I smile at it.
‘That’s a beautiful leaf,’ I tell her.
‘Why’s that, Fred?’
‘It fell with ease at its own unique time. Look at its colours, its shape. There's no other leaf in the world like it.’
          ‘You could say that,’ she says fiddling with the brake on the wheelchair. ‘I prefer summer, to be honest with you, nice and warm.’
            ‘Autumn's just as nice if you put an extra jumper on.’
            She smiles.
            She wheels me past Jimmy’s empty bed and out onto the corridor towards the toilet.
            And that's when it happened.
           ‘Fred, are you OK? Fred? Fred! I need help over here! Fred can you hear me? Fred? I need help!’

‘Ahhh. Hello, love.’

Friday, 29 October 2010

Suffering is Learning

From the age of 14 to 24 I had a dream that I so desperately wanted to come true. That dream was to become a successful recording artist. I wanted to be on the front cover of every music magazine under the headline 'THE NEXT BIG THING!' I dreamt of signing along the dotted line and headlining venues here, there and everywhere. Every night (honestly, I can't remember a night I missed) before going to sleep I would visualise myself on stage with thousands of people dancing to the music that I had created. I could smell the sweat, the alcohol; I could hear the bass thumping my chest from the sound system that shadowed the crowd. 

Well - I got what I asked for. At the age of 23 I signed along the dotted line and began to release EPs and headline venues across the UK. 

Was I happy?

Hell no.

All those years my mind had created a false image of what I was to expect. The reality of it didn't match up to that image at all.

I became miserable, and as the months stumbled forward I ended up nearly having a nervous breakdown (people who know me will know that doesn't sound like me). 

I can remember crying on my bed not knowing what to do.  

I turned to friends (thanks, Coxy. R.I.P, man) who listened and were honest with me.

I held my mobile phone, took a deep breath and made the call that I knew in my heart was the right decision.

I quit what I had worked nearly ten years to achieve.

It took me ten years to realise that what I had wanted for so long, the thing I had dreamt of for nearly a decade, wasn't for me.

What a relief that was.

Suddenly the sun started to shine again. A huge weight had been lifted from my sore shoulders.

I was free.

...And everything was OK.

If only I had seen that when I was stressing over the drama I had found myself taking so seriously.

The reason I'm telling you this is because whatever you're going through, whatever's causing you stress and anxiety, it will come to an end.

It will pass.

And everything will be fine.

I would like to think that you're on the right track that is unique to you.

After my melodrama where I cried like a small child who has just tripped over his own foot, I realised that it was all a learning experience. 

So, for me, suffering is learning.

Remind me that the next time I'm complaining over something petty like getting a parking ticket.

Happy travels.....

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Watch the Sky

I looked up at the autumnal sky yesterday and it made me laugh out loud.

It dawned on me; the sky is a constant reminder that our so called problems in our illusory dramas are incredibly small.

'Watch the sky.
Keep looking.
Watch the sky.
Keep looking.
Keep looking.
Keep Looking.
Tell this to everybody wherever they are.'

Transglobal Underground - Temple Head

Monday, 25 October 2010

Lucky You!!

I felt calm this morning as I drove to work. It was a fresh, crisp morning and the sun was just beginning to cover everything in a blanket of gold. As I stopped at a set of traffic lights I began to watch people as they walked to work. They all had the same expression on their faces; a look of concern, a look of being lost in thought, lost in their dramas. 

Every person I looked at seemed to be searching for anything that lasts forever. Constantly on the hunt for something that can't or won't slip away - and that thing they're hunting for 'will bring them happiness and fulfilment'.

The hunt goes on and on.

That thing is not out there.

We live in the world of forms, and all forms are in a constant state of flux. 'All forms are unstable' as Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth.

All forms will become formless within time.

Contentment and peace are found in being, not doing (and especially not in buying).

Open your ears.

Open your eyes.




It's all here, right in front of you.

Watch the universal breath enter your dense physical form and then calmly leave - only for the cycle to start again all by itself.


Lucky you!!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Bad Vibes

I could sense the low feeling gradually creeping up on me yesterday, and it was just that - a feeling. I found it very easy to 'blame' something, anything, that I thought might have caused this crappy feeling to arrive uninvited, but I took a step back - mentally.

Instead of making the feeling a part of my story (the story of Gavin) I tried my best to separate myself from it, becoming the observer of the feeling. Now I say 'try' because, depending on the intensity of the feeling, it can be very difficult. They suck you in and you end up looking for people or circumstances that may have caused it, when, in fact, they've got nothing to do with it.

When you become the observer you see that these 'bad vibes' (which are not bad at all) are perfectly natural. They come and go like waves and it's entirely up to you how long they stay in your presence. If you cling to them, making them a part of your story - your drama - then they will last so much longer than if you just watch them do their dance.

Just accept them as a feeling, a change in your energy vibration and nothing more.

My star sign is Cancer, a sign renowned for being moody, but also a sign that's governed by the moon.

I'm fascinated with the moon. I could spend hours just looking at it. I find it very meditative and therapeutic. I'm now very aware of when there's a full moon; I get very irritated and almost depressed and lose focus. My thoughts get amplified and I end up taking them literally and to heart. 

This is something I need to work on and prepare for in the future!

Does anybody else feel this?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Book People

On Sunday my girlfriend and I were watching Jamie Oliver's new program, the one where he makes a decent meal in 30mins.

I said to her, 'I'd like the book that accompanies this.'

The next day she rang me from work and said, 'You know the 'Book People' that come to my work? Well they have that book you mentioned. Do you want it?'

Yes please!

She came home with it that day - the day after I had asked for it!

The law of attraction at work what!

Check'm out:

The 'R' Word

I was wondering how long it would take for there to be cuts in the office I work in: today the 'R' word was mentioned for next year. Supposedly they're getting rid of about 50 of us.

Never mind. What will be will be, I guess.

Even though there's the credit crunch and the government are making cuts left, right and centre, I still think there are plenty of jobs out there. 

No need to worry.

Everything always sorts itself out.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Perfect Pond

Every Monday from 18:30 to 20:30 I do voluntary work at my local hospice. On the signing in sheet I'm down as 'Security'. This means I have to go round the gardens checking the doors and windows are shut properly and there're no 'undesirables' hanging around on the premises.

A lot of work has gone into the gardens to make them what they are now. A path snakes its way through the flower beds, with benches dotted beneath large oaks. It leads to a pond where, in Summer, you can watch the newts beneath the murky water. It was this pond that, on Monday, I sat and meditated for a few minutes. It was just getting dark; I listened to the river (that's just beyond the boundaries of the gardens) crashing behind me and watched as the bats caught their supper above me. 

An overwhelming sense of gratitude came of over me. 

Everything was perfect.

...and it still is.