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).