Raspberry leaves and sweet silence

For this morning’s Buddhist service, rather than sitting in the shrine room we went outside. We spent forty minutes snaking single file around the temple garden, slowly placing one foot in front of the other. The gravel was sharp and woke up my bare soles, and then the dew cooled them. A robin accompanied us with her confident song. We […]

In praise of cheerleading

This weekend my nieces took part in the children’s mini-marathon in Greenwich Park. After a mass warm up with stretches and jumping jacks, we saw them off at the starting line. Luma (5 and a mini-marathon first timer) ran with her mum, and Ramona (7 and a veteran) with my brother. The route looped and snaked around […]

What is your heart’s purpose?

Last night, as a part of the weekly Buddhist practice I offer online, my Dharma talk was about this quote: The big distinction between good art and so-so art lies somewhere in the art’s heart’s purpose, the agenda of the consciousness behind the text. It’s got something to do with love. With having the discipline […]

What do you need but not want?

A lot of the things I offer to the world are a ‘hard sell’. Nobody skips happily to see me for psychotherapy, where they pay money to feel horrible. People are understandably sceptical of our form of Buddhism, which encourages us to acknowledge our foolishness and to open to the Other. My latest book is called […]

What’s your cheese?

I just walked past our old cat Fatty, curled up on the back of the sofa. He opened one eye lazily and, as I neared the fridge, leapt from his comfy blanket and trotted over to me. For several years now we’ve been treating Fatty’s dodgy thyroid with daily lunchtime pills. We discovered that the most […]

Are you a saint or a pickpocket?

“When a pickpocket sees a saint, he sees only his pockets. When a saint sees a pickpocket, he sees only god.” ~ Ramana Maharshi The pickpocket survives by taking money from other people’s pockets. Yes, he could have made different choices. We can always choose differently. But we will never know how it was for the pickpocket […]

On being lazy

I have always strongly identified as Someone Who Works Hard. When speaking to friends, I catch myself complaining about how busy I am. When I look back at a day crammed with work, I feel good about myself. Recently I’ve also noticed that I am Someone Who Wants To Do Nothing. To hide under a furry blanket […]

On being our own mothers

Today I framed this baby Satya, so she can sit on the bookshelf just to the right of my desk. I am slowly getting better at looking after the little Satya that is still inside me. For years I didn’t listen to her. I ignored her fear when I was out of my depth, and […]

Taking care of the temple

Remember that at any given moment there are a thousand things you can love.  ~ David Levithan This morning I lugged plant pots up and down two flights of stairs, washed slippers, tidied out some drawers and cleaned away drifts of incense dust, and it made me very happy. It’s been too long since Kaspa & I […]