Imagine yourself in a new town. You have time to spare so you hire a tour guide. You meet at 9 am and he offers you an itinerary – the local museum, the waterfalls, the historic bridges, the castle etc. You turn up at 9 am all ready for the day. All goes according to plan – for the first three minutes. You follow his words and gaze around the charming little museum and then he’s off… First he talks about where the word museum comes from then what museums would be like if they were all under water, then… Read More »Tour Guide
One of the most challenging aspects of life as a human is dealing with our brains. The history of our species is written into this ugly jelly sloshing around in our heads and there’s not much we can do about it. At the root of us is the reptilian brain, that core set of responses we share with reptiles and which still takes up space inside us – and it’s a good thing too. We might live in the twenty-first century but we still need to be aware of any dangers in our environment. The mammalian brain is still there… Read More »Stop Fighting: You’ll lose!
It’s a common experience – that eerie feeling that you cant quite see the way ahead. As the Talking Heads song has it ‘Well – how did I get here?” But what you probably do when this happens is bury the feeling and just keep on keeping on. Here’s an exercise that you might try to open up your sense of the here and now and potentially re-orient yourself. It’s very hi-tech – you’ll need a pencil and paper. Step One – Who drew your map? We’ve all heard the cliché that life’s a journey but its worth taking a… Read More »Lost?
Are you paying attention? Really? Are you? Or is your mind elsewhere already? Have you jumped a couple of lines to see how this ends? Is 300 words too long to wait? If it is and you are then settle down (or at least try to!) what you’re doing is utterly typical and completely in fashion Have you noticed that so much of your life is postponed, distracted, ill-focused? You walk down the street listening to music that reminds you of your past while emailing a friend about something that may or may not happen in the future. In the… Read More »Monkey Brains
(Or as Homer once mis-pronounced it – ‘What’s a gyyymm?’) It’s common enough nowadays to talk about the body as a machine. Ever since the early physicians began to examine cadavers they seized on mechanical explanations for how we operate. Yes indeed – the thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone. Such mechanical explanations are very useful. Anyone visiting a doctor who dismissed such connections is best advised to move rapidly in the opposite direction. Gyms are themselves giant machines in which we run and pull on machines to gain rewards from machines – they’ll even reward you with a… Read More »Men and the Gym
What’s the trickiest part of meditation? The most common complaint is that it’s so difficult to find the time and even when you do there’s the constant interruptions… Another classic excuse is that ‘there’s just this problem at work/with the kids/with my Oyster card/with my Gilbert O’Sullivan fan club membership etc etc. You know… But perhaps the trickiest part of a meditation is what to do once you do manage to get to you bench, cushion or chair. Lets imagine that you have managed to put things on hold and he/she/it is not bothering you. The real difficulty lies in… Read More »Life sentences
Does intimacy means different things to men and women? Despite the considerable advances made by feminism it remains the case that popular culture offers more time and space for women to discuss their problems with men rather than vice versa. From daytime television to weekly magazines men are often seen as objects of ridicule: daytime talk shows portray men as failing to meet bogus standards of masculinity; problem pages offer endless testimony to men’s unreliability and fecklessness. An alien coming to earth would be confused that this much derided category of being seems to be the most maligned while still… Read More »Intimacy
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but there’s a lot of cleverness about these days. Quiz shows are packed to the rafters with smart young folk sparking away in exchange for applause and future bookings. And why not? We could all do with a break and these bristling snappy shows provide quips a plenty in easy to eat packages. But what happens when the clever snap, crackle and pop isn’t enough? The witty young contestants in these shows are paid to show off, illustrating their verbal dexterity in displays which lazy critics call witty. It is in effect a play… Read More »Being clever: It’s a young mans game
Have you seen those sinkholes in Florida – huge gaping spaces where houses and cars used to be? They look as if some giant had poked a huge hole in the ground. It must be incredible for the owners to find that all they had taken for granted has just gone. Sometimes we experience personal sinkholes of our own. Usually our thought patterns just toddle along the well worn paths of routine, hemmed in by the prickly hedges of anxiety and fear but for the most part comfortably predictable and then one day – wham! A sinkhole opens up in… Read More »Sinkholes
What sort of relationship do you have with yourself? It might seem an odd question but it’s worth thinking through. None of us truly wake up alone. Perhaps your days begin with a review of the nights’ dreams (“So there was a trowel, Depeche Mode and Lowestoft – what could that mean?”), a brief check that everything is still in place and then a plan of the day. And why not? The species likes to plan. We like a sense of order, the knowledge that if we do A then there’s a good chance that B will follow. Certainly gives… Read More »Good Companions?