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Showing posts from February, 2020

A lake bound journey of liberation

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On a visit to the monastery of St Naum, on the shores of Lake Ohrid, I remember standing alone in the small side chapel that houses his tomb. I was looking at one of the frescoed images of his life and meditating. Suddenly, an adjustment was made to the pattern of my breathing, and its association with the mantra, as if an instruction had been given from without, though silently. It was a micro-adjustment, so gentle and subtle, but one that gave me then, continuing now, a renewing focus. I only have to stand there in my imagination again to receive the helpful 'nudge' once more, to go more deeply into the breath of things.

It is that kind of place for those who recognize or are recognized by it, as Kassabova does, is.

It is at St Naum that Kapka Kassabova finishes her journey in her remarkable book: 'To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace.' It continues and extends her reflection on borders of her previous book: 'Border: A Journey on the Edge of Europe'…

Yoga's surprising journey

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When I learned Transcendental Meditation in my early teens in the 1970s, I kept it quiet from my peers for fear of appearing weird. A decade later, when helping to found the Prison Phoenix Trust (PPT) to provide opportunities for inmates to learn yoga and meditation, the situation had not greatly improved. The work being fitfully supported within pockets of the prison service and looked upon with varying degrees of suspicion by its chaplaincy service.

Fast forward and the landscape is transformed - yoga is a multi-billion dollar industry and mindfulness is practiced in the boardroom. Happily too, the work of the PPT enjoys widespread support from the Prison Service, it appears to have entered the mainstream.

Yet too there is a legitimate concern with this explosion of interest. After all, is not yoga meant to be an exacting spiritual discipline enabling the practitioner to discover their fundamental, underlying reality as one with the Self that manifests all that is?

Not necessarily …