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    Prajnaparadha, Our Crimes Against Wisdom

    Prajnaparadha is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “crimes against wisdom” (!). It’s a central concept in Yoga and Ayurveda, because it’s understood that doing things we know we shouldn’t is the cause of most disease and other suffering. Certainly, much of the suffering I have encountered personally and professionally has been the result of not doing what I knew I should, or doing what I knew I shouldn’t! Choosing to do something that we know deep down is not good for us – by ignoring or overriding our intuition or simple common sense – inevitably leads to trouble down the line.  Sometimes it’s only little things, like feeling uncomfortable after…

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    The real nature of karma

    With so much madness in our world it’s really hard to avoid being drawn into the negativity and dualistic thinking (good/bad, us/them…) that perpetuates it. We say we want peace but we attack others for their opinions, whether it be what food to eat (as in “go vegan to protect animals from violence, or else you’re a murderous, ignorant scumbag”) or which religion to follow (“mine is the best” – including the religion of no religion!). While we (usually) censor ourselves outwardly for social acceptability, our thoughts can harbour judgements and hatreds that stretch back generations, as well as resentments and jealousies that spring from recent experience. In the true…

  • Blog,  Featured

    A plea for mindfulness in mindless times

    If we are truly mindful, we can see that nothing is at it appears to be. Looking deeply, as all sages have taught, shows us that the root cause of our suffering can be traced back to our thoughts, and acts of violence that promote further suffering can themselves be traced back to earlier suffering – also stemming from earlier violence, and always caused by ignorance. It doesn’t really matter what or why. The suffering is there and the desire to make another suffer springs from that. Misery loves company, as the saying goes. However much we would like to imagine it so, our spiritual practice and awareness can’t be…

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    Mindfulness of Maya

    Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya ~ “pure consciousness is the only reality; the physical world is virtual reality.” On a recent visit to Bruges, it occurred to me that this charming city could be a brilliant metaphor for the ancient Indian concept of Maya. On the surface, it’s a beautiful and vibrant town that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, but, looking deeper, one can see that the main reason it’s a vibrant town is because of its superficial appearance, and its economy is based on this attraction to such an extent that the city itself feels more like a theme park than a real town. The illusion both…