Oxygen: The Optimal Fuel for our Body and Brain

We focus on eating healthily. Moving regularly. Sleeping well. Training our minds. But, do we also provide our body with the optimum fuel to keep us alert, vitalised, thinking clearly and relaxed? Fuel that helps us recover from stress, boosts our immune system and enriches every cell in our body?

What is that fuel? Oxygen.

How do we ensure that we get it in large quantities? Through breathing effectively.

We all know how to breathe. We can do it with no conscious thought at all. Yet how much of our unconscious breathing is taking in the oxygen we need to provide us with all the benefits we can obtain from breathing well? Read More

Turning Poison into Medicine: How to Move Through Challenges… and Become Happier

 

The idea of ‘turning poison into medicine’ comes from a form of Buddhism called Nichiren Buddhism. This is a sect of Japanese Buddhism based on the teachings of its founder Nichiren in the 13th century. One of the key tenets of this approach is that our suffering is not caused by our attachment to our desires, as traditional Buddhism teaches. It purports, instead, that our suffering is caused by our belief that we lack the personal power to overcome the challenges that confront us. That ultimately, we are powerless in the face of adversity. And this can lead us to states of severe anxiety and depression where we are consumed by feelings of powerlessness, worry and despair. Read More

May I be Spacious …

What has this got to do with Luck?

One of the key qualities that Buddhist traditions focus upon is equanimity. Equanimity is said to be the balance, born of wisdom; the ability to have an open perspective in our lives which in turn, leads us to often greater understanding and patience in our life experiences. It also embraces the ability to let go of control and accept that which is with ease. With equanimity comes a spaciousness in our lives. This spaciousness embraces a willingness to open our focus beyond purely what we want in any situation. Read More

Desire is the Problem

This is a well known philosophy from Buddha about our desires. Buddha taught that our desires and our attachments to certain conditions and circumstances are the root of our pain and our suffering. Let’s explore this further because as human beings, it is very hard not to desire things and to want certain circumstances to happen!
I like to think of it this way: it is fine to desire things and what makes us magnetic to those very things we desire is to come from that place that says, “I desire this, and yet I don’t need it. I am happy if things work out this way and I am happy if they work out another way.” Read More

The Dantien – How Can it Help Us?

Today, as it was such a beautiful sunny day, I sensed it would be good to go for a run outside, rather than doing my training in the gym. I ran around the lovely St George’s Hill near Weybridge, which is well known for being the estate where Cliff Richard lives. It also has lots of hills and very few flat areas so, although I didn’t see Cliff, I did get a good work-out on my 8k run, which I then followed up with 20 minutes in the gym walking up steep hills on the treadmill. Read More

The Benefits of Buddhist “Walking Meditation”

In May I went to Ireland to go on a Buddhist meditation retreat with Buddhist meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, who runs the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Throughout the retreat we had to honour the Buddhist tradition of “noble silence”, which means that we had no communication or eye contact with anybody else for the duration of the retreat. This also includes no TV, radio, IPods or texts! The idea of noble silence is that it sends your awareness inwards when it is freed from the usual stimuli of the outside world. What happens initially is that the inner workings of your mind speed up when free of these stimuli, but after a while your mind relaxes and accepts this quieter, more internal way of being, making it much easier to meditate. Read More

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