Posts Tagged ‘meditation’


May 5, 2014
Meditation - Dasha Balashova

Meditation – Dasha Balashova

Meditation, oil on canvas by Dasha Balashova.

Happy birthday Dasha!

Paulo Coelho – Mein Leben/Ma Vie

December 26, 2012

Paulo Coelho uses archery as a form of meditation.

The Way of the Bow is a mediation on archery.

Please feel free to download a free audio book of The Way of the Bow (limited to 200 free books per month, always free to listen on-line, to share).

The passage of time

October 27, 2012
Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

Greenwich Meridian at former RAF base East Kirkby

We only need an accurate measure of time because we travel.

Everywhere had local time, time set by the sundial, clocks and watches set by the church clock or town hall.

When we travel, we travel through time and space.

With the fastest mode of travel by stagecoach, which was measured in days, not hours, local time was ok. With the arrival of steam trains hurtling along at the unheard of 80 mph there was a need for a universal time, railway time, for accurate timetables. The station clock, or the station master’s pocket watch, was now the time by which time was set.

Travel by ship needed an accurate time piece by which to measure longitude.

We measure time by change. The burning of a candle, dripping of water, swinging of a pendulum, vibration of a quartz crystal.

The vibration of a quartz crystal varies with the voltage across the crystal and its temperature. For very accurate clocks, the voltage is stabilized and the temperature controlled.

In the 1970s I was making very accurate measurements and was using atomic clocks.

Atomic clocks are so accurate that as with leap years and extra days, we have to add leap seconds to account for the earth’s rotation.

The astronauts in the Space Station circle the earth once every forty minutes, They use GMT.

GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, referenced to the Greenwich Meridian that runs through Greenwich.

Travel on a plane as the sun is setting, and you can experience the sun set over an extended period, often dipping and rising.

We can be outside of time, time can stand still.

We are outside of time when we meditate.

When I was with my lovely Russian friend Lena time stood still.

In Aleph, Paulo Coelho discusses the aleph where time and space meet at a point.

Sometimes we have no time for the things that matter.

We only exist in the present, the past no longer exists, the future has yet to happen.

Time did not always exist. Time came into existence at the time the universe was created. Before then there was no time.

Tonight, strictly speaking 2am Sunday morning, clocks go back one hour from BST (British Summer Time) to GMT.

We go forward in the spring to give an extra hour in the evening. But in the summer, we have extra hours in the evening. In the winter, when we have less time in the evening, the clocks go back, gving us even less time, making the nights long and dark, with it getting dark early evening.

The Way of the Bow

September 1, 2012
The Way of the Bow

The Way of the Bow

What is a bow without arrows? Like an author without books.

What is a bow without arrows? Like an author without books.

The Way of the Bow

by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer, author of The Pilgrimage, The Alchemist and Aleph. His latest book Manuscrito encontrado em Accra was published in Brazil July 2012 and will be published the rest of the world late 2012, early 2013.

The Way of the Bow

A prayer without a deed is an arrow without a bow-string

A deed without a prayer is a bow-string without an arrow

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Way of the Bow is a meditation on the art of archery.

The Way of the Bow, centres around the story of Tetsuya, the best archer in the country, who conveys his teachings to a boy in his village.

A few quotes from The Way of the Bow

“The best allies are those who do not think like everyone else. When you seek companions, trust your intuition and pay no attention to what anyone else may say. People always judge others by taking as a model their own limitations, and other people’s opinions are often full of prejudice.”

“Join with those who experiment, take risks, fall, get hurt and then take more risks. Stay away from those who affirm truths, who criticize those who do not think like them.”

“Join with those who are flexible as the wood of your bow. They are people who do not hesitate to change direction when they encounter some insuperable barrier. They have the qualities of water: flowing around rocks, adapting to the course of the river…”

“Join with those who sing, tell stories, take pleasure in life, and have joy in their eyes, because joy is contagious and can prevent others from becoming paralyzed by depression, loneliness and difficulties. Join with those who do their work with enthusiasm.”

The Way of the Bow audio book is available as free download. If you enjoy, please feel free to make a donation to the Paulo Coelho Institute.

The Paulo Coelho Institute was founded by Paulo and his wife Christina to help street kids in Rio.

There is currently a limit on downloads of 200 free downloads per month (set by bandcamp). There is no limit on paid for downloads. If the limit for the month has been exceeded please try again the following month. You may listen on-line as often as you like.

Please feel free to share The Way of the Bow with friends. There is no limit on sharing.

The Way of the Bow is available as an e-book free download from frostwire

Please also look out for special offers on Paulo Coelho back catalogue with downloads of e-books available at $0.99 per e-book.

The cover art is detail from a painting exhibited by Chris Skillicorn-Aston @ The Barn.

bandcamp is a site that enables listening, sharing and downloading.


Keith Parkins – executive producer, liner notes
Elaine Street – audio recording
Chris Skillicorn-Aston – cover art, details from a painting
Calvin Hales and Central Utah Educational Services – tech support

The music is from a free download site called soundzabound … Our song is “Mellow Woods”, from the “Easy Listening Low TempoMellow Volume”.

The Way of the Bow audio book is a collaborative venture, Paulo Coelho, Keith Parkins and Elaine Street. Everyone involved with the project has given their time, services and expertise for free.

Reflection on The Nail at St Mark’s

April 4, 2012
reflection on a wooden cross of nails

reflection on a wooden cross of nails

single lit candle

single lit candle

The Pilgrimage - Paulo Coelho

The Pilgrimage - Paulo Coelho

I was at St Mark’s this evening for two reasons:

  • service of devotional reflection on the nail
  • mark Paulo Coelho eight million friends on facebook

You will not find service of nails in a liturgical calender, at least I do not think so, I am no expert on church dates.

For the last few weeks, St Mark’s has been running a book club on The Nail. This evening was a service of reflection and meditation.

How would you have acted if you were one of the following:

  • Peter (who denied)
  • the soldiers (who were only following orders)
  • Pontius Pilate (Roman provincial governor who washed his hands of the whole affair)
  • Caiaphas (High Priest who wished to maintain his status)
  • Judas (who betrayed)
  • the disciples (who ran away and hid)
  • the criminals (who hung on crosses alongside)
  • the crowd (who bayed for blood)

The one group who were not mentioned were the women. The women did not run away and hide, did not deny, did not betray. The women remained with Jesus until the end.

We were asked to each hold a nail, to imagine how we would react?

Would we have driven in the nails if ordered to do so, bayed for blood, run away or denied we knew Jesus, or would we have stood up and challenged what was taking place? Would we have followed religious doctrine and dogma, or would we have listened to our heart?

How we would behave we do not know until we are in a situation.

Last year I had someone try to kill me. I am lucky to be alive.

I would probably speak out, and then be hung on the cross.

How many people reflect on their own lifestyle, the impact it has on those around them?

Do we ask where our food comes from, our clothes? How is it grown, produced?

Slow fashion v fast fashion.

Faded washed out jeans, literally killer jeans. Do we ask of those who are killed to produce the faded jeans, especially when we can get the same look through hard work, not throwing our clothes away every few months, or simply buying second hand jeans?

I resisted the temptation to dig the nail into my hand to focus on the pain, a technique Paulo Coelho describes in The Pilgrimage.

We were also asked to focus on a cross of nails on the floor in front of us. The lit candle represented light, hope, at a time of darkness.

For a future run up to Easter I would suggest ‘I Thirst’.

On Sunday, Paulo Coelho exceeded eight million friends on facebook. By common consensus it was agreed to have 24 hours of prayer and acts of random kindness.

The prayer was at 6pm local time today. I was later than 6pm, but then I do not determine the opening times of St Mark’s

I lit a candle for Canon Andrew White (for his work in Iraq), for Paulo Coelho (thanks for his writing and the wonderful St Joseph’s Day party at which I was his guest last month), Mio Baba (for a wonderful three days together in Bassano del Grappa).

I donated to the church library The Pilgrimage.

A celebration of Holy Week at St Mark’s by the children
Maundy Thursday
The Cross
Mary’s thoughts on her way to Calvary

Cross at St Nicolas

January 17, 2012
cross St Nicolas

cross St Nicolas

I was passing by St Nicolas in Guildford. As I always do, I checked the noticeboard as they often have something interesting on, though sadly too often they neglect to mention on their noticeboard.

Christian meditation. I had missed it. But at least it meant I might find the church open.

As I walked in, the sun just caught the cross suspended above the altar.

Any other time, and the sun would not have caught the cross. On reflection I realised nor would it any other time of the year as the sun would be too high in the sky.

It had been cloudy all morning or hazy sun, unlike the previous days with clear blue sky. The sun came out to illuminate the figures on the cross whilst I was in the church. When I left the church, the sun vanished behind the clouds.

I had a brief word with Father Andrew who thanked me for the DVD of a talk I gave him of Canon Andrew White.

Canon Andrew White at Guildford Baptist Church

I lit several candles: for Canon Andrew White, Lina and Fulla, Paulo Coelho for writing Aleph, my mad friend Sian and my friend Lilly.

Hopefully next week I will make the meditation. I may be wrong but I think 1230 until 1315 Tuesday lunchtimes.

Reflections on meditation

July 18, 2011

When we think of meditation, we think of an Eastern tradition, individuals or groups in a meditative trance chanting Om.

This is true, but only partly true.

Sometimes I find myself in Guildford when the Guildford Cathedral choir is in Holy Trinity for sung Evensong. The words are lost on me, it is a wonderful meditative experience.

Sung evensong in Holy Trinity
Beautiful sung evensong

When people chant in a group, they synchronise and resonate with each other.

As the Abbot of Alton Abbey recently warned, be wary of meditating on your own. You can get lost, you need a guide. [see Does it matter how we pray?]

Nor is chanting necessarily a scared experience. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, we have the Two Minutes Hate, where those present chant B-B.

Longplayer is a piece of music that is designed to last for one thousand years. A meditation using six Tibetan bowls. Composed by Jem Finer, one of the founding members of the group The Pogues.

The Power of Om

‘I Thirst’

April 20, 2011

I Thirst

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst’. A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. — John 19:28-30

‘I Thirst’, according to the Gospel of John (John 19:28), these were the last words Jesus cried out on the cross before he died.

It was during his time as parish priest at St Wilfred’s in Chichester during the late 1980s, early 1990s, that the church acquired a new cross. It was from reflecting on the cross and a sermon Stephen Cottrell gave the following Good Friday there grew a series of meditations on the cross.

Lent is a period of reflection, of spiritual renewal. This is often forgotten when we hear people telling us what they have given up for Lent. Are they really renewed because they have given up chocolate for a few weeks? No doubt to then pig on a chocolate Easter Egg.

Lent is supposed to be a time when we review our spiritual life, think about what what it means to be a follower of Christ, reset the compass of our discipleship, and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Easter festival. But often we just give up biscuits.

It is a monastic tradition lectio divinato (divine reading) to read a passage from scripture out loud, then in the silence that follows to speak out a word or phrase, then mediate upon what has been read.

It is in that tradition that Stephen Cottrell asks that you read and meditate upon ‘I Thirst’, appropriately subtitled The Cross – The Great Triumph of Love.

N T Wright, The Challenge of Jesus:

The cross is the surest, truest and deepest window on the very heart and character of the living and loving God; the more we learn about the cross, in all its historical and theological dimensions, the more we discover about the one in whose image we are made, and hence about our own vocation to be the cross-bearing people, the people in whose lives and services the living God is known.

Essential reading for Easter.

Passover supper
Holy Week
The First Easter Week Musing
Quema de Palmitos
Ash Wednesday
The Cross

Paulo Coelho on archery and meditation

April 8, 2011

Stunning photography!

Note paintings by Christina on the wall in the background.

I have no idea where I am going

February 16, 2011
winding road

winding road

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

From Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

I have always been impressed by Thomas Merton, although I have never read any of his works. I find him quoted by other people. I always think of Thomas Merton as a deep ecologist, more Zen Buddhist than Christian monk.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) Anglo-American Catholic writer, Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, poet, social activist and student of comparative religion.

For my lovely friend Sian.

%d bloggers like this: