The dweller in the Heart Cave

Yesterday was as black as they get, and despite everything I tried, I sank deep into the empty darkness of despair. But simply holding on to the passing awareness of the true still heart, somehow I came through.
At the deepest point, I sat in meditation, listening to one of the beautiful guided meditations from Baba Ram Dass on the Be Here Now Network website, Focused on the Buddhist Gate mantra: 
Gate, gate Gone, gone Para gate, para sum gate Gone beyond, gone beyond beyond Bodhi swahah To that One, praise!
And as I sat, empty of all but the awareness of the breath, it became an ocean of awareness in which I both floated and encompassed - and at the heart of me coalesced an image of my Lord Shiva, dancing the Universe into being and destruction, and HIS face, like that of the Greenman I wear under the skin of my back, became my own: and I knew that even in the depths of my despair, the soul of GOD and my own soul were in fact ONE.
And …

“Dearest; I think that I am going mad again..."

“Dearest; I think that I am going mad again..."
I don’t think there is a better ‘description’ of how it feels to fall into depression than this achingly sorrowful music by Max Richter , inspired by the writings - and suicide - of Virginia Wolfe...
I listen to it and I hear and recognise the same slowly tightening circles of obsessive thinking, the deep low pulse and undertow of dark thoughts, the slow calcification of aching withdrawal into a hopeless stillness, the maddening fear and certainty that ‘this time might be the final time...’ - and the helplessness of knowing that your are hurting those who love you most - but feeling, falsely, that they might finally be able to find a kind of happiness and a sense of release should you finally fill your pockets with stones, and disappear beneath those dark waves without a trace...
And yet, despite its darkness, it is some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard - and, strangely, that makes me feel that, maybe, whilst I can still hea…

#Pride and protest

So here we are in June, and the start of the strangest #Pride month I’ve known: no mass celebrations, no marches, no chance to get together with community and friends to celebrate and support, protest and defend - and hardly a word from all the normal Corporate sponsors and ‘allies’ who would be rushing to show their ‘support’ for the #LGBT+ community with their #RainbowFlags (which many have now simply whitewashed and appropriated as the #NHSRainbow instead, without a word).
But this year gives us all a chance to remember what #Pride is actually FOR - it’s not simply an excuse to party, or to rainbow-wash and make money: #Pride started as a protest - a RIOT: led by black drag queens and disadvantaged Queens and Leathermen who had finally had ENOUGH of brutality and intolerance from the police and the state, who refused to lie down quietly and rose up to DEMAND their visibility, their rights, and their HUMANITY. 
2020 is the International Year of LGBT Rights - in a world where being gay…

Presence and Love - and the Great Cosmic Drama

Presence and LoveBe present; open the heart; be here, now.
That is all we are asked to do; all that we can do.  Be present - open the heart - be here. In the love, and the hurt, the certainty and confusion; in the swirl and tempest of arising, and in the still centre of the storm. 
Be present. Open the heart. Be here, now. 
It’s this that you came into being for - to experience this - all of it: every pain and ecstasy of the flesh, every doubt and certainty of the mind. This is what incarnation is for: to Be here, now, in the midst of it all, with an open heart and a fully realised soul.
Yes, it is all illusion - a great and beautiful cosmic drama: the ONE become many, each with their parts and their roles to play in the infinite unfolding of the discovery of the Cosmic Soul, the ultimate Truth - each illusory oneness of consciousness so deeply committed to their part that we forgot it’s just a role in a play of ‘let’s pretend’ - a vast and gloriously infinite game of hide and seek. Oh, B…

The great Cosmic Truth

Om mani padme hum!Aum Namah Shivaya!Allah Akbar!The kingdom of God is within you: God is inside.God is. Inside.

The Unmanifest Divine is here: in my heart, in the very atoms of my body and soul. If you open the heart, you will find that you already have all you ever needed to be free: because here, in the cave of my heart, is the gateway to bliss.
So many voices speaking the same Truths. So many facets to the infinite Gem; So many faces to the nameless One. So many masks, infinitely mirrored, reflecting and refracting the one True Source. So many petals to the Infinite Lotus as it endlessly unfolds upon the Ocean of Time...
Every One a reaching out, an expansion of love, a lens to focus the Light of Awakening - and yet destined to become a mask beyond which few can see - an obstruction to the untouched experience of the Source itself...
And yet, is all those many words not merely the ego, the rational self, trying to pin infinity with a word...?

The universality of shame and hurt

Shame is universalWe all feel shame - you are not unique. We all feel guilt. We all are lost in our own fantasies of separation.
Suffering is universal. Suffering is human, the experience of humanity. But  suffering is the gateway to the open heart - to the realisation that we ALL suffer, and are one in our suffering - and so suffering becomes the path to true compassion: for others, for oneself, and for all beings. It is the compassion of the open heart: of unconditional love - the love that recognises that all our suffering has one root cause: our false belief that we are separated from that which we love - that we are not where we should be - that we are not who we are meant to be... 
All that pain, all that suffering has one source: it is the self-creating suffering of the ego-self, so desperate to feel and believe it’s own uniqueness and independent power, that it denies and turns away from the all embracing universality of experience, shuts itself off from the infinite sea of bein…

The life-affirming gift of meditation

I have lived with depression, anxiety, mental illness and suicidal tendencies for much of my adult life. The one other constant - and the reason I am still here at all - is meditation, mindful movement and yoga;  without these, I know I would not still be here.
I first learnt to meditate at University, joining a Zazen class taught by my Jesuit lecturers at Heythrop College in London, and Tai Chi; later, I learnt Vipassana meditation and yoga - and met so many beautiful teachers and fellow travellers and great souls along the way - they are my sangha who by their compassion and love prove to me everyday that even though life may be painful, it is still truly beautiful and hopefilled, if only you open your heart.

Sitting with oneself is not always happy or pleasant (as the Zen masters say: ‘until you have wept in meditation, you have not meditated at all’...), but it is the only way to truly see and know the endless arising and falling away of the attachments and distractions of the mind …