Reframing your mind: changing negative to positive one micro story at a time

“Whatever you want to succeed at, you need to replace any negative scripts you might have with positive ones” (Ash and Gerrand 2002: 7). We need to reframe our minds, changing negative stories to positive stories, one micro story at a time. Eve Ash and Rob Gerrand's (2002) Rewrite your life! is a book full of tips on how to reframe the micro stories in your mind from negative to positive affirmations, that empower you to be work hard (rather than procrastinate), be confident (rather than full Read more [...]

Taming the beast: technology, corporatism and our shared future

Have we reached a point in the processes of industrialisation, globalisation, and corporatisation in which we have lost control over our culture, our lives and our shared future? Looking at my life, the lives of those around me, the media and global politics and economics, I think we have. It seems to me that technology controls us, rather than us controlling it. Corporations control us, rather than us controlling it. Laws control us, rather than us controlling them. We have become slaves Read more [...]

Slave to society

Society draws us into its world of the trivial, making us slaves to the superficial, the menial, its time-wasting ego-based self-absorbed naval-gazing meaninglessness. It is evermore relentlessness with its inescapable myriad of communication paths that bath you in guilt. "I haven't replied to this." "I haven't called that person back." "I have to do this." "I must remember that." The voices in my head remind me that I could spend my whole life, day in day out, responding to this and that. It Read more [...]

Commemorating 100 years of Alan Watts

Today marks the 100-year birthday of Alan Watts. While Watts’ "came out of this world" on 6 January 1915, and "returned to the world" in 1973 (far too young, at 58 years old), his legacy continues and expands in influence and appreciation. Alan Watts was a polymath of spirituality, religions, mysticism, philosophy, psychology, phenomenological, among his many disciplines. Though he tried to prevent labels, he was an expert in Zen Buddhism, Taoism, had a stint as an Episcopal clergyman, and Read more [...]

Retreat from the city: Watts’ mountain cabins and old ferry-boats

My partner, a sculptural artist, and I, with my love of writing, have been thinking about ways we might create some sort of retreat from the city. As I read Alan Watts' biographies I have been curiously uncovering his two most unusual abodes: a communal mountain retreat with Gary Snyder, Catharine A. MacKinnon, Elsa Gidlow and others at Druid Heights, and an old ferry-boat named SS Vallejo with artist Jean Varda and other party-goers in San Fransisco Bay. Druid Heights, Mount Tamalpais "What Read more [...]

A Wattsian Message of Happiness for 2015

In 1940, as the Second World War began its violence, a 25-year old Alan Watts published a book called The Meaning of Happiness. Its subtitle was the quest for freedom of the spirit in modern psychology and the wisdom of the East. This book shares the same essential message of  countless books, articles and lectures that followed: you are not only what is inside your "bag of skin", you are what is outside of it too. To kick off the new year, let me explain what this means and how it relates to Read more [...]

2014 in review

September 2014 marked the five year anniversary of this blog and I didn't even notice. My adventures with ideas haven't stopped, but unfortunately I've been out of the habit of sharing them online. I went to Istanbul in August to present a paper at the International Peace Research Association (IPRA)'s 50th anniversary conference. My talk was on the Global Ecological Crisis: A "New Story" to Address Structural Violence. This was a slice of my MPhil research, which I graduated from in November. Read more [...]

Clutter to clarity – using mantras Soham and Humsa

Mantra literally translates to mind (man) vehicle (tra) - intended to transport your mind from the busy clutter to stillness and clarity. It is also translated to mind protector. A "mantra" is essentially a saying - a few words or sentences that you say over and over again in your head. Your mantra might be 'I am stressed' 'I am stressed'. Or it might be 'I am that'... Soham or its inversion Hamsa. Soham means I am everything that exists, and everything is one. This is the essence of spiritual Read more [...]

Listen to Your Younger Self

I recently watched a show where "Elders" were asked what advice they would give to their 20-year old self. I imagined myself in my mid-to-late seventies being ask that question: what advice might my older self give to my present self? "Listen to your younger self". By this I do not mean to advise one to listen to that insecure or arrogant version of you, in your teenage years or early twenties, but to listen to the optimism and openness of your earliest years of life, and which sometimes can be Read more [...]

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