Saluting the Sun #1: Standing Prayer and Mountain

Tadasana 1 and Tadasana 2: Urdhva Baddha Hastasana           

#1 Tad 1 & 2“People do not pay attention to the correct method of standing,”1 says BKS Iyengar in his comments on this basic, initial pose, from which everything else emanates. May not come as a surprise to learn that the entire focus is on inner balance, and that that inner balance expresses itself outwardly through practice of all the other asanas, and indeed in your daily life as well. Standing waiting for the green man crossing light, the train, the bus, the plane, the elevator, the post office, the morning coffee; anywhere and anyhow you have to be on your feet for more than a few minutes, bring this habit of body to mind and then apply it. Stretch, relax. To stretch, you have to relax.

First things first: the feet. For proper practice of course you need to be barefoot; tadasana in shoes in the bus queue comes later. Plant them the same width apart as your shoulders, in a direct line, and rock a little back and forth on them to get them settled and spread. Stretch your toes, energize the soles of your feet, spread them out in all directions as far as you can, feel the edges, feel them tingle, feel them make live and living contact with your mat. Then the energy can rise up from that contact.

Second thing first: your breathing. All yoga asanas are driven by the breath. Every move you make should always be on the outbreath. Your breath is your most direct route possible to a calm, still, quiet mind, which is exactly what you want in all yoga and meditation. Always breathe through your nose. Focus your attention on the inner airway, way back in your head, at the back of your nasal cavity, right towards your throat. Feel the air touching the sides of the passage. Hear it inside your head, the hollow sound that could be a snore if you let it catch. (This is the section of your airway where snores come from, if they come at all.) Let it slow right down. Aim for one complete in-out cycle to take about four seconds, with at least a second’s rest before you breathe in again. Don’t force it; let it happen automatically.

Once you have got a hold of this and can hear your breath coming and going, you can start to let go your tongue. Take a look at some Google images of the throat and larynx area, and it all comes clear. The tongue is actually a huge lump of muscle, of which the long, mobile ‘tonguey’ bit is only the very top. As your breath sounds inside your head, let your tongue go and you realize how tense and active it normally is. It will take a few tries to really let go. As you crack it, you realize it is shrinking inside your mouth, taking up less space and making less saliva so you have to swallow less often. It is the simplest and best trick for quieting the mind; let go your tongue.

Your legs should be solid as a rock, but sensitive, unlike a rock. I think of them as a pair of pipes, up through which the Prān or Ch’i energy can rise. Your knees must be locked, your kneecaps pulled up at all four corners to make those legs a solid foundation, but as they settle, strong and firm, they give you such a strong base that it’s comparatively easy to tuck in your tailbone (your coccyx, if we’re being anatomical), pushing your hips slightly forward and tipping the bottom of your pelvis forward so your stomach can relax. This is crucial. It’s a very strong learned response to keep your stomach tucked in and tense. Although with the right pelvis position it isn’t going to stick out, you are nevertheless relaxing your stomach muscles and this may not chime with your idea of elegant posture. Forget about that; no one is looking at you for the moment. Let go.

Your legs are solid; your pelvis is tipped. Automatically this will open your chest, as if it were being pulled up by a string attached to your sternum, and your shoulders relax, let go and drop back. Your arms hang loose down by your sides. Your chin drops, your neck lengthens. Remember not to let your tongue tense up. Make space between the vertebrae in your neck, then up and down your spine, which is being kept straighter than normal because it’s tucked in at the very bottom, flattening out the ‘lordosis’, the natural inward curve of your spine above your hips into the small of your back (it is an area of weakness, actually). As you gain greater and greater awareness of what your spine is doing you can extend it, gain extra space between each vertebra. Bring your hands to your chest, palms together, fingers up, in the traditional prayer gesture, let your chin drop again and take seven long, slow breaths, quieting your mind the whole time.

And go straight into the Mountain version, which is basically exactly the same only with your arms up, as straight and as high as you can get them. Raise them, and as they pass your face interlace your fingers. Bring them over your head, your palms facing up, your elbows locked inwards. Try to get your palms as flat as they will go, turning the insides of your arms outwards and stretching up (gently! – don’t push!) so you can feel the stretch all the way round your arms, not just at the front. The muscles in between your shoulder blades will be shrieking. Focus on them, let them go, return the focus to your hands and palms, stretch up. It’s almost as if you are pulling yourself up with your own hands. Make yourself taller; but you have to know where to let go to be able to stretch. It’s an intense listening experience; you are listening to your body with 100 percent more attention than you normally give it. And, surprise, surprise, that attention feeds directly into your state of mind, and your consciousness.

Bring your arms down gently after your seven breaths, and get ready to go straight into Uttanasana, forward bend. The detail of which comes in the next post.

Illustrations ©Michael Munday


1 BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga, paperback revised edition, 1979. ISBN: 0-8052-1031-8

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Saluting the Sun: The Asanas

There’s 12 steps but only seven asanas, because of course they repeat on the way out and on the way back. Before we get into it in detail, there’s no question that there are many, many accounts of Surya Namaskar – the Salute to the Sun –  out there. Different positions in different orders, different sequences, different understandings. What I’m hoping to do is persuade you that the detailed explanation of each asana you find here is rare. Even in B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga (paperback revised edition, 1979. ISBN: 0-8052-1031-8. Also Harper Collins 2011), the standard global text for modern hatha yoga practice, the descriptions aren’t as inwardly extensive as you get if you concentrate on each muscle group and feel the flow of Pran, Ch’i, the life force, the subtle energy, through your channels. The asanas in the 12 steps (with their connections to the Seven Powers) are: salutetosunx2

1. Standing Prayer – Tadasana #1, The Power of Nature  2. Extended Mountain – Tadasana 2, also the Power of Nature. 3. Forward bend – Uttanasana, the Power of Creativity. 4. Lunge, right leg forward. Can’t find the Sanskrit name for this one. The Power of Endurance. 5. Plank – Chaturanga Dandasana, The Power of Love. 6. Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana, the Power of Communication. 7. C0bra – Bhujangasana, the Power of Focus. 8. Child – Balasana, the Power of Connection. 9. Lunge, left leg forward. The Power of Endurance. 10. Forward bend – Uttanasana repeat, the Power of Creativity. 11. Extended Mountain – Tadasana 2 repeat, the Power of Nature. 12. Standing prayer – Tadasana repeat, the Power of Nature.

More detailed explanation of each asana in the following posts.

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Saluting the Sun – intro


Tadasana, the Standing Mountain. First pose. ©Michael Munday

Although you don’t have to practice yoga as part of the study of the Ecology of the Soul, each chapter of  the book includes a detailed explanation of one of the seven asanas or positions of Surya Namaskar, the ‘Salute to the Sun’. Use it to explore one aspect of the practice of hatha yoga, which is useful and relevant to the process of balancing your internal ecology. Sooner or later we see the link between spiritual and physical health – balance – and realize the need to treat mind, body and spirit as a single interlinked system – an ecosystem. But you don’t need to commit to hours a day to benefit from these notes; in fact it’s not mandatory that you practice at all.

The reason why we are looking through yoga eyes at this point is because it gives you direct experience of mind, body and spirit, or Soul, at work interacting and affecting each other. It will help you kick-start your awareness of the energy that is your silent, powerful Self. By merely physical action, you still your mind. If you do practice yoga but only as physical exercise for health and flexibility, now’s the time to make the connection to its mental and spiritual realm and use it as a way of uplifting your consciousness. That, after all, is what it is meant for. If you study T’ai chi ch’uan, meditation or any other discipline that focuses your inner awareness, demanding and creating inner stillness, then you will already know what you are trying to do. They all have the mental/spiritual element because most of them are based on the same understanding of the subtle energy flow in the body; the same understanding which underpins Chinese medicine, the chakras and a host of other esoteric knowledge systems.

Practice one of them to know and love the difference between your physical and spiritual self, and to allow them to work in harmony with each other. Yoga happens to be the one I know, and the one from which I have learned the value of letting go. Just as you can’t force your muscles to stretch, you can only let them go, so you can’t force your mind to relax, to be still. You can only let it go.

‘Surya Namaskar’, the ‘Salute to the Sun’, is the template for a basic yoga experience, a beginner’s course if you like. Something you can do every day without completely rewriting your life. There are of course numerous versions. The one we work on here is my individual take, the result of many years of study and practice of the BKS Iyengar system of Hatha Yoga, including working with the Master himself. His Light on Yoga (HarperCollins, 2001), originally published in the 60s, is still the preeminent text for serious students. This version has seven asanas, the practice of each one of which is explained in detail at the end of each one of the ‘Power’ chapters. But some of them repeat as you go through the sequence, so there are actually twelve ‘position moments’, periods (ideally of seven deep breaths) when you are holding each asana. And when it is holding you.

As with your Magic Minute, you need to make yourself a personal, private space in the day. Unlike your Magic Minute, it needs a minimum of about five minutes. Best to try and stitch them together, steal six or seven minutes for yourself and make the two contemplative practices feed each other.

Obviously, since it’s Salute to the Sun, that five minutes ought to be first thing in the morning. You are greeting and celebrating the new day from the consciousness of your powerful, peaceful, inner Self, and it’s a great way of setting yourself up for the day, especially if you have managed to get your Magic Minute in too – but that may not be possible. Even if you get up five, ten or 15 minutes earlier it might not work. Too much rush, too many things to think about, you can’t give it the slow, contemplative attitude it needs. No matter. Find a time in the day that you can make for yourself, and do it then. Just before bed when everyone else is asleep can work very well, as long as you haven’t been partying wildly; if that’s the case, leave it out for tonight. If you do manage to fit it into your morning routine, don’t launch straight into it as you literally put your feet on the floor; go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, drink a glass of water, shake your arms and legs to warm up a bit, get yourself generally ready while keeping the quiet, inward focused state of mind.

More to come in the next posts.

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Seeing the beauty #2

“Giving your complete attention,” I said in Seeing the beauty #1. Observe. Let’s mine that idea a little, because its influence and impact spread out into all areas of the process of balancing the Ecology of the Soul. Observation is concentration, paying attention. But wholly, one hundred percent. It’s crucial because observation is also compassion. You look with love. Anything that will exercise that power of compassion within you is worth having and worth doing, because compassion is the single, overarching principle which drives all your relationships with the external world – and indeed, as the Buddha says, with yourself. There is the beauty of your Self, the jyoti bindu, the pinpoint of light, the never-ending flame; and there is the beauty of your own consciousness of your Self.

If you are Soul Conscious enough to see others as Souls, then you are seeing their beauty – which they probably don’t see themselves – and they cannot help but respond. That’s if they are Souls in search of peace and power, or at least aren’t heavily disposed against it, recognizing the ‘vibe’ when it comes through. They’re interested, they’re receptive, they’re listening. You will also come across Souls for whom this vibe is not just uninteresting or irrelevant, but actively inimical. For the people – Souls – who respond nastily, aggressively or destructively, it is somehow a threat. It makes them uncomfortable, or worse. Here, the usual best policy is to move swiftly on. Look them in the eye, see the Soul; and move on. Don’t, whatever you do, allow yourself to engage so far that it gives them the chance to attack or disrespect the peace, power and beauty that you are seeing, absorbing and just plain being. It is bad karma for the soul in question, and also for you, because it is your responsibility to protect this consciousness, to look after it as an act of stewardship.

This leads to the question: how do we cope with ugliness in general? There’s unlimited beauty in the world (and in the world inside You), but there’s also an abundance of ugliness. Endless stretches of polluted industrial wasteland, rubbish tips as big as cities that are home to thousands of people, poisoned rivers, ravaged rainforests; inner city poverty, deprivation and degradation; war, famine, natural disaster, cruelty, pain, disease and despair. For many of us there isn’t much beauty in our daily lives; for many more, there is worse than none. Life, quite simply, is hell. If you are confronted with this ugliness, if it feels overpowering, the only thing you can do is refer to your inner landscape. Close your (notional) eyes and concentrate on the beauty within. Know that the root cause of this ugliness (apart from the natural disasters) is human souls who have strayed far from their true nature.

Keep your compassion up to the mark, but there is a point at which you have to avoid, simply to protect your own state of mind and stop yourself being dragged down. No one is served if you lose your level of consciousness as well. As for natural disasters, if you’re there on the spot your compassion will drive you. It might also drive you if you’re not there in person, leading to donations and contributions or other charitable work. But if you feel powerless, remember that you are made of power and peace, and just by remaining in that consciousness you are bringing beauty to the world. Communicate it by being it.

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Seeing the beauty #1

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.


 Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka

 The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.

Soren Kierkegaard

Seeing the beauty in yourself, your Self, and your surroundings is not only seeing it, but showing it. Communicating it. You are getting used to living with eternal, infinite beauty; the beauty of power, the beauty of peace are inside you – they are You. Communicating this beauty is giving it as a gift, often automatically and always without that attitude of ownership that destroys the very thing itself. This is not the beauty you can hoard and keep as a secret stash. It is You, but it is not yours. The more you give it, the more you have it, or indeed are it. And you give just by being. As your consciousness of your Self develops, as the extraordinary contrast between your infinitesimally small Self and your infinitely large supply of peace and power comes ever clearer, you recognize that You are not just a light burning in a void. You are living light, which is to say you can’t exist without giving off your light, your atmosphere, your vibration. Seeing – and being – the beauty of your Self automatically communicates it. Output is inevitable.

The beauty is also to be seen in moments of time, and of course in the external world, which is admittedly a challenge, because our Ecology of the Soul project focuses on the inner Self. See the beauty in the moment, the circumstance, the coincidence, the here and now; remain amazed by the beauty of existence, of awareness, of consciousness; of the physical and the spiritual; of transformation, regeneration and renewal; of creation and re-creation (or just recreation). Let it catch you at any random time; stop you so you take notice.

When you notice it, see it, grasp it, bring it inside, absorb it. Breathe it in. Which gives us a clue to help with the external/internal debate, the way we deal with the physical world and how that can contribute to our spiritual progress. Let’s imagine a sunset, or a sunrise. Observe. Do so minutely, carefully, wholly, giving your complete attention, in a way your whole being, to the phenomenon. Drink it in. This is the physical world: how does it impact on the spiritual? We’re working on the non-physical, right? Seeing the beauty in your surroundings sets the tone for your relationship with the physical world, but also, automatically, your relationship with your Self. If you are turning your face to the beauty at every opportunity, having made that conscious choice, you are reinforcing your own natural beauty. It’s at the shoreline, the undefinable, changing territory between the ocean of spirituality and the land of physicality – one affects the other, actually helps change its nature. Seeing one makes you see the other, strengthening your Self at the intellectual ‘knowledge’ level but also at the level of experience. Beauty and peace are your natural state, not ugliness, aggression and depression. Carry that knowledge – that experience – within you and it will shine out.

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Spiritual / Physical / Conscient

Spiritual/physical; matter is energy and You are energy. Yoga allows you to experience the flow of energy in your body; it opens your physical ‘channels’ up to that universal force. Chinese medicine and a host of other Eastern schools of thought have the same understanding. As you feel the force flow in your body, the inevitable consequence is that it floods your consciousness. As a direct result, your mind stills, thoughts slow down or ideally stop, and you perceive the underlying power which infuses mind, body and spirit. The logical conclusion is that this energy is the Real You, but that’s a mistake. You are indeed energy, but you are energy that perceives the ch’i, the flow of physical energy, not the ch’i itself. You the Soul are conscious, or we can say conscient – aware – energy. That is to say, the universal energy that flows, that is all matter, just flows. It just is. You, as distinct from that, are an individual point, a node of conscient energy, aware both of itself and of itself operating in the physical universe according to physical and non-physical rules; the law of gravity, the law of ethics. That is what makes us human beings what we are – unique.

I am a soul, a unit of conscious, conscient, non-physical energy, the only kind that has the power to know itself.  I am also a unique individual. So are you. So is every one of us. Seven billion humans and counting, and every one unique. And because, as we know, energy can be neither created nor destroyed, we remain eternally individual. An eternal, individual soul. The Ecology of the Soul doesn’t subscribe to the ‘omnipresent’ idea, whether it’s God, conscient or conscious energy or anything else. No overall, general miasma of consciousness here, ladies and gents. We are unique individuals, as is God, and ever more shall remain so.

Congratulations. Shake spiritual hands with yourself. You have just been introduced to the real You, and it’s going to take the rest of your life to get to know You.

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Dispassion & Detachment

8 August 2015: The manuscript for the book is done, copy edited and waiting only for final versions of the illustrations done by my long time friend, accomplished musician and all round good egg @Michael_Munday. It goes back to the publisher any day soon, then into design, and the hope is to see it published before end of 2015.

So now comes a selection of chunks from The Ecology of the Soul: A Manual of Peace, Power and Personal Growth for Real People in the Real World. Not everything that appears here appears in the book. There’s a lot of discursive stuff that comes upon one while one is working on the main project. But for now, let’s take some chunklets and offer them up. Each one of the seven powers – Nature, Creativity, Endurance, Love, Communication, Focus and Connection  – has seven ‘meditations’ on its component parts. None of them are very long, almost all of them around 1000 words – easy to digest. The intention is to drive your consciousness deep into that particular aspect of behaviour, of understanding, of experience. Out of that come ‘Power Seeds’, the little one-liners (in some cases more) that kick off the Magic Minute of meditation, the 60-second ‘feeder’ that repeats on you during the day, pulling your mind back for a moment to the nugget of Soul Consciousness you started with.

This one is the seventh and last meditation in The Power of Nature, inspired by the need we have to personify nature – it’s cruel, it’s kind, it’s capricious, it’s destructive, it’s beautiful. Truth is, it’s none of these things. It just is. It doesn’t care either way. Can we say it’s detached or dispassionate? It is not conscious, it does not have self awareness, it’s got nothing to detach from, no feelings to be passionate about. You can call it dispassionate (as I do below) in the sense that it never had feelings and never will, and therefore remains disengaged, uncaring. It’s dispassionate in that sense. But not in our sense, which suggests we have to work to disconnect from our feelings. Same with detachment. Can you call it detached if it has never experienced attachment? Yes and no. Points to ponder, eh. That’s the idea.

Read and enjoy.


Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.”

Abraham Maslow

” It is the higher self that becomes dispassionate or unattached as self-awakening occurs. The ego mind can remain passionate and engaged while it fulfills its life purpose or dharma. As long as the silent witness is the dominant reference for the self, and not the ego, spiritual evolution can flourish even while one remains passionate about life.”

Deepak Chopra

” Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached.”

Simone Weil

” The essence of the Way is detachment.”



A tricky one, this. Might be the biggest challenge of all 49 meditations, in fact, because it is so crucially important for a meditative, spiritual experience – but on the face of it, it looks as if we are encouraging people to disengage. The Ecology of the Soul focuses on the necessity of doing the exact opposite – compassion, engagement, commitment, responsibility, community, the search for enlightenment on behalf of all sentient beings. None of that makes any sense in the context of dispassion or detachment. Am I really asking you to disengage, not to feel, not to get involved? And aren’t they one and the same thing, anyway, dispassion and detachment?

No, they’re not, but they’re considered here as component parts of one meditation, or meditative state, because they’re inextricably intertwined. You can’t have one without the other; but there is a sequence. In the strictly meditative context, detachment from the body is the first lesson of Soul Consciousness. You leave your physical senses behind. In the ‘action in the world’ context, dispassion comes before detachment and is an essential prerequisite. But dispassion also requires more emotional subtlety to understand and practice; not that detachment doesn’t itself have layers of experience and wisdom to uncover, but its opposite – attachment – is easier to reject. (Non-attachment is something else again.)

One way of understanding them is through their opposites. Detachment vs attachment is easy enough; but if the opposite of dispassion is compassion, then we need to do some defining.

Nature is dispassionate. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t feel. For us human beings, dispassion will never be a matter of not caring or not feeling, but it is very definitely a matter of not getting involved. Which is hard enough anyway, if we see ourselves as devoted to our own enlightenment for the sake of all living beings. We need to avoid becoming so deeply involved that we start to share or trade karma with other souls. Our close friends and family, work colleagues, even enemies, are enough, thank you very much. Plenty of karmic credit and debit there. Do all you can at a subtle level for every soul, and more indeed for the ones that you come into random contact with, but don’t engage at the level of action. If you give money, for instance, it just intertwines your karma with that of the recipient. The creation of an ‘account’ of debt and credit. No way of knowing if this is a new karmic bond you’re tying, or the final payment in the closure of a karmic account. Better not go there in the first place.

It’s the emotional – actually, the non-emotional – element of dispassion that puts us off. We don’t want to not feel or not care; but here is the subtlety. Care, yes. Feel, yes. Engage as in be drawn in, dragged down, diverted from your own spiritual path, no. The Buddha’s search for enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings didn’t require him to have direct dealings with all sentient beings aforesaid; in fact, if he’d have tried he would certainly have failed, and so would his project. We can probably say that failed anyway, because demonstrably not all human beings are enlightened, never mind all the rest of the sentient universe. But we can at least agree that it got farther, to the tune of the world’s 370 million Buddhists, than it would have done if he’d started giving meditation lessons to the local grasshoppers.

So, perversely, it is actually dispassion and detachment that demonstrate your caring nature. In fact they are prerequisites for your caring nature to be expressed and acted upon. You feel compassion, but dispassionately. Got it? I said it was tricky. You separate your Self out from your feelings and emotions – you’re used to doing this by now, it’s basic meditation technique – observe them, watch them at work, and come into action where your higher, analytical, discerning intellect says it’s OK.

Which is to say, that it’s when thinking and feeling come into action in the real world that all this detachment and apparent disengagement count. You can’t be attached to your actions or their results; that will forever tie you to the physical plane at the expense of your subtle and spiritual consciousness. No more can you be attached to your body-conscious idea of yourself; train driver, call center worker, mother, father, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, tennis player, gambler, fat, thin, medium sized. All these and all the other myriad of ways in which you define yourself in the world mean nothing to the eternal truth of your Self. Equally, and this we all know to be true, attachment to your status in the world, your dignity or public position, to other people (you can love without dependence, can’t you?) and to material possessions will lead inevitably to dysfunction, disappointment and discontent.

With your intellect you are discerning, analyzing, making judgements, arriving at insights. You are using the clarity, determination, mindfulness – even compartmentalization – that we meditate on in Chapter 6: The Power of Focus. At the intellect level, dispassion is not hard to come by; you simply (simply? Ha!) have to remove or rise above emotion to be able to make clear judgements. It’s the same with both sides of this particular coin, whose understanding comes via an understanding of its obverse. Dispassion is understood through compassion, in contrast with it as an intellectual process, whereas compassion can arise from straightforward emotion but, much more powerfully, from detachment itself. Detachment is understood through the perils of attachment, dramatically illustrating Deepak Chopra’s point quoted above that you can be all these things and have all this stuff without undermining your spiritual progress – as long as you don’t make the mistake of identifying with it. Dealing with the desire for status, position, self definition and material wealth is another matter entirely.

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Grace and Gratitude

They’re all talking about it, the Law of Attraction folks. And a good few more besides, many if not most if not all of the West Coast philosophers, gurus, spiritual teachers and self help leaders, all busily sending their daily emails. (They’re not all in California of course, but it seems to have the highest number of e-generation ‘transformationalists’ per thousand.)

What is it they’re talking about? Gratitude. You don’t get if you spend your time thinking about what or how much you don’t have, goes the wisdom. It comes to you (whatever it is – usually ‘abundance’, see as long as you can somehow fool yourself into thinking that you already have it, and can create the state of mind that goes with having it.

And paramount in that state of mind is gratitude. Rejoice in all that you have, all the luck and love, create the feeling of having it all, and lo and behold, it will all come to you.

This may or may not be true. I think it might work to a certain extent when you already have a mind powerful enough in its focus to overcome the obvious obstacles of consciousness (I clearly don’t own a 7-bedroom mansion with pool and tennis courts or a garage full of Ferraris and Lexuses [Lexi?]). I’m not sure that it really matters, to be honest. Gratitude is something worth practicing on a daily, even hourly basis, simply because it brings contentment, inner peace and joy.

A friend of my Father’s, a priest like him, used to have a favourite sermon. It was called ‘Count Your Blessings’, and in it he exhorted his audience to… well, to count their blessings. To go over, almost as a list, all the things in your life that you feel blessed with. Health, all your limbs, education, an adequacy of material things (not necessarily wealth), family, friends, the kids, the garden, your football team, holidays, music, movies, the dog, the car, the tv. Love. People to love and be loved by; landscapes, seascapes, sun, moon, stars, wind and rain, natural beauty to enjoy. Life itself.

It’s just a simple extra mental move. Look at something or someone that makes you smile, that makes you feel good; and as the thought ‘How beautiful’ or ‘how great’ flows through, add the gratitude on, like the tail of a comet. Remember that this beauty in front of your eyes or mind or heart is a blessing.

There’s a list of gratitude-related words. Grateful. Gratify. Gratuity. Gratuitous. Gratis. Congratulation. They all signify, with one emphasis or another, a gift that is free, that you don’t have to pay for. There’s also Gratia, or to be precise, Gratia Dei; grace. The Grace of God. It’s a direct link to gratitude, the consciousness that you are receiving gifts. Don’t have to be from God, if you don’t believe in the Old Man With a White Beard; ‘grace’ is a state of being, a way of life with powerful beauty at its heart and soul. It comes to you without rhyme or reason; it doesn’t tend to come to those who don’t care for it or who don’t put some work into it, but it has been known. It doesn’t seem to equate to the amount of effort you put in, either. Mostly, it’s available to those who see and appreciate the beauty in their own life, who can communicate it to others, and who are acutely conscious that this  beauty is a gift. It’s not yours to own; you haven’t made it. You simply enjoy, and get high on the experience and the knowledge of the gift, look after it, appreciate it. Gratitude and grace are, in a way, the same thing, revolving and feeding each other. It’s back to that Law of Attraction trick; the more gratitude you feel, the more you are in a state of grace. The Ferraris and the tennis courts can look after themselves.





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Hope, Positive Thinking and Disappointment

In which we explore the tension between positive thinking and protecting yourself against disappointment. You guard against disappointment by not having high hopes. Be optimistic, positive… but detached. Otherwise, if you just ‘un-hope’ yourself so as to avoid disappointment, you’re already disappointed anyway.

Disappointment is one of the enemy. The flip side of hope. The not-meeting, as in broken or delayed appointment; a new appointment – a job or status – that somehow doesn’t happen. Or simply an event, person or thing you’d set your heart on, and after all that mental pushing, that determination to make it happen, it just doesn’t. De-appointed, dis-appointed. You risk it when you commit to positive thinking.

We’re universally told, and specifically the Law of Attraction tells us, that we can think our desires into being. (We deal with the tricky issues around desire elsewhere on this blog.) But when it doesn’t happen, does this make you more vulnerable than if you’d never set yourself that goal in the first place? Or is it better to have tried and failed than never tried at all? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off etc? What happens to hope? And has it undermined our faith in the idea that we can make what we want happen by the sheer power of thought? Clearly we need a mature reading of the Law of Attraction to cope with disappointment, otherwise the whole project falls apart.

The pick yourself up dust yourself off thing needs strength, and when you’re down because the change you were determined to have in your life hasn’t come through, strength is exactly the thing that’s hardest to find. Wallow in self pity for a while, it doesn’t take any effort at least. Be angry; find someone to blame. Then start to convince yourself that you didn’t want it anyway and you’re better off without it. Or him. Or her.

But all that mental churning is just that, and only that. It’s all in the mind, which in its normal everyday jitterbug state, we know is not the place to look for inner strength. Take a deep breath, calm your mind, and turn its attention inwards. Return to your inner self. Regroup. Whatever it was you hoped for was outside you. Were you thinking it would somehow make you into more You? More of a person, more fulfilled, more successful, happier, richer, sexier, more of a winner? Happier, certainly. It’s being cheated of happiness that’s the worst part, because you’ve gone and attached happiness to this external thing, event or person. Mistake.

So you return to the one thing you can rely on – your Self. As long as it’s your Self, and not yourself. The ordinary everyday self with a small ‘s’ is the one that is somehow diminished by disappointment. The Self with a capital ‘S’, the Soul, is above and beyond all that. An eternal and infinitesimally small but infinitely powerful pinpoint of conscient light is not likely to experience disappointment, right? It’s unlikely to attach itself to a person, event or thing because it isn’t physical in the first place, right? Become soul conscious, and when you’ve pulled yourself (not your Self) out of that self-destructive trough, consider this: what’s the difference between hope and positive thinking?



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Past, presence, balance

‘If your mind carries a heavy burden of past,’ says Eckhart Tolle, ‘you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.’

When he says ‘lack of presence’, he means the mind stuck in time and motion, in the back and forth and side to side, the jumping here and there that is most people’s everyday natural mental state – the condition that we accept as ‘normal’, when there is no awareness of the inner self.

Eckhart and the Ecology of the Soul tend to agree on most things; the differences are mainly a matter of the language used to express the concepts, with one crucial exception – Soul. The unique, infinitesimal, indestructible, eternal pinpoint of spiritual light that is for ever You and only You.

For Eckhart, the ‘Now’ is the key – by which I understand (correct me if I’m wrong) him to mean mental silence, that state of consciousness where there is no past, present or future, just sheer pure being, in and of itself. For the Ecology of the Soul – and Raja Yoga, where the original idea comes from – this is ‘soul consciousness’. You the Soul are engulfed in the experience of your true Self, which is to say pure consciousness without the overlays of time, place, thought, memory or imagination. It describes the state of pure, peaceful, powerful, silent bliss that most people only experience in deep meditation.

But you can be ‘soul conscious’ while you’re walking and talking, going about your daily business, and though I don’t follow and practise Eckhart Tolle’s meditative techniques I imagine he proposes a state of mind which has ‘presence’, living in the ‘Now’, while engaged in the practicalities of everyday life. This, whether you follow Eckhart, Raja Yoga, the Ecology of the Soul or indeed any of the many spiritual paths of meditation and self awareness, is the tricky part; staying ‘high’, experiencing transcendence, while still carrying out the routines of work, play, family, home and away. You have to achieve a balance, keeping your base level of consciousness floating freely, constantly referring to the ‘still small voice of calm’ when a negative, fearful or discontented thought comes up. (I have a mental picture of the surface of a pool, completely tranquil, deep and silent, shining somehow with a sort of dark gold light, showing a single, expanding, circular ripple when a drop of thought touches the surface, is absorbed and disappears.) Apply that inner stillness and peace, and use it to drive your ‘real world’ state of mind, your actions and interactions, which will automatically be infused with that atmosphere. People will recognise and respond to it (or be upset and disturbed by it – this happens), and lo and behold you have spread a little soul consciousness, delivered it into the world. Or, as Eckhart would call it, ‘presence’.

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Phew, nearly left me mind behind there

It’s a quote from a lone stoner, tripping on something very long and strong, that we picked up hitchhiking after a gig many years ago. We giggled then; we giggle now. The Mind as an oft-misunderstood faculty comes in for a lot of stick from Eckhart Tolle, one of the most, if not the most, honest and sincere of spiritual teachers at work today. But Eckhart, when you say: ‘All things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind’, then I think you are in danger of overstating the case. Eckhart wants us to eschew the Mind and get past it, beyond it to the silent place – he would call it ‘The Now’ – where pure consciousness lives and where we can live in it, silent, powerful and peaceful. That’s what this whole Ecology of the Soul project is about, of course.

But it pays to respect the Mind, and to put some work into polishing and tuning it so instead of leading you astray it brings you to that place of pure consciousness. I’m not comfortable with the logical progression of Eckhart’s proposition, which could tempt people to think that the Mind is rubbish and the whole project is to bypass it or shut it down. Yes, we get to the silence beyond the Mind, but the Mind is actually an incredibly powerful thing to be harnessed in the service of the enlightenment project aforesaid.

When I saw this quote from Eckhart I was thrown back to Rhonda Byrne and her Law of Attraction phenomenon ‘The Secret’, which – apparently, because surely it must be a matter for interpretation – essentially proposes that the power of thought is such that whatever you think, it comes true. There is a trick of course; to get rich, you have to persuade yourself into the rich mindset and ‘think rich’, even though the bailiffs might be battering down your door. No good just saying ‘I want to be rich, I want to be rich’. You have to feel it, live it. Not a simple proposition then, and there’s a lot about The Secret that I’m deeply suspicious of, but it does at least recognise the power of the Mind. If in meditation – whose aim and intention, we agree, is to still the Mind – we are pinpointing, focusing our thoughts on that aim, the Mind leads itself to stillness. It’s a tool, a conveyance to get us where we want to go. And while we’re still at that conscious level, how about the subconscious Mind? The bit that creates miracles or unwitting disasters? The truly powerful bit? Are we somehow not in control of that? No, we’re demonstrably not. And isn’t getting some control or awareness of our subconscious thought process part of the whole meditation project? By which we achieve even greater power over our own state of mind?

Lot more to think about here, Eckhart. And when I think, I’m using my Mind. Yep, true enlightenment, beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace, arise beyond the Mind. But right here, right now, I taste those things with my Mind, and sow the seeds – power seeds – of Soul consciousness. In the Mind. What else is ‘Mindfulness’?

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Video 4 – Light, lighter, enlightened

Hi, Aidan Walker signing in with a Power Seed for today’s ‘Magic Minute’ of meditation. The video is longer than a minute – nearer two – but the idea will pack into a powerful 60 seconds – and repeats on you through the day. Plant the thought, let it take root, grow and flourish in your consciousness, restoring the ecology of You the Soul. This one is called ‘Light and enlightenment’ and it starts: here.

You the Soul are light. A pinpoint of pure, non-physical light, pure energy, pure consciousness, infinitesimally, inexpressibly small, but equally, infinitely powerful and infinitely peaceful. Light is the only thing You can be – You are not a physical being. Yes, you live in a body, but without You, the body is just a lump of matter.

Realize, experience your Self as light. Become en-lightened. Focus on your Self in the centre of your forehead, feel your Self being, be your Self being. As you focus, you are able to experience your Self smaller and smaller… more powerful, more peaceful. As you know your Self as light, so You become light. You shine, you glow; and You don’t carry burdensome thoughts and feelings. Light as in shining; light as in no weight.

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Video 3 – The Seven Powers of the Soul

Hi, Aidan Walker signing in with a Power Seed for your ‘Magic Minute’ of meditation. This one is about the Seven Powers of the Soul’s eco-system. Plant the thought (or thoughts), let it take root, grow and flourish in your consciousness. Your minute starts: here.

Just as there are seven Chakras, the Soul itself has seven powers, all of which operate in balance and harmony at full strength, but which in most of us are lost or buried. Your meditations rediscover, renew and revitalise them. They are:

• The Power of Connection or Connectedness

• The Power of Focus

• The Power of Communication

• The Power of Passion

• The Power of Endurance

• The Power of Creativity

• The Power of Nature.

Everything about you, everything in you, everything that is you is contained in one of these powers. They are You. Ponder them, churn, consider, meditate; and become strong. Which is the same as peaceful. Power is peace.

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Video 2: Balance – A Magic Minute

Hello, Aidan Walker signing in with another Power Seed for your ‘Magic Minute’ of meditation… for you to plant in the consciousness of your Soul… the soil of your consciousness, to create a beautiful garden. This one is called ‘Balance’. And your magic minute starts: here.

When the planet’s ecology is in Balance, everything’s right with the natural world.

When the ecology of the Soul is in Balance, everything’s right with our inner world.

When the seven powers of the Soul are balanced and in harmony, we’re in our natural state of peace, power and love.

When our physical and spiritual energies are balanced we are fulfilled, without fear or anxiety, centred. Our vision of ourselves, of others, of our world, is clear.

Balance is motion, but within the motion is stillness.

Balance is freedom. Balance is light. Balance is power. Balance is peace.

That’s why we seek balance. And that’s why the Ecology of the Soul needs balance. And that’s why knowing, understanding and feeling the seven powers of the soul – all in balance – is where we want to go.

More to come. Thank you for listening.

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Silence in the throat

Vishuddha, the fifth chakra, is located in the throat. It governs self-expression, independence, fluency of thought, hearing and speaking – communication, in other words. Which is why in the Ecology of the Soul, the power of communication rests here.

Meditation stills the mind, but successful meditation is also dependent on the ability to still the mind. And for that you can find help. Only when the chatter is stopped, or slowed down so much that just the occasional thought swims through the goldfish bowl, can you break through the very thin door into the floating silence of bliss. There is a physical trigger you can use as well as all the mental ones; if you relax and let go of the muscles in your neck and throat, and working inwards, finally let your tongue go so it shrinks, stops making saliva and settles down much smaller in your mouth and throat, your brain stills. Then your mind slows right down and thoughts cease to chase through it on each other’s heels.

When you have silence in your external communication centre, when that is off line, you are opening the direct line to the bliss, peace and power of self awareness, of Soul Consciousness. So shut down your outer speaking and hearing, and turn your inner listening on.

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A Balance of Powers is Freedom Fulfilled

The earth’s ecology is a balance of organic and inorganic, living and inert elements. Of matter (which is itself energy, as we have all learnt from Mr Einstein) and living things, which are energy embedded in matter.

But we are Souls – units of energy pure and simple, embedded in bodies made of matter. Energy is power, right? Same thing.

So a balanced ecology of the Soul is a balance of power – of powers, in fact, all seven of the spiritual and mental powers that go to make up your subtle eco-system. (Quick reminder: Connection, Focus, Communication, Love, Endurance, Creativity, Nature. More detail all over this blog.) As you liberate them, re-discover them, re-energise them, you gain strength, peace, focus, insight, wellbeing. You get back to living life how it should be, as your original, noble, human Self.

As a human being, you are incredibly powerful. Right now you are using a minute fraction of your own power. It’s there – all you have to do is unlock it. And here’s the strange and wonderful thing – with the realization (in the sense of ‘make real’) of that power comes a deep and liberating peace. It’s all right. Everything is going to be all right. You have the tools – the powers – to cope. Not just to cope, but to live and thrive, free from anxiety and stress, healthy in mind, body and spirit, full of abundant joy. Tap into it at any time. You are filled full: fulfilled.

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How does a pinpoint create so much light?

How does a pinpoint create so much light? You’re subsumed, enveloped, overwhelmed, inundated, engulfed, absorbed, obliterated, swallowed up… in a voluptuous ocean of bliss – of your own making. Not even of your making, because this is You. This is Your light, the light of You, a being made of light. Infinitesimally small but infinitely enduring, abiding; an eternal being, which means that the amount of light of which You are made is also neverending. Not unakin to a Zen kōan, this one, a mind-twister that itself is a meditation ‘aide’; consider Your Self. Indescribably small, uniquely individual, eternal, and made of an infinite amount of light. Tap into it in meditation, and it keeps burning, keeps glowing, keeps flowing, keeps on coming. You are drowning – or floating, if you prefer, though that doesn’t give the sense of being ‘in’ light – in, or on, an ocean of Light. Of Bliss. Of Peace. Of Power.

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Dark to Light: The Mouse Hole of Your Mind

Heard the one about the mouse hole? No, not a joke but a tried and tested method of quieting the mind. Eckhart Tolle mentions it in (I think) The Power of Now.

As you sit in meditation and settle yourself down, once you’re past the first phase of allowing your breathing to become slow and rhythmical, and you are watching and listening to your breath, you can see and feel your thoughts start to slow as a matter of course. Now you watch the mouse hole as an exercise to isolate thoughts and completely shut them down. Create and focus on an image of a small dark hole in the ‘wainscot of  your mind’, if you will, and watch it like a cat for a thought to emerge, like a mouse. You realize immediately that it isn’t a necessary and foregone conclusion that your thoughts must be moving all the time, into and out of one another, hard on each other’s heels in an endless flow. You might find yourself watching the hole for a palpable few seconds before a thought appears. As it does, observe it. Look at it, watch it flow, watch it go. Gone.

Another one? Nope. Time passes with no thought. The dark hole you are focusing on is in the centre of your mind, which is in the centre of your forehead because that’s where you the Soul, the consciousness that is You, are physically located. As you focus on that dark hole, it turns to light. A pinpoint of light. You have turned your attention to Your Self, the Soul, inherently peaceful and powerful, made of nothing but spiritual light. It – You – are so infinitesimally small that you effectively have location but no size. In that tininess is all the spiritual power that is You, all your thoughts, memories, desires, fears, actions and reactions over many lives. Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation and prefer to stick to just this one life, the idea is powerful enough.




You focus on You the Pinpoint of Light, and (watching your breathing to see it is regular, and your throat to see it is relaxed) rapidly you get a breakthrough into your own natural state of silence, of stillness, of power and peace. Envelop yourself in Your own light, the light that is You. Bliss, the product of a quiet mind, washes over you.

All from one little mouse hole.

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Making inner space

In the early days of my Hatha Yoga study I was privileged to be taught by the powerful, beautiful and eloquent Angela Farmer, who I notice is still working and teaching all over the world ( She had a little phrase that gave me, the struggling – and very stiff – young yoga aspirant a real breakthrough in, well, in breaking through the necessary discomfort of stretching bits of your body that have been locking up since you were a baby. ‘Make space in your hips’ she would say, and magically I would be able to let go and manage another inch or so of movement.

You make space in your joints. To stretch, you let go so that space opens up. In meditation, you do the same thing; let go and make space in – for example – the base of your spine, or your throat. Muladhara, the root chakra alive and alight right down there round your perineum, responds. It warms up and glows, carrying you, light. Vishudda, the throat chakra, lights up as you relax the muscles in your throat, let go, find space. Your tongue shrinks – it’s normally absolutely charged with blood and saliva, animated and irrigating your throat. You’d be amazed how much less room it takes up in your mouth and throat when you let it go. Your brain relaxes, and lo and behold, your mind quietens.

The chatter of the wandering mind needs links to keep going. Random thought links or leads to another random thought. As you find space in your throat and brain, so those links begin to fade and disappear. You might have one single random thought make an appearance; watch it, let it go. It won’t any longer have the power to carry the link to the next one – you have found space, the distance is too great. A thought simply pops up and fades, like a small, cheap firework. A little spurt of sparks, then nothing. Mental silence. Bliss.

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The Chakra Christmas Tree

Who knows where it comes from or where it leads. In this case it’s not rocket science to answer the first question: it comes from the ancient wisdom of the Chakras, which I touch on here and there on the site and which are increasingly occupying my yoga practice, as it happens. As for where it leads, paying even some small attention to each of those mind-body-spirit energy centres in the body as you do your asanas gives an amazing lift and reinforces the conviction that we are indeed on to something. There’s loads of Chakra Yoga out there – but I don’t really  understand why it isn’t all Chakra Yoga.

Carol Tuttle, who I also mention elsewhere on the site ( has a ‘3-minute chakra test’ by which you (supposedly) check out which of your Chakras are strong and open and which are weak and closed. It’s a few questions, which if you don’t answer them completely honestly will obviously give you the ‘wrong’ answer. So maybe I didn’t answer honestly. Muladahara, my root chakra, weak? Really? Well at least Anahata (heart) and Sahasrara (top of head) are working OK.

But certainly for doing standing asanas or sitting in early morning meditation, you want to start with the root, right? Energise it? Turn it on? Can’t be that hard to light up the red-coloured base node, the one that links you to earth, the one by which you measure your ‘groundedness’? H’mm. harder than you think.

Here’s a trick, and it especially helps at Christmas, for those of us culturally and geographically located where Christmas means anything at all; just light yourself up like a Chakra Christmas tree. From the bottom up. Muladhara is more like your bottom’s bottom, remember – somewhere round your perineum.

The Chakra Christmas Tree effect

The colours are akin to the rainbow spectrum, or like those multi-coloured scarves that are the hippy winter wear of choice; counting upwards, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Not one at a time, but all at once. When you can get your attention on all seven centres at the same time – light them up one by one but keep them glowing as you go up – then you get the Christmas Tree effect. All lit up. Ch’i  flowing from base to top, mind still, awareness acute. And then you come out of it, ready to take on another day of relentless materiality. Especially at Christmas.

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A Computer called Yoga

There’s a whole raft of them out there, the ‘convertibles’, laptops that flip around to become tablets (like iPads) and do most other things besides. My attention was caught by the Lenovo version, which calls itself the ‘Yoga’.

Really? How did that happen? Did they have a naming agency or just a marketing or product development department, and which bright spark was it who thought it would be a good idea to call a computer ‘Yoga’? Are they all spiritual seekers, the guys in the Lenovo marketing or product development departments, determined that their new product should bring as much benefit to its users’ lives as regular practice of an ancient discipline of mind, body and spirit? Do they know the original meaning of the Sanskrit word – ‘yoga’ = ‘yoke’ or connection – and if they do, is that why they gave it that name: to suggest inherent, natural and seamless connectivity?

Whichever, however, whoever or whatever, it gives me the creeps. A computer called Yoga, indeed. But then I ask myself: ‘Why this reaction?’ Is it because yoga is in some sense holy and its name should not be appropriated for earthly, nay commercial, reasons? Is it because ‘Yoga’ means (to me, at least) everything that computers don’t, because it occupies a space where computers will never be needed, never make any sense, never have any relevance?

Is there some kind of revulsion at this inopportune mixing of the sacred and profane? Nope, not specially. I don’t think many people think of Yoga, the word, the concept or the practice, as sacred; holiness can happen, sure, if you practice it right, but Yoga shouldn’t be on a pedestal, revered, feared, distant and inaccessible. It’s right here right now for anyone to use.

Which is ultimately the point, I suppose. A computer called Yoga might make a few people like me ponder the wisdom of the naming policy, but Yoga the word, concept or practice is unharmed. No damage has been done to Yoga by the Lenovo Yoga. It’s probably put the word Yoga in people’s mouths where you wouldn’t normally find it, which can’t be all bad. Still feels weird to me though, a mis-connection. What’s next? A TV called Satori? Now there’s an idea…

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Sitting on a ring of fire

In the late 18th / early 19th centuries – the time of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe – there was a phrase used by English gentlemen to describe another’s qualities of solidity, reliability, dependability, common sense, determination, stamina and – above all – courage. It was said that this particular individual ‘had bottom’, or that particular individual ‘lacked bottom’. Like so many of the common phrases that have entered – and unlike this one, remained in use – in the English version of the English language, it was drawn from a seafaring context; for a generation during those long and painful wars, the only defining factor that preserved and defended England and Englishness was the Royal Navy. Any ship that was to survive, defend and protect the land of Roast Beef clearly needed ‘bottom’.

At the bottom end of your Chakra flow – Muladhara (the Power of Nature) right at the base of your spine, Svadisthana (the Power of Creativity) in the pit of your stomach and Manipura (the Power of Endurance) at your solar plexus, just under your ribs – the colours are red (Muladhara), orange (Svadisthana) and yellow (Manipura). These energy centres are warm, glowing, their energy like rising fire. Sit in meditation, focus on the non-physical pinpoint that is You in the centre of your forehead (Ajna, the Third Eye), then draw your attention down to your ‘bottom’ end. Feel the glow, the tingling, the warmth, rising through your very nether regions. It’s as if you are sitting on a ring of fire. But this is fire that doesn’t burn or consume. It is not You, because it is physical energy. You are an infinitesimally small and inexpressibly powerful unit of consciousness, aware of itself experiencing this physical energy.

This experience, this ability to distinguish between your Self and the energy flowing in your body, brings a ‘holistic’ understanding of the complete human organism that is you with a small ‘y’; the person who defines yourself as male/female, black/white, young/old, rich/poor, a doctor or a politician or a roadsweeper. Never be trapped in defining your Self in these physical terms; but connecting to the energy of your Chakras, you do gain insight into that entire eco-system that is Mind, Body and Spirit. Stability, security, sexuality, creativity, prosperity and personal power are all indicated as elements of these lower chakra energies, elements that characterise our relationship with the physical world. The Ecology of the Soul deals with the Powers and attributes of You the quintessential human spirit, but there is another ecology which embraces the physical realm as well. It’s crucial to understand and experience that, the means by which you are centred, grounded, connected. Then you can truly be said to have ‘bottom’.

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Video 1: Peace, Power and a Balanced Ecology of the Soul

Peace, Power & Balance – The Ecology of the Soul

First in a collection of short videos. Subsequent ones will be shorter! Enjoy. Here’s the script:

The Ecology of the Soul – the Balance of Peace and Power

Hi I’m Aidan Walker, talking to you today about peace and power, and the balance between the two. I mean spiritual peace and power, of course, not the political kind – but you never know, we may come to that.

All of us who are working on ourselves, in whatever way, whether it be meditation, or yoga, or reiki or tapping or any one or combination of the thousands of techniques out there for self change, self improvement, personal and spiritual growth, are actually working towards one thing – Peace.

Everything we want in our lives – freedom from anxiety, self knowledge, self-acceptance, abundance, the power to control our thinking and our habits, the experience of being grounded, centred, yet at the same time floating on a soft, sweet sea of bliss; successful relationships, positive vibrations – all the things, in other words, that go with a heightened consciousness – can boil down to one word, one idea: Peace.

I’m not suggesting we opt out of life and sit in silent meditation all day every day, digging ever deeper into a peaceful state and blocking out the boring or bad bits. Because peace doesn’t come to those who bury their heads in the sand; that’s an action born from fear.

To raise our consciousness, to become higher beings, to achieve these desirable states of mind, we need power. Strength. It takes strength to choose a path of self change and follow it. Despite all the promises out there of immediate results, of reward without effort, we know in truth it takes work. We often fail, and we have to find the strength to keep trying.

We need power to get there, but when we get there – or even, get a glimpse of there – we recognise that power lies in the same place as peace. They are two sides of the same coin; in some senses, one and the same thing. Peace IS power, because only when you’re at true peace do you experience your Self as nothing more nor less than pure spiritual energy. As power, in other words. Energy is power, right? You the Soul are Light; You are the power and light company, ha ha. You are the light, the flame, steadily burning bright, but never consuming itself; You are pure energy, rising, flowing – but entirely still. Still and silent in stillness and silence.

That’s the blissful, enlightened state of being that encompasses both mind and spirit. Understanding with every ounce of your intellect, and experiencing in the Soul – a direct, consuming, all-enveloping, pervading experience – of Your Self as Light.

It doesn’t do for ordinary every day though. As I just said, it’s not going to work if all we do is meditate in a darkened room for the rest of our lives. We’d get high, sure – but we wouldn’t be any use to anyone but ourselves, and even that’s arguable. We have an outer life to lead – families, jobs, duties, responsibilities – and we expect our heightened consciousness to help that. We need a practical understanding for daily life that supports and forms the foundation for the undiluted experience. We need a way to live that leads us towards that experience, that feeds peace, love and joy into our actions and creates that vibration around us.

That practical understanding comes as you balance The Ecology of the Soul – your Seven Spiritual Powers of peace, harmony and wellbeing. We tap our spiritual powers and bring them into balance with each other, all working together to create us as harmonised and highly evolved beings – peaceful, powerful souls.

I’ll come on to the Seven Powers in a minute, but just now let’s consider that the Soul has an ecology just like our planet earth. It’s an eco-system, and just like the earth it needs to be kept in balance. And just like the earth, we’ve lost that balance. As the Earth, so the Soul; when everything goes out of whack, when we lose our balance, our sense of our true self, the result is grim.

The earth – nature – is self healing, it could fix itself if we left it alone. But we aren’t about to do that, because to leave the earth entirely alone would mean, ahem, extinction of the human race. We can’t fix the earth without fixing ourselves, and unlike the earth, we have the conscious power to fix ourselves. We are conscious and we can be conscient, in other words not only aware, but self-aware.

And we have the power to fix ourselves because all those seven powers are already within us. It’s just a matter of uncovering them, polishing them and firing them up; and the more fired up they are, the more they come to the top of your consciousness, the more your inner ecology comes into balance. A balance of peace and power – and love, which describes both.

What are they, these seven powers? The seven parts of your spiritual eco-system, working together in harmony?

1 The Power of Connection

2 The Power of Focus

3 The Power of Communication

4 The Power of Passion

5 The Power of Endurance

6 The Power of Creativity

7 The Power of Nature

They are powers of the soul, but as you would expect each one has a relationship with a specific area of the body, and each one – coincidentally, because I promise this isn’t a rip-off – has a direct parallel with one of the seven Chakras. That’s why I touched my head and body, even down to the parts you can’t see. Lots more to talk about on the Chakras.

Each one of the Seven Powers comes with its own seven meditations, making 49 nutty, chewy topics for you to ponder and meditate on – at one a week, almost a year’s peace and power right there. Use them to uncover and nurture the different aspects of the Powers within your Self; like the ecology of the planet, the ecology of the Soul is an inter-related system. There are many layers, revealing themselves as your understanding and experience grows.

How to connect, how to uncover, how to bring these powers to the surface? Use mini-meditations, which occupy just a single, solo minute of your time – a Magic Minute [see Magic Minutes elsewhere on this blog]. In 60 seconds every day you plant a ‘Power Seed’ in your conscious, thinking mind. It takes root and grows, and very soon you find you have a garden, a new flowering of spiritual consciousness, a balanced ecology of the Soul.

I’ll go into how that works in the next film. Meanwhile, something to leave you with. Use it as your first Power Seed, if you like. The Earth is our Home – the natural habitat for us humans. It leads us to the idea of our spiritual Home, which turns up in every religion, from Heaven to Om. The Greek word ‘eco’ means home; ‘logos’ means wisdom, understanding, knowledge. It also means ‘word’. Hence the root meaning of the word ‘Ecology’; the ‘wisdom of home’. Know the ecology of the Soul, and you have the wisdom of home. All you need to know about who you are and where you belong.

More, much more, to come.

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The Atma Bomb #2

As we said earlier, Sanskrit for ‘soul’ or ‘self’ is ‘atma’. Remind you of anything, given that our modern language owes an enormous amount, in root and branch, to this most ancient of languages? Any particular word that means ‘the smallest thing perceptible, knowable or imaginable’?  – Until our capability of identifying and ‘seeing’ the wonderful quarks and neutrinos was developed (pic here from 1970), the atom was as small as it got. No coincidence that it is pretty much the same word as the one meaning ‘Soul’.

The ‘Neutrino Event’, November 13, 1970. World’s first observation of a neutrino in a hydrogen bubble chamber

And here’s another thought to be going on with, on top of that; the Atom Bomb was the most powerful bomb known to man, right? Power of ultimate destruction of the world and humanity? Doesn’t get more powerful than that – in a destructive way. How about turning your attention to the Atma Bomb, and sitting in silence – for a minute, or for longer if you can manage – to experience the indescribable power of the Self, the Soul that is you. Just focus on your Self, a pinpoint of pure non-physical energy, the ‘Third Eye’ shining in the centre of your forehead. An Atma Bomb because You are so powerful, but not destructive. You are pure conscious energy, pure con-science, in which there is unlimited power. And, to go with it – two sides of the same coin – unlimited peace. In fact, the deeper you go into this, the more you find that the power is a product of the peace. No power without peace. The peace is the power. And that, good Souls, is the Atma Bomb. The Peace Bomb. Focus entirely inwards, explode outwards, radiate peace.

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The Atma Bomb #1

Friend said the other day: ‘Lord knows I’m not a spiritual person, but…’. Apart from the fact that he was invoking the Lord to bear witness to the fact that he had nothing of spirit within him, which is kind of a giveaway in itself, all I could think was: ‘No, clearly you’re not a spiritual person. You are a spirit. You’re not a spiritual person; you are a Soul.’

Just a matter of accurate use of language. He would probably disagree that he in himself entirely is nothing but an infinitesimally small pinpoint of non-physical light, but that’s what I mean, and that’s what I’m banging on about, pretty much, all over this blog and right through The Book. I am Soul, this is Body. Understand that – experience it even – and you’ve started Soul Consciousness, which is the key experience to regaining the balanced inner eco-system of which we speak.

And where does the ‘Atma Bomb’ come into it? Sanskrit for ‘soul’ or ‘self’ is ‘atma’. More to come on that.

Point of light: Peace. Power. You the Soul

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