try this: be innocent, faint and effortless

Posted on April 18th, 2012

If your life is feeling a little like you’re forcing shit up hill right now (and I think some of us have so far this year),  you might like to reflect on this: Sukshma.

Photo by Aquabumps

In Sanskrit it means “subtle”. Actually, it means more than that…it’s to touch life “innocently, faintly and effortlessly”. It softens. It allows compassion.

Like when a child touches your arm when they come out at night to tell you they can’t sleep.

I was taught this term when I first learned to meditate. Sometimes, when you meditate, you can go at it aggressively, forcing yourself (with internal berating) back to your mantra or third eye or candle flame or whatever when your mind wanders. And you get grumpy with yourself for “not doing it right” and not being able to stay focused. But this is highly unuseful in meditation. It kinda ruins the vibe.

My teacher taught me to try instead to return to focus with sukshma. Sukshma is a gentle steering, like we’re merely turning our head gently from the action over there to the left of us, back to centre. Gently and kindly.With no expectation of outcome. It’s feather light.

Lately I’ve been applying sukshma beyond meditation. And this, of course, is the point of meditation – to take the consciousness you foster in meditation out into the world. Who wants to stay in the cave on the bloody mountain, I ask you?! (Indeed, I asked the Dalai Lama the same and he agreed as much.)

I tend to internally berate and bludgeon myself with all kinds of silent but violent verbal abuse. It’s pretty non-stop. You’re either a carrot or a stick person. I’m a stick person. It’s got me places with my career. But at a cost. Part of that cost is a friction.

I’m always banging my little square self into round holes. The friction hurts.

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my Sunday Night interview with the Dalai Lama

Posted on July 18th, 2011

I interviewed His Holiness for Sunday Night on Channel Seven. Here it is…

I mentioned on Twitter at the time…afterwards I was in the hotel lobby working on my laptop and he and his entourage bustled by. HH gave me a double thumbs up and a wink. Life highlight. The next day he blessed me and gave me one of his peace scarves. I’m a very lucky little chicken…
Aptly I’m finishing the last day of a meditation retreat…so I better go before I get sprung (I’ve already been sprung on Words With Friends by someone!)…

what the Dalai Lama told me…

Posted on July 3rd, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I try “infinite altruism”


There’s something special about His Holiness the Dalai Lama, if I can be permitted such an obviousism. Something disarming. It’s the way he answers questions like, Is being gay OK? His response to a journalist once makes me smile: “I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’. If you both agree…then it is okay’”.  It’s the way he quietly takes off his shoes while presenting to 3000 people and sits with his brown fluffy-socked feet tucked under him, as he did during his recent visit.

On Friday I met His Holiness for the third time. Each visit I’ve expected it to be a bit like Christmas – all build-up, then more of the same.

But he gets me every time.

This visit I asked if it’s better to pursue happiness or altruism. He wagged a finger at me: “Altruism! Because altruism is the easiest, fastest way to be happy.” Infinite altruism, he said was his life goal. Every morning after waking at 3.30am he consciously offers his “body and mind to the purpose of others”.

“This is what brings me my joyfulness,” he said rather significantly. Read more