Thursday, 28 July 2016


There is little doubt that we live in interesting and many would say, troubled, times. Across the globe we’re seeing more terrorist attacks, or at least more reported ones, spanning a spectrum of isolated individuals with mental health issues to highly planned attack by an extremist group. Then we have the Americans nominating Donald Trump as a presidential candidate and the British voting to leave the EU: neither of which were in any way predicted 12 months ago. What’s going on! Are these developments, puzzling and worrying to many, a sign of some underlying trend, a Zeitgeist?

If so, it’s not the only one.

Since probably the 1980s, the Reagan/Thatcher era, we’ve had the Zeitgeist of personal ambition, or going for and getting whatever you can get. And that’s applied at the level of individual, corporation and nation.

Since the 1960s there’s been the ‘alternative’ Zeitgeist, closely linked to the peace movement: all sorts of campaigns against war, exploitation and over-commercialisation.

One facet of the above, the ‘anti-establishment’ Zeitgeist, may underlie the Trump bandwagon, the UK rebellion against the EU and a rise of far-right, fascist or nationalistic parties across Europe. Many folks are just fed up of being told what to do by career politicians and bureaucrats who are out-of-touch with how ordinary folks are feeling.

And it’s not just establishment politicians who are feeling the brunt of popular back-lash. In the UK at least, high profile corporate scandals (e.g. the failure of BHS and ethics of Sports Direct) are highlighting the need for a better moral compass in all walks of life. 

Perhaps underlying all of this is a ‘we’ve had enough’ Zeitgeist: a coming together of the desire for personal freedom with the realisation that many of those we’ve been trusting to run our business and governments actually don’t have our interests at heart . ..  because they no longer have a heart!

After decades of society being dominated by the belief that humans, or rather a few powerful ones, can control everything (from financial stability to the world food production) and that this will mean health and happiness for all of us, the truth is beginning to dawn: money, power, technology are merely tools. It’s the intent behind them that matters. And, what we all need is to feel valued, to feel that those in charge care about us.

All that’s going on in the world today, with the worst aspects of human behaviour hitting our screen and streets are no more and no less than the results of how we’ve been living and thinking over recent decades. They are a wake-up call. Yes, this dis-order and unhappiness is the current Zeitgeist, but it need only be temporary phase.

If we heed the underlying message, if we respond to the real needs that have triggered all these worrying developments, then a very different Zeitgeist can and will be enabled: let’s call it the Zeitgeist of and for ‘decent human beings’, the restoration of balance between those in power and the rest, the restoration of balance between how we think and how we feel.

Some call it Emotional Intelligence, some call it conscious evolution, but those who understand it best know that it’s something, like any true Zeitgeist, that cannot be put into words: it’s no more and no less than the irrepressible human spirit reasserting itself.

The more we acknowledge it, the more the Zeitgeist will build. The more committed we all are to balancing our heads, heart and hands, the sooner we create a balanced, harmonious society.

At times it won’t be easy. I can see and admit how spoilt the ‘personal ambition’ Zeitgeist has encouraged me to become. I’ve become aware of how easy I like things to be. But I’ve also seen that progress comes not by trying to control things or other people, but by taking the time and effort to understand other perspectives and by finding empathy and compassion for those who, for whatever reason, are different from me. The emerging Zeitgeist is of ‘one humanity’. Not just a global economy and ecosystem, but a genuine, practical, recognition that we are all in this together. In order not just to prosper but to survive, we have to recognise our common humanity and remind ourselves what that means: we are all thinking, feeling, human beings.

Friday, 27 May 2016

The Reiki Road & The Taoist Way

I've been reflecting lately on how best to transfer my teaching of Usui Reiki on-line. There's far more to becoming a true Reiki Master, for example, than learning how to do the attunements!

I already 'knew' this, but now I have to transfer that knowing into a viable virtual course: the journey of self-mastery that is the Reiki Road is far more akin to the Taoist Way. Thus:

The Reiki Road that has a map is not the Reiki Road

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Which is best, an empty mind or a full mind?

In most human societies and cultures, the predominant belief is that the more facts, theories and ideas we can pack into our heads the better. Data, knowledge, information: whatever label you want to use, 'the more the better'. Or so the theory goes.

But look where that self-same theory has got us! A species at odds with itself (as witnessed by numerous stress-related illnesses and disputes of innumerable causes (within families, communities, nations, etc.) and disconnected from our own planet. All this knowledge, all our full minds, hasn't improved our quality of life much at all, has it?

Talk to those who practice some form of mediation, self-healing, reflection or mindfulness however (in whatever form and however informally) and you'll not just see but feel the difference. With such techniques . . . and the associated acceptance that clearing the mind, is actually a good thing, so comes a calmness, a greater ability to be at peace in whatever situation our empty mind guides us to engage with.

Read that bit again: "... whatever situation our empty mind guides us ...". Yes, our empty mind is capable of guiding us. From my experience, research and discussions with many others, the reality seems to be that having a mind free of conventional, rational thoughts, is actually conducive to receiving clear guidance on what we need to be doing in our lives!

How can that be? Surely we, our conscious minds, make the decisions, certainly the ones that matter? Do you really believe that? Not surprising, since that's what we're brought up to believe in most societies. Ever since Descartes announced that he could think therefore he was, rational thought has been the accepted pinnacle of human mental achievement. But what if it's but the beginning?

What if our minds can do much more than we've been able to with rational consciousness as our primary mode?   It can. And it needs to!

Much more to come in future blogs. For now, just hang on to that idea, reflect on it, sleep on it: ours minds are capable of much more than rational, logical, analytical, thinking . . .

Sunday, 15 March 2015

There’s no denying it.

‘East is East’ & Emotional Intelligence

That powerful 1999 film East is East was shown on UK TV the other day: I’ve just watched it. Stunned. Timely.

Timely because I’m in the throes of developing my approach to Emotional Intelligence (EI) and this painful story of deep cultural clashes highlights many of the issues prevalent in describing and improving our EI: our ability (or not) to relate to others at a deep and meaningful level.

I’m reminded, for example, of This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin (see ): 

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.   
They may not mean to, but they do. 

Our East is East dad, George Khan, played so realistically by Om Puri, cannot help his behaviour. His views on respect, marriage and many other things are part of who and what he is: his cultural heritage. Long suffering wife, Ella (Linda Bassett, current starring in the BBC’s Call the Midwife) knows this only too well. We see how much they love each other, beneath the cultural divides, and how Khan really believes that what he is doing is for the best for his children. No matter what anyone else says or does, he cannot see it any other way.

We, from the outside, can see, only too clearly, that he is in denial about how the rest of his family thinks and feels. Such is the nature of denial: when beliefs and conditioning (cultural or otherwise) blind us to the reality around. 

And that, in my personal and professional experience, observed and felt from many perspectives, is also at the heart of the lack of Emotional Intelligence: we fail to respond to the emotional needs of others by being blinkered in our thinking. It’s nobody’s fault; no one in particular is to blame: but millions, as Philip Larkin so ably highlights, are fucked up by it.

But what can be done about it? As Ella and her sons found out to their cost, standing up to a closed mind, fighting it, merely results in getting seriously hurt: resisting denial usually makes it even firmer. So is it fight or flight? Or perhaps strategic withdrawal. Elder son, Nazir, denied totally by Khan manages to make a new a new life for himself away from the situation: he had the courage to leave.

But wherever one sits in such situations, the first step is awareness, as to what is really happening. Perhaps there is a spectrum: from total denial to total awareness, the light slowly dawns  . . .

For more on the link between EI and awareness, and suggestions on how to become more aware, see my free webinar.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

An IT Prayer

There's no doubt that many of us, certainly those reading this, would be lost without their internet connection. And IT generally brings us so many wonderful insights and ideas. But. It sure does challenge us at times! I've had all sorts of problems with my new PC which have severely tested both my patience . ..  and my faith.

It struck me that all this amazing technology needs a prayer of its own. So here's one I prepared earlier:

The IT Prayer

Oh Ascended Masters of Microsoft
Oh Angels of Apple and Adobe
Bring heaven to my virtual worlds

Oh cherubim of Chrome and the Clouds
Oh devas of Dropbox and deities of downloads
Bring Wisdom to my Web-site

Oh Gods of Google
Oh Alpha & Omega of Outlook & Office
Bring Peace to my PC

Oh Fairies of Firefox and Facebook
Oh seraphim of software
Bring Blessing to my Blogs


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Wars we all Fight

Many years ago, there was a popular bumper-sticker in the UK:

Be Alert . . . Britain needs Lerts

I was reminded of this the other day whilst seeking the advice of my local computer shop: faced with a new PC I was re-installing all my favourite programs and, in downloading the Firefox browser had inadvertently also downloaded some ad-ware: persistent pop-up ads. We had agreed how alert we have to be for things that are not what they seem; how aware we need to be of potential deception and how ready to take decisive action against those with ulterior motives.

Whether it’s bullying from a colleague, aggressive door-to-door or telephone salesmen, IT based spams or scams, we are pretty much all exposed, day-in-day-out to individuals driven to get one over on us. Whether we like it or not, we have to be constantly on our guard against those for whom co-operation and compassion are alien concepts. If we were to look at the background of such individuals, at their upbringing, we would probably find reasons galore for their attitudes and behavior. There may be selfish genes at work, but it is almost certainly conditioning and circumstances that have taken hold of the ‘survival of the fittest’ motivation and run with it. They probably had little choice. In the same circumstances we, you or I, may have done the same.

But, as any fan of Disney or Pixar animations will affirm, it is possible to overcome the tyrant, the evil witch . . . or their real-life equivalent, whatever form they may take: physical or virtual. Courage and compassion, we know, deep down, will win out in the end. Somehow we have to be a-lert to cunning plans, aware of selfish intent and stand-up for the greater good. It’s often not easy, but we owe it to those who have given their lives for such causes.

On this Remembrance Day, as we reflect on the courage and sacrifice of those who have had to fight real, physical wars, we might ask ‘how can we best show our respect, solidarity and gratitude?’ By being alert, by showing compassion; by being firm . . . . but kind.

Keith Beasley:

Key words: remembrance, war, compassion, spam, scam, ad-ware, love, respect, solidarity, courage, alert, aware, Firefox, pop-ups, ads

Friday, 1 August 2014

A Transcendent Read

Review of Men at Arms: A Discworld Novel: 14 (by Terry Pratchett)

Pratchett’s Discworld novels are always an excellent read (we rely on them to help us through long train and plane journeys) and this is one of the best. With Ankh-Morpork threatened by a magic super-weapon (which the wizards have nothing to do with) so the eccentric yet believable Watch save the day. With Carrot, the 6’ 6” dwarf, courting and his boss, Vimes, getting married into the gentry, duty still comes first. 

Light yet deep, this Discworld volume, perhaps more than others explores so many real-life issues with insight and awareness. You think we, in human society, have problems with ethnic issues? Try adding trolls, dwarfs and werewolves to the mix! And what about this: wolf + human = dog. Fascinating.

As I laughed and cried reading Men At Arms, I wasn’t consciously thinking of the parallels between Discworld and Earth, but my mind was inevitably making them . . .and I smiled even more! Thinking of studying sociology or psychology? You might learn just as much reading Pratchett  . . . and probably have more fun in the process.