It’s that wonderful time of year again, Halloween! For a brief but brilliant time, it’s socially acceptable to send children out to intimidate strangers into handing over sweets. It’s also the only time when a white sheet with eyeholes is a legitimate party outfit. For these and many other reasons Halloween is one of the highlights of the year. You can comfortably slap on make-up with the expressed purpose of looking worse rather than better, or snuggle up indoors to scare yourself silly watching Jack Torrence axing through hotel doors and other similarly terrifying things.
However, like many other things, Halloween is best when you’re a kid. Obviously, there’s plenty of stuff that’s scary as an adult, but these tend to be real-life things and no fun at all. Childhood fears on the other hand, although heart-stopping and sleep-stealing at the time, are in their own way quite enjoyable and sometimes hilarious to look back on. In the spooky spirit of the season, we’ve asked the Beeja Team to share the frights that used to keep the miniature version of themselves up at night, starting with… (more…)
We all tend to accept that once we’re adults, not much in our physical (and sometimes even spiritual) selves will change. Away from the uncertainty of adolescence – where there’s the constant uneasy feeling that we’ll look in the mirror and our nose will be twice as big, or our legs will grow by 18 inches in the night – adulthood feels fairly fixed. We’re as tall as we’re ever going to be, we know roughly how clever we are, our ideas about the world aren’t subjected to ricocheting swings of hormones and moods. We may slowly adjust as we grow older, but the fundamentals aren’t going to change anytime soon.
And for a long time, this is how scientists felt about our brains. They grow larger, transform and absorb information during childhood, but once we reach maturity they simply stop, changing as little throughout life as our shoe size. The idea that once we reach adulthood we are trapped in our own fixed perception, restricted by its prejudices, experiences and fears, is a disheartening one – and also one that is counterintuitive. While it’s clear that some people are set in their ways, it’s also obvious that many can undergo radical change – with a life event or unexpected realisation completely changing how they interact with the world. What we didn’t realise is that this kind of change can actually transform the physical makeup of our brains. (more…)
The reason I found meditation was because I’d experienced seven long years of insomnia. I had been desperately seeking solutions for much of that time. Having tried hypnotherapy, acupuncture, yoga, reflexology and various other methods, as well as herbal sleeping tablets, blackout blinds and silicon ear plugs, it was only the meditation that finally resolved it.
However, my research had led to me finding a few things that took the edge off. Since becoming a meditation teacher, I have learned the deeper biological and neurological reasons for poor sleep. I’ve found lots of little things that help, and cumulatively they can make a really significant difference. (more…)
Few people really understand what it’s like to have Lupus, or even have a clear idea of what it is. As the many symptoms Lupus creates can vary so wildly within and between patients, even medical professionals can be under-informed or fail to recognise the problem – sometimes making getting a clear diagnosis a drawn-out process. In order to raise awareness of Lupus and the impact it has on people’s lives, this October is Lupus Awareness Month, where campaigners aim to make the illness part of our national conversation. (more…)
One of the things that has struck me most forcefully since I’ve been teaching is the strongly ingrained tendency by most humans to fixate on the negative.
Even when something is pretty bloody good, whether it be a relationship, a career, an event, or even our meditation practice, our prosecuting mind kicks in and we put so much of our attention on the stuff we find dissatisfying.
We also tend to fixate on the flaws and weaknesses that we ourselves possess, to the exclusion of so much that may be positive. (more…)