Tag Archives: buddhism

Lungta: the wind horse of flow and ease

I’ve been privileged to spend the last weeks of October in an old Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas. Spending a lot of time looking at prayer flags, I was delighted to discover the meaning behind the horse that features on them.

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The horse is called Lungta, or Wind Horse, and similar to Ganesh it symbolises the ability within you to turn stagnation into flow.

Windhorse is success. It is an aliveness, an alignment, a vibrancy. You have windhorse when things are flowing; when there is ease; when you feel “in the zone”.

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The opposite of windhorse is what the Buddhists call drip: when energy is clogged up. You know drip is in your life when there are a lot of obstacles, when things are not going your way.

So how do we cultivate wind horse and minimise drip? The teachings point to integrity, looking after yourself and your surroundings – looking within yourself for fulfilment and connection.

Spending time in the Himalayas around Diwali end of October, I loved seeing the villagers busy cleaning and painting their houses to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and abundance. 

In the picture are Lakshmi’s footsteps traced by the women of the family I was staying with. 

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Inspired by all this activity I put up the goddess feet mandala on our own door (see picture), and started cleaning and cooking myself.

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It’s a cleansing experience to declutter and create clarity. Especially with the intention of welcoming abundance and flow.

This was also inspired by Chameli Ardagh of Awakening Women’s Institute whose Parvati sadhana I was following at the time. Chameli writes:

“To clear out drip and welcome windhorse, choose to clear one drip-producing thing per day in your surroundings.

Declutter a drawer.

Fix something that is broken.

Do something you have postponed.

Apologize.

Throw out your secret stash of addiction-food.

Pay a bill, clean something or beautify your entrance.

Notice how these outer actions liberate energy.”

Decluttering our home is also a metaphor for sweeping up our emotional dust and blocks so flow has free passage through us. As we traverse life our experiences form and shape us, and some our so potent we carry them with us for a long time.

Sometimes we neglect parts of our being or they may even be frozen if we’ve experienced trauma. Cleaning up the dusty corners and slowly thawing the frozen ones helps us feel more complete, whole and flexible. We become freer in our responses to the world and experience more flow.

Chameli writes:

“What makes energy take form as drip versus windhorse is the attachment to the idea that who we are is a fixed, limited “me” who is fundamentally separate from our surroundings and other people.”

In the Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy November calls we’re exploring how to allow the flow of the windhorse circulate freely, and how decluttering your physical space is as important as keeping your emotional space dust free.

Get in touch if you’d like to join next month’s call!

Heart Space: the magic of synchronicity

“Is it always like this or are we special?” asked one of the participants of the my latest retreat in Crete. I replied: “Both. It is always like this and it is always magical.” In the months leading up to the retreat I was observing the group coming together – some signed up months in advance, others cancelled last minute. Coincidence? Or is it a complex cosmic law that our limited understanding is (yet) unable to grasp?

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It has been two weeks since the end of the Joyful Living retreat in the remote village of Sfakia in the South of Crete. I’m still in awe of the perfect synchronicity – perhaps the best term for that complex cosmic law – that brought this group together. So are the participants who are already booking their flights for the reunion in October. One of them, a theatre producer from Zurich, writes: “I’m astonished at how open and warm we were in the group and this very quickly.” “It was a real joy to see how the group evolved into a small family in just the space of a few days!” shares Mouna, an interpreter from Paris.

The swift intimacy created after sometimes only a couple of hours is a marvel to most people attending my workshops and retreats. In my experience, connection and transformation happen when synchronicity enters the scene. Then meaningful coincidences start occurring, such as people find themselves working on a similar life purpose, or bringing an identical inspiring object to the workshop. Or I will intuitively share an experience which is deeply meaningful to one or more participants.

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To trust in synchronicity is one of the cornerstones of being a transformational facilitator and coach. My coaching school CTI calls this skill ‘dancing in the moment.’ To surrender control initially feels counterintuitive because as a faclitator you are ‘doing nothing’ but following the flow of a session. Slowly you build trust that whatever is unfolding, is exactly what participants need in that very moment. When I feel I am working hard, I now know something is wrong!

In fact the only thing to ‘do’ as a facilitator is to role model how to interact with an open heart, a sensitive spirit, a curious mind and a flexible body. Thus you give the group permission to enter into a safe space. They respond by sharing the full spectrum of their humanity. It is as if in this ‘heart space’ we can uncover the strength of our vulnerability. We recognise each other’s stories of feeling intensely alive or of sabotaging our wildest dreams. By “taking the lid off ourselves” (‘The Heart of the Buddha‘ by Chogyam Trungpa, p6) we give each other permission to relax, be present, connect with our inner self and leave our unique footprint.

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Occassionally I come across a group where the heart space is unstable. This usually indicates that one or more participants has become sceptical and closed their hearts. The crucial thing to do as a facilitator is to stay curious and avoid closing our heart in retaliation. Fear can easily make us defensive or judgemental. Yet when we stay open hearted we invite a participant to express their doubt and neutralise the impact. Mostly this is enough for the air to clear and for synchronicty to work its magic once again. I remain in awe.

Watch this space for my next piece on how flow and synchronicity are related to gut feeling.

About meditation

On Thursday I came out of a 5 day silent meditation retreat in the green mountains of Sri Lanka. I would like to share with you 5 insights I gained as many of my coaching clients are keen to keep up a regular meditation practice and lead more mindful lives.

I often work with clients on addressing the balance between being and doing. Meditation is a great antidote against our tendency to perceive ourselves as ‘human doings’ instead of ‘human beings’.

1. The middle way

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One of the challenges of meditation is finding the middle way between trying too hard and too little. The meditation instructor at the retreat explained that he generally taught Northern Europeans to reduce their current effort by 50%. Southern Europeans should reduce their effort by 25%, while Sri Lankans should increase their effort by 500%.

Continue reading About meditation