Places of Inspiration Part 1: Exotic Marigolds, Mystical Mountains and Memories of India

I recently watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and found it a movie full of insight, humour and hope.  I vividly recalled my own arrival at Delhi Airport several years ago for a visit to Northern India, and the noise, the brilliant jewel-like saris, the garlands of marigolds placed around our necks. The images flooded in on me:  colour, chaos, beggingContinue reading “Places of Inspiration Part 1: Exotic Marigolds, Mystical Mountains and Memories of India”

Our Picture of Heaven – Static and Changeless, or Wild and Dynamic?

What is your idea of heaven? If asked to draw an image of it, what would you come up with?  I’ve found that people may often be unwilling to either say exactly what they think heaven is like, or to create their own image of it. And then they seem held back by ideas ofContinue reading “Our Picture of Heaven – Static and Changeless, or Wild and Dynamic?”

Good Friday, The Magic of Believing, and Success and Failure

Once I tried to live by the magic of believing, in which positive thoughts always attract good circumstances into our lives – until I realised success and failure in this world cannot be understood in such a simplistic way. How straightforward life would be if that was so. The truth is none of us knowContinue reading “Good Friday, The Magic of Believing, and Success and Failure”

The Wailing Wall, Sacred Space and Topol

A recent 24/7 prayer weekend at church created a “sacred space” in a room, where people could come and reflect, and paint and write and draw, and meditate in a tent or tie a leaf to a tree or write their angst on a paper chain then break the chain and tear it to pieces andContinue reading “The Wailing Wall, Sacred Space and Topol”

Wisdom from Hermitage, Cave and Monastery

Sometimes you hear people say “What’s the use of being a solitary contemplative?” How can any of humanity’s problems be resolved by those who withdraw from the world, to live the life of a hermit or a monk? The vital role of the sadhu or holy man is long established in Indian tradition; and renewed interestContinue reading “Wisdom from Hermitage, Cave and Monastery”

Water, Rock, Moon and Ancient Stone

Imagine the Warwickshire countryside in silence and darkness. A rabbit running from the headlights. Imagine a radiant moon and bright stars. The fresh rich smell of silage in the night. A tiny ancient church on a hill, lit only by candles within. Imagine rocks, water, Celtic prayers and songs – and you’ll know what IContinue reading “Water, Rock, Moon and Ancient Stone”

An Answer to Prayer, or Just Good Luck?

Often traditional Irish / Celtic prayers travel cyberspace, packaged as good luck messages inspired by folk religion and treated as if they’re magic words – giving luck and chance greater respectability to our way of thinking than the idea of prayer to a God who is listening and answering. So, today I ask: ‘Why pray?’ and ‘Does it work?’  Many doContinue reading “An Answer to Prayer, or Just Good Luck?”

Dramatic Conversion Experiences, and the Mystery of Love versus Willpower

This is the second in my series of posts reflecting upon recent conversations with others about their beliefs. And this question came up: Is faith about emotion or the will? Quite often you may hear people say, “It’s all very well for you. You have faith. I wish I had faith – but I don’t.”Continue reading “Dramatic Conversion Experiences, and the Mystery of Love versus Willpower”

Virgin Births, Electric Monks and Troublesome Beliefs

I enjoy listening to people talking about their beliefs. This is a source of inspiration for me. So here are my insights from some recent conversations – and they’re about the Virgin Birth, the electric monk, and package deals of beliefs. Many of us can fall prey to a certain mental habit:  we believe what we want to believe,Continue reading “Virgin Births, Electric Monks and Troublesome Beliefs”

Interpersonal Relationships in the Hothouse Atmosphere of a New Age Commune

In my mystery romance novel “Mystical Circles” I explore the interpersonal relationships to be found in the hothouse atmosphere of a New Age commune. This is a place where relationships and liaisons flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly. The group I describe is based in an idyllic farmhouse in the Cotswolds. It is aContinue reading “Interpersonal Relationships in the Hothouse Atmosphere of a New Age Commune”