WHAT I DO
Most of what I write about could be broadly construed as philosophy, in the sense that I’m interested in how to live a good life, given the kind of creatures we are, and our contemporary context. However, my philosophy is a practice, and it includes how I live, which includes the practices of yoga and zazen (just being in meditation).
Three questions sum up my approach:
1. What does it mean to live well (and relatedly, what is a good life)?
2. To answer that, we have to ask, what kinds of creatures are we, and how do we relate to, or connect with, the rest of existence?
and that in turn raises the question,
3. What does a better understanding of how we interconnect tell us about what is going on right now?
I’ve written a book based on my PhD thesis, Love is Green: compassion as responsibility in the ecological emergency, Vernon Press, 2020. I’ve finished editing (and am waiting the publication of) a second book, Philosophy as Practice in the Ecological Emergency: An Exploration of Urgent Matters, Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2022. And I’ve just completed a third book, Yoga for Now: embodied philosophy in the ecological emergency). This should give you some idea of what I think the contemporary context is: the ecological emergency.
I teach – and learn – about how we can ask these and related questions of ourselves. But I don’t do so on the basis that I’m one brain talking to another. I do so on the basis that the very act of interaction changes us both. And I do so on the basis that we are not individuals sitting in connected relationships. We are entirely enmeshed. We are the mesh.
My courses and classes, retreats and workshops, talks and meditations, all explore the dynamic relationship between internal and external experience. I want you to be able to feel what it is like to be the mesh, to breathe in not just oxygen, but attitude.
What drives me is an urgent and critical desire to realise, in myself, and to elicit this realisation in those who connect with me, a way of being and seeing, and therefore of acting and interacting, that is informed, and inspired, by compassion, love, kindness, wisdom, humour, curiosity, intelligence, wildness, and openness.
I am not leading from the front, though! This is a co-arising. I do strongly believe that changing our attitude to what is going on changes how we interact, and that this shifts the mesh from fragmentation, to integration. So I am driven by a desire to transform not just myself, but the ecological emergency, from shattered to interconnected.
My view of free will informs this too – come along to a course, a retreat or a class to find out more – oh, and expect me to get personal! Contact me if you want to discuss anything in detail.
That's the Spirit! That's the Attitude!
To know yoga is to know that we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. Spirit is attitude. We are in a war of attitudes. We need to learn to sustain peace. Yoga is integrity. But integrity goes beyond how we act towards other humans. We need integrity in how we act towards other systems, rivers, oceans, the great earth. And we need integrity in how we act towards ourselves: forgiveness and kindness are not weak. We get strong by learning to love what is good for us. To connect.
We need urgently to shift how we live, but we can only do this by shifting perspective. We can, and must, change how we view our agency. My classes provides the potential for enormous and cumulative effects. Yoga is stepping back, in the sense of being aware of the present moment, and seeing ourselves in action. Try this sun salutation version to experience this. Much of what I teach is couched in stories, because narratives, myths and metaphors are how we see the world.