Christopher Titmuss Dharma Blog

A Buddhist Perspective

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A Deep Teaching in the Song ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones

While lifting a modest number of kilos through the air in the gym, I listened to Spotify through my earphones.

An old favourite rock song came on – Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones. Composed in 1966 in Los Angeles by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song conveys a depth of lyrics, which caught my attention. Continue reading 



Does both the Conservative and Labour Party need levelling up? Abuse of Power ends in Tears

Centralisation of power in the mind of the Prime Minister has long gone past its sell-by date.

Self-interest plays a major part in the mindset of the head of government. Popularity and personal prestige influence decision making over the interests of the country. Continue reading 



Democracy. Democracy. Where are Art Thou? Parliament needs levelling up

UK often boasts of its commitment to fair play. Fair play has become a claim of our national psyche.  Democracy and the election process seems far removed from fair play. Parliament stands as one of our oldest institutions.

Like other institutions, Parliament prefers living in the past rather than the present.

What’s fair about living under the control of a two-party state?

  • The Conservative Party received 13.9 million votes with 365 seats in the 2019 general election.
  • The Liberal-Democrat Party received 3.7 million votes and have 13 seats.
  • This means that the Conservative Party has 28 times as many seats as the Liberal Democrats while only getting four times as many votes.
  • The Labour Party received 10.2 million votes with 202 seats.
  • The Green Party received 860,000 votes in the last general election and have a single seat in Parliament.
  • This means the Labour received 12 times as many votes as the Green Party but have 202 times as many seats.
  • Green Party devotes its policies in its manifesto to a sustainable world for people, creatures and the environment.
  • The Green Party MP needs to be in the Cabinet and have an important voice in Parliament.

 Information on the British Parliamentary System for those who live outside the UK

The Prime Minister is the leader of the Government. He or she is the leader of the party that wins the most seats at a general election. After a general election, the Queen calls upon the leader of the largest party to form the Government. The Prime Minister, whose residence and offices at 10 Downing Street, chooses 22 Ministers from his Party to run the Government.

The Party Leader achieves his office as head of the government after winning most seats at the general election out of the 650 Parliamentary seats available.

British politics lives under the control of two parties with other parties in the British Parliament marginalised. This system of control takes place through the refusal of the two main Parties to reject proportional representation of number of MPs roughly parallel to the number of votes given to a party with a minimum of 5% votes from the electorate to win a seat.

Will the system change?

Odds are 200-1 against change.



I received an e-mail on a person’s response to challenging emotional states. Here is the email and my reply.

I received this email – a reminder of the benefits of spiritual practice/mindfulness/meditation and the support it provides in emotionally challenging situations.

Here is the email along with a short response from myself. The writer gave me permission to post her email on the blog.

Dear Christopher,

Last week, I experienced the most emotionally challenging situation in some years with intense feelings of sadness, despair, anger and overwhelm. In the midst of it, I also noticed change.

Would I have found myself in this situation some years ago, I would not have had faith in the fact that this too will change. The mental state of despair would have lasted for days if not weeks and would have resulted in nights without sleep and mental and physical exhaustion.

This is not my experience anymore.

Instead, whilst still experiencing quite intense suffering, there is something inside me that knows that this will not last. That just like everything, this feeling of despair will go away and be replaced by joy again. I now know what to do in a situation like this: Go out and walk. Look at nature and wildlife. Talk to friends. Concentrate on bodily sensations, even if it’s just possible for a few seconds to remain with these. Not beating myself up for how I feel and act. Not beating myself up for not sitting down to meditate. Not being ashamed.

In this difficult situation, I strangely experienced a feeling of happiness that I had not experienced before. I felt a gentle flame burning inside of me that didn’t want to be extinguished, not even in this situation of despair. A deep willingness to be alive in this world with all its suffering and beauty. For a short while, I was even thankful for this suffering, because it had shown me a resilience inside of me, I hadn’t felt in this way before.

This resilience has slowly developed over the last years and to know that it will grow even bigger in the years to come fills me with joy.

I am writing this text knowing that I might not feel this hopeful in an hours time, but what I do know is that there is something inside of me now that can never be taken away again.

There will be situations where I won’t be able to feel this way, but I do know that this doesn’t mean this light inside me is not here anymore – it is only invisible to me for a short while and will become visible again.

The change that has taken place inside me didn’t happen by accident. Some years ago, at the lowest point of my life, I was lucky (and persistent) enough to find a good therapist. I started practicing meditation and became interested in Buddhism. In the last year, my practice deepened through the help of very good teachers. I could not have done this by myself.

During these last years, I have learned some lessons. I forget them frequently, sometimes on a daily basis-hence I am writing them down for moments when I can’t see clearly.

  1. There is always light. If you can’t see it today, look for it again tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow.

2) Don’t hide your true feelings. Get help from outside if needed. Friends, a therapist, a teacher. Or a dog.

3) If you don’t feel like going for a walk, force yourself. If you can’t force yourself, don’t beat yourself up about it. In fact, don’t beat yourself up about anything. Just try again tomorrow.

4) If you’re caught between pride and love, choose love.

5) What other people think about you is none of your business.

6) Change inside can change every situation. Yet it sometimes needs outer change, in order to start inner change.

7) Listen.

8) In the darkest of your nights, go outside and hug a tree. It might not help, but surely the tree won’t mind anyway.

9) Your childhood might determine how easily you can be happy. It does NOT determine WHETHER you can be happy.

10) Fear is not a good advisor.

11) If you feel a purely positive impulse inside of you arising, don’t hesitate and wait for your mind to supply you with reasons not to act.Follow it.

12) You don’t help other people by making their problems your own. You help by being there, listening and keeping your calm.

13) Everything changes.

Love

Dear ..

Thank you for your very thoughtful reflection.

Your wise responses to the arising of emotions that can oppress consciousness develop a deepening of your trust in your capacity to accommodate these troubling moods – like dark and stormy clouds.

Wisdom knows that what arises will pass. The application of exposure to the light makes such a difference – outdoors, nature, creatures, friends, witnessing body sensations, formless days rather than formal meditation and remembering a thought is just a thought. You pinpointed key features for transition out of the dark cloud.
The dark thought comes from the mood not from the space found in exposure to the light.
Your resilience shines through. 
You wrote a beautiful statement. It would be worth your reading aloud as a statement of light – both in joyful times, quiet times and during the time when a cloud blocks the sunshine.
Your understanding of the dynamics of arising and passing will benefit others going through the same dynamics.
Love,
Christopher

www.christophertitmuss.net/donations

 



Two Global Pandemics. The State of the Earth. Fear around Big Issues and Fear around Personal Issues. Can We live without Fear?

DELTA/OMICRON, STATE OF THE EARTH AND TRANSFORMING FEAR

We live in challenging times with two global pandemics, Delta and Omicron, and global uncertainty for the Earth. Continue reading 




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