Dharma Diary · Publishing · The Shining Ones

The Tax Credit Office and the Sword of Damocles

The title of this post sounds like a bad thriller, but anyway…last time I promised to tell the story of how the tax credit office almost killed my novel, The Shining Ones, but first, some context: A few years ago I was made redundant in the Tory public sector cuts and, what with one thing… Continue reading The Tax Credit Office and the Sword of Damocles

Dark Night of the Soul · Dharma Diary

Unreasonable Happiness: or How to Be a Dog

Last week I talked about how I stumbled into joy and how strange it was to be so happy for no reason. It shouldn’t be strange because joy is my true nature. But as anyone who has suffered with depression will know, that’s not an easy thing to remember. Especially on a bad day. Depression… Continue reading Unreasonable Happiness: or How to Be a Dog

Dark Night of the Soul · Dharma Diary

What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa

Life is mostly an exercise in escapology and humiliation. You want to be happy. You don’t want to suffer or experience pain, but life rarely cooperates. The harder you run from the inescapable, the faster it pursues you. The monster is always one step ahead, waiting around the next bend in the road. It knows… Continue reading What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa

Dark Night of the Soul · Dharma Diary

The Difference Between Pain and Suffering

Everyone knows that pain is inevitable and suffering is optional. It’s not always easy to remember, but recently I had a surprising breakthrough just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse – which may be the point. Six years ago my health collapsed and I began collecting auto-immune disorders as a hobby. It’s basically… Continue reading The Difference Between Pain and Suffering

Buddhism · Dharma Diary

Fearlessness in the face of a hot spoon

There’s a Buddhist story I like about overcoming the fear of death: a Zen monastery was under attack by an infamous warlord and his army. All the monks fled, except for the abbot who sat peacefully in front of the shrine. The warlord entered the courtyard and approached, pulling out his sword. He shouted at… Continue reading Fearlessness in the face of a hot spoon

Dharma Diary · Meditation

An Unexpected Gift: when a guided meditation went “wrong”

One night I was having trouble sleeping so I decided to do a guided meditation. It seemed simple enough: you meet a guide who gives you a gift and then shows you something you need to face. I thought it might distract me from the insomnia and shut my whirring mind off for a few… Continue reading An Unexpected Gift: when a guided meditation went “wrong”