Absolutely Everybody

Absolutely Everybody : Interbeing

Absolutely Everybody – Vanessa Amorosi
Everybody needs a little love and
Everybody needs somebody thinking of them
Everybody needs a little respect
And whatever it takes
I’m gonna get it

And absolutely everybody breathes
And everybody, everybody bleeds
We’re no different
We are all the same
Players in the game

Absolutely everybody
Everybody, everybody
Absolutely everybody
In the whole wide world

Everybody breathes
And everybody needs
Absolutely everybody

Destination Unknown : Renunciation, going forth, don’t know mind

Destination Unknown by Alex Gaudino
I left my job my boss my car and my home
I’m leaving for a destination I still don’t know

Follow me
And let’s go
To a place where we belong and leave our troubles at home
Come with me
We can go
To a paradise of love and joy — a destination unknown

When Love Takes Over : Love / Metta

When Love Takes Over by David Guetta Feat. Kelly Rowland
It’s complicated
It always is
That’s just the way it goes
Feels like I’ve waited so long for this
I wonder if it shows

Head under water
Now I can’t breathe
It never felt so good
‘Cause I can feel it coming over me
I wouldn’t stop it if I could

When love takes over, you know you can’t deny

Retreat theme song – Me myself I

Me Myself I – Joan Armatrading
I sit here by myself
And you know I love it
You know I don’t want someone
To come pay a visit
I wanna be by myself
I came in this world alone
Me myself I

Don’t wanna be the bad guy
Don’t wanna make a soul cry
It’s not that I love my self
I just don’t want company
Just me myself I
Me myself and I
Just me myself I


Through meditation we get to know ourselves really well. What are our habitual thought and emotional patterns? What do our bodies feel and what is our experience of the world through our senses?

Retreats allow us to get down and dirty on all the experiences of “me myself I”.

Why would we want to do this? Because the more familiar we become with ourselves, the more we learn to not take ourselves so seriously. It so happens that this is very good for us and for everyone around us as well.

To study the way is to study the self
To study the self is to forget the self
To forget the self is to be actualised in myriad things…
– Eihei Dogen (13th Century Zen Master)

The four noble truths in four pop songs

If the Buddha were to express the 4NT in pop songs which would he choose?
If the Buddha were to express the 4NT in pop songs which would he choose?
1. The truth of dukkha** : Suffering by Jay-Jay Johanson
Autumn is here inside my heart
When there’s springtime in the air
Loneliness is tearing me apart
Being lost makes me scared…
Nobody suffers like I do…

2. The cause: Constant craving by k.d. lang.

And constant craving has always been…
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
Feeds wisdom
To its youth

3. Release from craving: No more I love you’s by Annie Lennox.

I used to have demons in my room at night – desire, despair, desire – so many monsters
Oh, but now…
No more I love you’s, the language is leaving me
No more I love you’s, the language is leaving me in silence

4. The path to freedom: The Ark by Gerry Rafferty.

See the dark night has come down on us
The world is livin’ in its dream
But now we know that we can wake up from this sleep
And set out on the journey
Find a ship to take us on the way.

If you travel blindly, if you fall
The truth is there to set you free
And when your heart can see just one thing in this life
We’ll set out on the journey
Find a ship to take us on the way.


**dukkha is a word in the ancient Pali language. It conveys the sense of discomfort, dis-ease, lack of wholeness, sense of being not enough as we are, and therefor needing to reach for things and people outside of ourselves. It is the craving for things we think we need to ease our sense of inadequacy and make us feel whole that sustains the experience of dukkha.

My Dog Got The Tao

Our dog was forever barking. We’d tried everything, but to no avail.

One day he heard the words of the Buddha —

“Life is suffering.”

He thought to himself, Oh, that must be why I’m forever barking — I’m suffering! 

The humans in his life would often say to him “who’s a clever boy?”  He had no idea and wondered why they were asking. But seeing himself acquire this understanding of Buddhism, he thought to himself, I must be the clever boy! I must be a real thinker.

So, when he heard the famous words of Descartes, the Cogito,

“I think therefore I am,”

he saw that this must mean “I am.”

This really blew his socks off.  It led to his discovery of the work of Indian guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and his book, I am that. He wasn’t sure exactly what ‘that’ was, but didn’t let it bother him.

He appeared to be a genuine seeker making real progress on the spiritual path. So a spiritual teacher offered to give him shaktipat, the direct transmission of divine energy leading to spiritual enlightenment.

The teacher called him over, “come here boy,” and touched our dog’s third eye. He wagged his tail, barked happily, and trotted off. 

The teacher commented,

“There’s not much going on in there, is there.”

“Probably not,” we replied.

Undeterred, our dog continued his study of Nisargadatta. He particularly liked the quote, though he hadn’t a clue what it meant —

“Love says: ‘I am everything’. 

Wisdom says: ‘I am nothing’. 

Between the two my life flows.”

Finally, our dog discovered the Tao Te Ching. He found he couldn’t put it down. He carried it everywhere between his teeth. 

One day, he read —

“He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”

I don’t know if he got enlightened but he never barked again after that.

Wheels Keep Turning

Someone told me once to ‘get on my bike.’ That’s when it occurred to me that I didn’t own one. So I went and bought one—no wait, actually two—bikes. A pretty blue mountain bike and a helpfully self-propelling one with a motor, a motorbike.

The three of us fell deeply in love.

The motorbike had the soul of a dirt bike, having been one in a previous lifetime. So it was attracted to dirt and gravel roads, and to mud. That was after a lifetime spent as a pink tricycle, with streamers hanging from the handlebars and ridden by a little girl in a pink dress with determined eyes, who would turn out to be me. 

The mountain bike was afraid of mountains, and heights in general, and preferred city streets. This was after meeting its end in its previous lifetime as a cigarette butt, flicked, spinning end-over-end, from a mountain-top sight-seeing lookout. Thus the dying of the light and the extinguishment of that particular lifetime. And of course its strong preference for the big smoke merely an inveterate habit of the many short lifetimes it had spent as a cigarette. 

Both bikes had done stints in previous lives as ten-speed racing bikes; as car wheels; and as various kinds of tyres. The motorbike was once a ferris wheel; the mountain bike a monocycle, and before that, a monocle. They both served me in a previous life-time, forming the pair in a set of regular spectacles. 

Going back a way, all three of us had once worked together on a steam train: I was the driver and those two worked side-by-side as wheels. And going back before the time of people and before memory itself, the three of us were nearby pebbles, beautifully smooth and rounded, in a stream, sometimes rolling together in the current. Then I decided to reincarnate as an eel-like creature in the late Cambrian period, whilst they remained in orbiculate occupations.

Together again now, our wheels once again turn together.