oul Food was created to share inspirational works that will help to nourish your soul, ideas born from the dawn of change which man is now experiencing. This change, whether you like it or not , is already having an impact on your daily life. It is proving to be the greatest test of humankind since time began, and could be a long and bumpy ride. The question is: are you ready ? The secret to riding out such change is for you to remain mentally and physically buoyant, and the aim of this book is to inspire you to do so. You cannot escape change; everyone on the planet is affected by it, because we are all in someway or another connected. As the ripples of change transmit from neighbour to neighbour they inevitably alter the course of the world. Our job is to choose whether the ripples we send out cause turbulence or bring peace. We can also choose whether the ripples we receive are met with judgment or equanimity. The easiest way to do this is to gracefully accept that whatever challenges we meet provides an opportunity for us to grow. Even when presented with something we dislike, we can choose to neutralise the effect it has on us. We do not have to fall slave to its grip, no matter how tight it may seem. During an intense period of chronic illness, I spent much of my time either sitting or lying in contemplative meditation. This provided an oasis of serenity, a space where my mind and body could heal. It was here that the words presented before you came flooding to me and I felt the urge to write. Coupled with artwork , inspired by sacred geometry, the purpose of my work is to help you access such a place of peace. â€˜May you travel light in all your endeavoursâ€™
The pages that follow were inspired by many incredible teachers and written with much devotion. Each piece of work represents a stage one might encounter on the path of self-discovery (sadhana). May you enjoy their message and embrace your own experiences whilst unfolding the truth.
The following processes led to the development of this work:
The insightful incident Grounding (coming home) Finding comfort in stillness Clarity and insight Transcending the self (ego) Beyond emptiness Total absorption (luminosity)
It is with heartfelt thanks that credit is given to the following artists for contributing their amazing artwork: Chelle 66 , Gerda , Muri, Dragon Winter and â€˜john rileyâ€™.
All the artwork and text in this publication is copyright protected.
had no idea on that day as I walked to work , that the ground would open up before me, that the earth would swallow me up and spit me back out in such a ghostly shade of pale. It was the final straw; my internal organs decided: enough! It had been coming for a while, but I had ignored all the signs. Like a tug of war between a herd of elephants and a group of teenagers; no matter how much the teenagers dig in their heels they are destined to fail . My body could not keep up the pace of the life that I was leading. I stumbled to the front door of my shop and, with a sigh of relief, slammed the door and the world outside. Lying down, it felt like my heart was rebounding off the ceiling, then it was as though my whole being hovered above me. Over the next few months simple tasks like getting dressed, walking and shopping took on mammoth proportions. On occasions I hardly had the capacity to speak . As a result , the business - and my social life - inevitably ceased trading.
Things had to change. My ego would have to give way to a greater force.
n solitude I created my own healing space; I read countless stories of man getting up when the proverbial “chips are down”. It seems we can easily be taken over by an inbuilt underdog, that feeds on our fears . But no matter what the circumstances, with a little determination, we all have the ability to rise above this .Not the determination of a bulldog, but that of a guide dog: humble, subservient and loyal to its cause. I knew that in order to heal myself I must become like a warrior and embrace such qualities. I learnt to wear fear around my neck like a talisman, to remind me of a state I no longer wished to experience. I learnt that each time we face a situation from a standpoint of truth and honesty we sharpen our swords, ready for the battlefield of life. The path of truth is paved with harmony, where life flows naturally and daily living is much more harmonious. Anything less is a life of falsehood and self-deceit, inevitably causing suffering . It was this kind of hardship that had put me on my sickbed. I would have to go right back to the beginning and make some changes. Yoga (union) was the only answer. Yoga chitta vritti nirodhah tada drastuh svarupe avastanam Yoga is experienced in a mind which ceases to identify itself with its vacillating waves of perception. When this happens the seer is revealed and one’s own essential nature provides a resting place for self realisation.
Patanjali’s yoga sutra 1
s a child the art room was my only sanctuary, a haven of self expression, colour and play. I sensed a feeling of letting go in this room and all it stood for. As clay became sculpture and pigments became thoughtfully arranged, I felt my troubles vanish. Having been thwarted by most of my teachers and their alien language, I had almost given up at school. I just could not translate the rule book of conformity. But no matter what race, sex, size or shape my art teachers were, we had a mutual understanding. It was here I found my only adult connection, a bond which nurtured the only signs of interest I had ever shown. Perhaps like a tribal tattoo , worn with honour, my artwork represented a personal statement a voice that would otherwise have remained in shackles . Such bountiful expression allowed me to filter lifeâ€™s darkness and I wore my visionary glasses with caution but pride. It was now time to revisit this well of creativity within.
Oh what joy my multi-faceted youth Maybe flat on the surface, but inside a prism of colour An unbreakable rock , yet with the delicacy of glass
n the beginning there was silence; a vast darkness spanned the universe Vibrating outwards, emerging as energy, it murmured the sacred sound ‘Om’. With supreme resonance it manifested itself, the frequency of all creation, and the first words were spoken: “ LET THERE BE LIGHT ” As words fell in tune with universal heartbeat, so too the first rhythm was born. Then man was created to share such splendour, receiving the gift of life in the form of a kiss. His heartbeat harmonised with that of his maker, a divine being he came to know as God. Dancing with joy, man began to make a sound of his own, giving birth to music. Elated, dancing feet ignited a spark, bringing the warmth and comfort of fire. Content with himself, indulgently bathing in pride, man soon forgot his God . Then the light disappeared and darkness returned, the flames flickered and man grew weak. Filled with the fear that daylight may never return, man pounded on drums throughout the night. Anxious and alone, he prayed for forgiveness and that his God would soon return. So the universe listened and reaching down, God took an ember and sculpted the Sun. United once more , and with new meaning , man gave thanks for the gift of insight. Then, promising eternal faith, he gave salutations and worshipped the Lord of the Dance .
top the world; I want to get off ! This ever spinning merry-go-round of suffering Egocentric evolution, chasing tails and catching flies A self-perpetuating existence, seeking to find itself Boulders lie upturned on the carpet of daily life Each a jigsaw piece, propelling a search for answers With noble acceptance I remain faithful to my cause Though, at times, the weight of patience weighs heavy But wait, a tainted mirror seeks to reveal a glow of truth Beyond its surface an immeasurable depth of knowledge lies I fall under its spell and become wholeheartedly submerged I absorb its wisdom and in doing so I begin to lose my â€˜self â€™ The quest is set; I must gain mastery over this thing called mind
o time for ‘what if ? ’ but , or maybe Take a chance on life; what will be, will be Don’t look back or forward; shun your fear For life will unfold when the moment is here Have no regrets; make no mistakes; remain light as you travel See through doubt; watch your conditioning unravel Feel the ache in your side and then shift your focus Embrace destiny as you sail through uncharted waters When you speak, make peace with each breath you take Savour every moment for goodness sake For sadness rides on the winds of time And tears often rain when the weather is fine Accept every second with which you engage Let the ink dry before turning over life’s page And know, as you search to find peace in this place You’ve begun, fought and won the great human race 4/2008
have a magic carpet; it’s called my yoga mat
Quite simple in appearance, you could say rather flat When we come together, our two worlds form as one In unity we fly on high, an experience close to none Surpassing even space and time, in awareness off the ground I search for Muladhara and this chakra guides me down Deep Orange is her colour, and from the soil her birth She keeps me closely grounded, to Mother Nature’s earth Polarities are present; I sense them every breath Each moment greeting life, before finally reaching death And somewhere in the middle, a place we call the now My mind and body unify; I am born again somehow Whilst bathing in the oneness, my ‘self’ is free to roam In freedom, love and unity, a sense of coming home Enlightening experience - Oh what a way to travel! Afflictions of a troubled mind seem slowly to unravel No longer am I burdened by living out a life That’s filled with hardship, anger, trouble, pain and strife To make this sacred journey, to learn where life is at Go fly a magic carpet; get on your yoga mat ! 05/2007
n the presence of awareness, I witness the formless form that I am. With the death of each breath, impermanence becomes ever present. At the same time, I observe an incarnation of the selfless self. The ego centre finally recognizes itself in the mirror of illusion. Such a re-birthing transcends duality into the abyss of all there is, leaving a backdrop of reassuring stillness on which to rest my heavy wings. Showering in this bliss of knowingness, I release all that I am not, no longer swinging from the pendulum of acceptance. The substance has become the insubstantial. The individual self has become the inseparable â€˜Allâ€™ Duality has become a place which I visit intermittently. I welcome this without resistance, knowing the gateway to oneness.
I am that which is !
Inspired by the work of Ramesh Balsekar 2007
he very moment you think about duality you inevitably fall slave to its grip. Why? Because when you think about something you immediately enter into a subject-object relationship. First of all there are your thoughts and feelings, and then there is the subject matter: duality in this case. As human beings with a name, identity, body and mind it can be very difficult to accept anything less than a dual existence. So often we read that gaining mastery over our ego will promise liberation and that once we do this, we will get promoted into the ‘oneness division’. What a lovely idea. But how can you crack the safe of spirituality and drink from the fountain of enlightenment in practical terms? The good news is that it doesn’t matter whether you are taking your first or millionth step down the path of selfdiscovery - liberation can be yours. What is this ego we are constantly trying to slay, anyway ? It can all get very confusing. Without a ‘me’, where would ‘I’ be? This is a question which may spring to mind. How frustrating it is to spend your time attempting to dissolve the very part of you that hopes to embrace a state of non- existence. Are you with me? In daily living, it is possible to bathe in a state of bliss; transcendence is something we can all experience on a regular and recurring basis. We do not have to wait until we are encompassed by a golden Buddha or until we find ourselves permanently surrounded by the warm, hazy glow of luminosity. Such states, nice as they sound, remain elusive for most of our lives. So what about the rest of your time? As a spiritual seeker, whatever you are searching for is already within you. It was there even before you began looking. You can call it: soul consciousness, Buddha nature, coming home, or whatever you like. There is no getting away from it - only ignorance disguises this!
ou already are that which you seek! The veil of duality is immediately lifted the moment you realise this for yourself, albeit for a split second. Each morsel of realisation – the ‘Aha’ moments – are like road signs pointing you in the right direction. Pretty soon, through earnest practice and self enquiry, you will notice such moments pave the way to your own personal Nirvana. As small and insignificant as it may seem, every moment that you fill with acceptance, you welcome home your intrinsic nature, your Buddha nature. The irony in all of this is that the moment you catch yourself in a state of blissful acceptance you actually slip straight back into duality: there is you, and there is the experience ‘you’ are experiencing – bliss. The challenge is for us to remain aware of the natural beauty in every moment and yet, at the same time, not to want ownership of it. The secret is to release each moment with the same intention with which you received it, in total innocence. A way to gain such an impersonal approach is to practise Shamantha meditation. It is here, whilst observing your thoughts rise and fall into insignificance that you can appreciate the emptiness from which they appear. This is a far more rewarding experience than the confusion of a busy dualistic mind. Pretty soon you will notice your thoughts are like leaves floating on a river: they come and go. Through practice, the tendency to want to turn each leaf over and see if it has a silver lining will lessen. As this practice spills into your daily life the way you look at things will inevitably change. Once you experience this wakefulness, your hold on life – and the hold on yourself – will become significantly reduced.
Insights During Fixed Candle Gazing (Trataka) s you stare into the candlelit flame, absorb its luminosity For like your true self, it too has neither substance nor form As you gaze beyond even your sense of sight See from wisdom, not merely shared knowledge And if the golden ribbon before you wavers Accept this as the delicacy of your life For life rides precariously on the back of the breath And like the candle, its wick is bound by time As the flame regains stability, harmonise yourself alike Welcome its laser-like qualities as they reach out towards you Invite them into your heart to ignite the candle of compassion Now close your eyes and look within Here you will see more than you have ever seen Indulge yourself, as you bathe in this luminous state But rejoice not, for such light casts neither shadow nor emotion Instead be a torch of inspiration; share your glow with those you meet For this state is your true self; it is both limitless and imperishable 7/2011
s you search for me through daily prayer or silent meditation, May the knowledge that I can’t be found, ease your mind ’s frustration And whilst you reach out to me, by chanting out my name Know this: I have your hand in mine; our skin is one - the same When you speak of me, speak freely; I will neither judge nor care Together in our whispers , one voice and breath we share And if you ever ponder, just where on earth I hide, Think not, for just a second, and I’ll be by your side And there amidst the silence , within your deepest core That is where you’ll find me, nothing less and nothing more In oneness we will travel, exploring life anew Reborn unto each other, you’ll be me and I’ll be you As we morph together, our sense of self shall disappear A moment of absorption, transcending all our fears And with no separation, no ‘thing’ can feel alone No distance in between us , the ‘I am’ makes it home 9/2008
here is a heaven here on earth, somewhere I’ve come to know Where anything is possible; this place is called the flow I read it in the scriptures, “See God in all you do” I searched outside for answers; inside I always knew Sitting here whilst in the flow, creating new insights I observe pen, which smoothly glides across the page and writes With words a flow, from who knows where, ideas turn into ink When in this state, just celebrate; there’s never time to think For only in this moment the flow is with you now And if you follow a train of thought , it disappears somehow This sacred place of living , no treasure is it worth Free to all sentient beings , a gift received at birth And when the flow seems distant , sometimes hard to find Bring breath to body with open heart and disengage your mind Then sitting still, as beat of heart and breath begin to rhyme You realise that what you seek has been with you all the time Daily life brings lessons , but no answers need you know Just welcome every obstacle, a reminder of the flow And when emotions surface, accept and then release Then again, release some more, till all that’s left is peace Remember though , that in this life , if pain you never meet You’ve lived life in the shallows and barely wet your feet So if by life’s uncertainty, troubled waters come your way These lessons are most valuable; great dividends they pay As common sense is anything but common in this day I write for you whilst in the flow, with one thing left to say If my words ring bells of truth , I trust you’ve come to know The magic and the splendour of being in the flow 11/2007
earch not for me in the silence Instead be patient and wait until I find you For the seekerâ€™s work is never done And the found always recognises its home Be the chariot through which I function Leave your door always open and tended Maintain your parts, so our journey is smooth For together we have much to discover Now ride with me, like a warrior into battle Abide in the knowledge that I have the reigns For life is filled with distraction and falsehood So relax your effort and let destiny prevail As you sit back, observe the path before us Leave no pebble undisturbed or twig unturned For your mind paves the road to Nirvana And awareness is the beast on which the chariot relies
am your greatest challenge and with you all the time The keeper of your destiny and vengeance shall be mine I thrive on separation; omniscience has no worth I form your mental chatter, a programme set at birth In me you find your purpose; through me you act your day My mask you wear conceited, your persona one might say I leave you whilst you are sleeping, when dreams take centre stage When morning breaks your mind I take; we two remain enslaved I am devious and slippery ; elusively I wander You cannot see nor fathom me, but often you shall ponder And whilst you think, you feed me; you prove that I exist All thought is of my essence; hence the reason I persist Dismiss me at your peril, for you shall lose control Then peace will dominate and into oneness we shall fall Where, if you ever venture, I am sure that you would find I am merely just a fragment of your overactive mind
came here on a journey; for what reason was my birth? To walk upon the surface of this planet known as earth Where from my first arrival, until the day that I depart Iâ€™ll spend my time unfolding the Lotus of the heart And so as if a Lotus, my journey upward goes Through soil and muddy water, toward light my spirit grows With pure white velvet petals, reaching to the sun Humbled by such radiance, my journey has begun The wheel of life is open; the Lotus flower spins The all-pervasive prana, on mind can now begin A stilling of the citta , the energy of mind Brings clarity and reason, as thoughts become refined And somewhere in this silence, absorption can be found I lie inside the Lotus; we neither make a sound Resting on the surface, white petals form a wreath Absorbed in luminosity, connected underneath My life is like the Lotus, toward light my journeyâ€™s goal A process of ascension, giving birth unto the soul 11/2008
he teachings from the Buddha, beneath the Bodhi tree, were to cast aside all suffering in order to be free, freedom from the bondage of a vacillating mind. “Live within the Dharma and peace,” he said, “you will find.” But if all there is is consciousness, then who the hell am I ? In Duality I will live my life, till mind and body die. If all there is beneath the stars is cosmic energy, then all I am, whilst here on earth, is pure potentiality. We travel on our journey, I and my trusted friend, the mind-body organism until we both transcend. With feelings of emotion, I sense my body cold. Inside a search for inner peace inevitably unfolds. Now sitting in the silence, my heart I notice glow; the universal heartbeat sings inside my own. It seems my Buddha nature , no longer left to roam, has finally found inside of me a place he calls a home. So why did I conceptualise past actions with remorse, when all the while I’ve been controlled by such a superior force? When judging my own actions, the observer becomes observed, an action even Buddha may suggest as quite absurd. No longer am I the ‘doer ’, just a puppet made of grace and in life’s play on centre stage is where I take my place. Happenings happen, results arise, and nothing stays the same, these I know as golden rules of life’s eternal game. But what when I face the ultimate, the darkest fear of all ? For death, I know, has no remorse for all creatures great and small. In death the mind and body burns. The form returns to earth, whilst consciousness keeps moving, seeking out rebirth. A state of pure enlightenment, a candle in my heart, brings forth such inner wisdom. I’ve known this from the start . So if all there is is consciousness, then all I am is this; a unified field of light, the all-eternal bliss. 1/2010
elcome to a land completely unstained by delusion A place which has no path, no method, and delivers no result Where indescribable joy is fuelled by faith and devotion Immerse yourself, like a child returning to its mother, like a river to the sea Welcome home your fundamental state of existence Loosen the bondage of object, agent and action, but rejoice not Leave behind everything, even the idea of leaving everything behind For this state of non-distraction is the path of all Buddhas And although paved with courage and discipline, holds no pride Embrace this intrinsic state, which only nature knows Where emptiness and clarity are like the warmth and radiance of the sun Bathe in this luminous state, as doubt is washed away by innocence For this is the great perfection which leads to primordial purity See through the lure of accomplishment; look only towards absorption For realisation is not yours until non-dual awareness spills into dreaming So remain open and awake always, if you are to feed the demons of kama As all disturbing emotion brings forth a sea of sorrow on which samsara lingers Now renounce your new-found treasure. Let it go, like a tree releases a seed For not until all sentient beings are free from suffering is your work complete Little do they know: there isnâ€™t, never was nor possibly could be, anything other than that which is - Mahamudra
Inspired by Choki Nyima Rinpoche 2010
allantly perched in the saddle of life Waft away arrogance with the swish of your tail Take the reins of courage in your clenched fist Sense this as the only clinging you shall ever do Adjust your posture into a warrior-like stance Become fearless and brave as you prepare to do battle Invoke a gallantry of ascended masters Embrace the courage of those who have ridden before you Feel the beast beneath you and together make peace Capture its energetic, romantic and wild tendencies Stride doubt and straddle frustration as you ride together Unify your heartâ€™s desire on your journey to victory Canter over mountains and gallop through waterfalls Through fields of dreams, towards the great Eastern Sun As you enter the gates of Shambala, embrace Heaven and Earth Know your state can never be explained, only experienced Become humble on your throne, wholesome and real For together you have conquered fear by grazing on sadness and joy
elcome to oneness, where silence speaks loudest No need to search, strive or strain: simply welcome that which is For this backdrop of quiet is the voice of divine unity, An empty space, bound only by the fullness of your true self Embrace its beauty and yet release your hold Remain steady and comfortable; relax all effort Observe this precious place and yet engage not Now allow, allow, and then allow some more For there are no boundaries in this ocean of oneness, Only pure consciousness washing over shores of peace
Soul Food Glen Monks is a certified yoga teacher, a spiritual practitioner and educator of ayurvedic living. With a natural passion for writing, here he presents a collection of personal experiences, to inspire you on the path of self-discovery. Info: www.YogaDoncaster.co.uk
A collection of poetry to nourish your mind, body and soul