Tag Archives: happiness

You are not your thoughts


As a parent I was quite shocked with the news of record teenage suicide numbers in one region in Victoria recently. How good are we as a society in looking after each other’s mental health in a satisfactory manner?

Many people feel depressed and think this is a permanent state and feel there is no way out, especially for those who experience strong negative emotions for the first time. Many people believe it is genetic and this makes them feel even powerless towards their strong self-denigrating thoughts. However from the meditation point of view most mental disorders arise from the mind.

Dr. Bruce Lipton in his eye opener best seller “The biology of belief” explains how our thoughts affect our body chemistry for better or for worse. He also shows how our thoughts activate or de-activate genes concluding that genetics does not determine who we are. He spent more than 20 years studying and teaching developmental and cellular biology to arrive to these conclusions.

Neuroscientists are also arriving at similar results on how the mind works. One of the greatest discoveries of neuroscience in the last decade is neuroplasticity: the ability the neural-network in the brain has to change in response to experience and training. This ‘re-wiring’ of the brain has been shown possible and has helped many people with chronic depression, anxiety and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) to not only find respite, but to cure themselves using mindfulness meditation.

Although many people think that meditation is some practice of reaching blissful states, which appears to be totally self-indulgent, that’s far from the truth.

Meditation is a practice of learning how to observe the world for what it is without the influence of our perceptions, or coloured glass lenses. And that includes observing our own habitual responses to what is happening around us. By doing that we learn that we can cultivate better inner qualities, such as unconditional compassion, openness to others, and inner peace, letting go of our mental negative addictive patterns. But to let go of these negative patterns we first need to be open and brave to come face to face with them. That takes a lot of courage.

One of the most difficult things to let go of when first coming to meditation is the thinking. Many people feel that if they let go of their thinking they would feel helpless. This is because we have identified ourselves so much with our thoughts and our ideas of who we are, and what the world is, that the feeling of letting go of that for a couple of minutes is one of fear or terror. And here we go back to an important question ‘who am I?’ and little by little we find out that we are not our thoughts.

Behind our obsessive thinking, however, there is just openness. By experiencing this openness in mindfulness we can find great relief, ‘we can start to taste enlightenment’, as Jack Kornfield writes.

This is very much in line with ancient Buddhist teachings of mind-training. Happiness can only be found through rigorous mind-training. Through those experiences we become present to our attachments to material and mental objects and we practice letting go of them. Little by little we feel lighter, being right becomes less and less important, and we start experiencing moments of true joy more often. And the inner peace that one finds, that joy and contentment, becomes a gift that is naturally shared with others.

Although mindfulness meditation is being used medically and psychologically with great success in depression, anxiety, anger, OCD and other addictive negative mind traits, its potential goes much further leading towards finding true inner peace and unconditional joy and happiness. The question is how far down the rabbit hole is one prepared to go?

Matthieu Ricard said : ’We should understand that mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. Often we find ourselves in the pangs of torment from mental toxins such as hatred, obsessive desire, arrogance, nagging jealousy. Those are certainly not optimal ways of relating to our own experience or to others. We know we can experience genuine altruistic love and compassion, but couldn’t we do so more often, so that those states of mind become the normal way we relate to others? Hence the ideal of long-term transformation: becoming a better human being for one’s own well-being and that of others as well. These two go together.” (extract from ‘The mind’s own physician’, edited by Jon Kabat-Zinn).

with love,



In Classical Feng Shui we work with the San Cai: Heaven, Earth and Humanity

In Feng Shui we use the San Cai principle: Heaven, Earth and Humanity. How these three interact determines the quality of life force or Sheng Qi (Chi) in a determined area or dwelling. It is important to have flow (Feng) and it is important to have containment (Shui).

As Qi appears in a more obvious way in the material world we look at the Form or gross Qi: what is there apparent to the eye, the mountains, rivers, forests, shape or design of dwelling. However, also important is the unseen or Formless Qi: Heaven Qi, which is determined by the Compass: how time and directions combine to determine the hidden potentials of a property.

Human Qi is both form and formless and sits there between Heaven and Earth, interacting with both. Human Qi in its material form is our body, while in formless nature is represented by our thoughts, emotions and our karma.

Although all three, Time, Shape and People, will affect the Feng Shui of a place, we tend to take the Form or Shape first.

In an ideal situation, after careful choice of location (gathering positive Earth energies), the whole design of a home (Form or Shape) would be created under the knowledge of the Time-based Luck of the Place (Formless) for a powerful coupling of Heaven and Earth energies that will fully support the Human element.

Heaven (Formless) Luck is determined using a Lo Pan Compass. There are two useful Feng Shui Formulas or processes that I personally like using. The first is the Eight Mansion Formula, and the second is the Flying Star Formula. The first is totally depending on the location and directions, while the latter is more complex and uses time, location and directions for its calculation.

Although learning the formulas is not that difficult for anyone with good mathematics skill, learning how to interpret them is an art that takes years of practice to perfect.

One of my passions is to help clients with their renovation plans, so they make the most of it, creating an environment that supports health, wealth and relationships equally.

Although in most cases in Sydney I will be working with an already constructed home, there is still room for improvement when we have the scope of possibilities offered by a home renovation.

From the basic steps of avoiding doors facing each other, or designing a bedroom with a protected position for the bed, to selecting an auspicious area for the master bedroom and the kitchen, there is a lot we can do.

I am a truly believer that once people live in a home with a good Feng Shui design, where both Form and Formless Qi combine beautifully, the human element progresses both physically and spiritually. And from that we create a better society and a better world.



We have become so far apart from who we truly are, busy chasing happiness out there, that as they say ‘we are so busy making a living, that we have forgotten how to make a life’.

Life is short and it’s very precious. We have no idea when we will leave this world. So it’s crucial that we go back to our timeless nature often enough, so not to loose track of what really matters.

Just think for yourself: how much quality time do you spend with your parents? How much quality time do you spend with your children? Are you able to really be present to them when you see them? Or are you somewhere else? Thinking, worrying, looking at the watch?

Ask yourself. Is it possible to chase happiness? Is it possible to be happy by postponing happiness for tomorrow, next day, the weekend, the holidays, retirement?

As much as they try to sell us happiness in every ad, there is only one way to find true happiness: by cultivating it at each moment.

Or else we are just engaging with momentary pleasures: I will have a sleep in today, have a little massage tomorrow, have a nice meal with a glass of wine. They are all transient, they give us pleasure, but do not really satisfy our inner thirst, and leave us wanting more.

Our inner thirst can only be satisfied by spending time alone each day. Going back to who we truly are, reconnecting with our timeless nature.

And most of all: learning how to appreciate it.

Ask yourself: why am I so afraid of stopping the doing, the thinking, the planning?

Is it possible that we have removed ourselves so remotely from whom we truly are that we now feel: I don’t know that person anymore, why would I sit in silence with him/her, this stranger? I will get bored out of my wits!

So it’s time to learn how to love ourselves once more: sit there in silence, rejoicing just in how precious life is, how precious this human body is, how much potential I have as a human being, and letting go of all the negativity we hold against ourselves, just let those thoughts fly out, do not follow them.

We have been so well conditioned to value ourselves for what we do and achieve in the material world, that we have forgotten the most important part of ourselves: our inner world.

Without getting to know ourselves intimately: our sorrows and pains, our joys and things that truly bring a smile to our face; we will not find peace of mind or lasting happiness.

And maybe when our kids grow up and we will see the same in them, we will then suffer in double.

So find time to read inspiring books each day. Read one story before meditation each night.

These books have individual chapters/stories that you can read in a few minutes:

Peace is every step, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Wherever you go, there you are, Jon Kabat-Zinn

Have a great week.

with metta,






Imagine waking up and being thankful for the miracle of being alive in another magnificent day?

Imagine being able to have amazing things falling into place, meeting the right people, being at the right places, getting the jobs you want, daily in your life?

Imagine feeling happy for no particular reason day in and day out?

And can you imagine doing that even when life is not all that rosy?

Well, according to spiritual teacher Behram Ghista, that is all possible.

Two weeks ago Behram taught a workshop in Sydney entitled “In Partnership with Providence”.

Although most of us think of ‘providence’ as being the positive situations, events, material things or people that come into our lives, Behram taught that providence is actually neutral.

According to his teachings providence is an infinite source that supplies us everything we experience. It is also a source that is neutral, which supplies us with whatever we focus upon. If we focus on the negatives, we will receive negative results. If, however, we focus on the positives, we will receive positive results.

He continued to point out that what we believe is real is only an interpretation of what we perceive and experience. Our joys and sorrows do not originate from reality itself, they originate from an interpretation of it. When we are faced with an unpleasant situation we have the choice to view it as a confirmation of our incapacity/inadequacy or as an invitation to bring out what is best in us.

Reality itself is neutral, however our translations of it become our ‘reality’. Our translations determine our focus. Our focus influences our character, and our character influences our responses. So if we are constantly translating things in a negative way, our focus will be in what is not working. And our character becomes negative, our responses will be unpleasant with people and life itself, and we will continue to attract more unpleasant experiences.

However when we filter the positives, constantly bringing our attention to whatever IS working in our circumstances and experiences, we start to see the opportunities and creative possibilities that come with each challenge and learn how to live and walk in a friendly universe. Whatever I focus upon, life will provide me with. Cause and consequence. This is one of life’s basic principles that cannot be violated. Life wants me to succeed, so much so that each difficulty comes not only with a solution, but also with a blessing attached to it.

When we awaken to the fact that our reality is determined by our beliefs and interpretations, it’s a liberating and empowering experience!

After the workshop I made a commitment to myself: I am going to stop complaining, I am going to wake up every morning and feel grateful for the wonderful day ahead, and I am going to put my best effort to retrain my mind in finding the positives and the blessings in each situation.

The good news is, I have been feeling positive as never before and some blessed things and people have come into my life in these last ten days after the workshop.

Is that easy? Not really, it requires constant focusing, a lot of mindfulness and a bucket full of kindness!

But it’s all worth it. After all, the Universe wants us to succeed!







If someone asks you how well you know your partner, or your child, it might sound like a rude question. We believe that we know the people close to us very well, but do we really?

Our relationship with our home is another very important and intimate relationship in our lives that we often take for granted.

How deep is your relationship with your home? Do you know the feel of every part of your home – all the nooks and crannies?

When I run space clearing sessions with my clients we go around each wall of the home, mindfully, rethreading the energy of the home, reuniting and moving that energy so it can flow again. Sometimes this is the most powerful aspect of the session: reconnecting with each part of the home again, in mindfulness.

Here is an exercise for you to check how connected you are with your home.

Take your time to go around the home along each wall of each room being present to what is there, being very mindful: open and non-judgmental. Notice when an unpleasant feeling arises in your body when you arrive in a certain corner, maybe tightness in the throat or stomach. And notice the pleasant feelings also when you see an inspiring picture or photograph or a perfectly arranged corner. Be also mindful of the emotions that appear with those primary feelings in the body: grief, sorrow, regret, maybe frustration, or happiness, joy. The more open and honest you allow yourself to be, the more clarity you will receive from this exercise.

Now think of a room or corner that you felt uncomfortable in. Walk to that uncomfortable place, take a seat there and be fully aware, fully mindful of the physical feelings in the body and the emotions arising from it.

What are the memories that come associated with those feelings and emotions? Write them down. Then you repeat to yourself gently for a few minutes: I accept these feelings and emotions in my body; I accept this part of my home. Do it for a few minutes. Then let unconditional love arise in your heart: think of a young child or animal and allow that love to arise in your heart. Become aware of your heart softening and opening, allow the love to fill your entire body. Now share that love with the space around you: visualise the love from your heart pouring from your body and filling the space around you. Continue for a few more minutes. Now write down what this experience has brought to you: any thoughts and emotions, clarity or insight.

Now think of a room or corner that you felt happy or joyful in. Walk to that part of the home, take another seat there. Again become aware of the feelings arising in the body. What are the emotions associated with these feelings? What are the memories that arise with those? Just be mindful of the feelings, emotions and memories that arise for a few minutes, then write those down.

Now notice the contrast between the first part and the second part of the home. Why did they make you feel quite different?

In mindfulness practice we say that we can only change that which we understand and know really well. The things we push away and deny cannot be changed. In the same way it is only by being fully present and open to our negative habits that we are able to change them, it is only by being fully open and accepting the problems in our home that we will be able to change them.

Awareness is always the best gift we can give ourselves: it frees us from our established and fixed ways of looking at the world and allows us the freshness and clarity to find new and exciting solutions for our old problems.



Your personal space can become your main support in connecting with true happiness.

Are you living a life with purpose? Or is there a dullness to your life – working 9 to 5, sleeping in on Saturday, and spending most of your spare time planning or dreaming about your next holiday?

We all say we want to be happy, but how long can external gratifications keep us happy? A minute, an hour, a day? Six months, 12 months?

We all say we want to be happy, but how often we choose to let negative feelings take over our minds, sometimes for hours, or even days. Throughout a single day we may engage in anger, envy, worry, doubt, sometimes I dare say, even ill-will. We don’t realise that we are choosing these states. Without awareness, these negativities control us. With awareness, we can control and then transform them.

True happiness, the wise people have said many times, arrives when we cultivate our good qualities in each moment. If we want to harvest mangoes we need to plant mango trees. If we want to be happy we need to bring loving awareness to our moments.

Is it possible to create a space that promotes mindfulness?

Imagine being able to live and work in an environment that raises your awareness. To live in an environment that supports mindfulness, that really allows you to reconnect with love, compassion, gratitude, acceptance, generosity, and friendship.  An environment that promotes fun, creativity, joy, inspiration and clarity.

Is your environment supporting you to be more aware, more peaceful, more loving – happier?

Sometimes a very cluttered, messy or noisy environment will create so much agitation in the mind, that we are unable to find solutions even to the smallest problem.

Letting go is always a good place to start. Once that stagnant energy has moved out, some fresh ideas will naturally arise to what to do next.

Bringing nature in will start the magic happening, with the sound of water running in the background, plants and pictures of wild landscapes.

Positive imagery surrounding us will support us choosing to engage with more positive states of mind, as will beautiful works of art in any medium.

Small details well placed can remind us of the power of a smile, the beauty of a flower, the joy of brilliant music, our connection with others, or just a good laugh.

Celebrating our connection with the source of all creation will bring us back to our true purpose. An altar with candles and beautiful images of inspiring people will support us in starting each day by setting a fresh new intention and by being grateful for all we have and all that is coming our way.




“I have to be willing to let go of all that I think I am in order to be and feel who I am, my true self and nature.” – Greatness in You seminar.

We may think sometimes that to be truly happy we just need a better job, or to fix our marriage, or to have a two-month holiday on an island in the Pacific. The perception that happiness is something that can be achieved by somehow ‘fixing’ the people and events outside ourselves is always reinforced by society and the media. And this is what Dr. Russ Harris called ‘the happiness trap’. We can go around following the masses, changing partners, changing jobs, moving houses, but how long that relief will last for? Two months, six months, one year?

When I was living in Tasmania I moved houses eight times in 12 years. Each time there was some satisfaction: I have a much better view, the kitchen is much nicer or the backyard is nearly flat (Hobart is very hilly!). And at most the honeymoon lasted six months. After that time I had found all the faults with the new place and it was just another house after all. Moving houses was not really addressing what I was really feeling: a deep inner dissatisfaction. There was something missing deep inside that I could not see at the time.

What was really missing for me was self-acceptance. I was unhappy with the work I was doing and I couldn’t see a way out. At the time I couldn’t really feel lasting joy and contentment and I felt I wasn’t good enough. I had so many judgements about myself that I often felt depressed. Instead of celebrating my successes I was focusing on what I perceived to be my failures: I am a single mum, struggling to finish my PhD and working in odd jobs to pay my bills.

I had created an image of myself that was quite negative and I was trapped and couldn’t see beyond that. The story I was telling myself seemed so true that I believed in it.

It happens to mostly everyone, we create an idea of who we are based on our external circumstances, or more precisely, based on our perception of our external circumstances: our job, our family our possessions. And then we may call ourselves ‘successful’, ‘mostly successful’, ‘satisfied’, ‘content’, ‘failure’ depending on how we judge our situation. That’s why sometimes we meet people that have everything to feel successful but they are unhappy or restless.

The stories we tell ourselves on a daily basis are very powerful. They feel so real that we believe in them. The stories about who we are will be the ones taking us towards self-acceptance or towards self-neglect or self-loath.

However, it is only when we move away from all the stories that we will be able to find true self-acceptance. True self-acceptance is not dependent on our external circumstances or on our perception of our external circumstances.

True self-acceptance arises from getting to know ourselves at a deeper level. It is not a thought, it is a feeling, a knowing. It can only be found when we go beyond the stories, beyond the rational thoughts.

True self-acceptance arises when we are able to break through the story, however good or bad, of ‘who we think we are’ to meet our true self, getting in touch with our true nature, maybe for the first time. And it is through that embrace that true contentment arises.

with love,