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Jeremy Tattersall

Jeremy Tattersall

I started trying to meditate in 1985. Did I miss something? My work mostly concerns the editing of text. I tried being a professional photographer, but am now a contented amateur. I have taught English as a foreign language in various places at various times.

Monday, 29 August 2011 14:04

An impoverished way of living

It’s intriguing to think that while business seeks to make profits by providing goods and services in a competitive environment, some eastern spiritual traditions would consider the advice to “Give all profit and gain to others, Take all loss and defeat upon yourself,” to be extremely profound and supremely important. These two approaches to life have both been part of societies for millennia, but there’s still plenty to discuss before a common understanding can be clearly defined in our current era.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 16:20

Contemplative photography?

Michael Wood, Amsterdam 2007
Michael Wood, Amsterdam 2007 | high-res image

Yes that’s right, contemplative photography: The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood to be precise, recently published by Shambhala. In it, an activity that too often places an overbearing emphasis on technology, equipment and technique meets two experienced meditation practitioners with an approach to the medium that focuses on developing the photographer’s clarity of perception.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:04

Undistracted creativity

My previous blog, about the pitfalls of becoming distracted and wrapped up in our own thought processes, prompted Marco to ask some rather intriguing questions:

What about creative thinking? I mean, how can you stay present when you are using your mind for creative purposes, like starting a project? For instance this blog. You needed to think creatively, plan, visualize, create a strategy etc to create and promote the blog. How can you use your mind in this way while at the same time staying present?

Well Marco, with some of your points I’m afraid I’m the wrong person to ask. You’ve done the equivalent of asking the night watchman at the Bank of England how he goes about calculating the annual national inflation rate. It is probably safe to assume that this blog was once little more than a twinkling, innocent agenda point. Was everyone participating in the miraculous conception of this blog mindful, present and aware throughout the process?

Friday, 22 April 2011 15:19

Out to lunch

Distractions of all kinds—speculation, daydream, fantasy, replays of how the recent past should have turned out, forming opinions about the people we meet—are totally normal daily mental events, part of the furniture of our mental living room. As someone I know once pointed out, the appeal is distilled into a single slogan in an old advert for Nintendo Game Boy: “Wherever you are, be somewhere else!”

Tuesday, 05 April 2011 21:44

Evil is the absence of empathy

The view that the urge to destroy, to compete, profit and come out on top, no matter what the price is simply human nature is a very commonly held belief. We might not find extreme selfish behaviour or ‘evil’ justifiable, but it is to be expected, because we assume it is what we are. In this climate, the idea of developing an attitude of love and compassion towards the world and its inhabitants can seem hopelessly idealistic.

Does it actually matter what society feels about whether the human potential for evil is inherently part of our nature, or whether we are more naturally disposed love and compassion? Personally, I believe a society with a pronounced disposition towards love and compassion would be far more likely to do its best to alleviate poverty, famine, drought and violence of all kinds. Maybe there’d be fewer wars. It might even be able to bring people together to tackle the damage we are doing to our environment and the climate. Members of a society with a focus on the common good might even be prepared to lower their standard of living somewhat in order to achieve these aims. So yes, it does matter, because it could change the future.

Saturday, 02 April 2011 16:56

Some sobering thoughts

Someone asked me the other day whether I thought meditation could help Lindsay Lohan. I guess ‘help’ here means something like ‘support’. The short, immediate reply was ‘yes’, but then I started wondering why that is the answer. Here’s what I thought about it…

Monday, 21 February 2011 11:56

Fear of music

The alarm clock rang, unleashing the usual cocktail of shock, disbelief and disorientation. I dragged my numb body out of the bed and my still partially submerged mind into the faintest suggestion of consciousness. Sometimes it’s only after I’ve done it that I remember it’s good to practise first thing in the morning.

Like a tranquilized convict tied to a cartoon ball and chain, I shuffled into the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a song started playing in my mind, a really stupid song

I’m really happy to read on this blog that neuroscientists are investigating meditation and finding that it has measurable benefits. If meditation is ever going to become a real force for social evolution, then governments, social agencies, vast multinational corporations, environmentalists, bankers, students and the guy on the cash till at your local corner shop all have to be convinced that it works. Scientific research is a vitally important factor in this process, and I hope that the number of research projects increases exponentially.

But you don’t necessarily need science to discover that meditation works.