Start the day with some space, stillness and clarity

Peter Whitfield has been tutoring philosophy classes at the School of Philosophy and Economic Science for the last 30 years. Recently the Philosophy School has been posting Awareness Live sessions and Peter's contributions have always included a great philosophical or zen story. 

The Awareness Exercise - a simple mindfulness practice of sitting still, quietly listening, and focusing the mind on each of the senses. The senses only operate in the present moment. You can not smell a flower yesterday or hear a clap tomorrow. Connecting with each of the senses creates a connection with the present moment now. 

The live sessions are recorded and can be watched at any time on the School of Philosophy and Economic Science’s Facebook page. Some of Peter’s 10-minute sessions with the stories he tells are copied below

The Awareness Exercise and
The Dead Donkey

A lot of people when they start doing the awareness exercise say I'm going to do the awareness exercise so I can be free of all this rubbish in my head. If you practise with the attitude 'this is what I want to achieve', then the two minutes is full of 'I think something is happening' or 'this isn't working' which just takes us away from what's actually happening. The awareness exercise observes what is there, not what we want to be there.

The Buddha and the Angry Man

 ...if somebody offers you a gift and you do not want it, to whom does it belong. The angry man said well clearly he giver of the gift. The Buddha said I refuse to accept your anger you will have to keep it yourself.  

Rudyard Kipling - How the Camel got its hump. 

The Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

The Taste of Banzo's Sword

Anthony Robbins creates a wonderful picture of whom you think you want to be; but how does the great master swordsman Banzo teach his pupil to be the greatest swordsman in the land?

Heaven and Hell

... the monk looked up at this mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain, “Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn’t teach you anything. You’re dirty. You smell. Your blade is rusty. You’re a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight, I can’t stand you.”

The Lost Watch

Do you love those stories that take you right to the edge of where you are on your journey now? And often the stories that we find a little difficult are ones that stick with us and can be the most helpful.