Posts tagged ‘concentration’

A Cultivator’s Diary – Part 2 (From my journals 2007)

January 24, 2007

While standing in a semi-horse pose, I realised that once I lost my attention and my mind wandered, that I then felt fatigue or strong tension in my legs and had the inclination to stop. But what came first ? Was it that the stress on my legs led to a feeling of tiredness and this filtered through to my mind, which added its own thoughts of defeat and loss to the mix? Defeat of not being able to keep the posture, loss of muscle power due to old age ?

But trying again to stay present in the pose, I tried to keep my awareness steady, to keep concentrating on my stance, muscles, awareness, trying not to let my mind slip away. What I found when I did this was that I could keep concentration and therefore also keep the pose longer, overriding the stress in the legs. When I finished the pose I saw that I did 9 minutes, the longest one yet. So my conclusion is that the sense of defeat and of loss are there in the background, in the unconscious, waiting to come out whenever there is a suitable physical moment when they can attach to a physiological response.

I know when I get tired I also get depressed. This is the same syndrome. Doing a strong standing pose puts pressure on my muscles, increases tension, and if at that time I lose concentration on the pose, then the first thing which comes into my mind- the first thought that arises- is a negative one that causes me to feel defeated and powerless and to let go of the stance, when in fact I still have energy available to continue, far longer than even today’s 9 minutes.

Perhaps a time to experiment more.

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December 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

Standing On Others’ Shoulders – Part 1- (don’t hold your breath for Part 2)

I think it’s time that I started standing on my own creative feet and stop standing on the shoulders of others. In my case that means old philosophers – both east and west.  My first 5 books were all about philosophies or philosophers: Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Taoism, Yoga and Socrates. I explained the ideas behind the philosophy, followed by key texts I had referred to.

My latest book – I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp – is entirely different. The first part of the new book is a short introduction to  the little known but infamous Nazi death camp called Belzec. In this isolated, forested camp in SE Poland,  the Nazis killed an estimated 650,00 Jews and Gypsies.  The time between arrival by freight train to death in a gas chamber was only two hours. Rudolf Reder, a Polish Jew, managed to stay alive for four months as a worker in the camp, before making a miraculous escape. By the end of the war, Reder was the only survivor of the camp, and he gave a Witness Statement recounting his experiences.

It is this Witness Statement of Reder’s that forms part two of the book. He recounts the horrific, pathetic and harrowing events that took place in Belzec, and the cruel and criminal acts of the Nazi and Ukrainian guards.  It is a difficult account to read – one man recounting the hell that the Nazis’ madness had created, and which he saw first-hand.

Part three is an account by me ( a kind of memoir ) about how and why I came across this Statement of Reder’s. It’s partly about my family and partly about my relationship to the holocaust, and its victims.  A few years ago, I decided to search for my Grandparents’ roots online via JewishGen which led me to discover hundreds of ancestors. This search ultimately led me to Lublin, and it was on a visit to the Majdanek Concentration Camp that I found Reder’s Statement. At the same time I learned the fate of my grandfather’s family – those who he left behind had been sent from their homes in Lublin to be killed in Belzec .

How is this book different to the other 5? Of course it’s much more personal. I am not writing about dead philosophers but about the terrible fate of my own (newly discovered) family. It’s about history, but told in a personal way. I’ve set out my reflections on what I was learning, and my own memories were part of this discovery.   Obviously I am not a survivor of the camps and no known relative of mine had been one either. We were Americans, not Europeans. All my grandparents emigrated to the USA in the early 1900s, and my parents and all of our family had been born in America. Growing up, I never realised that my grandparents had left family behind – parents, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. It is the fate of those family members that my search revealed, and my memoir reflects how I came to terms with this dark knowledge.

June 28, 2013 at 9:26 pm 1 comment


The Blog That Fell From The Sky

Reflections on an age of anxiety.

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