Pause For Thought: BBC Radio Devon

by Kimwei

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released January 30, 2017

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Track Name: Why I'm Spiritual, But Not Religious
Why I’m Spiritual But Not Religious

When I was just one year old, my Dad, was knocked off his racing bike by a van, injuring his spine. The accident left him miraculously able to walk, but in constant pain. He could no longer cycle; his no. 1 passion for 15years.

It wasn’t until was 25 that I asked him about the crash. Did he wish it had never happened. He said “No, because otherwise I would never have discovered my spirituality”. He then told me the story of how, shortly after the accident, he was trying out a walk around town, but suffered so much pain that he suddenly needed to sit down and ducked into the nearest building – a church.

And then, my dad said something wonderful about the value of our profound experiences. He said “people are so distracted; they are never truly with themselves. Then, one day, they might sit down quietly in a church, and it might be the first time they’ve sat quietly in that way, and in that quiet, profound thoughts that have been waiting for years to be heard, fill their mind. They are overpowered by waves of joy.”

He then said “they might attribute this experience to the religion associated with the church, but that’s not necessarily true. It is a personal spiritual experience. It can stand alone and mean whatever it means to you.”

I love this approach. It’s the key to being spiritual but not religious. It means trusting ourselves and our own personal sense of God. I believe that whatever we experience which is profound, joyful, powerful and deep is of great value. That profound feeling is our compass. When we feel that feeling we are led to be the best we can be, for ourselves and others. When we trust that feeling, we know who we are, and we know what to do.
Track Name: £0 Challenge
The £0 Challenge:

A couple of years ago I decided to face my fears about money by running out on purpose. I had no job or income at the time, and only £232 in the bank, but challenged myself to let my money run out naturally, then build back up from £0 without begging, borrowing or stealing. This meant no overdraft, no state benefits and no handouts. Instead I learned about making exchanges and the joy of being less attached to our money system. I thought that when I reached £0 I'd have nothing, but quickly realised this wasn't true: I didn't have nothing, I just didn't have any money.

The number 1 thing that made an impact on me during this time was creating what I call moneyless interactions. When we buy with money, it’s a transaction. The price is usually already on a tag, and almost no interaction is required – no relationship. Without money however, every exchange or act of giving or receiving requires a conversation, a relationship. Operating without money requires genuine asking, genuine giving and genuine receiving – these things are all beautiful experiences, and much craved by more people than you’d expect. The litmus test for a moneyless interaction is that, it’s not exactly win-win, it’s that both parties go away feeling gratitude, whether they were the one giving or receiving.

Since discovering this, I live now in post-£0-Challenge state. Although I’ve returned to earning and using money, my relationship with it has totally changed and I feel freer than ever. Whether I’m using money or not, has become irrelevant. I keep with me this truth, we should not be embarrassed to ask, to give, or perhaps most challenging of all; to receive, because these 3 things form the foundations that bring us close to each other. What would it be like if we could truly say exactly what we need? What would it be like if we could give someone we love exactly what they need? What would it be like if someone we love gave us exactly what we want? Asking is the gateway. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Track Name: Looking Suffering In The Face
Looking Suffering In The Face - the first step towards changing the world

Pain is painful. It’s painful to be in pain, to see someone in pain, to see the suffering in the world on the news every day. It’s impossibly hard. We are angry. We panic. We shut down. We detach. We engage. We are overwhelmed. What do we do?

I believe the key to addressing suffering in the world is simply this: to look it in the face. To quietly and calmly look, and to see, to see it all. That is the first step. The step we as a planet have yet to learn to take.

I’ve had the misfortune to be there with a loved one suffering unbearable physical and emotional pain. Or you could say, I’ve been fortunate – to be able to be there for them, so they didn’t go through it alone.

Before that, I used to be terrified by the prospect of seeing someone I love in terrible pain. It brought on a feeling of cold dread. But what being with a loved one in pain teaches you is what’s truly of value in that situation. This is not panic, or attempts to help, or to make it not so (when it cannot be made different), or even to an extent, empathy.

What’s needed is presence - witnessing. It doesn’t sound like anything of value, simply witnessing, but the reality is that WITNESSING IS EVERYTHING because the opposite of witnessing is denial. It’s from witnessing that clarity comes, stillness comes, and from stillness and clarity comes aligned action. If you are truly present with someone whilst they are in pain then you will know what is needed, and sometimes, witnessing is in fact all that’s needed.

This being true for the individual, it’s true for global suffering too. It’s easy to get distracted or wrapped up in trying to stop the wrongs in the world. Instead w hat if you could cultivate an ability to truly witnessing that suffering, and quiet answers will come to you in plain calm voices, speaking slowly, clearly and from a place of true clarity, and then you will find your action.
Track Name: Prioritising Living Over Owning
Why I’m Prioritising Living Over Owning by Being A Digital Nomad.

I’m speaking to you from the Roscoff to Plymouth ferry that returns me home from my first extended stint abroad as a Digital Nomad. The Digital bit refers to my work, teaching on an online music degree through Skype. The Nomad bit refers to my tendency to move constantly, exploring anywhere with a strong enough internet connection to keep that Digital bit happy. I’m part of a new wave of “backpackers” who’s backpacks are full of technology and tailored shirts rather than tents and convertible shorts.

The trip has seen me meandering through rural France, house-sitting and living quietly in beautiful landscapes, amongst rolling hills and sleepy shuttered towns – slow travel, you could call it. Is this my dream? Is this why I have never had an interest in buying or even renting a home? Have I always wanted to be a Digital Nomad?

The answer is no, and that “no” is very important to me. Being a Digital Nomad was never my goal, it is simply my current solution to the problem of living. Right now, it’s the best incarnation of freedom and fulfilment I’ve found. In the same way that when we search for God what we find is the result of the search. The result of the search will always grow and change, and continue to evolve.

5 years ago my solution was a Yurt – a canvas dwelling. I pitched up in a friend’s garden, after posting adverts around town which read “Ever wanted your own hermit? Having a hermit living in your garden can bring good fortune to your family. Will supply own cape. Doddering comes as standard.” I’ve also tried vans, and even lived in a 3 door car.

I love putting my resources into having experiences rather than into owning my own home, particularly at this time when for my generation, financial constraints so often make that an either or. Besides, I feel at home wherever I am these days. But more than that, I believe the mortgage, car, house prescription to be exactly that – a prescription. If it’s what you want, of course, reach out and grab it. But I watch so many people wade into this prescribed path, without question, with hopes of happiness, but without asking “How do I want to live?” And to me, that question is a vital ingredient for happiness. It’s vital that we ask ourselves at every turn “I this really the best way of doing it ?” “How do I want to do this? How do I want to live?”