In October 2015, I met a Syrian family near Spielfeld on the border of Slovenia and Austria. They were huddled together in the cold, waiting to cross into the first country in the EU that was even slightly capable of receiving them.
At that time, nearly 7,000 migrants from Syria, Iraq and beyond were landing in Greece every day. Making a notable exception for Angela Merkel’s conscience, most European governments were doing nothing more than passing the problem as quickly as possible to their neighbours.
Continue reading “From Syria to Switzerland: Hossam’s Journey”
Two years after giving mine up for a month, I still don’t like mobile phones. I find phones extremely distracting, not necessarily because of the notifications, ringtones and vibrations, but because of the way we use them and expect others to use them. Continue reading “No Mobile Phone Revisited”
1. 15.4% of UK adults have taken Class A drugs
My upbringing was most definitely drug-negative. I went to a school where “drugs” were for drop-outs. It would have astonished me to learn that more than a third of UK adults (11.4 million 16-59 year olds according to Home Office statistics) have taken illegal drugs in their lifetime – and almost a sixth (5 million 16-59 year olds) have taken Class A drugs.
Fear began to mutate into curiosity when, in my thirties, I first met people who were both well-adjusted and regular psychedelic users. Through them, I learnt that behind the fearful media image of psychedelics there was both science and history, which could, if we allowed, contribute to a much more mature and complete awareness of psychoactive compounds. Continue reading “#21: Everything we know about psychedelics is wrong”
I don’t mind admitting that a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat with no running, dancing, skipping or cycling, no meat or refined sugar, no speaking or smiling, no alcohol or caffeine, no reading or writing, no email or internet, no music or games, no computers or radio, no news or advertising, no physical touch and no mingling of the sexes at all sent me absolutely bonkers. To be more precise: by the end of the retreat, I was paranoid that everyone hated me. It was HARD. Continue reading “#20: Three Lessons from a Vipassana Meditation Retreat”
It’s always been there, chattering away up in my head, reflecting on the past, fantasising the future, judging others and working on its autobiography. But who, what, where or why is my ego? Continue reading “#19: Who, what, where or why is my Ego?”