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Author archive for Steve D.

  1. Book review: Mindful Counselling and Psychotherapy

    I’m probably not alone in feeling somewhat hysterical about the extent to which “Mindfulness” is being talked about. My employer is “a mindful employer” (they must be they have a logo telling me as much!), and apparently one can increase both business and combat productivity by making use of these techniques. Continue reading »

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  2. Book review: Rewriting The Rules: An Integrative Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships

    All of us inherit sets of rules and scripts about how we think we should behave and who we should be in relationships. Such beliefs often have their genesis in our families of origin, the cultural trends we imbibe and the shaping provided by our own experience and emerging sense of identity. In the process of trying to make sense of the pain and dislocation that many of us experience in seeking closeness and relationship, it can be tempting to “buy into” a set of apparent certainties. Recent trends in self-help literature have tried to make of the confusion by playing “The Game”, “The Rules” or by mapping gender difference according to planetary allegiance. While I can understand the impulse of such books in trying to find a cure to what ills us, I must confess to being highly unconvinced by their over-simplicity and gender stereotyping. Continue reading »

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  3. Review: Two books on Bauls

    In my recent post on syncretism I made mention of two books that I had recently read concerning the Baul tradition. I found both of these books helpful in relation to their attempts to understand religious difference and the negotiation of Identity, and what follows is a brief review of each. Continue reading »

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  4. Some Thoughts on Syncretism…..

    I’ve recently been digging into the “Yogis, Heros and Poets” anthology on the Nath tradition that Phil recently reviewed. The article that I found most striking was reflection by David N. Lorenzen on the similarities between the perspectives of Gorakhnath and the mystical poet Kabir in relation to their perceptions of religious difference. For Lorenzen the inspired intellectualism of these two teacher/poets allowed them to express a sense of liberty from religious division that seemed in contrast to mere folksy syncretism. Continue reading »

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  5. Thoughts on Initiation

    I was chatting to a friend recently about her deepening involvement with Vajrayana Buddhism and whether she should take the initiatory step of formerly taking refuge. Her dilemma was whether to “enter the stream” of the tradition or simply continue to benefit from the techniques being taught. For me this highlighted some questions that I’ve been musing on with regards the nature of what initiation is and how it may (or may not) be of benefit. Continue reading »

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  6. Strange Adventures in Tantra

    Having just read Phil’s excellent overview of some of the key challenges in seeking to engage with the broad array of traditions and practices that might be described as being “Tantric”, I started to reflect more on my own personal engagement with some of this material.

    If it’s so problematic to dialogue with these traditions without risking either Modernist over-simplification or cultural appropriation, what motivates a self-identified Chaos Magician to attempt such an undertaking? What follows are some personal reflections on the lived phenomena of what I found myself doing, the arising of these urges often deeply challenging my existing self-concept and assumed identities. Continue reading »

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  7. Book review: A Queer and Pleasant DANGER

    I think it’s pretty important to say from the outset, that with regards Kate Borstein’s books I’m a bit of a fanboi. Two of her earlier works – Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook are generally viewed as seminal for those of us whose gender expression fails to fall neatly into binary tick boxes. Bornstein in person is feisty and unapologetic about where she feels she has had to travel in order to become more herself. Continue reading »

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