We hear it spoken of often, in an off-hand way, unexplained and hardly ever fully apprehended and made our own - listen to your intuition. Be more present. When I’m teaching yoga and leading yoga retreats, it is one of the most commonly expressed intentions from guests at the outset of a retreat - I want to live more intuitively. Most of us have a few moments in life where intuition makes a resounding intervention, a clear call from within us. We choose to follow its direction or not; the point is that it is experienced as an irregular impulse. On most days, in most cases, we’re uncertain of this strange voice. We dither and reason and let our rationality, or other’s opinions, or the rules of society lead us.
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Some books appear in my life precisely when I’m meant to read them. Usually, these books shake me to the core. I discover them, or they discover me, in a moment when I’m avoiding a ‘serious work to-do list’ in a cafe-cum-workspace and I spend an unreasonably long time surveying their dogeared library collection. One book will jump out at me and say ‘hello’. Or, it may be when I’m travelling and a fellow voyager makes a recommendation - or drops a paperback (admittedly, I am one type of thief - a book thief) out of a handbag.
One of the most luminous and profound commencement addresses I have ever seen was by Parker Palmer. Palmer was being awarded the first ever honorary degree at Naropa University in Colorado in 2015. Naropa was founded in 1974 by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford alumnus Chogyam Trungpa. The university was intended to be an experiment in the synergy of contemporaryWestern scholarship methodologies and timeless tenets of Eastern wisdom. Palmer’s speech draws on a life of experience - he is in his mid-70s - and snatches of what can only be transcendent insight to layout his six pillars of meaningful human existence.