I believe that God created each of us with particular gifts that we can discover and use in the service of co-creating a more whole and loving world.

When we are centered in our True Self we are most in touch with our creative source and most open to be a conduit of Love.

As Sir Anthony Seldon said in his talk at school last week, ‘it’s weird these days if you don’t meditate,’ I know that contemplative practice over months, years, and even a lifetime opens our hearts, minds, and bodies to the ongoing creative flow of Spirit. From our experiences of contemplation—union with Love — we can then live and work in ways that are more compassionate and healing.

We humans are creatures of habit; our brains are wired to think the same thoughts again and again like a broken record. Most of these habitual thoughts are dualistic and negative. We are obsessed with labeling things good or bad, right or wrong. Only very rarely do we change our minds about these pre-determined, fixed assumptions. Obviously, this limits our ability to be creative and think outside the box!

In contemplative practice, we refuse to identify with any one side (while still maintaining our intelligence and ability to think critically). We hold the tension of seeming conflicts and paradoxes, going beyond words to pure, open-ended experience, which has the potential to unify contradictions. This is a creative tension because when held with loving intention, something utterly new and creative can emerge.

Authentic and full knowing is subject to thorough a process of mirroring, seeing and being seen, observing reality as it is. It really is a different way of knowing, and you can recognize it by its gratuity, open-endedness, compassion, and by the way it is so creative and energizing in those who allow it.

Truly great thinkers and creatives take for granted that they have access to a different and larger mind. They recognize that a divine flow is already happening and that everyone can plug into it. So let’s pause, feet on the floor, connect to our breathing, stop and just ‘BE’!

Later in the year the pupils will have the chance to learn and practise the mantra meditation that is such a part of St James history. I have now been practising for 28 years twice a day - it is the greatest gift I was ever given.