I am meditating 

I am thinking 

I am thinking that I am thinking 

I must try and concentrate 

I must be aware that I am concentrating 

Too much “I”, how about non-self?

Must not try too hard to stop my mind wandering

Try and observe myself as an outsider

my foot is itching

my nose is itching

Did I switch off the gas cooker

must load the dishwasher

I must attend to that noise in the car

Is that the neighbour’s dog barking

We used to have a dog

I prefer dogs to cats

My back is hurting

Must focus my attention on my back

I shouldn’t have been rude over the phone

He did ask for it!

But being kind is better

So many nuisance calls

What am I doing next week

Will it hurt when I visit the dentist

He is a nice man

Lovely receptionist

Must write that letter

Look at the emails first

So much spam mails these days

Am I spending too much time on the Net

Another week has gone


think of the present moment

observe the present moment

How much longer will I live

Must not waste that time

Use the present moment

Past is gone, future yet to come

Wonder what’s on Telly

Is Tiger Woods playing

Looks like he is making a comeback

My swing needs attention

Hope I can play next week

It is very cold and frosty


There we go again!

Back to meditation

I am aware and focused

It is so hard to keep the mind still

Flitting butterflies

Changing clouds

Changing moods

My knee is hurting 

Must straighten my leg

Will I ever succeed in meditation

What is the real reason why I want to meditate

Let it go says Ajahn Brahm

I like his talks

May be I should go to Perth to meet him

The live broadcasts from Perth are very good

My hips are hurting

Will my joints get worse

Will I lose my independence

Am I a Buddhist because I was born one

Jesus must have been a very good person

I am feeling hungry

Must not eat too many crisps

I feel like drinking some fruit juice

must eat  more vegetables

write a reminder for repeat prescription

Good thing I am retired

Wonder how my friends are


back to meditation

This is not easy!

must be aware that I am meditating

must not try too hard

I am thinking

I am thinking  that I am thinking

I am aware that I am thinking that I am thinking



Poem by Mahendra Gonsalkorale.

This was a poem that was sent to me by my Dad’s university buddy whom I call “Uncle Mahenra”. Uncle Mahendra sent this poem to me recently in repsonse to one of my poems and I really liked it. For one, it really captures the essessnce of the struggle one encounters with sitting meditation, and I think his candid and honest description really opens the doors of “inclusivity” to those who have never tried to meditate before as well as those who have tried but finish a sitting feeling like they have failed dismally. I wrote back to Mahendra and said something to the effect as “to sit is enough” and I think it really is! I’ve been meditating for years and I frequently feel this way – but I guess the main thing that “experience” gives me (sometimes) is the wisdom to know that it’s okay if the mind wanders when one is meditating, and it is good if one is aware of this wandering – which the writer of the poem clearly is, albeit after the fact. 

So well done for your sitting Uncle Mahendra and thanks for sharing your insights with us!

The second reason I particularly like this poem is that there is reference to Ajahn Brahm who is an inspirational Buddhist Monk who lives in Perth and quite an amazing meditation instructor. I was fortunate enought to meet him last year on my birthday (when I was working a locum in Rockingham) and we had quite an interesting chat which I wanted to write a blog article on. I never got around to it but hopefully one day soon, during one of my study breaks, I will write this, as he offered me some great insights about the use of love in practicing medicine, which I would love to share! 



Valentine Valentine


You have arrived 

With your love and tenderness 

In this lofty wilderness 


What is love about 

If not for us to realise

That we are all one


Every single one of us

All the children in this world

Because we are all children

So I heard


Valentine Valentine


You are here today

And Winged Cupid is ready to play

And aim on those who try to escape

The arrow will not miss its prey


All men and women

And those in between

For every living being

Underneath the starry ceiling


Valentine Valentine


You have come again

To leave us your message

To teach us the way

Of Love and friendship


For a moment be still

For a moment be aware

Of the one beside you

Of the Love we share


Valentine Valentine


Stay with us 

And hold our hands

We are children after all

We might slip and fall


So be kind

We are all learning

We are all yearning

To unwind




14-2-12  Anonymous


Another Valentine’s day Poem about love and friendship – and a really nice one – thanks for sending. This one seems to personify the act of love and what loving can do for us, perhaps it is a way of relaxing and unwinding? What do you think?


More Poetry…

There has been a lot of poetry in my life recently but not just from myself. In recent times as I have shared more of my own poetry, read more of the classics and talked to friends either in person or electronically more poetry has found its way to me – and because I feel great joy in sharing some of these verses I will also (with permission) share a few other poems in the next couple of posts.. I hope you enjoy!

Happy Valentines Day… with “Love”


Without love what is there?

Who will care?

Or who will have the energy to share?


Without love what is the point?

You might as well smoke a joint,

And escape the world you see before you,


Without out love where will be the solutions?

For the problems of the mind,

How will we have time to be kind?


But “With Love” you might care,

And become aware,

Of the sunlight that shines above the cloud,


With love you need not stand proud,

For you will be as humble as a brick,

And your mood can change quick,


Into one of warmth and peace,

Problems tend to cease,

And ‘Ironed’ will be the crease,


And to have ‘love’ you do not need a significant other,

For we all have a mother or a brother,

Or someone you can call a friend,


This is more important in the end,

For even our most treasured lover,

Will still be a friend undercover,


So cherish what you have on valentines day,

Tell those you love, how they move you in a very special way,

And most of all don’t be afraid to say,


Those three words that are more precious than gold,

Spanning our inner sentiment from young to old,

Requiring one to be ever so bold,


“I LOVE you”


– Happy Valentines Day Everyone!



14-2-12  Well it’s valentines day again and I wanted to put out a universal poem on one of my favourite topics – Love! 

I’ve always kind of liked Valentines day, not for the commercial fiasco that it has become, but rather for the commemoration of one of the things which I believe is so important in life – Love. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just tell people that we cared about them whenever we felt this way instead of taking it for granted (or “assuming”) they already know this?

Unfortunately the word “Love” has become a four-letter word in many societies on the whole, where it is used with more caution than other four letter words that don’t signify the same thing. Don’t get me wrong I’m all good with popular culture, but I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if it were “cool” to talk more about love in regular conversations rather than just reserving it for the lyrics of songs or poetry (not to discount these mediums in anyway – because I think they are great!).

I guess part of this situation, as I see it, is to do with the language of love in the English language. The most common use of the word relates to love in the context of a romantic relationship. This is of course perhaps the way Valentines day is celebrated today, but I see it another way – or at least this poem does. Perhaps valentines day could be an opportunity for us to show that we care about people to the people we care about? And it doesn’t have to be in a commercial way, for today we live in the age of communication technology (on steroids!). A simple text message or email, or tweet or Post – or direct message to those we care about most. Wouldn’t it be great to be part of or promote a culture of showing that we care? As John Lennon so beautifully put it… Imagine?

I remember back when I first discovered what Valentines day, I was at the primary level (age 8) when I was going to an international school in Saudi Arabia. At this particular school there were people from all around the world and there was one girl who was American who gave all the boys in the class a card. Why, we all thought? Because it was “valentines day”! I think we all had to learn about the St Valentines and had a small session on it, but all the boys were more interested in seeing what was written on the card. We were all looking to see what she wrote and I remember the message I got was “I like you”, I was so happy! Then I looked over and saw my mate’s card, who was a bit of a ladies man (ie, all the girls use to write love hearts next to his name on their doodle pads!) and his card said “I love you!”. I’m sure her mum had told her to give all the boys a card and I think it was really nice gesture. Most of us had a British background and I don’t think Valentines day had become so big at that stage (unlike the post-global commercialization situation of today) – but I thought it was so nice that nobody (at least in the boys group) felt excluded. I always took that with me as something that I would be aspire to be into when it came to acts of kindness – “inclusivity”.

Years later in Sri Lanka, when I was doing field work in Anuradhapura on one Valentines day, I felt the urge to send text messages to all my female friends wishing them a happy valentines day, but I thought it would be fun to also say this in Sinhalese. The only problem was I didn’t even know the proper term, or if such a phrase existed in rural Sri Lanka. The only way to find out was to ask the cook of our study house, Anusha, what the term was. Anusha had also become a friend who taught me much about the culture that I was living in, at least through the eyes of someone from the village.  She taught me the phrase “Suba Arderaya Wante dinya” which I used in my text messages. The replies I received reflected much much amusement, and it was only when I later checked with the research assistants I worked with what the exact meaning of the words was. They literally translated to “Happy Lovers Day”, and some people seem to think that this was only reserved for couples who had a significant other! Ooops! 

So does love translate differently in different languages? Perhaps. I know that in Pali, a dead language that is used in Buddhist philosophy, there are four words that describe different kinds of sentiments that all come under the umbrella of love, these are  “Metta, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha”. It’s worth looking into because the definitions of these are all very interesting. But in this philosophy there is also the talk of one of the higher forms of love being to do with the “friendship” element of Love – after all I feel that love is the basis of friendship. I guess this is the concept that is perhaps one of the most important messages of the Poem. We all have friends if we are humble enough to accept the friendship that is offered to us. 

When was in rural Sri Lanka I remember not being surrounded by my old friends, but I had made new friend and with this came the love that friends had. Adding to this was the background level of caring that existed in the whole community where I was working – something that I often experience in smaller rural places no matter where they are in the world (a least this goes for my experience of travelling and living in many places around the world). So my reflections are that love “is” usually there if we are willing expand our horizons of what it means and active enough to look around. Even although I am currently blessed with a loving partner on this Valentines day, it hasn’t always been that way – but even when I was without a partner, I am glad I was able to learn how to be ‘with love’ by feeling the love that was around. This was reflected in my “Valentines Day Wish” Poem from 2 years ago, when I was “single and looking” (using facebook terminology!). 

So happy valentines day and enjoy it just as you would any other day – but most of all don’t be afraid to say “I love you” – or at least show it to those who mean the most to you!  

(image taken from





Calm within the storm



Calm within the storm,

The straw that broke the camels back,


Is this just ‘pressure’, or a wino drinking crack?


The whole world of insanity eventually comes to face,

Us all in the mirror of time and grace,


So slow down your pace,

And see what is there,


I challenge you to do this!

If you do so care?

For when we are calm ,

The chaos becomes our balm 


And we can apply it to ourselves others too,

You also can be part of this new “calmness brew”!?


And even if those who have realized this maybe few,

Join me now in hand, and perhaps we can unfold what is long overdue?


First few shifts in Port Hedland

It was a busy emergency shift yesterday, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed in an environment where the demand can quickly shift to outstrip the available resources. This is often the case in the world of emergency medicine, but being a Locum perhaps adds an extra challenge to the mix because you are never familiar with how things run when starting in a new place.

Lucky for me, the staff I was working with were so friendly and helpful. Last night I was surrounded by fellow doctors, nurses and allied health who gave me the support I needed. In addition the specialists (Physician, Surgeon and Pediatrician supporting the emergency department) were proactive in helping! Already I was reminded of what I have experienced before when previously working in remote and rural settings. There seemed to be a kind of communal spirit focused on what I believe all health care workers should be focused on, “serving the patient”. This is the same spirit that can easily get lost in the impersonal way that many bigger city hospitals operate. 

So in amongst the chaos of the department, I was stuck in the middle of a fire alarm drill whilst managing a patient. It was just a “fire drill” and we were all told to stand down from the high alert, but there was still a technical glitch in the alarm system leaving it ringing for almost 10 minutes (aka- an eternity!). It was at this time that I felt that I had to hold insanity by the hand which probably lead to the source of this poem – luckily I made it back to the other side – Yay for the “Calm”!