Offerings of devotion

“A leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, offered to me in devotion, I will accept as the loving gift of a dedicated heart.” 

These loving words were spoken by Lord Krishna to his devotee Arjuna in Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu Bible if you like).  It was written centuries before the Christian Bible, and at a time of higher spiritual attunement to God.  The sentiments are clear:  if a person is sincerely seeking God, determinedly trying to be a better person each day, meditating regularly and deeply, this person need not offer gifts of material wealth to God. Rather, seekers are encouraged to offer up everything they think, do, say, eat, drink, see, touch and so on, even and especially the smallest thing, so that we realise that it is God Himself that is behind everything.

Have a great weekend everyone.

The Moon Rabbit

In today’s post, I want to talk about charity, selflessness, kindness to others. I always feel that January lends itself to charitable deeds, and many people take up challenges such as Veganuary, or Dry January for example, often asking friends and family to sponsor them financially for their chosen charity. So I thought I’d give us all a little prompt to do our own self-audit of how charitable we’ve been this month. First here’s a tale which embodies the qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness to the max!:

In the Buddhist Jataka tales (Tale 316),[2] a monkey, an otter, a jackal, and a rabbit resolved to practice charity on the day of the full moon, believing that a demonstration of great virtue would earn them great spiritual reward. They came across an old man begging for food and decided that giving him food would be a good way to practice charity.

First, the monkey gathered fruits from the trees and gave them to the old man. Next, the otter caught some fish and presented it to the beggar. Meanwhile, the jackal caught a lizard and stole a pot of milk-curd. The rabbit knew only how to gather grass. Did humans eat grass? it wondered. Then it remembered that they did eat rabbit meat, so it offered its own body, throwing itself into a fire that the old beggar had built.

But the fire did not burn the rabbit! The old man revealed himself to be Śakra, ruler of the Gods. He was touched by the rabbit’s selflessness and virtue, and drew the likeness of the rabbit on the Moon. In this way, all would see it and remember the rabbit’s kindness.

It is said the lunar image is still draped in the smoke that rose when the rabbit cast itself into the fire. The legend is popular and part of local folklore throughout Asia (in China, Japan, India, Korea, Sri Lanka and so on).

So how can we use this tale to do our self-audit? How can we endeavour to embody these qualities of charity, selflessness and kindness? We don’t have to literally give ourselves, but couldn’t we all give of ourselves to help others? How have you measured up this month? Is your first thought in the morning to check your social media for likes, or to call your mother to say good morning? When someone has admired something you are wearing or a treasured possession, have you felt puffed up with pride, or did you feel even a little impulse to offer it to them as a gift? If you won a Christmas hamper, did you keep it all to yourself or did you share it with friends and family (or neighbours, local community groups?). Don’t be hard on yourself, for that is a form of unkindness. Simply use your experiences as a starting point for improvement. You’re on the road to a new, kinder, happier you. Enjoy the journey, and remember to look up into the night sky every so often and think of the kindness of the rabbit!

Much love, Anita.

Letting go!

Ever had one of those dreams just before you wake up that really messes with your head? You start thinking, “Was that a dream? Was it a message?” or “What in goodness’ name was that?” (I changed my initial less polite wording in that last part!). I want to share with you the dream I had this morning which went from strange to lovely. Read on to find out more….

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Let’s make room at the inn this Christmas!

Twenty centuries ago, a young couple is turned away when they ask for help and shelter for the night.  She is heavily pregnant and eventually gives birth to her child in a stable.  We will come to know the child as the God-realized avatar that is Jesus-Christ.  Fast-forward to 2018.  A young girl (from a country torn apart by war or environmental catastrophe) witnesses her home, her family, her world as she knows it, decimated.  Will she find help and shelter?  


“What place is this, where blossoms cry in pain, dripping sorrowful nectar, an indelible stain, on my bleeding heart?”   from poem In the Garden, by Anita Neilson.


Our world can often appear tragic, unkind and inhumane.  Isn’t it all the more important that we turn our focus to all the positives, to every act of kindness and compassion which happens day by day, minute by minute, second by second.  Then we can reimagine our world as the precious place it is.  We can rediscover our place in humanity by making sure there is room at our inn, in our heart-space. 

Let’s leave aside our judgement of how others choose, or are forced, to live their life and drop a few coins in the begging bowl of the homeless woman on the street;  let’s offer help in any way we can to our fellow human beings, be that in thoughts, words, or acts.   If we are blessed enough to be relatively wealthy in comparison with those who are struggling in our communities, well what use is wealth if not shared with others?  Let’s make it our mission to find out what charity projects are running this Christmas and to contribute to them.  It could be our local newspaper organising a Christmas Dinner in a Box to be distributed to vulnerable families.  It could be a local children’s charity asking for donations of a new set of pyjamas and a toy for those children in disadvantaged families.  It could be welcoming an elderly lonely person into our home for Christmas Dinner.  Let’s look into our hearts.  What would we buy for our own child or grandchild?  Can we find it in our hearts to extend this love to other local families?


I was reminded this weekend about family and about why God gives us family and then (so cruelly it seems) takes them away from us in death.  I believe He gives us the joy of family so that we may experience all the different kinds of love He offers – parental, filial, romantic, children and so on.  In taking loved ones away from us, He wants us to learn to extend the love we feel for family out towards the wider world, so that eventually we will learn that all the world’s peoples are our family.  We should not differentiate between anyone, regardless of race, colour, creed, gender and so on.

Can we find it in our hearts to open wide the doors of our inn(er) heart centre to welcome others and give them shelter, materially, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.  Have a wonderful week.  Much love to all.  Anita.🙂🙏

The alternative 2018 Advent Calendar

Fed up with the usual Advent Calendar?  Cheap chocolate shapes behind doors that are infuriatingly cumbersome to open?  Here’s my gift to you – the alternative (free) 2018 Advent Calendar!  No bad chocolate to sicken your palate, but plenty of practical tips to spend a wholly more spiritual advent season.

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