ABOVE: See Simon talk about each of the 10 skilfull attitudes in The Beautiful Life in these 10 one-minute clips. The first clip is shown above, but click here to see all 10 skilfull attitudes.
The ten commandments tell us to act as though we are good, even though we are not. As Big Brother reveals, outside our comfort zone there's not a great deal to applaud. We allow in our minds a mess of assumption and emotion we would never allow in our front room. If our front room looked like our mind we'd either run out screaming or call a contract cleaner. Thus, we become the rumour of virtue rather than the real thing, and the result is a profound psychological discomfort.
Yet even as we despair, we perhaps stand on the edge of a lost Christianity – the lost or forgotten human power to extract the pure energy of the soul from the experiences of life. This, I think, would be home for us – and is the concern of my new commands.
I don't talk much of God in the book. Like "Love", "God" has become a difficult word through misuse. Too often, those who cannot accurately describe themselves, confidently imagine they can describe God. Like chimney sweeps handling clean linen, they soil what they touch. It leaves the word "God" in some disarray.
So what are my new ten? I'm not sure they work as sound bites, for they are small doors into large courtyards, which are all the better for a guide. Like the Von Trapp family, however, they must now step up onto the stage and grasp the adventure before them...
1. Be present
2. Observe yourself
3. Be nothing
4. Flee attachment
5. Transcend suffering
6. Drop your illusions
7. Prepare for truth
8. Cease separation
9. Know your soul
10. Fear nothing
The Beautiful Life is published by Bloomsbury.
Read Stephen Poole's review of it in The Guardian. Here are some web reviews...
"I have found, and continue to find, that this book gives me a tremendous lift each time I dip into it. It contains structures of the mind that really work for me." R. Coles, Colchester
"This book is very special but I only discovered that after I read it for the third time! The first reading was done from the head, with the intention of seeing what it was all about. At the second reading, I took each section and allowed time for reflection. After some weeks, I read it again and allowed it time to speak to the "inner me" which often gets ignored. All sorts of feelings emerged some good and helpful, others less so, but for me and some of those with whom I have shared the book, this is an excellent tool for exploring how to be open and honest with oneself and taking life's journey forward in a new way." Deep Wells, Somerset
"I found this an unusually helpful book. I took it on a personal retreat... and found it a tremendous help in marshalling my thoughts. While it's true that many of the truths and philosophies in this book are given only vaguely, I think this is an exciting and realistic way to have written for the point is, they are truths, not debating points. Neither is it necessary for Parke to delineate Buddhism, Christianity etc., as he brings the fruits before each reader. Instead, he does what is really useful to me: he describes how each truth can bring us close to the beautiful life. I recommend this book for those wishing to take a spiritual journey. It's not about what to believe, it's about how to live. And in that sense, it brings us the very best of Christianity, and Buddhism and every other philosophy it touches on." Ross Mcgovern, Glasgow
To hear me talk about The Beautiful Life in an interview with Simon Mayo on Radio 5 Live, please click here.