New Blog location.

Everything I write from now on will be integrated into the blog on my main website.
If you're searching for my old stuff, it's either here somewhere or on Elephant Journal.
Thank you for reading, with love, Ben



She is alive,
Right here inside
Next to the
Garbage that I didn’t throw out yet
And the uncut grass in the garden

Alongside last year's tax receipts
And all of the
Broken relationships,
Forgotten friendships,
Neglected plants that withered and died
Long ago,
And my guilt for them.
My guilt.

Who knew?!
Here she lives
Right here
Alongside the homeless addict
Who plagues me daily to numb
And avoid my pain
Begging for spare change
“Can you spare some change mate”
As if that’s all he deserves.

My love doesn’t mind!
She doesn’t judge all those
Problems the way I d(id).

She simply opens Her arms and waits
For me to fall into them
So patiently.


The Best Piece of Advice I Ever Was Given

Photography by PaulPrescott.com

I was in an Ashram*. Having my hedonistic, narcissistic, capitalist-conditioned mind blown open by a small group of people who dedicate their lives – completely – to the benefit of the world around them. A small group of Swamis.

Before I left, I asked my favorite Swami for a piece of advice. Here’s what he said...

(you can read the rest here on Elephant Journal)


Why Life is So Difficult in the World Today (and Mankind in Such a Mess).

Photograph: ‘Eight-Tear-Year-Old Woman’ – www.paulprescott.com

You are pure consciousness. Perfect, sacred, divine. This is the essence of your being and it is the essence of all being.

Whether the being of a stone, stream, star, or an animal, all is consciousness. The universe itself is built with building blocks of consciousness but no microscope will ever be strong enough to see it.

It can only be felt.

Our ancient ancestors felt it. That is why they said that stones and streams and stars had their own spirits. They felt the spirits of the stars through the core of their own being, their own spirit, and they gave the stars names.


Croatian Island retreat 2012

August 4th - 18th, 2012.
Rudnjak Island, 10 minutes by boat from Iž.

Retreat wonderful - on a private island with a Fantastic Group from Australia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Kosovo, Slovenia, Croatia, L.A., London...


In-depth Interview about Healing.

This is a long (45m) interview about RPT and healing / personal development.

With thanks to the lovely Kara-Leah Grant of The Yoga Lunchbox.




What Your Body Needs (Once a Year). ~ Ben Ralston

Want more Magic?
January 2001 I went to India and trained as a Yoga teacher. The hardest, roughest, toughest, most grueling, painful, and downright miserable month of my life also marked a turning point – when I began to take responsibility for myself, find my path, and really live.
Since then, I’ve taken and led many retreats. I can’t imagine going more than a year or two without one now.
My body needs it.
So does yours.
Modern life is fast and super-stressful. We get sucked into the mundane before we can say ‘must-be-mindful’. Spat out again on the other side of a lost year, all those unresolved resolutions shored up in our subconscious, we end up waging war with ourselves, not realizing that the real enemy is the system that we allow ourselves to get caught up in – thinking that we need it.
We don’t need it – it needs us. We don’t need anything. And that’s what you realize – deeply – when you go on a retreat.

You realize that you’re fine just as you are.

No WiFi, no cell phones, no media blare – nothing but nature.
And of course, there’s the Yoga (or Tai Chi), the fresh, healthy food, the conscious relaxation, the sense of being surrounded by like-minded people (you know, community), the deep breathing, and the space and time to simply enjoy.
These are things that human beings need daily, and that most people are starved of.
The moment it hit me that retreats are actually important – was when I finished leading my first one. It was mid-Summer, on a Croatian Island, and we’d started the week (35 of us) holding hands standing in a circle, as I chanted a sacred mantra for auspicious beginnings.
At the end of the week we stood in a circle holding hands and I chanted a sacred mantra for auspicious endings, and then we walked out from under the canopy that covered us.
Everyone outside was standing looking up at the sky, open mouthed, pointing, in awe.
There was a perfect circular rainbow halo around the sun:
Pretty auspicious huh?!
I’d never seen anything like it before in my life – and it felt like (accuse me of having a God-complex if you will!) a divine omen, an (almost) neon flashing sign stating loud and clear:
“Yes, you’re on the right path, keep up the good work”
So I keep on taking and leading retreats. I believe that we need to break out of the system occasionally, remind ourselves of what’s important and what’s not.
And in the same way that we all know we need a weekend once a week, I hope that one day we’ll all retreat once a year (just like we get our cars serviced routinely). To step out of the mundane and remind ourselves that life is sacred, magical and mysterious, and to actively celebrate and participate in that awareness.
I’m running a retreat in August this year, on the Croatian island of Iž. Have a look at the beautiful video of Iž below, and if you’d like more information, go here.
And if not this year, then next. And if not one of my retreats, then someone else’s – you owe it to yourself and to the world around you to stay connected to the joy and wonder and magic deep inside of yourself.
Don’t get caught up in life. Live it – fully, heartedly, meaningfully. And if you’re not sure how, find out.

Our time here is precious, and all too fleeting.

Spread the love now – share this with the world.
Resource: The Sivananda Yoga Organization offers year-round retreats in all of it’s nine Ashrams around the world. They’re cheap, the teaching is of a routinely high standard, and food is excellent. It’s not for everyone – it’s a ‘no-frills’ experience. But if you really want to retreat – in the true sense of the word – then I thoroughly recommend it.


Take responsibility - don't hand over your power to others.

Somebody told me about a friend who is obsessed with the world ending in 2012.
Guess what - the world won't end this year in 2012. It probably won't end for a very, very long time.

Until it does, please don't give away your power to anyone that would have you relinquish your responsibility. Whether they be conspiracy theorists, psychics, healers, spiritual teachers, yoga 'guru's... anyone.

Right now, there is important work to be done - for yourself, for those around you, for the planet, for future generations.

Let's do that work, and stop worrying about an uncertain future. Focus on the present - be real, stay grounded, and do what you need to do to cultivate more joy.
Be more free.
Spread more love.

Thanks for listening - if it's of value, please share.


Understanding Being.

In answer to Facebook friend George's question:

"Life-long issue: intellectualizing "spiritual" or "mystical" experiences. My desire to understand everything makes it difficult to rest in the intuitive knowing of "God" or "truth" or "the universe" or "consciousness" --- whatever you want to call it. That which cannot be named. I've experienced it so profoundly but always return to the quest to define and comprehend it, then I end up with a lot of concepts about what I experienced, a poor substitute for simply BEING it."

Thumb it up, share it up, spread the love.

And send me your questions, in a comment or a message. I'm happy to help.


How to let go or release buried emotions and suppressed feelings?

A talk about healing and personal development. What causes our emotional problems, and how can we solve them?
Answer - trauma is what causes almost all our problems, and healing trauma solves them. And healing trauma can be fast, easy, and fun!

Hope you didn't get too seasick watching it! I'll try to keep future videos a little more 'stable :)


My first video! About social media, and the new (spiritual) business paradigm...

Got a stinking cold, -10 degrees outside, seminars to teach tomorrow, sleep deprived for the last 15 months, and Diane Ferraro goes and tempts me with her PJ’s. What’s a guy to do… 

The latest Yoga scandal? Or prefer to read about Truth?

30 or so years ago I lied to my Father and he caught me out. I remember being afraid, and tensing up in anticipation of a whack or a stern rebuke. But there was just a very long pause, a pause that felt like falling, falling through space – no roots, nothing to ground me. Then he warmly and simply said:

“There’s nothing I despise more than a lie”.

He looked at me kindly and left it at that.
He wasn’t always such a magnificent teacher, but that day, he nailed it.
I’ve spent my whole life since searching for Truth.
At school I sat in countless classrooms watching the parade of old men whose life-blood slipped away while they bullshitted themselves (and each other, and my parents) that they were teaching anything worthwhile. There was no truth to be found there.
On the television endless advertisements, people with too-white teeth and too-wide smiles, trying to persuade me that they were honest and good and that I needed what they were selling. No truth there.
On the streets and in the shops and buses and trains I saw everyone trying to convince themselves that they were alright, happy, safe. But I saw through their deception. No truth.
In Churches and in Synagogues I listened to readings from dusty old books and I felt the disconnect between what was being read, and the person reading it. There was no truth there, no true Faith, only blind, wishful-thinking, and the wise child that I was wasn’t fooled.
(When I finally realized that my parents weren’t superheroes) I saw my Father struggling to balance his dignity with the daily grind of trying to become – what? A millionaire? A billionaire? And I failed to see the truth in that.
I saw my Mother’s sense of unfulfilled, unrealized potential, and the emptiness inside that she occasionally tried to fill with wine, chewing gum, or television, and I knew that she hadn’t found the truth that I was looking for.
So I spent many years knowing only what I didn’t want. I didn’t want my life to be a lie. I knew that with all my heart. I yearned for a not-lie. But I had no idea what that was. I had no idea what the truth looked like, or how it felt, or even if I would recognize it if it were right in front of me, with a big flashing neon sign:

Herein lies TRUTH.

Actually, I would have turned away. When you are so conditioned by delusion and hypocrisy… when all you have ever known is deception… when the fabric of your society is woven with pretense… then the truth is something to be feared!
I have another, earlier memory. Mr Morton may have been a rare example in my life of a good school teacher. He seemed very old to me then, with grey whiskers and a stooped gait, and when he sat at the front of the class he would interlock his fingers, rotating one thumb around the other in what seemed like a frantic attempt to slow down time… I had the sense that there was a great energy about to bubble up in him, about to boil over… and if he didn’t keep on twiddling his thumbs like that he wouldn’t be able to stop it.
One of my peers must have lied to him one day, because he exploded, whiskers shaking, mouth foaming, eyes bulging. When he’d finished there were some nervous  sniggers, but we all – each and every one of us in that room that day knew that we’d seen and heard Truth directly:
“When you start to tell lies you enter a very dangerous arena, a grey world where black and white blur into one, and right and wrong lose their meaning. And one day you will find yourself an altogether grey person, because you will have started to believe your own lies.”
We live in a grey world. Our society is very, very grey – phone hacking, money-makes-money banking, countries invaded under the guise of WMD that were never there. Soap operas and adverts and MTV and internet-filters and rigged elections and Arms Fairs and Oil dependency and Global Warming and… on and on. One scandal, one controversy after another.
This is what happens when spiritual practice is used as a vehicle for fame and fortune, when personal gain trumps respect for lineage, when the student proclaims himself teacher of teachers. (The link is to a post I wrote the other day about the corruption of Eastern spirituality by Western materialism, specifically – yoga teachers training more yoga teachers).
Does our society support a quest for freedom and truth, or does it encourage us to rejoice in the illusion of gossip and malicious rumor like pigs rolling in mud?
There is only one solution to the problem, and that is to stop relying on that society. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be part of it. You can still play the game – but by your own rules.
Be aware that Truth is the gateway to freedom. And don’t compromise in your search for, and expression of, that truth.
Not long ago a student asked me the secret to happiness. I answered:

“Never compromise”.

She was somewhat surprised, because let’s face it, most of us grew up being taught the opposite – that compromise is an integral part of happiness!
How many times were you told:
“’You can’t have it all’… ‘choose one or the other’… ‘dreams don’t come true’… ‘better the devil you know’…”
or variations of the above?
But I’m here to tell you differently: by all means, compromise with your partner over which movie you watch, or what you have for dinner; compromise with a colleague over how you go about completing a task. Compromise on the little things. Compromise your desires.
But when it comes to something big – love, work, your aspirations and dreams: don’t compromise – not one iota. Don’t take a single step off the path of meaningful, intentional life. Know what you want, and go for it, with 110% of your energy. And when something gets in the way, either jump over, or go around, or wait patiently until it moves away again, because it will move if your intention is strong.
Don’t lose sight of what is important to you – your values – and don’t compromise on them. If you do, the day will come when you look back on your life and see only a lies. I can’t imagine anything worse.
Mr Morton was right.
One lie leads to another. What starts out as a simple excuse for why you stay with the partner who doesn’t totally rock your world leads to a whole world-wide-web of self-deceit. That’s just the beginning, because next you have to convince the rest of the world about it too!
Before you know it, life is grey and foggy.
It takes a great deal of courage to be really honest with yourself. The very reason we deceive ourselves is because we’re afraid. So to be honest means to be doubly courageous – you have to have the cojonesto confront your fears, and to then carry on in spite of them. You have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.
That might mean leaving a partner, or a job, or a home, or a college. It might mean coming out about your sexuality, or travelling the world, or learning a language, or whatever. These are big, scary things. But they are gateways – you can either go through that gateway to freedom, or you can stay hiding behind the door.
Hide behind that door and remain in a dark, shadowy, grey world where the search for love, peace, and freedom is utterly pointless. Death will come for you full of regrets.
But step through that door and be dazzled by full-spectrum multi-chromatic rainbow-colored Glory.
The choice is ours to make, and we are all making that choice, every moment of every day.

What do you choose?

If you’re feeling it, share it. ‘Like’ it up on FB, and leave a comment, please.