07 December 2015

Sliding doors - moments when life changes

A young woman caught my eye last weekend. Sitting outside the Melbourne Arts Centre, quietly minding my own business as I waited for my wife to join me for The Messiah, this woman was walking by when she turned, noticed me, paused, reflected, and then came over and said “can I sit and talk with you for a while?”

“Sure” says I. She is quite emotional and takes a moment to gather herself. “You came into my life at an important time…. It was one of those sliding door moments”.

Sliding Doors. Remember that great film staring Gwyneth Paltrow. Moments when life could have gone one way or another. Moments of transition. Moments when life changed.

The conversation with the young lady brought me to quite a realization… , but first

           Thought for the day

   No man ever crosses the same river twice, 
   For it is not the same river 
   And he is not the same man.


So to be frank, and certainly not to be disrespectful, I know of no-one who has been to The Messiah and changed their life. Personally, I go to The Messiah just about every year. Have done so for decades.

I love the music. The majesty of the music, the inspiration that flows from it, the sense of occasion, the atmosphere, the wonderful reminder of my Christian roots, the celebration of the end of the year and of Christmas.

I love this annual ritual. And while I know many people who also love attending, no-one has ever told me they went to The Messiah and their life changed.

By contrast, I know many thousands of people who have been to a public lecture of some sort and changed their life. It has happened for me on numerous occasions throughout my own life. Sliding door moments. Occasions when one could have gone to some entertainment, however inspiring,  but instead went to listen to a speaker, and life changed.

What have those moments been for you? As another year approaches it finale, good time to pause and reflect. Sliding door moments. Who were the catalysts? And maybe a simple sense of gratitude.

Then with a New Year about to start, I am helping to organise the renowned Tibetan teacher Sogyal Rinpoche to present a public talk early in January.

This is a rare opportunity to hear the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism presented by the author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. 

Sogyal Rinpoche has a unique ability to attune these teachings to modern life, drawing out their universal message while losing none of their authenticity, purity and power.

I can tell you, I know literally thousands of people whose lives have changed courtesy of attending one of Rinpoche’s talks. Great way to start the New Year – a chance to be inspired, be informed, to reflect, set the tone for 2016. See you there?

And the young lady? Turns out she was in the midst of a difficult cancer situation 5 years ago. A friend heard I was to speak at the Relaxation Centre in Brisbane, so she came along. We talked a little during the event, and as she says, her life changed. A sliding door moment.

And the young lady herself? Looked vibrantly alive. In great health. And she was the second person like that to come up to me that day to share a long-term cancer survival story. Very heart walming….

As well as Melbourne, Sogyal Rinpoche will also be speaking in Adelaide and leading a retreat at Myall Lakes later in January.

Date         Tuesday 5th January at 7.00pm (arrive 6.30)

Venue      Collingwood Town Hall,   140 Hoddle St, Abbotsford

Tickets     From $39 (full), $28 (concession)

On line bookings   CLICK HERE
Event Enquiries     Email: Melbourne@rigpa.org.au          Phone: 0402 586 360

Date         Wednesday 6th January at 7.00pm (arrive 6.30)

Venue       PAC, 23 Dequetteville Tce, Kent Town, SA 5065

Tickets      $35 (full), $25 (concession)

On line bookings   CLICK HERE

Event Enquiries     Email: Melbourne@rigpa.org.au  Phone: 0402 586 360

Dates         14th January to 24th January

Venue        Tiona Park, Myall Lakes

On line bookings   CLICK HERE

The Rigpa Melbourne Centre is located in Brunswick at 7/200 Sydney Rd. 
The centre is part of a world wide network of over 140 centres and groups founded by Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the highly acclaimed The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. 
Rigpa Melbourne conducts courses, meditation sessions and other events which connect people with authentic Tibetan Buddhist teachings and meditation practices.  


  1. I took a friend's son, recently diagnosed HIV positive, to hear you speak at Toorak College some 20 years ago. He remains alive, well, and grateful, because he credits the positive encouragement he took from that experience for his determination to live and prosper.

  2. I relate to that totally. I remember being born & what it was like before incarnating, so I have 1st hand experience of being a spiritual being & know that we are all spiritual beings. Any time I talk about it with individuals or groups people have Aha moments & often have come back to me & said it was a sliding door moment. We are all sensitive beings & get to the right place at the right time one way or another. I will come talk for free to any group check out my credentials at my web site ActByDesire.com