Cross-legged with Zen

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While my mind is often filled with noise in the form of thoughts and feelings, silence is no longer threatening to me. When my mind calms down, I experience a soft sound that draws me into greater depth and meaning. I no longer perceive the voice of ‘God’ as harsh, annoying and judgemental, but kind, peaceful and loving.

An inner hunger

On a whim of inspiration, I booked myself into a Zen Buddhist retreat last weekend in Dublin. I knew little to nothing about it, but my inner being was hungry for something ‘more’. It consisted of hours of silent, sitting meditation interspersed with silent, walking meditation. My legs and back ached as I tried to find the ‘sweet spot’ in sitting. I tried a sort of knee sitting, cross-legged sitting and chair sitting. Continue reading

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Being truly human

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When I rush, I scratch my watch, I break its strap, I knock into another person’s shopping, I talk too quickly, I hinder my breathing…

For a person like myself who desires a contemplative lifestyle, I have to laugh at such rushing. I used to be struck by people who would comment on the intentions of mental health professionals – saying they were doing their jobs for their own purposes. “I became a psychiatrist because I was looking for a cure for myself,” said my uncle. Perhaps I want to become a contemplative for similar reasons.

The contemplative way

I am not that different from others. I have my own motives for doing things. I meditate because it keeps me sane. I pace myself with work tasks for it maintains my energy and direction. I unwind at night with a book because it helps me to sleep. I have the same basic needs as others. Continue reading

Smile when they frown!

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As I arrived home in Dublin after my holiday in Canada, I got an abrupt reminder that people have the potential to pull me down and take away my happiness.

A taxi-man who mutters

Right outside the airport, a taxi driver muttered and frowned when I gave him directions to my house. After 17 hours of travel, it caught me off guard for a moment. I asserted that I was perhaps better off getting another taxi, but in the end I took the lift. He muttered something again, and I gave him a short response and stayed quiet. On the road, I suddenly smiled with the realisation that the interaction didn’t have to ruin my day. We chatted for a little bit after a while and departed with less tension. Continue reading