Enlightenment 101

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A blogpost on the inner critic continues this week as I look to its connection with the placater or pleaser role that many of us fulfill at some point in our lives. What is it like, for example, when we say “Thanks” to someone when we want to say “Goodbye”? Or what does it mean when we butter up a crowd to make them love us? Has saying the ‘right’ thing become an epidemic today? Perhaps it has somehow served me in my life up until now, but it is no longer something I am happy to continue with. Continue reading

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Real beauty, real presence

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I experienced an unexpected dip in mood since last week’s Camino journey. As indicated, I released myself from much pain of my critical mind while walking in Spain and the experience of ‘full absorption’ brought great inner freedom. But, I returned to impulsive judgements as I settled into my routine in Dublin. A bad habit distorted my peaceful state and I had to execute a recovery plan to get me back on track. At the same time, I had a desire to let non-judgemental presence become part of my ordinary life, not just confined to a moment or two. I wanted something more. Continue reading

Full absorption

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The bright moon does not shine to guide the night traveller” – Zen saying.

I joined my two brothers for the last leg of the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage in Northern Spain. They had started a few weeks before me and by the time I arrived they had already been named ‘the express train’ for their fast pace along the way. At an intuitive level, I became aware of an invitation to enter into a deeper way of being on the flight over to Spain. That was to let go of the inner voice of judgement, turning instead to a pure observing mind, one with gentleness and simplicity. Continue reading

Joie de vivre

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Maintaining a balanced mood can appear boring and totally uneventful at first glance, but in fact it is the most exciting journey of all. Who wouldn’t want to be connected with their inner flame, their calmness, their joie de vivre? When we are balanced in mind, heart and body, we see the little moments as bursts of loveliness, and we tune in to the resurrection spirit.

Our delightful fragrance

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Outside of the tree there is no fragrance” – Zen saying.

I ponder that when a tree is unified with all its parts – roots, trunk, branches – it emits a delightful fragrance. Similarly, when I am unified in mind, heart and body, I emit something sweet. For me, this fragrance is a stillness that is nurtured through regular meditation and has positive effects on my being. When I meditate, my back is straight and my breathing rhythmic, my mind is focused and quiet and I feel peace and gratitude. Continue reading

Managing mental health in work

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This article was published on celebrity Niall Breslin’s A Lust For Life website, a movement for mental health and well-being.

I dreamed of connecting with a wider community through writing for A Lust For Life on previous occasions, and this is my third article on the site! Why did I want to connect? Because my experience of bipolar disorder was a lonely existence for a long time. I was fed up with how restricting depression and low mood could be; I was intensely uneasy and agitated; I was troubled with how elation and overactivity lifted me from off the ground; and I absolutely had it with the total disconnect of mania. In short, I needed people and perhaps they needed me too. Continue reading

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