Under pressure

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I reached burn-out before an academic presentation in Waterford last week, but I learned a lot, got help and did a good job in the end. A local man named Tom MacDonagh put things into perspective when he said, “Pressure is for tyres!”

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True love

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My grandmother once described to me her relationship with my grandfather. “I don’t know what love is, but what I do know is that I could hold his hand for hours on end, without saying a word, and be content in doing so.”

Pampering my loneliness

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I was functional and productive this week as I went about attending to work, projects, sport, friends and loved ones. I was faithful to my new year’s resolutions, prioritising what I was most passionate about which included working behind the scenes for a new initiative on mindfulness and mysticism. However, I experienced a bout of loneliness on Friday night which left a drain in my energy and spirit. It was meant to be a celebration of my week, but I got caught up on a train of impulsivity.  Next time I commit to being more aware of my loneliness and to apply the ‘3 P’s’  Continue reading

My heaven and hell

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In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, acclaimed clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson states: “You could help direct the world, on its careening trajectory, a bit more toward Heaven and a bit more away from Hell. Once having understood Hell, researched it, so to speak—particularly your own individual Hell—you could decide against going there or creating that. You could aim elsewhere. You could, in fact, devote your life to this. That would give you a Meaning, with a capital M”.

Facing the reality

This advice nudged me to pause and reflect as I lay in bed dreaming of a better life. So, I closed my eyes and imagined what my Hell might look like. It went something like: “Despair, anguish, lack of peace, addictions, uncontrollable impulses, distractions that diminish my energy and direction… a deadness of head, heart and body, a feeling of dread for living”. I was only too familiar with this reality, a reality that I tended to turn to again and again whether aware of it or not.
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The intent and way of tea

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I met with a meditation group called Deeper Space on Sunday, 4 November in the town of Newbridge, County Kildare, just an hour from Dublin city. We, an intimate group of three, finally settled down for a cup of tea in a local café after a spot of lunch elsewhere and a walk along the river.

Over the last year or so we have tried to create a ‘deeper space’ at different places by reflecting on themes such as living in the now, sacredness and intuition. We paused for a few minutes of silence and shared our thoughts and feelings with each other. Recently, we thought it would be good to try something new. Tea or coffee drinking had always been part of our meetings, so why not simply meet for tea – a daily ritual – and make this our meditation? Continue reading

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