Yes to your blissfulness, your heavenly mindfulness.
Psychologists talk about the importance of spending time in our own company, of being alone and quiet, of being at peace with ourselves so that, for example, we will have a better sense of direction and purpose. It can be hard in the beginning, but there are gentle ways of entry into silence. There is the Three-Minute Breathing Space meditation in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) where a person observes their experience (thoughts and feelings), focuses on their breath, and attends to bodily sensations. Overtime, this practice helps us to develop self-compassion and to build inner strength. Continue reading
Do you desire a relationship in your life like a mother and child within the womb?
Psychologist John Bowlby (1907-1990) came to realise through much research the significance of the early days of a mother-child relationship. There used to be the belief of a certain toughness that the child needed to develop, and so it was not unusual to leave a child cry away on their own. Bowlby understood that the first year especially is a time for attentiveness and nourishment where the child develops a healthy, secure attachment. This view, supported by research, remains influential today. Continue reading
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” – Climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Often in Irish society people who are meek, humble and modest are considered weak. Even psychology would tend to consider such traits as passive and unassertive, not able to express their power in suitable ways. But the spiritual dimension can offer us something new here: it speaks of modesty as a strength, someone who acknowledges the right order of things, a respect and reverence for life and for all the people on this planet. Continue reading
Let the spirit of expansive possibility breathe in you.
Openness is a basic personality trait denoting receptivity to new ideas and new experiences. Those who are particularly ‘open to experience’ have been shown to have a greater appreciation for beauty, which has a positive effect on a person’s well-being (Psychology Today). I contemplate the image of a flower that is opened up to the world. Its full beauty was hidden when just a little bud, but through the sun and suitable weather conditions it becomes something new and exciting. We delight in its shades of yellow and white, bees are nourished with its sweet nectar and perhaps the universe smiles with it too. Continue reading
“Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom… And with the morn those angel faces smile.” – Saint John Henry Newman
I once visited the Solas Bhríde Centre in County Kildare, a place that unfolds the legacy of Saint Brigid, the female patron saint of Ireland. Among the attractions I came across was the ‘perpetual flame’, a candle that has been burning continuously since 1993. While I meditated next to the candle it struck me how mellow and calm the flame appeared. It wasn’t too strong and bright; just right to enable it to keep going throughout day and night. It also struck me that if I am to pursue a PhD I need to maintain my energy and direction like this perpetual flame. Continue reading
The heart works in slow ways, and we need great inner freedom to make real change.
In this time of new resolutions, it is good to say “Yes” to our promptings, our movement within. It is first helpful to get in touch with our inner teacher that quenches desires for riches, honour and pride. Listening to this navigational system points us in the direction of wisdom and wellness. The ‘little flame of love’ comes alive and we develop spiritual poverty (a deeply-felt sense of dependence on our world) and humility (from humus for earth or soil). We respond to the slow ways of the heart. Continue reading
The last of three pieces of wisdom from a ground-breaking book, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World. The New York Times bestseller is the product of the deep friendship between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Along with author Douglas Abrams, it attempts to blend contemplative wisdom and modern science.
Joy is an interdependent reality.
To experience the light of ‘God’ in this world we must be in communion with all of God’s kingdom. We are born to share our talents and gifts with each other. Some of us have a great eye for detail, others are inherently intuitive, some have clarity of vision, and so on. When we truly express ourselves as members of the seven billion people on this earth we come alive with joy, light and love. If we find ourselves feeling lonely, it is helpful to remember the Ubuntu wisdom of South Africa that calls out: “A person is a person through other persons”.