Why this website?
For those who may be curious to know why I have set up this website here is a little background information which I hope might encourage you.
I live with my wife Fran, an environmental activist, in Dublin, Ireland. I have had a long-term interest in spirituality and the search for meaning. My background is in Catholicism but for many years now I have been exploring mindfulness and the Buddhist approach to life. The Buddhist philosophy seems to me to be universal in its appeal and relies on the individual to apply its teachings to be best of his or her ability.
There are no absolutes in Buddhism and indeed the Buddha himself urges those who explore his teachings to try them out, see if they make sense and if any do not make sense they should be ignored. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense” – the Buddha. In a world where religious absolutes seem to cause friction and division turning people away from the very idea of God I think this is refreshing approach.
My introduction to meditation in the sense that we understand it today was through the reading in 1994 of the wonderful Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life by the renowned Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Centre for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Through membership of a mindfulness sangha here in Dublin, I found great help and support in the effort to live mindfully.
I have attended retreats in Plum Village near Bordeaux in southwest France, a mindfulness centre founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Dzogchen Beara, a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat centre on the Beara Peninsula in south-west Ireland, which is under the spiritual direction of Sogyal Rinpoche and Jampa Ling a retreat centre in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition situated in County Cavan, Ireland and which is under the spiritual direction of Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche.
In December 2013, I founded and regularly facilitate a monthly Meetup for Mindfulness group in Dublin dedicated to the practice of applying Buddhist ethics in everyday life. The group now has over 450 online members who are supported by a weekly message of encouragement in virtues and attitudes that promote the common good.
I am one of a growing number of teachers contributing audio meditations and reflections to the Insight Timer Meditation Community of 850,000 meditators across the world.
I hope you may find something here that will help you in your search for meaning. I invite you to take what seems to help and leave what does not appeal to you at this time. But please do not judge mindfulness or Buddhist practice based on my performance or my failings in regard to it.
Feedback is welcome at any time. And please visit my gratitude project at The Gratitude Response.