You Will Die & You Will Be Forgotten


I’m sure a lot of you will read the title of this piece and think to yourself, “Jaysus, that’s a bit depressing isn’t it?”. I once thought that but through reading the works of the Dalai Lama (translated), I now believe the exact opposite to be true. I will attempt to shed light on this perspective but I’m only one man with a keyboard and someone else’s idea.

You will die and soon after (in the grand scheme of the universe) you will be forgotten. Everything that you’ve ever known will fade into non-existence. Everyone you’ve ever come into contact with, your close friends, lovers, classmates, enemies, they will all die and their existence will become a memory which will also fade into non-existence. Shit buzz.

But is it really? Consider the possibility that you won’t die or that you won’t ever be forgotten. What is the point of life if there is no end to it? Where would the motivation to do anything come from if one had an eternity to do it in? The brevity of our time here is what makes it so precious. This is what I think about when I consider my own demise. It’s constantly approaching. The end is coming and there’s no stopping it. My body is literally disintegrating before my eyes. I believe it important to remind myself of this as often as I can.

In accepting this as truth, there comes a great freedom. The freedom to do instead of sitting and pondering what we could do. I speak from experience when I say that the belief that we ‘have time’ leads to us losing an awful lot of it. The idea that time is a possession of ours, that it is something we can have even a smidge of control over is complete and utter bullshit and we should all accept this.

Anyone who has ever suffered with procrastination (read: all of you) will relate to this. “I have 6 weeks to do this assignment” quickly turns into “Oh my god, it’s due in two days!” when we believe we are in control. We don’t value the time because we think it is plentiful. But isn’t it amazing how much work we can get done in such a short time as a result of a deadline induced panic? Consider how much we can get out of that little bit of time at the end when we are truly dedicated to the task at hand. Imagine being able to unlock that focus, that determination to accomplish a given task at all times. Imagine how rich our lives would be if we could be here and now always.

Know that your time here is precious. It truly is. If you can realise this, then you will see the value of making the most of your time. The top 5 regrets of the dying really put this into perspective. Live a life true to yourself, don’t work too hard (at a career you don’t love), express your feelings, stay in touch with friends and let yourself be happy (not easy!).

No matter what you do in your life, no matter how many people you impress, no matter how many women you seduce, no matter how much money you accumulate before the lights go out.. it doesn’t matter in the end. It matters now. Now matters. The future is going to be here in its own time so just let it come to you instead of preparing for it all the time. If your mind is always distracted by the future, the future will never come. It’s always just ahead of you. Don’t waste now thinking about then. Be here now because it’s all there is.

Mental Health in Ireland

In light of hearing the news regarding the 5 suicides in one weekend in Galway, I thought it was time I wrote an article about mental health in Ireland to shed some light on the magnitude of this issue. Ireland has the 5th highest suicide rate in Europe, with more people dying each year as a result of suicide than there are deaths on the roads. The purpose of this article is to address the (potential) reasons for this and to increase awareness of the underlying issues.

According to research published by the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), 1 in 5 young adults in Ireland is suffering from a mental health disorder. The research also found that suffering from a mental disorder at a young age greatly increases the chances of further episodes of mental ill-health during their adult years. It cannot be denied that this is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. To put it bluntly, this is fucked up.

With such a complex issue, it seems difficult to approach.. where does one begin? Well it always make sense to find the root cause of an issue to gain a better understanding of it. The causes of mental ill-health are varied and plentiful. The 3 types of factors that effect mental health are; biological, psychological and environmental. I will briefly run through a couple of examples of each to give you a deeper understanding.


  • Genetics (heredity): If somebody’s family has a history of mental illness, they can have an increased susceptibility to develop one of their own in the presence of other factors such as abuse, neglect, trauma and so on.
  • Substance abuse: Long term substance abuse has been linked to anxiety, depression and paranoia. Although it does not directly cause mental health problems, it can worsen pre-existing conditions or increase the chances of mental disorders coming to the surface.


  • Severe psychological trauma suffered as a child including sexual, emotional or physical abuse.
  • Neglect
  • A poor ability to communicate with others
  • An early loss of a parent or other guardian


  • Death or divorce upsetting family life
  • A dysfunctional family life
  • Substance abuse in the individual or the parents of the individual
  • Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger or loneliness
  • Social or cultural expectations such as the image of overly thin women in the media causing eating disorders in young women

As we can see, there are an awful lot of factors that can cause mental illness and certainly quite a few that there is no easy fix for. Instead of trying to stop the issue at the cause (a losing battle), we need to increase awareness, offer support services and lose the stigma around mental health if we ever want to see an overall improvement of the mental health of our countrymen (and women).

As it stands in Ireland today, mental health is a taboo subject. People are afraid to talk about it, they bottle up and get awkward whenever the topic is brought up in conversation. In order to overcome this taboo, we need to desensitize people to it. The great thing about this solution is that everybody (including you, reader!) has a part to play in it. All you have to do is talk!

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”

Never has the above quote been more apt! If you don’t talk about mental health, then you are prolonging the stigma. The stigma around mental health is the greatest factor in the high suicide rates we are encountering today. People feel like they can’t talk about their problems so they bottle them up inside. On the outside, they ‘keep up appearances’ and act like everything is okay because they don’t want to come across as weak. This is not right. Nobody should have to suffer in silence, struggling to cope with inner turmoil while keeping up a façade of mental well-being.

If you would like to see an end to this disgraceful social norm, there are a number of things you can do to improve the situation. First of all, spread the good word. Just talk to your friends and family about your mental health, discard your barriers and see that once people get used to the idea of openness, they too will open up and share their story. The other thing that you can do is come along to the March for Suicide Prevention taking place this Saturday, 31st May. The march will begin at The Garden of Remembrance at 2pm. The already minuscule budget for mental health services has been reduced in the latest budget and this march serves to increase awareness about the issue. Even if you can’t attend, please share the event on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. It’s all about being heard and the more voices spreading the word, the greater the noise we can create.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Who Are You?

I haven’t written any new content in almost a month and I’d like to correct that today. I have been kept busy with college work but more relevantly, I’ve been reading a book, ‘The Untethered Soul‘ by Michael A. Singer. I have learned an awful lot from this book and today I’d like to share with you some of the ideas contained within. This book has changed my relationship with myself and the world around me for the better and I absolutely implore you all read it too. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

I want to start by asking you a simple question. Who are you? The majority of you will answer with your name. But that’s not who you are at all, that’s just a label you’ve been given so that people can address you. Who are you? You may go on to tell me a bit about yourself. You may tell me about your occupation, your hobbies, where you live, your childhood.. but that’s not who you are either. That’s just things that you’ve experienced or things that you do. Who are you? You might say, “Okay I am the voice in my head that experiences all of these things”. But that’s wrong again, you are not the voice in your head. You hear the voice in your head, you listen to the voice in your head, you observe the voice in your head. The very act of observing this voice makes it so that it cannot be you. You are not the voice in your head in much the same way that you are not the computer sitting in front of you (which you are also observing). There is a subject-object relationship where the voice in your head is the object. So that means you are the subject. “What is the subject then?”, I hear you ask. It’s the awareness, the consciousness. That’s you.

I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me.

Okay, now that we know that we are the consciousness that experiences life we can start to look at the world in a different light. Imagine your mind as a blank canvas. Everything that goes on around you shows up on this canvas for you to observe. There is so much going on around us that it can’t all fit onto the canvas simultaneously, so things come and go. Imagine that as you walk down the street the shops along the roadside, the people walking past you, the footpath you walk on all pop up on this canvas in your mind. Let’s imagine that one particular thing grabs your attention, a woman walks past that resembles an ex-girlfriend you had years ago. You focus your attention on this woman on your canvas. Instead of coming onto the page briefly and leaving again to make room for more items, she slows down and eventually stops moving at all and grows in size taking up the entirety of the canvas. This only happens because you focus your attention, your consciousness on this object. You hold onto the thought, feeding it your attention which allows it to grow in your mind. All of a sudden you snap out of it and realize you’ve walked for 5 minutes without noticing the path in front of you. You were too busy focusing on the woman that looked like your ex and now you’ve gone and upset yourself. Oops!

By constantly reminding ourselves that we are not our thoughts or emotions, we can detach ourselves from them. You can’t learn this just by reading what I write here now. You have to put this into practise if you want to truly control your own happiness (and it can be done). The next time you feel yourself getting annoyed about something, I want you to take a step back mentally, become aware of the feeling rushing through your body and mind. You can really feel your body tense up as your mind denies the reality taking place around you. When you stop and become aware of the feeling, don’t concentrate your mind on it. Just feel it, let it pass and it will. If you focus your attention on it, you remove yourself from the seat of the Self. It is when we are removed from this seat of higher consciousness that we make poor decisions, think negatively about others or even say things we shouldn’t. You can’t stop reality from unfolding the way it does but your mind still tries to kick up a fuss about shit it can’t change, to put it bluntly. You can’t stop these thoughts from popping into your mind but you can decide not to humour them. When you remind yourself that you are the one who experiences your thoughts, you detach yourself from them and free yourself from the stress and anxiety associated with them.

I’d like to add here that this isn’t just the opinion of a bloke who wrote a book I liked. This is Zen. Being in the seat of the Self is the highest form of consciousness. Think about what happens when you watch TV. You focus all of your attention on what’s happening in the box sitting in front of you (unless you’re also scrolling through your newsfeed on your phone!). You can easily let 30 minutes go by without ever once being aware of the other sofa that’s sitting across from you. That is a narrowly focused consciousness. When the program ends, you instantly expand your consciousness back to the room in which you sit. It’s the same principle with becoming self-aware. You have to constantly remind yourself that you are focusing on something (we always are) and just by doing this, we become aware that we are the one who is aware.

For those of you who are still taking me seriously, I have some homework for you! Try it out. That’s it, just try it out. As you walk to college/work tomorrow, listen to the voice in your head narrating reality take place around you. Listen to the opinions it has about everything. Seriously, it doesn’t shut up does it? All I want you to do is remind yourself that you are the one who observes. When you realize that you are just the awareness of your thoughts and emotions, it is a lot easier to let them pass through you without disturbing your psyche.

The Hole in my Chest


Today, I would like to talk to you all this comic strip. This very comic strip has made a lasting impact on my life and how I live it. I’d like to add that I actually do have a hole in my chest. It doesn’t go all the way through of course, that would be ridiculous, but nonetheless, I have a large indentation in my chest which led to a lot of insecurity growing up. I’ll get back to this point further on but for the moment I’d like to talk about the Dude (as I will refer to him from now on) in the last panel and how he is the only truly happy person in this comic strip.

Happiness has become this grand thing that everybody thinks is always just out of reach, just around the corner but really, it’s something that comes from within. We have the potential to live it all the time, as long as we look for it in the right place. I’m not going to turn this post into a rant about evil corporations or anything but it has to be said that these companies want us to think we can buy happiness. Why? Because everybody wants happiness and because if we can be tricked into thinking we can buy it, of course we are going to! It’s not evil per say, it’s just the business of making money. But when that business is based on creating an illusion of happiness coming from material things instead of being an intrinsic part of human nature, it kind of pisses me off.

But, as I said, I’m not here to complain about the ‘bad guys’. I’m here to help you see what I see. At this point I should note that I’m not denying the fact that external things can (and do) make us happy. I’m just saying that this happiness is often short lived as nothing lasts forever. Especially if that happiness comes from having an iPhone (n) when the iPhone (n+1) is surely coming along faster than light!

It seems like everybody is keeping themselves busy (trying to fill the hole) but the thing is, we don’t need to fill it. The Dude is the only truly happy person in the whole comic. Why? Because he isn’t depending on external sources to give him happiness! There’s a child-like innocence to the Dude’s way of thinking and I think we could all benefit from living a little more like him. This is related to my last article about mindfulness as well. The Dude is most definitely living in the moment and being aware of his surroundings.

We all want a purpose in life. We want to feel important, like we’re here for some grandiose reason, like we have a calling in life that we must fulfil. We don’t. Each and every one of us is born the same. We aren’t given directions and a manual on our way out of the womb, we make our own way. That’s the beauty of it. We decide for ourselves. We create meaning by living.

The last point I want to make about the Dude is how he is happy with what he’s got, even if what he’s got is a hole in his chest. I’m happy with the hole in my chest too! I wouldn’t change it because it’s part of what makes me who I am. What we have might be great but as soon as we start comparing what we have to what we don’t have, we immediately think less of what we do have. Why? Because there are infinite things that we don’t have and only a finite number of things that we do. When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we stop worrying. I don’t compare myself to anybody except past and potential versions of myself because it’s absolutely pointless. We are incredibly critical of ourselves and we know ourselves better than we know everybody else. We only see everybody else’s highlight reel but we see all of the out-takes of our own life. How can you make a fair comparison with such little insight? You can’t. So don’t.

Mindfulness – What’s it all about?


Today I’d like to talk to you about mindfulness and the benefits of practising it. First off, you might be asking what exactly is mindfulness. You may have heard the term being thrown around but never fully understood what people meant by it. You may have a fair idea of what it is. You may have never heard the term before. Either way, sit back and all shall be revealed.

According to Google, mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It’s that simple, being mindful literally means being aware of your surrounding environment and, some would say more importantly, being aware of your own condition. Until we actively practise mindfulness, we don’t even realise that we are being mindless. It’s only when we consciously take the time to think about how we feel, that we realise how long it’s been since we last took the time out to just sit back and do nothing.

The fast paced society that we live in is great at keeping us busy. We are forever rushing about the place, always connected, always entertaining ourselves in some way, shape or form. I look around me when I’m on the bus in the morning and (I think you know where this is going!) even though I am surrounded by people who are just sitting, that’s not all they’re doing, God no! It’s a rare occurrence these days to see somebody sitting on a bus and ‘doing nothing’. Doing nothing, think about that for a second, when was the last time you sat down and ‘did nothing’? I bet you didn’t think that question would be so hard to answer!

When we take the time to stop scrolling down our newsfeed and just sit back and let our minds wander, we are actually really benefiting ourselves. The benefits of being mindful are really something else altogether! Here’s a quick run through of some of them.

Improved Well-being

Being mindful allows you to fully embrace life as it’s presented to you. When you are fully present, you are better able to enjoy the pleasures in life as they occur, you can better engage with the activities you take part in and you are better prepared to deal with any adverse events that may occur throughout your day. Mindful people are less likely to get caught up in worries about the past or anxieties about the future, they are less preoccupied with concerns about self-esteem or ego and they are better able to form deep connections with the people they meet as they go about their day.

Improved Physical Health

The physical benefits of mindfulness include, but are not limited to relieving stress, reducing chronic pain, lowering blood pressure, treating heart disease and most importantly in my case, improved sleep.

Improved Mental Health

This is probably the most profound area of benefit associated with mindfulness. Over the last decade or so, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation to aid in the treatment of a large number of mental health problems including; depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. It makes a lot of sense for mindfulness meditation to be of benefit in these cases as psychotherapy (especially cognitive behavioural therapy) is about helping the patient become aware of their irrational, self-harming, negative thoughts, i.e. being more mindful of their thoughts.


Okay, so now that I’ve told you all about the benefits of being mindful, I’m sure you’re thinking ‘Great, but how do I do it?’ Well I’m glad you asked! I’ve found that the best way to improve mindfulness is through mindful meditation. I’ll be writing an article in the next week or so talking about my experiences with meditation and how I’ve benefited from it but in the mean time, there are many many ways of being more mindful in your day-to-day life.


I never used to have very much time in the mornings to get a proper breakfast into me so I often just grabbed a piece of fruit or a slice of toast to munch on while walking to the bus stop. That was fine and all, but now that I’ve begun to get up much earlier, I have the time to prepare myself a nice plate of scrambled eggs and sit and enjoy my food in the morning. And here’s where the mindfulness comes in. I don’t sit there with my phone out, scrolling through the newsfeed. I don’t think about what I’m going to be doing later neither. I just live in the moment, I take my time and consciously think about every bite, noticing my hunger fading and my body feeling more and more nourished. This may seem a bit weird or out of the ordinary, but the act of being mindful is a skill in itself and by practising it while eating breakfast, I’m enabling myself to be more mindful in situations when it really matters.

Working with Focus

This is one that I’m currently working on improving myself (with the help of StayFocusd) and I’m already noticing substantial differences in my productivity levels. It’s simple, pick a task and do it. Don’t do anything else until it’s done! I mean it, no tabbing out to ‘check Facebook’. No flicking over to YouTube to pick another song to listen to while you work (if you must listen to music like you work, set a playlist going and leave it!). When you mix work and leisure simultaneously, you never really finish either one. Stop thinking about how many likes your latest status update might have and just do the work. Facebook will still be there when you finish your work and since you’ve been away from it for awhile, there may actually be something interesting for you to check out when you do finish the work! When you set your mind on one task and focus solely on that, you are improving your mindfulness and getting important shit done at the same time! What is there to lose?

Reading a Book

You might be thinking that I sound a bit old fashioned by telling you to read a book but the benefits of this in terms of mindfulness are incredible. In today’s fast moving society, we consume so much information but it is all in small portions. Our attention spans are getting smaller and smaller thanks to technology (from 12 to 5 minutes in the last 10 years), meaning we have less focus than the past generations. Sitting back and reading a book requires that you focus your undivided attention on one thing for an extended period of time, so go do it! It’s not that bad, I swear! You may find that you actually enjoy using your imagination instead of consuming video content.

In conclusion, I’d like to note that mindfulness isn’t so much an activity that we have to make time for. Instead, I’d like you to think of it as a way of being. It’s a way of going about everything else that we do in life, just with a little more presence. You may find it difficult at first to focus on your thoughts and feelings but I implore you to resist the urge to dive for your phone next time you’re sitting on a bus. Just sit and think about how you feel. Let the thoughts flow through you, acknowledge them but don’t go off on a tangent acting out scenarios of the future in your head. Be aware of the thought, let it pass and return to being aware of how your body and mind feel! When you are truly present in the moment, that is when you are really living!