Dalai Lama says he will return to Tibet someday

Harold Mandel, It is a dream of the Tibetan people to see the Dalai Lama safely return home to Tibet someday. Gerry Moriarty has reported for The Irish Times on April 19, 2013, Dalai Lama says he expects to return to his native Tibet someday. While on a recent visit to Ireland the Dalai Lama said he hopes to return home to Tibet someday. The Tibet Sun has also covered this story, Dalai Lama says he expects to return to his native Tibet someday.

When Marian Shanleywest from Drumlin Media TV in Cavan told the Dalai Lama she had a list of queries she wanted to put to him, but really all she wanted was a hug, the Dalai Lama showed that he is a man of humor and infectious warmth. He said, “OK, but no kiss.” He was concerned lipstick would get on his face. Shanleywest than embraced the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader and also hugged Richard Moore, the man who was responsible…

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Migraine researchers offer Buddhist meditation sessions

The practice of mindfulness may help to relieve chronic or recurrent headache, according to Galway-based scientists seeking recruits to test the theory.

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is recruiting people with chronic or recurrent daily headaches to take part in an online pain management programme.

The study offers individuals with chronic daily headache the opportunity to avail of six online sessions of mindfulness training tailored specifically for headache pain by Dr Jonathan Egan, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, NUI Galway.

The sessions, which are free of charge, will focus on active self-management, instruction in a range of relaxation techniques, coping skills and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques (CBT) to help identify negative thinking and coping patterns. The overall technique being used is known as a mindfulness-based pain management programme, and it is hoped mindfulness training may offer some relief to people with recurrent headache.

Unlike other chronic pain patients, people suffering chronic or recurrent headache are an under-researched population. Prevalence rates indicate 12-15% of the Irish population suffer from migraine alone. The disability and productivity lost as a result of severe headache can be significant.

The online programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by Angeline Traynor who is the principal researcher: “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain. Our intention is to see whether this approach can also work for people with chronic headache pain.

This online setting is particularly fitting for individuals with chronic headache as it may be accessed at their convenience for the purpose of prevention, and management. The programme layout is modular to ensure ease of use and time efficiency for busy individuals who would like to log on and receive additional support in managing their pain.”

The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from people who have chronic daily headache (CDH), defined as chronic head pain which occurs on 15 or more days per month over a period of three to four months and this includes tension-type headache, migraine and medication overuse headache.

Dr Egan said: “Many people find that the combination of cognitive and relaxation therapies which are offered in this headache management programme enable them to take back control of their lives and engage more in daily activities with the knowledge they have the tools necessary to better manage their pain. This project is hoping to establish if mindfulness training may be delivered effectively in an online format to help these individuals.

The programme is designed to be accessible to all people who have a computer. Patients can continue with their normal treatments while also taking part in the study. GPs, physiotherapists, friends and family are encouraged to refer interested individuals to participate. For further information, please contact Angeline Traynor, at, or go to

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Fit to be tried: Mindfulness

What’s a good way to ease tension, seek a sliver of serenity, and calm that troublesome mental chatter? Try taking a course in mindfulness.

But first the title: why learn a technique that sounds like “mind fullness” when most of us would be keen to avoid some of the estimated 70,000 thoughts we have a day?

“When we take the time to notice what’s going on inside ourselves, we discover our mind is a very busy place,” says Mary O’Callaghan, a psychotherapist and mindfulness trainer, and director of Dublin’s Oscailt Integrative Health Centre.

Mindfulness meditation aims to bring a more conscious awareness to our daily lives.

“We spend of a lot of our time thinking about the past or planning for the future, and this causes worry and anxiety that robs us of the ability to be truly present, either to ourselves or those we come in contact with,” says Ms Callaghan, who lived as a Buddhist nun for eight years.

Repetitive thinking can become automatic and destructive, she says.

“One of the many liberating insights people achieve on a mindfulness course is the realisation that their thoughts are not facts.”

Mindfulness comes from a Buddhist term and originates from the word sati, first translated in 1881 by a Pali language scholar as “right mindfulness, the active and watchful mind”.

The mindfulness course at Oscailt runs for eight weeks, and means doing about 35 minutes of meditation daily. This training is a challenge “not for the faint-hearted”, warns Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the programme.

Luckily, Ms Callaghan is a patient teacher, who guides us through “body scan” meditation.

But coffee, a late babysitter and an even later bus send my mind spinning off its axis, and I learn there’s a sergeant-major in my brain who takes advantage of my supine position: “Ah, you’re lying down, here’s a list of urgent thoughts.”

Such mental gymnastics are common, says Ms Callaghan.

“Just bring your awareness back to your breath, and be gentle. Thoughts are just a mental event, and trying to hang on to them is like trying to make a cloud concrete.”

The body-scan technique is a good method for beginners. It means slowly focusing your awareness across everything from your breath to your toes to your inner organs.

The result brings a glimpse of conscious serenity — awake but completely relaxed.

It’s important to try out new skills each day. I’m not great solo, but Oscailt provides a CD to back up the hands-on instruction, and following this audio cue is simple.

There’s also a seated meditation. This is tough, as it can be uncomfortable.

Just persist, says Ms Callaghan. “It’s not so much what we do, but the manner in which we do it that either creates speed and anxiety or calm and ease — the choice is ours.”

Well, it might take a former Buddhist nun to know that, but it works for me.

[Amanda Phelan, Irish Independent]
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