24: Survival of the Kindest: Dr Brion Sweeney – Grappling With Our Shadows

This week I talk with Dr Brion Sweeney. Brion was brought up in the warm community of a very rural village on the west coast of Ireland. He went on to study medicine and specialised in psychiatry and psychotherapy. Training in psychiatry at that time included psychotherapy, which is no longer the case. He then developed a special interest in the treatment of addiction. From his earliest days, Brion had an interest in the spiritual and the philosophical components of life. This eventually led him to contact Dr Akong Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist lama recognised at an early age as a reincarnation of the first Akong Rinpoche, a great meditator who led a monastery in a very remote area of Tibet. Dr Akong Rinpoche left Tibet during the Chinese invasion, went to India and subsequently set up Samye Ling Buddhist Centre in Eskdalemuir, in the Scottish borders. Brion became deeply engaged in helping Akong Rinpoche in developing Tara Rokpa Therapy.

The therapy is a way of working with our minds which develops compassion and understanding, for our past, our parents past, our environment and how we move through the world. It draws on the wisdom and compassion of Mahayana Buddhism but does not require any religious faith to become involved or benefit from it. In some ways, it is less a therapy and more a way of developing ourselves as human beings, to make our lives worthwhile and wholesome and this is a journey of discovery and wonder.

Julian Abel can be found on Twitter

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