Tim Quinlan

Author of Still Point Meditations (Veritas, 2002), Aistear Anama (Onslaught, 2014) and of the forthcoming Meditations for Wellbeing (Evertype Publishing, 2015), I have been blogging since April 2005.

Spirituality and Connection

I have defined spirituality many times in these pages as the ability to connect with self, others, with the world itself and finally with the ultimate Other some of us dare call God. We can make these connections in many ways and certainly not only through organised or established religions. Spirituality is all about establishing…

Spirituality of Hope in the Midst of Despair

One of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of powerlessness, that dreadful sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you simply can do nothing about one seemingly hopeless situation or another. There are so many things in our lives before which we are simply rendered speechless and impotent.…

Spirituality and Religion

I have always found the link between both these concepts – or more correctly realities, as we do find them “alive and kicking” as it were in our daily lives through our encounters with them – most interesting and worthy of reflection. Quite obviously, then, they are usually overlapping areas of our experience. Indeed, some…

Spirituality and Music

There are people way more qualified than I to write a post on the relationship between spirituality and music. Musicians and composers readily come to mind in that respect. And yet, I feel that as a person who can play no musical instrument apart from my own voice as I do like to sing on…

Spirituality of the Desert Places

For the pilgrim of any faith there are always times of dryness, searing and parching dryness when all comforts and all sense of purpose seem to have abandoned the lonely traveller. It seems at times like this that the love of the divine powers has left him or her bereft and lost in a desert…

Spirituality and Journey

It is the commonest of clichés to state that life is a journey. And yet that metaphor keeps cropping up in religious and spiritual circles as if it were something new. We all like to go on journeys, and at this time of year, the airports, seaports and train stations of the world are crammed…

Spirituality and Story

All the religions of the world, and indeed the various approaches to spirituality that have sprung from them, prize the centrality of story to their very existence. They mostly all have sacred texts or books that were inspired by their founders, works that attempt to highlight the main tenets of their faith. To make their…

Spirituality and Absence

In our last reflection in this sequence of posts, we spoke about spirituality and presence and now we turn to its apparent opposite: the spirituality of absence. In talking about spiritual matters, it would seem that we are always involved in the balancing of polar opposites. Let us turn, then, momentarily to reflect upon this existential balancing in…

Spirituality and Presence

Let me start with a rather general note on the nature of presence. As a Special Education teacher, I deal mostly with pupils who are at the weaker end of the intellectual spectrum. A good number of these students display a distinct deficit in their ability to pay attention. Being attentive, or “paying attention” as…

Spirituality and the Search for Meaning

The goal of every human being’s life can be succinctly summarised in his or her search for meaning. No matter whether we are believers in a particular faith or not, whether we are agnostic or atheist, whether pantheist or pagan or whether we simply don’t know what to believe at all, we still have to…

Spirituality and Compassion

We are all very much a work in progress. It is a lifetime’s journey to come to terms with life and to get a grasp on what it might mean for us to play our particular part in its unfolding drama. As we age, we grow in experience and in wisdom – or at least,…

Spirituality and Courage

Courage is undoubtedly a virtue. Aristotle, according to his doctrine of the mean, saw it as the desirable mid-way or balance point between two extremes, namely that of recklessness on the one hand and cowardice on the other. All spiritual people are people of principle and virtue. However, all principles and all virtues come with…

Spirituality and Peace

There is a wonderful verse from St Matthew’s Gospel that runs: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Mat 7:16) Jesus was referring to how his disciples might differentiate the true from the false prophet. One of the fruits that blossom in the presence of true prophets is surely that of peace. We need only…

Spirituality and Creativity

We have described spirituality many times in these pages as the ability to connect with self, with others and with whatever power sustains this universe – a power that some of us dare call God. To live as authentic human beings we must be open enough to establish these connections. Now, this is where creativity…