Finding a philosophy for living

An evening course, which will combine the insights of the great philosophers with the practical findings of modern psychology, will take place in Galway city at the end of the month.

Entitled “Philosophy for Living”, it will take place over seven evenings at the Menlo Park Hotel, starting on Tuesday January 29 from 8pm to 10pm. It will cost €125.

The course is being given by Galway based counselling psychologist Michael Hardiman, who has worked in the fields of private counselling, training, and development for 30 years. He served on the national executive of the Irish Association of Addiction Counselling which specialises in the long term effects of growing up with parental alcoholism. He presents training seminars and workshops to family centres, third level institutions, and adult education services nationwide and is the author of five books on personal growth, emotional healing, recovery, and positive living.

He says the aim of the course, which will be presented in a friendly and easygoing manner, is to help people deepen their awareness and support their personal development.

The first evening will focus on what is the self, how is identity formed, and the difference between self-respect and self-esteem. Other topics which will be covered include what does it mean to be free and what are the resources required for change, how to find meaning in life, and how we can understand the nature of evil in the world. The course will also examine the issue of attachment and belonging and how we can forge strong bonds of attachment with others without losing our own way. Mr Hardiman will also concentrate on the issue of suffering - necessary and unnecessary suffering - and will talk about what to embrace and avoid. The final evening will focus on developing a personal philosophy of life based on reflection and the influences of the great philosophers featured in the previous weeks.

He believes everybody “sips from the cup of suffering”. While some is thrust upon us, such as grief, loss, and trauma, there are other forms which result from the choices we make.

“Necessary suffering comes our way but it is not our fault. So how can we work towards acceptance of it? It is important to be able to integrate it into your life. Managing suffering is an important part of growing into an adult, if you cannot do this, you may react to it in a way that can cause more suffering. For example, someone may be dealing with loss and they start drinking or there may be pain in a relationship and you act out aggressively and hurt somebody, you hurt yourself and them. Some people make choices that can cause suffering for themselves, such as staying in very difficult relationships, or taking a job with more material wealth but where they miss out on other areas, such as opportunities which would be very good for them.”

He states that our financial choices are often driven by our value systems. “[In the course] we will look at freedom, decision making, and how we use our resources, such as time, money, and our personal energy. These resources can be used for our personal development but if we use them in a way which causes pain and suffering, we engage in a form of self sabotage.”

Regarding material resources, there may be pressure to change your car every two years because everyone on the street does so, he says. However, this can result in your giving lower priority to education, travel, learning to play an instrument, for example, changes which may be more beneficial for self.

For further information on Michael Hardiman’s course log on to www.michaelhardiman.net or telephone (087 ) 9910793. Advance booking is required as there are limited places. A booking deposit of €50 is required. This can be paid through Paypal or by sending a cheque or postal order to Michael Hardiman, at 20c Terryland House, Headford Road, Galway.

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