Text Version of Article from the Irish Times. February 1998. Original available on request.
The fifteen-minute holiday
Jonathan Philbin Bowman
Discovered a simple technique to
Give his mind a well-earned rest
If you had told me a few weeks ago that I’d be sitting in a house in Castleknock bathed in imaginary coloured light, I'd have told you where to get off. Sure, a little meditation never did anyone any harm, and the worst that can happen when you try a relaxation exercise is that you get confused by the instructions, distracted by the discovery that you don’t do this often enough, and then you start to panic and your blood pressure goes up……
But ‘MindLink’ - the course did - goes beyond all that.
Rod Briggs is a big South African. From his silhouette you might assume that he heaves, hauls himself in and out of armchairs and wheezes a bit. He doesn’t. Instead he bounces around with energy that makes mere mortals envious. He enthuses about nearly everything. And in between talking about ways of changing your thinking and quietening your mind, he quotes Laurens Van Der Post.
Briggs was in Dublin to introduce a seminar to a new audience. I did a sort of MindLink introduction course with a hand-picked selection of Gaelic guinea pigs (guinea pigs in the sense that he’d never given the course in Ireland before). There was one PR man, one accountant, a GP and a couple of women who, I think it would be fair to say, had more than a passing acquaintance with the world of spirit guides, crystals and chakras.
I was the token journalist, with a foot in both camps. Half of me sticks with the hard news hemisphere, while my other half has been known to burn the essential oils (beyond midnight) and disappear down to Cork to dabble in the Dharma. The amazing thing is it worked for all of us.
Essentially, what Rod provides over the two and a half days of MindLink (it started on Friday night and ended on Sunday evening) is a simple framework and a set of techniques which allow you to ‘manage’ your state of mind at any given moment.
It was amazing how quickly and how easily a room of six strangers learned almost effortlessly to change their brain chemistry at will. By the end of the weekend, we’d learned to take a 15-minute ‘holiday’ - or even a five-second timeout - from the frequent foul-ups that fly at us from all four corners of everyday life. It was effortless and almost automatic, and since the weekend course, it’s already served to keep me sane more times than I care to remember.
Rod Briggs will be returning from South Africa to run a MindLink course in April. The course is particularly suited to students. Rod says it would cut study time and exam stress by two-thirds. MindLink also proved extremely effective in helping those with disturbed sleep patterns and in achieving a spontaneous reduction in reduction in consumption of cigarettes and alcohol. And even if you get none of that out of it, he is worth spending a weekend with anyway.
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