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Is That What You Believe? The Thoughts That Shape Our Reality – Episode 149

In this episode, Dara once again finds himself considering his mental health battles. Emerging from a very recent depression, he examines the difference in his thinking when he is embattled versus when he is well. Why would he choose to believe one reality and not the other? Why, in spite of very persuasive negative thoughts, does his ‘better’ self prevail? And why does he compare these differing states and beliefs to acting reviews?

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Was That Absolutely Necessary? or, Keeping Calm in an Age of Chaos! – Episode 145

In this episode, Dara is rolling over some recent themes. He is convinced that cultivated internal calmness is a key part of responding healthily to the chaos of the world. When he talks about the importance of a ‘proportional response’ to whatever afflicts us, he acknowledges the connection of that idea to the philosophy of traditional martial arts practice. The implication of control is central to that idea and it is why Dara doesn’t have a lot of love for UFC competition, where that restraint is often disregarded.

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The Absolute ‘Ick’ Episode – Going Granular on My War with Myself – Episode 140

In this very personal and occasionally difficult episode, Dara decides he can’t not examine his near four-decade-old impulse to destroy himself. A follow-on from last week’s episode in which he spoke more generally and euphemistically about a recent onset of anxiety-fuelled depression, this time he wants more transparency, more openness, more keeping it real. He understands that for some people this type of sharing gives them the ‘ick’, hence the title of the episode.

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Turning 50 – If I’m Calm, It’s the Jedi’s Fault! – Episode 138

Dara has just turned 50, and in this episode he lets his mind hover over the moment in an attempted stocktake. Even as he argues for gratitude, he acknowledges how challenging the world is right now. This leads him to consider whether enough weight is attached to softer impulses and emotions. In these times of fracture and isolation and estrangement, should we attach greater significance and worthiness to love and positivity and connection?

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Keeping Up With a Changing World, or Why Seahorse Dads Made Me Uneasy – Episode 116

In this episode, Dara shares his thoughts on the late William Friedkin, of whose films he has long been an admirer, particularly The Exorcist and the lesser-loved Sorcerer, his 1977 remake of 1953’s La Salaire de la Peur. Those movies are discussed along with a general appraisal of Friedkin’s voice and greater artistic significance. Dara considers the changing astronomy of the world as more and more creative giants of that generation appear to be coming to the end of their time.

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The Cartography of a Small World, or It’s Lovely to be Here! – Episode 40

In this deceptively positive episode, Dara is emerging from a fortnight of disruptions and disturbances that have laid him low. Over the course of the show, he examines not only the necessary compromises and recalibrations that must accompany a successful recovery, but also the contradictions that can occur in normally reliable wellness strategies.

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The Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz – Episode 47

In this episode Dara has a good look at the bestselling 1997 New Age text, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the Mexican spiritualist and New Age thinker. The four agreements in question relate to how we speak or use language; how we receive the actions of others; the limitations of what we can know about anybody else; and the commitment to always trying to use the best of ourselves. Easier said than done, but Dara tries to examine them in a context of personal responsibility and everyday behaviour, and recognises how they can be applied in his own life.

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Platonism and Sport, or The Impossible Pursuit of Perfection – Episode 43

In this episode Dara presents his thesis that all sports fans are embroiled in a philosophical engagement with the team or sportsperson that they love. Namely, the relationship of our desire and emotional investment to a higher aspiration – the symbiotic realisation of sporting perfection. Dara argues that this desire is in essence a Platonic impulse to contemplate not only the ideal sporting moment, the physical and psychological expression of something exquisite that elevates fan and player alike, but also to be part of the collective good character of a club. When realised, therein lies the possibility of a moral edification.

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