BY JACKIE KEOGH
THE former manager of the Dzogchen Beara Tibetan Buddhist meditation centre has written his first novel.
Matt Padwick managed the centre – an oasis of peace and solitude – for ten years until 2013, and now lives on Beara with his wife and daughter, writing in the roof of their rented bungalow, which overlooks the Ardnakinna Lighthouse.
His first book, Running Contra Diction is the story of Ed’s fight for meaning in life: he is a globetrotting adrenalin junkie enjoying all the freedoms and adventure he ever wanted. And Ed is not happy.
Ed has promised himself that if he arrives at his thirtieth birthday without finding what he is looking for he will assume it’s not out there and give up, join the flock, wear a tie, live in a house with a fence around it, and let his belt out another notch or two.
But with that significant birthday fast approaching he is spiralling out of control and decided to go to Ireland because he has been everywhere else.
The road ends at a beach, which is as far West as he can go without swimming the Atlantic – something he actually considers. A chance meeting with a stranger gives Ed new perspective.
He takes the opportunity to reflect on his life, understanding more about who is and what he is looking for, and how to achieve it.
Ed has packed a lot of mistakes and foolishness into his short life and now, as these memories bubble to the surface he acknowledges them as blessings in disguise – and often reflects with amazement that he is still alive.
Running affords him the opportunity to leave the mind behind and begin to experience a more natural state that – with practice – he can bring into other areas of his life.
Although running is a theme throughout the book the title also refers to the on-going contradiction that the main character experiences: he wants happiness but gets frustrated.
He has expectations, yet they are never realised. And, above all, he wants certainty, and finds life so full of surprises. However big and strong he may appear, he feels insecure and vulnerable, and this intensifies the voices of hope and fear that drive his busy mind – comparing, contrasting, and, of course, contradicting.
There are answers to his questions, and he is hot on their trail, but just as all the pieces of his life start falling into place, there is a shock revelation that tests the ground on which he stands.
Running Contra Diction was inspired by author Matt’s own experience of leaving university none the wiser, and spending a decade travelling the world.
He worked as a trek leader, river guide and ski technician before arriving at Dzogchen Beara on the Beara Peninsula, where he surprised everyone (mostly himself) by entering a two-year closed retreat.
After that he joined the staff and went on to manage the centre.
The launch of Matt’s book will take place at 8pm on Thursday, February 5 at The Sarah Walker Gallery in Castletownbere. All are welcome.