Ireland is similar to Japan in a sense. The culture that gave rise to Japanese Zen is in no small part characterized by a troubled past where various feuding factions fought for supremacy causing all sorts of social tensions and crises. These conditions are in no small part the backdrop from which Japanese Zen evolved and was expressed, and it has informed the content and nature of the tradition that is passed down.
Ireland, of course, has had its own troubles from the various invasions, uprisings, and tensions up until the fight for independence, the civil war, and the more recent period of sectarian conflict in the North. These conditions are still expressed in the political structures and allegiances here, and in people's views of both themselves and others.
Although Ireland is currently enjoying a period of relative peace, it occurs to me that we may retain these tensions and conflicts storing them not only in what we might usually consider our thoughts, but also in our bodies. As far as I can see it is good to acknowledge this content, and a Zen practitioner is in a good position to do so: Do I store the war in my head, in my shoulders, is there fear and loathing in the pit of my stomach, in my back, how does thinking of other groups or individuals, or sectarian symbols (flags etc), affect my thoughts/body...?
This whole topic arises for me from the old Japanese koan that John Tarrant Roshi posted on his blog quite some time ago. It is simply this: Stop the war. It popped into my head again today when I was dedicating merit after zazen.
I might have closed a chapter on the conflict in Ireland in my head given the prevalent condition of peacetime, but the war continues in many mysterious, often unseen, ways in my person. I think it's good to be able to acknowledge just what and where this is, where it happens in my person. Rejecting it, denying it, or suppressing it might not be at all conducive to 'stopping the war'.