I have read and dabbled in Buddhist teachings in the past and I still seem to end up going down the same paths worrying too much about myself. I suffered a partial breakdown recently and was made redundant. Now I cannot sleep and am suffering. I am a good person, but I suspect my ego is taking a real battering at the moment. Does anyone have any practical advice about breaking this cycle? I do not have a local group, but I would love to really explore my spiritual side with other like minded people.
Actually if something significant has happened then you should take care of yourself. As long as you aren't under medication and are careful then melatonin can help you sleep (or warm milk or turkey).
You could meditate briefly each day on sharing love with everyone in the universe by watching your breath briefly and then visualize everyone's negativities and problems being removed from their experience when you breath in (and these negativities and problems just vanish) and when you breath out all beings receive everything they need, all blessings, and all positive things. And at the end briefly dedicate the merit of this short meditation to the removal of all suffering and the enlightenment of all beings.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes
"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche