Mental Health…..?

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
― J. Krishnamurti

I love this quote❤️
It’s quite simple in its sentiments but at the same time has far reaching implications when looked at in its broadest sense.
Although I don’t feel society is profoundly sick in its worse sense, it seems at the very least misguided. I know that many people have no issues with the way they live their lives and the societal environment within which they do so .
However myself and many other ‘sensitive’ / empathic individuals, from the conversations I have had, do indeed struggle.

We are after all acutely aware of the suffering of others, animals and even our planet.
We can pick up on subtle energies around us to the point of psychicism at times.
Our sensitivity heightens our perception and reaction to injustice, violence or abuse of any kind and generally and we are warm, caring and selfless as our predisposition could not allow us to be anything other.

This degree of sensitivity can effect us in many ways, not least of which our mental health.
The media constantly bombards society with high impact imagery in the form of soundbite adverts, movies, music and other information. Many people seem completely unaffected by this and in many cases seek it out and avidly share viewpoints on the gorier details of programmes or the news etc.
The promotion of the individual and the gathering of material wealth runs through the whole of western society, even seemingly at the expense of others in terms of one upmanship.
The reporting and treatment of others portrayed as outside our remit of concern ( that is those whom are of a different ethnicity / culture / country or social class) can be biased and punitive.
With many of our peers, friends and colleagues being of a not dissimilar mindset, this can leave us feeling isolated and unsupported.

Therefore it is no surprise that many of us succumb to mental health difficulties. In fact it would probably be more surprising if we didn’t!
Personally I suspect many people in todays society feel similar but possibly to a lesser degree.

Being empathic, for me is a spiritual gift. Whereas seemingly with the majority of the populace, spirituality plays little or no part.

” Modern society came into existence during the industrial revolution, when large portions of the population were driven from small towns into big cities in search of work and opportunity – instigating the birth of a mass society. While the development of a mass society generated benefits through the intensification of the division of labor, it also brought perilous problems. “This new form of existence…produced an individual who was unstable, insecure, and suggestible.” (Carl Jung, The Fight With the Shadow)

Perhaps the way the western world has subsequently developed is an artificial antidote to a factitious malady.
Maybe empathic / sensitive individuals have somehow remained unaffected by societys current burgeoning ideologues hence wishing for a simpler, more heartfelt existence.

Saving the World…….?

For some reason I seem to be a kind of ‘save the world’ type of person. There are probably many reasons for this i.e. I’m an INFP if you believe in the Myerrs Briggs analogies or perhaps I am really trying to save myself to take on a more analytic concept. Whatever the reason why doesn’t matter as I know my intention is heartfelt.
So I wake up every morning to yet again be confronted with society’s worst crimes, both against each other and the planet.
And then I have to figure out why, as is my nature.
In my career in mental health I have come across probably thousands of individuals with a huge variety of issues and they have taught me more about mankind than any book.

The steepest learning curve were to be found when I worked in secure units in forensic psychiatry. For those unfamiliar with the term, these are specialist units set up to deal with mentally disordered offenders who have committed crimes including murder and every other crime one can think of. These people have largely come from dysfunctional and abusive backgrounds and to be frank it is unsurprising that their lives took such a turn.
Although this is the extreme end of the spectrum, the problems albeit different by degree, are similar throughout human behaviour.

The average person in Western society seems to have very little understanding of their own and others inherent psychology.
Carl Jung stated
” We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real
danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are
pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche
should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.
(Jung 1977 : 436).
He also frequently mentions the ‘shadow’ “which is a term he used to describe the unconscious which contain the more crude and baser elements of our psyche.

Though evidently man’s inhumanity to each other and other species is multifactorial, education would at least impart a possible degree of awareness as to regards ours and others actions in the world.
Perhaps a start would be to teach psychology at school along with the other sciences as it still seems to be percieved as a Cinderella subject. However nothing could be further from the truth.
In today’s society, more than ever, it would be highly beneficial for all to understand psychological phenomena like transference, projection, reaction formation etc. It would enable us as a society to see where destructive behaviours in ourselves and others emanate from.

Unfortunately numerous groups know how to manipulate human mentality.
Many people believe other races, cultures or even those of different ideologies as ‘less than human’
( as they may feel threatened in some way) and thus dispensible.
These groups can often whip up support by appealing to racist or nationalist prejudices. By doing this, in analytical terms, they are appealing to our injured selves and to its associated narcissistic rage. Again this would more than likely be unconscious in most individuals

Thus unless we as a society somehow address our cultural blindness to the ways of the human psyche, I fear the unconscious aspects of our minds will continue be enacted in the outside world in the form of interpersonal violence, wars, racism et al.

Starting Over…….

I have seared my soul in the torrid flames of passion. I have had my heart ripped out of my chest through loss. I have trembled in fear at the feet of an unpredictable future. I have cried sea’s of tears from the ravages of my past.

So many invisible scars running right through to my core. Through all of life’s pain, I regret nothing. The enthralling highs and the pitch black, all consuming lows. For I have learnt so much from my journey. The fleetingness of our passage through life. The transience of relationships and situations which organically move forward to chapters new. The impermanence of pain and joy, those precious jewels in time forever to remain in memory.

Now here I stand alone. Oh yes I still have loved one’s and plans for the future. However they do not define me. I no longer cling to the ephemeral. Indeed I no longer cling to myself. I simply observe, accept and love all that is presented before me. To live in gratitude for all that washes up on my shore. My eyes see so clearly now and my heart is open to the future. Blessed for all that I am.

Transience and Timelessness

It’s strange that it is more often when I am alone that I feel less lonely. 

I am not being exposed to others physical, psychological and emotional energies which can send ripples through my limpid pool of self. 

I’m not expected to become involved in socially constructed scenarios that have no true purpose other than to superficially acknowledge the existence of another. 

I’m not susceptible to being overcome with the powerful feelings and needs of people around me. These, at times have led me to losing my sense of self and be drawn into their own dark night of the soul believing it to be mine also. 
Sitting quietly at home I bathe in sensual silence. 

As I look around, much of this life’s history surrounds me in the form of my pictures, photographs, music and books.

Each one carrying a distinct memory from the past. Of people and places, of related emotions too, both pleasant and not so pleasant. However, this menagerie of memories brings a feeling of peace and consolidates me in my humaness.
I draw comfort from my past and the lessons that I have learnt. From the realisation of the transient nature of reality as reflected in old photos of my family and places I have been. 

From times I had thought that I was at my lowest ebb, when all that I could see in the future was an infinite spiral of despair. 
It seems obvious to me now that our life, our existence is simply a process amongst processes, a wave in the ocean, a ripple in the sea of life.

Our human neurological processes however can fool us into thinking otherwise. 

Our minds often dwell and fret due to our subjective experience of life. We get caught up with our programmed neuroses, worrying about the bills, our financial and emotional security. Our valuable time on Earth being spent mentally and physically scurrying around with the delusional idea that we can somehow insulate ourselves against the threat of change. 
If we can find in our silent moments, either in some form of meditation or sometimes peaceful reflection we can find all the answers we need are within ourselves.

Although outwardly our individual paths may seem very different to each others, at the end of the day we are all gifted with the power to truly see.

The answer is inside of each and everyone of us. It’s not about chasing egoic ideas in the external world as if they were butterflies but about looking inwards on our experience and accepting it without judgement. 
I feel life is a glorious gift to be relished, however, we are after all human. This will undoubtedly entail suffering in some manner but an accurate perspective can often ease our transition. Our unique answer is already within us waiting to be born.

Neither Kith nor Kin

It’s strange that in this day and age ( in my humble opinion ) there seems so few people with an inclination to the spiritual. I mean with the accessibility to social media and thus new ideas one would have thought more would have been attracted to the topic.

For myself I know of no one in my circles who have the vaguest interest or understanding outside of their everyday existence. I often feel it would be nice to share a mutual exploration of viewpoints with someone but other than via the Internet there is no one person with whom I can involve.

Perhaps though this is the lesson. After all it is frequently stated that the way to understanding is an inward journey. It would still have been nice though to share the journey. ❤️

So Mote It Be……

So Mote It Be……..

So here he was.
At a stage in his journey where he had never been before. Letting the individuation process guide his choices via intuitive hints, synchronicities and dreams appears to have led to this place. In some ways it was comparatively deserted plain in terms of perspective. Ego driven goals no longer act as markers in day to day actions. Behaving in a way to control or contrive situations were now alien to him as he flowed with the tide of the day.
Ego centred action hid and hindered the growth of his true self by virtue of distraction and negative self talk.
But no more.
Now standing metaphorically before the shores of a new and uncharted land. There was no fear as to what lies ahead as he felt that he saw how life truly was.
No longer separated from the stars, oceans and mountains. As one with the flora and fauna of the planet, indeed with Earth and the Universe themselves.
To live his truth would be his shield and sword as he moved onward in life. Not for battles however but for clear seeing and the security of knowing he was as eternal as the world around him.

Love Actually…

Sitting outside on my porch gazing at the small pinpricks of starlight piercing the clear black velvet of the night sky.. The chill evening breeze gently brushes against my skin, light chirruping of birdsong reaches my ears and the cool, musty aroma of the evening air infiltrates my sense of smell. The pure, sensual beauty of the moment triggers bittersweet memories of similar feelings previously experienced in my life. Of when we first met.

Our eyes subtly, ever so delicately touched. With that brief, miniscule action my heart and spirit were given flight. My body and soul became aflame with a deep incandescent love for you.
Your very presence lightened my heart and quenched my previously unrequited thirst for emotional and intellectual intimacy.

All of my senses became excruciatingly heightened as if to ensure that I did not miss any aspect of your divine presence.
I bathed in your gaze and through your eyes I was drawn into your very soul. Any self control I had, withered away as I responded to your every word and gesture.
To others it may have appeared to be an intimate friendship but together we were as one, intrinsically in synchrony in our interactions.

The content and context of our verbal and non verbal responses were immaterial, they simply served the purpose of allowing us to subtly and sensually mingle our individual energies. Consummating our union with every word, touch and exchange of eye contact.

Our sharing of similar appreciations of beauty, humour and the intricate complexities of life itself.
We interacted in a joyous, almost childlike manner. No ego’s, pretences or barrier’s between us, you and I were lost to the world of mortals. We were in our private heaven.
Any sense of time was lost as this was beyond physicality, this was the realm of the eternal soul. There was neither any beginning or end, only that moment for eternity.We met many times after that, each meeting always exquisite in its depth and liberating in its intensity. But extraneous circumstances moved us apart and our time together diminished until ‘we’ are now just a shared memory.
Now it is unlikely I will ever know if what we had was meant to last and be something more enduring.
I look upon those times in the not so distant past with warmth and appreciation for those so special moments.
Perhaps this is how it is meant to be.
After all some of the most beautiful and wondrous things in life are transient.
Transient, possibly because those unique set of circumstances that lead to the blooming and eventual blossoming of that particular numinous experience could not be sustained.
Like the peak of a storm.
Like an Autumn sunset.

Love Actually….

Sitting outside on my porch gazing at the small pinpricks of starlight piercing the clear black velvet of the night sky.. The chill evening breeze gently brushes against my skin, light chirruping of birdsong reaches my ears and the cool, musty aroma of the evening air infiltrates my sense of smell. The pure, sensual beauty of the moment triggers bittersweet memories of similar feelings previously experienced in my life. Of when we first met.

Our eyes subtly, ever so delicately touched. With that brief, miniscule action my heart and spirit were given flight. My body and soul became aflame with a deep incandescent love for you.
Your very presence lightened my heart and quenched my previously unrequited thirst for emotional and intellectual intimacy.

All of my senses became excruciatingly heightened as if to ensure that I did not miss any aspect of your divine presence.
I bathed in your gaze and through your eyes I was drawn into your very soul. Any self control I had, withered away as I responded to your every word and gesture.
To others it may have appeared to be an intimate friendship but together we were as one, intrinsically in synchrony in our interactions.

The content and context of our verbal and non verbal responses were immaterial, they simply served the purpose of allowing us to subtly and sensually mingle our individual energies. Consummating our union with every word, touch and exchange of eye contact.

Our sharing of similar appreciations of beauty, humour and the intricate complexities of life itself.
We interacted in a joyous, almost childlike manner. No ego’s, pretences or barrier’s between us, you and I were lost to the world of mortals. We were in our private heaven.
Any sense of time was lost as this was beyond physicality, this was the realm of the eternal soul. There was neither any beginning or end, only that moment for eternity.We met many times after that, each meeting always exquisite in its depth and liberating in its intensity. But extraneous circumstances moved us apart and our time together diminished until ‘we’ are now just a shared memory.
Now it is unlikely I will ever know if what we had was meant to last and be something more enduring.
I look upon those times in the not so distant past with warmth and appreciation for those so special moments.
Perhaps this is how it is meant to be.
After all some of the most beautiful and wondrous things in life are transient.
Transient, possibly because those unique set of circumstances that lead to the blooming and eventual blossoming of that particular numinous experience could not be sustained.
Like the peak of a storm.
Like an Autumn sunset.

With Discerning Eyes….

When he had found out that he was empathic his experiences finally made sense. It also explained as to why others seemed to not understand some of the ideas and feelings he had expressed.
This energetic ‘ sensitivity’ it would seem allowed him to access the depths of others emotions or thoughts from the briefest of encounters. Also to preternaturally sense sites and places of power in the landscape.
When occurring the experience was never easy to describe as they presented frequently as fleeting gossamer tendrils of energy manifesting as thoughts, feelings or images or a combination of all three.
Sometimes he would become overwhelmed with the presenting energy and find himself utterly absorbed into the persons self or the genius loci of the site and it’s magical history and presence.

The older gentleman sitting by himself at the bar, baseball cap covering his eyes as nurses his glass of spirit and ice. An ex military man mumbling a soliloquy of painful memories and regrets. Rheumy eyes gaze blearily out from under the peak of his cap as the waitress delivers his next shot. The alcohol numbing his reflective suffering and giving some relief to his emotional turmoil.

The young mother in the restaurant doting on her two year old, making entreaties for him to eat. Her partner sits there disinterse, texting on his mobile phone. His demeanor suggests his belief that he sees himself as an ‘ alpha male’. His overt masculinity she once found attractive however all she feels now is oppressed and disregarded.

Walking along a narrow lane towards the holy well, surrounded either side by overhanging gorse bushes and tree branches creating a natural aisle for a reverential procession. One can almost hear the hushed, silent voices of the ancestral supplicant as they approached this sanctum of Gaia. Grey, corbelled walls surround the natural font, many clouties hang from the hawthorn tree in the grove. These given as offerings by those wishing to be healed. Their entreaties almost palpable and their silent tears having fallen on the soil to be mixed with the translucent waters of the spring.

The overgrown scrub obscured much of the ruinous stone circle within the small copse. However it’s ethereality could strongly be sensed. A long history of mystic practices had impressed themselves on this spot and what remained was a subtle but powerful energy. The quality of the energy sometimes changed on each visit. This time the feeling was stark. The sandstone uprights seemed to stare disaffected towards him. It felt as if a hundred or so malevolent eyes watched warily from the undergrowth resenting his presence as if he had interrupted some sacred liturgy.

He reflected on all these memories and felt he had been given a special insight into the true nature of reality. And if was really one’s perspective that mattered then he was truly gifted.

Spiritual Individuation

Colours blind the eye.
Sounds deafen the ear.
Flavours numb the taste.
Thoughts weaken the mind.
Desires wither the heart.
The Master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.

He allows things to come and go.
His heart is open as the sky.
From the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.

I know many of us with a predisposition towards the spiritual life can suffer tremendously as we precariously tread our path. There is in us all, our own rendition of spirituality. A unique and innate seed that seeks expression and fulfilment through our experience of life itself. My own was through the discovery that I am empathic.
I am no expert on anyone’s life as we all are different. Each of us growing from a distinct DNA in our own individual habitat of physical, psychological and emotional environments.

However, in the hope of helping others, I wish to communicate briefly my experience thus far.
After many years of reflection, meditation and various numinous experiences in my life I found that actually I knew my truth all along, I just needed to discover it. My truth was ingrained in my heart from the very beginning. I suspect it took awhile to discover as my truth was not of my culture and thus many of my spiritual experiences were alien to me as they were to my peers.

This is where the idea of spiritual individuation came from.
The term ” individuation ” was coined by Carl Jung, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. His theory was that in order for humans to become the best version themselves we had to allow ourselves to be authentic. That is to seek to express in ourselves and in life our intuitive true nature. The problem with this is it can often be at odds with our culture, peers the society we are born into.
Although I never used to think that being empathic was a gift ( due to its initially confusing and draining properties ) , I now know that it was indeed. One which, once understood, has been pivotal in helping me find myself and for me, my true relationship with the world around me.
So to all you fellow strugglers, whatsoever pain or challenges you may face, rest assured that you are more than you perceive yourself to be. You are more than your current problems, more than your fears for the future and more than the hurts of your past. If you can carry on pursuing your heartfelt path, in my experience, you will find peace and equanimity.