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.

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. ❤️

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.

‘Tis…….

‘Tis those whom have suffered much dishonesty that truly appreciate honesty,
‘Tis those whom have suffered much hate that truly appreciate love,
‘Tis those whom have suffered much loneliness whom truly appreciate comradeship.
And for those of us whom have fought many silent battles that truly appreciate peace.

Paul Watkiss 2020

On Spiritual Materialism….

On Spiritual Materialism….

These are not my words, however they ring true for me 😍

I don’t care how spiritual you are. How long you can melt in the sweat lodge. How many peyote journeys that have blown your mind, or how well you can hold crow pose. Honestly. I don’t. I don’t care what planets fall in what houses on your birth chart, how many crystals you have or how vegan your diet is.

I want to know how human you are. Can you sit at the feet of the dying despite the discomfort? Can you be with your grief, or mine, without trying to advise, fix or maintain it? I want to know that you can show up at the table no matter how shiny, chakra- aligned or complete you are- or not. Can you hold loving space for your beloved in the depths of your own healing without trying to be big?

It doesn’t flatter me how many online healing trainings you have, that you live in the desert or in a log cabin, or that you’ve mastered the art of tantra.

What turns me on is busy hands. Planting roots. That despite how tired you are, you make that phone call, you board that plane, you love your children, you feed your family.

I have no interest in how well you can ascend to 5D, astral travel or have out of body sex. I want to see how beautifully you integrate into ordinary reality with your unique magic, how you find beauty and gratitude in what’s surrounding you, and how present you can be in your relationships.

I want to know that you can show up and do the hard and holy things on this gorgeously messy Earth. I want to see that you can be sincere, grounded and compassionate as equally as you are empowered, fiery and magnetic. I want to know that even during your achievements, you can step back and be humble enough to still be a student.

What’s beautiful and sexy and authentic is how well you can continue to celebrate others no matter how advanced you’ve become. What’s truly flattering is how much you can give despite how full you’ve made yourself. What’s honestly valuable is how fucking better of a human you can be, in a world that is high off of spiritual materialism and jumping the next escape goat for “freedom.”

At the end of the day I don’t care how brave you are. How productive, how popular, how enlightened you are. At the end of the day, I want to know that you were kind. That you were real. I want to know that you can step down from the pedestal from time to time to kiss the earth and let your hair get dirty and your feet get muddy, and join the dance with us all.

-A modern day call to shifting from spiritual consumerism to returning to human kind…

heart inspired by Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s, The Invitation.

♥️

Adventures in Empathy…………?

Having awoken I go through my usual morning routine.
Strong , hot coffee with the usual breakfast cigarette sitting on the decking looking out onto my ramshackle garden.
Providing my dream time has not been excessively infiltrated by seemingly high definition, Kafkaesque imagery my mind usually starts the day in a kind of tabula rasa modality. That is to say ‘not a lot going on’.
Taking in the dank,early morning air my mind gradually fills with a mixture of recent memories, vague plans for the day an reflections on recently read articles that have instilled in me a sense of intrigue.
These thoughts start off innocuous enough.
– An excerpt from an interview with Carl Jung where he discusses the tendencies of intuitive introverts which seems to me a pretty accurate description of an empath
– A recollection of yesterdays evening walk around a nearby ancient hillfort as the Sun was setting on the horizon. Searing sunlight blazing ochre behind the clouds redolent of seams of lava breaking through the Earth
– A mentally sketched plan to get out and do a little photography hoping to catch some images of Summers tentative withdrawal making way for the initial tendrils of Autumn subtly tinging Natures landscapes.

Returning to the kitchen I remember that I’m nearly out of coffee.
I carefully consider as to whether my need for further caffeine outways my apprehension of walking to the local shop and getting involved in the outside world so early in the day. Having donned sunglasses and a thin cotton hoodie I deem that the need for coffee is greater.
Walking out on to the street I realise that I was perhaps a little unprepared for the subsequent inundation of stimuli from the outside world.
– The roar of car engines as certain drivers manifest their ire and frustration in the manner of their driving
– A radio station on high volume from a closely parked car carries the news of abject suffering of women and children in a not so far away land ( my heart withers slightly on hearing this )
– A father roughly pulls his child by the arm and loudly berates him in front of commuters, the child’s only sin being that he is a child, full of energy, intrigue and playfulness. I know the child feels pained , vulnerable and hurting but still looks at his father in unwavering love
– An elderly lady hobbles precariously just ahead of me. As I pass I smell the odour of stale alcohol from her. Her rheumy eyes seemingly out of focus, unable to acknowledge my passing. Many an amount of alcohol she has consumed in an attempt to dull her past pain, to drown out those unbearable feelings of despair wrought upon her by others misdeeds. What was once her crutch had become her ultimate demise, lost in a world of welcome drunken incoherence.

I suddenly find myself at my front door having relinquished the hazardous trek. I had apparently decided somewhat unconsciously that this was something that had to be done later, probably when it was dark.
That brief journey had left me breathless with ever escalating feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. In the past I would probably have remained in that raw state for the remainder of the day however now that I am aware of my empathic predisposition, I am able to quickly ground myself with mindfulness and meditative techniques.
Empathy is indeed a double edged sword.
It can give us the ability to become sensitive to the most beautiful and exquisite aspects of our lives but also to the darker aspects of ours and others souls.

An Experiment in Authenticity

In my day to day life I try to be as authentic as possible, that is to say I act and speak in line with whom I am. Sometimes for reasons of social acceptability I may dilute myself somewhat in order to reduce the risk of having to get into protracted discussions / debates about my beliefs and perspectives on life. Not that I mind a bit of healthy intellectual debate but having done so, so many times simply to feel frustrated at the end of the conversation I rarely no longer am inclined to do so.

By way of explanation I seem to have a very different take on life than most people I know. I come at things from a kind of spiritually empathic viewpoint. It doesn’t mean that I am in some way better than other people, just that I seem to be of a very different mindset to those around me.
So, to get to the point, I thought that for a couple of days I would be as honestly open and authentic as I could possibly be. A kind of experiment shall we say.
It didn’t really go well.

My experience was that most individuals ‘turned off’ , that is, either changed the subject, made excuses to go and do something else or look at me quietly thinking that I was truly crazy.
A scenario being the simple though somewhat open ended question when someone asks you ‘ how are you today?’.
My honest response might well be ‘ I’m generally good though energetically a little out of kilter. A spot of meditative strolling through the woods always works. It’s that wholesome oneness you feel amongst Nature’.

A common question also being ‘what did you do last night?’.
My response may be something along the lines of ‘ I read Fritjof Capra’s book The Web of Life and his take on Deep Ecology. Later I sat outside breathing in the still night air and admiring the beauty of the dusk’,

So I’m thinking, how do I resolve this issue? Sure there are Facebook/ internet groups out there that discuss such things but somehow that doesn’t work for me.
I therefore surmise that I will remain authentic but will be diligent in terms of what I say and to whom!

A Conflict of Interest? 

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

― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Society largely considers what is normal by the agreed consensus of the majority. However there are many individuals ( myself included) who by virtue of their natural predilections and personal interpretation of the world around us will never be ‘ normal’. This is by no means saying these people aren’t valuable, quite the contrary in fact. They may have a certain quality in their perspective which can infuse us with inspiration and reflect a deep, contrasting insight into the nature of reality. 

These souls may be labeled occasionally as autistic, mentally ill, over sensitive, eccentric or simply ‘different’.  Indeed being empathic ( energetically sensitive) I feel that many of us find growing up and maturing in the outside world something of a unique challenge. 

At an early age we may discover that we are different from our peers and often our parents. 

The constant emphasis when at school and by others on the physical, percievable, allegedly concrete world felt as if most people only lived in a 2D reality. Their world seemed to have little depth, a linear monologue of an existence. 

Through many conversations that I have had with others with similar experiences it seems we have much in common when it comes to living our lives and the challenges we face. For example, having been born into a society which operates on a model that is the antithesis of what we feel to be right.  This can lead to :

  – subsequent feelings of loneliness and alienation which may lead to social withdrawal, addictive behaviors ( in order to numb our sensitivity), mental disorder or feeling that we have to wear a socially acceptable mask in order to fit in. 

If we do this however we compromise our ability to individuate and fully bloom into complete self actualization.  This may leave us feeling unfulfilled and frustrated. 

  – having to constantly assert our needs to others as most people presume that our needs must be similar to theirs ( in terms of space, down time, opportunity to be creative etc) 

  – finding oneself in constant conflict with others and institutions that prioritize materialism and egotism

  – having the desire for honest, open, loving human contact but mostly having to compromise due to the apparent lack of individuals who are unable to form relationships that do not involve some degree of attachment and / or dependence. 

 To summarise, in my opinion I feel it is important to remember:

  • Every individual has a unique history and a unique physiological / psychological make up
  • Therefore everyone has their own potential to fulfil ( whether or not it is in line with society’s expectations)
  • As a society we should encourage everyone to fulfil that potential.
  • Not to be quick to judge others and readily put people into boxed categories, for this can easily become harmful. 

Namaste 💜

As One…………. 

I believe numinous and spiritual experience are ever present around us, it simply takes for our perception to be open to it. However most of us go though life largely unaware of the truly exquisite magical nature of our world around us. As empathic / spiritual individuals I feel we are more open to a kind of energetic intimacy which is vastly more profound and sensual.

It may be in form of a spectacular view,  a feeling of oneness with nature or some other occurrence that we intrinsically recognise as something ‘other’ than our more frequent day to day perception. 

And on rare occasions it appears it can be interpersonal :

I hardly know you but when I think of you or if I am graced enough to be in your presence something extraordinary happens to me.  My spirit is given flight, all my senses are heightened seemingly to ensure that in no way  I miss any aspect of your divine self. I bathe in your gaze and become lost deep in your eyes. Any self control I have, has withered away as I respond to your every word and gesture.

To others it would appear to be an intimate friendship but when we are together we are as one, intrinsically in synchronicity in our interaction. The content and context of our verbal and non verbal responses are immaterial, they simply serve the purpose of allowing us to subtly and with pure, intense sensuality mingle our individual energies. Consummating our union with every word, touch and exchange of eye contact. Any sense of time is lost as this is beyond physicality, this is the realm of the eternal soul. There is no beginning neither no end, only this moment for eternity.

Anyone watching would see I was lost to you, like prey willingly hypnotised by an enigmatic predator. As a sailor must have been drawn to his personal death by the seductive call of the mermaid, I too wish to answer my heart and souls call to be as one with you. Even if it meant that I was never to find myself again it would be  small loss to be a part of you, always.