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.

Spiritual Individuation ( a precis )

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.

Tough Love……….? 

Equanimity can be hard for most people in life but especially more so for individuals with strongly empathic traits. The reason being is that we are so sensitive to the energies of other living and none living entities that even the smallest energetic ripple from another source can on some days be enough to unbalance us. 

Our own emotions can be so amplified at times that our effect on others ( for me anyway) can be intense. I have known occasions when I have been in an highly emotive state that I have felt like an affective nuclear reactor influencing other people’s moods and cognitions around me. 

But more often than not it is the emotions of others that can so effect our day to day lives. 

Fortunately for myself through practicing meditation and mindfulness I am usually aware of the how my mind can try and fool me and send me on fools errands in seeking happiness or avoiding discomfort. 

According to Buddhist psychology emotional attachment to the sense world results from mental and physical feelings. 

When we experience pleasure, we seek more. If we do not attain more then craving can develop. 

When we experience discomfort in situations we then we seek to avoid them causing aversion. 

When we experience neutral phenomena we tend to ignore them. 

Thus what we encounter in our day to day lives can cause disturb our emotional balance. 

I wish I had been aware of this in my youth instead of being carried away by the depths of my passions to feel the great highs and lows of existence. Even the low points had addictive properties by virtue of their ability to utterly consume me into another state of profoundly sensual reality. 

As empathic individuals living in Western society however provides us with another challenge. That being trying to exist and survive in a community that promotes greed and the consumption of material things. The media, peers, friends and acquaintances are seemingly infected by ego driven lives e.g. having the latest mobile phone, wide-screen television, fashionable clothes et al. 

It is my belief that this lifestyle is much to blame for many people’s, let alone empaths, unhappiness and feelings of isolation. 

If there is one element of truth we can learn from this, as hard as it may be, it is that it is not what happens to us that can cause the most pain. It is our response. If we have developed a deeper understanding of ourselves then this can be somewhat mitigated against.