I’ve worked with many people who have dedicated years and invested heavily in their mental and spiritual health and they’ve done so with very caring professionals. When they ask me why I was finally able to reach them, I always remind them I didn’t—they did.
What felt like counselling to them was actually a class. Yes, it’s tailored to each individual, but it’s ultimately aimed at imparting a specific understanding of a psychological or spiritual skill that people can then very practically utilize to improve their enjoyment of life.
If we want to improve our life we can’t want to get healthy. The fact that we’d have to get there automatically implies that we’re not already there. If we’re not there then we must be thinking we’re somewhere else –as in ‘not healthy.’
I’m sorry if that seems confusing, but it’s actually quite clear from the right perspective. You see, we’re fine the way we are but our egos don’t think so. And so we’re constantly using our ability to talk to ourselves, to incessantly plan how to make our lives into the sort of life we’ve been taught to expect.
We don’t actually have a problem. We do however have a desire, and desires feel like problems. No desires, no problems.
The issue is that we often can’t figure out how to live without desires and that is a trick of the mind. Again, it’s very practical and unremarkable once we can do it, but it can seem trite or even ridiculous if we judge it from an ego perspective.
Our mental health is very logical. Clearly we won’t die without a Corvette, but we can waste our life wanting one. So if we don’t need it, then it’s nothing to actually worry about, and that means that thinking about that want is entirely voluntary; painful; and it will last as long as we think it.
If I could describe in a few words (or even hundreds of blogs) how this is done en masse then clearly this would be the most popular blog in the world. But it’s not something you learn in that way. It’s you internalizing these ideas that leads to your own experience.
Again, I can’t teach it. People tell me where they struggle and I answer their questions quite precisely and they grow to understand, which in turn leads their mindfulness to grow. Even I’m not sure how it happens.
Others read this blog every day and over time the posts start to cross-pollinate and they start to own new knowledge. It’s a process. A practice. I still learn every single day. It’s part of why I love each day. They’re so bountiful when we know how to watch for the gift-lessons.
It’s tricky. It’s like those 3D posters. We can learn to see them. After that, how much we choose to take that view is up to us. If we think we’d never then take a negative view we’re wrong. We can count on the fact that we’ll eventually understand well enough that we’ll have been content for so long that we’ll actually choose to be unhappy for a period of time just because it will be so unusual and interesting.
The example above demonstrates the weird paradox of learning to be happy —we can even achieve it by destroying our happiness. Deep down we know that. That’s why we’ll pay in advance for the fun of being terrified on a roller coaster.
Don’t fret for the world. Don’t fret for you. Everything is all much closer to perfection than we can realize with our worldly minds. But we’ll get there too. As more and more people learn to see through the veil of illusory thought, entire generations of kids are starting life with parents who are exhibiting these skills of wisdom every day.
In that slow and steady way, as it always has, the world will be transformed by greater awareness. But we should not lament our current place in history. This journey began long ago and much has already been accomplished.
If we’re ever lost and unsure of which way to go, we only need to remember that the very best route is always love. Love for others, love for ourselves. Love is the home of everything and that becomes clearly evident when the veil of thought is lowered.
Here’s to a year of wider horizons, more peace and greater connection. Big hugs to you all.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own over-thinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.