A Renaissance for Mental Health and Human Relations

(Note: This post does not represent the official start of the book, but it does allow me to live up to some promises established last year, and to set a context for what will follow. I will try to keep future posts as short as possible to ensure each idea is easily digestible.)

Even a noxious weed can be beautiful if seen in the right light.

Amidst the parents, writers, researchers, teachers, religious leaders, and AI people, many of my readers are very dedicated psychologists, counsellors and life coaches. It is not unusual for me to be asked to advise on difficult cases, or to work with psychologists or counsellors on their own personal or family issues.

Last year, while helping one particularly astute counsellor in the U.K., she lamented her inability to feel rewarded by her time with her clients, or to feel as much direction and daily productivity as I do with mine. She also wanted to feel inspired rather than burned out at the end of a session. As a result, she urged me to consider offering some form of training for professionals like herself.

Burnout, and concerns about success rates with clients are very common in psychology and other mental health professions. She made a good point: over the last many years, I may have done more total good by training people like her, than meeting with clients myself. That being the case, I am currently completing plans for a program that will soon be available. It will certainly help if we can have more candles helping to light more candles. The light belongs to all of us.

It is true that, approaching things as I do, I really love my time with my students. And overall, they do very well. Sessions can have their sober moments, but they primarily tend to be interesting, and/or fun. And solo, couple, or group sessions often feel more like friends hanging out together, than therapy.

If there are no physiological reasons preventing it, (concussions etc.), the students see discernable progressive improvements in their lives in weeks, or within a month or two. And, as long as they learn some basic principles, and they continue to practice what they’ve learned, even without further help, their ability to maintain their mental health will only improve over time—even if their circumstances worsen.

Once more people understand reality, even more mental health professionals can join those of us who are being something more like ‘reality transition coaches,’ than ‘doctors fixing ailments.’ Our role should be to help people move between their naturally shifting realities—and particularly with managing their unpleasant ones. But to do that, we have to be able to see reality first, and this is an exceedingly rare thing, for very good reasons.

There are psychologists and counsellors who have found ways to incorporate some elements of reality-perception into their work. Many do try to do this thanks to other influences, like Buddhism, philosophy, or the arts. Some were even trained by—and some even are—actual gurus. Anthony DeMello was not only a psychologist and author, but he was also an enlightened Jesuit Priest, where I define ‘enlightened,’ as being anyone who can readily recognize reality.

We can all easily learn the basic principles of reality, and make major gains quite quickly. But to be able to easily see this new reality over our old ego-based one does take practice. Fortunately, even before it becomes our nature, we still have access to the same psychological benefits. We just need to act more consciously and intentionally to achieve them.

Our ideas about reality are quite different from flowing with our actual reality, in the present moment we’re in.

Even with some people already on board, and even though this paradigm explains virtually everything, society will need enough time to pass before people more fully understand it. For that reason, I suspect that we are likely two generations away from mental health professionals who were raised using this more complete model of reality right from infancy. It’s exciting to think about what humanity might be accomplishing once that becomes the norm.

The challenge for psychology as it is taught, is that the concepts were all built post-thought. The people developing the ideas did find real value.  And they were and are earnest and smart. But even if they managed to know the issue existed, their theories and paradigms did not yet fully appreciate the role of Reality Generation.

In a way, it was like two-dimensional people attempting to describe a three dimensional world. All of their data was honest and correct. It’s just that their perspective omitted another way of thinking about the same data in different, (and more sensible and complete), ways in space and time.

This means all of the things psychology ‘knows’ are ‘true’ in a way. But when it comes to finding practical ways to create a more rewarding life, that truth is far less useful if it exists without a working, in-the-moment awareness of how humans generate their reality.

Of course, we can quickly gain an intellectual grasp of how reality is formed. But an intellectual grasp is kind of like studying how to play the saxophone. We can learn how to read music, we can study the hand and finger positions, and we can read about the ways we can use our mouth and lungs to form sounds. But when someone finally hands us an actual horn, we’re all thumbs, and our ‘knowledge,’ in reality, will be far more likely to create horrible noises than music.

Our ideas about reality are quite different from flowing with our actual reality, in the present moment we’re in. And yes, that can be tricky to see. But if I had any advantage in finding it, it was less because of the accident, and more due to the fact that five year old’s ask very Zen-like questions that are often so obvious that most adults wouldn’t even think to ask them. Fortunately, that level of simplicity also means that I may be able to describe reality in the simplest terms it’s ever been described in.

This public writing of the first draft of this new book is my attempt to help you discover the key principles that form reality, so that you too can see your life like the gift it has always been. Each lesson will be very clear. Remember, I discovered this as a kid, doing kid meditations, so do not overthink it. This is your nature. You’ll recognize that once you’ve found it.

peace. s