08 Jan

Lasting Change, Not Temporary Relief

“The human heart cries out for help; the human soul implores us for deliverance; but we do not heed their cries, for we neither hear nor understand “ – Khalil Gibran

People talk about changing themselves, whether just some minor aspect, perhaps a habit, annoying trait, or particular behaviour, or even revamping their entire personality and approach to living.

But most people who care enough to actually make the effort to change, do so without a proper appreciation of how to actually go about properly doing this.

Wanting to change is a good thing, it’s just not at all easy.

One of the complications that arises is that we have become grossly confused with the proper understanding of what change is about.

At one level, change seems rather easy.

When people want change in their life because it doesn’t feel right, they often take vacations, drink alcohol or take drugs, seek new relationships, or try any one of a number of different avenues in an effort to create differences with the ultimate goal of  making themselves feel better.

This is not surprising, and factually speaking, creates changes.  Each of these activities, or combinations of them, not only change how I think and feel about myself, they also usually create differences in how I feel about the people I am with, and how I perceive the world I live in.

Occasionally, these (self-coping) actions provide periodic relief from pain and distress. But often they only prolong the problem or the pain,  and occasionally, make the situation worse.

Furthermore, these are the easy ways, the superficial ways.  They are made available to us through the society in which we live should we choose them.  Furthermore,  whether we realize it or not, we choose these options because one way or another,  we are actually encouraged to use them, by the society in which we live.  Most people at one point or another have tried them.

The type of change process I am referring to involves much more than a mood alteration, or finding momentary relief.

I am not talking about change by putting something into my body, or looking to the outside world or someone else to solve my problem.

My primary interest and therapeutic approach is with changing the fundamental nature of our “self”.  It is directed towards and concerned with the process  of our emotional and  psychological development, maturation, and evolution.

More than this, it is also an approach designed to effect change so as to potentially become a positive and constructive force for others and for the world around us.

Problematically for many, there is nothing easy about this process. Every person I see has their own unique challenges and tasks.  But there certainly is a path, and this level of change is absolutely possible.

Contact me if you are interested in finding out more.

01 Apr

Mindfulness In Our Relationships

Imagine someone picking up a book, perhaps one of the great classics, but they cannot read. All they see is black squiggly lines on white pages. This book is meaningless for this person. Because it is meaningless it has no value and can easily be discarded.

Now imagine a highly skilled reader picking up that book. That same book now has a wide range of qualities that it didn’t have for the first person.

There are characters and events that generate a complex and fascinating world of images and meaning and will probably generate a wide range of emotional responses that did not and could not exist for the first person.

In this way it has become something much more, something very different, and something of much greater value. If we think of our experiences of our self, of others, and of the world we live in as a book, people generally seem to be very poor readers.

The information they are able to access is very limited, and therefore has little meaning and value. Let me be clear about what I am saying. Most people, if asked, would of course be able to identify what they are thinking about, how they are feeling, what they are looking at, etc.

But oddly enough, it is only when someone actually asks us what is going on in our mind that we tend to really notice.

Herein lies the problem.

Only rarely do we actually become aware of where our mind is at. So this otherwise reasonably accessible level of understanding is typically restricted from our awareness.

And it is restricted primarily only because we generally don’t pay attention to it. As a result, a great deal of potential learning opportunities go unrecognized by us.

This potentially valuable information, as a source of knowing about our self, is generally not accessed and thus not utilized by the average person.

As I have discussed in previous articles relationships, there are two fundamental and critical relationships we need to pay attention to: The relationship we have with our self, and the relationship we have with others and the outside world.

Most people don’t pay attention to either, and, I would argue, don’t even know how to pay attention. In many ways, we have as much understanding of our self and the world out there, as does someone who has a book in their hands but doesn’t know how to read.

If we really want to know about either of these relationships, we have to learn to be mindful. Learning how to pay attention properly is crucial to understanding our self and others.

This idea will be discussed and expanded in other articles released around the subject of mindfulness.