The Primary Cause: Mental Health and Truth

It is no secret that mental health is a serious problem in our modern society. Often unrecognised, and many times denied, it is impossible to say exactly how many people struggle with these issues, or whether it is a pandemic which affects all of humanity. Nonetheless, the science of the mind has developed in many forms to combat the problem, and counselling and drugs are used to treat the symptoms of various conditions.

However, while it is true that we are better able to understand these problems now, and provide some relief to those who experience them, such remedies do not solve the problem as a whole. Arguably, our minds are the single greatest cause of pain on the planet, especially in western society.

As this blog is characterised by an explanation of Truth, I do not want to delve too deeply into what that is in this article. I do, however, want to stress the importance of understanding ourselves to beat mental health problems. Too often, teachers and spiritual gurus talk about states of bliss, attained through certain techniques, but do not actually want to get down and dirty with the problems around them. The best teachers are those who understand suffering, have experienced it, and are willing to empathise with others in order to help them.

Spiritual teachers have become somewhat of an obsolete part of society. They sit on their pedestals and preach about how good life really is, without facing the reality of the suffering in people around them. This is why they are so often frowned upon by hard-working people, who see them only as money-grabbers and posers.

It is wholly possible for those who understand the Truth to make real change in society. While it is true that spiritual teachers should be more willing to enter the world to help others, it is also true that people need to develop a better understanding of these teachers and be more open to learning about themselves. Yes, there are some nutters out there who preach all about ‘Enlightenment’ but never seem to help anyone, but there are also very genuine people who understand the Truth and feel only compassion for others. If we can become more open to these people, and to exploring our own inner nature, we can begin to combat mental health disorders on a much vaster scale, not just treating them, but curing them altogether.

I genuinely feel that what western society needs more than anything right now is a cure for mental health problems, and these people have it. What is important is finding those who are genuine enough and have the right understanding to really help, and it is through them that we can all begin to see a brighter future, born through knowing who we really are.

Understanding Reality: Why are we so afraid of the Truth?

Learning hard truths about the world is one of the many ways through which we grow as human beings. In our minds, we have a view of ourselves and the world around us, which is based upon our understanding of reality and how it operates. When we are forced to confront a so-called ‘hard truth’, we are forced to shift these ideas and form a new identity and vision of reality. This is why such revelations of truth are hard, because they force us to surrender our past assumptions and beliefs, which can be painful.

This is exactly the reason why understanding ‘True Reality’ is so terrifying. Even when we glimpse it, facilitated by some stimulus which takes lets us transcend the mind, and even when we feel the love and peace which accompanies it in our own hearts, we quickly return to the prison of our minds, which quickly begin to hound us with fearful thoughts and the terror of death. Why? Because to understand the Truth, the mind will die, and with it our perceived sense of self.

This is the only real death. The body is only another object which we perceive, but our True Self cannot die. It is such a shame that these ideas, which are so powerful and so liberating to humanity, who have become tied up with their experiences of the world, are not more widely known and better understood. They are found in religions, but are often distorted by cultural symbols and rituals. They are found in spirituality, but are again distorted by being joined with New-Age ideas and beliefs.

The Truth stands on its own devoid of associations. It is not reliant on any belief system, and can be realised by anyone, regardless of their background or profession. It is fear which keeps us tied to falsity, but when we have the courage to surrender ourselves, there will never be anything to fear again. This is our ultimate objective, and it can be realised right here right now, without having to travel to any location or read any book.

So what is the Truth?

What is it that is always present, regardless of what is experienced or what state the body is in, be it waking, dreaming, or deep sleep? No experience can be perceived without you being there to perceive it, and regardless of what is happening or what is felt, who you really are, your True Self, is watching unaffected by it. This is most clearly seen in the state of deep sleep, where no objects exist to be perceived and yet we are still there.

So how can we realise the Truth experientially?

It is important to say that there is no technique which can bring about this realisation. If there was, everyone would be performing it and knowing the Truth would be easy. Instead, it is about taking attention and energy away from what we are already doing: thinking. Resting our attention in our sense of being, and allowing thoughts to pass without following them, is the most effective way to starve our minds of energy.

There is genuinely nothing else which we can do. Gaining knowledge of the subject is helpful, but leads to excessive analysis and thinking. Searching our experience for the very thing which gives life to that experience is ridiculous. Relax. Feel what it means to be alive within you and surrender your control to it.

To live in Truth is the most rewarding experience you will ever have, and it can be achieved by anybody and everybody. There is no barrier in the way and no journey to take. The Truth is available right now, but it is only you that can decide to accept it.

What is Enlightenment?: Putting an End to Suffering

In many Eastern religious traditions, and through many spiritual groups in the West, we are told that Enlightenment is the greatest thing which anyone can achieve. In Buddhism, Enlightenment brings about the end of suffering, an outcome which I am sure every person on this planet would love to experience.

There are many myths and legends surrounding Enlightenment. Those who have ‘achieved’ it are said to gain mystical powers, and to become Enlightened in the first place, they had to become a monk or sit meditating for days on end. These stories perpetuate an elitist view of ‘Enlightened beings’. They are seen as characters larger than life, and in many cases exist in a league beyond the realm of normal humanity.

To dispel these myths, we need to understand what ‘Enlightenment’ is. This grand achievement is often made synonymous with the realisation of ‘Truth’ or of our ‘True Self’. The idea that something is ‘True’ means that it will be exactly that in every situation and for every person, regardless of where they are or what they are doing. This means that regardless of whether people believe that they are ‘Enlightened’ or not, they must still be their ‘True Self’, else this would not be ‘Truth’.

From this idea then, we can conclude that every person on this planet is already ‘Enlightened’ and living in Truth. What is it then which distorts the Truth? The answer is our minds. In our heads, we all have different views of what reality is like and how reality should be. These ideas, which we hold so dear to ourselves, distort the real nature of existence, which in turn leads to our suffering. The core of this web of concepts is our beliefs about our identity. The entire world is seen in relation to who we are, and is characterised by these ideas. Our Enlightenment is therefore veiled by the limited identity which we impose upon ourselves.

How then can we dissolve this identity?

Firstly, it is important to realise that this ‘ego’ is not real. It is an illusion created by though and that alone. We have been and always will be our ‘True Self’, it is just that thought creates a false distance between who we think we are and who we actually are. This distortion is perpetuated by the attention which we give it, and attention is the food upon which it thrives. To finally dissolve the mind, the attention must be relaxed and dropped into the ‘heart’, or our sense of existence (I AM presence). By relaxing the attention in this feeling of being, what might be termed ‘self-abidance’, we detach our feeling of existence from the illusory thoughts we have about ourselves. The mind becomes weaker, and who we really are is revealed. It is important to note that this is not a technique or an action, it is simply the letting go of the dependence of thought in order to abide as who we really are.

The moment we rest our attention in our sense of being, we realise our Enlightenment. Who we really are, our ‘True Self’, can never be conceptualised through thought or seen with attention. The moment we sacrifice our minds to reside in being, we become our ‘True Self’. With the mind gone, Reality no longer contains imperfections or problems, as these were creations of the mind. Pain is experienced, but no longer suffered. The whole world is accepted because there is no longer any resistance against it, and is seen to be only the Self.

This is the promise of religions and spiritual groups throughout the ages, and is available right now, in this very moment, within our own hearts. Stop searching the world for your happiness, and find it right now within yourself. The Self is all you will ever need.

Immortality: The Quest for our True Self

It is an age-old truth that everybody is searching for something.

Every human being has known what it means to desire, to long for an object, a person, or an event which they believe will transform their lives. Whatever this object may be, the need for it is driven by a sense of lack in the present, and the belief that by fulfilling this need, every problem will be solved.

But we must be honest with ourselves, honest enough to admit that nothing has ever and will ever bring us the lasting peace and happiness which we desire. Nothing on the face of this Earth, either now or in the future, can provide this for us, and we will spend our entire lifetime searching for something which does not exist.

Though this outlook may appear cynical, inside of despair hides a greater, more beautiful Truth. While no object exists in the universe which can bring us eternal peace, happiness, and fulfilment, there is one thing which can. The search for contentment in the world is a distorted ploy of the mind, which is driven by the one real desire, the desire to find our True Self. We look for this in the outside world because our minds must die to know the Truth, and so our thoughts will forever take us away from our home, where we already reside.

We are always the Self, but we believe we are apart from it, and we become beings capable of death and suffering. And so we search the Earth, the stars, the universe to find it again, but it is this very search which keeps us from that ultimate realisation. So long as you desire something to fill the void in your heart, you will suffer. Instead, rest your attention, your need to search and acquire, into your hearts, and let your minds whirr down to a close.

You never needed to search for happiness. It was what you are all along.

The Unknown: Living in the Bliss of Ignorance

Why do we want to believe in fantasy? Why is it that we feel so deep within us that there is something so much more to this world, something of unutterable power and beauty? Like a dream, life goes by and we are caught in its web. But to look around and to see the wonder, the danger, and the joy of existence is to live as we are meant to live, breathing life not only into our lungs but into our hearts.

Adventure, travel, mystery: these are the things which we as humans will always be fascinated with. The idea of the unknown, and the wonders which it holds will forever be an addiction to the human spirit, one which we try so hard to suppress. It is the fuel for human discovery, progress, and achievement, and it is the lifeblood of our quest to understand ourselves.

Why restrain it?

When we live in the unknown, we are like children again, discovering a world which we thought we knew but never understood. Without a plan or map, we are left as spontaneous beings, feeling our way through life. Living without knowledge, like a blank slate that can never be written upon, we exist in a dream world where everything is new and exciting. The simplest of things can become our greatest joys: the grass swaying in the wind or the warmth of the Sun on our faces.

Give in to the mystery and revel in the unknown in every moment. We can try to create our own guidebook to life, but what’s the fun in that? Just live without expectation and see where life takes you, because I can guarantee that wherever you end up, the journey will be much more exciting.

Riding the Wave: Living Life to the Full

The Universe is an incredible place. In every moment, life unfolds in a sequence of events which are entwined together in a way which we will never understand. Everything, from the falling of a leaf to the motion of a planet, is affected by and affects everything else. In a way, existence is like one complex organism, a living and breathing being extending across the cosmos.

In respect to our own lives, every moment and every event which takes place is influenced by everything around us. The delayed arrival of the early morning train, or a quick rain shower, will change the course of our lives forever. In a way, our lives are a constant unfolding of what is already determined, like a great wave slowly crashing into shore. We are almost powerless to influence it, and as much as we would like to believe that we have some control, we can only make slight adjustments to its course. 

Life, then, is something to be experienced rather than conquered. To live life while constantly trying to change it is to miss all the beauty and the joy around us. If we are able to simply live, and allow the current of life to flow, we will experience everything to its full extent. 

To fight the wave is to tumble into its grip, thrown about in confusion by its mighty power.  But when we give into it, and let it carry us on its awesome crest, life becomes a joy and a blessing.

Emptiness: Where Dreams and Reality Collide

How do we know whether something is possible or impossible? How can we put limits on a world which we can never totally understand?

Our beliefs, the many concepts and ideas which we hold in our heads, provide a rulebook for what we are able to achieve in our lives. From our past experiences, our education, and from what we are told by other people, we know that there are limits to what we can achieve. We know that there are boundaries which we can never cross and freedoms which we can never experience.

But what happens when we strip away these ideas, when we free our minds from the fetters of concept and thought?

In the silence provided by emptiness, an emptiness beyond even the concept of emptiness, where no thoughts or desires arise, there are no limits. The walls of our cell have crumbled, and now there is just empty space. The whole world, filled with objects which no longer seem real, becomes a living and breathing expression of ourselves. Dream-like and surreal, forms merge into a formless whole of which we are the source. Through the absence of concepts, objects no longer have distinct forms. Our own identity crumbles with the walls of the cell, and our bodies merge to become a part of this new landscape.

While such a process may seem fantastical, and mystical beyond achievement, it is the very essence of our existence in every moment. Even when turbulent emotions arise, they no longer have any power, as they are not considered to be’real’ or separate from ourselves. It is like the whole of reality falls into our own being.

However, even these ideas remain barriers to true freedom. When all ideas and limitations are removed, when even the concept of emptiness is destroyed, we are left in the boundless silence of being, standing alone on the empty plain of existence.

Watching the World Burn: The Importance of Letting Go

Everything around us dies.

Every person we meet, every object we see, and every experience which we will ever have will end. While such a viewpoint is extremely cynical, it is fact. There is not a single thing in our experience which will last forever, no matter how hard we try to preserve it. Nature reflects this through its seasons, each one representing a different stage of life. How then can there be eternal happiness? How can we ever be at peace in a world that is forever crumbling as we watch it?

Intuitively, we know that there is something which cannot die within us. We know that there must he something about us which will live on once our bodies pass away. What is it then that can outlive form, that can outlive the Universe and everything in it?

If we cling to things which are ephemeral, our health, our house, our loved ones, the sad truth is that one day we will lose them. They cannot last forever. Even our memories of them may not outlive us, due to diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If we attach ourselves to these things, we can never experience true freedom from suffering. We will always be paranoid to lose them, and the happiness which they bring us.

True happiness, permanent happiness, is therefore found when we are able to surrender the mortal within us to become immortal. It is a change in our relationship to the world. No longer do we cling to the ephemeral to bring us happiness or to give us a sense of identity. This is when we become free of form, and free of the world.

Suffering dies with our attachment to things which pass, and while it takes an enormous amount of wisdom and courage to be able admit that, we can never be happy until we are able to let things go. It is like stepping into the fire. What we are not will die, and what remains is that which will never perish. From the ashes of that fire, we will rise free of the burden of existence and our attachments to it. This is happiness. This is who we are, who we have been, and who we always will be.

Jelaluddin Rumi

‘Quietness is the surest sign

that you’ve died.

Your old life was a frantic running

from silence.

The speechless full moon

comes out now.’

Jelaluddin Rumi

A renowned mystic and poet, Rumi was born on the border between modern day Afghanistan and Tajikistan in the early 13th century. The Persian culture in which he was raised had a great influence on him, especially the mystic sect of Islam known as ‘Sufism’. His father was a theologian and mystic, and Rumi was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps.

After the Mongols invaded the Middle East, Rumi’s family travelled further west to escape the advancing hoard. He lived much of his life in the city Konya, a part of the Sultanate of Rum. It was there that he met Shams, a mystic and friend of Rumi’s who is often alluded to in his poetry. He often refers to Shams as the ‘friend’ who taught him the truth of his nature.

Rumi emphasised a sense of playfulness and delight in one’s being, and taught that it was through the stupor of emptiness that we can find bliss in life. This was reflected in the practice of the Whirling Dervishes, who would spin in circles to evoke this detachment. He uses various forms of imagery in his poems to convey a sense of the delights of our being, and to encourage us to surrender ourselves to that bliss.