The Healing Power of Awareness – Men’s Mental Health Month
by John Siddique
We need to normalise talking about our mental health so that it is as ordinary as saying we have a cold. Rather than being the exception, we all experience a spectrum of mental health daily. Over many years of working with people both as a spiritual teacher and in my own life, I’ve realised that we often only consider our mental health when life gets problematic. Only then it tends to be from a place of viewing things as a pathology which we need to shift as quickly as possible to get back to an idea of what is ‘normal.’
An Invitation to Noticing
I would like to invite you, as you read this, to feel into your experience right now.
I want to invite you, as best you can in this moment, to notice the energy of your mind, and by doing so, notice how your emotional sphere is connected to your sense of mind and the ebbs and flows within it. I think it is safe to say that one’s mental health has roots in our emotional health. This gives us a big clue on how we can perhaps start working better with ourselves.
Now, as you sense your mind and emotional energies, notice where you are aware of these within yourself?
In traditional yoga, they call this place of seeing ‘the witnessing consciousness,’ these days; we often use the word awareness, but where I’m heading with this is that there is a spiritual dimension to our mental and emotional health which we can engage with because of the awareness we each implicitly have. This opens things up much more from that reactive and surfaced based pathological approach we often take. So, there is great hope and scope through this.
You might also feel that your general physical health can also be viewed from this more loving place of awareness. Which, of course, is true and is a real game-changer in how we meet our lives.
Awareness is Key
Shifting to awareness as the core component and engine of healing allows us to move out of the reactive and hurt cycle to a place of starting to ask better questions and of taking meaningful responsibility for our health and healing. Perhaps most importantly, it also allows for a more open sharing of what is going on with us with someone we trust.
A Big Thing We Don’t Discuss
One of the biggest problems for our mental health in our current times is that we often feel that there is no safe place to share what is inside us, or that we won’t be believed, or that if we try to do so, our language and feelings will be misinterpreted or used against us later. I know I’m laying it on the line here, but this really is the case for so many. In the current cycle, we have created a very dangerous world for both men and women in ways that might look different but often have the same roots, and it is the root that always need addressing not the topical surface. This is why awareness is key.
No Magic Bullet But…
We’re not going to magically change something of this magnitude in a short piece like this, or even a whole book, but we can at least ask the question while bringing awareness to the table and drop to honesty with each other.
A Few Things
I’d like to invite you to consider a few simple things, if they feel right for you, that you can introduce into your life that I have found make all the difference in the world when looking at how you can better meet your health mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Start allowing yourself to see from awareness that all the aspects of your life are in fact, one life, not separate compartments of this and that. Everything affects everything else – you are an ecosystem, and life wants you here otherwise, you’d be someone else.
Don’t Be Afraid of Love
The only thing that can genuinely open up space for us is love. I know if we meet our lives and our health with real love and dropping any ego or false spirituality around who we are, then things will always go much more easily for us. Bringing love to your awareness of yourself and situation mediates that sometimes terrible internal voice that we get in our heads that shames and blames us. Love also allows for radical honesty with ourselves, it will enable us to seek help, and it opens the world back up from the compressed and closed feeling that being poorly brings with it.
Proactivity based in awareness and love is essential to forward motion. As we discussed, dropping away from the pathological approach and seeing ourselves as a wholeness while taking care of ourselves by allowing our awareness to move into actions will give a more meaningful centre to our healing and journey.
Please take a moment and consider how these things might look in your own life?
You might lovingly take yourself to the doctor or book those therapy sessions. You might allow yourself to take some proper rest, put your phone down and sleep, choose to learn about your body’s hydration and nutritional needs, and perhaps even allow yourself to enjoy learning the process of you getting well. You might start taking a daily or weekly walk in nature and allowing nature to be your supportive friend. You might even pick up a journal and write a few lines about the steps you are taking and about your awareness of how things are for you daily as you move forward.
We could share many more things here, but there’s not the space, and it’s easy to try to do too much. Don’t try to do too much; awareness and love will always be of service. I wish you beautiful health and life with Awareness, Love and Volition.
About the Author:
John Siddique is a much-loved spiritual teacher and writer who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. Considered to be one of the world’s foremost meditation teachers, his guidance and teachings have helped millions of people around the world to live more meaningful lives based in authenticity and awareness.
Popular meditation leader and poet John Siddique draws on more than 40 years of practice to offer this uniquely helpful road map to the spiritual journey, highlighting the changes that show us we’re making progress and the obstacles that will certainly come up.
About the Book:
This book is a guide to the spiritual path that clearly reveals the signposts of success on the journey, as well as the blockages and traps that hold us back from a life of presence,
meaning and enlightenment. By laying out the signs and blockages clearly and honestly and with a lot of love and humour, the book offers a wonderful resource for growth. Whatever level of freedom the reader feels drawn to – basic human freedom, or the great goal of the spiritual life of enlightenment – this roadmap will guide readers to tread the path of their ordinary life and receive the benefit in the here and now.