Essay Consciousness

Healing the Wounded Mind

Images | Gerd Altmann

The Future Now

We are on the cusp of a different world coming into being, and at its centre shall be the human heart and soul. There can be no genuine, lasting future if it is based solely on the exterior life—it must be driven by the values that come from the interior of the human being.

Our technologies have given us the means to communicate across the globe in every moment—yet they have not taught us how to cultivate intuitive thought. Our smart machines and artificial intelligences may continue to advance the means of communication, yet the responsibility is on us to supply the meaningful conversation. As philosopher-mystic Paul Brunton said,

“A change in thinking is the first way to ensure a change in the world’s condition. In changing himself, man [sic] takes the first step to changing his environment and in changing his environment he takes the second step towards changing himself. For the first step of self-change must be a mental, not a physical one.”[1]

If our attention is focused externally upon the objects of our experience rather than the consciousness of the experience, then our minds will exist in separation. So, too, will our place in the world feel one of separation.

The ‘future now’ requires of us that we recognize unity over division. Much of what we witness in the world today are these divisions, dualisms, and conflicts that keep the game of life in play. The dualisms and the distinctions—such as good and bad, and ‘I’m right but you are wrong’—are not essentials (although we often mistake them to be). The world is full of angels and devils (to use a worn analogy), where the angels are winning but have not yet won, and the devils are losing but have not yet lost. And so, the constant interplay keeps the game active and dynamic, and not static. Yet we often lose ourselves by becoming attached only to these secondary aspects and missing the unity that underlies all. When we adhere to definitions or labels, then we have already created a boundary. By labelling, we are creating categories and comparisons that, by their nature, limit us. True things are beyond such defining categorizations. Truth is not a relative position—only human truths are. No wonder so many sages and prophets spoke in parables and riddles. It is the most useful mechanism to deliver the unspeakable.

If we ascribe to a life lived as islands of separation, then inevitably we learn (or are conditioned) to place our trust externally upon a range of institutions; these may range from religious, work/career, social, educational, etc. And if these institutions fail us, then we naturally feel vulnerable, or even betrayed. Yet the truth of the matter is that we betrayed ourselves in the first place by outsourcing our trust. If we live a life relying upon external systems, then we must be prepared to feel distraught should those external systems break down. In times of great transition, such as now, these social institutions are themselves very fragile.

It is important that we recognize that much of our everyday life is negotiated between these ‘belongings’ and similar attachments that we pull and wrap around us, like a protective overcoat. At the same time, we need to recognize that our world of ‘belongings’ is changing. We have ‘belonged’ to our nations, our cultures, our religions and belief systems, to our politics, to our teams, our communities, etc. We were largely brought up within our collective belongings that gave us some semblance of a fixed environment. And now, many of these collective belongings are breaking apart; they are unravelling. In the face of all these challenges, we may ask ourselves: what can I do about this? To this question, the remarkable Carl Gustav Jung answered:

“To the constantly reiterated question ‘What can I do?’ I know no other answer except ‘Become what you have always been,’ namely, the wholeness which we have lost in the midst of our civilized, conscious existence, a wholeness which we always were without knowing it.”[2]

As long as the majority of people expect all problems to be solved outside of themselves, then our societies will continue to be dominated by unruly forces. Our human freedom from these forces depends upon people willing to assume the responsibility of consciousness, and to project this inner reality outward upon an external environment. Whatever the question, being human is the answer.

Soulful Freedom

In a world full of work, family, and personal commitments, it may seem difficult—and, for some, almost impossible—to focus upon the notion of one’s soul and self-development. Yet it is very necessary that we do so. This focus upon our internal development has also been termed as self-actualization. This is a fairly academic term; maybe a more appropriate term would be self-activation, for the truth is that we do need to get activated.

Based upon the theories of humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow, a self-actualized person is supposed to embody the following characteristics: they embrace the unknown and the ambiguous; they accept themselves, with all their flaws; they enjoy the journey, and not just the destination; they may be unconventional, but they do not seek to shock; they are motivated by growth rather than the satisfaction of needs; they feel themselves to have purpose; they are not troubled by the small things; they express gratitude; they share deep relationships with a few, yet feel connected with the whole human race; they are humble; they resist conditioning; and they recognize that they are not perfect.

The inner essence of the individual—our soul—is timeless. It understands stability and aims for harmony and cohesion. In truth, we long deeply for harmony, not conflict. Within the material world of shadows and mass psychosis, we need to exercise a great deal of patience, tolerance, and empathy whilst preserving the integrity of our soul. The ageless, perennial striving for mystery, majesty, creativity, and conscious development is anathema to those who wish to preserve the power of the abusive mental pathogen that twists and manipulates our human lives. The survival tiger within us has, for far too long, lived within an environment of separation, struggle, suppression, and segregation. This mode of living has fed our egos until we have come to the point of priding ourselves only on our own ‘tiger instincts’ and our ability to get to the top. Yet contact with the transcendental elements within life embody compassionate relations, empathy, and connectedness.

The ancient, perennial wisdom traditions recognized that our morality depends upon our state of consciousness. An unconscious person, or a partially conscious person, is not able to express the same level of morality as a more conscious, realized person. What this tells us is that the moral state of our societies depends upon our internal states. Each one of us is a carrier and transmitter of consciousness. This factor has been abused by the Wounded Mind to spread its contagion. Thus, an unconscious humanity is less capable of making good choices, and is more susceptible to social conditioning, propaganda, and manipulations of the mass-mind.

Soul growth, or inner knowledge, is not an accidental emergence, but something that first must originate, consciously, within each one of us. It’s not a question of ‘should’ we work to become more conscious as individuals, but rather that we must. When it dawns on people that the transformation of the self is more than an interesting idea—that it is an actual inherent potential and living reality—then real change can begin. Perhaps our greatest ignorance is our unawareness of the potential of our soulful freedom and its power to create outward change. We have lived for a long time in ignorance; worst of all, in ignorance of ourselves. There is more to life than just living in the survival mode of the Wounded Mind. It is time to leave the tiger behind us.

Adapted from Healing the Wounded Mind, by Kingsley L. Dennis / Clearview Books / 2019. Reprinted with permission of publisher.

About Kingsley L. Dennis

Kingsley L. Dennis, PhD, is a sociologist, researcher, and writer. He previously worked in the Sociology Department at Lancaster University, UK. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books.

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1. Paul Brunton, The Spiritual Crisis of Man, 1974 ed. (London: Rider & Company, 1952), 64.

2. Stephan A. Hoeller, The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons to the Dead (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2014), 215.