When the Buddha set out his noble truths, which form the basis of Buddhism he established that 1. All is suffering and 2. The cause of suffering is desire.
Modern psychology also agrees that it is part of our human nature to always want more. It seems to me that our capitalist and consumerist society is based on these principles and when we buy into them we end up “living in the gap”. The gap between where we are in life and where we would like to be. This is a painful place of dissatisfaction, envy, self-pity and frustration.
There always seems to be something missing, a new car, a bigger house, a better job, more time with friends, more fancy holidays, clothes, experiences, etc. But have you noticed that when you acquire the new things, desire doesn’t stop. At least not for long.
Soon the new clothes are old, the holiday has been and gone and there is another new job or even bigger house on your wish list.
It is not only material things we desire, it is feelings and states of mind as well. If you think about it, what is it you hope that the new job or car is going to bring you? Happiness? Joy? Peace? These states can not be obtained by outside circumstances. This is like the biggest scam in our human lives. We all go around believing that we can make ourselves happier by achieving and / or acquiring things. But this is impossible, for as long as we rely on things outside of ourselves, we live in the gap.
When we want things to be different than they are, we are living in the gap. We are actually disagreeing with reality. What could be more painful or more futile? If you are stuck in an unpleasant situation, does it help to disagree with it? It is basically a childish response, like a toddler throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their way. It is disempowering, upsetting and completely pointless.
Here are some ways to help you get out of the gap and into the Now:
As a counsellor I often ask people I work with what their main priorities are in life and what they would like to focus on. Health is rarely top of the list, if it’s even on there at all.
I often find myself reminding clients that their health is their number one asset. It is the foundation upon which you build your life. Without your health it may be very difficult to do all the things you want to do and to enjoy life to the fullest.
Looking after ourselves inside and out is a fundamental part of living a happy, fulfilled life. So, why are so many of us neglecting our own wellbeing?
I know that those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy good health and freedom from illness or symptoms often neglect our health. I also know that for those who have been diagnosed with conditions and / or suffer from symptoms, it can be that much harder to take control, find motivation and really commit to a plan for promoting health.
There are many factors that contribute to good health and they all interact with each other in different ways. It’s important to create a holistic and realistic plan that suits your needs and lifestyle. Regardless of your current circumstances, there are things that you can do every day to improve your health, build a strong foundation and be the most well you can be. The most important thing is to discover what is stopping you from investing in your health. This is often a deep-rooted feeling of not being worthy or good enough. Working through these limiting beliefs can help create an attitude of worthiness, so that you can start to treat yourself with utmost respect and care.
Some of the main elements for promoting good health are:
If you would like to talk about what’s getting in the way of you prioritising yourself and your health, contact me for a free consultation.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a counsellor. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I pictured myself sitting with someone and helping them figure things out in a deeply meaningful way.
As I grew up I didn’t have a term for this and I couldn’t find a job title or an education that quite fitted my internal image. So I went travelling instead. I studied people, cultures and languages as well as spiritual practices and philosophy until one day I came across the term counselling and I knew that was the right job for me.
I studied counselling and psychotherapy at Edinburgh University, to get a solid foundation for working with people in a therapeutic way, using psycho-dynamic and person-centred principles. Then I went on to do continuing professional development with the Interfaith Seminary where I learned about implementing a mindfulness-based approach that takes the soul or higher self into account.
Using a mindfulness-based approach adds another dimension to regular counselling. It aims to go beyond the mind to a deeper place, where truth and connection can be found. As human beings we tend to spend a lot of our time being led by our minds, getting caught up in thinking and even identifying with the thoughts that the mind produces. This can be confusing and sometimes painful, when the thoughts we are having are triggering feelings like fear, guilt, anger or hopelessness.
When we learn to connect to a place beyond the mind, we can learn to process and understand our thought and emotions, whilst not identifying with them. We can also learn to have compassion for ourselves as we realise that we are something more than the sum of our thoughts, actions and experiences.
What that something is, whether you call it your soul, inner self, awareness or something else, is totally up to you. Some people may even experience a connection to something beyond themselves, like a powerful force for good, infinite intelligence, divine presence or universal consciousness. Again, what you choose to call this experience is completely up to you. The main thing is to have a direct experience of that deeper place within and find discover what truths it holds for you.
My job as a counsellor is to guide, accompany and facilitate your journey within. I do not tell you what to believe, but allow you to discover your own truth and help you to find ways to live that truth in the world. Working from an Interfaith approach I have an awareness and understanding of the world’s faith traditions and will work with you in a way that is respectful and inclusive of your beliefs, whether you identify as religious, spiritual, atheist or agnostic.
Counselling is a deeply therapeutic process, which can help with things like:
If you think that counselling might be right for you, contact me via the form below for a free initial appointment to find out more
In my native language, Swedish, there are two words for happiness. One is glädje – used to describe the fleeting joy we might feel as we tuck in to an ice cream or enjoy a stroll on the beach or even get a new car or a work promotion. This feeling is reliant on our circumstances and when those circumstances change, so does our mood.
Chasing this kind of illusive happiness is the foundation of capitalism, the source of the epidemic levels of stress in our society and according to the Buddha, the root cause of human suffering.
The other word is lycka – used to describe the deep-rooted feeling of inner peace and contentment that does not rely on outside circumstances. This feeling occurs when we are in alignment with ourselves, connected to our truth and aware of the perfection of All That Is.
This feeling might be rare and difficult to attain as well as hang on to but in my experience it is like a muscle that we can train. The more we cultivate this feeling, the more we learn to conjure it up at will and live our life from this foundation of inner peace, confidence and trust.
In my spiritual counselling work I use a process for cultivating true, lasting happiness, using these three main tools:
In my sessions I use a balance of these three approaches, to help you find your own happiness and inner peace.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, as a counsellor with over 12 years experience of working in mental health and social care, it is that mental health is a very difficult subject. The stigma in society is still very noticeable and people who suffer with mental health conditions don’t always receive the same understanding and recognition as people who suffer from physical ailments. Old values and misconceptions still underpin individual’s as well as the media’s understanding, which casts an even greater shadow on those who are struggling with their mental health every day.
The truth is that mental health is a spectrum. We all have mental health and like our physical health, it ranges from great to not so great. It can also be fluctuating and confusing. While there definitely are some hereditary and circumstantial factors involved, mental health conditions can affect anyone. 1 in 4 people in Britain experience some kind of mental health condition in any one year.
Many people are reluctant to seek help, as they are afraid of ending up in “the system”, being diagnosed and given an unhelpful label or end up on medication, which can be addictive and difficult to come off.
However, there are other ways to manage mental health. There is no one size fits all and usually people find a combination of things can help support them in their recovery: