I came across the concept of the Nowscape recently from mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn. He refers to it as the practice of choiceless awareness in which we let go of selecting specific objects of attention to feature in the field of awareness and to be mindful of, and instead, invite our awareness to be so spacious that it includes anything and everything that might arise in any present moment, just as a mirror does not choose what to reflect but reflects whatever comes before it.
When I walked through the streets of Dublin, I let go of zooming in on particular persons, places, and things. I began to realise that my perception of the world can be quite narrow when I do this, missing out on the wonderful array of colours, shapes, and sizes. I started to experience great freedom as my senses expanded to include my whole environment and I felt a greater connection with the heart of the world. For example, there were evenings this week when I felt like giving into my cravings for fast food and chocolate, but practising the Nowscape broadened my perspective, bringing calm, connection, and self-control.
As I updated my CV (resume) and social media profile this week, I declared my career focus as “Promoting the psychological and spiritual needs of the general public”. I think this is on the way towards connecting with the heart of the world. My journey with bipolar has encouraged me to accelerate my psychological development. In order to maintain a balanced mood for a balanced life, I have applied many tools such as keeping a daily routine, being in touch with my thoughts and feelings, having open conversations with friends, and journalling. Furthermore, my insights into psychological needs are very relevant to the general public. My education, work history, and experience also stand to me.
As for promoting others spiritual needs, I can be confident in this task. Since working with the Jesuits (spiritual leaders) in England, I have come to know the importance of this side of ourselves. It is a side that gives life, love and energy. My own spiritual development has brought me to a good place in life. For example, meditation grounds my day, spiritual direction with a trained professional gives me deep peace, and attachments no longer imprison me. I am a much ‘freer’ person than I used to be. In turn, I can help the general public through deep listening, getting in touch with their true desires, helping to build their resilience, and nurturing their sense of beauty and light.
I am reminded of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, two people whose personal experiences with severe depression contributed towards helping others in profound ways. I am grateful to my personal struggles because overcoming them strengthens my psycho-spiritual self. Moreover, they leave me in a better position to be of service in this world.