I had written a book previously but decided not to put it on sale. The book was called ‘Discussions on Consciousness and the Self’ and as a miniature gesture against the pervasiveness of capitalism I decided to get a limited number of copies printed and rather than selling them to distribute them free of charge to family, friends and anybody who showed an interest in its content. The book was written by me shortly after I graduated from a B. Sc. Psychology course and consisted of what could be described as my ‘real’ thoughts on various related topics as opposed to what I wrote in examination halls for the purpose of passing exams and graduating from a university.
Since then I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and have been working in that field where in addition to providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I also work both therapeutically and non-therapeutically with athletes in the area of the psychology of sport.
In any event, over the last year or so I have toyed with the idea of writing a second book, this time as a commercial venture. The impetus for this project stemmed from time spent browsing in bookshops over several years and dipping in and out of various self-help books. The ‘dips’ were pretty quick to be honest as in most cases I had difficulty with the content. Maybe this was because of my academic training or maybe it was for some other reason(s) but either way what I read seemed so underwhelming and, in many cases, downright simplistic. The human condition is way more complicated.
Rightly or wrongly self-help is a maligned genre. Forms of self-help literature have been around for millennia but the genre itself appears to have originated in 1859 when Scotsman Samuel Smiles published a book called ‘Self-Help’ which was designed to empower the working classes. One of the criticisms of Smile’s book was that it over-emphasised individual responsibility and minimised the duty of the state, particularly with regard to poverty. In other words it placed the burden of responsibility on the individual without taking into account the individual’s circumstances, which at the time would have included poverty and poor educational standards.
In modern times self-help is characterised by generic advice, potentially harmful advice, false hope, or by ill-informed celebrities writing books which state the obvious. For example, “walking is one of the ways we move through the world” was a piece of wisdom offered by one self-help author. Despite the banality of a lot of self-help literature it is important to note that self-help works for some people and, as such, if it ain’t broke why fix it.
For others though it doesn’t work. It is perceived as overly simplistic, not necessarily because of elitism or condescension or snobbery on the part of the reader but because, basically, as far as those readers are concerned, the self-help content is simplistic and, in some cases, irritatingly offensive. As such I decided to try to fill the void, as I saw it.
The concept of conscious living is one that has interested me for some time. Conscious living is about waking up. Properly. It is about being cognisant of the real reasons why you think what you think and do what you do. Conscious living is about being aware of what you attend to with your senses and the impact that your sensory inputs have on your wellbeing. Conscious living is about choice. To get to the point where constructive choices can be made awareness is required. As such I decided to write a self-help book on the concept of conscious living using the title ‘The Aware Self: A Compendium Of Conscious Living.’ In this particular self-help book, I try – note try – to avoid the dumbed down approach to living that I have witnessed in so many other books in the self-help genre by providing what I reluctantly refer to as ‘a self-help book for the thinking person’ which doubles as a critique of the self-help genre of which it is a part.
The outcome is a matter of personal opinion but irrespective of whether I have succeeded or not it is important to note that in an era of existential angst concerning bigger picture issues such as repeated global pandemics and the future of our planet that everything is related to everything else. This is a major tenet of conscious living. As such your wellbeing is essential to the wellbeing of your family, your community, your school/college, your workplace et cetera, et cetera, all the way up to the wellbeing of your planet. As such helping yourself to live consciously (and think consciously) is potentially one of the best gifts that you can give to yourself, your family, your community and so on up to and including your planet. My book is designed as a foundational resource in this regard.
To purchase a copy of ‘The Aware Self: A Compendium Of Conscious Living’ click here.