How To Be Free by Joe Blow pdf
Joe Blow is the pseudonym for a man who, though currently happy and high functioning, has had a long history of mental illness, including endogenous depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. This book, How To Be Free by Joe Blow, is the product of a lifelong struggle to integrate flashes of insight and powerful symbols which appeared to him, often during what we might define as psychotic episodes, with observable reality and a rudimentary knowledge of science by appropriating useful concepts from the work of such iconoclastic thinkers as Wilhelm Reich, R. D. Laing, Keith Johnstone, William Blake and Oscar Wilde.
If asked whether this approach and this conceptual framework have provided him with a secure foundation for emotional stability, happiness and flowering creativity, Blow would reply, “Well, so far so good.”
The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.
The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.
But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :
- Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.
- While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.
- Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.
This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.
Divide and conquer – that is a key philosophy in military campaigns. And the same applies to the individual. An individual at war with themselves is easily dominated or controlled by others. If we want to become a free individual the way to do so is through individuation, allowing the divided parts of our nature to integrate into a unified whole.
We may feel that there is within us a battle between the desire to do things we feel are right and the desire to do things we feel are wrong. The battle of good and evil. But what are good and evil?….
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