Malcolm Hunt is founder of The Cloud Thinking method and system of coaching, based in Sydney, Australia. His inspiration for this method derives from his time as a Buddhist Monk in China living and working in a small temple in the mountains near Tian Mu Mountain. It was from Guang Jue Temple that he ran mindfulness skills retreats drawing people in from many nations.
Malcolm has worked with A Place To Belong, Anglicare Mental Health Project, GROW Queensland and ARAFMI Queensland. Malcolm has been in private practice as a psychotherapist.
He has further conducted Mindfulness Skills and Cloud Thinking Retreats in China from 2008 – 2013 as well as in Osaka Japan and Australia.
Malcolm #EmergesProud to tell his story:
I hadn’t been feeling well. I was experiencing dizzy spells and I had felt nauseous from time to time. My world, the one I was trying to create, was gradually piece by piece falling down around me like rubble tumbling from a decaying building. I had gone through divorce proceedings, and my father had died with cancer that same year. The combined grief was enormous and I was struggling to make meaning of my life, lost and trapped on the not-so-merry-go-round of work and booze to find my way out of it all. On top of this I felt an intense sense of shame. I should have known better. I was a qualified psychotherapist in private practice and would have been able to see the signs in any one of my clients but I denied them in myself. My solution was to work ridiculously long hours and have a drink of wine to go to sleep. I justified it by telling myself it was just one glass of wine; only, I just kept filling the one glass over and over again as an anaesthetic to the mental pain.
I don’t recall much of the day I was thrown into the spiralling vortex of emergence. I had made a doctor’s appointment to see a doctor I liked to talk to but he was away on annual leave. I accepted a time slot to see another doctor. I am sure she would have asked me what my issue was but I recall seeing a small crack in the lower part of the wall of her office and it was as if a small voice invited me to disappear inside the crack in the wall. The next memory was being in an ambulance with a paramedic monitoring my blood pressure. I sensed it was odd that I had been firmly strapped into the stretcher as I couldn’t move my arms. Nothing made any sense until the ambulance turned off the road into a long driveway and stopped in front of an old building with a foreboding appearance. In an instant, a flash of orientation returned to me. I recalled the building I had once visited to see a client. It was a psychiatric hospital and I was being admitted. Apparently I was delusional in my conversation with the doctor and wanted to commit suicide. Thus began three weeks in a psychiatric ward, broken, lost, alone with a deep sense of shame, and a sense my career may have just terminated. Little did I know it was just about to begin but that was far from my world at that point.
I had at the beginning of the last paragraph mentioned the word ‘emergence’ for that is what emergence is. Emergence is the convening of events, forces and perceptions that create a sense of chaos and seemingly throw us down into an eddy of spiralling water from which there seems to be no escape. We try desperately to make sense of what is happening to us.
Soon after my release from hospital I had two very vivid trance-like dreams that seemed to speak of my life path as if it were an encounter with the divine. I attempted to talk to some friends and counsellors about this but I sensed they felt it was part or the residue of my “mental breakdown” as they called it.
I moved away from the city I was in at the time to find new beginnings in another city. After twelve months of rest with many days sitting beside the ocean watching the waves crash to the shore and recede, I felt it was time to look for work again. One night I received a phone call from a friend who told me of a position at a rehabilitation centre. I phoned the centre the following day and accepted an interview. When I arrived I was shocked to see that it was not a rehabilitation centre but an aftercare facility for 46 patients released from psychiatric hospital with varying mental health challenges. My world began to spin again reliving memories of my time in the psychiatric hospital. It seemed for a moment I had stepped out of myself until I heared a voice. “Are you the new director? You will stay, won’t you?” I looked up and there was a patient talking with me.
“Stay? I haven’t even gone for the interview yet”, I remarked to him.
On leaving from the interview I saw the patient standing near the interview room. “You will stay, won’t you?” he asked a second time.
The following day I received a phone call to tell me I had been accepted for the position. I did stay in mental health for the rest of my career. It was this position which encouraged me to rethink the entire approach to mind health not only through my own emerging to a new life but assisting many others in their own emergence. We are not broken pieces of pottery but sunsets to be admired. The sun will always set but with its setting there is the promise of a new day.
Janet screamed to me from across the other side of the room: “What would you bloody know about being in a psychiatric ward? I’m a schizophrenic don’t you know!”
“I thought you were a human being, Janet, with a beautiful light” I replied. “And by the way I do know what it’s like in here.” We like to label things: schizophrenic, depressed, sad, happy, anxious. We churn out endless labels. There is always another side to a label, if you can slow down to see that. There is a beautiful human being waiting to emerge to their highest potential.
Emerging is often painful. It confronts us to ask the deeper questions. Answers only lead to a full stop. Questions lead to a new paragraph. The word question is related to the word ‘quest’. Emerging places us on a quest to search for a light within each of us. It brings us face to face with the door that blocks the way to the light.
“What is the key that opens the door to this new life?” asked the disciple. The Master kindly smiled and replied: “But the door was never locked. Just turn the handle and it will open.”
Find out more about Malcolm’s organisation here
“We believe that each person can change their destiny and collectively the destiny of the planet. We exist because we are on a quest to change the old paradigm that approaches problems with fear and of uncertainty with a knee-jerk reaction. We see a new paradigm that uses the hidden positive energy of problems to transform them and to create new and innovative pathways to living a rich, full, meaningful and prosperous life. We believe in this for all people no matter the social level, creed or cultural background. We embrace a mindset that helps us grow into our fullest potential.
We believe each individual can do this. We believe in you.”