Sacred Space – What Is It and Why Do We Need It?

In a recent conversation, a dear friend for many years asked me, “I wonder why it is that people need to hold this special view of what is sacred… why some things are sacred and others aren’t.” This is fascinating inquiry, one that invokes a number of subjects, such as the nature of healing, activism, our working definition of spirituality, and our emotional lives — all of which I hope to touch on here.

Sacred Space is time and space we set aside, or which spontaneously arises, to experience a depth, richness, and sense of meaning that usually escapes us in fast-paced everyday life when we are not as connected as we could be with our body, intuition, good thinking, compassion and empathy, and other emotions.

I imagine that many reading this article consider everything to be sacred. Some of you might even consider evil and suffering to be sacred, since the world is full of dark and light. For me, the word sacred has a definite earthiness to it, a sense of being here engaged in some ritual or activity connected with everyday life. Whereas, what is “divine” to me has more connotations with things ethereal, with a non-material influence or presence in our lives. We could say, in a sense, that what we consider sacred is a certain holiness of earthy things and what is divine is the holiness and immutability of invisible forces.

These are the loose definitions I’ll hold for this discussion, and if your meanings are different, no worries, just use your own words to substitute for what I have defined as “divine” and “sacred.” After all, I don’t mention these definitions to impose my perspectives, but for the opposite reason — so that you know what I mean, so that you can find your own meaning for what is discussed here. The point, after all, is not to get hung up on the words, but on what the words mean and the things and experience to which they point.

So, in a nutshell, we’ll consider sacred to be the presence of something “divine” in an embodied or earthy way. Yet, many of us still, unconsciously or not, hold some aspects of life to be sacred and others non-sacred. Some of us also maintain huge distinctions between what is sacred, what is spiritual, and what is not. No doubt, some of this separation has arisen from religious traditions that maintain God and Spirit to be separate from material existence, and certainly our everyday, mundane activities.

While I’m not here to tell you what is sacred and what is not, I am here to help you clarify what the word “sacred” points to in your own experience, or whatever word you might use to describe what I have called sacred, and then to consider how your perceptions, and divisions, of what is sacred might be holding you back from more richness, fulfillment, and joy in your experience.

Finding Meaning

So, let’s begin with positive sacred experiences. Popular sacred experiences might include spending time in nature, yoga and meditation practice, morning prayer, in church or a synagogue, tender love-making with your partner, a sharing circle, any kind of ritual or ceremony, or a healing session. Other sacred space moments might include feeding birds on a park bench, playing or reading with your child, watching a meaningful movie, making art, petting and cuddling with a pet, sharing deep feelings with a loved one, helping someone in need, giving someone your full attention, or saving a piece of nature.

All these experiences have something in common: we find meaning in them, and/or they make us feel good. If something isn’t meaningful to us or makes us feel not so good, we tend to push it away as non-sacred. So, either unconsciously or consciously, we tend to make a separation in our perception of reality. We separate “positive” experiences from “negative” ones, and we consider some things more meaningful than others.

Now, sometimes we consider ordinary reality less sacred not because it is inherently meaningless, but because we haven’t yet found the meaning in it. So, part of sanctifying what we consider less sacred aspects of life is finding meaning in them. This requires a change in perception and/or a change in heart. For me, this is a spiritual pursuit: finding meaning in what I have previously found meaningless by opening, or spontaneously being opened, to its wisdom. This does not mean making up stories about reality, not infusing meaning into things through denial, but finding real intellectual and emotionally honest meaning in my experience and the nature of reality. And this usually means letting both my heart and mind break open.

In particular, difficult emotions — such as anger, grief, remorse, guilt, and despair — is a domain I have found great meaning in over the years. I have found that when I stay with and welcome these difficult emotional states, they change, and change me for the better. In fact, my very welcoming them and feeling and expressing them allows them to change, allows them to truly transform me into more breadth and depth, so that I can keep my heart clear and open to the rest of life. So, all these emotions have become sacred to me, and they also allow me to experience more meaning and richness in the rest of what I consider sacred.

If we consider certain aspects of life not to be sacred, then we might hold them out of our hearts. When we hold parts of life out of our hearts we hold them away from our love and healing. Things I tend to want to hold outside of sacred are pollution, GMOs and toxic agriculture, dishonesty, and needless violence. And I confess, these are all still largely non-sacred to me because they desecrate the very fabric of life. But, if they spur more compassion, more revolution, more love, and more care for our environment, then they acquire some sacred value. And I do see that they inspire these qualities, however seemingly unnecessarily.

With this said, these industries don’t show enough transformational value, as with difficult emotional states, that I consider them worth keeping, at all. In other words, while they might elicit sacred internal moments, and sacred activism, they don’t create enough goodness in the world, and in fact, do great damage. And the good they do is only in the context of our trying to get rid of them! So, right or wrong, I do have a limit to what I consider good and “sacred.” What destroys the planet and our lives, with little redeeming value, is not sacred to me. With this said, destruction and death are natural, and sacred to me, but not when they are avoidable (largely by natural means) and go against the inherent wisdom of nature.

Love and the Sacred

So indeed, part of what is sacred relies on what we find meaningful and valuable. I find the Earth and its biosphere valuable. I find the proliferation of other species valuable. I consider clean water, soil, air, oceans, and forests valuable. So, I hold judgment over what injures these. And the sacred meaning I find in these negative influences is fighting against them and more deeply regarding as precious what they injure. I consider this gritty form of revolution part of the love revolution, as we protect what we have defined to be sacred. And since part of what fosters care for our planet involves feeling our anger and protection, our sadness and despair, these emotions increase our participation for what we love, for what is sacred. Love, then, is more than just a feel-good experience. And so is what I consider sacred.

When we can join what we consider non-sacred to what we do consider sacred, we join Yin and Yang, and we bolster the cycle of fertility and sustainability through ordinary activism, which is love in action.

For this reason, it’s important for me to keep my mind open to what I might be in denial of or blind to. For, if I misread part of reality and deem it evil when it is not — as certain religious and “spiritual” doctrines and edicts have done for too long, and I think many times in gross error — then I myself become a negative force. Discerning reality, therefore, is important to our sense of the sacred and our love. If I suddenly become aware of the great value of toxic agriculture, pollution, and mercenary greed, then I might be able to embrace these more and consider them sacred. So far, I have not found much grace, much sacredness, in these enterprises.

We can create an external space with similar qualities we want to cultivate inside us. And, we can bring qualities inside us that we want to see in the external world.

So, if you are torn up inside, find sacred space outwardly to help heal yourself inwardly. And if you are in chaos outwardly, summon your sustainable and enduring inner resources to the aid of the external moment.

Spiritualizing the Ordinary

A popular domain of the sacred is what many include in their definition of spirituality. Rituals, ceremonies, and gatherings of all sorts that we consider sacred are often held in a special space with special preparations. This has been the case for millennia in all cultures. Part of my struggle, however, has always been how to integrate the meaning and quality of attention common to these special functions and experiences into everyday experience. How to spiritualize “ordinary” life.

Indeed, many don’t even try to integrate “sacred space” in to “everyday space.” Their spiritual life is separate from everyday life. This creates a schism between what we consider sacred and what is not. I have never been satisfied with a spiritual life that does not directly and practically influence my everyday life, thereby spiritualizing the mundane.

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Author: Jack Adam Weber – Wake Up World

5 Signs That Our Emotions No Longer Control Us

We’ve all suffered emotionally throughout our lives. Similarly, we’ve all experienced trauma, regardless to what degree it personally manifested. When we’re born, we’re forced through environmental conditioning, which will always have both its positives and negatives. Our greatest influences are generally our parents, followed by our peers. This ‘programming’ is also deeply embedded in the societal and cultural paradigms of our time.

Yet, once we become an adult, each and every one of us has the ability to alleviate our own suffering by redesigning our mind into a more functional and healthy state of existence.

When we enter into our early teens, we begin to question who we are and the world around us with greater veracity. If our energy, or inner fire, strongly conflicts with how we’ve been ‘taught’, then we rebel heavily. In contrast, if we’ve been given respectful discipline and realistic information from our parents, as well as a really good opportunity to independently explore and create how we think and behave, then we’re less likely to engage the world in contempt. That’s because we’re much freer than others who have been forced into their box.

And that’s the reality for most young teens, even in this age of information. Unfortunately, many parents haven’t been taught some of the knowledge and skills required for healing and growing their own energy, so it goes without saying that if they can’t look after themselves properly, then we can’t expect them to look after their children properly. Truth be told, we can only work with what we’ve got.

That doesn’t mean, however, that parents and society in general haven’t taught children some really good beliefs and values in life. They’re the positives. Yet, the negative aspects that we harbor as we grow into adulthood, such as poor emotional regulation, are our own responsibility to rewire neurologically and redesign conceptually. Simply, it’s up to us to question and understand everything that we’ve become so we can determine what’s worth keeping and what’s worth shedding.

After all, once we’re an adult, we choose who we want to be.

5 Signs That Our Emotions No Longer Control Us

What follows are five lessons which show that we’ve freed ourselves of being primarily controlled by our emotions. These characteristics are recommended as they can potentially facilitate an ongoing sense of inner peace being experienced in our lives, which of course should be one of the primary priorities of all of us.

  1. We understand the difference between our emotions and our feelings

Everybody has the same emotions, yet we all have different feelings. These two human states are distinct not only because they are processed in different areas of the brain, but because emotions are primarily physical, whilst feelings are mostly mental constructs.

Our feelings are a mixture of our emotions, beliefs, philosophies, thoughts and memories. All these aspects come together to not just influence the emotions that we have, but also determine how we ‘feel’ about what is going on in our world. Therefore, understanding the difference between our emotions and feelings is critical to contextualizing our emotions into the bigger pictures of our lives.

  1. Instead of holding onto challenging emotions, we let them go

Emotions like fear and anger can be harmful if we carry them around with us. They are certainly helpful in specific situations to ensure our survival, however, those circumstances are few and far between. Why is it then that our normal waking experience is usually one that can be chosen to be enjoyed, but ongoing ‘feelings’ of stress, rage and other suffering continues to plague the daily lives of so many? One reason is that they haven’t learned to let shit go.

We need to manage emotions like fear and anger so they no longer control our feelings and behaviors. It’s a process though. First, we should embrace them as a part of our human experience. Then, we should understand them, as well as contextualize them into our beliefs and philosophies to utilize for our learning and growth. After we have taken the positive out of challenging emotional experiences, that’s when we can let them go, especially so we don’t encourage negative consequences to manifest.

  1. Instead of reacting to our experience, we respond to it

Giving ourselves that little space to process what we’re going through allows us the time to ‘consciously’ incorporate our emotions into our philosophies on life. We have challenging experiences that bring up potent emotions all the time, yet responding instead of reacting to those experiences is self-empowering because then we’re more likely to treat ourselves with healthy and positive energy instead of getting sucked into unhealthy states of stress and pain.

For example, when somebody does something to us that is rude, do we instantly react with anger or do we allow that emotion to drift into our belief system so that we respond in a compassionate and self-caring way? After all, if they’re behaving rudely, we know they’re already suffering, so do we really want to react in a way that will also cause us to suffer too? Not if we don’t want our emotions to control us, we won’t.

  1. We are overcoming our depression and anxiety

Professional and self-administered psychotherapy, in conjunction with good health, is what cures depression and anxiety, not pharmaceutical drugs. The success rate of these drugs facilitating a recovery, by providing a more balanced chemical production in the body, is evidently low; however, in some cases it does assist a person to undertake the psychotherapy they need to overcome their mental illness. Nevertheless, it’s rearranging the subconscious and conscious mind over a good commitment of time, though practices such as meditation, which truly deals with these problems effectively.

These two ‘diagnoses’ are not primarily emotional states, they’re ‘feelings’. In general, sadness is the base emotion to depression and fear is the base emotion to anxiety, so it’s these emotions that we need to functionally process so that they no longer drive our primary feelings about life. Our thoughts and beliefs play an integral role in these harmful mental states, so that’s what we need to change to release the grip of those core emotions and permanently overcome depression and anxiety.

Note: This is not intended to replace medical advice, if you have significant mental health challenges please engage with professional and community supports.

  1. We treat all people with love, respect and compassion

It takes an emotionally empowered person to respond to poorly behaved people with love, respect and compassion. That’s not saying that we should take shit off other people either; we can still be direct and assertive, as well as being kind at the same time. If we don’t let our emotions control us, then a loving, respectful and compassionate state of the mind and heart flows through our engagement and communication with people, no matter how dysfunctional their actions.

That’s because we don’t let emotions like fear and anger control our response, such as reacting to rage with rage, to stress with stress, or to indecency to indecency. As previously stated, our feelings about life, which include our thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and memories, need to be empowered so that we don’t allow our emotions to take full control of us when we’re faced with difficult people or challenging experiences.

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Author: Phillip J. Watt – Wake up World

15 Reasons to Give Your Love Away, Today

1) It helps someone else, and this alone is enough. Any other good reasons are just gravy. Each day there are many appropriate ways to open your heart as well as many that are unsafe. Use discretion, but find a way!

2) When you act from that place inside that says “yes” and naturally reaches out, you join something larger than yourself, which is as close to the essence of religion as we might ever come.

3) When someone is generous to us it makes us feel good. Something inside us, in our heart of hearts, wants to give back, which also feels good. Most of us (save for psychopaths) are hard-wired for it. To hold it back makes us feel bad. So, give it and enjoy!

4) To risk giving what you (think you) don’t have enough of puts you in the arms of trust, leaving you open to receive from others, all of which is crucial spiritual practice and Loving it Forward.

5) Life is short. We never know when, or if, we will see each other, or what we love, again. Share your heart today, now, any way you can. It’s all we really got.

6) Climate change and other disgraces are out of control, and we nor the beautiful world we inhabit stands to be as beautiful as we are today and yesterday. So, expose yourself to what’s beautiful and care deeply for what has no voice of its own.

7) We often think having things means that we automatically can enjoy them. Not true. We enjoy what we have and what we give based on how much we are also able to receive. Let yourself receive love from your self and others. Working through our emotional blocks to receiving and giving makes life more worth living. This practice helps!

8) When you give from your heart, you receive in the very act of giving. The more you notice and embody your joy of giving, the more joy you receive it because you are being it!

9) When we say “thank you” and mean it, we honor what has been given to us, and the person who gave it. We also increase gratitude and appreciation in the one who gifted us. In addition to teaching children to say thank you, we can help them learn to appreciate what’s been given and awaken their realization of where it came from and what went into it, which fosters true love rather than guilt and obligation.

10) None of us walks out the end of life with any of our stuff. But the love we gave away keeps on giving long after we are gone. How we touch others affects how they touch the world, which keeps loving it forward, round and round.

11) Some forms of love come in the way of wake-up calls. Speaking our truth, letting others know our limits, fighting for what’s right, true, and beautiful are all love in action that help foster goodness and mitigate senseless waste and suffering.

12) Loving is a risk, a passionate surrender, because we open our hearts and thereby stand to feel more intensely and deeply. This means we might have to feel difficult things more intensely too, which might be scary. But feeling the bad with the good leads to more love, more capacity to give and receive, when we stay open through our biggest challenges and hurts.

13) We need each other. Helping each other makes the world go ‘round. It’s what the heart does naturally, so join the flow and let it go.

14) At the end of the day, at the end of life, what matters more?

15) Even if we couldn’t name 14 good reasons to give our love away, we need no reasons. So have at it…

“Eventually we will abandon our bunker mentality and understand that the only security comes through giving, opening, and being at the center of a flux of relationships, not taking more and more for self; security comes not from independence but from interdependence.” ~ Charles Eisenstein

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Author: Jack Adam Weber – Wake Up World

Emotional Energetic Healing: The Future of Medicine is Here

“Everything is energy.” ~ Albert Einstein

Energy medicine is at once time-honored and new. Whether using traditional forms like acupuncture, t’ai chi and reiki or modern applications such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), magnetic, vibrational or music therapy, working with the human energetic system to create wellness is an esteemed practice that produces tangible results.

According to Dr. Erin Olivio in the article Energy Medicine: “The field of energy medicine involving putative energy fields is based on the fundamental premise that all physical objects (bodies) and psychological processes (thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes) are expressions of energy. Therefore, all bodies are believed to be infused with a “subtle” energy or life force. This life force is known by a variety of terms corresponding to different traditions. Intraditional Chinese medicine it is called qi (pronounced CHEE), in the Judeo-Christian tradition it is called spirit, and in Ayurvedic medicine it is represented in the doshas.”

What the ancients recognized, science is now validating. Candace Pert, PhD, is one researcher who has significantly contributed to the legitimate study of Mind-Body Medicine.

How emotions affect physiology

“Most psychologists treat the mind as disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body. Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard to the mind or emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.” ~ Dr. Candice Pert

In Dr. Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, she explains how a class of proteins called peptides (including endorphins) act as a nervous system, delivering information throughout the body. Her theory is that the surface of each cell is covered with receptors for specific peptides. These free-floating molecules function as messengers. When we have a specific emotion, a cascade of peptides are released that ultimately influence our body.

Paul Trachtman explains how this sequence works in Smithsonian Magazine:

“… it’s through the emotion-modulating peptides that an embarrassing thought can cause blood vessels to dilate and turn a face beet red. In the same way, the molecules of emotion can mobilize immune cells to destroy an incipient tumor. Techniques like meditation or visualization may also act as forces to set those molecules in action.”

The question is: If emotions alter the functioning of the body, how do we experience healing by addressing subconscious negative emotional patterns?

This is the topic of a cutting-edge documentary on Mind-Body Medicine: E-Motion.

The energy of emotions

Leaders in the field of energetic medicine — including Sonia Choquette, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bradley Nelson, Don Tolman, and others — explore the connection between emotions, the body and health in the documentary.

Taking into account the subconscious mind is 1000 times more powerful than the conscious mind, we are likely to ask: What actually controls it? The answer lies with unresolved emotions.

When we have traumatic perceptions buried in our subconscious mind, these emotional memories — when triggered — will cause a reaction in the body that sets-off a cascade of stress hormones, thereby altering our physiology.

How are these negative perceptions created? By our thoughts, because thoughts create emotions. And when we feel an emotion strongly enough, it will become trapped and disrupt the energy field of the body. Anger, aggression, anxiety, depression, sadness — these negative emotions will lodge themselves in the body and are the leading cause of physical pain. Eventually, if the blockage isn’t cleared, disease will develop.

Dr. Joseph Mercola provides an example:

“… those suffering from depression will often experience chest pains, even when there’s nothing physically wrong with their heart. Extreme grief can also have a devastating impact — not for nothing is the saying that someone “died from a broken heart.” In the days after losing a loved one, your risk of suffering a heart attack shoots up by 21 times!”

He also points out:

“Your body cannot tell the difference between an actual experience that triggers an emotional response, and an emotion fabricated through thought process alone — such as when worrying about something negative that might occur but has not actually happened, or conversely, thinking about something positive and pleasant.

“The fact that you can activate your body’s stress response (which produces chemicals that can make you sick) simply by thinking means that you wield tremendous power over your physical state in every moment. Moreover, it means that you can literally manifest disease, or healing, by thinking.”

Needless to say, in order to enjoy vibrant health, it’s vitally important to release emotional baggage.

Tips on how to ditch toxic emotional imprints

The team of experts in E-Motion believe there are active steps we can take to heal the body, the subconscious mind and our overall health. Here are a few:

  • Always remember that our mind is the key to healing.
  • Expect good things in life.
  • Slowdown when you feel a negative emotion arise and acknowledge it, then honor and release.
  • Be clear about your purpose in life. To discover your calling, answer the question: “If I weren’t afraid, I would …”
  • Focus on the color of food to heal the chakra centers. For example, exposure to sunlight + eating pineapple and oranges will help fortify the 2nd and 3rd chakras, which helps alleviate depression.
  • Participate regularly in a water fast to clear problematic emotions from the body.
  • Learn The Emotion Code technique by Dr. Bradley Nelson to rapidly release stuck emotions.

And finally, never underestimate the healing power of gratitude and liberal self-love.

 

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Author Carolanne Wright / Wake Up World 

The Awakening Of Society Is Just As Important As The Awakening Of Our Self

Spirituality is a very personal affair regardless of the various pathways or disciplines that one may follow. Yet even though there is an abundance of avenues for spiritual endeavor, there is generally a universal agreement on the principle of unity.

“If reality is unified, then we must also accept that everything is essentially equal.”

There are many ways that one may be introduced to this philosophy. We may have been brought up around it via our family. We might have had a profound revelation in a one-off experience. Some are initiated through ongoing paranormal activity. Others just intuitively feel it. Altered mind states could have been the catalyst. A gradual or instant revolution could have occurred in our mind where synchronicity deposed coincidence. There could have also been an influence by assorted texts and teachings which infer this similar conclusion. For most of us, uncovering the wisdom of unity most likely occurred via a combination of channels.

“Transcending the illusion of disconnection is a personal path.”

Regardless of our beliefs, and the series of events or informational resources that led to our personal awakening, our fundamental understanding is unity. We are each a part of a complex integrated whole, and our external environment is a reflection of our fundamental nature, including what is in harmony with us and what isn’t. So, irrespective of how peaceful we have set up our internal environment, if we truly want to experience peace, we need to transform the outer world – the collective mental and physical landscapes that we inhabit. If we are all truly unified, we have a responsibility as part of this awakening to continually heal and grow our internal and external worlds.

“The personal awakening is synonymous to the collective awakening.”

A Global Metaphysical View

Unity can be used as a universal term to describe the outcomes of various fields of thought. Examples include: Energy; Mind; Consciousness; Holographic universe; Light; Love; Spirit; the Source; the Field; the Akashic Field; the Zero-point Energy Field; Quantum Field of Possibilities; the Collective Unconscious; Undivided Wholeness; Nirvana; One; God etc. If these are all equal to each other in terms of their agreement that a unifying principle exists, then we have arrived at an agreed global metaphysical position which incorporates both our rational and intuitive hemispheres.

“The primary nature of reality is unified.”

Irrespective of what reality is literally made of, whether its essence is of a material or immaterial nature, it’s irrelevant to our goals. As long as we agree that a property of reality is unity, and that unity inherently implies that everything is fundamentally equal, then together we can get on with making this earthly experience fair and peaceful for all.

“Earth’s global culture needs to heal and grow as one.”

That is why an agreed metaphysical view for our global society has significant implications for our future. From both a personal and societal standpoint, as well as a rational and intuitive standpoint, we know to treat everyone and everything uniformly. The way we care for ourselves should be equivalent to the way that we care for others. Our philosophical and practical social systems should also ensure that each person has access to the resources they need to adequately survive and thrive.

“Because we are unified, the suffering of others is a reflection of our own suffering.”

No matter how far we may be personally removed from it, the reality is the majority of our fellow man is distressed from a lack of external and/or internal resources. The former is strongly influenced from an unequal distribution of food, water, shelter, infrastructure, education, medicine and political representation, whilst the latter from a lack of knowledge and skills in emotional regulation and psychological balancing, as well as a poor conceptual capacity to face and overcome the challenges to establishing and maintaining one’s inner peace.

“Suffering is pandemic across the so-called developing and developed nations.”

Translating a Global Metaphysical View Into Practice

When we individually undertake a process of spiritual introspection, we all arrive at the exact same place; unity. Yet when we translate that wisdom into practice, the result is a plethora of personal, philosophical and cultural differences. That is why so many distinct religions exist, especially because the expression of how we should operationalize this perspective is subject to the environmental influences present during its inception and development.

“There are infinite expressions of how to live in unity.”

Now that many people undertake this process outside the context of pre-established models, it is no wonder that there are so many individualized methodologies to spirituality. And there’s nothing wrong with that either; there is no one strict way to live, so as long as it doesn’t conflict with the primary principle of unity and its inherent implications, then it should be encouraged and embraced.

“Regardless of the personal path we choose to take, spirituality is a journey of enlightenment for both the inner and outer realms.”

The Health and Growth of The Self

We are all subject to the suffering of the self and it is our personal role to transcend it. But our health is much more than is usually defined; it’s not just our physical and mental well-being. The reality is we have many layers of our life to take care of including our physical, psychological, emotional, philosophical, sexual, behavioral, creative, social and spiritual vitalities. With this in mind, we should be continually asking ourselves what areas need more attention and what strategies can we implement to heal and grow. We also need to find a true love for ourselves.

“Therapeutic and developmental practices which harmonize all of our life vitalities ensures that we raise our vibration and align ourselves closer to our spiritual path.”

Even though we literally make the free choice on how we think, feel, act and live, we are still strongly influenced by our environment, such as parents, peers, culture, society, government and the age we live in. Therefore, as an adult we are both independent and conditioned agents. But we can transcend our conditioning and align ourselves to the fundamental wisdom and knowledge of the universe. Therefore, the time we become truly free is the time that we take full responsibility of ourselves and ensure that we, not anyone or anything else, are the most influential factor for how we evolve for the rest of our lives. That of course means taking full responsibility for how we think and feel.

“To be truly free, we must empower ourselves to guide our thoughts and emotions.”

It’s the basics. Excuses which blame something or someone for our thoughts and feelings just don’t cut it on the spiritual path. Spiritually, we have experiences for our growth; we are co-creators of our experience. Now this doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for the actions of others which hurt us, the response we provide is incorporated into the overall context of the negative and positive vibrations that they’ve attracted into their life.

“If people act unjust, then justice will inevitably be served.”

The new age mantra that “everything happens for a reason” may be true in the sense that experiences have innate information that we can capitalize on to progress us on our path of enlightenment, but it is equally true that proportional actions need to transpire in response. Just like we should respond to the injustice we serve ourselves, we should also respond to that which surrounds us. The tricky part is determining what that response should be which is why we draw on both our rational and intuitive capacities to guide us.

“Not only should we accept our experiences, but also respond to them accordingly.”

It is true that we make so-called ‘mistakes’ which deliver us to our destiny; however that doesn’t mean we should make that same choice again. We should learn from it. There are innumerable times that we have had an undesirable experience which resulted in our growth, regardless if it was influenced from the actions of ourselves or others. And that’s what we need; to learn, to heal, and to grow. We need to harmonious our energies and become our new, more developed selves in every moment. When we conceive of our experience this way – where our wants are the healthy and unhealthy desires of our ego and our needs are the experiences we require for sustained growth – then we always have something to offer ourselves.

“If we process each experience as an opportunity to learn, regardless of how undesirable that experience is, we always get exactly what we need: growth.”

Every moment is therefore an opportunity to progress our health and well-being. When we treat ourselves and others disappointingly, we should process it in the context of our learning and then make amends. The same applies when somebody treats us poorly; when we are exposed to underdeveloped actions by others, we should embrace it as a part of us, as well as give a calculated response in return. After all, we have accepted that we are fundamentally united. For example, what information and energy can we embrace from it? Is there some action we can do to encourage the health and growth of both the internal and external worlds?

“When we embrace our experience, we must develop a healthy balance between awareness, acceptance and action.”

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Author: Phillip J. Watt

 

What Science Is Telling Us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

The wonderful and brilliant scientists over at the Institute of HeartMath have done some amazing work in shedding light on some very significant findings regarding the science of the heart.

The Institute of HeartMath is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with their minds at home, school, work and play.

A large portion of their research has investigated heart and brain interaction. Researchers at the institute have examined how the heart and brain communicate with each other and how that affects our consciousness and the way in which we perceive our world.

Their research has shed light on a number of facts, one for example, is when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, that the heart beats out a very different message. They’ve been able to determine this by the fact that the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, and they can gather data from it.

“Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.” – Rolin McCratey , Ph.D, Director of Research at the Institute.

This is very important work, as again, it shows how the heart plays an important role far beyond what is commonly known. Did you know that your heart emits electromagnetic fields that change according to your emotions? Did you know that the human heart has a magnetic field that can be measured up to several feet away from the human body?  Did you know that positive emotions create physiological benefits in your body? Did you know that you can boost your immune system by conjuring up positive emotions? Did you know that negative emotions can create a nervous system chaos, and that positive emotions do the complete opposite?  Did you know that the heart has a system of neurons that have both short term and long term memory, and that their signals sent to the brain can affect our emotional experiences? Did you know that in fetal development, the heart forms and starts beating before the brain is developed?  Did you know that a mother’s brainwaves can synchronize to her baby’s heartbeats? Did you know that the heart sends more information to the brain than vice versa?

All of these facts, published researched papers and more can be accessed at heartmath.org

This Is Why It’s Important For The Human Race To Change The Way We Feel Inside

The Institute of HeartMath does a wonderful job in furthering the importance of why it’s critical for many of us to change the way we feel inside. Not much can be accomplished from a place of sadness, angst, sorrow and depression. Our current human experience, the everyday life we all seem to participate in does indeed take its toll on many. A lot of people are feeling that living the lifestyles we do, struggling to pay bills, constantly working and more is not a natural type of existence for the human race. It’s an experience which makes it hard to maintain a “high frequency” or positive state for some. What makes it even more perplexing is the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way, we are capable of so much more.

At the same time, we have a large number of people struggling to feed, clothe and shelter themselves. The Earth is being destroyed and our time to turn things around seems to be limited. This hard reality is still present on Earth, despite the number of solutions that have been identified which could alleviate these problems. It can be difficult to maintain a positive state of mind when we see so many things on our planet that need to change, but we cannot change what we would like to change unless we do it from a positive peaceful state.

Despite all of these experiences, many people experiencing them do manage to find inner peace and moments of joy regardless of their experience, which is quite remarkable. It’s all about perspective, seeing the bigger picture and changing the way you look at things.

Happiness is no doubt an inside job, but with a human experience that is not resonating with many it can be hard to maintain. This is evident in a variety of different areas where people are starting to stand up and demand change. More and more people are wanting to change this entire human experience on multiple levels, one where everybody can thrive, one where everybody can feel good, one where nobody has to suffer or feel negative emotions. If one is suffering, we all suffer, that’s the way we feel here at CE and it’s clear that many are resonating with that feeling.

The funny thing about our feelings is that, for the most part it’s a choice. We can change the way we feel just by changing our thoughts. Negative emotions about a person, place or certain experience in our lives or the planet are usually a result of the thoughts we have about them. At the end of the day, in the grander scheme of things it’s just a human experience, and all experiences are serving us proving opportunities for growth.

Bottom line, positive emotions, feelings of love, gratitude, compassion and more have a larger impact than what we could have ever imagined. These are all characteristics of consciousness, and as quantum physics is showing us, consciousness plays some sort of role in the creation of our reality. If this is true, how we feel certainly plays a large part, and with the research coming out at the Institute of HeartMath, it’s clear that feeling good and positive emotions (gratitude, love compassion) play a very important role when it comes to the nature of our reality and could be the fundamental key for global change.

A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual” –   (R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29, 2005, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University)

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Author: Arjun Walia / Collective Evolution

 

How Music Benefits the Brain

Music has played an important part of every human culture, both past and present. People around the world experience universal responses to music. We’re all familiar with how certain pieces of music can change your mood, get you motivated, or help you concentrate. And now, advances in neuroscience enable researchers to quantitatively measure how music affects the brain.

Their discoveries are exciting — and good news for music lovers.

Music is a fantastic brain exercise that activates every known part of the brain. Music can make you smarter, happier and more productive at all stages of life. Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest findings on the many ways both playing and listening to music can enhance your brain.

Musicians Have Better Brains

If you want evidence of how music affects the brain, it makes sense to look at the brains of people who play a lot of music — professional musicians. Brain scans show that their brains are different than the those of the rest of us. Their brains are noticeably more symmetrical. Areas of the brain responsible for motor control, auditory processing, and spatial coordination are larger. They also have a larger corpus callosum, which is the band of nerve fibers that enables the two hemispheres of the brain to communicate with each other.

Change Your Mood with Music

Science has now proven what music lovers already know, that listening to upbeat music can improve your mood. Listening and playing music reduces chronic stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Music can make you feel more hopeful, powerful, and in control of your life. And listening to sad music has its benefits, too. If you are going through a tough time, listening to sad music is cathartic; it can help you get in touch with those emotions to help heal them. If you listen to a lot of music, make sure you have the right listening equipment so that you don’t sacrifice on quality. Look out for the Graham Slee HiFi logo when choosing, to see how you can really improve your listening experience.

Even if you aren’t a professional musician, listening to music can still enhance your work performance. Listening to music at work can make you a happier, more productive employee — especially if it’s music you’ve chosen. Office workers allowed to listen to the kind of music they like complete tasks more quickly and come up with better ideas than those who have no control over their musical choices.

Music Boosts Brain Chemicals

One of the ways music enhances brain function is by stimulating the formation of certain brain chemicals. Listening to music increases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is the brain’s “motivation molecule” and an integral part of the pleasure-reward system. It’s the same brain chemical responsible for the “feel good” states obtained from eating chocolate, orgasm, and runner’s high.

Playing music with others or enjoying live music also stimulates the brain hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has been called the “trust molecule” and the “moral molecule” since it helps us bond with and trust others. There’s evidence that the oxytocin bump experienced by music lovers can make them more generous and trustworthy.

Music Helps You Learn

Many schools have cut music programs due loss of funding, and this is widely believed by parents and educators to be a big mistake. Music, whether taught in or outside of school, helps students excel in the following ways:

  • improved language development
  • small increase in IQ
  • improved test scores
  • increased brain connectivity
  • increased spatial intelligence

The last item on this list — spatial intelligence — helps students understand how things go together. This skill is critical in careers like architecture, engineering, math, and computer science.

The Effects of Musical Training on Young Brains

In the 1990s, the effects of music on the brain were popularized by the Mozart effect. This theory purported that listening to music composed by Mozart can make you smarter. Parents had their babies listen to the music of Mozart to give their brains a jump start — often even before they were born.

The accepted theory now is that taking music lessons as a child enhances brain function and structure, but that there’s nothing uniquely beneficial about the music of Mozart. Early music lessons enhance brain plasticity — the brain’s capacity to change and grow. Children with musical training do better in subjects like language, reading, and math and have better fine motor skills than their non-musical classmates. Kids who sing together in a choir report higher satisfaction in all their classes, not just music.

And if kids don’t stick with their music lessons forever, that’s OK. There’s evidence that a little bit of music training goes a long way. Just a half-hour music lesson increases blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain. As little as four years of music lessons were found to improve certain brain functions, even when tested 40 years later! When exposure to music training begins before age seven, the brain enhancement that takes place can last a lifetime.

Most studies on music and the brain have been done on older kids, but it looks like it’s never too young to start. In another study, music lessons of sorts — playing drums and singing nursery rhymes — were given to babies before they could walk or talk. Babies who had music lessons communicated better, smiled more, and showed earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music.

Just as it’s never too early to start, it’s also never too late to benefit from music. Playing music and dancing protects seniors against memory loss and cognitive decline when compared to other brain exercises such as playing cards, doing the crossword puzzle, or walking for exercise. It will be interesting to see how popular online brain training programs like Lumosity fare against music in future studies.

How Music Therapy Improves Quality of Life

Anyone can play or listen to music for “recreational purposes only” and still gain brain benefits. But when professional health care help is warranted, you can enlist the aid of a musical therapist. Music therapists are trained to use music therapeutically to address their patients’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.

There are measurable changes in certain neurotransmitters following music therapy. Music therapy has proven useful for treating people with autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, pain management, emotional trauma, and a variety of mental disorders including depression. Potential benefits from working with a music therapist include improved mood, concentration, and motivation, and decreased anxiety, anger, stress, and frustration.

The Amazing Way Music Therapy Helps Alzheimer’s Patients

One of the most remarkable successes of music therapy is the impact it has on the lives of Alzheimer’s patients. Advanced Alzheimer’s patients lose their ability to have interactive conversations with others and eventually stop speaking completely. But music therapy has been very successful at getting through to patients where nothing else has.

When hearing familiar music, patients often visibly “light up” and sing along. It seems that musical memories far outlast other kinds of memories. Caretakers and family members report that for most patients, music therapy is the best part of the day.

Music therapy does more than help patients remember. It helps alleviate depression, anxiety, and agitation while improving brain function and overall quality of life. To learn more about how music therapy is changing lives of the elderly and infirmed, I highly recommend the documentary Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory. Winner of the 2014 Audience Choice Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this movie chronicles the astonishing experiences of nursing home patients whose brains have been reawakened by listening to the music of their youth.

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Author: Deane Alban / Wake Up World

 

Creating Your Future – Arise Great Warrior, Arise!

Are you doing what you always wanted to do? Are you doing what you believe in? Do you live the life that was meant for you to live? From where do you seek approval? Are you looking inward?

There are millions of people around the world who eagerly wait the weekend every week, the summer vacation every year, and later on, long before the age of retirement, they fantasize about that good free time during retirement.  If you ask these people how much they like what they are doing for a living, they will typically answer that their work “pays the bills.”

On the other side of the river, there is a different community of people. When you ask them what they will do on the weekend or after they retire, they will simply state that they are already on an eternal weekend and timeless retirement, that their summer vacation and their vocation are both 365 days long every year. These people do not have to prove that what they are saying is true about themselves. Every time you meet them, they radiate joy and truth. They are content. They have time for others, not just outside their work time, but any time. Interestingly enough, all of their bills are paid and in fact, some of these people are financially rich.

The way of the heart is not limited to leading us to enjoyable and fulfilling work, it is also the way for making every major or minor decision in our lives.

Creating Your Future

You can cross the river from the cloudy, muddy and rocky shore to the shore of sunshine and green pastures. You can make that trip, just as not only famous people have done, but also as simple every-day people have done and are continuing to do every day. If you sense that there is something missing in your life, and you do not look forward to going to work when you wake up in the morning, your chosen vocation very likely does not fulfill your needs. And you can change all that.

First, there are several questions which need to be answered, because the answers will encourage and direct us towards the path we would like to be on. By examining critically the different causes which on a daily basis keep our bodies weak and tired, our minds confused and restless, and our hearts sad and fearful, we will learn how to avoid such a way of living and see the alternative, the green pastures on the opposite shore.

Next, we should examine how and with what materials we will construct our own boat to be able to cross the river. We can gain wisdom by meditating on the words of the wise people of the past. We can see how they also crossed the river, and we can be inspired by their examples.

What are the reasons why some people are so content in life while others are not? Why do some people seem happy when they are very absorbed in their work but lonely and miserable when they are away from their workplace? As for the people who are radiating timeless joy, not just at the work place but also everywhere else, were they born that way or did they become that way? How? What is the way of thinking that causes people to do work which doesn’t use their talents and which does not express their individuality, or their values and ethics? Where does this way of thinking – which enslaves people – come from? Is it possible to adopt a new way of thinking which will enable us to break loose from our enslavement?

Coming to know ourselves in order to create an enjoyable future is not a process that takes days, weeks, months, or a few years. It can take our whole life, but we should always remember that being on the right path and aiming for our distinct identity and distinct role in life is what makes us happy. Enduring and timeless joy is not found only upon reaching selfhood, it is planted and harvested in the process of trying to achieve it. You will have to act in order to place yourself on the right path towards self-realization.

From a Small Seed…

Take as an example a farmer who has just one olive seed in his hand. He looks at it, knowing it is strong and healthy, and he looks around and sees the majesty of nature. With awareness he accepts the fact that the same power that has brought him into existence has also provided the seed and the soil, the sun and the water. That is, the farmer knows himself; he knows who he is and what he has for use at his disposal. How wise that farmer is when he looks at the seed and he sees not only one, but thousands of seeds. That is imagination. Now he must take out the weeds and prepare the ground, and trusting the powers of the universe, he then buries the seed in the soil. Before he sees the grown tree and is rewarded with its precious olive oil, most likely he will often experience some fear and doubt.

How does he know if the weather will help the growth? How does he know if an animal will not eat the seed while it is in the ground? He must simply wait and believe for the best. He has no other choice but to act, and then wait. This time of waiting and wondering while the seed is buried in the ground could be the most frightening experience during the process.

Nevertheless, a farmer who knows himself and trusts other people for help if something goes wrong will enjoy the whole process, not just the olive oil he will obtain. He finds reward in every step he takes, from observing to preparing to gathering. At this point, the farmer has created his future; simply, in this case, he has produced his physical food. Finally, he will truly enjoy the product of his labor — the olives and the olive oil.

The same cycle of observing, preparing, and gathering will again take place the next year with even more joy and less fear. Now he has in his hand not just one seed but many.

It is essential to realize that this is our everyday life. We gather what we plant. If we plant in joy, we will gather it with more joy, and by knowing and trusting ourselves, the powers of the universe, and other people, we continue the cycle of planting and gathering with increasing joy and satisfaction for every new cycle of life-planning.

The Materialization of Fear

It is characteristic of our industrialized societies that it makes us lose our individuality, and so we become only a tiny part in the social machine. It is therefore of great importance that we keep in mind that such a way of living is foreign to human dignity and to our own happiness. By working just to pay our bills, we are missing the meaning of life. Sooner or later, we will have to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves, not for the sake of the machine but for our own sake, and therefore, for the sake of the whole world.

The increase in violence and environmental degradation observed in our days is the materialization of our unfulfilled hearts and unjustified fears. Only happy people, content with themselves and in harmony with others and nature, can lead the world to peace and environmental sustainability. The world needs more happy people. It needs more people who work using their talents, who earn their living by doing what they love, and are passionate about. These people have found their true self, peace, and joy. They are fulfilled and in harmony, knowing who they are and what they do in their life.

Spiritual Poverty

During my teaching experience at several colleges and universities in North America and Europe, I have met hundreds of students and I have heard their stories. The statement “I am working on this degree because of my parents” is so common and illustrates a degree of tragedy — because we should not live the unfulfilled dreams of our parents. Most of us mistakenly choose careers based on status, salary potential, or the pressure we receive from our well-meaning parents. Unfortunately, this is not usually what we are most capable of doing or what is the most fulfilling for us.

My heart goes out to all these young boys and girls who are filled with beautiful dreams and who need encouragement to fulfill them, and to all those people who already have a career but who would also like to make a transition to fulfill their dreams. I wrote these words for you.

Deciding early on the right training for the right vocation for healthy living in the future has now become even more crucial than in the past. There is an apparent trend in many work places for longer work hours, yet more people feel less secure now because many are losing their jobs overnight. But people who have realized their inner strength and unique talents can create or see opportunities for work any time, and stay above the water.

With every passing day, it is becoming more obvious that those who will have job security and peace in the future will not be those who are working for corporations; it will be those who have realized their inborn abilities and not just the skills acquired through education. As computers continue to replace more workers every day and as unemployment rises, people will be forced by the need for survival to do work much different than they were educated and trained to do. Thus it is crucial for people to become more active and decisive in seeking a personally satisfying career.

I myself had felt the urgency and had heard the clear inner voice years ago telling me to change the type of work I was doing, to go from research to teaching. I waited for many years before taking that little step onward, for reasons that each one of us would find very justifiable based on our world’s standards and fears. But our soul is eager to find full expression and to devote itself to serving others by using the gifts and talents that have been bestowed on us. Suppressing that force can lead us not only to inner turmoil and unhappiness, but even to the loss of our health. Not only was my mind in confusion and my mood bad day after day, but also my body was experiencing terrible pain. I was simply miserable all that time, trying to avoid the calling of my heart. I was in spiritual poverty and I was creating spiritual poverty for those around me.

Jumping Into The Unknown

Do we have to reach the bottom before we awaken and realize the meaning of life? It need not be that way. Quitting my role in government nuclear labs and jumping into the unknown transformed my inner life and influenced many of the people around me in a beautiful way. Searching for the truth and speaking it is our first vocation, and without it, we can never fulfill our destiny. Following the inner voice to abandon familiar waters and false security is no less than speaking the truth to the whole world and to ourselves.

The decision to work on what seemed to me as natural as breathing – teaching – was the best decision I could have made for my whole life span on this planet. To revise my career has been the most frightening experience I could ever have imagined; nevertheless, it has also been the most elevating and exciting experience that I could have possibly expected. I know that this is also true for many people who have dared to try the experiment.

The road to happiness is always the road towards the unknown. Our culture today promises security, but we know well that what we need is inner security, which comes only from knowing our true selves and from knowing our magnificent talents, potential, and abilities. The path we need to travel is not reached by receiving security from the work we do at the command of others, but instead, from the work we do at the command of our deepest yearnings for self-expression, by simply doing what we most enjoy. It is the way we can never fail.

Our motto should be, “We work for ourselves in order to serve others” instead of “We work for others in order to serve ourselves.”

After you finish reading these lines, what will you do about the calling of your heart? Will you postpone the day of your freedom? You are not alone. Ask the advice of a wise friend; it is the easiest and most inexpensive way. Or read another book on this subject. Perhaps, visit a counselor and pay attention to his/her advice. Attend a lecture or a workshop where an inspiring speaker could provide the spark you need to take the step. Usually speakers on this subject are people who have done just that in their own lives. At an early age, they may have stood up strong before family, friends and society to choose their own destiny, to do what they enjoy most, or maybe later in their life, they took the leap of faith to change careers and do what they really love. Allow them to transfer their flame to your heart so you can also take the leap of faith you need to take.

Just as a car needs to have gas in order to keep moving, you may need a good counselor, a good book, and a good friend to stand by you, inform you, and encourage you. But for a car to start moving, it needs a spark; even with the tank full of gas, it will not move without it. As important as the gas is, so is the spark. A great inspiring lecture or seminar will take you emotionally to higher places, but soon you will feel hopeless and flat again. That is why you must patiently and constantly strive for the change in your life.

Arise Great Warrior, Arise!

People without career satisfaction can hardly be in peace. It has been said that the grand total of peace in the world is the total sum of the peace of its people. For thousands of years, many cultures have used the olive branch as a symbol of peace and goodwill.

Wars will continue to take place, machines will keep breaking down, things will keep getting lost, and many people will keep becoming more fearful of the future. But butterflies will still keep moving from flower to flower, and the fragrance of basil and orange blossoms will still give inspiration to anyone of us who want to live with joy. Only happy people can lead the world to peace.

During your lifetime on this planet, you are like a warrior in a battle against all kinds of cultural barriers and spiritual wounds, which prevent you from reaching selfhood. Fear no more, for endless joy is your final end. You must “fight the good fight” in your lifetime in order for your inside to come into harmony with your outside. Therefore arise, great warrior, arise!

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Author: Andreas Toupadakis / Wake Up World

10 Choices That Lead to a Happy, Fulfilling Life

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” – Aeschylus
I asked myself one question: “Do I want this year to look like the last one?”
The answer was an immediate and very solid no. I frantically began to analyze what I was doing with my life to get this reaction. I was unhappy, romantically, professionally, and socially.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the big stuff.

I learned this after I had my wallet, passport, and camera stolen. Every day you will be faced with challenges that are both in and out of your control. Either way, there’s no sense in worrying about them.
If the situation is uncontrollable, whatever is going to happen, will. If you can control it, then take a deep breath and face it with a calm mind to make the process much easier. Worrying gets you nowhere. Hakuna Matata.

2. Do something every day that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Order and routine give us a sense of security. It feels nice to have familiarity, but it’s also hard to grow into the person you’re meant to be without pushing your limits and trying new things.
At one point, everything is new to us. The more experiences you expose yourself to, the higher probability you’ll find one your passionate about.

3. Live fully in each moment.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised. The only certain thing we have in life is right now, this very moment.
This is an important lesson I’ve learned when meditating with the monks throughout Thailand. They teach the significance of remaining mindful and the importance of acknowledging our senses.
By smelling, tasting, feeling, seeing, and hearing everything in our surroundings, we’re able to stay in the present, resulting in insight, a crucial stepping stone on the path to happiness. Life is incredibly beautiful when you slow down enough to enjoy it. Live in the moment, live for right now. This very moment is life.

4. Give gratitude any chance you can, and lots of it.

I really learned about gratitude when traveling through Indonesia. When once I would have complained about a bad Wi-Fi connection, I saw people just grateful for clean drinking water. It really puts things into perspective.
Take the time to remember how lucky you are. Even if it doesn’t feel this way, it could always be worse. Share love and gratitude every chance you can, and you’re left with an overwhelming feeling of abundance and happiness.

5. Remember, life is what’s happening while you’re busy on your cell phone.

Dining solo, I was left to master the art of people watching. What I observed was this: the happiest, loudest, and liveliest tables were those with cellphones tucked away. They were making memories and sharing stories and experiencing what life is all about.
They ate more slowly and stayed longer because there wasn’t anywhere they’d rather be. On the contrary, those with eyes glued to bright screens were quiet and quick to eat with emotionless expressions.
Next time you’re out, try leaving your phone in the car to thoroughly enjoy your company. If you can’t imagine a meal without technology, at least take a few moments to observe the difference between people on their phones and those who aren’t, and ask yourself, who’s table would you rather be sitting at?

6. Listen to your gut.

I’ve never been so in tune with myself as when I was on the road with no travel companion to interrupt my thoughts. There have been countless times when I’ve gotten myself out of sticky situations (or avoided them altogether) by listening to my “gut feeling” as a reliable and trustworthy source.
Silence the mind and listen to the body. Our gut is widely acknowledged as our second brain. If it feels wrong and you can’t exactly pinpoint why, it’s your intuition in physical form telling you it probably is. Listen to what it has to say.

7. Look for similarities.

Same same. In Bangkok, I probably heard this phrase nine thousand times, which inevitably led me to ponder its significance.
No matter where you go in the world, as different as we appear, we are much more similar to one another. We all have human emotions. Sadness and excitement are genetically programmed in us, and we all have the same end goal of happiness.
A smile and laughter are universal. When you meet someone new, look for similarities and it will form an intimate bond. You’ll begin to feel compassion and a connection to them. A feeling of connection gives you a sense of home no matter where you are.

8. Let go of the fear of not being accepted and let your true self come out.

Living abroad alone, I really embraced my inner weirdo. I laid out all the things I was hesitant to say and do before because I assumed no one would “get” me. The results? Confidence and self-respect.
You owe it to yourself to celebrate your uniqueness and be the truest version of you. Those who are meant to stick around will love you even more for it. Besides, weird people bring a lot to the table. Just saying.

9. Make time to reflect on relationships and make changes.

Being on a twelve-hour time difference and half a world away makes communication to home difficult, and perfect for relationship reflection. I really began to analyze the quality of my relationships, asking, “Do they feed my soul? Do we really have that much in common?”
Life is too short to spend time with anyone who exhausts you. Be selective with where your energy goes. For those who you decide to keep in your life, it’s important you show them how much they mean to you. Love and respect leads to quality relationships, which are the only ones worth having.

10. Know that no matter how far you travel in search of happiness, it can only be found in one place.

A monk at the Wat Mahathat in Bangkok said something I will never forget. “Why are you here in Thailand? To find happiness? You won’t find it here. I can’t give it to you. You can travel the world to find it, but there is only one place it can be found. It is found within.”
I had left home and traveled across the world to find happiness, but I never felt it until I became fully connected with myself.
Somewhere along the way I lost sight of the important things by forgetting my relationships, ignoring my gut, and worrying too much about the past and the future. None of these things served me.
True and lasting peace is found within. When you learn to be appreciative for what you have, embrace the present moment, and love fully, this is happiness. 

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Mentally Strong People: 13 Things They Avoid

For all the time people spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more.

Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit”, optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear”, if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11.Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

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Source: www.forbes.com

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