How to Become a Free Thinker: A Practical Guide

We humans like to think that we are freethinkers, but how many of us truly are? How many people actually think for themselves, without falling victims to beliefs or ideologies? How many are not heavily influenced by the biased information that the media is presenting them with? How many are choosing to have certain opinions just because an authority figure told them to or because tradition holds them to be true?

The reality is that most people don’t know how to think critically, and blindly accept the beliefs that were handed to them by society. But unless one learns to think for oneself, how can one grow into a more conscious, wise person? It’s impossible.

So how can a person learn to think for himself or herself? Well, here’s a concise practical guide on how to become a freethinker that will help you to identify and break free from the prison of belief andarrive at your own conclusions in your quest for truth.

How to Become a Freethinker

Doubt your beliefs.

The first and most important step to become a freethinking individual is to doubt the beliefs that have been forced upon you by others. Whatever your beliefs are — whether religious, political, philosophical and so on — be sure to question them, scrutinize them, and discard any of them when you find no solid evidence supporting them.

Question authority. 

Most people choose to obey and follow what authority tells them is true and right. They don’t think for themselves — they let others do the thinking for them instead. A freethinker never accepts anything on authority. He/she asks questions and is open to accept any answers that point to the truth, even if they go against the opinions and beliefs of authority.

Observe your behavior. 

Although we tend to think that we have free will, most of our actions are actually carried out on an unconscious level. In a sense, we are victims to our habits. To become a freethinker, you need to become more aware of your thoughts, actions, and overall behavior. Once you do so, you’ll be able to better understand yourself and make more conscious choices in life, without behaving in certain ways just because you feel compelled to.

Stop conforming.

Another important step to become a freethinker is to detach yourself from group thinking. People choose to conform in all sorts of ways just in order to feel accepted and liked by others. To achieve that, many people unquestionably accept what others tell them out of the fear of being left out. By escaping the herd mentality you’ll be able to think more clearly, without feeling the pressure to comply with others.

Use critical thinking.

Learning how to use critical thinking is of utmost importance to freethinking. If you can’t analyze and critically assess the information that you come across, you’ll be an easy target for manipulation and thought control. Critical thinking will assist you in your search to discover the truth, by helping you to avoid being influenced by biased opinions and false information.

Voice your mind.

A freethinker is a rebel. It’s a person who is not afraid to speak his/her mind, no matter how opposing his/her ideas are to the establishment. Whatever you consider as true, right and of importance to be communicated to others, do openly talk about it, even if you are the only person who has the guts to do so.

Research. 

A freethinker cares about truth like nothing else. In the journey to finding truth, there are guides that can help one approach it easier and quicker. If you’re searching for truth, it would be beneficial if you gathered knowledge from as many sources as you can, whether that is books, documentaries, podcasts, and so on. Do whatever helps to expand your consciousness.

Keep an open mind.

Last but not least, a freethinker is a person with an open mind. That means, a person who is open to learning new things and ready to change his mind when presented with evidence that contradicts his opinions and beliefs. A freethinker doesn’t accept anything blindly but at the same time doesn’t shrink from considering emerging perspectives and ideas that may challenge his/her worldview.

 

Author : Sofo Archon – Wake Up World

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Recognizing Real vs. Artificial Synchronicities

Real synchronicities and artificial synchronicities both have meaning to the perceiver. Both manifest via highly improbable “coincidences.”

Real synchronicities come from your subconscious/HigherSelf/Universe and let you know that a quantum shift in perception is imminent – this can be an emotionally charged situation or a smoother leap in learning.

Artificial synchronicity is engineered by hyperdimensional negative beings in an attempt to suppress, sabotage, drain, distract, or mislead targets on the verge of awakening. This can happen in a variety of ways.

One way artificial synchronicity occurs is by backing disinformation with synchronistic “confirmation” – for example, you can get multiple people at the same time who apparently don’t know each other to tell you about some idea, which in truth is bait to lead you down the wrong path. You may see this odd timing as confirmation that it’s the right path, even though it isn’t.

A common one happens to people who attend UFO or New Age conventions and “synchronistically” meet someone who happens to share odd things in common with their personal history. They believe it was “meant to be” and so often start relationships with these people only to find out too late that they were conned or hooked up with a matrix agent. One red flag is if the person shows no independent thinking and is just mirroring you in a shallow way and carries a glib salesman-like too-smooth-yet-hasty ‘gotta make the sale’ undertone.

Another is experiencing electronic anomalies after doing something that’s on the wayward path. Say you are researching a questionable topic and the computer freezes or shuts down. Some people take that to mean they are on the right path and are being interfered with by “the dark side”, when in truth they are being reinforced in their error. The goal is to get you to ignore your intuition and reason in favor of this “sign.”

Now, all of the above can happen with real synchronicities as well. How to tell apart artificial from real synchronicities? Well, the artificial ones seem contrived, very forceful and rushed, and just a bit too weird. They try to press you into making a particular decision or sparkle up something that you know deep down is false, whereas real synchronicities merely reflect confirmation of decisions you have already made or else forecast an upcoming leap in progress.

Take into account the nature of the Higher Self and the Universe’s interface with your own subconscious mind, reflecting in experience the nature of your thoughts, feelings, and tendencies — there is much weirdness that can happen via this process. Likewise, consider that negative hyper dimensional forces have advanced technology bordering on time travel, can influence people around you into saying or doing pre-scripted things, have at their disposal cyber genetic humanoids posing as regular people who are completely remote-controllable, and can zap electronic equipment or cause paranormal effects. So basically you have to differentiate between “real magic” and “stage illusions” when it comes to synchronicity.

Only experience and intuition can tell you know which is which.

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Author: Montalk – Wake Up World

What It Means To Control The Mind

The human mind is a wonderful masterpiece that has immense potential. Most of the potential, however, remains unused with most people, since it is not us who is in charge of things — it is our mind that is in control. Our Mind is rushing through life with us like a car running without a driver, causing us constant suffering and sorrow.

But if we were able to control our Mind, our life would change completely. This mad speeding would change into a beautiful, creative dance, giving us happiness, instead of pain.

The question is, therefore, how are we able to take control over our Mind?

The Nature of the Mind

In order to control something, we first need to know the nature of that thing, therefore we must know our Mind so as to be in charge of it. The most important thing we need to know about our Mind, is that it is not something that exists separately, individually, like some inanimate object. The Mind is not an object – it is a process – the process of constantly streaming thoughts. This stream of thoughts is what we perceive as the Mind. When these thoughts disappear, the Mind disappears with them, as the two are only able to exist together. The very basic nature of thoughts, is that they are in constant movement, and this motion, almost automatically, creates the Mind.

A characteristic feature of our Mind is that it keeps roaming, wandering; it operates in something like an automatic mode. Thoughts come and go- the time. If we attempt to suppress them, it is only possible with considerable efforts, and even then for only a short time. During most of our waking time, our Mind wanders either in the past or in the future – in our thoughts we deal with our experience of the past, offences we suffered in the past, or with our future plans, goals, and fears.

Another characteristic of our Mind is that it constantly evaluates things. This means that we do not simply live through our experiences, but we also categorize them as good or bad. We judge everything that happens to us and everybody we meet in our lives. This permanent categorization may easily lead to a distorted perception of the world, as we evaluate our new experiences in these categories. If we find an experience negative, we will tend to keep – and reinforce – that category for similar experiences in the future. Our perception will, therefore, be selective, and we will only accept the stimuli that reinforces our categorization, and we tend to ignore those that fall outside our usual categories.

The third important characteristic of the Mind is that it permanently produces stories. These stories often have a disastrous end. For instance, I suddenly try to remember whether I locked the door of my home or not. The Mind immediately fabricates a whole story around the idea: I did leave it open, a burglar came, my valuables have been stolen, and the police, instead of chasing the thief, will harass me with their questions. We often experience the ends and emotional consequences of these stories. Another type of story deals with us, who are we, what are we like, what we should do, or should have done. The entirety of these stories comprises our personal histories.

A Foolish Game

Most people tend to identify with their thoughts and personal histories, that is, with their Minds. A lot of us are not satisfied with what we are, and we would like to have a better and more beautiful personal history. That is why we create a mental image of our desired personal development and the ways of making the work of our Minds more effective.

In order to achieve the mental image we ourselves have created, we embark on a foolish game, as we attempt to bring our Minds under our own control and be the masters of our own development. Since we do not know the nature of the Mind, this venture is destined to fail right from the beginning.

This game is foolish, since in fact one half of the Mind attempts to bring the other half under control. Our Mind itself deems our own mental image of our personal development as good. At the same time, this half of the Mind deems the other half, the one we wish to change, bad. Mental images fight against each other, trying to overcome each other, using the weapons of selective perception and story fabrication. The struggle goes on, with changing luck, all through our lives. Sometimes we believe that we are making some progress, we are improving, and a few weeks, months or years later we drop into the abyss of despair.

A lot of us play this foolish game all through our lives, because we are unable to recognize the simple fact that a Mind is unable to overcome itself. We may, perhaps, with the utmost effort, suppress what we believe is bad in us. That is, however, just a virtual victory, leading us to virtual calm and personal development because when our power declines, the suppressed forces break out again, destroying all the temporary results that we achieved previously, washing away the results of our personal development.

The Freedom of Tolerance

Now we can see that the way leading to controlling our Minds does not succeed through suppressing them. It is not possible to control the Mind in the ordinary sense of the word. Partly because it only exists in its functions and operation, and partly because there is nobody to control it. One half of the Mind, as we have seen, does not control, only suppresses the other half.

In order to be able to control our Minds, we must step outside of them. This statement may sound surprising to a lot of us, since we tend to fully identify with our Minds and their operations. As long as this identification is strong, we shall not be able to step outside the crazy dance of our Minds; we will have to merely suffer its consequences.

Nowadays, however, more and more of us have begun to realize and experience that we are more than our Minds, more than our thoughts and emotions, and more than the personal history these thoughts and emotions build up. Our attention is no longer completely engaged by telling our personal history and identifying with that personal history, and we become more and more sensitive to the deeper dimensions of our life. We also begin to notice the breaks between thoughts, and we begin to turn towards these gates leading beyond the Mind.

In these breaks between thoughts, Mind does not work, it is not there – it simply vanishes. What is left there is the alert and watching Consciousness. If we are able to take roots in that alert Consciousness, we recognize that this watching alertness is tolerant with the Mind and its operations. We shall see that there is nothing wrong with thoughts, nothing wrong with the operations of the Mind. It is not necessary to struggle against the Mind, as it is not an enemy, only an instrument that without control, tends to function chaotically.

We only have a chance to know the true nature of thoughts and the functions of the Mind, if we detach ourselves from them, keep a distance and do not consider them as enemies. They will reveal their secrets to the alert Consciousness, watching with affection, and we will see the subtle shades of the Mind, the games it plays and the dreams it evokes.

The Disappearing Mind

This tolerant, alert, watching attitude to the functions of the Mind will give us the ability of stopping our thinking effortlessly. Once thinking has been suspended, the continuous stream of thoughts stops, the Mind itself disappears and stops working.

Now we shall not seek our own identity in an identification with the Mind, since we have found our real center, our real self, our alertly watching Consciousness. We will be aware that thoughts and the Mind have not really disappeared, they are still there, only in a dormant state. Our attitude to thoughts and the Mind will entirely change at that moment. We think when necessary and when we do not need the Mind, we put it aside. The Mind no longer dominates our life, it is no more than an obedient tool that we use or not use as we please.

That is when we realize how wonderful an instrument the Mind is, and now we are able to use it for its original purpose. And the purpose of the Mind is to serve as a means of connection, connecting us to the world, to each other. Through the Mind, used with alert Consciousness, creative energies are released to the world to create a wonderful harmony there.

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Author: Frank M. Wanderer; Ph.D   l  Wake Up World

 

Active Dreaming: Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape

It is possible to enter a lucid dream directly from waking. Usually this entails lying down, relaxing, and allowing the body to fall asleep while the mind stays awake. Difficulties include falling asleep along with the body, or the body staying awake with the mind. Decoupling body and mind so that the latter can stay awake while the body falls asleep is difficult but possible.

The Process of Sleep

To enter normal sleep we begin by letting our thoughts wander until they turn into daydreams that either dissolve into oblivion along with our self-awareness and volition or else spontaneously evolve into hypnagogic imagery (short vivid hallucinations) that eventually cohere into a full-blown three dimensional dreamscape.

Whether drifting off takes us into oblivion or into a vivid dreamscape can depend on how far we are into our nightly sleep cycle. Early in the cycle, sleep tends to consist of delta brainwave activity and no REM (rapid eye movement), which indicates consciousness is off elsewhere. Most likely the soul is running its astral errands while the body does its repairs. Later in the cycle after these tasks are out of the way, or when taking a nap, the delta stage is replaced by immediate onset of hypnagogic andREM activity after mental relaxation. But these are passive dreams since lack of lucidity in them implies impaired volition.

Why are dreams so much more vivid than imagination? Because the images are being projected by the subconscious, not the conscious mind. Why do we lose self-awareness when we go to sleep? Because as we let our thoughts wander, the subconscious starts to influence our consciously projected internal images (imagination, visualization, daydreaming, mind chatter) while the conscious mind takes on a more passive and self-obliterating role. Not long after that, the subconscious takes over the role of projector and that is when mere mental images become virtual realities. The trade-off is that we have already abandoned ourselves by the time the dream projection kicks in.

We can understand the various states of internal imagery as being the result of either the conscious subconscious either directing or projecting these images:

Active dreaming: conscious directs while subconscious projects.

Passive dreaming: subconscious directs and projects.

Daydreaming: subconscious directs while conscious projects.

Visualizing: conscious directs and projects.

Inducing lucid dreams from a waking state therefore requires that the conscious mind retain its awareness and volition while the subconscious is given free reign to begin projecting the dreamscape. The prerequisite is total relaxation of the body, usually done in a step-wise fashion from head to toe, either by focusing on relaxing a particular body region, or tensing and releasing that region. A good exhausting workout that leaves you wiped out can also accomplish this.

Watching Phosphenes

One method of keeping your mind awake while falling asleep involves watching the phosphene images behind closed eyelids. These are the glowing blobs of static noise patterns that always fill our vision but are more easily noticed in the dark. Unlike passive dreaming, this keeps one’s visual faculties active and focused on real sense impressions instead of turning within and getting lost in consciously projected daydreams or visualizations.

Active Dreaming - Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape 2

Why is this important? Because notice that in dreams your “eyes” are focused on an environment existing “outside” you, seemingly as real as anything you might see with your physical eyes while awake. Also notice that in a dream, despite both your thoughts and the dreamscape being all “in your head”, you can still imagine things internally that are separate from the surrounding dreamscape. This means that the full blown 3D dreamscape is always perceived as an external phenomenon to your five senses, than mere imagination which is internal and runs in parallel to your surroundings. So staring out into the field of phosphenes involves a similarly externalized point of focus, even though eyes are closed. In this way, one aspect of the dream experience (the external visual focus) is already established. It therefore does not take long for hypnagogic images to start up this way, although these can startle one back into full consciousness. With repeated exposure they become less startling, especially if you cultivate a calm, detached, nonplussed attitude and ease into these images without becoming self-conscious and excited, which can snap you awake.

The next issue is becoming so quickly absorbed in the phosphenes and hypnagogic images that one loses self-awareness before the subconscious is ready to begin fully projecting a dreamscape. To counter this, a second technique may be employed: quickly opening and shutting your eyes every two or three breaths. This allows enough real sense data to come in, and is so intentionally controlled, that the mind has better chances of staying alert. And yet since this involves mere movement of the eyelids, the rest of the body is not prevented from doing its thing to fall asleep. One can keep this up until the hypnagogic state kicks in, then continue watching those and the phosphenes.

Sleep Paralysis

Very soon the body falls asleep by entering sleep paralysis, which feels like a sudden sinking, melting, tingling feeling. This is not your body going numb with boredom from having lain still for an hour. Sleep paralysis comes with a release of the soul from the physical body, and that induces the sinking or melting feeling. You may also notice your breathing suddenly becoming deeper, effortless, and automatic as the parasympathetic nervous system takes over. If your mind is still highly active, your breathing restricted, and your body simply numb from lack of stimulation then you’re not in sleep paralysis. You literally have to fall asleep, but with your awareness intact.

The subconscious is then at the verge of fully projecting the dreamscape, and one has only to retain enough self-awareness throughout the onset of sleep paralysis to allow the final consciously directed nudge to kick off a dream. (After catching your body falling asleep, before a dream begins you can visualize and intend to roll out of bed and that will induce an astral projection instead of a dream). Or you can visualize something and “get into it” and that will initiate a dream.

It is the intent combined with visualization that puts the subconscious fully online, and a dream begins. Then you can do reality checks (flipping a light switch, looking for inconsistencies) or astral checks (seeing your body still in bed with correct clothes on) and lucidly go from there.

Active Dreaming - Exploring the Vivid Dreamscape

Take note that because this technique requires immediate access to REM sleep, it must be done after already having slept five or six hours, or during the day when napping. If you’ve had a long day and are beat, and crawl into a cozy bed for lights out, you’ll have a tough time retaining awareness and your brain won’t initiate heavy REM activity right away. Rudolf Steiner talked about remaining aware regardless as being a qualification for occult initiation, and that in doing so you get to witness what happens during the delta non-dream sleep. He says one visits the spirit realm and experiences things there are harmonies and colors (which is probably all that the conscious mind can decode of that experience at first, whereas the subconscious or higher mind during this experience is probably having a very involved time “up there”). But for active dreaming purposes, later in the sleep cycle or during a nap is better.

Some induction techniques start off with visualization, whereby the conscious mind directs and projects mental imagery until the subconscious takes over the role of projector. The above technique of staring into the phosphene void and looking at hypnagogic imagery that arises does not use intentional visualization until the final nudge, thereby allowing the subconscious to start projecting more easily because it does not have to wrestle that role away from the conscious. To repeat, visualization is not necessary until the final stage when the body is asleep, otherwise it might interfere with the subconscious stepping into its role as projector. You can indeed use visualization, and Steiner’s method as well as Theun Mares’ method employ that, whereby an imagined visual suddenly blooms to life when the subconscious takes over and turns it into a dream experience (Steiner himself got that technique from Goethe, who wrote of experiencing exactly such a imagination -> dream phenomenon).

Applications

Why is active dreaming important? Because it allows access to the dreaming faculty at will and is therefore more repeatable at will compared to other methods of lucid dream induction involving autosuggestion, dream signs, periodic reality checks, and so on. However it is also more difficult to implement due to having to be conscious the moment the body falls asleep. But like any activity that requires finesse, whether hitting a golf ball or parallel parking, it can be trained with practice.

When you have achieved this state, which Robert Monroe termed “mind awake, body asleep” then you are effectively on a launch platform for dreaming, astral projecting, scrying, remote viewing, healing, entity evocations, past life exploration, spirit releasement therapy, subconscious reprogramming, communicating with the higher self, etc. This state of mind, which some claim consists of theta brain waves overlapped with high frequency gamma waves, is the state from which most occult maneuvers are performed.

Mnemonic Anchoring

When the body has entered its melted tingly state, it is possible to anchor this mnemonically using some tongue position, breathing pattern, eye movement, visualized sequence of symbols, hand mudra, or command phrase. When the anchor is repeatedly associated with this state, later the anchor can be invoked to cause the body to reflexively enter the state, dramatically shortening the induction procedure. But creating the association takes much repetition. Theun Mares’ technique and the Silva Method employ such mnemonic triggers.

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Author: Montalk – Wake up World

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

Short Lived – Why Constant Thinking Is Our Only Enemy

The enemy of my enemy (the mind) is my friend (pristine consciousness).

The design of all species is to function in concordance with life’s universal laws. Over eons of time a part of one of our most sensitive instruments (the memory-senses complex) took a mis-leading turn when it deceived its co-dependent partner (the pristine consciousness) into believing that the decisions being made by pristine consciousness are self-generated. This mis-understanding is easily corrected. It is the Intelligence (the mysterious expression of all that exists) – pristine consciousness affinity that will make us whole again.

The consciousness that we are presently experiencing is not our natural state. We live (for the most part) in our head (mind) where thoughts seem to be never ending. This is our foremost challenge to be resolved. The content of consciousness is mind and mind is the problem maker.

It is not possible for mind to correct what it is part of. A like thing cannot see itself. What mind cannot see, mind cannot change. Change can only come through transformation. Transformation is the seeing beyond mind. It is more apperception than perception. It is seeing through the Intelligence – pristine consciousness connection. This bonding is the prime-directive that guides human life. Our present state is more like a semi-hypnotic trance, a sort of twilight zone. What is responsible for this? Is it by natural design?

We are designed to do little thinking and only when there are utilitarian challenges. Between two thoughts there is a rest, similar to the rest that is between musical notes. Our rest is the state of being alert, aware. It has been spoken of as the state of wakefulness. We are to remain awake before, during and after responding to life’s challenges. This state was spoken of in past writingsas: “This above all, to thine own self (awareness) be true and it must follow as the night the day (constant awareness) thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Society tells us that mind is a terrible thing to waste. Mind does not see that its intrusion into the challenge-response process is responsible for its share of the break-down between brain and body’s irregular functioning. By design, it is not the function of mind to think and so have an opinion about anything. Mind is simply a uniquely marvelous and indispensable recording and storing instrument. It cannot have an opinion about its content in the similar way a home recording device can have an opinion about its content. From morning till night, why this never ending mind chattering?

When a challenge is discerned by the pristine consciousness, it will either respond or not. When there is a response, that response will be immediate. That Action or non-action in so far as the pristine consciousness is concerned, a cycle that has been fully completed.

There was a time when the pristine consciousness never had to doubt its responses to life’s challenges. During those times there were long periods of rest for both brain and body. Mind, (disguising itself as the pristine consciousness) has told us that Nature abhors a vacuum. We were told that “an idle mind is the devil’s work-shop.” Keeping busy is now considered the norm while the state of rest is seen as abnormal.

When mind does not intrude into the challenge-response process then the fully completed cycle ends and pristine consciousness remains in its awareness state. In that sense, thoughts are short lived. Mind’s sense of itself is in the constant imagery and chattering of words. When they disappear, you disappear. This is frightening to mind.

We are told that in order to end psychological suffering and act sanely, we first must quiet the mind. All efforts to end negative thinking are doomed to fail because that which is making efforts to be rid of thoughts (and only those mind doesn’t like) is another thought. It is similar to the dog chasing its tail and not seeing that it is part of itself. Thoughts vanish (both good and bad) when its modus-operandi is understood by the pristine consciousness.

Mind, in order to provide for and protect its continuous energy flow, is constantly involving itself with future goals, thereby laying the grounds for its never ending tomorrows. Without activity, mind starves. Thoughts need to be constantly fed and the energy (as food) of the pristine consciousness is what mind is always seeking. Mind’s survival depends on stealing lives (energy) and using them as surrogates for its dreams and desires. Un-knowingly pristine consciousness is making this offering by providing mind with its energy. This theft starts in the cradle and ends in the grave and all the while believing that it is our fulfillments.

Our present responses to life’s challenges are from answers previously given by others. Human beings cannot generate their own thoughts, only repeat what has been told to them by others. Choices (as free will) are just more deceptions of mind.

Living life is in the trusting (faith) between the Intelligence – pristine consciousness affinity. That life is ever-lasting. Where there is a wish to understand our present state, then that wish makes possible for the pristine consciousness to once again fall into its natural rhythm.

Mind cannot provide for that state. It is realized through the sensing of the pristine consciousness. So be watchful for life’s clarion call.

That calling is my wish for you.

WHAT IS is Intelligence, the mysterious expression of all that exists. WHAT IS is the Prime Directive, the Action arm of Intelligence that is the overseer responsible for the harmonious functioning of Nature. WHAT IS is pristine consciousness, the medium through which life expresses itself.

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Author: Harry Krueger – Wake Up World

Emotions and Truth: Our Human Experience

Emotions spontaneously arise each day despite our efforts to control them. They often surface without warning, whether we want them to or not. Fortunately, many of these emotions translate as pleasurable ones – feelings of joy, contentment and love. However, like it or not, there are times when less than desirable emotions come forth – anger, frustration or possibly fear. But experiencing these unpleasant emotions is not necessarily a bad thing.

Emotions play a major role in who we are as individuals and are the driving force behind how we interpret events we encounter. The question then becomes, is our reaction based on reality?

For example, to examine someone’s idea of perception I may announce, “It’s winter again and the snow is coming.” I will no doubt receive a diverse assortment of responses. For some, the thought of winter brings about great excitement: “I can’t wait for the snow! I can’t wait to get out on the ski slopes!” .. “It’s my favorite time of the year. I can’t wait for the holidays!” While others have an opposite response: “Oh no! It’s cold and my hands and feet are always freezing. I have to bundle up every time I go outside and it is just miserable.” .. “All I can think about is the added chore of shoveling the driveway.” For some, the winter may also be associated with a tragic incident that occurred during a snowstorm, so the winter months and snow act as a reminder of that grievous event.

Responses to the previous statement can vary quite a bit. Although we can view this as nothing more than different points of view, the question is, why are there so many different opinions and where do they come from? Is any one position right or wrong?  Are we all right?

Of course there are many obvious reasons why someone might experience a particular feeling, but there is also something a bit deeper. It is not just about how we interpret the spoken word, but also how we perceive it. How we react to the statement, “It’s winter again and the snow is coming,” is based on our interpretation, which in turn is going to determine the emotions that are partnered with the statement.

Is our reaction based on reality?

In the simplest of terms, we can conclude that the reason for so many differing points of view is that we each possess our own personal life experiences. There are many books, published research studies, and countless opinions surrounding this topic, but basically it all comes down to personal recollection and what we remember about various life events, what we felt at a given moment in time, and what we may have seen.

So, what drives the emotions that are based upon our life experiences? What is the connection?  Why is it that we can have such a strong reaction to a single statement based on a past experience that in reality may not have occurred exactly as we remember?

How many times have you decided not to do something because it brings up a memory of a past event that you do not want to revisit.  “I just can’t do it,” you say. But with this attitude, you could be closing doors on some amazing opportunities that could greatly enhance your life, simply because you fear a negative outcome when, in fact, the opposite could very well be true. Many of us live our lives in this uneasy state and then find ourselves incapable of responding to a particular situation. Often, in a case such as this, we begin to listen to the opinions of others; but of course the opinions of other individuals are based on their personal experiences, interpretations, and perceptions.

There are those like Dr. Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, and Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, who believe that our bodies are alive with emotions down to a cellular level. However, saying that emotions are encapsulated even to this level may still be a stretch because cells, the foundation of physical life, do not account for our energetic level. Or do they?

What really drives our emotions?

Dr. Candace Pert found that every cell of our body expresses the emotions that we experience. In other words, emotions are not just located in the brain in the form of  interpretations, they exist throughout our bodies. If this is true, then there must be an energetic force present. But where does this energy come from?

I believe that our essence is indeed a non-localized interrelated dependent mechanism that only works optimally when all parts are fully functional. What does this mean? It means that while most of modern medicine focuses solely on the physical, down to the cellular level, without a connection to the energetic level true human health can never be achieved. How do we know if there is a healthy functioning connection between the two? The answer lies in our emotions.

Emotions in and of themselves are really nothing more than a type of communication system that allows us to connect the different aspects of ourselves.

Emotions, in a way, are alive. They are the language of our totality, but they need to be interpreted, and this can be tricky. On the surface, this sounds like an easy task, but you don’t have to dig too deep to realize that our interpretations may change with varying circumstances. This is why we often seek counsel to help us organize and better understand our own emotions, and why at times, we seem unable to control them.

There are many instances when two individuals may have the exact same experience, but because interpretation is unique to each, they will not describe the particular experience in exactly the same terms. One may say, “I just don’t understand why she is so upset over this . . . she must be an overly dramatic person!”  While the other may say, “I just can’t understand why he doesn’t seem to care about what just happened . . . he must be cold-hearted.”

So, here we are again, who is right and who is wrong? Is one more enlightened perhaps than the other? Well, this is where it gets a bit tricky.

What do most of us think of when we hear the word, “enlightened”?  Going along with the same theme thus far, our definition is dependent on how we view ourselves. What does enlightenedmean to the Christian? The Buddhist? The Muslim? The yogi? The naturalist? We could go even more superficial. How about the meaning of enlightened to the Republican or the Democrat or even the Capitalist and Socialist? And don’t all these groups’ arguments and debates raise strong emotions? Each strongly believes to their core that the opposition is wrong. Why can’t they see that they are wrong and we are right?

Each of the aforementioned groups (and the list is very short sighted as any and all groups apply here,) has their own theory surrounding what they “know” without a doubt to be the truth. If any are confronted with an idea outside their dogma of truth, what emotion do you think comes forward? Unfortunately, this is the cause of many wars, and also the reason that religion and politics are thought of as taboo topics for light conversation. So, now arises the obvious question, how can all of the different associations have the ownership of truth? There must be more to this than what we see on the surface.

What about those who move from one affiliation to another? Many times this happens after some sort of traumatic event. I have seen first hand a sudden change in viewpoint and how this “change” literally led one to be alienated from those in their original group. If they “knew” the truth in one group and suddenly now “know” the real truth…then which is the actual truth?

Many believe that “real” truth can never change.

I am one who also believes this to be true; however, I of course feel a need to put a spin on it. Let me explain:

Let’s say that “real” truth is found on a small island just like the one depicted on the TV showLost.  In the TV show, there is an island that moves in and out of what we perceive as reality. This “reality” includes our current perception of time and space along with what we cannot yet perceive. For example, trying to precisely define the 4th dimension would be an extremely difficult task because we could only interpret the 4th dimension on the basis of our understanding of the 3rd dimension.

Using a quantum physics definition, this island is a real place that never changes. It only “appears” to change as we view it from the outside looking in. Some of you reading this may be a bit confused already, whereas others may find my analogy quite simplistic. Imagine if you would, the type of artwork that requires you to blur your vision in order to see the image emerge from what on the surface looks like nothing more than colored dots.

The moment you see the picture, it feels almost like a revelation. The picture did not all of a sudden appear, it was there all along. It was your perception that allowed you to see the image. The same theory applies to the example of the island. The island is always there, exactly where it should be. To someone on the island, life seems normal. But to us on the outside looking in, the island seems more mythical than real.

In order to find your way to the island, a series of events must first occur. You must first make the decision to go on your quest. You have to go outside of your cage of perception filled with boundaries and allow your mind to expand. I emphasize the word your because forward progress can only be made when you are moving forward on your quest. And let’s say that you have made the decision to move forward and currently live in the United States. And another person who lives in China has also just made the decision to move forward. And there is yet another ready to go who happens to reside only a few miles from where this island was last known to exist.

Must these three individuals travel the same road to reach the island? Which of these three people lives on the road best to begin the journey–the one in the United States? China? Or that spot a few miles away? Of course logic dictates that the spot a few miles away is likely the best place to begin. But is it?

Before I continue, I would like to present this to you.

When we are talking about how we feel and the notion that emotions are interpretations or perceptions of some sort of reality, is it possible that we can arrive at the truth from many different locations?

Since this island has no constraints surrounding space or time, and being that space and time are a human condition, unbeknownst to you this island could very well be right in front of you. It is also a possibility that you could in fact be on the island right now. But since the reality of time is not inter-correlated, you are unaware of the presence of the island.

So, the answer to the questions of who is closer to the island? and is there a single road that leads to this island? is . . . no one is closer and no, there isn’t.

In order to take the first step in the pursuit of this island, we must open our minds and accept that this island is real. It is not the truth itself that is changing, but rather the perception of the truth that changes. It is the perception of the individual in pursuit of the truth that leads to transformation. And if we relate this to health,

We must recognize that we possess the power to heal ourselves and that certain emotions give us life, whereas certain emotions don’t!

So, how do you know when you have arrived at the truth? There is not a simple answer to this question because the journey to the island may very well be a never-ending one. Because we are fluid and our thoughts are fluid, each perception of the truth is a single segment on the path moving us toward our own realities of truth at any given time.  The way in which you think and perceive things is hopefully very different today from that of 10 or 20 years ago, even just last year or yesterday.  And once this realization comes to the forefront, there is no turning back. It could even be said that you have become enlightened; enlightenment also being a process.

In my story, my truth lies in the fact that I cured myself from Multiple Sclerosis 100 percent naturally.   How could I go back to any other truth at this point?  That would be disastrous for me.

Where we go terribly wrong is when we place judgment on others whom we think, or worse, “know,” are misguided in their views, are unenlightened. It is as though we are all on a staircase and everyone is exactly where they need to be

If our own perception of the truth can change, how could we possibly pass judgment on another?

Truth revolves around whatever one is feeling in any situation. What is the feeling or emotion that we associate with judgment? Is it possible that at the very moment that we pass judgment, the “island” of truth has moved?  What happens to our perception when we do this? It is as though we have become stuck in proverbial quicksand leaving us cemented in the muddled sands of our own emotions. Emotions thicken and slowly solidify. And sadly, because change can be difficult, many of us look for reassurance by aligning ourselves with the things and people that seem to justify our feelings and confirm our emotions. Change can feel really uncomfortable and may lead to a sense of loneliness.

On the other hand, during periods of change, we may also encounter wonderful experiences that we have not yet imagined. But first, the initial step must be taken; the one in which you begin to believe that there is something more than just the island and you are prepared to go on your quest to find your truth.

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Author: Dr. Michelle Kmiec  l  Wake Up World

 

Meditation as a Self-Healing Tool

The body is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that can be flipped on or off with thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that originate in the mind. This is great news, because it means, in essence, that you can heal yourself. But how?

One of the many simple ways you can flip on your body’s self-repair mechanisms is via meditation.

What Does It Mean To Meditate?

Dictionary.com defines meditation as “continued or extended thought; reflection; contemplation,” but I prefer Harvard professor Dr. Herbert Benson’s definition. He defines it as “Repetition of a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or muscular activity while passively disregarding everyday thoughts that inevitably come to mind and returning to your repetition.” With this definition of meditation, anything can be a meditation – not just sitting with your eyes closed in the lotus position, but walking, making art, cooking, shopping, dancing, driving… whatever.

How The Body Heals Itself

In my medical training, we were not taught that the body knows how to heal itself. Yet it is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that repair broken proteins, kill cancer cells, fight infections, prevent aging, and maintain the homeostasis of the body. When the body gets sick, whether from the common cold or something more serious, like heart disease or cancer, it’s almost always because the body’s self-repair mechanisms have broken down, usually because of stress.

When the nervous system is stressed, as it is during the “fight-or-flight” stress response that is so commonly triggered in modern day life, these self-repair mechanisms are disabled and the body is at risk for disease. Only when the counterbalancing relaxation response is activated, when the sympathetic nervous system is turned off and the parasympathetic nervous system is turned on, can the body heal itself.

Why Meditate?

So how can you turn on that relaxation response so the body can heal itself? One of the simplest and most effective is meditation!  Meditation has been scientifically proven to activate the relaxation response, and as a result, almost every health condition improves. In his research at Harvard, Herbert Benson demonstrated that meditation is effective in treating angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias, allergic skin reactions, anxiety, mild to moderate depression, bronchial asthma, herpes simplex, cough, constipation, diabetes mellitus, duodenal ulcers, dizziness, fatigue, hypertension, infertility, insomnia, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, nervousness, postoperative swelling, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, side effects of cancer, side effects of AIDS, and all forms of pain – backaches, headaches, abdominal pain, muscle pain, joint aches, postoperative pain, neck, arm, and leg pain. (Most likely it helps many conditions not listed here, but Dr. Benson just hasn’t gotten around to studying them yet!)

Meditation has been shown to decrease stress-related cortisol, reduce respiration and heart rate, reduce the metabolic rate, increase blood flow in the brain, increase activity in the left prefrontal cortex (which is observed in happier people), strengthen the immune system, and lead to a state of relaxation.

Meditation also reduces work stress, anxiety, and depression, promotes cardiovascular health, improves cognitive function, reduces alcohol abuse, improves longevity, promotes healthy weight, improves immune function, and heightens quality of life.

How To Start Meditating 

Deepak Chopra recommends the “RPM” (Rise, Pee, Meditate) approach to meditation, suggesting that those who can will be well served to meditate first thing upon arising.  However, if you, like me, have young children, you may find it easier to meditate when the kids are napping or away at school. If you work outside the home, you may find it easier to meditate over your lunch break or just before bed.

Regardless of when you do it, it’s crucial to make the time in your schedule to help your nervous system relax.

Here are Some Tips to Help You Get Started with a Sitting Meditation Practice:

1. Create a peaceful environment

If you’ve never tried a sitting meditation before, start by creating a peaceful environment in which to meditate. I have two altars I’ve created at home, one in my bedroom and one in my home office, which I sit in front of to meditate. When I sit down to meditate, I light the candles, burn some incense, and take a moment to let my altar soothe me.

Some people have rooms exclusively dedicated to meditation.  Even a small closet can be tricked out to become a special space designed to help your body relax and your soul connect. Meditating outside can also be lovely. Because I live on the California coast, I often meditate at the ocean on a rocky beach that is usually deserted or in Muir Woods, among the peaceful redwoods. If you have access to quiet spots in nature, try a beach, a riverfront, a meadow, or a forest free of distractions. 

2. Minimize disruptions

Turn off the TV, silence your phone, and play soothing music if you like. The point is to create an environment conducive to freeing your mind from its daily clutter and relaxing your body.

3. Choose your meditation position

If you can, sit on the floor and close your eyes. You don’t have to sit in the lotus position unless you want to, but sitting on the floor helps you feel grounded, connects you to Mother Earth, and roots you into your body when you meditate. Feel free to use pillows, cushions, and other props that help you feel comfortable. Keep your back straight so you can breathe deeply with ease. If sitting on the floor is too uncomfortable, sit in a chair and place your feet firmly on the floor to develop a sense of grounding.

4. Set a timer

If you’re new to meditation, start with just five minutes per day and aim to work up to twenty. Set a timer so you don’t have to interrupt your meditation to check your watch.

5. Close your eyes

Closing your eyes minimizes visual distractions, helps you come back into your body, and starts to settle you.

6. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale

Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield suggests that if you notice yourself remembering, planning, or fantasizing, refrain from judging yourself, but do call it out. “Hello remembering.”  “Hello planning.” “Hello fantasizing.” Then return to the present moment, focusing on your breath. The minute you notice your thoughts starting to wander, come back to your breath and try to empty your mind. If your mind continues to wander and your breath isn’t enough to empty your mind, try counting your breaths or repeating a one word mantra like “peace” or “one” to clear your mind.

7. Release judgment

Most importantly, don’t judge yourself as you learn to meditate. Criticizing yourself for meditating “badly” or beating yourself up because your monkey mind won’t calm down will only stress you out, defeating the purpose of making attempts to help your body relax so it can repair itself. Remain compassionate with yourself, and pat yourself on the back for any progress you make.

Can’t make it more than 10 breaths into your meditation? Give yourself a hug and try again the next day. Like anything, it just takes practice. As someone who resisted meditation for most of my life, I can attest to the fact that it really does get easier with regular practice, and the benefits are so worth the effort. 

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Author: Lissa Rankin – Wake Up World

Taking Responsibility For Our Energy

For some, what I am about to share might seem radical, ridiculous, or even crazy, and for others will appear self-evident. I feel compelled to actively put it out there because I feel in many respects it is a crucial key to shifting our reality; the more people who take it to heart, the better our collective outlook will be.

At an early stage in my journey I became aware of the fact that each human is in fact a fractal of the whole. Deep within the vastness of our being we each contain every essence, every type of energy from the most sublimely divine to the most wickedly depraved. Initially when this realisation came to me it was quite abstract and there was a distance between me and the idea. However, as I explored the deeper regions of my being I found myself coming face to face with aspects that showed me that this was not just some faraway concept, it was a hardcore reality.

The more I explored my inner world the clearer it became that we implicitly contain every energetic expression. I realized that there was nothing that I could see in my outer world that was not in essence a part of me. Initially I was frightened by the understanding that I contained such dark and horrible pieces. Did this mean that I was evil? I didn’t want to be evil. Those guys out there are sociopaths, I am not a sociopath; I would never do those things, perpetrate those acts. On some level I feared that if I allowed myself to accept the dark aspects, I would become them. The only sane, good option it seemed was to leave them unclaimed; to reject them. However, as I explored these uncomfortable parts of myself it eventually occurred to me that it was actually possible to ‘own’ these parts without choosing to enact them. After all I am a sovereign being with the ability to decide what actions I deem worthy of expression. I could claim all my dark, ugly bits, bring them into conscious awareness, and still choose to operate from a space of love.

Casting Out The Dark

As young developing humans most of us learn to reject ‘undesirable’ aspects, to repress them in order to feel comfortable with our selves, and to ensure acceptance in our social group. We select what we are, and what we are not. In order to elucidate I will use the most basic example: I am light, I am not dark. However, if we are truly a reflection of the whole, then we should contain everything, even darkness. In rejecting and ‘disowning’ our dark parts we cast them out. But where do they go? I suspect this energy, cast out of our inner world, manifests in our external reality.

Rejected as part of the whole, thrown away from love, these elements seek to be re-integrated. They show up everywhere in our environment waiting for recognition. We perceive them as threats, and try to fight or ignore them. This doesn’t work; it only exacerbates the problem and reinforces the dualistic state caused by the self-imposed separation. If we recognize that external reality is a reflection of our inner state, it becomes clear that it is important that we take responsibility for our energy. In order stop adding to the problem we need to cease focusing so much on the outside and do some inner housekeeping. By healing our inner world, through acknowledgement of all that we truly are, we take responsibility for our energy and cease contributing to the darkness of our outer collective reality.

In order to illustrate my point I will use an analogy of a gardener. Imagine each of us is a gardener who has been gifted with the responsibility of managing every seed in existence. As this gardener we become aware that there are some seeds that develop into beautiful food and flowers. We value these seeds and carefully plant and nurture them. However, we also believe that some seeds grow into nasty weeds. Fearing the potential of these seeds we don’t want to be associated with them so, like most other gardeners in our world, we toss them away into the wind. ‘This is not me I want nothing to do with these seeds.’ These unclaimed, unmanaged seeds end up everywhere and thrive and threaten to dominate our environment. No one is willing to take responsibility for these plants. ‘No, I would never plant such a seed; this plant has nothing to do with me. It must just be the nature of reality.’

If instead we accepted responsibility for ‘owning’ the whole gamut of seeds, we could cease contributing to the communal problem. As a wise gardener we would not toss the potentially dangerous seeds away, we would do the opposite, aware of their power, we would keep them close by, where they could be kept in check and managed responsibly.

Continuing on with the gardening analogy, when we stop fearing the seeds that we allowed to get out of control through neglect and mismanagement, we might discover that judging them as weeds may have been rash decision triggered by fear and misunderstanding. If instead of pushing away the dark seeds, we chose to look at them more closely, we might discover that they have valuable qualities and attributes that we were previously unaware of. When tended and cultivated consciously, with understanding and awareness, we might find that their growth can actually have benefits for the whole.

“Like colors to an artist, there is no good or bad, the whole spectrum is available for expression. The darker colors are necessary to add depth, and when used appropriately, with awareness of the whole, are vital components of the emerging beauty.” ~ Jump Into the Blue.

Acknowledging The Wholeness

The more of us who assume responsibility of our own darkness, the less truant energy will be available to continue to animate the dark story that has been unfolding on this planet. Are we ready to stop being irresponsible gardeners dominated by unconsciously driven manifestations? Are we ready to stop placing the blame ‘out there’? Are we ready to own all that we truly are and stop denying our accountability? Are we ready to become custodians of our reality, acknowledging the wholeness of our being, so that we can consciously determine which elements we want to cultivate in our external reality? Rather than working to repress, fight, and deny some of what we are, let’s become mindful co-creators, nurturing and guiding a peaceful world based on love and beauty in full awareness of all that we are.

There are many approaches to begin exploring our inner world and integrating our shadow aspects. Carl Jung, a pioneer of shadow work, wrote much on the subject, and there are many great books and healers that teach strategies to facilitate the process. However, the most important attributes of initiating inner healing include being open, and willing to look at oneself as honestly as possible. A lot of my personal work takes place in meditation or in the bath. However, with certain challenging aspects I worked with a soul retrieval practitioner. She held space, and assisted me to connect with, and create an opening in my heart for some of my more stubborn, hidden, or sneaky parts.

The beauty of this work is that, not only does it contribute to healing our collective reality, it also creates powerful shifts on a personal level. When we face and integrate our fears and all our bits that we previously avoided, we find a new level of inner peace, solidity and wholeness.

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Author: Christina Lavers – Wake Up World

Awakening: The Next Step

Step 1. Wake up… Step 2. Open my eyes… Step 3… Get out of bed. Step 4…Do what needs to be done.

If we’re going to keep our eyes closed, there’s no reason to wake up. We have to take off our chosen blinders and open our eyes. Otherwise, what’s the point? We might as well keep dreaming.

As Gran put it, it’s hard to wake up someone who’s pretending to be asleep.

Waking up – awakening, moments of enlightenment, whatever you want to call it – is not about feeling good all the time, floating so high off the surface of this planet that we no longer relate to the people on it, flaunting our privilege to avoid or ignore problems. Waking up is about opening our eyes to the realities of the needs of the planet and its people. It’s about seeing the disparities around us, in all the forms they take, and it’s about taking action, right here, right now, taking our fair share of responsibility, and setting to work to right the wrongs we’re more than capable of addressing.

You know that moment, early in the morning, when you wake up, but you didn’t want to just yet – and you can hear the birds calling? You know if you open your eyes the light will penetrate and there will be no going back to sleep. I think that’s where a lot of us are right now. We’re really awake. We can hear the sounds and feel the movement around us. We know perfectly well what’s going on. But for whatever reason, we don’t want to wake up just yet. That bed feels so safe, so warm, so comforting. And out there – well, who knows what’s waiting out there. But we’re pretty sure it won’t be warm, much less comforting.

So we’re still lying there, covers pulled over our heads. Faking it. But the dog knows we’re awake. And the cat knows. And the kids peeking over the edge of the bed know. They can sense the difference in our breathing.

It serves no one to rationalize about those who are still genuinely sleeping, or to hope that the eagerly awaiting toddler will head off to the other room, where Momma or Daddy has already begun the tasks of the day. That’s not my business, nor is it yours. We know that each person is in a different place, prepared for and dealing with his or her own unique responsibility. There are those who are ready to spring into action, those already awake and fully functioning. There are those still dozing, in that state of lucid dreaming, not yet sure what is real and what isn’t. There are those who are awake, but for whatever reason, just can’t bring themselves to face reality. There’s a reason for that, one that needs some digging, and most likely needs some loving. And then there are the heavy sleepers among us, still sawing logs, still breaking themselves against the laws of sustainability and right living.

If we stay there long enough, delaying that moment, drawing out the night, clinging to an idea that no longer makes sense, no matter how comfortable the bed we’ve collectively built for ourselves may seem at the moment, alarms will start to go off. In fact, they already are. They’re shrilling in the distance, growing louder and more numerous by the moment. Alarms may feel like a must for early mornings, but they’re not a very effective way to live. They usually mean something is dreadfully wrong. Are you sure you want to take that risk? Can you afford it? What are the consequences, and are you willing to pay them? Not just down the road, but today?

As we awaken, those who have waited for sirens in their personal lives, sometimes even waited past them, oblivious to the warning call, may enter and engage with their souls’ dark night. During this vital passage, one’s energy may be compelled temporarily to focus primarily or even exclusively on what appears to be personal situations. We who are not in that position, who perhaps have already gone through our own dark nights, will know to gently allow and love each person through this time. In that moment, it will be his or her most important focus, this death-rebirth creation cycle. It is not ours to judge or to compel them to take action elsewhere, which may serve only as a distraction for them, and as a good way to not notice our own alarm bells ringing in the distance.

What about me? What choice will I make, right here, right now? My outer child may ask that age-old question: Why do I always have to be the grown-up? The answer is simple: Because I can. The burden of responsibility lies with the one who is capable. That’s the only answer I need. That’s the only answer we need. That next right step will appear directly in front of me if I’ll pay attention for it. I don’t need to think about a million miles down the road, or try to imagine how the entire scene will play out. That can lead to overwhelm and despair, and the fear of that emotion can prompt hitting the snooze button just one more time.

No. Today, all I need to do, all you need to do, is that next right step. You already know what it is. Like the poem says, start close in. Get calm, get quiet, ask yourself – and you’ll know.

So it’s up to the grown-ups now. Will we open our eyes? Will we get out of bed and do what needs to be done?

What we see may hurt, but only then can we begin to make things better. Love yourself, be gentle with yourself, but please – please – please – open your eyes. Get out of bed. It’s time to get busy.

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Author: Mary Batson – Wake up World

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