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Consciousness

Unconditional Peace

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In a world that programs us to be rational, left brained and guarded. In a materialistic society that enslaves the mind into believing that inner-peace is conditional and reliant upon how well we play the game of superficial “happiness”. In a state of mind that keeps us locked into a fear goaded roller coaster ride of recurrent needs and temporary fixes, of highs and lows because of our programmed sense of lack. It is in this world that our souls have chosen to forget, experience and evolve within an ocean of countless illusionary polarities.

As many of you reading this are aware of, a shift in consciousness is taking place on Planet Earth. More of us are awakening to what lies beyond the physical realm and can see through the ego-driven belief systems and structures controlling our world. As the winds of change sweep across our current reality, many individuals find themselves at a crossroad between the mind’s fears and the heart’s call. Challenging situations are arising, and a discomfort in our old routines is intensifying.

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Why is this happening?

The purging of old energies within the Earth -that are gradually lifting the veil over governmental corruption -are being sensed in our personal lives as well, bringing forth old emotional baggage and uneasiness in our conventional lives. Such emotions will build up as we keep on missing the point of our soul’s call to let go of what keeps us from expanding towards the wholeness of our potential. As much as collective and personal challenges may feel like turmoil at first, it is merely a sign of old structures/comfort zones breaking down to make room for the new.

“And we’re seeing a higher level of consciousness and many more opportunities for people to challenge their present ways of thinking and move into a grander and larger experience of who they really are.” – Neale Donald Walsch

The Awakening


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The corruption of our world’s control mechanism has reached an extent where it restrains our soul’s expansion of consciousness. It does so by perpetuating the fear of stepping outside the box of survival, collective perceptions, adopted belief systems and limitative archaic concepts.

The major media’s fear mongering and mind-numbing entertainment, the business of War, constricting and fear-based religious doctrines, the stringent education system, the pharmaceutical industry, society’s materialistic propaganda and over-emphasis on money and looks, the chemtrails in our air, the chemicals in our food, the fluoride in our water… all of the preceding are merely man-made concepts and profit-oriented maneuvers that are orchestrated to maintain the mass consciousness grid in a low vibratory level of stress, confusion, ignorance, anger and fear, keeping Humanity locked into a very boxed experience. It is easy for a few men to rule in the name of their own greed when human beings of limitless potential are being managed by the illusion of fear, division and dependency.

The very system we live in isn’t about human nature, but is instead about disconnecting us from all that IS natural -our hierarchical society itself is undoubtably ruled by greed-based interests rather than Love. As a result, we collectively adopted a mindset that perceives ourselves as separate from Nature. This disconnected level of consciousness isn’t in flow with the sustainability of the Earth’s eco-system. We act as if Nature is our possession and can be treated poorly for the sake of protecting the “vibrancy of the economy”, yet we have forgotten that the planet we live on isn’t a separate entity, but is in fact a part of who we are.

What about Mother Earth’s vibrancy?


It is time to become aware of the fact that the damage we inflict on Mother Earth is the damage we inflict on ourselves as well, for she is our Home. When we consciously choose to expand our awareness and look further than what our system stands for, we realize that all of these ego-driven structures are doing nothing but molding Humanity into “sheeple” with a herd mentality suited to maintain the functionality of this highly corrupted monetary system. It is simply erroneous to presume that our system endorses a forever-sustainable way of living that is harmonious and respectful of Nature, as well as of Human lives. (The power structure)

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.” – Cree Indian Proverb

The agenda behind this is inherently an attempt at keeping Humanity dumbed-down, fearful and forgetful of our interconnectedness with all life forms. Therefore keeping us oblivious to the essence of who we really are: Spiritual beings of unlimited potential on a Human journey, all connected through the universal Source of Unconditional Love. This conspiracy is essentially aimed at enforcing an illusionary sense of separateness towards everything, which makes a population rather unconscious and susceptible to accepting tyrannical dictatorship and occurrences such as War profiteering. Our hierarchical control mechanism grants all Power to the few and enslaves the many. The belief that life has to remain this way is a myth.

“When the power of Love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” – Jimi Hendrix

Information about hidden truths and deceit within the political, religious and educational structures of our world are now being shared more than ever before, and more of us are waking up. This major “renewal” of consciousness is much anticipated at the soul level, hence why all the dirt is resurfacing on both a collective and personal level. It is unfolding at a rate and intensity that depends on how many are letting go of old mindsets that no longer serve our expansion of consciousness.

Why shouldn’t we fight for the peaceful reality we wish to create when faced with insanity and corruption all around?

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

Just as quantum physics are demonstrating, when we shift our awareness towards the fundamental construct of reality, we understand that everything we can possibly feel and think of is essentially a form and rate of vibration. Everything on Earth vibrates at certain frequencies, including our thoughts, beliefs and emotions, which are molding our experienced reality via the power of our personal and collective perceptions. As Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it. This shift in consciousness is but a leap beyond the old dualistic consciousness we chose to experience as souls, towards the consciousness of Oneness, which is of a higher vibrational frequency -one of Unconditional Love and understanding of who we really are beyond this physical realm. The angry, judgmental and reactive “truthers” actually attract and emanate through them the same lower frequencies that keep humanity boxed in this low vibrational “matrix” of control.

TO LIVE FROM THE HEART IS TO LIVE INTELLIGENTLY.


The truth becomes simple when you truly awaken to what lies beyond the surface of the material world. This global duality is, in essence, nothing but a war of vibrations. Therefore, it is not foolish to presume that we can become what we fight. The controlling elite of our world know of this, and will keep on controlling us through fear and hatred for this very reason: because their low-vibrational frequencies allow them to remain in control. Let’s not use the very “weapon” they feed themselves with.

Our natural state of Unconditional Peace emanates a frequency that is not only way more powerful than any form of negative energies, but is actually eternal, for it is the source of all that exists. To create in a state of inner-peace, is to create peace.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

From Duality to Oneness


Whether through personal mystical experiences or openness towards spirituality, many of us are becoming aware of the fact that we are all divine creators, interconnected through the same universal Source of Consciousness. We Are All One. This Source that some of us call “God” is not a separate, superior and judgmental entity as our society’s endorsed religious institutions want us to believe, but is in fact the core essence of Who We Are, which is an all-knowing consciousness that is of Unconditional Love. We, and even darker entities, are but fragments of this loving Source that has divided itself into beautiful souls to undergo their unique and multifaceted journey towards enlightenment. This wonderful dance of souls is allowing Source to become experientially rich and therefore forever expansive.

Because of a past collective soul agreement, we initially incarnated on earth into what is called the “experiential realm”. The purpose was of evolving as souls, lifetime after lifetime, while having no direct guidance and remembrance of our essence of Oneness/Source. All while being overruled by a thicker sense of individual identity, mind and ego, which altogether created a beautifully rich and highly polarized sensorial experience. We then agreed at the soul level to have our “game” altered with an additional challenge, which was to experience the intensity of a blinding control mechanism ruled by separation and egoistical purposes. Although it has been a highly rich and serving challenge, we now have become experientially rich enough through this fear-based illusion and are choosing to move on.

The new collective shift in consciousness stems from the fact that we have all agreed at the soul level to “shut down” the experiential realm and move beyond this collective “amnesia” to create a new, more conscious, expansive and harmonious experience, fully in touch with our natural state of Peace. All that is presently holding our unconscious and archaic ways of living is actually our minds holding on to old limitative beliefs of a lower vibrational frequency, whether adopted from our personal experiences or collective mindsets.

The path towards a world encompassing total harmony and wholeness, as much as it may seem like a lunacy-based fairy tail to the mind, begins simply with the shedding of our own layers of beliefs and emotions that keep us in judgment of our experience, and therefore not perceiving the wholeness, perfection and Love within ourselves and of all that is.

It is time to step free of fears and belief patterns that keep us boxed in our limitative perceptions and that mould our experienced reality. It is time to let go of any emotion or thought that keeps us from being authentic to the magnificence of who we truly are. As we set aside engrained beliefs we have picked up from external influences, we begin to uncover our limitless potential as spiritual beings on a human journey.

Since we are all interconnected beings that are fragments of One Consciousness, we uplift the whole by healing ourselves within.

“It’s just a ride and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.” – Bill Hicks

To Be Change begins with Healing Ourselves


Unconditional Love and Peace is our natural state. It is who we truly are beyond all layers within the mind. We have now chosen as souls to create and therefore experience, in this human physicality, a new world that is in sync with this very frequency of Oneness. Because of this shift in consciousness, we are now in “purging time”. This means that all old densities we carry are being pulled to the surface. It is all of the patterns of our “lower ego” that is keeping us trapped in a low frequency band, which perpetuates personal and collective disharmony.

If inner-peace is only conditional when the mind is holding on to limitative belief patterns of the lower ego, then what are these patterns? And how can we move beyond them?


First off, when we hear the word “ego”, most will relate it exclusively to the definition of selfishness or pride, but the human ego is actually the impressive “software” that is our Mind. It is the tool that our soul has chosen to incarnate and evolve with. By “lower ego”, I am speaking of the layers that often cover a great deal of ground in the human psyche. The ones that encompass our cultural mentality, acquired beliefs, judgmental thought processes and therefore emotional responses. It is these very belief patterns and our narrowed perception of “what should and shouldn’t be” that stem from the conditioning of the mind through external influences. They are the ones that are taking control over our experience and are slowing our expansion of consciousness.

Does letting go of these patterns means letting go of our personality?

Absolutely not. The human ego is a magnificent gift that is allowing our souls to experience life on earth with unique personalities and talents. Therefore, it would be irrelevant for our soul to desire its total suppression. This shift in consciousness is not about dissolving the multi-facets of our world, human passions, unique flavors and blissful impulses of our Heart. These do not stem from the lower ego, but of our utmost natural and creative potential as spiritual beings having a human experience. It is about dissolving all the illusionary beliefs and man-made concepts that compromise their Freedom.

What the lower ego does, whether in a very subtle or forward manner, is bring fear, shame, judgment, rationalization and therefore control over these very things that uplift our Soul and make our Heart sing.


In these unique times of healing transformation, our souls are choosing to move beyond all “mind stories”, in order to reclaim our limitless creative potential. The lower ego’s patterns encompass all thoughts that stem from a belief of not being whole, and therefore creating illusionary needs and conditions in order to feel “good”.

Patterns of the Lower Ego:

“I lack, therefore I need.”

  • I need him/her with me to be happy.
  • Relationships are all about give-and-take.
  • I need you to be faithful or else I will feel ripped.
  • I own my children, I own my partner.
  • I need proof of love from others to feel loved.
  • I need money to feel safe, work to feel productive, material to feel content.
  • I need outer-beauty to feel beautiful.
  • I am a victim of my experience.
  • There is such a thing as “good” and “bad” experiences.
  • I judge myself and others.
  • I am better/worst than everybody else.
  • I feel unworthy.
  • I need respect, acknowledgment, and approval of me and of my choices in order to feel on track.
  • I have expectations.
  • I need everything to be stable around me if I am to feel whole and at peace.

“To truly be Free, is to be whole. To truly be whole, is to remember that we already are.”

True inner-peace starts with recognizing the Love and wholeness within all individuals, including ourselves. And therefore dissolving, as our journey unfolds, all mind “stories” that stem from a belief of lack and neediness. It is to let go of our sense of victimhood, for in truth, we are the creator of our experience, bringing forth or perpetuating situations that shed light on unresolved turmoil andemotional baggage.

Even when certain individuals in our lives give us a hard time, the interactions between souls is always very different, and the same goes for when we are challenging others. We have been sold on the idea that we can actually harm someone, and that it is unworthy to do so. What if being truthful to ourselves and others could never really hurt anyone even when it appears that way? What if “coming clean” with who we are and being authentic with those around us, no matter how much judgement and challenges we may receive from doing so, is actually the greatest service we could possibly offer to ourselves as well as every souls in our lives? Even if it means breaking a relationship, leaving our job, disappointing loved ones or receiving hate and criticism, letting go of all mind chatter that is holding us back from evolving beyond our ego’s fears and needs is also the best way of assisting the growth of those around you. Every negative emotional reactions and judgement we may trigger in some individuals are actually coming from their own ego’s belief patterns that are being challenged and threatened. No matter how their minds may react, these emotional challenges are exactly what their beautiful souls are asking for, and if their reactions are challenging to you, then it is exactly what your beautiful soul is asking for.

Truth is, all situations that arise in our lives, as challenging as they may seem, are being brought forth by nothing and no one else but our soul, for our soul.


This is why judgment is delusional. There is no such thing as a “good” or a “bad” experience, for they all serve our growth. And as long as we judge and categorize them, we are missing the point and our struggle persists. The more we let go of our attachment to old emotional baggage and shed illusionary layers of victimhood and judgment of our experience, the less our soul needs to create certain situations of disharmony for us to transcend and expand from.

Every Soul incarnates on the Earth plane wanting to achieve a specific series of goals. The Soul incarnates with a purposes – that of expanding in consciousness- and before incarnating it will set up the perfect circumstances and tasks through which such expansion is most likely to occur. These tasks are recorded at the soul level as “Soul Contracts”. They are called contracts since these are goals that the Soul chose to do in a binding manner i.e. the Soul is very committed to getting these tasks done and has set up many opportunities during the lifetime to allow for their unfolding on the Earth plane.” Excerpt from Katie Gallanti’s article

Certain emotional baggage we push aside could even present themselves as a forms of illnesses, which are but energetic densities that are often times manifestations of unresolved issues we still carry.

When we do not feel at peace with an aspect of our life, this very aspect consequently becomes our focal point and will intensify as we continue to ignore or judge it. We all have the free choice to either stay caught up in duality, or to allow ourselves to heal and embody the pure Love and Freedom that we are. The more we unleash our Heart’s consciousness, the very frequency we emanate will have a ripple effect on our surroundings, creating openings towards freedom for all souls around. If we would perceive all challenges, whether personally or collectively experienced, as wakeup calls to heal what has been ignored, how beneficial would that be to facilitate the change we wish to see in the world.

It would only require 1/3 of humanity to live from the Heart, in order to shift the whole collective consciousness and therefore create a new reality.

It is time to let go of all forms of judgment, for even if we have been led to believe we have no control over our experienced reality, this claim has never been farther from Truth. Our own consciousness affects everything around us -it literally mirrors our reality. The realization of this is what reclaiming our true Creator essence means, and it is only achieved through inner-peace, through truly understanding the perfection and unconditionally loving consciousness behind all enfoldments, despite how the ego may perceive things to be.

To follow our heart’s calling, to be the pure reflection of that which we truly are without any strings attached, without any expectations and need of approval, is really all that is required of us. It is how we raise our own vibrational frequency towards the one of pure Love. No spiritual dogma, religious doctrine, warrior mentality or fixed step-by-step procedure needed. It is this simple Truth that will change the face of our vibrational reality as more awaken to their higher purpose, which is to be anchors of light, of who they really are.

Letting of all that keeps us from emanating the Love that we are is the path towards Freedom, yet we should remember that the path of the Heart is never set in stone, it is a natural flow. The moment we try to control outcomes and make it a rule, the rule obstructs the flow. Therefore, I feel it is important to mention that the purpose of identifying our own limitative fears and beliefs is not to judge and resist them. There is no mistake and nothing to be shameful of, for all is but an experience. Transcending duality cannot be achieved with the mind fighting against itself to reach the Heart consciousness, just as peace cannot be created with war. Smiling at our ego, understanding the perfection in ourselves at all moment and embracing the human experience -all while trusting our higher awareness -is what consciously evolving means.

“We must let ourselves feel in order to heal.”

No more beating ourselves up. It is time to allow our fearless intuition to guide us, and to trust the flow.

Let’s have integrity and compassion towards ourselves and others, for it matters not how long we have struggled and worn masks of fear, but how much expansion will occur as we let them fall off. It matters not how it may stun at first, for the healing process is what our souls have chosen to undergo, in order to become the change that is needed to shift our world.

“All along this ride, we have fought against and avoided a mirror. What looked like our opponent was but a reflexion of our own mask, and the moment we drop our own mask, the “foe” will drop it’s own. What we will see, is the reflexion of ourselves.”

WE ARE ALL ONE

Be Love

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 13: The Marriage)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

13. The Marriage

On the patio of the village restaurant on the island of Allandon, the restaurant chef and the village florist sat uncomfortably on a hot afternoon waiting for their children to arrive. The daughter of the florist was to marry the son of the chef, and the two women, who had not met previously, both felt it was important to all get together to set the wedding arrangements in motion.

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“Where are those two?” asked the florist.

“No sense of responsibility, their generation,” said the chef.

After a few more minutes of uncomfortable silence, the chef said, “Well, let me be the first to welcome you into our family.”

“No, no, it is I who welcome you into our family,” replied the florist.

They gazed out towards the East Beach and still saw no signs of their children.

“Well, perhaps we might start,” said the florist.

“Yes, we should,” replied the chef.

“I will be happy to help you select an appropriate gift for your son to give me,” said the florist.

“Gift?” asked the chef.

“Yes, during the ceremony the groom is joined with the bride after his gift to her mother is accepted,” the florist said.

“You mean the groom is joined with the bride after her father walks her down the aisle and gives her away,” quipped the chef.   “There is no aisle,” said the florist. “It is more of an open space, so there is room for the drummers—and the chickens.”

“Chickens?” the chef responded. “Do you think this is a wedding or a circus?”

Just then the chef’s son plopped down on an empty chair beside them, surfboard in hand and wearing only a bathing suit. “The circus sounds fun,” he said.

“You’re wet!” said the chef.

“And you’re late,” said the florist.

“I know,” said the florist’s daughter, who leaned her surfboard against the wall. “The ocean was so perfect, it just kept pulling us back in.”

“Be serious,” said the chef. “We are having some problems with the wedding arrangements.”

“How can there be problems?” asked the boy laughing. “You cook the meal and she’ll arrange the flowers.”

“No, the ceremony,” the chef said. “She is saying it should be outside with loud noises and wild animals…”

“You are talking about our tradition!” replied the florist. “And it’s better than being cooped up inside watching a stiff procession.”

“Our ceremony is sacred, and it respects the seriousness of the event.”

“We feel a marriage should be a celebration.”

“I agree—a celebration, not a farce,” said the chef.

The florist took a deep breath, not wanting to cause a scene. She turned to her daughter. “See then, you need to make a decision now. Arrangements have to be made.”

“Yes.”

“So are you going to do it our way or her way?”

“Yes,” the girl said with a smile.

“What?” asked the florist.

“Yes,” the boy repeated. “Our answer is ‘yes’.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked the chef.

“We trust you can figure it out,” said the boy. And with that, they took up their surfboards and trotted back towards the beach.

In our world of duality, opposition would seem unavoidable. We have noted that it is the perpetual opposition of yin and yang that keeps our world and our lives in motion. However as we become more aware that we are beings that can choose to come from a place of unity, our Dao Self, rather than a place of duality, our Ego Self, we create the possibility for dealing with opposition as an occasion for fostering harmony rather than as a reason for conflict.

In the new conversation there is a subtle shift away from the need to stand firmly on one particular side of an issue. While converse can mean opposite, conversing does not have to imply opposing. When presented with a choice between opposing ideas it becomes possible to say yes—not to one or the other choice, but to choice itself. In celebrating together the very fact that we have choice, we honor our differences. The prospects of this awareness are exciting. Once it is grasped by a critical mass of people, it will suddenly become unthinkable to engage in a serious fight about anything on the planet.

But first, we have to work through some long-standing habits of thought that our ancestors left us with. We are still in a place where having differences continues to have negative connotations, because we continue to believe who we are is grounded in those differences. For example, if our identity is mainly tied to the particular culture, nation, race or creed we belong to, we are already setting up barriers to the possibility of dissimilar people and groups coming together as one.

Historically, tribal groups brought people together into a view of the world that established rules and values for all the individuals of their group to follow. These tribes tended to be very protective of the values that distinguished them from others because it was thought to ensure their survival. Nietzsche said it this way:

No people could live without evaluating; but if it wishes to maintain itself it must not evaluate as its neighbor evaluates. Much that seemed good to one people seemed shame and disgrace to another: thus I found. I found much that was called evil in one place was in another decked with purple honors. One neighbor never understood another: his soul was always amazed at his neighbor’s madness and wickedness.

Now there is much to be said about the beauty and magnificence of human collectives such as cultures, races, or religions that are bound together by common values and a shared way of thinking. They represent a form of fulfillment of our most basic desire as human beings—the desire for unity, the desire to be part of something larger than our individual selves. But while cultures may have become strong and able to maintain themselves based on the values they adopted, there was often an inbred tendency to hold all other ways of experiencing the world as wrong. To actually give credence to the value system of an adversary was a most dangerous and self-defeating strategy. It demonstrated weakness, and was a threat to a people’s survival and proliferation. To some, protecting their collective identity even meant promoting their views and traditions beyond their boundaries. In the process, instead of exchanging divergent ideas and practices with others in the pursuit of higher knowledge and mutual understanding, people exchange swords on the bloody battlegrounds of war, with the objective of establishing one set of beliefs as ‘right’ and the other as ‘wrong’.

In recent times there has been a shift in the manner in which cultures interact. Modern transportation has facilitated travel and immigration as never before. Living in modern cosmopolitan cities exposes us to many of the world’s cultures in everyday life. If nothing else, this exposure forces us to acknowledge that there are many habits, customs, and lifestyles that are different from our own. As well, technological advances such as the Internet and an increasingly mutually-dependant world economy has amplified cross-cultural communications exponentially. The man-made walls around cultures and nations have never been more porous. And as the nations of our world are compelled to pull open their curtains and face each other, tolerance for diverse ideas and perspectives on how to live is the rule of the day. In other words, tolerance has become an economic necessity.

The allure of a tolerant world is that it provides the perception that all ways of life are respected, and that matters of difference will be resolved peacefully and without blame or judgment. In reality this is not the case. A show of tolerance is often done more for convenience and prudence rather than as a true recognition of the potential value of another culture’s ideas and values.

During my time in Korea I discovered some of the limits of the mind-set of tolerance. Now first, understand that I had always considered myself wonderfully tolerant of other cultures. While I had not adopted all the ways of Korean culture during my three plus years living there, I never considered them to be wrong or inferior to my own ways. I enjoyed Korean food and learned to be quite proficient with chopsticks. I had picked up enough of the Korean language to live and get around. I even started to realize that certain behaviors, ones that would have been considered ‘rude’ in my own culture, were perfectly natural in the context of Korean life, and I could adjust my reactions accordingly. And so when I happened to fall in love with a Korean girl and eventually asked her to marry me, I was doing so with no fear of experiencing the proverbial ‘culture shock’ often associated with such unions since I felt I had already embraced her culture. In fact I was the one who pushed for a traditional Korean wedding ceremony.

My wife-to-be Hyun and I planned to pay for the wedding ourselves. She suggested that her parents were not in a financial position to pay for the wedding, and to her delight I was in full agreement. As we were discussing the guest list, she informed me that all the friends of her parents whose children’s weddings they had gone to had to be invited. Although I didn’t really like the idea, I went along with it when I heard that they would all be giving substantial amounts of money as gifts. Later on, as I was adding up the costs for the wedding, I asked her how much money we could expect to get from these friends of her parents. She looked at me a bit strange. “None,” she said, “all that money is going to my mother.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, incredulous. I figured I must have misunderstood something. She repeated what she had said. I must have asked her five times to make sure I got the story right before finally exploding into a rage.

“How could that money be going to your mother? It’s our wedding! It’s our gifts! It’s for us! We’re even paying for the wedding! That’s ridiculous! That’s the most selfish thing I’ve ever heard of!”

Hyun was fully taken aback by my outburst, and was in tears for over an hour. When she finally mustered the strength to respond, she came out angrily: “She had to pay out money at all their weddings! It’s normal. It’s the only way she can get that money back. It’s her money!”

In Korea, money is traditionally distributed up through the family, usually the mother, and redistributed down to the children. It’s a complex system that ties in with family real estate, in a way that protects its members and helps them make prudent decisions. I had heard about this, but never gave it much attention. The idea never bothered me because I was never affected by it. But now that it was affecting me, I was angry about it. All I could think of was that I was paying for a stranger’s meal so he could put some money in my mother-in-law’s pocket. My anger was an indictment not only against Hyun’s mother, but also against the whole culture in general for having what I suddenly felt was a ludicrous system.

But it really wasn’t. It was just different, and totally self-consistent. Hyun’s parents had always been honest and very generous with me. The last thing they would want to do is take money that they didn’t think belonged to them. Hyun’s parents worked hard and scraped by to help Hyun and her brother and sister get through university. In contrast, my brother, sister and I all paid our own way through university. This was not because our parents loved us any less. Our culture tends to put a high value on independence and fosters autonomous separate family units, while Koreans put more emphasis on interdependence and keeping family ties strong. If I was to be married to someone of a different culture, I suddenly realized more was needed from me than mere tolerance.

Tolerance still maintains the notion that ours is the ‘right’ way and theirs is the ‘wrong’ way. This polarity lays in wait, potentially manifesting as violent opposition when triggered by circumstance. Without a real desire to actively delve into the way others see the world, and be challenged by these different views in ways that matter to us, it might be difficult to fully come to grips with our own ethnocentricity. Today I feel very fortunate to be married to someone of a different culture. I am reminded in the daily events of our relationship that simple tolerance is not enough to heal the conflicts and misunderstandings that arise in a way that generates true harmony.

It is striving for what I call true acceptance, not simple tolerance that opens the door to overcoming the opposition that leads to conflict. Through acceptance we entertain the possibility that our own way of thinking may need to come under scrutiny from time to time, and that perhaps the other person’s way of thinking is right. And in its purest form acceptance even goes beyond that, to the most subtle and uplifting precept of them all: that all ideas have value, that it is not a question of right and wrong, but simply a matter of perspective. Here, the ideas that make us different are no longer obstacles but opportunities, to learn, to grow, to come to a greater awareness of what our lives are really about. In my marriage, striving for this kind of acceptance for my wife and her culture has not only meant greater harmony but also a fuller, richer appreciation for the diversity that exists around me.

Humanity as a whole suffers when groups of people remain too attached to their own collective identity and world-view. It seems a not-so-divine comedy that the history of humanity has been marked by an inability to embrace our cultural and racial differences, one of our greatest gifts to one another. This inability is at the core of the racism and discrimination that is still active in the world.

In his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Martin Luther King spoke of emancipation from the slavery of outmoded ideas. He spoke of a day that would see the Negro, as he called his own, liberated from oppression and racial injustice. But even beyond a vision for his own people, his dream had universal significance. He sought to advance the truths that the Declaration of Independence, written almost two hundred years earlier, had deemed self-evident: that all men (and women) are created equal. He dared to speak of a day in the future where different races and creeds would walk side by side, beyond the clutches of discrimination, and “all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ “

His speech remains one of the most dramatic appeals for all of us to liberate ourselves from our deeply rooted habit of judging one another. And this appeal has been taken up by the new conversation. The new conversation is not about changing the words we use while leaving the beliefs intact. Certainly words are powerful, and to some extent they are transformative, but simply being proficient in politically correct terminology is not enough. While some of us pride ourselves on our ability to suppress judgment from our world and hide it from ourselves, this does not bring about healing. It only puts off confrontation until another day. If judgment and discrimination are still our inner guiding principles, the damage will eventually manifest.

At the same time the new conversation is not designed to censor judgment and discrimination. If a racial slur is someone’s deepest truth, we are better to allow its expression than to suppress it. If we really want to be helpful, we will do best not to judge the person for saying it. In this way we are helping the person get an unimpeded look at themselves. When they are ready to learn from it they will.

I have personally found this to be one of the most challenging aspects of the new conversation. I don’t want to condone discrimination, but at the same time I don’t want to be judgmental. I’m not always sure if simply being silent is enough, but I do know that it would be inauthentic for me to go along with the joke (i.e., smiling or nodding when asked, “You know how those people are, eh?”) Certainly if I am directly asked what I think, it is incumbent upon me to take the risk and speak out from my heart. But if I am not asked then I realize I need to muster some compassion for where the other person is coming from. It’s a bit of a high wire act, and I have needed lots of practice to learn to balance myself.

In the new conversation we are asked to walk this thin line because we have seen that discrimination cannot be healed by confrontation, and have learned that judgment can only melt away in a larger space of acceptance. If we are going to come together in any profound way, we all need a space to expose our whole selves. That means our light and our darkness. Let’s face it: none of us are completely free of judgment. And if we accept this, it helps us to be easier on each other, and more importantly on ourselves. After all, the ability to listen and speak with acceptance comes from self-acceptance which, paradoxically, is cultivated when we feel accepted by others. At stake in this is our shared longing to fully express our unique selves, and the hope that our diversity can lead us to experience our most sublime sense of unity.

Today, there are signs that we have gotten closer to Dr. King’s lofty vision. True, the world as a whole does not yet value acceptance as the highest attribute of discourse. In some parts it remains forbidden to access or speak about ideas different from the accepted norms of the nation or culture. Wars based on ideology continue to be fought because we continue to fear that accepting those whose ideas are different from ours will threaten our survival. But despite all appearances, I believe our world is evolving from a scattered collection of bordered nations into a harmonious global village. One day we will all be free. The nature of our consciousness, like the universe, is to expand. And while we are going through some growing pains today, no longer certain about what is right and wrong, about how our differences can all fit in together, there will be no turning back. We have become alienated from the identities we were born into, and we are getting too smart to label ourselves by the founding ideas of our cultures. The Pandora’s box has opened and the conversation has begun. And the more we talk, the more we will enjoy the fact that each of us seems to see things a little differently, no longer satisfied with being pushed back into a box that has become too restrictive to contain us.

As we endeavor to become fully human, to actualize ourselves, we get a glimpse of the importance of being informed by the distinct character and nature of all human beings, not just those who think the way we do. We are gaining the courage to question our deep-seated beliefs that there is only one view of the world, and only one meaning to life. The slowly emerging consensus is that the seemingly disparate ways of seeing the world and giving meaning to life are all dazzling colors that together form the mosaic that encompasses the human experience.

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Consciousness

The Power of Human Emotions & How Schools Are Failing To Teach Children How To Deal With Them

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Human emotions effect our physiology, state of mind as well as others around us. Modern day education does not teach children about the importance of emotion and how to regulate and deal with it.

  • Reflect On:

    How are children supposed to be mentally 'fit' as adults if they are not taught how to deal with the various emotions they experience throughout childhood?

What exactly is education? Today, many view it as an opportunity to learn, thrive, and excel in the world. Others see it as a necessary step toward obtaining a piece of paper that ensures one’s entrance into the professional world. Regardless of your take on it, however, one thing is certain: From a very early age we are forced into a system that demands our presence and attention for hours a day and for years of our life. Each child is required to learn an accepted version of reality in order to fit into the specific mould desired by the elite. Just like television, a large part of school is simply programming, and we don’t really learn much about the world — or ourselves.

Perhaps this is why Mark Twain said, “I have never let me education interfere with my intelligence,” or why Einstein told the world to “never confuse education with intelligence,” and that “education is what remains after one has forgotten one has learned in school.” 

School these days seems less about learning and more about rote memorization. Are we critically thinking enough, or questioning enough? Or are we simply being bred to become robots, all of us entering into the same human experience, “educating” ourselves in order to further perpetuate a broken system? We learn concepts and ideas that fit within the current paradigm and structure of society, but not about how to care for ourselves and become well-adjusted adults. Are we really being educated? Or simply groomed to become ‘good’ consumers?

“I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”

– John D. Rockefeller

Another problem with the current education model, as pointed out by world renowned education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, is that it was designed and conceived for a different age. Today, new information and discoveries are constantly emerging in all fields, questioning what we once thought we knew, and that includes how people learn. Unfortunately, unless you have an amazing teacher who is passionate about our world and new information, children suffer in this system.

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In fact, prior to the late 1800s, education was a private practice that took place in private institutions or through home schooling. That all changed in 1902 when John D. Rockefeller created the General Education Board in conjunction with Frederick T. Gates, a close friend and business and personal advisor. The General Education Board was responsible for funding the American public school system, and provided over 100 million dollars in 1902 while continuing their support beyond 1902. If we follow the money, it becomes clear the general education board was responsible for the creation of the American public school system. Does education not play a large role in manipulating the consciousness of human beings?

“Knowledge has to come from somewhere, and that can’t be a classroom.”

Edward Snowden

Emotions in School

School is an experience primarily comprised of learning information — rarely questioning it, but rather taking it in as fact. While we learn about many subjects, very few of them have any real impact on our lives. There are absolutely no classes dealing with human emotions, for instance.

According to sociologist Thomas Scheff, a big supporter of emotional education from the University of California, many Western societies simply view emotions as an indulgence or a distraction, and less important than other things. And he’s right — we are often taught to bury our emotions so we can be more productive, and we are made to feel as though our emotions are not as relevant or important; they always seem to come secondary, if at all, especially within an educational setting. Scheff, among many others, believes that emotions provide valuable information, and yet we are taught not to listen to them. “Just as dangerous,” Scheff said, “is the practice of hiding one emotion behind another.” He has found that “men, in particular, tend to hide feelings of shame under anger, aggression and, far too often, violence.”

Many of the issues and problems that arise in our lives stem from the fact that we really have no idea how to process or address our emotions. As a result of this lack in our education, a child who has not paid any attention to their emotional body develops bad habits and behaviours to compensate, until they learn how to properly process their emotions, if they ever do.

How Do We Go About Doing This?

The good thing about teaching emotions is, they can be implemented into any class and any grade. For example, if you were trying to teach emotions in a class with a number of kids who are about to graduate high school, a great starting point might be to illustrate just how much of an effect emotions can have, not just on a mental level, where unresolved emotions lead to negative action, but on a physical level as well.  The Institute of Noetic Sciences is doing some great work in this area, creating more awareness about non-material science and how our thoughts/emotions have an observable effect on physical material reality. The mind-body connection is truly powerful, and we should be teaching people how to harness that power.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself 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 that of their minds at home, school, work, and play. They’ve discovered that emotional information is “actually coded and modulated” into the magnetic field that surrounds all living things.

As HeartMath Director of Research Dr. Rolin McCratey tells us, “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.”

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

Related CE Article: What Science is Telling us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

One the most popular programs to begin teaching emotions was developed in 2005 by Marc Brackett, David Caruso, and Robin Stern of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

It’s called RULER.

“The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society. The Center conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence.” 

It’s currently being used in more than 1,000 schools in the U.S., implemented for grades k-8.

The name, RULER, is an acronym for its five goals: recognizing emotions in oneself and others; understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; labelling emotional experiences with an accurate and diverse vocabulary; and expressing and regulating emotions in ways that promote growth.

What Exactly Are the Kids Taught? 

RULER teachers kids to to focus on the underlying theme of an emotion they are experiencing rather than wasting energy trying to define it precisely. Grace Rubenstein from Ted.Ideas reports:

When an emotion grips you, explains Stern, understanding its thematic contours can help “name it to tame it.” Even though anger is experienced differently by different people, she explains, “the theme underlying anger is the same. It’s injustice or unfairness. The theme that underlies disappointment is an unmet expectation. The theme that underlies frustration is feeling blocked on your way to a goal. Pinning down the theme can “help a person be seen and understood and met where she is,” says Stern.

Just taking the time to contemplate an emotion when you feel it, and think about why it might be arising, is critical for emotional health. Typing these words here and now, I still find it unbelievable that we have chosen not to deal with such an important aspect of what it means to be a human being. Emotions are something all of us experience, yet we have no guidelines or advice on what we’re supposed to do with them.

Rubenstein offers an example of how RULER functions in the classroom:

RULER’s lessons are woven into all classes and subjects. So, for example, if “elated’ is the emotional vocabulary word under discussion, a teacher would ask students in an American history class to link “elated” to the voyage of Lewis and Clark. Instruction reaches beyond the classroom, too; kids are prompted to talk with their parents or caregivers about when they last felt elated. Researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has found RULER schools tend to see less-frequent bullying, lower anxiety and depression, more student leadership and higher grades. So why isn’t emotional education the norm rather than the exception?

Emotions are something all of us experience, all the time, every single day. They can be confusing, and hard to navigate, especially when they’re negative. By including emotional education into the school system, I believe future generations would be far less depressed, angry, and confused. They would be better equipped to handle difficult situations in their lives, and find it much easier to express their feelings in a healthy, productive way.

There’s still a long way to go when it comes to understanding human emotions, and how to teach/discuss them in the classroom at different grade levels, but RULER is an amazing step in the right direction and I hope we see more programs like this being developed in the future.

 

 

 

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Consciousness

Mercury Retrograde Is Sick Of Being Blamed For Your Problems

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Poor Mercury retrograde, it gets blamed for so many of the problems that people feel come up during the cycle. But the truth is, what gets triggered in us is no one's 'fault' but our own.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it better to look outward for why we feel a specific way? Or to perhaps look inwards and explore what may be triggering us within?

This isn’t meant to offend anyone, it’s simply here to spark a meaningful reflection. I have long said this, as we do have astrology content posted on CE a couple times per month–astrology can help you with reflections, but it is not meant to be a crutch or meant to explain away your challenges as something you don’t have to take any responsibility for or action on.

Think about it. You wake up late, you speak poorly to someone, someone speaks poorly to you, you have a bad day, something doesn’t go right… in these moments people will become wonky, triggered or upset. Then, they may blame Mercury retrograde, or maybe the full moon, or maybe something else for why they are feeling this way. And while there can be truth to cosmic cycles having an impact on humanity’s consciousness, this doesn’t explain how we react. It’s also true that as we deal with that which triggers us, these energies don’t affect us in the same way any longer. I covered this in significant detail in my favorite documentary I’ve made called CE3: The Shift, which you can watch on CETV here.

Things happen in our lives, someone says something, we see something, or something occurs in our day, if we have a trigger within us that gets struck by these events, that external event is merely acting as a mirror for you to reflect on that particular trigger you have. We often feel that “someone else’s” or “something else’s” stuff or energy is always imposing on us and making us feel bad and thus there is nothing we can do, except of course just wait for the Mercury retrograde cycle to end or block the person that is triggering us.

But let’s think for a moment, is blaming how we feel on Mercury Retrograde, any other astrological cycle, or someone else really going to get us to a point where we are empowered and have moved past the habits, patterns, beliefs and limiting blocks we have in our lives? Or might we be better off seeing what might be coming up in our lives in a given moment, writing it out, taking some time to reflect on how we truly feel about it and seeing what changes we can make? After all, don’t we sometimes use beliefs about something to explain why we feel a certain way? Is it really true that we never have ‘problems’ outside of these cycles or triggers?

Image of a cute animal, appearing sad, with text over top to help prove my point.

The truth is, social media is rife with posts about “no bad vibes allowed,” “cut out anyone who is not right for you,” or posts blaming astrological cycles for everything we feel. There is this ‘pop spirituality’ culture of seeming spiritual in our lifestyle as a trend, but perhaps not truly living authentically to the teachings or reflections we’re trying to represent. This often keeps people remaining as a victim and in blame mode when it comes to what gets triggered within us. In many ways, we’d rather run away from or block the things that bother us than face them head on and ask, “why does this bother me to begin with?”

A great summation of the pop culture I’m referring to.

Sure, that’s not always a comfortable question, and no I’m not saying simply let an ‘abuser’ continue to abuse without getting out of the way, I’m simply saying there is a difference between an abuser and someone who has a different opinion than us that we can’t seem to handle and triggers our emotional state. What better definition of slavery is there than to be allowing other people to control our emotional state and send us off into rollercoasters because we don’t want to focus on asking why we are so bothered by something?

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The truth is, if we block that person or run from that person, we will be met with someone else who will once again trigger that same pattern in us because on a deeper level, don’t we want to be free? Doesn’t it make sense for that trigger to be struck once again so we can deal with it this time?

The point here is in self responsibility and taking action on being different. Perhaps many of the challenges we experience during something like Mercury retrograde are actually always there, we just pay closer attention to them during this time because we’re clearer on who to blame for it.

Accidents happen.
Computers break.
People forget things.
We feel emotional.
And people can be mean or inappropriate.

… regardless of Mercury retrograde or any other cycle.

The only questions we really have to ask ourselves are: what life do we wish to live, and what state of being do we wish to be in? One where we are empowered and working through patterns that hold us back or create unnecessary suffering? Or one where we sit back, point to external cycles as a reason for why we feel the way we do, only to repeat that cycle once again shortly thereafter?

The Takeaway

Personally, things can sometimes come up in my life as a challenge, whether it’s Mercury retrograde or not. Do I have more during Mercury retrograde? I can’t honestly say that’s true. What I can say is that if I’m struggling with something in particular and not making the time to address it, I can come up with all sorts of reasons as to why I feel the way I do and why things happen, most of which all point outwards.

But I know deep down that it’s me that can do the work to free myself, and so I’ve always been one to swiftly do the inner work instead of waiting around and making excuses or blaming outside forces.

If something triggers how you feel during the next Mercury retrograde, or anytime for that matter, set 30 undistracted minutes aside for yourself and write out how you are feeling and why. Push yourself to go deep and ask yourself the tough questions. What is truly bothering me about this? What belief system is being triggered? Did someone really do something wrong to me? Who says it’s wrong? Can I put myself in their shoes and understand their position? Am I repeating a pattern of negative self talk or self-imposed limitations? What stories am I telling myself?

Do this, and the next thing you know the worst thing that may happen during a Mercury retrograde is you may have to restart your computer–if you even notice Mercury retrograde at all.

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