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Consciousness

6 Ways To Go Beyond Programmed Conditioning & Change Your Life

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Okay, right off the bat: The choice of title was lofty. I can’t tell you how to go beyond your conditioning, because to completely do so is probably impossible. Whether we identify with or rebel against our roots, those roots are what influenced our earliest conception of reality and will forever be a part of us.

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thinkingFurthermore, to believe with conviction that one has transcended their conditioning—as if it’s some fixed point you can surpass with enough wisdom and vigilance—is to condemn oneself to introspective stagnation. If you ever think you’re a finished product and that you’ve got nothing more to learn about yourself, you’ll stop looking as closely for undiscovered backwoods [or back alleys, if that’s more your schtick] in your psyche, and stop questioning your beliefs and actions. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt; you’ll take your whole lifetime to figure out.

We are each composites of our subjective experiences, after all. There is no “neutral” upbringing; none of us were raised in a cultural vacuum. The opportunity cost is every other possible time, place, body and family we could’ve been born into and shaped by instead.

So complete objectivity and self-awareness may not be a possible limit for anyone to breach. Does that mean the attempt is useless? Absolutely not. It’s all about the journey. As poet Robert Browning wrote:

A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

I’d always regarded myself as a pretty free-thinking individual—it wasn’t until I was completely removed from everything I knew that I realized how much my social identity had shaped me, and how my environment molded my incontrovertible [or so I thought at the time] convictions about the world. Learning for the first time that many of my beliefs about the world and myself were subjective—malleable and optional—opened me up both to a newfound spectrum of possibility, and a newfound humility, in navigating the world. Free-thinking isn’t a personality trait—it’s a never-ending process.

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So here it is: as non-partisan and universal a take on methodical introspection and prescribed self-experimentation as this little girl can muster, divided into six parts, none of which require you to spend money, share my views of the world, or reinvent your lifestyle.

The only testimony for these tips I can give is my own—in recent years I’ve developed a healthier relationship with myself—both forgiving and stern, have dispelled much of the formless anger I used to cling to when my life didn’t feel quite right, am prescribing myself a completely customized life rather than one shaped by the norms of my time, and am finally hopeful of managing the depression I’ve long denied being enslaved by.

1. DECONSTRUCT YOUR VALUES
First, some analysis. This may seem tedious or annoying, but it’s worth it. Consider:

  • Topical issues you feel strongly about one way or another, be it venture capitalism, religion, astrology, veganism, manners, psychiatry, social media, patriotism, parenting, push-up bras, censorship, party drugs, human nature, social responsibility…whatever gets you somehow
  • People and groups that you harbor strong feelings toward, from disgust to hopeless fascination
  • “Givens”—principles you think are self-evident, or universal to existence, reality, society, morality, rather than matters of opinion
  • Things that gross you out, annoy you, or make you uncomfortable on a basic, even irrational level: open-mouthed chewing, polyamory, spiders, girls with armpit hair, people who speak in Ebonics—anything that offends or embarrasses you

Dig down to the roots of your beliefs. Ask yourself why and why not—repeatedly. Ask where your attitudes first came from—you weren’t born with them. Take nothing for granted and explain yourself to a blank slate. Note any resistance or frustration on your part, and ask where it’s coming from.

devilsadvocatePlay devil’s advocate and antagonize your views with an equal and opposite force. Push yourself to flesh out perspectives you would normally find reprehensible. Remember that arguing a side in the privacy of your own mind doesn’t mean you have to agree with it at the end of the day—no matter how well you manage to argue it.

Consider which of your beliefs have changed over time, and what prompted the change. Even more so, consider which of your beliefs have stayed consistent—question those hardest. Wikipedia defines confirmation bias as the tendency of people to “favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses”—to the extent of blocking out opposing evidence. Try to catch yourself rationalizing your way out of confronting emotional or conditioned reactions, answering difficult questions, or admitting a gap in your knowledge or logic. Notice when your arguments sound shaky or extreme. Be ruthless and thorough. Deliberately search for cognitive dissonance, and keep asking why like a two-year-old until your head explodes.

2. REPROGRAM YOUR INFLUENCES

We all have a tendency to look at media and news sources that confirm our own attitudes—so make a conscious effort to diversify what information you’re exposed to, even if it frustrates you at first.

This doesn’t have to be dramatic—just small substitutions here and there.

  • If you read Richard Dawkins, follow up with some of C.S. Lewis’ short theological writings [he was regarded as a “skeptical Christian”]
  • Browse news articles and podcasts with a different political slant than your own, or ones from networks in other countries
  • Explore philosophical schools of thought—even if it’s just on Wikipedia
  • Explore history and anthropology to see how value systems have changed over time and place—even if it just means watching the odd documentary or TV show on science or culture when you’re stuck home with a cold [my most recent sick-in-bed favorite was Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown]

In America, we’re often plagued with an assumption that we already know enough about what the rest of the world is like and won’t benefit from further investigation, caricaturizing other cultures with what little we do know, or think we know, about them. Assume ignorance on your part; be a sponge.

Look at how others conceptualize or value things like success, sexuality, philanthropy, natural laws and science, and how the citizens of other developed countries feel about their social and political systems—not just at how you feel about them. Remember that you can be receptive to things, and even accept them, without liking them. If you previously had no interest in such things, this may be a forced effort at first—but over time you may develop more curiosity about history, anthropology, political theory, science, pop culture, mysticism, or philosophy.

3. CONNECT WITH THE ALIENS

It’s natural to put certain walls up against people we don’t relate to, to stereotype and dismiss them as dumb or crazy rather than investing our candor: in an era where we come in contact with tens or even hundreds of thousands of people in a lifetime, compartmentalizing people is valuable, and helps us make educated guesses in new situations to avoid wasting time or starting conflicts.

However, with exposure to so many people, and with the increasingly flexible and isolated lifestyles afforded by modern life [frequent career changes, working from home, urban living, and—of course—escaping to the Internet], it’s become much easier to avoid anyone who irritates or confuses us, and to seek out only those who will validate our opinions with their agreement, at the risk of potentially harmful stubbornness.

Wordspy.com defines cyberbalkanization as “the division of the Internet into narrowly focused groups of like-minded individuals who dislike or have little patience for outsiders.”

We do this in person, too—tuning out or even dehumanizing those we perceive as belonging to a stereotype we find alienating: rednecks, bros, New Agers…again, this sort of filter can keep our interactions efficient, even safe.

But look, if all you do is preach to the choir, you’re condemning yourself to intellectual atrophication. How lazy is it to discuss one’s beliefs only with those predisposed to agree? It’s a cushion.

speech

In every camp, there are extremists—and they’re often the loudest members. Just because someone is an extremist or bad at defending their beliefs doesn’t necessarily mean the belief itself is invalid— just as the ability to logically and persuasively present a case doesn’t mean it’s right [ask any Speech and Debate kid]. Ability to argue is a reflection of an individual.

Keep in mind that, within that same camp, there are probably also reasonable people who are probably not that different from you.

Try and find some of them. If you can find people with radically different backgrounds, lifestyles and values whom you can respect, or even relate to, they can challenge you to think and grow in ways your more like-minded friends might never be able to. Having an open discourse with someone completely unlike ourselves—or holding radically different viewpoints—can expose us to our shadow aspects [a la Jungian psychology: the parts of ourselves that we, ourselves, find hardest to see, instead projecting them onto others] and prejudices we didn’t realize we had.

And in general, make a conscious effort to consider what is being said, separately from who’s saying it. Discipline yourself to judge ideas on their own merit—regardless of whether they came from a friend, your mother, an co-worker you can’t stand, someone you look up to, a guy in a Hugo Boss suit, or a bum with “Stupid” tattooed on his forehead [hey, I’ve met him].

4. UNPLUG YOURSELF

You don’t have to meditate or become a hermit, but cultivate periods of passive observation and silence.

  • If you commute, turn off your phone or radio and leave your book at home next time. Even better, do this on your next long stint in a car, bus, or airplane—sit with yourself for a couple hours of more
  • Ditch the GPS and try to find new places the old-fashioned way, paying closer attention to your surroundings
  • Sans-headphones and cell phone, make time to wander aimlessly around familiar neighborhoods, or a part of town you’ve never bothered to walk through. It doesn’t need to be anywhere exciting—the key here isn’t excitement, but observational solitude. Make no plans or expectations, but oblige any whims and see where they take you

Instead of creating your own reality, which we are all doing constantly, give yourself time to be receptive—to observe the world around you, as well as your thoughts and reactions to it. Adapt to what’s around you, instead of forcing what’s around you to adapt to you.

5. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

newGo somewhere that freaks you out—even if it’s just the other side of town, or some local establishment you never would’ve dreamed of visiting. Do something that freaks you out—even if it’s just dressing differently or not wearing makeup. Casually reach out to that old friend you’ve thought about lately, even if it feels socially awkward or you’re not sure what to say.

Try a few things, by yourself, that are completely alien and somewhat uncomfortable to you, whether that means exploring soap-making, ecstatic dance, ghost towns, churches, ecovillages, bookstores or hiking trails. If something makes you cringe—but doesn’t completely go against your principles or put your life at risk—and you can sample it in a day, do it.

When you can, plan to go on a trip somewhere new—not necessarily far, or for long, just somewhere unfamiliar—and don’t cushion yourself with plans or money. Allot a small budget—just enough to keep you safe and get you home—but won’t allow you to default to the same old hotel rooms, local friends or relatives, restaurants, or shopping. Be a participant, rather than a tourist. Open yourself up to impulse and coincidence—with no plans in the way, you won’t have any reason to decline good opportunities as they come up.

6. INTERROGATIVE INTROSPECTION

This might be the hardest part—once we become too comfortable seeing ourselves in a certain light, as being this-or-that sort of person, we’re more prone to overlooking evidence to the contrary, which in turn makes us prone to blind spots in our self-perception [circling back once again to confirmation bias and the shadow aspect of Jungian psychology]. In the words of Oscar Wilde, “to define is to limit.”

guesswhoThe 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is a great example of this: a couple, believing themselves to be very progressive San Franciscans, learn their daughter’s fiancé is black [but otherwise completely perfect by their standards]—and are confronted with racial prejudices they didn’t even realize they were harboring [and so on].

Think of what kind of person you are—according to yourself. How do you define yourself—by your social identity, interests, or personality traits? Do you live up to your own standards? How do you think you come across to others? If you met yourself, what would you think? Is there anything about yourself that you don’t like—and, if so, why not? Can you change it? Should you? If there are traits you can’t stand about other people—see if you can find them in yourself, if you look hard. Are there lies you tell yourself, things you gloss over?

What do you want most in life? Do you have those things? If so, are you happy? If not, can you do anything about it? Whatever you seek in your own life—the pursuit of knowledge, discipline, pleasure, wealth, love, enlightenment, influence, or service, ask yourself why you seek it. What do you stand to gain by attaining it—and what would come next, if you did? If you believe in seeking truth over happiness [or vice versa]—ask why that is, and whether it makes you a better, happier person by your own definition.

While I’m not encouraging self-deception, it can be argued that Virtue and Meaning are subjective and, therefore, personal choices. If your life doesn’t feel quite right, maybe you’re holding onto a paradigm or value system that isn’t helping you. Maybe you don’t need or want what you think you do—maybe you once did, but don’t anymore. Maybe disenfranchisement, even depression, are partially symptoms to a larger core issue.

The point of all this isn’t necessarily to change you in some particular way—or even at all. The trick is to leave no stone unturned, to push your imagination and critical thinking as far as they’ll go, to make no unexamined assumptions about who we are, or take for granted our beliefs of life’s workings. Our minds, our worlds, are inherently subjective. After all, how many times have you looked back on something you’d done in the past and thought, “Damn, I didn’t know anything back then”?

———————————————————
ABOUT THE WRITER
A committed bonne vivante bearing scatological proclivities, Bumpkin Wolfgang quit a cushy office job in favor of running off to the mountains, where she spent six months building trails and digging cat holes at 13,000 feet. The experience irretrievably addled her brains, and she’s since been on an unstructured pilgrimage to nowhere in particular, which has led her to work as a ski instructor, massage therapist, freelance model, golf cart mechanic, and so on. She believes in candor, experimentation, and catharsis, and generally enjoys this whole Being Alive Thing. Her table manners border on obscene. You can reach Bumpkin via email [debonairdirtbag@gmail.com] or peruse her blog [http://debonairdirtbag.blogspot.com].

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Some Tips To Help You Unwind Your Busy Monkey Mind

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many of us are unable to relax entirely, as we rush through our days with constant mental chatter and to-do lists on our minds. However, there are relaxing techniques that are easy to implement throughout the day to help us calm our “monkey minds."

  • Reflect On:

    Taking more time to be still, step away from the busyness of life, and learning to unwind helps us feel more grounded and less scattered — thus positively impacting all areas of our lives.

Most people believe relaxing activities are only done in the evenings, and should be grouped in categories, scheduled, or put in an evening “routine,” as if it’s simply another item to check off your “to-do” list.

The good news? You don’t have to wait until the evening to unwind and relax. In fact, you shouldn’t. You deserve to feel grounded in your center and a sense of peace all day, not for just a few hours at the end of your day. You shouldn’t have to, and you absolutely do not have to and mustn’t do so. It is time to do away with the philosophy that it is only safe to entertain the idea of relaxation at the very end of your day, after spending the large majority of your waking hours walking through the day scattered, stressed, anxious, drained, ungrounded and thrown about. You deserve more, and there’s a way to get there. There is a way to unwind that busy, chaotic monkey mind which owns most of your waking hours and is not aligned with your true nature, or the place deep within where stillness and serenity reside. 

Understandably, this may seem quite impossible once you’ve trained your body and mind to operate in a “go, go, go” mode without any sense of stillness.

The thing is though, you don’t have to take time off or become a monk … you can rest in stillness while doing the same things you’re currently doing — and an added bonus to the already amazing benefit of not living a frantic life is that everything you do will be of higher quality. I think you’ll find that all other aspects of life outside of work (relationships, health, etc.) will dramatically improve as a result.

So, here are some tips for unwinding that busy “monkey mind” not only in the evenings, but throughout the day too:

  • Start your day with a “mental dump.” Write out all the things you need to do in a notebook. This relieves a lot of stress, and by getting it all down on paper, you typically realize most of it is just mind made and you really only need to make one or two things your priorities. There is zero reason to even stress about the rest.
  • Every so often, ideally once an hour if you can, set aside as little as 3-5 minute blocks of times for stillness and silence throughout your day. Meditate or go outside and sit in nature or take a walk (which, of course, are also forms of meditation). This will help you return to your core and stay more rooted throughout the day. 
  • Engage in creative activity or “play”: Do something purely for the pleasure of doing it, do it just for fun, with no end goal in mind. An aside: unstructured time for “play” (an activity done purely for fun rather than to gain something from it), is said to be crucial to your creative process. So, if you’re an artist of any type and you’re feeling “blocked,” just keep this in mind. You might just need some unstructured time to enjoy whatever you feel like enjoying at any given moment without having to justify it.
  • Almost all articles on anxiety and insomnia suggest putting away all electronic devices or turning them off completely for the night. Though many of us may find this difficult given our heavy reliance on technology, it is crucial to shut your devices off before bed as they can reduce melatonin production.

If you have difficulty shutting your phone off entirely, you could try a few other remedies including using blue light filters on your devices, avoiding news outlets or anything that will get a rise out of you, and avoiding violent movies and shows before bed. 

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And if you read at night, there is one thing that has helped me immensely —only read fiction, or less stimulating material. Avoid books and magazines that make you want to be more productive, stimulate new ideas prompting your mind to do anything but unwind, and instead just enjoy some good old fiction. Although it’s important to read and educate ourselves, I’ve found that stimulating my brain with this content before bed can reduce my sleep quality. 

Meditation is, of course, the number one most suggested method for taming the monkey mind. However, sitting still for someone with a scattered brain can be difficult. One method to troubleshoot this and not feel like you have to discipline yourself to ‘meditate for 20 minutes straight in the lotus position’ is to just sit down, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. After all, you can do anything for 10 breaths, right?

The Takeaway

Whatever you do during your free time, savor the pleasure of the process rather than thinking of the end goal. In fact, who cares if you even reach the end goal? Who cares if you even have one? Let’s just go ahead and throw the whole idea of a goal in regards to this topic away … lest we wish to possibly defeat our purpose. 

What are your tips and life hacks for unwinding your monkey mind when it gets the best of you? 

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Gillette’s New Ad On “Toxic Masculinity” Is Great – And Necessary, But…

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new commercial from Gillette tackles the issue of 'toxic masculinity.' The commercial asks us questions about male culture and challenges us to step up and change what we're doing. But did they tackle this well?

  • Reflect On:

    What else can we take from the commentary of this commercial? Where else can we find these same behaviours in our society? Further, what is the purpose of the extreme, identity-based politics we see today? Is it causing more harm than good?

In an age of extremes, the nuance of this article is going to be what helps us understand what we are truly seeing in terms of the challenges we face and how we can solve them without generating a strong opinion on these issues. I encourage you all to carefully read this article as if we want to help move away from things like “toxic masculinity,” “toxic femininity,” racism and so forth, but we must do so wisely by truly understanding the depth of what is being said.

Before I continue on, I want to say that in many cases, when talking about issues regarding men, women, or any particular race as politics and media often do today, we must remember that what is talked about does not represent the whole of any group. In fact, in many cases, it only represents a very small percentage of the group being discussed.

As a result of aspects of our consciousness, which we will discuss further in this article, there is no shortage of extremism in society right now when it comes to the discussion of gender. The #MeToo movement helped the greater population recognize that sexism is a huge problem within prominent industries, like music and film, where women are being harassed or abused sexually by men. This then extended to a greater discussion about sexual abuse in society in general, which I feel anyone can agree is an important topic to bring awareness to. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone who actually opposes putting a stop to something like this, yet due to extreme positions, many are being wrongfully accused of such opposition. This is where we need to have a deeper discussion.

By now we know it happens, we don’t need another article exposing it, we need one talking about solutions, so that is what I’m going to focus on.

We exist in very polarized states of consciousness, and because we are a society who has not put a large focus on emotional intelligence, many issues that come to the forefront go through a long period of extremism before/if we become grounded again in order to truly understand what’s going on.

Of course, what I am talking about doesn’t relate only to what occurred after the #MeToo movement began, but with anything, including people’s views on government conspiracies, race, politics and other societal issues. In short, we attempt to apply blanket statements to issues instead of viewing things on a case by case basis or through the properly grounded facts that we do have about an issue.

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As Stefan Molyneux puts it,

“The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.”

Ultimately he goes on to say that if you choose not to look at the larger reasons as to why certain things are happening in our world, you will always be stuck blaming racism, sexism, the patriarchy, men, women, or any particular race. We must preface our discussion with this gnosis before discussing what’s next because it is only in the grounded understandings of our world that we actually can tell where we are at.

 Gillette Aims To Help Raise Awareness About “Toxic Masculinity”

I’ve put the terms toxic masculinity and toxic femininity in quotations both times thus far because many people have very different ideas of what those things look like and mean. In fact, some people don’t even think “toxic femininity” exists, similar to the way they feel only white people are capable of being racist.

For the purposes of this article, I refer to the term toxic masculinity as partaking in a destructive form of male culture that does not operate on the basis of respect, equality and self-responsibility, and that will often exude overly strong behaviours of sexualizing women and competing with others to maintain egoic power. In short, much of what we have seen as male culture through pop culture, movies, music, and so forth can tinker on promoting this form of masculinity. It’s seen in situations where a female is marginalized down to simply being a sex object or situations where male dominance is valued and strived for.

Let’s have a look at this Gillette ad before we continue the conversation.

As Gillette accurately illustrates in its new ad, justifying certain behaviours that are not self-responsible and that do not create a harmonious world with statements like “boys will be boys,” is not something we can continue to do if we want to create a better world. Furthermore, leading by example and being able to speak up about behaviours you observe in others is important. It’s important not to do so in a condescending and judgemental tone, but rather by using a compassionate tone instead that truly questions the behaviour and allows you to empathize with how the other may feel in a situation. Further to that, we must recognize what this ad fails to point out, these behaviours don’t and haven’t come from all males, likely not even the majority.

As Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal,

“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own, … “We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.”

I have been in a number of situations where I’m in an all-male setting and one or two males are talking disrespectfully about females and I will observe other males join in simply so they feel included in the conversation or so that the other men don’t judge them. I personally know the men who joined in on the conversation don’t actually agree with the others, but do so because they feel they have to. Or better put, they do not know themselves or are comfortable enough with themselves to take the potential backlash that can sometimes come from not joining in.

This is why I say the way through these challenges is not by creating an enemy, judging their behaviour, and casting them out like many are doing, but instead by helping people question what they are doing and encouraging a culture of self-responsibility, empathy, and a deeper relationship with self. These sorts of conversations can be openly had, but it’s challenging because of our societal norms. Instead, our culture is often either that of the ‘toxic masculinity’ in question or that of extreme judgement towards unfavorable behaviours. Both are extremes, and neither help change the individual in a deep manner.

To be clear, any gender, any race and any person from a socio-economic class can take part in the disconnected behaviours mentioned above. It is not just men.

This is also where the nuance comes in. It’s important to recognize that not all men represent characteristics of “toxic masculinity.” Male pop culture might, and male pop culture does affect a certain subset of people, but it is not representative of the whole. This leads to my one small issue with the Gillette commercial. It, like many people today seem to be doing, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, i.e. not paying attention to nuance. In the case of #MeToo and this commercial, this behaviour does not apply to all men, perhaps not even to most men. We must remember that societal issues don’t apply to everyone within any particular subset of people, yet that is what people often focus on. This is also why so many enemies are being created. It’s like how some will view all Muslims as terrorists, for example.

Let’s recall the quote from Stefan Molyneux above, “The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.” He is absolutely right in pointing out that the reasons for these things are not as simple as people want them to be, and thus we run in circles of extremes. I bring this point up not to turn the focus away from men, but because I actually care about seeing our culture change. I’ve spent enough time coming to understand that people have become outright extreme and misinformed about issues because we are too focused on an enemy and choosing sides. Thus, we have no clue where we actually stand. This is about changing how we live and operate as humans, not just of any particular race or gender.

If there are feelings of wanting to say or utilize some of the classic deflections of today including “easy for you to say from a white male privileged standpoint,” please save it. Let’s have the courage to have mature, grounded conversations, ones that can help us solve the challenges we face together.

If Not Careful, Our Unchecked Behaviour Divides Us

Like with any movement that begins, it often starts on a positive and helpful note. In this case, bringing awareness to sexual abuse of women is important to address. But the movement has come under fire to some extent as it appears to be going too far. The reasons for this include sweeping judgments, assumptions, and a lack of understanding of things that are said or what’s happening.

This has caused great divides amongst people whereby gender happens to be the card played when any issue is brought forth, even when gender truly has nothing to do with it. We are similarly seeing this with race.

This has given rise to grounded voices like Candace Owens, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Cassie Jaye, to name a few, who are discussing gender inequality in a way that is helping us to diagnose the problem more clearly and ultimately understand how to move forward. This is, of course, in contrast to the extremism out there where you begin to see women hating men or men hating women simply because we are always attempting to blame people for problems.

Cassie Jaye talks a lot about humanizing your ‘enemy.’ In her case, her enemy was males. As she discusses in her TEDx talk, when she released her movie The Red Pill, she received a great deal of backlash from feminists as her film explored The Men’s Right’s movement from her perspective as a feminist. As you might imagine, in her film, Cassie decided to go and speak to people directly. She learned about the people she was fighting against, and in some cases hated, only to realize that in most cases the issues and people involved were not quite who she thought they were.

She goes onto discuss that the greatest issue and challenge she faced was “having to peel back the layers of my own bias.” She goes deeper saying “it turned out I did meet my enemy while filming. It was my ego saying that I was right, and they were subhuman.”

Near the close of her talk she states “It’s no secret now that I no longer call myself a feminist, but I must clarify, I am not anti-feminist, and I am not a men’s rights activist. I still support women’s rights, and I now care about men’s rights as well. However, I believe if we want to honestly discuss gender equality, we need to invite all voices to the table. Yet this is not what is happening. Men’s groups are continually vilified, falsely referred to as hate groups and their voices are systematically silenced.”

The point here is not to pit men’s groups against women’s groups and see who is right, the point is that we have to stop creating sides and enemies. We instead must create a culture where we truly see one another beyond the physical realm. We also must see that in our own ways, we experience challenges from a system that truly does not support our growth.

When her film was released, the media entered into the popular groupthink of our modern times when it comes to gender politics, causing her to become one of the most hated filmmakers at the time. All she did in her film was explore the truth, beyond the fight of side vs side. She instead chose to see things for that they truly are, and this led to what I like to call an upheaval of emotions in viewers that struggle with neutral viewpoints, and instead are addicted to the fight and having an enemy.

This is where I believe many of us exist today. We live in a world where we’re encouraged to choose a side, accept limiting beliefs about what is going on, and ultimately become addicted to the drama of having an enemy to fight… even when they are not doing what you think they are doing.

The Takeaway

What benefit truly comes from identifying as a certain form of activist? I’m not talking about simply saying “I’m an environmentalist” so people understand you care about the environment, I’m talking about when we identify so deeply as an environmentalist that we now filter everything we hear and learn through that lens, thus blocking us from not only hearing the truth but understanding where we stand as a collective. What benefit does that serve other than to show us what disconnection looks like?

I feel it’s time we pay attention to the nuance, the facts and the feelings within our hearts and stop working so hard to find or even create an enemy.

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Consciousness

The Most Powerful Testimony I’ve Ever Heard: My Interview With Anneke Lucas

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    My interview with Anneke Lucas, which CE will be launching for free to the public starting January 17th, only came about through a willingness to follow synchronicities and trust the path they lead me on.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we paying attention to synchronicities and trusting our intuition enough to act on them, no matter how unusual or impractical they may seem?

I believe that life brings synchronicities to those who are open to them. Well, I suppose life brings synchronicities to everybody, but it is those of us who accept that the universe has a more comprehensive vision of our life mission than we do that are more likely to take advantage of them. It is not so much that we have to be on the lookout for every sign and symbol that flashes past us; it’s more about noticing the things that resonate most with us, calling us to pay attention and perhaps even take action.

It was only four months after starting to work for CE that I got an email with the heading ‘Change from within’ from a woman named Anneke Lucas, where she said the following:

I’m writing to thank you for your articles about the nature of power, pedophilia and Satanic practices. As a survivor, it is refreshing to find someone writing about these issues with such clarity, with both awareness of the problem and the dawning awakening of humanity to this darkness.

A friend of hers had forwarded her my James Gunn article and she went on to read other articles including my Lucifer series. The first thing that gave me that tingling feeling about the timing of this email was the fact that I had become aware of Anneke Lucas’ story at the office a week earlier when someone had sent me a link to one of her videos. In fact, I even wrote about this synchronicity in my reply to her.

In her initial email she briefly introduced herself as someone who had gone through Satanic ritual and sexual abuse, and directed me to some of the videos she had done, including a TedX talk she had given. She ended by saying ‘I would like to keep communication open, perhaps further explore synergies.’ It was this elegant invitation that resonated most with me, and as I researched who she was and what she had been through, I was not only awed by the unthinkable amount of trauma she had endured in her childhood, but deeply impressed with her clear-minded analyses into the nature of her perpetrators and their own trauma-based motives.

From reading her writings, like this Elephant Journal article, I gained some insight into how perpetrators of pedophilia are desperately seeking the feeling of their own lost childhood innocence. They project their own trauma onto an innocent child to gain power and momentarily escape their own feelings of shame and lack:

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Power addicts are attached to positive projections. Admirers, followers, lovers, fans and in the case of pedophiles, the child victims, are parental substitutes, unwittingly providing the necessary fuel for this addiction.

By being thought of as powerful, different, special, more attractive, bigger or better, power addicts adopt those projections and use them as nurturing substance, feeding the damaged infant inside, which can be experienced as emptiness or a sort of black hole if the person has no connection to that inner part.

The power game lies in keeping one’s own negative thoughts secret while warding off negative projections and using positive ones to maximum advantage, so obtaining the feeling of innocence through calculating and exploitative means.

Exploring Synergies

Register to watch our exclusive 4-part interview series with Anneke.

Through my own life experiences, I have come to believe that no trauma is beyond healing. One of the reasons I began to delve into pedophilia and Satanic practices since I started writing for CE was because I felt that I could bring some nuance to the discussion that transcends the rage and disgust that many tend to react with. Seeing Anneke’s words, I felt that in some ways she was a kindred soul, but at the same time she endured and overcame exponentially more suffering and abuse than I could have ever imagined. I felt that she had a profound and meaningful story to tell, one that could be of benefit to all people in their journey toward healing. I felt it would be a great privilege to help her tell her story.

I asked her if there are any of her videos or writings that she wanted me to analyze and write about, or if she would be interested in an interview via Skype. I even asked her where she lived (Brooklyn, NY, as it turns out) in the unlikely event that I could arrange a live interview with her. It was unlikely indeed, since I had not been with CE very long and had never done an interview for them (or ever, to be frank). Not only that, but we were going through a budget crunch at CE, as everyone had to have their hours (and pay) reduced to part-time. I thought there was no way I could ask to expense flights for both myself and our cameraman James to fly to Brooklyn to conduct a live interview. So I didn’t ask.

Ideas about how to get something done remotely occupied my brain over the next few days, which lead to various discussions at the office and some back-and-forth emails with Anneke. Then one morning it just hit me. This was too important an interview not to do live, and this was too great an experience for me not to take the opportunity to meet Anneke in person and have a conversation. I decided that I would find the cheapest flights, ask CE’s Founder Joe for a small budget to cover some of the expenses, and pay for the rest myself if I had to. Joe was cool with the idea, James was up for a road trip, and everything fell into place, including James knowing a friend in Brooklyn that we could stay with for the night. I feel very grateful that I chose to follow the synchronicity of Anneke’s initial email invitation.

The Interview

The road trip was filled with synchronistic numbers and fortuitous events. We were in New York and we arrived at James’ friend’s place at 9:11 pm. The next morning, our GPS had us arriving at Anneke’s place at 9:11 am. Our flight down was smooth as silk, and when we flew back we transferred to an earlier flight and were upgraded to first class.

The interview itself went exceptionally well. We were warmly greeted by our gracious host and the entire interview was conducted in a space of trust and comfort. And that comfort grew quickly as the interview went along, as Anneke mentioned that she was happy to be not just with one but two people who ‘get it’ and were able to hear her story with equanimity. We initially thought we would be restricted to shoot from 8 am to 2 pm, but Anneke had made arrangements to allow us to continue filming for as long as we were able to.

Anneke’s daughter came home from school in the afternoon (surprisingly, since she had been asked by Anneke to stay with a friend until the interview was over), but she defiantly said she didn’t want to and that she was going to her room instead, but that she would put headphones on and would not disturb us. At that point I felt comfortable enough to tease Anneke and say that it was ‘too bad she turned out just like you!’ We all had a good laugh and were able to resume working into the evening, which allowed us to get the whole story in over 4 hours of video content, virtually all of which was usable for the 4-part video series.

Anneke’s story is filled with revelations of the nefarious activities perpetrated by the royals and elites of Belgian society, but more importantly Anneke goes deep into the healing journey she went through after suffering so much trauma. This testimony not only gives incredible insights into how each one of us can face our darkness as individuals, but also provides a roadmap to the healing of our planet from the state of collective trauma and dysfunction we currently live in. Some of the details were captured in another article we published a few days ago entitled ‘Survivor Of Elite Child Sex Slavery Discloses Her Incredible Escape & Her Healing Journey.’

The Takeaway

As we have discussed many times in our articles at CE, an essential aspect of our personal awakening is to look into the darkness of our unhealed emotions. Similarly, at the collective level, our healing will not come to pass if we are not willing to bear witness to the most profane examples of human activity. This is not to say we need to remain fixated in either fear or indignation or even fascination towards these heinous acts; but we need to acknowledge them and, as a collective, take ownership of them so that we have the power to move forward.

This four-part interview with Anneke Lucas reflects just this. We first come to grips with her harrowing story of subjugation and the miracle of her escape; then, we come to marvel at the breadth of her healing journey and discuss its implications for us as a collective.

I invite everyone to sign up for the official launch of this free four-part video series starting on January 17th, and would be surprised if you did not agree that this was the most powerful testimony you’ve ever heard.

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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