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How We Can All Use Our Breath To Awaken To Who We Really Are

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“More than ever, awakening to ‘who we really are’ is important not just for ourselves but for society and the world. It is quite clear that we cannot solve the problems we face today with the very same unconscious, manipulative mind that created them in the first place.” –Dennis Lewis

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bookcoverI heard Dennis Lewis, the author of Breathe into Being, say during an interview on YouTube something quite profound, but rarely noticed by most human beings: our very first act upon entering the world is to take a breath and our final act upon death is to exhale breath. The fact that this singular act of breathing bookends our life makes it worthy of getting to know it better, does it not?

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Indeed, this movement of drawing in and exhaling life-giving breath is something we experience non-stop throughout our entire existence. Yet, just how mindful are we of something that happens to our body 17,280 times per day (12 breaths per minute x 60 minutes per hour x 24 hours in a day), every single day of our lives!? For most of us, the answer is, not very. Why? Because breathing takes no conscious effort on our part; it simply happens, thankfully, automatically. Says Dennis:

“You can check in on your breathing any time at all, since you are always being breathed now, and ponder for a moment this essential miracle of yourself, the miracle of being itself breathing.”

Notice the last three words of the sentence: “being itself breathing.” Most of us never stop to consider what actually POWERS the mechanical act of breathing—it is simply taken for granted. By becoming silent, and tuning into our body, we can notice that our body is indeed being breathed. To further explain this, here’s an excerpt from the book:

Looking toward the No-Thing that You Are

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“The awareness of the ‘breath of life’ as it moves through us draws us immediately (if we pay attention) toward something far greater than the paltry little mental, emotional, or physical ‘I’ that we habitually call ourselves. By spending several minutes each day directing your attention inward toward the underlying energies of the ‘breath of life’—including the physical movements of inhalation, exhalation, and the brief but natural resting place before the next inhalation—you will become quieter inside and more present to yourself as you are. This will enable you to look even deeper inside toward the ‘no-thing’ that you are in your very essence. It will enable you to look toward what you experience when you are zero distance from yourself, toward the silent, spacious receptivity, the pure, impartial awareness, that lies at the heart of being—the simple, undefined, unqualified, I AM. Can you experience this right now as you follow your exhalations and inhalations for at least five minutes?”

The above quote by Dennis points out that there is something much deeper at work here. That this mysterious invisible force that “breathes us” is in fact responsible for animating the entire universe and every single movement within it! It is easy to forget this as we go about our day-to-day activities. And yet, without this Life force, Life would not exist. Without the formless, there could be no form, for we live in a world of duality. And yet, most everyone is so focused on form, that the formless, the Source, goes virtually unnoticed.

And yet, in my own experience, the desire to try to explain the mystery drops away by itself the more one abides in it. It’s as if you see all questions are from the mind, and thus can only lead you to more questions; it’s endless. Mind can never know it’s source, just like a wave can never “know” the ocean. Instead, when the mind is relaxed, a higher power, call it intuition, is discovered.

One discovers that this intuitive knowing is ALWAYS in harmony with Life’s natural flow, and so we begin to awaken and to trust it. As this happens, the limitations and falseness of the beliefs we used to hold to explain events and people becomes more obvious to us, and they begin to fall away. As this happens, our true Self begins to shine through, revealing a peace and happiness that is causeless because it is not dependent on outside circumstances.

“Instead of seeing and welcoming the world as it is, we generally either reject what is in favor of what we believe should be; or we entangle it so deeply in our self-serving stories that what actually is remains hidden from us at the deepest levels.” –Dennis Lewis

Another observation by Dennis in the book is that before we are able to take a new, fresh breath, we first must completely empty ourselves of our “old” breath. Out with the old, in with the new. This process is not confined to our breathing, but our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes as well. To take on a new, more empowering belief, we must first let go of our old ones that no longer serve us.

Eckhart Tolle, on several occasions, has talked about the breath being a portal into the now. Why? Because breathing always takes place in the only place it can: now! So, by tuning into our breath, we automatically leave the noisy mind (which is always focused on the past or future) and become present. Through repetition and self-awareness, like any skill, we can become better at learning to be more present. And our breath is always available to help us do this.

“It is not a matter of knowing something deeper about ourselves but rather of experiencing the mystery of ourselves as completely unknown—the miracle of awakeness itself.” –Dennis Lewis

Final Thoughts
After reading this little 115 page book (which is broken up into many short, easy to read chapters, approximately one per page), you will never look at your breath in quite the same way. What sets Breathe into Being by Dennis Lewis apart from other books on “breath-work” is that it focuses on the inherent mystical aspect of our breath. In other words, you may have picked up the book in order to become more aware of your breath, but by the time you put it down you realize it is not your breath at all… it’s God’s breath! And this powerful realization profoundly changes the way you view yourself, the world, and your fellow-man. Unity goes from being a nice concept, to what has always been the case, but was simply not noticed because we were so caught up in our thoughts, and so felt separate from everything else. Our breath becomes our ever-present portal back home to the Infinite.

For those that are interested in finding out more about Dennis Lewis, I invite you to check out his website: www.dennislewis.org

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Consciousness

A Spiritual Perspective On Smoking Cannabis: An Important Viewpoint To Consider

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Sadhguru shares his perspective on smoking marijuana and why it's not truly needed to achieve the feeling one may receive to do it.

  • Reflect On:

    I'm not saying there isn't medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I'm saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up.

I was having a conversation yesterday about something that has always been a reflection point for me. Since I was a kid, I was never drawn to substances, even alcohol. I always felt great, high even, when just being.

As I got older and I finally tried cannabis for the first time, and then a few more times after that as years went on, I started to realize it actually brought my state of being and clarity down. The tough part was trying to explain that to others when having conversations about how these substances don’t produce a true experience of higher consciousness, but more so give you a glimpse in a sense.

Before we go on, I want to bring something up. The challenge with this topic is that we tend to get very emotional and rigid about it. Not only that, but we aggressively try to lump people into FOR or AGAINST cannabis. I’m not here to do that. I’m simply creating a reflection point as my desire is to help shift consciousness and empower us within to create a world where we can truly thrive. So for a moment, set aside your own hard coded beliefs and just be open to what this article is shining light on.

Societal Cannabis Culture

For the most part society either breaks down into people who judge cannabis as a drug that is for ‘stoners’ and are very against it. These people tend to believe there are no positives to cannabis. On the flip side are the people who feel cannabis is an amazing wonder plant that can do no wrong, and that the “highs” it provides expand the mind and we experience peace.

The truth is, cannabis has good aspects and not so good aspects to it. And while the positives can be really helpful for a very small subset of people on this planet, smoking it is one of the worst ways to use cannabis health wise. Not only that, society is using its medical benefits to turn attention away from the addiction many users have to it. This is a tough pill to swallow and makes many people aggressive and angry when I bring it up, but it’s true. In a big way, but not all the time, we are using cannabis as a society to help cope with feelings deep down that we want to shut off or hide from. As a note, we are also using food, TV and other things in the same way, but right now I want to focus on this reflection.

Cannabis can assist people with autism, people who have seizures, and in some cases it may have helped people cure cancer. There are benefits that can come from this plant being used in a proper medicinal way, but we must remember to look at the downsides that come from regular cannabis use that many simply don’t want to acknowledge.

A Note On Legalization

First off, I do not believe the plant ever needed to be illegal to begin with. In fact I’ve done much research on how it became illegal and it really had more to do with protecting an industry more than anything else.

That said, there is something to consider here that many of us aren’t looking at too clearly when it comes to what legalization really means. It means that powerful people are going to be the ones who profit most from it, that’s why it’s becoming legal. Not only that, but the reason it is taking so long is so they can get in place the many aspects required to make sure they achieve what they want: stripping medicinal aspects out of the plant profiles, controlling the seeds, and ultimately feeding society cannabis focused solely on creating a THC based ‘high’. This is no different than controlling alcohol and feeding it to society in the ways we currently do.

The cannabis industry is worth over $40 billion, making it the second-most-valuable crop in the U.S. after corn. As stated in a powerful article by GQ, “And even though weed is still federally forbidden, it sounded like whoever was behind BioTech Institute had spent the past several years surreptitiously maneuvering to grab every marijuana farmer, vendor, and scientist in the country by the balls, so that once the drug became legal, all they’d have to do to collect payment is squeeze.”

Humans should be able to make choices as to what they want to do to themselves and their bodies i.e. smoke cannabis or consume alcohol, but I believe greater education needs to be placed behind both and ultimately: we must start looking at the real reasons as to why we use both of these substances so often.

Looking At Cannabis Differently

I see that in many ways the use of cannabis is making the average user numb, in the same way alcohol does. I’ve used cannabis before, in a number of ways -smoking, edibles etc. I’m not saying the feeling is the same for every single user, but I’ve also been around thousands of cannabis users in my lifetime while they were high and you notice the same ‘vibe’ virtually every time. Perhaps there are varying degrees, but for the most part it numbs us out and sometimes quiets the thoughts to create a calmness. Is this like meditation? No, but it can be confused as that. I know, I’ve been there too.

Below is a video of a perspective on cannabis I feel is very important for us to consider. Let me be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I’m saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up. I am inspired to help create a world where we can truly empower ourselves form within, move beyond our mind and egoic challenges that help us grow and do just that – grow. But if we continually bury our challenges in substance, we won’t.

I believe it’s time we come to the uncomfortable truth and face the fact that as a society we have not done the greatest job in encouraging one another to truly explore, express and move beyond many of the emotional challenges life’s experiences have provided us, that are there for our growth. Think about it, do we want to just cope through life? Or do we want to truly move beyond our stuff? There is SO much suffering we can prevent by making it a societal norm to work through our challenges on a deep level. This is where I believe we must go.

Note: You can try meditation to help calm the mind and move more clearly through challenges. Here are more tools as well.

Lost relationships, divorces, losing jobs, feeling unloved, lack of confidence, depression etc. All of these things are not here so that we can use bandaids everyday to cover them up and get through them, they are here for us to learn more about ourselves, grow and evolve as people and as a society. To create a world where we can truly thrive. To get there, we must begin to face our challenges.

I made this choice 10 years ago when I started to discover meditation and inner reflection, and although I wasn’t a user of substances like alcohol or cannabis, I would use food to cover up my emotions or I would distract myself with TV, whatever worked. But I can share from experience, the incredible changes that come from shifting those stories within and gaining true empowerment will change everything in your life, and everyone can do it.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Virgo: Efficiency & Practicality

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We are having a New Moon in Virgo on September 17th. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Aries on October 1st/2nd.

Virgo season began on August 22nd/23rd, nearly a month prior to this Lunation, and will end on September 22nd/23rd when Libra season begins. However, his New Moon will still carry some of its Virgo themes into the first eight days of Libra season prior to the Full Moon.

This is a good period of working with and co-creating with the energies of this sign. Virgo is associated with productivity, duties, service, health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, adaptable, conscientious, skillful, orderly, punctual, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, discerning, precise, and practical.

Virgo is about problem solving, adjusting to changing conditions, and coming up with solutions. Negatively, this energy can be cynical, fussy, high strung, and perfectionistic. It can also be exorbitantly mentally oriented as well as overly critical and discriminating.

Mars began its retrograde a week prior to this New Moon which will last until mid-November. This energy is a significant part of the current astrological backdrop. Generally it is a time that can ultimately help to facilitate a change in how we apply ourselves in certain areas of life, however, the retrograde period itself can bring frustrations and challenges that help with that process. You can read more about this Mars Retrograde here.

New Moon Trine Saturn & Quincunx Mars Retrograde

This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Capricorn which is transitioning out of its retrograde at the end of the month. This can be a good period for operating in a responsible, cautious, orderly, productive, realistic and practical way. However, considering that Saturn is finishing up its backwards motion, these next couple of weeks are generally better for getting things sorted out and prepared as well as perhaps focusing on tasks that you have already been working on.

It is possible that in late September and in early October, we can experience some sort of shift, or change in gears, that can take things into a different direction. Saturn will be in a square with Mars Retrograde at that time, and we may have to contend with limitations and obstacles that can affect how certain things move forward.

This New Moon is also in a quincunx with Mars retrograde which can reflect annoyances, tension, or conflicts that may require adjustments and adaptability. Issues that come up may be at odds with our needs or the way we want to express ourselves. This energy is the strongest on the 19th/20th but can also be more noticeable on the day of the New Moon.

New Moon Square Lunar Nodes, Mercury Square Jupiter

This New Moon is also in a close square to the North Node in Gemini opposing the South Node in Sagittarius. We may be at odds between the past (South Node) and the future (North Node), beliefs (Sagittarius) and facts (Gemini), our immediate aspects of life (Gemini) and the world at large (Sagittarius).

However, the focal point should be the North Node in Gemini and expressions of the South Node in Sagittarius energy should be serving that focal point and not be the emphasis. The rulers of the Nodes, Mercury (Gemini) and Jupiter (Sagittarius) are also in a tight square with each other at the time of this New Moon. This can reflect tension between these two sides and potentially conflicts between ideas, viewpoints, and opinions.

Jupiter is in the limiting Saturnian sign of Capricorn while Mercury is better placed in Libra, the sign of diplomacy, seeking common ground, considering different needs/perspectives, and fairness. Mercury square Jupiter can be good for learning but it can also be excessive when it comes to information and we can more easily be mentally scattered.

Mercury Quincunx Neptune, Then Square Pluto, Saturn & Opposing Mars

Mercury is in a quincunx with Neptune which is strongest on the 18th/19th. This energy makes it harder to integrate or juggle our intuitive, creative, imaginative, compassionate or spiritual expression with our mind, communication, tasks, and thought process. Issues pertaining to lack of boundaries, flakiness, delusion, escapism, intoxication, may come up.

Mercury moves towards a square with Pluto which is strongest on the 20th/21st. Our thoughts and communications can be deep, powerful, penetrating, investigative, raw, real, and potentially intense. This can also reflect obsessive or compulsive behavior, suspicion, fears, anxiety, or conflicts pertaining to power or authority.

Mercury then moves to a square with Saturn (22nd/23rd) followed by an opposition to Mars retrograde (23rd/24th), creating a t-square formation in that time period with the separating Pluto energy (20th/21st, mentioned above) tied into it a bit. This can be a time of obstacles, delays, communication issues, pessimism, and conflicts while we can get more easily irritated or angered. Circumstances may come up that can be pushing us to be more cautious, realistic, or responsible.

This period is the beginning of Mercury’s pre-shadow period in which it will be returning to another square with Saturn. Some of the issues or developments that occur at this time may be connected to things that will play out during the retrograde (October 13th/14th until November 3rd/4th) and weeks surrounding that period. It will also be the Equinox and therefore this energy is imprinted into the following three months in which it can manifest in other ways/areas separate from this initial period.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What can you do to be more practical, productive, and efficient? Is there anything you can or should implement to improve your health and functionality? What have the circumstances, developments, or challenges over the last week (leading up to this New Moon) shown you in how you should be applying yourself? Do you need to implement stronger boundaries? Do you need to be more adaptable? Are you clinging to the past or are you willing to take steps to help you grow? What aspects or details of your immediate life, surroundings, or relationships do you need to focus on more and what excesses or broad aspects of your life are getting in the way of that?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 11:00am Universal Time on September 17th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

Why We Get Into Fights When Sharing Information

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We’re in a time when mainstream media and traditional conversations are failing to address a number of important topics within society, anything from current events to politics and so on, and this is birthing a great deal of ‘alternative conversation’ that often stems from alternative media.

But with this, comes to the common ‘fight’ between various ideas and ideologies that is much more avoidable than we often realize. I wanted to share a quick tid bit from a recent episode discussing how we can reflect to develop better communication and connection faculties that can make a big difference in how we communicate important ideas that are emerging without creating such huge divides ad tension.

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