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The Fascinating Man Behind Much Of What We Read About Consciousness

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Having been fascinated by (but not affiliated with) the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky tradition and teaching for most of my life, I recently reviewed “Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff – The Man, The Teaching, His Mission” the encyclopedic account written by William Patrick Patterson.

Many “seekers” are completely unaware that the ideas of Tolle, Dyer, Katie, Ehrhard and even Alan Watts have a resonating thread to two men who led groups in the early 20th century, and who each had powerful charismatic personalities, Gurdjieff himself and his most famous student, P.D. Ouspensky.

My own interest in this teaching began over 40 years ago when I travelled to the Yucatan and later Cairo in search of lost wisdom. I had been fascinated by the extensive research into the Great Pyramid and its encoding of mathematical and astronomical truth by Peter Tomkins, in his Secrets of the Great Pyramid and Secrets of the Mexican Pyramids, written in the 1970’s.

At the same time I began reading about Gurdjieff, and mainly devoured Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous, which was the doorway into the vast psychology and cosmology of his teacher, Gurdjieff, which fascinated me with its clarity and scope.  (Patterson refers to Ouspensky as Uspenskii)

GinE_newDVDAt that time I tried to find out more about Gurdjieff and find like-minded people but they did not advertise and in fact were quite secretive. What I did know is that Gurdjieff claimed that some of his knowledge was the result of his own initiation in Egypt–where he worked as a guide at the Great Pyramid and encountered fellow seekers, who became his lifelong friends and colleagues. So it was with great interest when I found the Gurdjieff Legacy website, which informed me that William Patrick Patterson had a DVD titled:  Gurdjieff in Egypt.

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After watching the trailer, I ordered the DVD and have watched it several times.

Patterson is the narrator, author and producer of the film, which follows him on a personal journey to Cairo to get a sense of any possible answers to the question that formed the chief aim of Gurdjieff’s own life:

“What is the sense and significance of life on Earth, and human life in particular?”

Of particular interest to me was Patterson’s own research into what drew Gurdjieff to Egypt –his own search for ancient wisdom which climaxed with the discovery of an ancient map of “pre-sand” Egypt (when the area was not a desert but in fact fertile).

This period pre-dates the time of the pharaohs by thousands of years and has also been the subject of research by rogue archeologists like Robert Schoch, Robert Bauval, John Anthony West and others. (Schoch himself conducted research into the striations at the base of the Sphinx that suggest strongly that they are the result of water erosion –which would place it during that period)

gizaBut Patterson’s work is not wildly speculative in the least; while I love the “suggestions” in the Ancient Aliens TV series, Patterson himself makes only one intuitive leap –he conveys strong evidence that what shocked Gurdjieff on the map he found of pre-sand Egypt was, in fact, the presence of the Sphinx. This would turn all of conventional human history on its end, and Patterson takes us with him as he actually explores the ruins of Giza and other great temples along the Nile.

Patterson says that Gurdjieff himself was initiated into the mysteries of the Pyramid three times and begins to eloquently weave the deep meaning of this sort of practice and teaching amid the spectacular structures through which he takes us.

There are wonderful views and examinations of the interior of the structures along with a compelling narrative of the “sacred science” that must have been practiced and preserved by those who built these monuments. Patterson continues up the Nile to the Temple of Luxor, which is also known esoterically as “The Temple of Man” because it encodes ancient knowledge of biology and energy, which Patterson describes. (More about the details of this encoding can be found in “The Temple of Man” by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz a little-known but fascinating figure who devoted his life to unwrapping the mysteries of Luxor)

Patterson’s DVD provides a historical context for the Gurdjieff work that some of us crave, and then also delves into the possible sources of the “sacred science” which Gurdjieff taught; again not with speculation but with actual insight into the symbolism of Egyptian culture (and of course the actual material –the hieroglyphs and works themselves –are right there – demythologized with excellent graphics).

Patterson as narrator is very engaging, going from the markets of Cairo to interact with guides at the various sites, and interspersing his commentary with extremely compelling analysis of what he is showing.  Short of going to Giza yourself (with someone as knowledgeable as Patterson) this DVD is a wonderful experience. This DVD is part of a trilogy which also includes Part 2: Gurdjieff’s Mission, and Part 3:  Gurdjieff’s Legacy.

I also was able to review another DVD produced by Patterson: Introduction to Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way: From Selves to Individual Self to The Self

fromselves-dvd-smlWhen one reads Gurdjieff or Ouspensky, a seminal point is that one cannot do “the work” alone.  Gurdjieff was P.D. Ouspensky’s teacher and demanded authority over his students, in order to enable them to eventually become aware of their “sleep” and inability to “do anything” by themselves.

These groups for self-study were called “schools,” and in this DVD Patterson combines a series of lectures elucidating the teaching with actual interactions and responses to the sincere questions and comments from his three-day seminar at the St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista, California.

Patterson himself studied with Lord John Pentland, who was tasked with bringing the Gurdjieff teaching to America, and who worked with both Ouspensky and Gurdjieff himself.

The material is broken up into four parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Images of God and Machines
  3. Science of Being
  4. Faith of Consciousness

There is also a section devoted to showing an actual dinner based upon Mr. Gurdjieff’s teaching, and its preparation according to the practices of his students.

Patterson begins by echoing the cautionary note he writes about in another book, “Spiritual Survival in a Radically Changing World-Time” in which he examines the spiritual price that is being paid by our current “devotion” to Scientism and technology –the call of our intellectual “center” and the Ego.

Patterson continues by delving into the historical account he covered in “Gurdjieff in Egypt” by describing the “Sacred Science” which formed the basis of the teaching of Gurdjieff (also referred to as Lost or Esoteric Christianity, the actual foundation for the original teachings of Jesus as described in the Gnostic Gospels). Patterson says that over time the Egyptians lost the thread of this ancient wisdom and the original (Sacred) Science of Being gave way to animal worship.

But Gurdjieff’s teaching was “something completely new and self-contained,” based upon his own studies and was in fact an effort to “reconcile the teachings of the East with the Energy of the West.” Patterson both uses the computer “analogy” and the language of psychology to make the case for how most of us have become “conditioned or programmed bioplasmic machines” rather than conscious beings in God’s image. But the machine model has a positive potential –we do live according to impersonal natural law –so that we can potentially witness our conditioned reactions.

The work is based on self observation leading to self knowledge and ultimately to a tanglible and organic awareness of Consciousness “itself” –and Patterson addresses the illusion of control fostered by modern science with its aim of an “artificial intelligence” –Patterson states categorically that,

“There is no machine that has ever been built or ever will be built that can know itself.”

A machine cannot have self awareness – a machine can beat Gary Kasparov in chess, but it will never “know” it is beating him. This was also demonstrated by the IBM machine that “beat” the Jeopardy champions; it did so with massively fast calculations, but it could not form analogies or “reason creatively or symbolically.” But of course we are not a machine in “our image” like IBM but rather something completely natural –organic life—but living in a false sense of our true nature. We believe we have free will.  Gurdjieff thought otherwise.

Patterson goes through the limitations of our ability to actually control anything –much less nature –and then suggests the only “thing” or faculty we can control is our attention. And he also points out “What does society want from us – our attention.” That is why we live in a time of technological distraction based on capitalism, because as he continues, “What follows our attention?  Money.”

Core to the Science of Being is going beyond the “formative mind” or what Gurdjieff calls the Intellectual Center and creating a harmony with our total being—this can bring us to a deeper understanding of Consciousness and the recognition (“re-cognition”) of the reality that being “is not an idea- it is an experiencing.” To live consciously “our aim is to be – to receive and transmit (energies)” or “impressions” with complete presence, and not with automatic (programmed) reaction that triggers the many negative emotions that form our personality.

Patterson has a wry sense of humor which comes through the material.  When confronted with intellectual queries he is prone to reply:

“No sense asking questions you can’t answer.  No sense watching CNN – entertaining yourself with other peoples’ misery.”

The conscious individual is careful what he puts into his body, his mind and his nervous system.  As the advertising industry apparently understands, “Impressions are a food.” Imagery has a profound effect on imagination and being—it can be nourishing or distracting and destructive. Patterson’s account of the Gurdjieff teaching echoes its many influences, like the work of writers like Alan Watts, Adyashanti, and Eckhart Tolle. For Patterson, Consciousness is “no thing”. Consciousness is what receives all things. It is the background– what’s up front is the content. Patterson says that through distraction we tend to become completely absorbed in the “outside” – the “content” of consciousness, without an awareness of the underlying, vast space in which this content appears and disappears.

Unlike our “personality,” consciousness is also unsentimental and “impersonal.” Consciousness has no point of view. Patterson also resonates with Eckhart Tolle, among others, when he explains that, “The last thing we will give up is our suffering” – we don’t really want to wake up from our identification with victimhood because it’s “the devil we know” –it is the sense of not knowing that is terrifying–something that Gurdjieff famously called “The Terror of the Situation.”

Unlike other teachings that may suggest a withdrawal from conventional reality, the Gurdjieff Fourth Way seeks to use the conditions in life –to consciously receive Life as impressions –and use that to come to real life –through what is called “self-remembering.” The access to this sense of a true self is not just through the mind, but by deeper awareness of the body, sensation and witnessing (negative) emotions –-

The moment that “I’m here” there is a shock to the organism (a technique for regaining presence might be brushing your teeth with your left hand) – and we slowly begin a practice where we drop allegiance to the hypnotic consensual reality. When I give “my” attention to my “self” (Consciousness itself) rather than its content (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, sensations) then a new flavor of concrete experience comes and I can receive this (unfiltered) directly – this sort of food according to Patterson provides the organism with double the power ‘to be.’

Technology and conventional reality urge and prompt us into self-talk and daydreaming to numb our feelings –Gurdjieff calls them buffers because they insulate us from direct impressions and the shocks we need to wake up. And in this way, through technology we give up our energy or it leaks. “When I identify with a reaction I create a world with all of that energy…” Patterson says, suggesting that the energy is then lost but “If my self-remembering (presence) is equal to the shock of the moment ‘I eat it.” My conscious organism becomes a true “shock absorber.”  All of “me” can now assimilate it and I have more energy.

Patterson cautions that through self-observation we can discover that there is a big part of us that doesn’t want to know the truth – that is comfortable with reaction, judgment and “sleep.” But once we get a taste of consciousness it’s like no other taste at all –all fears are “just content.”

Going through the DVD is like having Patterson as a guide or teacher, and it also goes well beyond a mere intellectual understanding by giving the viewer a sense of the dynamic of the profound interaction between teacher and sincere student. This dynamic is not always comfortable or “positive” –it is loving in the unconditional sense because it confronts us with impersonal perspectives on our deluded nature, and ultimately can lead to a deeply felt energetic sense of something far more vast and deep—the subject of Sacred Science—Consciousness itself. This is not some “thing” to be known –it is a mystery to be lived, moment to moment, consciously and with profound gratitude for each breath that we take.

To get a taste of the material in this DVD, check out the trailer at the following link:
http://www.gurdjiefflegacy.org/selves.htm

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What The ‘MAGA Hat Kid’ Story Really Teaches Us

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The mainstream media spread a story about a kid and his friends surrounding a native elder even though the story was taken out of context and was false. However, there is MUCH we can learn from this story.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we truly gaining from getting caught up in race-baiting and racial divide? Is the mainstream media purposefully misinforming people? Is it time to take a step back and look at life from a more nuanced position?

The story associated with the image featured above went viral a couple of days ago. There are many reasons for this, but likely not what you might think. And that is the discussion I wish to have in this article.

A very short video clip and image, both entirely out of context, were released to the internet showing a picture media has been painting for a very long time. We apparently saw a racist group of kids taunting and intimidating a native elder. In its limited length, it was tough to look at as what it was saying certainly wasn’t good. However, that wasn’t the truth.

When I first saw this image I decided to do research as my initial thought was that it was entirely out of context. I know this because the mainstream media and many famous influencers on Instagram have been making false stories viral for years now about subjects that incite divide and misplaced racism.

This happens at the media level because journalists have been aggressively following the political social engineering of our modern times and are very often concerned with being FIRST to the press about a story – even if that means having the story wrong. Influencers fall into the trap of wanting likes and to be first to get a story out as in many cases they are after growth and feeling righteous through their platform. Of course, this isn’t everyone, but it is certainly seen in our culture.

As I researched this story more I began to see a completely different truth. Thanks to citizen journalists who began digging for the truth and eventually found multiple FULL videos of the event in question, we saw what really happened. Instead of covering those fine details as I’d rather get into some deeper messages here, for those that don’t know what actually happened, please check out this video then come back and read. We have been lied to, and there is a very clear reason for it.

Social Engineering

I have been pointing out for over 2 years now, that slowly but surely fake news media and unconscious IG influencers are building racism and divide into people in a big way via one-sided or false stories. We’re seeing the fruit of years of that unconsciousness in today’s day and age.

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We have a very important rule here at Collective Evolution when it comes to reporting: when something hugely viral happens, wait a couple of days, the truth will begin to emerge. Report on it then.

This is because at CE we are concerned with truth. Not virality and drama. We are interested in how we can consciously and empathetically understand a story from a deeper level vs just making a ton of rash assumptions without thinking or seeing the full story. This is precisely what most people did when it comes to the story with the kid in the MAGA hat; we collectively made rash assumptions with no interest in seeking truth. Because we have been socially engineered to do so.

Here’s What We Learned

1. The media has no interest in telling you the truth.

They knowingly lied to the public, virally, without taking the time to perform some proper journalism. How is it that a publication (Us) with very limited resources knows to hold off and wait for more information on a story when the rich and powerful mainstream media runs with it, effectively lying and dividing the public? You can figure that one out yourself I’m sure.

2. We as a society can spread fake news FAST.

When we don’t take responsibility for our lives and our actions, which is the ONLY way to create a better world, we rely on the government and media to tell us what to do. Thus, we don’t research what they say enough, so we spread fake news as they are the main perpetrators of it.

3. We are not a nuanced culture that is concerned with empathetically understanding a situation.

Even if the story were true, and those kids approached and surrounded the elders, how does it makes sense to destroy the lives of those 15 and 16-year-old kids via public shaming? Why do we not ask these questions? Why do we not try to understand what really happened from both sides?

4. We have been socially engineered to hate and divide one another by race. The Elite’s divide and conquer plan is working.

The best way to win a war is to divide the enemy. Further, the best way to control a society and convince them they need to be governed by parents is to keep them lost and divided, so they cannot unite. this is precisely what is happening to us, and we’re playing into it.

5. We as a whole are not emotionally intelligent.

We talk about this constantly hear on CE. We MUST develop emotional intelligence if we want to get to the truth. When events like this occur and people move into outrage, they are not only showing a lack of emotional intelligence but they are blinding themselves from the truth. The elite thrives off of an emotionally engaged and emotionally uncontrolled population, it’s why they excite so much emotion at all times. Through emotionally intelligence comes empathy.

6. Many cultures and races are hateful and racist.

I personally don’t think racism is anywhere near as big a problem as many are making it out to be, again, divide and conquer. However, growing up in the multicultural city of Toronto and seeing what I see online today from all cultures, every culture has a small percentage of racism within it, not just white people as the narrative seems to want to promote. The question is, are we unknowingly growing that percentage?

7. Our outside world is giving us a chance to see if we like where extremism, race pride, race baiting and unconsciousness is taking us. Does it feel good? Is it helping?

As I pointed out in the red highlighted #7. These events serve as an opportunity for us to wake up. Wake up to the fact that we are purposefully being misled. We are being engineered to divide and hate each other by race via political agendas because when we are divided we can be controlled. We are also being deeply misled into forms of race pride that I believe are VERY destructive to the fabric of our society & world.

So I ask, do we want to play this game? Do we want to hate? Be on edge? Does it feel good? Is life getting better? It’s a time to step back and choose what game you want to play. Live from the heart? Or the mind?

Remember, this is less about seeking right and wrong, and more about asking the bigger question… are we headed down a helpful path here? Truly observe what our unconsciousness and fundamentalism in identities is creating. All you have to reflect on within yourself is if it feels good to you and if you wish to choose the continuation of this game. If we all make our choice, it either stops or continues. Don’t worry about others’ choice… Feel your own.

The Takeaway

This event reflects our current state of consciousness as a collective. Within it, we have so much opportunity to learn. See the emotions that come up, truly understand what you are feeling then let them go. From that state, have a look at this story again, the full story, what do you see now?

If we truly wish to solve the challenges at hand, we must become more emotionally intelligent, grounded, present and less identified with our physical world. take a step back, expand your consciousness, and have the courage to view our world from a neutral lens to understand truth.

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

Supermoon Total Eclipse In Leo: Making Changes To Support Our Self-Expression

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We are having a Total Lunar Eclipse, commonly referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’, which will appear in its totality on the night of January 20th leading into morning of the 21st in the western world. It was also be a Supermoon which is when it appears larger due to its closer proximity to the Earth. The entire eclipse process from beginning to end will be visible from the Americas as well as parts of Northern Europe and parts of the European West Coast, including the UK.

It will also appear in totality throughout Western Europe, most of Central Europe, Western Africa, and parts of Russia. It will appear partially in the Middle East, Africa, parts of Russia, and the Northern half of Japan. It will peak at 5:16am Universal Time (12:16 EST), and will begin just over 2 hours prior. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

This Lunar Eclipse follows a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn that occurred on January 5th/6th and initiated this lunar cycle. The energies of each Eclipse generally plays out over the following 6 months and can begin up to 6 weeks prior. However, they are also part of a 2 year process in which the Lunar Nodes and other Eclipses are in the same signs.

This eclipse season has the energies of the Eclipse/Lunar Node process that began two years ago in the Leo/Aquarius axis and also the new process in the Cancer/Capricorn axis in which we have been transitioning into. This Blood Moon in Leo marks the final Eclipse of the Leo/Aquarius re-orientation, and it’s possible that the themes that play out in your life can be connected to something that has already been playing out.

Total Lunar Eclipse In Leo Opposite Sun in Aquarius & Mercury, Square Uranus

A Lunar Eclipse is a supercharged Full Moon which is when the Earth gets in the way of the Sun’s light and dims it during its climax. This reflects a furthering shift in our lives in relation to the Leo-Aquarius polarity.

Leo is about our individual self-expression, what brings us joy, and inspiration from the heart. It is also associated with creativity, performing, passion, children, romance, hobbies, and leadership. Leo is about what makes us great as individuals.  This sign is also associated with the ego and the eclipses that have been occurring here can help to facilitate changes in how we express our ego.

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Although Aquarius has individualistic qualities that it shares with Leo, it is also the sign of friends, groups, social networks, the team, and humanity. It views the unique and authentic qualities of an individual as an important and contributing factor to the collective. Aquarius is also intellectual, progressive, and innovative. It can be aloof, overly objective, too scientific, dispassionate, impersonal, and detached.

This eclipse process over the last few years can reflect changes in how we apply both Leo and Aquarius qualities, and also how they correlate with each other. The focus is more about stepping into Leo energies in new ways, and changes on the Aquarian side to help support that. Both beginnings and endings around themes connected to both signs can occur.

Similarly to the Last Lunar Eclipse in the Summer, this one (along with Mercury) is in a square with Uranus on the Aries/Taurus cusp. Uranus here emphasizes change as well as the individualistic qualities of both of these signs, while also sharing other Aquarian themes as well.

Being in a square, it can also manifest in a challenging or strong way. It can be separative, rebellious, or disruptive. Perhaps sudden and unexpected things can play out, or bring instability to an area of our life. It can also be liberating and revolutionary for us. With Mercury here on the South Node, this could also indicate changing or releasing something connected to the way we think or communicate.

Venus Conjunct Jupiter, Square Neptune

Venus in Sagittarius is moving towards a conjunction with Jupiter, while they are both in a square with Neptune in Pisces and a trine with Mars in Aries. This energy can be expansive and fortunate socially, romantically, and for some people financially. Fun and pleasure can be connected to things like travel, education, or even spiritual and creative pursuits.

However, their can also be some confusion around these area as well. Being excessive around indulgences, pleasures, spending money, escapism, intoxication, or anything fantasy based can also be a theme. This energy is strongest from January 21st-22nd.

Mars Square Saturn & Trine Jupiter, Saturn Sextile Neptune

Mars is in a square with Saturn while moving towards a trine with Jupiter. Saturn is also in a sextile with Neptune. This can be a great energy for taking disciplined or structured action towards goals, aspirations, ideals, or anything that broadens our horizons.

Saturn pushes us to be realistic and cautious in how we take action while Jupiter reflects acting in an expansive way. Saturn can also bring some restrictions or obstacles which can help us change our course towards something more ideal. Much of these energies mentioned in this section are strong from January 20th-26th.

Mercury Approaching Superior Conjunction With Sun

Mercury joins the Sun on January 29th/30th in its ‘Superior Conjunction’ with the Sun. From our perspective on Earth, this is when Mercury is aligned with the Sun however it is on the other side of it. From this period onward, it is initiating its next phase in which it travels ahead of the Sun. We can have greater clarity regarding what has been building up or seeded since late November.

Our minds can be more aligned with our true needs and self-expression. Over the coming months, we can better implement our ideas and whatever we have been thinking about with greater confidence/direction in comparison to the previous two months.

To Consider During This Period

How can you better tap into your authentic self-expression? What inspires you and brings you joy? How can you bring more love into your life? What do need to change to make that happen? What do you want to create? Do you need to separate or liberate from something that is holding you back? How can you expand socially in way that is supportive of your authentic self? How can you make your ideals and dreams a reality? How do you feel during this eclipse period and what has been coming up for you?

These are just some examples of things to consider but not limited to them either. If you decide to use this energy to intentionally release something from your life, it is best to start that after the Moon begins to wane after the peak of the Full Moon, or even over the following two weeks.

The exact moment of the peak will be at 5:16am Universal Time on January 21st. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone. If the eclipse is visible in your location, remember that it begins approximately two hours before the peak and two hours following, and also depends on what time the Moon rises and sets in your location.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.

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

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? 

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