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Consciousness

“Do You Know Who I Am?” – The Seductive Voice Of The Self-Important Ego

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Eckhart Tolle often quotes Jesus:

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“I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-26 (Parallel versions appear in Mark 10:24-27, and Luke 18:24-27.)

global_3633648The saying was a response to a young rich man who had asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied that he should keep the commandments, to which the man stated he had done. Jesus responded, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The young man became sad and was unwilling to do this. Jesus then spoke this response, leaving his disciples astonished.

The “eye of the needle” has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. This story has been put forth since at least the 15th century, and possibly as far back as the 9th century. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a gate

This quotation has always fascinated me and the above snippet from Wikipedia also illustrates the tendency to take such maxims literally –wondering if such a gate actually existed. Eckhart makes clear that the “kingdom of heaven” in this story is the peace to be found “beyond all understanding” when one’s ego is seen as a separate, fleeting and illusory entity –the eternal life sought by the young rich boy is always present in the “no thing” that life represents.

This concept has been immensely helpful to me as I’ve attempted to “make my way in the world” and have fallen victim to various levels of conditioning –not the least of which is a fear of how harsh life can be without personal resources. Such a fear can lead to debilitating anxiety, and below I want to dig further into how it can be consciously addressed.

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moneyWe have all had our struggles with money and perhaps more importantly, the desire for wealth.  For me, one of the great treatises on this topic is Jacob Needleman’s Money and the Meaning of Life. Needleman’s perspective is that money is the “key” to mastery of the external world –it literally represents the value of survival as it can be exchanged for food, clothing, water and all of the essentials but it cannot replace them –you cannot eat money.

Therefore its value is established anthropomorphically by the human mind and agreement among man and women as to its value. If you take a dollar to the Amazon the natives will not give you anything for it; gold would be another story because its “value” is more genetically programmed and perhaps even intrinsic —but all of these aspects relate to what is material and external.

Going back to the apocryphal story above, I have noticed in self-observation how much stronger my “sense of self” can become with more money or around issues of money.

For example, in an upscale restaurant where I am paying for a good meal, I will expect better service and a certain amount of deference –my own importance becomes somehow solidified in my mind. Referring to Eckhart’s story –of the person who is served cold soup and complains vociferously “how dare you serve me cold soup” –this is far more likely to occur in a fine restaurant than if one is a guest or is given a free bowl of soup in a soup kitchen.

Similarly in matters of finance, I have noticed that both the matters themselves and my requirement that my needs be treated as matters of grave importance even though a bank, for example, will have many customers aside from me.

And the world responds. The more money one has, the more one can demand better service, better medical care, better food, and so on.  My father used to say “whatever can be fixed with money is of no real significance.”

But this points in two directions.

First, for most people it is a clear indication that having sufficient money to meet the exigencies of life is important. For example, if you break down on the road you want enough to fix your car –if you need to stay overnight you may need a hotel.  Having insufficient means in such circumstances makes life more difficult. The other thing my father always alluded to however, was that the really important things cannot be “fixed” with money. Your relationships with loved ones and oneself –these take one inward to a far deeper level beyond the external material dimension into what Eckhart calls “presence.” And such a movement invariably requires an openness and space between ones’ “self” and the world and a diminution of the egoic voice of self importance –the same voice that money makes stronger if it is the main motivation in life. This is obviously the point of the parable.

Needleman puts this well in his work:

“What is most necessary for man and what is given to him in abundance are experiences, especially experiences of the forces within him.  This is his most essential food, his most essential wealth.  If man consciously receives all of this abundance, the universe will pour into him what is called life in Judaism, spirit in Christianity, light in Islam, power in Taoism.”

To me, the key word here is “consciously” — to “consciously receive” does not mean to hungrily seek and acquire (or to covet material wealth) — but rather to accept what IS with gratitude and awe. In Needleman’s terms this is the true meaning of conscience, to maintain attention in both the outer and inner worlds —in deference to the struggle between them.

What has helped me immensely in this area is the realization that sufficient means to live well is a worthy goal –part of human experience is to be able to deal effectively with the material world –that is indeed our “school” here on earth. And this is also a worthy goal in science –understanding the material to the greatest extent to help and safeguard others.

But when the mind takes over –and there is never enough and no sense of reverence and awe for all that IS  –that is when the “kingdom of heaven” or peace on earth can no longer be attained; when acquisition and mastery are ends in themselves, then the ego has subverted the reality that Eckhart has brought out so eloquently when he says:

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ― Eckhart TolleA New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

This is also Needleman’s point when he writes that “one needs money to live and survive in the outer world, to fulfill one’s obligations to the community and to nature, but that above and beyond this, the role of money is to serve as the instrument for getting understanding.”

Notice again that within this context, there is nothing wrong with acquiring and using money consciously –in the outer world it can be wondrously helpful and provide even inner riches.  However it is always the inner understanding that provides real wealth in the most significant dimension –the often overlooked inner world of consciousness.

In our time the entire notion of wealth is distorted and completely separated from the inner dimension.  We can see this with money — which began as a means of exchange of material goods of real value — grain, animals, clothing, and even, unfortunately, people and women — and represented the product of actual labor — now it is merely blips or pixels on the screen. It is created and exchanged electronically and can be created by mere  thought.

Money and wealth has become an illusion with no actual connection to the outer or inner world.

And like the sirens to draw sailors to the rocks, the pursuit of money or wealth for its own sake can doom the inner journey by strengthening the part of man that seeks to master the outer world at the expense of the inner –his chattering mind that wants MORE –the Ego. So that the next time your distorted view of “wealth” leads you to puff yourself up and ask someone, “do you know who I am?” You stop and deeply ask yourself the same question.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

On Taking Life Too Seriously

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Much of the time in life, we allow ourselves to take situations VERY seriously. This will sometimes turn pain into suffering, or prolong the challenges we face for growth. It also stops us from truly finding peace in life.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you feel a constant sense of anxiety in your life? Underlying everything? Where do you notice you take life or situations too seriously? What do you do to begin connecting back to self, and taking life less seriously?

Do you go through life with constant angst? A feeling deep down that there is always a little bit of stress or a little bit of worry? I’ve been through this. And in some ways, I thought it would never go away. But I focused on self awareness and living in the heart enough to kiss those days goodbye.

We can sure take life too seriously at times can’t we? I mean it’s fair. We have stresses in life that we get caught up in, we go, go, go, go, and often forget to take a moment to breathe. In Western culture, it’s all about obsessing over goals and getting there and telling ourselves sotries about what life will be like when we do finally get there… but what often happens to us when we live this way? We step into unconsciousness. We stop taking time to FEEL.

I want to help us remember to be STILL with this.

Various experiences and events have taken place in my life that have challenged some of my deepest ideals, belief systems and concepts that I felt were a part of me. This has gone on and occurred in my entire 11 year journey of truly changing myself. Whether it had to do with the work I do, friends, the world, relationships or big decisions in life, many things were challenged. It has truly been an incredible ride.

We sometimes might think “when will all the change and ‘chaos’ end?” A good question indeed, but isn’t this what we are here for at this time? To truly look at ourselves, look at all that we hold onto and all that we define our reality with. Literally everything! If you are feeling like you are the only one out there going through this stuff and feel like everything is backwards -that things are constantly being challenged, know that what you are experiencing is perfect, and we must remember to have fun with it!

Not Just A Human Experience

We are not here at this time to simply have ‘a human experience,’ we are here to evolve the human experience. It’s different! Stop looking at the past to tell us what to do, how we should move forward, and what ‘the greats’ did in our past to figure things out. We are not in that time, and the zeitgeist of our time now is not to simply exist but to be present as we deeply evolve the way of life on this planet.

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We hear a lot “but we’re human, just embrace that!” That’s all fine, but what does that mean? What is a human? How should we be? Does being human mean accepting the world as it is? Are we capable of more? Can we redefine what it means to be human and what life should look like? Why do we give up so easily on dreaming big about these things?

I used to accept MANY limitations about myself and what I could do. But eventually, I was faced with the chance to let all that go, and reimagine what was possible. Even when everyone told me I was crazy and I couldn’t do what I was trying to do, I used my connection to self and consciousness to create it. Because I believed I was capable of more, and so is everyone else. This is how Collective Evolution, the site your on, came to be.

Embracing Change

After experiencing the many deep questions and challenges I have thus far, overcoming them and moving forward, I have one very special thing that I have reminded myself about over and over and truly understand to a deep level. We are here to play and evolve! None of what we are experiencing is as serious as we think!!

The mind and ego can make things very real, very dramatic, very frightening. I know! But the highest aspect of who we are is always clear, always neutral, and always sharing with us exactly what we need to hear because IT IS US! We are not the mind or the stories it creates that makes things so serious. They are there because that is our challenge. To go beyond the mind and the stories it creates -so we can experience this sensorial world and remember who we truly are (click to listen to my podcast on this topic.)

So let’s remember, whether it’s life choices, relationships, friends, work, family, sports, or everyday events, know that it’s just an experience! We can spend our whole lives always caught up in the drama and the intensity, saying “oh my gosh things are so tough, the world is so crazy, my life is upside down, and I’m so busy!” but where does this lead us? This is a question we must ask ourselves.

If we remain caught up in these perceptions, repetitive patterns of mind, we will continue to miss out on the entire journey we are on because we are lost and caught up in the mind. We perpetuate our so called “suffering” when we make things serious and make them a big deal. When we can see it for what it is, we allow the emotions to subside, allow back in our full potential and know how to take action forward. This is called finding true peace.

I’m not talking about simply accepting things and saying “well get over it” or “that’s how it is, so deal with it.” No. I’m talking about truly seeing things for what they are. Seeing why we color something in a particular way. Seeing the belief system behind why something is good or bad or right or wrong or even why it’s serious!

I promise you, behind every strong emotion, every serious situation, there is a belief system that makes it that way. One that is held in the mind and made real by the mind. But the mind is not YOU! See the story! Let it go and just play! You will find much peace and joy in flowing through your experience in this way.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Consciousness

Have You Realized The Profundity Of Our True Nature?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In life, we typically move about, seeing all material for what we define it as. This makes things convenient in a way, but there is a profoundness to not only seeing beyond these definitions, but also tapping back into full potential.

  • Reflect On:

    Have you ever tried practicing the awareness that you are not your mind nor your body? Why do we identify so strongly with just our physical body, and is it time to begin to remember we are much more than that?

Who we really are has been staring us in the face the whole time.

Take a look at your body, but look at it from a completely impersonal perspective; free of any thought about it at all. Without labels like arms and legs; without any sense of ownership, just as it is. Look in the mirror at your face, your eyes, but look without the thinking mind. This body that you get to use and throw around the joint, is a product of the universe. Conditions were apparently perfect here on Earth for Humans to exist. A magnificent sculpture, carved from stardust, gases, cells, minerals, heat – one of the most complex arrangements of cells and energy you have ever laid your eyes upon.

There is no boundary to the human body; there is no “in here” and “out there.” The body is a constant flow of energy, never a stationary or permanent thing we could pin down. There is a constant flow of air coming in and out, molecules by our skin, bacteria breaking down food in our stomach, there is no boundary between the body and the environment. It’s like a river, never the same body of water in any two moments.

Then, how about all the stuff the body perceives. All the sounds, tastes, smells, visual images and so on. The human body makes the whole world we’re privy to. The brain selects a very narrow band of frequencies and constructs reality according to the bandwidth of what our senses relay for us. The visual spectrum is only a very narrow band, while other sentient beings select out different bands for their viewing pleasure. So reality as we know it, never exists objectively, only subjectively through the being that is observing it. Without an observer what does it exist as? Just a soup of frequencies I suppose.

I find this phenomenal! There are little reality bubbles existing wherever a sentient being is alive. Energy has coalesced into the form of a human being, a giraffe, an ant, a butterfly, a chameleon, an amoeba, and through these configurations, the universe is observing itself. It is having experiences with itself.

1619136_420984308034739_245289130_nSo essentially, the whole world that you exist in – the reality bubble that you spend your entire life in – is entirely made by the human body. Your human body. Everything, all of it. Look at the image your eyes are creating. Look at how immaculate, perfect and impeccably high the resolution is! Check out how infinite the colour palette is. Take another look in the mirror at the wonder of your eyes. Those things stuck in that head, those things that we call eyes are absolutely wondrous biological organs, composed of trillions of living cells; living in harmony, being fed by the fuel you place in your mouth. Those things are taking frequencies of energy, sending it at light speed to your brain, where trillions more cells convert it into a picture. WOW!

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And while I’m on that subject: have you ever wondered how electrical signals in the brain – how realistically an infinite amount of neurons in our brain – can create the conscious experience of sound out of electrical impulses? How does something biological turn electricity into the conscious experience of smell? Into the emotion of love, of anger?

So look around you. Look what you’re part of. You’re on a planet zooming through space at hundreds of kilometres per second, circling around in a gigantic galaxy. You’re amongst animals, forests, bodies of water, lightning, rain, drought, plants and soil. You’re amongst life! You’re seeing it unfold right before your eyes, seeing life in all its animation. I don’t see why it should seem like there’s anything else to do, other than admire what we’re amongst, and create.

Just as the bus motors down the street, so too does the galaxy arms revolve around its core. A child eats breakfast, while an asteroid erupts as it passes through an atmosphere. We are as much an expression of this universe as the plants and galaxies. This universe has arranged itself in such complex ways, in such exquisite patterns, so that it may know itself through our eyes. We have become an aperture for energy to know what it inherently is.

When we look deeper into our own nature, we find that things are even more extraordinary than what exists in the physical realm of bodies, animals, plants and stars.

There is this notion of separation in our society, where we exist separately from the outside world of other stuff. We are separate from the table, our house, other people and the whole cosmos. We feel this too, because we feel that we are the human body, or the thinker somewhere in the head. But this notion is learnt, cultivated, but not all cultures prescribe to this way of being at all.

The whole world is consciousness; it all exists within, not out there somewhere. This is the worldview slowly being ushered in by quantum mechanics and eastern traditions. They’ve arrived now at the same point, but there is obvious resistance because the old system composed of survival-of-the-fittest, authority, institutions and competition rely on our illusory separateness for vitality.

Consciousness is the way in which biological functions of firing neurons in the brain are turned into a conscious experience. Consciousness is something transcendent of the physical world, and is therefore never affected by the  realm of form. It is so perfect and complete already, not needing fulfillment or healing in any way.

The thing is, most of us don’t feel this way though. We still feel separate, small, incomplete and not an integrated part of the whole. We still feel like we are locked up inside a head looking out at separate stuff. But there are ways in which consciousness can shift and identify with something much deeper. The first step is usually quieting the mind through meditation. Our thoughts have run rampant, and we’ve taken this incessant internal monologue to be who we are. But if you do one session of meditation, you’ll see that the mind comes in all by itself, starts up fantasies, conversations, judgments and memories all by itself, while you are trying to focus on your breath. While you’re trying to be silent, the mind has other ideas. Meditation shows us we aren’t the thinker at all; it shows us that we are the witnessing presence OF thought.

A thought is as much a sensation as the taste of ice cream is; we’ve just placed too much emphasis and belief in thought. So rather than identifying consciousness with something superimposed upon it (the mind, the “small self”, the ego) we can shine the light back in on itself via techniques like meditation, and identify as pure consciousness itself. We become not only the witnesser of all sensation, but we merge with it, just as we did with the mind. The feeling of self shifts from the mind with all its thoughts and ideas about the world, to sensation. And sensation is essentially the universe! You become the whole universe.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading

Consciousness

When Is The Last Time You Were GENUINELY Yourself? If You’re Still Thinking About It, Read This.

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Some of us go our entire lives without truly being ourselves. There may be many reasons for it, but we often find ourselves living via others' expectations or approval.

  • Reflect On:

    When was the last time you noticed yourself hold back or be different than YOU because you were worried about what someone may think or do? Worried about challenging someone? Perhaps just appeasing people's egos?

Being 100% authentic to who you are, and at peace with it. Living from the Heart. Feeling comfortable within yourself. At all times. With everyone. No matter what “people dynamics” you are exposed to.

Now that’s a tough one for an ego who needs the approval, love and acceptance of others. Inner-peace sure is conditional when we are afraid to have our mind and its beliefs challenged in one way or another. But instead of basing our actions and state of being according to the fears, worries and desires of our ego, what we should ask our heart instead is:

Is it really worth it to compromise our natural state for the sake of appeasing the ego of others? Is it worth it to step away from our natural state and rather buy into our own egoic beliefs and fears?

The truth is, when others are truly comfortable and at peace with themselves, they won’t need you to change who you are. And when you are truly comfortable and at peace within yourself, you don’t need others to change who they are. Only the ego does.

When you have reached a state of utmost clarity and inner-peace, the only thing that can really make sense… is to BE who you truly are!

So the bottom line is, when you are authentic and at peace within yourself, YES, there will always be egos challenged by you, yet there will always be souls INSPIRED by you. In both cases, it is as perfect as it can get 😉

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This is a simple reminder, not long, just simple. You can read it today, pass it on. Deep wisdom doesn’t have to be super long. Enjoy your day! 🙂

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading
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