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How Quantum Mechanics, Mysticism & Vedanta-Yoga Are Affecting Western Culture

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“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.” – Albert Einstein

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“Those who aspire to the state of yoga should seek the self in inner solitude through meditation. With body and mind controlled they should constantly practice one-pointedness, free from expectations and attachment to material possessions.” — Bhagavad Gita

        Mystics are driven by a desire to grasp and attain the ultimate truth of existence. Mysticism can be defined as a belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience. A mystic trusts in these subjective experiences and cultivates awareness of dimensions beyond the physical and intelligible. These levels of consciousness bring light to the vast mysteries of the world around us, the world that we create with our thoughts. In the Western world today, a shift is occurring in consciousness. This shift is a product of a myriad of factors. These factors range from our scientific progress in neuroscience, physics and psychology all the way to how India influenced us with the practices and tangible spiritual and psychological benefits provided by Vedanta-Yoga. How exactly did this happen? First we must take a look at the root of it all, consciousness.string-theory-2

What is consciousness? What is the origin of consciousness? What are the limits of human potential? We are at a point today in the world where we can ask questions such as these and others like them. With the progress of science such as the superstring theory and quantum mechanics we now have some ideas about how to begin to find the answers to such questions. These forms of science posit that all life is fundamentally one. There exists a unity at the basis of all of the diversity within life. Mind, body, and spirit create a sacred trinity that allows us to fully experience life on earth. (Though there is quite a bit of knowledge about the mind and the body, understanding of the spirit is actually quite lacking.) This unity, at the basis of mind and matter, is consciousness, and often referred to as universal consciousness. Quantum Physicist Amit Goswami says that consciousness is the ground of all being. Consciousness is theorized to not be created from the brain, but rather it is fundamental; it is at the core of all nature.  (The Quantum Activist)8

The superstring theory, which talks of the unified field, identifies a single, universal field of intelligence. The superstring theory is known less formally as the string theory, and is often referred to as the Theory of Everything (TOE.) There exists much debate about whether this field is actually proven science or not, but despite this it is a very stimulating piece of physics. Within this unified field exists quarks, electromagnetism, gravity, consciousness etc. It is a mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter in existence. Everything has a unified source in this field, and this field’s properties are nonmaterial, dynamic, self-aware, and intelligent. It is considered to be pure abstract potential. Many will ask potential for what? That is a good question. We (our cosmic consciousness) are just waves of vibrations in this unified underlying field. The idea of universal or cosmic consciousness posits that the universe exists as an interconnected network of consciousness, with each conscious being linked to every other. This essentially means there is only one consciousness, it is you, it is me, and it is everyone. The individuality of consciousness experienced by most people is theorized to be produced by the universal consciousness being filtered through the nervous system. Understanding that consciousness, or the self, is universal is the first step to enlightenment. Experiencing this enlightenment first hand has been sought after in many cultures and religions across the ages. In William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, he gives the accounts of many different people from across time and some claim that in their moment of divine existence they felt a perfect unity and transcendence (of consciousness.) If people continue to believe that we live in a universe of dead, motionless matter, then it will of course make it difficult to grasp that our universe is conscious at its roots. The string theory attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.avirtualspacetime

Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, deals with physical phenomena as microscopic scales. It provides a mathematical description of much of the existing dualism between particles and waves and interactions of energy and matter. It tries to explain the relationship between how our intangible consciousness comes about from particles and energy, or if matter and energies are a product of consciousness. Quantum mechanics is the play and display of information, of potentiality. (Hagelin) It is considered the world of potential electrons, not just electrons. The deeper a person looks into what everything is composed of, the more alive and conscious the universe seems to become. In the unified field, there exists just pure being.  Many cultures and spiritual practices have discovered ways to transcend to a higher plane of consciousness, but why are these seemingly very important practices not used by everybody? The techniques to experience a pure consciousness and unbounded awareness are easily lost because they are so subtle. These are often characterized as being simple, universal, and most importantly natural. In order to transcend, consciousness has to calm and slow down. This is a goal of meditative practices. In efforts to reproduce such an experience, one will find difficulty in succeeding, because effort calls for too much conscious activity. The experience of pure consciousness really transcends any one religion or philosophy, even though it is the desired end result of mostly all religious and spiritual practices. This is discussed in my section on perennialism later on.  This pure consciousness is theorized to be the direct subjective experience of the unified laws of nature.  The unified field unites the observed with the observer and provides the experience of one’s true self, or the Atman.  In Sanskrit, Atman means to Buddhists the ‘essential self.’ The essential self is pure consciousness. Though consciousness, or the essential self, is intangible, it is the one aspect of experience that has been with us since childhood. Consciousness gives continuity to our experience, it is the atman, the self. (Hagelin) Within the unified field exists unbounded subjectivity, much like the observing self. Quantum Physicist John Hagelin believes that the world of diversity and the world of unity both exist, not just one or the other. They are simply different levels of description of the same reality. On the physical level, you and I are separate, but at deeper levels we have a common source. Where all of the particles come together as one, this is the unity of consciousness, the unified field of all the laws of nature. (Hagelin)

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Quantum physics has many seemingly metaphysical properties; it is also quite mystical in many ways. Most quantum physicists report highly mystical interpretations to their findings. Quantum mysticism grew out of quantum physics, and it was a topic of much debate a just a few years ago. It is essentially an umbrella term for all of the beliefs that try and relate consciousness, intelligence, or mystical world-views to quantum physics and its myriad of interpretations. Quantum mechanics is a quickly maturing science of consciousness, but still has a long way to go.  There is much more to consciousness than an objective science, subjective inner-experience is where the real truth may lay for many people.

Nayyar Dam, Kerala, India.

Many Americans who practice yoga or meditate are not aware that these primarily came from India. In the early 19th century, British scholars produced the first English translations of India’s sacred texts and Emerson, Whitman, and Thoreau all quickly got a hold of them. Gurus came and gave lectures that made the message of India increasingly alluring to Westerners. This was the case predominantly in the white, urban and educated folks who were seekers of truth, of God and of self-improvement. Walt Whitman once wrote, “India represents meditation, oriental rhapsody, passiveness, a curious schoolmaster-teaching of wise precepts.” The Influence of India spread slowly, then surged in the late 1960’s due to a myriad of forces coming together- “mass communication and ease of travel; social unrest; war and nuclear anxiety; psychedelic drugs; and alienated but idealistic youngsters with the time and money to explore new ways of being.” (American Veda, Goldenberg) The portion of India’s spiritual legacy that hold the most appeal to Westerners are the philosophical system of the Vedanta and the mental and physical practices of Yoga. Vedanta literally means “end of the Vedas” and refers to the culmination of the knowledge contained within the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. Yoga usually refers to a collection of methodologies and practices aimed at achieving spiritual ascension and experiencing the union of the individual and the divine. Together, the Vedanta-Yoga practice constitutes an empirical science of the inner life.

Vedanta and Yoga are two of the six systems of Indian(Hindu) philosophy. The other four are a bit more outwardly religious and wouldn’t be taken to as kindly here in the West. Vedanta is similar to perrenialism, which was brought to public attention by Aldous Huxley in his Perennial Philosophy. Perrenialism essentially posits that the mystical components of religious traditions call forth remarkably similar descriptions of reality across many walks of culture. This is not to say in any way that all religions are the same, but “While religious customs, rituals, and dogmas vary, all traditions, if taken deep enough, can bring practitioners to essentially the same place- our silent origin, or essence, which transcends all notions of place, all words, all concepts, all theologies.” (Goldberg) Organized religions in the West seem to be lacking in transformation of becoming a more fulfilled and complete person and transcendence to satisfy the yearning to enlarge the perceived boundaries of the self. Millions of Americans have likely been influenced by Vedanta-Yoga without even being aware of it. As stated in the introduction, the initial draw to Vedanta-Yoga was the promise of tangible spiritual and psychological benefits. The changes are noted to be improved well-being: greater peace, self-awareness, happiness, wholeness, and a connection to something bigger than themselves. The Psychology of happiness and well-being says that people are far more resilient to negative emotions, which expands their thought-action repertoire, when they have some sort of supernatural order guiding them through life and feeling connected to something greater. A large part of the appeal of the Vedanta philosophy is that it is experience-oriented; it offers a way to understand the divine that does not go against pure reason or require blind-faith in the nonsensical. (The American Veda, Goldberg)

tantra

The goal of Vedanta-Yoga does not have to be union with God. In fact, the western view on the purpose of Vedanta-Yoga largely differs from the eastern view in many cases. Westerners often believe it is good for more active reasons such as lowering blood pressure, alleviating anxieties and depression, making physical changes to the brain, and just having a clearer mind. While all of these benefits are real and have been experienced countless times, Easterners often use meditation for more spiritual reasons. These can include union with god, self-realization and transcendence of the ego. Through this, comes the elimination of suffering, the realization of the oneness of all things, a shift in perspective, and the experience of universal consciousness. One begins turning their attention from the physical and mundane features of the world where problems seem significant to simply living mindfully in the present. Many people try to hold onto life, and prevent change from occurring, even though this is simply fighting the nature of life. Everything is changing, always, every second. Meditation allows one to experience life through a broader, more interconnected perspective. It can help change the amount importance placed upon seemingly prominent discomforts and troubles, whereas in a meditative state one may realize these problems are just trivial which can bring about a very peaceful state of consciousness. Meditation can serve for some as a sort of incubation period for aspirations or goals (both short-term and long-term.) People in the west often lead lives of pure “doing” and little to no being. “Being” should be understood as truly becoming in touch with the core self. “Being” can be noted as the observing self. “Doing” is referring to the thinking self. One of these two is always dominating the stream of awareness. In the East, many cultures are based around primarily “being” and living through the observing self to an extent. Living a life combining these two intermittently will prove to be quite fruitful according to many quantum physicists and spiritual leaders. When one meditates, one can truly connect with the core self and truly discover one’s core beliefs. These core beliefs are the foundation upon which all expectations are formed. In this state of “being” one’s decisions and thoughts are not clouded by the ego or desires, how one desires to be perceived by others, or poor intentionality. One breaks away from the ego that is ever so prominent and debilitating at times. It is theorized that as one shifts towards a goal, the universe will sometimes shift along in accordance. A new action equals a new creation.  This personal power of consciousness is most powerful when one wholly shifts their habitual centre of personal energy towards what it is that aligns to their new core beliefs. (William James) This ability of consciousness is especially effective when what one wants to happen is what one expects to happen. It is believed that the feeling of individuality, of disconnection arises when who we are does not align with our core beliefs. William James talks much of this and one’s habitual centre of personal energy in his book The Varieties of a Religious Experience.

Western schools build, emphasize, and strengthen the left brain, which is responsible for linear thinking. The right brain is not considered to hold an important place in corporate America. There are many studies done displaying how Western schools stifle and can even kill creativity. A neuroscientist named Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke and watched her mind deteriorate from the inside out. In her particular stroke, her left brain would shut off intermittently. When the left brain shut off, she explained she felt pure euphoria, pure transcendence. She felt one with everything in the entire cosmos and this sense of unity was a very beautiful experience. She even went so far as to say that when her arm was up against the wall, she could not tell where her arm began and where it ended, she could not differentiate between her arm and the wall as all of the particles looked the same. There is a TEDTalk on this woman and her story, and as she discussed the euphoria she felt she began to cry. Some forms of meditation and other forms of Eastern spirituality emphasize the right brain, living purely in this very moment, eliminating all anxieties about the past or future and attaining this oneness that Jill Taylor spoke of.

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“We are at a pinnacle time at which all of our senses are telling us that we are approaching a turning point. Humankind is (we are) in the middle of an all-encompassing process of change. In the external world we are experiencing an increase in the density of events, not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively in their intensity. We realize that a significant number of these events correlate with our own inner mental and emotional processes. The increasingly ineluctable confrontations with these processes inevitably lead to a change of consciousness. It appears as if each one of us is challenged to his limits. At the point of our limits, we are faced with a decision. The decision to either continue to engage with the existing structures, or to take a new approach. On this new path, we recognize our true and divine potential. It is the path from the illusion of separation to wholeness. On our journey, our consciousness is expanding rapidly. It extends to increasingly frequent moments of insight facilitating this big decision.” –Dieter Broers

In modern times, all of the previously described phenomena including spiritual and intellectual forces are shaping and rewriting personal philosophies on a global scale. There is a new mystical movement spreading; this movement is known by many names. Some call it lightseeking, others call it spirit science, while a large group call it the paradigm shift. More and more people/cultures are beginning to stand up for their human rights. Thanks to technology and the ease of the spread of information and the internet, one uprising leads to many and self-worth is sprouting up all around the globe. People are experiencing an awakening, where they are becoming more aware of their power to change their situations, their life, and not have to be oppressed any longer. Religion and spirituality were given to many of us by the church. The church passed down doctrine that restricted our beliefs and gave meaning to life. They were challenged during the Renaissance and Reformation, and this is when science truly began to take on these mysteries of the world. Doctrine, mythology and gods filled in the gaps of what we did not know about the world. As our progress in science furthered, these gaps were filled in by empirical evidence and logical science, rather than blind faith in a mythology. Over the course of the past one hundred years or so, people sought after accumulating material wealth to pass the time and provide a transient satisfaction. Now, people are truly waking up to what is going on in the world.  All of these movements place great emphasis on the Mayan Calendar and what it is predicting for 2012. There are so many interpretations these days by so many prominent scientists that it truly is impossible to know exactly what is going to happen.

The aforementioned movements (there are many more besides these) are predicting a shift of consciousness rather than end of the world. They believe it will be a transitional state of frequencies and higher energies. People within these high frequencies are experiencing a number of coincidences everyday, which are thought to be synchronistic events rather than coincidences. We are living at a landmark time in the history of this planet, at a crossroads. We may reach ascension and move into a higher frequency where more is possible. More would be possible because once one has transcended their consciousness, which many religions and cultures have striven for throughout the ages, a sort of enlightenment is reached. One must stay tuned to a higher frequency, exuding love and appreciation as the vibrations from these are infectious and will spread to those around you, eventually manifesting positive auras and phenomena in the external world.  This will build a sense of connection with the world around you. (2012: Time for a Change) Happiness is not a goal, but rather a state that can be attained at any given moment. The psychology of happiness and well-being states that circumstances do not determine happiness. As long as your basic needs are met such as food and water, the man who makes 30,000 dollars a year can be just as happy as the man who makes 4 million. Likewise, many Americans and now beginning to realize that material comforts and corporate success do not in any way produce lasting happiness. The happiness from these comforts is fleeting and unreliable.

consciousnessSHIFT

As for the shift in consciousness in 2012, it is my opinion that because so many believe something grand will happen, we are all essentially manifesting it, creating it. This ascension of consciousness in the modern day paradigm shift is all about emanating love, appreciation, and respect. Not identifying trees, animals and other forms of nature as separate entities, but feeling and truly knowing that we are all nature, connected through a constantly moving exchange of energies and vibrations. Once this ever-pervading sense of love for everything has been infused into our consciousness and we become enlightened, the potential of our consciousness is limitless. If the potential of our consciousness is limitless, and quantum mechanics is correct about consciousness being the ground of all being and the unified field being at the base of absolutely everything, then all of life has unlimited potential in the spiritual, mental, and physical realms.

Sources:

What the Bleep Do We Know- Documentary

The Quantum Activist- Documentary

2012:Time For A Change- Documentary

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight- TEDTalk-

Varieties of a Religious Experience by William James

John Hagelin’s talks on consciousness-

http://thespiritscience.net/spirit/

http://www.solar-revolution-movie.com/

The American Veda by Phillip Goldberg

The Bhagavad Gita

Zen Buddhist Meditation instructor in North Shore, Chattanooga

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Consciousness

How We Can Become Better Listeners For Each Other

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We all like to have great listeners on our side, especially among the people closest to us. However, many of us are not the great listeners that we want others to be for us.

  • Reflect On:

    Is becoming a great listener based simply on learning good skills and tactics, or is there something more involved?

In order to foster truly deep, meaningful relationships with others, whether they be professional or personal, at least half the battle is knowing and respecting how the other person wants to be heard. Likely they are not so different from you in this regard.

As a life coach, I have come to learn that there is an art and science to listening, one that needs to be cultivated through practice and conscious effort. In my book Parables for the New Conversation, several parables are devoted to showing how problems are created between people not so much by the message that is sent, but how it is received. The receiver of the message is really in control of whether or not the conversation will turn out to be fruitful or not.

Active Listening

Assuming that we have a desire to listen and we want our partner to feel that they have been heard, what might our behavior look like?

Well, let’s start with the basics. Most people would agree that not talking when the other person is speaking is essential. If we can add in timely facial expressions and verbal sounds (“Mmm-hmm”s), this may certainly help make our partner feel that he or she is being heard. And then there is that quintessential sign that we are actively listening–if we are able to remember and repeat what the other person has said, in some form like, “What I’m hearing you say is…”.

These principles may represent some of the science of listening, but not so much the art. What I saw a lot of during my life coaching certification, especially when doing coaching role-play with other students, was the formulaic application of the principles of active listening that sometimes had a hollowness and predictability to it. Of course this is understandable, especially when people are starting off trying to do what they are not accustomed to doing. While these fundamentals are important first steps, we need to understand more the ‘why’ of active listening processes, and then get beyond formulas in order to be felt to be a great listener by others.

Understanding What People Want

If you think about someone who you consider a great listener, or think back to a conversation within which you felt you were really heard, what was that listener providing? Were they merely listening, or were they actually helping you get more clear and articulate about what you were thinking and feeling inside? Did they accept everything at face value, or did they subtly challenge you? Did you find yourself actually feeling more relaxed and confident about what you were saying?

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In this Harvard Business Review study, data from 3,492 participants was distilled into four main points that people felt were characteristics of good listening:

  • Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks. To the contrary, people perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight. These questions gently challenge old assumptions, but do so in a constructive way. Sitting there silently nodding does not provide sure evidence that a person is listening, but asking a good question tells the speaker the listener has not only heard what was said, but that they comprehended it well enough to  want additional information. Good listening was consistently seen as a two-way dialog, rather than a one-way “speaker versus hearer” interaction. The best conversations were active.
  • Good listening included interactions that build a person’s self-esteem. The best listeners made the conversation a positive experience for the other party, which doesn’t happen when the listener is passive (or, for that matter, critical!). Good listeners made the other person feel supported and conveyed confidence in them. Good listening was characterized by the creation of a safe environment in which issues and differences could be discussed openly.
  • Good listening was seen as a cooperative conversation. In these interactions, feedback flowed smoothly in both directions with neither party becoming defensive about comments the other made. By contrast, poor listeners were seen as competitive — as listening only to identify errors in reasoning or logic, using their silence as a chance to prepare their next response. That might make you an excellent debater, but it doesn’t make you a good listener. Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.
  • Good listeners tended to make suggestions. Good listening invariably included some feedback provided in a way others would accept and that opened up alternative paths to consider. This finding somewhat surprised us, since it’s not uncommon to hear complaints that “So-and-so didn’t listen, he just jumped in and tried to solve the problem.” Perhaps what the data is telling us is that making suggestions is not itself the problem; it may be the skill with which those suggestions are made. Another possibility is that we’re more likely to accept suggestions from people we already think are good listeners. (Someone who is silent for the whole conversation and then jumps in with a suggestion may not be seen as credible. Someone who seems combative or critical and then tries to give advice may not be seen as trustworthy.)

The ‘Art’ Of Listening

Listening only elevates into an art when you are no longer just doing it by rote, based on a set of principles, but when you truly attempt to connect to the other person, and ground your conversations in respect, care, and, let’s say it–love. The insights from the study made above need to be more than just steps to follow, they need to act as pointers towards the disposition you have to be willing to embrace within yourself to become a great listener. And the easiest way to cultivate this is to actually care what the person is saying!

But beyond caring about what they are saying, caring about why they are saying it is even more important. If you can align at a deep level with why a person is communicating with you, and what, at a deeper level, they are trying to get from the conversation, that is when they will really start to feel listened to.

For some people this is natural, and is probably why they are pretty good listeners to begin with. But many of us are not quite as intrinsically motivated to care about the other person or what they are saying. Still, if you want to be a good listener and experience connecting with people in a more satisfying way that goes beyond just learning the ‘highly effective habits’ of good listeners, then care is pretty fundamental to the process. If this seems daunting, here are a few entry-points into becoming a great listener for real:

Curiosity. When we speak to others our minds can revert to trying to gain control, seeking satisfaction from speaking out under the assumption we know what the other person is trying to say. This is especially true with a spouse or close friend we know well. The result is often a conversation that is lifeless and boring, if not confrontational. To mitigate this, simply decide that you will make a conscious effort to let go of all your preconceived assumptions and be curious about what the other person is saying. Be willing to gently dig deeply wherever things are unclear until you get a fuller picture. Enjoy the conversation as though there are mysteries to be solved.

Openness to learning. If you think you know everything, or enter into a conversation with a rigid perspective that you don’t want to change, you are unlikely to listen in a way that is satisfying to the other person. Try enter into each conversation thinking that there is something for you to learn, and actively seek out to learn something, either about the person, the issue they are having, or life in general. Another human perspective on things is the spice of life, and rather than focusing on the merits of your own perspective, consider trying to expand your worldview by paying close attention to how others see things.

A higher purpose. In the bigger picture, humanity will find greater unity as we coalesce our individual perspectives into a beautiful and complex tapestry. We contribute to this whenever we make each other’s point of view feel like it is something of value. In this endeavor, which I call ‘the new conversation,’ our listening is imbued with the a sense of deep reverence for life and our growth, not only as individuals but as a species. In each conversation that we partake in, we have an opportunity in the way we listen to further the evolution of collective consciousness. What greater motivation do we need than that?

The Takeaway

Devoting yourself to be a great listener for others, in a way that comes from the heart rather than simply the mind, will likely return your efforts tenfold in the magical connection and fulfillment you will feel.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aquarius: Changing It Up

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We are having a New Moon in Aquarius on January 24th in the West and on the 25th in the East. This is initiating a new 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 coming two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Leo on February 8th/9th.

This New Moon follows an eclipse period and it’s good to keep in mind that the energies of these last two eclipses are still playing out in the background currently and over the coming months. You can read more about them here.

The Aquarius season began on January 20th/21st with Mercury also in this sign since January 16th. However, this New Moon accentuates its energies even more. Aquarius is associated with friends, social networks, the group, the team, humanity, and what is in the best interest of the collective.

It is intellectual, objective, and can be rational yet idealistic at the same time.  Associated with Uranus, it can be unconventional, innovative, original, inventive, progressive, technological, scientific, reforming, and even revolutionary.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

New Moon Square Uranus and Sextile Chiron

This New Moon is in a square with Uranus which recently ended its retrograde a few weeks prior. There can be some surprises, liberating actions, or the start of moving forward in a freeing, innovative, unique, or unconventional way. Alternatively, we may strongly feel the desire to make changes at this time but may not follow through just yet.

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This energy can be erratic and may also manifest as disruptions, separation, accidents, rebellion, or even things breaking. Developments pertaining to technology, innovation, and new approaches can also play out.

The New Moon is also in a sextile to Chiron which can reinforce the originality of Uranus/Aquarius. This can reflect themes connected to healing, bridging, spirituality, wholeness, and/or holistic understanding and approaches. This aspect and the Uranus influence mentioned may have also been noticeable in the few days leading up to this lunation.

New Moon Conjunct Mercury Sextile Mars 

This New Moon is applying a conjunction to Mercury, also in Aquarius, which are all in a sextile with Mars in Sagittarius. Our minds and communications may be more energetic than usual. We may be more alert and direct in what we say and what we are thinking.

This can be good for applying ourselves in an educational way. Learning or conversations that are oriented around the big picture, sales/marketing, or connected to performing tasks may also play out. This can also be reflected in keeping busy, moving around more, or lots of commuting.

Venus Square Mars With Neptune in The Mix

Venus is in Pisces and is moving towards a conjunction with Neptune and square with Mars which is exact on January 26th-27th. At its best this energy can be creative, passionate, imaginative, inspiring, and romantic. Actions can be selfless and compassionate.

However issues and conflicts can also come up pertaining to escapism, unreliability, delusion, addiction, values, relationships, social dynamics, lack of boundaries, elusiveness, ideals, spirituality, fantasy, and perhaps some sort of confusion in these matters.

Also during this period, and especially from the 28th-29th when the Venus influence dwindles, it may be harder to focus our energy. We may be less assertive, less attentive, more scattered, and this can also be reflected by avoidance and a lack of drive.

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

There have been significant astrological configurations in January and late December. For many people, it may have had potent life-altering effects depending on how it connects to their personal astrological blueprint. What has come up for you in recent weeks and how should you proceed?

What do you need to do to help you progress in your evolution? What area of your life do you need to reform or approach differently? Are you looking to liberate yourself from a situation or behavior that is holding you back? If so, what do you need to do to achieve that? Do you need to take a more progressive, revolutionary, or collective approach to something? What do you need to do to create a better future? Is there an area of your life that needs to be looked at more objectively?

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 9:42 pm Universal Time on January 24th  You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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

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. 

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Awareness

Let’s Contemplate A Future Without Money & How It Would Work

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Several brave thinkers, including Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project and Colin Turner of the Free World Charter, have proposed ways in which a future society could thrive if we eliminated money and trade and instead built a resource-based economy.

  • Reflect On:

    The first step in any new paradigm is believing it's possible. Do you believe humanity could not only survive but thrive in a money-free world? What would it look like?

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”–1 Timothy 6:10

While it is still not commonly held in mainstream discourse that humanity could survive and even thrive without some form of monetary exchange, more and more people that are starting to trace their general discontent about contemporary society to its source are finding money and profit motive at the root of it.

Perhaps the first of the knee-jerk reactions some people might have to the idea of shifting into a money-free system is the sinking feeling of watching their hard-earned wealth evaporate into nothingness, which they might equate with abject poverty. We are so programmed to equate money with abundance that we don’t understand what abundance truly is.

At the heart of it our ‘net’ abundance is shared, and is grounded in the resources available in nature on the planet. The aggregate of these natural resources not only represents our potential abundance but our very survival. A money system grants ownership to many of these resources, and makes it exponentially easier for those with abundance to get more abundance at the expense of the vast majority of people. A money system is, in some ways, antithetical to the proper management and distribution of these resources. Without money, each individual would naturally be entitled to their share of all the resources in the world, and that would never change. But how would such a system work?

Resource-Based Economy

Jacque Fresco, founder of the Venus Project, believes that the world has reached a level of technology that will allow us to build fully self-sustaining communities all over the world which, when optimally designed, will provide not only an unimaginably high level of abundance for all its residents, but a far greater sense of shared purpose within a community. This vision is grounded in the principles of a Resource-Based Economy:

In a Resource Based Economy all goods and services are available to all people without the need for means of exchange such as money, credits, barter or any other means. For this to be achieved all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants. Equipped with the latest scientific and technological marvels mankind could reach extremely high productivity levels and create abundance of resources.–Venus Project website

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Without profit motive, individuals within the community will naturally turn their energy towards the efficient maintenance of the infrastructure and problem-solving and innovation for the collective, as the happiness and well-being of the community is naturally equated with one’s own happiness and well-being.

In the video below is a brief introduction to Fresco’s inspiring vision of our potential future. More information. including where the Venus Project is at on their timeline, is available on their website.

No Need For Trade

Since money is nothing more than a medium of exchange, it is only in removing the convention of exchange or ‘trade’ itself that then renders money obsolete. That’s why a Resource-Based Economy proposes that ‘all resources must be declared as the common heritage of all Earth’s inhabitants.’

In his TedX talk, Colin Turner really questions the idea that ‘trade’ is the only organizational model for life on the planet, and in fact outlines the ways in which trade is actually antithetical to human abundance and well-being:

We all more or less accept trade as being the de facto way of operating our society, so much so that we even see it as some kind of universal law. But it might surprise you to know actually that trade has only existed in relatively recent years, that in 90% of our modern human history we didn’t actually trade at all, there still are no archaeological traces of trade. In these early tribal, agrarian communities what actually happened was there was an implied understanding that everyone in the tribe looked after each other. And this was how the tribes operated for perhaps the vast majority of our early human history.

So we see trade now as a very important way of doing business, and you have to say that trade works, I get what I want and you get what you want and we all go home happy. But when you actually scratch the surface a little bit more about how trade actually pans out in the real world, it’s not such a nice story. It seems to be a better theory than actually works out in practice.

For example, the most obvious case is, about 3 billion people in the world today live on $2.50 or less a day–many of them much, much less than that. Obviously they are wracked with starvation or dying of curable diseases, so, I mean, you have to ask yourself, is trade really working for them, for those people? Clearly, it isn’t.

Colin Turner is the founder of The Free World Charter, which currently has 58,611 signatories among people from 215 different countries (and would welcome yours, if you are so inclined). The charter constitutes a set of principles that really formalizes the notion that all human individuals are entitled to maintain an equal share of the Earth’s resources, but it also outlines the natural responsibilities and practices that each individual would assume in order to live optimally and harmoniously together in a money-free community and world. Here are the ten principles:

  1. The highest concern of humanity is the combined common good of all living species and biosphere.
  2. Life is precious in all its forms, and free to flourish in the combined common good.
  3. Earth’s natural resources are the birthright of all its inhabitants, and free to share in the combined common good.
  4. Every human being is an equal part of a worldwide community of humans, and a free citizen of Earth.
  5. Our community is founded on the spirit of cooperation and an understanding of nature, provided through basic education.
  6. Our community provides for all its members the necessities of a healthy, fulfilling and sustainable life, freely and without obligation.
  7. Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste.
  8. Our community derives its solutions and advances progress primarily through the application of logic and best available knowledge.
  9. Our community acknowledges its duty of care and compassion for members who are unable to contribute.
  10. Our community acknowledges its responsibility to maintain a diverse and sustainable biosphere for all future life to enjoy

These are certainly not the final words on which principles should truly define a future society and world free of money, but in reading them one can clearly grasp the overall essence of the kind of mindset we will need to develop and implement in our lives if we are to shift into this new paradigm.

Walking Away From A Money Economy

The shift we are looking for here is grounded in a conscious move by the individuals of this planet away from a model of competition and towards a model of cooperation. We are all quite familiar with both, as we surely have an ample amount of experience in both ways of relating to the people around us. If you could choose right now, which kind of model would you want as the basis for the entire planet?

Some might argue that the competitive/trade/money paradigm has been instrumental in getting us to make progress, especially technologically, which we may not have achieved by remaining with the cooperative tribal model. There may be some truth in this. But does it not seem that, at this time in history, most of us have had it with the debt, scarcity, and inequality that is a hallmark of the money model? Are we not hungering for more love, cooperation and shared abundance imbued in the very organizational structures we create for ourselves to live?

Understand that making this change is not as simple as going to the United Nations or other authoritative world body, as Jacque Fresco has already done. Presenting a compelling vision of a future without money to the benefit of all of humanity does not automatically mean that the world authority will implement it right away. The powers behind world authority like the UN are actually made up of those who have the most money. What we see going on in the public arena are essentially the machinations of the puppets they control.

This is nothing new. An overall system that maintains power by the few has been in place ever since money and exchange were introduced. While in the past this wealth was protected over generations and generations by certain families who were the visible ‘royalty,’ ‘noblemen’ and ‘aristocracy’ of the day, today’s world only differs in the sense that these powers are more hidden from sight, while countries maintain the illusion of having some form of ‘democracy.’

The point is that we will never be able to elicit the help of our authority if we want to abandon our current money economy. Those in authority, who at the very top own a vast percentage of the world’s resources, certainly believe they would have the most to lose if we moved to a model founded on equally-shared abundance. What we actually need to do is elicit the help of each other, energizing important movements and fostering an awakening as to how powerful we actually are as a collective. When a critical mass of us begin marching in step to a new way of life, the current authority will have no power to stop us.

The Takeaway

A money-free society and world can certainly work from the standpoint of creating abundance for everyone on the planet. What is needed is a new awareness founded on some of the natural principles discussed here. The more that individuals of the planet slowly move away from competitive money-centered practices and spend their time and energy cultivating cooperation, the more quickly we will be able to collectively walk away from a system that no longer serves us.

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