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Why I Believe The “New Age” Spiritual Movement Can Be Counter-Productive

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

I write this as I have decided to share some thoughts on things I’ve experienced, learned, observed and felt over the years of being involved in “spiritual” or self-help communities. There’s a couple of helpful distinctions to be made that can give us a greater understanding of what is trying to be achieved in these circles and with that understanding, transformation can happen more effectively.

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My main intention here is not to call anyone out nor put anyone down, I simply feel there is a lot that can be learned from this and ultimately there is a lot of self empowerment that can come out of this. Try to check out this whole article and please don’t miss my final point. I believe we actually have a big challenge on our hands here and it needs to be clear.

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The Misconceptions

Creating an organization like CE can sometimes cause people to create misconceptions about you. At times people can put you in a box especially when a lot of the content produced is done online and people can’t actually meet you. We’ve been called “new age,” “woo’eys,” “hippies,” “super spiritual people,” and anything else that can be related to some identity.

To be honest and transparent, I sometimes cringe at the idea of being boxed or labelled as being in the ‘new age spiritual’ community because of how it can be. It’s not so much what others would think, but more so the stigma that automatically gets put on myself or my work (CE).

Funny thing I’ve found is when people meet me, they are surprised. Why? Because they find out that the work I do here isn’t about an identity or fitting into a box, but instead just about a passion and living my truth as pure as I know how, as I continue to grow.

One of the most interesting things I’ve observed over the years is that regardless of how much information there is out there online, in books or at seminars, it seems we are able to read it, memorize it and spit it back out, but we have a very tough time truly living it. Even social media websites, can give us the ability to make it appear as though we are fully living these ideals but in actuality are not.

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Before we move on, I wish I didn’t have to use the word spiritual or spirituality as I believe there are so many misconceptions about it that the word is completely lost, but for lack of a better word, I’m going to use it. To me, spirituality refers to our relationship with nature, life, ourselves, each other and our world.  This is not a religious thing with rules and dogmas, it’s simply exploring various relationships. I do feel we have a soul or higher self, this for me is from experience and exploring science. We can explore that a bit more later.

My intention here is to simply make observations that can be helpful for us to reflect. I’ve had the opportunity to work in the thick of the ‘spiritual’ movement for 5+ years now and have seen a lot and spoken to many people. Patterns emerge that tell a story, and I wish to share some of that story today. What I intend to share are things that I feel holds many of us back from connecting with the rest of the world and moving forward in our journey.

Making It An Identity

As I have shared in the past, I feel one of these easy traps for our egos to fall back into when it comes to being spiritual is that we can begin to create an identity around the whole thing. For example, we might begin reading Eckhart Tolle books (which I love) or listening to various speakers online about this stuff and suddenly we feel like we have to dress totally different, talk differently, do new hobbies and ultimately change our lifestyle into something that resembles a “spiritual person.” The trouble with this is, just as we are learning to observe and go beyond ego, we turn around and begin fulfilling it on another end.

Now I’m not suggesting that by doing any of the above things as they happen naturally is wrong or anything, I’m merely pointing out the fact that it is quite common for us to give up who we are simply to create another identity that fits into what people would assume a spiritual person is like.

Going back to my example above, almost every time I have met someone in person who has read my stuff online, seen videos or documentaries I’ve been a part of, they are somewhat surprised with how, for lack of a better word, “normal” I am. Why is this? Am I supposed to fit some box? Sure I may dabble into things I’m led to or guided to out of interest but I don’t let things define me.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to do this, but to realize it for what it is, we go out of our way to look, sound and act spiritually but don’t actually apply anything we know.

Using “Spiritual Clarity” To Justify Behavior

Another big one is using some form of spiritual clarity or answer to create a reason or excuse for pretty much everything.

Similar to what can happen above, where the ego once again gets involved. It seems common that we might begin to use much of the clarity we are getting to cover up or pretend our challenges or “issues” aren’t real or are someone else’s fault.

For example, let’s say someone sits us down and has a talk with us about something that is being observed in our life. It could be say, a destructive habit. The person took the time to sit down and point something out to us so we can observe it and make an adjustment yet a common response instead is “what you see in me is just a reflection of you, therefore the issue is in you and not me.” Using this argument is often a way to deflect what is being brought forward simply because we don’t want to face it nor appear as though we have anything to work on.

Another common deflection or defensive statement can be simply claiming “everything is perfect” all the time. While what plays out as a whole in our lives in various circumstances can be perfect in a big picture sense, simply using the statement to never look at nor make adjustments on your own self simply holds up and delays your own growth and journey. In a sense we are spiritually bypassing our own growth for the sake of upholding ego. Example, someones actions might constantly be selfish or put others out, but instead of realizing this we might simply say “Well it’s a role I need to play for them so it’s okay.” Meanwhile we are fully aware of what we are causing in other people’s lives and are just not willing to face it.

The bottom line is, it’s really easy to start using spirituality or things we learn to not face or take responsibility for ourselves.

Law of Attraction & Positivity

This is another topic that I’ve touched upon in the past based on observations and my own journey. What we think about and intend to create in our lives does can have an impact on what happens in life… sometimes. What we often forget is that there are billions of other people on the planet right now that also impact what you are looking to create.

If you are looking to bring something into your life, it often requires more than just saying it out loud, writing it out or creating a vision board. Yes, there are some smaller things that will come into being simply from a thought, intention or something of that nature, but when we are after bigger things, it requires us to actually act or move forward with creating what we are looking for. Example, you want a new job with specific details, write it out, intend for it but then go out looking for it! It will come as you take the steps.

Another thing I see a lot is almost a fear surrounding the whole concept. If we think of something, say something out loud or write something down that isn’t of pure positivity or pure thought towards our intention, it’s as if we just attracted the complete opposite of that automatically. Which isn’t true at all.

For example, If I call a friend and say “Hey I might be late because there is usually a lot of traffic on the highway at 5PM so just giving you a heads up.” This does not mean I am suddenly attracting or aligning with the experience of  traffic. There is simply a level of realism being recognized. Not to mention one of the most important things: more than your words or jokes you might tell, your intention behind what you are saying has a much greater impact on the energy that comes out.

If we are in a social setting playing a game and I jokingly say “ahh you fu*ker you just beat me!” The energy that might come from that and be felt by another is very different than if I said it with a serious tone and meant it. So remember, most of the time no one pollutes the room and suddenly created or emitted bad energy because they said a bad word, made a joke or was real about something. We don’t have ultimate power over what we create in all scenarios. We are part of a whole.

This also stems into the misunderstanding that we must go out of our way to be positive all of the time as well. From my experience, if you want to feel good, move forward and face your demons, focus on being open and neutral about things. See it for what it is and focus less on whether it’s a positive thing or a negative thing. It’s much less effortful, and my guess is you will feel a lot better trying not to obsess over polarities. Do not fear negativity or anything of that nature. Fearing it or needing to avoid it still creates a fearful energy.

To note: No, this does not mean I think rape is okay. Neutrality simply means being free of obsessing over judgement of something and instead using what you know and feel inside to know how to act in a situation. (i.e. we all know rape is not a great thing) For those that have done it, what is judging them going to do? Instead, help stop it from happening and attempt to assist the individual in not repeating but also finding out truly why they felt they did the act. Step in as true help, don’t stand on the side lines and call them every name under the sun, it does nothing. Throwing them in a small room will not rehabilitate them. We require better approaches, but that is a whole other story.

Free Spirited/Flow & Laziness

Being “free flowing” and “free spirited” in a sense has also been taken quite out of context I feel. There seems to be a demonization of any form of planning, setting dates, making commitments of any kind or having some level of structure. I feel this could be because the moment you do these things you suddenly have to take responsibility for yourself, but it’s tough to say entirely.

This may also relate to the point mentioned above about using spiritual lingo to avoid things about ourselves. When we can’t fit into even slight forms of structure or organization, or can’t ever commit to planning anything, it raises some form of anxiety or fear within ourselves that we don’t want to face. Easily being able to say “that’s against our nature to plan anything” or “only the ego cares about structure” shows our lack of understanding of what these concepts really mean and how we are meant to balance mind, body and soul in this world. Even most spiritual teachers address this issue but many don’t seem to pay attention to it.

The bottom line is, we live in a world of 7 billion people and it will inevitably take some structure, organization and planning to make any form of system work. We are given a mind and body to be able to balance all of it together. The mind is a great tool for us to utilize and when we demonize it or don’t get it clear, it’s easy to fall into the ideas we can create about simply being “beyond the need to please the mind” when really that’s not what it’s about at all.

Work with your struggles, develop the skills and habits of organizing your life to some degree. It’s only going to help ourselves and the world as a whole. We’re incredible beings, you think a little structure is impossible for us to learn?

Final Thoughts

By taking on and trying to be something or by not facing ourselves, we actually just create a whole other form of dogma and separation that we are trying to grow beyond to begin with. If we experienced this at all in our past or still do, IT’S OKAY! I believe it’s part of a journey of growing. We are constantly learning more about ourselves and it’s always another step forward.

Of course, this type of identity and separation exists any time we create ideas of ourselves whether it be religious, atheist, vegan or meat eater etc etc.

The key here is to just look at what is being done almost on purpose in order to fit into an idea. Observe and see how things might transform.

My philosophy is just be yourself. Don’t try to prove yourself as anything. Live your life, enjoy it and when you meet challenges, you work through them and gain more clarity, then ACT from that clarity. We can change the world without having to create new identities for ourselves. Remember, the empty can rattles the loudest.

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Consciousness

Why Hugging Is Powerful: Especially When We’re So Isolated

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

When’s the last time you had a good hug? Can you even recall a time when one lasted longer than 10 or 15 seconds? Hugging releases oxytocin, a bonding hormone, as well as serotonin and endorphins. These hormones are a big part of what makes us feel good and build a sense of community and connection with others.

When we hug our friends or family, or even spend a good few hours with them, we often don’t know what exactly the mechanism is that makes us feel good, but often times it’s touch, eye contact and reading facial expressions.

Throughout COVID, once we got a sense of what it feels like to not have as much touch, see smiles, see our friends or family, we might have gained a greater awareness of how important this really is. Intense isolation, like we’ve all experienced, leads to touch deprivation, and one could argue, has led to collective traumatization throughout the course of this pandemic.

Humans biologically need touch, it’s built right into our physiology. When we are babies, touch is a crucial part of our ability to regulate our nervous systems and feel safe. When we’re very young, our bodies have not yet built the ability to self-regulate (feel safety and comfort), and thus our caregivers play the important role of not only touching to bring regulation and safety, but also using facial expressions to send the message that ‘all is OK.’

Further, humans thrive in a sense of community and connection. When we are too isolated, without a deep and dedicated practice like monk’s might do in a cave in Tibet, we begin to lose the benefits of co-regulation, and in turn our psychology can begin to suffer over time. Humans have built incredible things – together – when in community, and touch plays an important role in that.

It most cultures around the world, hugging is part of daily life. Other cultures might decide to greet one another with cheek kissing instead, but touch is often a common denominator. But it’s true, there are places that may be ‘less touch-y’ and will certainly find other ways to connect.

One thing I can say though, especially during this unprecedented time of isolation, make it a point to hug those close to you when you can. Make it a good one, 15 or 20 seconds! Pay attention to how you feel after.

As mentioned, hugging is not the only way we get a sense of co-regulation and connection. Looking into one another’s eyes, sensing facial movements and reactions are also important. We have millions of mirror neurons in our brains that are constantly reading what is happening in another person, and sending information to areas of our brain, subconsciously, that tell us how a person might be feeling, for example. When we witness someone taking an action, neurons in our brains respond to that action in the same way as if we were taking that action ourselves – hence ‘mirror neurons.’

This might mean that when we watch a nervous moment in sports for example, although we are not playing, we might take actions like covering our mouths or holding our chest, feeling the nerves the players are likely feeling. As you can imagine, this is not a perfect science. Sometimes we are nervous but the player is cool as a cucumber, but generally, mirror neurons tend to help us connect to what others are feeling or doing, giving us a sense of empathy.

It goes even deeper. Research from Institute of HeartMath has shown that the human heart emits a measurable electromagnetic field that contains information other people can pick up on and decode in their brains. Regardless of how ‘new-agey’ this might sound to some minds, it’s a reality of our physical bodies.

Just think, have you ever walked into a room with multiple people in it and noticed the energy of it? Perhaps you noticed right away it was very tense or very jovial. This sense likely comes from having an awareness of how our electro magnetic field is interacting with the collective field of the room.

What you’re feeling is how someone’s general emotional state is affecting the field they emit. The more we feel tension, anxiety, or depression for example, the more we also put that signal out into our communities. Now, this isn’t a call to get stressed out about how we’re affecting others, this is simply a realization of what’s going on.

In our current chaotic world, it’s quite common to feel anxious or uncertain about what’s happening, and acknowledging that is OK is perfectly fine. The next question becomes: how can I manage my emotional state and create a a felt sense of calm? (Which of course will change the field you emit as well.)

Managing Our Emotions & Energy

One very simple option is written at the top of the article we post here on The Pulse. It’s a simple technique I adapted from my training at HeartMath, but I added in my own flair learned from my trauma specialist training as I felt a greater focus on interception, our awareness of sensations in our body, was important to be in the mix.

As go move through your day, stop, take a breath and release the tension in your body starting from your head all the way down to your feet. Take a few moments on each muscle group if you like. Place attention on your physical heart and breathe slowly into the area for 60 seconds, focusing on feeling a sense of ease.

I wrote a much more in-depth article here, where I share more detailed steps and how this helps improve our overall energy levels as well.

Our bodies are filled with tools that sense anything from obvious to ‘unseen’ signals coming from others and our environment. These tools suggest we are beings of connection, and we thrive when we get enough of it. They also suggest it’s important to pay attention to more than just the material aspect of our world, as there is much that needs to be ‘taken care of’ in the ‘unseen.’ By that, I mean, as we manage our emotions and regulate our nervous system’s, our felt electro magnetic field communicates a different message to others out there.

What message are you sending?

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aquarius: Rationality & Seriousness

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a Full Moon in Aquarius on July 23rd/24th. It will appear the brightest on the night of the 23rd throughout most of the world and on the night of the 24th in the time zones East of Japan. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Cancer on July 9th/10th.

The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

This is a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Aquarius and the Sun in Leo. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us; with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Aquarius side and others expressing the Leo side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Full Moon In Aquarius Opposite Sun In Leo

Leo season began 36 hours before the Full Moon and will continue until August 22nd/23rd. This is the sign of self-expression, creativity, love, affection, children, courage, vitality, passion, leadership, generosity, and playfulness. Ruled by the Sun, it is also about shining in our power and being in alignment with what really lights us up and gets us excited.

The negative expressions of Leo can be egotistical, self-absorbed, authoritarian, dramatic, stubborn, jealous, and hot-tempered.  As it is associated with seeking praise and attention, it can be demanding of respect and be boisterous without considering or caring about how others respond to that.

The Full Moon highlights and brings the energies of the opposing sign of Aquarius into this Leo backdrop. This is the sign of friends, networks, social dynamics, social issues, groups, teams, humanity, and being in the best interest of the collective. This energy is unconventional, idealistic, innovative, progressive, scientific, original, inventive, technological, 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.

Both Leo and Aquarius have some similarities. They are ‘Fixed’ signs and therefore can both be determined yet stubborn. They are also both associated with originality and authenticity. In Aquarius, this comes from its unconventional and innovative attributes while in Leo it comes from being inspired by its heart centred self-expression.

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Conjunct Saturn, & Square Uranus

This Full Moon is in a quincunx with Venus which has recently entered Virgo. Our feelings, emotions, needs, or domestic lives may be at odds with friendships, values, finances, pleasure, or matters of love. It can be hard to integrate these areas but being flexible and making adjustments can be the solution.

The Full Moon is moving towards Saturn in the same sign. This can reflect a serious energy and we may be faced with limitations, restrictions, delays, or obstacles. We or others may be emotionally distant, pessimistic, or reserved. However, this can be good for some sort of effort that requires discipline, structure, and orderliness. After the Full Moon period, some of these energies will be strong again on August 1st/2nd.

Following the conjunction with Saturn, the Moon forms a square aspect with the disruptive Uranus in Taurus. This is activating the square between Saturn and Uranus that is happening throughout the year which I’ve covered in previous articles. Themes around ‘old versus new’, ‘restrictions versus freedom’, ‘the status quo versus revolution’, ‘commitments/responsibilities versus liberation’, ‘elder versus youth’, ‘progressiveness versus tradition’ and so forth.

Jupiter Going Back Into Aquarius

Jupiter entered its home sign of Pisces in mid-May for a short stint as it is returning back into Aquarius on July 28th/29th. The planet of expansion, freedom, beliefs, perspective, education, is unrestrained in Pisces and gets to express itself more ideally in this sign. We have seen examples of this as many jurisdictions loosened up covid related restrictions during this period.

With it going back into Aquarius, a traditionally Saturn ruled sign with Saturn currently present there, Jupiter will be more inhibited until late December when it re-enters Pisces again. It’s possible that during this 5 month period may experience more restrictive measures return or new ones implemented. We may also experience this in different ways in our personal lives such as not being able to expand the way we’d like to. However, this might not be noticeable immediately.

The combination of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius (which began last December) can be good for building towards something or planting seeds pertaining to some sort of technological integration, social networking, collective or social pursuits, activism, new scientific approaches to things, and innovation.

Venus Square Lunar Nodes, Mars Opposite Jupiter

Venus will be in a square with the Lunar Nodes which will be strong from July 28th-30th. We may be reflecting on the past and future, or perhaps at a crossroads, when it comes to friendships, love, values, or financial matters. We may need to complete something and address what is holding us back  to help us move on and take a step forward in an evolutionary way when it comes to these areas of life. Venus is in Virgo so therefore discernment, details, practicality, health, organization, or efficiency may be key.

At this time Mars will be switching from Leo to Virgo while in an opposition to Jupiter. We may begin to feel the need to apply ourselves in a way that is more productive, sustainable, healthy, and clean. However, we can overextend ourselves and take on more than we can handle. This can also play out as conflicts around beliefs, perspectives, opinions, or judgements.

Mercury’s Superior Conjunction

Mercury will be in its Superior Conjunction on August 1st/2nd which is in an important phase of Mercury’s cycle with the Sun. From this point onward we may have a better perception around certain things that were seeded or occurred in the previous two months which may also help our momentum forward. .

Circumstances and developments that happen at this time can help us gain more clarity or facilitate necessary realizations to help us make the right decisions and appropriate mental focus. During this conjunction, the Sun and Mercury will be opposing Saturn which can play out as hindrances or the need to be pragmatic as part of this process.

Things To Consider

How can you balance or integrate your personal passions with the needs of the collective? How can you resolve any conflicts between leadership and a team or group? Are you experiencing any challenges or conflict between your heart and intellect? What areas of your life do you need to be more orderly, structured, disciplined, or take more seriously? Is there anything that you need to separate from? How can you apply yourself in a more noble way?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up or ways to approach this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, it is best to do so after it begins to wane following the peak or during the two weeks afterwards when it is waning before the next New Moon. The exact peak of this Full Moon is at 2:37am Universal Time on July 24th, night of the 23rd. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Consciousness

How To Embrace New Ideas & Envision A Better World

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

In this video I explore how to look in our minds and bodies for resistance towards new solutions and ideas. If we are to create a more thriving world, what has to happen within us? How do we use new and emerging solutions in a pure form, without applying the old dominance or capitalistic stories to them?

It can, very understandably, be hard to imagine something different than what we’re doing now. Especially when we consider we don’t know HOW things would change or what will happen to the current life we’ve built.

What if real global solutions involve shifting our long term plans? How do we gain a sense of comfort and stability in challenges we seek to solve at their core?

Every time I’ve been faced with some pretty big changes I had to make in my life, if I ever sensed resistance in myself, I had to find it in my body as well as navigate it in my mind.  I explain more in the video below.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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