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Consciousness

The Benefits Of Doing Nothing

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We live in a society where sitting in stillness and silence, void of any stimuli, is seen as doing nothing – a view polluted with a negative stigma, with the implication that doing nothing is synonymous with being nothing. However, this could not be further from the truth. To sit in stillness is not actually to do “nothing,” in the sense that time is wasted and there is no gain. It is, in reality, closer to doing everything, as being in touch with our inner stillness, or consciousness, has a powerful ripple effect on every single aspect of our lives in one way or another. Of course, failing to wake up to this truth also effects everything, but only by ensuring that what we consider to be “everything” in our lives has little substance and limited depth.

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The type of downtime I am referring to is one in which we quiet our minds and do not work to acheive any particular goals, execute any task on our to do lists, or engage in external stimuli. It is not one and the same with leisurely downtime such as vacationing with friends, watching TV, or reading a book. That indulging in downtime – the kind in which we enter a state of idleness, quieting our mind – is unproductive and lazy is not merely an idea, but more of a belief a large portion of society has adopted as an absolute truth. However, concrete evidence proving it to be true is grotesquely lacking, leaving statements implying that always being on the go and doing something equates with a successful and meaningful life as nothing more than that: statements. semantics. words with no depth to penetrate.

As it turns out, neuroscientists are now finding the exact opposite to be true, and a new stance on how we expend our time is gaining momentum: always busying ourselves with something diminishes the quality of our lives. When we do not carve time out of our lives to be idle and create empty space in our heads for new ideas to arise, the areas most essential to living a productive, creative, and vibrant life are negatively impacted – or, in the least, brought to either an outright standstill in progress or complete and utter chaos. The reality is, when we “empty” our minds we are not wasting time. On the contrary, we are actually greatly reducing the odds that the time we spend engaging in external activities – whether work related, personal, or social – is wasted or of little substance.

Continuously busying ourselves and filling every waking minute with something to check off our to do lists allots little to no room in our minds for fresh ideas and renewal to arise. You don’t have to become a monk or go on a retreat where you sit in isolation in a room and meditate for months in order to reap the benefits of doing nothing in the manner I am referring to. You only need to silence your mind, to devote yourself to idleness, for five to ten minutes a day, preferrably a few times throughout the day. If you are thinking you do not have so much as one increment of five to ten minutes to dedicate to doing nothing every day, much less various ones, all hope is not lost. You can still enter a state of idleness in which you are not focused on doing anything and your interior world is not swayed by stimuli of any kind while performing mundane, habitual tasks such as household chores like laundry or the dishes, since “doing nothing” in this case essentially means to make space in your head – to quiet the mind, to do nothing mentally, to be conscious, to enter a state of heightened present moment awareness. There are simple strategies to do so even with a schedule full of activities, and adopting them can result in significant health benefits.

The Health Benefits Of Doing Nothing

When we are constantly doing something, we are simultaneously constantly stimulating our nervous systems to the point of exhaustion – and an overexerted, depleted nervous system can most certainly give birth to an array of health problems, as well as make it all but impossible to overcome them. For optimal health and healing, we need our nervous systems on board and rooted in our bodies with expendable energy to place towards any problematic areas that may arise which need excess nourishment to be replinished. Otherwise, acheiving a state of homeostasis and living a balanced, healthy life is highly unlikely.

Regularly carving out time to devote to doing nothing, to sitting in idleness and dropping into a conscious state of being, produces many health benefits including, but not limited to, reduced heart rate, better digestion, improvements in mood, and a boost in overall emotional well-being – which, of course, affects everything on a biochemical and physiological level, thereby serving as a major deciding factor on whether or not we fall ill, and/or remain ill. Mental downtime also replenishes glucose and oxygen levels in the brain, and allows our brains to process and file things, which leaves us feeling more rested and clear headed, promotes a stronger sense of self-confidence, and enstills within us a deep trust in life. When we trust in the unfolding of life, we trust change. We do not resist it, or any experience for that matter. It is then that we are able to transmute even the worst types of pain – physical, mental, or spiritual – into meaningful experiences that change us on deep, fundamental levels for the better. It may seem as though such changes only impact us or those directly associated with us in some way; but collectively, they impact the world, both shaping and embodying the form that defines the nature of humanity.

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Strategies For Creating Downtime To Do Nothing

In the morning: Immediatly upon opening our eyes every morning, many of us do the same thing, as there is a relatively limited selection of actions to choose from. Options range from hitting snooze on our alarms, getting up to brush our teeth, yelling at anyone who is brave enough to talk way too loud for 6 AM (or to talk, period), eating breakfast, or making coffee. There really aren’t many other options than that, at least not ones not deemed significant enough to make the list of the most common things people do when they first wake up. Except, there is one undoubtedly more significant thing that should be added to the list, as it is more essential to life than anything else we can do to start the day: the most powerful thing we can do upon waking is nothing. To remain idle and quiet our minds, and enter the present fully into a state of conscious being.

Choosing to start the day consciously, to clear our heads before new stimulus bombards it, profoundly changes everything that happens throughout the day ahead of us. While it may not so much change what happens on an external physical, aesthetic level, delving into the day consciously changes what happens on an internal level. This indirectly changes the feeling sense of all that happens around us, giving greater depth, meaning, and a sense of aliveness to every moment of the day not only for us, but for everyone connected to our daily activities both directly and indirectly.

If you find it hard to take five to ten minutes to do nothing but sit or lay still, for five to ten minutes while quieting your mind (falling back sleep doesn’t count), then the following practice may help: Starting at your feet and working your way up, scan your body for any areas that feel tense or uneasy. When you run into one, focus your attention, which is to say your energy, on it and imagine you are breathing into it, with each rise and fall of your chest relaxing it more and more. Doing so not only quiets the mind, it balances the mind-body connection, making way for a more grounded state of being throughout the day.

At work: Although sitting at your desk – or whatever your workplace environment entails – and staring out the window is infamously hailed as lazy, unproductive, and a general indicator that someone is either unmotivated or incompetent to work, research conducted by The Energy Project paints a different picture. The Energy Project, a consulting firm specializing in engagement and productivity among workers, vehemently begs to differ. According to their Vice President of business development, Andrew Deutscher, the longer people work without taking breaks to rest and replinish their minds, “the worse they feel and the less engaged they become.” [1]

The Energy Project’s research results on workplace productivity and idleness found that individuals who took five to ten minute breaks from work to do nothing a few times a day displayed an approximately 50% increase in their ability to think clearly and creatively, thus rendering their work far more productive. Results like these are what prompt the firm to advocate for the allowance of employee breaks and short, restorative naps while on the clock. This, of course, benefits everyone involved -employees, employers, and the people using their services.

When Tackling Daily Chores: When we execute daily household chores like dishes or laundry, we feel like we are doing nothing – in the sense that we are not doing anything significant, which is actually quite perfect. Rather than turning on the TV, radio, or calling someone to escape the uncomfortable feeling of doing nothing important, we can instead free fall into that feeling. Rather than resist the feeling of doing nothing significant when performing repetitive tasks and chores, we can instead make the conscious choice to fully enter it, and in doing so give it great significance.

Daily chores like washing the dishes and folding laundry become so habitual due to their repetitive nature that our physical actions are basically on cruise control when executing them. This can either be a really boring or really rewarding reality – we get to choose which. Since we do these tasks automatically without much thought, our minds are already quieted to a significant degree, making them great tools rather than burdens. Since our minds are already quieted more than usual, we have an advantage – the only effort we have to place towards doing nothing is to simply be aware that our mind is quieted more than usual and choose to tune into it without implementing any external stimuli to busy our mind.

In the space that external stimuli would have otherwise filled, there is consciousness. And where there is consciousness, there is deep peace, even when external factors are unsatisfactory. And where there is deep peace, there is a love whose existence could never be threatened by any external source or event. And where there is love such as this, there is the richest source of what we call life.

Sources:

1. Experience Life Magazine, May 2015 Issue

2. www.theenergyproject.com

3. www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html?_r=0

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Consciousness

Are You A ‘Self-Help’ Junkie Dying For REAL CHANGE?!

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The coaching industry is for the most part, unregulated. Anyone can decide they want to be a coach without having the skills, experience, self-awareness and depth of understanding of the complexities of the human condition, which are essential.

  • Reflect On:

    If you are considering or already working with a coach it is important firstly, that you are crystal clear on the primary role and responsibility you possess over your wellbeing.  And secondly, that you do due diligence on any coach you hire.

As someone who’s been working closely with clients for the past 16 years in a personal growth capacity and who, in that time has been working on myself and my own growth as well, my life has changed more than I could ever have imagined was possible.  I have been through many growth experiences that have seen me move countries twice, become a wife and a mother and now, I enjoy a beautiful existence in a small countryside town where I run my boutique-style business on Mallorca, off the coast of Spain.

My experience on both sides of the coaching and personal development industry however is what I want to highlight because it uniquely qualifies me to point out more than a few things.  I want to speak to, in my experience, the many folks who have been blindsided and gotten caught up in searching for their next ‘fix’, be it through coaches or coaching programs ‘designed’ to address your most dire life/relationship/money/health problems and needs.

As they refer to it in the industry, your ‘pain’.

The thing is, I have come to believe that many of the promises made by some of the players in the self-improvement industry, are built (most times unconsciously) upon inherent untruths and assumptions about who YOU, the consumer ARE.

I don’t only believe this for you.  I know it to be true because I, along with many of my colleagues and clients have been burned too.

I have have had to find another way.  I have had to find my own way.

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There are a significant number of coaches and coaching programs out there that simply FAIL to adequately acknowledge your inner resources, wisdom, resilience and strength, what you deserve, have the potential to create AND to bring these to the fore.

If your Facebook experience is anything like mine, these are the tentacles that reach out, flailing at you, trying to grab your attention every time you scroll down your feed.

It is both my observation and personal experience that as much as the industry is filled with practitioners who are conscious, in integrity and awake, it is also full of practitioners who, driven by their own fear, lack an overwhelming desire for a profitable bottom line, are unaware of the covert ‘personal development’ business building techniques they have been taught to bring unsuspecting, often vulnerable clients in.

Without calling any names, you can think here of some of the high-visiblity players in the industry.  Consider the fanfare and energy around their launches, the tone of their copy, the well-oiled funnels, landing pages and up-selling strategies they use to bring large numbers of clients in.  We are confronted by this kind of marketing everyday.  It would be interesting to know exactly what percentage of their students/clients feel, by the end of these programs, that the promises made had been fulfilled.  It is a number that we will never know, but what I do know is this…

Those who find themselves disappointed in their results and by extension, their coaches and themselves, THESE are the clients that tend to make the rounds because they feel forlorn, hopeless and lost.  These are the ‘personal development junkies’ who are searching for their next FIX.

If this is YOU, I invite you to stop whatever it is you’ve been desperately throwing your energy, attention, hopes and dreams at and take this truth in:

No matter what shiny new modality, course, coach, coaching program or product promises to change your life, here is what 9 times out of 10, they won’t say…or if they do, they have no idea how to hold the space needed for it to root itself into your muscle memory and bones…

More than anything, it takes confidence and self-belief as well as deep connection and communication with YOURSELF to create what you most desire and need.

In other words, if you haven’t been actively acknowledging this truth, theres a good chance that you’ve been unwittingly been buying into the untruth for the solution to all your problems, your ability to call in your needs and heart’s desires lies outside of yourself, in someone else’s hands.

What can you do to change this subversive belief?

You can DECIDE once and for all that you are no longer going to let yourself be distracted by the plethora of ‘mindset’ modalities and teachers clamouring for your attention out there.  That is not to say that there isn’t value in investing in mentorship and support, but the point here is this:

In your life, YOU call the shots.  

The answers to your problems all lie within you and can only be unearthed firstly by cultivating a solid relationship with yourself so that YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

YOU get to take full ownership for your growth and decide, based on your wisdom, what support you most need.  

You too can and are meant to find YOUR OWN WAY.

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Consciousness

Your Vagina Is More Beautiful Than You Think

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This featured image was the selection of the filmmakers themselves.

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Filmmaker Layla Martin was inspired to capture the gap that can sometimes exist between how a woman sees her body, and the way her lover views it.

  • Reflect On:

    How do you deal with self-consciousness if it arises in your life? Can we all relate to feelings of self-consciousness and self-judgement?

It was 11 years ago and I was in a big documentary phase. I had watched hundreds of documentaries in a single year as I had come to realize the world around me was not quite what it seemed, and I was thirsty for knowledge.

After hours of UFO/ET docs, docs exploring the true history of our world and governments, and even health docs, I one day landed upon a documentary called ‘The Perfect Vagina.’ Quite honestly, my initial thought was, “what the heck is this?!” So I read the description: “Lisa Rogers investigates vaginal cosmetic surgery and why more and more women consider this surgical procedure.”

Wait, cosmetic surgery for what? I was 20 years old at the time and had not heard of people doing cosmetic surgery on their vagina. So I decided to watch the film.

The further I got into the film, the more I learned how many women, like men can be about their own bits, can be quite self-conscious about the look of their vagina. Sure, I was no stranger to the fact that everyone is slightly self-conscious about their parts, but how deep things can sometimes go, and the specifics that were focused on were all a bit of a surprise.

To make the story short, the documentary chronicles the journey of one woman who decides to have her labia minora ‘trimmed down.’ As you might imagine, it was an incredibly painful process following the procedure, and the subject was not all that jazzed about her choice in the end.

Where do these ideas about how our parts look come from? What stories do we tell ourselves about why we need to change them? How often do people actually make fun of our parts? These were all things I thought about. Sure, you see it in pop culture, men or women talking about specific positive details they want in the bits of their partners, but I never really saw this all that much in ‘real life.’

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As I entered into more relationships in my life, I began to really realize that each of us may view our own private part in a very specific manner, while our partner often sees it in a very different and unique way. What we’re self-conscious about, they don’t see or actually love. And ultimately, connection, not our bits, were the core of what produced the greatest experiences involving those bits. (This is super family friendly as you notice lol)

This is partly why I was so interested to see the result of a video I came across just this morning, even though it had been out for some time. The video was done by Layla Martin as she was inspired to capture the difference that can sometimes exist between how a woman sees her body and the way her lover/partner views it.

Women were invited into a photography studio to have their vaginas photographed, they then viewed their own vaginas up close, and then watched in secret as their partner was shown the picture.

How did each react? Check out the video below, but be sure to read the important reflections I wrote below the video as well.

*Note: The feature image used for this piece was originally used and chosen by the filmmakers themselves.

We All Experience Hardship

To say that our world is experiencing polarity at the moment is an understatement. Things are VERY extreme right now. Whether it’s specific activist groups or political groups, everyone wants to be the biggest victim and pretend no one else can possibly know how they feel- and therefore should have no opinion.

This shows us how unwilling we are to face ourselves and how much we struggle with practicing true empathy.

Men, women, children – of any ethnicity or social class, experience feelings of doubt, fear, self-consciousness, worry, guilt, etc. You name it, in some way, others experience it. While it can be juicy to want to figure out who suffers the most, who the biggest victim is, this doesn’t really lead us anywhere productive as looking at things in this manner is from an extreme place, creating more extremity on the other side.

I bring this up in the context of this video simply because I know from direct experience of living in society on this planet, regardless of what extreme activists might suggest, that both men and women deal with self-consciousness issues about their private parts (and many other things) and it comes from many places. But ultimately, only WE, individually, can move beyond it. I mention this, because this understanding applies to all things we go through as humans, and it’s only within true empathy that we will be able to assist one another past our challenges.

In doing the work that we do here at CE, we are very careful to avoid creating divides or encouraging groups of people to feel victimized, simply because we know where that leads. Instead, we cut the BS and get to the core of why we suffer as humans and what we can do about it. We challenge us all, from all aspects of life, to view the challenges we face not through the light of looking at how others ruin things for us or make us feel sad, but instead how we can be solid within ourselves. As this is the only way we have true power individually and collectively.

A quick reflection I thought was worth sharing as we all can relate to what it feels like to struggle with aspects of self-consciousness and self-judgement.

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Consciousness

Can Sacred Geometry Help Evolve Your Consciousness?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Sacred Geometry patterns are found etched into many aspects of life, nature and the universe. It is an incredibly fascinating study that reveals the immense beauty and patterns that exist within the perfection of our world.

  • Reflect On:

    Have you explored the nature of sacred geometry? Can understanding it more deeply shift your perspective of our world and life?

What patterns do you see in your own life, or in the world that have symmetry and balance? Which ones are asymmetrical and out of balance? Noticing patterns helps us build on them if they are healthy, or break them if they are not healthy. The flux between asymmetry and symmetry is the process of growth and evolution. Sacred geometry gives us a beautiful reflection to contemplate as we navigate life’s challenges seeking balance and harmony.

Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe.
– Galileo

What is Sacred Geometry?

Sacred geometry involves sacred universal patterns used in the design of everything in our reality, most often seen in architecture, art, and nature. The basic belief is that geometry and mathematical ratios, harmonics and proportion are also found in music, light, cosmology. It is the invisible patterns that animate our physical world much as spiritual traditions believe that the soul animates the body.

Shapes, patterns, and visual compositions have the capacity to seduce our eyes while captivating our imagination. Whether from masterful works of art or in nature, this entrancement can be so emotionally moving and awe-inspiring that people naturally associate it with transcendence, the super-natural, or spiritual. Beneath these patterns are relationships that can be measured, numbered, replicated, and defined. This mathematical yet esoteric realm of inquiry and observation known as sacred geometry will enlighten and mystify you while inviting you to change the way you look at the world.

Spiral geometry in nature.

History of Sacred Geometry

The earliest cultures including Christians, Hindus, Greeks and Egyptians recognised the existence of different patterns or geometric shapes that repeated throughout nature. They also worked out that there was a correlation or connection between the various elements found in the earth and the heavens. These sacred geometric patterns were mirrored by earth and sky and ancient cultures believed these patterns existed in all parts of the universe. Modern science has proven these sacred geometric patterns are the very molecular shapes that form the basis of all life in this universe.

Is it Really Sacred?

The subject is vast and though it is spiritually inspiring for many, there are plenty of mathematicians who disdain the notion of correlating geometric formulas to mysticism. For this reason I will not attempt to ascribe meaning to these patterns, or connect them with specific spiritual traditions in this short, introductory blog. The mere observation and recognition of these visual relationships in nature, along with their powerful influence on art, architecture, and music are more than enough to leave you filled with wonder!

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The influence of sacred geometry can be observed in the architecture of this mosque.

I was never good at math as a student though geometry was fun because it involved drawing shapes using graph paper, protractor, and compass. This idea of numbers being represented in visual form, or through music is a very special example of how abstractions (numbers, formulas) can be mirrored in the physical world. In this way, math is an interesting science that flirts in the space between physical and non-physical.

The space between physical and non-physical is usually reserved for art or spirituality. This is why it is interesting to find math formulas spanning the divide. It is also one of the reasons why this geometry is considered “sacred”. If you are interested in getting specific about the numbers and formulas, there is a great website called Math is Fun. Understanding more about the different shapes of Sacred Geometry and how they were used in ancient cultures can teach you how to harness their power.

The Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio

Also known as Phi, the Golden Mean, or the Golden Section, the Golden Ratio was revered as the mathematical law or representation of beauty by the Greeks. It is the numerical representation of infinity and an unreachable approximation. This begs one to contemplate the possibility of a transcendent number. From the Golden Rectangle comes the Fibonacci Spiral which is seen in flowers, snail shells, pinecones, and other parts of nature. The Golden Rectangle and Fibonacci Spiral are used in the crafting of musical instruments like cellos, violins, and the tones of musical scales are created using these same mathematical formulas. These formulas have been used in design and architecture going back at least 4,000 years and are seen in historic buildings like the Greek Parthenon.

The Flower of Life.

The Flower of Life

Another very powerful symbol that is found all over the world dating back over 6,000 years and up to 10,000 years is the Flower of Life. This symbol is made of evenly-spaced, overlapping circles with six fold symmetry like a hexagon and looks like a flower, hence the name. It can be found in Egypt at the Temple of Osiris; the Forbidden City of China, synagogues in Galilee, Israel; in temples across India; in la Mezquita, Spain; Turkey, Japan and elsewhere. Leonardo da Vinci spent much time playing with and contemplating the Flower of Life’s form and used its mathematical properties in his art. Just by gazing at the symbol, or trying to count the circles will play tricks on your mind, and there is no wonder that people from ancient times to now are enamored with the Flower of Life.

The Seed of Life.

Within the Flower is the Seed

The Seed of Life is a symbol found within the Flower of Life, as well as many other symbols of great significance including Metatrons Cube. These shapes called polygons are defined by having sides of equal length. This includes the cube, tetrahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron, octahedron and they represent what Plato called the 5 platonic solids. These are visible within the flower of life when straight lines are drawn to connect the center of various circles within it. It is amazing to see all of this symmetry unfold in one succinct pattern which is created by math. Since many traditions believe that circles and curves represent the feminine, while corners and straight lines represent the masculine, this symbol also shows a divine balance of both.

Spirituality and Sacred Geometry

Higher frequencies of energy and awareness are transmitted through sacred geometry. Sacred geometry reveals that there are mathematical, or abstract patterns beneath everything that we see in the physical world. How might this relate to our own personal journey of integrating science and spirituality? Our internal beliefs create patterns that slowly ripple outward from us and manifest into real world experiences. The invisible informs the visible. Sacred geometry is a visualization and metaphor of the connectedness of all life, the interface between abstraction and physical reality. When we change the mathematical formulas, the relationships, we also change physical form. This is the teaching of many mystics.

The flux between asymmetry and symmetry is the process of growth and evolution. Just like a symphony or a film that uses tension to build for a great climax and resolve, we humans are always moving through this constant state of flux. Spend some time looking at these symmetrical patterns, as a means to strengthen your resonance with symmetry and balance. Maybe even attempt to plot-out and draw some of these patterns in your spare time, or color them in with markers… There is a reason that spiritual traditions have used these mathematical patterns for centuries, and by bringing them into your life you will be well on your way to a more balanced and happy life!

Check out all the examples where sacred geometry is found in nature.

H/T: UpliftConnect

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