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How To Go After What You Love In Life & Mitigate The Risk

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In the animal kingdom both prey and predator have to take risks to survive. There is no comfort zone that allows for sustained security. For example, wild rodents must leave the safety of their den to forage for food with the knowledge that they could come across predators. Yet they are equally aware that if they stay in their den they will starve; a risk must be taken to get what they need to survive.

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Predators such as leopards, on the other hand, also have to take risks when hunting prey. Many of the prey they hunt, such as baboons and wild boar, are equipped with dangerous horns, teeth, and other evolutionary tools used for self-defense. When pursuing these animals, the leopard risks serious injury every time it hunts; fatal injuries which could prevent it from hunting and nurturing its young must be carefully considered during each hunt. Mothers must risk having their offspring eaten by predators or rival males every time they leave their young to go get food. If the leopard chooses not to hunt it will starve, so it once again has no choice but to take risks. Animals that survive these risks and become more adept at successfully taking them evolve.

leopard baboon

The message of this article isn’t that we live in an every man for himself, dog eat dog world, but rather, that we live in a world where we have to take a chance on ourselves to get what we want out of life. Many people in challenging positions often give up on their dreams, mitigating risks to settle for what is safe. This is practical if your fear of falling below the status quo is stronger than your desire to be fulfilled. But if your desire to be more free and live life with more meaning and fulfillment is strong, then you have to think about what you are prepared to do to go after what you want in life. “Chasing meaning is better than avoiding discomfort,” as Kelly McGonigal would say.

For the free spirit, this is the evolution of survival. As the middle class is shrinking, the crumbs left for a decent fulfilling life are getting smaller and smaller. Most people will accept this blithely, taking what they can, living how they can, accepting that the world is the way it is, trying to stay in line and live as they’re told. This can be absolutely soul crushing to the free spirit. You deserve more, you want more, and you’re willing to work hard for it given the right opportunity, but how do you attain it?

The free spirit isn’t a cog in the wheel but a person who values living an authentic life. Having no choice but to make money to survive, finding a balance between passion and making a living is a delicate endeavor. Your soul yearns to do something meaningful and fulfilling, but you have grown used to the cubicle life. And it is killing you inside. Whether it’s going back to school, working in a new field of your choice, starting a business, or embarking on a new project or artistic endeavor, the decision to take a leap into something new is always daunting. If you’re in this position you may be unsure if it will work out the way you envisioned. Will I make enough money? Are the actual day-to-day activities of the new career going to drain or burn me out? Any career change involves a step into daunting unknown territory.

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If you’re still poor at 35 you deserve it. No matter what one does, regardless of failure or success, the experience is a form of success in itself. You have got to keep trying.” –  Jack Ma, founder of alibaba.com

The above quote might sound rather harsh but I would agree that if you have ever wanted more than what your current lifestyle provides but were too afraid to take the leap of faith in yourself, rather than to say “you deserve it,” as Jack Ma would put it, I think it’s fair to say that you should at least take responsibility for it. It is never too late to invest in yourself and chart your own course.

So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality because what we want is impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect so we never dare to ask the Universe for it.” – Jim Carrey

The first hexagram of the I Ching, the creative principal, urges one to forcefully follow through with their ambitions. There is no yielding or weakness as Creation cannot manifest without the strong will of the visionary. The Creative does not flow to those who settle for less than what they envisioned. One must be purposeful, determined, and unwavering in their ambitions.

The pitfalls of failure are valid reasons for fear but for every objection there is an answer. The more challenging the problem, the more work required to obtain the solution. Often people’s dreams are not on par with their desire to obtain solutions. The reality is that the obstacle IS the path. What you will encounter and go through on your journey is what you need to reveal your true nature. Your true nature is the realization of your positive characteristics and your negative characteristics. It is the realization of everything holding you back and everything moving you forward. It is the realization of the illusion you have brought on yourself as to why you can’t get what you want. Living fully through your true nature will translate into all areas of your life, especially when it comes to making a living.

What will other people think of me if I fail?

penny man

This is one of the biggest obstacles that hold people back from taking a chance on themselves — worrying about what friends and family will think if they fall behind. The irony is that the ego makes ambitious people want to get ahead of the herd, yet at the same time makes them fearful of falling behind it. Intense desires to get ahead and fear of falling behind can be detrimental when taken to extremes. Despite the diversity of environments people are raised in, a commonality we share is that we often allow other people and society as a whole to mold us into who we are, out of a need to feel accepted or above the pack.

That isn’t the most authentic way to live; it is rather a conditioned dream state of living one’s life. Revisit your true self and make decisions from your center. It’s okay to seek advice and opinions from friends and family but they shouldn’t be the primary catalyst in your decision making process to change your life. You are a conscious being with needs and desires, going through a human experience in this life-time. The rest of the world has little concern for your journey and what fulfills you on your path to freedom, fulfillment, happiness, etc. Some people, like friends and family, may truly want what THEY THINK is best for you, projecting their expectations of what you should do to be a part of an ideal member of the family or circle of friends. Some people may shut you down and tell you to do what’s perceived as practical, which is what the majority is doing. If you fail, some people will no longer associate with you, and that’s okay, because the ones who remain are the ones who really count.

Through this process you may need to let go of people who no longer resonate with your true self. As you proceed, the Universe will reward you for being you and the right people will stay in your life and the new right people will come into your life. You will eventually be surrounded by people who inspire you. You will also be around people who see your vision or are pursuing the same endeavors, moving up the mountain together with those who resonate with you. “The only thing you will see at the top of the mountain is what you bring.” Let go of your fears, insecurities, and heavy baggage, and the ascent will be much smoother.

This is the best thing you could do for yourself. Taking a risk to do what you are passionate about is one of life’s most rewarding challenges. Through this process you will learn a lot about yourself, which will lead you to a level of self mastery that few people in this world attain. The most challenging thing in life that you will ever face is You, that’s it! Your ego will get in the way of much of what you are meant to have. Self doubt, self pity, procrastination, arrogance, ignorance, impatience, callousness, inconstancy — all of these things need to be addressed as you work toward your goals. There needs to be a little drill sergeant/Zen master inside of you keeping you on top of things. Always work as hard as you play. By that same token, don’t forget to play as hard as you work. Take your ambitions seriously, but not to the point where you are no longer present and enjoying being alive.

Those who are up for the challenge become who they are meant to be, and those who give up on themselves stop walking that path entirely — settling for another lifestyle, another identity that feels more secure and accepted but is less authentic, less in tune with what drives and motivates them. We lose grip on reality while reality grips us. We put down our tools and we decide we will no longer be the architects of our reality, forfeiting our power to external circumstances that we call reality but are nothing more than excuses, allowing this external reality to chisel us into shape. Through invocation you realize the external circumstances that you have used to validate why you have not achieved your goal are a disguise of the true source of your defeat — a lack of confidence in yourself. You feel like the odds are stacked against you and you forfeit. Or you feel like the task is too challenging to commit to, so again, you forfeit.

You have to be honest with yourself before you give up on something. Ask yourself, what could I have done better? What shouldn’t I have done that would have made it better? Then you begin to realize all the times you weren’t consistent, all the times you gave up on the first few tries, or all the times you ignored critical advice from other people who were doing it right. You recall each instance where you tried to reinvent the wheel and every stupid decision you have ever made. For some people, instead of collecting these experiences as Gems of Wisdom, they are received as confidence crushing experiences.

Failure is an opportunity. If you blame someone else, there is no end to the blame. Therefore the Master fulfills one’s own obligations and corrects one’s own mistakes. One does what is needed to do and demands nothing of others.” – Lao Tzu

There may also be external circumstances beyond your control that make you feel like the odds are stacked against you vs. other players in the game. “All men [and women] are created equal” — that’s what it says on paper, but there are unspoken realities which aren’t in the manual. Fairness and equality are like two cars at the starting line ready to go from zero to 60 as fast as they can to win the race. The fairness is that they are both beginning at the same location and time, yet one car is a Ferrari and the other is a rusty 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.

Sometimes the game might feel like it’s rigged and it causes many to give up with a “what’s the point” perspective. I sympathize with this but I still can’t agree with it. If life sucks for you and you want more, then why settle for a crummy life? Instead of giving up, why not dedicate your life toward fighting to get out of that situation? Why not go after what you deserve instead of succumbing to the reality that stifles your radiance? The smartest people I know are successful people who didn’t come from privilege. They are the most out of the box lateral thinkers I know. When the system doesn’t work for you, sometimes you have to find creative ways through and or around it to get where you want to be, but with enough dedication, there is a way. Lateral thinkers don’t confine themselves to rigid standard procedures, they are fluid, like water, adapting and adjusting to any circumstance, yet steadily carving out their own path.

Don’t pray for an easy life, pray to have the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

On the other hand, very legitimate reasons can come into play with regard to forgoing your passions. Having kids is one of the most reasonable, equally rewarding and fulfilling life circumstances that can take the dreamer out of his/her dream. There are a whole host of unforeseen events that can force someone to become completely selfless, putting away their own ambitions to take care of the life of another. If you have found yourself in this position but still have the spark of your previous ambition inside you, you may want to begin looking into ways you can steadily chip away at it in the most practical method that won’t disrupt the balance of your family’s livelihood.

Giving up on a pursuit isn’t necessarily giving up on yourself. Going back to what you don’t like or what you think is “safe” is what giving up on yourself really looks like. When leaving a pursuit that didn’t work out, one must still continue to search and find what is right for them, rather than going back to the status quo because it is the “safe” bet.

When you do what you are passionate about, you will do what resonates with you. You will then put your best energy into your pursuit, therefore adding value to that pursuit and the collective that sees value in it. This is what it means to do what you are meant to do. You are fulfilling the reason for your existence by channeling your energy into your passions. Even through hard times the lessons you learn along the way will be very eye opening and rewarding to your personal development. Have faith that the Universe will reward you for being you. When you abandon what fulfills you, and you decide to settle for a less then optimal vocation, you are not aligning yourself with the Universe. On that path, hard times will be more frustrating, as they offer little value to your personal development other than to tell you that you should probably start changing direction.

Risk

stacking chips

When taking a new direction in life one has to assess what will or could be lost in comparison to what will and could be gained. A further assessment of how much one values what will or could be lost in comparison to how much one values what could and will be gained is calculated into the decision. Finally, the likelihood of loss or gain is a major deterrent or encouraging element of the decision making process. Thinking too much of the extreme outcomes on either end can hinder you in different ways. Some people focus too much on the probability of what could be gained, being short sighted of what could be lost, leading one to make rash and impulsive choices. Others focus entirely on what could be lost and remain too afraid to make a move, which leads to stagnation and rigid thinking. Only you can decide what risks are worth taking (or not). A simple awareness and acceptance of how things could play out in either direction is a significant step toward differentiating yourself from timidness and recklessness.

So what if the risk you take doesn’t pay off?

frustrating hair pulling

Dan Kennedy, one of America’s most intelligent entrepreneurs, once said “I have a lot of expensive experience.” Through his journey of becoming a successful marketer, he has lost a ton of money to entrepreneurial endeavors in the beginning of his career. Many of the world’s most successful people have gone through dismal failure(s) before becoming successful. And I’m not saying this to make you feel better if you have failed. The point is to understand that successful people not only learn from their mistakes, but also have the confidence and consistency to pick themselves up again and charge forward. Use your losses to build your wisdom and continue to move forward. That’s how you suffer successfully. “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” — Sumner Redstone.

For those of you who play or have played video games, there is always a time when a player gets stuck on a difficult level. The player dies over and over again, but each time you get back in the game you have a little more knowledge of what to look out for and what to take advantage of in that level. Eventually, after enough trial and error, you pass the level and move on with the game… of life. That’s pretty much how people get shit done. You can give up and quit, choose a new game to play and start all over from scratch, or you can keep mastering the game you’re already playing. As long as your heart is still in it, you will eventually pass the difficult levels in life.

Nothing worth pursuing in life comes easy. If you want to create extraordinary things then you will have to have to take extraordinary steps to do it, as well as have an extraordinary commitment to it. Believing you have a strong locus of control is a key quality of anyone who wishes to bring their own ideas and visions into reality.

The last thing I want to leave you with is a series of some of my favourite quotes.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Libra: Approaching Changes

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We are having a 2nd Full Moon in Libra on April 19th; however, it will appear fullest on the night of the 18th in the American continents. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began on April 5th with a New Moon in Aries.

This Full Moon happens with the Sun opposing the Moon right at the tail end of Aries and Libra, at the 29th degree, less than a day before we begin Taurus season. The energies of a sign tend to be more heightened at these points. Also, with it being a 2nd consecutive Full Moon in the same sign, it is an ‘Astrological Blue Moon,’ which is something that occurs once every 3 years. This also amplifies the energies of this polarity of signs over an extended period.

During this Full Moon, we can experience either a push-pull or collaboration between the Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra. The energies of it gradually build up and become more noticeable on the day of and days surrounding the Full Moon. It is also part of the backdrop of the other astrological influences/reflections over the following two weeks.

Aries is a fire sign ruled by Mars. It is about action, moving forward, pioneering, independence, self-identity, self-orientation, and leadership. It is bold, courageous, and instinctual, yet it can also be aggressive, impulsive, impatient, selfish, and hot-tempered.

Libra is an Air sign ruled by Venus. It is about relating, relationships, partnerships, codependency, consideration, harmony, balance, fairness, art, creativity, and beauty. It is sociable, diplomatic, and intellectual, yet it can also be indecisive, passive aggressive, vain, and even judgemental.

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Opposing Sun/Uranus Conjunction

Venus is the ruler of Libra and is in a quincunx aspect with this Full Moon. This could indicate frustrations, challenges between emotional needs, relationship considerations, balance, fairness, or equality with values, finances, or other aspects of our relationships. The solution to this may require adjustments, which may seem complicated.

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Venus is about to change signs just like the Sun and Moon. It is currently near the end of Pisces, which is also the end of the entire zodiac. All of this combined with Uranus being tied into this Full Moon could indicate some sort of change or transition regarding some of the themes mentioned in this article.

The Sun is moving close to Uranus in Taurus with the Moon in opposition to it. This could reflect surprises, instability, and disruptive or separative circumstances. Individual needs connected to freedom, liberation, new experiences, excitement, independence, authenticity, innovation, or rebellion may be at odds with other considerations or relationships.

Jupiter is also in a separating aspect with the Sun and Moon. This could emphasize some of what is mentioned above, but could also bring in themes connected to beliefs, opinions, travel, education, media, and marketing. Considering that Jupiter recently began its retrograde, many people may experience a shift or revisitation around these things as well.

Mars Square Neptune, Mercury and Venus in Aries Conjunct Chiron

Mars, the ruler of Aries, is in Gemini moving towards a square with Neptune in Pisces, which is strongest from April 25th-28th. At best, this energy can be good for asserting ourselves in a spiritual, inspired, imaginative, or creative way. This can also be good for activities that involve water.

However, it can feel harder to take on mundane duties and we can lack direction or even have less energy for physical assertion. We can also feel lazy, scattered, or overwhelmed. Certain efforts might end up not working out due to insufficient execution, lack of attention, or by other means.

Mercury entered Aries a few days before this Full Moon, where it will stay until May 6th. This follows an extended stay in Pisces due to the previous retrograde. We can be more mentally sharp, quick, bold, and courageous in comparison to the last few months, which were a time of heightened absent mindedness, confusion, and less focus.

During the day of this Full Moon and the days surrounding it, Mercury is in a conjunction Chiron. Thoughts and communications could be connected to Chiron themes of healing, wounds, blockages, inadequacies, innovation, bridging, or perhaps some sort of holistic orientation. Venus will also enter Aries and join Chiron from April 21st-24th. Similar themes could play out in our relationships or regarding values, finances, or beauty.

Saturn and Pluto Going Retrograde Near The South Node

Around the time of the previous New Moon, Pluto was aligned with the South Node, and it has been slowing down to go retrograde on April 24th. This could be bringing themes of purging, transforming, and perhaps endings into this Moon cycle. It is also possible that past issues or behaviours could have resurfaced. Themes connected to fears, power, control, manipulation, shadows, sex, or perhaps even death could also come up.

Saturn is also now getting closer to the South Node as it slows down to go retrograde on April 29th. This could extend and accentuate some of the same themes mentioned above such as endings, changes, or obstacles associated with the past.

It can also bring up themes connected to responsibilities, commitments, boundaries, structures, career obligations, barriers, and limitations. This energy will be strong over the coming 2-3 weeks, especially during the days surrounding April 29th. It will also be strong in the early Summer and then early Fall when it concludes.

Things To Consider During This Period

What do you need to do to balance your relationship needs with your individual ones? Are there any adjustments that you need to make? What do you need to do to feel more liberated? What considerations do you need to make before making any changes?

What areas of your life are calling for endings and what aspects of your past do you need to let go of? Do you need to shift your commitments and responsibilities? Are there any unusual solutions coming up that could help you overcome obstacles or facilitate some sort of healing?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up during 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 connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime over the two weeks following, when it is waning. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on the night of April 19th at 11:12am Universal Time. 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.

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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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Consciousness

Embodied Spirituality: The Truth Shall Set You Free

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There are truths, despite what our president would want us to believe. Subjective and objective domains for truth are largely distinct, and discerning the difference informs a spirituality that honors more than just our convenient worldviews.

  • Reflect On:

    The key is learning how to appropriately identify subjective versus objective truths. When we mix up these domains, we end up not living in alignment with the truth, which is not only anti-spiritual but leads to the demise of the Earth as well.

For myself, spirituality means aligning with what is true, or most likely true. This means looking at what is true through the lens of my unique experience and self-reflection (subjectively) and what is true in the world (objectively).

Living in accord with what’s true means I have to confront lots of things that are tough to stomach and that I’d prefer weren’t true. I practice resiliency by enduring this discovery process. It takes courage, humility, sensitivity, insight, intellectual rigor, emotional intelligence, and flexibility—in essence, all of me.

Why does it require all of me to be honest?

Because we humans have evolved to stick to our beliefs, even though many of them are false. We, in fact, experience a dopamine rush (a feel-good neurotransmitter in our brains) when we affirm our beliefs, even if they are wrong. So, confronting false beliefs about myself and the world means I have to endure some degree of feeling badly, some emotional turmoil, cognitive dissonance, and reorientation of my world. When I challenge many of my false beliefs, I encounter nothing short of transformation on all levels. Sounds like a bona fide spiritual path to me.

The Power of (False) Belief

This being human is a guesthouse,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

—Rumi

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When we don’t align with what’s true about ourselves, interpersonally, and in the world, we develop false beliefs. And we like to assert these false beliefs. Using evidence and acknowledging reality can help us let go of our false beliefs. We receive this information subjectively through self-reflection and what others share with us (which we also need to sort through for false projections). We receive true information about objective reality by direct observation and through evidence.

Ascertaining inconvenient truths means we have to let go of our self-administered dopamine addiction (by lying to ourselves and others when wrong) and experience feeling badly temporarily. We have to accept new visitors to the guesthouse of our psyche if we want to be more honest. If we can’t do this, we cut ourselves short of our potential.

We can’t be as loving and kind when we’re deluded about what’s true, subjectively and objectively. If I can’t accept that I am more self-serving than I think I am, I will continue to unconsciously put myself first at the expense of others. If I can’t acknowledge that smoking cigarettes, synthetic chemicals in perfumes, or spraying RoundUp is harmful, I am more likely to condone their use, which causes harm.

To change belief structures includes a collapse of our sense of self, trust, safety, belonging, and our perceived survival. This is also why many cling so dearly to their beliefs; even war can seem like a better option than to adjust ourselves to reality. Reality seems pretty powerful this way! If we adopt reality as our guru, we have a powerful teacher on our side to wake us up. So, a willingness to embody our humanness can be a path to greater compassion and peace. Embodied spirituality means being fully human—accepting and working skillfully with all our thoughts, emotions, physical issues, and relationships.

When we don’t embody our spirituality, we don’t take as good care of the Earth, which is the extension of our own bodies. In the age of environmental collapse, an earthy and embodied relationship to life that apprehends what is true helps us heal what’s ill. Like missing a medical diagnosis, how can we treat what what we can’t bear to admit and accurately diagnose? Honesty is therefore the first step to healing and embodying our lives.

Being Human is Very Spiritual

We, in fact, need nothing more than everyday honest living for spirituality to put us on a path of massive transformation.The more we can let go of spiritual loftiness and encounter our ordinary humanness, the more resilient and honest we become. Ironically, it is precisely this difficult growth that has given rise to many spiritual and religious paths that abandon the ordinary, grounded world of embodied living, as complex as it is. These spiritual paths thrive on what is highly likely untrue. They try to escape the pain of everyday living by denying what’s painful, which is called spiritual bypassing. With skillfulness, wisdom, and support we can navigate what’s honestly human while not bypassing.

Learning to welcome and tolerate all manner of emotions and inconvenient truths to our guesthouse allows us to align with reality, especially welcoming what makes us feel badly. It’s important to align both with the good and the ugly because when we ignore the ugly and painful, it goes unhealed and untended. Our precious biosphere suffering under the weight of our pollution is a prime example. What we don’t want to look at, we can’t address. Turning our heads and hearts away from it creates more pain and ugliness.

The New Age dictum, “What you put your attention on grows,” fails to acknowledge the importance of embracing what’s ugly and painful. A wiser, more embodied version might go: “The negative things you put your attention on allow you to see reality and address it before it takes over beyond the point of repair.” Look at the plastic pollution issue or climate change as examples. Acknowledging both sides of the coin is more important than choosing only the bright side of life in order to remain happy, which is short-lived when we’re in denial of the dark side. Wanting to remain happy at the expense of not seeing reality (except when we need a recharge break from honestly facing it) is fear in disguise that ultimately comes back to bite us. It also bites us in the moment because this denial cuts us off from our deeper hearts—our compassion and empathy—which are stirred by painful realities.

We can’t know everything, of course. Nor can we be right all the time. But we can be aligned enough with everyday reality (what matters at the end of the day) to make a difference and eliminate unnecessary suffering. We just have to be willing to be selfless enough to stop avoiding necessary pain to the degree we do.

Science & Critical Thinking

Scientific consensus is the primary arbiter of what’s objectively true in the world; what we subjectively experience is not as good a measure of what’s objectively true. “I like apples” is a subjective truth. No one can disprove this; it’s a personal truth. It is not the purview of science to disprove a subjective experience. Yet, if I claim that everyone likes apples just because I experience their yumminess, this is imposing a personal truth onto external reality. And, it’s not true—we know not everyone likes apples, and nothing is wrong with them for not liking them. It is the purview of science to demonstrate that not everyone likes apples, and simple common sense will do in a pinch.

Of course, there is bad science, like the junk (dishonest) science produced by many corporations such as Big Pharma and Bayer-Monsanto with regard to GMOs. So, when I say science, I mean good, peer-reviewed (and not conflict-of-interest and corporate-funded), consensus science. And yes, many scientific truths are always in flux, but many scientific discoveries do not change because they have stood the test of many challenges. Think about the law of gravity and the laws of thermodynamics. Many who want to protect their sense of self and ego deem all science to be manipulative, dishonest, and just another belief system. This is just not true. If it were, the device on which you are reading this article would not function because it’s constructed as a result of the collaboration of many scientific laws that have not been debunked and instead stood the test of time.

Consider another example: If I experience a vision during a medicine journey or receive a message in a dream one night that has personal meaning to me, I might conclude it’s true for everyone, or true in the world. Let’s say a blue dragon with white polka-dots tells me that aliens are communicating to humanity by way of trees. Well, before I know if this is true or not, I’d have to investigate its veracity. I don’t deem it true simply because I had a subjective experience that conveyed it was. This way, I can tentatively receive this bit of intuitive knowledge and seek to determine if it’s true. Intuition tips me off to what is possible, not necessarily what is true.

Confounding subjective and objective truth is one of the biggest faux pas we make, especially in spiritual circles.

Science shows us what’s most likely true beyond our own intuition, beliefs, and biases. Even with science’s errors and its dishonest publishing politics, good scientific consensus is still the best tool we have for determining what’s true about the natural world, not our subjective experiences. We have to be skillful and aware not to automatically deem our subjective experiences as objective truths. This helps us align with reality, keep an appropriately open mind, and helps everyone get along better because we’re not feuding over what’s objectively true.

“What’s True for Me”

When everyone feels entitled to their opinion—”what’s true for me”—we end up with lots of personal beliefs and memes that aren’t true. “Personal truth” or “what’s true for me” is a subjective truth. Your like of apples doesn’t mean anything about the external world, such as my opinion of apples. If I don’t trust politicians or my landlord, this doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy. I need objective evidence to prove or verify my distrust. Or I can just own this hunch and honestly call it so, while knowing it might not be true. This discernment between subjective and objective truth helps prevent assumptions and dogmas. This also sounds pretty spiritual to me.

If someone sheds distressing light on a politicianI like or my best friend, I’m likely to become defensive because my sense of self and orientation in the world, as well as my emotional security, are invested in these beliefs. If my belief structures are challenged, all of what that belief system keeps in place becomes shaky. And this is just too scary for most of us, so much so that we defend against it or attack and assault others because of it. We often make the mistake of imposing “what’s true for me” onto what’s true for everyone or what’s true in the world.

“What’s true for me”  beliefs can’t automatically be extended to external reality unless we have evidence beyond our own subjective perception to deem them so. If I believe the world is flat and this is “what’s true for me,” that doesn’t fly. This is to make a subjective truth objectively factual. This is what leads to conflict and living in fantasy. Just look at religious and many New Age beliefs as examples. They are not different from our personal beliefs about the nature of reality that are also false and cause us to act in egoic, violent ways.

What’s True “Out There”

Good science to determine the mostly likely and factual objective knowledge offers us the opportunity to dismantle our egos and illusions. Science and critical thinking show us that many of our “what’s true for me” opinions about the world are wrong. Notice I am not talking about personal feelings and preferences, but rather our statements of fact about the world.

Objective truths implicitly challenge us to change, to transform ourselves. It takes spiritual-emotional courage to accept these facts, which builds resiliency the more we practice aligning with what is both subjectively and objectively true. The sun appears to go down over the horizon; the Earth appears flat. Via science, we know these subjective observations are not true. Using my intuition to make such conclusions is a wrong use of this faculty. If my intuition tells me there is more to the story, then I can investigate it for other evidence. This, in fact, is how many scientific discoveries occur. Intuition and science are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are allies as long as we don’t assume what’s subjectively true to be objectively true, and vice versa.

Many people dismiss science precisely because its conclusions fly in the face of what they’d prefer to believe. This results in intellectual dishonesty and spiritual delusion. Our emotional bents and grudges—especially those resulting from our hurt and wounds that have generated anger, fear, pain and thus, bias—prevent us from being intellectually honest, unless we recognize the dynamic by which we deceive ourselves and we set about to be more honest. This requires enduring the discomfort of being humbled and sacrificing a temporary dopamine rush for the truth.

To be able to accept truth therefore requires that we deal with our emotional baggage and triggers, because this is the primary driver for our intellectual dishonesty and spiritual laziness. Many of us would fall apart if we discovered that parts of our worldview are untrue. That could result in a spiritual emergency, akin to a healing crisis, which ultimately improves us and makes us more effective in the world.

Warriorship

This is why spiritual warriorship—aligning myself with what is most likely objectively and subjectively true—requires I be emotionally and intellectually rigorous and courageous. It means that I listen to scientific consensus and not discard it because I’d like to believe something else. It means that I listen to the opinions of others and gain perspective on myself (while also honestly and humbly sorting out projections and displacements of other people’s biases). It means that I genuinely and honestly consider interpersonal facts about which I might have an incorrect opinion. And it means that I notice the whispers inside me that tell me when I am being dishonest or hiding from the truth, with white lies tolerated now and again.

Many spiritual paths involve giving over one’s will and beliefs to a guru. Yet, that guru can be corrupt and deluded and conflate subjective and objective truths. For example, feeling “one with all” in meditation doesn’t mean that we are all one in a black or white way—without appropriate boundaries, individual needs, and different tolerances and sensibilities. In this sense, aligning ourselves with what is most likely true, subjectively and objectively, is a robust spiritual path—because, much like a guru, it forces us to align with truth and withstand the breakdown of some part of our existing paradigm. This is death and rebirth work, for sure. Again, this sounds pretty spiritual to me.

Detachment from reality by remaining stuck in one’s self-centered and deluded beliefs doesn’t help the planet or help us show up for one another. Consider our government’s failure to acknowledge the widespread harm of key pesticides, or the neurotoxic chemicals in perfumes and scented products, despite the scientific evidence and the fact that many of these products are banned in the EU and other, more sensible places than America. This creates crimes of global proportion because of the actions (and inactions) and resulting injury that a denial of the facts causes. Or consider a smaller-scale example. If someone doesn’t appreciate you, despite evidence to the contrary they choose not to see, they will treat you poorly and create unnecessary suffering for you and themselves.

Embodied Spirituality

To live an embodied spirituality—where we are in alignment with reality and what’s as true as we can glean— means we have to give up many of our fantasies and wishful thinking. It means we have to tend intimately to our emotional lives and the hidden aches and wounds that hide us from the truth. We find these hidden places when we descend into and become more conscious of our bodies (this is a key aspect of the “body” part of “embodied spirituality”). We have to practice critical thinking to align with external reality, what’s known as “intellectual honesty.” Emotional and intellectual honesty are the pillars that produce spiritual honesty.

When we practice emotional healing, good thinking, and care for the greater good, we inhabit our bodies more fully. Belonging to ourselves this way connects us to the body of the Earth, so we can treat it with the same integrity with which we treat ourselves . This way, spirituality begins with our (extra)ordinary humanness and self-healing and extends to the ordinary, extraordinary world around us in the same vein of integrity.

It’s easy to live in a fantasy world, believing what’s convenient, what feeds our biases, puffs up our superiority, denies what makes us uncomfortable, and propels our hate. These convenient, false beliefs also protect our core wounds and our need to belong in the world at any cost. The problem is that believing in what’s untrue damages the world because it guides our actions and inaction.

Science and everyday evidence are beautiful because they bypass our bias and opinion; they don’t care what we believe or what injures our ego. They’re impartial. Sounds like the work of a good guru to me. When we get humility, courage, honesty, good thinking, and passion all working in harmony and assuming their appropriate roles for truth-discerning, we get integration, which begets integrity. These psycho-spiritual capacities are the cornerstone of an embodied spirituality, which is simply to be an exquisitely integrated and aware human being who genuinely cares about oneself and the world . . . enough to be willing to suffer disillusionment to align with and serve it.

When we align our subjective and objective truths, we live in more harmony, not only with ourselves but with every other precious, living thing. What better path could we take than to strive for an embodied, earthy life in the age of environmental collapse? For, the collapse of the natural world may indeed be due to our collective, personal collapse of integrity—the abandonment of our own embodiment.

****

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is a Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. His latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching.

 

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Purging The Past

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We are having a New Moon in Aries on April 5th, 2019 which is initiating a 29.5-day Lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month. This cycle will peak with a 2nd Full Moon in Libra on April 19th.

This New Moon occurs just over a week after Mercury ended its recent retrograde in Pisces. The weeks following a retrograde are called the ‘post-shadow’ period. This is when we gradually have more clarity around certain themes that have come up over the previous month (or longer) as things generally play out more smoothly and/or we can move forward with a refreshed perspective around certain issues. This concluding period of the retrograde will last until April 16th.

Aries season began on March 20th/21st; however, this New Moon helps to kickstart it even more so. Aries is the sign of self-orientation and independence.  As a Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is associated with assertiveness, courage, directness, and leading. It can also be hot tempered, combative, inconsiderate, restless, overly forceful, aggressive, and impatient.

Generally this time of year people can feel more active in comparison to previous months. It can also be a time of taking action in new ways especially considering that Mercury is moving forward now. However, throughout this Aries season we still have Mercury and Venus in Pisces along with Neptune, so things can still be a bit muddled and lack direction even though we may try to push forward in certain areas of our lives.

New Moon Square Saturn, South Node, Pluto with Mars Sextile Chiron

In the days leading up to this New Moon, Pluto began its conjunction with the South Node (along with Saturn close by) in Capricorn, which is all in a hard aspect with this New Moon. Both planets are also slowing down to go retrograde later in the month. Issues connected to the past can come up that can trigger deep feelings, worries, fears, intensity, or even anger in some cases. We could face obstacles or perhaps issues around power in relation to this.

Ultimately, this is a time in which we may need to end, purge, or transform something that is no longer serving us. Perhaps we may be faced with some sort of death, either literally, metaphorically, or regarding some aspect of ourselves. This can be a time of needing to get real or dig deep in regards to some of our issues.

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Mercury is in a harmonious aspect with the planets/points mentioned above (Saturn, the Nodes, and Pluto), which can help us with this energy. Thoughts and communications can be constructive, deep, unveiling, and empowering. Considering issues of the past to help us move forward into the future can be a theme.

Mars, the ruler of this New Moon, is in a sextile with Chiron, which can support taking action toward any type of healing, empowering, or asserting ourselves in an unorthodox, bridging, or holistic way. This may or may not be applied to the themes mentioned above but can be helpful regardless.

New Moon and Mercury Aspecting Jupiter, Venus Conjunct Neptune

The New Moon is in a trine with Jupiter while Mercury is moving towards a square with Jupiter following the aspects mentioned above and its conjunction with Neptune. Jupiter is also going retrograde on April 10th.

In the midst of all the heavy Saturn-Pluto energy, this lunar cycle still has potential for growth and expansiveness. This can be in the form of education, travel, or other explorative pursuits. Considering all of the Pisces-Neptune energy still present, it can also be connected to spiritual beliefs and philosophies. Developments around media and marketing can also be strong this month. However, considering the retrograde, this can also reflect an adjustment or shifts around some of these Jupiter related areas.

Venus in Pisces is moving towards a conjunction with Neptune. Social and romantic interactions can have a magical, spiritual, imaginative, compassionate, or selfless theme. We can experience increased sensitivity or sense of oneness with others; however, there is also the potential for confusion, delusion, or deception in our relationships. This can also be a time of heightened creativity and sense of beauty. Fun and pleasure can be oriented around relaxation.

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

What realizations have you had in recent weeks and how you should move forward based on those? What do you need to adjust when it comes to your beliefs and perspectives? What aspects of your life connected to the past need to be purged or transformed? What do you need to do to be more aligned with your individual needs while still expressing compassion in your relationships?

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. It will be occurring at 8:50am Universal Time on April 5th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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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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