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7 Mind-Blowing Discoveries That Would Touch All Aspects Of Humanity & Change The World Forever

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What does it mean to be human? It’s a difficult question to answer. There are so many things which set us apart from one another, yet more still which bind us together, and I think we could all benefit from focusing more on what we share than what we do not. Our differences are important, as they allow each of us to bring something unique to the whole, but it becomes problematic when we use those differences as the basis for judgment, hate, and violence.

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We are like a race with amnesia; we seem to  know next to nothing about ourselves — our origins, our purpose, or even how we got here in the first place. We still have so many questions that need answering, and while we have created many theories (all with gaping holes), new discoveries are constantly emerging that challenge what we thought we previously knew. And so every now and then, we come to paradigm shifting realizations that alter our perception of what it means to be human, what we are capable of, and what the true nature of reality is.

So it seems we do have one thing in common: Curiosity. We are constantly searching for ‘what is,’ and as the centuries pass, we seem to inch a little closer to understanding it — to understanding ourselves, our world, and what awaits us beyond it.

1. What If We Are Not Alone? 

The Kepler Space Telescope has shown us that our galaxy alone could hold as many as 30 billion planets similar to Earth. That means there are at least 30 billion planets just in this galaxy which could host lifeforms like the ones we know. Yet we don’t even know with certainty that a planet must be ‘Earth-like’ to host extraterrestrial life. Who knows what other biological organisms are out there and what type of planetary environment they need to survive?

One thing is certain, however: Our discovery of extraterrestrial life is right around the corner. It wasn’t long ago when NASA’s chief scientist, Ellen Stofan, predicted that we would have “strong indications of life” on other planets by 2025. And just a couple of years ago, two top astronomers from the SETI Institute (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) appeared in front of the Congressional House Science and Technology Committee for a hearing regarding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. They told the committee that extraterrestrial life most certainly exists, without question; one of those scientists is Seth Shostak, a well-known senior scientist at the SETI Institute. They said that the chance of discovering life on other planets is inevitable and will most likely occur within the next 20 years.

Their main argument relates to the sheer size of the universe, emphasizing that there are trillions of stars out there, with one in every five most likely harboring an Earth-like planet. Seth explains:

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In the last 50 years, evidence has steadily mounted that the components and conditions we believe necessary for life are common and perhaps ubiquitous in our galaxy,” he said. “The possibility that life has arisen elsewhere, and perhaps evolved intelligence, is plausible and warrants scientific inquiry. . . . If you extrapolate on the planets they discovered, there are a trillion planets in the galaxy. That’s a lot of places for life. We know that the majority of stars have planets . . . [but what] fraction of stars has planets that are more like the earth? It might be one in five. (source)

(Keep in mind that a planet does not necessarily have to be Earth-like to harbour life.)

But what about the other possibility….

“Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered . . . We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time.” – Dr. Edgar Mitchell, ScD, 6th man to walk on the Moon (source) (source)

The other possibility — we’ve already been visited…

“There is a serious possibility that we are being visited and have been visited for many years by people from outer space, from other civilizations [and] it behooves us, in case some of these people in the future or now should turn hostile, to find out who they are, where they come from, and what they want. This should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation and not the subject of ‘rubishing’ by tabloid newspapers.(source) 

– Lord Admiral Hill-Norton, Former Chief of Defence Staff, 5 Star Admiral of the Royal Navy, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

Just as scientists are certain that the discovery of extraterrestrial life will occur within the next couple of decades, others are certain that we have already been visited by intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms, and this is ‘mainstream’ knowledge. John Podesta, for example, the former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, Councillor to Barrack Obama, and the current head of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, has gone on record stating that it’s time to “pull the curtain back on this subject” and that “we have statements from the most credible sources – those in a position to know – about a fascinating phenomenon, the nature of which is yet to be determined.” You can read more about that here. Even Hillary Clinton stated earlier this year that we have have already been visited. You can read more about that here.

“There is another way, whether it’s wormholes or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re here shows us that they found a way.” (source) – Jack Kasher, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Nebraska.

Where is this evidence that Dr. O’Leary speaks of? 

“An extraterrestrial influence is investigating our planet. Something is monitoring the planet and they are monitoring it very cautiously.” —  2008 Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel (source)(source)

We’ve written extensively on this subject, and it is backed by many credible sources. You can read some of these heavily sourced articles to learn more:

This is What Happens when a “UFO” is Tracked on Military Radar

Canadian Air Force Pilot Snaps a Pic of a UFO During Flight

2nd Director of Lockheed Skunkwork’s Shocking Comments About UFO Technology

Shocking Insinuation About Carl Sagan & Extraterrestrials Made By X-NASA Astronaut

More Than 60 School Children Witness Non-Human Beings & A Large Craft Landing

NASA Brings Scientists & Theologians Together To Prepare The World For Extraterrestrial Contact

“Intelligent beings from other star systems have been and are visiting our planet Earth. They are variously referred to as Visitors, Others, Star People, ETs, etc.  . . . They are visiting Earth NOW; this is not a matter of conjecture or wistful thinking.” – Theodore C. Loder III, Phd, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire (source)

2. What If Most Of Reality Is Hidden Or An Illusion?

This quote from R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at John Hopkins University, sums up best what many scientists feel:

A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.

– (“The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005)

Our universe may be nothing but a mental construction, one that doesn’t even exist until we look at it or ‘measure’ it. The quantum double slit experiment is a great experiment that demonstrates this, showing us how factors associated with consciousness play an imperative role in the creation of our reality. (source)

Australian associate professor Dr. Andrew Truscott recently published a paper in the journal Nature Physics which concluded that “at the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it.” (source)

There are several other things to consider here, like dark matter, for example — a substance we can’t see or know that makes up the majority of what we call reality. What about other dimensions that we can’t see? What about other universes? Perhaps one day we will be able to experience these other worlds.

3. What If We Discover That We Can See The Future? 

It’s no secret that computers are already producing accurate simulations of future realities. Even quantum physics has shown us that an atom can exist in a state of multiple probabilities until it is observed or measured. Perhaps there are multiple probable timelines for what will happen? Perhaps we will develop machines that will be able to accurately predict the future?

Few people are aware that a number of scholarly articles examining precognition and presentiment that have been published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. For example, a recently published study (meta analysis) in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon which had been conducted by several different laboratories.

These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and can react before it occurs, as evinced by physiological changes in the skin and the cardiopulmonary and nervous systems prior to the event. (source)

It’s important to note that these physiological responses to future events happen on an unconscious level, meaning that the subject (human) is not aware they are taking place. So it is a form of precognition, but not full blown conscious premonitions.

A meta-analysis of forced-choice precognition experiments conducted from 1935-1987 and published in The Journal of Parapsychology makes a strong case for the validity of human precognition.

For a selected list of downloadable peer-reviewed journal articles reporting studies of psychic phenomena, mostly published in the 21st century, you can click HERE. There is a section specifically for precognition and presentiment.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that in 1999 a statistics professor at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than the those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent a heart attack. She also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets, for example. This begs the question, why are psi experiments only marginally acknowledged or even known of by the mainstream scientific community if the evidence for ESP (for example) is stronger than that of the effectiveness for the administration of popular drugs?

Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, provides some insight into why this might be the case:

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.

4. What If We Came From Space?

This is a theory which remains on the fringe of mainstream science. A number of scientists believe that human life actually originated in outer space, and one of them is leading British scientist Chandra Wickramasinghe. Wickramasinghe is the director of the Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology at the University of Buckingham in the U.K.

This astrobiologist believes that the ‘seeds of life’ were brought here from some outside sources, like a comet, and supports this theory with evidence he discovered a couple of years ago with a team of researchers at the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University and from the Medical Research Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka. They found “a microstructure and morphology characteristic of a wide class of terrestrial diatoms.” The group concluded that “the presence of structures of this kind in any extraterrestrial setting could be constructed as unequivocal proof of biology.” Cardiff University was asked to proof-check and analyze the findings, which it did, concluding that the samples were “unequivocally meteorites” and that the analysis of the material structure showed that algae-like fossils were native to it.

This is the first-ever evidence of extraterrestrial life found in a celestial body. The researchers used sophisticated methods like X-ray diffraction, triple oxygen isotope analysis, and scanning electron microscopy.

English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, along with Wickramasinghe, co-developed a theory known as “panspermia,” which suggests that life exists throughout the universe and is distributed by meteoroids and asteroids. It’s a wonderful example of synchronicity that this meteorite happened to fall into their laps, potentially proving their theory correct.

You can read the study here.

He explores this topic in an earlier paper that he co-authored in 2012 titled “Non-terrestrial origin of life: a transformative research paradigm shift” as well. Below is the abstract:

Theories and hypotheses in science are continually subject to verification, critical re-evaluation, revision and indeed evolution, in response to new observations and discoveries. Theories of the origin of life have been more constrained than other scientific theories and hypotheses in this regard, through the force of social and cultural pressures. There has been a tendency to adhere too rigidly to a class of theory that demands a purely terrestrial origin of life. For nearly five decades evidence in favour of a non-terrestrial origin of life and panspermia has accumulated which has not been properly assessed. A point has now been reached that demands the serious attention of biologists to a possibly transformative paradigm shift of the question of the origin of life, with profound implications across many disciplines. (source)

This would be quite the shocker. If we were to determine that we came from space or that we are not alone in the universe, the resulting implications for all fields, from science and technology to religion and philosophy, would be immeasurable.

5. What If We Learn To Talk To Animals

The way we treat animals on this planet is heartbreaking, to say the least. Apart from destroying their world for the sake of economic growth, we also raise billions of animals every single year for the purpose of slaughter. We are now starting to see the dramatic consequences of our actions, but more empathy towards animals is still desperately needed. This isn’t just our planet; we share it with others, and all beings deserve an equal chance to live life and thrive.

There are many efforts underway to change things, and consumers are making a difference by voting with their dollars. SeaWorld has seen profits decline dramatically, as multiple areas in North America have now banned whale captivity. And not long ago, a New York court entertained the idea of granting chimpanzees the legal right to personhood. All thought the lawsuit was a failure, but the judge admitted that “efforts to extend legal rights to chimpanzees . . . are understandable; some day they may even succeed.

If this were to happen, I think we would quickly need to reevaluate our stance on the status of other animals. Why should only chimpanzees be granted rights? If animals were ever granted rights and personhood, we would not be able to keep them captive, or use them for testing.

In the August 2015 edition of New Scientist, Joshua Howgego offers his view on the issue:

If chimps were given rights, we might expect other intelligent species, such as killer whales and elephants, to follow. But why stop there? Our ideas about the inner lives of other animals – their capacity for suffering, autonomy and self-awareness – are based largely on analogy with ourselves; how would we like it in their place?

But what if those animals could tell us? What if a dog or dairy cow could let us know how it felt about its lot in life? The idea may not be as far-fetched as it seems. There are many examples of communication between apes and their human keepers. Researchers are busy decoding dolphin. And cognitive scientists are beginning to study emotional states in animals, It may only be a matter of time before more meaningful communication between species is possible.

If we could converse with animals, would we still eat them? What if we discovered that their intellectual ability to communicate, to show empathy, or to feel emotions were equal to ours? What would happen? What would you do? Would you eat something you could have an intellectual conversation with? I have a difficult time believing many people would.

6. What If We Found Out That ‘Life’ Goes On After ‘Death’

Below is a video of Dr. Bruce Greyson speaking at a conference held by the United Nations. Considered to be one of the fathers of near death studies, he is currently a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Science at the University of Virginia.

In the video he describes documented cases of individuals who were clinically dead (showing no brain activity), but observing everything that was happening to them on the medical table below at the same time. He describes how there have been many instances of this – where individuals are able to describe things that should have been impossible to describe. Another significant statement by Dr Greyson posits that doing this type of research has been discouraged due to our tendency to view science as completely materialistic. Seeing is believing, so to speak, in the scientific community. It’s unfortunate that just because we cannot explain something through materialistic means, it must be instantly discredited.

In 2001, international medical journal The Lancet published a 13 year study on Near Death Experiences (NDEs):

Our results show that medical factors cannot account for the occurrence of NDE. All patients had a cardiac arrest, and were clinically dead with unconsciousness resulting from insufficient blood supply to the brain. In those circumstances, the EEG (a measure of brain electrical activity) becomes flat, and if CPR is not started within 5-10 minutes, irreparable damage is done to the brain and the patient will die. (source)(source)

A total of 344 patients was monitored by the team of researchers, and an astounding 18 percent of them had some sort of memory from when they were either dead or unconscious (no brain activity), and 12 percent (1 out of every 8) had a very strong and “deep” experience. Keep in mind that these experiences have occurred when there is no electrical activity in the brain following cardiac arrest.

Another study comes out of the University of Southampton, where scientists found evidence that awareness can continue for at least several minutes after death. In the scientific world this was thought to be impossible. Published in the journal Resuscitation, it is the world’s largest near death experiences study(source)

In 2008, a large-scale study involving 2060 patients from 15 hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States and Austria was launched. The AWARE (AWAreness during REsuscitation) study, sponsored by the University of Southampton in the UK, examined the broad range of mental experiences in relation to death. Researchers also tested the validity of conscious experiences using objective markers for the first time in a large study to determine whether claims of awareness compatible with out-of-body experiences correspond with real or hallucinatory events. (source)(source)

Another great example comes from University of Virginia psychiatrist Jim Tucker, who in 2008 published a review of cases suggestive of reincarnation in the journal Explore. (source)

In the article, he describes a typical reincarnation case, where subjects start reporting a past life experience. One common denominator of these cases is that they all involve children, with the average age being 35 months when subjects begin to report their experiences. The experiences reported are often detailed and extensive, and Tucker points out that many of these children show strong emotional involvement when speaking about their claims, with some crying and begging to be taken to what they say is their previous family. Others show intense anger. But as children age, these memories generally disappear. He explains:

The subjects usually stop making their past-life statements by the age of six to seven, and most seem to lose the purported memories. That is the age when children start school and begin having more experiences in the current life, as well as when they tend to lose their early childhood memories. (source)

Some truly mind altering things to thing about..

7. What If We All Have ‘Super Human Potential?’

It’s fascinating to consider just how many ancient teachings tell us that humans have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through various techniques. In Buddhism, for example, the existence of advanced powers is readily acknowledged; in fact, Buddha expected his disciples to be able to attain these abilities, but also to not become distracted by them.

Is there any scientific evidence that human beings have extraordinary potential beyond what’s commonly known? There definitely is.

During a visit to remote monasteries in the 1980s, Harvard Professor of Medicine Herbert Benson and his team of researchers studied monks living in the Himalayan Mountains who could, by g Tum-mo (a yoga technique), raise the temperatures of their fingers and toes by as much as 17 degrees. It is still unknown how the monks are able to generate such heat. (source)

And it doesn’t stop there — the researchers also studied advanced meditators in Sikkim, India, where they were astonished to find that these monks could lower their metabolism by 64 percent. (source)

What about Wim Hoff? He has demonstrated to scientists that factors associated with consciousness can influence our autonomic nervous system. You can read more about that here.

A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, as seen in the the US National Library of Medicine, demonstrated that a woman with special abilities was and is able to accelerate the germination of specific seeds for the purposes of developing a more robust seed stock. This is one example of many; you can find the study and read more about it here.

A paper published in the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) in September 1981, in the journal Ziran Zazhi (Nature Journal) tilted “Some Experiments on the Transfer of Objects Performed by Unusual Abilities of the Human Body” (Shuhuang et al., 1981), reported that ‘gifted children’ were able to cause the teleportation of small physical objects from one place to another.

There are also some extraordinary claims from a publication titled “Exceptional Functions of the Human Body.” This study reports of highly accurate parapsychological effects, including clairvoyance, psychokinetic effects, and more. (source)

A report published in 2010 by retired research chemist Dong Shen describes an experiment involving mental teleportation of bits of paper out of a sealed plastic film container. What’s even more fascinating is that these methods were taught to others with a success rate of 40 percent.

“It became known to myself, along with several colleagues both inside and outside of government, that anomalous teleportation has been scientifically investigated and separately documented by the Department of Defense.” (source)

I just wanted to illustrate that the idea of ‘superpowers’ is not as farfetched as some may think it is. Who knows, some day we might all be able to do these things.

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Consciousness

Remember This When You Forget How ‘Powerful’ You Are

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We all feel down at some point in our lives. Sometimes just a simple reminder of our true essence can bring everything into perspective, like the 28 quotes below.

  • Reflect On:

    Sometimes we simply need to change our perspective. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Easier said than done, but what action steps are you taking to feel better?

We all feel down at some point in our lives, and some of us more than others. Sometimes we feel defeated, depressed, and unworthy. If you are anything like me, you may have spent a lot of time feeling broken, ashamed, and guilty, too. These are some of the most difficult emotions to feel about yourself.

This was at a time in my life, where, although I had woken up to a conscious understanding, and had learned about many spiritual concepts — how to overcome challenging experiences, the idea that everything happens for a reason, etc. — for the life of me, I could not implement this knowledge and understanding into my life. I felt as though there was actually something wrong with me, that maybe my mind worked differently, or maybe something in me was blocking me from progressing. I was trapped, and I felt truly broken. I compared myself to others around me and just thought they had it easier. I was stuck in this victim mentality.

There were, however, a few pieces of writing and wisdom that I had collected over the years that truly helped me through these hard times. A simple reminder of how powerful we truly are really touched me because, deep down, despite these low feelings, I knew that like everyone else, I was a part of source — everything that is, God, whatever you want to call it. Yes, I realized that I just I said am God, but it’s okay because so are you!

Sometimes just a simple reminder of our true essence can bring everything into perspective. I hope that you can find some solace in the following quotes when you are going through tough times, and don’t forget, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

  1. “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” — Hafiz
  2. “Within you is the light of a thousand suns.” – Robert Adams
  3. “A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset. When you wake up, take a second to realize what a privilege it is to be alive and be healthy. The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you it will start feeling like one. Time spent appreciating is time worth living.” — Anonymous
  4. “You’re so hard on yourself. Take a moment, sit back, marvel at your life;
    At the grief that softened you
    At the heartache that wizened you,
    At the suffering that strengthened you.
    Despite everything,
    You still grow.
    Be proud of this.” — Unknown
  5. “There is no reason to doubt yourself. If you know what your intentions are you will always give yourself guidance, and if you momentarily seem to get off track, which isn’t really even possible –then you will always allow yourself to know that there is something you will learn from it in a positive way and know that you haven’t really left the track at all. You have simply expanded the track wider.” – Bashar
  6. “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life. Because you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey
  7. “Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing.” – Mandy Hale
  8. “We are travellers on a cosmic journey, stardust swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share this is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” – Paulo Coelho
  9. “Tear off the mask. Your face is glorious.” – Rumi
  10. “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”
  11. “We are all made of stars.”– Moby
  12. “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid ever, because this is just a ride.” – Bill Hicks
  13. “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
  14. “But without the darkness, we’d never see the stars.” —Anonymous
  15. “Do not feel lonely, the entire Universe is inside you.” – Rumi
  16. “A lot of the pain that we are dealing with are really only thoughts.” — Anonymous
  17. “Never compare your journey with anyone else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, it’s not a competition.” — Anonymous
  18. “You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it.” — Anonymous
  19. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” – Eckhart Tolle
  20. “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” –Eckhart Tolle
  21. “The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love, and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you, the world is transformed.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
  22. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
  23. “You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” –Louise Hay
  24. “Until you feel broken you don’t know what you’re made of. It gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but stronger than ever.” – Melissa Molomo
  25. “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” – Romans 8:18
  26. “Every struggle in your life has shaped you into the person you are today. Be thankful for the hard times, they can only make you stronger.” – Pravinee Hurbungs
  27. “When you face difficult times, know that challenges are not sent to destroy you. They’re sent to promote, increase and strengthen you.” – Joel Osteen
  28. “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or having everything happen at once.” – Paulo Coelho

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Consciousness

Retired American Bishop Believes The Church Invented Hell & Is In The “Control Business”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a video of Jon Shelby Spong, a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church explaining that religion is a business and it is used as a control mechanism.

  • Reflect On:

    Is religion an invention of man used for sinister purposes? A form of brainwashing? Is there some truth within religion? Is that way it resonates with so many? Is religion different today from what it was many years ago?

Religion is a controversial topic, and I’d like to preface this article by saying that it is not my aim to belittle or diminish anyone’s beliefs. My problem is not with faith but with religion as an organization, which has been used as a means of control, to pit people against each other, and to incite terror and war. Religion in this context serves the purposes of many various global elitist agendas.

Religion is also confusing, to say the least; within several different religions exist different ‘sects,’ each with their own teachings and version of the ‘truth’ and how to live one’s life. Within Christianity alone, there are multiple versions of the Bible, and teachings that contradict one another. What one religion says in one part of the world may directly oppose what another says in a different part of the world. This alone is a recipe for feelings of confusion and isolation for anybody who is seeking ‘the truth.’ If various religions preach different ways of life and truths, they all can’t be correct, can they? I guess that’s why they call it faith.

Below is a video of Jon Shelby Spong, a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church, discussing these problems. He argues that religion is a business and it is used as a control mechanism (and he’s not the first insider to do so). We can see this happening most clearly in the rise of Islamophobia. Islam has been turned into a scapegoat, a target at which we can direct all our fears and anger, and an excuse to invade other countries and create a more intense global national security state. But the truth is, Islam has nothing to do with violence or terrorism. These manufactured fears are all part and parcel of ‘false flag’ terrorism, which you can read more about here if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

In the video, Spong affirms that “religion is always in the control business, and that’s something people don’t really understand. It’s in the guilt producing control business.”

Every church I know claims that we are the true church, and they have some ultimate authority. . . . The idea that the truth of God can be bound in any human system by any human creed by any human book, is almost beyond imagination for me. God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu a Buddhist; all of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God.

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He is describing the difference between faith and religion. I myself have explored multiple religions, and have discovered teachings within all of them that deeply resonate with me. I’ve also found teachings that don’t resonate at all. I don’t believe one religion has all the answers.

Using fear to coax people into a certain way of life or belief system, just like the Bishop mentions above, seems to be common practice in nearly every religion, and that certainly doesn’t resonate with me.

The history of the church itself is problematic. Whether it be the church’s role in the First Nations Genocide here in Canada, or the European crusades, the church has a history of forcing their views upon others and of condemning science and new discoveries.

Furthermore, as the Bishop says above, people need to accept responsibility for the world. If we simply leave global change in the hands of God, we remove our own responsibility and agency in this world. If we want to change the world, WE have to do it. After the Paris terrorist attacks, the Dalai Lamai expressed this as well, arguing that it’s not enough to just pray. We must take responsibility for our planet.

We are also dealing with texts that are very old, and considering there are multiple versions of various texts, all of which have likely been manipulated, changed, and distorted over the years, I find it difficult to accept any one without question.

Another point that turns me away from religion is hypocrisy. Many people claim ties to their faith yet know very little about its tenets, and fail to follow what they claim to believe in. This is commonly seen within the ‘spiritual’ movement as well, which can be seen as another form of religion in itself.

When it comes to religion, I believe you have to do your own research; you have to read the books and examine the teachings for yourself. Use your own head and find what resonates with you instead of allowing yourself to be indoctrinated and letting someone else do your thinking for you. These texts are open to interpretation; it’s up to you to find meaning in them and apply it to your life. You can still believe in God and not be religious. Religion is a manmade construct, and I think if God were to suddenly appear somewhere, he or she would have no idea what religion even was.

Religions as organizations are going to have to change. New discoveries are constantly being made that are challenging long-held belief systems. We cannot grow if we refuse to have an open mind and accept new possibilities about the nature of reality, and it’s childish to hold on to old belief systems just because they are familiar.

I personally believe in the soul and other non-material phenomena, as well the idea that life does not end here on Earth, and I believe there is enough evidence in various forms, aside from my own intuition and gut feeling, to support this stance.

What about you? What do you believe? What it all boils down to, for me, is respect. We must learn to respect each other’s viewpoints about ‘what is.’ We need to work with each other and accept our differences so we can focus on helping the planet, our shared home.

“It’s a mark of an educated person to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.”

What do you think about religion and what Spong is saying in this video?

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 23: The Competition)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

23. The Competition

One morning a young boy and his older sister were fishing on a small stream that ran through the forest on the Western side of the island of Allandon when the branchless trunk of a fallen tree floated slowly by.

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“Look, a tree!” said the boy.

“So what?” replied the girl.

“So we can play ‘tip-over’!” he said.

“Ha! You’ve never beaten me at that. Why do you keep asking me?”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” started the boy in a tone mimicking the village crier, “we are now ready for the finals of the main event, the tip-over! Will the contestants please take their positions on the tree!”

“All right,” she said, “get ready to lose again.”

They waded into the shallow stream and got onto the tree trunk. As they slowly and stutteringly rose to a standing position, he continued his announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, the contestants are set. When one contestant falls in the water, the other will be declared the winner. Ready, steady, and go!”

The girl stood nonchalantly, trying to make it look as effortless as possible. But minutes started to go by, and he was also staying steady. She knew if she could get the tree spinning he would fall. He had always fallen. After a bit of effort she got it started, but this time he was spinning it right with her.

“Why aren’t you falling?” she asked.

“I’ve been practicing!” he replied.

She tried to reverse course and stop the tree trunk from spinning in the hopes it would put him off balance. Instead, she slipped and fell backwards into the stream while he remained on the tree trunk. “It’s over!” he said, and jumped into the water with an exuberant splash. He followed his sister out of the stream with arms raised, exclaiming, “He’s done it! He’s done it! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new world champion!”

“All right, enough,” she said, looking back at him with annoyance.

“What?” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever won!”

“Relax,” she said, “it’s just a game.”

Just a game?” asked the bemused young boy. “Do you mean there’s something else?”

My search for a more spiritual life after university, inspired by a growing interest in Eastern philosophy and practices, brought with it an unexpected byproduct: it compelled me to become more acutely aware of my highly competitive nature. Competitive soccer, for example, was a major part of my life. Doing activities that did not lead to ‘winning’ were still somewhat foreign to me. I remember the difficulty I had during my first ever yoga classes around that time. I’m not simply talking about the fact that I was preoccupied with holding my postures longer and stretching further than the middle-aged women around me; I’m referring to the internal clash of emotions I was feeling just as the postures and the rhythms of the yoga began to relax me. My mind kept conjuring up vivid images of battling on the soccer field and passionately celebrating victory with my teammates. Although I was convinced that yoga could bring me some much-needed peace of mind, I left those first few sessions feeling restless and even somewhat ill. I had a vague sense that doing yoga was a threat to my competitive instinct and lifestyle. And since I didn’t feel ready to give that up, I did not practice yoga again for over a decade.

In the back of my mind I imagined that being competitive was a phase that I would eventually grow out of as I matured. Some of my own experiences and the literature I had been reading seemed to support that. And yet today, even as I have returned to yoga, meditation and other holistic practices, I still have not been able to pull myself away from the lure of competing. Not only that, but I continue to follow some professional sports competitions with pointed interest. I realize there are more than enough things going on that should have turned me off of that whole scene, with the outrageous salaries and image-related endorsement contracts, performance-enhancing drug use, gambling, match-fixing, and other distractions. Yet I still sometimes find myself in front of the TV, captivated by the unfolding drama of my home team’s game or an important golf tournament. Sometimes when I am watching an event and my wife comes in, I will enjoy making a big production about the importance of the moment. “There’s only a minute left,” I will say, “he has to make this free throw,” or “this putt is so important.” She will often sit with me through the moment of truth to humor me, even though the drama usually has little impact on her. Of course I understand her perfectly. I would agree that in the grand scheme of things it really makes no difference for my life whether my team wins or not. In quiet moments after the final buzzer has sounded and the teams have left the floor, the thought will occasionally occur to me: Do I just need to grow up and get over all this?

For me this question has been more complicated than it might seem. At first blush, the desire to pit individuals against one another to see who is stronger, faster, and better appears to be the epitome of Ego-Self-motivated fulfillment. Indeed, it was during the emergence of the Ego Self at the dawn of Western Civilization that formalized competition first came into prominence with the inaugural Olympic Games in Ancient Greece in 774 B. C. However the Greeks had some noble reasons for initiating their Games, not the least of which was to facilitate the pursuit of areté, which was perhaps the most esteemed value of ancient Greek culture. Areté can be translated as ‘virtue,’ but actually means something closer to ‘being the best you can be,’ or ‘reaching your highest human potential.’

Looked at from this point of view, competition may in some cases hold value for our lives. Being the best we can be, striving to reach our potential, is who we actually are. And so the pursuit of areté is an exercise in being our true selves. Our true self is not the self that we outwardly identify with, the self of a name and job and habits and addictions. Our true self is the high water mark of self-actualization that we have achieved to date, and it is only when we consistently attempt to reach and surpass our high water mark do we gain the real sensation of being fully alive.

I think that beyond the commercialism and corruption, our competitive sports heroes can still inspire us towards this. They demonstrate that peak mental and physical performances result from commitment and dedication, courage and focus. If our heroes are to be of benefit to our lives, it is through the way they model grace under pressure, and a willingness to face and challenge their own fears to rise above and perform. Athletes can still exude a simple, almost childlike love for the game, and demonstrate unabashed joy when they individually or collectively overcome the greatest challenges of their sport.

There is a danger for us, however, if we always remain spectators, living vicariously through the achievements of professional athletes. We must recognize that the victory of our home team or sports idol is not really our own. Our joy is short-lived, a pale imitation of the feeling the victorious athlete says “cannot be put into words.” Our own euphoria is reserved for the times when we face the challenges that have our name on them, and lead ourselves to victory by our efforts. The more we focus our emotions on the exploits of others, the more we will shrink in fear when we get the opportunity to step onto the playing field ourselves. We will not be prepared and we will look for the comfort of the sidelines. The only thing is that, in life, there are no sidelines. We are always on the field of play, even when we’re just curled up in a ball trying to avoid all the action.

It is important for each one of us to determine whether or not competition is serving us in our lives. If winning has become everything, and we are willing to cheat to earn victory, then competition is no longer a context for reaching our highest potential. It only echoes the dog-eat-dog mentality rampant in our society where one person’s gain is always another’s loss. However, while the design of competition puts one of us against the other, I believe it can still give us the feeling that we are in this together. When we do it with an awareness that winning is not the only thing, competition can bind us to an unspoken understanding that we really play together in order to celebrate life. The famous saying that ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’ rings true—because in life it’s possible to play the game in a way that everybody wins.

While we may be in danger of taking the game of life too seriously, there is also a danger of not taking the game seriously enough, of playing it too safe and not really engaging in life. Remember Helen Keller’s words that ‘life is either a daring adventure or nothing.’ There is a fine line that we need to observe, because it is in the balance that life is fun. A common misconception is that a spiritual life demands we withdraw from the game. I believe a spiritual life urges us to walk that fine line, and play the game as though everything was at stake while being wholly detached from the outcome of our efforts.

We all cross both sides of that fine line throughout our lives, but in some magical moments we can get it just right. In one of his lectures, Wayne Dyer recounts a true story told by the father of a young boy with motor and learning disabilities when his son wanted to join a baseball game in progress.

 The boy’s father thought it was unlikely that the players, who were his son’s age, would let his son play. So he was pleasantly surprised when one of the players he asked actually consented, albeit hesitantly and a bit out of embarrassment, to let his son onto his team. The young player rationalized that that it was already the 8th inning and his team was losing badly, so the boy was given a glove to play outfield and was promised an at-bat in the 9th inning.

 His son’s team made a courageous comeback, however, and by the 9th inning they actually gave themselves a chance to win. They were only down by three runs and had the bases loaded. The only problem was that there were two outs and it was his son’s turn to bat. The father, who could appreciate the drama of the moment, highly doubted that the team would let his son go up to bat at this critical moment. After all, his son could not even hold the bat properly, let alone swing it. But to his surprise, he saw his son making his way timidly to the batter’s box.

The players could see right away that his son would not be able to get a hit, especially after he missed the first pitch clumsily. So one of his teammates came up behind him to help him hold the bat while the pitcher moved closer in order to lob the ball in softly. On the next pitch the two boys swung together and hit a weak ground ball to the pitcher. The father thought that the pitcher would easily throw his son out, and that would be the game.

That is when something remarkable started to happen. The pitcher instead hesitated for a moment, and then threw the ball high over the first baseman’s head and down the right field line. The young boy’s teammates started yelling to him, “Run to first! Run to first!” Never in his life had he run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide eyed and startled. By the time he rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball. The father knew that the outfielder could have thrown the ball to an infielder who would tag his son out, as he was running along the base path aimlessly. But the outfielder suddenly understood what the pitcher’s intentions were, so instead he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head, as everyone yelled, “Run to second! Run to second!”

The father saw his son run towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. When his son reached second base, the opposing shortstop actually ran to him, gently turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, “Run to third!” As his son rounded third, the players from both teams gathered behind him screaming, “Run home! Run home!” Together they guided him home, and as soon as he stepped on home plate all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a grand slam and won the game for his team.

There is perhaps no greater feeling than when, focused as we get on a game that pits one against the other, we transcend our Ego Self to touch the world of unity beyond. But to have this experience, we need to chalk the foul lines, fasten the bases in place, and have a sturdy umpire behind the plate telling us to “Play ball!” The rules of the game provide the context for some of the most magical experiences in life.

In those moments when we feel the rules of the game are brutal and unfair, whether it be from having a loved one die, or losing our fortune, or being born with a disability, it is a good time to stop and reflect for a moment. When the totality of life is taken as a game, all of its difficulties can be seen as the challenges that make the game worth playing, where the emphasis falls on the experience of life rather than its outcome. The struggle towards self-actualization, the pursuit of areté, is no easy ride for any of us. But if we were really looking for an easy ride, we likely would not have come onto this field of play in the first place.

Holographic 2020 Lunar Calendar

An art piece and lunar calendar all in one. This calendar features moon phases for every day of the month for the entirety of 2020.

Hologrpahic foil set on a dark 11" x 11" poster makes the moon's phases shimmer as light strikes them in this unique art piece.

Buy yours here!
Continue Reading
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