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8 Ways Spiritual People May Be Fooling Themselves

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Who is more aligned with their path of spiritual evolution?

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  • A person sitting in a lotus position, taking deep breaths and in perfect composure?
  • Or a person curled up in a ball, crying hysterically?

If we base our answer on everything we have learned from “new age” philosophies and most spiritual teachings out there, I think it’s fair to say that the person meditating wins. He/she appears peaceful, at ease, and detached. Now I’m not about to “shock” you and say that the opposite is true. But I would argue that this image is just that: an image.

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This is why:

Even the most peaceful, composed, and “spiritually correct” person in the world can be completely out of alignment with themselves, even more than someone who isn’t into spirituality at all. How come? Well… because of our tendency to be dishonest with ourselves. I say this from experience: no amount of sophisticated spiritual jargon has been able to aid my evolution more than an honest look at my raw, vulnerable self.

P.S. I don’t mean to say that all spiritual people fool themselves. These are simply traps that I have noticed are common in the spiritual community, and which I myself have fallen for on occasion.

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HERE ARE 8 WAYS SPIRITUAL PEOPLE CAN FOOL THEMSELVES:


 1. I Have To Feel Good And Stay Positive All The Time

Translation: I’m terrified of feeling pain.

This belief is quite common among the “positive thinking” community. Now there is nothing wrong with thinking positively, but using the power of thought to gloss over any surfacing negative emotions is one of the biggest blocks to our spiritual growth. Why? Because what our souls actually desire is to become whole again. And this means reconnecting with all the fragmented aspects of ourselves (fears, negative beliefs, past emotional traumas) we have dissociated from so that we may acknowledge and transform them.

Newsflash: That’s NOT going to happen if we continually avoid and suppress them. It’s not going to happen if we perceive them as enemies and invaders. The truth is, each and every painful emotion that is surfacing in our lives is like a child in distress. When we repress them, it is as if we purposely lock this child self into a room, forcing it to relive a trauma alone and behind closed doors while we look the other way. In other words, it is self-abuse.

“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”

– John Green

Being completely emotionally honest with ourselves takes bravery. It means putting ourselves right into the very emotions we have spent our lives shielding ourselves from feeling again. But once you allow yourself to feel and release what is stored inside of you, you are basically letting your brain and body know that it is now safe to feel, that you are no longer in the scary situation that created the trauma in the first place, and that you are now ready to learn from it and and move on to better things.

It can help to have a friend or an animal holding space for you while you release emotion, because it is important to feel safe. You will find that when you make it a habit to feel and release the emotional charges that are stuck in your body, the lightness you will feel will be more worth it than all the effort put into avoiding and suppressing!

P.S. If there were really something wrong about feeling all ranges of emotions… your soul wouldn’t have chosen to incarnate in a body capable of feeling them all!


2. I Behave Spiritually, Therefore I Am Growing Spiritually!

Translation: I’m really just scared and confused. So I’ll keep repeating “love n’ light!”

Many spiritual people believe that a “spiritual” behavior is all that is required to be on the “spiritual” path; that if you say loving words, follow spiritual principles, and act like Jesus, you’re pretty much enlightened. Well… let me just say that the most emotionally wounded and ‘in-denial-about-it’ people I have ever met had a very strong spiritual ethic and personality. I know because I have been one of them.

Spiritual people often fall into the trap of using their understanding of spiritual concepts to feel like they are above emotions and duality. This defeats the whole purpose of our soul, which is to learn from emotions and duality through our own felt experience — not just through theory!

“Spiritual Bypassing: A term first coined by author John Welwood. The spiritual bypass is the tendency to jump to spirit prematurely, usually in an effort to avoid various aspects of earthly reality (practical challenges, unresolved emotions and memories). The bypass has many symptoms – the starry-eyed bliss trip, radical detachment from one’s self-identifications, premature forgiveness, ungrounded behaviors, wish-full thinking etc.”

– Jeff Brown

There is a purpose and lesson behind every emotion and feeling, and simply adjusting and focusing on our behavior prematurely is pulling us away from where our greatest learning is.


3. I Use Self-Conviction To Make Me Feel Like I’m On The Right Path

Translation: I’d rather live through the safe stories I tell myself than trust my intuition.

Have you ever noticed yourself going overkill with grand speeches and declarations of why something is right (or wrong) for you, whether it be a “twin flame,” a job, or a new year’s resolution? Now that doesn’t mean it must necessarily be wrong for you, just like it doesn’t mean it must be right. It just means that using self-conviction is a process of mental rationalization, not of intuition.

When we do this, we are much more likely to fool ourselves into something that doesn’t align with our true self. No big deal though, because following through on a choice that is out of alignment will eventually teach us that we are better off trusting and being honest with our intuition and feelings — a lesson that usually gets learned once our illusion crashes.

Many times, I have convinced myself of things to make me feel “good” about a decision or situation despite a nagging suspicion that something isn’t right. And many times, I have screwed myself! So now, I do my best to follow my intuition instead of getting lost in my mind. The best part is, when we stop fooling ourselves, we automatically become more honest with others. This guarantees more fulfilling relationships and the dissolution of fake ones!

“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.”

– Walter Anderson

The tricky part is that sometimes, our intuition leads us directly toward a choice that would make us face a fear or difficult emotion, which is precisely why we often rationalize ourselves out of taking the leap of faith. That’s why following our intuition often requires courage. Although I promise you… the maturity, wisdom, alignment, and freedom gained from following it is always worth it in the end!

“You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind.”

– Anne Lamott


4. I Preach When I Feel On Top Of My Game, But Blame When Triggered

Translation: I’ve got Issues.

We reaaaaaally need to get off our high horses, or perhaps I should say, our “spiritual unicorns.” Sure, preaching may make us look wise and majestic for a while, but at what cost? At the cost of not ACTUALLY evolving. It prevents us from truly growing and maturing from the inside out. Now it doesn’t mean we can’t offer valuable wisdom even if we still deal with personal issues. But we shouldn’t wear our wise insights like a badge, only to resist growth when it’s our turn to feel vulnerable. 

We should actually embrace it when our foundation gets shaken. Many of us think we must fight to stay on our comfortable throne, yet little expansion and joy exists there. True expansion and joy happens when we embrace the fact that our vulnerability connects us all.

We’re all human, and we’re all vulnerable. Imagine how warm, compassionate, and friendly this world would be if we weren’t so busy hiding, suppressing, and feeling shame for the things we all learn and experience! In such a reality, anyone acting preachy and denying their own vulnerability would actually be the odd ones.

Being transparent is scary, I know. But the RIGHT people will LOVE you for being real, for being you. It’s always the wrong people that love you for your image.


5. I Use Spiritual Perspectives To Bypass Human Emotions (THIS ONE IS KEY!)

Translation: I want to get to my destination quickly and bruise free. I resist and devalue the journey towards it.

This is something I’ve done quite a bit, and with the best intention. Of course I want to remind myself that everything happens for a reason when I feel hurt and heartbroken after a difficult breakup. Of course I want to remind myself that every soul is made of love when I believe that I shouldn’t feel anger or rage toward someone who has betrayed me. But this is a HUGE problem among the spiritual community: the belief in shoulds and shouldnt’s when it comes to emotions. The belief that anger, fear, and grief aren’t as much a part of our spiritual progress as feelings of love and transcendence.

The thing is, we actually ARE headed toward a state of consciousness where we can feel the beauty and value of every challenge and every soul. But every single one of the emotions that come up along the way should be valued as stepping stones, each containing a valuable lesson designed to bring us closer to that state.

“Anger is a river. It wants to be released into the vaster ocean. It wants to move naturally. When we repress it with premature forgiveness, block it with false positivity, repress it in the name of pseudo-peace, we just dam(n) our natural flow. The river then turns inward, against the self, or explodes outwardly, against innocents. Better we express it when it is in our awareness – not in a way that is destructive to humanity – but in a way that is authentic and that restores the integrity of our being. Anger isn’t the enemy. Misplaced anger is. Let the river flow…”

– Jeff Brown

The truth is, anger, fear, and grief can be amazing catalysts for change and transformation when embraced. For example, anger is a very potent energy to get you moving and clear up the clutter in your life, whether it be toxic people, situations, or limiting beliefs. It doesn’t need to be destructive or vengeful; it is a fire that should be used to fuel positive action. Once you have made the appropriate changes, you no longer need it and can move to a higher vibration.

Fear is also a valuable emotion. It points you to another layer of your being that needs peeling so that you may experience greater freedom past it. It shows you where your growth is. Grief thrusts us into our deepest wounds of separation so that we may find ourselves again. It has the power to shatter our illusions and reconnect us with what truly matters.

So go ahead and feel it all! You are not alone in this.

“Real shadow work does not leave us intact; it is not some neat and tidy process, but rather an inherently messy one, as vital and unpredictably alive as birth. The ass it kicks is the one upon which we are sitting; the pain it brings up is the pain we’ve been fleeing most of our life; the psychoemotional breakdowns it catalyzes are the precursors to hugely relevant breakthroughs; the doors it opens are doors that have shown up year after year in our dreams, awaiting our entry. Real shadow work not only breaks us down, but breaks us open.”

– Sera Beak, Red Hot and Holy


6. I Can Talk/Read About Spiritual Growth All Day, Yet Avoid Using My Own Life As My Teacher

That’s kind of like reading a bunch of video game strategy guides, but never actually playing. The actual fun, the “levelling up” and the progression, happen as you play it! 

Many spiritual people understand the mechanics of personal and spiritual growth like the backs of their hands. I’m pretty knowledgable about it myself. I know that we create our own reality, that life is literally a reflection of the thoughts, emotions, and energy we put out, and I even know the science behind it. So it’s sort of ironic that I still sometimes manage to remove myself from this equation. I sometimes believe myself to be a victim of circumstances and slip into a passive attitude toward my life, ignoring my own guidance and cues to move forward. This usually happens when I forget that my life itself IS my purpose and mirrors what is necessary for me to evolve.

Our lives are meant to be lived, our feelings are meant to be felt, and our challenges are meant to be learned from. All of our experiences — internal and external — are like quests in a video game, designed to bring us to the next level. So let’s play!

“If we can live life consciously and authentically—understanding that things do not happen to us, but rather for us—we can use everything that comes into our lives to our benefit. We can locate all the barriers that keep us from beauty, love, abundance, intimacy, joy and good health.”

– Erin Lanahan


7. I Have Found The Truth! Let Me Anchor That In Forever And Shut Down Any New Perspectives

Translation: I am forgetting that I am a unique, fluid, and ever-changing being on a unique, fluid, and ever-changing path that adapts to what I need to learn in any given moment.

What we need in one stage of our lives may be completely different from what we need in another. What feels right one day may not feel right the next. And there’s a reason for this. We are unique and multi-layered beings. Sometimes, we hit layers that require us to learn commitment and goal-setting. Other times, we hit layers that require us to learn flexibility and “going with the flow.” We may at one time need to learn compassion and softness, while at another time need to learn firmness and resolve.

The problem is when we become set on ideals rather than staying tuned to our intuition (similar to what we talked about in #3). Our paths and lessons adapt to what is best and most important for our evolution. When we get stuck in our minds and adopt a fixed spiritual ideal, we miss out on the actual cues that our feelings, intuition, and life experiences whisper to us.

As much as the truth may very well be that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively and that we are a way for the universe to know itself… well, it seems the universe wants to know itself through very UNIQUE perspectives and paths. We are not meant to live in a synchronized fashion and all move the same, think the same, and feel the same. We are here to be complimentary to one another, much like a puzzle requires unique pieces to create a beautiful image.

8. I Am “So Spiritual,” But Forget To Treat Others Like I’d Want To Be Treated

Translation: I skipped the most basic yet important step to my own spiritual growth, which is to be an expression of love.

It might sound cliché, but Jesus had it right. It doesn’t matter if you have read all the books or mastered all of your spiritual abilities; if you keep all of that magnificent love, generosity, care, and compassion locked in a little cellar within your heart… you have missed the entire point of your spiritual growth. You are still operating out of fear and need to clear out whatever barrier is preventing you from accessing the loving being that you are. The world needs you!

I once met someone who disregarded the importance of love because he believed it was too much of a cliché and cookie-cutter approach to spirituality. What I would say to that person today is that, regardless of how different and unique every flower within a garden may be, you wouldn’t want to water any of them with poison. You would ideally use the purest water to see them thrive and beautify the environment in their own unique way. The same goes with human beings. If there is one universal law that applies to us all, I believe it is that we thrive best in the vibration of love. If we can all strive to grow into more loving, compassionate, and authentic versions of ourselves, what a wonderful world this would be!

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

― Albert Einstein


I hope these perspectives helped you as much as they helped me! Let’s lead by example and help rid the spiritual community of pretence by being the realest we can be with ourselves and others. It is in our vulnerability and openness that we build the most profound and intimate relationships. It is in feeling what we need to feel that we grow. It is in being authentic that we attract and create a reality that truly matches us. And it is in being love that we create a more loving world!


If you enjoyed my article, like Uplifted Life to stay tuned with my work! 

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Our Biology Responds To Events Before They Even Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published 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 that were 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 reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“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.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Consciousness

Studies Show That Writing In A Journal Can Benefit Your Emotional & Physical Well-Being

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If you have read any of my previous articles, you may already know that I am a huge advocate of keeping a journal, or diary or notebook – whichever term you like best to describe the act of writing out your thoughts on paper, or if you prefer, typing them out on a screen.

Personally, journaling is something that has helped me get through some really tough times in my life and is also a great tool for just allowing some new perspective and a space to vent without judgment or advice. But for all of those skeptics out there who don’t understand how something like this could actually help, well, there’s science to prove it.

Scientific Evidence To Prove How Journaling Helps

Psychologists from the University of California were able to investigate the effect of journaling by inviting 20 volunteers to visit the lab for a brain scan before asking them to write for 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Half of the participants wrote about a fairly recent emotional experience, while the other half of the participants wrote about something neutral.

Those who chose to write about an emotional experience showed more activity in the part of the brain called the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex. In turn, this relaxed neural activity that is linked to strong emotional feelings.

According to Lieberman, men seemed to benefit from writing about their feelings more so than women, and writing by hand seemed to have a bigger effect than typing on a keyboard. That’s an interesting note: could men benefit from journaling more because in general they tend to keep their feelings to themselves? A journal can certainly act as a safe space for emotionally deprived men to vent.

“Men tend to show greater benefits and that is a bit counterintuitive. But the reason might be that women more freely put their feelings into words, so this is less of a novel experience for them. For men it’s more of a novelty,” Lieberman said.

Aside from drastic improvements to your mood and emotional well-being, writing out your thoughts and feelings regularly can actually benefit your physical health as well. Journaling can increase your chance of fighting specific diseases like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS and cancer. Amazingly, it can even help physical wounds heal faster.

A study conducted in 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes a day journaling for three days in a row before a scheduled medical biopsy were fully healed 11 days later. On the other hand, 58% of the control group had not yet recovered. The study concluded that just one hour of writing about a distressing event helped the participants to better understand the events and reduce stress levels.

Lead researcher on expressive writing at the University of Texas and author of Writing To Heal, James W. Pennebaker, has found that by translating our experiences into our own language by writing it out, we are able to make the experience more comprehendible.

Pennebaker says: “Emotional upheavals touch every part of our lives. You don’t just lose a job, you don’t just get divorced. These things affect all aspects of who we are — our financial situation, our relationships with others, our views of ourselves…writing helps us focus and organize the experience.”

The Most Efficient Way To Cope With A Big Life Change Is To Journal

Journaling will help you to get over a break-up or cope with other up and down relationships in your life. While it may seem to be overanalyzing, studies have shown that venting about a past relationship actually helps to speed up emotional recovery and can help build a stronger sense of self-identity following a break-up. I don’t know about you, but this is something that I wish I would have done after break-ups that leave you feeling lost and like you don’t know who you are anymore.

By venting I don’t mean to your friends. While this certainly can help, the act of writing, with a pen or pencil, will provide you with the most health benefits.

“Writing accesses the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert, told Fast Company. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit, and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Journaling Can Provide Long-Term Benefits

Journaling helps you to cope with the experience at hand but it can also help to prepare you to face similar experiences in the future.

“Journal therapy is all about using personal material as a way of documenting an experience, and learning more about yourself in the process,” Kathleen Adams, a psychotherapist and author of Journal to the Self, told the Huffington Post. “It lets us say what’s on our minds and helps us get — and stay — healthy through listening to our inner desires and needs.”

The process of journaling allows you to get to know yourself through your feelings and experiences. It’s just plain and simply writing out your feelings. This is different than just thinking because it is more streamline; you aren’t going back and forth or writing the same thing down over and over again.

You can start right now, or the next time you’re feeling particularly stressed about something. It’s so simple you might as well give it a shot! What do you have to lose? It just might help you more than you might have imagined! Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to look back at the big events that happened in your life in 20 years or longer and see how you were able to deal with the situations? It could even provide you with some insight on how to handle situations you are faced with in the future.

We are constantly being faced with challenges. This is what life is all about, but our reactions to those challenges is what defines who we are. Are we strong and capable or are we weak and playing a victim? The choice is ours!

Much Love

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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