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On Donald Trump & The Need For A New Definition Of “Successful Man”

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

I have a confession to make: When Donald Trump won the U.S. election, part of me was happy.

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Crazy, right?

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Before you start judging me, let me explain: I did not vote for him, or support his campaign. And like most, I was concerned about his controversial morals and political inexperience.

But I also believed his election was the perfect Harajuku moment — “a moment in time when you have a revelation that change must happen now, and fast.”

More specifically, I felt like Trump’s presence in the spotlight would wake us up to the fact that our world is run by men who embody an outdated model of “Masculine Success.”

By many modern standards Trump is a successful man. He has achieved impressive feats and made tons of money, but his approach to life is rooted in self-serving beliefs.

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Is that what success should really look like?  

I believe this issue is at the root of many societal problems (for example, corruption, social inequality, and abusive relationships), and that by addressing it head-on we can solve challenges that have plagued society for centuries.

Together, we need to redefine what it means to be “a successful man.” Then, we must work diligently to practice this new ethos and build, in the words of Buckminster Fuller, “a world that works for everyone.”

In this article, I’m going to take you on a journey into the concept of Masculine Success, how it’s affecting you, and how upgrading your own definition will yield you greater happiness, wealth, and impact on society.

Donald Trump and the Old Paradigm of Success

Donald Trump is a living, breathing paradox.

On one hand, the man is brilliant: He’s a billionaire, has been an executive to over 500 companies, and became the first ever U.S. president with no political or military experience.

You can say what you want about the guy, but this remains pretty damn impressive.

On the other hand, he’s a deeply flawed individual: He exhibits clear misogynistic and racist tendencies, has a long history of deceptive tactics, and is a master manipulator of the highest caliber.

In this paradox, we can see a blueprint for the old definition of a “Successful Man”:

  1. He’s great at making money and providing for his family — even if it employs the “I Win, You Lose” methodology that sacrifices the greater good for personal gain.
  2. He’s tough, hard working, and highly skilled in certain areas — however lacking compassion, kindness, and care for others.
  3. He’s a powerful man and influential leader — who’s willing to cut corners and sacrifice integrity in order to achieve his goals.

As you can see, he’s got some great qualities, some that you and I could benefit from mastering. But simultaneously, his “success formula” is painfully unbalanced and produces severe collateral damage.

Is Trump a Product of His Generation?

Before we start vilifying Trump (and men like him), let’s look at the bigger picture:

What shaped his approach to success?

What cultural forces forged his belief system?

What conditioning generated his character?

I believe there are 3 dominant forces that made Donald Trump the man he is today, and influenced an entire generation of Baby bBomer males (born between 1946 and 1964):

  • Scarcity and the Tribe Mentality
  • Stoicism and the Emotionally Closed Man
  • Capitalism and the Rise of Greed

Scarcity and the Tribe Mentality

You and I live in the most prosperous time in history. Our basic needs are met, we face few (if any) threats, and technology allows us an unprecedented level of comfort (cars, grocery stores, central heating, fridges, computers, cellphones, etc). With these favourable life conditions, it’s easy to forget that for the vast majority of history, things were different. Homo sapiens have been around for ~200,000 years and high standards of living only appeared in the last 100 years. This means that 99.95% of human history was rooted in struggle for survival.

For thousands of years, our ancestors lived in a state of scarcity: They never knew if there would be enough food, water, or heat. Survival was a day-to-day affair that naturally created a scarcity mentality: “I need to get mine before you get yours.”

To increase chances of survival, humans banded into tribes and the tribal mentality was born: “You’re either with us or against us.”

Recently, these states of consciousness were further amplified by the advent of World Wars I and II. When Donald Trump was born, in 1946, the world had just suffered through six horrific years of mind-bending loss, trauma, and fear.

As a result, the expectation for a man of his era was to become a great provider and ensure his family/tribe survived, whatever it took. Caring for the greater good was the responsibility of social servants, not businessmen.

Stoicism and the Emotionally Closed Man

To succeed in those times of scarcity and tribal mentality, men had to master a few important personality traits: toughness, resilience, and inner strength. Those were essential in order to provide for their family day in and day out, no matter what challenges came up.

One of the best ways to do so was to master stoicism, also known as “the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.” While an effective survival strategy, this approach came with a hefty cost: it made men insensitive, disconnected from their hearts, and lacking compassion for others.

When we look at the traditional model of Masculine Success, we see men that are tough, hard working and capable of high achievements. But they’re also largely devoid of compassion and genuine kindness.

Capitalism and the Rise of Greed

The third societal force we’ll look at is capitalism, and how it’s brought about an unprecedented wave of greed in the world.

First off, let me say there are a lot of of good things about capitalism. I am constantly in awe of the fact that I can use a piece of plastic (my debit card) to acquire just about any product or service imaginable, instantly. Wow!

But capitalism also encourages excess: both from a consumer and a producer standpoint. There are no inherent mechanisms to prevent people from abusing the system (ie. making more profit at the expense of the greater good), and consuming too much (ie. overeating and overspending).

Juxtapose that with the fact that scarcity was until recently a major part of humanity for thousands of years, and you have the perfect recipe for greed. With greed comes a tendency to bend moral guidelines, and to sacrifice integrity in the name of profit.

This has been done by businessmen from generations, and Donald Trump is just another example of that.

An Outdated Success Model

As you can see, 200,000 years of human history have conspired to create a very clear, and deeply ingrained model of success:

  • Men evolved into hard-working, skilled providers who are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.
  • Difficult life conditions made them tough and resilient but emotionally closed off.
  • Capitalism allowed for an unprecedented rise in prosperity that was paralleled by deception and greed from successful businessmen worldwide.

All of these traits, despite their flaws, have served humanity over time — they got us (for better and worse) to where we are today. But they simply won’t get us to where we need to go. Rather, they will destroy us. Unless we create a new model of masculine success, starting today.

The New Standard of Masculine Success

Now that we’ve set the stage, let me ask you an important question:

How can we take our individual lives and society at large to the next level?

I believe we need build on the strengths developed by our predecessors while developing the qualities they were lacking.

We need to become:

  • Great at making money and providing for our family… in a way that benefits all of mankind. (“I Win, You Win.”)
  • Tough, hard working, and highly skilled… while being deeply compassionate, kind and caring to others.
  • Powerful men and influential leaders… who are shining examples of strong morals and impeccable integrity.

That, right there, is what I believe a “Successful Man” needs to be from now on. It’s a high standard, a challenging one to achieve, and one that is essential to the survival of humanity.

Sounds dramatic? Think again.

Without it, we will continue to fight one another, destroy our planet, and let egos run the world. Who knows where that will lead us?

One thing is for sure: We are at a turning point in history, and it’s time for you and I to step up. It’s time to become the kind of men the world needs. It’s time to become Kings.

Upgrading Your “Success Operating System”

So, how do we actually do it?

Over the last few years, I’ve been experimenting extensively with this. I’ve worked very hard to reprogram my mind, open my heart, and upgrade my “success operating system.”

Along the way, I’ve found a few key mental models that are critical to become a “successful man 2.0.”

  1. Upgrading From Scarcity to Sufficiency
  2. Upgrading From Tribalism to Inclusiveness
  3. Upgrading From Stoicism to Emotional Fluency
  4. Upgrading From Capitalism to Conscious Capitalism

Let’s dissect each one, decipher how you can make the transition, and upgrade your entire life.

Principle #1: Upgrading From Scarcity to Sufficiency

The scarcity mentality is based on the belief that there aren’t enough resources for everyone: “If you get more, I get less.” This makes us competitors, and I must beat you to survive.

While I’m at it, I might as well accumulate as much as possible so I can be “safer.” My excessive hoarding might cause you and your family to struggle… but that’s not my problem. We’re competitors, remember?

Conversely, the sufficiency mentality is predicated on the fact that there are enough resources for everybody — as long as everyone uses only their fair share.

Did you know that since 1970, there’s been enough food on the planet to feed the entire human population? And yet, billions of people are starving, while more than two-thirds (68.8%) of American adults are overweight or obese. This is one of the saddest facts about humanity, and one that we need to address now. Practicing sufficiency is a great way to start.

To do so, you need to install two beliefs into your consciousness:

  • I am resourceful and can acquire resources whenever I need. I trust myself and I know I will be OK.
  • I only need a certain amount of resources to live comfortably—anything in excess doesn’t serve me or the world.

I know, this is radically different than what most of us have been taught our entire life. But don’t let your conditioning close you off to this alternative way of thinking. Just because some rappers and pop culture in general tell us we need to be balling and “rolling billies deep” doesn’t mean it’s true.

A 2010 study from Princeton shows that after $75,000/year, there is no correlation between money and happiness.

Remember: we live in the most prosperous time in history. Money is everywhere. Acquiring it is not rocket science, and we don’t need to be multi-millionaires to be safe or happy.

Exercise: Figure out how much money you need to live a beautiful life, and make that your target. If you simply aim for “more,” you’ll be stuck on the hamster wheel that will compromise your happiness and lead you to accumulate more than your fair share, thus unbalancing the global system.

Principle #2: Upgrading from Tribalism to Inclusiveness

One of the things Donald Trump did masterfully during his electoral campaign was to create an “Us Versus Them” mentality. He played on our evolutionary fears, and reinforced the idea that “these people are out to get us!” (so let’s build a wall!)

The problem is, tribalism keeps us in a state of fear, puts us at odds with each other, and promotes conflict at the individual and global level.

It’s a very low level of consciousness, one that was appropriate 10,000 years ago but is now outdated. As we’ve seen with Principle #1, the world is different now than it was before: There is enough for everyone. We don’t need to aggressively compete against each other anymore.

Instead, our best strategy for a happy and productive life is the opposite: collaboration.

And as such, one of the most helpful beliefs you can install in your consciousness is:

Everyone is on my team. We’re all in this together.

This belief is incredibly powerful. Just writing it, I feel my nervous system relax and my mind open to bigger possibilities.

Now you might be thinking, “Well that’s a nice philosophy but that’s not how it works in reality.”

Let me tell you this: I’ve been actively employing this philosophy every day for the last two years, and it does work. Here’s why: As we know from quantum physics and the Double-Slit experiment, the expectation of the observer directly affects the behaviour of the observed. In simpler terms, this means that if you go through life expecting people to be selfish, mean, and dangerous, you’re drastically increasing the chances you will experience that. Conversely, if you expect people to be kind, generous, and friendly, you’re much more likely to bring out the best in them, and consistently have positive experiences with others.

But don’t take my word for it; try it and see for yourself.

Exercise: next time you leave home, set the intention to interact with the world as if “everyone is on my team.” Smile to people. Say hi to them. Assume friendship. Then, notice what happens…

Principle #3: Upgrading From Stoicism to Emotional Fluency

To be a powerful man and an influential leader, we need a tremendous amount of inner strength. Stoicism is one way to get there.

But there’s a big downside to this approach: By disassociating with our emotions, we reduce our existence to a cognitive experience that lacks depth, beauty, and aliveness.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not a deal I’m willing to make. Especially when there’s a better way: emotional fluency.

While stoicism produces strength through the suppression of emotions, emotional fluency strengthens us through the ability to use them as positive fuel.

Emotions can only impair us if we’re incapable of dealing with them in a mature way; if we let them control us and throw us off. With emotional fluency, we are able to feel our emotions, harness their energy, and intentionally use them for good.

Feeling fear? Use it to work harder and sharpen your senses.

Feeling sadness? Use it to soften your heart and connect more deeply with others.

Feeling anger? Use it as a signal that something is off and that changes are needed.

By doing so, you will become a much more effective individual and you develop much more compassion towards others.

Additionally, when you allow yourself to feel the unpleasant emotions, you’ll feel the pleasant ones more strongly: joy, love, bliss, and compassion will be amplified.

Exercise: Next time you feel a strong emotion arise, pause. Resist the urge to suppress it or to numb yourself. Stay present with it, and get curious: Why is it there? What’s it telling you? And most importantly, how can you use it for positive action?

Principle #4: Upgrading from Capitalism to Conscious Capitalism

As I stated earlier, capitalism has a lot of positive aspects to it. A free-market economy provides us with an incomparable access to goods and services, and rewards hard work, initiative. and value-creation.

But let’s be honest, just like the old definition of “a successful man” had upsides but was severely incomplete, so is the capitalist system.

Thankfully, we don’t need to completely overhaul the system. I’m not suggesting we switch to communism or any radical system. Rather, we need to upgrade the current system. Enter Conscious Capitalism.


Here’s an overview of this approach:
While making money is essential for the vitality and sustainability of a business, it is not the only or even the most important reason a business exists. Conscious businesses focus on their purpose beyond profit. By focusing on its deeper purpose, a conscious business inspires, engages, and energizes its stakeholders.

In other words, we need to approach our career and business within a larger context: Making money is critical, and doing it in a way that benefits everyone involved is equally important.

To make this more concrete, here are two contrasting examples:

  1. Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. In this venture, the sole aim is to maximize profit. To do so, they get customers to spend as much money as possible at the casino (even if it’s detrimental people’s health, well-being, and sanity). Meanwhile, they pay employees and suppliers as little as possible to keep expenses down. None of the profits are redistributed in the community.
  2. Toms Shoes. In this venture, profit is only one of many aims. Every time you buy a pair of shoes, Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. Their model is elegant and effective: Create a great product, sell it at a fair price, redistribute some of the profits to those who need it most, and make sure that everyone who’s involved in the process (employees, customers, suppliers) are generously rewarded for their effort.

According to traditional capitalism, Toms Shoes is throwing money away. But using a greater lens, they’re doing better business.

Moving forward, I invite you to expand your own lens: Don’t settle for work that pays you well but doesn’t serve a greater purpose. Think of all the people who are connected with your business. And create an ecosystem that uplifts every single person.

Exercise: Challenge yourself to think broader. How can you create more value for society through your work? How can you aim not to maximize profit but rather maximize utility for all?

The Higher Road is the Better Road

I started this article with a confession, and I’ll end it with another one: Walking this path is not easy.

Every day there are countless temptations to take the path of least resistance, to conform, and to revert back to the old model.

Practicing sufficiency requires superb discipline and commitment.

Practicing inclusiveness requires incredible acceptance and open-mindedness.

Practicing emotional fluency requires immense humility and tolerance for discomfort.

Practicing conscious capitalism requires exceptional generosity and selflessness.

It’s not easy. But it’s so immensely worth it. For yourself, those you love, and the world we live in. If you’ve read this far, I know there’s a calling in your soul to step up. So let’s do it, together.


Day after day, week after week, let us strive for higher ideals with a strong conviction that it’s worth it, and that our love, courage, and strength will inspire millions to follow suit. This, my friend, is how we change the world. One person at a time. Starting with ourselves.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Awareness

How Does Anesthesia Work? We Still Don’t Know: What Happens When Someone Goes “Under”?

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

When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.

This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.

How does Anesthesia work ?

From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.

In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds. 

Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.

Why we still don’t know…

If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?

These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.

First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.

The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.

We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness?  Can consciousness ever be represented materially?

A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it.  To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.

What happens when someone goes “under”?

The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.

Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.

There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.

How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively

During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?

What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?

If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.

Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.

What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?

The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.” 

By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.

Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?

Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?

Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.

In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.

Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Consciousness

4 Key Steps To Heal From Any Kind Of Trauma

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Trauma can be seen as stress that has been trapped in the body. It can affect our daily life in many ways, and given our neuroplastic brain, trauma can create undesirable habits if gone unchecked.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you feel consistent stress? Perhaps unexplainable low energy? Feeling as though you are on edge for no reason? This could be a sign of a body and nervous system stuck in a trauma trained pattern.

Before you begin...

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

Trauma can be challenging, but the moment we are willing to do work on it is the moment that so much potential for healing and growth opens up. The more aware we are of the bigger picture, the less we suffer.

As a general rule, the mind clings to negative, fear-based experiences as a biological survival mechanism. But when we can consciously step outside of our own stories, outdated beliefs, and personal perspective, we can empower personal transformation through self-awareness.

Below are some useful questions to ask yourself in different instances of trauma. They are designed to help clear your mind, open your heart, and begin the healing process.

1. Life Is About Evolution. Find The Lesson In Your Experience

The Big Bang has revealed a universe to us that is radically evolutionary. It is constantly growing, evolving, and developing, and has been for more than 14 billion years. Life is evolution. It is an ongoing process of transformation and conscious expansion. This is a natural law, and this means that from a higher perspective, all of the experiences in our lives are happening for us, not “to” us.

While things may create suffering on an egoic level, there is often a different layer of meaning from a higher perspective. You must be willing to look for the hidden order in your perceived chaos. Ask yourself:

What am I supposed to learn?

How did I play a part in the creation of this, and what habits or behaviours do I need to clear?

How can I grow from this?

These questions will take you out of a state of learned helplessness and begin shifting your mind to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

I recently worked with a client whose house burnt down. She was overcome with grief. While discussing the situation, she mentioned to me that it was also days within the ten-year anniversary of her husband’s death.

I asked her if she felt that the two situations were somehow connected. Right away, she mentioned that she had still kept all of her husband’s belongings in that house and their bedroom exactly the same, more than ten years later.

She also mentioned how consistently her family begged her to move on. One family member specifically said to her, “If you don’t let go and choose to move on, the universe will eventually force you to.” She felt that this was a lesson in moving forward in her life, and in letting go. She also knew that by holding on so tightly to the past, she was preventing new love and peace of mind from entering her life.

She knew it was time to let go, and as challenging as it would be, it couldn’t be more painful than spending every day trying to pretend that nothing had changed.

Finding the lesson is an important first step to opening our minds to the evolutionary process, and finding a higher meaning in the sequence of events occurring in our lives.

“The wound is the place where the light enters.”    – Rumi

2. See The Other Side

 Beyond simply learning from our experiences, we can also find the hidden benefits in all of the circumstances we are faced with.

Our beliefs and expectations will often create one-sided stories in our mind about whether events are good or bad. This often causes us to focus primarily on the drawbacks of unmet expectations. And yet the exact events that challenge us most in life often have the greatest unseen blessings embedded within them.

Ask yourself, “What are the unseen benefits of this traumatic experience?”

Based on the natural laws of duality that exist on our planet, this technique I’ve learned from Dr. Nima Rahmany in The Overview Method is very effective. It works to un-filter your selective perception so that you can see both sides in a traumatic situation.

Where are you being supported in the face of this challenge? How is this trauma actually supporting the things you care about most in your life?

If you are courageous enough, you will be willing to go directly into the challenges you face, open up your perspective, and do the work. The more benefits you find, the closer you will get to neutralizing the feeling of loss within yourself.

3. Look Beyond Your Perspective

There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is a feedback loop, while suffering is the story we create about the pain itself. It adds another layer to our pain

If someone else has hurt you, ask yourself: “Why, according to this person’s life story and perception of events, did this person feel justified in making their decision?”

Every single one of us makes a decision because the combination of our conscious + subconscious mind believes there are more benefits than drawbacks in that decision.

This means that everyone is always doing the best they can with what they understand at the time. And more often than not, the people who do the most careless or destructive things are often the ones hurting the most.

The same principle applies to you also, meaning that the notion of having regret is illusory. It is based on only being able to see the conscious mind’s perspective, putting us in a state of limited awareness. If we could open up the selective filter and see the bigger picture, we would find that the subconscious mind saw greater benefits in our decision at the time, that we weren’t consciously aware of.

In the words of Yehuda Berg, “Hurt people, hurt people.” With awareness and understanding, we can work to break the cycle.

4. Find What’s Missing

In the case of a traumatic loss, developed by Dr. John DeMartini:

All positive and negative particles in the universe are created simultaneously, in perfect one-to-one balance. We are made of these particles, and if these laws apply to all matter (in both quantum mechanics and classical physics), they must apply to the whole.

This perfect one-to-one balance exists within all things, but our senses create imbalanced perceptions. It is completely normal to become attached to the form of what we’ve lost, but it can be very healing to find where what we’re missing still exists in our lives.

Ask yourself, “What do I miss about who/what I’ve lost?”

For example, let’s say that you’ve lost a friend and you miss:

  1. His sense of humour
  2. Having deep conversations with him
  3. Playing video games
  4. His awesome hugs

Keep listing until you’ve covered all of the things you miss about that person.

Now, see where these things still appear in your life, but in different forms:

  1. Who do you laugh with now/who has a good sense of humour?
  2. Who do you have deep conversations with now?

Go through all of the traits that you’ve listed. Sometimes, you’ll have to look very carefully to open up your selective perception. The things you miss in your friend might not only come in the form of other people. For example, you might laugh with your aunt or siblings more often, but you might also find yourself watching more comedy television or funny videos.

If you look carefully, you will find that what you’re missing isn’t actually gone, it has only changed forms. Universal laws state that everything is always in a state of balance, a state of wholeness. While grieving is a necessary part of dealing with trauma, it is often the form we are attached to that creates the most suffering.

Then, what are the benefits of these new forms, that the old one didn’t have?

Some of these questions can be challenging to go through, but if you truly want to create transformation, they are well worth it.

Love yourself enough to do the work, ask the questions, and set yourself free. You deserve it.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Virgo: Taking Important Steps Forward

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8 minute read

Before you begin...

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

IMAGE CREDIT: Sergey Svistunov

We are having a Full Moon in Virgo on February 27th which will appear the brightest on the night of the 26th for countries West of Central Asia and on the night of the 27th for countries East of there. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Aquarius on February 11th/12th. The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

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

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

Virgo is an Earth sign ruled by Mercury. It is associated with tasks, duty, service, productivity, practicality, organizing, analyzing, perfection, physical health, cleanliness, sustainability, and purity. It is systematic, detailed, discerning, discriminating, diligent, and efficient. Virgo corresponds with problem solving, adjusting to changing conditions, and coming up with solutions. Negatively, Virgo energy can be cynical, overly critical, fussy, high strung, and too much in the head.

Pisces is a Water sign linked to Neptune and traditionally ruled by Jupiter. It is associated with sensitivity, compassion, empathy, spirituality, creativity, art, inspiration, dreams, imagination, oneness, and idealism. Pisces can be psychic, mystical, healing, and retreating. Negatively, this sign can also be unrealistic, flaky, elusive, delusional, and deceptive. Drugs, alcohol, escapism, fantasy, and illusions are also under the domain of Pisces.

Full Moon Opposing Venus and Trine Uranus, Both Planets In A Sextile With Each Other

This Full Moon is in a trine with Uranus in Taurus. This can be a stimulating energy which can be good for trying new things or anything involving originality, innovation, technology, metaphysics, or science. Some people may also experience breakthroughs or surprises in a way that is welcoming and beneficial in most cases.

The Full Moon also opposes Venus in Pisces which will be closely behind the Sun over the next month until they make an exact conjunction in late March. Venus themes pertaining to love, relationships, friends, values, pleasures, money, and aesthetics may also be at odds with duties and other Virgo themes mentioned. This can also emphasize certain Piscean energies such as creativity, art, escapism, and intoxication. However, if we emphasize the Virgo side of the polarity, this can also be good for productive efforts around our relations, finances, art, or other Venus ruled areas of life.

The combination of all of this can also reflect taking new creative approaches to things which can be potentially for our work. Social, romantic, and financially related occurrences and undertakings can be exciting, unusual, liberating, ingenious, tech related, or experience a positive and/or evolutionary change. Generally, Venus in Pisces can also bring a magical, spiritual, or compassionate tone in our relations with others which can also play into this configuration with Uranus. This energy will build up as we approach March 3rd/4th when Venus will make its exact sextile with Uranus.

Virgo Ruler Mercury Conjunct Jupiter & In Post Retrograde Shadow

The ruler of this Full Moon is Mercury which had finished its retrograde in Aquarius on February 20th/21st. From that point until March 12th/13th it is in its post retrograde shadow which is the conclusion of the retrograde process. Certain areas of our lives that have experienced shifts, complications, changes in perception, or revisitation over the last month are becoming more clear. Things will fall into place more easily and we will be in a better position to proceed ahead in a way that is revised based on what has transpired.

Mercury is closely approaching a conjunction with Jupiter in the same sign of Aquarius. This can be good for anything educational or applying our minds in expansive or explorative ways. Thinking or communicating about the big picture, ideals, or undertakings involving media, marketing, or foreign places may also come up. This energy will be strong on March 4th/5th and build up as we approach that date.

Halfway Point Between Eclipses with Squares To Lunar Nodes

This Full Moon is in a square aspect with the previous Lunar Eclipse in Gemini which is also a grand cross when we factor in the oppositions with the Sun. The period between now and the next New Moon in Pisces marks the halfway period between the previous eclipse season in November/December (which also included a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius) and the upcoming one in May/June.

We may experience developments pertaining to the themes of these eclipses. It can be a time of making important steps forward while also releasing certain expressions of ourselves or expired aspects of our life to help us in our evolution. The areas of our lives that are being affected by these eclipses depend on how they are configured to our natal astrology charts and are also connected to expressions of Gemini and Sagittarius.

Developments connected to communication, information, duality, intellectual matters, our immediate environment, local issues, neighborhood/neighbors, or siblings, cousins, or friends from an earlier part of our life can be part of this process. This is represented by the North Node and previous Lunar Eclipse in Gemini. The Sagittarius side of this polarity can reflect shifts connected to beliefs, opinions, dogmas, judgments, morals, higher education, travel, foreign lands, and excessiveness.

A significant part of this halfway period will be on March 5th/6th when the Sun will be in a square with the Lunar nodes. The themes and potentialities mentioned in the above paragraphs can come up more strongly at that time. Considerations may involve where we are coming from and where we are heading or being stuck between things that can be holding us back and things that can facilitate growth. Activities and developments happening at this time can also involve incorporating beneficial aspects of the past and applying/experiencing them in an evolved or forward moving way.

On March 9th/10th, Venus will also be in a square with the Lunar Nodes. The themes mentioned in the above paragraph may come up again. However, they can also involve Venus ruled areas such as love, friendships, financial matters, values, pleasures, art, aesthetics, and creativity. We may experience turning points or perhaps we may also feel that we are at a crossroads when it comes to these areas.

Things To Consider

How can you integrate creativity, compassion, spirituality, inspiration, originality, or innovation into your work, duties, and service to others? What new approaches can you take for your health or to help you be more organized, productive, and efficient? Do you need to be more attentive to details? What is coming up for you now, and in the days prior to this Full Moon, that is bringing more clarity to help you move forward in a revised way? How do your friendships, social network, groups, the collective, technology, innovation, ideals, the big picture, education, or media tie in to this?

Is there a connection between current/recent developments, issues, insights, realizations, or ideas with happenings that occurred for you back in November and/or December? If so, these newer developments can be a next step for you to proceed forward in new ways and move on from certain behaviors, tendencies, or aspects of life that are holding you back.

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 at 8:17am Universal Time on February 27th. 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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I’m currently doing a DISCOUNT with 20-30% off personal readings Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual 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.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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