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

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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?

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I felt like Trump’s presence in the spotlight would wake us up to the fact that our world is run by men who embody an outdated model of “Masculine Success.”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

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The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Libra: Approaching Changes

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

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

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

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

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

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Opposing Sun/Uranus Conjunction

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

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

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

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

Mars Square Neptune, Mercury and Venus in Aries Conjunct Chiron

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

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

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

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

Saturn and Pluto Going Retrograde Near The South Node

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

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

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

Things To Consider During This Period

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

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

These are just some examples of themes that could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime over the two weeks following, when it is waning. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on the night of April 19th at 11:12am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Consciousness

Embodied Spirituality: The Truth Shall Set You Free

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

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

  • Reflect On:

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

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

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

Why does it require all of me to be honest?

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

The Power of (False) Belief

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

—Rumi

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

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

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

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

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

Being Human is Very Spiritual

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

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

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

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

Science & Critical Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s True for Me”

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

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

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

What’s True “Out There”

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

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

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

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

Warriorship

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

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

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

Embodied Spirituality

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

 

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Purging The Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Moon and Mercury Aspecting Jupiter, Venus Conjunct Neptune

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

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

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

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

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

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time; however, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. It will be occurring at 8:50am Universal Time on April 5th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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