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Finding Inner Strength to be Vulnerable in Relationships

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Tantric Intimacy holds the potential to connect us completely. We drop our guards and allow our whole self to flow into another person as we totally receive them as well. This creates a seemingly magical circuit of loving energy that can take us to infinite, wondrous places.

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This is very simple to say and completely natural for us to do.

Yet, we struggle. How can we be safe to do this? How can I be open when I don’t know if I can trust this other person completely? What if I get hurt? What if I give myself completely, and my heart gets broken?

These fears keep our walls up, and so the magic of this kind of open, free-flowing connection eludes us, no matter how much tantra we study.

Your Inner Connection Makes You Whole

“Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of the stars.”

– Serbian proverb

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The foundation of tantra is always our personal spiritual connection. However you define God/Spirit/Consciousness/Zen, it is our deep and trusting connection to this mystery that brings us great inner strength (and humility).

As the proverb above says, we are both made of earth AND the stars. What does that mean to you? What does it mean to be made of the stars? The beauty of tantra is that it embraces both aspects of being human and blends them together to create the whole beings that we are meant to be.

For some of us, we get lost in the day-to-day movements of life — jobs, relationships, kids, politics, fears, hopes, etc. All of these things exist in the physical three-dimensional world in which we live. They are very real. They hold incredible opportunities for joy, growth, pain, and a myriad of other incredible experiences.

But we are more than that.

Somehow, we are also mystery, infinity, everything, everyone, nothingness, all-powerful, and all-knowing. This reality isn’t really possible to understand with our brain because our brain belongs to the physical world. And our language best describes things that happen in this world. Everything that happens in the “spirit” world cannot be described adequately in our language. We have words like “AWEsome,” “INCREDible,” “AMAZing.” All of these words simply mean that we cannot describe how we feel. These are all spiritually-inspired experiences.

The magic of tantra is the ability to blend these two worlds — to live within our physical bodies in our specific spot on the space-time continuum and also to know that infinite energy and possibilities flow through us in every second.

This is when we truly become tantric.

This Connection Gives Us Inner Strength

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

– Heraclitus

When we feel this deep connection within us, we become strong regardless of our circumstances. The world around us (including those people we choose to love) is always changing. This is the human condition. We are naturally in a constant state of change, growth, and flux.

Tantric Intimacy teaches that kindness and respect are the foundation of all loving connection. But although we may be diligent in how we treat others, those we love may struggle with this based on their upbringings and past experiences. So how do we still open ourselves without risking being hurt?

We cultivate this deep, inner spiritual connection.

You can do this through any path that works for you. It could be through the works of the mystics of all faiths. (Mystics always seek a direct experience of God.) It could be through meditation and mindfulness. It could be through running or horse-back riding. Whatever it is that connects you with that deep, still place where you can feel the stillness and hear your own personal guidance.

When we cultivate this deep connection, we find something called “Divine Courage.” This courage comes from within and helps us have the faith to take steps in our life that are new, exciting, and possibly a little scary. But the beautiful thing is that the courage came from within. This means that if it doesn’t work out the way we planned, we will also have that strength on the other side of the experience. That strength will give us the meditative mind to observe what happened with understanding and compassion. The experience won’t break us (even if it hurts). We will feel the growth and expansiveness of what happened instead of focusing on the pain.

This Divine Courage is what takes us to incredible places on each step on our tantric journey.

Merging Becomes Effortless

“A healthy ego is no more afraid of sacred union than a raindrop is of merging with the ocean.”

– Jalaja Bonheim

When we have this deep connection within, we are able to walk in the world quite fearless. We know that we are not alone. We are strong, yet we are completely humble.

So, when we find someone that we love, whether it is a friend, child, or lover, it is easy to be open with them. It is easy to share who we truly are. We don’t need to put up façades or pretend that we are something that we are not. We let them see right into our souls. Because of course, we know that we are all made of the same stuff. Our soul is the same as theirs.

Of course, we also have discernment. Because we are already whole ourselves, we don’t feel the need to merge with EVERYONE. In fact, it isn’t really recommended. There are a lot of people who don’t actually want to merge in that way. They just want to be near you, but to stay separate emotionally. That is awesome. We too, will feel that way sometimes.

But there will also be occasions where someone appears in our life and true, beautiful connection is possible and desired. And then we can sit in personal strength, drop our guards, and let them in. We can experience the beautiful flow that is possible between humans.

True tantric connection.

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Consciousness

If You Do One Thing At Christmas Make It This: Acts Of Kindness

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Gentleness and kindness will make our homes a paradise upon earth. C. A. Bartol

As we enter into the ‘silly season’ I felt inspired to write about what I wish Christmas could mean for everyone.

In a world where we have so much focus on material goods, (and never is this more obvious than at Christmas time)  I think its time to touch on something that is far more important.

And that is, have you ever thought about what exactly the true meaning of Christmas might be? What do you think it is?  Being with family and friends? Eating a lot of good food or going away somewhere nice?  Yes it can be all of that, but for me, it is more about giving.

Not the giving of expensive presents to family members and friends, but instead, giving to those that need it most.

Yes, I know that is a cliche, but its a valid one, and it is so very important right now.

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Only We Will Make The Changes Needed

Looking at the state of the world, with all of it’s chaos, more and more people are suffering.  Homelessness is reaching unprecedented levels in many ‘first world’ countries, there are more than 114,000 people living on the streets alone in California (with likely even more since those terrifying fires a few weeks ago), and in the UK, it has recently been reported that 1 in 200 people are homeless.   Hungary have recently declared that homelessness is a crime.

We are countries with access to enormous wealth, yet our governments are cutting funding for important programs to look after our most vulnerable people.

A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men. Thomas Carlyle

Seeing that this has become a global problem, and one that is not improving,  it has become clearer to me, that only WE can really make the differences needed now.  It truly sits on our shoulders as individuals to make more of a conscious effort to help those around us.

We have to stop waiting for others to sweep in and make these changes, we have to help do it ourselves.

I know, many may say ‘I am struggling myself to survive’ or ‘ I don’t have any spare money’, but kindness to others can be totally free.

For inspiration, please watch this beautiful and touching clip below that really lets you feel the power of kindness.  I am sure that even by watching this clip, many of you will be inspired now to go and do something for someone in need.  I was inspired to write this article after viewing this clip and I know it will create a domino effect!

You know, it’s not actually that hard to be kind.  You just have to have your mind ready to see an opportunity for being helpful to someone else.

Being kind to others, is actually a gift to yourself, the joy you feel in your heart when you do something nice and thoughtful for others, is a truly amazing feeling. It literally gives your heart a big happy bursting feeling. It feels like real love.

Science Shows Kindness Is Good For You

There actually is scientific evidence that being kind is very good for your own health, and for the other people who experience your kindness.  Kindness can also create a domino effect, and your act alone could end up helping many people, perhaps hundreds of event thousands.

Giving beats any short lived feeling you get from buying something material when you know that you have made a difference to someone else, especially when it helps them when they are at their lowest point.

If I have spare change in my bag, I do try and give to homeless people, (or instead buy them a meal) and despite that some will say ‘we shouldn’t encourage it’ I feel this is very unfair, as we never know their back story and how they ended up on the streets.

I think many of us turn our backs on them (like I used to) because if we really thought about it, we are probably petrified that we could end up like that.  For this reason alone, if you can, give, because would you not hope that people would help you if you were in the same position?

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. John Ruskin

Kindness unites people like nothing else can and it is what we desperately need to bring our fractured societies back together.   With so much division between us now, what can heal this is our acts of kindness.

Everyone Matters

Every single person wants to feel that they matter, it’s embedded into our consciousness.  When a stranger does something kind for someone they don’t know it is even more special, because it was their way of saying ‘I see you, I don’t know you, but I care and you matter to me’

I have had many people be kind to me, in times of severe depression, where I nearly ended my life, I always had people show me that I mattered to them and not to give up.

I know this is what got me through those very dark times.  Their acts of kindness, made me realise I wasn’t worthless or truly alone, which brought me to be here today.

I am very lucky now to have this opportunity here at Collective Evolution to now be able to share important things with millions of readers around the world.

Who Will Benefit From Your Own Ripple Effects?

What if no one had of been kind to me when I was so low and in a desperate place? Would I not be here today? I really believe no, that I wouldn’t be.  We all are capable of creating positive ripple effects that can literally go around the world.

This is the power we all have, that you have, to impact someone else’s life positively, and maybe even many other peoples lives.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

Kindness comes in so many forms, and we are all capable of doing many of them.  You just have to open your heart and want to make the effort to do it.

I hope this Christmas you experience kindness in action, and could maybe even consider making a pact to continue this long after the festive season is over.

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Og Mandino

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Consciousness

The Top Reasons Why We Resist Change & How To Stop

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We resist change for many reasons, but ultimately, this comes down to our core. We want to hold onto belief systems, being right, stories that protect our egos. Alternatively, we may fear the unknown, but what is that fear?

  • Reflect On:

    Why do you feel the way you do about certain changes in your life? Must you feel this way? Why do some people embrace change better than others? Is it perhaps they give less power to the stories of their mind?

Our world is full of change right now, and for good reason! Deep down we know and feel that something is a bit ‘stale,’ and we’re following that feeling with outward projections of emotions about our system, politics, what others do, our jobs – quite frankly, many of us are feeling frustrated with how things are.

But do you ever notice yourself resisting events happening in your life? We all go through many different experiences, this article is not to say we cannot make changes and choose to avoid un-favorable experiences entirely, it is simply to say, sometimes we can find ourselves being very resistant to changes that are going on in our lives, and this causes a lot of suffering and ‘stuckness.’

From positive to negative, pain to happiness, laughter to suffering, we must always remember that these are all just experiences. They are part of what allows us to grow and move towards a greater awareness within our soul and life experience.

As tough experiences happen, whether it be a breakup, a lost job, having to move to a new place, not having enough finances, finishing something that can be challenging etc, we generally have two choices. We can choose the route of remaining upset and resisting the whole process, making it very difficult to learn from as we inevitably get stuck in judging what is happening. Or we can choose to accept it for the time being as something that is in our path, a certain temporary barrier if you will, and see what we can gain from it in terms of growth. As we react to the situations, observe the thoughts and emotions that present themselves. ‘Why am I so upset about a lost job?” “Why am I so worried about change?” “What do these changes represent to me that make me feel upset?” “Why am I trying to control the experience so heavily?”

Why We Resist Change – The Core Truth

Now it might be easy to say that these are all natural feelings anyone would feel when going through these experiences because they are ‘human nature,’ but this would not be true, simply because these reactions are learned behaviours we get from how we have been taught to react to certain experiences. It is not an innate knowing from our soul for us to be upset and freak out when we lose a job for example. Some of us react and some of us don’t. These reactions are typically fueled by our own patterns, triggers, belief systems, fears, and can be further fueled by collective consciousness. This is why we resist change, plain and simple. We are protecting or running from the various aspects of ourselves listed above that keep us confined in our minds, re-playing the same reactions and experiences over and over.

Some people will suggest that some of us embrace change better than others, the simple answer to why that is is that some of us don’t give as much power to our minds stories. That’s truly all it is at its core. Not resisting change comes down to letting go of the mind’s stories about everything you do or are about to do.

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We are very much in control of how we feel during inevitable changes and challenges as we can choose to disempower the suffering that we often dive into. The truth is, we can feel peace in many of these circumstances, we simply need to remain conscious, aware and reflective as the events play out, and pay attention to what might be pulling us out of peace. We can, of course, FEEL what is first expressed, sit with it and truly understand it, but how long we sit with this is up to us, and is not the fault of the experience.

Resisting change is sometimes like trying to swim against the current. Sometimes we do not always see the perfection in what might be playing out so we try hard to keep it all in place i.e. we resist! Think about letting go of the need to control and instead let things go and flow as they need to. In most cases, we find that things are never as bad as we often assume they will be, and in the end, we feel great for having experienced it all.

How We Can Stop Resisting Change

So next time we find ourselves resisting, remember to try out these steps:

1. Pause for a moment in the situation
2. Observe your current emotions, sit with them if you must. Taking the time to slow down and understand what is going on within you will give you clarity so you aren’t simply saying “I’m mad” but instead are able to say “I’m mad because I’m feeling insecure or disempowered or disrespected etc”
3. Reflect on why these things truly bother you. As you understand what the emotions or triggers are that are coming up you will see what power you give to them and why.
4. Let go of what you are trying to control or avoid (keeping yourself out of danger of course)
5. Choose to take the situation moment by moment without judging it
6. Write down how you feel if it helps, likewise, you can talk to someone.

Helpful questions:

Why am I afraid of what’s to come? What are all the possible reasons that come up in my mind?

What do I feel is going to happen that I’m so worried about? Will it affect how people perceive me? My financial stability? Where do these stories even come from? Society? My friends? Parents?

The Takeaway

The bottom line is, when you notice yourself going back to the same frustrations, judgements, anger, blame, fear, worry, or anxiety about something, you know there is something there that’s triggering you, and it’s within you. The only way to peace and moving beyond that suffering is through processing the emotions and letting go of the belief systems, patterns of ideas in your mind that are causing such reactions.

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Consciousness

What Does It Even Mean To “Be The Best Version Of Yourself?”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The self-help space often markets the term 'living the best version of yourself.' But what does this even mean? What are we truly seeking?

  • Reflect On:

    Humanity is in a deep exploration to find higher states of consciousness and live our authentic self. Finding and expressing your authentic self can be practiced by exploring the questions and reflections laid out in the article.

Walking down the self-help aisle of any bookstore may yield you a plethora of book titles and subtitles referencing ‘becoming the best of version yourself.’ You might pick up a book, turn it over to read the back cover and find a series of recommendations from prominent authors stating ‘this book will bring you to a whole new level’ or ‘this book truly unlocks your hidden riches.’ Excited, you might open to the table of contents, hoping to find some early insight or tips on what you can try right away:

“Today’s challenge,” “Who are you?,” “Learning to love yourself,” “Being the best you.” These may be the first few chapter titles you come across, but you may be left with the question, that may not even be answered in the book, “What does it mean to be the best version of yourself?’

A question that many are trying to answer.

I will start by saying marketing a book can be a difficult task. I have been working towards publishing my first book and every publisher I talk to wants to know that title and subheadline right away so they know how easy it will be to sell your book. The insurgence of self-help books has been huge over the last few years. Thousands of inspired and well-meaning authors have felt the urge to write a book, and so they do.

But from my experience, many are repeating what has been learned in one book or another, or seem to be coming from a place of learning, but not quite mastery. Something that shouldn’t stop someone from writing a book, but more so reveals that the advice we’re getting in these books can often be incomplete, inexperienced or based on egoic ideas of the subjects being discussed. This isn’t to say any of this work is bad or anything, just that there is much more to the picture.

Are We Running In Circles?

I have been working on myself for 12 years and have been through many different phases. In no way would I call myself a leading expert in self-help or anything, but I’m consistently let down by the state of consciousness within many of these books. I feel it keeps people running in circles, chasing one thing or the next or it has people feeling like they need to act a certain way in order to appear a certain way. Are we really getting to the core of what we are seeking?

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I’ve been writing a book for quite some time and note that there are many important nuances that are learned and expressed with much internal observation and practice. Yet it seems today we want quick fixes and instant healings in order to move past what we feel. Yet I feel in many cases, through the popular work being spread around, we are only temporarily band-aiding the inner aspects of ourselves that are crying to come out and be released.

It’s in the marketing and in the lack of experience that I feel the term ‘live the best version of yourself’ truly comes from. It has an allure that somehow you will find the best aspect of you and live it always. It suggests, vaguely, that perhaps this will unlock your wildest dreams or make you be the best at something. The fact that it leaves room for interpretation is great for marketing, but does it push us towards a goal that is actually contrary to what most of us who end up buying these books are truly seeking?

Are we running in circles? Photo by: Pedro Alamo Orellana

Scratching ‘The Best Version’ Idea

First off, I strongly feel we need to let go of the whole idea of ‘being the best version of ourselves.’ I feel we’ve played with polarity long enough and are ready for some deeper truths.

What I’m going to share is what I’ve gathered from my own life’s experience. I have been exploring myself, my consciousness and reflecting on how I BE in this world for many years. I have done this with the help of a mentor and many hours of personal reflection. Instead of moving from book to book, I was fortunate to start my journey by simply spending a lot of time with myself, exploring meditation and developing a strong connection to my inner knowing, yet remaining open to asking for help when needed. I’ve remembered that there is no ‘best version of yourself.’ There’s simply you.

You can be a funny word in itself. Is it ‘you’ the mind? Is ‘you’ the soul? Is ‘you’ the higher self? Is ‘you’ the ego? Is ‘you’ your personality? Who are you?!

This is an important place to begin because it changes so much of how we seek to live the best version of ourselves, or as I like to call it ‘our authentic self.‘ Like I said above, scratching the idea of ‘best version of yourself’ is a great place to stop playing within polarity and ideas, and instead recognize knowing and neutrality. Higher consciousness, what many of us are seeking whether we are consciously aware of it or not, plays in a realm of neutrality, where we recognize experiences are what they are, we can learn from them as they take place, and where we don’t seek to see everything as right or wrong, worst or best.

To Be Fair

The actual definition many of these books are portraying for ‘the best version of self’ can be different, and some can actually be quite authentic. However, I still find there is much room to consider re-thinking the subject, or rather, begin feeling about it.

To me, the self-help space could really be summed up as humanity seeking ways beyond our self-imposed limitations, belief systems, and suffering, ultimately seeking to live our true authentic selves. We are, in some ways, a society that does not seek deep truths but instead moves from platitude to platitude as we search for deeper understanding. Like my mentor taught me, taking the road straight to the core is a lot easier and less painful than spending years jumping from trend to trend or belief system to belief system. While my journey has had phases, the core understanding and methods for how I move past pain and challenges has never changed – I go to the core, no band-aids needed.

What does it look like to live your authentic self? It means being aware of how we often operate from our minds, ego’s, belief systems, societally programmed beliefs, patterns etc. and instead begin living from a deeper knowing within ourselves. Something that touches how we truly FEEL about decisions, situations, and experiences in our lives. Not what we think we should do to impress someone, uphold a certain stature or because that’s the ‘smart’ thing to do, but because we truly connect with and feel it.

An example of this is choosing to walk away from a relationship we are not happy in even if it means the other person will have to grow past the initial pain they will feel when the relationship ends. Not only will it be growth for you within yourself, but the other person will also find themselves through the process as well so long as they choose to do the work.

Another example might be learning to move past the complaining we often do about a particular job, to move onto a job or experience we’ve always wanted to do. First off, we may not always be doing ‘the most ideal job’ but it doesn’t mean we can’t find peace and be our authentic self within that job. While there, communicate with others based on your TRUE authenticity, make decisions and deal with challenges in the workplace based on that authenticity. Your actions and ways of being in these situations can bring higher consciousness to the workplace in a deep way. We don’t always have to ‘serve’ by doing work in the ‘consciousness’ space, we can serve anywhere, at any time.

Further to the example above, perhaps we have always wanted to leave our current job, are ready to but are fearful of taking the leap because of what others might think or that we might not make enough money in another position. Living authentically might look like taking that leap past the stories and fears that are holding us back from doing what we know inside is what we want to do. In this case, we’re not judging our current job, hate it or hate the people there, we are simply at peace but fearful of the unknown. A great time to further explore and express our authentic self.

Exploring Your Authentic Self

The examples above give an idea of how we can look at our current lives and see where we are or aren’t living authentically to how we feel inside. Be careful to observe belief systems on this. Sometimes we may still think it’s our authentic self to do something based on a prior belief system we have because we did not connect deeply enough with what we know inside. Sometimes it may take time for us to see this, that’s OK, we are always seeing what we need to in each moment that is exactly what we need for us to keep evolving. The trick is; are we paying close enough attention to move through the signs and knowing that comes from within? Or are we caught up in the mental chatter and daily distraction of everyday life? This is why meditation is key.

Aside from that, you can explore your authentic self, and whether or not you’re living from it, simply by asking yourself reflective questions when you are unsure. Am I truly making a decision based on what I feel? Or am I making a decision based on what I’m defending, trying to protect, or think I’m supposed to do?

Your authentic self is expressed in exploring higher levels of consciousness.

These deep inner knowings may not come overnight. It’s a muscle, a practice, and a feeling that takes time to develop. You notice when you are living your authentic self that your life feels different, you are calmer and more in tune with yourself, others and the planet. This muscle takes time to build, and letting go of the old ways of being, states of consciousness and belief systems can take time. Just keep noticing, keep reflecting and keep exploring. There is no wrong in this, it is simply an exploration.

The Takeaway

An individual living their authentic self pushes theirself into higher states of consciousness. This makes an incredibly powerful impact on those around us and in our everyday lives. Beyond this, it also makes an incredibly profound impact on the collective consciousness. This is how we go from creating change within ourselves to creating change within our world.

The path to the changes we are all looking for is practicing living our true authentic self.

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