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Personal Transformation

Finding Inner Strength to be Vulnerable in Relationships

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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.

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.

--> Our latest podcast episode: Were humans created by extraterrestrials? Joe sits down with Bruce Fenton, multidisciplinary researcher and author to explore the fascinating evidence behind this question. Click here to listen!

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

Four Key Elements Of “True Love” According To The Teaching of The Buddha

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk explains the four key elements of "true love" according to the teaching of the Buddha.

  • Reflect On:

    Where does our idea of love come from these days? How much of it is influenced by pop culture? Is a relationship necessary to experience true love, is it something we can experience within ourselves and with our relationship with family and friends?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

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.

What is love? What is ‘true’ love? Can it even be defined? Is it even dependant on being in a relationship with someone? Our idea of what true love is today may comes from a fairytale, movie, or reality TV show, and the definition has likely changed many times. But we all have certain conditions attached to our idea of what love is, or some sort of criteria drawn up for what our ‘perfect match’ would look like, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. Perhaps true love is much more simple than popular culture would have us believe. As Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk) explains below, if there is love/kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness, according to Buddhist teaching, you are experiencing true love. It’s pretty simple. True love doesn’t necessarily have to be something magical that sprung out of a fairy tale, although if that’s the case there’s nothing wrong with that either.

The main points taken from the video are that love and kindness have the power to create happiness.  When you are able to develop  feelings of joy and happiness in yourself, that’s true love, offered to yourself. If you can generate these feelings, and help the other person generate these feelings, that’s true love. So, if you are a source of joy and happiness for another, that is true love. True love is the capacity to make yourself suffer less, and help the other person suffer less. “There is an art of suffering. If you know how to suffer, you suffer much, much less.” Practice compassion and it will grow and if love does not generate joy, it’s not love. If love makes the other person cry every day, it’s not love.

It seems that “true love” can be a choice. You can choose to be in a relationship and cultivate these feelings with anybody. “True love is capable of generating joy for yourself and for the other person.” What do you think ‘true love’ is?

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

9 Common Traits Among People Who Are Genuinely Happy

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a list of common traits I've observed in people who are genuinely happy. It's a great list and something we can all learn and grow from.

  • Reflect On:

    Is happiness dependent on external factors, or is it something found within? These common traits have nothing to do with the material world, but more so represent changes we can all make within, a shift in consciousness.

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

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.

Happiness: the term thrown around more often than any other when people are asked what they aspire to most in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job, and endless world travel are also among some of the most common answers, but all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness.

Being so sought-after, I thought I’d put together a list of traits that seem to be common to happy people — and I’m talking about the genuinely happy people, not just those who appear to be so on the surface.

In compiling this list I’m not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness; I simply hope to shed light on some common characteristics I’ve noticed happy people share. I am also not implying that happy people don’t experience moments and periods of unhappiness in their lives.

1. Love Themselves For Who They Are

On the surface this may sound incredibly egotistical, but I simply mean that they are truly comfortable in their own shoes. They accept and embrace their physical appearance, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval for them, and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living, rather than wallow in what others would define as weaknesses or shortcomings.

2. See Relationships as an Extension To, Rather Than the Basis Of, The Human Experience

Relationships, whether friendly, familial, or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them, dictate our overall happiness in life. I’ve found that genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension of their already complete self. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of our truest and most valuable relationships form.

3. Embrace Change

Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions, and take criticism constructively rather than with offence.

4. Celebrate Rather Than Despair in the Accomplishments of Others

Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate those successes and use them as motivation to accomplish more within their own lives.

5. Never Dwell in Being a Victim

We’ve all been the so-called “victim” of several things in life, whether it be an unexpected breakup, job termination, or even domestic abuse. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in the feeling of having been wronged. They choose to let their difficult experiences strengthen them, rather than wear them as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy.

6. They Live in the Present

As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only that, they use that knowledge as motivation to make the most of each and every moment. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them rather than distracted by future concerns.

7. Trust That Everything Happens For a Reason

This can easily be paired with the choice against victimhood, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it or wallowing in self-pity.

8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives

Nobody is denying that, in this world right now, we all need money to exist, and as a result, many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. What I’ve found sets happy people apart is that they don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, or C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and only recognizing and valuing the traditional ways of making money cripples that creativity.

9. Look Within For Solutions

One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes with not only realizing this truth but also using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques, and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and to sign up to receive a copy of my free eBook.

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

Consciousness

Your “Shadow Self.” How To Face It, Bring It To Light & Transcend It

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7 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.

“What you most need will be found where you least want to look, but you have to look purposefully. If it chases you, then you’re the prey; if you confront it, you can transcend it.” – Jordan Peterson

There is a lot written about shadow and what it is. The direction is clear. Shadow is something we repress and hide from others, and in most cases, from ourselves. Where does it originate and what can we do to integrate or heal it?

Let’s begin by asking ‘why we have a shadow?’ Is it because we carry darkness at our core or does the shadow take shape over our lifetime as residue of fear, rage, shame and guilt, and their avoidance? I’d say a little bit of both. On the human collective level, we carry trauma related to suffering and aggression of our ancestors. But for the most part, our shadow develops during this lifetime in the form of a complex and sophisticated personality, that keeps us with a sense of control.

Deep down we feel vulnerable but try to hide it

Our inner world is complex and for some, unbearable. We continuously face and fear exposure of our contradictory complexity, towards ourselves and others. Instead of delving into the depth of our psyche and inviting more consciousness, we would rather guard ourselves. The more conscious we are, the more responsible we become for our actions. One of the reasons we so meticulously hide our shadow is because we don’t want to carry the consequence of our actions. And so, our vulnerability and shadow are closely linked.

There are many effective ways not to feel vulnerable and retain a sense of innocence. Abiding by a strict morality, adhering to ideologies, be they social, political or spiritual, or relying on religious dogma, all achieve exactly that protection. The kind of protection in which we cradle ourselves in feelings of righteousness and innocence. This is not to imply we shouldn’t seek for our actions to be moral or avoid believing but to become aware when they are used in service of feeling superior over others. Interestingly enough, our wish to remain innocent is a big shadow in and of itself.

So, while we’re busy repressing and controlling, the shadow feeds and grows with every attempt to fight off rejection, humiliation or punishment, as well as situations that leave us feeling guilty and ashamed

Here are some examples of how our shadow hides our vulnerability. Let’s say we want to be recognized for something we’ve done. Instead of asking for acknowledgment, we hide it through false humility and become resentful for not getting the attention we feel we deserve. Another example is our need to belong and be important to others. But again, instead of communicating this need, which makes us vulnerable to rejection, we make others feel important in the hope of being praised for our actions. Over time we’ve developed innumerable sophisticated ways to sugarcoat our shadows and feel in control.

Shadow integration begins with an honesty that seeks nothing in return

We can see, that most shadow has to do with survival attempts of some kind. This happens when we try to control our environments by behaving as victims, gaining respect through false humility, moral superiority and other forms of manipulation. When we talk about shadow integration, it’s crucial we are precise as to what the facets of our shadow are.

We want to, for example, be able to say, while refraining from any judgment, that ‘I smile at others, in order not to be attacked’ or ‘I control my partner by making him or her feel guilty’. Any judgment of what we discover in ourselves is a hidden attempt at victimizing ourselves and finding excuses. The ‘why’ is of secondary importance here, because the list of reasons is endless and the absolute source is difficult to pinpoint, but the urge to limit our vulnerability is still there.

This may be a good moment to say, that shadow integration is not about redemption, but about understanding the inner workings of vulnerability and protection, which are closely linked to our sense of survival, both physical and emotional.

Furthermore, we want to face our shadows, not to feel better or lighter in the future, but in order to become more integrated within ourselves and lessen the sense of separation that the shadow produces. We want to return integrity that comes with the responsibility of belonging to a history and culture that experiences a great deal of suffering and is greater than our individual selves. Integrating our shadow implies allowing the darkness to be part of us, without the desire to surpass it.

Drop the hope for a pain-free life

When we face our shadow, we want to fully own the aggression, fear, selfishness or greed living inside us. We want to clarify first and foremost to ourselves how we play power games and seek control. This acknowledgment doesn’t necessarily reduce the hurt to ourselves or others or enable us to change. There is no certain outcome from shadow integration and that’s a tough pill to swallow. What we’re ‘simply’ doing, is bringing something hidden to light, without the attempt to make it more or less significant or dramatic, but rather see it as it is, thereby becoming more aware.

The more emotionality we induce into the characterization of our shadow, the less integration takes place. Shadow integration should be a non-dramatic act, surrounded by a hint of coolness, where we observe who we’ve become. We will feel the pain of lies, betrayal and hurt to others during this observation. And in the process of doing so, holding back judgment, positive or negative, is truly challenging. How is it possible ‘not to comment’ on what we regard as a personal experience? We need to understand that any commentary also contains the attempt to change the experience, be it freeing or punishing to us.

Healing the shadow is a magical process in which we are the participant, not the director

The great challenge in shadow integration is to grow our capacity to be with or hold an experience without having the ability to change it. What has been done is in the past and can’t be undone; it can only be held and by holding it patiently, more facets can emerge and be seen. Like when a child injures itself, we can only hold them to share the pain of waiting for healing to take place, but the magic of healing has its own mysterious timeline.

When we own our shadow, it puts us in a helpless and humbling place. It shows us our limitations and that is something we don’t want to feel. Maximizing our potential for our own feelings of greatness is just another shadow. Acknowledging the limitation of our potential, without minimizing our strength or exercising false humility, allows us to share our light.

Life comes with a lot of limitations and the shadow tries to interfere with life itself. Facing our shadow is a spiritual act as we embrace and allow a little more of our human totality to be included. Through this experience, we can get in touch with a humility and simplicity, that can often touch something at our core, which is mystically meaningful and expanding.

Integration comes from a place that is non-dramatic, because drama always takes sides, and it makes us miss the simplicity lying in the acknowledgment of human complexity. Shadow integration is a lifelong and even a magical process. It happens when we are completely truthful, giving up all deals with God or fate, and surrendering to what we essentially are: vulnerable. We want to invite feeling the pain our shadow reveals to us without seeking redemption. In a way, every time we say yes to a shadow part in us, we agree to re-enter continuous vulnerability of being human.

This is where integration begins.

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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