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5 Brutal Truths To Learn About Life That Will Help You Get It Together (according to Buddhism)

What’s holding you back? Is there something you’re missing that you may not even realize? Here are five brutal truths that will help you become the greatest version of yourself.

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Do you want to be a better person? Do you believe you aren’t reaching your full potential, and know you can do better? What’s stopping you? Is it anxiety? A lack of drive or ambition? Or are you a procrastinator? Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: You can always do better. Perhaps all you really need is some tough love. I mean, someone has to tell you the truth if you aren’t getting it, so allow me.

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Here are five brutally honest truths you need to hear in order to get your shit together.

1. Worrying Does Nothing

“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Another good quote that really puts things into perspective says, “worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.”

The fact is, worrying does not change anything, no matter how much you do it. If you are caught up in your mind worrying about what might or might not happen, you are missing out on what’s happening right now, right in front of you. By making an effort to be more mindful and enjoy the present moment, you can break this habitual practice of worrying. This is just your mind/computer trying to keep you safe, so thank the mind, move on, and tune in to the heart.

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2. We Need to Actively Accept Change

“Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive change on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be linked to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.”

— Daisaku Ikeda

Change is a fact of life. Everything in our lives is constantly changing, and there is nothing we can do to stop it, no matter how much we might try. You’re born and then you die, spring turns into summer, into fall, into winter. You can’t escape change, so the real question here is, how well do you adapt to it when it comes? When you try to keep things the same by resisting change, you are drastically limiting yourself, your experiences, and your potential. Learning to embrace change and to accept it is an extremely powerful tool to assist you on your journey.

3. In Order to Truly Be Happy, You Have to Look at Reality as It Is

People tend to pick and choose what they like about the world and ignore the rest — ignorance is bliss, after all. The main problem here is, without having awareness, how can we effectively create change on this planet? We have to take a deep, hard look at what’s going on around us, not so we live in fear, but so we can understand what is playing out here and why.

So many are trying to stay positive at all costs, to avoid looking at the darkness or feeling negative emotions. But we have to accept these dualities and embrace them if we ever want to be truly free. Buddhist master Pema Chödrön says, “We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs — or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of our reality — or we begin to challenge them. In buddha’s opinion to train in staying open and curious — to train in dissolving assumptions and beliefs is the best use of our human lives.”

He also says:

Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.

Once you embrace and overcome the challenges and darkness, you come out better equipped to handle the next thing life throws your way.

4. The Root Of Suffering Is in the Constant Pursuit of Temporary Feelings

“The real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction.”

This is something that I am FINALLY starting to understand, after years on the spiritual path and doing the inner work. In the past I would compare myself and my situation to others who appeared to be happy. Why can’t I have that? I would often think. But I’ve since learned that striving for happiness can do more harm than good, because once it’s gone, you feel even lower than before. Yet all around us, we are being encouraged to be happy, to live a life full of excitement and adventure, to live our passion every second. On the other hand, when someone expresses emotions or sheds some tears, people are quick to tell them they must be stronger than these emotions, and if they feel sad they must simply not be trying hard enough to be happy. Why do we strive for certain emotions and deny the others?

This is not to say that you can’t experience joy or bliss, because, just like pain, sadness, and suffering, they are a part of life and arise whether you will to them or not. What you can control is whether you attach to your emotions or let them pass. It’s important to realize that finding inner peace brings true happiness; this peace comes from within, and no external thing can change it. When you’ve found this, you are able to accept things as they come — both the good and the bad.

5. Meditation WILL Help Reduce Suffering

This is another that is finally starting to make sense to me. For many years, despite being told over and over again Meditation will help, just try meditation, I would become beyond frustrated because I never really felt that I could do it, had extremely high expectations, and could not stop my thoughts from arising. Nowadays, my perspective toward meditation has shifted, as I’ve learned to drop all the expectations altogether, to accept my thoughts and let them be as they are. I wish someone would have told me the following years ago: “Meditation is not an effort against the mind. It is a way of understanding the mind. It is a very loving way of witnessing the mind.”

Meditation teaches us how impermanent everything is, especially our feelings. If nothing else, it gives us a chance to stop, connect with our breath, and relax, if only for 5-10 minutes a day. By connecting to your breath, you connect to the present moment; it can be as simple as that. All we ever have is now, so don’t miss it.

According to Yuval Noah Harari:

This is the aim of Buddhist meditation practices. In meditation, you are supposed to closely observe your mind and body, witness the ceaseless arising and passing of all your feelings, and realize how pointless it is to pursue them. When the pursuit stops, the mind becomes very relaxed, clear and satisfied. All kinds of feelings go on arising and passing joy, anger, boredom, lust — but once you stop craving particular feelings you can just accept them for what they are. You live in the present moment instead of fantasizing about what might have been. The resulting serenity is so profound that those who spend their lives in the frenzied pursuit of pleasant feelings can hardly imagine it.

Much Love

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Awareness

Research Shows We Can Heal With Vibration, Frequency & Sound

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple studies and examples have shown how sound, frequency and vibration can literally alter physical material matter. Research has also shown that sound, frequencies and vibration can be used as a significant healing method for various ailments.

  • Reflect On:

    How plausible would it be for these interventions to become a regular part of therapy, just as much as pharmaceutical drugs are now?

Cymatics is a very interesting topic. It illustrates how sound frequencies move through a particular medium such as water, air, or sand and as a result directly alter physical matter. There are a number of pictures all over the internet as well as youtube videos that demonstrate how matter (particles) adjust to different sounds and different frequencies of sound.

When it comes to ancient knowledge, sound, frequency and vibration have always been perceived as powerful forces that can influence and alter life all the way down to the cellular level. Sound healing methods are often used by Shamans, who employ drums and singing to access trance states. Research has even demonstrated that drumming and singing can can be used to slow fatal brain disease, and it can generate a sense of oneness with the universe . Sound therapy is getting more popular, and it can have many medical applications, especially within the psychological and mental health realms.

Sound, frequency and vibration are used all throughout the animal kingdom, and there are many examples. If we look at the wasp, they use antennal drumming to alter the caste development or phenotype of their larvae. Conventional thinking has held for quite some time that differential nutrition alone can explain why one larvae develops into a non-reproductive worker and one into a reproductive female (gyne).  However, this is not the case, according to a 2011 study:

“But nutrition level alone cannot explain how the first few females to be produced in a colony develop rapidly yet have small body sizes and worker phenotypes. Here, we provide evidence that a mechanical signal biases caste toward a worker phenotype. In Polistes fuscatus, the signal takes the form of antennal drumming (AD), wherein a female trills her antennae synchronously on the rims of nest cells while feeding prey-liquid to larvae. The frequency of AD occurrence is high early in the colony cycle, when larvae destined to become workers are being reared, and low late in the cycle, when gynes are being reared. Subjecting gyne-destined brood to simulated AD-frequency vibrations caused them to emerge as adults with reduced fat stores, a worker trait. This suggests that AD influences the larval developmental trajectory by inhibiting a physiological element that is necessary to trigger diapause, a gyne trait.”

This finding indicates that the acoustic signals produced through drumming within certain species carry biologically meaningful information (literally: ‘to put form into’) that operate epigenetically (i.e. working outside or above the genome to affect gene expression).

Pretty fascinating, isn’t it? Like many other ancient lines of thought, this has been backed by modern day scientific research.

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Cancer 

Another example comes from cancer research. In his Tedx talk, “Shattering Cancer with Resonant Frequencies,” Associate Professor and Director of Music at Skidmore College, Anthony Holland, tells the audience that he has a dream. That dream is to see a future where children no longer have to suffer from the effects of toxic cancer drugs or radiation treatment, and today he and his team believe they have found the answer, and that answer is sound. Holland and his team wondered if they could affect a cell by sending a specific electric signal, much like we do with LCD technology. After searching the patent database for a device that could accomplish this, they came across a therapeutic device invented by New Mexico physician Dr. James Bare. The device uses a plasma antenna that pulses on and off, which, as Holland explains, is important because a constant pulse of electricity would produce too much heat and therefore destroy the cell. For the next 15 months, Holland and his team searched for the exact frequency that would directly shatter a living microorganism. The magic number finally came in the form of two inputs, one high frequency and one low. The high frequency had to be exactly eleven times higher than the low, which in music is known as the 11th harmonic. At the 11th harmonic, micro organisms begin to shatter like crystal glass.

After consistently practicing until they became efficient at the procedure, Holland began working with a team of cancer researchers in an attempt to destroy targeted cancer cells. First they looked at pancreatic cancer cells, eventually discovering these cells were specifically vulnerable between 100,000 – 300,000 Hz.

Next they moved onto leukemia cells, and they were able to shatter the leukemia cells before they could divide. But, as Holland explains in his talk, he needed bigger stats in order to make the treatment a viable option for cancer patients.

In repeated and controlled experiments, the frequencies, known as oscillating pulsed electric field (OPEF) technology, killed an average of 25% to 40% of leukemia cells, going as high as 60% in some cases. Furthermore, the intervention even slowed cancer cell growth rates up to 65%.

You can read more about the story, find sources, and watch that TEDx talk here.

Another example occurred in  1981, when biologist Helene Grimal partnered with composer Fabien Maman to study the relationship of sound waves to living cells. For 18 months, the pair worked with the effects of 30-40 decibel sounds on human cells. With a camera mounted on a microscope, the researchers observed uterine cancer cells exposed to different acoustic instruments (guitar, gong, xylophone) as well as the human voice for 20-minute sessions.

They discovered that, when exposed to sound, cancer cells lost structural integrity until they exploded at the 14-minute mark. Far more dramatic was the sound of a human voice — the cells were destroyed at the nine-minute mark.

After this, they decided to work with two women with breast cancer. For one month, both of the women gave three-and-a-half-hours a day to “toning” or singing the scale. Apparently, the woman’s tumor became undetectable, and the other woman underwent surgery. Her surgeon reported that her tumor had shrunk dramatically and “dried up.” It was removed and the woman had a complete recovery and remission.

These are only a few out of multiple examples that are floating around out there.

Let’s not forget about when Royal Rife first identified the human cancer virus using the world’s most powerful microscope. After identifying and isolating the virus, he decided to culture it on salted pork. At the time this was a very good method for culturing a virus. He then took the culture and injected it into 400 rats, which, as you might expect, created cancer in all 400 rats very quickly. The next step for Rife was where things took an interesting turn. He later found a frequency of electromagnetic energy that would cause the cancer virus to diminish completely when entered into the energy field.  You can read more about that story here.

More Research

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Huntington’s Disease found that two months of drumming intervention in Huntington’s patients (considered an irreversible, lethal neurodegenerative disease) resulted in “improvements in executive function and changes in white matter microstructure, notably in the genu of the corpus callosum that connects prefrontal cortices of both hemispheres.” The study authors concluded that the pilot study provided novel preliminary evidence that drumming (or related targeted behavioral stimulation) may result in “cognitive enhancement and improvements in callosal white matter microstructure.”

A 2011 Finnish study observed that stroke patients who were given access to music as cognitive therapy had improved recovery. Other research has shown that patients suffering from loss of speech due to brain injury or stroke regain it more quickly by learning to sing before trying to speak. The phenomenon of music facilitating healing in the brain after a stroke is called the “Kenny Rogers Effect.”

A 2012 study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that active performance of music (singing, dancing and drumming) triggered endorphin release (measured by post-activity increases in pain tolerance), whereas merely listening to music did not. The researchers hypothesized that this may contribute to community bonding in activities involving dance and music-making.

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, “Music effectively reduces anxiety for medical and surgical patients and often reduces surgical and chronic pain. [Also,] Providing music to caregivers may be a strategy to improve empathy, compassion, and care.” In other words, music is not only good for patients, it’s good for those who care for them as well.

Below is an interesting interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton. You can view his curriculum vitae here.

What About The Mind?

A few years ago, these scientists held an International Summit on Post-Materialist Science, and created a manifesto to explain its significance. The scientists involved were Mario Beauregard, PhD (University of Arizona), Gary E. Schwartz, PhD (University of Arizona), and Lisa Miller, PhD (Columbia University), in collaboration with Larry Dossey, MD, Alexander Moreira-Almeida, MD, PhD, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, and Charles Tart, PhD.

There are hundreds of published peer-reviewed publications showing statistically significant results for this type of science, yet unfortunately, it is still shunned by mainstream academia, even though so many mainstream academic scientists support it. What is going on here?

The idea that the mind affects physical material reality is not trivial, and it’s been demonstrated repeatedly with statistically significant results through fascinating research undertaken by government programs, places like the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell), and, in more recent developments, the group of internationally recognized scientists mentioned above.

Many studies have been conducted in these realms as well. Let’s look at water.

Experiments over the past four decades have investigated whether human intention alone can affect the properties of water. This question has been of interest to alternative medicine research, because the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Interest in this topic has been rekindled recently by multiple researchers suggesting that intentionally influenced water can be detected by examining ice crystals formed from samples of that water. Scientists have hypothesized and shown that water influenced by intention can indeed influence the physical formation of the ice crystals that water produces. Consistent results commonly point to the idea that positive intentions tend to produce symmetric, well-formed, aesthetically pleasing crystals, and negative intentions tend to produce asymmetric, poorly formed, and unattractive crystals.

Dean Radin, the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, along with Masaru Emoto, Takashige Kizu, and Nancy Lund, designed an experiment that tested this hypothesis.

As the study’s description reads:

Over three days, 1,900 people in Austria and Germany focused their intentions towards water samples located inside an electromagnetically shielded room in California. Water samples located near the target water, but unknown to the people providing intentions, acted as ‘‘proximal’’ controls. Other samples located outside the shielded room acted as distant controls. Ice drops formed from samples of water in the different treatment conditions were photographed by a technician, each image was assessed for aesthetic beauty by over 2,500 independent judges, and the resulting data were analyzed, all by individuals blind with respect to the underlying treatment conditions. Results suggested that crystal images in the intentionally treated condition were rated as aesthetically more beautiful than proximal control crystals (p < 0.03, one-tailed). This outcome replicates the results of an earlier pilot test.

You can access the full study here.

If thought alone does indeed have an effect on physical material reality, just imagine what it could do to our body? Something to think about

The Takeaway

The information presented in this article isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes the the medical applications of sound, frequency and vibration, which are all obviously correlated. One thing is clear, however, which is that there are many more methods out there, like the ones discussed in this article, that should be taken more seriously and given more attention from the medical establishment. It seems all mainstream medicine is concerned about is making money and developing medications that don’t seem to be representative of our fullest potential to heal. “Alternative” therapies shouldn’t be labelled as alternative, they should be incorporated into the norm.

Other sources used

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Consciousness

Negative Thinking Can Be An Addiction – Here’s How How You Can Break The Cycle

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We all think negative thoughts on a regular basis as our minds are wired to do so. This is a habit that we can gain control over, the first step is awareness.

  • Reflect On:

    Negative thoughts tend to repeat themselves over and over. The first step to overcoming this addictive behavior is to become aware of these thought patterns. The only way out is through.

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend thinking negative thoughts? Either dwelling on events of the past or ruminating about the future, these thoughts seem to infiltrate our minds and feed off themselves and can even become addictive.

Most of us would claim that we do want happiness, yet over and over again we choose suffering; and this isn’t to say that we should merely stop these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Only thinking positive thoughts could be considered spiritual bypassing and won’t bring us to our desired happiness either. We continuously return to our suffering because in our minds we are trying to make the negative experiences come out a different way, even though this is not possible.

In an effort to figure out how to let go of our pain, we end up grasping onto it.

From Psychology Today, author Nancy Colier states,

“Pain is also profoundly intertwined with our sense of identity. We remind ourselves of our pain as a way of keeping alive our personal narrative, our story of me, what’s happened to me, and my life. We’re deeply attached to our stories of suffering; you could say we love our pain. As a result, we’re reluctant to let it go, to stop bringing it back into the present moment, even when it’s no longer useful or active. To do so would be to lose touch with who we believe we fundamentally are, what makes us us. “

Learn To Feel The Feelings The Painful Thoughts Bring

In the short term, it may be easier to think over and over again about our painful memories, embarrassing moments, wondering “what if?” But eventually we will become these thoughts and believe we are those thoughts. They will just come back again and again and again until we can learn how to truly let them go. The mind will go through great lengths to avoid actually feeling our pain, perhaps in an effort to protect us, which we can potentially have gratitude for. Perhaps we can even choose to say: thank you ego/mind for protecting me, but I’d like to explore these feelings that are inside of me.

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So What Can We Do?

One might feel as though they wish they could just stop these negative thoughts altogether, but until they are acknowledged, these thoughts won’t stop. Perhaps in reading this article, you will remember or gain the awareness to notice just how repetitive some of your thoughts are. Next time your mind gets stuck you can say “No, I’m not going there right now,” but be sure to notice any feelings that come up at the same time.

We can practice mindfulness and separate our thoughts from ourselves. Instead of identifying deeply with the thought, we can choose to be the mere observer, the one who is noticing that the thought is happening. So instead of “I’m so stupid, I can’t believe I didn’t jump at that opportunity I was given, typical me, always too afraid to take a leap,” or whatever it may be, we can step back from our thought and say, “I notice that I am having a thought that I am not good enough, now I can observe where this thought is coming from and identify the feelings that are attached to it, feel them fully, and let them pass.”

The Only Way Out Is Through…

If you want to begin breaking these negative thought cycles of the mind, the first thing to realize is that the only way out is through, and if we wish to truly end these thoughts and let go of this pain we are carrying, then we in fact need to face them directly and not just continuously dwell on them.

The only way to do that is to actually feel the feelings and emotions that the painful thoughts are bringing up. Identify how the thoughts are making you feel, even say, “I feel sad about ______ .” Then, you don’t need to think or say anything at all, you can just allow the feeling to be felt, in all its intensity, and maybe you cry, maybe you start laughing uncontrollably, or maybe nothing happens at all. When you give your feelings and emotions the space to be acknowledged and felt — and practice loving kindness and compassion to yourself — these feelings and even those negative thoughts will become quieter and quieter. Because as stated earlier, “the only way out is through.”

This Takes Practice

Please be gentle with yourself, and don’t kick yourself if you can’t grasp this right away, as you could be trying to break through decades worth of addiction to these negative thought patterns. Having awareness is the very first step towards dealing with this. So, if you can begin to simply notice these repetitive thought patterns, this is an excellent first step! Over time it will become easier and easier and soon you will be able to separate yourself from your thoughts, become the observer, and allow yourself to feel your feelings, in all of their glorious intensity, and eventually be able to let them go completely.

You got this.

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Consciousness

The 10 Spiritual Realms According To An Ancient Japanese Buddhist Priest

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One night in the early days of my six-month tenure managing a holistic healing retreat center in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, our community gathered as we always do for the evening activity. This evening’s activity focused on a discussion of the ten spiritual realms. The person sharing his knowledge on the subject was a short Italian traveller and devout Buddhist named Lorenzo.

His claim to fame at the retreat center was being voted most likely to be found chanting the mantra  “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō,” which means “Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra” or “Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law.” In his words: “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō is a vow, an expression of determination, to embrace and manifest our Buddha nature. It is a pledge to oneself to never yield to difficulties and to win over one’s suffering. At the same time, it is a vow to help others reveal this law in their own lives and achieve happiness.”

This is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism and Tendai Buddhism. The practice of prolonged chanting is referred to as shōdai, while the purpose of chanting daimoku is to reduce sufferings by eradicating negative karma along with reducing karmic punishments both from previous and present lifetimes, with the goal to attain perfect and complete awakening. Sometimes he would be found chanting this mantra for hours at a time. This was his “thing” and we loved him for it!

In the very beginning of his talk he looked at each of us wide-eyed and asked the group: “Has anyone here ever been in hell?” I looked around the room and after a few seconds of waiting, slowly raised my hand. Without hesitation, he looked me directly in the eyes and said “Good! Now you can help others get out.” There are few things that people have said to me throughout my life that I know will stay with me forever; this was one of them. So began our intro to the ten spiritual realms.

The 10 Spiritual Realms as described by Nichiren Daishonin are listed below. Broken into two parts, the first six (Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, and Heaven) are derived from the Indian concept of the six realms of rebirth. Above these lie the four holy states (Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva, and Buddhahood).

Ten Spiritual Realms:

1. Hell or Jigokudō: A state of suffering and despair in which we perceive we have no freedom of action. It is characterized by the impulse to destroy ourselves and everything around us. It is also commonly referred to being in a state of mind completely absent of hope and being unable to construct our future in our minds.

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2. Hunger, Hungry Ghosts, or Pretas: The state of being controlled by insatiable desire for money, power, status etc. While desires are inherent in any of the Ten Worlds, in this state we are at the mercy of our cravings and cannot control them.

3. Animality, Beasts, or Chikushōdō: In this state, we are ruled by instinct with neither reason nor moral sense nor the ability to make long-range judgments. We operate by the law of the jungle and will not hesitate to take advantage of those weaker than ourselves and fawn on those who are stronger.

4. Anger, Titans, Asuras, or Shuradō: Here, awareness of ego emerges, but it is a selfish, greedy, distorted ego, determined to best others at all costs and seeing everything as a potential threat to itself. In this state we value only ourselves and tend to hold others in contempt.

5. Humanity or Jindō (also known as Tranquility): This is a flat, passive state of life, from which we can easily shift into the lower four worlds. While we may generally behave in a humane fashion in this state, we are highly vulnerable to strong external influences.

6. Heaven: This is a state of intense joy stemming, for example, from the fulfillment of some desire, a sense of physical well being, or inner contentment. Though intense, the joy experienced in this state is short-lived and also vulnerable to external influences.

7. Learning, Śrāvaka, or Shōmon: In this state, we seek the truth through studying the teachings or experience of others.

8. Realization, Pratyekabuddha, or Engaku: In this state we seek the truth not through others’ teachings, but through our own direct perception of the world.

9. Bodhisattva or Bosatsu: Those who aspire to achieve enlightenment and at the same time are equally determined to enable all other beings to do the same. Conscious of the bonds that link us to all others, in this state we realize that any happiness we alone enjoy is incomplete, and we devote ourselves to alleviating others’ suffering. Those in this state find their greatest satisfaction in altruistic behaviour.

10. Buddhahood: A dynamic state that is difficult to describe. We can partially describe it as a state of perfect freedom, in which we are enlightened to the ultimate truth of life. It is characterized by infinite compassion and boundless wisdom. In this state, we can resolve harmoniously what appear from the standpoint of the nine worlds to be insoluble contradictions.

A Buddhist sutra describes the attributes of the Buddha’s life as a true self, perfect freedom from karmic bonds throughout eternity, a life purified of illusion, and absolute happiness.

10 Worlds Description Source: http://www.sgi.org/resources/introductory-materials/ten-worlds.html

Be Your Own Guru

Personally, I feel that understanding the difference between each of these realms and integrating the lessons learned by visiting them all can inspire rapid personal growth. As someone who has set out on a seemingly unending quest for personal and spiritual development years ago, I have learned quite a few things in my travels. One of the greatest lessons was how to truly listen to others, but ensure that their thoughts don’t become my own unless they align with my personal truth.

In my experience, individuals who lack control over their own emotions and actions tend to feel the need to push their own ideas, agendas, and influences onto others. When it comes to giving advice, I appreciate Tony Robbins’ approach on this subject. As he would say, “I am not your guru,” but if talking with me can help you realize what steps you need to take in order to better your own life without harming others, then great! I’m not you. I have no idea what you’re going through, but if I can assist in removing mental blockages to get you to where you need to become your own guru, then that’s a beautiful thing.

Learning Through Suffering

It is essential to take some time and look at the positive aspect of suffering. The creative forces inside each and every one of us seem to be activated when we are experiencing difficult times. Have you ever wondered why you prefer the earlier work of your favourite musicians? Did you ever think maybe it has to do with the fact that they were “hungry artists,” channeling their own pain and utilizing it as a source of creativity while desperately trying to make their mark on the music scene? Once I realized this a while back, I always make sure to look for the lesson to learn and wonder how I can use that seemingly negative energy to create something beautiful in times of despair.

We will constantly revisit these realms, sometimes many of them throughout the course of a single day or even only a few hours. Just because we’ve previously attained the higher spiritual worlds doesn’t mean we won’t revisit the other lower ones later on in life. By developing a deeper understanding of these states of mind, we are better equipped to conquer them.

What Makes Someone “Spiritual”?

So let’s say that you meditate and do yoga daily, you pray for the wellbeing of others, you don’t eat meat, you go to farmers markets, buy locally sourced produce, wear conscious-made sustainable clothing, have a vast collection of Lumerian Quartz Crystals for your shrine, have full moon ceremonies with your soul tribe, and attend Burning Man every year. Does that make you spiritual? Not exactly, at least not in my opinion. These are, however, things that many people do as part of their spiritual path. However, for me, spirituality is defined simply as being someone whose highest priority is to love themself and others. That’s it. If you do all the aforementioned things, but you’re still an asshole to other people, sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

The basic principles of spirituality are at the core of every religion and often referred to as the “Golden Rule.” It has been taught for millennia and is most well known in the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them undo to you.” Nothing has changed from this Golden Rule other than the verbiage, as you can see in the diagram below.

At the end of the day, I view truly spiritual people as those who have been through hell themselves and want nothing more than to help others get out because they know what it’s like. These are beings that help others with humility and don’t allow a self-serving ego to subsist within their being. Killing the ego is not a phrase I like to use. The ego is part of our personality and who we are as human beings; however, we must keep it in check to ensure that it exists to serve us so that we may serve others. Now that’s being spiritual as fuck!

Check out my travel blog to follow my journey and other adventures from some of the most inspiring people I’ve met along the way! www.FollowingFreebird.com

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