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Rebalancing The Masculine & The Feminine

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When the masculine and the feminine are in balance, there is fluidity, relationship, a flow of energy, unity, totality. This fluidity and balance is perhaps best illustrated by the Taoist image of the indissoluble relationship and complementarity of Yin and Yang. In the broadest terms, the feminine is a containing pattern of energy: receptive, connecting, holding things in relationship to each other; the masculine is an expanding pattern of energy: seeking extension, expansion towards what is beyond. More specifically, the feminine reflects the instinctual matrix and the feeling (heart) values of consciousness; the masculine reflects the questing, goal-defining, ordering, discriminating qualities of consciousness, generally associated with mind or intellect. For millennia women have lived closer to the first pattern; men to the second. But now, there is a deep impulse to balance these within ourselves and in our culture. There is an urgent need to temper the present over-emphasis on the masculine value with a conscious effort to integrate the feminine one.

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In the ancient world the feminine principle in the image of the goddess stood for relationship – the hidden connection of all things to each other. Secondly, it stood for justice, wisdom and compassion. Thirdly, and most importantly, it was identified with the unseen dimension beyond the known world – a dimension that may be imagined as a matrix connecting invisible spirit with visible nature. The word used then to name this matrix was goddess; later it was soul. The feminine principle offered an image of the oneness, sacredness and inviolability of all life; the phenomenal world (nature, matter, body) was regarded as sacred because it was a theopany or manifestation of invisible spirit.

The greatest flaw in patriarchal civilisation has been the over-emphasis on the masculine archetype (identified with spirit) and the devaluation of the feminine one (identified with nature). This has been reflected in the fact that the god-head has no feminine dimension, in the consistent neglect of feeling values and in the misogyny responsible for the repression and suffering of women. The history of the last 4000 years has been forged by men, determined by male perspectives and directed towards goals defined by men – principally the goals of conquest and control. (this is no sense intended as a criticism; in the context of prevailing belief systems and general level of consciousness, things could not have been different).

However, religion and science – all our cultural ideas and patterns of behaviour – have developed from this unbalanced foundation. Throughout this time, everything designated as “feminine” (nature, body, woman) was devalued and repressed, including the rich diversity of the Pagan legacy of the ancient world. In the domain of religion, heretics were eliminated; diverse ways of relating directly to the transcendent were lost. Naturally, this has created a deep imbalance in the culture and in the human psyche. It has led finally to the tyrannies of this century where the lives of some 200 million people have been sacrificed to totalitarian regimes. We can see the brutal legacy of this imbalance in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Russia and now Kosovo. But we can also see it in the ethos that dominates Western culture. The modern tyrant is the extreme reflection of a deeply-rooted pathology derived from a long-standing cultural imbalance between the masculine and feminine archetypes and, at the human level, between men and women. I would like to read you this extract from a recent article:

“This is a world of monstrous tyranny. Everywhere there are governments which by design or neglect are starving people, wrecking their livelihoods, breaking up their families. Everywhere there is the oppression of women, of other races, of ways of life which are dear to people. Property is confiscated, villages are set on fire, disease and malnutrition left to rage unchecked. And what all these victims, tens of millions of them, have in common – what brings their suffering to the forefront of my indignation – is this: they did not ask for this; they cannot avoid this; there is nothing they can do to change this; they have no choice.” (Matthew Parris, The Times, London 6/9/98)

Where there is no relationship and balance between the masculine and feminine principles, the masculine principle becomes pathologically exaggerated, inflated; the feminine pathologically diminished, inarticulate, ineffective. The symptoms of a pathological masculine are rigidity, dogmatic inflexibility, omnipotence, and an obsession with or addiction to power and control. There will be a clear definition of goals but no receptivity to ideas and values that conflict with these goals. The horizon of the human imagination will be restricted by an overt or subtle censorship. We can see this pathology reflected today in the ruthless values that govern the media, politics, and the technological drive of the modern world. We can see the predatory impulse to acquire or to conquer new territory in the drive for global control of world markets, in the ideology of growth, in new technologies such as the genetic modification of food. We see exaggerated competitiveness – the drive to go further, grow faster, achieve more, acquire more, elevated to the status of a cult. There is contempt for the feeling values grounded in the experience of relationship with others and with the environment. There is a predatory and compulsive sexuality in both men and women who increasingly lose the capacity for relationship. There is continuous expansion in a linear sense but no expansion in depth, in insight. The pressure of things to do constantly accelerates.

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What is the result? Exhaustion, anxiety, depression, illness which afflict more and more people. There is no time or place for human relationships. Above all, there is no time for relationship with the dimension of spirit. The water of life no longer flows. Men and women and, above all, children, become the victims of this harsh, competitive, uncaring ethos: women, in their disorientation, and because the feminine value has no clear definition or recognition in our culture, are drawn to copy the pathological image of the masculine which itself incorporates fear of the feminine.

Because to a large extent, this whole situation arises unconsciously, not much can be done about it until catastrophe intervenes. Reflecting on this, I remembered the following story:

Once, not long ago, there was a great drought in a province of China. The situation was catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought; but to no avail. Finally the people said: “We will fetch the rain-maker.” And from another province a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of year when no snow was expected – an unusual amount – and the town was filled with rumours about the wonderful rain-maker. Asked what he had been doing during the three days that had caused the snow to fall on the fourth he said: “I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally, the rain came.”

The rain-maker did not do anything. He waited until he was in balance. Then, his quality of being rectified the state of imbalance that existed around him. Perhaps we need to become rain-makers…

I feel we are living in a time of kairos – a mythic time of choice – a time of stupendous scientific discoveries which are enlarging our vision of the universe, shattering the vessel of our old concepts about the nature of reality. Yet the delicate organism of life on our planet and the survival of our species are threatened as never before by technologies driven by an ethos of the conquest and control of nature, technologies which are applied with an utter disregard of the perils of our interference with the complex web of relationships upon which the life of our planet depends. The choice is between clinging to an outworn and unbalanced ethos and maturing beyond it towards a more responsible and sensitive capacity for relationship. If we are unable to develop this empathic capacity to relate, we will surely destroy ourselves and the environment that sustains our life.

So how could we help to redress the balance between the masculine and feminine in ourselves and in our culture? First of all, where are we, as individuals out of balance? Where are we driven by the unbalanced cultural ethos of achieving power and control, ignoring our feelings of depression, anxiety or symptoms of the body’s distress? Are we allowing ourselves enough time for reflection, for relationships, for connection with a deeper dimension of reality? The priority as I see it is to make the fact of this pathology a matter of public discussion. Shift the emphasis from achieving power to achieving balance. Secondly, here are some suggestions for strengthening the feminine principle in our society.

  • Free the Imagination from the stranglehold exercised by a controlling minority which excludes the non-rational from inclusion in our understanding of life.
  • Formulate a new image of spirit as the totality of all that is – both seen and unseen. Recover the lost and devalued feminine aspects of spirit: restore nature, matter and the physical body (including sexuality) to the realm of the sacred.
  • Imagine the Soul as a cosmic internet. We belong to an immense field or matrix of relationships. We could imagine the soul in this new way as something we belong to and can develop a relationship with.
  • Religion – Relinquish the dogmatic formulations of the past: Monotheism as Mytheism. (Ravi Ravindra) Recognise the negative effects of deeply rooted beliefs – such as the belief in original sin – on our interpretation of life and its meaning. Welcome the idea of direct individual experience of the sacred and the numinous.
  • Science – Integrate the principle of empathic relationship with what is studied in scientific teaching and practice. In education give children an empathic understanding of their own bodies and of nature rather than the image of the body and the universe as a machine. Help them to become aware of their environment as a great chain of relationships in which their lives are embedded. Nourish their sense of wonder.
  • The psyche: develop a greater insight into predatory and psychopathic patterns of behaviour. Learn to recognise and transform patterns of imbalance. Heal the split between mind and soul. Recognise that feeling is a valid mode of perceiving reality and must be integrated with thinking. The main problem in our society is emotional immaturity.
  • Politics: develop a forum beyond national and international politics where the true problems of the planet can be articulated and addressed. Recognise grandiosity, standardisation, the drive for control, the proliferation of bureaucracy as symptoms of the pathology of an inflated and unrelated masculine principle.
  • Medicine: integrate alternative (complementary) methods of healing with orthodox ones as a deliberate policy. Focus on preventive medicine. The modern GP has no time for an empathic relationship with his or her patient. The pressure of numbers is simply too great. However, in some surgeries and hospitals alternative practises are being integrated with orthodox ones. This integration could be expanded.
  • Agriculture: Focus on increasing the production of organic food. Removal of pesticides, antibiotics and toxins from our food and water.
  • Care of Children: A much higher level of prenatal care. Compared with the rest of Europe, we are way behind (Sweden is the most advanced). Attention to quality of children’s’ diet and to nourishing the imagination as well as the intellect.
  • Educate Women to be aware of their own specific value and the importance of their contribution to the culture. Articulating feeling values without fear or shame. The vital importance of choosing partners with greater care; Value and prepare for the responsibility of motherhood.
  • Educate Adolescents in awareness of the responsibilities of relationships and of the parent towards the child. Teach them the psychology of the child; its dependency; its sensitivity, its potential for emotional growth. Teach them about the complexities of neuroscience so they understand how their emotions affect their bodies and vice-versa. Ask them to invent ways of caring for the environment.
  • Control bulling by a deliberate stated policy of making schools a sanctuary. Children could help to make their own schools sanctuaries. Meditation in schools from the beginning – positive effects on capacity to learn and emotional balance. (Maharishi School in Skelmersdale – report The Sunday Times 19/9/98).
  • Teaching Methods: integrate right-hemispheric consciousness with the linear consciousness of the left hemisphere – opening to the creative power of the image – poetry, art, drama and music (no exams for these). Balance in the curriculum between developing the capacity for logical thought and creative imagining and participation. This poem by a 12 year old boy at school in Southampton shows how a teacher can provide the environment in which a child can dare to express his true feelings:

I hear my inner voice talking to me,
Explaining, encouraging,
Opening the part of me that I thought was lost.
In this world of cruelty and fear little lights are burning.
Everyone has a flame inside their hearts,
If only they had the courage to find it.
The light can trickle out through a hole in your mind.
When the inside is out
You are transformed and revealed.
There is no need to be afraid,
But be curious
As you will probably never know
where the force is coming from.
– Daniel Webster

Jonathan Schell wrote the following words in his book, The Fate of the Earth, “Because everything we do and everything we are is in jeopardy, every person is the right person to act and every moment is the right moment to begin.” Each of us is called to focus on rebalancing the masculine and feminine in ourselves and in our culture. This could effect a profound alchemy in our lives. Women and men could both participate in a process of transformation which could bring into being a new cultural focus whose emphasis is no longer on power and control but on relationship, balance and connectedness. The phrase “the conquest of nature” could be replaced by the awareness that humanity and nature participate in a deeper and still unknown reality that embraces them both.

At the end of The Undiscovered Self, Jung asks, “Does the individual know that he or she is the makeweight that tips the scales that infinitesimal unit on whom a world depends?” Millions of people have no choice. Those of us who do have a measure of choice could rise to the immense challenge of defining and living a new and responsible role in relation to each other and our planetary home.

———————

Written by Anne Baring. Anne is a Jungian analyst – co-author of The Myth of the Goddess, The Mystic Vision and The Divine Feminine and author of The Birds Who Flew Beyond Time

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Consciousness

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.

  • Reflect On:

    We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

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“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aquarius: Pleasure & Originality

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We are having a Full Moon in Aquarius which is exact on August 15th at 12:29 pm, Universal Time. It will appear the fullest on the night of August 14th in the Americas and on the night of 15th everywhere else.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Leo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Sun in Leo and Moon in Aquarius. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Leo side and others expressing the Aquarius side.

Leo is associated with self-expression, creativity, love, affection, children, courage, vitality, passion, leadership, generosity, and playfulness. Ruled by the Sun, it is also about shining in our power and being in alignment with what really lights us up and gets us excited.

The negative expressions of Leo can be egotistical, self-absorbed, authoritarian, dramatic, stubborn, jealous, and hot-tempered.  As it is associated with seeking praise and attention, it can be demanding of respect and be too loud and boisterous without considering or caring about how others respond to that.

The best way to approach Leo energy in a positive way is to be in our authentic and heart centred version of ourselves; whether it be in our creations, how we perform, or how we express other Leo traits previously mentioned. When we do this, we are more likely to receive a supportive response from those on the receiving end.

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Aquarius is associated with friends, social networks, the group, the team, humanity, and being in the best interest of the collective. Associated with Uranus, it can be unconventional, idealistic, innovative, original, inventive, technological, reforming, and even revolutionary. It tries to figure out how to do things in a better way and takes the future into consideration. Although it is idealistic, it still applies itself intellectually and rationally yet can also be theoretical at times.

Negatively, Aquarius can be overly detached, aloof, unemotional, and very invested in the mind at the expense of the heart. Traditionally ruled by Saturn, it can also be unyielding when it comes to the ideas and perspectives that it has already decided on.

Aquarius is also associated with science which negatively is reflected by Saturn as it is limited to the material world, yet reflected positively by the innovativeness of Uranus. Furthermore, other Uranian expressions of Aquarius can be of a higher level of consciousness which can go beyond the limitations of only observing the physical aspects of reality, and integrating the spiritual as well.

Both Leo and Aquarius have some similarities. They are ‘Fixed’ signs and therefore can both be determined yet stubborn. They are also both associated with originality and authenticity. In Aquarius, this comes from its unconventional and innovative Uranian attributes while in Leo it comes from being inspired by its heart centred self-expression.

Full Moon Opposing Venus Superior Conjunction In a Quincunx With Pluto

At the time of this Full Moon, Venus is closely aligned with the Sun in Leo from our Earth-based perspective which is known as its ‘Superior Conjunction’ lasting from August 10th-17th. This is when the Earth and Venus are on opposite sides of the Sun.

This is a period in which we may experience important developments connected to Venus ruled areas (love, relationships, friendships, values, finances, worth, creativity, aesthetics). This is sort of like the beginning of a new Venus cycle in which it will be travelling ahead of the Sun until Spring 2020.

However, another way to look at it is that this period can bring more clarity and forward momentum around things connected to what was going on in the Fall of 2018 and building up since then. Venus last joined the Sun from our vantage point in late October when it was retrograde in its ‘Inferior Conjunction’. This was when the Earth and Venus were on the same side of the Sun. .

At that time something may have been seeded or we could have been doing something that may have had a direct or indirect connection to how things are playing out at this point. It can be associated with Venus ruled areas but it could also have something to do with other aspects of your life, triggered by its previous retrograde last Fall.

Due to the Full Moon being in an opposition with this conjunction, it’s also possible that the push-pull energy of the Leo-Aquarius polarity (mentioned above) can have something to do with Venus themes of values, love, relationships, friendships, finances, worth, self-worth, creativity, or aesthetics.

The Sun/Venus conjunction is in a quincunx aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. This can bring in frustrations and/or needed adjustments connected to fears, power, control issues, obsessions, hidden matters, shadow qualities, repressed feelings, sex, desires, structures, and ambitions to any developments connected to the Superior Conjunction of Venus. For many people, this may also be associated with the themes of last Lunar Eclipse.

Mercury Trine Chiron and Square Uranus

Less than seven hours before this Full Moon, Mercury (which has returned to Leo) ended its post shadow period of its previous retrograde that occurred throughout July. In the last few weeks things may have started to flow more smoothly and we could have experienced some resolutions and clarity around any challenges or issues that came up in the month prior. We may feel things moving forward and could also experience further developments related to this in early September.

During this Full Moon and in the day following, Mercury is in a trine with Chiron and square with Uranus, which has recently begun its retrograde. Our thoughts, communications, or other developments can be healing, holistic, spiritually oriented, unconventional, unique, awakening, and insightful. We can be more inventive, tap into new and original ideas, or bridge different things that don’t normally come together.

This energy can also be a bit unstable, impulsive, or we can be mentally scattered depending on how we apply ourselves. We can experience disruptions, surprises, changes in our plans and routines, or a disconnect in communications. Considering that Uranus is nearly stopped in the sky as it begins its retrograde, its energies are amplified right now. This can also reflect more extreme manifestations of its energy such as rebellion, separation, or even accidents in rare cases.

Mercury Trine Jupiter, Venus Conjunct Mars While Moving Towards Trine With Uranus

From August 20th-21st, Mercury will be in a trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius which has recently ended its retrograde and  is now moving forward. This can be good for learning, expansive communications or thoughts, travel plans, positive thinking, and optimism. We may want to seek the big picture, beliefs, perspectives, and meaning. For some people this can be lucky and there is a higher probability that things going on at this time can go very well.

Venus joins Mars from August 23rd-25th. This can be great for romantic, social, or creative activities. It can stimulate passion and sexuality. We may seek pleasure at this time yet we can also be impulsive about it. It can be good for anything that involves female and male energy coming together. Considering that this conjunction is occurring in Virgo, it can also be good for any type of actions or work that involve beautifying anything or even cleaning and organizing.

Both of these planets are also moving towards a trine with Uranus which is strongest over the following week. Venus makes its contact with it from August 25th to 26th which can bring an exciting, surprising, or stimulating energy around our relations and finances.

It can also be be good to participate in something fun that is different or new to us. For some people it can reflect creative undertakings especially if it involves technology. Making aesthetic changes in some way can also be ideal as well.

Mars’ trine with Uranus is strongest from August 27th-29th. This is good for any sort of actions that are unusual, experimental, liberating, progressive, technological, or independent. We may want to do something that involves making positive change.

Things To Consider At This Time

What has come up for you in the last week around values, relationships, love, friendships, finances, pleasures, creativity, worth, or aesthetics? How should you proceed forward based on these developments or realizations?

How can you balance your personal passions with the needs of the collective? How can you resolve any conflicts between leadership and a team or group? Are you experiencing any challenges or conflict between your heart and intellect? What is your gut telling you? What signs are you getting from the Universe?

What can you do to be more innovative, original, or progressive? What areas of your life are calling for growth, expansion, exploration, meaning, or better understanding? Is there anything that you feel you should be doing to help you feel more free?

Do you have fears, repressed/deep feelings, shadow qualities, or obsessions that are creating obstacles or complications? If so, how should you handle it? Do you need to release or unravel anything to help you feel better, heal, or bring more joy into your life?

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 after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on August 15th at 12:29pm Universal Time. You can click here to so 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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Consciousness

Tips For Those Who Have Trouble Meditating & How To Overcome Them

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I’m willing to bet that meditation is not a new concept to you.

With one of the latest rough estimates gauging that anywhere between 200 to 500 million people meditate with regularity globally, there is a pretty good chance you’ve either tried it at some point or at least have been encouraged to — especially if you decided to read this article.

And while there are plenty of people who swear by its power, myself included at times, I’m convinced that there are plenty more of us who just don’t get what all the hype is about. While I don’t personally believe that we all need to become meditation aficionados, I wanted to create a resource for those of you who have interest in jumping on the bandwagon but always seem to hit a roadblock.

I’ve nailed down 4 of the most common reasons why so many of us struggle to meditate and how we can change that. Watch it or read it, the choice is yours!

1. Preconceived Belief That Meditation Is Boring

Compared to the sights and sounds of ordinary conscious life, meditation certainly can be substantially less sensorially stimulating — especially at first. But that’s part of the point! One of meditation’s greatest potential powers is its ability to bring us into the present moment without any glaring distractions, a reality that many of us haven’t experienced in years.

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So if you’re part of the crowd that keeps putting meditation off because you think it’ll be too boring, I challenge you to ask yourself: is boredom really the issue? Or am I instead either so addicted to stimulation or even worse afraid to be alone with my thoughts?

Solution: Involve others! Either set up a challenge with your friends to add an element of competition and accountability to it, or meditate with a group in a public space. It’s amazing how much less intimidating being alone with your thoughts can be if you’re not the only one intending to do it.

2. Crazy Expectations

If I were to ask you to create a mental image representative of the word meditation, what would come to mind? I’m willing to bet that at least one (if not several) of the following elements would come up: the sunrise, a sunset, a monk, mountains, or someone sitting cross-legged with great posture.

While these visuals certainly are accurate depictions of meditation, they don’t account for the vast majority of the 200 to 500 million of us that are practicing it regularly. Meditation can be done at any time of day, in a countless number of settings, on a comfy chair, and sitting or laying quite normally. So rather than setting these unrealistic expectations of what meditation is supposed to be like, why not just try making it your own?

Solution: Remind yourself that we are all human. Even those who claim to have attained the most profound insight while meditating have had just as many random thoughts pop into their head, so you’re not broken and just as capable.

3. Shear Impatience

We live in a world where a substantial number of us are not only used to but fully expect things instantaneously. We’re run by instant gratification, and when something fails to provide that, we’re quick to lose interest and ultimately our patience.

If you want to meditate regularly but patience is an issue for you, I’ve got some bad news: meditation will never satisfy your need for instant results. But meditation is also one of the best tools for developing a state of mind that won’t be so hungry for them!

Solution: Start by “forcing” yourself to practice patience through a reward and/or punishment system. Establish something that you are going to reward yourself with for meditating 7, 14, or 21 days in a row. Or even better, set up a punishment (ex. donating $100 to a cause you don’t believe in) for not sticking to your goal.

4. Overreacting To Thoughts

One second you’re focusing on your breath, and before you know it several minutes have gone by and your mind has drifted through a random string of thoughts you never thought imaginable. As I mentioned above, this is far more normal than you may think!

The part we need to focus on is how we choose to react to noticing that our mind has drifted off rather than the fact that it has.

There is a substantial difference between allowing yourself to get pissed off while believing that the entire meditation is ruined, and just noting that you’ve drifted, and bringing yourself back to your initial intention.

Solution: I’ve highlighted the word noting above because I believe it’s one of the best solutions for this issue. When you realize that your mind has drifted, choose to make a calm mental note that it has happened and then bring yourself back either by re-focusing your attention on your breath or by doing a numeric countdown (anything with a meditative purpose that your mind can easily focus on).


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