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She Was Smothered With Suicidal Thoughts & Depression – Here’s How She Found Happiness

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Why are you unhappy and depressed?

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I remember, as a young adult, hearing this term of “stress” for the first time… and not really knowing what it was.

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Like our current trends of instant gratification and FOMO, stress was the hot trending topic.

I even remember watching a local news show documentary where this “new concept” of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was introduced.

Nowadays we need “trigger word warnings” on articles in order to not to trigger people’s PTSD.

No one could really explain stress at the time, and I remember that making an impression on me.

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Fast-forward 20 years later and now everyone knows what stress is, along with depression and suicide – with some estimates stating that as many as 13% of the US population are on anti-depressants. Read more at http://time.com/4900248/antidepressants-depression-more-common/

My How The World Has Changed

As a former chronic sufferer of depression and suicide, along with epilepsy, which also causes mood fluctuations, I had also bought into the idea that these were medical issues, and that science had to have the answers.

This was chronic, inherent to my system, and I would always need help for it. A disease in other words.

And so I became addicted to believing I needed doctors and medicines to manage my disease.

But it never seemed to help.

I couldn’t break out of the cycle of depression… I’d get okay for a little while and then go crashing down again.

And so I really started investigating alternative routes, alternative healing, and while I got some relief, it wouldn’t last.

And so I got serious about sorting out my life through my spiritual journey, and I learned a lot along the way about what was making me depressed.

A few years later, I’m now in a place where stuff like that – and most illness in fact – can’t touch me. It certainly would not shake my peace of mind.

The good news? It’s possible for you to get there too.

The bad news? It’s going to require you to look at every single aspect of your life – and accepting that it’s the life you’re choosing that is making you depressed.

You were born into this world, and while you have been offered the illusion of choice, the range of options available to you are limited by the accepted rules of the society in which we operate.

So, in plain english, there are things you think are ‘normal’, ‘everyday’ and ‘acceptable’, just because you grew up with them around you.

If you grew up in a mainstream Western culture, then monogamy is your norm. But if you’d grown up as a devout Muslim, or as a Mormon, having sister wives and polygyny would be your norm too.

One of the most disturbing recent examples I found was the Hampstead Kids Pizzagate interviews… these kids have been raised with Satanic and pedophilic practices by their father, and when you listen to them, they speak of being raped repeatedly by adults and drinking blood as if it were the most normal thing to do.

So many of the aspects of your life are driven by what you grew up thinking was normal – this is why you see cycles of patterns passed down along family lines: abusers breed abusers, alcoholics breed alcoholics, and the devout breed the devout.

So what are the areas, that you think of as normal, that are actually causing challenges for you?

Relationships of obligation

Relationships of obligation are the relationships you are born into.

These are relationships where the person has a title that denotes the expectation of the relationship, e.g. a mother should care for and love her children and want the best for them.

The moment you think mother, you have all these ideas of what a mom should be, should do, how she should act.

There are tons of these titles in our lives: parents, cousins, siblings, grandparents; and we add a couple along the way, in friend, lover/partner and child. Eventually also boss and employer.

What they all have in common is that there is expectation built into them – expectations of behavior, actions, words, etc.

This expectation comes from both sides, and in many cases the relationship devolves into nothing more than meeting the minimum requirements of the expectation, in order to maintain the relationship.

So you do the minimum you have to do in order to keep the relationship going, e.g. We HAVE TO go see my parents this weekend. It’s been so many weeks since we last saw them, or We HAVE TO go to my parents/siblings for Christmas this year, or I MUST call my sister.

This turns the relationship into a chore. And a chore is just another task you add to your to do list – the one that’s already putting so much pressure on you.

Relationships of proximity

Many of our relationships of obligation actually form because they are relationships of proximity – we are around the person and so get to know them, forming a bond because of the shared time and experience we have passed together.

School and work are great examples of this… you know everyone there, and CHOOSE your friends… but you are limited to the people who are available to choose from, the people sharing the same space as you regularly.

This turns the relationship selection into an interview style… you pick the ‘best candidate for the job’ out of what is available to you to choose from.

So again, you don’t quite land up with the relationship you want – and so you’re not completely committed to it.

Fitting in and editing

In essence, what this means is that majority of the relationships you have in your life are not relationships you would have chosen, and are not really with people you honestly relate to. And most of them feel like a chore.

But we do it anyway, because life is all about people.

And by that I mean, you need people to like you in order to ensure you can stay alive.

People need to open doors for you, take a chance on you, and you need a network around you because everything in the world is people – even sales for your business.

So you edit yourself to fit in – basically ALL THE TIME.

You’re never yourself completely, because the way to ensure survival is likability (read more at http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/what-is-the-system ).

So you shave off parts of yourself to be likable, to fit into the “good enough” relationships of obligation and proximity around you, to ensure you don’t become an outcast.

External Validation

When you bring it all down to a nutshell, it’s about external validation – we’re looking for society and those around us to deem us “good enough” to be trusted in a relationship, with children, with a job.

The problem here is that external validation needs to be constantly coming at you in order for this strategy to work – so the moment you hit a rough patch, and that person no longer approves of you being around, and so does not validate your worth by engaging in a relationship with you, then you feel a failure.

Ditto on “I can’t find a job” – no company will externally validate my worth. This is where the pressure of interviews comes from – you want the external validation of acceptance.

Ditto on “I can’t find a relationship.” And even on “I can’t have a child” – I have not been found worthy enough by my own body to have this relationship I desire with a child. My body does not validate me as a mother and so society does not accept me.

So without even realizing it, you start training yourself to make sure you stay acceptable to everyone… but when you’re taking everyone’s needs into account, there’s only a small place of overlap.

And so you land up living in that overlap zone, doing the few baseline things that nobody can get offended at.

No wonder you feel stifled, stuck and trapped. And it’s even littler wonder that you have communication issues in your relationships.

Medicine and health

Often, instead of getting introspective and starting to look at the aspects of our lives that are causing us unhappiness, we turn to medicine.

Because depression is a disease.

There are two ways the medicine impacts you – and the first is that it makes you reliant on the medication. It becomes a crutch.

Most importantly it becomes a crutch because each medicine you take lands up creating symptoms that you need another medication to solve. And many of the medications are designed to make you physically reliant on them, so addiction genuinely occurs.

Or at least violent symptoms occur in your body, when you try to to STOP taking the medicine. See how that works?

The second addiction and problem that forms, is addiction to medical advice – as you participate more and more in medicine, you buy further into the idea that you HAVE TO listen to what your doctor says, despite what you feel or think inside of you.

Accept this idea for long enough, and you are going to believe that you are powerless to change your circumstance, and that what you are experiencing is beyond your control.

So you see your doctor for fifteen minutes every few weeks or months, get a medication and brief advice, and then you’re on your own again.

Come 3 AM, when you really need the hands on help and advice, the doctor is not around – and you feel powerless and incompetent to make any decisions for yourself.

When people feel powerless, hopeless and incompetent is when they are most likely to throw in the towel, and want to commit suicide.

You don’t know how to rest

Among the many things that our strange society has left us unequipped to do, resting is the most bizarre.

We are a culture that craves entertainment and the things of holidays and weekends – it’s all supposed to be about our rest time.

In fact, we live in one of the most advanced societies on earth, and living conditions around the globe are pretty much better than they’ve ever been in world history – and yet we have such a high percentage of the population on medication for depression.

We aren’t taught how to rest.

You take time off, but you don’t stop thinking about the things of your life… your bills, your obligations, the expectations placed on you.

We fill our lives with distractions and ways of keeping ourselves busy, but we are never taught the skills required to actually manage our thoughts.

And so you often get back to work even more tired than when you left, because at least work is a meditative state that allows your body to rest.

This is why you feel better at the start of a weekend too probably, lol 🙂

Entertainment is a distraction

Speaking of distraction, the things you think of as entertainment are designed to distract you – not entertain you.

So while you’re engaging in that game, at the casino, at the movies or whatever, your mind is full and busy, and you feel completely immersed in the experience.

But immediately afterwards, as you step out of the place, and are left with your own thoughts again, the boredom and silence of your mind sets in, or your inner voice starts to run rampant again.

In that moment of contrast, you feel empty, and so your system looks for the most recent experience where you did not feel empty – and you crave another dose of your distraction fix.

You’re only going to sort out the stuff inside you by going into those quiet spaces in your mind, and hearing your inner voice. And each time you resist hearing it – by filling your mind with distraction – it only becomes harder for you to face it at all.

Eventually, in your rush to get away from all that pain inside you, you start turning to deeper forms of distraction – ones that occupy you for hours. Think drugs, triathlons, excessive exercise and yoga, obsessive dieting or workaholics.

Each time you go out and participate you get more addicted to the distraction, and more dependent on it – until the cost of maintaining it becomes an additional pressure to deal with.

The content you’re consuming TELLS YOU you’re depressed

I’m a content producer and I’ve been that for years, and so I’ve gotten to see what content people use and what they engage with – and I haven’t been surprised to see how much people love these little online tests and gadgets.

They also love click bait style, sound bite filled articles that leave little real time to go into any depth at all.

Thirdly you have the rise of personal growth and self help stuff, alongside the LGBTQ movements, female empowerment and the suicide and depression league out there spreading content.

Each of these aspects on their own is not a killer in itself, but combined they are a lethal weapon, and what they’ve resulted in is engineered articles and tools that are designed to convince you that you need help.

In order to understand that, you need to know that almost all of the tools and pieces you see out there are some sort of PR thing… designed to bring in or retain customers and readers.

So they play to your worst fears in the hope that you will click through. They pick symptoms designed to be a common baseline experience, because that way MORE PEOPLE will relate to their articles or use their tool.

The point of the article or piece is usually to keep you engaged with the platform, and then to drive business by showing the writer as an expert. The tools simply exist to harvest email addressees for mailing lists.

In life, you rarely come across people like me, experts in an area doing their own marketing and digital work. So for example, when I build a tool, I do the expert spiritual/healing side of it AND I work out the actual delivery mechanism in the digital sphere.

In most cases, in fact, the expert sits on one side, and then the digital experts (usually a team) sit on the other, and then they try to create a tool as a marketing gimmick that will attract the MOST email addresses to harvest.

The expert provides the info, and a writer makes it palatable…so a writer can write a “respected” piece by referencing a whole bunch of scientific research. But again, the topics they focus in on are the ones most likely to draw ongoing traffic to their website.

Most of the marketing and media you consume today is designed to speak to your fears, and generate some sort of emotional response in you. Even in “positive” lifestyle ads showing what you can be, the fear inherent is that you are not that, and will never achieve it.

And your mainstream media are the worst at catering content that will keep you distracted and focused, and give you incorrect messaging.

And often that messaging is packaged into sound bite style info so that you feel like you’re growing smarter, but are not forced to focus for very long.

All of this messaging is designed to make your mind slower, and to make you feel like you have an issue so that you keep coming back for more.

The content you’re consuming makes you depressed

Beyond that content, there is the rest of the content you’re consuming – and even fiction is FULL of the drama and chaos of life.

Nobody wants to watch a movie about a quiet hermit who lived a life of peace, calmly interacting with animals, slowly learning a few skills, and spending a lot of time in quiet contemplation.

So instead you watch a gory adventure or action film; a sexy romance, which of course requires a break up, because boys meets girl, it all goes well and they all live happily ever after doesn’t exactly make the greatest storyline does it?

Throw in a sinking passenger liner, one of the worst mass casualties we’ve had in history, the deaths of hundreds by drowning and hypothermia, a love that could never be, and then a love that ends a few weeks after meeting with the untimely death of the romantic hero… now you have Titanic – the greatest love story of our time.

You don’t watch a movie about the guy who calmly accepted his wife’s death and his lot in life, said a prayer of gratitude and moved on… but you’ll watch the movie about the tormented father who rips his family apart and commits murder, or even the tormented ghost that is still holding on, murdering people who had nothing to do with the torment that caused the hell that traps it on this plane.

You aren’t interested in the story of the mother no one knew about, who lost her child to sex trafficking, and quietly mourned her loss, never knowing the fate of her only beloved daughter. Because it was unremarkable.

But Liam Neeson blowing up half of Europe and taking down a veritable army of guys in a few foreign countries? That’ll do, donkey.

And you wonder why your lives are so filled with drama and chaos and torment?

It’s the ONLY excitement you know.

Heroes are always having a bad day. Have you ever noticed that?

So in order to have heroes who face stuff, you have to have demons and dragons for those heroes to face.

Combine this with the fact that you cannot distinguish between what you watch and reality ,and you have a cauldron of opportunity for your mind to look for ways to create drama in your life.

Think back to a horror movie you’ve watched… remember the fear that made your heart beat, your pulse quicken, your breath catch sharply as you got a fright, your palms sweat? That was your body reacting on a mental, emotional and physical level to the visual stimulus in front of you.

It didn’t matter that you were not actually living the movie – seeing it was enough for you to experience it as real.

When you see something, it anchors you in that experience – think of any dream. It always feels real when you are in it.

Whatever you see in other words creates the “reality” of the environment you are experiencing.

Sometimes this can feel so real that you can’t return to real life… like when you can’t snap out of a dream, or forget a movie.

So once you’re watching the movie, your body begins to “experience” that experience as real, and your mind adds that range of experiences to the continuous catalogue it is building in your mind.

Whenever you approach any experience, your mind looks back on every similar experience you’ve ever had, and chooses from all those responses, the best response for what you are facing. The best one you can see.

This is why experience makes you better at doing something – your mind has narrowed down the ways to approach it, and understood how to do it, enough times that you know the ‘best way’ to approach it now.

When you experience the ups and downs and highs and lows of the drama and chaos in television and movies, that also becomes part of your range of experience.

So when you are in your normal life, you will find yourself responding as your favorite character from your favorite show would, saying something they would say – especially if you watch the shows repeatedly, In fact, if you watch the shows ongoing or repeatedly, you even get a sense that these people are your friends, a real part of your life.

Eventually, you will not only draw on mannerisms from these shows, you will begin to draw on the emotional responses too… and the hero is ALWAYS having a bad day.

Each time you watch stuff that Hollywood feeds us, you are literally training yourself to create drama in your life, because it is what you have come to know as excitement and entertainment.

Nothing makes us more depressed than drama and chaos in our lives – we want everything to run smoothly and be happy and peaceful; have it be easy.

News is not real

In order to keep pace with our need for excitement and distraction, news has to have the sensationalism that movies do.

News channels have to compete with entertainment channels in order to keep your attention, because they make their monthly income the same way that all broadcasting services do – advertising revenue.

The simple rule is, the more people that watch a show, the more you can charge for the advert to be broadcast. Think of the big deal they make of Superbowl adverts, for example.

So news channels are having to up their game, and you even see it in smaller, private and alternative media, with stuff that we term “click bait” – thumbnails and article titles that actually have nothing to do with the content on the page, and are just designed to grab your attention.

Of course these places are finding out what rattles your cage and using that information to manipulate you into watching or clicking through.

Combined with the almost drug like effect spending large amounts of time on digital devices has, it is easy for you get addicted to certain news channels and media platforms that are designed to draw you in as their “primary target market”.

Doing a NEWS FAST was actually one of the first steps I took on my journey towards healing – and now my life is permanent news fast.

I go out and FIND media on alternative outlets – I seek for specific topics and pieces, and never just scroll or go to the front page of anything.

If there is a big piece of news, someone will let me know.

I’ve lived like this for about four years now, and it is one of the most powerful changes I ever made in my life.

You cannot be positive when all you hear all the time is bad news. And the media lives on bad news.

There’s an advertising piece of urban legend passed down when you study advertising, and it is about a day when the media decided to only run good news. Think it was back in the 60s. Sure someone will fill us in in the comments lol 🙂

Sales dropped to 25% that day – people were only interested in bad news.

If we want the media to change, we have to change the media we consume.

The Internet offers an incredible range of alternative media platforms and resources – get out there and find out what’s on offer.

The way to stay in the know in the information age is to be in charge of the content you consume – careful in your choices.

This is a difficult change at first, because it forces you to really think about what you want to consume next, but it is one I guarantee you will be happy you made.

Monthly payments and lifestyle

It really doesn’t matter what you do for a living anymore, everything seems to be reduced to making a monthly income… and month end always seems to be around the corner.

We’ve created this artificial of month end and it ties us to this idea of time, and we always seem to be moving from one month end and round of bill paying, to the next.

Likewise, once we’ve achieved something, say medical insurance, having to decide to go without it feels like a sacrifice or loss, which in many cases causes shame and guilt and doubt and vulnerability about our perceived lack.

Once we’ve achieved something, we feel that that’s where we should be and stay, and so when we need to make choices about how to cut back, we find it very difficult.

And our monthly expenses just seem to be growing and growing.

We are very likely the first generation in many, that will do worse than our parents did

So many are chasing the American dream, and our fear of missing out (FOMO), and instant gratification cultures, drive vast volumes of people to incur debt they really shouldn’t require, to keep up with the Joneses now – because patience is a long forgotten art.

Instant Gratification

We live in a 30-second instant gratification culture… fast foods, drive throughs, 24-hour delivery… I was horrified to see one of our major stores open on Christmas Day last year in fact.

When you are used to getting everything at the speed of light, then any delay you experience, in achieving any desire, will feel like a failure.

One of the worst habits that conscious manifestation and the Law of Attraction gave us was to set deadlines for goals – every time you get to a deadline and haven’t achieved it, you land up feeling like a failure.

Feel like a failure enough times and you will land up wanting to throw yourself off a cliff.

Patience and divine timing are lost arts, but well worth practicing if you want peace of mind.

Both of these will take time, and the self discipline of repeated practice, until you get them right.

You will fail miserably in the beginning, but keep going, because once you’ve seen enough ways not to do it, you will start to find ways to do it.

You will feel immensely frustrated along the way – use the frustration to inspire you and push you forward. Let it make you hungry to solve this puzzle.

A little bit of patience – and a lot LESS expectation – will make the world of difference in how you see your life.

And it’s surprisingly good training for learning how to properly relax.

Fear Of Missing Out – FOMO

The last sideswipe that modern culture throws at us is the fear of missing out… get it on credit! Why wait?

Because debt drains you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I work with people all over the world, and the money thing is everywhere – and it impacts everybody in the same ways.

Whatever is worth having is worth waiting for, and you’ll enjoy it so much more when your inner voice is not running riot with worry and anxiety about how you are going to pay your bills, or find food for the rest of the month.

The money thing is real, and it’s hitting a lot of people – and a lot of people are committing suicide because of it.

You CAN miss out on the latest mobile phone or car, if it means that you don’t have to miss out on your life.

Yes, the purchase gives you instant gratification, but long term it only does more damage.

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Consciousness

Manifesting Your Vision Through “The Law of Attraction”

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The Law of Attraction is based on the principle that all matter is made up of pure energy, which is in a constant state of vibration and spin.

The LOA implies that thoughts and emotions are also energy, each having a unique energy signature. Every energetic frequency is in a constant state of attraction or repulsion with all others. With the recent emergence of quantum mechanics, this notion has been largely supported at a micro level.

The Law of Attraction states that “like attracts like,” and we are in a constant state of creating our reality through the energy we emit in the form of thoughts and emotion. We continuously interact with the fabric of reality (or quantum field), through thought and emotional energy, and whatever we focus on is likely to manifest. We are each creators of our own reality, and what we put out is what we will attract.

3 Things You Need to Know First

1. A key factor missing from the LOA is that we are creating on both a conscious and subconscious level. This accounts for the seeming contradiction between “opposites attract” and the major principle of LOA, “like attracts like.”

We are still attracting the part of the whole that has been splintered and repressed into the subconscious mind. Basically, the actively repressed traits within ourselves are still charged, and this suppressed energy is also a point of attraction. Until we acknowledge and integrate it, it will still play a role in the creation of our external reality.

2. Our belief systems alter our manifestation process. If you want to manifest $10,000 in one week, but your underlying beliefs are largely identified with a state of lack, you will only manifest more lack.

This is because Law of Attraction works with both thought and emotion, and if you try to think your way into something that you don’t believe, your emotional reaction will support your unconscious beliefs more than your conscious thoughts.

If you try to affirm, “I will be abundant,” but don’t believe it, those beliefs will surface via an emotional response that insinuates the opposite feeling. At that point, you are literally putting the gas and the breaks on at the same time, making manifestation very difficult.

One great tip to overcome this, as stated by Abraham Hicks, is to “start general, and then get specific” with your manifestation process. Start with what you can believe, and continue to expand as you see evidence of your manifestations taking place. This allows your thoughts and emotions to be in resonance rather than dissonance.

3. We are always manifesting according to our highest values. Renowned behavioural development specialist Dr. DeMartini (who was also featured in The Secret) discovered that we all have an inherent set of values that is largely governing our behaviour. DeMartini is quoted as saying, “All of our actions are strategies to align with our values as efficiently as possible,” along with, “all of our positive and negative emotions are feedback as to whether or not we are living in our highest values.” Essentially, the things we value the most filter our perception at a subconscious level. They are governing the way that we manifest, and the reasons we do.

This is why, for example, someone might set a new year’s resolution to lose weight and never achieve their goal. If one of their highest values is social connection, their unconscious will perceive that taking the time to exercise and eat right actually conflicts with the time they would rather be spending at social events with others.

The trick, then, is to change your perception by tying in how exercise and diet actually support your high value on social connection. For example, you might feel more confident meeting new people when you are healthy and strong. Or you can approach it from the other end by tying your value into your goal. In this case, you could try to engage your value of social connection by going to the gym or to nutrition classes with your close friends.

What You Need to Know During Active Manifestation

These are some useful tips if you are meditating on your vision, or practicing visualization.

Clear your mind. To speed up the process of manifestation, presence and focus are key. If your attention is scattered, your manifestation will be too. Write down on paper whatever is bothering you, and vow to leave it outside of your visualization. This will help you stay present.

Open your heart for the process. Connect with the feeling of gratitude as you begin. This can be done by writing a short gratitude list, or by thinking of people/events that you are truly grateful for.

According to the HeartMath Institute, “The heart generates an electromagnetic field roughly 60 times greater in amplitude than brainwaves do.” This field is measured by an electrocardiogram (ECG), and brainwaves were measured using an electroencephalogram (EEG) during these findings. The heart is a major point of attraction.

Be clear. The law of attraction is described as a law. This means it responds to everything, without exception. If you are mixed in your emotions or vision, it will slow the process. The clearer and more detailed you are, the faster your vision will come to life.

Engage your senses. Did you know that the brain can’t actually tell the difference between experience and visualization? This is why visualization is so useful for athletes. This principle applies directly to the LOA. What do you see, hear, smell, touch, and feel when you have arrived at your vision? Feel each sense distinctly, and don’t be afraid to sit with each one individually.

Engage emotion. This is how to charge your vision. Emotions are the driving force behind manifestation.

Align your intention with your values. Tie what you want to manifest into your highest values. More simply put, make sure you can see how your goals support the things that matter most to you in life. This will help you manifest congruently from both the conscious and subconscious mind.

Don’t be desperate. Try to imagine that you are gently requesting. If you are being needy or desperate in your request, you are coming directly from an emotional space of lack. The emotional feeling of lack will counteract your thought-energy, and you are more likely to stagnate.

What You Need to Know After

Take action. Taking action will create momentum, while also building evidence toward creating the belief that your manifestation is unfolding.

Act as if it has already happened. “I AM” is a creative, powerful phrase. If you conduct your behaviour as the person you have already become, you are more energetically aligned with your goal.

Be aware of your internal dialogue. Remember, you are in a constant state of attracting or repulsing what it is that you want to achieve. Your internal dialogue is always creating a point of attraction, along with the emotional reactions it produces. Be congruent!

Allow! You must fully release your vision in order for it to manifest. If you are too attached to it, your need for control can actually stunt the process. Faith and belief in the process are key. It can be helpful to think in terms of being at a restaurant. Once you’ve placed your order, you have to give it time to be cooked up and served to you!

We are all creators, and we all deserve to live an inspired life. The Law of Attraction is a beautiful tool that enables us to consciously put our creative powers to use! In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”

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Collective Evolution is one of the world's fastest-growing conscious media and education companies providing news and tools to raise collective consciousness. Get inside access to Collective Evolution by becoming a member of CETV.

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Consciousness

My Thoughts On “Spiritual Narcissism”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Narcissism, in a nutshell, is self-absorption to the extent that it will adopt any set of rationale to protect the ego which often includes a degree of self-deception. Is this happening to many in spiritual trends?

  • Reflect On:

    There is authentic being, and then there is self-absorption which pretending to be authenticity, are we aware of the difference?

We humans often have a hard time finding middle ground. We may be drowning in lack of self-worth one moment, and trampling over other’s with our own self indulgence the next as we struggle to find balance. Narcissism is not simply about enjoying selfies in our social media-saturated world, it goes deeper than that.

It appears as liberation but is a trap that can ruin relationships, increase personal suffering, and keep a person from their true spiritual aspirations. Not surprisingly, increased mindfulness and compassion for this tricky human quirk is the best way to heal it.

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

The capacity to become overly self-indulgent is within all of us, and it becomes increasingly dangerous when we confuse it with spirituality. In many ways it is easy to see that all of humanity is dealing with a certain degree of self-absorption while we desecrate forests and oceans, causing plants and animals to go extinct on our material quests. In his famous book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Chogyam Trungpa gave a good foundation for westerners to navigate the pitfalls of our materialistic abundance.

Alt text here
The capacity to become overly self-indulgent is within all of us

We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it. – Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

There is a difference between ego-self and the deeper universal soul within us, differentiating the two is important. Sadly, we have spiritual philosophies and religions that have been constructed to feed the ego, inflate self-righteousness, and create division while giving justification for all manner of activities including killing, exploitation, and oppression. Ethical conduct, regardless of spirituality, requires honoring the other and the self as one with each deserving to be respected, heard, and seen with compassion.

No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain. – Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

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There is a difference between ego-self and the deeper universal soul within us

Finding the Antidote to Self-absorption

Narcissism, in a nutshell, is self-absorption to the extent that it will adopt any set of rationale to protect the ego which often includes a degree of self-deception. Ego is an important aspect of our selves, it is part of self-preservation but when it becomes out of balance it actually has the ability to destroy us and harm relationships.

Many spiritual practices seek to increase our ability to witness and bring mindful awareness to ego drives which allow us to master, instead of being enslaved by our ego. When ego gets too big it can be hard to swallow, yet spiritual liberation invites us to expand our sense of self beyond the ego, beyond time and space.

The goal is to find a balance between the inner experience and the outer reality. How do we embody healthy self-love without becoming an ego-maniac and hurting personal relationships? Meanwhile, self-loathing, and low self-esteem are also manifestations of ego out of balance. Selflessness can often be quite selfish, over-engagement can be as problematic as disengagement socially. Luckily we are here to find this balance through living fully, from making mistakes, and evolving our sense of self-awareness. Healthy self-awareness is the only antidote to self-absorption.

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How do we embody healthy self-love without becoming an ego-maniac?

The Story of Narcissus and Echo

One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted “Who’s there?”. Echo repeated “Who’s there?”. She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He didn’t realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually recognized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide. -Wikipedia

Since intention is subjective, a person is often understood within their community by their actions or image. This becomes extra tricky in our age of social media and the materialism that has found it’s way into yoga, meditation, and spirituality. It is possible to put on a good act, to fool those around us and ourselves (temporarily).

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Narcissus mesmerized by his own reflection

We can have the latest yoga clothes, read the right books and hang out with all the “cool” people, but if our actions are not grounded in a deeper spiritual practice, basic consideration for others, and respect, it is still hollow. A common analogy is the guy who everyone likes but then goes home kicks his dog, or is rude and unaccountable to his wife.

Deep spirituality makes us more sensitive to the feeling of others, encouraging an open stance of courage where we can drop our protective shields and accept the vulnerability to be seen as we are. Narcissistic sensitivity, however, is focused solely on the subtle nuances one’s own internality, and resists looking at hard, uncomfortable truths that may upset the self image. One who is narcissistically sensitive is easily offended by the “coarseness” of others, seeks to make his environment change to align with the contours of his needs, and gets angry or offended when this does not happen. -The Allure of Narcissistic Spirituality, Huffington Post

How to Identify Narcissistic Behavior

The ability to identify narcissistic behavior in yourself and others is the best way to heal it. It is not your job to diagnose others or tell them they are narcissistic if they are not interested in hearing it or healing it. However, if you draw appropriate boundaries for them you will protect yourself and encourage them to become more mindful. This is a loving and compassionate way to handle narcissism.

Alt text hereThe ability to identify narcissistic behavior in yourself and others is the best way to heal it

It is always healthy to make boundaries and speak your truth in a loving and compassionate way. Whether the narcissist hears it or not is out of your control. Common responses from narcissists will include belittling your feelings, a hollow apology without effort to modify behavior, or ignoring you altogether. Basically, they will use any excuse they can in order to not look at it, or to make the situation your fault. This is your cue to make appropriate boundaries for yourself.

Within yourself be open and receptive when others tell you that you have been inconsiderate of them. Accepting constructive feedback from loved ones is a great way to keep a balance between internal needs and external relationships. This is also how we grow as individuals.

Common traits of narcissism courtesy of BPD Central.

  • Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Alt text hereLearning to stop keeping all the love for ourselves

Evolving Unhealthy Patterns

Hopefully, this will help you navigate tough interpersonal relationships and also better yourself. It is a beautiful thing that psychology is allowing us to have terms to identify and evolve unhealthy patterns emotionally. As we learn to live in community, we learn many aspects of love. This is how we help ourselves and those around us grow!

I’m republishing,  for the CE audience, this piece I wrote for Uplift Connect.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Libra: Seeking Balance

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We are having a New Moon in Libra on October 16th throughout most of the world and in the morning of the 17th in the East. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Taurus on October 31st/November 1st.

This New Moon occurs days after we have reached the halfway point of Mars’ retrograde in Aries which concludes mid-November. It is also days after Mercury began its retrograde which is currently in Scorpio and moving backwards into Libra before it moves forward again post November 3rd. Both of these planets being retrograde at the same time reflects a period of significant adjustments pertaining to how we express these planets, the signs they are in, and how they are configured to our individual astrological blueprints (natal chart).

Generally Mars retrogrades are a period in which the circumstances, developments, and our inner guidance is helping to facilitate a shift in how we apply ourselves and take action in specific areas of our lives. This is something that happens approximately every two years, which is less frequent and usually more significant than Mercury’s retrogrades. I wrote separate articles for each of them, you can read more about Mars Retrograde here and Mercury Retrograde here.

Libra season began on September 22nd/23rd, just over three weeks prior to this Lunation, and will end on October 22nd/23rd when Scorpio season begins. However, this New Moon (along with other planets) will still carry some of its Libra themes into the first week of Scorpio season prior to the Full Moon.

This is a good period of working with and co-creating with the energies of this sign. As an Air sign, Libra is socially and mentally oriented. Ruled by Venus, it is associated with relating, relationships, charm, harmony, compromising, art, creativity, and aesthetics. There is a big focus on others. Libra is also diplomatic as it seeks to find balance, equality, fairness, and common ground.

Negatively, Libra can be overly codependent, passive aggressive, superficial, insincere,  indecisive, vain, and judgemental. Although this sign is about politeness and harmony, retaliation can be triggered when imbalance and unfairness is perceived. Libra is also associated with people-pleasing which can have either positive or negative implications.

New Moon Aligned With Spica, In A Hard T-Square Pattern

This New Moon has an interesting mix of energies. It is tightly aligned with the fixed star Spica which is known to be the most benefic and fortunate star. However, it can be tricky to interpret how a star’s energy can manifest, especially in this case considering other astrological factors that are quite different.

Like Libra, Spica is connected to art and creativity, but also has spiritual, scientific, and inventive qualities. It is associated with harvest season and represents the ‘gifts of harvest’, both metaphorically and literally. However, it can also reflect unfruitfulness (depending on other variables) and injustice to innocence according to legendary astrologer Vivian Robson.

This New Moon is opposite Mars Retrograde in Aries which are both in a T-square with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn. The Sun has been in an opposition with Mars in the week before this New Moon (peaking on the 13th/14th) which has been a significant part of the Mars retrograde process in influencing how we assert ourselves.

However, this energy is also configured into this New Moon and can play out as conflicts (internally or externally with others), impulsiveness, aggression, anger, competitiveness, or sexual tension. Mars in Aries wants to assert individuality, ego, personal needs, and self identity while the New Moon in Libra is looking for consideration, common ground, diplomacy, equality, and fairness.

This opposition in a square to Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn can reflect power struggles, obstacles, and issues pertaining to beliefs, opinions, and perspectives. Saturn has the most power as it is strongly placed in its home sign (ruling Jupiter and Pluto) as the Sun and Moon are also moving towards a square (strong on the 18th/19th) with it while separating from the aspects to the other planets in this configuration. This calls for a need to be realistic, cautious, practical, disciplined, structured, or orderly. The combination of this and all the retrograde energy can call for some sort of refinement.

Venus Opposing Neptune, Trine Planets In Capricorn, and Square The Lunar Nodes

The ruler of this New Moon, Venus, has been in Virgo in the previous two weeks and will be there until October 27th/28th. Venus ruled areas of values, love, relationships, friends, social life, pleasures, money, aesthetics, beauty, art, taste, sensuality, desires, and attractiveness can be expressed in ways that are practical, conscientious, discerning, picky, detailed, organized, analytical, health oriented, productive, efficient, adaptable, or fault finding/surfacing.

At the time of this New Moon, Venus is moving towards an opposition to Neptune and trine to Jupiter which have been in a sextile over the previous weeks. This energy is strong from October 18th-19th and can be good for creative or artistic efforts as well as social interactions that have spiritual, compassionate, broad, or philosophical themes. It can also reflect expansiveness, growth, morals, optimism, idealism, along with confusion, deception, escapism, and delusion affecting Venus areas of life (as mentioned in above paragraph).

Mars retrograde will also be in a square with Jupiter at that time which could also reflect conflicts around beliefs, opinions, and judgements. Excessiveness, overconfidence, and spreading ourselves out too much can also play out. Mercury retrograde will be moving towards an opposition to Uranus (peaks 19th/20th) which can make it harder to focus and can bring disruption, changes to plans, and perhaps communication problems.

Venus approaches a square to the Lunar Nodes on October 20th/21st. We may be reflecting on the past and future, or perhaps at a crossroads, when it comes to relationships and values. Venus is then in a trine with Pluto (October 21st/22nd) which can bring an empowering, deep, intense, or insightful energy to things associated with Venus. Following this, it moves to a trine with Saturn (October 24th/25th) which can have a committing, strengthening, supportive, responsible, practical, or stabilizing effect on these areas.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What can you do to improve how you relate with others? Is there a need to compromise, find common ground, or achieve fairness and equality? What has come up for you in the week leading up to this New Moon? Should you change the way you assert your needs or individuality? Are circumstances in your life pushing you to think differently about something? What can you learn from any obstacles that have been coming up in your life? Is there anything that needs to be restrained?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 7:31pm Universal Time on October 16th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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