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Venus Retrograde In Scorpio & Libra: Adjustments Around Relationships & Values

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Venus is retrograde from October 5th until November 16th. It has been building up since September 2nd, when Venus entered what is called the “pre-shadow” period. When a planet goes retrograde, our perspective here on Earth makes it appear to be going backwards in the sky.

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Unlike Mercury Retrograde, Venus Retrogrades occur less frequently, every 19 months, but they last about twice as long. Although both retrogrades have some similarities in regards to how they might affect your social life, Venus still presents a much different vibe.

Retrogrades are a time to revisit, reflect on, and make adjustments to things represented by that planet. Venus rules over love, intimate relationships, friendships, values, money, beauty, and overall attractability. It is associated with our passions, creativity, pleasures, and tastes.

Venus begins its retrograde in a square with Mars which has also recently been retrograde. Therefore, much of the Mars related shifts that occurred throughout the summer and up until early October has set the stage for this Venus’ retrograde.

These recent months have been a time of re-orientation of how we assert and apply ourselves.

In some cases this previous Mars retrograde could have been connected to shifts around how we apply aggression, sexuality, and desires. There could have also been surprises, sudden changes, disruptions, or taking action towards some sort of freedom or liberating from a situation.

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Intimate and Social Relationships

For many couples, though not all, it can be a challenging time. Whether challenging or not, however, Venus retrograde can deepen or shift the way love and/or pleasure are expressed between partners. Any new relationships — those shorter than 18 months — may be tested during this period, as it will be the first one experienced as a couple.

Any new developments or perspectives around relationships that have occurred since September 2nd may end up playing out quite differently than expected over the next few months. Consider this an important step in the evolution of your relationship(s). If all is well, it will ultimately be strengthened.

Friendships could be affected in this way as well, minus the intimacy. This could also be a time when people reconnect with friends (or lovers) of the past to further evolve the relationship. It could bring some sort of closure and/or new developments.

New or reacquainted relationships that form during Venus retrogrades can play an important role in evolving how we apply ourselves in relationships into the future. However, for anyone who does enter a new relationship at this time, it would be good to wait until after the retrograde is over before going ‘all in’. At that point, things will then become more clear on how to proceed with matters of love. In some cases a relationship can get more serious or developed in the post retrograde period while in other cases it could come to an end.

Money, Values, Beauty, and Material Things

Depending on what area of your natal chart it is occurring in, and while considering other factors, Venus retrograde could create a shift in what we value and/or how we are valued and what we are attracted to. For some people, there could also be a shift in financial matters that may have begun developing or played out sometime since early September. If so, be mindful of the fact that things could still change over the next few months.

It would also be a good idea to be cautious when doing anything new that involves beauty, decorating, or buying any items related to fashion. There is a greater possibility that eventually you may not be happy with these kinds of choices that you make. However, Venus retrograde can be good for renovations in many cases, especially after October 31st when it returns to Libra.

This Retrograde Starts in Scorpio and Travels Back to Libra

Venus begins its retrograde in Scorpio, and it has been in that sign since September 9th. Developments around financial matters, shared resources, or credit  may have come up since then and can continue to play out. This retrograde could also have to do with a re-orientation of how we spend finances towards fun and pleasurable pursuits.

Scorpio is a passionate, intense, transformative, and primal energy. It can be very calculated and cautious, but once it wants something, it is ‘all in’. As a result,  it can also be possessive, jealous, fearful, controlling, manipulative, and obsessive. Therefore matters of love and romance could be flavoured with those themes.

Venus re-enters its own sign of Libra on October 31st and will end its retrograde there. Because it rules this sign, it amplifies some of the Venus themes already mentioned. In this sign, it could facilitate a re-orientation of how we seek harmony and balance in our love lives, socially, or even financially. Adjustments connected to beauty, style, or anything aesthetic could occur. A shift in our creativity could also occur during this period.

Venus ends its retrograde close to the star Spica, which is traditionally the most fortunate and lucky star. In the week before and after the retrograde, we may notice its energy the most. Depending on how it is interacting with your natal astrology chart, this period can be highly beneficial socially, romantically, financially, creatively, or aesthetically.

Journey of Venus Retrograde – Timeline

*Below, are some of the dates and information about Venus’ aspects othe major astrological configurations during this retrograde. However, I also usually post about other astro energies happening on my social media via Instagram and Facebook, you can follow those platforms for more forecast content.

Earlier dates are for those in Western part of the world and later dates for those in the East.

October 5th/6th Venus retrograde begins at 7:05pm Universal Time.

The days surrounding this period could be a time in which some of the themes mentioned above could become more apparent. In some cases, their could be some sort of development that will play a significant role in how this retrograde plays out for you.

October 10th/11th Venus square Mars.

This can be a passionate time in relationships, however, it can also stimulate tension, conflict, and intensity either in our love lives or socially. Perhaps some developments connected to sexuality may come up. This can also be a period of impulsively or aggressively spending money or seeking pleasures. This energy can also be competitive. Taking action towards anything to do with aesthetics or creativity could occur as well. This energy can start to become noticeable when the retrograde begins, however, it peaks at this period.

October 15th/16th Venus conjunct Mercury.

This can be a good time for anything social. Perhaps connecting with old friends, associates, or lovers could occur. We may put extra mental focus towards Venus ruled areas or perhaps learn something that we were unaware of before. Financial transactions connected to the past may also occur.

October 23rd – 25th  Full Moon in Taurus aligned with Uranus, aspecting Venus, Saturn, and square the Lunar Nodes.

Uranus involved can indicate a period of surprises, changes, new experiences, and even excitement in some cases. Regardless of whatever shift that Uranus could bring, Venus and the Full Moon are also in a harmonious aspect with Saturn, which can still add themes around stability, realism, responsibilities, and commitments around relationships, friendships, values, finances, or anything to do with aesthetics or creativity. This period can be karmic and/or evolutionary, however we can also potentially feel pulled in different directions, and/or between the past and future. The energies of this Full Moon builds up in the weeks prior and also has a strong influence over the following few weeks, especially when some of this gets triggered again around October 30th-31st.

(I will be writing more about this Full Moon in separate article, you can join my mailing list here to be notified when it is published.)

October 25th – 27th  Venus conjunct the Sun (Inferior Conjunction).  

This is a seeding period for areas of life ruled by Venus. Whatever is seeded at this time will build up towards a culmination that will occur in the summer of 2019. This exact alignment occurs at this time, however, the seeding energy can actually last from Oct 20th-31st. This can be a period of significant happenings, however, it is possible that whatever occurs may not seem so until later, perhaps even a few months after the retrograde ends.

October 30th-31st Venus opposite Uranus in Grand Cross with the Lunar Nodes, Venus semi-sextile Mercury.

This triggers some of the same energies of the previous Full Moon mentioned already mentioned. However, this period can be a bit more disruptive or surprising when it comes to Venus matters, and could require adjustments. Like the previous Full Moon, this period can be karmic and/or evolutionary, however, we can also feel pulled in different directions, and/or between the past and future. This can be good for some sort of clarification or communication around Venus matters.

October 31st/Nov 1st Venus retrograde enters Libra.

Venus returns home to its own sign, which can bring more harmony to Venus matters compared to earlier part of the retrograde. However, it is still retrograde and in close aspect to Uranus and the Lunar Nodes as mentioned, so it can still be a bit shaky for some people.

November 2nd – 4th Venus semisextile Jupiter and quincunx Chiron, with Jupiter Trine Chiron.

This can be a period of growth around Venus matters, however, it can also be a time where we need to make adjustments due to wounds and blockages around Venus issues. Jupiter is in a trine with Chiron this week which can be great for healing, learning, and having a greater awareness of our blockages and/or gifts.

November 6th – 8th Uranus square the Nodes while they all change signs. Jupiter enters Sagittarius. 

The Lunar Nodes are going into the Cancer/Capricorn axis and will stay there over the following 18 months. This is beginning a process of changes of how we work with energies of these signs, pushing us towards being more caring, nurturing, and connecting emotionally with loved ones. Uranus changing signs could reflect changes, disruptions, surprises, and perhaps revisiting a theme connected to authentic individuality which has been playing out since 2011. Jupiter enters its own sign of Sagittarius where it will be until December of 2019. This is the beginning of a year long process that could be very expansive around our beliefs, perspectives, and could provide a lot of learning through our experiences, education, and travel. You may have already started noticing these energies beginning to play out sometime during the months prior to this date.

November 8th/9th  Venus trine Mars.

This energy can make us more active socially, romantically, and creatively. This can also stimulate sexual attraction.

November 10th/11th Venus semi-square Mercury.

This can be a more social time. Communication and mental activity around Venus issues could also be theme.  However, it is possible that there can be some difficulties or tension in these ways as well.

November 16th Venus Retrograde Ends Conjunct Spica, Mercury goes retrograde.

Venus comes to a stop and slowly begins to move forward while being blessed by a very fortunate star, Spica. Over the coming weeks and months, the chips will fall into place more clearly as a result of any adjustments or seeds planted during this retrograde period. However, Mercury also begins its retrograde period which is occurring in Sagittarius and Scorpio. This indicates another reorientation in our lives that could be somehow connected to what has occurred during the Venus retrograde.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

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Looking for insight on how this period is affecting you? 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

Scientists Discover That The Heart & Brain Respond To Future Events – Before They Happen

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple experiments have shown strong evidence for precognition in several different ways. One of them comes in the form of activity within the heart and the brain responding to events before they even happen.

  • Reflect On:

    Do we have extra human capacities we are unaware of? Perhaps we can learn them, develop them, and use them for good. Perhaps when the human race is ready, we will start learning more.

Is precognition real? There are many examples suggesting that yes, it is. The remote viewing program conducted by the CIA in conjunction with Stanford University was a good example of that.  After its declassification in 1995, or at least partial declassification, the Department of Defense and those involved revealed an exceptionally high success rate:

To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the (remote viewing) phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise… The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions. (source)

The kicker? Part of remote viewing involves peering into future events as well as events that happened in the past.

It’s not only within the Department of Defense that we find this stuff, but a lot of science is emerging on this subject as well.

For example, a study (meta analysis) published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding this phenomenon that were conducted by several different laboratories. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to the event before it has occurred. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured regarding the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

A few years ago, the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Dean Radin, visited the scientists over at HearthMath Institute and shared the results of one of his studies. Radin is also one of multiple scientists who authored the paper above. These studies, as mentioned above, tracked the autonomic nervous system, physiological changes, etc.

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Scientists at HeartMath Institute (HMI) added more protocols, which included measuring participants’ brain waves (EEG), their hearts’ electrical activity (ECG), and their heart rate variability (HRV).

As HMI explains:

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The Results

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

Another significant study (meta-analysis) that was published in Journal of Parapsychology by Charles Honorton and Diane C. Ferrari in 1989 examined a number of studies that were published between 1935 and 1987. The studies involved individuals’ attempts to predict “the identity of target stimuli selected randomly over intervals ranging from several hundred million seconds to one year following the individuals responses.” These authors investigated over 300 studies conducted by over 60 authors, using approximately 2 million individual trials by more than 50,000 people. (source)

It concluded that their analysis of precognition experiments “confirms the existence of a small but highly significant precognition effect. The effect appears to be repeatable; significant outcomes are reported by 40 investigators using a variety of methodological paradigms and subject populations. The precognition effect is not merely an unexplained departure from a theoretical chance baseline, but rather is an effect that covaries with factors known to influence more familiar aspects of human performance.” (source)

The Takeaway

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn and grow from these studies, they can help us better ourselves and others.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Aries: Change & Renewal

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We are having a Full Moon in Aries which will be exact on October 13th at 9:08pm Universal Time. It will appear the fullest that night for the majority of the world, and on the night of the 12th for those in Hawaii.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Libra. 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 Moon in Aries and Sun in Libra. 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 Libra side and others expressing the Aries side. In some cases, Full Moon’s can also reflect/trigger some sort of release or change.

Aries is a fire sign ruled by Mars. It is about individual needs, action, moving forward, pioneering, independence, self-identity, self-orientation, and leadership. It is bold, courageous, and instinctual, yet it can also be aggressive, impulsive, impatient, selfish, and hot-tempered.

Libra is an Air sign ruled by Venus. It is about relating, relationships, partnerships, codependency, consideration, harmony, balance, fairness, art, creativity, and beauty. It is sociable, diplomatic, and intellectual, yet it can also be indecisive, passive aggressive, vain, and even judgemental.

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Full Moon Square Pluto and Trine Jupiter

The Full Moon is in a tight square with Pluto which is near Saturn and the South Node in Capricorn. This can trigger the energy of the previous Lunar Eclipse which had strong themes of purging, letting go, as well as the potential for rebirth and transformation. It may reflect things from the past that need to be resolved or concluded.

The area of life in which this may occur depends on how it was interacting with your natal chart. It could be connected to Capricorn themes such as ambitions, career, control, management, social status, financial areas or potential structures in our lives.

This can also reflect issues pertaining to fears, obsessions, compulsive behavior, shadows, dark drives, manipulation, desires, deeply repressed feelings, jealousy, the underworld, and destruction. Conflicts around power and power struggles may also play out which may be connected to Aries-Libra themes mentioned above. Pluto may increase the potential of intensity and Saturn can reflect obstacles.

Although this configuration can be challenging, this Full Moon is also in a trine with Jupiter in Sagittarius which brings some positive and hopeful energy to it as well. This aspect can be good for expansiveness, exploration, and learning. Themes around morals, faith, beliefs, and perspectives may be a part of the equation. It can be good for addressing issues by looking at the big picture and incorporating a higher understanding.

Mercury In Pre-Retrograde Shadow Period, Sextile Saturn, Pluto and Trine Neptune

Mercury in Scorpio will be going retrograde on October 31st and has begun its pre-retrograde shadow period on October 11th/12th. Some of the developments or thoughts that are occurring now and over the coming weeks will go through a process in November in which there could be adjustments, new realizations, and overall some sort of re-calibration to set things up for the following months or even beyond that. I will be writing a separate article on this retrograde, you can join my mailing list here to ensure that you receive it.

Mercury is in a sextile with Saturn in Capricorn which is strongest during the Full Moon and the following day. This is good for any type of mental effort and using our mind in a realistic, practical, tangible, or essential way. Communications with others can feel solidifying, productive, or have themes around responsibility and commitment.

Mercury is also in a trine with Neptune in Pisces which peaks on October 15th/16th. Our thoughts, communications, or activities can be idealistic, imaginative, inspired, spiritual, creative, compassionate, or sensitive. This can heighten intuition and we can be more tuned in to symbolism. It can also be good for doing anything involving visual media.

Mercury is in a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn which is strongest October 19th/20th. This can reflect wanting to understand or communicate things on a deeper level. We can be more focused, penetrating, strategic, persuasive, and compulsive. In some cases it can also be good for getting a point across to facilitate some sort of change,

Venus and Mars In Each Other’s Signs

Mars (the ruler of the Aries Full Moon) is in Libra which is ruled by Venus while Venus is in Scorpio which is traditionally ruled Mars. Generally these planets are considered to be challenged when in these signs on their own, however, in this case they are assisting each other in what is referred to as a ‘mutual reception’.

The midpoint of both Venus and Mars are aligned with the Sun/Moon opposition, as well as in aspect with Pluto. Considering all of this, it helps to alleviate any of the potential conflict between the Aries-Libra opposition and can also help to unify both sides of the polarity.

In the day prior to this Full Moon, Venus was in an opposition to Uranus which could have reflected some changes, insights, disruptions, or surprises around Venus ruled areas such as relationships, money, pleasures, or values. Following this, it is than moving towards a sextile to Saturn which peaks from October 19th-20th. This can bring a more stabilizing, mature, realistic, and supportive energy around relations or finances.

Things To Consider During This Period

How can you approach individual needs while also being considerate of others? What changes do you need to make to help you grow and expand? What is going on beneath the surface? Are any of the potential challenges happening in your life connected to something that you need to release or transform? How do you feel about everything when you take a step back and look at it from a higher perspective? What is the big picture and how can you incorporate your understandings to help you proceed or resolve any difficulties?

These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. 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 when as wanes over the following two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on October 13th at 9:08pm Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

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

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 8: The Apple Tree)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

8. The Apple Tree

Every autumn the same argument between the two orchard owners rang through the valley on the island of Allandon. Both claimed rights to the fruits of an apple tree whose roots laid on one’s land but whose trunk leaned drastically into the other’s property. They made their case to a seed planter who worked for both of them.

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“It is on my property that the tree is rooted in the ground,” said the one. “Clearly the fruits belong to me. Is it not so?”

“He is free to pick all the apples he wants,” replied the other, “as long as he keeps his two feet on his land.”

“You know that is not possible. The tree leans over your property.”

“And so the tree, by its growth, has decided that I should have its fruit. What do you say, planter?”

“Come with me,” the seed planter said. He led them up the great mountain in the center of the island, keeping quiet as they continued to bicker. When they reached a lookout point near the top of the mountain, the seed planter spoke to them.

“Now look out onto your vast properties,” he said. “Where is the apple tree?”

“I can’t make out the tree from here,” said the one.

“It’s too small,” echoed the other.

“Exactly,” the seed planter said. “Now perhaps we can talk about this dispute.”

Einstein once said that problems cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them. And yet in our lives we continue to try to do just that: whenever we see something showing up in the world that doesn’t suit us, we immediately try to change the world until it conforms to how we think it should be. But the problem itself does not originate in the outer world—it originates in our inner world where we first interpreted a thing or event as a ‘problem’. Even if we are successful in changing the external world to our liking at a given moment, it will not be long before the same ‘problem’ arises in a different form. This is like the arcade game where you hammer a mole back into its hole and another mole immediately pops up from a different hole ad infinitum. Instead of rushing to change the outer world, lasting solutions to our problems come from our ability to change our inner world by shifting to a higher level of consciousness.

This is not to say that we should never act in the world. It means that it is helpful to step back to take a better look at these ‘problems’ rather than reacting to them. In a society that still puts a premium on doing, the shift we are looking for brings into balance our propensity to act with our ability to reflect. For in reflection our problems can be re-viewed as opportunities, and the actions we take can become the product of choice rather than compulsion, if in fact we conclude that we need to act at all.

All so-called problems are rooted in the limited vision of our Ego Self. Since the Ego Self makes us feel alone, vulnerable, and separate from the abundance of the universe, we tend to be more focused on what we lack than what we have. So we continue to experience not having enough, even if we have more than enough to live happily. It is said that the richest people are not those with the most money, but rather those who most keenly appreciate what they have. So when wealthy corporate executives ruin their lives by breaking laws and going to jail for stealing money from their companies and employees, it naturally begs the question: What would it take to satisfy these millionaires? Certainly no particular ‘thing’ in this world. There is never enough wealth in the world to satisfy those who are solely following the voice of their Ego Self, since it only sees what is missing and cannot stop asking for “more, more, more!”

For a long time I lived my life from this place of scarcity and lack, where an unexpected expense like a parking ticket or a tax reassessment would send me into a fury. I felt that every penny leaving my hand was lost forever, and I really had to stay ready to fight for what I believed was mine. But now I see this is where all the trouble starts. When we are so singularly focused on what is ‘mine’ and what is ‘yours’, there is no wonder that disputes, arguments, wars occur.

Cultivating gratitude for all that we have can go a long way towards easing this kind of conflict. It becomes easier to defuse our self-centeredness when we consider how lucky we actually are, and acknowledge how other people are not as fortunate as us. Over the past few years I have received several reminders of this in my email inbox, like this one that exhorts us to appreciate the things we often take for granted:

We forget how fortunate we really are.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.

If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all. If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

This kind of message is powerful, and can certainly get us thinking about what we can be thankful for in our lives. I know when I read it I was quite moved by it. When I am willing to take a look at those less fortunate, to really consider what life would be like in their shoes, I cannot help but see my own life in a more positive light. This is the duality of life at play, how we can be touched more keenly by something when we contrast it with its opposite. Do we not most appreciate food when we are most hungry? Do we not revel in the spring after a long winter? Are we not most grateful for our health after a prolonged sickness? Just ask someone who has recently survived cancer if they are happier to be alive than they used to be.

Fine. But we don’t have to be dependent on deprivation or illness to jolt us into gratitude and the feeling of being fully alive. Besides that, I know from my own experience of these phenomena that once things return to normal I start to take things for granted again. And even if I tried to recapture the feeling, the effect would diminish. I learned about this when I was young. The more my mother would tell us to think of the starving children in Africa whenever we would complain that she didn’t make a cheese sauce for our broccoli, the less it really moved us. It may have kept us quiet, but if anything we felt more guilt than gratitude, and it didn’t really help us enjoy our cheese-less broccoli.

Authentic gratitude brings with it a joy that makes us feel connected to each other and to the world. Gratitude based on contrast and comparison rarely has staying power because at a deep level it actually strengthens the Ego Self mindset of division and inequality. It is no wonder that in the face of our disproportionate wealth and opportunity in the world, the message contends that ‘the majority can [truly give thanks], but most do not.’ It is not that we don’t want to hold up our heads with a smile and truly be thankful, it is that our Ego Self cannot see beyond itself. We become restless and start searching for more of what it thinks is missing.

It is only in challenging our Western Ego-Self perspective that we can awaken to a more permanent appreciation of our lives. Chief Seattle gives us a clue as to the character of such gratitude, one that does not focus on the disparities between us but rather what all humans share: life itself and the bounties that it freely offers. When he gives thanks for ‘every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect,’ his gratitude is founded not on have and have-not but on the wholeness of human experience and a celebration of who we are, in the highest and most abundant image that we could have of ourselves.

The holistic wisdom of the East has already begun to penetrate into the fabric of our society. But for many of us who have tasted from its cup, those precious moments of connectedness it brings are hard to maintain, because of our own heritage. We remain hesitant to fully surrender control to a collective sense of self because we take pride in who we are as individuals, and how we have defined our lives. We do not avoid the urge to compare, inherent in a material life, but we seek to no longer be controlled by it. And so we move to and fro, sometimes in fits and starts, between where we have come from and where we think we are going. The ebb and flow of our emerging consciousness is the challenge of our times. And it is the mandate of the new conversation.

The space of the new conversation emulates our connectedness with one another. And so it is not a conversation grounded in debate and comparison, evaluation and judgment. Rather it focuses on building trust, fostering openness and deepening awareness. Our journey of consciousness is not seen as a race or a competition, but rather a shared adventure. It does not measure success or failure, nor concern itself with who is more or less evolved than another. It recognizes that in the circle of life we have all been at times up and down, ahead and behind, and where we are in the moment is precisely where we need to be.

To truly participate in the new conversation is to honor that we are each moving at our own pace and in our own way. It is to recognize that consciousness grows in rhythms, like waves rising and receding on the beach. It is to pledge not only to cheer each other on when we rush forward, but also to break each other’s fall when we tumble backwards.

The rewards of such a venture are not to be understated. Fueled by our shared strength and courage we can make our way up the slope of consciousness, to reach a place where the solution to every problem that exists in our world is in plain view. From this place we can see the forest for the trees, and gain a panoramic sense that we are all one. For it is only in the truth of our unity that we will finally rest in the awareness that we truly have no quarrel with each other. As an old Native American saying goes, ‘No tree is so foolish as to have its branches fight amongst themselves’.

Our work together in the new conversation, like that of climbers whose fates and lives are strung together by ropes and pulleys, will bring us closer to the source of a sustainable gratitude: the incomparable view from the mountaintop of our vast abundance and magnificence.

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