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Consciousness

Wild Wisdom: How To Navigate Difficult Emotions

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Day and night exist; so too do joy and sorrow, anger and sadness. Yin and Yang comprise our wholeness.

  • Reflect On:

    Consider that the night has as much to offer as daytime, and is just as necessary. What new version of wholeness can we be crafted into when we embrace and skillfully work through all of what we feel?

“Each of our feelings or attitudes, no matter how negative, can evoke compassion and lead to transformation. We then joyfully realize how every negative experience has positive, growth-fostering potential, how every liability is a resource, how every shadow trait has a kernel of value, how every disturbance or mistake can deepen our spiritual consciousness . . . there is an energy of light frozen in our confusion, a luminosity we can release, if only we do not give up our mining.”

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—Dave Richo, Ph.D.

Positive emotions satisfy the immediate gratification style of modern culture. They pay dividends right away. We try to keep up with pleasure, joy, and bliss in their ever-more-enticing forms. Difficult emotions, however, take patience, and require delayed gratification. The result of this gratification is a deeper sense of fulfillment that can’t be gained by direct experience with positive emotion.

Through the lens of Chinese medicine, our positive emotions are considered Yang (positive and quick) and confer Yang power. Our negative, dark, or difficult emotions are Yin. They take longer to release their nectar, as we slow down to meet them. We might have to look like outcasts for a time to reap their hidden, subtler power. These Yin experiences deliver a quieter, inner power, gradually.

A balance of Yin and Yang power is crucial. If we over-feast on Yang emotions, we can burn out and fall into an exhausted or depressive state once we can’t keep up with all the excitement. This corresponds with the modern epidemic of adrenal exhaustion. If we over-feast on negative emotions and ignore the lighter side of life, we can also end up in the pits. Sojourns into grief don’t count because they often deliver great rewards.

When Yin and Yang are in balance and healthy they mutually support one another. When we find balance between Yin and Yang emotions, we can reap the benefits of both positive and negative states. It’s not difficult to see the benefit of happiness, joy, positivity, exuberance, and inspiration—all Yang experiences. More difficult is to glean the good reasons to embrace our dark and difficult states.

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When we understand, even if just intellectually at first, why and how difficult states are absolutely crucial to our well-being, this gives us incentive to stay present and open to them and override our knee-jerk tendency to shut down and go away when they surface. What’s more, when we attune to and are patient with what’s difficult, that darkness transforms us little by little into more light, a light we cannot attain from Yang states alone. Only by staying with what’s dark can we create more love and light from what seems rotten and miserable.

So, this writing is dedicated to understanding the unique benefits that come from our difficult feelings and why it’s a good idea to stay close to them, when they visit.

Looking Deeper

Just like beauty and the beast, beneath the ugly exterior of our difficult emotions is a tender core of inspiration, soulfulness, and renewal. They return us to what really matters by revealing and empowering what we care about. If we sit with these feelings long enough, which is to welcome and let them have their way with us (at least in good part), we can reap their hidden riches (note: this is often not the case for mental illness, such as anxiety and depression).

Paradoxically, this process of staying close to difficulty eventually fills us up, quenching us with fulfillment. I’m convinced that if we don’t milk and allow ourselves to be transformed by these emotions, we live fractured lives. And as a result, we fracture the lives of others, including the Earth.

In being with painful feelings and letting them change us, they recede. The more we allow ourselves to be changed by them, the more they dissolve. In fact, they recede in proportion to how much we allow them to change us, as if their purpose were to get us to pay attention, to surrender, and to transform. From being with and working through our anger, sadness, fear, remorse, and envy, we develop genuine compassion, courage, creativity, inspiration, meaning, purpose, empathy, and greater love—qualities I call our finer jewels of being human.

We dont transform difficult emotions as much as they transform us. For this we must surrender and become vulnerable; we must have the faith and courage, humility and strength, to be changed in ways not in our control, shaped by the wild ways of nature expressed through our emotions. This way we get to become more than what we can control, or even imagine. So, if you want to live a passionate life close to nature, give way to your heart and its storms of wild wisdom come to revolutionize you.

To be changed by difficulty, we have to be vulnerable, pliant, brave, and strong enough to weather the shape-shifting of our sense of self. This requires having a strong enough core sense of self, our functional ego, one that can handle the adjustments, or in some cases, the dismantling of our sense of self. For this reason, the support of loved ones, and a therapist, is virtually essential, or at least makes the journey more productive and smoother.

Our dark, uncomfortable, or downright terrifying emotions are the other side of love. They are love’s underbelly, the deeper regions of our heart. In fact, we can often sense when someone has not entered this sacred chamber inside themselves and met their life-renewing shadow because they are generally uncomfortable around the emotional struggles of others.

The Way Out is Through

While offering nuanced suggestions for precisely how to navigate our difficult emotions is beyond the scope of this article (I offer more of that here), I want to briefly speak to the popular adage, “Don’t wallow in negative emotions.” Ironically, this might be an outsider’s perspective, coined and perpetuated by folks who haven’t entered their shadow in a significant way. For, when we do, we learn that we don’t really have much say for how long we are beset by life’s downturns.

We in fact must endure periods of what seems like wallowing and obsessing because we don’t have control over these states, nor do we have to. Nor do we have to fit in to the horse and pony show of modern living, rife with sickness, dysfunction, and obsessed with productivity and positivity. Other times, however, we will be able to snap out of a funk. In these cases we have at least some say in mitigating difficult states, apart from how they might ultimately benefit us.

We experience emotion in two primary ways. The first is in response to troubling environmental factors, events, or circumstances. In these cases, it’s usually safe to heed emotional signals at face value. Another way is to experience difficult emotions due to an imbalanced physiology such as illness (including mental illness) or another stressor. In these instances, it’s better not to listen to the voice or message of emotion and its distorted reasoning, or at least not take their perceived impact and significance to heart. For example, if you’re in a spat with your partner and irritated because you need to eat, get to sleep, be alone, or just chill out, it’s often wiser to just focus on taking care of yourself and not get into it with someone else. We might also need to grab the reins of our mind and control our negative thinking, which is absolutely appropriate during rough times—especially, for example, when we are looping negative thoughts.

All these self-help actions help “skim the surface” of feeling bad, which is to clear the superficial and temporary stress that contributes to circumstantial emotional flareups. After we self-care this way, our troubles usually seem smaller and less painful. Whatever emotional charge or realization left after skimming this top layer of stress, we can embrace and more confidently take to heart. To not self-care to relieve everyday stress is to suffer unnecessarily.

 Exercise, appropriate diet, and how supported we feel. all significantly influence our physiological state and therefore the duration and intensity of difficult emotional states.

The idea is to try to stay close to, and be with, our core emotional responses to real life events and to manage and discharge the extra energy these emotions generate due to mental obsession and physiological imbalance. For example, I might feel sad that I lost my girlfriend. I might feel extra sad if I lie on the couch all day and don’t force myself to get up and take a walk, eat something, or talk to friend. We have control over the latter, and not the former. In fact, we might not want to control our grief too much (so it can work on and change us), unless it’s unnecessarily physiologically generated and/or exacerbated by too much inactivity and stagnation.

To get in touch with our core emotions, we can activate and express them (Yang), or slow down and gently embrace them (Yin). This is where the jewels are—if we dig, or better, let ourselves be unearthed! Taking a break from digging and feeling tough feelings, however, is also crucial. This is healthy denial, when we focus on other things to give ourselves a break and so we can return to the inner work refreshed and with clearer perspective.

Lying around feeling sad all day might be helped by taking a walk, venting and being heard by a friend, or getting out to get out of our own head. Feeling angry for hours might be appropriately curbed by going for a run, pounding on some pillows, or finding genuine cause for laughter. But longer stints of grief, for example, might stay with us for months or years. Often, we don’t have much say in this. We can therefore surrender and be changed into what we can’t imagine by this wild wisdom of our deeper hearts.

An unfortunate alternative to embracing our difficult feeling states is turning to drugs, addiction, and excess avoidance, which usually create more suffering. What’s more, we miss out on the nourishing qualities hidden in challenging emotions—our finer jewels of being human—which we harvest by embracing them. Handled skillfully and with support, difficult times can be immense opportunities for growth, finding meaning and purpose in life, and reckoning with our demons. How we approach and handle difficulty is just as important, if not more so, than how we deal with easy times.

—–

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., MA, is Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. Weber’s latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or Twitter, where he can also be contacted for life-coaching and medical consultations.


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Consciousness

Lunar Eclipse In Capricorn: Clearing Old Blockages

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We are having a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 5th in most of the world, and on the night of July 4th in the Americas. Similarly to the Full Moon that occurred a month prior, it will be a penumbral eclipse which only has a subtle shade on the Moon. It will be visible (weather permitting) wherever it will be nighttime in part or all of its duration. This includes most of North America, most of Africa, Western Europe, parts of Central Europe, New Zealand, and all of South America.

This is the third of three eclipses occurring back to back, with this one following a more powerful annular Solar Eclipse in Cancer during the recent Solstice and a penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th. This one is also the last of a series of Eclipses occurring in the Cancer-Capricorn axis which began in 2018. This specific eclipse season marks the transition into the Gemini-Sagittarius polarity.

Eclipses reflect evolutionary changes in specific areas of our lives which can play out over the following 6 months and can begin up to 6 weeks prior. However, they are also part of a 1.5-2 year process in which the Lunar Nodes and most Eclipses are in the same signs. The changes that occur are connected to the sign they are in, the planets they are configured to, and how this all lines up with our individual astrological blueprint.

Lunar Eclipse In Capricorn

This eclipse is the final one of a process in which we have been experiencing a collective recalibration in how Cancer and Capricorn energies are expressed. This slightly began in summer of 2018  but kicked in more strongly later that year and in 2019.

This eclipse puts an emphasis on Capricorn themes as it is near the South Node which has recently entered Sagittarius. This indicates changes associated with Capricorn that can have a decreasing effect in how its energies are expressed, however, negative expressions of this sign can also come up more so to bring it to our attention.

The shifts that could occur, both challenges and developments, are more about changes or what we need to let go of, in relation to the energies of Capricorn to help facilitate a different balance with Cancer. Capricorn energies and aspects of life can be more constructive when they are expressed towards a Cancerian focal point. The areas of life in which it manifests also depends on how it is interacting with your natal astrology chart/blueprint.

Capricorn is the sign of ambition, career, duty, business, achievement, responsibility, discipline, mastery, and authority. It can be calculated, strategic, practical, orderly, conservative, realistic, authoritative, controlling, cautious, and worldly. It is a social climber and concerned with status.  It is also associated with governing and banking structures with this eclipse opposing the Sun of the United States, similarly to 1982 and 2001 in the months before 9/11.

Negatively, Capricorn energy can be serious, cynical, cold, unrelenting, and seek power over others. It can be overly focused on work and/or materialism while creating an imbalance with emotional, personal and domestic areas of life which is where the focal point has been considering previous North Node eclipses in Cancer.

Lunar Eclipse Near Jupiter-Pluto Conjunction 

Now and in recent weeks, Jupiter and Pluto (also in Capricorn) are in their second exact conjunction of 2020 which is strong until July 10th, but gets triggered by the Sun from July 13th-16th. However, this energy is a part of the backdrop until late in the year with this eclipse highlighting it as well.

As mentioned in previous articles, this energy can be revealing of hidden matters or perhaps issues connected to abuse, control, manipulation, obsessions, shadows, or power dynamics. However, it can also be a time of acquiring deeper perspectives and can have transformational potential as well. Considering that this is a South Node eclipse, it can be a time of releasing or changing negative qualities of this energy.

Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, is not too far from these planets in the same sign. The combination of the three  (especially Saturn-Pluto) in close proximity reflects the heavy energy of 2020. Saturn brings a level of seriousness and minimizes the expansiveness of Jupiter with restrictions and limitations, especially as Saturn rules the sign that they are both in.

Lunar Eclipse Square Mars-Chiron, Trine Uranus, and Sextile Neptune

Mars in Aries is approaching Chiron which will be exact around July 13th and 14th. This is also in a T-square with the Full Moon Eclipse (and Mercury Retrograde) carrying its themes for an extended period. This reflects similar energy in the lunations of previous months.

Mars’ conjunction with Chiron (configured to the eclipse) can reflect action and assertiveness that is healing, integrating, bridging, whole-istic, unorthodox, and addressing wounds. With it being in Aries, it could be connected to identity, individualism, or  individuality. It can also be about addressing negative expressions of Mars such as anger, aggression, or abuse.

The square to Mars can play out as conflicts, competitiveness, and intensity. We have already been seeing this on a collective level as the eclipse a month prior was also in a square with Mars. In the following 5-6 month window of this current eclipse season, Mars will be going retrograde which reinforces the energy of these Mars flavoured eclipses.

This eclipse is in a trine with Uranus in Taurus which can be innovative, inspiring, original, revolutionary, rebellious, and good for shaking things up. It is also in a sextile with Neptune, although this isn’t too strong, it can be supportive in a compassionate, creative, spiritual, or idealistic way.

Mercury Retrograde, Venus in Post-Retrograde Shadow

Mercury has been retrograde since mid-June and will be going direct a week following this eclipse. It is in Cancer reflecting a time of adjustments and re-orientations around home/domestic life, family, security, land/property, emotional comforts, caregiving, and emotional connections with others. As it begins to move forward in the days after July 12th and over the following weeks, we may see that we are proceeding in an adjusted way around Cancerian matters or developments that have come up since early June.

Venus ended its retrograde on June 25th and we are now in a time in which we are progressing differently around Venus ruled areas that have been playing out since the first half of April.  It can be connected to relationships, love, values, social dynamics, desires, worth, aesthetics, art, or perhaps financial matters.

Things To Consider

What have been some of the major themes for you over the past 1.5 years and what are they leading you towards? What area(s) of life do you need to let go of negative ways of expression? differently? What aspects of your ambitions do you need to release? Where should you be applying yourself in a healing way? Are there fragmented parts of your life that should be integrated to bring more harmony into your life? How can you achieve this?

These are just some examples of what can be playing out for you but not limited to these either. Keep in mind that the themes of this specific eclipse will play out until the Fall. It is best to try to tune into this energy as it happens and pay attention to your feelings to help you in decisions you need to make in the future.

The two weeks following this eclipse can be a good time to initiate any sort of releasing process if you feel necessary. The eclipse begins at 3:07am Universal Time on July 5th with it peaking at 4:30am and finishing at 5:52am. The Moon begins to wane after 4:44am GMT. You can click here to see when the peak will be in your time zone.

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Consciousness

An Animation That Beautifully Explores ‘The War On Consciousness’

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many feel there is a great effort to suppress human consciousness. Not just our will, but the exploration of who we truly are. This shows up in many ways, originating top-down from corporations to governments etc.

  • Reflect On:

    There is no actual 'war.' This is a state of perception. If we see it as war, we create fighting. Instead, let's simply evolve and expand our consciousness knowing we're more powerful than those who suppress. Spreading knowledge and living it is key.

The animation below is great and Graham Hancock’s message in it is also powerful, but I want to address something important quickly before we start, as what I’m about to say is a crucial part of the message we have been working so hard to convey here at CE since inception.

I get that ‘the war on consciousness’ is a figure of speech in the case of this talk, but with 10 years working in this field of journalism and consciousness, I do see many of us getting caught up in the idea that we have to fight and that there is a war to be won.

I see this as a state of consciousness that will keep us locked in a state of disconnection and loss of power.

Moving Beyond A Key Myth

One of the biggest myths that gets spread around this movement is that we must get angry to change the world. The truth is, some of us might get angry at first, and that’s totally fine! But we have to shift beyond the consciousness of being angry about our world before we can change it in any way that will TRULY cause change.

When we change things out of anger, spite, judgement or anxiety, we don’t create systems from the heart, this we will need to break them down again in a very short time. Not because we have evolved beyond them again, but because they are systems created from a polarized state of being. THIS is what we’re moving beyond in this shift.

Change Starts Within.

This is neutrality in action. This is how we evolve beyond what we see in our world.

What does it mean to evolve beyond it? It’s to be in a state of being and emotion where these events can no longer happen. When you assume you must fight for something, you are saying that there needs to be a fight, thus you are met with a fight. That emotion and idea comes from a disconnected state of consciousness where we can still create that experience.

If we as individuals evolve beyond the need for the fight, it would mean to be in a state of being where we do not need to see the fight. That comes from changing our view and perception of something.

Being present, being here now, and not identifying so strongly with the body, our identity, culture, skin color, struggle etc is powerful. We instead see and live in a state of being where we practice the knowing of our pure potential, living through the heart, collaborative oneness and true heart guidance.

Thus, to evolve beyond it is to change your state of being so that this type of reality no longer exists as it can’t be created from that new state of being. When we achieve this collectively, it no longer exists in our world.

Now that I got that out of the way, one last note is, Graham Hancock will speak of psychedelics in his talk. They have become incredibly trendy today, and while they can help people, research is suggesting this happens when done in specific ways and with specific intentions. Many are starting to put all their power into these plants as if it will do the work for them. They don’t, and won’t.

You can also achieve these exact same insights without the use of these plants. It’s important we maintain a grounded and realistic approach to these plants so they can be used with respect and for their intended purpose. We explore the purpose of psychedelics deeply in an episode of The Collective Evolution Podcast here.

 The ‘War’ On Consciousness

This animation was created by the talented team over at After Skool. You can check out their channel here.

Transcript

What is death? Our materialist science reduces everything to matter, materialist science in the West says that we are just meat, we’re just our bodies. So when the brain is dead, that’s the end of consciousness, there is no life after death, there is no soul; we just rot and are gone. Actually, many honest scientists should admit that consciousness is the greatest mystery of science and that we don’t know exactly how it works.

The brain is involved in it some way but we’re not sure how. It could be that the brain generates consciousness the way a generator makes electricity, if you hold to that paradigm, then, of course, you can’t believe in life after death, when the generator’s broken, consciousness is gone. But it’s equally possible that the relationship — and nothing in neuroscience rules it out – that the relationship is more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set, and in that case, when the TV set is broken, of course the TV signal continues. And this is the paradigm of all spiritual traditions, that we are immortal souls temporarily incarnated in these physical forms.

If we want to understand consciousness, the last people we should ask are materialist scientists. Instead, we should look at ancient cultures, like the Egyptians, who highly valued dream states. Many ancient cultures around the world used hallucinogenic plants to understand consciousness and expand their minds.

However, in today’s society, visionary plants are highly illegal because they promote a state of consciousness that does not agree with the agenda of profit. Substances, like coffee, alcohol, sugar and pharmaceuticals, are forced upon the population, but possession of even small quantities of cannabis, Ayahuasca or psilocybin will land you in jail. If we do not recognize the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness, then we can NOT claim to be free.

Look at what our moderns state of consciousness has done. We have destroyed the natural gifts of the earth in pursuit of short-term, selfish gain. We must reconnect with spirit immediately or else we will encounter disaster. Visionary plants could be the remedy for our current sickness.

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Consciousness

Smiling At Cashiers & Other Sparks Of Divinity

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is possible to have profound experiences in some of the most mundane encounters with others.

  • Reflect On:

    How would your life change if every interaction you had with other people was infused with the conviction that we are all one?

It’s one of the things I like to do, as the receipt is being put in my hand: offer a grateful ‘thank-you,’ and look in the cashier’s eyes for an extra split-second and smile, and see if they are ready to share a spark of divinity that crosses between our souls.

Sometimes they are, as happened to me recently at a ‘No Frills’ express lane. I looked at the girl as she handed me the bill, she looked at me, and then came the recognition in her eyes, in her smile, whether conscious or not, that we are connected, that we see each other, that we are grateful to be alive to have this kind of experience. Magic.

Sometimes the cashier is not ready, and my smile is met with a furtive glance, back to the next matter at hand, the next customer in line. No matter. No effort to connect is wasted. Some of the energy still gets through and gives the person a lift.

Sometimes it is me who is not ready, and the smile from the cashier awakens me into appreciation. Imagine, they are the ones working a long, tiring, repetitive job and they take a moment to wake ME up!

When the cashier is efficient, friendly, light, then my appreciation for what they are doing pours out into that moment. When the cashier is slow, tired, fed-up, it is not so easy for me. But at times, I am prepared to take the opportunity to help reconnect that person to the vitality of life. Have you ever eased a busy, ragged, overwhelmed cashier into a moment of divinity with a warm smile of empathy? Have you ever made a frowning, wrinkled face light up? Try it! This may be the best experience of them all.

Learned Practice

I’m just grateful to have found this practice. It did not come naturally to me. I was always shy, cautious, pensive, ‘in my head’. It was through years of watching a few trusted friends, seeing how they interacted easily and openly with strangers, that I started to try to adopt a new approach.

I had long been a student of philosophy and spirituality. But if the study of esoteric matters remains on the pages, in the words, in the concepts, simply a tool of the intellect to make one feel smart, evolved, superior, then the whole point is missed, not only about spiritual knowledge but about life itself.

At first, the practice for me was about trying to feel connected myself; it served to make me feel more comfortable in the world, especially around other people. As I continued to practice, and expand that practice into other situations, not just with strangers but with friends, loved ones, enemies, it really broadened and deepened my understanding of spiritual principles which I had previously fancied myself an expert in. Perhaps one of the most important realizations I’ve had through all this is that true knowledge is humbling. If one’s knowledge base serves to inflate one’s sense of self-importance in the world in comparison to other people, then it is not true knowledge.

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

Our lives on this planet are fraught with difficult emotions: fear, sadness, anxiety, and many others. One of the great healing salves is to endeavor to demonstrate to others the knowledge that we are all one. Most likely, you have had this kind of experience in some situations in your life, like smiling at a cashier or hugging a loved one. The key to a great life is to work to expand this experience into all our interactions with people, to overcome the barriers of separation, not only in others but especially the ones within ourselves.

This is the task of the bringers of light. And whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all here to bring our light upon the darkness, and collectively transform our world into our shared vision of harmony.

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