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In A World Focused On Material Goods At Christmas – It’s Time To Touch On Something More Important

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Every single year, Christmas happens. It's a holiday that focuses on material good. It's a massive industry that benefits the corporations that are harming our planet. We should be focusing on what's really important, service to others.

  • Reflect On:

    Imagine if there was a a protest, or a global refusal to purchase any material goods on Christmas and instead, everybody went out and participated in random acts of kindness. What do you think would happen?

Gentleness and kindness will make our homes a paradise upon earth. C. A. Bartol

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As we enter into the ‘silly season’ I felt inspired to write about what I wish Christmas could mean for everyone.

In a world where we have so much focus on material goods, (and never is this more obvious than at Christmas time)  I think its time to touch on something that is far more important.

And that is, have you ever thought about what exactly the true meaning of Christmas might be? What do you think it is?  Being with family and friends? Eating a lot of good food or going away somewhere nice?  Yes it can be all of that, but for me, it is more about giving.

Not the giving of expensive presents to family members and friends, but instead, giving to those that need it most.

Yes, I know that is a cliche, but its a valid one, and it is so very important right now.

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Only We Will Make The Changes Needed

Looking at the state of the world, with all of it’s chaos, more and more people are suffering.  Homelessness is reaching unprecedented levels in many ‘first world’ countries, there are more than 114,000 people living on the streets alone in California (with likely even more since those terrifying fires a few weeks ago), and in the UK, it has recently been reported that 1 in 200 people are homeless.   Hungary have recently declared that homelessness is a crime.

We are countries with access to enormous wealth, yet our governments are cutting funding for important programs to look after our most vulnerable people.

A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men. Thomas Carlyle

Seeing that this has become a global problem, and one that is not improving,  it has become clearer to me, that only WE can really make the differences needed now.  It truly sits on our shoulders as individuals to make more of a conscious effort to help those around us.

We have to stop waiting for others to sweep in and make these changes, we have to help do it ourselves.

I know, many may say ‘I am struggling myself to survive’ or ‘ I don’t have any spare money’, but kindness to others can be totally free.

For inspiration, please watch this beautiful and touching clip below that really lets you feel the power of kindness.  I am sure that even by watching this clip, many of you will be inspired now to go and do something for someone in need.  I was inspired to write this article after viewing this clip and I know it will create a domino effect!

You know, it’s not actually that hard to be kind.  You just have to have your mind ready to see an opportunity for being helpful to someone else.

Being kind to others, is actually a gift to yourself, the joy you feel in your heart when you do something nice and thoughtful for others, is a truly amazing feeling. It literally gives your heart a big happy bursting feeling. It feels like real love.

Science Shows Kindness Is Good For You

There actually is scientific evidence that being kind is very good for your own health, and for the other people who experience your kindness.  Kindness can also create a domino effect, and your act alone could end up helping many people, perhaps hundreds of event thousands.

Giving beats any short lived feeling you get from buying something material when you know that you have made a difference to someone else, especially when it helps them when they are at their lowest point.

If I have spare change in my bag, I do try and give to homeless people, (or instead buy them a meal) and despite that some will say ‘we shouldn’t encourage it’ I feel this is very unfair, as we never know their back story and how they ended up on the streets.

I think many of us turn our backs on them (like I used to) because if we really thought about it, we are probably petrified that we could end up like that.  For this reason alone, if you can, give, because would you not hope that people would help you if you were in the same position?

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. John Ruskin

Kindness unites people like nothing else can and it is what we desperately need to bring our fractured societies back together.   With so much division between us now, what can heal this is our acts of kindness.

Everyone Matters

Every single person wants to feel that they matter, it’s embedded into our consciousness.  When a stranger does something kind for someone they don’t know it is even more special, because it was their way of saying ‘I see you, I don’t know you, but I care and you matter to me’

I have had many people be kind to me, in times of severe depression, where I nearly ended my life, I always had people show me that I mattered to them and not to give up.

I know this is what got me through those very dark times.  Their acts of kindness, made me realise I wasn’t worthless or truly alone, which brought me to be here today.

I am very lucky now to have this opportunity here at Collective Evolution to now be able to share important things with millions of readers around the world.

The Takeaway

What if no one had of been kind to me when I was so low and in a desperate place? Would I not be here today? I really believe no, that I wouldn’t be.  We all are capable of creating positive ripple effects that can literally go around the world.

This is the power we all have, that you have, to impact someone else’s life positively, and maybe even many other peoples lives.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

Kindness comes in so many forms, and we are all capable of doing many of them.  You just have to open your heart and want to make the effort to do it.

I hope this Christmas you experience kindness in action, and could maybe even consider making a pact to continue this long after the festive season is over.

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Og Mandino

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Consciousness

Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says

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Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”

Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:

Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.

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Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”

Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?

From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.

The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.

The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.

The Rise of Social Media

I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.

If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.

On Being Alone  

One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.

Our Next Step

Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.

Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.

We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.

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Consciousness

How I Induced An Out Of Body Experience Without Substances

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Can you really have an out of body experience on command? Absolutely. While this is something that will take some time to practice and get good at, there are many methods to having out of body experiences or spiritual experiences on command using only your consciousness and physical body.

There is also a purpose to these experiences; they aren’t simply to trip out (although if you wish to do that it’s up to you). These experiences can help you dissolve fears, move past trauma, expand your consciousness and much more. I personally don’t feel inspired to do anything other than explore and expand myself when I engage in experiences like this.

Many of the stories you hear of out of body experiences happen through dreams, near death experiences, from the state between sleep and awake, and when people experiment with psychedelics like magic mushrooms, DMT or ayahuasca. But we are capable of having out-of-body experiences with just our thoughts, breath and consciousness.

Why These Experiences Can Be Helpful

I say “CAN BE” helpful because they have that ability, but it doesn’t mean we always use it. We may want to explore a past trauma, and meditation or OBE’s could help us do that, but if we don’t use them for this purpose or do the work afterwards they won’t be helpful. Likewise with any substance like ayahuasca, mushrooms or DMT. They don’t do the work for you and don’t save you. You still have to do the work afterwards and it’s for this exact reason that most people who experiment with these substances or experiences still don’t make shifts in their lives because it’s still work. And it’s the work that we often aren’t willing to do that stops us from moving forward.

Your intention for wanting to have these experiences is important. Sometimes when we think about psychedelics or having out of body experiences we are seeking a trippy-like experience out of curiosity. And that’s totally fine. Curiosity can be how we explore and learn things. But while it may be fun to play a couple times, I generally say it isn’t the best motivation for wanting to have these experiences. I typically tend to encourage people to reflect on a deeper sense of exploration and growth within ourselves when it comes to exploring our consciousness, which is a big part of what we do in CE’s Explorer Lounge you can check out here.

The reason why I believe focusing on having a trippy experience is not ideal is because I have seen many people get lost in the need to just experiencing something trippy. Not only that, but it can often become an escape from the challenges we face. Which is why I feel society utilizes cannabis, alcohol, TV and food addictively.

DMT, mushrooms, Ayahuasca and so forth were initially put on this planet when we had difficult times exploring our consciousness and external tools assisted us in doing that. Today, a resurgence of these substances is taking place as people’s curiosity to explore is once again popular. After all, there is a shift in consciousness taking place.

However, I do not believe we still need these substances today in order to have these types of consciousness based experiences. While I think they can be helpful for some of us who are in difficult situations like drug addiction or have serious trauma from war or violent experiences, I feel we are all very equipped within ourselves to explore without them, and I’m personally inspired to encourage that.

Ultimately it’s not as much about any substance or experience as it is about what the end goal helps us to see – more about ourselves. They tell us to look within to find answers and move past our challenges. So many experiences in life are all pushing us to do that exact same thing, look within. Our core teaching here at Collective Evolution is change starts within. All for the reason that it’s at the core of how we will create a profound shift in our lives and on this planet. So what can we take from this?

If we know the core truth is about us looking within, why not just begin looking there right now?

How I Created my Own Out Of Body Experience

I was in California, attending Wim Hof’s retreat in Beverly Hills. It was day two and we were doing a breathing exercise that was about focusing on energy in our body and learning how to control and use it.

At the Wim Hof retreat in California.

There was a focus on utilizing it to activate our pineal gland in such a way that may or may not release a little bit of DMT in your brain, allowing us to have some form of experience that would be beyond the physical. I would like to say at this point that this is certainly not the core message of Wim’s work, nor is it something that I think the method is truly for. It’s simply something that you can use in order to obtain this result. These forms of breathing exercises are not new either, they have been used by yogi’s and “guru’s” for many years to attain different states of consciousness.

There were about 60 of us, we were in a beautiful room with 15 foot ceilings and the sun was shining in through the side windows. I was laying flat on my back on a yoga mat patiently waiting for the exercise to start. This would not be the first time I was going to have an out of body experience, but it would be the first I would attempt on command. My previous experiences came from dream-states, meditation or simply.. happening.

We began with Wim’s standard method of breathing. Heavy breaths in and out of the mouth. Stomach, chest, head, out. After about 8 minutes of this, I went into my breath holds (as part of his method) and I began to focus energy from around the base of my spine and brought it up my back, into my brain and ‘pinged’ my pineal gland with it.

As I brought the energy up into my pineal gland I felt what I had felt in the past with these types of experiences. Ringing and vibrations in my body and mind starting to increase. With my eyes closed, I began to see the room. I could feel my essence slowly leaving my body up straight into the air. It moved slowly and peacefully. It wasn’t a fast jolt or ‘uncontrollable’ in a sense, it was very light.

The pineal gland.

As I drifted upwards more and more I eventually made it to the ceiling and rested there. What happened next was what you might experience in deep meditation which is having all of your thoughts emotions set aside and you begin to feel like a massive, massive, massive presence that is so far beyond your physical body that you no longer identify with being a physical body. You begin to realize you are a vast consciousness that is pure unconditional love and pure potential.

From this state of being you have the ability to utilize your awareness to look at your life, situations, the planet or whatever it may be from a completely non-judgmental and unconditionally loving way so as to deeply understand why things happen. You gain clarity and awareness as to how you may move forward with something from this space. These experiences help us to get a glimpse at what is beyond the stories and the drama of our minds. This is VERY powerful in clearing our fears, worries, and traumas.

Back to my experience here. As I continued to feel immense at the top of the ceiling, I could see all of the bodies in the room having their own experience. I felt connected to them, the building, and everything around us. The difference between myself and everything else drifted away, and I was simply an essence or consciousness observing. This, is precisely how I know experientially that consciousness does not originate in the mind but is our existence. Mainstream science has not caught up to this understanding yet but it’s getting close, and that is very inspiring.

After what could have been 10 or so minutes, I slowly came back down into my physical body and began to integrate back into it. I opened my eyes and began to feel the desire to go outside and enjoy the sunlight. I felt slightly emotional at this point as I had gotten a glimpse of the difference between feeling fully clear outside of my body vs feeling certain emotional pains and mind stories that were in my physical body. This right here, is where the magic is. This is how we see more clearly what it is that we are being challenged by and have a reference point to compare what letting it go feels like.

Concluding Thoughts

When you are in meditation, you are able to re-tune into these types of higher states of consciousness and be an observer looking back at the challenges you face at any moment in your life. With detachment from them you can ask yourself how you created or co-created the experience you are having and what lesson is in it for you. How does it serve you? How can you move forward with action and so forth? You can see the greater workings and perfection that comes with these experiences to help you move beyond them.

So that’s pretty well it! Utilize and explore these experiences with clear intentions of evolving yourself and you will have the best results in not only creating these experiences but attaining more peace in your life. Have fun and keep exploring!

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Consciousness

New Moon In Gemini: Adaptability & Confusion

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We are having a New Moon in Gemini on May 22nd or 23rd, depending on where you are located in the world. This is initiating a 29.5-day Lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month, however, its themes will be strongest over the following 2 weeks. This cycle will peak with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th.

Gemini season has just begun on May 20th/21st with it’s ruler Mercury also there. As an Air sign it is socially and mentally oriented, while as a Mutable sign it is versatile, adaptable, and multi-faceted. Mutable signs are the last of each season which is a reflection of its changeable nature to help facilitate a transition from one thing to the next.

Gemini’s energy is curious, communicative, articulate, informative, agile, busy, clever, and dualistic. It has chameleon-like properties and is the sign of multiple expressions or personalities. Gemini is associated with information, learning, writing, commuting, immediate environment, neighbours/neighbourhood, siblings, close friends, and extended family. Negatively, it can be gossipy, superficial, inconsistent, scattered, two faced, unfocused, and lack emotion.

Venus is currently retrograde in Gemini and the Lunar North Node also recently entered this sign. All of this puts an exclamation mark on Gemini themes at this time. The North Node will be there until early 2022 which reflects a push towards working with Gemini energies in a positively constructive way. Much of this process is getting emphasized over this next month. You can read more about Venus retrograde here.

New Moon Trine Saturn, Sextile Chiron, & Square Mars With Uranus In The Mix

This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Aquarius and sextile with Chiron. In comparison to previous months, these upcoming weeks can have more of a stabilizing energy. This can be good for applying ourselves in a disciplined, realistic, and committed way.

The sextile to Chiron gives us a small dose of its themes. Chiron is associated with healing, wholeness, cleansing, spiritual growth, innovative ideas, and discovery. It is holistic, bridging, creative, and unorthodox. This energy will also come up May 27th-28th/29th.

The New Moon is also in a square with Mars in Pisces which is moving towards a sextile with Uranus. This in combination with all the Gemini can bring restlessness and scatteredness. It can also be competitive, impulsive, and combative. Following the New Moon period, this energy will build up in the coming weeks and peak at the upcoming Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius.

Mars is moving towards a sextile with Uranus which is strongest from May 24th-25th/26th. This is good for making changes or trying new things. We may want to apply ourselves in unique, experimental, or revolutionary ways. Pursuing some sort of independence or freedom is another way this energy can be expressed.

Mercury Conjunct Venus Retrograde, Both Square Neptune & Out Of Bounds

The ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is in a conjunction with Venus retrograde which are both in Gemini as well. This is one of the more significant periods of the Venus retrograde and can facilitate some realizations or issues that are part of the retrograde process.  Thoughts or issues pertaining to relationships, values, money, art, or something aesthetic related can be prominent.

However, with both of them in a square to Neptune there can be some confusion, idealism, misunderstandings, flakiness, delusion, disappointments, or problems around boundaries. Issues pertaining to escapism or intoxication can come up and this can be a time of feeling tired and lethargic. In some cases this energy can be creatively or spiritually stimulating. This is strongest on the day of and days surrounding the New Moon.

Both Mercury and Venus are ‘Out of Bounds’. This is when planets move outside of the boundaries in which the Sun travels in, from our perspective on Earth. It is about exploring new territory as well as going outside of our usual limitations and conventional ways of doing things. This can also reflect seeing things from a different perspective and objective thinking.

Mercury, the planet of the mind, perceptions, reason, communication, commuting, and commerce has been out of bounds since May 16th until June 9th/10th. Venus, the planet of love, relationships, social life, values, money, beauty, art, and aesthetics, has been out of bounds since April 1st until June 1st.

Approaching Eclipse Season 

In the two weeks after this New Moon we will have a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th followed by a Solar Eclipse in Cancer on June 21st and another Lunar Eclipse in July. They are happening during Venus’ retrograde and post shadow, and will also overlap with an upcoming Mercury retrograde.

All of this combined shows that these coming months are a time of transitions, changes, and reorientations. Eclipses can reflect beginnings, endings, and even evolutionary developments pertaining to the sign it is in and in specific areas in each of our lives. However, their effects don’t always play out when they are occurring. They can also manifest sometime in the 6 months following and in some cases up to 6 weeks prior.

I will be writing separate articles on these eclipses, join my mailing list here to ensure that you are notified when they are published.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What has been coming up for you around love or regarding friendships? What are relationship dynamics showing you and in what ways do you lack clarity? How can you better communicate and harmonize how you interact with others? What are you learning about/through the information you are consuming and does it truly make sense for you? How can you better adapt to the circumstances in your life? What are your options for handling financial matters?

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 5:39pm Universal Time on May 22nd, or the 23rd for those in the Eastern part of the world. 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.

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