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Scientists Show How Gratitude Literally Alters The Human Heart & Molecular Structure Of The Brain

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Scientists have discovered that feelings of gratitude can actually change your brain. Feeling gratitude can also be a great tool for overcoming depression and anxiety. Furthermore, scientists have discovered that the heart sends signals to the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Every time we struggle with depression, why are we constantly encouraged to take prescription medication when mindfulness techniques actually show more promise?

Gratitude is a funny thing. In some parts of the world, somebody who gets a clean drink of water, some food, or a worn out pair of shoes can be extremely grateful. Meanwhile, somebody else who has all the necessities they need to live can be found complaining about something. What we have today is what we once wanted before, but there is a lingering belief out there that obtaining material possessions is the key to happiness. Sure, this may be true, but that happiness is temporary. The truth is that happiness is an inside job.

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It’s a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always ‘wanting’ more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness, when really it’s all related to internal work. This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. According to them:

Having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive and less resistant. Now that’s a really cool way of taking care of your well-being.

There are many studies showing that people who count their blessings tend to be far happier and experience less depression.  For one study,  researchers recruited people with mental health difficulties, including people suffering from anxiety and depression. The study involved nearly 300 adults who were randomly divided into three groups. This study came from the University of California, Berkeley.

All groups received counselling services, but the first group was also instructed to write one letter of gratitude to another person every week for three weeks, whereas the second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. The third group did not do any writing activity.

What did they find? Compared to the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counselling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health for up to 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

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This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief. (source)

Previously, a study on gratitude conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami randomly assigned participants to be given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another group recorded daily troubles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the troubled group. They reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more. (source)

Researchers from Berkeley identified how gratitude might actually work on our minds and bodies. They provided four insights from their research suggesting what causes the psychological benefits of gratitude.

  • Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
  • Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it
  • Gratitude’s benefits take time & practice. You might not feel it right away.
  • Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain

The brain part is very interesting. The researchers at Berkeley used an fMRI scanner to measure brain activity while people from each group did a “pay it forward” task.  During the task, the participants were given money by a “nice person.” This person’s only request was that they pass on the money to someone if they felt grateful.

They did this because they wanted to distinguish between actions motivated by gratitude and actions driven by other motivations like obligation, guilt, or what other people think. This is important because you can’t fake gratitude, you actually have to feel it. If you don’t feel grateful or practice trying to feel grateful by taking the necessary steps like keeping a gratitude journal, you may not experience as much joy and happiness.

In a world where emotions aren’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s not abnormal to have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the western world, which is full of consumerism and competition, a world where we’re constantly made to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more.

Participants were asked to rate how grateful they felt toward the person giving them the money and how much they wanted to pay it forward to a charitable cause as well as how guilty they thought they would feel if they didn’t help.  They were also given questionnaires to measure how grateful they felt in general.

We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.

Most interestingly, when we compared those who wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude letter writers showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain. While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.

It’s also interesting to note that a recent study just discovered a brain network that “gives rise to feelings of gratitude. The study could spur future investigations into how these ‘building blocks’ transform social information into complex emotions.” (source)

What About The Heart?

The work and research above is great, but where do we actually experience these feelings? They are clearly not a product of our brain, they are products of our consciousness, and when we feel them the brain responds.  Researchers are now discovering that the heart also responds and that it might actually be the heart that’s responsible for sending these signals to the brain.

A group of prestigious and internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.

Their work, among many others, has proven that when a person is feeling really positive emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.

Not only that, but because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, the Institute has been able to gather a significant amount of data.

According to Rolin McCratey, Ph.D, and Director of Research at Heartmath,

“Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.” (source)

Another great point made below by the Institute:

“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them are greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision making.” (source)

In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return. What’s even more amusing is the fact that these heart signals (from heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.

Research findings have shown that as we practice heart coherence and radiate love and compassion, our heart generates a coherent electromagnetic wave into the local field environment that facilitates social coherence, whether in the home, workplace, classroom or sitting around a table. As more individuals radiate heart coherence, it builds an energetic field that makes it easier for others to connect with their heart. So, theoretically it is possible that enough people building individual and social coherence could actually contribute to an unfolding global coherence. –  McCratey

So far, the researchers have discovered that the heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: neurological communication (nervous system), biophysical communication (pulse wave), biochemical communication (hormones), and energetic communication (electromagnetic fields).

“HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive function. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect. It facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability.” (source)

Gratitude and Positive Feelings Can Change The World

It gets deeper:

Every individual’s energy affects the collective field environment. The means each person’s emotions and intentions generate an energy that affects the field. A first step in diffusing societal stress in the global field is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own energies. We can do this by increasing our personal coherence and raising our vibratory rate, which helps us become more conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that we are feeding the field each day. We have a choice in every moment to take to heart the significance of intentionally managing our energies. This is the free will or local freedom that can create global cohesion. – Dr. Deborah Rozman, the President of Quantum Intech (source)

Overall, this type of work suggests that human consciousness in general can change the world.

One study, for example, was done during the Israel-Lebanon war in the 1980s. Two Harvard University professors organized groups of experienced meditators in Jerusalem, Yugoslavia and the United Sates and asked them to focus their attention on the area of conflict at various intervals over a 27-month period. Over the course of the study, the levels of violence in Lebanon decreased between 40 and 80 percent each time a meditating group was in place. The average number of people killed during the war each day dropped from 12 to three, and war-related injuries fell by 70 percent. (source)

Another great example is a study that was conducted in 1993 in Washington, D.C., which showed a 25 percent drop in crime rates when 2,500 meditators meditated during a specific period of time with that intention.

This type of information is heavily correlated with quantum physics, as many experiments in that area as well as parapsychology (telepathy, remote viewing, distant healing) indicate similar findings. (source)

This holds true as far back as 1999. Statistics professor Jessica Utts at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. Utts also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets.

This type of work has statistically significant implications, yet is heavily ignored and labelled as pseudoscience simply because it conflicts with long-held beliefs we have trouble letting go of … But times are changing.

“For many years I have worked with researchers doing very careful work [in parapsychology], including a year that I spent full-time working on a classified project for the United States government, to see if we could use these abilities for intelligence gathering during the Cold War… At the end of that project I wrote a report for Congress, stating what I still think is true. The data in support of precognition and possibly other related phenomena are quite strong statistically, and would be widely accepted if it pertained to something more mundane. Yet, most scientists reject the possible reality of these abilities without ever looking at data! And on the other extreme, there are true believers who base their beliefs solely on anecdotes and personal experience. I have asked debunkers if there is any amount of data that would convince them, and they generally have responded by saying, “probably not.” I ask them what original research they have read, and they mostly admit that they haven’t read any. Now there is a definition of pseudo-science-basing conclusions on belief rather than data!” – Utts, Chair of the Statistics Department, UC Irvine (Dean Radin, Real Magic)

The Takeaway

Emotions and other factors associated with consciousness have the power to transform our inner world in ways we don’t fully understand yet. These findings show how consciousness can actually transform the physical/material world, and that’s huge. This validates the idea that if we can change our inner world through gratitude, empathy, compassion, and meditation, we can make our outer world more peaceful.

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Awareness

Meditation Changes The “Structure & Function of the Brain” In A Positive Way

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent study has found found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Should meditation be included in the school curriculum, and used to treat certain mental ailments?

If you look at most ‘masters’ in the field of meditation, a common theme that currently exists is a big misconception about meditation, that it has to be done a certain way, that you have to sit a specific way or do something in particular in order to reap the benefits. These masters will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t have to be one specific way.

That being said, many spiritual groups, like certain monks for example, are taught different types of meditation in several different ways, so really, there’s no correct way to meditate, and the process of connecting with one’s higher self and quieting the mind can be done in multiple ways and practiced at various levels.

When meditating, one shouldn’t try to “empty” their mind, but instead, try to let ones thoughts, feelings, and whatever emotions end up ‘popping’ in there, pop in there. There should be no resistance to thoughts, no judgement of them. Simply let them be, don’t attach to them and just be at peace with it. You’re not doing anything wrong, just focus on your breath.

Personally, I believe that meditation is a state of being more than anything else.  Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self awareness. Contrary to popular belief, you can meditate anywhere, it can be done before bed, in the shower, while you are going for a walk, or even while washing the dishes.

That being said, I do also believe, speaking from my experience, that sitting down and doing the proper breath work and being present is a slightly different method and can sometimes create a more powerful experience, but there seems to be different variations of the exact same thing.

What’s interesting about meditation is the fact that it’s been practiced for thousands of years, and several ancient cultures were well aware of not only the non-physical benefits but its physical benefits as well, something modern day science is just starting to discover.

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One of the most recent studies has found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

As Alice G. Walton, a writer for Forbes points out,

“Meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behaviour and moment-to-moment experience.”

She is correct, probably even more so than she knows. The evidence showing just how strong the mind-body connection is can actually be overwhelming. In fact, studies in the field of parapsychology have just as much, if not more, statistical significance via peer-reviewed research than the science which has been published to approve several different drugs, like antiplatelets, or the science that shows a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent a heart attack. It was published in 1999, by a statistics professor at UC Irvine.

This new study, which was recently published by the Max Planck Institute found that three different types of meditation are associated to changes in corresponding brain regions.

Watson goes on to explain,

“Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totalling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that’s been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, brining it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.” 

The second phase of training was called “Affect,” and its purpose was to increase compassion and empathy for others. The participants learned about a specific meditation dealing with “loving-kindness,” and again, the sole intention here was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last one was called the “Perspective” module, where the focus was simply to observe one’s own thoughts without judgement, while enhancing their understanding towards the perspectives of other people.

The researchers hypothesized that these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding parts of the brain.  Numerous studies have proven the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University of a study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)  who determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes in grey matter over time.

This recent study found the same thing, and they discovered that when they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and then compared the groups against one another:

“Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy: and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.” 

These results further elaborate on a wealth of previous studies showing what meditation can do to the brain.

Walton goes on to emphasize,

“Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.” 

The authors of the study mention:

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important…Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.” 

Why This Is Relevant & Important

Imagine if this type of practice became a requirement of multiple school boards, what do you think would happen? For most of us, since the day we are born we’re all encouraged to follow the same path, and one of those paths is spending a large portion of our lives, for many years, for the entire day, at school. Then, as we age into adults, we do the same thing with ‘work.’ This type of human experience is far from natural, which is why I believe it to be one of the reasons (out of many) that stress, diseases, and mental health issues, among other rates, continue to rise exponentially.

While going through this process, we’re never really taught how to question the experience, we simply comply and are never really taught any sort of emotional education, at all. We don’t learn to deal with our emotions, we don’t learn about empathy, compassion, and stepping into another persons shoes… We’re not really taught what we are naturally gifted with from birth. It’s our empathy and compassion, our concern for others that makes human beings so special, but growing up, we don’t really talk about these things.

The world is changing in many different ways, and awareness about this kind of practice is spreading around like it never has before. Multiple schools are incorporating mindfulness education into their programs, and many parents from my generation are also incorporating these important concepts into their child’s development.

This is great to see, and as time unfolds, the more we tap into non-physical science and its tremendous benefits, the more we will speed up the changes that are so desperately needed on our planet right now.


Related CE Articles:

Scientists Demonstrate What Meditation Does To Your Gut & Your Brain

Mind-Body Connection During Meditation Can Now Be Measured – Thanks To Science

Study Outlines What Prayer, Meditation & Yoga Can Do To The Human Body

Physicists Examine Consciousness & Conclude The Universe Is Spiritual, Immaterial & Mental

Physicists Say Consciousness Should Be Considered A State of Matter – The Non-Physical Is Real

This is How Powerful The Mind/Body Connection Really Is

Nepals Military Set To Use Transcendental Meditation To Relieve Global Collective Stress To Stop War

“I Was Sort of a Jackass Before Meditation” – This Is How We Can Change Police Brutality

Tibetan Buddhist Master Monk Explains How Meditation Is Not What Most People Think It Is

How To Meditate: 6 Method That Can Get Anyone Meditating

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Alternative News

‘The Event’ – What’s Really Happening & What You Need To Know About It

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is alleged by many in the spiritual community that something called 'THE EVENT' will play out that will either bring about a great awakening and the end of an era of struggle and captivity for humanity.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we always hear of events that involve humanity sitting around and waiting for something? Why is it that we never have to take responsibility for our part in something? We are here, not to wait for a saviour, but to take action within the self.

You probably have been hearing about ‘The Event’, in articles, vlogs and conversation. All around the internet are preparing people for what some are calling the ascension event that will suddenly wake everyone up and end all of the cabal behavior on the planet.

There’s a lot to say about this, and a lot of helpful info we can consider to bring ourselves to a point of understanding as well as practicality, i.e. what we can do. My intention here isn’t to burst any bubbles about this, but to bring us back to an authentic place within ourselves and also back to our intuition.

One final thing, over the course of the past 10 years I’ve not shared much about where I get my info, what I’ve been tapped into since I was younger, the practices I use and how I’ve practiced to truly develop some of these skills. I’ve kept more quiet because I personally like to fly under the radar; simply be myself, remain quiet and live the change and my truth. I don’t believe in having to be loud about our abilities to convince others of who we are. Tapping into intuition, having a strong connection 24 hours a day to my higher self, hearing beings, ‘downloading’ or visually seeing and connecting with peoples lives, getting consistent info downloads etc, these are all a natural part of my life but it’s not something that makes me or anyone else special. It’s simply part of developing it. Some of us may start with different ‘abilities’ more activated, but we can always develop things. CE wasn’t built the way it was simply by using my mind to figure things out, it took diligent conscious practice and intuition to know what was most serving for humanity and when. To take complex conscious ideas and make them reach a mass audience and create virality.

I share this because, we seem to be at a time where confusion is high, disinformation is even higher, and many of us aren’t truly practicing the information we are hearing about or learning. So I share this as what I’m about to convey below is important and I don’t wish to reduce the content to simply ‘I’ve done research,’ these truths come from deeper places. The same places you can access through heart based living and a solid connection to your higher self.

I believe we need to ‘cut the crap’ when it comes to all the identification with “I’m an intuitive,” “I’m an empath,” “I’m a channeller” etc, and realize we all have those abilities within us if we choose to awaken by practice. It’s time for true empowerment 🙂

What Has Been Said About ‘The Event’

First let’s begin with what’s being said. It is being called a breakthrough for the planet that will cause a number of different unfoldments. Some say the defeat and arrest of the cabal, resetting of financial systems, disclosure of ET’s, aliens coming to the planet, revelation of new and advanced technologies, new governments and political systems etc.

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It’s being claimed that on the non physical plane: there will be a “big wave or flash of energy and light coming from the Galactic Central sun going towards the surface of the planet”. (The galactic central sun is an object in the Sagittarius constellation.) The energy from the Central Sun will stimulate a flash or special kind of light from the Sun that permeates the earth and humanity, raising the frequencies of all living entities on the planet.

It is said that it will not be a major negative event but one that is positive. Some are even suggesting to prepare with several weeks of food and supplies as it may knock out our current infrastructures. It’s also being said that this wave of energy will be soooo powerful that it will literally fry people’s brains and make them go crazy.

I have a lot to say about all of this.

First, A Note On Channeling 

From what I have gathered, most people are learning ‘channeling’ information about this from various sources or beings out there. This of course is a real thing and completely possible, but there are caveats that we often don’t consider. I’ve experienced some very good, very talented channellers who are tapped right in to authentic stuff, then again I’ve also seen the opposite.

In a lot of ways I have always steered people away from channeling. Mainly because it takes a level of mastery to truly understand and feel out what one is tapping into. Not only that, much of the time the information you can get from your higher self is more than enough to keep you rolling, and it has nothing to do with channeling. Your connection to your higher self is constant if you practice. The desire to jump deep into channeling can sometimes come from an egoic desire to want to see the future, know the future or even in some ways.. have a ‘super power’ of sorts. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but more so that this can be what pushes us to want it. Like I said above, of course there are many authentic channellers out there as well.

Over the 10 years I have been exploring and observing different channellers, I’ve noticed a lot of the same thing. Repeating the same stuff over and over again, repeating vague and often obvious things, noticing that the channelled info is simply coming from the mind of the channeller and not actually from another being or source etc. From a personal point of view, my message has always been about going within, instead of focusing so much attention on getting information like this from outside ourselves.

From a listener point of view, there is general curiosity which is a beautiful thing, but sometimes we also start jumping into the idea of wanting to know what’s going to happen, being aware of the future and what’s coming… so as to control things or be able to prepare. This can be helpful at times, but it can also be a source of getting us stuck or limited. It also resembles a faith based, religious-like mentality where we take word of what is to come, and then act on that, without ever checking how we feel inside. The way I’ve practiced over the years is, my primary source (85% – 90% of where I get my information like this) is from my own self or higher self, my secondary source would be corroborating information with various sources out there like other people, channellers, intuitives etc etc. I feel this is a more ideal course of action as it asks YOU to develop your own knowing and connection with & to your higher self. This is part of an authentic path towards shifting consciousness when we take action and make the necessary changes from within.

The Reality Of What’s Happening

I made a film several years ago called The Collective Evolution III: The Shift. It is all about the shift in consciousness taking place, what’s going on and where humanity is headed. It’s presented in a way that can be passed across any group; those that view things through science, spirituality or who are on the fence. The purpose of the film was to bring these understandings to a grounded and practical space, where much of the human experience exists at this time. In the film, I go into great detail about the cosmic ray portion of the shift, which much of The Event refers to. I’d recommend watching the film for further understanding, but will also elaborate below.

The shift we’re experiencing is ongoing. MANY waves have already hit our planet and are still coming. This has been happening for years and it is PART of what is causing so many of the changes we are seeing today. Shifts in the way people think, shifts in how our world works, insurgence of equality, the calls for changes in our financial systems, political systems and so forth.

These waves have been happening for decades and have been intensifying as we go. They are made up of cosmic bursts from our sun, the galactic sun, surrounding stars and so forth. All cosmic waves carry unique energies with unique signatures and information. This information carries the ability to evolve thought, ideas, DNA, change energy signatures and so forth. But it’s also important to note that this energy has be ‘throttled’ in a sense, through our agreement, and for good reason. More on this in a second.

THE EVENT is following the same path as many other claims like this. It makes this shift in consciousness about ONE thing, ONE moment and so forth. Much like we did with 2012.

How cosmic rays affect our earthly lives and conscious evolution. *From CE3: The Shift

Many claim “nothing happened in 2012” because they were looking for something physical and were looking for something HUGE to happen. Yet energies did in fact shift in big ways in and around the 2012 dates many were talking about. But they also shifted in ways prior to that, and after that as well. This shift is a process and one that will continue to unfold over time little by little. Yes many of us are wearing a bit thin as this intensifies, but this simply means we have work to do and it might be harsh to accept but if I’ve witnessed a prominent practice in the overall spiritual movement it’s not practicing what we preach. “I know that information already!” But are you doing it?

Continuing on here, yes, bigger events will continue to take place and mass ‘traumas’ will be experienced as we are challenged with big time change, but we won’t bite off more than we can chew. (I say traumas to describe what will feel like very tough times for many people as we realize, en masse, things like the existence of a cabal, how we’ve been systematically manipulated our entire lives, our spiritual connection hindered on purpose etc. This will be tough until we work through it all. Hence traumatic feelings.)

Humanity often feels like we are victim to things we experience. Energies, beings, events happening, other people etc, but we choose and agree to things and take them on as we are ready for them. This doesn’t mean that being ready for it won’t cause some pain, the idea isn’t avoiding pain. With pain we often get growth. Suffering comes when we choose to ignore the growth that can be presented to us through pain.

I know that idea doesn’t sit well with some of us but ask the question, where does sitting with pain and holding onto it forever lead us? Even from a logical perspective, the answer is to work past it and grow from it, as lingering only creates more suffering.

It has been 10 years since I founded Collective Evolution and began working in the consciousness space. During that time I have created a conscious media and education company (CE), 4 films in the consciousness space and have met many spiritual teachers from around the world for interviews, as friends and so forth. I also have diligently practiced exploring consciousness through sober means, developing my intuition and so forth. In my courses I spread the message of authentic change from within that is built around truly shifting your consciousness so your connection to self and your way of being is automatic, not built on acting from belief systems.

From this space I share simply that the overwhelming feeling points to the fact that humanity is on a journey, one that may be slow at times, but challenges US to be the ones that take action. We must take action from within to shift ourselves; it’s through that space within ourselves that we begin to take action to shift our external world.

Much like we see when we do EVERYTHING for someone and never challenge them to do their own work and suddenly they don’t quite learn and aren’t empowered in their own way, we are on that journey with the shift we face personally as well. Although it’s tempting to view a single event as something that will come in and do the bulk of the work for us, this isn’t going to happen simply because it doesn’t serve us. This is a gradual process.

We’re here to do the work within ourselves. Yes, energies will come in and assist with that process as the sun and central sun act as a purveyors of evolution, but it’s also up to us. Beings are already watching and assisting closely in slowing down many of the energies coming in due to the fact that they are a bit too intense for our consciousness at the moment. This is primarily because many of us aren’t actually practicing what we are learning. We read books, learn about things and then go on living in the same old ways. We don’t shift our diets, we don’t practice meditation or presence, we don’t disempower the ego and we don’t live from our hearts, even though we know this will lead us to a thriving world.

Partly this happens because our current world is intense. There is a lot of work being done to keep us stuck, keep us distracted and so forth. But this is simply presented as an added challenge, to help build our strength within ourselves. We CAN DO IT, otherwise we wouldn’t have bit off this much. Remember that.

Don’t Wait, It’s Now

More than waiting or focusing on a single event, look at what we have right here, right now – in our world and within ourselves. This is truly all we have to focus on, and as you have intuitive feelings towards other things, follow them. But remember to not get fixated on events, dates and promises that claim to come in and take care of everything for us. NOW is most important. Our financial systems, political systems, technologies and so forth will shift and evolve as we do.. it’s not one before the other. Remember quantum physics? We determine our external reality based on how our consciousness projects our world. How do we project a thriving world if we don’t do the internal work first to shift our consciousness? Our outside world simply reflects us. For it to shift, we must do so first.

Are you doing what you love in your life and living from a space where you follow your hearts desires? Are you practicing the observation of the ego and continually shifting from egoic consciousness to heart based living? Are you practicing meditation to reduce over-thinking and more presence? Are you treating others in a way you would want to be treated.. as much as you can, not just sometimes? Are you choosing to empathize and understand where people are at and why vs judging them and calling them names?

All of these things are ways to move towards living in the heart. It’s about going from the mind, to the heart.

Some Key Reflections

  • When it comes to beings/aliens, remember that in many ways they are just souls having an experience and they may or may not have had experiences as humans. Their advice sometimes may be missing some key details on what it means to be human.
  • Beings are not ‘above us’. Aliens are not ‘above us.’ We don’t need to bring the mentality in that humans are some primitive culture, as this brings about judgement most of the time. We are all just having experiences, and in many ways we teach things to these other beings just as they teach us.
  • What can you do right now to practice living in your heart and make that a daily state of being?
  • Getting or hearing information from outside of yourself is great, and it’s part of how we use one another to learn. Are you checking within yourself about whether or not things are true? How does it feel for you when you know it’s true?

 

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Pictures Showing How The Advertising Industry Exploits Women

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In recent years, the world of fashion and advertising has distastefully blurred the lines between right and wrong, creating a pronounced grey area of supposedly acceptable imagery which includes everything from BDSM and rape to abuse, aggression, and underage perversion. And this phenomenon can’t simply be narrowed down to ‘artistry’ when the symbolism is so blatantly sexist and even morbid.

I mean, is it appropriate for 4-year olds to have a lingerie line, never mind to be photographed in them? I have a 2-year old niece and while I think it’s adorable for her to have cute bathing suits, I would never allow her to wear something provocative in any way. It’s heavily insinuated that Americans are just uptight when it comes to sex, and in many respects this is true, but there is a line that must be drawn when it comes to children that culture cannot influence.

So while Luis Paredes, the publisher of The Lingerie Journal, may blithely assert that “while Americans may be shocked, the line of clothing wouldn’t cause a ripple in Europe,” the reality is that we are looking at the exploitation of children. We may have antiquated views about breastfeeding and sex, to be sure, but sexualized images of children are in a whole different ballpark, and considering the UK’s current heavy investigation into pedophile rings being attended by high government officials, maybe these ads should be causing some ripples.

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Kylie Jenner, an heiress of the Kardashian clan, has received heavy media attention over her recent lip injection (to each their own), but it was this particular photo shoot that brought her under major scrutiny. The cover image for Interview magazine features Kylie in a wheelchair. Why?

Kylie-Jenner

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Shot by Steven Klein, the shoot is supposed to be reminiscent of work produced by Allen Jones, a British pop artist famous for his controversial sculptures of half-naked women on all fours and in other submissive positions being used as human furniture. Quite objectifying. (You can view the full gallery here.)

These next few images highlight the absurdity of advertisements today, switching the sex of the subject (or should I say object) in the ad to underscore how ridiculous and demeaning their roles truly are. Thanks to Lauren Wade from Take Part for creating these images.

Sisley ad, photographed by Terry Richardson, 2006

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen sexual abuse in advertisements and it definitely isn’t less upsetting when a guy takes her place. The disturbing tone of this ad is hardly surprising considering it was shot by the infamous Terry Richardson, who carries a string of sexual misconduct allegations with models under his belt. I mean the guy himself said, “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow. I don’t have a hole in my jeans for nothing.”

Tom Ford for Men ad, photographed by Terry Richardson, 2007

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Well we certainly know that sex sells, but why is this appropriate as an advertisement, yet women are still being shunned into bathroom stalls to breastfeed their babies? It’s easy to see how much less appealing this is with men’s breasts instead.

American Apparel ad, 2010

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Wondering what the purpose of this ad is? You’re not alone, since this is a product that is clearly marketed to women. But these images really come as no surprise. American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was unceremoniously dismissed from his position in December of 2014 because of the A.A. board’s “ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct”  — which includes (but is not limited to): holding an employee as a personal sex slave for eight months, sexually harassing multiple models and employees, assaulting a store manager, using ethnic and racist slurs with staff, and masturbating in front of a reporter in a 2004 Jane magazine article.

American Apparel ad, 2007

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If this really is an ad marketed to women, what kind of message is it supposed to send? This image is pretty standard for the company though, considering they once featured then-CEO Dov Charney in bed with models in one ad and having his crotch licked in another. How did it get this far to publication? Even with a male on display it’s pretty disturbing, but at least brings some humour. Interesting that one is sexy and the other comical.

Marc Jacobs ad, photographed by Juergen Teller, 2008

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What do you think this ad is trying to illustrate? Why would a brand use a wrinkled bag to market their products?

These images only provide a glimpse at broad the spectrum of degradation toward women present in advertising and if you think the images itself are enough to make you ponder, imagine what goes on at these shoots or even at the castings.

Charlotte Waters was a 19-year-old art student when she contacted Terry Richardson for a shoot, having only heard he was a good connection to make and work with. “He had me unbutton his pants, and he took his penis out, and it was all completely downhill from there.” She said in an interview with Vocativ. He even went as far as ejaculating on her face. 

Sara Ziff, founder of advocacy group Model Alliance, was also 19 when her agency sent her to Richardson. “It was supposed to be for a mainstream fashion magazine, but when I arrived, he unexpectedly asked me to pose topless,” she says. “I felt pressured to comply because my agent had told me to make a good impression because he was an important photographer who shot for all the major magazines and brands.” On HuffPost Live, Ziff exclaimed, “[Richardson] will ask you to take your clothes off at the casting, and in some cases, give him sexual favors.”

Model Alliance is Sara Ziff’s effort to establish fair labor standards for models working in the American fashion industry. She hopes to protect working models from exploitation, especially from sexual abuse, and to improve the lot of its members in terms of pay and working conditions. It has drawn up a “Models’ Bill of Rights.”

Model Alliance was inspired by Sara’s time working on the documentary Picture Me

Sara had this to say about the documentary in an interview with Fashionista:

[“Picture Me”] was on the festival circuit in 2009, and it was really at Q&A discussions for the film that we started talking about the need for a union, like the equivalent of the Screen Actors’ Guild, which is now SAG-AFTRA, for models. Models would come to these screenings and get really emotional talking about bad experiences they’ve had, and the film became this organizing tool to raise awareness publicly, but also within the industry. We wanted an existing union to extend membership to models, but when it became clear that that wasn’t possible, I was crazy enough to take it upon myself and start up from scratch, which people warned me not to do, but I also was studying labor and organizing in college.

The majority of models start their careers before the age 16, with most working unchaperoned and far from home. This creates an unconscionable environment of coercion, where the incentive to get hired (and remain employed) is enough to keep most girls quiet. Sara Ziff talks about her own experience with this firsthand at the age of 14:

When I entered the business as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, I was routinely asked to do topless shoots and pose seductively. To this day, in an industry dominated by minors, there is no policy of informed consent for jobs involving full or partial nudity. A recent survey shows that 86.8% of models have been asked to pose nude at a casting or job without advance notice.

Girl Model is another documentary exposing the terrifyingly young age at which some models start working. The film follows 13-year-old Siberian-born model Nadya Vall on her quest to become a model, accompanied most of the time by Ashley Arbaugh, the American modeling scout (and former model) who discovers her.

In my opinion, to be successful and thrive in the fashion industry, you need to have a sound idea of who you are as an individual and what you stand for, and unfortunately, most girls who are recruited at 14 or younger are still discovering who they are and what their place is in the world. This makes it easier for agents and scouts to shape them into who they think they should be, almost inevitably promoting a mental instability and dependency on those around them.

This article can only provide for you a different perspective on the reality that certain individuals in the fashion industry must face. Like with all things in life, there are great things about this industry and there are terrible, but it just seems that most of the ‘bad’ has been swept under the rug, with little to no attention being paid to the bigger fallacies presented by advertising companies.

Images like these allow us to see the toxic leaks that are trickling into our society, helping us to be more critical about what we are ingesting visually and more proactive in learning more about a massive money making machine that bombards us with a skewed view of the world from all sides.

Stay critical and stay aware, it helps to shift perspectives and ultimately the industry.

Sources

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/13/ugly-truth-fashion-model-behavior

http://www.takepart.com/feature/2014/07/09/what-if-fashion-objectified-males-same-scary-way-it-does-females

http://www.vocativ.com/underworld/sex/oh-god-whats-happening-close-personal-terry-richardson-model/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/fashion-ads-treated-men-and-women-same_n_5589243.html

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2012/feb/01/sara-ziff-models-workers-rights-group

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/13/ugly-truth-fashion-model-behavior

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/06/terry-richardson-interview.html

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