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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 3: The Shadow)

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

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

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

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

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

3. The Shadow

Well past midnight in a home on the island of Allandon, the village schoolteacher was retiring to bed and noticed the light on in the room of her son, who was known to the villagers as ‘the young philosopher’. Upon entering, she saw him in his familiar place, sitting at his desk buried in a mountain of heavy tomes.

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“It is past midnight, my son,” said the schoolteacher. “Time for you to be in bed, I should think.”

“I am contemplating the mystery of being, mother. I don’t think I can rest until I have found the answer.”

“And you imagine that through study and contemplation you will one day have an answer?”

“If I am dedicated and persistent, yes.”

She smiled. “Do you see your shadow cast by the light of the candle?”

“Yes.”

“What is that shadow?”

“Well—it is darkness,” the young philosopher replied.

Suddenly his mother blew out the candle, sending the room into pitch blackness. “Now where is your shadow?” she asked.

“I can’t see it,” he said, “not without the light.”

“But your shadow hasn’t changed. It was darkness and it still is darkness.”

“That’s true.”

“Perhaps, with dedication and persistence, you will eventually find it.”

The boy thought for a minute. “Or perhaps I should go to bed,” he said.

My formal education gave me valuable information about the philosophy of life, and with it a sense of knowing-it-all. My real education started when an insight gradually revealed itself to me: whenever I felt I knew exactly what life was, I was actually the most in the dark about life. To know life is to limit life, to get cut off from the mystery that makes it fun to be alive. This is where my seriousness runs roughshod over possibilities, and why I am excited that the new conversation has the potential to open them up to me again.

The new conversation is not about knowing. It is about the thrill of exploring life with an open heart and mind. When two or more people approach their interactions this way, the magic of new insights and possibilities for life are never far behind. I have come to notice in my conversations that whenever I start to provide answers, the energy and vitality of the conversation ebbs away. For the most part people aren’t looking for answers, even when they ask the questions. They are looking for someone who knows how to listen and inquire with them. When I don’t know, when I am curious and prepared to learn, then the conversations I am in have the potential to be dynamic, probing, and meaningful.

Consider the times you have been in a conversation with a self-proclaimed ‘expert’ on how you should live. I’m sure you have come across this person before, in the form of a parent, teacher, neighbor, or boss. How does it feel to be the receiver of this one-way instruction? There is really no dynamic, nothing to do in this conversation but nod and wonder when they will stop. We all had plenty of experience with this type of conversation when we were young children. But we are grown up now. And that doesn’t mean that it’s our turn to be the expert. It means we can choose a different way of relating to people and sharing our ideas.

If you are just looking for answers, there are plenty of people in our society willing to provide them for you. However, when you enter into the new conversation looking for answers, you might notice your questions getting thrown back at you. In the matter of how to live our own lives, each of us is our own expert. Only we know our own truth. No matter how wise someone may be, they don’t have the authority to tell you that you really want to become a doctor. Or that you should enjoy exercising. Or that you have no reason to be sad. It’s time now to stop looking for people to tell us who we are and how we should live. We need courage to come out and say what’s true for us, and shake off the pressure of having to conform to the opinions and beliefs of others.

Of course it’s difficult. We have been conditioned to believe that our truth isn’t good enough, that we need to do what is acceptable to others, we need to have the answer. But there is no definitive answer. And accepting this is not tantamount to admitting our stupidity. Quite the opposite. Socrates used to say ‘All I know is that I know nothing,’ and yet he was considered the wisest man in ancient Athens. To a certain extent life will always be about trying to figure out what life is about. Learning to be free from the need for certainty keeps all doors open for passionate exploration. Like peeling an onion with an infinite center, life always reveals itself with new questions that are deeper than the answers it provides.

Whether you are actively involved in the game of trying to figuring life out or you are sitting on the sidelines, life itself goes on. If you are not asking the questions, life is sure to bring them to you eventually—and probably when you least expect it. Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych never questioned what he did in life. He always informed himself by the opinions of others and his society. But in the serene quiet of his death bed,

…the question suddenly occurred to him: “What if my whole life has been wrong?”

It occurred to him that what had appeared perfectly impossible before, namely that he had not spent his life as he should have done, might after all be true. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false. He tried to defend all those things to himself and suddenly felt the weakness of what he was defending. There was nothing to defend.

Ivan Ilych became painfully clear in the last few moments of his life that he had not attended to the faint impulses he felt that seemed to question the manner in which he was living his life. In tracing back the whole of his existence he suddenly realized that he had not actually lived. He had spent his entire life in the realm of the known and had not participated in the mystery, the wonder, the joy, the game that life is. While we are often frustrated when life doesn’t work out the way we planned, perhaps instead we need to celebrate the unpredictability of life. Most often it is just those unforeseen and spontaneous experiences in our lives that become the most memorable.

Now—it is a fundamental desire of human nature to search for and give meaning to things. We are built for learning and growth and evolution. We each at some point have to face the darkness of life’s mysteries and attempt to shed some light on them. The beauty is that we can do it in our own way. It doesn’t matter in the end where you are in the inquiry, or what system you are following. You could lean towards the distinctions of psychology or philosophy or history or sociology or any other human discipline. You could be informed by Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, or some other spiritual tradition. You could consider yourself agnostic or an atheist. You may have been formally inquiring into the nature of human life for years or are just awakening to a desire for greater self-awareness. It doesn’t matter. Wherever you are, you are somewhere on the path of your life. And where you are is just perfect. You may be asking questions such as, ‘Why am I always so tired?’, ‘How come I never have enough money?’ or ‘When will I find true love?’. These are just some of the many lines of inquiry into life and self-awareness, no less valid than asking ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What is the meaning of life?’. In the end they all represent the drive that is in each one of us to find our true happiness in this life, and fulfill whatever purpose we believe we have for being here.

We are not without help. Today we have the benefit of standing on the shoulders of the giants that have come before, leading us to a greater understanding of the meaning of life itself. The greatest descriptions come from the myths, poems, parables, and stories that don’t try to explain what life is but rather point to its mystery so that we all can be inspired to live better. The Bible, the Qu’ran, the Vedas and the many other sacred texts were not created to provide us with an exclusive resource to the essential truth; they were all designed to point to the ultimate source of being that defies description. When we interpret these texts literally and follow their words blindly, we miss the very point for which they were written. The written words are many times removed from a greater authority on being: our personal and collective experience of life itself. Any actions we take as a result of reading from these texts needs first to resonate deep within us. None of these writings are the last word in themselves, they are all chapters in a much larger book, the sacred text of life itself. Each one contributes profoundly from a given perspective—but it is still ultimately only one perspective.

Today, we are starting to be able to discern the metaphor from the message, the connotation from the denotation. When understood as metaphors for something complex and yet familiar to each one of us as human beings, these texts serve us in providing a possible way to look at life that can empower us and help us to evolve. The new conversation is about just that—an exchange of ideas and perspectives that we consciously engage in to facilitate our own growth and the evolution of consciousness itself.

It is my intention in this book to enter into the flow of the new conversation with you. As our conversation progresses, it will become more and more apparent that one person’s point of view is nothing more than that, my own being no more or less valuable than yours. The question to really ask is whether or not your way of seeing things is working for you, or if you are open to the possibility that a different perspective could be of benefit to your life. My words are put out here as something to consider, to experiment with, and to evaluate critically. I will trust that you will take from it that part which serves you, and leave whatever does not. The conversation continues on only when each of us feels that we might have something to learn from each other, and that our current positions are not fixed and absolute but rather flexible and relative to where we are in our lives. This can apply to even the most fundamental and supposedly immutable truths that we live by.

It is comfortable to stand in one place, to hold a view with certainty. However, if there were really only one view in life, if there was only one truth, would we not have arrived at it by now? Would we not all be living in peace under the clear superiority of one particular way of looking at the world? True peace is found not when one has discovered the answer, but when one comes to fully appreciate that life can be no more than the inquiry. So often we hear that it is the journey, and not the destination. Our great satisfaction in being here is the ongoing discovery of why we are here at ever deepening levels. We know in our hearts that there is something that binds us together, and the greatest joy that we can experience may be in discovering how each of us is a part of a unified whole, individuals as completely different as snowflakes, and yet sharing something so essential that it is not impossible to think of all of humanity as one family. It would seem to me that the strength of any one view lies not in the focus of its vision, but in its capacity to encompass the greatest diversity of human activity.

The ideas at the root of the new conversation are not all new. They have come to us from every corner of the near and distant past, from wise men and women of all different cultures. What is perhaps new is the way these ideas, some which come from traditions that seem diametrically opposed to each other, are being looked at and appreciated side by side. When the conversation is grounded in acceptance, it becomes possible to begin to transcend history, language, and perspective and peer into the many facets of the same unseen world that informs them.

In other words you don’t have to be Buddhist to appreciate or learn from the wisdom of Buddha, nor do you need to be Christian to revere the lessons of Jesus. The Bhagavad-Gita and other sacred Hindu texts can have an appeal to all people. It is no coincidence that great spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama have many adorers from all walks of life. Such transcendent masters have appeal because they focus on what is common in the desires and needs of all human beings, not simply devotees to their tradition.

The manner in which the great traditions of thought differ, much in the way that people differ from one another, needs no longer be a point of contention in terms of which is right and which is wrong. They are like individual brushstrokes of varying length, color and texture that make up the masterpiece. And when we can learn to appreciate the variety, and come to understand the different ways that life can be viewed and lived, it cannot help but enhance our understanding of life itself.

The new conversation gives us the opportunity to look anew at the enduring ideas of the past, and infuse an emerging vocabulary into our dialogues that is shedding greater light on these ideas. More and more our verbal languages contain words from other cultures, showing how our respective cultures are having a greater influence on how each of us sees the world. The move is on to know our authentic selves not by identifying once and for all which is the ‘right’ tradition of thought, but through a conversation that taps into the full spectrum of human traditions.

Move on the Chapter 4…

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Taking Bold Action

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a New Moon in Aries during the later hours of April 11th in the Americas and on the 12th everywhere else in the world. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned throughout this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26th/27th.

Aries season began at the Equinox (on March 20th globally this year) as it always does, as per the framework of the Tropical Zodiac. Being the first of twelve signs, and initiator of a transitional season, it begins the Astrological New Year. However with this New Moon actually occurring in Aries as well, it will crank up the energies of this sign even more so in comparison to the previous weeks that were part of a lunar cycle initiated by a New Moon in Pisces.

Aries is the domain of self, independence, and individual needs. As a Cardinal Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is assertive, courageous, direct, pioneering, and leading. It is initiating, quick, bold, energetic, and warrior-like. Negatively, this energy can be inconsiderate, selfish,  hot tempered, combative, restless, impatient, aggressive, and overly competitive. Aries lacks thoroughness due to its quick forward energy.

New Moon Conjunct Mercury & Venus In Aries

This New Moon is close to both Mercury and Venus. This can reflect a period in which our social interactions and engagement with others can be more lively. Both Mercury and Aries have a busy moving type of energy and we may feel more active, physically and/or mentally, as a result.

The conjunction of both of these planets with this New Moon also means it is tied into cycles that each of those planets have with the Sun. Venus recently joined the Sun in the last week of March and it is now travelling ahead of it in zodiacal position.

In recent weeks this has been a time in which we experienced shifts, developments, endings, beginnings, or more clarity around Venus areas of friends, love, social dynamics, values, worth, or financial matters in some cases. This New Moon and the weeks following can continue this process, especially when it comes to beginnings or newer ways of expressing ourselves in these areas.

Mercury is now approaching the Sun as they will make their conjunction on April 18th/19th. At that time we may experience developments, which may be significant, connected to what has transpired during its previous retrograde in February and how things have unfolded since then. From there, these things may develop further with a better perception, or circumstances may indicate lack of sufficiency, not what was anticipated, or that something needs to change.

Planets In Aries Square Pluto & Sextile Mars Trine Jupiter

This New Moon, along with Venus and Mercury, are in a square with Pluto and sextile with Mars and Jupiter. Pluto combined with Aries and Mars energy can reflect a period of intensity. However, it can also play out as issues around power, control, manipulation, jealousy, insubordination, or subversion.  It can also be revealing, psychological, compulsive, transforming, and purging.

The sextile with Mars in Gemini adds to the lively, assertive, instinctual, and energetic expressions of Aries. The Aries’ planets sextile to Jupiter, which is also trine Mars, can be good for applying ourselves in a way that is expansive, optimistic, educational, philosophical, explorative, freedom seeking, or centered around beliefs. New doors may open up and it can even be lucky for some people.

Uranus square Saturn (mentioned here in a previous article) is still in the backdrop as it will be throughout the year. Although it’s not in one of its strong periods, themes of ‘freedom/rebellion/revolution being at odds restrictions/limitations/traditions are still playing out. This may get activated in different ways by this new lunar cycle and the Aries energy that has already been present over the previous weeks following the Astrological New Year.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

How would you like to grow and expand and what do you need to change to get there? In what areas do you need to be more bold or courageous? What have your relationships shown you in recent weeks? What is important for your individuality? What are your personal needs? What do you stand for and should you be fighting for it? Do you need to be a leader in any aspects of your life? Are there any new things that you want to explore?

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 2:31am Universal Time on April 12th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Consciousness

A Symbiosis of Humans & Technology – Changing The Conversation

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Have you ever noticed that discussions about transhumanism tend to focus on technology more than humanism? The journey to reaching our highest potential as a species is usually focused externally on the technology rather than internally on our conscious evolution. This is probably because people assume that conscious evolution is more about spirituality whereas technology is more having to do with the things humans create. The two paths are interdependent so we need more conversations between experts in each of these fields. It will only be through a recognition of the symbiotic nature between humans, their technology, and the environment that we will avert self-destruction.

trans·hu·man·ism (n.) 1. A belief that humans should strive to transcend the physical limitations of the mind and body by technological means. 2. A movement of people who espouse such a belief.

Standing at a Crossroads: The influence that technology has on society and culture is called, technodeterminism. Most of us carry mini supercomputers in our pockets called smartphones. These devices act as external brains which seamlessly integrate into most aspects of our life. Most of us are completely dependent on them for travel, work, communication, entertainment, and beyond. Take a moment to consider the future implications of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine-learning, mass surveillance, automation, genome editing, nanotechnology, and their potential influences on society, culture, and our environment.

When I think about these things, I can’t help but ask:

Why aren’t people like the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Andrew Weil conversing more with people like Ray Kurzweil, Elon Musk, and Steve Mann?

Ancient Futures: It will become increasingly imperative for our most advanced technologies to be informed by the natural ethos of indigenous people blended with the emotional-intelligence of our enlightened spiritual masters. We must remember that the first humans who captured fire to light their cave, stay warm on a cold night, or cook their food were using technology. Anthropologists proudly call us humans “tool-makers” as one of the attributes that make us distinct from most species.

Paradigm Shift: Conscious evolution will require a concerted effort to communicate across silos and disciplines. Cooperation and collaboration towards collective goals will need to take the place of competition for personal gain. What are we hoping to accomplish, and at what cost? We are a risk-taking species and that drives us to exceed all our limitations. Let’s make these be calculated risks because with our technology also comes a great responsibility.

Start Within: Even our most sophisticated technology does not possess the complexities of organic systems. Computers and machines can do many things for us but they will never be able to feel for us. The realm of emotion is central and unique to our human experience yet it is only now starting to be recognized as a valuable form of intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” -Andrew Coleman A Dictionary of Psychology

Research in multiple fields of study shows that curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking, and empathy are skills that will redefine traditional beliefs about intelligence. The ability to accommodate new information requires a certain level of mental flexibility, humility, and ultimately character. It is through our ability to feel and process our emotions that our higher intelligence flourishes.

SuperHumans: Any sports fan knows that there are individuals who possess superhuman gifts. Think of popular sports stars like Michael Jordan, or any of the various extreme sports heroes who somehow manage the seemingly impossible. We also have the various musical or art prodigies who express the skills of a master before the age of 10. We have seen humans walk on red-hot coals with bare feet, walk a tightrope between skyscrapers, and exhibit mind-boggling feats of mental-focus, and will-power. Did you know that Wim Hof ran a half marathon barefoot on ice and snow, with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds? Humans are capable of amazing things when they channel discipline, practice, creative brilliance, fearlessness and focus. We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible!

Global Meditation: This simple practice of quieting the mind, and bringing presence to one’s breathing has a long list of documented benefits that include enhanced neural connections, deep feelings of connection and well-being, as well as a strengthened immune system. When we compound this focused intention to include tens of thousands of people all over the world, we begin to literally shift planetary magnetic resonance. The science does not lie, we are potent electrical beings with the ability to focus consciousness and create beyond our wildest imaginations.

Everything technology offers is a reflection of the technology that we, as humans are. Learning to laugh at ourselves a little while delving into our emotions and to make room for possibilities beyond our currently held beliefs is essential for this journey. In order for us to create technology that is aligned with all of life and our planet, we must first become aligned with ourselves and each other. Global meditation is where we practice together!

We can no longer claim that a technology is advanced if it is destroying our skies and rivers or perpetuating harmful practices like war and domination. These are examples of misguided technologies. Our DNA has been informed by countless generations of evolution. It is time that we focus our consciousness towards the natural wisdom kept by indigenous people, while embracing the presence of enlightened spiritual masters. This will allow us to infuse our science and highest technological advancements with ecological and emotional intelligence for the benefit of all life.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

A Proven Technique To Neutralize Draining Emotional Reactions

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CE Staff Writer 9 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    We'll explore a simple scientifically proven technique to help neutralize emotional reactions that often drain our energy and reduce our ability to think clearly and make effective decisions.

  • Reflect On:

    How often do you check in to how you're are feeling? Do you feel you are able to self regulate your emotions easily?

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Do you notice that you sometimes feel tired or fatigued but are not sure why? Maybe you can have a restful sleep and still wake up having a sense that your energy is not quite there? Maybe you notice yourself being reactive, having a short fuse and feeling unclear about what decisions to make? Maybe you say things to friends, family or people online that you later regret or didn’t truly mean. Much of this can have a lot to do with how we’re feeling emotionally on a regular basis. Emotions that are happening just a touch outside our conscious awareness.

Let’s just do a very quick check in to see what I mean. If you stop a take a moment right now to ask “how am I feeling?” What do you notice? Are you feeling good? Energized? Do you have a background tension? Are you a bit stressed? Annoyed? Are you relaxed and calm? Are you perhaps relaxed yet feeling blah? When we do these check ins we bring awareness to how we might be feeling. This is something we typically don’t do that often and thus are simply not consciously aware of how we feel. If we were a bit more consciously aware of how we felt, we’d have a greater understanding of what we could do to feel better as we know where we’re at.

Energy Loss

This is important because one of the greatest unrecognized sources of prolonged stress, fatigue and physical wear and tear on our bodies comes from living our day to day lives in a state where we consciously or subconsciously experience what we might call ‘draining emotions.’ These are emotions like worry, fear, anger, resentment, or sadness etc.

For each of us, we’re likely going to experience these emotions at some point in life, and this is normal. Typically when we experience these emotions, we’re getting an insight into ourselves. Since what triggers these emotions can often be subjective, we can learn something about our current self by paying attention to these emotions. For example, someone might cut us off while we’re driving on the freeway. On one hand, one person might react aggressively and become very angry, while another might simply see it as a mistake on the part of the other driver and move on with their day.

Why some of us react and others don’t typically comes down the the story we’re telling ourselves about why that person cut you off. Perhaps they take it personally, perhaps they see it as an attack in some way – who knows? You. Only you know, and you can get closer to knowing what that is so you don’t harbour that draining emotion for the rest of the day, and even remove the trigger to begin with so you don’t necessarily have to go down that angry road every time something small like this happens.

I want to be clear here, we’re not looking to avoid emotions or never experience them, we’re looking to gain awareness around why they come, and ultimately have the choice over what gets us bothered and what might be better to simply let go. There is a difference between momentarily feeling an emotion like this, and letting it become a ‘background state’ of being that slowly begins to shape our attitude towards unhealthy and draining tendencies.

We can likely go on all day about where we should ‘honor’ some emotions in some situations or stand up for ourselves in others – I’ll let you decide that within yourself for each situation, but what the focus here in this piece is to simply look at how we can neutralize an emotional experience so we can stop it from draining all our energy and gain greater clarity on why it might be happening.

The exercise below is geared towards improving our self awareness around situations and how we feel, so we can learn to self-regulate emotions at anytime, as well as turn off triggers that might not really be the greatest to have to begin with.

Remember, we’re going to stick with a situation where we are cut off in traffic, but you can use these steps for anything. Maybe you realize you are fearful about a situation. Maybe you notice ongoing worry about something that’s happening or may happen – whatever it may be, the steps can be applied.

A Quick 3 Minute Exercise

We’ll go through the steps, this might seem long at first but it’s actually very short once you get the hang of it. This method is based on decades of scientific researching involving the heart and the benefits of creating coherence through good heart rate variability. You can learn more about that here under the section “Coherence & Optimal Function.”

1. The first step is becoming aware of the fact you’re having the emotional experience. What we’re doing here is by reading this we’re setting up a bit of an increased self awareness in our minds that can help us remember to check in when we next have an emotional reaction to something. Perhaps the car cuts us off while driving, and we react, but then shortly after we remember that we want to have a closer look at that emotional reaction and perhaps choose a different response instead of going down an energy draining rabbit hole. So the first thing we want to do is become aware that the experience is happening.

2. The next step is accepting the experience that’s happening. What this means is, if the person in front of us cuts us off while driving and we get angry and realize we’re angry, bring to your awareness that this is OK. We’re not looking to create a judgement about what happened or what we’re experiencing, instead we simply want to see it for what it is, an experience that happened and we’re now aware of and sitting as an observer of it. What this does is it empowers us to be able to look a little more closely at what we’re feeling and why. After we become aware, take note of the emotion you’re experiencing and name it. Is it anger? Is it worry? Is it fear?

As a small kicker to this, just imagine that the intention here is to turn down the intensity of the emotion so we can go in a take a look at what’s going on in the same way that a firefighter will spray water onto a burning house to stop the fire and cool it enough to go in and assess what the source of that fire was.

3. Next we’re going to take a moment and place our hand or a couple fingers over the areas of our chest, around where your heart is, and use the placement of your hand as something to focus on. With your eyes open, take some comfortable yet slightly deeper breaths. Feel your breath moving in and out of the area of your heart (where you hand is). To do this, don’t worry too much about how perfect the breathing is or whether it’s exactly going in and our of your heart area, just sit with a gentle focus that your breath is moving in and out of the area of your heart. Our goal here is to bring awareness to the physical heart and begin to influence its rhythms ever so slightly. Breath into your heart for about 30 seconds.

4. Next we want to continue our heart focused breathing while also imagining the feeling of calm or ease enter into our bodies. Spend the next 2 minutes or so breathing in the feeling of calm or ease into your heart with comfortable breaths. Notice the calm and ease come over your mind and body. What this stage does is it shows us that we have the ability to produce our own emotional regulation by creating a physiological state that is more synchronized and favorable for introspection and clarity.

After step 4 you should feel a lot more neutral in your feeling, but it may be possible you’re still annoyed or upset about the situation, this is great and in many ways the point of the exercise. Remember the firefighter analogy.

If it’s a really small situation, this awareness might already help us choose to simply let it go. If it’s a larger situation, this exercise helps us reduce the intensity so we can gain a bit more clarity about what’s going on and stop us from simply circling the experience over and over again in our minds, potentially increasing our anger and draining our energy.

Now as a final step, you can take a moment to just assess, what is the story you have been telling yourself about the situation? What might be a more effective way to approach or think about the situation? In the case of getting cut off in the car, was it really personal? If so, how do you know? If it was a mistake, is anger helping you or just providing an undesirable experience? If you had the freedom, would you choose anger at the other driver or to just let it go and maintain better health?

The point here is that with awareness we get clearer on who we are and how we function. This inevitably gives us a choice in how we choose to react.

For more information on this and to build a bit of a deeper practice, you can check out a short course I produced in our members area called CETV. The course is called Improving Daily Self Awareness, Presence & Connection. 

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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