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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 6: The Masseur)

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

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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.

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.”

6. The Masseur

Late one morning at the village massage clinic on the island of Allandon, the hairdresser rushed in for her regular treatment.

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“Sorry I’m so late, I have a big problem at work and I don’t know what to do.”

“I know what you can do,” the masseur said.

“What do you mean? You don’t even know my problem,” she said, plopping herself face down on the massage table. “Please give me my massage quickly, I’ve got to get back.”

“You’ve got to get here first.”

The hairdresser turned her head up towards the masseur. “What do you mean? I am here!”

“I think you’re still back at your salon. If you were really here you wouldn’t have a problem.”

“What?” she asked, shaking her disheveled hair with annoyance.

“Whatever your problem is, how will you be once you’ve solved it?”

She thought for a moment as she pulled herself up to a seated position. “At peace,” she answered.

“And that’s what you really want, isn’t it?”

“Of course.”

“So I suggest that you be in the moment now, and you will find peace right away.”

“But I am being in the moment!”

“Are you at peace?”

“No.”

“Then you’re not being in the moment,” he said.

This was not the first time the masseur had spoken to the hairdresser about this. However in her flustered state, she couldn’t recall how it worked.

“OK, so tell me how I can be in the moment,” she said.

“I can’t tell you how,” he replied, putting his hand on her shoulder gently. “It’s something you already know.”

“OK, OK,” the hairdresser said. She took a few deep breaths and then started to lie back down. “I’m ready for my massage now, I’m here. I’m in the moment.”

“Are you at peace?”

The hairdresser huffed. “No.”

“Then you’re not in the moment,” said the masseur smiling. “But I can give you your massage anyway.”

Be here now, wrote Ram Dass. When I first heard this phrase in my New Age discussion group years ago, it seemed rather banal. How can we not be here, now? Where else could we be? But I came to realize that this phrase touches on something subtle, and difficult to express. It is a pointer to an internal experience that allows us to be centered, peaceful, and intimately connected with everything around us. In other words, it brings us into the world of our Dao Self.

When we come from our Ego Self, we are anything but centered in the present moment. We are immersed in the shoulds of the future and the should-haves of the past. If peace is what we are looking for, it would be helpful to learn how to be here now. And before asking how to do it, let us be clear that in the end we cannot do a state of being. We can only be. To enter into the state of being in the moment we must have the capacity to literally un-do, or perhaps not-do, to let go of doing long enough so that we can just be present to the world and to who we are.

This is easier said than, uh, not-done. Our Ego Self will not cooperate with this, fundamentally because our Ego Self is all about doing. When we are under the control of the Ego Self we seem unable to contemplate being peaceful until we first fulfill the demands of our life, solve every problem, finish ever last task and errand. Funny how this never seems to happen. And even if we did finally scratch every item off of our to-do list, we might get so scared that we would suddenly invent a hundred more items to put on it. We seem to be more comfortable when we’re doing something.

And our consumer society wouldn’t have it any other way, since consuming is a particularly tempting form of doing. When we don’t pause to reflect on what we really want, the media directs us to fulfill ourselves in the way it see fit. The media may even be able to convince us that we are in control while it is actually pulling our strings. The messages coming at us like never before, through the TV, radio, telephone, computer, and out in the streets are appealing and persuasive, and as long as we stay firmly within our Ego Self they will continue to keep us looking for fulfillment through the doing of consuming.

Of course all this doing makes us tired and gives us stress. We could really use a break from it all. And I don’t mean something to make us temporarily zone out from our ‘real’ life of duties and obligations, like mindless channel-flipping, late-night drinking, or expensive vacations to ‘get away from it all.’ There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of diversions, but they rarely bring a lasting peace into our lives. Wouldn’t it be better if the way we lived our lives wasn’t tiring us out and causing us so much stress to begin with?

The truth is that the events occurring in our lives do not cause stress themselves. Stress is fully a product of our Ego Self. It is the dissonance between what is and what we think should be. It does not exist in the outer world, in the now. The only way an external event can disturb our peace is with our permission. This goes for anything from a hangnail to being threatened at gunpoint. The external event only disturbs our peace because of how we interpret it, which in turn comes from how we are looking out at the world. And only when we become aware that we are more than our Ego Self are we able to choose to look out onto the world, and thereby process it, in a different way.

Imagine our Ego Selves to be like islands that are part of an archipelago, all connected to the same land mass with the tips surfacing above the water. The islands appear to be isolated and separate, but when we examine down below the surface of the water we see that they are all connected. They are all One. The surface of the water is like the illusion of the ego, which separates the physical world above from the non-physical below.

The surface itself is usually turbulent, just like the mind is when it is busy and stressed. With practice we can slowly learn to still the surface of the water, so that we can see below and behold our vastness. When we identify with this vastness, rather than with our small and separate island-selves, then we come at the world from the perspective of our Dao Self, and peace and centeredness are immediate. In the Dao Self we are no longer focused on doing but rather on being. The very meaning of ‘I’ changes, and subsequently the world transforms into something we are at one with.

So how do we move from the Ego Self to the Dao Self? Hmm. There’s that question again about doing. To move into our Dao Self we actually need to relinquish doing, since doing is in the domain of separate things and keeps us focused above the surface. Our Ego Self does not surrender control very easily, but that is precisely what is required if we want to go into our depths: surrender. Trying too hard to reach our inner being is counter-productive because it is a form of control, and maintaining control, a product of the Ego Self, is precisely what we are trying to move away from.

My time in India training to become a Yoga Siromani (instructor) gave me a particularly acute vantage point from which to witness my own Ego Self in (over)action. While I finally had become mature enough not to try to compete with fellow practitioners (most of whom were far more flexible than me anyway), I still approached yoga in the same way as I had my other athletic endeavors: as a competition. Here, though, the competition was with myself. I would habitually try to stretch to the limits of my pain threshold, somehow believing that my mind must ‘overcome’ my body in order to train it to become more flexible.

The first posture we were taught was called savasana, the corpse pose, whereby the practitioner lay on the mat, arms and legs outstretched, in total relaxation. I knew it well and didn’t really consider it a posture. It was just the break between each asana (held posture). I was surprised when we were told by the Swamis at the ashram that we could skip one or more of the asanas any time we felt tired and simply remain in savasana.

The very idea of this was embarrassing to me, that I would ‘give up’ on doing a posture and simply rest. I had never given up on a challenge and wasn’t about to start now! How would that look to others? What would prevent me from giving in to laziness? My Ego Self was clearly in charge here, I just wasn’t aware of it at the time.

In the space of practicing daily with the Swamis, their instructions started to sink in: ‘accept where your body is at this morning…’, ‘try to relax in the posture…’, ‘breathe…’, and as things progressed over the weeks, I did start to skip one or more of the difficult asanas and take a rest here and there.  I started to recognize when my body needed it. Slowly I paid more attention to how I was feeling inside, and I gave less attention to how I was looking on the outside. Rather than feeling that yoga was a war between the body and mind, I felt I was learning to bring them into greater harmony. It eventually struck me that savasana might be the most important posture in the entire sequence, because it embodies the transition from doing to not-doing, from our Ego Self to our Dao Self.

The variety of different pointers to flowing into our Dao Self is one of the main subjects of the new conversation. Yoga is only one path, but it will serve here as a good example because it illustrates the fundamental resistance we have in Western society to transcending the Ego Self. The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yeug,’ which means to join or union. Traditionally, the yoga practitioner sought to achieve a union between their individual (Ego) self and their communal (Dao) self. But many of us here miss out on this because we think yoga is just for improving our physical health and reduce our stress. We have tended to adulterate yoga to fit our Western perspective. What we call ‘yoga’ is really only the asanas, the held postures. In traditional yoga, asanas are but one of eight limbs of one of four branches which touch upon different aspects of human life. What we have essentially done is turned yoga into something to do. An exercise, rather than a practice. A routine rather than a lifestyle.

 If we just add yoga to our ‘to-do’ list we will simply be giving ourselves something else that we need to find time for and get stressed about. We may be enthusiastic for the first little while, but this is not likely to last. There will always be other, more ‘urgent’ tasks that will crowd it out of the picture. As long as yoga remains simply a thing to ‘do’ in our lives, its impact will be short-lived. It will be swept away from our lives like a flower without roots in the ground of being.

We have to realize that when it comes to shifting our being, how we do something becomes more important than what we do. In evaluating whether it is worth our time to do yoga our attitude tends to be ‘What’s in it for me? How will I benefit?’ But this attitude actually works against any activity designed to promote union, harmony, and peace. Rather than thinking about what we can take from a practice like yoga, we need rather to ask what we can give to it: if we give ourselves, our being, that’s when the benefits will evidence themselves. When we give our being (i.e. the being of our Ego Self), we are in effect willingly surrendering ourselves to a higher or greater being (our Dao Self).

But this is not an easy thing to do. In Western society many of us have become very cautious about submitting ourselves to something or someone else. Perhaps we are worried that we will be told what to do, that somehow we will become enslaved or controlled. We have had enough of that. We have fought hard in our lives to become independent, self-directed, and free.

In India I was among yoga students from 22 countries, predominantly Westerners like myself. While the students were very interested in the teachings and practices, most of the Western students had various levels of resistance to different elements of the practice. Some didn’t like the vegetarian diet, and in fact there was quite a debate about its value during one of our lecture sessions. Others didn’t like to be forced to perform community service. Many complained about having to wake up at 5:00 and then do chanting for an hour. And when it came to a discussion of some of the deeper austerities of yoga practice, such as sexual abstinence and a withdrawal of the senses from the world, it was almost laughable for many of us. While eternal bliss in union with the Dao (Brahman in Hindu teaching) sounded interesting, we still wanted to hold on to many things and didn’t want to surrender the lives that we lived.

Without some willingness to surrender, however, the fulfillment we are looking for may continue to elude us. We are aware that all great yogis surrendered to their masters. And these masters also surrendered to their masters, and so on down the line. They would not have achieved their elevated states of consciousness had they not been willing to do so. But in the West we are on the fence. Some of us go to foreign lands and learn ancient customs out of a longing to see things in a different way, out of a conviction that the Western paradigm is falling short of our expectations. And yet, we hesitate to jump in headlong. Is this just our Ego Self in action, or are we sincerely waiting for something more, something that truly resonates with us?

Move on to Chapter 7…

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Consciousness

Why I Chose To Un-School My Son

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Now more than ever before our society is seeing the need to take matters into our own hands and not rely on others to get the job done for us. The topic of un-schooling has become quite popular and with good reason.

According to Wikipedia:

“Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the most personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and, therefore, useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in the education of each unique child.”

I couldn’t agree more. It’s about taking the reigns in our children’s education to ensure that they are not just getting a good one but they have the opportunity to see the great joy of learning. After six years of leaving it up to the system, my son lost that great joy.

All Children Love To Learn

All kids love to learn and my son was not excluded from that. After a couple years of school, I noticed that school didn’t feel like a place of learning for him. Learning was something that naturally manifested into his life. I taught him sign language before he ever said his first word. He loved books, songs, art, counting and all the stuff a child his age liked to learn about.

As early as grade one, he began showing signs that he would prefer not to go there. Recently I saw an episode of The Simpsons titled, ‘Lisa’s Sax’ from Season 9, which shows a flashback to Bart’s first day of kindergarten. Some of you PicMonkey Collagemay know the one. In the episode, Bart starts his first day saying, “School will be fun.” Shortly after, his initial enthusiasm is crushed by an uncaring and bitter teacher who says that he would be a failure at life, and he draws a violent sketch of his feelings. I feel that’s what it was like for my son (and many other kids) when they entered school for the first time. They go in with enthusiasm and excitement and end up with disdain and confusion.

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In grade four, he began to ask me questions regarding the structure of school. He told me he didn’t like that the kids were constantly being told to be quiet and sit still. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t eat when he was hungry. He was confused why he couldn’t learn about the things that he liked or was interested in. He asked why the teachers stopped using games and songs and kept play time to a scheduled time once a week. Prompted by my son’s inquires, I was compelled to do research about public education and its origins which I will share my findings later in this article.

When my son was in grade 5, I noticed that he didn’t understand basic math concepts. Concerned, I reached out to his teacher who told me that she hadn’t noticed. She said she would look into it and I put my faith in her that she would get to the bottom of the problem. She never did and before I could follow up with her as to why nothing had been done, the teachers went on strike until the following school year. My son entered grade 6 and more problems regarding school began to arise.

The Move That Changed Our Lives

By February of this year, school had created a horrible rift in our home life. When I would try to help my son with his homework, he would become extremely emotional and shut down. This made it almost impossible to help him. Eventually he had an emotional breakdown. He began by telling me that he was not going back to school. After asking him why he felt so strongly about this, he listed numerous reasons over the course of two hours. The things he brought up were that he felt like school was militarized. When asking why he felt like that he said because of the rules, the loudschools-as-factories sound of the bell and that they made them run outside in the winter rain and cold everyday even if they didn’t want to. He felt like school was boring because he never had the opportunity to learn what he was interested in. How many of you reading this ask your children what they learned about in school when they come home and they reply with, “Nothing” or “Boring stuff”? My son disagreed with how the kids were treated, specifically that the teachers were above the students and that they were like masters and the kids were like slaves (his words). He didn’t feel like what he was learning about would benefit him in any way, not now, not ever. He felt stupid and the pressure of “competing” with his peers was unbearable.

This incident deeply saddened me. From what I could see, my baby was suffering and as his mother, it was my duty to find a solution to this and I feel I have. I had been toying with the idea of home education for years. Every day after school, I would tutor my son on things he would never learn while attending school which I think was the basis for him to be able to have an awareness that something just wasn’t right at that place. I so badly wanted him to see the joy of learning and how beneficial it is to be educated but felt with the lack of funding and set curriculum that was not possible. After laying out my options with home education and studying the philosophies and methods of un-schooling, I pulled my son from the school.

The Teachers Know That Public Education Is Horribly Flawed

I sent an email to his teacher explaining a bit about why I was taking my son out of public education which prompted the teacher to call me. We had a very long, enlightening conversation regarding the school system. The teacher told me that he completely supported and agreed with my decision to educate my son at home. He knew that the system was out-dated at best and the kids are not benefiting from it in anyway. He stated that most kids in his class were having meltdowns at home and in school regarding it. He agreed with me that the system doesn’t teach the kids how to be critical thinkers and that can be very dangerous for a society as a whole. He told me that he will not be putting his kids in public education. That statement alone was enough to tell me I was doing the right thing. My son was in a split class and had two teachers. Between the two teachers, they shared 65 students. That is unbelievable! The teacher stated that he so badly wants to teach but it’s so conflicting because as a teacher, his hands are tied. He has to stick to a set curriculum and can’t really go outside of it. He said that there literally is no funding. Most teachers pay for a lot of school supplies out of their own pockets. This morning I read a Polk county public school teacher’s letter of resignation. To me it’s more proof that the teachers know that the system is horribly flawed!

How My Son’s Life Has Changed

 cartoon-thinking-outside-box_final

Since we started our journey of un-schooling, he now understands basic math concepts. His mood has also improved greatly. When I first caught wind to him being behind, I knew that it stemmed from his grade two year and he couldn’t get caught up because the teachers unfortunately don’t do one-on-one help. He got behind in the first place because he was being bullied and his teacher at the time was also doing questionable things like not letting him go to the bathroom. That was a bad year for him. I know that experience had a part in his perception of school and him falling behind. Regardless, nothing was done on the teacher’s part to rectify the problem and how could they if they don’t have the time or resources to give one-on-one help. The principal of my son’s school said that they don’t offer one-on-one help at that school and most public schools.

The change from my son while he was in public school to un-schooling is like night and day. Now, he has complete say in what he learns about and because I know his interests, I can incorporate them into all subjects that he’s doing for that week. For example: he is completely obsessed with Samurais. So he completed math worksheets that had samurais on them, we explored the science of making katana swords, the geography of Japan, the history of the Edo period (time of the Samurais), writing assignments based on monks and Buddhism, the culture of Japan throughout history and now, and lots more. I couldn’t believe how I could incorporate samurais into every single subject.

Eventually, he started having self-directed days where he is his own teacher. He has the reigns and can decide what pace to go at and how much he wants to complete in one day. Some people have asked me if he does anything on the days when were not working together. Through un-schooling he has learned the importance and magic of learning. It’s all centered around his interests, passions, and curiosities so of course he does. He has the awareness that learning can manifest in anything. Whether it’s practicing his archery, tending to the plants, cooking, travelling, engaging in his passions and spending time with the ones he loves; he knows anything he engages himself in can teach him. When he was in school, he never set goals. Since we’ve been working together he sets goals and achieves them all the time. We have no set curriculum; he is in control with me as a guide.

The greatest thing that I’ve learned through this experience is that we must be engaged in our children’s learning. Even if un-schooling doesn’t seem like an option. We can’t expect that all their education needs will be met at school. For example, the things he has learned through un-schooling that he could not learn while attending public education include: cooking, the Japanese language, Nikola Tesla, how to take notes, the power of one, philosophy, philosophers, astronomy, Gandhi (and other greats like him), quantum physics, Buddhism, Jesus, yoga, meditation, critical thinking, archery, how to grow food, laws of attraction, the power of gratitude, wilderness survival, various conscious documentaries like “I Am”, in depth political history and how society was built, natural healing and medicines, knowledge of self and so, so, so much more! As a parent and an enthusiastic student of the universe, I believe all these things and more should be taught through public education! We must fill in the gaps whatever way we can in our current situations. The system is broken and the children are suffering.

The Evidence That Something Needs To Change

Aside from my son’s personal experience with school, there are other reasons that pushed me to make the move into home education. The most important one is the origins of public education. I truly believe that if parents knew what public education was really created for, they would never enrol their children in it.

Horace Mann

I wrote an article regarding the origins which you can view here. I highly recommend that you read this article which highlights John D. Rockefeller’s investment of and his involvement in it (to the outcry of parents and education professionals alike) as well as Horace Mann’s (“The Father of Education”) role in it and his ties to Prussia.

A notable person I have come across who has actually taken the time to study the long term status of the un-schoolers is Peter Gray. He is a Boston College research professor who has studied how learning happens without any academic requirements at a democratic school. In 2011, he decided to conduct a study with his colleague Gina Riley regarding a question he had that was centered around the outcome of the 10% of un-schoolers from the estimated two million children who are home schooled. He was prompted to conduct the study after finding no academic studies that adequately answered his question.

“In 2011, he and colleague Gina Riley surveyed 232 parents who unschool their children, which they defined as not following any curriculum, instead letting the children take charge of their own education. The respondents were overwhelmingly positive about their unschooling experience, saying it improved their children’s general well-being as well as their learning, and also enhanced family harmony. Their challenges primarily stemmed from feeling a need to defend their practices to family and friends, and overcoming their own deeply ingrained ways of thinking about education. (The results are discussed at length here.)”

Prompted by his own curiosity about how un-schooled children felt about their education experience and how this may have impacted their ability to pursue higher education and obtain gainful and satisfying employment, he conducted a study in 2013 in which he surveyed 75 adults ranging in age from 18 to 49; almost all of them had 3 years of un-schooling experience. The results and Gray’s remarks on the findings of the survey are quite long. You can read the entirety of the article and results here. Below I will paraphrase some of the points that really stood out for me in regards to questions I have been asked regarding my son’s future (going to college or finding employment).

All but three of the 75 respondents felt the advantages of unschooling clearly outweighed the disadvantages. Almost all said they benefited from having had the time and freedom to discover and pursue their personal interests, giving them a head start on figuring out their career preferences and developing expertise in relevant areas. Seventy percent also said “the experience enabled them to develop as highly self-motivated, self-directed individuals,” Gray notes on his blog. Other commonly cited benefits included having a broader range of learning opportunities; a richer, age-mixed social life; and a relatively seamless transition to adult life. “In many ways I started as an adult, responsible for my own thinking and doing,” said one woman who responded to Gray’s survey.”

“Very few had any serious complaints against unschooling,” Gray says, and more than a third of the respondents said they could think of no disadvantages at all. For the remainder, the most significant disadvantages were: dealing with others’ judgments; some degree of social isolation; and the challenges they experienced adjusting to the social styles and values of their schooled peers.

What stood out, he adds, is that “many more said they felt their social experiences were better than they would have had in school.” Sixty-nine percent were “clearly happy with their social lives,” he says, and made friends through such avenues as local homeschooling groups, organized afterschool activities, church, volunteer or youth organizations, jobs, and neighbors. In particular, “they really treasured the fact that they had friends who were older or younger, including adults. They felt this was a more normal kind of socializing experience than just being with other people your age.”

Three people were very dissatisfied overall. In all three cases, the respondents said their mothers were in poor mental health and the fathers were uninvolved. Two of the three also happened to be the only ones who mentioned having been raised in a fundamentalist religious home, though the survey didn’t ask this question specifically. It appeared to Gray that the unschooling was not intentional—the parent had aimed to teach a religious curriculum, “but was incompetent and stopped teaching,” he notes. In all of these cases, the children’s contact with other people was also very restricted; moreover, they were not given any choice about their schooling and therefore felt deprived of school.

Overall, 83 percent of the respondents had gone on to pursue some form of higher education. Almost half of those had either completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, or were currently enrolled in such a program; they attended (or had graduated from) a wide range of colleges, from Ivy League universities to state universities and smaller liberal-arts colleges.

In the words of one woman: “I already had a wealth of experience with self-directed study. I knew how to motivate myself, manage my time, and complete assignments without the structure that most traditional students are accustomed to. … I know how to figure things out for myself and how to get help when I need it.” Added another: “I discovered that people wanted the teacher to tell them what to think. … It had never, ever occurred to me to ask someone else to tell me what to think when I read something.”

More Evidence

Hackschooling Makes Me happy | Logan LaPlante | TEDxUniversityofNevada

High School Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling

4th Grade Student Sounds Off On State Testing

What Is The Solution?

I’m all about creating sustainable solutions that we can start implementing today. I wanted to share my story about my son in hopes that it will help other parents who are watching their children suffer in the school system and to know that there are other options. I believe that our children are the future and as such, it is our duty to make sure they have not just a good education but an inspiring and enlightening one so they don’t make the same mistakes my generation and generations before me have made. There has been a large increase on discussions regarding public education and the effect it’s having on our children. I personally believe that the whole system needs to be changed. It’s outdated and has sinister roots. We have the power to change things and talking about the solutions is a good start.

Recently, I read an article titled, ‘Why every parent should consider un-schooling’. In it, it states that with programs519dde98cf479_image_ like No Child Left Behind (millions of children have actually been left behind) and Common Core (otherwise known as Common Conformity) in the United States, parents are finding the educational climate so unacceptable that they are willing to take a radically different path. Upon reading that, I was reminded of another article I read regarding director James Cameron (Titantic, Avatar) and his wife Suzy Cameron creating an innovative school called Muse. The concept behind MUSE came about after Suzy, a global environmental activist, mother of 5, and proud wife, grew tired of watching her older children struggle in the traditional education system, and sought an alternative and more environmentally aware option.

I definitely think creating new schools with the basis of the “un-schooling” philosophy is what we need but for many parents that can seem like light years away especially when our children are suffering now. I’ve written many articles on how any parent can adopt the philosophies of un-schooling or home education even if they have to work during the day. There is always a way. It really depends on how much work you are willing to put in.

Free: Regenerate Yourself Masterclass

In this free 7-part masterclass, Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo, explains how revolutionary new developments in biology can be leveraged to help prevent and manage the most common health afflictions of our day: cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic syndrome.

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Consciousness

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 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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‘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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