- The Facts:
The self-help space often markets the term 'living the best version of yourself.' But what does this even mean? What are we truly seeking?
- Reflect On:
Humanity is in a deep exploration to find higher states of consciousness and live our authentic self. Finding and expressing your authentic self can be practiced by exploring the questions and reflections laid out in the article.
Walking down the self-help aisle of any bookstore may yield you a plethora of book titles and subtitles referencing ‘becoming the best of version yourself.’ You might pick up a book, turn it over to read the back cover and find a series of recommendations from prominent authors stating ‘this book will bring you to a whole new level’ or ‘this book truly unlocks your hidden riches.’ Excited, you might open to the table of contents, hoping to find some early insight or tips on what you can try right away:
“Today’s challenge,” “Who are you?,” “Learning to love yourself,” “Being the best you.” These may be the first few chapter titles you come across, but you may be left with the question, that may not even be answered in the book, “What does it mean to be the best version of yourself?’
A question that many are trying to answer.
I will start by saying marketing a book can be a difficult task. I have been working towards publishing my first book and every publisher I talk to wants to know that title and subheadline right away so they know how easy it will be to sell your book. The insurgence of self-help books has been huge over the last few years. Thousands of inspired and well-meaning authors have felt the urge to write a book, and so they do.
But from my experience, many are repeating what has been learned in one book or another, or seem to be coming from a place of learning, but not quite mastery. Something that shouldn’t stop someone from writing a book, but more so reveals that the advice we’re getting in these books can often be incomplete, inexperienced or based on egoic ideas of the subjects being discussed. This isn’t to say any of this work is bad or anything, just that there is much more to the picture.
Are We Running In Circles?
I have been working on myself for 12 years and have been through many different phases. In no way would I call myself a leading expert in self-help or anything, but I’m consistently let down by the state of consciousness within many of these books. I feel it keeps people running in circles, chasing one thing or the next or it has people feeling like they need to act a certain way in order to appear a certain way. Are we really getting to the core of what we are seeking?
I’ve been writing a book for quite some time and note that there are many important nuances that are learned and expressed with much internal observation and practice. Yet it seems today we want quick fixes and instant healings in order to move past what we feel. Yet I feel in many cases, through the popular work being spread around, we are only temporarily band-aiding the inner aspects of ourselves that are crying to come out and be released.
It’s in the marketing and in the lack of experience that I feel the term ‘live the best version of yourself’ truly comes from. It has an allure that somehow you will find the best aspect of you and live it always. It suggests, vaguely, that perhaps this will unlock your wildest dreams or make you be the best at something. The fact that it leaves room for interpretation is great for marketing, but does it push us towards a goal that is actually contrary to what most of us who end up buying these books are truly seeking?
Scratching ‘The Best Version’ Idea
First off, I strongly feel we need to let go of the whole idea of ‘being the best version of ourselves.’ I feel we’ve played with polarity long enough and are ready for some deeper truths.
What I’m going to share is what I’ve gathered from my own life’s experience. I have been exploring myself, my consciousness and reflecting on how I BE in this world for many years. I have done this with the help of a mentor and many hours of personal reflection. Instead of moving from book to book, I was fortunate to start my journey by simply spending a lot of time with myself, exploring meditation and developing a strong connection to my inner knowing, yet remaining open to asking for help when needed. I’ve remembered that there is no ‘best version of yourself.’ There’s simply you.
You can be a funny word in itself. Is it ‘you’ the mind? Is ‘you’ the soul? Is ‘you’ the higher self? Is ‘you’ the ego? Is ‘you’ your personality? Who are you?!
This is an important place to begin because it changes so much of how we seek to live the best version of ourselves, or as I like to call it ‘our authentic self.‘ Like I said above, scratching the idea of ‘best version of yourself’ is a great place to stop playing within polarity and ideas, and instead recognize knowing and neutrality. Higher consciousness, what many of us are seeking whether we are consciously aware of it or not, plays in a realm of neutrality, where we recognize experiences are what they are, we can learn from them as they take place, and where we don’t seek to see everything as right or wrong, worst or best.
To Be Fair
The actual definition many of these books are portraying for ‘the best version of self’ can be different, and some can actually be quite authentic. However, I still find there is much room to consider re-thinking the subject, or rather, begin feeling about it.
To me, the self-help space could really be summed up as humanity seeking ways beyond our self-imposed limitations, belief systems, and suffering, ultimately seeking to live our true authentic selves. We are, in some ways, a society that does not seek deep truths but instead moves from platitude to platitude as we search for deeper understanding. Like my mentor taught me, taking the road straight to the core is a lot easier and less painful than spending years jumping from trend to trend or belief system to belief system. While my journey has had phases, the core understanding and methods for how I move past pain and challenges has never changed – I go to the core, no band-aids needed.
What does it look like to live your authentic self? It means being aware of how we often operate from our minds, ego’s, belief systems, societally programmed beliefs, patterns etc. and instead begin living from a deeper knowing within ourselves. Something that touches how we truly FEEL about decisions, situations, and experiences in our lives. Not what we think we should do to impress someone, uphold a certain stature or because that’s the ‘smart’ thing to do, but because we truly connect with and feel it.
An example of this is choosing to walk away from a relationship we are not happy in even if it means the other person will have to grow past the initial pain they will feel when the relationship ends. Not only will it be growth for you within yourself, but the other person will also find themselves through the process as well so long as they choose to do the work.
Another example might be learning to move past the complaining we often do about a particular job, to move onto a job or experience we’ve always wanted to do. First off, we may not always be doing ‘the most ideal job’ but it doesn’t mean we can’t find peace and be our authentic self within that job. While there, communicate with others based on your TRUE authenticity, make decisions and deal with challenges in the workplace based on that authenticity. Your actions and ways of being in these situations can bring higher consciousness to the workplace in a deep way. We don’t always have to ‘serve’ by doing work in the ‘consciousness’ space, we can serve anywhere, at any time.
Further to the example above, perhaps we have always wanted to leave our current job, are ready to but are fearful of taking the leap because of what others might think or that we might not make enough money in another position. Living authentically might look like taking that leap past the stories and fears that are holding us back from doing what we know inside is what we want to do. In this case, we’re not judging our current job, hate it or hate the people there, we are simply at peace but fearful of the unknown. A great time to further explore and express our authentic self.
Exploring Your Authentic Self
The examples above give an idea of how we can look at our current lives and see where we are or aren’t living authentically to how we feel inside. Be careful to observe belief systems on this. Sometimes we may still think it’s our authentic self to do something based on a prior belief system we have because we did not connect deeply enough with what we know inside. Sometimes it may take time for us to see this, that’s OK, we are always seeing what we need to in each moment that is exactly what we need for us to keep evolving. The trick is; are we paying close enough attention to move through the signs and knowing that comes from within? Or are we caught up in the mental chatter and daily distraction of everyday life? This is why meditation is key.
Aside from that, you can explore your authentic self, and whether or not you’re living from it, simply by asking yourself reflective questions when you are unsure. Am I truly making a decision based on what I feel? Or am I making a decision based on what I’m defending, trying to protect, or think I’m supposed to do?
These deep inner knowings may not come overnight. It’s a muscle, a practice, and a feeling that takes time to develop. You notice when you are living your authentic self that your life feels different, you are calmer and more in tune with yourself, others and the planet. This muscle takes time to build, and letting go of the old ways of being, states of consciousness and belief systems can take time. Just keep noticing, keep reflecting and keep exploring. There is no wrong in this, it is simply an exploration.
An individual living their authentic self pushes theirself into higher states of consciousness. This makes an incredibly powerful impact on those around us and in our everyday lives. Beyond this, it also makes an incredibly profound impact on the collective consciousness. This is how we go from creating change within ourselves to creating change within our world.
The path to the changes we are all looking for is practicing living our true authentic self.
Loneliness: A Health Problem That Could Be Deadlier Than Obesity, Study Says
Loneliness can reliably be linked to a significant increase in the risk of early mortality, according to a study at Brigham Young University. Head author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, notes that “substantial evidence now indicates that individuals lacking social connections (both objective and subjective social isolation) are at risk for premature mortality.”
Holt-Lunstad believes the risks associated with loneliness are already greater than such established dangers as obesity:
Several decades ago scientists who observed widespread dietary and behavior changes raised warnings about obesity and related health problems. The present obesity epidemic had been predicted. Obesity now receives constant coverage in the media and in public health policy. The current status of research on the risks of loneliness and social isolation is similar to that of research on obesity 3 decades ago… Current evidence indicates that heightened risk for mortality from a lack of social relationships is greater than that from obesity.
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Furthermore, she warns that “researchers have predicted that loneliness will reach epidemic proportions by 2030 unless action is taken.”
Why Are We So Isolated From Each Other?
From the long view, it can be said that Western civilization as a whole has fostered a gradual disintegration of our physical and social ties. With an emphasis on individual goals and an almost fanatical regard for personal achievement, the traditional institutions of family and community and their capacity to provide their members with a sense of belonging and shared purpose have become significantly fragmented.
The family unit has gone from large generations-linked mutual support systems to small and immediate units, sometimes involving single parents whose necessities make it very difficult to create a stable home environment for their children. Add to that the fact that more and more people are not even building families, and our society has more people living alone than at any other time in history. This includes the elderly, who are less likely to find a ‘fit’ living within their children’s families than ever before.
The decline of the ‘community’ is perhaps as significant as the disintegration of the family unit. In Western-style communities, people work as a collection of individual units interacting by specific functions rather than as an interrelated whole with a significant shared identity. Naturally, attempts are made today to join or build ‘communities’ all the time, but like the Meetup model, they are founded on the gathering of select people with similar interests and purposes, rather than a shared embrace of all people within a certain geographical area.
The Rise of Social Media
I believe the rise in prominence of social media has in part been fuelled by the sense of alienation we have long felt within our modern society. I don’t believe social media is the root cause of our loneliness, as some speculate, but rather a symptom of this much longer-standing social problem. Connecting via chats and web pages is just something that we have gotten into the habit of reaching for since it is so immediately accessible. But like any quick fix, it does not end up fulfilling our deeper needs, either individually or as a society.
If we see that our society has been slowly disintegrating over hundreds of years, then it becomes incumbent upon us as a society (if we can still even identify ourselves with our ‘society’) to take measures to remedy this situation. What those measures might be, though, given how things seem to be trending, is a matter of great conjecture.
On Being Alone
One approach is to first acknowledge that Western society’s emphasis on the individual is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I believe that the development of personal integrity, creativity, and autonomy is a critical step in the evolution of human consciousness. Learning how to be alone with oneself is a part of that process. In his work entitled Pensées, French philosopher Blaise Pascal observed that “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
As evidenced by Eastern gurus and mystics, one can be perfectly content in isolation. This can be greatly facilitated by the practice of meditation and other such methods that give us a direct perception of our energetic connectedness not only with other people, but with all things. In this higher state, the damaging emotional impact of loneliness and social isolation are not experienced.
Our Next Step
Still, the life of the yogi remains for the few. The rest of us, it seems, have come to this planet to interact, share, and love. And we have not incarnated into this dense physical world to get better at virtual relationships. At this stage, we have perhaps gotten a bit too accustomed to social isolation for our own good.
Holt-Lunstad notes that “although living alone can offer conveniences and advantages for an individual, this meta-analysis indicates that physical health is not among them.” She also cites another study that “has demonstrated higher survival rates for those who are more socially connected.” And then there is the seminal 75-Year Harvard University study, where “it was universally clear that without loving and supportive relationships, men in the study were not happy.” The message is becoming clear: we need to come together.
We are perhaps at a larger turning point in our development than most of us realize. It seems that we have reached the extreme edge of the exploration of individualism, and we are readying to move into greater balance with a collective identity. This is not a return to traditional ways, but rather a synthesis of our growth as individuals with the shared experience we are now hungering for. This synthesis signifies the next stage of our evolution.
How I Induced An Out Of Body Experience Without Substances
Can you really have an out of body experience on command? Absolutely. While this is something that will take some time to practice and get good at, there are many methods to having out of body experiences or spiritual experiences on command using only your consciousness and physical body.
There is also a purpose to these experiences; they aren’t simply to trip out (although if you wish to do that it’s up to you). These experiences can help you dissolve fears, move past trauma, expand your consciousness and much more. I personally don’t feel inspired to do anything other than explore and expand myself when I engage in experiences like this.
Many of the stories you hear of out of body experiences happen through dreams, near death experiences, from the state between sleep and awake, and when people experiment with psychedelics like magic mushrooms, DMT or ayahuasca. But we are capable of having out-of-body experiences with just our thoughts, breath and consciousness.
Why These Experiences Can Be Helpful
I say “CAN BE” helpful because they have that ability, but it doesn’t mean we always use it. We may want to explore a past trauma, and meditation or OBE’s could help us do that, but if we don’t use them for this purpose or do the work afterwards they won’t be helpful. Likewise with any substance like ayahuasca, mushrooms or DMT. They don’t do the work for you and don’t save you. You still have to do the work afterwards and it’s for this exact reason that most people who experiment with these substances or experiences still don’t make shifts in their lives because it’s still work. And it’s the work that we often aren’t willing to do that stops us from moving forward.
Your intention for wanting to have these experiences is important. Sometimes when we think about psychedelics or having out of body experiences we are seeking a trippy-like experience out of curiosity. And that’s totally fine. Curiosity can be how we explore and learn things. But while it may be fun to play a couple times, I generally say it isn’t the best motivation for wanting to have these experiences. I typically tend to encourage people to reflect on a deeper sense of exploration and growth within ourselves when it comes to exploring our consciousness, which is a big part of what we do in CE’s Explorer Lounge you can check out here.
The reason why I believe focusing on having a trippy experience is not ideal is because I have seen many people get lost in the need to just experiencing something trippy. Not only that, but it can often become an escape from the challenges we face. Which is why I feel society utilizes cannabis, alcohol, TV and food addictively.
DMT, mushrooms, Ayahuasca and so forth were initially put on this planet when we had difficult times exploring our consciousness and external tools assisted us in doing that. Today, a resurgence of these substances is taking place as people’s curiosity to explore is once again popular. After all, there is a shift in consciousness taking place.
However, I do not believe we still need these substances today in order to have these types of consciousness based experiences. While I think they can be helpful for some of us who are in difficult situations like drug addiction or have serious trauma from war or violent experiences, I feel we are all very equipped within ourselves to explore without them, and I’m personally inspired to encourage that.
Ultimately it’s not as much about any substance or experience as it is about what the end goal helps us to see – more about ourselves. They tell us to look within to find answers and move past our challenges. So many experiences in life are all pushing us to do that exact same thing, look within. Our core teaching here at Collective Evolution is change starts within. All for the reason that it’s at the core of how we will create a profound shift in our lives and on this planet. So what can we take from this?
If we know the core truth is about us looking within, why not just begin looking there right now?
How I Created my Own Out Of Body Experience
I was in California, attending Wim Hof’s retreat in Beverly Hills. It was day two and we were doing a breathing exercise that was about focusing on energy in our body and learning how to control and use it.
At the Wim Hof retreat in California.
There was a focus on utilizing it to activate our pineal gland in such a way that may or may not release a little bit of DMT in your brain, allowing us to have some form of experience that would be beyond the physical. I would like to say at this point that this is certainly not the core message of Wim’s work, nor is it something that I think the method is truly for. It’s simply something that you can use in order to obtain this result. These forms of breathing exercises are not new either, they have been used by yogi’s and “guru’s” for many years to attain different states of consciousness.
There were about 60 of us, we were in a beautiful room with 15 foot ceilings and the sun was shining in through the side windows. I was laying flat on my back on a yoga mat patiently waiting for the exercise to start. This would not be the first time I was going to have an out of body experience, but it would be the first I would attempt on command. My previous experiences came from dream-states, meditation or simply.. happening.
We began with Wim’s standard method of breathing. Heavy breaths in and out of the mouth. Stomach, chest, head, out. After about 8 minutes of this, I went into my breath holds (as part of his method) and I began to focus energy from around the base of my spine and brought it up my back, into my brain and ‘pinged’ my pineal gland with it.
As I brought the energy up into my pineal gland I felt what I had felt in the past with these types of experiences. Ringing and vibrations in my body and mind starting to increase. With my eyes closed, I began to see the room. I could feel my essence slowly leaving my body up straight into the air. It moved slowly and peacefully. It wasn’t a fast jolt or ‘uncontrollable’ in a sense, it was very light.
The pineal gland.
As I drifted upwards more and more I eventually made it to the ceiling and rested there. What happened next was what you might experience in deep meditation which is having all of your thoughts emotions set aside and you begin to feel like a massive, massive, massive presence that is so far beyond your physical body that you no longer identify with being a physical body. You begin to realize you are a vast consciousness that is pure unconditional love and pure potential.
From this state of being you have the ability to utilize your awareness to look at your life, situations, the planet or whatever it may be from a completely non-judgmental and unconditionally loving way so as to deeply understand why things happen. You gain clarity and awareness as to how you may move forward with something from this space. These experiences help us to get a glimpse at what is beyond the stories and the drama of our minds. This is VERY powerful in clearing our fears, worries, and traumas.
Back to my experience here. As I continued to feel immense at the top of the ceiling, I could see all of the bodies in the room having their own experience. I felt connected to them, the building, and everything around us. The difference between myself and everything else drifted away, and I was simply an essence or consciousness observing. This, is precisely how I know experientially that consciousness does not originate in the mind but is our existence. Mainstream science has not caught up to this understanding yet but it’s getting close, and that is very inspiring.
After what could have been 10 or so minutes, I slowly came back down into my physical body and began to integrate back into it. I opened my eyes and began to feel the desire to go outside and enjoy the sunlight. I felt slightly emotional at this point as I had gotten a glimpse of the difference between feeling fully clear outside of my body vs feeling certain emotional pains and mind stories that were in my physical body. This right here, is where the magic is. This is how we see more clearly what it is that we are being challenged by and have a reference point to compare what letting it go feels like.
When you are in meditation, you are able to re-tune into these types of higher states of consciousness and be an observer looking back at the challenges you face at any moment in your life. With detachment from them you can ask yourself how you created or co-created the experience you are having and what lesson is in it for you. How does it serve you? How can you move forward with action and so forth? You can see the greater workings and perfection that comes with these experiences to help you move beyond them.
So that’s pretty well it! Utilize and explore these experiences with clear intentions of evolving yourself and you will have the best results in not only creating these experiences but attaining more peace in your life. Have fun and keep exploring!
New Moon In Gemini: Adaptability & Confusion
We are having a New Moon in Gemini on May 22nd or 23rd, depending on where you are located in the world. This is initiating a 29.5-day Lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month, however, its themes will be strongest over the following 2 weeks. This cycle will peak with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th.
Gemini season has just begun on May 20th/21st with it’s ruler Mercury also there. As an Air sign it is socially and mentally oriented, while as a Mutable sign it is versatile, adaptable, and multi-faceted. Mutable signs are the last of each season which is a reflection of its changeable nature to help facilitate a transition from one thing to the next.
Gemini’s energy is curious, communicative, articulate, informative, agile, busy, clever, and dualistic. It has chameleon-like properties and is the sign of multiple expressions or personalities. Gemini is associated with information, learning, writing, commuting, immediate environment, neighbours/neighbourhood, siblings, close friends, and extended family. Negatively, it can be gossipy, superficial, inconsistent, scattered, two faced, unfocused, and lack emotion.
Venus is currently retrograde in Gemini and the Lunar North Node also recently entered this sign. All of this puts an exclamation mark on Gemini themes at this time. The North Node will be there until early 2022 which reflects a push towards working with Gemini energies in a positively constructive way. Much of this process is getting emphasized over this next month. You can read more about Venus retrograde here.
New Moon Trine Saturn, Sextile Chiron, & Square Mars With Uranus In The Mix
This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Aquarius and sextile with Chiron. In comparison to previous months, these upcoming weeks can have more of a stabilizing energy. This can be good for applying ourselves in a disciplined, realistic, and committed way.
The sextile to Chiron gives us a small dose of its themes. Chiron is associated with healing, wholeness, cleansing, spiritual growth, innovative ideas, and discovery. It is holistic, bridging, creative, and unorthodox. This energy will also come up May 27th-28th/29th.
The New Moon is also in a square with Mars in Pisces which is moving towards a sextile with Uranus. This in combination with all the Gemini can bring restlessness and scatteredness. It can also be competitive, impulsive, and combative. Following the New Moon period, this energy will build up in the coming weeks and peak at the upcoming Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius.
Mars is moving towards a sextile with Uranus which is strongest from May 24th-25th/26th. This is good for making changes or trying new things. We may want to apply ourselves in unique, experimental, or revolutionary ways. Pursuing some sort of independence or freedom is another way this energy can be expressed.
Mercury Conjunct Venus Retrograde, Both Square Neptune & Out Of Bounds
The ruler of Gemini, Mercury, is in a conjunction with Venus retrograde which are both in Gemini as well. This is one of the more significant periods of the Venus retrograde and can facilitate some realizations or issues that are part of the retrograde process. Thoughts or issues pertaining to relationships, values, money, art, or something aesthetic related can be prominent.
However, with both of them in a square to Neptune there can be some confusion, idealism, misunderstandings, flakiness, delusion, disappointments, or problems around boundaries. Issues pertaining to escapism or intoxication can come up and this can be a time of feeling tired and lethargic. In some cases this energy can be creatively or spiritually stimulating. This is strongest on the day of and days surrounding the New Moon.
Both Mercury and Venus are ‘Out of Bounds’. This is when planets move outside of the boundaries in which the Sun travels in, from our perspective on Earth. It is about exploring new territory as well as going outside of our usual limitations and conventional ways of doing things. This can also reflect seeing things from a different perspective and objective thinking.
Mercury, the planet of the mind, perceptions, reason, communication, commuting, and commerce has been out of bounds since May 16th until June 9th/10th. Venus, the planet of love, relationships, social life, values, money, beauty, art, and aesthetics, has been out of bounds since April 1st until June 1st.
Approaching Eclipse Season
In the two weeks after this New Moon we will have a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5th/6th followed by a Solar Eclipse in Cancer on June 21st and another Lunar Eclipse in July. They are happening during Venus’ retrograde and post shadow, and will also overlap with an upcoming Mercury retrograde.
All of this combined shows that these coming months are a time of transitions, changes, and reorientations. Eclipses can reflect beginnings, endings, and even evolutionary developments pertaining to the sign it is in and in specific areas in each of our lives. However, their effects don’t always play out when they are occurring. They can also manifest sometime in the 6 months following and in some cases up to 6 weeks prior.
I will be writing separate articles on these eclipses, join my mailing list here to ensure that you are notified when they are published.
Making Intentions & Things To Consider
What has been coming up for you around love or regarding friendships? What are relationship dynamics showing you and in what ways do you lack clarity? How can you better communicate and harmonize how you interact with others? What are you learning about/through the information you are consuming and does it truly make sense for you? How can you better adapt to the circumstances in your life? What are your options for handling financial matters?
These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 5:39pm Universal Time on May 22nd, or the 23rd for those in the Eastern part of the world. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.
I’m doing a BIG DISCOUNT during the shutdown period with 40-50% off personal readings. Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for the discounted rate.
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