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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 18: The Dao)

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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.

-->Listened to our latest podcast episode yet? Joe speaks with journalist Derrick Broze about the need for journalistic standards, Qanon, and agorism. Click here to listen!

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.”

18. The Dao

There had been a long-standing tradition on the island of Allandon for a secret society to meet once a year on the evening of the summer solstice. The meeting would take place just as the most generous sun of the year was setting, in a sheltered nook near the top of the mountain. In recent times the society had opened its doors to outsiders and now all the villagers were welcome to come up and partake in an open discussion into the mysteries of life around a hearty campfire.

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On this particular evening, however, darkness came more quickly under cloudy skies. The night was cold, the stars were not visible, and just as the group had gotten the fire started, a brief rainfall doused the flames and dampened all the logs. By the time the fire was restarted only the diehards remained. The masseur, the young philosopher and his mother the schoolteacher were joined by the farmer, who seemed more concerned about the height of the flames than the depth of the conversation.

“Isn’t it all just a cruel, cruel joke?” the farmer asked with a slight shiver as he stoked the fire.

“Do you have a joke?” mused the schoolteacher.

“I have. It is called existence. Life itself. Are we not always too cold, and if not cold then hot? Are we not always bored, and if not bored then anxious? Do we not always have too much of one thing or not enough of another? Constantly longing and never satisfied?”

“Perhaps, but we must laugh in the face of it,” the masseur said.

“Laugh?” the farmer mocked. “Why?”

“If we are the butt of a cosmic joke, what is there to do but laugh?” the masseur asked.

“If it is a joke, then who is the joker?” asked the schoolteacher.

“There is none,” said the farmer. “No being could be so cruel, so sadistic.”

“True, to be precise there is no such being,” weighed in the young philosopher, who had been listening quietly. “The culprit is being itself, the one that is the One, which has been called the Dao. And while there may be a joke, there is not an ounce of cruelty in it.”

“Yes, we should praise the Dao who brings us to laughter,” said the masseur.

“Rather brings itself to laughter—at our expense,” retorted the farmer.

“That is saying the same thing,” said the young philosopher, “for each one of us is in fact the Dao.”

“That’s nonsense,” said the farmer. “Explain to me how you can say that I am this Dao.”

The young philosopher hesitated for a moment. “I believe it is for each one of us to arrive at this truth in their own way. It is beyond all explanation.”

“Humph,” said the farmer.

After an awkward silence the schoolteacher looked around and then spoke cautiously to the young philosopher: “We can appreciate that it may be beyond explanation. But nonetheless you must try.”

“Yes, humor us,” said the masseur.

As the young philosopher considered the proposition there were sharp crackles and a sudden rise in the flames as the farmer continued to break twigs and push logs about. “That’s better,” said the farmer to himself. When he saw everyone’s attention on him he snapped, “Yes, yes, go ahead, I’m listening!”

The young philosopher cleared his throat. “Well how can I say it? I believe that some time ago—before there was time—there was only the Dao. It had nothing and nobody to laugh with—or at. The Dao could only be, which could not have been much fun. It must have longed to experience things.”

“Why could it not experience anything?” the schoolteacher asked.

“Because there was no contrast. There was no background from which discreet things could emerge. Imagine that the Dao is pure light. It could see all of itself all the time, and so in effect it could see nothing. To actually experience anything it needed to hide part of itself from itself. If the Dao is understood as light then it needed to somehow create darkness. And so one day it did the impossible. It somehow managed to fold itself over itself, so that half of itself was darkness.”

“Was that darkness then its shadow, or was it part of itself?” asked the schoolteacher.

“Not being light, it could not be the Dao itself,” said the masseur.

“It was not the Dao but at the same time it was the Dao. That is the most sublime paradox of existence. Out of pure light came darkness. And because of this, it was possible for the many to emerge from the one.”

“Creation,” said the masseur.

“Yes,” the young philosopher said. “Because now with light and darkness, with a pair of opposites, with duality, all the rest of creation was possible. Light and darkness could be combined into a multitude of patterns to give us a limitless number of separate things in our universe.”

“Like you and I,” said the farmer.

“Exactly, like you and I. We are two of the souls created by the Dao, each with a different pattern of light and darkness. Our light is the part of us that connects us to the Dao, founded in truth, our darkness is the part of us that separates us from the Dao, founded in illusion.”

The farmer poked the logs a final time. The fire was now full and bright, and its warmth was moving the damp chill out of their bodies.

“What if two things have the same pattern of light and darkness?” asked the schoolteacher.

The young philosopher laughed. “Then by definition they would be the same thing, which is not possible. To be a ‘thing’ in our universe is to be unique.”

“And if we were only light then we would be the same as the Dao: in fact we would be the Dao. It is really our darkness that makes us unique, the quality of the darkness which is different in each one of us,” said the schoolteacher.

“What do you mean?” asked the young philosopher.

“You have said that the truth of our existence is that we are all one and the illusion of who we are is that we are separate.”

“Yes,” said the young philosopher.

“Then the light part of us is our true self and the darkness part of us is our false self. The more we let go of our darkness and become a being of pure light, the closer we get to the truth of who we are.”

“That sounds like the search for enlightenment,” said the masseur.

“That is fine for those who are searching for that,” said the farmer, “but what about the rest of us?”

“I believe that this search is common to all of us,” said the masseur.

“How is it common? Have we not said we are all unique? Our lives must have a unique purpose,” said the farmer.

“Perhaps I can explain,” said the young philosopher. “When Creation occurred we became unique souls and were scattered off into all corners of the universe.”

“So there is the great cruelty of the Dao as I suspected!” said the farmer. “It has scattered us off and we are all lost.”

“We are not truly lost. We just don’t remember. We have voluntarily forgotten who we are. But this ‘amnesia’ is what is required for us to have this experience of being separate.”

“And why has this happened?” asked the farmer.

“So that we can have the authentic experience of evolving, of returning to the One which is the Dao.”

“And so the Dao revels in our fear and worry as we blindly search for the right path.”

“The right path?”

“The one that leads us back to the Dao,” the farmer said.

“There is no right path,” the young philosopher said. “And there is no need for worry. All paths lead back to the Dao.”

The farmer shook his head as the masseur rose and walked away from the fire to contemplate what had been said. The rest sat quietly until he emerged from the darkness several minutes later.

“It seems to me that we can never really be alone, because in truth we are always one with the Dao,” the masseur said. “Our path is simply one of having the experiences that will aid us in remembering this truth.”

“Yes, but again, we each have our unique way of doing it,” said the young philosopher. “There is no limit to the number of ways it can be done. This is one of the wonders of existence.”

“And so we cannot really teach another how to do it,” said the schoolteacher.

“Exactly, because for each of us it is different,” the young philosopher said. “The best we can do is share our own experience and let the listener decide if it has meaning for them.”

“This makes sense to me,” said the masseur. “In trying to heal people I have seen that letting go of darkness is a choice each person makes and only when they are ready. I have seen that true healing doesn’t occur when I try to force someone to let go if they are not ready.” After a pause, he added: “Yes—that’s it!”

“Some enlightenment?” smiled the young philosopher.

“Yes, because I see that the darkness is—our fear. And the light is our love.”

“What do you mean?” asked the schoolteacher.

“Well don’t you see? If our path consists of letting go of our darkness, of our fear, then we are all on a healing path, because we are all trying to become whole. And we become whole when we have let go of all of our darkness and have becomes beings of pure light. That is when we become self-identical with the Dao and we experience ourselves as pure love.”

“I see what you are saying,” said the schoolteacher. “Then it could be said that all of growth, of learning, of evolution, is about letting go of what actually separates us from each other—our darkness, which in the end amounts to our individuality.”

“That’s right, since our individuality is really the greatest of all illusions,” said the masseur.

“Slow down a moment,” said the young philosopher. “Are you suggesting that at the end of this healing path we eventually lose our individuality completely?”

“If there is really an end to this path, I believe we ultimately do,” said the masseur. “We have said that what makes us each unique is the quality of our darkness. In other words it is only the quality of our fear—”

“Or ignorance,” added the schoolteacher.

“Or the quality of our ignorance of ourselves as the Dao that determines our individuality,” continued the masseur. “And if our path back to the Dao consists in letting go of this darkness—our fear, our ignorance—then our path can also be seen as letting go of who we are as individuals, which is actually our false self.”

“Well I don’t have any desire to let go of my individuality,” said the farmer, “I happen to think it’s special.”

The young philosopher looked up and smiled to the others. “It is special,” he said to the farmer. “Indeed I think our individuality is the most special aspect of our world. While each of us may be on a path of enlightenment or self-realization, our paths are different, and we need to know about each other’s experiences. Sharing our stories with each other is what eventually will give each of us the whole picture of this wondrous universe—the totality of the Dao. Without this I believe it would be impossible for any of us to become whole.”

“But if we are actually whole to begin with, what is the point of going through this whole charade?” the farmer asked.

“Yes, yes, that is the question, isn’t it?” said the young philosopher.

There was a long pause of silence. The masseur looked over to the young philosopher, who sat serenely and did not appear to be in any rush to speak. He then looked over to the schoolteacher, who shrugged and whispered to him: “I have an idea about it, but—”

“Speak up!” said the farmer.

The schoolteacher inhaled and then exhaled deeply. “I said I have an idea about it, but it’s not fully developed. I don’t know if it will make any sense.”

“Share it,” said the young philosopher. “We will help you try to make sense of it.”

The schoolteacher stood up and picked up a long, thin twig from the pile of kindling. She started to draw something in the dirt, scratched it out, and drew it again. It was a simple circle. She looked at it for a long while.

“If this represents the Dao…” she said, and then paused again.

“Yes…?” said the masseur.

“If this represents the Dao, is it possible…” and she paused again, drawing a larger circle around the first one, “is it possible for the Dao to expand?”

“Expand?” asked the masseur.

“Yes, expand, grow, evolve. Can the Dao evolve?”

“The Dao is the all-in-all, everything, what could it possibly expand into?” asked the masseur.

“I don’t know, but, wouldn’t it give our lives a greater sense of purpose if we thought that our individual growth was actually contributing to the growth of the Dao? I mean maybe the darkness is something that the Dao doesn’t know. We could be the miners of the darkness, bringing light to unexplored parts of the universe. Our experiences could be adding to the Dao’s—”

“If we can add something to the Dao then it really isn’t the Dao,” said the masseur.

“Well, maybe there is something beyond the Dao. Maybe the Dao isn’t exactly the Dao.” The schoolteacher pointed to the circles with her twig, adding more concentric circles. “Maybe it’s a small Dao that itself has a larger Dao, which has a larger Dao, and so on…”

“And so on, ad nauseum,” said the farmer. “Let’s get back to planet Earth, if you don’t mind.”

“Well, I was just trying to see if our lives could have a greater sense of purpose than just this idea that we are remembering something we’ve intentionally forgotten.”

“But that’s all our lives can be,” the masseur said. “At the level of the Dao there can be nothing new. But for us many things can be new. I think our lives have an abundance of purpose by the very fact that we are searching for our purpose.”

“I like it,” intervened the young philosopher.

“You like what—my idea or hers?” asked the masseur.

“I like the fact that we are talking about things that may be beyond our ability to think! But perhaps we should get back to the planet Earth, as our esteemed colleague has suggested, if we hope to make sense of our purpose in this life.”

“I can’t believe it,” said the farmer, “I think somebody just agreed with me.”

“And I encourage you to continue,” the young philosopher said to the farmer. “What do you make of our purpose in this life?”

“Our purpose? Well, I don’t know about the rest of you. I believe my purpose in this life is to be happy. And be happy now, not in the future, not in some afterlife, but now. Becoming one with the Dao? Losing our individuality? What’s the rush?”

“Well, maybe because being one with the Dao is happiness beyond measure, beyond anything we can hope to experience in this lifetime,” said the masseur.

“And how long would that last?” asked the farmer. “If we actually were one with the Dao, as you say, then we wouldn’t be able to experience anything. So we would probably want to get exploded back out into the universe.” The farmer stopped for a minute. “I can’t even believe I’m talking about this,” he said, shaking his head.

The fire had become mostly embers with small flames flickering from the ends of a few twigs. Still, it generated some warmth for the four, who were now huddled more closely to the fire than ever.

“Why all this talk about purpose? All I want to know is how to be happy in my life,” the farmer said.

“When are you most happy?” asked the young philosopher.

“When my work is done,” the farmer replied.

“Why is that?” asked the young philosopher.

“Then I can do what I want. Eat. Sleep. Play around.”

“Play around?”

“You know. Pick up a tool and fix it. Make it work. Or better yet, turn it into something new.”

“Something that no one has ever thought of?” asked the young philosopher.

“Ha! I suppose that is the ideal,” smiled the farmer. “Yes, I have many ideas, good ideas, that have come to me over the years while I was working. But they have remained just ideas. Time…responsibilities…” the farmer’s voice trailed off.

“These ideas have come from your experiences?” the young philosopher interjected.

“Often, yes, through my struggles and toils. I could see how I could make my work more enjoyable, and make my life better. I could see how I could make other people’s lives better.”

“Something that would be your unique contribution to the world?”

“Yes. Yes!” said the farmer emphatically.

“How would that make you feel?” asked the young philosopher.

“Very…happy,” said the farmer, with soft emotion in his voice.

The masseur was about to speak, but the young philosopher put his hand up gently to keep the silence. They waited as the farmer looked down thoughtfully.

“That’s my purpose, isn’t it?” asked the farmer quietly. “My purpose is what gives me the greatest joy. Everything else is a waste of time. My whole life…” the farmer stopped as his throat tightened.

“Your whole life has brought you to this moment, to this realization,” said the young philosopher.

“So I guess the joke is on me then,” the farmer lamented. “I mean, here I am talking about wanting happiness now, but I’ve been getting in my own way the whole time.”

“We are all getting in our own way,” said the schoolteacher. “The lessons we learn actually teach us how to get out of our own way.”

“That is really what it is to heal, and what gets us moving forward along our path,” added the masseur. For a few moments they were all quiet, allowing silence to speak.

“Well, my friends, the fire is nearly out,” said the farmer as he wiped his eyes and gathered himself. As he extinguished the remaining embers, the others stood up and prepared to leave.

“Thank you for keeping it burning,” said the schoolteacher.

“I didn’t really need to near the end,” said the farmer, taking a tall stretch. “It has not turned out to be such a bad evening after all.”

“Amen to that,” said the young philosopher.

The group rose and began their slow trek down the mountain, untroubled by the darkness as they made their way back to their homes.

Almost a year after graduating from university, without money or job prospects, I was quite fortunate to qualify from a long waitlist for a government-sponsored computer programmer’s course. At that time the PC had just come into the spotlight, but while floppy disks were coming in and punch-cards were on their way out, it was still essential for a student of programming to thoroughly understand machine-level code and its binary system, a simple system made up of only two parts that continues to be the hidden driver of all computer operations.

The binary system governs the electrical flow of computer memory, where the basic memory cell, or ‘bit’, can be in one of only two states: it is either charged or not, on or off, lit up or dark. When the computer was first used only for complex numerical calculations, the orchestration of the binary system was fairly straightforward. But with the implementation of a keyboard and terminal, it became necessary to organize these on/off cells into units of eight, called a ‘byte’, so that a standard binary code set could be made with enough possible combinations of the 8 on/off cells (28 or 256) to represent all letters, numbers, and punctuation marks on the keyboard, as well as a few hidden characters. As an example, a capital ‘A’ is represented by the 8-bit pattern on/off/off/off/off/off/off/on, more commonly seen as ‘10000001’ where ‘on’ is represented as ‘1’ and ‘off’ is represented as ‘0’.

As the refinement of lower-level programs came to support more complex higher-level programs, the computer’s character-based drone terminal gave way to an interactive window onto the world of colorful complexity and ever-growing possibilities for creativity and communication. Computer pioneers could never have imagined in their wildest dreams what would become of their room-sized calculators. And while we ourselves can scarcely imagine what new innovations will arise in future computers, there is one thing that is certain: they will all continue to be grounded in the simple shifting around of 1 and 0, on and off, light and darkness.

If this is staggering, and indeed I think it is, it pales in comparison to a proposition I would now humbly ask you to consider: that the entire range of human experience, emotion, thought, perception, and beyond that the existence of the universe itself, is founded on such a binary code.

In the binary code of the universe the ‘1’ is the truth that we are all One, the ‘0’ is the illusion that we are all separate. The truth is that the universe is One and is always ‘on’, but the only way to create separate and distinct things in the universe is to pretend part of itself is ‘off’. Like the Dao folding itself in half, the light, which is the truth of the universe, first fabricated the darkness, which is the illusion of the universe.

And so from only two, light and darkness, it became possible for the universe to explode into an unlimited collection of different and unique things, forms that have become ever more complex over time, just like we have seen with the computer. Each one of us is therefore an ever-changing string of ‘1’ and ‘0’, an ever-shifting pattern of light and darkness, an ever-evolving hybrid of truth and illusion. As humans incarnate we all have a foot on each side of this duality and cannot escape it. That is the nature of our reality. It is impossible to be a distinct ‘being’ without always having some light and some darkness.

What makes us special as human beings is that we consciously experience this duality in how we see ourselves—as an Ego Self associated with darkness and illusion and as a Dao Self associated with light and truth. We perceive ourselves as individuals and yet, because we are self-aware, we know ourselves as ‘perceiver’ to be something more. That something more is our Dao Self, our connection to all-that-is. When we identify with our Dao Self we get closer to the truth of who we are and when we identify with our Ego Self we get closer to the illusion of who we are.

The complexity of the human experience is grounded in this primal duality, because, like an expertly cut gemstone, it gives rise to a multitude of facets than never cease to dazzle us. These facets of duality are ever-present in our lives and their poles are inextricable from each other, much as we might often want to identify with only one side. The following table is but a small sample of some of the dichotomies that give meaning to our lives and fodder for our ongoing conversation.

 

Ego Self                                           Dao Self

 

Illusion                                                Truth

Darkness                                             Light

Separateness                                      Unity

Individuality                                       Community

Doing                                                   Being

Rationality                                          Intuition

Control                                                Flow

Matter                                                  Spirit

Atomism                                             Holism

War                                                      Peace

Reactivity                                           Creativity

Judgment                                           Acceptance

Resistance                                          Openness

Debate                                                 Dialogue

Pessimism                                          Optimism

Competition                                       Cooperation

One special pair of opposites not mentioned above is worth exploring here, as I believe it can serve as a kind of umbrella under which many of these dualities are brought together. I think if we were to choose one word that most closely encompasses the spirit of the Dao Self the word would be love. Now while this word may mean many things to many people, let us call this Love with a capital ‘L’, and try to imagine it to be an absolute, pure, fully unconditional love. Our own understanding of what love is, no matter how imperfect, points us to experience a great force that binds us together, a state of being that unites, an energy that flows, and a ‘rightness’, a feeling that we have uncovering truth behind the illusion.

If the Dao is the essence of this Love, then in its full state of oneness it would lack the objects of its Love, and so the Love could not express itself. Our personal experiences of love are the experiences of oneness with the objects of our love. The universe may very well have been created to allow the Love that is the single truth of the One to express itself through separate beings such as ourselves. The only way this could happen would be through the creation of something that was not Love, and so it came to be that a darkness was created out of light, the opposite of Love, which I would like to call Fear. This Love/Fear duality is not an unfamiliar one in the language of the new conversation. While the word fear also has several connotations for us, let us define this pure Fear with a capital ‘F’ as beyond what we are capable of experiencing, and yet having a hand in everything we experience. This original division of light and darkness, of Love and Fear, is the prerequisite for existence itself. In Christian mythology, it is symbolized by the banishment of the Devil from the kingdom of Heaven.

Consider Love as the single fundamental truth of existence, the All, the One, the Dao. Love is rooted in the ground of being, permanent and everlasting, while Fear floats around, coming and going, rising and falling. Our own experience shows us that when we look towards and embrace love it reveals ever more of itself, and when we look towards and embrace fear it recoils and disappears. Fear disappears because it was never really there to begin with. It is illusion itself, and it only grows when we look away from it and do not face it.

Our Ego Self is driven by Fear. There are no exceptions to this. This Fear amplifies our feelings of separateness, making us attach ourselves to things. It fuels our insecurities, causing us to judge others in order to feel good about ourselves. It always leaves us wanting more, as though we literally need an ocean of abundance to drown our fears in. But when we are willing to actually face our fears we see that they don’t drown, they simply float on the surface that is our ego. In those moments that we penetrate the surface and see ourselves as coming from the Love of the Dao Self, we are able to leave our fears behind.

Living from our Dao Self is like living from a spacious place of peace and abundance. Most of us only get glimpses of this paradise from time to time. Mostly we are living from our Ego Self, and our lives are all about limitation and being cut off by our self-built walls. Our task is to question if these dark walls, these limitations we have put on who we are, are real. The process of moving into the Dao Self is the process of shining a light from inside ourselves, pushing out and seeing that these walls are not really there. As we do this, the space around us expands, and with it is the expansion of our joy. Moving into our Dao Self is our desire of desires. It is what it means to gain self-realization, the message common to all spiritual traditions. It is the enlightenment, the samadhi, the Christ Consciousness.

But we should not be fooled into thinking this is a simple one-step process. It is a gradual unfolding that the entire universe participates in. Even when we do experience the light and spaciousness of our Dao Self, life makes it difficult for us to remain there. As soon as we activate our senses, or refer back to ourselves purely as individuals—by thinking that ‘I’ am having this experience—the gravity of the physical world starts to pull us back slowly into the darkness of the Ego Self we tried to leave behind.

We all face a choice day by day. There is not a single morning we wake up where it is guaranteed that we will live from the expansive space of our Dao Self, nor are we condemned to suffer from the limited and fearful vision of the Ego Self. When it comes down to it, that is the only real choice that we face in life: to go with the flow or to go against it; to see a unity in all things, or a separateness; to be a part of nature or apart from nature; to promote harmony or survival of the fittest. We have a choice in how we experience the world, as a celebration of unity or a battleground of duality, as communion or confrontation, as collaboration or competition.

But in this back-and-forth movement there is some growth. On occasion we will make a big leap, but our growth tends to be slow but sure. What is required to make a lasting step in the expansion of our consciousness is letting go or releasing some of our darkness—which can be difficult to do, since we may be quite attached to it. Seeking expansion, the Dao Self is constantly challenging us to let go and step into what is the unknown for the Ego Self. The process of shedding darkness is the process of becoming more whole, more who we really are. Some have described this as resolving our karma, learning our life lessons or going through our healing. But it is never easy, for the unique quality of our darkness is what makes each of us distinct individuals, and represents who we think we are. There is a natural resistance on the part of our Ego Self to let go of darkness because in doing so it must let go of a part of itself. The more we believe that our Ego Self is our true self, and the more powerful a role our Ego Self plays in guiding our lives, the more difficult it is to expand. This is the great quandary of the growth of our individual consciousness—in a way it is a constant threat to our cherished individuality itself.

Having said that, there should be no concerns that our individuality is going to evaporate away any time soon, during our time on Earth or even beyond. While we are all on a path that moves towards a union with the Dao, that does not mean our real purpose in this life is to see beyond the illusion and move away from it as quickly as possible. Our personal path back to the Dao is as unique as our inimitable configuration of light and darkness. Each one of us walks a path that has never been traveled before.

Herein lies our important contribution to our collective consciousness and to each other. Our lives are tales that have never been told, and when we share ourselves and our unique perspectives we help each other to refine our understanding of who we are. Nietzsche once said that “to have circled the whole periphery of the modern soul, to have sat in every one of its nooks, that is my torment and my delight.” In a way he describes the agony and ecstasy of our interrelationship with each other, providing pieces of the larger puzzle of who we are to one another to help make us all whole. Our lives are intertwined so much more than we know, and as our consciousness expands we come to an ever finer appreciation of the supreme gift brought on by the original creation of duality—the capacity to express ourselves to each other, and to love one another.

Move on to Chapter 19…

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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Consciousness

Intuition Is A “Superpower” Representing One of The Highest Forms of Intelligence

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A number of experiments have shown that human intuition is quite real and in some cases can be measurable.

  • Reflect On:

    How often do you use your intuition when it comes to decision making in your life? How often do you trust your gut instinct and follow your heart?

Mainstream science has been catching on to the fact that non-physical aspects of the human being are not only real, but they can be grown and developed into powerful tools for personal development and use. Non physical phenomena, like intuition, remote viewing, telepathy, and precognition (to name a few) for example, have been studied at the highest levels of government for decades. Various nations have poured millions if not billions of dollars into these programs for with demonstrated repeated success, but despite this fact these findings remain heavily unacknowledged, ridiculed, “classified” and in many cases chucked in the “pseudoscience” bucket.

It’s understandable, new information and discoveries have always been heavily opposed and “scoffed” at by intellectual authorities, especially if these discoveries don’t fit within the accepted framework of knowledge. There’s a general tendency to dismiss ideas that go against the grain and conflict what we’ve previously convinced ourselves is truth.

So, what exactly is intuition? A good way to describe it is a gut feeling, a sense, or a feeling about something. It’s arriving to some sort of truth about something, an event or experience without using any type of analytic reasoning. Intuition has been measured, which is why the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) admitted to developing methods to develop and measure this phenomenon for their soldiers.

We have to understand what gives rise to this so-called ‘sixth sense,’ says Peter Squire, a program officer in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism department. Today’s Navy scientists place less emphasis on trying to understand the phenomena theoretically and more on using technology to examine the mysterious process, which Navy scientists assure the public is not based on superstition. “If the researchers understand the process, there may be ways to accelerate it — and possibly spread the powers of intuition throughout military units,” says Dr. Squire. The Pentagon’s focus is to maximize the power of the sixth sense for operational use. 

As mentioned before, many interesting abilities that go beyond the conscious mind and utilize what some would call metaphysical aspects have long been used by governments and intelligence agencies. Perhaps one day the human race will use these abilities for progress and to better the human experience. It’s like technology, do we use it for the good of humanity or do we use it to build more powerful and destructive bombs and weaponry? This is why we here at Collective Evolution always emphasize that humanity needs a shift in consciousness. Our discoveries and developments don’t really matter, it’s more so the consciousness behind those discoveries that do. This is why we believe that the greatest and most potent form of change comes from within.

Dr. Judith Orloff, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA told Forbes that, “In my my private practice, I work with women executives who come to me to develop their intuition. They see it as a ‘superpower’ to use in all decisions at work as well as a guide for how to be good leaders and organizers” According to Dr. Orloff, scientists believe intuition operates through the entire right side of our brain, the brain’s hippocampus and through our gut (digestive system has neurons as well).

Alexandra Mysoor, the writer of the Forbes article goes on to explain:

When the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in your gut fire up, you may be feeling either “butterflies” or queasy sensations. Pay attention to those. It’s no accident we use the term intuition and gut feeling interchangeably because science has now shown us that our gut has a brain of its own, a second brain so to speak. In fact, our gut has an entire network of neurotransmitters called the enteric nervous system.

The body is truly an amazing puzzle, and we probably haven’t moved beyond the tip of the iceberg when it comes to discovering what we are actually capable of.  For example, a study (meta analysis) in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience titled “Predicting the unpredictable: critical analysis and practical implications of predictive anticipatory activity” examined a number of experiments regarding precognition. These experiments indicate that the human body can actually detect randomly delivered stimuli that occur 1-10 seconds in advance. In other words, the human body seems to know of an event and reacts to an event that has yet to occur. What occurs in the human body before these events are physiological changes that are measured in the cardiopulmonary, the skin, and the nervous system.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? Another article written for Forbes written by Bruce Kasanoff by explains,

Intuition, argues Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, is less about suddenly “knowing” the right answer and more about instinctively understanding what information is unimportant and can thus be discarded.

Gigerenzer, author of the book Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, says that he is both intuitive and rational. “In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead. I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she.”

A paper published in 2008 by Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) explains,

Intuition is widely regarded as a key source of inspiration in medical diagnosis, technological innovation,business decisions, artistic achievement, and scientific discovery. Based upon an analysis of the lives of numerous scientific icons, Root-Bernstein concluded that “Virtually without exception, the greatest mathematicians and scientists assert that the development of this pictorial, visual, kinesthetic, or generally sensual algorithm (associated with intuition) is the basis for scientific thinking. But what is intuition? Given its central role in advancing science and civilization, one might expect that this topic has been a keen subject of inquiry, especially within academic psychology, for many decades. Surprisingly, until recently it has been studiously ignored. This may be because the quasi-magical, non-rational nature of intuition presents an embarrassing challenge to science, which prides itself on the power of rational knowing. Intuitive knowledge does not appear to function like the methodical interferences associated with rational thought.It arises “in a flash,” or “out of the blue,” sometimes with correct answers to thorny scientific and technical problems, elegant solutions to complex mathematical theorems, and complete scores for intricate musical compositions.

The Institute of HeartMath alongside Radin conducted an interesting experiment a few years ago. They explain,

Twenty-six adults experienced in using HeartMath techniques and who could sustain a heart-coherent state completed two rounds of study protocols approximately two weeks apart. Half of the participants completed the protocols after they intentionally achieved a heart-coherent state for 10 minutes. The other half completed the same procedures without first achieving heart coherence. Then they reversed the process for the second round of monitoring, with the first group not becoming heart-coherent before completing the protocols and the second group becoming heart-coherent before. The point was to test whether heart coherence affected the results of the experiment.

Participants were told the study’s purpose was to test stress reactions and were unaware of its actual purpose. (This practice meets institutional-review-board standards.) Each participant sat at a computer and was instructed to click a mouse when ready to begin.

The screen stayed blank for six seconds. The participant’s physiological data was recorded by a special software program, and then, one by one, a series of 45 pictures was displayed on the screen. Each picture, displayed for 3 seconds, evoked either a strong emotional reaction or a calm state. After each picture, the screen went blank for 10 seconds. Participants repeated this process for all 45 pictures, 30 of which were known to evoke a calm response and 15 a strong emotional response.

The results of the experiment were fascinating to say the least. The participants’ brains and hearts responded to information about the emotional quality of the pictures before the computer flashed them (random selection). This means that the heart and brain were both responding to future events. The results indicated that the responses happened, on average, 4.8 seconds before the computer selected the pictures.

How mind-altering is that?

Even more profound, perhaps, was data showing the heart received information before the brain. “It is first registered from the heart,” Rollin McCraty Ph.D. explained, “then up to the brain (emotional and pre-frontal cortex), where we can logically relate what we are intuiting, then finally down to the gut (or where something stirs).”

This study showed that the heart, alongside the brain, has some sort of intuitive intelligence.

The Takeaway: We are living in a day and age where new information and evidence are constantly emerging, challenging what we once thought was real or what we think we know about ourselves as human beings.  It’s best to keep an open mind. Perhaps there are aspects of ourselves and our consciousness that have yet to be discovered. Perhaps if we learn from this information it can help us better ourselves and others.

We live our lives constantly thinking and analyzing, we grow up in school memorizing and we are not really taught anything about our feelings, emotions and intuition. Imagine the difference it would make in our individual and collective lives if we grew up learning how to trust our intuition, how to follow it and what it is? It begs the question, how many of us truly follow our heart? We seem to be thrust into a system that encourages us to find the best job and really think about our future. There’s nothing wrong with that but we have to ask ourselves, what impact does it have on us mentally if we do not follow our heart, our intuition? Are we seeing a big rise in drug use, depression and other mental issues because society forces us to in a direction we really don’t desire to go? Are we unhappy because we are not engaging in things that our heart desires to engage in? Are we not doing enough of what we love? Something to think about. Never ignore the voice of your gut, your heart, your intuition. It’s always telling us something and it’s time we ‘listen.’ This applies to all experiences, from deciphering information and truth to determining what path it is you want to take in life.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Consciousness

New Moon In Capricorn: Power Struggles, Intensity & Renewal

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We are having a New Moon in Capricorn on January 13th throughout most of the world and on the night of the 12th in Central to Western North America. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Leo on January 28th/29th.

Capricorn season began on the December 21st solstice, just over three weeks prior to this lunation, and will end on January 19th/20th when Aquarius season begins. However, this New Moon will carry some of the Capricorn energies into the earlier part of Aquarius season.

This is a good period of working with and co-creating with the energies of this sign. Capricorn is associated with structure, ambitions, achieving goals, mastery, business, career, social status, responsibilities, duty, authority, governance, and hard work. It is cautious, worldly, conservative, and pragmatic. As an Earth sign, it has the qualities of practicality, reliability, solidity and being grounded. This element is very much orientated around the physical and material world. Negatively, Capricorn energy can be too serious, cynical, cold, controlling, and unrelenting.

New Moon Conjunct Pluto

This New Moon is aligned with Pluto which is also in Capricorn. This energy can be strong willed, focused, calculated, strategic, secretive, transformational, probing, deep, regenerating, sexual, cleansing, purging, and evolutionary. It can also be destructive, heavy, controlling, intense, subversive, obsessive, compulsive, jealous, power seeking, authoritarian, abusive, violent, manipulative, and dark.

Pluto rules investments, taboos, transmutation, hidden matters, repressed feelings, shadows, psychoanalysis, and the underworld. It is associated with power struggles, conspiracies, viruses, death, fears as well as fearlessness. This Plutonian energy will be strongly felt during the New Moon and in the two days following it, but it will still affect the entire Lunar Cycle.

Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008 and will be there until 2024. Collectively, this is a period of major changes affecting government, financial structures, and business in a big way. This has been more obvious in recent years as Saturn, the Lunar South Node, and Jupiter have all joined Pluto in the same sign. This will continue to be a big theme over the remaining years of Pluto in Capricorn and beyond. We also recently had a Great Conjunction in Aquarius on December 21st which also reflects changes affecting society in a big way over a long period.

This Lunar Cycle can really trigger the collective impact of this energy especially considering the current landscape. To learn more about all of this, I recommend reading my Pluto in Capricorn article from 2017 here and my more recent Great Conjunction article here.

Mars Conjunct Uranus In Taurus Square Jupiter & Saturn in Aquarius

The action oriented Mars recently changed signs into Taurus on January 6th/7th and has since been approaching Uranus, the planet of surprises and rebellion, in the same sign. They are both applying squares to Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius which are still in close proximity with each other.

During this New Moon, from January 12th-14th, Mars is in a square with Saturn which is the first exact aspect made between these four planets. Our actions can be faced with obstacles, delays, resistance, or limitations. Conflicts around boundaries or restrictions can play out. Doing tasks may require extra patience and caution.

As this is finishing, Jupiter will be going into an exact square with Uranus from January 14th to the 19th. This energy can be freedom seeking, rebellious, scattered, idealistic, or even risk taking. It could be good for exploring, learning, education, or expansiveness around things that are new to us, unconventional, technological, scientific, progressive, or metaphysical.

Mars then makes its exact conjunction with Uranus from the 19th to the 21st while it is finishing its square Jupiter. It can really crank up the energies mentioned above and this energy can also be impulsive, erratic, experimental, disruptive, surprising, irritable, and quick tempered.

From the 21st until the 24th, Mars will then be in exact square with Jupiter. We may feel like doing things in a big way but it’s important to be cautious around what we do because we can more easily apply ourselves in a way that is overextending, overestimating, or overlooking of important things. Conflicts around beliefs, opinions, judgements, and principles can play out.

During the later part of this period, the Sun will be in a conjunction with Saturn from the 23rd to 24th. This can have a serious tone, and perhaps the need to be realistic, cautious, orderly, disciplined, committed, or responsible, may come up. Following this, the Sun will be making aspects to Jupiter, Uranus, and Mars in the last week of January and into the first few days of February which can trigger some of the energies mentioned earlier in this section.

The combination of all of these planets in close proximity to aspects with each other throughout January can be good for applying ourselves in new ways that are congruent with changes that are happening personally or collectively. However, it can also be a time of anger, impulsiveness, and rebelliousness towards obstacles, restrictions, opinions, beliefs, authority figures, as well as other recent or upcoming developments, circumstances, or changes.

Venus Square Chiron &  Trine Uranus, Mercury Entering pre-Retrograde Shadow

Venus in Capricorn is in a square with Chiron in Aries at the time of this New Moon and in the day leading up to it.  This can bring up wounds, blockages, negative patterns, or can reflect themes around healing, holistic perception, or perhaps solutions when it comes to love, our social life, friends, pleasures, values, or monetary issues.

Venus is also in a trine with Uranus in Taurus which is strongest in the day and half following this New Moon. It can bring a new, stimulating, unusual, exciting, inspiring, liberating, unexpected, or unique energy around our relations with others.  This can also reflect surprises, positive changes, or freeing type of developments around financial matters. In some cases it can be good for exploring new ways of making money that can be innovative, online, metaphysical, or technologically oriented.

On January 15th, Mercury in Aquarius will be entering the shadow period of its retrograde that will be beginning on January 30th/31st and last until February 20th/21st. It can increasingly start to feel like it’s retrograde during these weeks leading up to it as delays, technological/mechanical problems, mistakes, miscommunications, misunderstandings, or other complications can be more probable than in the previous six weeks.

Certain developments, interactions, connections, or issues that occur at this time can be connected to how this retrograde will affect us in February through its adjusting and perceptive changing qualities. There can be something we are not seeing clearly that needs to unfold throughout the upcoming retrograde and post-retrograde process. I will be writing a separate article on this, you can join my mailing list here to ensure that you receive it.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What changes do you need to make when it comes to your ambitions, career, structures, or business matters? What can you do to make your profession more congruent with a changing world? What are you fighting for and what can you do to be more calculated, effective, and persuasive? What kind of strategies can you employ to help you achieve your goals? Do you need to be more innovative when it comes to making money? What area of your life is calling for some sort of purging, cleansing, empowerment, and/or transformation?

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 5:00am Universal Time on January 13th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading

Consciousness

Mermaids: Ancient Mythology or Actual Reality?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mermaids have been written about by several cultures across multiple time periods, from Babylon till now. There have even been claims of recent sightings. With all of the lore that exists, it's not hard to imagine these beings could be real.

  • Reflect On:

    How many examples exist where ancient knowledge has turned into ancient fact? How much do we really know about our true suppressed history? Could there be a whole world we don't know about our there?

Photo credit: Ramakien Murals depicting the hero Hanuman meeting the mermaid Suvannamaccha, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand, 1831.

Ancient lore is fascinating to say the least, especially if you dive into mythology. What’s always attractive about mythology is that there are good reasons to believe that a lot of it isn’t actually mythological, but real in some cases.

We see this in many examples, Plato’s (among others before and after him) description of Atlantis could be one, especially when you tie in all of the evidence that’s emerged of its existence. Another example could be people with ‘superhuman’ abilities, like clairvoyance, telepathy, and psychokinesis that we find in a lot of Buddhist and other ancient Eastern texts.

Today, there are many documents and examples of people who demonstrate these types of  abilities. Another great example is Nikola Tesla, who derived his ideas of “free energy” and electrical generators from ancient Vedic concepts.  Let’s not forget about modern day quantum physics and neuroscience and their close correlation with ancient eastern philosophy and buddhism.

There are many topics to choose from, and it seems that we always place ideas and concepts that don’t fit within the frame of  accepted reality into the  ‘mythological’ category. This is obviously quite understandable, but remember that those who actually spoke about these creatures and studied the lore are certain some of these so-called mythological concepts were completely real. Why is that so?

Perhaps they were? I don’t think we should completely rule out the possibility. Mermaids are a great example, and one of many.

Mermaids

We see images everywhere today, Starbucks even uses the two-tailed mermaid as their logo. According to Greek mythology, mermaids, also known as sirens, were predatory in nature, masters in the art of seduction. They would seduce men at sea with songs and promises of sex, only to kill those who succumbed to their lure. But stories of their benevolence and malevolence differ.

One study in the Journal of Academic Study of Religion explains,

The mermaid blurs the boundary between woman and fish, femininity and carnality, land and sea, human and other. She is also held to be an astral entity in various metaphysical circles, in the mermaiding industry she is often marketed as an ambassador for marine preservation, and in the general pervasiveness of this character, competing with inhuman beings such as vampires, werewolves, and angels in the heavily mediated realm of contemporary culture, the mermaid represents an additional opportunity to invest in an other-than-human identity.

They are also depicted in ancient Vedic lore, the story of Suvannamaccha, for example, comes from the Asian versions of ancient Hindu mythology. They are not always depicted as luring, tricky beasts, some stories speak of them as protectors, falling in love, and more. They also tell of a history of capture, which isn’t surprising, reflecting a dark tendency of the human race in our current state of consciousness. It would be no surprise why these beings may not take to kindly to the race of men, and perhaps still don’t. After all, look what we’ve done to the oceans and continue to do. Look what we are doing to life on this planet…

Etheric Domain

According to one of the foremost authorities on the subject, Manly P. Hall (from his book, The Secret Teachings of All Ages), the Undines, as they were also known, were water elementals, that function “in the invisible, spiritual essence called humid (or liquid) ether.

This is particularly interesting because that’s another thing that’s been spoken of in ancient “mythology” for so long, but now physics is showing it to be true. Here’s a great quote that illustrates that:

“And they allowed Apollonius to ask questions; and he asked them of what they thought the cosmos was composed; but they replied; “Of elements.” “Are there then four?” he asked. “Not four,” said Larchas,  “but five.” “And how can there be a fifth,” said Apollonius, “alongside of water and air and earth and fire?” “There is the ether,” replied the other, “which we must regard as the stuff of which gods are made; for just as all mortal creatures inhale the wire, so do immortal and divine natures inhale the ether.” “Am I,” said Appollonius, “to regard the universe as a living creature?” “Yes,” said the other. – The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Philostratus, 220AD (source)

According to Nikola Tesla,

“All perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.”– Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907

Other-Dimensional Visitation

This is why, in my opinion, it’s not hard at all believing that forms of life, invisible to our senses, also dwell in the ether and in realms we cannot perceive with our senses. Other beings would be nature spirits like fairies or gnomes who, according to the lore, can also appear in our ‘dimensional’ reality as well, on our frequency, if they choose to do so.

According to Hall, from The Secret Teachings of All Ages,

The Undines are able to control, to a great degree, the course and function of this fluid in Nature. Beauty seems to be the keynote of the water spirits. Wherever we find them pictured in art or sculpture, they abound in symmetry and grace. Controlling the water element–which has always been a feminine symbol–it is natural that the water spirits should most often be symbolized as female.

Hall writes about how there are many different groups of Undines; some live in waterfalls, others in fast-moving rivers or remote marshes, some in mountain lakes as well as in the ocean.

In describing them, the ancients agreed on certain salient features. In general, nearly all the Undines closely resemble human beings in appearance and size, though the ones inhabiting small streams and fountains were of correspondingly of lesser proportions. It was believed that these water spirits were occasionally capable of assuming the appearance of normal human beings and actually associating with men and women.

 He goes on to describe stories of these water spirits and their adoption by families. As far as the males, Hall does not dismiss their existence but writes that practically nothing is known about them. We do know of one, however, called Neptune. We also know of another.

The Babylonians worshipped a fish-tailed god named Oannes. John Ashton, author of Curious Creatures in Zoologyproposes that this is the first depiction of a merman. Also in ancient lore, the goddess Atargatis, chief goddess of northern Syria, was depicted as a fish-bodied human, supposedly constituting the first known representation of a mermaid.

He describes a group of Undines interestingly, and different from other mythology we see. Perhaps these ‘elementals’ differ from other creatures that are closer to our own frequency? Hall goes on to explain,

Their temperament is said to be vital, and to them has been given as their throne the western corner of creation. They are rather emotional beings, friendly to human life and fond of serving mankind. They are sometimes pictured riding on dolphins or other great fish and seem to have a special love of flowers and plants, which they serve almost as devotedly and intelligently as the gnomes. Ancient poets have said that the songs of the Undines were heard in the West Wind and that their lives were consecrated to the beautifying of the material earth.

It’s also noteworthy to mention that multiple apparent sightings have been recorded and spoken about in modern history as well, according to numerous eyewitnesses a few years ago, from a seaside shore town in Israel. They said it looked like a cross between a little girl and a dolphin, and only comes out at sunset. “People are telling us they are sure they have seen the mermaid and they are all independent of each other,” said Natti Zilberman, a local council spokesman, as she spoke to ABC News. It sparked so much controversy that the Mayor offered a million dollar reward for a photograph.

Perhaps there are many concepts of our reality that remain unknown to us? Always interesting to explore 🙂 There are many truths waiting to be discovered that would completely change our perception of not only our planet but also the nature of reality itself.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

Continue Reading
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