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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 21: The Two Tribes (Part 3))

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

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

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

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

21. The Two Tribes (Part 3)

While the running tribe kept running around the island of Allandon, exploiting it and fashioning it in the image of its own self-importance, the sitting tribe tried to sit quietly within whatever natural surroundings were left on the island. The sitting tribe had become small, as many of its members had switched over, feeling that the running tribe offered a better and more prosperous life. And yet life was not idyllic for the running tribe. For reasons they could not understand a collective restlessness had slowly come over them, a growing dissatisfaction with their lives. They no longer laughed at the sitting tribe, for every day they could see serenity on the faces of the sitting tribe members, a serenity that they longed for.

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The sitting tribe could not help but be drawn to some of the obvious improvements that the running tribe had made to the conditions of life, but they approached the running life with caution, taking sporadic moments to try a bit of running. While this was happening more often, many running tribe members slowly took some time out of their busy day to sit, hoping to find the serenity they saw on the faces of the sitting tribe. The running tribe members each started to sit at different times to suit their own schedules. Eventually there was no longer an organized group that ran in unison, nor was there a group sitting in unison. In fact each individual developed their own unique pattern of the two practices. Amidst the daily confusion of sitting and running, the lines between the two tribes blurred more and more, until one tribe could not be distinguished from the other. It was around this time that a growing number of members of both tribes started to believe that one day the island of Allandon would again be home to a single tribe.

It is only because we are at a special time in the history of humanity that we have the capacity to talk to each other about creating ourselves and our lives in the image of our personal visions. Human consciousness has evolved to the point where individuals are starting to see a choice as to whether or not to follow the values and aspirations of the nation, race, culture, creed or even family that they were born into. In other words, individuals no longer need to identify with a particular group in order to manifest their personal visions and desires in the world. Certainly it has not always been like this. Nietzsche pointed to this when he wrote, ‘Peoples were creators first. Only later were individuals creators. Indeed the individual is the latest creation.’

Although we tend to think that the entire history of humanity involved the choices, aspirations, and decisions of human individuals, in a very real sense the human individual as such only came into being through the development of the Ego Self, which really sums up the history of Western Civilization as well as anything. There were of course a few remarkable individuals prior to the Classical Age of Greece, but those individuals were for all intents and purposes not humans but rather gods, who were deified as such by the vast majority of their culture. Only in modern times have ‘everyday’ individuals begun to identify themselves as creative, whole, self-fulfilling beings apart from any group.

While human groups such as cultures, nations, and religions have allowed us to fulfill a most basic human longing for unity, it is a limited form of this fulfillment. Within any group, a collective mind is created that excludes others, and actually limits individuals from fully experiencing or even actively aspiring to unity within the larger body of humanity itself. And so it makes sense that this larger unity, which Hegel called the ‘full unfolding of the Spirit’, is only possible when all individuals are free and capable of identifying themselves as entities unto themselves.

We have spoken at length about the pitfalls of our Western society founded on identification with the Ego Self, with its rampant materialism and disrespect for nature, its self-serving ideology and disregard for the communal fabric. Still, perhaps the growth of the Ego Self may not have been a catastrophic misstep of human development but rather an important, necessary stage in the evolution of consciousness. If we apply Hegel’s dialectic to this evolution on a grand scale, Eastern thought would be the starting point, the thesis. Western thought, which emerged from the bosom of Eastern civilization, would be the antithesis. And the great synthesis of these two opposing forces is the leap of consciousness that we are living through today. If we can make it happen it will be the greatest synthesis the world has ever seen, a synthesis of traditional Eastern holistic spirituality that identifies with the Dao Self and modern Western atomistic materialism that identifies with the Ego Self. The promise of this synthesis is a life in which the best of both world views exist together.

We have seen in our recent history that an augmentation of individual freedom has brought forth a much steadier flow of creativity and innovation. Possibilities have opened up, not only for individuals to express themselves in the world and manifest their own destiny, but also for humanity as a whole to benefit from this creative expression. Individual development has moved to the forefront and has become more and more the leading edge for human progress. The development of the Ego Self has not only given individuals the opportunity to imagine a better way of life, it also provides the individual with the means to manifest this vision in the world.

Chief Seattle may have envisioned something like this even as Western man came over to America and obliterated his people’s way of life. Remember he reflected that ‘God brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.’ Although he could not see the purpose of Western man’s dominance at the time, he still knew that it was all part of a common destiny of humanity that was much vaster than the particular aspirations of either culture.

As Westerners, I believe it is time to embrace that larger vision today, lest we continue to be swept away by egocentric self-delusion. It is very tempting for us in the West to be swayed by our sense of self-importance in the world, and to continue promoting our unconscious mantra that the West is the best. The very idea of ‘better’ and ‘best’ is a particularly Western convention.

With the Western model, mankind is on a linear path to evolution. With the Eastern model, mankind’s evolution is seen within a cycle which returns back to the starting point. In the West we see ourselves going into uncharted territory, in the East we are simply returning home. With Western ideology the ability to progress in itself becomes the essential mark of a culture. It gives us a measuring stick as to the relative value and worth of a particular people. In other words, it appears to give us the license to judge. It should not come as a surprise that Hegel, author of this particular vision of human history, looked down with some disdain on traditional Eastern cultures. He once said that “the inferiority of [the Native Americans] in all respects, even in regard to size, is very manifest… [they are] still abiding in their natural condition of rudeness and barbarism.” He likewise felt that the German society of his day was the height of human evolution to that point.

However when his indictment of Native Americans is measured up against Chief Seattle’s assessment of the white man—a white man who had just ravaged his people and their land, I might add—one is left to wonder which culture was actually more evolved. Where Chief Seattle believes that his people and the white man are all as brothers equal under the same God, the Europeans who claimed America had no doubts that they were better than Native Americans, smarter, more evolved, more worthy of what life and the Earth have to offer. For them the material focus of Western civilization constituted progress over the spiritual focus of Eastern civilization, and this belief continues to this day. We are only now awakening to the uncomfortable proposition that this is simply an acute delusion of the egocentricity inherent in the Western mindset as a whole.

It is interesting that the extreme polarity of Eastern and Western civilizations can be traced to a single difference in their founding mythologies. Traditional Eastern cultures were founded on a mythology that saw the essential truth of life to be the unity of all things above and below the heavens. Everything is connected, and duality is the illusion of the world and can be transcended since the ultimate truth is unity with the One, the Dao. Western civilization has grown from the perception that this unity or oneness, such as existed in the garden of Eden before the ‘fall of man’, is the illusion that ultimately masks the fundamental truth of duality, revealed to man and woman by their eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which had previously been known only to God.

Western religions that are derived from the mythology of duality are ethical in nature because of the belief that life is the battle between good and evil, God and Satan. The focus of Western religion is that man is apart from God, that he has sinned, he has fallen, and needs to redeem himself. In the Eastern tradition there are no sinners and no need for redemption. Their religions are not about ethics as much as alignment with nature, with one’s true self and path in life.

Eastern traditions find their ultimate truth in the cyclical rhythms of day and night, the phases of the moon, and the seasons. By extension they see human life as cyclical. We are born, we live, we die, and we then are reborn. Reincarnation occurs as we move around the cosmic wheel, to return to the source from which we came once we have resolved all of our accumulated karma. History itself is cyclical. In the Hindu model, for example, the universe comes into being when Brahma the Creator sleeps, and once a set of very orderly ages have come and gone, Brahma wakes up and the universe is whisked out of existence. Then Brahma goes to sleep once again and the whole process starts again from the beginning.

Western mythology, on the other hand, focuses on linear progress and does not deal with the nature of eternity in any deliberate way. Somehow we have one life to learn how to be good, and after this short experience ends we are to spend the rest of eternity either in a comfortable place of complete stagnation or, if we are judged by God to be bad, an uncomfortable place of complete stagnation. The God of Western tradition seems to care about whether we are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as though our being good would elevate this God in some way or make him expand, and our being bad would somehow bring him down or cause him to contract. In contrast, the Dao of Eastern tradition is completely unchanging and unaffected by our actions.

The ultimate question becomes: is the One/God/Dao evolving as we evolve, expanding as we expand? Or is it static and changeless, making our evolution simply an awakening to our eternal and unchanging nature? Is the universe evolving, really going somewhere, or is it just going around in a circle? The answer currently depends on which side of the fence we are on that divides Eastern and Western ideology. It is no wonder that the prevalent Western model of history, the Hegelian dialectic, implies linear progress, while its Eastern counterpart, the Chinese model of Yin and Yang, points to a history that is cyclical. Both models see one side of the duality emerging from directly within the other. Both models point to the interplay of these opposites as the driver of history. But while in the Western model this interplay represents a war of fierce opposition to reach higher ground, in the Eastern model it more closely resembles a dance of partners circling back to the same spot.

The new conversation lies on the razor’s edge of these two polarities. It asks for us not to sit comfortably on one side or the other, but to learn to balance on the fence of paradox itself. We are moving past an age where we can choose one polarity over the other, thinking one is right and the other wrong. As we see beyond the limits of each polarity, there is no turning back. If we are to move forward, it will be with an understanding that Western thought is no better than Eastern thought, and vice versa. In a higher consciousness Eastern and Western thought complement each other, as the ultimate opposing forces whose tension bestows us with purpose, direction, and understanding in our world.

Our future can at once be a revival of the great and enchanting stories of the past and at the same time a tale that has not yet been told. Perhaps there is for the first time the possibility of conscious convergence, of a commitment to hold conflicting points of view at once, of identifying with both the Dao Self and the Ego Self at the same time. In this there is the opportunity to let go of judgment while still aspiring for a better life on the planet. This is the new possibility for consciousness, and the direction that the new conversation is taking us.

While I have so far represented the two great polarities as ‘East’ and ‘West’, I hope you have come to understand these more as a distinction of ideas than of geographical reality. While any culture’s predominant founding mindset may sometimes be detectable, the joint presence of these opposing ideologies is at play in all of the cultures of the world, and to some extent always has been. Culture is not possible without some identification with both the Ego Self and the Dao Self, without some material and some spiritual awareness. Yet I believe it has been useful to make the distinction with regards to civilizations, in order to show how the play of these opposing forces has been the driving force of our human history.

Naturally these forces have continued to grow out of each other and further blurred the lines of division. Eastern society has faced a barrage of Western modernity for some time now. And yet Western society, for all its power and influence, has not been immune to the infusion of traditional Eastern thought and values into the life of its citizens. This has certainly not happened with all the hoopla of the dissemination of Western policies in the world, but its effects are certainly starting to be felt. If the spread of Western democracy, economics and popular culture has appeared like large, loud bombs dropping from the air, Eastern values have entered into our minds from the ground up, with the seeds of sublime ideas slowly germinating in our consciousness over time.

The result is a society that is on the brink of a quiet revolution never before seen, in which seemingly contradictory ideas and values will one day find a place to coexist in our minds. We are not there yet, certainly, but this is the work in progress of the new conversation. It has emerged as a way to foster an environment that encourages people of all different perspectives, with unique ideas and experiences, to share in the search for a common understanding of life and a common goal for mankind.

In our society the emphasis on the Ego Self has led to unbridled materialism. We can clearly go no further, and there are many signs that things have already started changing. The pendulum appears to have reached its height in one direction and is on its way back. If it is true that all change is directed by the pull of opposites, then this period of extreme materialism too shall pass, and we will be the better for it. We will not look to spirituality simply as an escape from the dense and dark material world but rather as a better way into it.

The heights of materialism that we have reached are actually serving to provide fertile soil for the growth of a new spirituality—one that does not dismiss materialism, but rather helps to give it a more profound and meaningful expression. As we become ever more aware of our excesses, our self-centeredness, and our alienation from each other, so we become more pointedly conscious as individuals of our responsibilities to our planet and our role as important contributors to our collective evolution, one that includes the unique dreams and aspirations of all people. We are both the created and the creator, on the threshold of fully becoming aware of our own divinity. The time has come for us to fully embrace the mission that we all share. We no longer need to deny the Earth to reach Heaven, nor deny Heaven to enjoy the Earth.

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Consciousness

15 Quotes From Alan Watts’ Book: ‘Out of Your Mind’

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In the middle of yoga class the other day, sweaty, exhausted, and holding a pose for what seemed an eternity, my teacher reminded me of the wisdom of Alan Watts with a single quote that would ultimately make me forget about the physical discomfort I was in, and allow me to fully connect to the beauty of the moment at hand.

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless,” she said.

The recitation reminded me in that moment that what I was feeling was not permanent, and I was choosing to be there to be enlivened, not lifeless. I wanted to feel, to sweat, to dig deeper mentally and physically. And so I let it happen, and suddenly the moment was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known for his interpretation and popularization of Asian philosophies for the Western minds. His more than 25 books and various articles spanned sensational subjects, including personal identity, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the pursuit of happiness without the desire for materialism.

Perhaps the most profound part of Watts was that he had the incredible ability of expressing complex thoughts in the simplest of ways.

Here is a glimpse into some of his most awakening quotes:

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1. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

2. “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

3. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

4. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”

5. “What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money … but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth … In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are ‘coins’ for real things.”

6. “The source of all light is in the eye.”

7. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”

8. “Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

9. “This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

10. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

11. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

12. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

13. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.”

14. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

15. “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

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Consciousness

Navigating Difficult Emotions

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Day and night exist; so too do joy and sorrow, anger and sadness. Yin and Yang comprise our wholeness.

  • Reflect On:

    Consider that the night has as much to offer as daytime, and is just as necessary. What new version of wholeness can we be crafted into when we embrace and skillfully work through all of what we feel?

“Each of our feelings or attitudes, no matter how negative, can evoke compassion and lead to transformation. We then joyfully realize how every negative experience has positive, growth-fostering potential, how every liability is a resource, how every shadow trait has a kernel of value, how every disturbance or mistake can deepen our spiritual consciousness . . . there is an energy of light frozen in our confusion, a luminosity we can release, if only we do not give up our mining.”

—Dave Richo, Ph.D.

Positive emotions satisfy the immediate gratification style of modern culture. They pay dividends right away. We try to keep up with pleasure, joy, and bliss in their ever-more-enticing forms. Difficult emotions, however, take patience, and require delayed gratification. The result of this gratification is a deeper sense of fulfillment that can’t be gained by direct experience with positive emotion.

Through the lens of Chinese medicine, our positive emotions are considered Yang (positive and quick) and confer Yang power. Our negative, dark, or difficult emotions are Yin. They take longer to release their nectar, as we slow down to meet them. We might have to look like outcasts for a time to reap their hidden, subtler power. These Yin experiences deliver a quieter, inner power, gradually.

A balance of Yin and Yang power is crucial. If we over-feast on Yang emotions, we can burn out and fall into an exhausted or depressive state once we can’t keep up with all the excitement. This corresponds with the modern epidemic of adrenal exhaustion. If we over-feast on negative emotions and ignore the lighter side of life, we can also end up in the pits. Sojourns into grief don’t count because they often deliver great rewards.

When Yin and Yang are in balance and healthy they mutually support one another. When we find balance between Yin and Yang emotions, we can reap the benefits of both positive and negative states. It’s not difficult to see the benefit of happiness, joy, positivity, exuberance, and inspiration—all Yang experiences. More difficult is to glean the good reasons to embrace our dark and difficult states.

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When we understand, even if just intellectually at first, why and how difficult states are absolutely crucial to our well-being, this gives us incentive to stay present and open to them and override our knee-jerk tendency to shut down and go away when they surface. What’s more, when we attune to and are patient with what’s difficult, that darkness transforms us little by little into more light, a light we cannot attain from Yang states alone. Only by staying with what’s dark can we create more love and light from what seems rotten and miserable.

So, this writing is dedicated to understanding the unique benefits that come from our difficult feelings and why it’s a good idea to stay close to them, when they visit.

Looking Deeper

Just like beauty and the beast, beneath the ugly exterior of our difficult emotions is a tender core of inspiration, soulfulness, and renewal. They return us to what really matters by revealing and empowering what we care about. If we sit with these feelings long enough, which is to welcome and let them have their way with us (at least in good part), we can reap their hidden riches (note: this is often not the case for mental illness, such as anxiety and depression).

Paradoxically, this process of staying close to difficulty eventually fills us up, quenching us with fulfillment. I’m convinced that if we don’t milk and allow ourselves to be transformed by these emotions, we live fractured lives. And as a result, we fracture the lives of others, including the Earth.

In being with painful feelings and letting them change us, they recede. The more we allow ourselves to be changed by them, the more they dissolve. In fact, they recede in proportion to how much we allow them to change us, as if their purpose were to get us to pay attention, to surrender, and to transform. From being with and working through our anger, sadness, fear, remorse, and envy, we develop genuine compassion, courage, creativity, inspiration, meaning, purpose, empathy, and greater love—qualities I call our finer jewels of being human.

We dont transform difficult emotions as much as they transform us. For this we must surrender and become vulnerable; we must have the faith and courage, humility and strength, to be changed in ways not in our control, shaped by the wild ways of nature expressed through our emotions. This way we get to become more than what we can control, or even imagine. So, if you want to live a passionate life close to nature, give way to your heart and its storms of wild wisdom come to revolutionize you.

To be changed by difficulty, we have to be vulnerable, pliant, brave, and strong enough to weather the shape-shifting of our sense of self. This requires having a strong enough core sense of self, our functional ego, one that can handle the adjustments, or in some cases, the dismantling of our sense of self. For this reason, the support of loved ones, and a therapist, is virtually essential, or at least makes the journey more productive and smoother.

Our dark, uncomfortable, or downright terrifying emotions are the other side of love. They are love’s underbelly, the deeper regions of our heart. In fact, we can often sense when someone has not entered this sacred chamber inside themselves and met their life-renewing shadow because they are generally uncomfortable around the emotional struggles of others.

The Way Out is Through

While offering nuanced suggestions for precisely how to navigate our difficult emotions is beyond the scope of this article (I offer more of that here), I want to briefly speak to the popular adage, “Don’t wallow in negative emotions.” Ironically, this might be an outsider’s perspective, coined and perpetuated by folks who haven’t entered their shadow in a significant way. For, when we do, we learn that we don’t really have much say for how long we are beset by life’s downturns.

We in fact must endure periods of what seems like wallowing and obsessing because we don’t have control over these states, nor do we have to. Nor do we have to fit in to the horse and pony show of modern living, rife with sickness, dysfunction, and obsessed with productivity and positivity. Other times, however, we will be able to snap out of a funk. In these cases we have at least some say in mitigating difficult states, apart from how they might ultimately benefit us.

We experience emotion in two primary ways. The first is in response to troubling environmental factors, events, or circumstances. In these cases, it’s usually safe to heed emotional signals at face value. Another way is to experience difficult emotions due to an imbalanced physiology such as illness (including mental illness) or another stressor. In these instances, it’s better not to listen to the voice or message of emotion and its distorted reasoning, or at least not take their perceived impact and significance to heart. For example, if you’re in a spat with your partner and irritated because you need to eat, get to sleep, be alone, or just chill out, it’s often wiser to just focus on taking care of yourself and not get into it with someone else. We might also need to grab the reins of our mind and control our negative thinking, which is absolutely appropriate during rough times—especially, for example, when we are looping negative thoughts.

All these self-help actions help “skim the surface” of feeling bad, which is to clear the superficial and temporary stress that contributes to circumstantial emotional flareups. After we self-care this way, our troubles usually seem smaller and less painful. Whatever emotional charge or realization left after skimming this top layer of stress, we can embrace and more confidently take to heart. To not self-care to relieve everyday stress is to suffer unnecessarily.

 Exercise, appropriate diet, and how supported we feel. all significantly influence our physiological state and therefore the duration and intensity of difficult emotional states.

The idea is to try to stay close to, and be with, our core emotional responses to real life events and to manage and discharge the extra energy these emotions generate due to mental obsession and physiological imbalance. For example, I might feel sad that I lost my girlfriend. I might feel extra sad if I lie on the couch all day and don’t force myself to get up and take a walk, eat something, or talk to friend. We have control over the latter, and not the former. In fact, we might not want to control our grief too much (so it can work on and change us), unless it’s unnecessarily physiologically generated and/or exacerbated by too much inactivity and stagnation.

To get in touch with our core emotions, we can activate and express them (Yang), or slow down and gently embrace them (Yin). This is where the jewels are—if we dig, or better, let ourselves be unearthed! Taking a break from digging and feeling tough feelings, however, is also crucial. This is healthy denial, when we focus on other things to give ourselves a break and so we can return to the inner work refreshed and with clearer perspective.

Lying around feeling sad all day might be helped by taking a walk, venting and being heard by a friend, or getting out to get out of our own head. Feeling angry for hours might be appropriately curbed by going for a run, pounding on some pillows, or finding genuine cause for laughter. But longer stints of grief, for example, might stay with us for months or years. Often, we don’t have much say in this. We can therefore surrender and be changed into what we can’t imagine by this wild wisdom of our deeper hearts.

An unfortunate alternative to embracing our difficult feeling states is turning to drugs, addiction, and excess avoidance, which usually create more suffering. What’s more, we miss out on the nourishing qualities hidden in challenging emotions—our finer jewels of being human—which we harvest by embracing them. Handled skillfully and with support, difficult times can be immense opportunities for growth, finding meaning and purpose in life, and reckoning with our demons. How we approach and handle difficulty is just as important, if not more so, than how we deal with easy times.

—–

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., MA, is Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. Weber’s latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or Twitter, where he can also be contacted for life-coaching and medical consultations.

Improve Your Energy, Sleep & Clarity!

Discover how Conscious Breathing can improve your life in just 10 days through our guided conscious breathing challenge!

Get access to daily videos, guided meditations, and community support to master conscious breathing basics. Release stress, activate heart coherence, improve digestion, sleep better and more!

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Consciousness

Using Human Intention To Help Manifest The Physical World Into Being

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many people believe that human intention has a direct impact on physical material reality. Quantum mechanics has played it's role in this belief. This article presents tips on how you can use your intention to better your life.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you want to change the world. Do you want to change your-self? Perhaps both are intertwined.

The idea that we actually manifest the physical world into being in every moment based on our thoughts used to be the stuff of fairy tales for most people. There was a sense that old sayings like ‘As ye think, so shall ye be,’ and ‘Everything is possible for him who believes,’ were considered to have some mysterious wisdom, but few really took them to be direct conditions of reality itself.

A little over a decade ago, however, many started to take the subject more seriously. The popularity of a movie and book entitled ‘The Secret,’ which brags 28+ million copies in print translated into 52 languages, was an important contributor to the popularization of the idea that we can manifest the things we want in our lives through the power of intention.

Has Our Belief Subsided?

I have observed over the past decade, at least in terms of the people and communities I am in contact with, that the belief and optimism in the power of intention has waned somewhat. While some people have gone forward and made the power of intention the centerpiece of their life’s activities, many who once tried to engage in such practices have since become disillusioned by the idea, a consequence of failed attempts, or have simply forgotten about it and returned their focus to strictly material processes to try and get what they want out of life.

Are you familiar with the idea? Have you made some attempts at manifesting through intention in the past, and have since shifted away from the practice? Let’s read on.

Feeling Good

To manifesting through intention is first to overcome what seems to be a logical paradox; as we try to visualize what we want  (a new car, lover, etc.), we have to somehow ‘feel good’ about the whole matter, as though we are not actually lacking what we want. As The Secret feature speaker Joe Vitale says,

It’s really important that you feel good. Because this feeling good is what goes out as a signal into the universe and starts to attract more of itself to you. So the more you can feel good, the more you will attract the things that help you feel good and that will keep bringing you up higher and higher.

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But how are we supposed to feel good about what we are lacking? Even those who have been highly successful at manifesting through intention have a devil of a time explaining how they are having positive feelings in relation to the exercise of bringing towards them something they don’t have enough of or don’t have any of.

In some writings on the subject, the ‘wanting’ of something as an intention does not bring to us the thing itself but only the continued ‘wanting’ of it. We are told that the proper mindset is to feel grateful for what we ‘want’, as though we already have it. But the fact is that we don’t have it! Otherwise we wouldn’t be asking for it. How do we get around this paradox?

The Real Secret: Become ‘Service To Others’

I believe the secret to overcoming this paradox is in understanding that there are mainly two types of people in the world: those who are oriented towards service to self, and those that are oriented towards service to others.

Those who are fundamentally ‘service to self’ see themselves as separate from the rest of humanity, they see the world’s resources as scarce, and they feel they have to compete with others to get what they want. In this state of fear, manifesting from intention becomes very difficult, because their fear of lack will always be more powerful than their ‘belief’ that they can get what they want.

Those who are fundamentally ‘service to others’ see all of humanity as connected, the world’s resources as unlimited, and in getting what they want they actually inspire others to get what they want. My favorite book on the subject, ‘The Science of Getting Rich,’ written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles, says it this way:

You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.

Win-Win

In choosing to manifest through intention in our lives this way, we can actually see our lives as modeling and inspiring others who are actively seeking their own desired manifestations. So it’s really a win-win mentality between ourselves and others. There are no ‘limits’ to what can be manifested. Wattles says that no matter how many people actively intend abundance, the material universe is compelled to bring it into being.

People who have a true service to others mentality serve others with a confidence that they will be served themselves, by universal design. When serving others authentically, there is love and lightness, and a genuine sense that we ‘have’ to give, and so we naturally feel gratitude for our own abundance. What we want is already a part of us, since we are connected to all things–so there’s no longer a contradiction in being grateful for what we want. This gratitude really embodies the amorphous ‘feel good’ of Joe Vitale, or the ‘higher vibration’ of so many other commentators.

If you have tried and given up on the process of manifesting through intention, it might be helpful to check if your intentions were always grounded in fear-based egocentric desire, as mine were in my earlier failed attempts to manifest. If you can make the move to orient your life to be in service of others—a monumental shift to be sure—you will see that manifesting through intention will become more natural, enjoyable, and ultimately successful.

 

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