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

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

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

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

--> Our latest podcast episode: Were humans created by extraterrestrials? Joe sits down with Bruce Fenton, multidisciplinary researcher and author to explore the fascinating evidence behind this question. 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.”

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.

Move on to Chapter 22…

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!

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Awareness

How Does Anesthesia Work? We Still Don’t Know: What Happens When Someone Goes “Under”?

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14 minute read

Before you begin...

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

When patients ask anesthesiologists what we charge for putting them to sleep, we often say we do it for free. We only bill them for the waking up part.

This isn’t just a way of deflecting a question, it also serves as a gentle reminder to both parties regarding the importance of “coming to.” If we couldn’t regain consciousness, what would be the point in having the surgery in the first place? Nobody wants to experience pain and fear if it can be avoided. If the only way to avoid the pain of an operation is to temporarily be rendered unconscious, most people will readily and willingly consent to that, as long as we can return to our natural state of being alert and interactive with the world around us. We are awake and aware and that–rather than any particular conception of health–is our most precious gift.

How does Anesthesia work ?

From an Anesthesiologist’s point of view, we really shouldn’t charge for putting someone to sleep. It’s too easy. With today’s medications, putting someone to sleep, or in more correct terms, inducing general anesthesia, is straightforward. Two hundred milligrams of this and fifty milligrams of that and voilà: you have a completely unconscious patient who is incapable of even breathing independently. The medications we administer at induction are similar to the lethal injections executioners use. Unlike executioners, we then intervene to reestablish their breathing and compensate for any large changes in blood pressure and the patient thereby survives until consciousness miraculously returns sometime later.

In addition, those in my field have to contend with the reality that we really don’t know what we are doing. More precisely, we have very little if any understanding of how anesthetic gases render a person unconscious. After 17 years of practicing Anesthesiology, I still find the whole process nothing short of pure magic. You see, the exact mechanism of how these agents work is, at present, unknown. Once you understand how a trick works, the magic disappears. With regard to inhaled anesthetic agents, magic abounds. 

Take ether, for example. In 1846 a dentist named William T.G. Morton used ether to allow Dr. Henry J. Bigelow to partially remove a tumor from the neck of a 24-year-old patient safely with no outward signs of pain. The surgery took place at Massachusetts General Hospital in front of dozens of physicians. When the patient regained consciousness with no recollection of the event it is said that many of the surgeons in attendance, their careers spent hardening themselves to the agonizing screams of their patients while operating without modern anesthesia, wept openly after witnessing this feat. At the time, no one knew how ether worked. We still don’t. Over the last 173 years, dozens of different anesthetic gases have been developed and they all have three basic things in common: they are inhaled, they are all very, very tiny molecules by biological standards, and we don’t know how any of them work.

Why we still don’t know…

If you have never closely considered how our bodies do what they do (move, breathe, grow, pee, reproduce, etc.), the answers may be astounding. It is obvious that the energy required to power biological systems comes from food and air. But how do they use them to do everything? How does it all get coordinated?

These are the fundamental questions that have been asked for millennia, by ancient shamans and modern pharmaceutical companies alike. It turns out that the answers are different depending on what sort of perspective and tools we begin with. In the West, our predecessors in medicine were anatomists. Armed with scalpels, the human form was first subdivided into organ systems. Our knives and eyes improved with the development of microtomes and microscopes giving rise to the field of Histology (the study of tissue). Our path of relentless deconstruction eventually gave rise to Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. This is where Western medicine stands today. We define “understanding” as a complete description of how the very molecules that comprise our bodies interact with one another. This method and model has served us well. We have designed powerful antibiotics, identified neurotransmitters, and mapped our own genome. Why then have we not been able to figure out how a gas like ether works? The answer is two-fold.

First, although we have been able to demonstrate some of the biological processes and structures that are altered by an inhaled anesthetic gas, we cannot pinpoint which ones are responsible for altering levels of awareness because inhaled anesthetic agents affect so many seemingly unrelated things at the same time. It is impossible to identify which are directly related to the “awake” state. It is also entirely possible that all of them are, and if that were the case consciousness would be the single most complex function attributed to a living organism by a very large margin.

The second difficulty we have is even more unwieldy and requires some contemplation. As explained above, western medicine has not been able to isolate which molecular interaction is responsible for anesthetics’ effect on our awareness. It is therefore reasonable to approach the puzzle from the opposite side and ask instead, “Where is the source of our awareness in our bodies?” and go from there.

We do know that certain neurological pathways in the brain are active in awake patients, but if we attribute consciousness to those pathways then we are necessarily identifying them as the “things” that are awake. To find the source of their “awakeness” we must then examine them more closely. With the tools we have and the paradigm we have chosen we will inevitably find more molecules interacting with other molecules. When you go looking for molecules that is all you will find. Our paradigm has dictated what the answer would be like if we ever found one. Does it seem plausible to think we will find an “awareness molecule” and attribute our vivid, multisensorial experience to the presence of it? If such a molecule existed, how would our deconstructive approach ever explain why that molecule was the source of our awareness?  Can consciousness ever be represented materially?

A more sensible model would be to consider the activity of these structures in the brains of conscious individuals as evidence of consciousness, not the cause of it.  To me it is apparent that, unless we expand our search beyond the material plane, we are not going to find consciousness or be able to understand how anesthetic gases work. Until then I know I am nothing more than a wand-waver in the operating room. And that is being generous. The magician is the anesthetic gas itself, which has, up to this point, never let us in on the secret.

What happens when someone goes “under”?

The mechanistic nature of our model is well suited to most biological processes. However, with regard to consciousness, the model not only lends little understanding of what is happening, it also gives rise to a paradigm that is widely and tightly held, but in actuality cannot be applied to the full breadth of human experience. We commonly believe that a properly functioning physical body is required for us to be aware. Although this may seem initially incontrovertible, upon closer examination it becomes quite clear that this belief is actually an assumption that has massive implications. To be more precise, how do we know that consciousness does not continue uninterrupted and only animate our physical bodies intermittently rather than the other way around, where the body intermittently gives rise to the awake state? At first, this hypothesis may seem absurd, irrelevant and unprovable. I assure you that if you spent a day in an operating room, this idea is not only possible, it is far more likely to be true than the converse.

Let us first consider how we measure anesthetic depth in the operating room. We continually measure the amount of agent that is circulating in a patient’s system, but as described earlier, there is no measurable “conscious” molecule that can be found. We must assess the behavior of our patients to make that determination. Do they reply to verbal commands? Do they require a tap on the shoulder or a painful stimulus to respond? Do they respond verbally or do they merely shudder or fling an arm into the air? Perhaps they do not even move when the very fibers of their body are literally being dissected.

There are many situations when a person will interact normally for a period of time while under the influence of a sedative with amnestic properties, and then have absolutely no recollection of that period of time. As far as they know, that period of time never existed. They had no idea that they were lying on an operating room table for 45 minutes talking about their recent vacation while their surgeon performed a minor procedure on their wrist, for example. Sometime later, they found themselves in the recovery room when, to their profound disbelief, they noticed a neatly placed surgical dressing on their hand. More than once I have been told that a patient had asked that the dressing be removed so that they could see the stitches with their own eyes.

How should we characterize their level of consciousness during the operation? By our own standards they were completely awake. However, because they have no memory of being awake during the experience, they would recount it more or less the same way a patient who was rendered completely unresponsive would. This phenomenon is common and easily reproducible. Moreover, it invites us to consider the possibility that awareness continually exists without interruption, but we are not always able to access our experiences retrospectively

During some procedures where a surgeon is operating very close to the spinal cord, we often infuse a combination of anesthetic drugs that render the patient unconscious but allow all of the neural pathways between the brain and the body to continue to function normally so that they can be monitored for their integrity. In other words, the physiology required to feel or move remains intact, yet the patient apparently has no experience of any stimuli, surgical or otherwise during the operation. How are we to reconcile the fact that we have a patient with a functioning body and no ability to experience it? Who exactly is the patient in this situation?

What can Near Death Experiences (NDEs) tell us?

If we broadened our examination of the human experience to consider more extreme situations, another wrinkle appears in the paradigm. There are numerous accounts of people who have experienced periods of awareness whilst their bodies have been rendered insentient by anesthetics and/or severe trauma. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are all characterized by lucid awareness that remains continuous during a period of time while outside observers assume the person is unconscious or dead. Very often patients who have experienced an NDE in the operating room can accurately recount what was said and done by people attending to them during their period of lifelessness. They are also able to describe the event from the perspective as an observer to their own body, often viewing it from above.

Interestingly, people describe their NDEs in a universally positive way. “Survival” was an option that they were free to choose. Death of their body could be clearly seen as a transcending event in their continuing awareness and not as the termination of their existence. Very often the rest of their lives are profoundly transformed by the experience. No longer living with the fear of mortality, life subsequently opens up into a more vibrant and meaningful experience that can be cherished far more deeply than was possible prior to their brush with death. Those who have had an NDE would have no problem adopting the idea that their awareness exists independently of their body, functioning or not. Fear and anxiety would still probably arise in their life from time to time, but it is the rest of us who carry the seemingly inescapable load of a belief system that ties our existence to a body that will perish.

What happens when we wake up from Anesthesia?

The waking up part is no less magical. When the anesthetic gas is eliminated from the body, consciousness returns on its own. Waking someone up simply requires enough space and time for it to occur spontaneously. There is no reversal agent available to speed the return of consciousness. I can only wait. In fact, the waiting period is directly related to the amount of time the patient has been exposed to the anesthetic. At some point the patient will open their eyes when a threshold has been crossed. Depending on how long the patient has been “asleep,” complete elimination of the agent from the body may not happen until a long while after the patient has “woke.” 

By the time I leave a patient in the care of our recovery room nurses, I am confident that they are safely on a path to their baseline state of awareness. Getting back to a normal state of awareness may take hours or even days. In some cases, patients may never get their wits back completely. Neurocognitive testing has demonstrated that repeated exposure to general anesthesia can sometimes have long-lasting or even irreversible effects on the awake state. It may occur for everyone. Perhaps it is a matter of how closely we look.

Interestingly, it is well known that the longterm effects of anesthetic exposure are more profound in individuals who have already demonstrated elements of cognitive decline in their daily life. Indeed, this population of patients requires significantly less anesthetic to reach the same depth of unconsciousness during an operation. This poses an intriguing question: Is our understanding of being awake also too simplistic? Is there a continuum of “awakeness” in everyday life just as there is one of unconsciousness when anesthetized? If so, how would we measure it?

Does our limited understanding of awareness keep us “asleep”?

Modern psychiatry has been rigorous in defining and categorizing dysfunction. Although there has been recent interest in pushing our understanding of what may be interpreted as a “super-functioning” psyche, western systems are still in their infancy with regard to this idea. In eastern schools of thought, however, this concept has been central for centuries.

In some schools of Eastern philosophy, the idea of attaining a super-functioning awake state is seen as something that also occurs spontaneously when intention and practice are oriented correctly. Ancient yogic teachings specifically describe super abilities, or Siddhis, that are attained through dedicated practice. These Siddhis include fantastical abilities like levitation, telekinesis, dematerialization, remote-viewing and others. The most advanced abilities, interestingly, are those that allow an individual to remain continuously in a state of joy and fearlessness. If such a state were attainable it would clearly be incompatible with the kind of absolute psychological identification most of us have with our mortal bodies. It may be of no surprise that Eastern medicine also subscribes to an entirely different perspective of the body and uses different tools to examine it.

Certainly fear has served our ancestors well, helping us to avoid snakes and lions, but how much fear is necessary these days? Could fear be the barrier that separates us from our highest potential in the awake state just as an anesthetic gas prevents us from waking in the operating room? It is not possible to remain fearless while continuing to identify with a body that is prone to disease and death. Even if one were to drop the assumption that the source of our existence is a finite body, how long would it take to be free from the effects of a lifetime of fearful thinking before any changes that reflect a shift in this paradigm manifest? As long as we leave this model unchallenged we may be missing what it means to be truly awake.

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!

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Consciousness

4 Key Steps To Heal From Any Kind Of Trauma

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7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Trauma can be seen as stress that has been trapped in the body. It can affect our daily life in many ways, and given our neuroplastic brain, trauma can create undesirable habits if gone unchecked.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you feel consistent stress? Perhaps unexplainable low energy? Feeling as though you are on edge for no reason? This could be a sign of a body and nervous system stuck in a trauma trained pattern.

Before you begin...

Coherent icon

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

Trauma can be challenging, but the moment we are willing to do work on it is the moment that so much potential for healing and growth opens up. The more aware we are of the bigger picture, the less we suffer.

As a general rule, the mind clings to negative, fear-based experiences as a biological survival mechanism. But when we can consciously step outside of our own stories, outdated beliefs, and personal perspective, we can empower personal transformation through self-awareness.

Below are some useful questions to ask yourself in different instances of trauma. They are designed to help clear your mind, open your heart, and begin the healing process.

1. Life Is About Evolution. Find The Lesson In Your Experience

The Big Bang has revealed a universe to us that is radically evolutionary. It is constantly growing, evolving, and developing, and has been for more than 14 billion years. Life is evolution. It is an ongoing process of transformation and conscious expansion. This is a natural law, and this means that from a higher perspective, all of the experiences in our lives are happening for us, not “to” us.

While things may create suffering on an egoic level, there is often a different layer of meaning from a higher perspective. You must be willing to look for the hidden order in your perceived chaos. Ask yourself:

What am I supposed to learn?

How did I play a part in the creation of this, and what habits or behaviours do I need to clear?

How can I grow from this?

These questions will take you out of a state of learned helplessness and begin shifting your mind to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

I recently worked with a client whose house burnt down. She was overcome with grief. While discussing the situation, she mentioned to me that it was also days within the ten-year anniversary of her husband’s death.

I asked her if she felt that the two situations were somehow connected. Right away, she mentioned that she had still kept all of her husband’s belongings in that house and their bedroom exactly the same, more than ten years later.

She also mentioned how consistently her family begged her to move on. One family member specifically said to her, “If you don’t let go and choose to move on, the universe will eventually force you to.” She felt that this was a lesson in moving forward in her life, and in letting go. She also knew that by holding on so tightly to the past, she was preventing new love and peace of mind from entering her life.

She knew it was time to let go, and as challenging as it would be, it couldn’t be more painful than spending every day trying to pretend that nothing had changed.

Finding the lesson is an important first step to opening our minds to the evolutionary process, and finding a higher meaning in the sequence of events occurring in our lives.

“The wound is the place where the light enters.”    – Rumi

2. See The Other Side

 Beyond simply learning from our experiences, we can also find the hidden benefits in all of the circumstances we are faced with.

Our beliefs and expectations will often create one-sided stories in our mind about whether events are good or bad. This often causes us to focus primarily on the drawbacks of unmet expectations. And yet the exact events that challenge us most in life often have the greatest unseen blessings embedded within them.

Ask yourself, “What are the unseen benefits of this traumatic experience?”

Based on the natural laws of duality that exist on our planet, this technique I’ve learned from Dr. Nima Rahmany in The Overview Method is very effective. It works to un-filter your selective perception so that you can see both sides in a traumatic situation.

Where are you being supported in the face of this challenge? How is this trauma actually supporting the things you care about most in your life?

If you are courageous enough, you will be willing to go directly into the challenges you face, open up your perspective, and do the work. The more benefits you find, the closer you will get to neutralizing the feeling of loss within yourself.

3. Look Beyond Your Perspective

There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is a feedback loop, while suffering is the story we create about the pain itself. It adds another layer to our pain

If someone else has hurt you, ask yourself: “Why, according to this person’s life story and perception of events, did this person feel justified in making their decision?”

Every single one of us makes a decision because the combination of our conscious + subconscious mind believes there are more benefits than drawbacks in that decision.

This means that everyone is always doing the best they can with what they understand at the time. And more often than not, the people who do the most careless or destructive things are often the ones hurting the most.

The same principle applies to you also, meaning that the notion of having regret is illusory. It is based on only being able to see the conscious mind’s perspective, putting us in a state of limited awareness. If we could open up the selective filter and see the bigger picture, we would find that the subconscious mind saw greater benefits in our decision at the time, that we weren’t consciously aware of.

In the words of Yehuda Berg, “Hurt people, hurt people.” With awareness and understanding, we can work to break the cycle.

4. Find What’s Missing

In the case of a traumatic loss, developed by Dr. John DeMartini:

All positive and negative particles in the universe are created simultaneously, in perfect one-to-one balance. We are made of these particles, and if these laws apply to all matter (in both quantum mechanics and classical physics), they must apply to the whole.

This perfect one-to-one balance exists within all things, but our senses create imbalanced perceptions. It is completely normal to become attached to the form of what we’ve lost, but it can be very healing to find where what we’re missing still exists in our lives.

Ask yourself, “What do I miss about who/what I’ve lost?”

For example, let’s say that you’ve lost a friend and you miss:

  1. His sense of humour
  2. Having deep conversations with him
  3. Playing video games
  4. His awesome hugs

Keep listing until you’ve covered all of the things you miss about that person.

Now, see where these things still appear in your life, but in different forms:

  1. Who do you laugh with now/who has a good sense of humour?
  2. Who do you have deep conversations with now?

Go through all of the traits that you’ve listed. Sometimes, you’ll have to look very carefully to open up your selective perception. The things you miss in your friend might not only come in the form of other people. For example, you might laugh with your aunt or siblings more often, but you might also find yourself watching more comedy television or funny videos.

If you look carefully, you will find that what you’re missing isn’t actually gone, it has only changed forms. Universal laws state that everything is always in a state of balance, a state of wholeness. While grieving is a necessary part of dealing with trauma, it is often the form we are attached to that creates the most suffering.

Then, what are the benefits of these new forms, that the old one didn’t have?

Some of these questions can be challenging to go through, but if you truly want to create transformation, they are well worth it.

Love yourself enough to do the work, ask the questions, and set yourself free. You deserve it.

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

Full Moon In Virgo: Taking Important Steps Forward

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IMAGE CREDIT: Sergey Svistunov

We are having a Full Moon in Virgo on February 27th which will appear the brightest on the night of the 26th for countries West of Central Asia and on the night of the 27th for countries East of there. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon in Aquarius on February 11th/12th. The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

Full Moons are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Virgo and the Sun in Pisces. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Virgoan side and others expressing the Piscean side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Virgo is an Earth sign ruled by Mercury. It is associated with tasks, duty, service, productivity, practicality, organizing, analyzing, perfection, physical health, cleanliness, sustainability, and purity. It is systematic, detailed, discerning, discriminating, diligent, and efficient. Virgo corresponds with problem solving, adjusting to changing conditions, and coming up with solutions. Negatively, Virgo energy can be cynical, overly critical, fussy, high strung, and too much in the head.

Pisces is a Water sign linked to Neptune and traditionally ruled by Jupiter. It is associated with sensitivity, compassion, empathy, spirituality, creativity, art, inspiration, dreams, imagination, oneness, and idealism. Pisces can be psychic, mystical, healing, and retreating. Negatively, this sign can also be unrealistic, flaky, elusive, delusional, and deceptive. Drugs, alcohol, escapism, fantasy, and illusions are also under the domain of Pisces.

Full Moon Opposing Venus and Trine Uranus, Both Planets In A Sextile With Each Other

This Full Moon is in a trine with Uranus in Taurus. This can be a stimulating energy which can be good for trying new things or anything involving originality, innovation, technology, metaphysics, or science. Some people may also experience breakthroughs or surprises in a way that is welcoming and beneficial in most cases.

The Full Moon also opposes Venus in Pisces which will be closely behind the Sun over the next month until they make an exact conjunction in late March. Venus themes pertaining to love, relationships, friends, values, pleasures, money, and aesthetics may also be at odds with duties and other Virgo themes mentioned. This can also emphasize certain Piscean energies such as creativity, art, escapism, and intoxication. However, if we emphasize the Virgo side of the polarity, this can also be good for productive efforts around our relations, finances, art, or other Venus ruled areas of life.

The combination of all of this can also reflect taking new creative approaches to things which can be potentially for our work. Social, romantic, and financially related occurrences and undertakings can be exciting, unusual, liberating, ingenious, tech related, or experience a positive and/or evolutionary change. Generally, Venus in Pisces can also bring a magical, spiritual, or compassionate tone in our relations with others which can also play into this configuration with Uranus. This energy will build up as we approach March 3rd/4th when Venus will make its exact sextile with Uranus.

Virgo Ruler Mercury Conjunct Jupiter & In Post Retrograde Shadow

The ruler of this Full Moon is Mercury which had finished its retrograde in Aquarius on February 20th/21st. From that point until March 12th/13th it is in its post retrograde shadow which is the conclusion of the retrograde process. Certain areas of our lives that have experienced shifts, complications, changes in perception, or revisitation over the last month are becoming more clear. Things will fall into place more easily and we will be in a better position to proceed ahead in a way that is revised based on what has transpired.

Mercury is closely approaching a conjunction with Jupiter in the same sign of Aquarius. This can be good for anything educational or applying our minds in expansive or explorative ways. Thinking or communicating about the big picture, ideals, or undertakings involving media, marketing, or foreign places may also come up. This energy will be strong on March 4th/5th and build up as we approach that date.

Halfway Point Between Eclipses with Squares To Lunar Nodes

This Full Moon is in a square aspect with the previous Lunar Eclipse in Gemini which is also a grand cross when we factor in the oppositions with the Sun. The period between now and the next New Moon in Pisces marks the halfway period between the previous eclipse season in November/December (which also included a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius) and the upcoming one in May/June.

We may experience developments pertaining to the themes of these eclipses. It can be a time of making important steps forward while also releasing certain expressions of ourselves or expired aspects of our life to help us in our evolution. The areas of our lives that are being affected by these eclipses depend on how they are configured to our natal astrology charts and are also connected to expressions of Gemini and Sagittarius.

Developments connected to communication, information, duality, intellectual matters, our immediate environment, local issues, neighborhood/neighbors, or siblings, cousins, or friends from an earlier part of our life can be part of this process. This is represented by the North Node and previous Lunar Eclipse in Gemini. The Sagittarius side of this polarity can reflect shifts connected to beliefs, opinions, dogmas, judgments, morals, higher education, travel, foreign lands, and excessiveness.

A significant part of this halfway period will be on March 5th/6th when the Sun will be in a square with the Lunar nodes. The themes and potentialities mentioned in the above paragraphs can come up more strongly at that time. Considerations may involve where we are coming from and where we are heading or being stuck between things that can be holding us back and things that can facilitate growth. Activities and developments happening at this time can also involve incorporating beneficial aspects of the past and applying/experiencing them in an evolved or forward moving way.

On March 9th/10th, Venus will also be in a square with the Lunar Nodes. The themes mentioned in the above paragraph may come up again. However, they can also involve Venus ruled areas such as love, friendships, financial matters, values, pleasures, art, aesthetics, and creativity. We may experience turning points or perhaps we may also feel that we are at a crossroads when it comes to these areas.

Things To Consider

How can you integrate creativity, compassion, spirituality, inspiration, originality, or innovation into your work, duties, and service to others? What new approaches can you take for your health or to help you be more organized, productive, and efficient? Do you need to be more attentive to details? What is coming up for you now, and in the days prior to this Full Moon, that is bringing more clarity to help you move forward in a revised way? How do your friendships, social network, groups, the collective, technology, innovation, ideals, the big picture, education, or media tie in to this?

Is there a connection between current/recent developments, issues, insights, realizations, or ideas with happenings that occurred for you back in November and/or December? If so, these newer developments can be a next step for you to proceed forward in new ways and move on from certain behaviors, tendencies, or aspects of life that are holding you back.

These are just some examples of themes that could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime over the two weeks following when it is waning. The exact moment of this Full Moon is at 8:17am Universal Time on February 27th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology-related content.

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I’m currently doing a DISCOUNT with 20-30% off personal readings Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.

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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