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Neuroscience Learns What Buddhism Has Known For Ages: Mindfulness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Neuroscience and spirituality have been complementing each other for many years now, and one area we see a connection is with regards to mindfulness. This is defined as an attention training which can benefit health and general well-being.

  • Reflect On:

    How often do you practice mindfulness? Is it something you think about? How often do you use your consciousness and mindfulness techniques to help you with your overall health and well-being? Why was this stuff once considered 'pseudoscience?'

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.

Mindfulness is defined as an attention training which can benefit health and general well-being. There is a lot scientific research confirming it. In this article we will present the other type of attention training called Open Focus. We believe, combining these two approaches may help to understand attention training better and to experience its benefits faster.

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What Is Mindfulness?

In its most basic form, Mindfulness means to pay attention to what’s happening, on purpose, in the present moment, and to do so without judgement. Originally from Buddhist roots, it was introduced into the West by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin and the University of Massachusetts. Since its appearance in the West around twenty years ago, many people have participated in the Mindfulness based stress reduction course and similar programs. Research shows that participants may experience profound benefits such as reduced stress, a greater sense of well-being, increased clarity and focus, and improved sleeping patterns.

-->Watch a free sneak peek of our new course: Our latest course focuses on how to improve your critical thinking and become more aware of bias. Click here to check it out!

According to Dr. Kabat-Zin, by paying attention in a certain way, we can switch off our so-called autopilot mode, in which we often go through life unaware of what’s happening within and around us. Living on autopilot not only means that we miss out on a lot of the richness of life, but we are also more likely to be stressed. Stress and autopilot are linked because when we are on autopilot, we are much more likely to act out unhelpful or even damaging patterns of behaviour. In other words, we react instead of respond to challenging experiences in our life. Mindfulness helps us to become aware of these habitual patterns and gives us a choice to change how we relate to challenging experiences. It’s not about taking stress away or hoping to live a life without any stress, but rather fundamentally changing how we relate to the things we experience.

On the other hand, many of us spend much of our time living in our heads. We live in a kind of virtual reality consisting of thoughts and inner dialogue, and thoughts tend to relate either to the past or to the future. Mindfulness helps us to learn how to return to the present and to what’s actually happening rather than our perceptions of what’s happening, which are often inaccurate. We practice it by cultivating greater somatic awareness — that is, awareness of the body, because the body is always in the present moment.

Ultimately, the more we practice Mindfulness and observe the changing nature of experience, the more we may begin to sense that what we previously thought of as being tangible and solid, such as our sense of self, is actually quite transitory and ephemeral. We may begin to understand what lies beyond objects arising in awareness such as sensations, thoughts, and emotions. We may begin to experience awareness itself. This is an extremely significant moment in practice and in life, when we start to experience ourselves as something greater than what we observe and our sense of being the observer.

In Mindfulness, attention generaly focuses on one object (such as the breath, sensations in the body, thoughts, or emotions), exploring it with a sense of curiosity and interest. Another way Mindfulness can be practiced is through Open Monitoring or Open Awareness, where no particular object of experience is selected and there is an openness to all that is unfolding within awareness. Here too, however, as various objects pass through awareness, attention is often paid to each object in a narrowly focused wa

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What Is Open Focus?

Open Focus is the name of an attention training program created by Dr. Lester Fehmi, a neuroscientist and psychologist from Princeton University. Dr. Fehmi found that once our whole brain activity becomes more synchronous in alpha frequency, our mental and physical health improves. He created a series of mind exercises that help to cultivate this brainwave pattern, and he designed a neurofeedback EEG machine that can detect it.

On the basis of his findings, Dr. Fehmi developed The Four Attention Styles theory, which describes four different ways we can pay attention, and relates these styles to brain physiology.

According to Dr Fehmi, pain, stress, anxiety, and other challenges make our attention narrow and objective. It is natural to narrow our attention (focus) on pain or a problem in order to deal with it efficiently, but most people overuse this style in everyday life. They are unaware that it keeps them in continuous ‘fight or flight’ mode (see this post). Moreover, habitual focusing creates an impression that the reality consists of separated objects, since we can focus on only one thing at a time, leaving the rest outside of our focus. It can make us feel distant, alienated, and lonely.

Dr. Fehmi says we can begin relating to what’s difficult in a more balanced, accepting way by diffusing our attention. Diffusing allows us to see the big picture and connect (immerse) with its elements. It helps to realign with the world and to create healthy relationships. This style is linked to the ‘rest and digest’ part of our physiology and makes the whole brain activity more synchronous in alpha frequency, which can be confirmed by Dr. Fehmi’s machine (see graph below).

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Dr. Fehmi suggests everyone’s attention should be flexible, meaning that you can alternate between ‘narrow and objective’ and ‘diffused and immersed’ styles of attention or balance all at the same time. Dr. Fehmi says that the way we pay attention is directly linked to our well-being. Once you are able to balance your attention, you can positively influence your mind and body.

During Open Focus training, we practice diffusing by becoming simultaneously aware of many objects. The object can be everything you can focus on, like a physical object, a sound, a taste, a thought, a feeling, a sensation from the body, etc. Then you can progress to awareness of the space between objects, like the space between physical objects, the silence between sounds, or the breaks between thoughts, etc. Finally, you become aware of space between and inside objects which, according to Dr. Fehmi, helps us achieve diffused and immersed style. In this style of attending, all objects (including yourself) dissolve in space and you immerse with reality, becoming fully connected.

Are Mindfulness and Open Focus Complementary?

Open Focus and Mindfulness are not distinct and competing practices but rather highly complementary.

Mindfulness helps us to learn to pay attention to our experience and to notice how we are relating to it. Open Focus then builds upon the benefits and skills of Mindfulness by training us not just to pay attention, but to be more aware of how we are paying attention and to be more flexible in our attention styles.

We then have the benefits of two complementary practices available to us: learning to pay attention and being flexible in how we pay attention. We could say that Mindfulness is an excellent foundation for Open Focus training and that Open Focus helps us to get the most from Mindfulness training.

What Can Open Focus Offer Mindfulness?

As mentioned, much Mindfulness practice is based on a narrow way of paying attention (that is, we are focused on one object). Although it is useful in helping us to be more aware of what is happening in the moment, overusing this style may lead to tightness and overexertion in unexperienced practitioners, since many people think they have a choice of staying watchful (mindful) of what is happening, or they slip into daydreaming. They keep trying harder and it makes them exhausted and it sometimes leads to frustration and disappointment.

We therefore propose that Open Focus can bring to Mindfulness the idea of paying attention in the diffused style and the concept of attention flexibility.

Mindfulness practitioners who learn how to diffuse their attention may find that it helps them to progress. There are several reason for this.

The diffused attention style tends to quickly quiet internal chatter. For example, it is sometimes enough to become aware of sensations coming from both hands and at the same time to sense peace and calmness of the mind. It is because synchronous alpha brain waves play a top-down inhibitory role in the brain network. The quiet mind makes observing without judgment much easier.

In diffused attention style, you do not redirect your attention from one object to another, but  rather redistribute it between many objects, which are attended at the same time. The only way to do it is to attend objects in a very soft (less rigid, relaxed) way. This skill can then be used in everyday life. For example, you can stay continuously aware of breathing while listening to someone talking to you and there is no struggle between competing objects in your awareness. It helps to continuously sense the present moment and it has very practical applications (see this post).

It is important to note that in this style, one of the objects you pay attention to could be your daydreaming. Including daydreaming into the diffused attention helps to reduce struggle with it during practice. It is possible (and quite easy) to accept daydreaming as one of many objects you pay attention to (see this post). It can be easily extended to everyday life and it helps to stay present.

In order to become fully aware of the world, it can be helpful to cultivate a more diffused than focused attention style. Focused attention requires one to cut off a lot of what is really happening around us and it restricts experience to a narrow stream of sensations. In the diffused attention style, you are aware of the object and its background (see this post). This may broaden the perspective, helping to put things into context. It may also help to disable an autopilot and develop one’s ability to respond as opposite to reacting.

 As mentioned previously, Open Focus exercises cultivate an awareness of space around and inside objects. Once a practitioner is aware of space inside the object, it may become softer, lighter, and easier to be with and observe (for example when we attend an unwanted emotion). By switching to a diffused attention style, the difficulty may be diluted by a broader spectrum of attention. This could be likened to putting a teaspoon of salt in an egg cup filled with water and tasting it — the water would taste very salty. If the same teaspoon of salt were put in a swimming pool, it would be difficult to taste the salt. Mindfulness enables us to be aware that there is salt in the water, but Open Focus allows us to experience the salt in the context of the swimming pool rather than the egg cup!

The diffused and immersed attention style helps to dissolve objects like pain or unwanted feelings. Mindfulness practitioners are sometimes encouraged to bring attention to an ache in the back and to observe how this ache feels, exploring how it would be to allow the ache to be there. In Open Focus, they might feel the ache but at the same time feel the space around and in the ache together with the space in the room. In addition, they might imagine that we are part of the ache itself, allowing themselves to become immersed in the ache. This sometimes makes the pain or feeling softer, blurred with its background, and then it may naturally and effortlessly dissolve. The dissolving pain and unwanted feelings process is well documented in Dr Fehmi’s book.

Conclusion

Mindfulness teaches us to pay attention to our experiences so that we can interrupt habitual patterns of relating to ourselves and the world that may not be helpful for us. Open Focus enhances Mindfulness practice by teaching us not just to pay attention, but to bring more awareness to how we are paying attention.

As this article has demonstrated, these are two highly complementary and mutually reinforcing practices. Ultimately, with both we can learn to be present and be flexible in how we are present, after which we may uncover an unlimited sense of peace and love that lies beneath the ‘noise’ that we are usually confronted with and try to suppress.

In scientific terms, this may be regarded as homeostasis; in more spiritual language, this may be regarded as revealing our true nature or higher self. These practices may lead us to fulfil our personal and evolutionary potential and to live lives with grace and ease.

How You Can Try Mindfulness and Open Focus

We could write a lot but more about Mindfulness and Open Focus, but the best way to know them is to feel them!

You can try some good Mindfulness exercises here: Breathing Into Being, Taking In The Good, Self Compassion.

There is a choice of Open Focus exercises on Dr Fehmi’s and Tomasz’s website (the main difference is that most of Tomasz’s exercises are shorter and they are designed to introduce diffusing and to bring a quick and noticeable experience).

 MOF

This article was written with Mrs. Sarah Gulland a Mindfulness teacher who works from London, Guildford and Sussex.

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Consciousness

A New Media Approach For Improved Sense-Making Through Physiological Coherence

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CE Staff Writer 8 minute read

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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 simple exercise you were just introduced to is designed to help create a physiological heart brain connection that has been shown to improve memory, learning, problem-solving and discernment.

Since 2009, Collective Evolution has been committed to forging a radically new approach to media and the discussion of current events. Over the years scientific research has come to support the approach we have been taking to help improve the way people consume and synthesize information in order to make meaningful choices in their lives and in society.

Since part of our mission at CE is to observe what is happening in our world from a more neutral point of view, asking what about us and our current human story creates our world, society, ideas, day to day choices, and policies to be the way they are, it was important to us to develop a style that encourages people to be in a state of mind and being where they’re more open to exploring new ideas without bias, cognitive distortions, and immediate resistance.

This discussion is worthy of consideration as most platforms either focus on simple ‘feel good’ or ‘well being’ based content, or focus on news from a purely journalistic sense, often with a political bias. Since our content focus is on both personal transformation and news/current events from a new approach, we have chosen to actually measure whether or not people are having a more positive experience consuming current event information. A recent research survey that will be publicized in March 2021 will show the positive results of CEs approach on audiences well being, emotional state, and development of critical thinking over the 12 years CE has been doing this work.

Coherence & Optimal Function

Decades of research shows that our hearts send more information to our brains than our brains send to our hearts. When our body’s heart is beating in what is called an ‘incoherent rhythm’, it sends a message to our brains and nervous system that produces suboptimal function that leads to a reduction in our ability to learn, make effective decisions, problem-solve, critically think, and self regulate our emotions.

When our heart is beating in a coherent rhythm, it sends coherent signals to the brain and nervous system that then brings each of these systems into synchronization physiologically. The result is opposite of that of incoherent signals. Research shows an improvement in our ability to think clearly, navigate information, make decisions, remember things, and communicate. All of this can come from as little as 60 – 90 seconds of practices like the one we place at the top of each of our articles. Over time, these practices also helps to build self-awareness which helps us see our own bias’ more clearly.

Further research has shown that a connection between thoughtful breathing and the production of a compound in the cerebrum called noradrenaline. This compound goes about as a “mind compost” that is delivered when we are feeling tested, inquisitive, or centered.

Our Unique & Research Backed Style

At CE we have found that the pathway to meaningful and sustainable change in our lives and society comes from being able to self-regulate our emotions, understand and change our habits and patterns, and also from learning how to navigate information in our world in such a way that allows us to carry our personal transformation into the realm of societal change.

In other words, sometimes people can have a spiritual practice or work on personal transformation, but don’t often apply their transformation to questioning or re-imagining things like current events, society, or politics. We are at a critical time in humanity’s history where faith in existing institutions is deteriorating rapidly, typically based on a right intuition people have that these institutions don’t work in their favor. We must begin exploring why our world is in need of change, and at the same time be able to shift our consciousness and thinking enough that we can make societal changes from a new way of thinking and being.

In 2009, we chose to focus our journalistic, video and education content in alignment with these findings. Focusing on a sense of ease, curiosity, and playfulness in our style. We don’t intend on trying to convince people to believe what we are reporting on, instead we encourage them to openly explore and question. This has had a dramatic affect on how people feel when consuming our content, and how they understand what we’re producing.

Commonly reported feedback from our audience includes things like feeling more grounded, hopeful, inspired, clear, and empowered to take action in their personal lives and society. Our readers also report that they tend not to feel a notion of ‘us vs. them’ and division that often occurs when consuming media about current events. Interestingly, readers have also commonly reported that after repeated consumption of our articles, videos, podcasts or courses, they notice a stark difference in how they feel when they consume content from more traditional alternative or mainstream media. This was also a huge discovery for us as it suggests that people’s relationship with other forms of alternative media can bring them new information but does not necessarily help their well being and sense of inspiration to act.

To us, all these suggest that our style not only informs but helps to create a noticeable shift in our audiences state of being. We don’t feel that it is us doing this for our reader, we feel the style and platform invites the reader to, by nature, build their self-awareness, practice emotional regulation, and think more clearly. Imagine how this will ripple out into the world as a result. Imagine how different conversations would be about current events if more had access to this approach.

Controversial Topics & Meaningful Change

At CE, we sometimes cover ‘controversial’ topics that as a society we are often resistant to explore, whether we have a spiritual practice or not. Many of our colleagues and friends in the personal transformation space have chosen not to explore some of these subjects much as they don’t quite align with their brand messaging or line of work, we respect and agree with their choices. However, we saw this as an important challenge to take on in our work as these ‘tough’ conversations need to be had, and we believe they can be done in a way that inspires change and well being.

Culture today is often uncomfortable with uncertainty and thus open inquiry and examination of new evidence has shut off around certain subjects. In our minds, this is causing a very societally impactful sense-making crisis in which we have become divided, distressed, emotional, and unclear as to what is actually going on around us. With this, we are quick to react and are often living on edge. As research shows, when we make decisions within our lives and society based on this state of being, they are often ineffective, suboptimal, and create further disharmony.

Our research has shown that 63% of our audience feels that CE helps them explore tough or controversial subjects while feeling less emotionally charged when compared to when others report on it, whether it’s a mainstream or alternative media source. This was a very inspiring statistic for us as we feel this makes a meaningful contribution towards shifting the way media is told to bring about a better society, without being limited to only focusing on ‘good news’ which has many limitations and, we feel, does not lead to deep societal change.

In our work we have found that combining personal transformation and emotional regulation with the openness to re-imagine society and explore new ideas, even when they are controversial, has created the greater sense of empowerment, clarity and well-being amongst our readers.

In short, our work has helped to provide a path to self-awareness, practice, and the skills to tackle information openly and coherently, thus readers are not triggered by disagreements and different perspectives, and are able to synthesize information into meaningful practice, solutions, and actions steps.

We’re at a critical time for developing a greater sense of self awareness, openness, and increased critical thinking so that we can better explore information without our emotions, biases, and pre-conceived notions getting in the way and shutting down our inquiry.

At Collective Evolution we feel that the journey to creating collective change is one founded upon personal transformation, what might be called a shift in consciousness, which is to say: we must generate a greater conscious awareness of ourselves, how we function, how to regulate our emotions, and think more clearly about what is going on around us. When we make this shift, our perception about life, society and what is possible dramatically shifts, and we begin to tap into a new story about humanity and what we want to create.

With this new story, coherence, and connection to self, we have found that people are inspired to work towards creating a greater sense of harmony and coherence in their lives and society as well. Effectively being able to see how new and emerging ideas can build a new foundation for society, instead of making small adjustments to our current society that’s built on an old and outdated story.

To more fully explore our work, participate in practical courses and engage with a like minded community, consider becoming a member of CETV. Your participation not only helps to empower change in your personal life and society, but also helps support the continuation of our unique and impactful work.

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Alternative News

Researchers Outline Reality of Psychic Ability & Explore Whether It May ‘Run In The Family’

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CE Staff Writer 8 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is commonly believed that psychic ability, like many mental and physical traits, runs in families. This suggests the presence of a genetic component. Researchers recently decided to search for one among people with psychic abilities.

  • Reflect On:

    Can special abilities, or psychic abilities be passed down? Are these abilities innate and lying dormant within all of us?

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.

‘Psychic ability’ comes in many different forms, from telepathy to clairvoyance or remote viewing, there are a number of phenomena that have been demonstrated under strict scientific controls that have yielded statistically significant and repeatable results. There are also multiple declassified documents that have been archived by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) via their electronic reading room, for example, pertaining to individuals with “special abilities” who are able to perform feats like telekinesis, or healing at a distance. You can access a few examples of that here, and here where I go more into depth.

The literature in this area, from peer-reviewed research all the way to examples from the within the defense departments of  multiple countries, is quite robust. It’s another subject seen as fringe and in-credible yet has more than enough evidence to for a reasonable person to deem these abilities as possible.

The researchers of a recent study published in EXPLORE titled “Genetics of psychic ability – A pilot case-control exome sequencing study” decided to search for some sort of genetic link among people with psychic abilities. They explain:

Many cognitive and perceptual abilities are associated with genetic factors. An open question is whether or not extraordinary “psychic” abilities such as mind-to-mind communication (in the vernacular, telepathy), knowledge of future events before they occur (precognition), and perception of hidden or remote events (clairvoyance), might also be associated with genetic factors. Evidence of the reality of such extraordinary abilities has been offered by multiple meta-analysis of experiments conducted over the past century, which demonstrate independent repeatability and robust statistical significance.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that extraordinary manifestations of these abilities run in families.. Few formal studies have evaluated the genetics of psychic abilities. Telepathy studies with identical and non-identical twins have found mixed evidence for greater concordance among identical versus nonidentical twins on telepathy task performanceOther case studies of families with data on up to four generations have been conducted. The pattern of familial transmission in second sighthas also been examined. This capacity is defined as “a special psychic ability believed to be a natural faculty of mind, regarded as an inborn gift by some andan affliction by others…Second sight implies that there are two forms of sight. One is normal sight and the other is the ability to have prophetic visions which occur spontaneously and arrarely directed at will.” Second sight is considered hereditary within the Scottish tradition. A formal pedigree analysis of second sight found an autosomal dominant pattern f inheritance. Other studies have evaluated the relationships between psychic abilities and the temporal lobe. However, to our knowledge, no similar investigations have been conducted using modern genetics techniques.

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? For the study, more than 3,000 candidates from around the world were selected and screened through two online surveys. This was done to locate people who claimed that they, as well as other family members, had some form of psychic ability. Eligible candidates were then selected as the final “psychic cases,” and then age, sex, and ethnicity-matched individuals, with no claims of psychic ability, were selected as the controls.

DNA from the saliva of the 23 participants were subjected to “whole-exome sequencing.” This is a test that looks at most of the genes within an individual. After this, two independent bioinformatics analyses were blindly applied to the sequenced data. This means the ones doing the analyses had no idea about the results the other lab was getting. They were completely separate.The analyses focused on protein-coding sequences and another one included some adjacent noncoding sequences.

According to the researchers:

Sequencing data were obtained for all samples, except for one in the control group that did not pass the quality controls and was not included in further analyses. After unblinding the datasets, none of the protein-coding sequences (i.e., exons) showed any variation that discriminated between cases and controls. However, a difference was observed in the intron (i.e., non-protein-coding region) adjacent to an exon in the TNRC18 gene (Trinucleotide Repeat-Containing Gene 18 Protein) on chromosome 7. This variation, an alteration of GG to GA, was found in 7 of 9 controls and was absent from all psychic cases.

You can access the full study here.

This means the study did not find any significant markers suggesting that these abilities may be genetic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. We already know through epigenetic studies that various traits are passed down to offspring, be it physical or even emotional. It is interesting that the study did however identify a noncoding variant that was largely restricted to non-psychic controls.

The most conservative interpretation of these results is that they result from random population sampling. However, when the results are considered in relation to other lines of evidence, the results are more provocative. Further research is justified to replicate and extend these findings.

Keep in mind, the researchers did test those who claimed to have psychic ability and overall they scored better on the tests than those who did not. There were many limitations to this study, and a big one was the size of the number of people used for the study.

Given the fact that, in the researchers experience and based on my research and examples that I’ve written about, these abilities are undoubtedly real, so looking for some sort of genetic component is quite reasonable and would have tremendous implications.

The researchers explain:

The identification of genes involved in psychic abilities has the potential to yield clues about their distribution within the general population and also their evolutionary origins. Such a finding may also have clinical value because it may help inform the development of pharmacological or environmental interventions to enhance or suppress such abilities, and clinical performance applications could be used. Enhancing these abilities could augment decision-making in many contexts, stimulate creativity in art and science, and improve diagnosis of disease, insofar as these faculties and activities may be partly dependent on, or enhanced by, psychic ability.

For example, perhaps telepathic communications could be developed for individuals living with communication disabilities, such as aphasia or cerebral palsy. On the other hand, suppressing these abilities might alleviate psychotic symptoms in some individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, insofar as “disordered” psychic manifestations may be at risk factor in these individuals.

The Takeaway: Studies within the realm of parapsychology, which encompasses the study of various psychic abilities mentioned in this article, are abundant. Many show eye-opening repeatable results. Remote viewing is one of many great examples, showing “successful replication” by yielding “significant scientific evidence.” (source)

The methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked. Dr. Dr. Jessica Utts, former Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine (source)

Again, there are also documented real world examples that defy belief linked earlier within this article, which brings me to my next point. Much of the science produced today, in my opinion, isn’t really following the scientific method. By that I mean discoveries that challenge what we once thought we knew, and ones that have paradigm shifting implications for humanity, are often ignored and unacknowledged. We see this all the time in the field of parapsychology.

“There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing.”
 Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

Why do we fail to properly confront new concepts and ideas that don’t fit within the frame? Studies and results from these realms truly call into question what we think we know about the nature of reality and human potential. They will force humanity to open up to a broader view of reality that currently may not fit within the accepted framework of knowledge in the minds of many. But if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change.

Discoveries in this field, I believe, will lead to the realization that love, compassion, thoughts, emotions and service to others are key for humanity to move forward. It’s more than likely that this is the true nature of human beings, not competition and separation.

These must be our priority, we have to change the way we think here on planet Earth. If we continue to operate from a place of greed, ego, and have a lust for power, control and material wealth, which are cultural learnings, not necessarily our nature, we will not move forward to a thriving world. Non-material science has the potential to change the way we perceive the world, and ask the deeper questions like, why do we live the way we do when we can create a human experience where everybody can thrive? How can a race that is so intelligent and technologically advanced be so politically and morally corrupt?

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Taking Bold Action

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5 minute read

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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.

We are having a New Moon in Aries during the later hours of April 11th in the Americas and on the 12th everywhere else in the world. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned throughout this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Scorpio on April 26th/27th.

Aries season began at the Equinox (on March 20th globally this year) as it always does, as per the framework of the Tropical Zodiac. Being the first of twelve signs, and initiator of a transitional season, it begins the Astrological New Year. However with this New Moon actually occurring in Aries as well, it will crank up the energies of this sign even more so in comparison to the previous weeks that were part of a lunar cycle initiated by a New Moon in Pisces.

Aries is the domain of self, independence, and individual needs. As a Cardinal Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is assertive, courageous, direct, pioneering, and leading. It is initiating, quick, bold, energetic, and warrior-like. Negatively, this energy can be inconsiderate, selfish,  hot tempered, combative, restless, impatient, aggressive, and overly competitive. Aries lacks thoroughness due to its quick forward energy.

New Moon Conjunct Mercury & Venus In Aries

This New Moon is close to both Mercury and Venus. This can reflect a period in which our social interactions and engagement with others can be more lively. Both Mercury and Aries have a busy moving type of energy and we may feel more active, physically and/or mentally, as a result.

The conjunction of both of these planets with this New Moon also means it is tied into cycles that each of those planets have with the Sun. Venus recently joined the Sun in the last week of March and it is now travelling ahead of it in zodiacal position.

In recent weeks this has been a time in which we experienced shifts, developments, endings, beginnings, or more clarity around Venus areas of friends, love, social dynamics, values, worth, or financial matters in some cases. This New Moon and the weeks following can continue this process, especially when it comes to beginnings or newer ways of expressing ourselves in these areas.

Mercury is now approaching the Sun as they will make their conjunction on April 18th/19th. At that time we may experience developments, which may be significant, connected to what has transpired during its previous retrograde in February and how things have unfolded since then. From there, these things may develop further with a better perception, or circumstances may indicate lack of sufficiency, not what was anticipated, or that something needs to change.

Planets In Aries Square Pluto & Sextile Mars Trine Jupiter

This New Moon, along with Venus and Mercury, are in a square with Pluto and sextile with Mars and Jupiter. Pluto combined with Aries and Mars energy can reflect a period of intensity. However, it can also play out as issues around power, control, manipulation, jealousy, insubordination, or subversion.  It can also be revealing, psychological, compulsive, transforming, and purging.

The sextile with Mars in Gemini adds to the lively, assertive, instinctual, and energetic expressions of Aries. The Aries’ planets sextile to Jupiter, which is also trine Mars, can be good for applying ourselves in a way that is expansive, optimistic, educational, philosophical, explorative, freedom seeking, or centered around beliefs. New doors may open up and it can even be lucky for some people.

Uranus square Saturn (mentioned here in a previous article) is still in the backdrop as it will be throughout the year. Although it’s not in one of its strong periods, themes of ‘freedom/rebellion/revolution being at odds restrictions/limitations/traditions are still playing out. This may get activated in different ways by this new lunar cycle and the Aries energy that has already been present over the previous weeks following the Astrological New Year.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

How would you like to grow and expand and what do you need to change to get there? In what areas do you need to be more bold or courageous? What have your relationships shown you in recent weeks? What is important for your individuality? What are your personal needs? What do you stand for and should you be fighting for it? Do you need to be a leader in any aspects of your life? Are there any new things that you want to explore?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 2:31am Universal Time on April 12th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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