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Thoughts On Life After Death – Does ‘Consciousness’ Survive When We Die?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Some fascinating research has been conducted over the past several years that make the discussion of life after death quite interesting.

  • Reflect On:

    Ancient wisdom and teachings have been 'proven' right with regards to quantum physics, neuroscience and health in many different ways. Would the same apply to life after death? Can we ever really know?

With over 100 years of research into the nature of death and survival of consciousness, a more sophisticated way of looking at the evidence seems to be emerging. Based on a number of interviews and wide reading, Lance Butler outlines a new understanding based on science as well as spiritual experience.

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Even Life after Death changes; like everything else, ideas about Survival have both a history and, if I can put it this way, a future. Some changes are modestly noticeable if one first looks back to the heyday of Spiritualism and the founding of the SPR in the late nineteenth century and then forward to the late twentieth century. In that time ouija boards, to put it schematically, were replaced by NDE research. But there is also a feeling of sameness, even latterly of stagnation, over the period.

During the last twenty or thirty years, too, things have moved forward slowly, but the feeling one still gets reading the main summarising or investigative texts in the field – say Gary Schwartz’s The Afterlife Experiments of 2003 or David Fontana’s Is There An Afterlife? of 2005 – is that the paradigm has remained unchanged. If we put together, for instance, recent examples of mediumship, the NDE material collected since Raymond Moody’s Life after Life of 1975, the ITC evidence (by definition modern), and Scole we find that although it constitutes more evidence, it is roughly the same kind of evidence as it was thirty-five or, in the case of mediumship, a hundred-and-thirty-five years ago.

Fontana, for instance, is able freely to cite nineteenth-century material, stories from the 1920s and 1940s, research from the 1960s, his own experience of poltergeists from the 1980s and the Scole material from around 2000. It all fits quite well; it all adds up to an interesting case for Survival; and it’s still there. One of the strongest arguments for Survival seems to be the fact that, in spite of modern scepticism and modern analytical and investigative techniques, Life after Death hasn’t simply gone away like Phlogiston theory or Geocentrism or Phrenology or bloodletting. Fontana’s evidence is not of a new nature, but it is increasingly solid.

The Need For A New Paradigm

And the evidence has continued to stack up, but it’s still apparent at the end of the first decade of the 21st century that the paradigm has not changed much. More veridical channelings, identifiable voices of the dead on untuned (sometimes even unplugged) radios, better NDEs, everything that happened at Scole – these are all useful grist to the Survival mill, but they do not seem to do have done much for a widening of scientific acceptance of any sort of afterlife. In particular we do not yet seem to have digested quantum physics properly, nor the recent thinking in consciousness studies.

In these circumstances I set out in 2009 to interview a handful of people, all well-known to the SMN, to find out ‘where they are now’ on the matter of Life after Death; I hoped thus to see if there are currently any developments of our Survival paradigm. The interviewees were Rupert Sheldrake, Bernard Carr, Peter Fenwick, David Lorimer, Iain McGilchrist, Matthew Manning and Pim van Lommel[1].

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Van Lommel’s response to my opening question, which asked directly about the afterlife, was a little startling: ‘I never talk about life after death,’ he said. My heart sank a little. Had I got hold of the wrong Dutch cardiologist? But no, it appeared that what he meant is that ‘life after death’ may only temporarily resemble life as we know it here and now; more importantly the quantum ‘non-locality’ of the other side means that it is without time and can be considered to ‘contain’ past, present, and future simultaneously. It is ‘a space or dimension without place or time.’ The simultaneity of the Life Review during many NDEs is well known and that may give us a hint as to what the ‘infinite consciousness’ that apparently awaits us (while not of course really ‘awaiting’ anything) might be like.

Many people, van Lommel continued, have experienced non-duality, non-locality, greater or ‘cosmic’ consciousness. That is the ‘thing’ that is always there, timelessly; it is the incomprehensible greater ‘place’ with which we interface only at very special times. From the perspective of this quantum zone life and death are irrelevant concepts. ‘Life’ in this present world is a species of illusion that we go through, indeed that we actually create. Life ‘over there’ however is certainly not ‘life as we know it.’

Interestingly, van Lommel is quite happy to accept that NDE survivors cannot find the right language to describe their experiences adequately. Of course not. Our language is a tool for the here-and-now, for space and time. As is the case with quantum physics, we are able to mouth words about cosmic experiences, but the words have difficulty in demonstrating any significant content.

Beyond The Self?

I will return to van Lommel at the end of this but for now come with me to visit Peter Fenwick, who also managed to take the feet from under me when I questioned him; in his case the moment came after a good hour of explanation of his research into End-of-Life Experiences when he said, with the smaller of his two smiles, ‘But we do not have a personal self. We are embedded in the matrix of the universe which is our consciousness.’ Different words for pretty much what van Lommel was saying, then, and incidentally what Neale Donald Walsch says repeatedly in his Conversations with God series (‘There is only one of us’).

Fenwick suggests, following Alain Forget, that we can be ‘awakened’ here in this life (to moments of cosmic consciousness) and says that the ego ‘casts a pall over our consciousnesses.’ We are parts of a whole and need to ‘crystallise the light body’ as we do in dreams in similar states. The ‘limited ego’ is a ‘false self’ but even a glimpse of universal consciousness (‘available right now!’) shows us a bigger self.

In extreme NDE cases, Peter pointed out, people seem to go very far, ‘to the point where the illusion of separateness is about to collapse completely.’ In this life we merely make up our stories of life and death. When we recognise that the real is universal consciousness, questions of Survival become non-questions because there is really no birth and no death, just consciousness. Religions, seeking vainly to sift the saved from the non-saved, have lost their spiritual nature by not recognising this universality.

Bernard Carr filled in some of the detail of this radical and rather Buddhist conception of the afterlife. He suggested a ‘hierarchy of dimensions’ that may lead up to or end in ultimate consciousness (‘anatta’ – the empty centre of the onion) but meanwhile there are astral levels and reincarnation possibilities as we all head for what must, by definition, be the only possible goal. For Carr there are different levels of space to accommodate these dimensions and the mind creates the world both here and hereafter where a species of ‘dream-world’ awaits us.

New Metaphors

For Rupert Sheldrake, we already know what it will be like to be disembodied because we have the experience of possessing a ‘dream-body’ at night when we sleep. And, of course, for a physicist like Carr, everything comes down to energy, that is frequencies. Already for Sheldrake there are, famously, morphic fields in which the unknown energies, perhaps those of the ‘non-local’ quantum ‘world,’ operate. And all this, to go back to van Lommel’s opening remarks, is here as may become apparent after death when we may begin to ‘know the place for the first time.’

Sheldrake also observed, as many now would, that, for a while at least, we may get the Life after Death that we expect. We can move beyond our entrapment in desires and the unreal and come to expect something higher and more real, but then again we may not escape from our present lives all at once. He approves of imagination in the shape of myths, fairytales, and dreams, and points out that these are fields that are not based in material reality. They enact some of the possibilities contained in the infinite quantum field. Like Carr, Sheldrake is ‘not dualistic,’ ‘not a super-naturalist’; there is no separate realm into which we can ‘go.’

Mathew Manning, speaking from the deepest and widest experience of things psychic, spiritual, or, as I would now say, ‘non-local,’ stressed that knowledge of Life after Death is not ordinary knowledge. In his view we learn what we need to know in this life and then move on to less knowable realms. He is also more interested in energy than in ‘life’ as a metaphor for Survival. His famous psychic recreation of Durer’s drawings, and of many other works of art and texts in languages unknown to him, are not so much, he says, ‘Durer coming through’ (the older version of Life after Death perhaps) as a psychic picking-up of the energy of the original moment of artistic creation; it is less a matter of an individual’s survival and more a matter of energy circulating as the scientists tell us it does.

Personality & Beyond

By this time I felt that some sort of a pattern was building up. The new paradigm is perhaps only subtly different from the old one but it seemed to be emerging with some new and useful emphases. The claims now made about Survival are less personal than they used to be, for one thing, and the respect for the ideas of quantum-physics more solid. David Lorimer, for instance, told me that he sees Life after Death as ‘another state of consciousness’ in which it may be ‘a less distinctive personality that is you.’ He says he is less concerned now with the survival of his own personality as such. We may come to see that each ‘personality’ is ‘an expression of the universal.’ He quotes Betty Kovacs: ‘Birth is a coming into being of form (‘me’) and death a dissolution of form.’ Cosmic consciousness would be the ‘dissolution of all boundaries.’ We are like blocks of ice floating in the Arctic Ocean of universal consciousness; there is development, evolution, both here and hereafter, but we all belong to and return to the same sea in the end. This is not new, of course, it belongs in Hinduism and Buddhism where we become more ‘ourselves’ by becoming less our individual selves; it is also, according to Lorimer, the inevitable direction of consciousness studies as pursued since the founding of the Journal of Consciousness Studies in 1994.

The most ‘materialist’ person I interviewed was Iain McGilchrist. For him, ‘materiality is an important part of any kind of being we might have’; as he pointed out to me, ‘the universe has gone to an awful lot of trouble to produce this material world.’ Surely a useful corrective. If, to put it bluntly, cosmic consciousness is so terrific, why did it have to add us, messy as we are, not to mention the immense quantum charade of the universe, to what it already had? Why bother to Big Bang if you could just go on being perfect? I know that there are good answers to these questions but McGilchrist’s approach reminds us not to fall into the trap of treating spirituality as if our dinners, our doings, and our bodies didn’t matter at all.

But McGilchrist too is singing off the same page of our now-slightly-revised hymn book. As he put it, ‘the notion that one would be forever oneself is an appalling idea.’ For him consciousness ‘pre-exists us and isn’t created by our brains; our brains simply transmit or transduce it.’ But there is and always will be an ‘I’ – it is ‘God,’ we may come to see, who is the ‘Great I’ that is all of us.

New Directions

The publication in 2010 of Pim van Lommel’s Consciousness Beyond Life has been tremendously convenient for this small investigation. His book, subtitled accurately ‘The Science of the Near-Death Experience,’ seems to me to effect the shift in thinking that we have needed.  It is not a huge shift but it should now change the quality of the debate.

Encouragingly, the interviews which I conducted before Pim’s book had been translated into English fit very well with its proposals. After undertaking them and reading Pim’s book I begin to discern the outlines of the altered paradigm. Here are some of its main features:

  • We shouldn’t be naïve about any possible life after death. The appearance of deceased relatives at the death-bed or during NDEs or channeling, in particular, may not mean that Granny is continuing her old life more or less as before. Life in another ‘dimension’ may be more a matter of thought, of our wishes and, of precisely, appearance.
  • The hitherto rather weak connection between Quantum Physics and Survival looks as if it has gained a toe-hold in the intellectually-respectable world. ‘Non-locality,’ a term with origins found exclusively in QP, may be an appropriate replacement for the older term ‘spiritual.’ Physics too does not stop and will surely become less and less like its nineteenth-century avatar; in other words it will become weirder, looser, more improbable, more closely associated with consciousness, more ‘non-local,’ less simply ‘materialist.’
  • Life after Death is really not either ‘life’ as we know it nor ‘after’ our deaths, for the ‘non-local’ is always with us and underpins our world and our lives all the time; or perhaps I should use some unthinkable expression such as ‘all the non-time.’
  • NDEs do definitely occur during periods of negative brain activity. Whatever else they may mean they constitute clear evidence that the brain cannot be the whole story when it comes to explaining consciousness. Van Lommel’s research has changed things a little, and it is only the beginning of a long process whose end seems, at the very least, less and less likely to be straightforward materialism as we have known it.
  • In the matter of Survival we should expect both everything and not too much. By ‘everything’ I mean that Survival is connected with the universal or ‘infinite’ consciousness from the perspective of which all other things are apparently in some way illusory. By ‘not too much’ I mean that one of the main things one may see through, as consciousness is liberated from the material, is one’s ‘own’ personality.
  • ‘Energy’ is perhaps the metaphor that best connects the world of the non-local (or transpersonal or spiritual) with the world of physics. We do not yet know how energy can exist in the non-local where the energetic, involving movement by definition, should be absent because in that ‘dimension’ there is no time or space. But that there is some energy there – in Dark Matter or as Dark Energy perhaps – is evident from the fact that we are here at all; it was some sort of energy that brought about the Big Bang and before that there was no locality by definition.
  • Here, and hereafter, we seem to create our own worlds through our personal consciousnesses. The great or universal consciousness may be what creates the universe. We may do the smaller job of creating our own ‘worlds’ and ‘lives.’ Language makes all, but it cannot describe adequately the process by which it does this.
  • Buddhists, Hindus, and mystics of all stripes have the right approach. We need to read Angelus Silesius rather than too much academic philosophy. We, or parts of us, may be temporarily reincarnated. For a while after death we may perhaps need to ‘live’ in a place that we recognise (we won’t find that too hard to create presumably) but there would then be a moving on, into realms literally indescribable.
  • Body is particle and consciousness is wave. Our particles at death undergo what they have always undergone, change into something else. The waves of consciousness persist just as the scientists tell us all energy forms persist, forever. But we do not infinitely persist as the ‘us’ we currently think we are; ‘we’ will persist, if we do, as something endlessly ‘greater’.
  • This is all embarrassingly similar to the propositions of many religions. But it is not, in itself, religion at all.
  • Inverted commas are needed in this area passim. ‘Life’ ‘after’ ‘death?’ We do not, and cannot, really ‘know’ about all this. Not even with the sensible and modest knowledge of science. Especially not with that.

——————–

Written by Lance St John Butler, who is a Professor of British Literature in the University of Pau.

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Consciousness

Meditation Changes The “Structure & Function of the Brain” In A Positive Way

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recent study has found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

  • Reflect On:

    Should meditation be included in the school curriculum, and used to treat certain mental ailments?

If you look at most ‘masters’ in the field of meditation, a common theme that currently exists is a big misconception about meditation, that it has to be done a certain way, that you have to sit a specific way or do something in particular in order to reap the benefits. These masters will be the first to tell you that it doesn’t have to be one specific way.

That being said, many spiritual groups, like certain monks for example, are taught different types of meditation in several different ways, so really, there’s no correct way to meditate, and the process of connecting with one’s higher self and quieting the mind can be done in multiple ways and practiced at various levels.

When meditating, one shouldn’t try to “empty” their mind, but instead, try to let ones thoughts, feelings, and whatever emotions end up ‘popping’ in there, pop in there. There should be no resistance to thoughts, no judgement of them. Simply let them be, don’t attach to them and just be at peace with it. You’re not doing anything wrong, just focus on your breath.

Personally, I believe that meditation is a state of being more than anything else.  Throughout the day, one can resist judging their thoughts, letting them flow until they are no more, or just be in a constant state of peace and self awareness. Contrary to popular belief, you can meditate anywhere, it can be done before bed, in the shower, while you are going for a walk, or even while washing the dishes.

That being said, I do also believe, speaking from my experience, that sitting down and doing the proper breath work and being present is a slightly different method and can sometimes create a more powerful experience, but there seems to be different variations of the exact same thing.

What’s interesting about meditation is the fact that it’s been practiced for thousands of years, and several ancient cultures were well aware of not only the non-physical benefits but its physical benefits as well, something modern day science is just starting to discover.

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One of the most recent studies has found that different types of meditation can actually effect different areas of the brain.

As Alice G. Walton, a writer for Forbes points out,

“Meditation and mindfulness training have accumulated some impressive evidence, suggesting that the practices can change not only the structure and function of the brain, but also our behaviour and moment-to-moment experience.”

She is correct, probably even more so than she knows. The evidence showing just how strong the mind-body connection is can actually be overwhelming. In fact, studies in the field of parapsychology have just as much, if not more, statistical significance via peer-reviewed research than the science which has been published to approve several different drugs, like antiplatelets, or the science that shows a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent a heart attack. It was published in 1999, by a statistics professor at UC Irvine.

This new study, which was recently published by the Max Planck Institute found that three different types of meditation are associated to changes in corresponding brain regions.

Watson goes on to explain,

“Participants, who were between 20 and 55 years of age, engaged in three different types of training for three months each, totalling a nine-month study period. The first training was dubbed the “Presence” module, and was very similar to focused awareness meditation, an ancient practice that’s been studied a lot in recent years. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, brining it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.” 

The second phase of training was called “Affect,” and its purpose was to increase compassion and empathy for others. The participants learned about a specific meditation dealing with “loving-kindness,” and again, the sole intention here was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.

The last one was called the “Perspective” module, where the focus was simply to observe one’s own thoughts without judgement, while enhancing their understanding towards the perspectives of other people.

The researchers hypothesized that these methods would lead to volume increases in corresponding parts of the brain.  Numerous studies have proven the many physiological benefits of meditation, and the latest one comes from Harvard University of a study conducted by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)  who determined that meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in just eight weeks. It’s the very first study to document that meditation produces changes in grey matter over time.

This recent study found the same thing, and they discovered that when they scanned the participants’ brains at the end of each module and then compared the groups against one another:

“Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. Affect training was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions like empathy: and Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others, and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.” 

These results further elaborate on a wealth of previous studies showing what meditation can do to the brain.

Walton goes on to emphasize,

“Lots of research has found that experienced meditators have significantly altered brain structure and function, but a growing number of studies has also found that relatively brief meditation training in novices (for instance, the well-known eight-week MBSR program) can also shift brain function, improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.” 

The authors of the study mention:

“With growing globalization, interconnectedness, and complexity of our societies, ‘soft skills’ have become increasingly important…Social competences, such as empathy, compassion, and taking the perspective of another person, allow for a better understanding of others’ feelings and different beliefs and are crucial for successful cooperation.” 

Why This Is Relevant & Important

Imagine if this type of practice became a requirement of multiple school boards, what do you think would happen? For most of us, since the day we are born we’re all encouraged to follow the same path, and one of those paths is spending a large portion of our lives, for many years, for the entire day, at school. Then, as we age into adults, we do the same thing with ‘work.’ This type of human experience is far from natural, which is why I believe it to be one of the reasons (out of many) that stress, diseases, and mental health issues, among other rates, continue to rise exponentially.

While going through this process, we’re never really taught how to question the experience, we simply comply and are never really taught any sort of emotional education, at all. We don’t learn to deal with our emotions, we don’t learn about empathy, compassion, and stepping into another persons shoes… We’re not really taught what we are naturally gifted with from birth. It’s our empathy and compassion, our concern for others that makes human beings so special, but growing up, we don’t really talk about these things.

The world is changing in many different ways, and awareness about this kind of practice is spreading around like it never has before. Multiple schools are incorporating mindfulness education into their programs, and many parents from my generation are also incorporating these important concepts into their child’s development.

This is great to see, and as time unfolds, the more we tap into non-physical science and its tremendous benefits, the more we will speed up the changes that are so desperately needed on our planet right now.


Related CE Articles:

Scientists Demonstrate What Meditation Does To Your Gut & Your Brain

Mind-Body Connection During Meditation Can Now Be Measured – Thanks To Science

Study Outlines What Prayer, Meditation & Yoga Can Do To The Human Body

Physicists Examine Consciousness & Conclude The Universe Is Spiritual, Immaterial & Mental

Physicists Say Consciousness Should Be Considered A State of Matter – The Non-Physical Is Real

This is How Powerful The Mind/Body Connection Really Is

Nepals Military Set To Use Transcendental Meditation To Relieve Global Collective Stress To Stop War

“I Was Sort of a Jackass Before Meditation” – This Is How We Can Change Police Brutality

Tibetan Buddhist Master Monk Explains How Meditation Is Not What Most People Think It Is

How To Meditate: 6 Method That Can Get Anyone Meditating

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In this free 7-part masterclass, Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo, explains how revolutionary new developments in biology can be leveraged to help prevent and manage the most common health afflictions of our day: cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic syndrome.

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Alternative News

‘The Event’ – What’s Really Happening & What You Need To Know About It

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is alleged by many in the spiritual community that something called 'THE EVENT' will play out that will either bring about a great awakening and the end of an era of struggle and captivity for humanity.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we always hear of events that involve humanity sitting around and waiting for something? Why is it that we never have to take responsibility for our part in something? We are here, not to wait for a saviour, but to take action within the self.

You probably have been hearing about ‘The Event’, in articles, vlogs and conversation. All around the internet are preparing people for what some are calling the ascension event that will suddenly wake everyone up and end all of the cabal behavior on the planet.

There’s a lot to say about this, and a lot of helpful info we can consider to bring ourselves to a point of understanding as well as practicality, i.e. what we can do. My intention here isn’t to burst any bubbles about this, but to bring us back to an authentic place within ourselves and also back to our intuition.

One final thing, over the course of the past 10 years I’ve not shared much about where I get my info, what I’ve been tapped into since I was younger, the practices I use and how I’ve practiced to truly develop some of these skills. I’ve kept more quiet because I personally like to fly under the radar; simply be myself, remain quiet and live the change and my truth. I don’t believe in having to be loud about our abilities to convince others of who we are. Tapping into intuition, having a strong connection 24 hours a day to my higher self, hearing beings, ‘downloading’ or visually seeing and connecting with peoples lives, getting consistent info downloads etc, these are all a natural part of my life but it’s not something that makes me or anyone else special. It’s simply part of developing it. Some of us may start with different ‘abilities’ more activated, but we can always develop things. CE wasn’t built the way it was simply by using my mind to figure things out, it took diligent conscious practice and intuition to know what was most serving for humanity and when. To take complex conscious ideas and make them reach a mass audience and create virality.

I share this because, we seem to be at a time where confusion is high, disinformation is even higher, and many of us aren’t truly practicing the information we are hearing about or learning. So I share this as what I’m about to convey below is important and I don’t wish to reduce the content to simply ‘I’ve done research,’ these truths come from deeper places. The same places you can access through heart based living and a solid connection to your higher self.

I believe we need to ‘cut the crap’ when it comes to all the identification with “I’m an intuitive,” “I’m an empath,” “I’m a channeller” etc, and realize we all have those abilities within us if we choose to awaken by practice. It’s time for true empowerment 🙂

What Has Been Said About ‘The Event’

First let’s begin with what’s being said. It is being called a breakthrough for the planet that will cause a number of different unfoldments. Some say the defeat and arrest of the cabal, resetting of financial systems, disclosure of ET’s, aliens coming to the planet, revelation of new and advanced technologies, new governments and political systems etc.

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It’s being claimed that on the non physical plane: there will be a “big wave or flash of energy and light coming from the Galactic Central sun going towards the surface of the planet”. (The galactic central sun is an object in the Sagittarius constellation.) The energy from the Central Sun will stimulate a flash or special kind of light from the Sun that permeates the earth and humanity, raising the frequencies of all living entities on the planet.

It is said that it will not be a major negative event but one that is positive. Some are even suggesting to prepare with several weeks of food and supplies as it may knock out our current infrastructures. It’s also being said that this wave of energy will be soooo powerful that it will literally fry people’s brains and make them go crazy.

I have a lot to say about all of this.

First, A Note On Channeling 

From what I have gathered, most people are learning ‘channeling’ information about this from various sources or beings out there. This of course is a real thing and completely possible, but there are caveats that we often don’t consider. I’ve experienced some very good, very talented channellers who are tapped right in to authentic stuff, then again I’ve also seen the opposite.

In a lot of ways I have always steered people away from channeling. Mainly because it takes a level of mastery to truly understand and feel out what one is tapping into. Not only that, much of the time the information you can get from your higher self is more than enough to keep you rolling, and it has nothing to do with channeling. Your connection to your higher self is constant if you practice. The desire to jump deep into channeling can sometimes come from an egoic desire to want to see the future, know the future or even in some ways.. have a ‘super power’ of sorts. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, but more so that this can be what pushes us to want it. Like I said above, of course there are many authentic channellers out there as well.

Over the 10 years I have been exploring and observing different channellers, I’ve noticed a lot of the same thing. Repeating the same stuff over and over again, repeating vague and often obvious things, noticing that the channelled info is simply coming from the mind of the channeller and not actually from another being or source etc. From a personal point of view, my message has always been about going within, instead of focusing so much attention on getting information like this from outside ourselves.

From a listener point of view, there is general curiosity which is a beautiful thing, but sometimes we also start jumping into the idea of wanting to know what’s going to happen, being aware of the future and what’s coming… so as to control things or be able to prepare. This can be helpful at times, but it can also be a source of getting us stuck or limited. It also resembles a faith based, religious-like mentality where we take word of what is to come, and then act on that, without ever checking how we feel inside. The way I’ve practiced over the years is, my primary source (85% – 90% of where I get my information like this) is from my own self or higher self, my secondary source would be corroborating information with various sources out there like other people, channellers, intuitives etc etc. I feel this is a more ideal course of action as it asks YOU to develop your own knowing and connection with & to your higher self. This is part of an authentic path towards shifting consciousness when we take action and make the necessary changes from within.

The Reality Of What’s Happening

I made a film several years ago called The Collective Evolution III: The Shift. It is all about the shift in consciousness taking place, what’s going on and where humanity is headed. It’s presented in a way that can be passed across any group; those that view things through science, spirituality or who are on the fence. The purpose of the film was to bring these understandings to a grounded and practical space, where much of the human experience exists at this time. In the film, I go into great detail about the cosmic ray portion of the shift, which much of The Event refers to. I’d recommend watching the film for further understanding, but will also elaborate below.

The shift we’re experiencing is ongoing. MANY waves have already hit our planet and are still coming. This has been happening for years and it is PART of what is causing so many of the changes we are seeing today. Shifts in the way people think, shifts in how our world works, insurgence of equality, the calls for changes in our financial systems, political systems and so forth.

These waves have been happening for decades and have been intensifying as we go. They are made up of cosmic bursts from our sun, the galactic sun, surrounding stars and so forth. All cosmic waves carry unique energies with unique signatures and information. This information carries the ability to evolve thought, ideas, DNA, change energy signatures and so forth. But it’s also important to note that this energy has be ‘throttled’ in a sense, through our agreement, and for good reason. More on this in a second.

THE EVENT is following the same path as many other claims like this. It makes this shift in consciousness about ONE thing, ONE moment and so forth. Much like we did with 2012.

How cosmic rays affect our earthly lives and conscious evolution. *From CE3: The Shift

Many claim “nothing happened in 2012” because they were looking for something physical and were looking for something HUGE to happen. Yet energies did in fact shift in big ways in and around the 2012 dates many were talking about. But they also shifted in ways prior to that, and after that as well. This shift is a process and one that will continue to unfold over time little by little. Yes many of us are wearing a bit thin as this intensifies, but this simply means we have work to do and it might be harsh to accept but if I’ve witnessed a prominent practice in the overall spiritual movement it’s not practicing what we preach. “I know that information already!” But are you doing it?

Continuing on here, yes, bigger events will continue to take place and mass ‘traumas’ will be experienced as we are challenged with big time change, but we won’t bite off more than we can chew. (I say traumas to describe what will feel like very tough times for many people as we realize, en masse, things like the existence of a cabal, how we’ve been systematically manipulated our entire lives, our spiritual connection hindered on purpose etc. This will be tough until we work through it all. Hence traumatic feelings.)

Humanity often feels like we are victim to things we experience. Energies, beings, events happening, other people etc, but we choose and agree to things and take them on as we are ready for them. This doesn’t mean that being ready for it won’t cause some pain, the idea isn’t avoiding pain. With pain we often get growth. Suffering comes when we choose to ignore the growth that can be presented to us through pain.

I know that idea doesn’t sit well with some of us but ask the question, where does sitting with pain and holding onto it forever lead us? Even from a logical perspective, the answer is to work past it and grow from it, as lingering only creates more suffering.

It has been 10 years since I founded Collective Evolution and began working in the consciousness space. During that time I have created a conscious media and education company (CE), 4 films in the consciousness space and have met many spiritual teachers from around the world for interviews, as friends and so forth. I also have diligently practiced exploring consciousness through sober means, developing my intuition and so forth. In my courses I spread the message of authentic change from within that is built around truly shifting your consciousness so your connection to self and your way of being is automatic, not built on acting from belief systems.

From this space I share simply that the overwhelming feeling points to the fact that humanity is on a journey, one that may be slow at times, but challenges US to be the ones that take action. We must take action from within to shift ourselves; it’s through that space within ourselves that we begin to take action to shift our external world.

Much like we see when we do EVERYTHING for someone and never challenge them to do their own work and suddenly they don’t quite learn and aren’t empowered in their own way, we are on that journey with the shift we face personally as well. Although it’s tempting to view a single event as something that will come in and do the bulk of the work for us, this isn’t going to happen simply because it doesn’t serve us. This is a gradual process.

We’re here to do the work within ourselves. Yes, energies will come in and assist with that process as the sun and central sun act as a purveyors of evolution, but it’s also up to us. Beings are already watching and assisting closely in slowing down many of the energies coming in due to the fact that they are a bit too intense for our consciousness at the moment. This is primarily because many of us aren’t actually practicing what we are learning. We read books, learn about things and then go on living in the same old ways. We don’t shift our diets, we don’t practice meditation or presence, we don’t disempower the ego and we don’t live from our hearts, even though we know this will lead us to a thriving world.

Partly this happens because our current world is intense. There is a lot of work being done to keep us stuck, keep us distracted and so forth. But this is simply presented as an added challenge, to help build our strength within ourselves. We CAN DO IT, otherwise we wouldn’t have bit off this much. Remember that.

Don’t Wait, It’s Now

More than waiting or focusing on a single event, look at what we have right here, right now – in our world and within ourselves. This is truly all we have to focus on, and as you have intuitive feelings towards other things, follow them. But remember to not get fixated on events, dates and promises that claim to come in and take care of everything for us. NOW is most important. Our financial systems, political systems, technologies and so forth will shift and evolve as we do.. it’s not one before the other. Remember quantum physics? We determine our external reality based on how our consciousness projects our world. How do we project a thriving world if we don’t do the internal work first to shift our consciousness? Our outside world simply reflects us. For it to shift, we must do so first.

Are you doing what you love in your life and living from a space where you follow your hearts desires? Are you practicing the observation of the ego and continually shifting from egoic consciousness to heart based living? Are you practicing meditation to reduce over-thinking and more presence? Are you treating others in a way you would want to be treated.. as much as you can, not just sometimes? Are you choosing to empathize and understand where people are at and why vs judging them and calling them names?

All of these things are ways to move towards living in the heart. It’s about going from the mind, to the heart.

Some Key Reflections

  • When it comes to beings/aliens, remember that in many ways they are just souls having an experience and they may or may not have had experiences as humans. Their advice sometimes may be missing some key details on what it means to be human.
  • Beings are not ‘above us’. Aliens are not ‘above us.’ We don’t need to bring the mentality in that humans are some primitive culture, as this brings about judgement most of the time. We are all just having experiences, and in many ways we teach things to these other beings just as they teach us.
  • What can you do right now to practice living in your heart and make that a daily state of being?
  • Getting or hearing information from outside of yourself is great, and it’s part of how we use one another to learn. Are you checking within yourself about whether or not things are true? How does it feel for you when you know it’s true?

 

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Pictures Showing How The Advertising Industry Exploits Women

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In recent years, the world of fashion and advertising has distastefully blurred the lines between right and wrong, creating a pronounced grey area of supposedly acceptable imagery which includes everything from BDSM and rape to abuse, aggression, and underage perversion. And this phenomenon can’t simply be narrowed down to ‘artistry’ when the symbolism is so blatantly sexist and even morbid.

I mean, is it appropriate for 4-year olds to have a lingerie line, never mind to be photographed in them? I have a 2-year old niece and while I think it’s adorable for her to have cute bathing suits, I would never allow her to wear something provocative in any way. It’s heavily insinuated that Americans are just uptight when it comes to sex, and in many respects this is true, but there is a line that must be drawn when it comes to children that culture cannot influence.

So while Luis Paredes, the publisher of The Lingerie Journal, may blithely assert that “while Americans may be shocked, the line of clothing wouldn’t cause a ripple in Europe,” the reality is that we are looking at the exploitation of children. We may have antiquated views about breastfeeding and sex, to be sure, but sexualized images of children are in a whole different ballpark, and considering the UK’s current heavy investigation into pedophile rings being attended by high government officials, maybe these ads should be causing some ripples.

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Kylie Jenner, an heiress of the Kardashian clan, has received heavy media attention over her recent lip injection (to each their own), but it was this particular photo shoot that brought her under major scrutiny. The cover image for Interview magazine features Kylie in a wheelchair. Why?

Kylie-Jenner

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Shot by Steven Klein, the shoot is supposed to be reminiscent of work produced by Allen Jones, a British pop artist famous for his controversial sculptures of half-naked women on all fours and in other submissive positions being used as human furniture. Quite objectifying. (You can view the full gallery here.)

These next few images highlight the absurdity of advertisements today, switching the sex of the subject (or should I say object) in the ad to underscore how ridiculous and demeaning their roles truly are. Thanks to Lauren Wade from Take Part for creating these images.

Sisley ad, photographed by Terry Richardson, 2006

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen sexual abuse in advertisements and it definitely isn’t less upsetting when a guy takes her place. The disturbing tone of this ad is hardly surprising considering it was shot by the infamous Terry Richardson, who carries a string of sexual misconduct allegations with models under his belt. I mean the guy himself said, “It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow. I don’t have a hole in my jeans for nothing.”

Tom Ford for Men ad, photographed by Terry Richardson, 2007

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Well we certainly know that sex sells, but why is this appropriate as an advertisement, yet women are still being shunned into bathroom stalls to breastfeed their babies? It’s easy to see how much less appealing this is with men’s breasts instead.

American Apparel ad, 2010

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Wondering what the purpose of this ad is? You’re not alone, since this is a product that is clearly marketed to women. But these images really come as no surprise. American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was unceremoniously dismissed from his position in December of 2014 because of the A.A. board’s “ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct”  — which includes (but is not limited to): holding an employee as a personal sex slave for eight months, sexually harassing multiple models and employees, assaulting a store manager, using ethnic and racist slurs with staff, and masturbating in front of a reporter in a 2004 Jane magazine article.

American Apparel ad, 2007

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If this really is an ad marketed to women, what kind of message is it supposed to send? This image is pretty standard for the company though, considering they once featured then-CEO Dov Charney in bed with models in one ad and having his crotch licked in another. How did it get this far to publication? Even with a male on display it’s pretty disturbing, but at least brings some humour. Interesting that one is sexy and the other comical.

Marc Jacobs ad, photographed by Juergen Teller, 2008

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What do you think this ad is trying to illustrate? Why would a brand use a wrinkled bag to market their products?

These images only provide a glimpse at broad the spectrum of degradation toward women present in advertising and if you think the images itself are enough to make you ponder, imagine what goes on at these shoots or even at the castings.

Charlotte Waters was a 19-year-old art student when she contacted Terry Richardson for a shoot, having only heard he was a good connection to make and work with. “He had me unbutton his pants, and he took his penis out, and it was all completely downhill from there.” She said in an interview with Vocativ. He even went as far as ejaculating on her face. 

Sara Ziff, founder of advocacy group Model Alliance, was also 19 when her agency sent her to Richardson. “It was supposed to be for a mainstream fashion magazine, but when I arrived, he unexpectedly asked me to pose topless,” she says. “I felt pressured to comply because my agent had told me to make a good impression because he was an important photographer who shot for all the major magazines and brands.” On HuffPost Live, Ziff exclaimed, “[Richardson] will ask you to take your clothes off at the casting, and in some cases, give him sexual favors.”

Model Alliance is Sara Ziff’s effort to establish fair labor standards for models working in the American fashion industry. She hopes to protect working models from exploitation, especially from sexual abuse, and to improve the lot of its members in terms of pay and working conditions. It has drawn up a “Models’ Bill of Rights.”

Model Alliance was inspired by Sara’s time working on the documentary Picture Me

Sara had this to say about the documentary in an interview with Fashionista:

[“Picture Me”] was on the festival circuit in 2009, and it was really at Q&A discussions for the film that we started talking about the need for a union, like the equivalent of the Screen Actors’ Guild, which is now SAG-AFTRA, for models. Models would come to these screenings and get really emotional talking about bad experiences they’ve had, and the film became this organizing tool to raise awareness publicly, but also within the industry. We wanted an existing union to extend membership to models, but when it became clear that that wasn’t possible, I was crazy enough to take it upon myself and start up from scratch, which people warned me not to do, but I also was studying labor and organizing in college.

The majority of models start their careers before the age 16, with most working unchaperoned and far from home. This creates an unconscionable environment of coercion, where the incentive to get hired (and remain employed) is enough to keep most girls quiet. Sara Ziff talks about her own experience with this firsthand at the age of 14:

When I entered the business as a 14-year-old schoolgirl, I was routinely asked to do topless shoots and pose seductively. To this day, in an industry dominated by minors, there is no policy of informed consent for jobs involving full or partial nudity. A recent survey shows that 86.8% of models have been asked to pose nude at a casting or job without advance notice.

Girl Model is another documentary exposing the terrifyingly young age at which some models start working. The film follows 13-year-old Siberian-born model Nadya Vall on her quest to become a model, accompanied most of the time by Ashley Arbaugh, the American modeling scout (and former model) who discovers her.

In my opinion, to be successful and thrive in the fashion industry, you need to have a sound idea of who you are as an individual and what you stand for, and unfortunately, most girls who are recruited at 14 or younger are still discovering who they are and what their place is in the world. This makes it easier for agents and scouts to shape them into who they think they should be, almost inevitably promoting a mental instability and dependency on those around them.

This article can only provide for you a different perspective on the reality that certain individuals in the fashion industry must face. Like with all things in life, there are great things about this industry and there are terrible, but it just seems that most of the ‘bad’ has been swept under the rug, with little to no attention being paid to the bigger fallacies presented by advertising companies.

Images like these allow us to see the toxic leaks that are trickling into our society, helping us to be more critical about what we are ingesting visually and more proactive in learning more about a massive money making machine that bombards us with a skewed view of the world from all sides.

Stay critical and stay aware, it helps to shift perspectives and ultimately the industry.

Sources

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/13/ugly-truth-fashion-model-behavior

http://www.takepart.com/feature/2014/07/09/what-if-fashion-objectified-males-same-scary-way-it-does-females

http://www.vocativ.com/underworld/sex/oh-god-whats-happening-close-personal-terry-richardson-model/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/fashion-ads-treated-men-and-women-same_n_5589243.html

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2012/feb/01/sara-ziff-models-workers-rights-group

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/feb/13/ugly-truth-fashion-model-behavior

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/06/terry-richardson-interview.html

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