A Simple Process You Can Use To Stay Calm & Present Throughout The Day

Do you notice yourself feeling tense shoulders? A cleansed jaw? Perhaps you’re holding your breath in some ways and you don’t even know it? Maybe you feel a clenched tummy from time to time and have tricky digestion. You might notice yourself rushing through life, tasks, wanting to get to the next thing. You may not be paying full attention to your life and everything feels like autopilot.

If this is the case, you’re not alone.

This is a very calm state of being for most people in highly developed countries who are living the ‘average everyday life.’ You wake up, go to your job, work all day, come home and then either veg out or spend time with family and go to sleep. This is the ‘modern life’ that we have accepted as ‘ a good life’ and yet almost every aspect of it presents a challenge to our health and well being. But, at this time, money is required to live our lives, and so we must play within this system in some way or another as we actively change it.

The good news is, you have ultimate freedom within yourself to perceive your reality as you wish to perceive it. When we are unconscious, or allowing our programmed states of being to run our lives, we typically move through life on autopilot, moving from one habit to another.  However, when we begin to gain presence, and pull ourselves out of all these unconscious habits, we begin to gain some freedom back. This builds over time.

Before we get to the exercise, I want to add that for those that pay a lot of attention to the news and media side of our work here at CE, using these practices to gain more presence and self-awareness in your life will play deeply into the CE Protocol which is designed to help us gain more clarity on what’s happening in the world, and be an active part of changing it. Skipping the personal transformation end of our journeys only holds us in our current state of being and understanding.

A Simple Process

One powerful thing you can do to begin seeing the subtleties in life, noticing the magic and incredible beauty around you and within you at all times is going back to the breath. Combine that with a few processes in releasing tension and getting into your heart, and you’ll truly begin waking up to who you truly are on a daily basis. The best part is, this muscle grows with time, the more you practice, the more present you become, and the more your monkey mind goes into the passenger seat instead of the driver seat.

Approx time needed: 5 mins

1. There are two ways to initiate the exercise, either you do it when you notice yourself tense or not present, or you set an alarm that goes off about 6 times per day. If you choose the first method, you want to know that your awareness already catches yourself about 6 times a day so you can make sure you are doing this enough.

2. When the alarm goes off, or when you notice yourself, stop what you are doing and take a couple of deep breaths. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Do this slowly and controlled. Nothing too fast and nothing too out of control.

3. After about 2 to 5 breaths, allow yourself to breathe normally, making sure it is still through the nose. Begin to say within yourself. ‘I am releasing all tension in my head, my neck, my shoulders, my jaw, my stomach, my fists, and my legs.” This is like a mini mantra if you will, but don’t take it too seriously in that it has to be said any particular way. You’re simply noticing and instructing the body to relax.

4. After you have gone through the releasing, and you notice your body is more relaxed and your breathing has brought you back to the moment. Sense yourself in your chair or where you stand. Feel the air around you, notice any breezes on your skin or any scents that you smell. Notice all the various sounds around you, not focusing on anyone or feeling any as a distraction, but noticing them and allowing them to be. This is presence, while in this state. Noticing.

If you happen to have any rampant thoughts or feelings of stress arise during this at any point, simply notice it and say within yourself “OK stress or OK task I have to complete, I see you, I will take care of you momentarily” and allow it to pass.

5. Once in presence, turn your attention to the area of your sternum, the heart centre. You may put your hand or fingers on this area, and simply focus your attention on this space. See your awareness moving into this space as if you yourself are moving from your mind to your heart. However that looks or feels to you is OK. It doesn’t have to be anything mystical. This is a common mistake of overcomplicating simple methods.

6. Finally, allow yourself to be in that space for as long as you like. 1 min, 10 mins, whatever works. Usually I say this exercise is meant to be done as a check-in for about 5 mins.

Repeat this each time your alarm goes off or when you notice yourself tense. Through this, you are gaining more awareness of self more regularly. You are also beginning to realize you have a lot more control over your state of being than once thought. This is a key step to emotional freedom. In this space, your mind does not run you, nor do your emotions.

Bonus: As an extended tip, once you gain a sense of what that short meditation felt like. Even if you notice yourself for a moment 20 or 30 minutes later being tense, just take one deep breath and recall the energy and feeling of your meditation.

The Takeaway

When will things like full disclosure happen, or big changes in our world? When people focus deeply enough on personal transformation that our consciousness becomes ready to hear what’s being hidden and becomes ready for a world that is grounded in a state of peace, love, and freedom as opposed to monkey mind behavior.

The post A Simple Process You Can Use To Stay Calm & Present Throughout The Day appeared first on Collective Evolution.

Are You Tired Of Being Angry At The State Of The World?

There’s no secret: truths about corruption involving high profile government officials, politicians, high profile people, and agencies is coming to the surface like crazy right now. It’s in humanity’s awareness more so than ever before. This piece is not so much about exploring the validity of everything coming to the surface, but how it often makes people react and feel.

As these truths come forward people often have resentment or anger towards situations or ‘elite’ figures that are taking various actions that affect our society. It could be pedophilia, planned economic collapses, political lies or any number of things. We often believe we are ‘awake’ once we know these truths, and in some ways, yes, our consciousness and awareness has expanded. But the anger, resentment and rage that people often have and hold onto, not only keeps us asleep, plugged into ‘the old world’ but it also acts as a slow poison that is affecting our health and minds every day. Further, in this anger and resentment, we have a difficult time truly connecting to good ideas and solutions to move beyond the state of the world as it is today, because anger clouds who we truly are and the potential we have.

I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times over the past 11 years doing this work, after this anger, resentment and judgement becomes tiring and draining, people want to know how they can TRULY be free – not just in the world, but within themselves. This is when the deep awakening begins to happen. This is when our power comes back.

One note before we continue. When anger initially rises, this is OK. It’s not wrong that this appeared. It’s simply a feedback mechanism as to where we identify and why. I don’t wish to create a perception that feeling anger is wrong or that you should never feel it. My goal is instead to get us to reflect on whether a prolonged feeling of anger is where we want to be. And whether or not we are truly free if we can be pulled into anger so easily.

People have been providing me a great deal of feedback lately during these confusing and intense times. They ask “how do you stay so calm and grounded during all of this? Your content is bringing me peace and not making me afraid. How do you do this?” I enjoy hearing that because it means people can see and feel something different, and in that example, they are inspired. Being in an empowered state is the key to changing our current worldly state, and the more people who tune into their desire to truly be free and empowered, the more we will move towards change. After all, this is our natural state we are waking up to.

The reason why so many have a tough time finding calm, peace and KNOWING what the solutions are to move forward, breaks down into multiple categories:

1. They are angry at the state of the world, and do not work to ask why

2. The media they watch and the influencers they follow are often polarized and telling them who the bad guys are and why they should blame them for everything.

3. They are not simply observing events around us and using that information to make decisions on how to act, they are instead observing and becoming emotionally charged and stuck.

4. They remain identified with the unconscious: their mind, their thoughts, their body and who they think they are as a physical specimen only. There is not enough time spent in the ‘awareness; that they are.

5. They repeat the cycles of being in the above environments, effectively producing the same result over and over.

Now, let’s talk about #2 for a second. Are certain people taking certain actions that affect other people in a ‘bad’ way? Yes, that can be observed, very clearly. The trick is, are you giving away all of your power to those people by being angry, upset and wanting to fight them? Or are you choosing a path of empowerment where you:

1. Create awareness from a space of neutrality, which allows you to be free, and respond instead of reacting.

2. Getting clear on what you want your world to look like

3. Begin shifting your own inner state of being to know things differently and align with the energy and actions of the world you want to create.

4. Live that new state of being and invite others to do so as well

When you create awareness about things happening in our world, if you are doing it from anger, judgement, blame or resentment, your power IS going to those taking these actions, and you will experience suffering in the mind. In THAT single moment of learning of something, your ability to change it is not there, change will occur as you take action over MANY consecutive moments. Thus, acceptance of each individual moment for what it is, as opposed to resisting what is, will allow you to find peace and calm, and tap into the true solutions and ability to effectively respond that are within you when you are in this state. Within our matrix, when we remain fully in our minds, and not in tune with who we truly are, thus remaining polarized, we create a need for the opposite polarity you are operating from.

It’s like the movie The Matrix states, “Free your mind.” This means to become limitless, boundless and in tune with who you truly are, not stuck in our emotions, distracted, erratic and upset. Notice Neo’s character in the movie is a very calm and peaceful presence when he tunes into his full potential. He is able to make an impact on what they are desiring to change because he has moved beyond that which was limiting him.

If we reflect quickly on the feedback I shared above, where people feel calm, peace and empowered yet still informed and ready to take action after viewing my content, we can ask: what experience do we want? One where we are angry and repeating cycles of fight, slowly harming ourselves and not being clear on solutions? Or one where we are informed, empowered and ready to take action on creating a new world?

Yes, it takes some work and focus to get back to your natural state. One must spend time being the awareness that they truly are. Spending less time identifying with all of the thoughts and compulsive desires that come from the mind, and more time simply in the awareness of who we truly are. This IS how you change yourself and the world and the quantum level which informs the physical level. And while some people do feel that prolonged anger changes the world, has it ever really done that? Or has it only created a slightly different experience but with many of the same unconscious qualities?

Are we thriving? Is there peace? Are people awake to who they truly are? Are they offended and triggered easily? Yes. This is because we have yet to truly awaken, and awakening only truly occurs when we step back into who we truly are.

How Do We Get There?

Moving past the anger is about creating freedom within ourselves. It’s a different state of mind and being. Instead of having yourself be triggered by things all the time, we are aware and have the freedom to choose how we wish to respond to something as opposed to erratically reacting. I explain this further via my Shift Method.

Spend time being conscious of your breath. Take some deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Simply focus on that breathing. Do this for 10 minutes, 15 minutes. How do you feel? What do you notice?

Disconnect from social media, news and stories for a day or so. Do you feel different? How so? What do you notice?

Reflect on how it feels to be enraged and angry by what people say. Does it make you feel good? Is it draining your energy? Is it helping to change things? Do people respond better to your ideas when you’re angry or when you are calm and open?

I’ve created many materials over the past few years including a conscious breathing course and a personal transformation course designed to simply slow life down and get more in tune with yourself. Neither of these courses are huge commitments and approachable, ‘level 1’ like beginnings to seeing a different side of yourself – your true self. Utilize these tools if it resonates with you. Both are available in our membership called CETV.

Inside our inner circle, you will have access to powerful information, guided programs, and a community all geared towards being informed about what’s happening in our world, and how you can truly engage in a guided journey of personal transformation so that you can be a change-maker our world truly needs at this time. You’ll be inspired by how many likeminded people inside are ready to share in this journey.

If you choose to sign up, try my 10 Day Conscious Breathing Challenge and the 5 Days of You Challenge.

The post Are You Tired Of Being Angry At The State Of The World? appeared first on Collective Evolution.

To Those Who Feel Unheard & Misunderstood

I’m sure at some point in your life you may have felt unheard or misunderstood. Whether people actually didn’t ‘hear’ you and misunderstood you, or whether it was just your perception, I’m sure you’ve felt this at some point. But then there are some of us who might have felt this more than just ‘at some point’ in our lives. Those of us that might feel like it happens daily or weekly. Something in our core experience states “people don’t hear me, they don’t understand me and I can’t seem to do anything about that.” I know, because I have felt this many times in my life, and this is currently one of the key aspects of myself I’m integrating.

I’ve long known that this programming and feeling of being unheard is not something that results from things people are doing wrong to me, but that within myself I have a story running that creates a lens through which I see my daily reality. In that sense, in times where I truly am heard and understood, I don’t see it, and instead, my brain looks for ways to prove that I am not heard.

This is the basic format in which the brain will search our daily lives to reinforce rampant stories we might have running in our minds. All this happens through the brain’s reticular activating system (RAS), a useful system where all senses are connected. It’s like a filter that helps the brain so it doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle.

Where this gets a bit more important to our navigation of self is understanding that the RAS is like a gatekeeper of information that is let into the conscious mind. That is to say, the RAS will filter in information that is established in our subconscious, or deeper belief systems. It will also let in something we are really focusing on in a given moment. What this means in context to my story of not being heard, or any story for that matter, is that my RAS is literally operating to reinforce that story already within my subconscious mind. Any information that doesn’t reinforce that story, is likely not going to be let in as easily, hence why even when I’m heard, I don’t acknowledge it as deeply as when I’m feeling unheard or finding ways to reinforce that story.

Example: I might have factually had 10,000 people read an article I wrote, but that doesn’t become something I pay attention to. Instead, I notice the people who didn’t read the article, didn’t understand the article, or the person who left the singular negative comment.

Enough on the technicals for now.

If you’ve watched some of the discussions I have with people on my podcast episodes or shows, you might have noticed times where at the end people begin thanking me for the work I’ve done and how it has impacted them, and usually I well up. This is because when I conduct my conversations I’m really engaged, and in these moments I’m hearing proof of something that is meaningful to me but that a part of me denies. In my subconscious mind and story, I feel unheard, misunderstood, and that people don’t see the totality of the message I’m trying to share with my work.

Regardless of what anyone else might think looking at the billions of content views CE’s content has received over the last 11 years, I still feel unheard. It’s true I didn’t create all the content that’s been seen. It’s true that I can’t lay out my entire mission and message in every piece of content I’ve created. But mostly, I don’t feel heard or understood because of my internal stories – my subconscious stories – not because of what is happening in my life.

This all started when I was a kid, then it went away for a while when I did a lot of internal work on it around 2009, and then it returned around mid-2017 when life got very chaotic and I let stories reprogram my mind.

Some of the earliest memories where these stories began to emerge in my life was when I was in grade 5 and I began telling my friends and classmates that I felt what we were learning in school was not really helping us but making us “brainwashed to accept normal society.” Sounds harsh I know lol. And perhaps most fifth graders don’t think this way, but I did. And I still do feel traditional education is atrocious. That aside, by the time grade 7 and 8 rolled around, my peers were all beginning to really express their style, personality and were adopting pop culture. I didn’t go the ‘pop’ route because it felt uncomfortable and inauthentic to me. This is where the story began.

I was now a visible outsider. I felt that people were adopting pop culture in lockstep because everyone else was, and everyone wanted to fit in. It seemed robotic and weird to me at the time, and quite frankly, I didn’t like how it changed my friends and classmates. People started to put on a persona of being badass, cool, and ‘hard,’ it wasn’t authentic to me and it changed the way my friends would interact together. At the time I called it a mask, now I know it as the ego, but I started to see the false sense of self people would portray and something about it just didn’t feel good.

Because I chose not to go along with the emerging culture, I began to feel lonely. People didn’t listen to me, ask me things, seek to understand me – and they’d talk a lot of shit behind my back. Regardless of how curious I was to speak to them, understand them, and sure, challenge them at times about their choices, I felt it was always a one-way street. It wasn’t long before I went from feeling ‘cool’ and accepted, to feeling like and being treated as a complete outcast. And it’s weird looking back because I wasn’t mean, the class bully or anything like that. I was the guy who wanted everyone to play together, same team!

This experience continued throughout high school. There are many more details, but I’m sure you get the general point by now. But by the time college years came around, I felt like it was a fresh start, and even though I had become very quiet and shy around groups from that experience, I was eager to meet new people.

Fast forward a bit and I found myself beginning to read books about the ego, the subconscious mind, and how to navigate personal change. I met a friend and mentor who took me through many sessions that cleared away old subconscious programs and stories. I felt insanely empowered and unstoppable. Plus, now I knew how to do the work on myself very easily if something else were to arise. This was in 2009, and over the next 8 years, things were smooth on the front of feeling unheard and misunderstood. While people may not have always understood me, it didn’t bother me one bit, and I could see the people who truly appreciated whatever I felt inspired to share.

Then came a period in late 2017 where the biggest tech companies in the world were now descending upon alt media. They literally crippled a business our team took 9 years to build. On top of that, myself and a partner in another business could not align with the intentions and integrity of what we were creating, and I wanted out. It was a stressful time both financially and personally, and slowly but surely I found myself overwhelmed. Usually, I welcome change and love it, but with all that was changing at once, and how devastating the effects seemed, it was too much – or at least that’s how I felt.

After a 3 year life and emotional beat down, I started to feel unwelcome, unaccepted, and again unheard. On top of all that, it felt to me like so many people did not understand the underlying message of the work I was producing and that’s all I could focus on because, again, I built the story and my RAS was filtering out all information that told me otherwise. In this, you start to feel paralyzed. You can’t do anything right, you feel a lack of energy, and purpose feels lost.

A friend recently got me back into looking at old and new methods of exploring these stories again. And in just a few days, I’m already seeing why this inner work had so much power back in 2009. During one of the deeper moments of feeling like shit about all of this, my wife Ruby wrote me a letter that inspired this article and sharing. I wanted to share it with everyone because it resonated with me and was a great reminder to stop, take a breath, and reassess. Of course, doing the inner work is a must.


To the Unheard:

I know your voice and heart are growing tired, your spirit broken, and the moments where you see your purpose are fleeting..

But there’s so much you can not see when your head is down, feeling somber and purposeless.

What my eyes see when you’re not looking:

Someone new found you today.. their face lit up and their heart felt full.. they’ve found someone who speaks their language, understands their views, and carries the same values – who just GETS IT and THEM. They didn’t think it possible, but HERE YOU ARE, providing them hope and helping them envision a future they knew they wanted but didn’t believe was possible. They hear what you have to say, and are excited to listen – with fresh ears and an eager mind, happy to have found your perspective they begin to dive deeper, and tomorrow they are more aware because of it.

Someone else has had a rough year, and with everything going on they didn’t know what to believe – so they began questioning. It’s been months, but they’ve regained their faith in humanity and see the world differently now – because of You. You see, they’ve fallen upon your work and finally found a voice that doesn’t shove beliefs down their throats, but relays facts and lets them discern what’s real. They feel valued, heard, and uplifted – grateful that someone out there cares about so much that they’ve made it their mission to aid in their personal and our collective evolution. They may not know it yet, but this is the start to something completely transformational.

Then there are the ones who have been following you for years. The die-hard loyals that feel more like family than anything. They’re the ‘regulars’ that over time you have met or spoken to and become close with – they see your struggles and feel your pain, but most importantly they see You and value your work because they understand. You helped them through a rough patch, you held their hands whilst taking their first steps into the unknown, you reawakened them after a lifetime of slumber and in return when you were pushed down, they helped you up time and time again because they know you’d do the same if ever the opportunity or need. Your voice is a beacon of light to them, and in return, they follow you to the ends of the internet – knowing you are not there to lead but to show them the path.

And yet..

Every day you awaken and every night you lay your head, a voice is telling you that you are unheard, irrelevant, and falling behind. This voice grows louder and now your days are filled with a belief that is weighing you, and your nights hold a hovering limit that you did not try to surpass.

This voice that you’ve carried has begun to crush your spirit and silence you – little by little, making you question yourself and your creations, making you believe that success is that en masse and that without the world watching you may never truly help humanity..

And I’m just here to tell you: that voice, is wrong.

The voice in your head that fills your life with dread is but a story which needs to be rewritten. Because it is YOUR Voice that needs to be heard.

As you question what the point to all of the hours, months, and years poured into work that ‘no one’ sees.. there are thousands finding truth and themselves in your words.

It is in your character, your heart, your message, and your desire to help the collective that you have already helped so many. For every ‘someone’ that finds you is led down a path of discovery, and that fire you’ve ignited is like a torch passed onto others on their path.. slowly, but surely, setting the world ablaze.

I could go on for eons discussing the battle between ego/the mind and the Soul. But will just say for sake of knowing you know – the falsities playing on loop like a broken record in your head are solely doing so because they are threatened by the reality that your truths are so much more powerful. The only way to disempower You is to make you believe that you have none – and in doing so, your creations halt, you have no drive to bring your visions to life, you feel more and more lost and less and less YOU. You must remember, trust, and BELIEVE that your message holds more weight than any story your mind could ever tell you.

Remember that from infancy you saw this world differently. Never did you succumb to the external validation nor allow your mind to take the wheel – no matter how hard it became. In your teens you knew you had it within you, as you know we all do, to change our world for the better. And though times are trying, it’s time to shake yourself awake from the chains of self-loathing and doubt. This story has played like a rerun of a show you’ve grown tired of.. it’s time to change the channel and reawaken that little boy who knew any and everything was possible and who did not allow the critics, trends, or world to tell him any different or change him in any way. You are so special because you’ve always believed and have always been You – do not let anything take that away, not now – not ever.

It’s always been within you, as it is now, to cultivate something extraordinary and create a real shift on this planet – and whether you believe it or not, the truth is the world is ready and waiting for you to stand tall, lift and hold your head high knowing that this is what you are here to do.

And as you do, there will be those who will cheer, those who will boo, those who are grateful, and those who cast doubt – but in the end, it is about those who hear your call that change their lives and those around them because of you and your work. Focus on and remember these people, however many or however few..

For it is not in the masses that Your voice needs to resound.. but in the many that your voice inspires individually that will ripple onto the mass – as with any true altering frequency.

Know that what you broadcast is different, deeper, of higher purpose, and in return harder to hear and come to – like a dog whistle to the ones here to awaken oneness consciousness, your voice calls to those who are ready to tune in to that frequency – and therefore it is in that depth and consistent tone that you, collectively, will change the world.

All this to say, it may not be heard across the globe at first, but to those who do hear it, you have our attention and We Are Listening.

For it is in the unheard that we believe in something deeper.

I love you. Release all fears, doubts, limits or restraints – Remember Who You Are.?

– Ruby

The post To Those Who Feel Unheard & Misunderstood appeared first on Collective Evolution.

Mercury Retrograde In Libra: Relationship Changes

IMPORTANT NOTE: I will be taking some time off from writing my astrology articles and putting out regular content. It may be for 2-3 months but not sure as of yet. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I will have new work published in the future when I am back at it. You can also follow me on Social Media (links below) to stay connected. I will still be available for personalized readings, more information and scheduling can be found on this page.

Mercury begins another retrograde process on September 27th which will last until October 18th/19th. This is when it appears to be moving backwards from our Earth based vantage point due to the positioning of the Earth and Mercury in each of their orbits around the Sun. This one is occurring completely in Libra.

In the weeks (and especially days) leading up to it, it can already start to feel like a retrograde and some of its themes can get seeded. This happens because Mercury slows down (again from our vantage point) and travels in the part of the sky it will be returning to after the retrograde begins. This is known as the ‘pre-shadow’ period which began on September 6th/7th.

If you have read my previous Mercury Retrograde articles, the remainder of this section and the following one are nearly the same. You can skip to the third section and beyond if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. Those other parts are more specific to this edition of it.

Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules.

Sometimes these issues could occur when we are excessively analytical without tuning into our internal guidance. Depending on how we flow with it and other variables, we may not always experience these surface level inconveniences, or they could just be minor irritants.

Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, lovers, or others we haven’t seen in a while. When we reconnect with people during a retrograde, it sometimes can help to facilitate a shift in the relationship. In some cases, issues from the past can come up which may need to be hashed out.

The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde

Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate and adjust specific areas of our lives as well as how we apply our minds towards these issues. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases, it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.

During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a re-orientation of some sort which influences how we proceed over the coming months or in some cases, it can have a more long-term significance. In the three weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness, adjustment, as well as new ideas and thoughts that have been seeded which will develop and become more defined as time progresses.

Certain things that have come up specifically in the weeks leading up to the start of the retrograde could determine where this energy could play out. It is also possible that there could have been changes or developments at that time which may go through a sorting-out process or shift in dynamics during the actual retrograde and in the two weeks following. There could be unknown variables, either positive or negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming month.

The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels in shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. More importantly, if you are familiar with your natal astrology chart, then your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically which areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it begins at 25’28 degrees of Libra and will retrograde back to 10’08 degrees of the same sign before turning forward again.

Occurring In Libra, The Third Of A Series In Air Signs

Mercury Retrograde always happens in primarily one element for 1-2 years. This is the third of a series that is mainly occurring in Air signs which will last until Fall 2022. The first one was in January-February in Aquarius. The Air element is about intellect, objectivity, the mind, and social aspects of life. This period is about re-aligning ourselves with these qualities if necessary and ultimately expressing them in new or revamped ways.

With this retrograde in Libra, we may also experience or apply re-orientations, adjustments, developments, circumstances, or reflect on themes connected to relationships, partnerships, companions, balance, fairness, equality, justice, laws, art, aesthetics, beauty, creativity, or attraction. Libra is also about consideration of others, cooperation, compromise, peace, harmony, diplomacy, relating, and finding common ground.

Mercury Retrograde Significant Dates

Below are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde.

*The dates below are based on the Americas. The further East you are located, you may need to consider it as the next day.

September 27th Mercury Retrograde Begins September 27th at 5:10am Universal Time. 

The common Mercury retrograde themes and complications may come up strongly at this time and in recent days leading up to this as it has been nearly stopped in stationary position. You may get some sort of indication of how it may be playing out for you over the next month based on how you feel or what transpires. It’s possible that certain things that happen at this time, which may seem insignificant, can somehow be connected to how this retrograde process will affect you. Also keep in mind that the pre-retrograde shadow began September 6th/7th and Mercury entered Libra on August 30th, so certain things that have come up since then may also be a factor in how things play out over the upcoming month.

September 30th-October 1st/2nd Mercury Square Pluto, while Mars opposes Chiron

Mercury made its first square with Pluto around September 21st-23rd and it has been close to it since, therefore its energy has been present since then but peaks during these periods when it is exact. At best, this energy can be good for deep thoughts and conversations, getting to the bottom of things, mental focus/concentration, addressing financial issues,  shadow work, and even therapy.

However, we can also be compulsive, obsessive, worried, pessimistic, suspicious, or fearful under this influence. Dark thoughts can also occur in some people. Conflicts, manipulation, forceful communications, or intense exchanges can also occur. Matters or dilemmas pertaining to power, control, authority, money, or sex may come up. There may be a correlation between what occurs now and things that happened around September 21st-23rd.

Mars is also opposing Chiron during this period. Issues around anger, aggression, physical energy, or how we (or others) assert ourselves may come up. This combined with Mars being in Libra  can play out as lack of direction when it comes to how we apply ourselves.

October 3rd/4th Mercury Trine Jupiter

Communications, thoughts, and connections with others can be expansive, educational, idealistic, optimistic, philosophical, big picture oriented, or could involve perceived meanings. Some people may receive positive news or be involved in a seemingly beneficial transaction. In some cases, there may be a connection with this period and things that occurred around September 20th/21st.

October 6th-9th/10th Mars Conjunct Sun & New Moon, Pluto Going Direct, Saturn Going Direct, Mercury Inferior Conjunction, Venus Conjunct South Node

We will be having a New Moon in Libra on October 6th/7th which will activate Libra energies even more so. Interestingly this New Moon occurs as Mars joins the Sun which happens approximately every two years. This is the beginning and ending of a Mars-Sun cycle and therefore things that occur at this time (and in the weeks before and after) are connected to transitions when it comes to areas and expressions ruled by Mars. This can have to do with how we assert ourselves, sex, physical activity/energy, competitiveness, courage, or issues pertaining to anger and aggression. It will be in Libra, so may be tied into relationships, partnerships, fairness, equality, fairness, balance, or justice/law related. Note: I won’t be doing an article for this New Moon and will be taking a break from articles for perhaps a few months. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I eventually have new content coming out. 

Pluto will also be transitioning to direct motion during this New Moon, as its energies will be very strong at this time as well as in the week before and after. Themes, developments, and shifts pertaining to power, control, hidden matters, empowerment, transformation, regeneration, purging, death, rebirth, shadows, finances, debts, taxes, or sex may be more prominent. In the coming weeks it can feel like there will be a forward momentum around these areas in comparison to previous months.

Another interesting thing is that all of this will be overlapping with the halfway point of this retrograde, Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun, which can be a time of important insights. The themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more so during this period.

For some people, complications and frustrations can also be stronger during this conjunction depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. Ultimately things that happen is part of a process of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded. This will also somehow be tied into the themes of the Mars conjunction mentioned in the earlier paragraph.

Venus will be conjunct the Lunar South Node as the inferior conjunction is happening, on October 9th/10th. There may be some sort of endings or release around Venus areas such as relationships, friendships, love, pleasures, money, material things, or aesthetics. This can also be a time in which things from the past associated with Venus might come which ultimately can be something that we need to move on from.

As the inferior conjunction is ending, Saturn will also be transitioning from retrograde to direct. Themes, developments, expressions, and shifts pertaining to responsibility, commitment, discipline, duty, structure, boundaries, consolidation, or restriction can come up during this period and in the week before and after.

October 16th/17th Mercury Sextile Venus

Mercury will be sextile Venus in Sagittarius on October 16th/17th. This is a more mild transit but this can be good for social connections and reconnecting with friends or other relations. In some cases, positive developments pertaining to love, finances, material things, or pleasure might play out.

October 18th/19th Mercury Goes Stationary Direct, Jupiter Goes Stationary Direct, Mars Trine Jupiter, Full Moon Building Up

Mercury will end its retrograde and be stationary on October 18th/19th. It will slowly begin to move forward and gradually pick up speed in the following days and weeks. As this happens, the areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde will start to become more increasingly clear, things will fall into place more easily, and we may experience resolutions depending on how it affected you. We can feel that we are in a better place to move forward in the areas of life that have been impacted and pertaining to how Libra themes played out for you.

However, usually the first few days after it ends can still feel like it is retrograde as complications may occur due to Mercury’s stationary position. It’s usually best to wait until at least 3 days afterwards before finalizing decisions, agreements, etc.

As Mercury transitions in motion, Jupiter will also be ending its retrograde that began in the second half of June. At this time, and in the week following this date, we may experience developments that can be expansive. This can be connected to Jupiter ruled areas such as education, travel, foreign countries, beliefs, perspectives, faith, media, marketing, or promotion. It could even be lucky for some people. As this is happening, Mars will be in a trine with Jupiter which can be good for applying ourselves in these Jupiterian ways mentioned or with some sort of optimism.

The Full Moon in Aries will be building up as it will be occurring on October 20th/2st, a few days after Mercury goes stationary direct. This will be an eventful time and some of the things that occur at that point will play a role in the aftermath of the retrograde. The Sun will still be in Libra and oppose the Moon in Aries. Therefore relationship matters can be in a push-pull dynamic with matters pertaining to self and individual needs. With the Moon being in Aries combined with four planets going direct leading up to that point, a sense of moving forward will be a part of the astrological backdrop at that time.

About six weeks later on November 28th/29th and/or in the days following, there can be even more clarity around certain things that have been seeded or occurred during this specific retrograde. From there, we can experience developments which can give us a better perception of where things are headed. In some cases, the circumstances at that point may also indicate lack of sufficiency or not what was anticipated. If so, the perception acquired at that time can help us to make necessary decisions on how to proceed with the aspects of our lives that are impacted by this Mercury Retrograde in Libra.

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Mercury Retrograde In Libra: Relationship Changes

IMPORTANT NOTE: I will be taking some time off from writing my astrology articles and putting out regular content. It may be for 2-3 months but not sure as of yet. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I will have new work published in the future when I am back at it. You can also follow me on Social Media (links below) to stay connected. I will still be available for personalized readings, more information and scheduling can be found on this page.

Mercury begins another retrograde process on September 27th which will last until October 18th/19th. This is when it appears to be moving backwards from our Earth based vantage point due to the positioning of the Earth and Mercury in each of their orbits around the Sun. This one is occurring completely in Libra.

In the weeks (and especially days) leading up to it, it can already start to feel like a retrograde and some of its themes can get seeded. This happens because Mercury slows down (again from our vantage point) and travels in the part of the sky it will be returning to after the retrograde begins. This is known as the ‘pre-shadow’ period which began on September 6th/7th.

If you have read my previous Mercury Retrograde articles, the remainder of this section and the following one are nearly the same. You can skip to the third section and beyond if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. Those other parts are more specific to this edition of it.

Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules.

Sometimes these issues could occur when we are excessively analytical without tuning into our internal guidance. Depending on how we flow with it and other variables, we may not always experience these surface level inconveniences, or they could just be minor irritants.

Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, lovers, or others we haven’t seen in a while. When we reconnect with people during a retrograde, it sometimes can help to facilitate a shift in the relationship. In some cases, issues from the past can come up which may need to be hashed out.

The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde

Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate and adjust specific areas of our lives as well as how we apply our minds towards these issues. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases, it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.

During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a re-orientation of some sort which influences how we proceed over the coming months or in some cases, it can have a more long-term significance. In the three weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness, adjustment, as well as new ideas and thoughts that have been seeded which will develop and become more defined as time progresses.

Certain things that have come up specifically in the weeks leading up to the start of the retrograde could determine where this energy could play out. It is also possible that there could have been changes or developments at that time which may go through a sorting-out process or shift in dynamics during the actual retrograde and in the two weeks following. There could be unknown variables, either positive or negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming month.

The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels in shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. More importantly, if you are familiar with your natal astrology chart, then your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically which areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it begins at 25’28 degrees of Libra and will retrograde back to 10’08 degrees of the same sign before turning forward again.

Occurring In Libra, The Third Of A Series In Air Signs

Mercury Retrograde always happens in primarily one element for 1-2 years. This is the third of a series that is mainly occurring in Air signs which will last until Fall 2022. The first one was in January-February in Aquarius. The Air element is about intellect, objectivity, the mind, and social aspects of life. This period is about re-aligning ourselves with these qualities if necessary and ultimately expressing them in new or revamped ways.

With this retrograde in Libra, we may also experience or apply re-orientations, adjustments, developments, circumstances, or reflect on themes connected to relationships, partnerships, companions, balance, fairness, equality, justice, laws, art, aesthetics, beauty, creativity, or attraction. Libra is also about consideration of others, cooperation, compromise, peace, harmony, diplomacy, relating, and finding common ground.

Mercury Retrograde Significant Dates

Below are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde.

*The dates below are based on the Americas. The further East you are located, you may need to consider it as the next day.

September 27th Mercury Retrograde Begins September 27th at 5:10am Universal Time. 

The common Mercury retrograde themes and complications may come up strongly at this time and in recent days leading up to this as it has been nearly stopped in stationary position. You may get some sort of indication of how it may be playing out for you over the next month based on how you feel or what transpires. It’s possible that certain things that happen at this time, which may seem insignificant, can somehow be connected to how this retrograde process will affect you. Also keep in mind that the pre-retrograde shadow began September 6th/7th and Mercury entered Libra on August 30th, so certain things that have come up since then may also be a factor in how things play out over the upcoming month.

September 30th-October 1st/2nd Mercury Square Pluto, while Mars opposes Chiron

Mercury made its first square with Pluto around September 21st-23rd and it has been close to it since, therefore its energy has been present since then but peaks during these periods when it is exact. At best, this energy can be good for deep thoughts and conversations, getting to the bottom of things, mental focus/concentration, addressing financial issues,  shadow work, and even therapy.

However, we can also be compulsive, obsessive, worried, pessimistic, suspicious, or fearful under this influence. Dark thoughts can also occur in some people. Conflicts, manipulation, forceful communications, or intense exchanges can also occur. Matters or dilemmas pertaining to power, control, authority, money, or sex may come up. There may be a correlation between what occurs now and things that happened around September 21st-23rd.

Mars is also opposing Chiron during this period. Issues around anger, aggression, physical energy, or how we (or others) assert ourselves may come up. This combined with Mars being in Libra  can play out as lack of direction when it comes to how we apply ourselves.

October 3rd/4th Mercury Trine Jupiter

Communications, thoughts, and connections with others can be expansive, educational, idealistic, optimistic, philosophical, big picture oriented, or could involve perceived meanings. Some people may receive positive news or be involved in a seemingly beneficial transaction. In some cases, there may be a connection with this period and things that occurred around September 20th/21st.

October 6th-9th/10th Mars Conjunct Sun & New Moon, Pluto Going Direct, Saturn Going Direct, Mercury Inferior Conjunction, Venus Conjunct South Node

We will be having a New Moon in Libra on October 6th/7th which will activate Libra energies even more so. Interestingly this New Moon occurs as Mars joins the Sun which happens approximately every two years. This is the beginning and ending of a Mars-Sun cycle and therefore things that occur at this time (and in the weeks before and after) are connected to transitions when it comes to areas and expressions ruled by Mars. This can have to do with how we assert ourselves, sex, physical activity/energy, competitiveness, courage, or issues pertaining to anger and aggression. It will be in Libra, so may be tied into relationships, partnerships, fairness, equality, fairness, balance, or justice/law related. Note: I won’t be doing an article for this New Moon and will be taking a break from articles for perhaps a few months. Join my mailing list here to be notified when I eventually have new content coming out. 

Pluto will also be transitioning to direct motion during this New Moon, as its energies will be very strong at this time as well as in the week before and after. Themes, developments, and shifts pertaining to power, control, hidden matters, empowerment, transformation, regeneration, purging, death, rebirth, shadows, finances, debts, taxes, or sex may be more prominent. In the coming weeks it can feel like there will be a forward momentum around these areas in comparison to previous months.

Another interesting thing is that all of this will be overlapping with the halfway point of this retrograde, Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun, which can be a time of important insights. The themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more so during this period.

For some people, complications and frustrations can also be stronger during this conjunction depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. Ultimately things that happen is part of a process of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded. This will also somehow be tied into the themes of the Mars conjunction mentioned in the earlier paragraph.

Venus will be conjunct the Lunar South Node as the inferior conjunction is happening, on October 9th/10th. There may be some sort of endings or release around Venus areas such as relationships, friendships, love, pleasures, money, material things, or aesthetics. This can also be a time in which things from the past associated with Venus might come which ultimately can be something that we need to move on from.

As the inferior conjunction is ending, Saturn will also be transitioning from retrograde to direct. Themes, developments, expressions, and shifts pertaining to responsibility, commitment, discipline, duty, structure, boundaries, consolidation, or restriction can come up during this period and in the week before and after.

October 16th/17th Mercury Sextile Venus

Mercury will be sextile Venus in Sagittarius on October 16th/17th. This is a more mild transit but this can be good for social connections and reconnecting with friends or other relations. In some cases, positive developments pertaining to love, finances, material things, or pleasure might play out.

October 18th/19th Mercury Goes Stationary Direct, Jupiter Goes Stationary Direct, Mars Trine Jupiter, Full Moon Building Up

Mercury will end its retrograde and be stationary on October 18th/19th. It will slowly begin to move forward and gradually pick up speed in the following days and weeks. As this happens, the areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde will start to become more increasingly clear, things will fall into place more easily, and we may experience resolutions depending on how it affected you. We can feel that we are in a better place to move forward in the areas of life that have been impacted and pertaining to how Libra themes played out for you.

However, usually the first few days after it ends can still feel like it is retrograde as complications may occur due to Mercury’s stationary position. It’s usually best to wait until at least 3 days afterwards before finalizing decisions, agreements, etc.

As Mercury transitions in motion, Jupiter will also be ending its retrograde that began in the second half of June. At this time, and in the week following this date, we may experience developments that can be expansive. This can be connected to Jupiter ruled areas such as education, travel, foreign countries, beliefs, perspectives, faith, media, marketing, or promotion. It could even be lucky for some people. As this is happening, Mars will be in a trine with Jupiter which can be good for applying ourselves in these Jupiterian ways mentioned or with some sort of optimism.

The Full Moon in Aries will be building up as it will be occurring on October 20th/2st, a few days after Mercury goes stationary direct. This will be an eventful time and some of the things that occur at that point will play a role in the aftermath of the retrograde. The Sun will still be in Libra and oppose the Moon in Aries. Therefore relationship matters can be in a push-pull dynamic with matters pertaining to self and individual needs. With the Moon being in Aries combined with four planets going direct leading up to that point, a sense of moving forward will be a part of the astrological backdrop at that time.

About six weeks later on November 28th/29th and/or in the days following, there can be even more clarity around certain things that have been seeded or occurred during this specific retrograde. From there, we can experience developments which can give us a better perception of where things are headed. In some cases, the circumstances at that point may also indicate lack of sufficiency or not what was anticipated. If so, the perception acquired at that time can help us to make necessary decisions on how to proceed with the aspects of our lives that are impacted by this Mercury Retrograde in Libra.

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

Gain astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order

The post Mercury Retrograde In Libra: Relationship Changes appeared first on Collective Evolution.

How The Media Is Creating A Sensemaking Crisis

There are many reasons why we have a crisis in sensemaking taking place in our culture right now. Which is to say, a breakdown in how we agree upon what is happening around us and converge on truth.

We’ve always have disagreements in human culture, but have we ever been so at odds about basic facts? Have we ever seen such a wide scale degree of censorship around issues that are nowhere close to being black and white? I don’t know, but I can’t find an obvious time in history that compares to this scale.

Which leads me to this, on August 27th 2021, we released a video on YouTube about a vaccine passport hearing in Detroit. Within 4 hours it was removed from YouTube for YouTube claims was “Medical Misinformation.”

The interesting part of this was, this was a journalistic piece exploring the way local Detroit media covered a hearing in Michigan about vaccine passports. The video we produced contained some short snippets of a testimony from Dr. Christina Parks, who offered her expert opinion on why it would not be a good idea to mandate vaccines at this moment in time.

As you can note yourself in our video below, there are no medical claims made by myself, the journalist, and there is no push for the audience to decide on something medically based.

This was honest and neutral journalism pointing to the fact that objectively poor journalism was being done by some mainstream outlets, and how it’s causing a crisis in how we view science. Ironically, the video discusses how we aren’t respecting one another’s expert opinions during COVID, and instead we are walking away from science – not allowing critique, discussion, or differences of opinion during a time where the answers aren’t always clear.

Our organization, The Pulse, appealed YouTube’s decision, but it was struck down within hours, backing up YouTube’s claims that this video contained “medical misinformation.”

Interestingly, YouTube has left multiple full length videos with 100’s of thousands of views up with Dr. Christina Park’s testimony. So if the issue was her testimony, why did ours get deleted while others remain? Did reviewers even look at our video? Was the issue that we dissected the issues with mainstream media? We don’t know, and we won’t.

Having been in this field for 12 years, this is obviously preposterous to me, but it’s something our society is currently going through as mentioned above. We are in a crisis of sensemaking and the only way out is for us as individuals to start developing the necessary skills to inquire, be curious, and be playful. The media is only inviting us into division – we don’t have to accept that invite.

But to do so, we must develop the skills necessary to stay aware and present enough that we can question what’s happening, communicate about it respectfully, and converge on ideas. Something we teach in detail in our Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking Course.

The post How The Media Is Creating A Sensemaking Crisis appeared first on Collective Evolution.

Test Your Ability to Discover Truth

A psychological exercise called the Ideological Turing test, helps individuals explore their ability to critically analyze ideas, topics and beliefs.

The conclusion is if you cannot explain someone else’s perspective about something, there’s a decent chance you are either wrong or have not taken the time to understand what the topic truly entails.

Many of us exist in this category, which is partly why our society is so divided today. 

Historically a Turing test is used in AI development when developers are testing whether or not their AI model can think like a human. The test is named after Alan Turing, a computer scientist, cryptanalyst, mathematician and theoretical biologist.

“Turing proposed that a human evaluator would judge natural language conversations between a human and a machine designed to generate human-like responses. The evaluator would be aware that one of the two partners in conversation is a machine, and all participants would be separated from one another. The conversation would be limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen so the result would not depend on the machine’s ability to render words as speech. If the evaluator cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test.” – Wikipedia

Basically if a human can’t tell the difference between responses from a computer or a human, the computer has passed. 

Now, the Ideological Turing Test is similar but slightly different. This time, instead of a computer passing off as a human, you have to be able to explain an opposing position of an argument as well as your opponents would. I.e. as if you believe it yourself. If you can convincingly do so, you have passed the test.

This would essentially mean you know how to listen to others and truly understand other people’s perspective around an argument.

Let’s take COVID vaccination, a hot topic that has people arguing constantly. Do vaccinated or unvaccinated people cause variants to emerge? Some will say it’s the vaccinated, others will say it’s the unvaccinated, but can you explain the perspective of both sides?

As a journalist, I can tell you that there is a scientific pathway for either to be true. But many who believe the vaccine to be highly dangerous will bias towards the vaccine being the cause of all variants. Where as, those who believe the unvaccinated are creating variants, will often simply think the unvaccinated are stupid and a problem to society, yet they are not aware that they themselves could be a source of an emerging variant.

Can you pass the test? 

Consider any topic you feel you know a lot about, take vaccine mandates for example. Now consider an opposing viewpoint to what your view is about the topic you choose. Now test yourself: can you present that viewpoint in a way that another person would accept as representative of them?

In doing this, you might find that you can’t explain their position very well, meaning you might have become ideological in your view or simply never considered their position. You might find that as you consider explaining their viewpoint, you start wondering what the other person might be thinking or feeling, effectively helping you empathize with another person’s perspective.

In the end, you may still disagree with them, but at least gaining empathy you can understand them and be respectful in future discussion. In fact, you can now go deeper in future discussions, while maintaining a sense of calm and respect.

Why is that important? First off, this becomes helpful in all areas of your life. Personal relationships, in work settings, online, and about societal issues. We connect as communities with authentic conversation. We make important decisions in our lives via authentic conversations. And part of what’s happening in our world right now that is causing division and breakdowns in relationships is that we are not being able to truly listen, understand and hear each other. Conversations remain shallow and avoided, not because they aren’t important, but because we feel we don’t know how to deal with them.

What we get out of deep conversation is meaning and authenticity. It can be tough at first, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You become closer to people and close to yourself. Instead of always burying our repressed ideas as a society, which is never a healthy thing to do long term, we face our mild disagreements in a healthy way through conversation.

More often than not, you’ll notice people actually agree with one another significantly more than disagree, yet culturally we assume we are always at odds with one another. We can end this illusion with improved communication.

It’s also possible this exercise pointed out some areas where your own argument might have been a bit weak, causing you to look more closely at it and perhaps gain greater clarity on it if possible.

But note, we’re not strengthening our argument to defeat other people. Our goal is to arrive at truth and understanding – not go to war. We can call it ‘strengthening’ if we like, but truly, we are attempting to get clear and converge on ideas where possible.

Now, some ideas are more philosophical in nature, and there may not be enough facts to ‘strengthen’ our argument. Nonetheless, it’s important we know how our philosophy came to be, how we can test it, and how we can listen to others. This involves building self awareness, a sense of presence, and skills of inquiry – tools that help us in all areas of life.

When exercises  like this cause us to feel offensive or uncomfortable, this may be a sign that you are connecting your identity to what you believe. Our ideas are not who we are, it is not us who is under attack when someone disagrees. If we see it that way, we might want to again take a step back and assess where we have become too close to things.

The implications of becoming stuck in identifying with our beliefs is that we begin to feed into divides, create rifts in relationships, and seed issues within communities. All of this will have us fail to arrive at a place where we can truly thrive. Sure, we can ‘get by,’ but is that all we want? If we had the power within us to thrive, would you want to create that world?

Are you looking for the truth? Or are you seeking to simply adhere to your own ideology?

We don’t want to be wrong or to be stuck in faith based beliefs that we think are factual. But when is the last time we truly tested our beliefs? How do we know what a fact is vs what someone is simply claiming?

I want to make a small note about the importance of seeking truth, through allowing our curiosity and playfulness to take us towards flexible understandings, not about holding hard to our side. Generating different viewpoints as people can be very helpful in collectively evolving our ideas and understandings in order to think of new ways of thriving not just surviving. 

As we converse with one another playfully, we can learn whether new understandings have come to light that require us to update our view. We might hear how ideas can affect people with different experiences than us, perhaps inviting us to be more flexible and have a more holistic understanding of a topic and its implications. We might hear from highly trained people who have the capacity to understand things we don’t. Whatever it may be, we all play a role in the information landscape and how it evolves.

Given the information landscape shapes our choices, decisions and actions, it’s important we know how to navigate it and evolve it well. Natural inquiry with one another is an innate sense of play in humans, but one that can get overridden by bias and rigid personality.

Real World Implications

I want to be clear, developing a better sense of questioning ourselves and updating our ideas does not mean we shouldn’t expect challenges and differences of opinion, it means we will be flexible enough to find a solution when it does happen.

Look at how political parties function today. We have picked an ideological side, left to or right for example, and regardless of what the issue is, we seem to think of a solution in terms of what our ideological side is suggesting. 

We often have a misinterpretation of the other side, often classifying their belief by some harsh name, and we get together with ‘like minded’ people to re-enforce our beliefs about the issue. We even watch news and media that are slanted towards our ideological position so we can strengthen it even further.

This effectively pulls us away from other people, often dehumanizing them into a name or a phrase to describe them, without ever truly understanding them. This, especially over time, has huge effects on how communities break down, politics runs a muck, and how we end up not knowing how to arrive at truth any more.

Thus, our decisions are hard to make, our direction as a society is unclear, and we can’t have basic conversations with people we disagree with unless it becomes heated.

As a journalist and individual who has been working to help people with personal transformation for over 13 years, I truly believe the skills we spoke about above are some of the most important things we can develop to turn our world around in the long term. Self awareness, presence, a sense of inquiry, critical thinking etc. It’s about developing all aspects of who we are, not just emotional regulation or not just mental processes, but ALL of who we are – things we really should have learned in school.

If you want to dive deeper into this journey, we actually use this test in our course called Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking. It’s a structured program I built with my friend and colleague Dr. Madhava Setty and it’s a very helpful tool in building self awareness, communication skills, critical thinking skills, and improving your overall sense making.

The post Test Your Ability to Discover Truth appeared first on Collective Evolution.

How To Have Your Own Personal Zen Master Around Anytime You Descend Into Stress

When you look at a true spiritual master, guru or yogi, one of the most remarkable things you might notice is that they don’t seem to experience stress. You might conclude that they arrive at this state through meditation, fasting, prayer, or other such disciplines. This is only partly true. Those spiritual practices can certainly contribute to stress reduction, but their ultimate effect is to support the maintenance of ONE KEY THOUGHT that spiritual masters hold in their minds (and bodies) with unfailing certainty.

Granted, this key thought is not easy to grasp, hold as truth, and then deeply embody within yourself. Throughout history spiritual masters have done their darndest to articulate it for those hoping for inner peace and harmony. The limitations of language, of all human languages, is woefully revealed in these attempts. But if you are ready, open, and genuinely seeking–an ‘aspirant’ as they say in yoga–then it becomes possible for a certain expression or turn of phrase to begin to activate your deeper inner knowledge of the state some call samadhi, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, or what I like to simply term presence. Are you ready?

Stress-Free Perception

In a true state of presence it is impossible to feel stress. Impossible. That is because stress is predicated on our seeing the world as dualistic. In a state of presence we embody a perception of singularity. The apperception of the world as whole, as unified, is truth unmasked.

From a perception of unity there is no past or future, there is only now. Note that human experience is only ever experienced through the now, past experiences were only ever experienced in the now, and the same will hold for our future experiences. Having the experience of presence helps us get a glimpse that time itself is a fabrication, a ‘program’ that helps our intentionally limited minds have a particularly lush and interesting kind of experience in the physical world.

How We Create Stress

But let’s get back to our everyday time-bound consciousness. For those of you who earnestly seek to dissolve your stress, and are open and willing to let go of anything your mind is clinging to in order to achieve it, I will try to explain the one key thought.

The experience of stress is the experience of the tension or dissonance between two things: how your world IS in any moment, and how you think it SHOULD BE. You create stress by carrying in your mind an image of how something in the NOW—yourself and others, the presence or absence of things, the weather—is NOT OK as it is. That puts you into a self-created adversarial relationship with the only point of contact you have with life.

Fortunately, your emotions alert you to this crazy confabulation, by making you aware of internal discomfort you label as STRESS. This STRESS is nothing more than an urgent signal from your higher intelligence to return to presence. But in a state of stress how can you possibly return to presence?

The One Key Thought Into Presence

You need to get into the habit of using your awareness of your own stress as a trigger to align yourself with this one key thought: everything is perfect as it is. It’s like having your own personal Zen master around any time you descend into stress asking you the well-worn koan, ‘What, in this moment, is lacking?’

It works. Trust me.

But it only works to the extent that you are willing to let go of the past (and future), along with all your judgments, grievances, ‘shoulds’, hopes, and fears that arise out of a dualistic perception. If you are truly willing and able to deeply hold this one key thought as ULTIMATE truth, above ALL other beliefs and opinions, you will start to feel it working.

Spiritual Context

If you have doubts about this one key thought representing ultimate truth, allow me to provide the spiritual context I work with in which the statement makes perfect sense.

A common thread at the heart of all great spiritual traditions is that we are all immortal souls who are currently having a ‘human’ experience. The circumstances of this life experience were chosen by us to facilitate our soul’s evolution. So any time you feel stress, you can see it as the universe prodding you to take an evolutionary step. That evolutionary step is to see the perfection in everything, if only for a moment at first. If you’re game, these brief moments of clarity add up quickly to a more permanent step up.

An Example

Let’s say for example you’re stuck in traffic, and realize you are going to be late for a meeting. Maybe it’s even your ‘fault’, because you left late or didn’t check your GPS. If you’re feeling stressed about it, realize it’s because things are not how your mind thinks they should be. Your mind thinks you ‘should’ be at the meeting on time–to get some important information, perhaps, or because your reputation as a reliable person is at stake, and you will be judged by others at the meeting in a way that may impact your future success.

Now, you can continue to be stressed in that moment (and subsequently for the entire drive to the office), or you can take ALL that very reasonable blather of ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’, roll it up in a ball, and drop it into your faux-ashtray. You will be able to do this if you reach for presence, if you remind yourself that there is only the present moment, and in the present moment you can choose to experience stress, or choose to experience peace. If you choose to be fully present you accept the present moment exactly as it is, realize there is nothing you can DO in that moment to remedy the so-called problem, and take the evolutionary step of seeing everything as perfect in this so-called ‘stressful’ moment. There is no problem now–and you will deal with the ‘problem’ when the ‘problem’ arises. You are simply in a car driving. You will then start to feel relief, and gain confidence that if you maintain presence through your arrival to the office, your late entry into the meeting, and your conversations afterwards, the ‘problem’ will never arise and you will literally breeze through the whole experience. You will be ‘ok’ with whatever happens.

Common Fears About Presence

FEAR: If I go into presence I will lose my mind.

Maybe-but only in a good way. Lol. Seriously, presence is not losing one’s mind, it is aligning one’s mind properly, with the timeless ‘true mind’ playing the role of master and the time-bound ‘false mind’ (ego) playing the role of servant, allowing the true mind to interface as it pleases with the time-governed physical world.

FEAR: If I go into presence I will stop trying to make my life better.

Perhaps. After all, what is better than presence, where everything is perfect? But there is more to it. You may be surprised to hear that a state of presence does not thwart action, it only thwarts reaction, fear-based, ego-sponsored drives to alleviate doubt, fear, insecurity, stress. In a state of presence the true mind decides on action, the best action for the situation, which is then carried out in perfect flow with the environment.

FEAR: It’s too hard to do and I’ll ultimately fail.

Failure is impossible. Patience, though, is required. The evolution of consciousness might seem like waves rising and falling on the shore, but the high water marks accumulate and eventually produce a stable higher state of awareness. Remembering and forgetting presence is natural, but with persistence it is remembered more often, maintained for a longer period of time, and eventually becomes part of your normal, base perception. With this as your base perception, then, it is truly possible for you to experience a life free of stress.

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Gratitude Can Literally Change Your Heart & The Molecular Structure Of Your Brain

Gratitude is a funny thing. In some parts of the world, somebody who gets a clean drink of water, some food, or a worn out pair of shoes can be extremely grateful. Meanwhile, somebody else who has all the necessities they need to live can be found complaining about something.

What we have today is what we once wanted before, but there is a lingering belief out there that obtaining material possessions is the key to happiness – especially in the Western world. This may be true for some to an extent, but that happiness is temporary. The truth is that true happiness is an inside job.

It’s a matter of perspective, and in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we are lacking and always wanting more, it can be difficult to achieve or experience actual happiness. Many of us are always looking toward external factors to experience joy and happiness, without ever doing or thinking about the inner work that is required.

This is something science is just starting to grasp as well, as shown by research coming out of UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. According to them:

Having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier. When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. You are more peaceful, less reactive and less resistant. Now that’s a really cool way of taking care of your well-being.

UCLA Newsroom, Joan Moran.

There are many studies showing that people who count their blessings tend to be far happier and experience less depression.  In one study from the University of California, Berkeley,  researchers recruited people with mental health difficulties, including people suffering from anxiety and depression. The study involved nearly 300 adults who were randomly divided into three groups.

All groups received counselling services, but the first group was instructed to write one letter of gratitude to another person every week for three weeks, whereas the second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts and feelings about negative experiences. The third group did not do any writing activity.

Researchers found that compared to the participants who wrote about negative experiences or only received counselling, those who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health for up to 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

This suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for those who struggle with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.

 Joshua Brown & Joel Wong. Indiana University.

Previously, a study on gratitude conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants to be given one of three tasks.

Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another group recorded daily troubles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on what they consider positive or the negative.

Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the troubled group. They reported fewer health complaints and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.

How Does Gratitude Benefit Us?

Researchers from Berkeley identified how gratitude might actually work on our minds and bodies. They provided four insights from their research suggesting what causes the psychological benefits of gratitude.

  • Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
  • Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it
  • Gratitude’s benefits take time & practice. You might not feel it right away.
  • Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain

The brain part is very interesting. The researchers at Berkeley used an fMRI scanner to measure brain activity while people from each group did a “pay it forward” task. During the task, the participants were given money by a “nice person.” This person’s only request was that they pass on the money to someone if they felt grateful.

They did this because they wanted to distinguish between actions motivated by gratitude and actions driven by other motivations like obligation, guilt, or what other people think. This is important because you can’t fake gratitude, you actually have to feel it. If you don’t feel grateful or practice feeling grateful, you may not experience as much joy and happiness.

In a world where emotions aren’t really taught in school and the importance is put on striving for high grades, it’s not abnormal to have difficulty feeling grateful. This is especially understandable if you’ve been brought up in the Western world, which is full of consumerism and competition. A world where culture is inviting us to feel we are lacking so we need to strive for more, that we need to compete instead of cooperate.

Following the Pay It Forward study, participants were asked to rate how grateful they felt toward the person giving them the money and how much they wanted to pay it forward to a charitable cause as well as how guilty they thought they would feel if they didn’t help.  They were also given questionnaires to measure how grateful they felt in general. Researchers said,

We found that across the participants, when people felt more grateful, their brain activity was distinct from brain activity related to guilt and the desire to help a cause. More specifically, we found that when people who are generally more grateful gave more money to a cause, they showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making. This suggests that people who are more grateful are also more attentive to how they express gratitude.

Most interestingly, when we compared those who wrote the gratitude letters with those who didn’t, the gratitude letter writers showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex when they experienced gratitude in the fMRI scanner. This is striking as this effect was found three months after the letter writing began. This indicates that simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain. While not conclusive, this finding suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and this could contribute to improved mental health over time.

Joshua Brown & Joel Wong. Indiana University.

It’s also interesting to note that a 2018 study discovered a brain network that “gives rise to feelings of gratitude. The study could spur future investigations into how these ‘building blocks’ transform social information into complex emotions.” 

What About The Heart?

The work and research above is great, but where do we actually experience these feelings? They are clearly not a product of our brain, they are products of our consciousness, and when we feel them the brain responds. Researchers are now discovering that the heart also responds during these experience, and that it might actually be the heart that’s responsible for sending these signals to the brain.

A group of prestigious and internationally recognized leaders in physics, biophysics, astrophysics, education, mathematics, engineering, cardiology, biofeedback, and psychology (among other disciplines) have been doing some brilliant work over at the Institute of HeartMath.

Their work, among many others, has shown that when a person is feeling emotions like gratitude, love, or appreciation, the heart beats out a different message, which determines what kind of signals are sent to the brain.

Not only that, but because the heart beats out the largest electromagnetic field produced in the body, the Institute has been able to gather a significant amount of data.

According to Rollin McCraty, Ph.D, and Director of Research at Heartmath,

“Emotional information is actually coded and modulated into these fields. By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.”

Another great point made below by HeartMath:

“One important way the heart can speak to and influence the brain is when the heart is coherent – experiencing stable, sine-wavelike pattern in its rhythms. When the heart is coherent, the body, including the brain, begins to experience all sorts of benefits, among them are greater mental clarity and ability, including better decision making.”

In fact, the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends in return. What’s even more incredible is the fact that these heart signals (from heart to brain) actually have a significant effect on brain function.

Research findings have shown that as we practice heart coherence and radiate love and compassion, our heart generates a coherent electromagnetic wave into the local field environment that facilitates social coherence, whether in the home, workplace, classroom or sitting around a table. As more individuals radiate heart coherence, it builds an energetic field that makes it easier for others to connect with their heart. So, theoretically it is possible that enough people building individual and social coherence could actually contribute to an unfolding global coherence.

Rollin McCraty.

So far, the researchers have discovered that the heart communicates with the brain and body in four ways: neurological communication (nervous system), biophysical communication (pulse wave), biochemical communication (hormones), and energetic communication (electromagnetic fields).

HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive function. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect. It facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability

HeartMath Institute.

Feelings Have The Power To Create Change

So what do we make of this? Why is this research important and ca it make our world better? Here’s what HeartMath’s researchers feel with regards to these questions:

Every individual’s energy affects the collective field environment. The means each person’s emotions and intentions generate an energy that affects the field. A first step in diffusing societal stress in the global field is for each of us to take personal responsibility for our own energies. We can do this by increasing our personal coherence and raising our vibratory rate, which helps us become more conscious of the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes that we are feeding the field each day. We have a choice in every moment to take to heart the significance of intentionally managing our energies. This is the free will or local freedom that can create global cohesion.

Dr. Deborah Rozman, the President of Quantum Intech

Overall, this type of work suggests that human consciousness, in general, has the power to be a key ingredient in changing our world.

One study, was done during the Israel-Lebanon war in the 1980s. Two Harvard University professors organized groups of experienced meditators in Jerusalem, Yugoslavia and the United States, and asked them to focus their attention on the area of conflict at various intervals over a 27-month period. Over the course of the study, the levels of violence in Lebanon decreased between 40 and 80 percent each time a meditating group was in place. The average number of people killed during the war each day dropped from 12 to three, and war-related injuries fell by 70 percent.

What this shows is that consciousness can have a temporary effect. But how do we make it more permanent? How do we create lasting change?

Another great example is a study that was conducted in 1993 in Washington, D.C., which showed a 25 percent drop in crime rates when 2,500 meditators meditated during a specific period of time with that intention.

Once again a temporary change only. This type of information is heavily correlated with quantum physics, as many experiments in that area as well as parapsychology (telepathy, remote viewing, distant healing) indicate similar findings.

This holds true as far back as 1999. Statistics professor Jessica Utts at UC Irvine published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helps prevent heart attacks. Utts also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets.

This type of work has statistically significant implications, yet is heavily ignored and labelled as pseudoscience simply because it conflicts with long-held beliefs from a material worldview that is coming under fire. We often have trouble letting go of these types of worldview’s, but times are changing, and we must also.

For many years I have worked with researchers doing very careful work [in parapsychology], including a year that I spent full-time working on a classified project for the United States government, to see if we could use these abilities for intelligence gathering during the Cold War… At the end of that project I wrote a report for Congress, stating what I still think is true. The data in support of precognition and possibly other related phenomena are quite strong statistically, and would be widely accepted if it pertained to something more mundane. Yet, most scientists reject the possible reality of these abilities without ever looking at data! And on the other extreme, there are true believers who base their beliefs solely on anecdotes and personal experience. I have asked debunkers if there is any amount of data that would convince them, and they generally have responded by saying, “probably not.” I ask them what original research they have read, and they mostly admit that they haven’t read any. Now there is a definition of pseudo-science-basing conclusions on belief rather than data!

Utts, Chair of the Statistics Department, UC Irvine (Dean Radin, Real Magic)

The Takeaway

Emotions and other factors associated with consciousness have the power to transform our inner world in ways we don’t fully understand yet. These findings show how consciousness can actually transform the physical/material world as well, and that’s huge. This validates the idea that if we can change our inner world through healing trauma, gratitude, empathy, compassion, and meditation, we can make our outer world more peaceful.

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