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Website Update

Hey everyone. This is an administrative post notifying my readers about my new videos tab. I recently started making videos for YouTube and decided it would also be a good idea to host them through my website. I would love to hear feedback on what you think of the video quality, subject matter, and anything you liked or think could be improved upon. I plan on splitting my time between making videos and writing blog posts but I will do my best to keep both updated regularly. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to hearing your feedback!

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Personal Philosophy

My Adventure to the Grand Canyon: A Soul’s Discovery

This past week, I took a trip to see the Grand Canyon. At the last minute, the other person I was planning to go with had to cancel. Although hotel reservations had been made, no money had officially been spent. So, I still had the opportunity to back out. I talked about this with a close friend in my circle and he brought up how this would be an opportunity for growth. It would be just God, myself and over 1000 miles of road. Oh yeah, I was driving. Here are some of the spiritual takeaways from my solitary five day trip.

Adventure is what YOU make of it

Early on in the trip I started to experience some frustration. I was almost through New Mexico, had been driving all day, and was still several hours away from my destination. Originally the plan had been to stop and get a hotel in Roswell, NM. However, when I arrived there I was making such good time I figured I could get all the way to Flagstaff, AZ. Without realizing, I had turned the adventure into a mission.

“I have to see the Grand Canyon,” had become the purpose of the journey. It was no longer about self discovery. Although the Grand Canyon was the destination, this slight shift in perspective turned it into the sole reason for the trip. Every other aspect of the trip became a peripheral concern. I would only be fulfilled upon achieving my goal. 

I started to wonder why I took this trip. I thought to myself, “I’m driving over 1000 miles one way, far from my friends and family to see what? A big hole in the ground?” 

I had to reflect on my reasons for going on the trip alone. By going alone, I could adhere entirely to my own schedule. I would have time to be with myself and ponder my experiences. I would be free from external influence and the beauty of the trip would be entirely of my own understanding. Reflecting on my reasons for traveling alone centered me and enabled me to redirect my energy towards the original purpose. Getting to know more about myself.

The following day, after spending the night in Gallup, NM, I did things I wanted to do. I was only three hours away from Flagstaff, so I hiked the Red Rock Trails, saw The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks, and talked to several Natives about the Navajo culture and tradition. Looking back, I enjoyed those parts of the trip more than actually seeing the Grand Canyon, which I assure you, is much more than a “hole in the ground”.

Benefits of Prolonged Solitude

Most people do not find spending five days alone very appealing. I definitely didn’t. At least at first. It is one thing to sit in meditation and practice stillness. However, I found the experience to be more like moving to a place where you know no one. Every interaction has to be formed from scratch and there is little emotional security. Of course we all have phones to touch base, but if I spent the whole time talking with friends back home, part of me would know I am avoiding the experience I set out to have. 

During the time with myself, I had a lot of conversations with what I choose to call God. After all, God was the only one there to hear my thoughts and I don’t feel the need to talk out loud as much as I used to. As I talked, I became much more aware of my fears. An emotion would rise up in me and the only thing I could do was sit with it. I had no way of ignoring the them. After feeling it for awhile I would ask myself, “what is at the core of this?” 

Being on the road for 16 hours kind of forces you to dive deeper. I gained a lot of perspective about my own triggers and emotional habits. I had time to think about why I like and dislike certain things. The specific parts of something which invoke emotion in me. I reflected on my past and the experiences that shaped the way I think and feel. 

After an extended period of self discovery, I reached a place of peace and serenity. I found the later moments of the trip were spent largely in marvel at the nature around me and the forces that created the landscapes. It was profoundly spiritual to ponder the nature of creation, as many of the landscapes took millions of years to form and had been there millennia’s before any human witnessed it.

Engaging Your Inner Child

When you spend such a long time with yourself, you get an opportunity to recreate what “fun” means for you. There aren’t other people to give their two cents about which activities you should do. At first it is kind of uncomfortable but it’s a good practice of giving into your heart’s desire. 

Towards the end of the trip I was feeling exhausted from doing so much and being from central Texas, the snow was becoming a challenge in and of itself. I realized that growing up, our vacations had never been very relaxing. We would spend all our time sight-seeing and doing things. This way of travel has its own merit, but is not a very relaxing way to spend a vacation. Because of this, I knew my emotions were a call from my inner child to spend vacations how I never got to. Lounging around, playing games and eating. 

I had a small internal battle because part of me still thought that was an “improper use of time”. I can do that at home after all. Although, once I recognized it as an opportunity to love my inner child, I knew it was the right thing to do. The other part of me had got its way the first half of the trip, walking through national parks and going on tours, now the child got to be in charge. 

I always had difficulty understanding how to heal my inner child before this experience. I had read about it and could make some connections, but this was my first really big opportunity to do so. Once I made the decision to go along with the warm feeling of excitement in my gut and ignore any internal parenting, I found myself having a great deal of fun. It was the most refreshed I felt in a while. I found my energy levels increased. I was no longer restraining myself to activities I felt were “adult” like. I simply did what my heart told me I should do.

Now that I am back from my trip I feel I have gained a lot more awareness about myself. My motivation to work on my goals has been renewed. It’s an experience I have seldom felt from vacations before given the draining nature of constant motion. It is something I plan on doing again down the road and I believe everyone should provide themselves with the opportunity for self exploration.

If you have ever taken a spiritually impactful trip, let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your takeaways and what you learned about yourself. If you enjoyed the article make sure to check out some of my other posts.

To all my fellows, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

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Philosophy

Serenity in Politics

In today’s world, it is very hard to stay out of politics. If you are reading this in a democratic country, specifically the USA, political parties dominate the news and social media every couple of years. Even if you don’t want to pick a side (and you shouldn’t have to), most people will pick one for you with the “if you’re not with us you’re against us” mentality. If you’ve experienced this dilemma first hand, then I probably don’t need to say anything else for you to resonate with it.

Because of this, I am writing this article to address how to maintain peace and serenity when the world is turbulent.

Silence

Oftentimes, we forget the value of keeping things to ourselves. It is very easy to get caught up in a conversation and forget everyone has different values, attitudes and beliefs. Usually these things are fairly harmless and a lot of times they allow us to know more about a person and their experiences. There are however, topics which are heavily polarized. Politics, religion and family values to name a few. When people talk about these topics, they seldom are looking to change their mind, despite how the conversation may come about. 

When someone talks about a topic that is close to their heart, what they really are seeking is acceptance for who they are. Quietly listening and nodding with the occasional “uh-huh” shows the other person you are listening and provides a safe space for them to express themselves. You would be surprised how rare this is for people. 

People who appear overly combative have never really felt accepted sharing their beliefs. Whether it was at home, in school, the workplace, or somewhere else, these individuals feel they must prove the value of their perspective. When someone shares their perspective and we contrast it with our own, what we are really doing is saying “I think you are thinking about this wrong, try thinking about it in this way”. Only in very close relationships or when the individuals have the right temperament, is this not the case. 

After all when you share your own beliefs with someone, are you really looking to have the other person change your perspective? It may happen as a result of being accepted and open to new ideas, but I would argue in most cases you’re not. A good mentor of mine gave me an easy question to ask myself when I feel like talking: “Am I listening to listen, or am I listening to answer?” Essentially, am I listening to provide a safe space or am I listening to be right and gain admiration?

Anonymity

If we are talking with someone and the conversation takes a turn for the uncomfortable, we can always deny the conversation topic. Most people feel awkward saying things like “I’d prefer not to talk about that” because they feel it suggests they have something to hide. On a more simplistic level, most people simply have a problem with saying “no”. What it really communicates is the desire to deepen the relationship before becoming vulnerable.

This is something like putting a “no trespassers” sign in the conversation. If the individual disregards your desire to avoid a conversation topic, they are intentionally overstepping your boundaries. This gives you a lot more information about someone than just their opinion. If they are willing to disregard you in a conversation, they are likely to disregard you in more serious situations, regardless of how they might justify it.

There are many to dodge a conversation topic. If you don’t like to be confrontational, most people will not notice when you change a subject. Respond to a sub point of their statement and elaborate on it. Without knowing it they will elaborate on your topic point and the conversation with shift. This is the rhetorical breakdown of how a conversation changes topics without losing flow. Most people only recognize a change in topic when it is disconnected from the current topic, i.e it disrupts the flow.

Avoiding Blame

One of the favorite human past times is the blame game. It keeps us from looking at ourselves, allows us to maintain an image of superiority, and completely disregards any possibility for growth or understanding. Most people do it without even knowing it. That being said, most people are liable to do it in the moment and it is only through vigilance and self reflection are we able to recognize this behavior.

Have you ever heard the saying “you spot it you got it”? This shows us, what annoys me most in other people is likely a behavior I exhibit myself in other situations. Subconsciously I recognize this and I wish I didn’t do this. When I see it in other people I become consciously aware of it and now I have to do something about it. This is very much what Carl Jung would call “shadow work”. 

In many cases, we generalize our blame on a group of people, organization or belief system. This is easier for us to accept than blaming an individual because we may have people in our lives who we want to make the exception for. Most people have that one family member who they don’t agree with but they still love that person. It is easier to blame the ideology of conservatism than to say “grandpa is a racist”. 

If we dig into ourselves and are honest with what we find, everyone has moments in their life when they act in a way they wish they hadn’t. Maybe it was out of ignorance or anger. We know it is not truly representative of who we are as a person, yet we feel guilt over our behavior. The way most people cope with this is through projection and reaction formation. That is to say, we become overly passionate about the stance/behavior we feel we should have taken and we become upset with people who act in the way we believe we have acted.

The issue with this is it doesn’t allow for recognition of our own behaviors and it doesn’t allow the other person the opportunity of learning. We become the parental/religious figure saying “don’t do this, it’s bad” instead of allowing the person the opportunity to learn for themselves. In addition, if we ever show this same behavior in a moment of weakness, we then become a hypocrite.

The Buddhists said Buddha was being in the world but not of the world. That is, learning to operate in society but not being caught up in the emotional and mental turmoil of society. When we learn to maintain our serenity despite our surroundings we can interact with anyone for any reason, and the results of that interaction will invariably be better.

I hope this article has helped you to maintain your serenity despite everything going on in the world. I hope you and your family are blessed with peace and happiness. If you have specific questions, check out my book a lesson tab and remember to follow me on social media!

May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

Categories
Philosophy

5 Ways to Deepen Your Intuition

We have all had those moments where we get a gut feeling about a situation but we end up trusting what our mind tells us. Inevitably we find out we should have listened to that gut feeling but we didn’t because of any number of reasons. You are probably already aware of this, but that feeling is called intuition. 

In many societies around the world, we are taught to not listen to our feelings. We value “rational thought” and thinking through a problem, instead of a gut instinct. After all, how could a feeling you have about a situation be more accurate than thinking through it? As neuroscientists and psychologists dive deeper into how our body operates in the 3D, the credit we would normally give to our brain should really be given to our heart.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using your intuition and being a pragmatist, I think it is up to the individual to decide which situation warrants which tool to be used. 

First, intuition is valuable when there is not enough time to think through a situation. In volatile situations, many law enforcers or military operators need to rely on their feelings because by the time they think everything through, they could be dead. Second, the “gut feeling” response is actually your brain processing more data than you could imagine and giving you a reading on your environment. The brain works best when everything can have a numeric value and follow linear thought, but life isn’t that black and white. Your body gives you “gut feelings” as a way of processing subjective information from past experiences. Check out the book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. Lastly, Intuition is fundamental in expanding our consciousness. If you’re reading this blog, it’s likely you are interested in metaphysical topics. Intuition is key in developing psychic abilities like clairvoyance and claircognizance which are dependent on sensitizing yourself to subtle energies in your environment. 

Here are a few ways to develop or deepen your intuition:

No-Mind Meditation

You probably saw this one coming, and if you aren’t already practicing meditation daily, here is another reason to start. In my opinion, the biggest benefit of meditation is it stops the background noise. We have thousands of thoughts a day. Deepak Chopra conducted a study and estimated we have about 60,000 thoughts a day, and 90% of those thoughts we had yesterday. Our minds are like a television that’s left on. You may go to another room, but when it’s quiet you can still hear the commercials playing. 

No-Mind meditation focuses on bringing the mind to a point of stillness yet still remaining conscious of your surroundings. This might sound very similar to mindfulness, however, I would say the biggest difference is No-Mind focuses on detachment. If I have a thought, I practice not judging the thought or start thinking about the thought I had. You will actually learn to identify your working mind because you’ll be able to draw a line back through the thoughts you’ve had and which part of it is the connection point between ideas. 

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Trust Yourself

I believe a big part of making your intuition work is giving it opportunities to shine. If I am ever unsure about a situation or decision and I don’t have much information, I will usually go with whatever one “feels right”. In the past, I would flip a coin, heads for option A and tails for option B. If it came up heads, but I had a sinking feeling because of it, I knew my intuition was really going for option B. It sounds silly but tricks like these can help reduce our uncertainty about trusting our gut.

Another tactic that works really well is playing mystery games like Clue or Among Us. Games like these function off of minimal information. It is up to the play to connect dots that seemingly have no connection. Your body will learn to pick up on subtle cues which hold vast amounts of information.

Energy work
Image by Patrikphotos

Energy Practice

Developing an energy practice inherently involves sensitizing the body to subtle energies. Taking up a practice like Qigong, Yoga, T’ai Chi or Pranic Breathing teaches you to work with your body’s chakra system. Not only will it unblock the flow of energy within your own body, but some exercises directly focus on sensitizing you to the energy flowing around you. 

There are many benefits to developing an energy practice that go beyond increased intuition. You will become healthier, feel better and have more energy to live your life. It may resolve emotional issues and deepen your sense of fulfillment in this lifetime.

I do want to make a note of caution with this one. Many of us live our lives with energy blocks. It is a reason we can stay up late playing video games, gorge ourselves on junk food, and engage in generally unhealthy habits. If you decide to unblock your own energy flow but continue to engage in unhealthy habits you will likely have a wide array of negative emotions. This is because you are becoming more aware of how you are damaging your body and pain is a way of stopping unhealthy behavior. It is best to find a teacher to work with when first starting. They will be able to guide and support you if this occurs.

Practice Divination

If your spiritual beliefs allow divination, this is another great way to deepen your intuition. Learning to read Tarot cards, cast Numerology charts or other tools like I Ching and Rune Casting all develop your sense of intuition. This is partially because they teach you to read and interpret symbols. In charting, you will have to draw conclusions based on symbolic relationships. In tarot draws, you will have to interpret meaning based on pictures, dominate colors, the type of cards drawn and the nature of the question being asked.

In addition, these types of practices will help you become more conscious of your life and habits. If you find there is a certain feeling or question which keeps coming up, perhaps there is more going on that you’re not listening to. It can be a great way to not only improve your intuition but also guide you on your path. 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something we can partake in at any time of the day. It involves becoming present in your body and your surroundings. By doing this we become more aware of what our body is telling us. Likewise, when we become grounded in the present moment, we are able to take in more information from our surroundings. You may have never noticed certain things because you were too much in your head. This gives our body a greater number of “data points” when it is analyzing future situations. 

Mindfulness also helps us have a sense of peace and wellbeing. If we have developed trauma, we may be running subconscious programs which are dictating what we focus on in our surroundings. We may be living in a high stress state of mind without even realizing. If these programs are strong enough, it may even turn our intuition against us becoming paranoia. It would be like having a hyper sensitive fire alarm that goes off everytime you’re in the kitchen. Mindfulness (and No-Mind) can both work to alleviate the trapped emotions of our past experiences. And doing this won’t just improve your meditation!

I hope this article has helped you in some form or way. Make sure to check out my other content and link up with me on social media.

To all my fellow seekers, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!

Categories
Philosophy

Tools of The Spirit

Within the past few decades, there has been an explosion of books, videos, speakers and research articles surrounding every aspect of what we know as the broad umbrella of “metaphysics”. Science is now backing up the benefits of what yogis, mystics, shamans and other spiritual teachers have been saying for centuries. The “spiritual path” as people call it, is becoming mainstream and I believe this to be a very good thing. 

However, something I have also noticed is an increase in spiritual superiority, or a term I think is more fun to say, hippie-crit. Zach Alexander calls it spiritual bypassing and some other individuals like Teal Swan have also discussed this occurrence. What it comes down to is individuals using their spiritual connection or metaphysical knowledge to promote basic egoic needs for reputation, superiority and exhalation over others. 

I am writing this article to share some of my spiritual philosphoies. If you choose to adopt them, or maybe you already practice them, then it should be by your own reflection on what I have to say. My opinions and thoughts are purely to help others reflect on their own. 

I also want to make clear I am not trying to knock anyone or anything. I think the fact people are becoming more engaged with spirit is a generally good thing and everyone starts their journey from a different place. However, I want my readers to be conscious, and consider the difference between applying metaphysics and practicing spiritual principles.

Let’s dive into it.

It is my belief that metaphysics is like a tool and spirituality is like the tool user. A knife can be used to prepare a meal for your family but it can also be used to harm another individual. The knife is objective in its purpose and function. Ultimately, it is the person using the knife who decides how it is going to be used. 

When we engage with any facet of metaphysics, whether it be kundalini yoga, no-mind meditation, magick or any of the other hundred forms, we are learning to use the “tools” of spiritual development. By learning to use the tools we also learn about ourselves and one would hope we become more conscious about how thoughts and behaviors. However, our Ego is always adapting. This is why it is a lifelong journey.

I think just having minimal engagement with these things can be very beneficial and because of that, I see a lot of people stop shortly after getting started. Maybe they continue the practices they already have like doing yoga three times a week, but that offers diminishing returns of depth or expansion. Just like in school, you don’t finish Algebra One then take Algebra One next year to make sure you really know the quadratic equation. No, you go on to Algebra Two and expand your knowledge of the study while still going back and using what you already learned.

enlightenment
Image by Okan Caliskan

Spiritual growth is the same way.

All too frequently I see people use their knowledge of the tools as a means of spiritual superiority. It becomes a scapegoat for saying “I am better than you because….” and what was a tool for Spirit becomes a tool for Ego. A lot of times, people don’t even know they are doing it. It often is shown in the energy someone has, how they carry themselves, the way they talk. Not everyone notices these things, but I believe those of us who are attuned to subtle energies can likely think of a time they noticed this. 

This is not to say these qualities aren’t human. We all want to be respected by our peers and regardless of where we are on the path, the truth is everyone falls back into old behaviors. There is even a story in the bible of Jesus throwing tables and kicking people out of the temple (Matthew 21:12-13), but we can’t do anything about the behavior without reflection and admission.

For me the process looks like this. I first need to reflect on which behaviors may have caused harm to others, physical, mental, emotional or other. Then I reflect on how I would rather have acted in that situation. Finally, I need to admit myself I am still human and it might be awhile before I walk on water. I can’t speak for how anyone else grows spiritually. I can only share what has worked for me to bring me peace of mind and connectedness. 

For me, the essence of spirituality comes down to how we treat others. The people I get along with are blessings. The people that make me want to pull my hair out are the lessons. Patience and tolerance with others is a huge part of my spiritual growth. I could levitate six inches off the ground meditating in the mountains but what good does that do me if I am shouting and swearing at others as soon as I’m stuck in 5 o’clock traffic?

I believe every person has to figure out for themselves how they wish to live their lives. It is more than okay to admit I have behaviors or principles I don’t want to change. I believe coming conscious of those is what gives someone stability and direction in their own life. If I do that then at least I’m not acting from someone else’s influence. 

I hope this article has provided you with some veins of thought or ideas to reflect on in your own life. As the late Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home”. If you found the article helpful make sure to like and share it with others. Also make sure to connect with me on social media to get updates on new content.

May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!