Unfortunately, it is not difficult for anyone to see how divided our world currently is. We as a species have become so identified with our own individual views of “what is” against “what is not” that we have forgotten the underlying similarities that connect us all as human beings, we have forgotten how to unite, as a human race.
I personally have come to notice that one of the biggest (if not the biggest) influences that continuously encourages this division is that of Social Media. Not only do I believe Social Media is a method for fueling fires, but I would go as far as to say it is a crucial tool for starting them.
But, although I do consider this statement to be true, I also believe that these platforms have the potential to serve as a method for uniting people, and healing the divide.
Below I list some of the ways in which I believe this way of healing is possible:
Usually, we as a collective tend to wander aimlessly on social media, without any thought. Whether it be to pass time, to remain updated on the status of friends, news, or loved ones, to share our own thoughts and perspectives, or simply out of habit, we usually do so unconsciously.
This is why I believe that it is important to be aware whenever we go on social media. When we are present when doing so, and aware of the emotions that arise within us as we scroll through post after post (in addition to why these emotions arise in the first place), we begin to wake up and see how much of it is actually connecting people, versus how much is bring people apart.
When we set the intention to only share and create messages that heal, we are then intentionally becoming an active participant in the collective healing process. To be a part of the healing process is to also know our role within it. To know whether we are contributing to that process, or contributing to the all-pervasive fire. We can’t put out the fire if we are one of those who are burning in it.
2. Oh No, Don’t Fall Into the Trap!
Social media is literally created to provide everyone only with the content that they know the user will want to see, only with content that is aligned with the users view. As Anita Moorjani touches upon in her video that I mentioned above, this also provides everyone with their own individual bubble to live in, their own individual realities.
Although we may all be connecting on the same platform, these platforms are feeding all of us different information based on our likes, dislikes, what we claim to be for, what we claim to be against, what we agree with, what we disagree with, and so on.
(If you’re interested in learning more about the facts and details behind all of this, I highly recommend the documentaries “The Social Dilemma” and “The Great Hack”.)
Basically, these social media corporations make a living off of us using their platforms to support our own perspectives, as well as us going against the views that do not align with our own. They benefit from hate, they benefit from division, but at the end of the day, they benefit from us. The real power is in our hands, we’re just too caught up in the game to notice.
3. Are You Spreading a Message of Love, or Fear?
As I have also mentioned in previous posts, we all have the choice of whether we want to bring healing or suffering into this world, and I believe that we as a collective have gone through more than enough suffering.
This is a crucial turning point for us as a collective, but the important thing to realize is that we, the people, are the ones who make up the collective. There would be no collective if it weren’t for us. Instead of falling into the patterns of merely spreading and relaying messages (to be frank, the messages that those in power want us to spread), I believe that it is time for all of us to step into our power and start creating new messages, messages that heal and unite us.
One of the mantras that I use most consistently is “choose love over fear, and you will never regret.” Even if we believe that our action, or non-action, has no impact, it always does. We as human beings often underestimate how much power we truly have to create change.Not only are we the people who initiate change, we literally are the change, we are the ones embody this change. We are the ones who face these hardships, now we are the ones who will end it, together.
It’s not uncommon to get caught up in the trickiness of how to perceive our egos. Once we become aware of it, we are then met with the crossroads of how we should approach it.
The patterns and behaviors of the ego are often portrayed as a mental structure that does not serve our true selves, but if opposing it only makes it grow, then how should we go about treating it?
Better Understanding The Ego
A simplified definition of the ego is a false sense of identity that our mind creates for ourselves throughout our lives by identifying with different things like certain thoughts, beliefs, opinions, stances, forms, etc. In our thinking mind, it is who we often mistake for who we are, but who we truly are goes far beyond any conceptual structure built within our minds.
What I consider to be two of the most common misconceptions of the ego are that:
The ego is a conscious entity that we have no influence over.
Once we dissolve the ego, we can live without the presence of it.
To address what I consider to be the first misconception (based on my own experience), instead of conceptualizing the ego as its own entity beyond our control, I like to think of the ego as a set of programmed beliefs.
The ego trying to “survive” is simply an analogy for our minds defending the beliefs that we have identified to be either true or untrue, good or bad, right or wrong, who we are or who we are not, and so on.
This is what Eckhart Tolle means when he says “the ego loves nothing more than to be right.” In our minds, “right” is what we have identified and programmed ourselves to believe as true, or “good”, so this belief is what our egos will continue defend. The main thing to realize here is that although we are not consciously choosing to defend this stance, we are the ones who have unconsciously programmed our egos to take that stance, and we do in fact have the power to change these programsto ones that serve us.
To briefly address the second misconception that I listed above: We as human beings will always have an ego. Now, whether it be subtle or inflated, whether we be conscious of it or not, that it up to us. It is not about eliminating the ego, it is about learning how to live with it.
Observing It Without Judgement
When we first learn of becoming aware of the ego, and are able to observe its behavior, it is common to instinctively become judgmental towards it.
When we judge something, we are also making the implication that the thing in which we are judging is “wrong”, which also implies that we are then “right”. When we judge the thoughts, patterns, and behaviors that come as a result of our egos, this judgement is also the work of our egos, as we are perceiving the “ego” as a new enemy that is “wrong” or “bad” and must be defended against.
I made the mistake of doing this constantly when I first became aware of the patterns and behaviors of my own ego, not realizing that this judgement was in fact inflating it even more. Once I realized that this was in fact causing me more suffering than liberation, I made the connection that although I was able to observe and become aware of my ego, I did not have to react to it. “What you resist, persists.” had never rung so true.
Treat It Like a Child, Not An Enemy
Lastly, the greatest advice that has helped me when coming to perceive the ego: Treat the ego like a child, not an enemy. Fighting the ego only makes it grow stronger, so the more one tries to resist the ego, the more power it will have over them.
This does not mean that we have to give in to the ego, it simply means that we must guide it, as if it were a child and knew no better. Like our thoughts, although we may not have control of what passes through our mind, we definitely have control over how we choose to perceive it.
As we alter the way in which we perceive the content that rises within our minds, we will begin to see that over time, this change in perception alters the content itself. This is what Dr. Wayne Dyer means when he says, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.“
When we approach the ego with a loving presence instead of attacking it with labels and frustration, our mind will begin to reflect this peaceful and loving state, and the limiting behaviors of the ego will begin to dissipate.
We can still be aware of the ego without fighting it. It is simply about replacing these thoughts, patterns, and behaviors to ones that serve our true selves, not our self-constructed identities that live within our unconscious.
So if you ever get caught trying to determine whether something is arising as a result of the ego or as a result of your true self, choose love over fear and you will never be wrong. Namaste and all my love, I hope this helps!
Many of the negative emotions that we experience come as a result of reacting. Even if there is nothing external to react to, we may be stuck in patterns of reacting to our own mind activity, reacting to our own thoughts.
“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
– Eckhart Tolle
It is so easy to fall into cycles of judgement towards our own mind activity, especially when thoughts arise that don’t align with our highest desires or expectations, and once we are stuck in these cycles it is often difficult to see any way out through the shrouds of illusion. But, it is important to highlight the key word here, illusion.
(Although this is in regards to our internal, this goes for external circumstances as well.)
If we attempt to fight or judge an illusion, the illusion will only grow, for we are then feeding it our energy and attention, we are then reacting to it. We are the masters of our own minds, not the other way around. The only power our minds have over us is the power that we give it.
No matter what though, love and compassion never cease to overcome all forms of negativity. It may sound cliché, but it is true nonetheless.Often the simplest of truths are the ones that are closest to it. My advice, from my own personal experiences is: Always choose love, and there will be no regret.
“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.”
– Nancy Willard
I’m sure that many of you have heard the saying, “sometimes the questions are more important than the answers,” as have I; Before I realized the extent to how true and impactful this message actually was.
For example: Whenever I feel feelings such as fear or anxiety arising within me, I simply ask myself the question, “What am I so afraid of?“Whenever I ask myself this question, all feelings of fear and anxiety dissipate within me.
Another example is when I catch myself having a difficult time being genuine or authentic with my words, or simply not sure which direction I want to go in. Whenever I feel this way, I pose to myself the question, “What are my true intentions?” Whenever I ask myself this question, a sense of clarity comes over me, and I am able to honestly work towards and communicate my goals and expectations.
These are just a couple of examples that I use often within my own life, but the power of questions don’t just apply when asking questions to myself, but sending a question out to the universe as well. I have found to be true that whenever I send a question out into the universe, even if the answer may not be direct, I always receive an answer in some form. Although from my own experience, I would say that the simplest and most effective way to use the power of questions to benefit one’s life is by posing them to themselves.
One does not have to verbalize the question that they are posing to themselves out loud in order for it to have a positive impact, asking the question in the form of internal thought is just as effective, if not more.
The possibilities for the questions that can be posed are endless, whether it be from something as vague as “What do I want?” to something as specific as “What am I feeling?“. At the end of the day, pose whatever question calls to you! We are all on our own individual journeys and thus are looking for our own individual answers that relate to our own individual experiences, so we will all have very different questions to ask, and that is the beauty of it.
The truth about self-discipline is that one simply has to do it. There is no thinking when it comes to making decisions that honors oneself, they either make it or they don’t.
There are many spiritual and metaphysical practices as well that require self-discipline like: yoga, meditation, journaling, educating oneself, and so much more. (although self-discipline can be practiced throughout anyone’s everyday life)
The more one practices making decisions that are aligned with their highest intentions, the easier it will then become to make these decisions. When one remains consistent with their word, then these decisions are no longer a struggle to make; they then become automatic, ingrained as a pattern within our subconscious.
For me in the beginning, I can admit that I had to force myself to become accustomed to such practices of self-discipline. Although looking back now, I am grateful for the ways in which I pushed myself to reach my highest potential.
Below, I list some of the healthy ways in which I was able to establish self-discipline in order to better myself.I hope it helps.
Getting to Know My Patterns
We all have patterns that run through our minds on a daily basis. These are the same patterns that influence our behavior, as well as the decisions we make throughout each day.
These patterns can be something from eating a sugary snack with a cup of coffee every morning, to smoking a cigarette whenever stress hits, to procrastinating every time one has to do work that disinterests them.
Yes, eventually the intention may be to reprogram these patterns to something that serves us, but nonetheless, the first step is simply becoming aware that these patterns even exist. Once we are aware, we can then take the steps to stopping these patterns through self-discipline.
Stop Playing the Victim Card
One of the most difficult shifts to make, yet also one of the most impactful, was realizing that it was time for me to stop playing the role of the victim and to take accountability for my actions.
As I became more and more aware of how much I unconsciously played the victim card, I also realized how much power I gave away in the process of doing this. I wanted to rise up to my true power, yet I was simultaneously contradicting myself by claiming to be a victim.
To make this shift, I first had to realize that I could not pick and choose when I created and when I did not. I had to make the connection that I was in control of the experiences that I brought into my life. If I wanted to accept the good, then I also had to take accountability for my mistakes.
This aspect of adding self-discipline to one’s life is so important, for it involves honoring one’s own words and intentions. To be consistent with your word is to keep the promises that you make to yourself.
It is so easy (and also very common, it happens to the best of us!) to begin a practice or to set an intention for ourselves in order to establish a set routine, just to have it discontinue as time goes on.
Of course it is never intentional to discontinue said routines, but we often tend to forget soon after, or sometimes manage to find an excuse in order to make ourselves feel better about discontinuing.
The truth of the matter is that being consistent simply requires dedication, determination, and yes, self-discipline. But the good news is that one does not have to rely on anything external in order to implement whatever routine it is they would like to establish, because no one has the power to push and motivate you more than yourself.
The initiative I took that helped me the most when it came to being consistent, in addition to simply taking action in the present moment and doing what it was that I wanted to achieve, was dropping all excuses.
I then made the connection that if I was going to maintain self-discipline, it would be for me and my own good; To love and honor myself through genuine and consistent actions (and although I am speaking from my own personal experiences, this can go for anyone).
Making the Right Decisions
Lastly, it cannot be broken down into a simpler form: Make the right decisions.
As I stated above, I realized that making excuses for myself was simply a waste of time. If I wanted to make the right decisions, I came to the conclusion that all I had to do was make them.
This may sound simple, but that is only because it is. I would spend so much time thinking about whether I wanted to make a decision or not, that I would end up making no decision at all; Or I would simply allow my impulsivity to take control and make the decision that I was used to (which was often not the one that served me).
I then reached a point where I was tired of my own excuses, and was hungry for change.
No matter what though, through it all, one must not forget to love themselves unconditionally through the process, and to remain patient and forgiving with oneself as they continue to practice and learn.
So I encourage you all to be the best yous that you can be, because we all deserve to be our best authentic selves. All my love, I hope this helps. Namaste.
“Just listen,” is not as easy of a task as most make it out to be. Listening is an art, a skill that can be mastered.
How does one listen? I have always found it interesting that from a very young age, we have constantly been told to “listen” and to “pay attention” without ever being taught how to. Even as adults, we so often neglect the importance of what it truly means to listen.
Listening is an art, and trust me, it takes a lot of practice. There are a lot of aspects that come into play when listening to another speak.
Investing All of One’s Attention Into Listening
I would consider this to be the aspect of most importance when it comes to listening to another. Directing one’s attention towards one thing at a time requires intense focus, practice, and self-discipline (especially within the fast-paced society we’ve constructed for ourselves).
When listening to another, it is of utmost importance to give them all of your attention within that moment. If one is simultaneously attempting to complete a separate task, or if their mind is wandering the entire time, then their attention is not being fully invested in what the other has to say, and they are therefore not listening.
Being present goes hand in hand with investing one’s attention into what the other has to say. If one is not fully present for the other, whether it be focusing on what is to come, or focusing on what has already passed, then they will not be able to comprehend the message that the other is trying to convey within that moment.
To be present with someone is to be grounded within the moment, to connect on a deeper level; A level deeper than the identities and mental-constructs of what we expect others to be. It is important to do this so one can accurately become conscious of what the other is actually trying to communicate, instead of formulating one’s own misinterpretation of what the other was originally intending to express.
Maintaining an Open Mindset
If we hold onto the assumption that we already know what the other has to say, then we are also implying that whatever the other has to say is not important, or does not matter.
I always remind myself that regardless of what the other is trying to communicate, their feelings are valid, and they deserve to be heard. This does not mean that I have to agree with or believe everything that they have to say, but by no means does it suggest that I have to disregard their thoughts and feelings.
One cannot truly listen to what another is trying to communicate if they have already established a presumption in their mind of what they are going to say. If one listens with an open mind, letting go of all preconceived notions and expectations, then they will be able to effectively hear the message that the other is attempting to convey to them.
Acknowledging the Beingness in Another
Lastly, acknowledgement is so powerful. It is important to acknowledge the beingness and conscious aspect of the other as you are listening and present for them. The other is not simply an object existing only to serve, the other is a living, breathing, human being with thoughts, feelings, and perception just like you and me.
Once one practices becoming aware of the fact that how we treat others is equally as important to the way in which we treat ourselves, and that what others choose to express to us is equally as important to what we have to say, we then are able to communicate from a place of compassion and higher awareness rather than placing the importance only on the points that matter to us and our own objectives.
To observe thoughts without judgement or criticism, only with the presence of love and compassion, is to become aware of the truth that thoughts have no power over the way we feel, unless we allow them to have that power through reaction and ego-identification.
Of course no one would consciously want to give their thoughts the power to cause them suffering, that is why it is unconscious behavior. When one brings their awareness to the fact that thoughts do not have the power to cause them suffering unless they react to them, they then become conscious of it, and it is then no longer an unconscious pattern.
Some get as far as becoming aware of the thoughts that arise, but then lose this awareness by falling into unconscious reactivity; such as convincing themselves of “I should not be thinking this, I am wrong for thinking this” or truly believing that the thought has something to do with who they are (ego-identification), thus inducing emotions such as sadness, anger, regret, or fear.
The thoughts that we tend to react to the most are usually linked to a negative false belief systemthat we have recurrently convinced ourselves to be true (even if it is far from what is true), which then becomes ingrained within our mental structure. This false belief then influences unconscious cyclical patterns of thinking that we assume we have no control over, but we do.
When we begin to sit with these thoughts and look into why they arise, instead of fighting against, resisting, and trying to avoid them, we can then bring our awareness to the root cause of why these thoughts make us feel the way they do, and make the shift from unconsciousness to consciousness.
“The ego lives through comparison. How you are seen by others turns into how you see yourself (If you allow it to be this way, but one can avoid this through the presence of awareness).” – Eckhart Tolle
Resistance of the flow happens when one allows fear-based thinking and negative emotions to take control, which causes suffering. When one ceases to resist and allows the natural flow to occur within them, without judgement or retaliation, inner peace takes over.
To make inner peace is to cease the fighting within. To allow, to forgive, to accept, to love. There is a saying that we usually make ourselves own worst enemies, that is to say, we judge our minds and our own egos the harshest. The things that we tend to judge in others, whether we’re aware of it or not, is usually a reflection of how we feel about our own identities.
We all inherently have the desire to come from a place of authenticity, but that is a difficult task when most of don’t even know how to be honest with ourselves. This is not usually intentional, but we have trained ourselves so well to avoid thoughts and feelings that make us uncomfortable that, for most of us, it has become ingrained within our mental structure.
When we become aware of the reason behind why certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings arise, instead of falling into the self-constructed pattern of judgement and escapism, the path to freeing oneself of the suffering connected to these certain emotions, thoughts, and feelings then becomes apparent.
We then realize that these thoughts, feelings, and emotions only have the power to effect us because we allow them to, because we give it our attention, whether we’re aware of it or not.
To fall into identification with things like thought and emotion is to allow thought and emotion to determine and have power over how we feel, and this includes how we feel about ourselves. This is to resist the natural flow of what is, to resist all that is love.
When we allow these things to flow through us without judgement or fear, only with the presence of love and acceptance towards anything that arises, we then allow it to come and go, to pass through us instead of holding onto it with our attention. We then learn how to let go, and let flow.