Consciously Detaching

By Steve Taylor (An Excerpt from “Extraordinary Awakenings”)

A significant lesson we can learn from the shifters who have experienced transformation through turmoil is to live in a mode of detachment. By this I don’t mean a state of emotional detachment, in which we are indifferent to other people or world affairs. I mean a state in which we don’t derive our identity and well-being from external things or mental concepts; I mean a state of being inwardly content and self-sufficient without attachment to possessions, achievements, roles, status, and ambitions.

In psychological terms the dissolution of attachments is the most important aspect of the shifters’ transformations. Since attachments are the building blocks of the ego, the dissolution of attachments leads to the dissolution of the ego itself, which allows a latent higher self to be born.

In this section I will show you how to practice a conscious form of detachment.

Becoming Aware of Your Attachments
First, we need to become aware of our attachments. Sometimes we have carried attachments for so long, and they have attached themselves to us so subtly, that we may not even be conscious of them.

There are so many different types of attachments that it’s difficult to describe them all. In their most obvious and “heaviest” form, attachments occur in the form of addiction — physical addiction to substances like drugs, cigarettes, food, or chocolate, and psychological addiction to electronic devices or to social media. Slightly less overtly, we may be attached to material objects, such as money and possessions. We may also be attached to our own bodies as material objects, caring excessively about our appearance or feeling depressed about the process of aging.

Less overtly still but perhaps most significant of all are our conceptual attachments. For example, we might be attached to our conceptual identity as a member of a national or ethnic group or to our identity and role as a spouse, parent, sibling, and so on. We might be attached to a concept of our status or achievements, feeling that we are “important” and successful people, superior to others. We may be attached in a similar way to our beliefs, our hopes, and our ambitions.

All these attachments build our sense of identity and hold together our ego as a structure. As already suggested, you can picture them as the building blocks of the ego.

In my workshops I often give people a list of different types of attachments and ask them to consider how attached they are to each one. Awareness is liberating in itself. To an extent, simply being aware of your attachments helps you to become free of them.

At the same time, we can take steps to free ourselves from attachments, which I will guide you through now.

Detaching through Spiritual Practice
One of the best ways to help free ourselves from attachments is simply to practice meditation or to follow a spiritual path of some form. Fundamentally, we need attachments because of our separate and fragile ego. Our attachments bolster and reinforce the ego so that it no long feels so vulnerable. So the most fundamental way of releasing ourselves from attachments is to heal the ego itself. This means cultivating a state of inner well-being and wholeness, which removes the need to seek identity and well-being outside ourselves. Without a sense of ego-separation, we won’t feel a sense of lack and fragility, so we will be able to let go of our attachments.

This is the main aim of meditation: to soften the ego as a structure so that its boundaries become weaker and we transcend our normal sense of separation. Meditation helps us to feel connected rather than separate, as if we were participating rather than just observing, without a sense of lack or fragility. It’s as if a broken fragment has become part of the whole again.

This is both a long- and short-term effect of meditation. If you had a good meditation this morning, you probably experienced the sense of connection and inner wholeness I’ve just described. Perhaps it lingered for an hour or two afterward, or perhaps longer — perhaps it’s still inside you now. However, it usually fades away once we have returned to our busy everyday lives and needs to be rekindled by another meditation practice later, or the following day.

At the same time, over the years or decades that you have practiced meditation, an ongoing sense of wholeness has been building up inside you. Even though you may still experience a more intense sense of wholeness when you meditate, the baseline of your normal state has changed. Over the years, your ego boundaries have become softer; your sense of self has become less fragile and separate. As a result — even though you may not be consciously aware of it, since the change has been gradual — your need for psychological attachments has diminished, and you have become less attached to external sources of identity and well-being.

Every spiritual path is a movement beyond ego-separateness and toward connection and union. This is part of the reason why most spiritual traditions emphasize cultivating compassion and practicing acts of service and kindness. By serving others, we transcend our own self-centered desires and ambitions and so move beyond ego-separateness. In this sense, practicing service and altruism can also indirectly help to dissolve our psychological attachments.

Most spiritual traditions also advocate detachment more explicitly. They emphasize a life of simplicity and moderation, without attachment to sensory pleasures or unnecessary possessions. They encourage us to be content with our present life situation rather than being attached to ambitions. They encourage us to be humble rather than to be attached to notions of status and achievement.

Any path or practice that helps you to cultivate inner well-being and wholeness will reduce your need for psychological attachments. You won’t need attachments anymore in the same way that a completed building doesn’t need scaffolding or support.

Breaking Attachments
There are also more direct ways we can use to liberate ourselves from psychological attachments. While following spiritual practices, we can simply make a conscious effort to weaken our attachments. This might sound challenging, but it’s important to remember that, although our psychological attachments may have originated in response to psychological need, in some cases (particularly if you have already begun to meditate or to follow a spiritual practice) they continue as habits. In other words, the attachments may remain intact even if we no longer have a psychological need for them, simply as habit patterns. This makes it fairly easy for us to free ourselves from them.

And even if this is not the case — that is, even if there is still some degree of psychological need — you might be surprised at how quickly you can adjust to the absence of the attachment. After an initial sense of loss and insecurity, you’ll quickly grow stronger. Your essential self will grow into the space left by the attachment, bringing a greater sense of wholeness.

I experienced this many years ago when I gave up smoking. After smoking heavily (twenty-five to thirty roll-up cigarettes a day) for twelve years, I decided to stop on my thirtieth birthday. I had heard many stories about the difficulties of giving up smoking, but for me — once I’d covered the physical withdrawal symptoms by chewing nicotine gum — it wasn’t such an ordeal. After about three weeks of conscious effort (which in itself was not particularly arduous), I was surprised to find that the urge to smoke quickly died away. But what I found even more surprising was the feeling of new strength and wholeness that filled me. It was as if the part of myself that I had sacrificed to my addiction had been given back to me in a natural process of adjustment and healing. I’m sure that this was because, over the previous year or so, I had undergone significant psychological healing. I had started meditating regularly and become a vegetarian. I had also met my future wife. As a result, I probably no longer had a strong psychological need to smoke. My sense of self was more connected and whole, and so I didn’t need the support of cigarettes anymore. To a large extent, I only had the habit to deal with rather than the psychological need. If there was still some psychological need, it evaporated in the process of giving up the attachment.

I would recommend making a similar attempt to weaken your attachments. For example, you might try to weaken your attachment to money and possessions by refraining from buying unnecessary things and following a simpler, more frugal lifestyle. You might try to weaken your attachment to your appearance by no longer wearing fashionable clothes or dyeing your hair. You may try to weaken your attachment to status and attention by making a conscious effort to stop obsessively posting on social media and incessantly trying to increase your number of followers.

This might feel uncomfortable at first but — particularly if you’re already following a spiritual practice — you’ll quickly begin to feel a new sense of inner strength and wholeness. Even if there is still some degree of psychological need for the attachment, a process of inner healing will take place, and your essential self will grow into the space left by the attachment, filling you with a sense of new strength and wholeness.

About Steve Taylor, PhD:
Steve Taylor, PhD, is the author of “Extraordinary Awakenings” and many other bestselling books. He’s senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University and the chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society. Steve’s articles and essays have been published in over 100 academic journals, magazines, and newspapers and he blogs for Scientific American and Psychology Today. Visit him online at www.StevenMTaylor.com.

Adapted from the book from “Extraordinary Awakenings: When Trauma Leads to Transformation”. Copyright ©2021 by Steve Taylor. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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Dawn of an Era of Well-Being

By Dr. Ervin Laszlo & Fred Tsao (An excerpt from “Dawn of an Era of Well-Being: New Paths to a Better World”)

Humankind today is facing monumental challenges—the sustainability of natural resources, climate change, wealth inequalities, breakdowns in social structures, the impact of artificial intelligence, and of course the threat of pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of how the universe is constantly rebalancing itself to offset forces moving in contradiction to its natural energy, which in Chinese culture is called the Dao. An impact of the virus has been to slow us down and force us all to reflect, to open our eyes to the need for change, to see that a new normal is both required and also imminent. And the crisis also showed that we can heal if we choose a new way.

It is clear that we are at a crossroads. We have a choice—either to continue down the road beset by many crises caused by divisiveness and separation or find the road toward unity, well-being, and thriving. Change is needed on all levels: change for the individual, change for society, and change in the consciousness that defines what we do and who we are. It is imperative that we achieve constructive change on all levels if we are to avoid even greater crises heading our way with the direst of consequences.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by a sense of chaos, but amidst the chaos lies the possibility of connecting with each other, reconnecting to our roots, and creating a shift in our consciousness. Now we can set about creating a new and better era for the human family, an era marked by individual and collective well-being.

This task and possibility inspires and motivates the ideas put forward in this book. It is the hope and expectation of the authors that they will prove to be of practical value as the human community sets about the monumental task of building a better world, rising from the global health crisis as a phoenix rises from the ashes of the past.

The universe is more like a great thought than like a great machine. This realization, enunciated by cosmologist James Jeans over a hundred years ago, is dawning on many scientists today. It brings cosmology close to religion and spirituality and opens the way to reconsidering the idea of a divine element in nature in terms acceptable to science.

Coherence in society calls for working together and creating the system where “I” becomes “WE”—where the parts maintain their unique identity while working together to maintain the integral coherence of the whole that they form. This is the principle we obtain from the quantum paradigm. Public policy is the field for the application of this principle. It defines the coexistence of unique but not separate individuals in coherent wholes, whether these wholes are states and nations, or businesses or social and cultural groups.

We live in an integral quantum universe and not in a mechanistic world where whole and parts are separate, or even separable. In the intrinsically whole quantum universe, the whole is the existential context for the existence of the parts. Not only in abstract theory, but also in concrete practice, the whole and the part need to be treated as one, and for the good of the part, the whole needs to receive priority attention.

There is nothing more important in any group and in any society than having an informed and responsible leader. The quantum leader—the leader acting on the wholeness principle deriving from the quantum paradigm—is one who focuses on aligning, collaborating, and creating conditions conducive to the flourishing of life.

The leader effectively serving the good of society serves the interest of all life on the planet. This requirement may appear idealistic and even utopian in the context of today’s dominant ideology in business and politics. But the post-pandemic era requires radical changes in our idea and ideals of leadership. The quantum paradigm offers the necessary fundamental reorientation.

The universe is constantly calibrating with itself and its systems, reflecting collaboration in diversity. This is a dynamic process of alignment with its elements to arrive at harmonic balance. We need to awaken to the deep truth of this arrangement, and we can do so because we are creative. At its core, humanity cannot go against nature. There is a need to awaken to the fact that all things in the natural world are continually aligning and realigning with each other, collaborating in natural movement as the elements work toward their flourishing.

The goal is to achieve harmony and unity amidst diversity to make human society a reflection of the reality of nature. By integrating the Western life science of consciousness with traditional Chinese wisdom a foundational structure for universal ethics will guide humankind’s journey toward Great Unity, a society in which diversity is not only respected but deployed in the process of creation and collaboration. It is only in diversity that great things are made. The same things brought together create more of the same things, but diversity creates something extraordinary.

About Ervin László:
Ervin László is a Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist (and originally a concert pianist) who has published about 75 books and over 400 papers. An advocate of the theory of quantum consciousness, Laszlo has a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne and is the recipient of four honorary PhDs (from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Hungary). His many awards and distinctions include the Peace Prize of Japan, the Goi Award (Tokyo 2002), the International Mandir of Peace Prize (Assisi 2005), and a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize (2004 and 2005). Formerly Professor of Philosophy, Systems Science, and Futures Studies in various universities in the US, Europe, and the Far East, Laszlo lectures worldwide. Today he lives in a four hundred year-old former chapel in the hills of Tuscany.

“Dawn of an Era of Well-Being” by Ervin Laszlo and Fred Tsao is available on Amazon. For more information, visit www.ervinlaszlobooks.com or follow @thelaszloinstitute on Facebook. You can also download a free copy of Dr. Laszlo’s other book “The Portable Laszlo” HERE.

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Peace and Spiritual Warrior Workout

This is a review that is WAY past due. OG Magical Buffet interviewee, and crazy well-known new age artist Paul Avgerinos is back with not one, but two albums!

First is “Peace.” This instrumental album was created to aid the listener in finding comfort and relaxation. This 10-track album is for those who enjoy meditation with music, massage therapists looking to create a cocoon of bliss for their clients, and anyone who just wants to close their eyes and exhale.

Take a moment to enjoy the first single from the album:

The second album to discuss is “Spiritual Warrior Workout w/ Deepak Chopra.” This isn’t the first time Avgerinos and Chopra have partnered up. You may remember that back in 2019 I shared that the two had collaborated to create “Musical Meditations on The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” The “Spiritual Warrior Workout” is crafted to provide an hour long “high-vibration” soundtrack to your workout. The songs feature Chopra speaking affirmations.

I honestly cannot decide how I feel about this one. The music is beautiful and upbeat; however, I find the spoken affirmations to be jarring sometimes. This album will be an acquired taste. It won’t be accompanying any of my workouts soon, but perhaps it will yours.

Try out the track “Observe Workout” from the album:

You can learn more about Paul Avgerinos and his music on his website.

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Auroral Magic

It’s no secret that I love music, and I enjoy a diverse variety. However, I will admit to never being on top of the new age music scene. Fortunately, from time to time someone will reach out to me and make sure I listen to something. So, a big thank you to Windy for emailing me about this one!

Today we’re looking at, or at least listening to, Michigan artist Chakuna Machi Asa’s new album “Auroral Magic”. I’m not familiar with this artist, so do not as me if that is her actual name. She draws on her Nordic/Scandinavian ancestry in her music, so um, yeah. Personal identifiers aside, “Auroral Magic” is a wonderful journey. I listened to the whole album on an overcast day with scattered storms and it fit that mood perfectly. “Auroral Magic” is atmospheric and cinematic. I guess what I am saying is that it would make an excellent soundtrack? Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Chakuna Machi Asa blends piano, nature sounds, chants, and strings to create a magical album. At the end of the say, shouldn’t any new age album feel magical?

You can listen/watch the video for the title track here:

You can learn more here

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Anatomy of a Witch

Laura Tempest Zakroff set out to write a “manual to the most magical tool in your possession,” and in this, she succeeded. What is this amazing tool? Your body. Welcome to “Anatomy of a Witch: A Map to the Magical Body.”

Zakroff utilizes all the tools at her disposal: tarot, meditation, journaling, ritual, her artistic talent (including her noteworthy sigil work) and writing skills to take you on a journey through your body. “Anatomy of a Witch” begins with lungs, moves to the heart, discusses the body’s primal part (referred to as the Serpent), moves on to the bones, and concludes with the mind. The end goal is to have a better relationship with yourself and your magic.

“Anatomy of a Witch” is a triumph of blending magical modalities and self-improvement. Essentially, if you have a body (even one as dysfunctional as mine!), you need this book. I feel this is destined to be a classic!

You can learn more here.

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10 Questions with Wendy De Rosa

Wendy De Rosa’s latest book is “Becoming an Empowered Empath: How to Clear Energy, Set Boundaries & Embody Your Intuition.” Today she answers 10 questions about all things intuitive.

1. First things first, what is an empath? How can you tell if you’re one?
An energetic empath is someone who feels the energy of others, the energy in the environment, and energy in the collective. Empaths will often unknowingly take this energy on or absorb it into their own energy field and body. As a result, they experience physical symptoms, illness, fatigue, emotional overwhelm, and more. Learning how to clear other people’s energy from their body and strengthen the energetic center helps energetic empaths hold emotional and energetic boundaries and evolve from being over empathic to an empowered empath.

Here are ways you can tell if you are an empath: You sense other people’s emotions or feel you have absorbed other people’s energy when you enter a room. You pick up on the energy around you, how people are feeling, or what might be happening around you. In a conversation with someone they over share and walk away feeling great, while you end up feeling like you took on their issues. You get tired easily being around people. You may be vulnerable to illness, feel nauseated, or get headaches and other physical symptoms when around other people’s energy. You need introverted time to replenish. You keep the peace in a dynamic by taking on emotions of others so they don’t have to feel or express their feelings. The list can go on, but essentially, you know you are an empath when you feel the energy of others around you.

2. In your book “Becoming an Empowered Empath” you describe four aspects of intuition. What are they?
The seeing sense is called clairvoyance, which relates to intuitively seeing images or having a higher knowing and heightened perception. Clairaudience is the sense of hearing intuitively. Some people relate to that sense as receiving Divine messages, higher guidance, and mediumship. Claircognizance is the sense of knowing. People who relate to this sense will say “I know because I know, because I know, and I can’t tell you why I know, I just know“. Clairsentience is the power of feeling energy through the sentient body. This is ultimately the empathic sense.

3. You discuss the importance of the Root Chakra. Why is it important in relation to empaths?
The Root Chakra is located at the tail bone region of our spine and is our power center for safety, trust, belonging, survival, and attachment here on this physical plane and physical experience of life. It’s the power center that connects us to the earth’s frequency. When we’ve been raised in environments where safety has been compromised because there was trauma or fear in the family system, we will develop an insecure attachment to feeling safe in this human experience. That is often an underlying pattern for empathic and sensitive beings raised in environments that didn’t know how to nurture an empath. The root chakra can close down and contract when there is a feeling of not belonging or feeling unsafe. As a result, the second chakra which is the empathic power center in the body, opens up and becomes hyper vigilant. It senses and feels everything around us, and takes care of that energy in order to feel a sense of belonging, attachment and safety. Essentially it is doing the job of the root chakra. When an empath has a contracted Root Chakra and a hyper vigilant Second chakra, the pattern of managing external energy repeats itself over and over again throughout life. In order for empaths to stop taking on the energy of other people and managing so much energy externally, they have to build a relationship to the Root Chakra specifically to re-build a sense of safety, trust in self, security, and belonging.

4. In discussing chakras, you say there are upper-body intuitives and lower-body intuitives. What does that mean and what are the differences?
Upper body intuition relates to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh charkras (and beyond!). Psychic intuition, mediumship, higher guidance, clairvoyance and channeling are aspects of upper body intuition. Lower body intuition is claircognizance, the sense of knowing and the empathic sense of feeling. These clairs relate to the first, second, third and sometimes fourth chakras. Empaths tend to be lower chakra intuitives. However, lower body intuitives can have upper body intuitive skills and vice versa. So, an empath can also be clairvoyant, and a medium can also be an empath. The primary difference is that either upper body or lower body intuition is dominant early in life. Intuitive skills can change based on one’s childhood or if they experience trauma. One’s healing process and to what extent their chakras are healing and evolving determines their access to their intuitive gifts. Some people can come into this world with both upper chakra and lower chakra intuition very activated.

5. In “Becoming an Empowered Empath” you say that empaths experience their world through intuition. Can you explain what this looks like?
Empaths experience the world through their “felt” sense. They feel when something isn’t right. They feel the emotions of other people, or the energy in a space. From an intuitive perspective, this means that they often know what another person needs and can offer acts of kindness, empathy, or connection to help the person rise up. Empathic intuition is the power of trusting your gut instinct and what’s felt beneath the surface. When empaths learn to trust their gut instincts, they make effective and trustworthy leaders because they can identify the shadow and clear the air when something does not feel right.

6. What are inherited belief systems and how do they impact our lives?
Inherited belief systems are beliefs that have come through our lineage or intergenerationally in order to help us survive in our society and family systems. Early in life, they are necessary and help us bond to the adults that are going to raise us and help us succeed in the world. Sometimes those inherited beliefs come from fear and a need to protect us from traumatic events happening to us. For example, if a parent was raised during the depression era, they may have a belief system that says, “save all your money and don’t trust anybody,” which gets passed down to us. Being raised with this belief system, a child may grow up overriding their own needs or their own intuition and maybe even miss opportunities in their life because this now internalized belief caused them to hoard and stay safe. This particular belief system may be outdated and may not match current times or where an individual is in their life. It’s important to recognize that belief systems help us survive and belong inside our family systems. As spiritually evolving souls, we can outgrow outdated beliefs systems and make conscious decisions about who we are and what we believe to be true now.

7. How does trauma affect our energy fields?
Trauma essentially makes up a significant amount of energy stored in our energetic body. Whether it’s personal trauma, collective trauma, or intergenerational trauma. Trauma is an experience that the cognitive mind and nervous system can’t make sense of or process at the time and so it stores it in the energy body for a later time when it’s safe to process that energy. In energy healing, there are several different terms that have been used over the decades that are synonyms to trauma. They include past life healing, karmic wounds, dark energy, shadow, or negative energy. Sometimes these words have been used to polarize people’s experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, and light and dark. However, as the conversation of trauma of trauma healing has surfaced over the past 20 years, energy work now addresses trauma through mindful practices, and it’s crucial for people to know that trauma is common, good people have trauma.

8. If someone wants to stop taking on other people’s energy, what do they need to know?
I think it’s so important to know that if you are living a pattern of taking on energy of others, then you most likely have a gift underneath that needs to be seen, needs to be validated, need to be reparented, and it’s probably been nudging you for a long time. The triggers that happen when you take on the energy of others are also a gift because they are pointing you in the direction of going deeper within you. That journey involves inner healing, understanding the energy you’ve been carrying, healing your past traumas, and living your God-given gifts in this life. My guess is that they’ve been squashed, and the body is acting out by having big reactions to other people’s energy. “Becoming an Empowered Empath” will help you get underneath the layers, clear your energy, and allow more of your gifts to emerge.

9. What’s next? Do you have any upcoming projects are readers would be interested in?
I often have upcoming events listed on my websites: schoolofintuitivestudies.com and wendyderosa.com. Yet, every month I offer a guided healing live through my Divine Healing Inner Circle Monthly Membership. People from all over the world join in this powerful group healing and receive deep energy healing and higher guidance. I also take questions after the healing, and we have a mid-month Q&A call where I answer questions that come up for members as they’ve been integrating the healing. I highly recommend this monthly membership if you are someone who is in need of ongoing energy clearing and support. All the details are on wendyderosa.com.

10. Parting shot! Ask us at The Magical Buffet any one question.
Was there a time when you knew you should have listened to your intuition? And did trust in your intuition get stronger by knowing that you have inner knowing?

I believe I’m quite intuitive and try to listen to my intuition, but I do try to find a balance between the presented facts and realities of a given situation and my “gut feelings.” I know there have been times when I wish I had listened to my intuition, I think most people have had that experience, but a specific example doesn’t come to mind.

About Wendy De Rosa:
Wendy De Rosa is an international intuitive energy healer, speaker, teacher, and author. For the past two decades she has offered education and training programs for spiritual and personal growth to thousands of people wanting to develop their intuition and experience personal transformation.

She is the founder of the School of Intuitive Studies and the Intuitive Healer Training Program & Certification. Wendy is an esteemed teacher who leads workshops and trainings globally, including programs for Mindvalley’s Soulvana channel and as a top faculty member at The Shift Network.

Wendy is a contributing writer in the bestselling book “Bouncing Back: Thriving in Changing Times” with Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy, John Assaraf, and other leaders in personal growth. Her book “Expanding Your Heart: Awakening through Four Stages of a Spiritual Opening” is an Amazon bestseller.

Wendy lives in Longmont, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, and stepson.

You can learn more here.

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The Power and Potential of Equilibrium

Excerpted from “A NEW NOW: Your Guide to Mastering Wisdom Daily, Achieving Equilibrium, and Empowering Your Nobler Self” © 2020 by Michael Goddart.

Equilibrium is dynamic balance, a spiritual center that you can live in and learn to return to again and again. Being in a state of equilibrium is wonderful. It enriches your life and helps you feel good and supports your health.

What are the characteristics of equilibrium? Here are five key ones.

Quiescent ego
Even temperament
Grateful contentment
Healthy independence
Balanced desires

Quiescence is a state of repose, being tranquil. When your ego is quiescent, it isn’t raging for something it “needs” desperately. When your ego is quiescent, it isn’t inflated, self-justifying, self-pitying, or wallowing in injury. It isn’t driving you to take actions or say things that aren’t in your best interest. Being unaware of your ego, letting it ride roughshod, is self-defeating, knocking you about in dys-ease. The antidote to ego is humility-welcome, revitalizing oxygen.

When your temperament is even, you are not anxious or angry, negatively critical, upset, leery, or fearful. Your instincts are accessible and you’re open to inner promptings. You realize that most people are entirely run by their minds and have no control over what they say and do. People who are run by their lower minds do, say, and write things that are unkind, hurtful, stupid, destructive. Their actions can readily set off your reactions, which can be angry, fearful, or one of their myriad expressions, such as annoyance and worry.

Have you ever felt or thought that you have everything this moment that you need? One aspect of wise, clear thinking is not mistaking where you think or hope you’re going for where you are now. With acceptance comes contentment. You may yearn to understand what you could do with the rest of your life, but embrace the perfection of who you are now and the intention to take each next step in your life as consciously as possible. Acceptance is a key element of consciously living in reality. Acceptance is not resignation. It’s being here, now, rather than allowing yourself to be run by envy or disappointment. Grateful contentment is a feeling of ease, of peace, of everything in its own time. Regardless of your circumstances, if you attain periods of grateful contentment, more and more, in your state of equilibrium, you will cherish these simple, luxurious feelings.

When you are able to live in a state of healthy independence, your life is not ruled by attachments. You realize that everything is ultimately temporary. People must leave your life and at times that can be unexpected. You are not the center of the solar system, with everyone revolving around you. You have a great storehouse of resourcefulness that you can access to enable your life to proceed well without unhealthy neediness that inhibits your growth.

When your desires are not inflated or squelched down, you are aware of them, and moving at the right time and speed toward realizing them in a way that serves your growth and unfolding. We are desire machines-the mind is constantly spewing out desires. You can learn to be aware of how your desires want to drive you, and you can mentally detach from them, as well as you can, and make mental adjustments that balance your urges and put them in perspective. Being the driver of your desires creates more space for gratitude. By cultivating mental detachment from your desires, you can more readily be present in an expansive now in which you can experience a healthy independence and grateful contentment.

Wisdom and equilibrium go hand in hand. Being in equilibrium is an optimal state in which you can best access your power and develop your potential. You more readily enjoy a positive, confident attitude because when you are in equilibrium that comes naturally. You can more easily deal with and rise above distractions. Being in equilibrium and learning how to achieve and return to it is a necessary adjunct to mastering wisdom. It facilitates the accessing and growth of wisdom.

The more you realize and embody the five characteristics of equilibrium, the more you reduce stress. Tomes can be written on the benefits of reducing stress. Some doctors believe that stress is the root of all disease. Some spiritual masters say that ego is the root of all disease. Stress and ego are intrinsically linked. This is because when we think then feel that people and things have to be a certain way, and they’re not-we stress.

If you think you need to get three things done before you leave your home and you rush to get them done, that likely creates stress. You are letting yourself be run by a belief that is undermining your health and state of mind. Why not pause and ask yourself if you can let go of one or two of the things until the right time after you return? It’s not the end of the world if, for instance, dishes remain in the sink filled with water until you can attend to them in a good frame of mind. It’s important to notice what feels good, what feels right. Value your equilibrium. That is being wise. That is helping to prepare the field of your spiritual foundation.

In these times, more than ever in our crazy world, to lead our best lives, we need to strive to achieve equilibrium and that will enable us to live in a new now.

About Michael Goddart:
Michael Goddart, MFA, is the author of the newly published “A NEW NOW: Your Guide to Mastering Wisdom Daily, Achieving Equilibrium, and Empowering Your Nobler Self”. He is also the author of “IN SEARCH OF LOST LIVES: Desire, Sanskaras, and the Evolution of a Mind&Soul”, a winner of the American Book Fest Best Book Award, the Living Now Book Award, the Body Mind Spirit Book Award, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Michael Goddart took his MFA in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University. Please visit www.goddart.com for interviews, excerpts, testimonials, and more.

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Archangel Fire Oracle

Alexandra Wenman set out to blend the angelic with the alchemical. The result was “Archangel Fire Oracle.”

Wenman describes archangels as, “Angels of a high rank who assist humanity with our evolution by helping us to access the divine through our higher wisdom and knowledge. They differ to other angels, who solely help us with practical day-to-day things. The Archangels, along with the day-to-day, have more to with Ascension and the attainment of enlightenment.” She feels the interactive nature of an oracle deck is a great way to access them and their wisdom.

Obviously, like most oracle decks, “Archangel Fire Oracle” can be used any way you like. However, if you want to take full advantage of the deck’s potential you can take a journey one card at a time. In the accompanying guidebook each card has associated entry that included meditations and exercises. Using the deck this way the “Archangel Fire Oracle” is an initiatory experience. In many ways Wenman has created an instructional book AND an oracle deck, conveniently in 40 wonderfully illustrated cards.

Anyone interested in working with angels and/or angelic energies would be well-served in purchasing “Archangel Fire Oracle” by Alexandra Wenman.

You can learn more here.

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Playing with Enlightenment

By Mark Johnson (excerpt from “Life as Play“)

It is difficult to discuss enlightenment in general because enlightenment means something different to everyone and because it is paradoxical. Most people think enlightenment is a peaceful, blissful, formless realm beyond the manifest world and outside of space and time. This is only partially correct because it is a paradox.

It is paradoxical because enlightenment includes duality and is simultaneously beyond it.

A lot of people who study Eastern religions are busily quieting their minds and emotions and are waiting for “enlightening” to strike. This is what the Buddha and Shankara taught and what I meditated on for almost 20 years. I have friends who are professional meditators. They can sit without a single thought appearing in their minds for hours at a time. However, I have rocks in my backyard that can do the same thing. Is this the apex of life on this planet? The Oneness as Emptiness is only part of the story. The manifest realm is also an expression of the great Oneness. Our task now is to figure out how best to manifest that ground of being in the evolving, material world. We must merge the transcendent with the immanent.

The analogy of the Ocean with its waves is the best way I know to describe the paradox of being both at the same time. Waves provide a good analogy for people because each wave has a discernible, separate existence. Each has a unique size, direction, speed, and shape – and they make a lot of noise, just as I do! There is also no real separation between them and the totality of the Ocean.

So, imagine yourself as an average wave rolling along, minding your own business, and some guru wave tells you, “You are the entirety of the ocean, and you can experience yourself as such.” All you have to do is meditate your ass off, become a vegetarian, and take up Tai Ji, or, if you are the trusting, devotional type, you can surrender to Yahweh, Jesus, or Allah.

So now they become a seeker with a mission! A wave in search of wetness! Nothing like a little meaning in life to actually get a person to do something other than consume stuff to compensate for that endless dark pit of need in the middle of one’s chest. The fanatic edge that sometimes comes with a little meaning in one’s life can drive a seeker for several thousand lifetimes; in spite of a few setbacks such as exhaustion, depression, and the sneaky feeling you are wasting a lot of time.

Some people start wave hopping to find the wetness, and others start perfecting their own wave to get wetter than the other waves. What keeps that cycle going is the fact that every time someone gets weary, another spiritual teacher comes along with the perfect technique for experiencing wetness, and off they go again until they finally drop. And then, “POW,” a moment of unity consciousness.

If you stop striving for wetness in order to succeed in experiencing it, it will not work. You have to stop everything, which includes stopping everything. That is why not too many people actually do it. It is scary to surrender everything you think you are and allow the great Oneness to continue running the show.

Some of the best “strivers” I have ever met are the Zen folks. They tirelessly scale that “enlightenment” mountain going straight up the slopes, while most people meander around the well-worn paths, smelling the flowers and eating the strawberries at every turn.

You would expect the Buddhist religion to turn out a lot of enlightened individuals every year, wouldn’t you? I didn’t find that to be the case. So, what is wrong with this picture? The more a wave pursues its own wetness as a goal, the further away the wave gets from being its wetness.

As I mentioned before, the tendency to take up spirituality as a cure for your psychological problems is called “spiritual bypassing.” You try to bypass all your problems with the magic bullet of meditation. It sounds good and looks good and actually works to some degree, but without doing the foundational psychological work along the way, nothing much is going to change, in my opinion.

Too many people and meditation teachers in particular, honestly think every problem can be solved with meditation. If you are out of work and depressed, and your guru tells you to meditate more, it is probably time to get another teacher and to find a job.

On the other hand (there is always another “on the other hand” when dealing with paradox), I often see people busying themselves by digging into their childhood traumas in self-help workshops or with their psychiatrist or therapist. Those “archeological digs” can sometimes lead to greater insight into why we do what we do, but far too often, it is simply another expression of narcissism.

I had a client who washed her hands a hundred times a day and knew exactly why she did it, but she still could not stop. I sometimes think some folks would be a lot better off if they spent their day helping people in a homeless shelter instead of incessantly talking about their problems.

The most common expression of narcissistic behavior I see is the incessant striving for enlightenment. The deep reason you don’t make much progress even after decades of meditation and self-help workshops is that you are doing it for yourself. When people take the focus off themselves for even a short time, they find their personal problems miraculously dissolving. That’s due to their no longer giving little obsessions the energy needed to perpetuate. Try it. Don’t think about yourself for an entire day and see what happens.

Let’s say that while indulging in narcissistic pursuits, a person accidentally experiences a spiritual awakening. After all, even a blind squirrel will find an acorn occasionally. It is like a wave briefly glimpsing itself as the entirety of the Ocean. You think you have arrived! But then, the memory fades, and you are back identifying with your old familiar ego/wave again – warts and all.

What good is a spiritual awakening if the wave that experienced it is distorted after experiencing itself as the Ocean? This is often what happens. This means the person must continue to work hard on psychological evolution in order to sustain the awakening. Your personal evolution will continue smoothly if you allow it to happen naturally and don’t force anything with your obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

This means:
It is more important to be integrated and authentic at whatever stage you find yourself than to hotly pursue enlightenment with a distorted and desperate psyche.

About Mark Johnson:
Mark Johnson is a semi-retired Tai Ji and Chi Gung instructor and healer. He continues to judge Tai Ji tournaments regularly, serves on the Advisory Council to the National Qigong Association, and leads Daoist retreats to China and Tibet yearly. He sells his Tai Chi for Seniors video and other instructional DVDs through his online company. Mark has studied and practiced Eastern Philosophy for over 45 years and has apprenticed with some of the most prominent Vedanta, Zen and Daoist teachers in the world. He has been a member and research subject at the Institute of Noetic Sciences for nearly 15 years. You can learn more at https://daopublishing.com/

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Superstitions in the United States

Everyone has some superstitions. Depending on the culture you or your family grew up with, where you live in the world, spiritual beliefs, etc., they can vary greatly. So, when an odd press release came into my inbox regarding superstitions in the United States, my interest was piqued.

Turns out a clever publicist for the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino put together a little report about superstitions in every U.S. state as a tie in for St. Patrick’s Day. Sadly, my email filter shunted it to a spam folder, so by the time I discovered it, St. Patrick’s Day had passed. On the other hand, as I explained to the publicist, my readers would have an interest in this subject matter regardless of time of year. You are interested, aren’t you?

Yeah, you are. And although this is hardly scientific and certainly doesn’t cover all the superstitions out there (but does cover a lot), it is still an interesting read. According to their report, their methodology was:

Using the Google AdWords platform, we analyzed search volume trends for more than 200 terms related to superstitions associated with both good luck and bad luck. The results represent the most disproportionately popular terms in every state. In February 2021, we also surveyed 1,016 Americans between the age of 18 – 75 to ask them about their belief in superstitions. 60% were female and 40% were male and the average age of respondents was 38.

A brief overview of what they learned was the most popular superstitions in America are: throwing salt over your shoulder, bad luck comes in threes, lucky rabbit’s foot, Friday the 13th, and ladybugs being a sign of good luck. 65% of Americans are superstitious. 83% believe in good luck, 50% believe in bad luck. 37% of Americans believe Friday the 13th brings bad luck. 34% of Americans believe St. Patrick’s Day is a luck day. Nearly double that amount (60%) say they wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.

You can see the full report here.


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