Understanding the Illusory Nature of Reality and the Reason for Suffering: Yogananda’s Insights and Personal Experience

In chapter 30 of “The Autobiography of a Yogi” (see excerpts below plus a video of ch 30), Paramahansa Yogananda uses the metaphor of a motion picture to explain the nature of reality. He suggests that the universe is like a motion picture that is projected onto the screen of man’s consciousness by the infinite creative beam of God. Just as a cinema audience can see that all screen images are appearing through the instrumentality of one imageless beam of light, the colorful universal drama is similarly issuing from the single white light of a Cosmic Source.

Yogananda also says that the physical world is an illusion and that creation is only a vast motion picture. He argues that the good and evil of Maya must alternate in supremacy and that suffering is a necessary part of the human experience. He suggests that without suffering, humans would not be motivated to seek a higher reality beyond the physical world.

RELATED POST: Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Proving the Universe Is Not Real | Where Quantum Physics Meets Vedanta

Yogananda argues that the way to escape from the cycle of suffering is through wisdom and spiritual realization. Yogananda’s perspective on the reason for suffering is that it is a natural part of the human experience that serves to awaken us to a higher reality beyond the physical world.

In addition, Yogananda says that the tragedy of death is unreal, and those who shudder at it are like an ignorant actor who dies of fright on the stage when nothing more is fired at him than a blank cartridge.

At the end of the chapter, Yogananda shares a powerful personal experience where he saw his body as a cosmic stem of light. He realized that the essence of all objects is light, and spoke to the divine light, asking it to withdraw his bodily picture into itself – “even as Elijah was drawn up to heaven by a flame.” But he was denied.

Overall, Yogananda’s exploration of the nature of reality in this chapter is a thought-provoking reflection on the illusory nature of the physical world and the importance of spiritual wisdom in understanding the true nature of existence.

Excerpt from “Autobiography of a Yogi”, Ch. 30: The Law of Miracles

The ancient Vedic scriptures declare that the physical world operates under one fundamental law of Maya, the principle of relativity and duality. God, the Sole Life, is an Absolute Unity; He cannot appear as the separate and diverse manifestations of a creation except under a false or unreal veil. That cosmic illusion is Maya. Every great scientific discovery of modern times has served as a confirmation of this simple pronouncement of the rishis…

To surmount Maya was the task assigned to the human race by the millennial prophets. To rise above the duality of creation and perceive the unity of the Creator was conceived of as man’s highest goal…

The lifelike images of the motion picture illustrate many truths concerning creation. The Cosmic Director has written His own plays and assembled tremendous casts for the pageant of the centuries. From the dark booth of eternity, He pours His creative beam through the films of successive ages, and the pictures are thrown on the screen of space.

Just as the motion-picture images appear to be real, but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusive seeming. The planetary spheres, with their countless forms of life, are naught but figures in a cosmic motion picture, temporarily true to five sense perceptions as the scenes are cast on the screen of man’s consciousness by the infinite creative beam.

A cinema audience can look up and see that all screen images are appearing through the instrumentality of one imageless beam of light. The colorful universal drama is similarly issuing from the single white light of a Cosmic Source. With inconceivable ingenuity God is staging an entertainment for His human children, making them actors as well as audience in His planetary theater.

One day I entered a motion picture house to view a newsreel of the European battlefields. World War I was still being waged in the West; the newsreel recorded the carnage with such realism that I left the theater with a troubled heart.

“Lord,” I prayed, “why dost Thou permit such suffering?”

To my intense surprise, an instant answer came in the form of a vision of the actual European battlefields. The horror of the struggle, filled with the dead and dying, far surpassed in ferocity any representation of the newsreel.

“Look intently!” A gentle voice spoke to my inner consciousness. “You will see that these scenes now being enacted in France are nothing but a play of chiaroscuro. They are the cosmic motion picture, as real and as unreal as the theater newsreel you have just seen—a play within a play.”

My heart was still not comforted. The divine voice went on: “Creation is light and shadow both, else no picture is possible. The good and evil of Maya must ever alternate in supremacy. If joy were ceaseless here in this world, would man ever seek another? Without suffering he scarcely cares to recall that he has forsaken his eternal home. Pain is a prod to remembrance. The way of escape is through wisdom! The tragedy of death is unreal; those who shudder at it are like an ignorant actor who dies of fright on the stage when nothing more is fired at him than a blank cartridge. My sons are the children of light; they will not sleep forever in delusion.”

Although I had read scriptural accounts of Maya, they had not given me the deep insight that came with the personal visions and their accompanying words of consolation. One’s values are profoundly changed when he is finally convinced that creation is only a vast motion picture, and that not in it, but beyond it, lies his own reality.

As I finished writing this chapter, I sat on my bed in the lotus posture. My room was dimly lit by two shaded lamps. Lifting my gaze, I noticed that the ceiling was dotted with small mustard-colored lights, scintillating and quivering with a radium-like luster. Myriads of penciled rays, like sheets of rain, gathered into a transparent shaft and poured silently upon me.

At once my physical body lost its grossness and became metamorphosed into astral texture. I felt a floating sensation as, barely touching the bed, the weightless body shifted slightly and alternately to left and right. I looked around the room; the furniture and walls were as usual, but the little mass of light had so multiplied that the ceiling was invisible. I was wonder-struck.

“This is the cosmic motion picture mechanism.” A voice spoke as though from within the light. “Shedding its beam on the white screen of your bed sheets, it is producing the picture of your body. Behold, your form is nothing but light!”

I gazed at my arms and moved them back and forth, yet could not feel their weight. An ecstatic joy overwhelmed me. This cosmic stem of light, blossoming as my body, seemed a divine replica of the light beams streaming out of the projection booth in a cinema house and manifesting as pictures on the screen.

For a long time, I experienced this motion picture of my body in the dimly lighted theater of my own bedroom. Despite the many visions I have had, none was ever more singular. As my illusion of a solid body was completely dissipated, and my realization deepened that the essence of all objects is light, I looked up to the throbbing stream of lifetrons and spoke entreatingly.

“Divine Light, please withdraw this, my humble bodily picture, into Thyself, even as Elijah was drawn up to heaven by a flame.”

This prayer was evidently startling; the beam disappeared. My body resumed its normal weight and sank on the bed; the swarm of dazzling ceiling lights flickered and vanished. My time to leave this earth had apparently not arrived.

“Besides,” I thought philosophically, “the prophet Elijah might well be displeased at my presumption!”

Acts of Power: Daily Teachings for Inspired Living (book excerpt) | Lynn V. Andrews

Lynn Andrews’s new book Acts of Power is an intensely personal document that has assumed a special individual significance for contemporary readers, providing them with 365 daily inspirations that offer pivotal insights for living a joyful life.

Andrews has distilled twenty-one books into this daily companion edition to support and inspire you in a small, easy-to-follow, yet very important and powerful tool for living well. Transcending the borders of age and background, Acts of Power’s spectrum of experience, thought, and wisdom invites direct identification and a sense of recognition, a sharing of concerns and solutions.

Excerpts from “Acts of Power: Daily Teachings for Inspired Living”

January 27


I felt the west wind pushing against my back as though it were supporting my efforts and had come to encourage me. I contemplated the magnificence of this life. I saw more clearly than I ever had that we are all exactly in the position in life that we choose to be in, no more or less. We are not victims of circumstance. We have formed our own circumstance for many complex reasons, which often remain unnamed out of our own ignorance or our inability to learn and face the truth.—Lynn Andrews, Star Woman

January 28


 When women understand their Ultima Madre, or final mother, they can build altars and fetishes of these powers. When they feel the influence of Crazy Woman or the Death Mother, in the form of depression or gloom, they can light candles and burn copal and honor her great power, the dark side. You see, her intent only defines your goodness and beauty. By honoring the dark side, you destroy her power over you. Then she can’t take you.—Zoila, Jaguar Woman

January 29


“I see a dream for your people, black wolf,” she said, her eyes glittering, not unlike the timber wolves that I have seen. “The dream that I see for your people is to find a circle of life that honors your elders, something that your people have forgotten. I know that you spend a great deal of time in life trying to encourage the growth of this concept with our sister, Face in the Water. I’m going to place this dream in the center of this circle, and we will make it so. I make this bid for power.”—Twin Dreamers and Lynn Andrews, Tree of Dreams

January 30


My teacher Agnes Whistling Elk once asked me, “And what have you learned, my daughter, from all the work that we have done together?”

I was very excited and said, “Well, I have learned to be a healer. I have learned to do acts of power in the world, and I am an author.”

“No, my daughter,” she admonished, “you are a woman living her truth who happens to write, who happens to heal and work with people.”—Agnes Whistling Elk and Lynn Andrews, Love and Power

January 31


“Your moods make rabbits today,” Agnes, who sat next to me, whispered in my ear.

“What do you mean?” She had startled me.

“You think little thoughts and they multiply like jackrabbits.”— Agnes Whistling Elk and Lynn Andrews, Crystal Woman

Lynn Andrews is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Medicine Woman series, which chronicles her three decades of study and work with shaman healers on four continents. Her study of the way of the sacred feminine began with Agnes Whistling Elk and Ruby Plenty Chiefs, Native American healers in northern Canada. Her quest for spiritual discovery continued with a Shaman Curendera of the Mayan Yucatan, an Aboriginal woman of high degree in the Australian Outback, and a Nepalese healer in the foothills of the Himalayas. Today, she is recognized worldwide as a leader in the fields of spiritual healing and personal empowerment. A shaman healer and mystic, Andrews is widely acknowledged as a major link between the ancient world of shamanism and modern society’s thirst for profound personal healing and a deeper understanding of the pathway to enlightenment. For more about Lynn and her work, visit: lynnandrews.com.

The Real Vaccine | Poem by William T. Hathaway

Big Statue of Shiva in Wat Plai Laem Temple on Koh Samui island in Thailand

The Real Vaccine by William T. Hathaway

Our world now writhes like a wounded worm, helpless

to escape its torment, blind

to the cause but blaming

a bug: “Stop it, stomp it, strangle it!

Too late – inside us, breeding into billions of bugs!

Kill them, poison them!

But our poisons don’t work – oh no!

Swarming with new bugs! Hopeless! Dying!”

All the while Shiva whispers:

“Beneath your terror and turmoil lies the tranquility of the transcendent.

You’re trapped on the surface mind, tossed by the waves.

Now dive to the depths and merge with me.

In my bigness a bit of bugness won’t panic you.

You’ll gain immunity to the insanity.

Come on down, look around,

here is where your Self is found.”


The author of eight books, William T. Hathaway was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he currently writes, meditates, and hangs out with Shiva. If you’d like to contact Shiva and enrich your life with his presence, this website will show you how, all for free: https://meetshiva985866381.wordpress.com/.

Orwell’s Ideas Remain Relevant 75 Years After ‘Animal Farm’ Was Published

George Orwell’s writings have left a lasting imprint on American thought and culture.

By Mark Satta, Wayne State University

Seventy-five years ago, in August 1946, George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” was published in the United States. It was a huge success, with over a half-million copies sold in its first year. “Animal Farm” was followed three years later by an even bigger success: Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

In the years since, Orwell’s writing has left an indelible mark on American thought and culture. Sales of “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” jumped in 2013 after the whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked confidential National Security Agency documents. And “Nineteen Eighty-Four” rose to the top of Amazon’s best-sellers list after Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration in 2017.

As a philosophy professor, I’m interested in the continuing relevance of Orwell’s ideas, including those on totalitarianism and socialism.

Early career

George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair. Born in 1903 in colonial India, Blair later moved to England, where he attended elite schools on scholarships. After finishing school, he joined the British civil service, working in Burma, now Myanmar. At age 24, Orwell returned to England to become a writer.

During the 1930s, Orwell had modest success as an essayist, journalist and novelist. He also served as a volunteer soldier with a left-wing militia group that fought on behalf of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. During the conflict, Orwell experienced how propaganda could shape political narratives through observing inaccurate reporting of events he experienced firsthand.

Orwell later summarized the purpose of his writing from roughly the Spanish Civil War onward: “Every line of serious work I have written since 1936 has been, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism.”

Orwell did not specify in that passage what he meant by either totalitarianism or democratic socialism, but some of his other works clarify how he understood those terms.

What is totalitarianism?

For Orwell, totalitarianism was a political order focused on power and control. The totalitarian attitude is exemplified by the antagonist, O’Brien, in “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” The fictional O’Brien is a powerful government official who uses torture and manipulation to gain power over the thoughts and actions of the protagonist, Winston Smith. Significantly, O’Brien treats his desire for power as an end in itself. O’Brien represents power for power’s sake.

A copy of George Orwell's novel '1984' is displayed at The Last Bookstore on January 25, 2017, in Los Angeles.
George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (‘1984’) surged to the top of Amazon.com’s best-sellers list after Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration in 2017.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Much of Orwell’s keenest insights concern what totalitarianism is incompatible with. In his 1941 essay “The Lion and the Unicorn,” Orwell writes of “The totalitarian idea that there is no such thing as law, there is only power … .” In other words, laws can limit a ruler’s power. Totalitarianism seeks to obliterate the limits of law through the uninhibited exercise of power.

Similarly, in his 1942 essay “Looking Back on the Spanish War,” Orwell argues that totalitarianism must deny that there are neutral facts and objective truth. Orwell identifies liberty and truth as “safeguards” against totalitarianism. The exercise of liberty and the recognition of truth are actions incompatible with the total centralized control that totalitarianism requires.

Orwell understood that totalitarianism could be found on the political right and left. For Orwell, both Nazism and Communism were totalitarian.

Orwell’s work, in my view, challenges us to resist permitting leaders to engage in totalitarian behavior, regardless of political affiliation. It also reminds us that some of our best tools for resisting totalitarianism are to tell truths and to preserve liberty.

What is democratic socialism?

In his 1937 book “The Road to Wigan Pier,” Orwell writes that socialism means “justice and liberty.” The justice he refers to goes beyond mere economic justice. It also includes social and political justice.

Orwell elaborates on what he means by socialism in “The Lion and the Unicorn.” According to him, socialism requires “approximate equality of incomes (it need be no more than approximate), political democracy, and the abolition of all hereditary privileges, especially in education.”

In fleshing out what he means by “approximate equality of incomes,” Orwell later says in the same essay that income equality shouldn’t be greater than a ratio of about 10 to 1. In its modern-day interpretation, this suggests Orwell could find it ethical for a CEO to make 10 times more than their employees, but not to make 300 times more, as the average CEO in the United States does today.

But in describing socialism, Orwell discusses more than economic inequality. Orwell’s writings indicate that his preferred conception of socialism also requires “political democracy.” As scholar David Dwan has noted, Orwell distinguished “two concepts of democracy.” The first concept refers to political power resting with the common people. The second is about having classical liberal freedoms, like freedom of thought. Both notions of democracy seem relevant to what Orwell means by democratic socialism. For Orwell, democratic socialism is a political order that provides social and economic equality while also preserving robust personal freedom.

I believe Orwell’s description of democratic socialism and his recognition that there are various forms socialism can take remain important today given that American political dialogue about socialism often overlooks much of the nuance Orwell brings to the subject. For example, Americans often confuse socialism with communism. Orwell helps clarify the difference between these terms.

With high levels of economic inequality, political assaults on truth and renewed concerns about totalitarianism, Orwell’s ideas remain as relevant now as they were 75 years ago.

[Explore the intersection of faith, politics, arts and culture. Sign up for This Week in Religion.]The Conversation

Mark Satta, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wayne State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How Sacred Words Can Rewire Our Brain

By Linda Summer

Take a break from cyberspace, head into nature, connect with the living soil and immerse yourself in Gregg Braden’s latest & possibly the greatest book, The Wisdom Codes. Weather permitting, of course.

“These timeless codes are designed to bring us the greatest strength and the deepest healing, in the quickest way possible.” Gregg Braden.

In his “easy-to-read, quick-access, modern-day manual”, Braden guides us on a timely, mystical pilgrimage to an ancient world of “trusted words”; intuitively encoded healing word patterns that can literally rewire our brain and heal our heart. He teaches us that we can become masters of our destiny by consciously applying sacred words of the past to our present challenges because we are no longer victims or defined by our circumstances.

Writes Braden: “For over 5000 years, our most ancient and cherished spiritual traditions have recognized the relationship between the words we use and the way our brains function. They relied on specific word patterns that they would recite — prayers, mantras, hymns and chants — to provide them with inspiration, safety, comfort and healing when they were faced with the inevitable challenges of everyday life. And although ancient indigenous people were not scientists by today’s standards, they understood the effect of the word codes full well.”

Braden’s intensive research resulted in a core group of deftly decoded wisdom codes and concise instructions about how to apply them to our lives, especially in times of need. Put simply, the words are wisdom codes:

“In their presence, we are changed. When we speak words either out loud or silently to ourselves, something shifts within us and that something is where the power of words, chemistry and neurons converge in a beautiful way.”

Sacred Word-Brain Relationship Origins

As a lifelong lover of fine language, but reasonably new to the captivating art of linguistics, Braden continued to spark my interest, especially his reference to the renowned American Linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf who discovered the Northern American Hopi people’s unique structure and “paradigm-altering use of language”. Having traveled to this ancient land in 2018, I appreciated the deeper insight into why ‘Hopi’ translates into ‘good; wise; knowing’.

Whorf discovered our word-brain relationship by a happy accident in 1937-38 when he unexpectedly instructed a graduate level Native American linguistics class. This enabled him to recognize “a previously overlooked nuance” whereby the Hopi people used words to describe the present moment, but not to directly describe the past or future.

For example, when the Hopi refer to lightning, they describe the experience as lightning-ing, indicating that lightning is a state of being; or the wave is waving. Whorf believed that these word structures were responsible for the harmonious way of the Hopi and their relationship with the cosmos.

Recent enlightening studies have confirmed Whorf’s theory that “Words of our everyday language directly influence the way our brain “wires” itself when it comes to how we think and even what we are capable of thinking about.”

This discovery naturally sent shock waves through the scientific community but also inspired ongoing biological and neuroscientific studies about the structure of language. Hence, the recent confirmation of his word-brain theory.

“A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Andrew Newberg, M.D., Neuroscientist, and Mark Robert Waldman.

Empowering Prayer Through Words

Of equal interest was Braden’s recollection of a pilgrimage with 40 invited guests to an ancient Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas — one of the most remote, sacred places of knowledge remaining today. When they met with the abbot of the monastery, “on a cold stone floor in a windowless chapel,” Braden asked: “When we see your prayers, what are you doing in your body? When we see you tone and chant mantras for fourteen to sixteen hours a day on the outside, what is happening to you on the inside?”

The abbot’s (condensed) translated reply reflected the discoveries that had been reported in recent journals:

“You have never seen our prayers because a prayer cannot be seen. What you have seen is what we do to create the feeling in our bodies. The feeling is the prayer and the words create the feeling.”

Upon hearing the abbot’s response, Braden immediately recognized that the words of ancient chants were catalysts that elicit the feelings that change the body of the person that offers them. He refers to early translations of the biblical book of John (chapter 16, verse 24) where “we are instructed to empower our prayers through words that invite us to be surrounded by the feeling that our prayer is already answered. Ask without hidden motive and be surrounded by your answer. Be enveloped by what you desire so that your joy may be full.”

Braden then offers a succinct summary: “Here we see that it’s the words that ignite the emotion that empowers our prayers as the cascade of events that follow. When we allow ourselves to fully embrace what our spoken words mean on the deepest possible level of awareness, they trigger the neurological and biological responses that reflect the intent of the codes.”

To say that “the implications of the word-life relationship are profound” is almost an understatement. Note to self: Given that words we choose appear to form the framework for the unity or separation that we consequently experience, ensure that I refocus on practicing the art of living consciously and choosing my words with care. Always.

Wisdom Codes Reflect Common Life Issues

The main body of the Wisdom Codes book is divided into 7 sections, featuring 17 individual codes that reflect some of our most commonly faced issues in life: Protection, Fear, Loss, Strength and Love. Braden also includes two bonus Power Codes and two concluding parables.

Some origins of the carefully selected codes include the ancient Sanskrit Vedas, the Mahabharata, the teachings of the Buddha, “lost” texts of the Judeo-Christian Bible and sacred mysteries of indigenous traditions. Having had a liberated upbringing that bypassed all forms of religious indoctrination, and allowed me the freedom to find my own spiritual way and explore religion in my own time, I have found this book to be as beneficial as Braden intended it to be — if not more.

Wisdom Code 3 – The Lord’s Prayer

Without giving away too much away about the actual Wisdom Codes, I will finish with some intriguing passages about the widely debated origins of one of the Protection Codes: Wisdom Code 3 – The Lord’s Prayer. I found these revelations to be of particular interest because of my recent studies into the occult origins of church, religion, and government. (Note that Braden chose the English translation closest to the original words of Jesus’s time as possible, prepared by George in Lamsa in the early 20th century):

“The controversy about its origins stems from the fact that the Lord’s Prayer is not recorded in what’s considered to be one of the most reliable records of historic events that occurred in Jesus’s day: the Book of Mark. The question is why it would be noted in the books of Matthew and Luke, yet would be curiously absent in Mark? The answer has emerged with the discovery of a hidden, yet revered, biblical gospel discovered only recently, in the late 20th century: the Lost Gospel of Quelle. Quelle means “source” in German. Scholars typically shorten the name to the Gospel Q or simply Q.”

Braden further explains that the Gospel Q did not appear suddenly like the “lost” Gospel of Thomas or the Dead Sea Scrolls:

“In fact, it does not exist today as a stand-alone text. Rather, this “lost” gospel emerged slowly over a period, emerging from within the paragraphs and pages of already existing texts. It was only through the meticulous and scholarly work of text comparison among various translations of different gospels that Gospel Q was eventually recognized by 20th-century biblical scholars.

I’m describing Gospel Q here because it holds the key to the protective power of Wisdom Code 3.”

Wherever ‘Q’ goes, controversy follows, it seems. This revelation naturally reminded me of the alleged birth of the contentious ‘Q’ movement, thought to be a covert military alliance that was created following the ruthless assassination of President John F Kennedy.

In closing, The Wisdom Codes is a truly unique, compelling, and reassuring reference book that has earned a place in my highly competitive ‘beloved favorites stash’ which is always within arm’s reach. Just the tonic for these profoundly transformational times on earth and a vital addition to my spiritual resilience kit.

For anyone that has not yet discovered the exceptional work of Gregg Braden, he is a science-meets-spirit pioneer, scientist, lecturer, inspirational thought leader, and five-time New York Times bestselling author.

Learn about the power of The Wisdom Codes and much more in this awesome video by Gregg Braden:


#ProtectTheChildren by Sharing This FREE eBook: “A Mom’s Guide to the Covid Shot” by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Would you like to save the life of a child? You can by simply sharing this article and Dr. Christiane Northrup’s vitally important new book titled “A Mom’s Guide to the Covid Shot: What Every Mother Needs to Know” – with EVERY parent that YOU know (I sent the PDF to all three of my adult children last night.). You can purchase the paperback version online, or you can FREELY download the PDF version HERE. After you click the link, simply scroll down the page until you see this image (and then enter your info and click the “Download the eBook” button to receive the download link in your email):

Every parent needs to know that the Covid vaccines are incredibly harmful to children and potentially deadly. Dr. Patrick Whelan, a pediatric specialist caring for children with the multisystem inflammatory syndrome, said the spike protein found in the vaccines is of special concern for young people, as it is a potentially lethal toxin that causes “microvascular injury to the brain, heart, liver, and kidneys in a way that does not currently appear to be assessed in safety trials of these potential drugs.”

See: Healthy 16-Year-Old Boy Dies During Online Class After Second Pfizer Jab: VAERS Database

Nonetheless, there is an insane, forthcoming agenda to mandate the jab for ALL school-aged children in order to attend school. On October 1, California Governor Gavin Newsome announced that: “Students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term following FDA full approval of the vaccine for their grade span (7-12 and K-6).”

If FDA approval does occur, some other states will likely also mandate the jab. And, even if the jab is NOT mandated, many parents will comply because they believe the mainstream media narrative that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! Dr. Northrop’s book provides eye-opening truth about the extreme dangers of covid shots in an incredibly easy-to-read format. Plus she provides reference links for everything so that you can dive deeper if you want. Every parent  MUST read “A Mom’s Guide to the Covid Shot.” So PLEASE take bold action and share it with every parent that you know because it will save the lives of children – the future of humanity!

The vitally important information in the book was originally a PowerPoint presentation that Dr. Northrup shared at a conference. She simply incorporated the slides into her book. So you can read the entire book in about an hour. In order for you to see the easy-reading format of the book, here’s one page of “A Mom’s Guide to the Covid Shot”:

Be sure to also watch this powerful presentation by Dr. Northrop in which she discusses many of the slides in her book:

Dr. Christiane Northrup Slams the Whole CV19 Scam and mRNA Vax Bio-Weapon

About Dr. Northrup

Christiane Northrup, M.D., a visionary pioneer in women’s health, is a board-certified OB/GYN with more than thirty years of clinical experience, former assistant clinical professor of OB/GYN at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and three-time New York Times bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause and Goddesses Never Age. In 2013, Reader’s Digest named Dr. Northrup one of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.” In 2016, she was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul 100, a group of leaders who are using their voices and talent to awaken humanity. And in 2020 & 2021, she was included in the Watkins Spiritual 100, a list of living people that make a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale.

Much love,

Ross Pittman, CLN Editor

U.S. Indifferent to Human Experimentation and Biological and Chemical Weapons — New Book Points to a Monstrous Agenda

By | Activist Post

At the Breaking Point of History: How Decades of U.S. Duplicity Enabled the Pandemic by Activist Post contributor Janet Phelan details the US government’s indifference to the welfare of individuals and to its legal obligations under national and international accords prohibiting human experimentation and biological and chemical weapons. (The book is available at TrineDay and elsewhere.)

From lead pipes in Flint, Michigan to a duplicitous water commission in Medford, Oregon to a secret psychiatric ward at UCLA to the elegant halls of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Breaking Point reveals deceitful machinations executed at the highest and lowest levels of power.

Ms. Phelan recently said,

“We are embroiled in a pandemic which has collapsed economies, caused death by starvation and has resulted in severe new restrictions on civil rights in the US and elsewhere. Yet many medical professionals and researchers are questioning the genesis of Covid-19. Was it bioengineered? Was it deliberately released? They’re also questioning the numbers alleged to have died from it, pointing to dictates from the CDC to list deaths not directly caused by the virus as virus-caused deaths.”

Many of the articles were written prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and point to a monstrous political agenda, implicating media, government, and foreign nations in the plan to launch this. Details as to other vectors which may be deployed in a pandemic scenario, details that have been suppressed by other media, are fully disclosed here.

Janet Phelan is an investigative reporter. Her articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Bernardino County Sentinel, Orange Coast Magazine, New Eastern Outlook, and elsewhere. She currently writes for Activist Post and has previously published an intelligence exposes, Exile, and two books of poetry.

TrineDay is a small publishing house that arose as a response to the consistent refusal of the corporate press to publish many interesting, well-researched, and well-written books with but one key “defect”: a challenge to official history that would tend to rock the boat of America’s corporate “culture.” TrineDay believes in our Constitution and our common right of Free Speech.

7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind

By | The Mind Unleashed

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R.R. Martin

There it is your mind –all leashed-up, bored, bookless, and chasing its own tail in the corner. It’s time to unleash it. It’s time to toss it back into the shocking waters of wonder and awe. It’s time to distract it from the all too familiar tail (or tale, to wit), and give it a juicy carrot to chase around instead. Seven juicy carrots, to be exact.

So, store that leash, open up your mind, curl up with your best friend, and dive right on into the following mind-unleashing books. But keep the light on. As Groucho Marx wittily opined, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

1.) “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsche

“We never know any data before interpreting it through theories. All observations are, as Popper put it, theory-laden, and hence fallible, as all our theories are.” ~David Deutsche

From epistemology and quantum fungibility to environmental ethics and societal evolution, David Deutsche takes us on a thought-provoking journey into answering a single question: Is there a limit to what can be understood? He comes at a mind-expanding answer of “no” by diving deep into the expanding waters of epistemology and ontology. He profoundly claims that our understanding of anything is always at the “beginning of infinity” and there will always be an infinite amount more left for us to understand. Basically surmising that, with accurate and adaptable knowledge, anything is possible unless it is prohibited by the laws of physics.

Highly rational and integrating, The beginning of Infinity launches us into higher thinking on the path toward better and better explanations. He takes us from parochial, outdated ways of thinking to the concept of universality and updated ways of thinking about the universe as a thing to be progressively evolved into using ever-expanding technologies. Thus bridging the gap from man to overman. As he made clear, “There is only one way of thinking that is capable of making progress, or of surviving in the long run, and that is the way of seeking good explanations through creativity and criticism.”

2.) “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks to Csikszentmihalyi, the idea of the “flow state” has become a vital aspect of our cultural awakening. The optimal experience is gained through deep discipline in a particular field/art/sport that provides an intrinsic reward, challenge, and feedback, thus integrating confidence, concentration, control, adaptability, and connectivity. Time stops or slows down. Insecurities disappear. We stop caring about what others think of us. A creative unfolding of something larger manifests. Everything flows effortlessly in interconnected unison with us as its interdependent spearhead. In short: we stop thinking and just do.

By simply asking the question, “When are people most happy?” Csikszentmihalyi, through time-tested research, pinpoints flow states as the answer. Athletes call it “being in the zone,” mystics have described it as “ecstasy,” and artists term it “rapture.” Unleashing optimal experience is about doing what we love as a pathway toward greater meaning, happiness, and a self of higher complexity. By doing what we love in challenging ways, we leverage optimal experience into our lives. This book powerfully explains the psychology of this vital process.

3.) “Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul” by Giulio Tononi

“Murky thoughts, like murky waters, can serve two purposes only: to hide what lies beneath, which is our ignorance, or to make the shallow seem deep” ~Giulio Tononi

Phi takes the reader on a mind-altering journey through the nature of consciousness. It interweaves science, art, and the imagination with golden ratios, Fibonacci sequences, and fractal cosmology. The reader has the joy of perceiving the world through such masters as Galileo, Alan Turing, Darwin, and Francis Crick, among others. From neuroscience to pseudoscience, from deep introspection to mindful meditation, Tononi elucidates on how consciousness is an evolving, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves as finite, spiritual beings in an infinite universe.

We learn how consciousness is an integrated information and how the power of that integration requires the utmost responsibility and credulity. It teaches how the brain is the seat of our perceptions, and is a creative force par excellence, and can even create new shapes and new qualia. It teaches how, by growing consciousness, the universe comes more and more into being and synthesizes the one and the many, the ego and the eco, the individual and the interdependence of all things into a unified force of Nature.

4.) “The Art of Fear” by Kristen Ulmer

““Everything is fine” is actually a copout, a stuck place, an obstruction to the exploration of who and what you are expanding into higher and further, not to mention the evolution of humanity.” ~Kristen Ulmer

The Art of Fear is about curiously embracing fear rather than conquering or repressing it. It’s about rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up. It’s about realizing that Fear is only one of 10,000 employees at You Incorporated, and how they all need a voice. But Fear most of all, lest all voices become repressed shadows. The key to fear, she explains, is being curious about it, thereby harnessing its power rather than conquering it. Between courage and curiosity is everything we need to be fearless.

Ulmer’s personal journey with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters, from which she learned a mindfulness tool called “Shift” which shifts our perspective of fear from ignorant repression to proactive curiosity, thus aligning it authentically with our true nature. The basic tenet is this: Instead of repressing fear, empower it, by being curious and questioning rather than judgmental and accusing. Honor it with deep respect so it doesn’t operate covertly in twisted ways beneath the surface.

5.) “Endgame: The Problem of Civilization” by Derrick Jensen

“Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.” ~Derrick Jensen

Endgame will take everything you think you know about being a social being in a seemingly functional society and turn it on its head. Definitely not for the typical statist, nor the faithful law-abiding citizen. Endgame is about the imperative need to immediately dismantle the unhealthy civilization that surrounds us. Endgame is a scathing, raging critique against the unhealthy, unsustainable, and ecologically unsound man-machine that is our modern culture.

Breaking the book down into a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen takes us on a mind-bending and convincing ride into the unhealthy belly of the violent, ecocidal beast that is modern-day civilization. His basic premise is simple: Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when” it’s going to fail.

He argues that the longer it takes civilization to fall, the worse the tragedy will be. In that light, there are two things we should be doing: Bringing about the fall sooner rather than later and preparing to survive it. His attitude is caustic and cavalier, but all the better for the shock value it provides. This book really flattens the box we’re all so desperately trying to think outside of. A complimentary (and perhaps less aggressive) read is Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn.

6.) Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde

“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” ~Lewis Hyde

Trickster Makes This World is a mythological cornerstone for Sacred Clowns and practicing trickster-gods the world over, digging into the guts of the primordial importance of sacred play and rowdy behavior. Hyde explores how trickster figures represent the “disruptive imagination” that inverts, rearranges, and overturns conventional wisdom. From Raven to Coyote, Monkey to Crow, Hermes to Loki, Eshu to Legba, Hyde reveals connections between mythological tricksters that form a hidden network that connects cultural divides.

The best part about this book is its ability to show how mythology becomes reality. “Trickster consciousness’” is a vital component of human imagination. It reveals that we are the gods of renewal and rebirth if we choose to be. We are the creators of mischief and mayhem. We are the trickster gods in training. Trickster is us, and we are Trickster. We are the ultimate boundary-crossers. No manmade rules or laws can contain us unless we let them. Even cosmic rules and laws can hardly contain us. Trickster makes this world by tearing the old world down through high humor, moral ambiguity, foolishness, and strategic transgression and then dances in the ashes of its destruction. But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where brave new worlds emerge.

7.) “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” ~Joshua Greene

Moral Tribes is hands-on moral psychology and a refreshing new take on utilitarianism. Greene wraps game theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience into a nice digestible package to bolster his theory of cognition, which builds elegantly into a theory of moral psychology. A sweeping synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes opens a can of psychosocial worms that takes the concept of morality to the next level, revealing how we are exceptionally well-adept at solving the dilemma between “Me” and “Us,” through the concept of the “tribe,” but how we are ridiculously less-adept at solving the meta-dilemma between “Us” and “Them.”

Greene’s concept of metamorlity squares this psychosocial circle by counterintuitively applying utilitarianism to our base, knee-jerk reaction to morality (evolved morality) by becoming aware of our apathy in order to become more empathetic. By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, and worldly patriotism instead of patriotic nationalism, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of colonialism into the round hole of cultural affiliation, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality.

Five Ways to Manage the Emotional Distress of Cancer

By Jill Suttie | Greater Good Magazine

The National Cancer Institute states that nearly 40% of men and women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Even during the pandemic, cancer was the leading cause of death around the world.

That means many people are dealing with treatment for this worrisome disease—including many of my friends and family members. While new treatments are giving people hope for greater longevity and even full recovery, the social and emotional toll of cancer is still severe. Right when cancer patients need calm clarity and social support for getting through treatment, they can have trouble finding either, compounding their suffering.

While no person’s cancer experience is exactly the same as another’s, there are common reactions to many, write Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz and Marsha Linehan in the new book Coping with Cancer. These include difficult feelings like fear, sadness, anger, and guilt; concerns about how the disease will change one’s life, job, or family relationships; and physical symptoms like fatigue, pain, and loss of sleep. A patient’s constantly changing experience can breed uncertainty, too, exacerbating many of these reactions.

Drawing upon decades of research, practice with helping patients, and stories from patients (including the authors themselves), the book gives wise guidance on how to reduce stress, make better decisions, protect important relationships, and increase overall well-being while fighting off the disease—all of which can support a better prognosis, too. Based largely on Linehan’s model of dialectical behavior therapy, the authors offer several keys to coping with the physical, emotional, and social strains that cancer patients face. Here are a few of their recommendations.

Be mindful and accepting of your experience

Though some people believe there’s an ideal way to feel or behave when faced with cancer—upbeat, stoic, or defiant, maybe—trying to fit someone’s idea of how you should react or denying your own feelings is likely to backfire, write the authors. Instead, you should try practicing being mindful—paying attention to your experience without judgment. This is a more effective way to understand your experience and your needs at any given moment.

“Your emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations offer valuable information. They can tell you what’s wrong and needs to be addressed as well as what’s going right that should be pursued,” write Stuntz and Linehan.

At the same time, being mindful can keep you from wallowing in negative emotions or ruminating about catastrophic possibilities. When you increase awareness of the fleeting nature of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, it can create a little distance from them, opening the door to noticing positive experiences (or less bad experiences) when they occur. Savoring happy moments and small victories can provide a good counterpoint to the hard times, helping you to ride the waves of experience without being overwhelmed.

Finding some distance also allows you to notice patterns, including habits that might not be serving you.

“When you pay careful attention to the interplay between your emotions, your thoughts, and your body, you have the chance to understand your response and see where effective coping may be short-circuited and bring yourself back into balance,” write the authors.

Try self-compassion

If you accept that all feelings are valid, you can start to recognize where they come from and how to soothe them without repressing them. One method for helping with emotional upset is the practice of self-compassion. Showing yourself kindness and understanding for what you are going through, while recognizing that you are not alone in your suffering, can be a boon to your recovery.

According to the authors, “The goal is to try to coach yourself with the same warm, patient, and sensitive understanding you would give to a cherished loved one who is in a distressing situation.” That means acknowledging whatever experience you are having (for example, I feel pain in my chest right now and it’s worrying me), sending yourself soothing messages (even though this pain is hard, I’ve been through it before, and I know it will pass), and reminding yourself that you are not alone in your suffering (others have been through this too and survived).

People who are more self-compassionate tend to have less depression, anxiety, fatigue, and better quality of life when facing cancer and generally tend to cope better under stressful conditions. Self-compassion may be particularly beneficial for keeping us as well as possible in trying circumstances.

Check the facts and question distorted thinking

When we are worried, it can often cause rumination—repetitive thoughts disturbing us and keeping us up at night. This can lead to depression and other problems that can interfere with recovery.

As the authors note, people with cancer can succumb to distorted thinking patterns, such as “black and white” thinking or thinking in absolutes—for example, only focusing on bad news and ignoring progress, or telling yourself that you’ll never be able to work again and you’ll always be sick. To find a more balanced approach, the authors recommend that you question these types of thoughts by stepping back and examining them and, perhaps, challenging or reframing them. Recognizing the difference between facts and fear-based assumptions can help you interrupt distorted thinking and keep your mind from spinning out of control.

Questioning assumptions can be helpful when talking to doctors, too. For example, some people with cancer are afraid to confront their doctors with fears or doubts about the treatment, worried they will offend their doctor, and, possibly, lose an important ally in their care. But most doctors are trained to listen and educate patients about their options and expect questions. It’s important to express uncertainty while staying open to emerging information—even difficult facts about your care—to maintain a realistic view of your situation.

Ask for what you want from others…in a kind way

Support from others is key to healing from cancer. But sometimes cancer patients may feel reluctant to ask for help, especially if they tend to be “go it alone” types. Or they may fear that medical doctors or caretakers will not listen to them, making them feel angry for having reached out.

It’s important to find a balance between requesting help and demanding it from someone—especially from a caregiver who is already burdened. Asking for what you want clearly and confidently, explaining why you need the help, and appreciating the help you receive are all useful strategies for getting what you need from others to heal, the authors write.

Given that protecting a relationship with a health provider is paramount to many cancer patients, the authors give special attention to communicating with doctors, including this advice (using the acronym FAST):

  • Be Fair: Validate your feelings and wishes as well as the other person’s.
  • Assert: Don’t apologize for making a request, having an opinion, or disagreeing.
  • Stick to your values: Make sure you are acting in a morally sound way.
  • Be Truthful: Don’t make excuses, lie, or act helpless when you’re not.

Keeping interactions with others kind, honest, and assertive is the best way to preserve relationships through a long treatment.

Connect to meaning

While no one wants to suffer from cancer, it can be an opportunity to remember what is most important in life. Whether it’s your relationships with others, your work or creative endeavors, the beauty of the world around you, or your religious faith, you can take moments to appreciate the things of value to you and embrace opportunities to connect to them.

“Being clear about what sustains and matters to you can help you assess whether you’re living the way you want to or decide what if any changes you want to make to promote the more meaningful parts of life,” write Stuntz and Linehan.

Meaning in life is central to happiness, and finding meaning in the midst of suffering can help people stay more resilient as they go through trauma. Nurturing meaning in life could involve writing a gratitude letter to someone who made a difference to you, volunteering to help others suffering from cancer, or writing a song or poem. Whatever you do to find meaning, though, remember not to do it because you “should” or to fulfill someone else’s agenda, but because it truly helps sustain you.

While none of these strategies are foolproof, they can help people who are going through cancer manage, and that’s good to know. On the other hand, I would argue that this advice is useful for anyone going through difficult times, health-related or not. We could all be more mindful, offer ourselves more self-compassion, be better fact-checkers, treat our support networks kindly, and search for meaning in life. The book, though geared to cancer survivors, really speaks to us all.

About the Author

Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good.

Cannabis: “A Medicinal Treasure Trove”

Cannabis has been part of the pharmacopeia, or branch of medical science that studies drugs and medicinal preparations, of many cultures throughout history.

Like many other plants, cannabis plants secrete a sticky tar-like residue called resin. On cannabis plants, the resin is contained within the heads of tiny, mushroom-shaped trichomes, found mainly on the plant’s flower buds and to a lesser extent on the leaves. In the resin is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the compound that causes the high that cannabis is famous for—and CBD, along with hundreds of other cannabinoids and terpenes (which we’ll talk about later). Traditionally, these flowers, which we commonly call marijuana, are hand-harvested, dried, trimmed, and cured. The flowers are then consumed for their medicinal and/or intoxicating effects. To learn more, check out homegrowncannabisco.com.

Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, one of the world’s leading authorities on CBD, has described the cannabis plant as a “treasure trove” of medicinal value with the potential to treat a wide variety of different ailments. CBD and THC can be considered the crown jewels of this treasure trove, but they are just two of more than a hundred related plant compounds called phytocannabinoids, lipid (fat)-based molecules that are unique to the cannabis plant and give it its therapeutic potential. The plant is also rich in compounds called terpenes and flavonoids, which work together with CBD and THC to create an “entourage effect” that is greater than the effect of any one of the molecules alone.

CBD is getting the lion’s share of public attention right now because, unlike THC, it doesn’t get you high or put you at risk for failing a drug test; nor is it likely to pose legal challenges like THC. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that CBD is not the only part of the cannabis plant that can serve a medicinal purpose.

CBD and Its Entourage

CBD and THC have a bit of a yin-yang relationship. Both CBD and THC can provide significant health and wellness benefits; but unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned.” That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors in the brain and body.

THC, marijuana’s principal psychoactive component, makes a person feel high by binding to specific receptors in your brain and central nervous system. (Chapter 2 will dive into these mechanisms in detail). CBD, by contrast, can lessen or neutralize the intoxicating effects of THC, depending on how much of each compound is consumed. That’s why people who use medical marijuana will some-times choose products that are relatively low in THC and rich in CBD. They want the health benefits of cannabis without the high—or with less of the high. That’s possible, thanks to CBD.

There is compelling evidence that CBD works best in combination with THC and the full spectrum of other cannabis components. Just like eating a whole carrot is better for you than taking a beta-carotene supplement, whole cannabis remedies may be more effective than low-THC or no-THC products.

That’s important as we consider the medicinal benefits of CBD (and when you’re choosing CBD products) because, when scientists perform research on CBD, they generally use isolated, single-molecule CBD produced in biochemical laboratories. By contrast, when CBD is part of oil extracted from the whole plant, it includes not just CBD and THC but also more than 400 trace compounds, many of which may also have medicinal benefits.

In fact, as this book is being written, scientists are turning their attention to other CBD-related molecules that have exciting therapeutic potential—for example, CBDA and CBG. CBDA is the acidic, raw form of CBD that exists in the growing CBD-rich plant before it has been harvested, dried, and heated and may be even more effective against nausea than CBD or THC. Cannabigerol (CBG) is another cannabinoid that has medicinal value as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, bone stimulant, and cancer-fighting molecule.

Researchers have found that many of these compounds interact synergistically to create an “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect.” In the same way that a star opera singer sounds great on her own but creates a greater impact as part of a cast of supporting singers, these myriad compounds magnify the benefits of the plant’s individual components so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.

Some of the key “backup singers” in that entourage are terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic molecules that evaporate easily and create a strong fragrance. You may not know their names, but you already know these compounds because they’re ingrained in your life. The fresh scent of lemon zest is from the terpene limonene. The refreshing aroma wafting through a pine forest comes from the terpene aptly named pinene.

Terpenes are the most common type of compound in the botanical world; there are hundreds of terpenes among all the cannabis strains, and there can be 20 to 40 types of terpenes in a single cannabis plant. The fragrance and flavor of any given cannabis product is determined by its predominant terpenes. Nature designed these pungent oils to protect plants by attracting beneficial insects, or by repelling harmful ones and animal grazers, as well as preventing damaging fungus. It turns out terpenes are healthy for people as well as plants. Pinene, which is found not only in the oils of pine and other coniferous trees but also in rosemary, is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Beta-caryophyllene, a terpene found in black pepper, oregano, leafy green vegetables, and various cannabis strains may be good for treating certain ulcers and auto-immune disorders. Linalool, the dominant terpene from lavender, alters brain wave activity and pro-motes relaxation.

Some terpene compounds (called terpenoids) increase blood flow. Others enhance brain activity and kill germs, including MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. An article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology reports the findings from multiple studies showing that cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions—that entourage effect—could work well for more effective treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and infections.

In various ways, terpenes can augment the beneficial effects of CBD and THC. Research shows that terpenes can help cannabinoids like CBD and THC cross the blood-brain barrier and get into your system more easily. Some terpenes may facilitate transdermal absorption to allow topical treatments to pass through the skin.

It’s important to keep this entourage effect in mind when reading the results of scientific studies. When a study reports that a certain dosage of CBD did not have an effect, that doesn’t necessarily mean that CBD doesn’t work. Any given dose of single-molecule CBD is not medicinally the same as the same dose of a CBD-rich whole plant cannabis extract. Often, you actually need considerably higher doses of an isolated CBD product to get the same benefits you’d find from a smaller amount of whole plant CBD extract because of the entourage effect.

Excerpted from “THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CBD: Everything You Need to Know about What It Helps, Where to Buy, and How to Take It.” A Reader’s Digest Book, copyright © 2021 by Trusted Media Brands, Inc., and Project CBD.  Used by permission of Trusted Media Brands, Inc., New York.  Available wherever books are sold.

How Anxiety Hides in Your Habits

By Kira M. Newman | Greater Good Magazine

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little tired of reading the same tips over and over about how to calm down and destress. I’m tired of trying to slow down my breathing when my chest feels heavy and question the worst-case scenarios running around my head.

That’s why psychiatrist Judson Brewer’s new book Unwinding Anxiety is so refreshing. Yes, it has some tips—but they don’t come until much later in the book. In fact, his whole point is that tips alone won’t help those of us who struggle with anxiety.

Brewer shows how anxiety exists inside the habits that make up our everyday lives, and habits are sticky. They won’t go away just because we tell ourselves to breathe— because, as crazy as it sounds when talking about anxiety, our brain is attracted to these habits because they create some sense of reward.

Implementing tips and tools skips an important step, Brewer argues. Before we can try to change anything, we have to spend some time observing our anxiety-related habits. Only then—by showing our brain viscerally how unrewarding these habits are—can we move to actually create new ones.

Unwinding Anxiety offers a three-step process to help you do exactly that, backed up by Brewer’s extensive habit research. While many well-being books can feel overwhelming, his approach is reassuring in its simplicity but different enough to feel like it just might work.

Step one: Map out anxiety habits

If you struggle with anxiety, it’s likely that anxiety has become a habit for you, writes Brewer. Many of our habits have developed to help us reduce stress or satisfy emotional needs, he explains, even if they don’t always benefit us long-term. Our habits exist in loops that consist of a trigger, a behavior, and a result. For example:

Trigger: Feel anxious
Behavior: Eat something sweet
Result: Be distracted from anxiety

Sometimes anxiety can trigger a habit loop, but it can also be the result in a habit loop:

Trigger: Feel unmotivated at work
Behavior: Read news
Result: Feel anxious about the state of the world

But the most pernicious anxiety-related habit is this basic pattern, which many of us fall into, where anxiety reinforces itself:

Trigger: Feel anxious
Behavior: Worry (ruminate on what’s wrong, what could go wrong, etc.)
Result: Feel more anxious

What reward could we possibly get out of a self-perpetuating anxiety cycle? Well, Brewer explains, the act of worrying can sometimes feel good—or at least better than just sitting with our anxiety. Worrying sometimes (rarely) allows us to come up with solutions, which makes it seem productive; we think we’re solving problems. Some of us are afraid we’ll be unprepared for the future if we don’t worry, and worry can give us a sense of control over the situation, even when all we do is go over and over the same fears.

In one of Brewer’s studies (currently under peer review), becoming aware of worry habit loops made people less anxious—and, for doctors, reduced their burnout and cynicism. But mapping out your habits is just the first step.

Step two: Work with your brain’s reward system

As Brewer explains, our brain stores a “reward value” for different people, places, and things we encounter. The more rewarding our brain thinks a behavior is, the stronger the habit around it will be.

But reward values can become skewed or outdated. For example, we might have developed a passion for cake as an anxious teen—but in adulthood, we now find ourselves in a queasy sugar coma after three slices.

“The only sustainable way to change a habit is to update its reward value,” writes Brewer. That means taking a fresh look at how a habit is affecting us now. And we need to do this over and over, each time we repeat the habit in our daily life until our brain updates its reward value and stops being drawn to the habit.

What does this mean in practice?

Once you’ve identified your habits that support anxiety, you need to be mindful when they occur. If you’re anxious and you start worrying about the future, make a mental note; observe the tightness in your chest, the lump in your throat, how little you get done at work that afternoon.

The good thing about this approach is that moments of anxiety become an opportunity to learn about yourself, not something to be afraid of, and not a failure in your quest for Zen. (Self-judgment, apparently, seems to go hand in hand with anxiety.)

If you have trouble being aware of habits in real-time, you can also look back on your day or your week to see the effects of a particular behavior. If your anxiety made you snap at your partner, how did that feel? Rather than analyzing it, just try to re-experience it in your body.

Over time, Brewer suggests, our brain will naturally become disenchanted with our anxiety habits without us having to use so much willpower, allowing more space for new habits to form.

Step three: Create new habits

This step is where most other advice begins: the healthy habits and behaviors that we want to engage in. But it makes sense that there isn’t much room for these new behaviors until our brains detach from the old ones.

Brewer suggests a variety of mindfulness-related behaviors that you could insert into your habit loops when a trigger arises, many of which may be familiar to you already:

  • Curiosity and mindfulness: Rather than judging yourself for being anxious, or getting obsessed about where your anxiety is coming from, just get curious. What does it feel like, and where? How does it change? Brewer even recommends saying “Hmmm!” out loud to yourself, to encourage that sense of curiosity.
  • Breathing: Tune in to the breathing sensations in your body. Breathe into places where anxiety shows up, and breathe out anxiety. See how things change.
  • RAIN: This is a mindfulness practice where you Recognize and relax into the present moment; Accept and allow it to be there; Investigate your bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts; and Note what is happening.
  • Noting: This is a practice of labeling what experiences are predominant in your mind from moment to moment, including any of your senses (hearing, touch, sight), thinking, or feeling.
  • Loving-kindness: The practice of sending kind, caring thoughts to people, including yourself, and feeling that sense of warmth in your body.

To reinforce these habits, Brewer explains, you can apply techniques from step two—but this time, instead of observing the detrimental effects, you observe how good it feels in your body to be curious or generate loving feelings.

Brewer is a habit expert—much of his research has focused on smoking and eating disorders—and although his book is about anxiety, the overall framework could apply to many habits in our lives. His insights reveal why so many of our good intentions to exercise, meditate, and otherwise, self-improve don’t translate into action. Brewer’s book gives us the tools to work with our brains, rather than constantly feeling like we’re fighting against ourselves.

About the Author

Kira M. Newman

Kira M. Newman is the managing editor of Greater Good. Her work has been published in outlets including the Washington PostMindful magazine, Social Media Monthly, and Tech.co, and she is the co-editor of The Gratitude ProjectFollow her on Twitter!

Lessons from George Orwell’s ‘1984’

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” — George Orwell

Some fictional literature is so profound as to be relevant for decades. George Orwell’s timeless 1984 is one such literary work. One of the most influential books of our time, its message resonates today as much as it did when it was first published over 65 years ago — as shown by its recent surge to the #1 spot on Amazon’s bestseller list.

So what can 1984 teach us about the modern-day?

At its core, 1984 is a post-WWII interpretation of the relationship between individuals and institutions. It changed the course of social history by spawning new language relating to the structure and mechanisms of our society, expanding the scope of human language and thought, and therefore, humanity’s understanding of itself. And that legacy seems perfectly fitting, for, in the story of 1984, the world is controlled by so many restrictions that even the expressiveness of the official language, “Newspeak”, is deliberately narrowed by the ruling institutions in a way that limits the ability of individuals to express “thoughtcrime” — that which is deemed illegal by the “Inner Party”, the State.

As a work of fiction, 1984 provides a stark view of a burgeoning culture of totalitarianism. As a work of symbolism, however, it stands as a reflection of modern fact in The U.S.A. and the world today. Within its narrative, the five freedoms of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution were infringed and removed; in particular, the freedom of speech was so restricted that there was only one source of news operated by the official governing body and an entire branch of government was dedicated to steadily eliminating language deemed detrimental to the State.

Orwell created new phrases like “Newspeak” (the official, limited language) and its antonym “Oldspeak”, “Goodthink” (thoughts that are approved by the Party) and its antonym “Crimethink”, and “Doublethink” (the normalized act of simultaneously accepting two contradictory beliefs). The new language allowed his narrative to portray and expose age-old structures of thought and language manipulation – structures that have exponentially escalated in the modern-day.

In 1984 all opposition is controlled and absorbed into the background. ‘Big Brother’ is the human image that represents The Inner Party (and the Party line) via the Telescreen providing an ‘official’ narrative while appropriating and misrepresenting the notion of brotherhood and unity into a ‘brand name’ — one that actually instills psychology of collectivism, not brotherhood, just as the controllers in our own world instill nationalism and war-mindedness in the name of “freedom” and “liberty”. Indeed, the Telescreen is the primary means through which norms were forced on the society and false imagery and narratives embedded in its collective consciousness. Totally transfixed on the Party line, as told by the Telescreen, the fictional society of 1984 has lost the ability to think such that it will believe two plus two is five, as the saying goes, as long as it is presented as such on the Telescreen. They have been captive to this set up their entire lives, and, with language and thought restricted and outlawed, they are blind to their own captivity, unable to discern for themselves. Thus, lies are made to be “truths” using logic so distorted that it not only convinces the masses that two plus two equal five, but that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

In reality, individual ignorance is a strength to institutions. Such distortions of language and thought (and, incidentally, history) are the perfect means by which to disempower and co-opt an entire society — means that are not limited to the works of fiction. Orwell knew that ideas do not exist separately from language. Language, in both spoken and written forms, is essential to our ability to form and communicate thoughts and ideas. That is why today the United States government, the shadow powerbrokers that control it, and the mainstream media that support it (the entirety of which is owned by only 6 corporations) continue their war on “fake news” — i.e. ideas that are skeptical of government pronouncements, and information that proves them to be false — taking aim not just at independent journalism but independent thought itself. While government surveillance of its own people continues to increase, government secrecy is at an all-time high, the sharing of ideas that challenge the status quo is becoming more heavily censored, releasing information on institutional and State activity is now punishable by law, and whistleblowers from inside the State are systematically destroyed. If that wasn’t Orwellian enough, Donald Trump’s advisors have begun coining phrases like “alternative facts”, and we have even seen the creation of an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”, an “international fact-checking network” charged with deciding what is “truth” and what is “fake news”.

If the events of 1984 continue to hold true, and the ruling Party of today gets its way, words and ideas will soon become not only censored, but illegal and eliminated altogether, controlled by increasingly totalitarian governments steering our society down a dystopian path of censorship, blind belief, and misinformation — all in the name of the State. However, as our minds are freed, one at a time, we are ultimately finding that our society is heavily embedded with such norms and structures that perpetuate false imagery, preserving the status quo of the State from the ‘threat’ of individual thinking — hence the modern war on “fake news”. We are beginning, as a society, to question such falsehood, and exercise our inherent freedom to expose it.

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”. ~ George Orwell

The Last Man in Europe

The original working title to 1984 was ‘The Last Man in Europe.’ This descriptive and evocative title idea provides a clear glimpse into George Orwell’s intent, and encapsulates the main point of 1984, a title perhaps too revealing to be anything but a working title. Certainly, that is the way many of us feel when we first become aware of lies and partial truths that are presented as reality by those in control of our society today and accepted in totality by seemingly everyone else – it is as if we are the last lone person. Indeed, the road of the freethinker can be a lonely one, and the story’s protagonist, patriot Winston Smith, is made to believe he is the last person who questions, looks, listens, and speaks.

In a totalitarian society — be it Orwell’s fictional world or the increasingly authoritarian political regimes of today — the official narratives portrayed by the “official” media portray that a society is in consensus with the State and that those engaged in Thoughtcrime (whether or not it is legally a crime) are isolated social outcasts and lunatics, and demeaned as “rebels” and “conspiracy theorists” (despite the existence of an actual conspiracy, against which the truly conscious mind must inevitably rebel.) Yet in reality, Crimethink is what differentiates we freethinkers from those who are lost in the spell of societal illusion and, therefore, pose a threat to the status quo of the State. But this is part of the trap of Goodthink — it creates the illusion of consensus, and therefore, engenders isolation in those who do not concede.

As a master of his craft, nothing Orwell wrote was off the cuff. Now it is not overtly spoken in the book, but there are four types of people in the fictional realm of 1984. There are three described classes and a suggested fourth, only later is it implied that the Brotherhood, anti-establishment rebels — has been eliminated from the narrative just as those in power sought to eliminate them from the society.

The Secret to 1984 is ‘4’

1984 is in part an expose to the four basic types of people in a society, the four types of institutions, and the four types of institutional lies that enable them.

Characterized by how they respond to information, modern societies are made up of four archetypes of people — idiots, zealots, elitists, and patriots. Idiots refuse information, zealots blindly refute information, elitists misuse information, and patriots seek and distribute information. Despite dramatic alterations in the world’s geopolitical landscape, and some fluctuation of individuals from one group/role to another over time, the dynamic between these groups has historically remained the same, and are inevitably intertwined: Idiots avoid all new pertinent information in order to maintain their perspective, never questioning the status quo. Zealots ask certain questions of certain information, ignoring unaligned information in order to maintain their perspective, supporting the status quo at all costs. Elitists question information in order to manipulate and reap gains from those who don’t know, benefiting from the status quo. Patriots question information to educate themselves and share it with others, in order that we might enhance our lives and progress beyond the status quo.

It is no wonder, then, that the patriot has been all but deleted from today’s socio-political landscape, with those acting as true patriots being demonized by the State, and the meaning of the word “patriot” distorted and confused (by the likes of George W. Bush Jr.) to mean an unquestioning, flag-waving, with-us-or-against-us brand of nationalistic idiocy. (Check out my article, The First Amendment – The REAL Patriot Act for a deeper discussion of this.) Using a practice so well-defined by Orwell that it is known today as Orwellian speak, institutions transfer and confuse words and ideas by mixing up themselves, their policies, and their products with patriotic ideas and words. They take the meaning of words and archetypes, and flip them on their heads: War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and true patriotism (such as that shown by government whistleblowers) is traitorous.

In reality, the true patriots, the rebels who see through the lies of institutions and act accordingly, are removed from public consciousness in exactly the same way. In “Orwellian” fashion, the fourth deleted class of people in 1984, the Brotherhood, who are working to bring down the fascist Inner Party, are deleted through the admission of language. The other three types, which are specifically mentioned in the-book-within-the-book, the fictional The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, are the High, the Middle, and the Low castes. Similarly, the other three types of people depicted in the society of Oceania are the Inner Party, the Outer Party, and the Proles. The social classes interact very little.

The Inner Party and Outer Party makeup 2% of the population, and are the institutionalized controllers of Oceania. They are akin to modern politicians and the financial elite, working with and against one another, and clamoring to gain and maintain power. They have privileges the other castes do not, including being able to (temporarily) turn off the propaganda-spewing Telescreens.

However, there is a pecking order within the Party. The Outer Party is given state administrative jobs and is composed of the more educated members of society. They are responsible for the direct implementation of the Party’s policies but have no say in decision making. They are the “artificial middle class” and as such, have strict rules applied to them. They are allowed “no vices other than cigarettes and Victory Gin”, are spied on via their Telescreens, and are encouraged to spy on each other and to report suspicious activities to Big Brother.

The lower class of workers that perform the majority of menial tasks and labor are known as the Proles. They live in the poorest of conditions, are not educated, and instead are kept entertained with alcohol, gambling, sports, fiction, and pornography (called “prolefeed”) — the 1984 equivalent of “bread and circus”.

According to the Inner Party and the Telescreen, it controls, those who might challenge the system – the important fourth type of person – simply do not exist. The Brotherhood, the organization of patriots, is portrayed by the controlling ‘Inner Party’ as only a rumor, and the notion of their existence is belittled by the Inner Party, via the Telescreen. In Oceania, if the Telescreen is t be believed, there are no patriots, nor is such action allowed — and any who think that way are isolated by the divide-and-conquer tactic used by empires past and present. Thus, like so many in our failing society, Smith believes himself to be ‘The Last Man in Europe’…

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

And yet, as the character of Winston Smith accurately observes in his diary, “If there is any hope, it lies with the Proles” — just as our hope for today lies with the so-called “99%”. The “proles” in our society must begin to look beyond the bread and circus, beyond the prolefeed, and become a true brotherhood, and sisterhood, by questioning information, educating themselves, and sharing what they learn with others in order that we might overcome institutional oppression and finally create the ‘golden age’ that is our combined potential.

God and Gold is Within

“We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” — George Orwell, 1984

Nothing Orwell wrote was by accident. The name of the character who leads the Brotherhood rebellion is named Emmanuel Goldstein, a name that translates roughly to mean God (Emmanuel) and gold is within (Goldstein). The use of this character name by Orwell asserts a developed, even transmuted human being, who has transcended the imposed limitations of the system he is opposed to and grown from dull to refined, disempowered to empowered. It also reveals Orwell’s knowledge of how such patriotism and rebellion can become a revolution.

The word “prole” is short for prolétariat, a French word derived from the Latin proletarius, meaning “a man whose only wealth is his offspring, or whose sole service to the state is as a father”. A word evoking pure institutionalized collectivism, suggests that the individual has no value other than the labor and progeny he provides to the State. (If you’re only valued to the state is as a breeder and consumer, well what kind of world does, sorry, would that result in??) Now compare that definition to the name Emmanuel Goldstein, Golden Godliness is Within. In complete contrast, it is a statement of inner development, of individual enlightenment and empowerment — which, as Orwell knew, are the only forces that can successfully lead a rebellion against the institutional oppression of both fiction and reality.

So, you see, the secret to 1984 is ‘4’. Its most powerful message is in its omissions: in the omission of information, which is the only way the Party/State can maintain authoritarian control, and in the deliberately-omitted fourth human archetype, the righteous rebel, the marginalized voice of descent who is led to believe he is the “last man in Europe”. But in fact, the last man in Europe is you and I. We are everywhere. And, as we open our minds and our mouths, and embrace the gold within, we re-tell the lost narrative of the Brotherhood and turn our Proles into our Brothers.

By Ethan Indigo Smith | Waking Times 

Activist, author, and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity, humanity, and justice, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation, and a unique sense of humor.

You can connect with Ethan on Facebook, check out his author page on Amazon, or visit his new websites, Geometry Of Energy and Meditation 108, where Ethan offers lessons on individuation, meditation, the conceptualization of energy, and the metaphysical significance of 108.

Ethan’s books include:

George Orwell’s 1984 Eerily Predicted What Our Society Would Be Like Today, 72 Years Ago

In June this year, George Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984, was published. It garnered massive critical acclaim from critics and several other contemporary writers of the day. This includes E. M. Forster. A dystopian novel at its core, the book surges past the themes of mass governmental surveillance, totalitarianism, among others.

1984 has become a key text in understanding not just people’s behavior, but if the society as one. It explores what facts and truths are when it comes to politics. And how they are manipulated. And several of these ideas in the book were developed out of reality around the author.

Many things written in the novel have been too accurate to be true. The societal and governmental issues addressed are far from not coming true. In today’s time, people are fighting social media firms for their privacy. And speech has become more censored. Let’s explore George Orwell’s novel 1984 and find traces of today in the novel of the past.

Speech & Surveillance In 1984 By George Orwell

The state in this legendary novel is what determines the speech appropriated. This was done to keep an orderly society. If anything, 2021 is also a slight mirror into the realm. A handful of Silicon Valley firms have the power over our online presence. What we say today, what we see, all culminates into violence. Movements. And even speech-wars.

All the people in the world occupied a very handful of countries in George Orwell’s book. That could also be said about 2021 standards of Social Media. Most of the netizens occupy very few big names in social networking.

Let’s not forget about surveillance. In the novel, George Orwell portrays a world where the state conducts surveillance. Privacy is a long shot. And this is something closer to the day in 2021. Social media giants have been trying to pry into their users’ lives and information. Especially since the beginning of this year, privacy breach has dominated headlines.

Banishment In George Orwell’s 1984

In the novel, George Orwell writes banishment as not limited to the country. It is much, much worse. Like being banished from existence. And it wasn’t just a simple punishment. They would delete the entire existence of their trace through time.

But it occurred to the people who were committing thoughtcrime. Particularly commuting the crimes that were egregious. Or even people who had a history of committing such crimes.

Doesn’t it sound familiar with the 2021 social media scene? Or simple reality? Hate crimes drive our current political world. And the digital world is run by big tycoons who can afford the deletion of people. They could ban one for expressing how one feels. And people talking about their banishment can also get them out.

Deleting History

Inconvenient parts of history are simply pulled back from existence in George Orwell’s 1984. The worst is not merely removing such history. Rewriting history itself is even worse. And the novel has a deep resemblance to modern times.

Since the beginning of 2021, or 2020, for that matter, media censorship has been tarnished.

Several firms rewrite their releases in the press to cover up a statement. False statements make headlines. It is not just social media here. The denial of education to the marginalized also has a mirror-esque resemblance.

Today, the news is full of political and social agendas. It has become harder to trust a news outlet. To be accurate. To not lie and spread falsehood.

George Orwell’s world also had an ever-present television. Or one could call it omnipresent. It was not just used for channeling news. The state also used them for surveilling their people. And today, smartphones, personal computers, and several other devices take on that role.

Hence, in the end, it all feels like the world is stepping back. Not merely in a time. But in an Orwellian world. Where George Orwell takes us in 1984– to be crushed under surveillance and anti-freedom. The book remains a warning.

By Mayukh Saha | Truth Theory

Hey! Message me. I am Mayukh. I help people and websites with content, design, and social media management. I am an avid traveler and want to go full digital nomadic by summer 2019. I am currently working on www.noetbook.com – a creative media company. You can reach out to me anytime: mayukh.presi@gmail.com

Read More stories by Mayukh Saha

The Rebel and the Firestarter | Extract From the Upcoming Book “Power And Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponized World.”

James Dean in the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” (WARNER HOME VIDEO)

The following is an extract from my upcoming book “Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponized World.” In the discussion to follow, I am going to use the masculine pronoun “he” when referring to The Rebel, but the discussion applies equally to both men and women. – Marcus T. Anthony

Around about now, with the US election situation having become so volatile, many people are experiencing a lot of anger. Many are active online or even on the streets, seeking what they perceive to be justice – or maybe even revenge.

Perhaps you have one eye upon the world (the object of your anger), and one eye turned back upon yourself, concerned about the strong or even destructive ideas that are moving through your mind. If you are one of these, this article is for you. It’s about noticing how angry you have become. And it’s about being The Rebel, and how that can be either a positive development, or a destructive one.

Let me leave the US election for a moment (I will return to it at the end of the article).

There is an essential idea I wish to share early on. Being a Rebel is both necessary and healthy for all humans. At some point we all need to say “No!” to someone: to our parents, to our siblings and friends, to the boss, to the priest, to our institution or to our culture.

Yet rebellion is only truly healthy if there is a sufficient level of cognitive responsibility behind the actions that The Rebel embodies. When the Rebel’s propensity for cognitive responsibility drops below a certain threshold, The Rebel can become the Firestarter. If all hope fades, he may become the Nihilist, who in turn may express violent and destructive tendencies.

The Rebel Gone Wrong has many common expressions, including:

  • The Firestarter
  • The Nihilist
  • The Tyrant or Fascist
  • The Bully
  • The Bad Boy or Bad Girl
  • The Bad Mother or Bad Father
  • The Bastard, the Arsehole or the Bitch (we can’t discuss rebellion without a few cusswords!)
  • The Trickster
  • The Crusader

Even though these expressions vary somewhat (and debatably), I will use several of them interchangeably, below.

When The Rebel is unable or unwilling to assume responsibility for what arises in his mind and emotional body, an inevitable result is a descent into drama. Drama emerges within any given life situation because we fail to develop the right relationship with our judgments and anger, and they become projected onto the other: onto the parent, the spouse, boss, the leader, the institution, the system and so on. The Firestarter typically hits out in scorn and rage, and tries to damage or even annihilate that which is around him. Fights, arguments, backstabbing, gossip, formation of angry tribes, gangs and work cliques are common behaviours for Firestarters.

If The Rebel sees no avenue for outward projection of his pain and anger, he may alternatively turn that inward. Instead of trying to destroy the other or destroy the system, he becomes self-loathing and self-destructive. Instead of, “It’s not fair! It’s all their fault!” the crestfallen cry becomes: “I deserve this. It’s all my fault.” His behaviour becomes passive, and the anger and shame is internalised. Depression is highly probable, because the anger and sadness has nowhere to express itself.

When we talk about cognitive responsibility, we have to talk about developing the right relationship with anger, because it is anger that drives The Rebel. The Rebel energy, when activated, gives a long, loud raspberry to The Man. To the system. To the Establishment. The (potential) power of the Rebel is his decision to say “No!” It is the decision to set a boundary, or at least an attempt to set a boundary against someone or some system which is seen to be undesirable or perhaps oppressive.

Russell Crowe in the movie “Gladiator” (JAAP BUITENDIJK/DREAMWORKS/UNIVERSAL)

When The Rebel expresses his defiance while exhibiting high levels of spiritual or psychological maturity (cognitive responsibility) combined with personal and moral courage, we get an empowered expression of The Rebel archetype. We get Gandhi. We get MLK. We even get Mother Teresa.

With enhanced cognitive responsibility there is then a strong potential for the healing of the pain body, and thus the integration of the consciousness that is seeking resolution. When drama arises, the healthy Rebel is able to identify his part in the chaos, assume responsibility for that and pull out of the drama. Where judgment and blame arise in his mind, he is able to witness it, work with it, and allow it a healthy expression.

There are not so many clear names or expressions for the idea of the healthy Rebel, but we can see the character in various other archetypes.

  • The Freedom Fighter
  • The Hero or Heroine
  • The Noble Leader
  • The Good Mother and the Good Father
  • The Spiritual Master
  • The Healer

As is often noted, one man’s Freedom Fighter is another man’s Terrorist. That may be because the frame is being controlled by opposing outside parties, or simply because not everyone’s values and goals are the same.

It may also be because of the inconsistent behaviour of the individual. No Rebel ever stepped forth into the world without being a Firestarter on some occasions. Indeed, it may be necessary to witness oneself as The Asshole or The Bitch, and to acknowledge that, before we can move beyond that expression, before we can pull out of any given drama and integrate the consciousness of it. To heal. To find empowerment.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Image source:  Flickr by nrkbeta at https://flickr.com/photos/95021520@N00/32400835237)

Is it me or is it them?

The Rebel’s healthy expression of judgment and pain often requires little or no participation from the perceived opposing force. This is something that is very important to understand. It lies at the root of personal empowerment. Quite often the oppressive narrative that we are reading onto our experience – onto “The Man,” onto society, onto the world – is self-generated. Such narratives can spawn endless cycles of drama. In this situation, we merely own our part in the story and pull out of the drama.

The situation is complicated by the fact that quite often the drama we are participating in is driven by our unresolved issues or pain. Our suffering is the hook. If that is the case, we may need to develop the right relationship with our emotional body, to find some safe space where we can express our anger, hurt and sadness (more about that in my next article).

Further, we all live in societies where our psyches are embedded culturally, ideologically and politically within narratives (and perhaps even consciousness fields) that are seeking to exploit us in order to enhance an agenda. That agenda will usually involve some push for power and control over us.

Thus it is the task of The Rebel to determine as honestly as he can how much of what is unfolding in his experience is due to his own behaviors and attitudes; how much is due to the irresponsible and disrespectful behaviors and manipulations of others; and how much is due to genuinely undesirable or oppressive systems. The distinctions are rarely black and white. No group, no system, no leader, no parent is a perfectly evolved entity. Nor are we.

Mahatma Gandhi

The 2020 US Election (again)

I write this just days after the 2020 US presidential election, where The Rebel energy – and in particular anger and blame – has emerged at levels that are historically high. The potential for an unhealthy expression of that archetype is great. Individual and tribal responsibility levels are extremely low, and both drama and the need for drama is gravely elevated.

Many – probably most – people will take sides in the battle, and this is to be expected. Human beings are tribal by nature. We identify with our group, our team, our heroes and our stories. We love to project against our villains, to blame them for the evil we see in the world. Or in ourselves.

Thus, right now we have a very high potential for a destructive expression of The Rebel archetype to (further) emerge. In particular, we can pay attention to the following scenarios.

  • Leaders and political parties may fail to assume a sufficiently high level of responsibility for their own issues and their own shadow energy, choosing instead to manipulate people and ferment conflict and chaos.
  • Your institution, profession, or tribe is probably exploiting (deliberately or unconsciously) the widespread high need for drama. Projection, judgment and blame are commonly being fermented.
  • Many of your friends and colleagues, both in real life and especially in virtual space, will currently have low levels of cognitive responsibility, coupled with a high potential for drama. Indeed, many are probably smack bang in the middle of several dramas at this moment.
  • Right now, you too probably have a high need for drama, and your cognitive responsibility level is probably much lower than usual. Therefore, you are likely more vulnerable than usual to being drafted into someone else’s frame, narrative or drama, including destructive and violent ones.

Although it may be difficult to see it, all this means that there is an incredible opportunity to further develop in your own level psychological and spiritual maturity. To become more wise. Opportunities like this do not come along all that often in any given lifetime.

The check list

So, what can you do right now in response to the current time of elevated tensions?

First, check to see if you have given your power away to a leader or group, and in particular whether you are projecting some kind of saviour – or demon –  narrative onto power figures.

Reflect carefully also upon the narratives and dramas that are now circulating through your mind, and through your information sources. Are these ideas and thoughts really yours, or has your mind become colonised? Are you possessed? How did that narrative get in there? When?

Is your consciousness expanding or contracting along with your chosen focus? You will know the answer to this last question intuitively.

Is it possible to reconfigure the story you have adopted; or better still, to pull out of the narrative and drama altogether?

If you are involved in some kind of political activism or even just some online commentary, how much of that is representative on a healthy Rebel consciousness? Or have you become the Firestarter?

In the end, we need a strong motivation for choosing to do the kind of inner work I am sharing here. For me, it is knowing that my own healing and intentionality is helping humanity evolve. The light that we shine within ourselves helps light the world, if only just a little. That light, I believe, transcends time and space, helping heal past and future; for us as individuals, and for all those whom we are connected to across time, space and mind. And for that to unfold we need to develop a high level of awareness of how our minds work, and in this case how The Rebel energy can be expressed healthily – or destructively.

You will also require a suitable set of tools to do the work. That will be the subject of my next article.

Marcus T Anthony

3 Exercises For Humility (Excerpt from “Unreasonable Joy: Awakening Through Trikya Buddhism”)

Humility is seeing oneself clearly – without humility, spiritual growth stops. It is only when you can see your current self as it truly is that you can take the appropriate action to move forward. Without humility, you tend to run face first into a lot of brick walls.

If you’re tired of banging your head, or if you simply feel stuck, here’s a short series of exercises you can do to help yourself develop humility. Through honest self-assessment, you will discover both who you are now and who you have the potential to be.

Step One

On separate pieces of paper, make three lists of current:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • What Is Not Important To Me that I Spend Time Doing

Keep in mind some things may belong on both your strength and weakness lists. For example, I am stubborn. Sometimes my stubbornness is a weakness which makes me slow to ask for help when I need it. Other times my stubbornness is a strength which manifests as persistence and allows me to complete challenging projects.

Step Two

Take your list of weaknesses and separate it into two sections:

  • Weaknesses I Cannot Change
  • Weaknesses I Can Change

Weaknesses I Cannot Change

We all have weaknesses we cannot change. In my case, I am nearsighted. While I can accommodate this weakness by wearing contact lenses or glasses, I cannot change it. (I’ve been told I’m not a good candidate for Lasik eye surgery.)

Review your list carefully. Examine the weaknesses you cannot change at this time. Accept them fully as part of your current being. You may begin to realize other people have the same weaknesses. Look for role models of people who have learned how to embrace those weaknesses to create a happier life. Let these people inspire you to find ways of turning your weaknesses into strengths that make you more compassionate. I have accepted my eyes need help to see, and I feel gratitude every time I put on my contacts. I appreciate how it is easy for me to relax at night because when I remove my glasses, the world is fuzzy and soft. I also have deep compassion for those who do not have access to appropriate corrective lenses because I know what it’s like to not be able to see clearly.

For the weaknesses you simply cannot accept, see the block to acceptance for what it is: an attachment. Acknowledge the weight of each of these attachments, and carry it consciously as long as you need to. Create space within yourself to wrestle with these attachments and allow yourself to grieve as you become ready to embrace the weaknesses you cannot change.

Weaknesses I Can Change

With the list of weakness that you can change, chip away at the list day by day, hour by hour, or year by year – the speed is up to you. Look for ways to turn these weaknesses into strengths. Another weakness I have is the tendency to create piles of clutter. I’m visually oriented in my projects; if I don’t see something to remind me of it, the project no longer exists in my world. So I am learning to create smaller visual clues and to give my most important current projects a place to pile up on my desk, while not letting this tendency spill over into things that can be put away. I’m turning my clutter weakness into a strength by using the visual reminder of my projects as motivation to finish them. Of course, this is an ongoing learning process for me.

These patterns have become ingrained in your being, and it will take practice to overcome them. Don’t expect to conquer it once and be done with it. Recognize you’ll need to continue working at shifting your old patterns. Each time you put energy into strengthening a weakness, you are empowering yourself.

Step Three

Now take your list of What Is Not Important To Me that I Spend Time Doing and separate it into two sections:

  • Things I Can Stop Doing
  • Things I Have To Do

Things I Can Stop Doing

Review your list of Things I Can Stop Doing. It seems odd, but people often spend a great deal of time doing things they don’t need to do that are not important to them. Whether it’s out of habit, or because they want to spend time with someone else, or because they invested a great deal of time in a project and they want the satisfaction of finishing it, it’s easy to get lost. Ask yourself if, for a week or a month, what would happen if I stopped doing this thing? Experiment and see. Consciously use the time you gain to do something that is important to you.

Things I Have To Do

We all have things we have to do, and sometimes they appear as not important to us. Examine this list of Things I Have To Do from the Not Important To Me list very, very closely. This is the place where we often hide the Truth from ourselves. We claim something is not important, yet we feel we have to do it, and this attitude allows us to wallow in self-righteous misery. We may even get together with others to complain about these horrible things we must do. The ego loves this stuff, because it can exert its full power of control.

Look at this list again, slowly and deliberately.  Perhaps you view exercise or eating or doing laundry as something not important that you have to do. I assure you, your body views exercise and eating as important. If you have any sense of smell or sensitive skin, then you’ll find clean laundry is also important!

With this list of Things I Have To Do, we have the opportunity for deep examination and attitude adjustment. If we look closely enough, we discover everything on this list is either important to us or belongs in the Things I Can Stop Doing list.

Give yourself the time to work through all of your lists. Review your Strengths often to remind yourself of the power you have already claimed. When you have extra time, accomplish one thing important to you that you may have been neglecting. Moment by moment, release yourself from items on the Not Important To Me list and transform your Weaknesses into Strengths.

As you continue to look at yourself with humility – seeing who you are currently – you’ll grow into the next brighter, happier version of you.

Practice Pointer

When exploring humility, if it feels too overwhelming to create an entire list, tackle this exercise in small bites:

  • What is One strength?
  • What is One weakness?
  • What is One thing you do that you feel is not important to you?

Allow yourself to contemplate one or more of these and watch what appears in your mind.

About “Unreasonable Joy: Awakening through Trikaya Buddhism “

Unreasonable Joy: Awakening through Trikaya Buddhism (Electric Bliss Publishing, October 27, 2020, $25.99) describes a brand-new school of Buddhism for the modern world and present-day seeker. Author Turīya writes from the premise that Enlightenment is real and exists right now, within us all. She shows how this innovative form of Buddhism, which she has been developing in the United States for over 25-years, can point the reader toward Enlightenment and liberation from suffering.

Unreasonable Joy captures Buddha’s advanced Tantric teachings and puts them into a form of Buddhism that is compatible with 21st Century life. In the book, the reader will learn:

  • Simple meditation techniques that can be used anywhere, at any time, to calm, strengthen, and refocus the mind.
  • How to gain control of time, life, and mind by releasing the mental and physical habits that create suffering.
  • Build self-trust and discover how to use everything as fuel for spiritual growth.
  • How to release limiting beliefs that blind the reader to their true nature
  • How to focus on the inner work of changing the self, not the external world

Unreasonable Joy contains proven techniques that the author, Turīya, has taught thousands of people. The nine lessons explore the power of meditation, mindfulness, karma, emotions, and humility. Turīya provides essays, poems, and stories that ground the esoteric teachings in the world, and Practice Pointers show how to incorporate them into daily life. Unreasonable Joy gently encourages the reader to do the work needed to directly experience the ecstasy of existence and recognize who they truly are in this moment.

About the Author

Turīya is a Buddhist monk, teacher, and author who, despite living with chronic pain, founded the Dharma Center of Trikaya Buddhism in San Diego in 1998 to share her path. For over 25 years, she has taught thousands of students how to meditate, trained teachers, and helped people discover the unreasonable joy of our true nature.