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Teal Swan Articles

Instant Belonging

The ego is essentially a separate sense of self.  It is comprised of anything you identify yourself with.  To be able to comprehend of yourself as a unique thing within a system, you have to perceive yourself and then define yourself as different to other things within the system.  You cannot conceptualize of what you are unless you conceptualize of what you are not.  An easier way of understanding this is to say that you cannot conceptualize of yourself as “Joe” until you are aware that you are not “Nancy”.  This means the ego only exists in a state of comparison.  It cannot exist without comparison.  This process of individualization benefits us in certain ways.  But there is a price to it as well…  Separation.  When we conceive of ourselves as a separate self, we are immediately not a part of anything we define as “other”.  This is the true origin of loneliness.
Your mind will naturally spend its time comparing.  All of our minds do this.  We tend to think of comparison thinking only in terms of classic painful comparison thinking such as “He has more money than me” or “I am prettier than her”.  But comparison thinking goes FAR beyond this.  It extends to things such as “I am a person and that is a dog”.  “I am a girl and that is a boy”.  The ego will not sop doing this all day every day because if it does, it will die.  The ego exists only in comparison to something it sees as “other”.  This means upon coming in to this life, we come intact with a mechanism that is designed to separate us from other things in the world instead of unite us with things in the world.  The ego leads us only towards things that it identifies with and pushes against things it does not identify with.  
What happens when we have this sense of identity that exists only because of comparison and so many of the things that we compare ourselves to around us, we see as “not us” or “different to us”?  Belonging goes right out the window.  And in this case, the ego has nothing to identify with other than not belonging in and of itself.  Not belonging becomes part of our identity. 
Our society puts a lot of energy into the idea that we need to embrace differences and that differences are good.  The idea that differences are good is one that can be substantiated.  But the opposite view can be substantiated as well.  To notice something is different to us causes us to perceive a separation between that thing and us.  The feeling of separation and of being alone causes more or less suffering for us, depending on the level of trauma we experienced around connection with others.  Because of this, for some of us, differences cause extreme pain.  If we struggle with belonging, any differences in other people cause us extreme pain because they immediately cause us to feel isolated.  We re-live the trauma of aloneness and abandonment and not belonging when we encounter difference.  Our ego self is therefore re-traumatizing us through comparison, which it does all day every day.  So instead of trying to be ok with differences, we need to consciously do the opposite.  
  The reason that falling in love feels so good is that when we fall in love, we take the other person as ourself.  The ego essentially dissolves in love.  If we watch our mind when we fall in love, it is spending its time comparing itself to the other person and finding similarities between ourselves and them.  Because of this, we feel belonging.  We do not feel separate from them.  A relationship only becomes painful when the mind goes back to comparing itself to the other person and finding differences instead of similarities.  We lose our experience of oneness.  We stop feeling that same all encompassing sense of belonging.  We start feeling separate and isolated again.  Many relationship experts call this healthy.  They call this the autonomy phase of relationships.  I am not convinced it is so healthy.  From my perspective, this is when the ego begins to hijack the relationship.  
   But essentially, your ability to feel belonging and oneness and unity is dependent upon your capacity to perceive similarities.  You must beware that to take on this practice, is to take on the practice of challenging the ego.  It will take effort at first.  But it is the antidote to the feeling of not belonging.  And here it is:
Notice that without even trying, your mind is scanning your reality for differences all day every day.  This takes no effort.  It is a subconscious process.  Consciously switch your focus from noticing the differences to looking for and acknowledging the similarities between yourself and things and also between things and other things.  If you really want to dissolve the ego, all you need do is to drop comparing.  But that is easier said than done and you will be working against your ego to do it.  So I suggest using your ego to your advantage instead.  Use it as the comparison tool that it is to seek and find similarities.  
Pretend to be a scientist that is intensely engaged in a project.  Find as many similarities as you can with everything in existence.  For example, find similarities between yourself and inanimate objects; find similarities between yourself and your friends.  Find similarities between one animal and another.  Find similarities between yourself and your food.  Find similarities between one person and another person.  Find similarities between yourself and the things and people that you feel different from.  When you feel ready, find the similarities between yourself and the people you hate the most…  The people you feel you do not belong with.  Pay attention to the way you feel.  Notice that you start to feel like you belong.  Notice that the resistance melts away and notice how life begins to feel connected and ‘right’.  Live life with the mantra “How am I the same as X?”  
There is no limit to what you can look for similarities with.  Get way outside the box and get as creative as you can with this.  If you feel called to, make this your sole spiritual practice for a time.  To feel separate is to suffer.  The ego thinks this is survival, but we really must ask ourselves if the survival of a sense of self is worth the suffering that comes with it.  If not, our practice must be consciously looking for similarities instead of allowing the ego to continue with the subconscious process of seeking out differences.

How To Let Go of A Coping Mechanism

To cope is to make a specific alteration mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress.  A coping mechanism is a specific procedure, process or technique, which manages or creates adaptation to stress.
Some examples of coping mechanisms are: Addictive behaviors like cutting, binging, smoking, gambling etc. Denial, humor, attacking, regressing, overcompensation, humility, self blaming, avoidance, dissociation, positive focus, escaping into movies, books or imagination, intellectualization, distancing, disconnection, falling asleep, passive aggression, projection, repression and substitution.      
Stress is serious business.  A human being cannot thrive in an atmosphere of stress.  When a human being goes into a state of distress, wellbeing immediately declines.  And so, it is only natural that we should want to make a change to the situation as fast as we possibly can.  But often the situation that is causing us distress cannot be eradicated.  It is out of our control to eradicate the stressor.  So we are forced to manage with it, deal with it and adapt to it.  This is especially true in childhood, when we did not call the shots about our own life.  The people around us did.
Many of these coping mechanisms allow us to survive distressing circumstances in our lives so we can keep on living and expanding despite the stress.  They benefit us in some way when they are invented.  But over time, we can see that the very coping mechanisms that benefitted us are in fact the very thing that is hurting us and the people around us.  What once allowed for our expansion is now making our expansion impossible.  For example, the dissociation that was a coping mechanism for a young girl to escape incest now makes it impossible for her to feel fear as an adult and so she engages in highly risky and self-destructive behaviors.  
Also, when we grow up and find ourselves in situations that are absolutely changeable, where we do have the power to diminish or eradicate the stressor, we do not realize it.  In accordance with the illusion of powerlessness we perceive in ourselves, we simply immediately indulge in our coping mechanism instead of actually making positive changes to our life.        
It could be said that some coping mechanisms are healthy and others are not.  But I will tell you today that the healthiness vs. unhealthiness of certain coping mechanisms is really a matter up for debate because half of the coping mechanisms we think are healthy are in fact not healthy.
In fact, the spiritual field is like a minefield in this respect.  SO, SO many spiritual practices and spiritual beliefs/truths either serve as excuses to fuel detrimental coping mechanisms or literally are detrimental coping mechanisms in and of themselves.  To make this clearer, the ego, looking to get out of distress, will select a spiritual belief and a spiritual teacher who enables, validates or creates the coping mechanism.  So the ego has hijacked our spiritual practice so as to stay out of pain.  
Take a look at what got you into spirituality.  For so many of us, distress is what opened the door to spirituality.  This isn’t bad or wrong.  The doorway of suffering is the door most of us take to enlightenment after all.  But if the whole reason we opened the door to spirituality is because we are in distress, it means the shadow we may need to face is that our entire spiritual practice may be one giant coping mechanism.  And there is potential within any coping mechanism that we are engaged in a behavior that is more detrimental to us and those around us than it is good for us and for those around us.  The positive focus, law of attraction community is a perfect example.  The beliefs and practices inherent in this school of spiritual practice can and often do serve to fuel the coping mechanism of bypassing and denial.  One of the most dangerous coping mechanisms there is.  And people who are prone to this coping mechanism are naturally drawn to such a spiritual practice subconsciously.  The beliefs and practices of asceticism can and often do fuel the coping mechanism of self-harm.  And people prone to this coping mechanism are naturally drawn to such a spiritual practice.           
Why is it so hard to let go of coping mechanisms?  Because they don’t cause us pain on the front end.  In fact, they serve to get us out of pain.  It’s immediate gratification.  So our subconscious mind puts them in the “good for me” category.  After all, we are wired to avoid pain.  Just like we see with most addictions, it often takes us years before we see the back end price for our addiction, and only then do we wake up our awareness to the realization that the coping mechanism is a problem that is hurting us and the people around us.  We justify our coping mechanisms and defend them to the death until this point.
So, as I said, the most difficult thing about moving past coping mechanisms is that they are unlikely to be let go of… because they don’t cause pain upfront.  Engaging in them creates relief, so we don’t often see them as a problem.  Why would we go to work fixing a non - problem?  The only things we are motivated to work on and let go of are problems that cause us pain.  It’s easy to directly deal with and resolve a trigger because a trigger hurts. So, how do we resolve something that doesn’t directly hurt and doesn’t register in our conscious mind as a problem even though it is a problem that does lead to pain?
Here are some suggestions for how to let go of coping mechanisms:
We have to start to re-own pain and befriend it.  We have to consciously practice moving towards it instead of away from it.  We engage in coping mechanisms to get out of pain.  Inherently, this means that we felt we could not eradicate an actual threat; so we moved our sights to the secondary threat… pain itself.  We lumped the pain we felt in with the actual threat that was causing the pain and started to see pain in and of itself as the threat to our life.  In reality, pain is not a threat to us at all, quite the opposite.  It is a feedback mechanism.  It tells us information about our environment and ourselves so we can take appropriate action.  So you can understand what I mean, I will paint you a picture.  To see pain as the enemy and to engage in a coping mechanism to get away from it is akin to having your arm cut off and injecting yourself with morphine and convincing yourself that once the pain is gone the threat is gone and you’re all better.  When in fact the real threat is that you’re bleeding out and by not feeling the pain, you are certainly not all better.  
A coping mechanism is like emotional morphine.  Improper usage and you could have an even bigger problem on your hands than the original threat. Pain is not your enemy.  It is perfect feedback.  And discomfort is not permanent.  You don’t have to be afraid that you’ll get stuck in it.  Feelings don’t work like that unless you resist them.  Whenever you are in pain, use the pain itself as a kind of mediation bell, awakening you to the opportunity to gain valuable feedback… it is trying to tell you something.  If you engage in your coping mechanism to get away from it, you’ll never know what it’s trying to tell you and so you’ll never be able take to the right action for yourself or the people around you. Take a look at the things that make you feel better.  Make a list of them.  How do you deal with distress?  These tools may genuinely benefit you.  But for the sake of this exercise, play the game of becoming a philosopher or transcendental lawyer.  From this perspective, look for and argue the points against these tools.  How could each one be a coping mechanism?  If each one was a coping mechanism, what potential downsides could there be to that coping mechanism?  How does each one not work?  By doing this exercise, we can become aware of some of our coping mechanisms.  We also open our minds wide enough to see the potential shadow side of our strategies, including every spiritual tool we have become attached to.  By doing this, we are less likely to succumb to the tool so that it uses us, instead of us using it.  Awareness of the coping mechanisms you do have is priceless.  Awareness after all, is the primary agent for change.  Take a look through on line lists of coping mechanisms and see if you can identify the ones that you, yourself tend to engage in.  Take a look at how it benefits you and how it is detrimental to you.  What does each one give you? And what does each one take away from you?  Also, for any you do not relate to, see if you have anyone in your life who does exhibit that coping mechanism.  This opens your mind to the awareness of coping mechanisms in general so you can recognize them in present real time when they occur within you or within the people around you. Undo the coping mechanism where it began, in the past.  Coping mechanisms are healed the same way trauma is healed.  You have to find the original causation and create resolution there so that a different reality can come to be in the present and future.  When you have a coping mechanism you are feeling inclined to engage in or are currently engaged in, close your eyes and imagine not engaging in it instead.  If you have someone in your life who knows you well enough to know your coping mechanisms, you might invite them to say to you… you’re doing X right now, what if you did X instead (the opposite)?  
So for example, if you feel like binge eating, close your eyes and imagine not doing it.  What would be so bad about not binging?  See if you can feel the pain you are trying to get away from through binging.  Sink into that pain where it lives in your body.  Ask yourself, when was the first time I felt this exact same feeling and coped by eating.  Instead of looking for the answer, let whatever memory that needs to surface, surface.  And now you have your opportunity for resolution.  
You can make the memory a visualization whereby you can help your past self to escape the distressing circumstances and learn a different way to cope other than the way they decided to cope.  Using the binging example, perhaps you will find that you were five years old and you had a controlling parent who made you feel out of control of yourself so the only control you did have was over food.  You could see this child self at five years old in this painful experience, re experience the terror and powerlessness of being out of control, validate those feelings as correct to feel given the circumstance and then take action to help the child feel more empowered.  For example, you could defend the child against the controlling parent and take the child to a safe place and then explain  to them anything you want to about food, so that the inner child no longer feels the desire to cope in that way.  After you do this process, you will notice yourself not engaging in the coping mechanism as much.   
I have created a specific process, called The Completion Process that is designed to unhook you from past traumas, including the traumas that give rise to coping mechanisms.  If you are interested, you can buy a copy of the book that contains the process in detail anywhere books are sold.  You can also visit www.thecompletionprocess.com When you become aware of yourself engaging in a coping mechanism or getting ready to, make the choice to engage in it consciously.  It is not inherently wrong to engage in a coping mechanism.  Better to choose to do it than to do it by default in fact.  Most of us miss that it is a choice once we are aware we are even doing it.  We can choose to do it anyway, even if we know it is detrimental.  This may sound odd, but the freedom of choice is really important to feel if we struggle with coping mechanisms.  Once you’ve done this a few times, so you fully feel that freedom of choice, try choosing a coping mechanism that you think might be beneficial to you instead of detrimental.  And do that instead.  You have nothing to lose by trying something new, or several new strategies.  After all, if nothing works, you can go back to using your original coping mechanism. Practice the art of softening instead of tensing when you feel discomfort such as experience triggering thoughts or feelings or experiences.  Close your eyes and imagine going soft.  Tell your muscles and cells and heart to go soft and loose.  Breathe into them to make them as limp as possible.    This is a real checkmate move when it comes to pain.  We engage in self-defeating behavior when we tense against discomfort.  If we can go soft instead, not only can we learn from the discomfort, we have the opportunity to chose not to engage in our coping mechanism, a coping mechanism is after all, in and of itself a form of resistance to pain… And whatever you resist, persists, which is why our coping mechanisms so often create more pain for us on top of the original pain we were trying to use it to get away from.                            
We all want to find solutions to our problems so that our life feels good instead of bad.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this desire.  We’d be in denial if we didn’t admit that this is what we are after.  But pain is not a threat.  Instead it is a feedback mechanism that is alerting us to a threat.  We’d do better to proactively explore options for transforming the actual threat than to make pain the threat and find any way we can to escape from pain through any number of coping mechanisms.  After all, a life where all we are doing is coping is no life at all.

What Is Trust and How To Build Trust In Your Relationships

The concept of trust plays a huge role in our relationships.  For a relationship to feel good, we need to be able to trust the other person.  But what the hell does that really mean?  For most people trust may be important, but it is like an abstract concept.  If it’s an abstract concept, what the hell are you supposed to practically do to create trust?  That’s what I’m going to clear up for you today.
The spiritual field is full of people who were never able to rely on anyone.  People let them down and so they had to turn towards something else for a sense of connection and support.  And that thing they turned to was spiritual practice, the Universe at large or God.  It is a beautiful initiation, but it is also a method of coping.  I’ll say this more clearly… spiritual practice can be a big fat way of coping with not being able to rely on anyone in your life.  This means that many people in the spiritual field are going to use universal truths, or invent truths, that justify and reframe that feeling of not being able to rely on anyone or anything into a good thing.  
Here are some examples:  “Follow your own guidance system and let everyone else worry about following their own guidance system and then you can trust yourself to act in your own best interests and you can trust other people to act in their own best interests too and this way you will never have to put the power over the way you feel in their hands.  You will not be dependent on them to make you happy.”  Or “Everything you could possibly want or need is inside you”.  Or “The only person you can truly trust is yourself”.  Or “The only person who can fill up your cup and make you happy is you.”  Or “Don’t let your happiness depend on anything outside you.”   Essentially, these ideologies, while they can be empowering in some situations, promote the idea that there is something pathetic and less spiritual and powerless about trusting someone.  And you know what the side effect is?  People who are empowered in their independence who have REALLY crappy relationships.  
I’m going to make trust simple for you.  To trust someone is to feel as if you can rely on them to capitalize on your best interests.  Sit with that definition for a moment.  Let it sink in.  This is as scientific as you can get with what trust actually is.  Notice I did not say that trust is about being able to rely on the fact that they will put your best interests above their own?  Nor is it making them fully responsible for your happiness.  It is being able to rely on the fact that they will capitalize on your best interests.  And this is what makes a relationship worth being in.
Keep in mind that as we continue to awaken and as our perspective continues to expand, our view on what actually is in our own best interest will change.  But this doesn’t get to be your excuse to usurp someone’s idea of their own best interest.  In a relationship, you don’t get to say, “you have no idea what your actual best interest is, so I’m going to do things my way because ultimately it’s for your own good.”  This is what our parents did.  This is in fact the main way we lost trust to begin with.  We so often think distrust is all about the big betrayals, when in reality the glue of distrust is other people not honoring our feeling about what our own best interest is as opposed to theirs.  
This may seem abstract in a personal setting but consider this in a business setting.  Imagine one company laying out their best interests in a merger and the other company saying “well you don’t know what is actually the best for your company and I think that what’s best for your company is my terms, so we’re just gonna do that… sign on the line”.  That would not fly.  The company would simply pack up and leave.  No merger.  But in our personal relationships, it’s not so easy.  We have a lot more on the line.  This is where boundaries are violated and distrust occurs and resentment is created.       
To understand this using an example, let’s say there is a couple.  Person A in the relationship decides it is in his best interests to go sleep with someone he just met.  But the best interests of person B is for the relationship with person A to be exclusive and committed.  This means person A did not capitalize on person B’s best interests.  So, person B cannot trust person A. Person A is playing a zero sum game, where one person wins and the other loses.  When Person A had conflicting needs from Person B, he did not consider Person B’s best interests and did not have a conversation to resolve the needs conflict in a way where both Person A and Person B’s best interests are considered.  
We are more familiar with the way trust actually works in the corporate world.  When 2 companies negotiate on terms in a business relationship, they are essentially trying to find a solution or agree to terms that satisfy the best interests of both companies.  A personal relationship is the same.  This is why compatibility is so important in a relationship.  If the needs and wants are too different between two people, there will be no way to actually capitalize on both people’s best interests at the same time.  It will turn into a zero sum game.  And then, inevitably, a relationship will end.        
A relationship is a connection.  A genuine connection is not a burden (like some people would paint it out to be) it is a gift.  To love someone is to take them as yourself.  It is the experience of oneness in physical form.  The minute you do that, your happiness can no longer be divisible from their happiness.  To hurt them, is to hurt yourself.  So it no longer works to capitalize on your own best interest to the detriment of theirs.  Essentially, the minute you get into a relationship and someone gives you that connection, it is as if they handed over the most vulnerable part of themselves to your care.  Some may call this disempowerment.  I will tell you that it is quite the opposite.  It is the highest form of bravery to take that risk.  Both the risk of giving and taking that vulnerable aspect of your being.  
Many people who dislike the idea of trust, promote the idea that a good relationship is two self focused people who are both completely responsible for their own happiness, who occasionally meet in the middle to have sex and watch a movie or whatever together.  I have never seen a successful relationship that functions like this.  This is a relationship based on distrust.  And a relationship based on mutual distrust is functional only because there is a mutual agreement to stay separate and not expect each other to capitalize on each other’s best interests.   
Trust is the basis of a genuinely connected, successful relationship.  And in that kind of agreement, two people agree that because they are unified, they will hold responsibility for not only their own best interests but also their partner’s best interests.
It is so critical in every situation you find yourself in to be brutally honest with yourself about what you feel in your heart is your actual best interest.  It is critical to really get honest about what you really need and really want.  This way you can communicate that to the other person.  Only then can there be a meeting of minds where you find a win-win for both parties’ best interests.  You need to sit down and do some reflection and get really clear on this to be on the same page with someone you are in a relationship with.  For more about this, watch my YouTube video titled: “Get On The Same Page”.  
Without going too much further into it, I want to jump into an exercise that would serve you immensely to use in your relationships so that you can preserve and create trust in your relationships.  Consider this your tutorial for how to care for your connection.  A while back, I did two Ask Teal episodes that went had in hand.  The first was “Attunement”.  The second was “The Octopus Technique”.  I highly suggest watching both videos if you haven’t already so that you can fully comprehend the concept of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.  It will take this technique to the next level. 
Obviously if trust is about capitalizing on someone’s best interests, you have to actually know what their best interests are.  To know what someone’s best interests are, you have to be willing to have intimacy with them.  Intimacy is seeing into someone, feeling into them, hearing them and understanding them as deeply as you can.    
So, you’re going to sit down and imagine that you are leaving your own identity and preferences and perspective behind.  You are going to imagine going into their perspective.  Being them.  Feeling how they feel, thinking how they think, wanting what they want, needing what they need.  You’re going to attune to them to the degree that you feel you’ve lost your own identity and you are them.  From that perspective, make it your responsibility to specifically feel into what their best interest actually is in whatever circumstance they are in or you are in together.  What do they really want and really need?  Even if you can see that what they subjectively think their best interest is, is not in alignment with what is objectively in their best interests, make yourself acutely aware of what their subjective best interest is; as if it is valid.  Lose yourself in this journeywork of discovering their best interests.  
When you come out of the experience, now knowing what their best interest is, reflect on how you can best capitalize on that best interest.  If you can see that your best interest conflicts with theirs, now is the time to seriously brainstorm finding a win win for both you and them.  Make it a game that you play.  If there is no way to create a win win, then the relationship itself has to be addressed.  It means you are headed towards an unintentional betrayal of trust.  
If you want, you can do this exercise with the other person at the same time. Sitting together in meditation, switch places and become aware of each other’s perspectives and therefore best interests.  Then openly communicate about what you perceived.  Simply communicating that you are exploring their best interests, builds trust.  Then, based on that, come up with a win win scenario which allows you to rely on each other to capitalize on each other’s best interests.
Doing this exercise may seem simple and it is.  But this simple exercise is the one thing we do not do when we are in relationships.  We do not become aware of, or consider people’s best interests before we act in our own best interests.  And the terrible thing is that it can take one minute to destroy trust and years to rebuild it.  
But don’t panic because trust can be rebuilt.  If you have lost someone’s trust, trust is rebuilt through demonstrating that you can be relied upon to be aware of and capitalize on their best interests.  If you have lost trust in someone, it is also rebuilt by being brave enough to place the vulnerability of your best interest in their hands again.  Building trust in a relationship is really as simple as being aware of and capitalizing on each other’s best interests.  It is as simple as finding a meeting of minds about what a win win scenario actually is.  
Don’t usurp your own best interests with other people’s best interests.  But  keep mindful of your connection with the people you love at all times.  Before you act, ask yourself if your action is in alignment with the other person’s best interests or if your action is in opposition to their best interests.  If your action is in opposition to it, you quite literally should not be trusted in that circumstance by them.  Develop your intimacy and attunement with people to the degree that you know what people’s best interests actually are.  And know that if you are in a relationship, it is in fact in your best interests to capitalize on the other person’s best interests and for them to capitalize on yours.

Discover The HOW and The WHY to End Suffering

Let’s pretend you are looking through a telescope.  Your entire vision and perception is absorbed in the image you see through that telescope.  You shut out your awareness of anything outside that perspective to concentrate on what you are seeing.  Depending on how absorbed you are in that experience, you will forget that you are a person looking through that telescope.  If you are looking at a far away cliff, you will think and feel as if you are on that far away cliff.  You would have to split in two and step away from yourself to have the perception of yourself being a person looking through a telescope as opposed to being purely the perception of whatever you are seeing through the telescope.  It is a totally different perspective and therefore view.  
Life works like this.  Coming into this life as non-physical energy that some call a soul, you are essentially picking a singular perspective.  To use the metaphor, you are looking through the telescope.  The view you are looking at is 3rd dimensional human life.  You become so absorbed in that perspective that you forget you are in fact the being looking through the telescope, not just what you are seeing through the telescope.  You are identified with the perspective you have through the telescope.  Obviously genuine self-awareness is difficult to have when we are this identified with the view we are seeing through the telescope of our physical lives.  We have to dis-identify with that perspective in order to see ourselves clearly.  We have to dis-identify with that perspective to have the experience of ourselves as the being looking through the telescope as opposed to the telescope itself.  To learn more about dis-identification, I want you to watch two of my videos on YouTube.  The first is: Disidentification (The Practice of Non Attachment) and the second is: Mindfulness Meditation.  
When we are looking through the telescope, we cannot tell why we are suffering.  We can tell that we are hurting.  But we don’t know exactly HOW we are hurting or WHY.  We can point to something we are seeing through that telescope and say that because it doesn’t feel good to look at, it is causing us pain.  But this is not the full picture.  If we want to end our pain, we have to step outside the pain itself to see what process is causing the pain.  Another way of saying this is that we have to step outside the mind to see it objectively in order to see how the mind really works.
The first question you are going to have to consider is HOW am I suffering?  What are the exact mechanics of my suffering?  Pain comes in response to something.  Pain is a process.  It is a response, whether it is emotional or physical.  It happens when we resist something that we perceive.  When you feel the hit of intense emotional of physical pain, close your eyes and ask yourself what did this pain come in response to?  How is this process of suffering happening within me specifically?  If I can’t quit my addiction, how does “not able to quit” occur exactly as a process?  If I am having a panic attack, how does “getting a panic attack” occur exactly as a process?  If I am unsatisfied with my life, how does “becoming unsatisfied with my life” occur exactly as a process?
For example, maybe I feel the pain of intense anxiety and doom.  If I close my eyes and observe the HOW process of this pain, I may notice that it may come in direct response to images in my mind of a potential future scenario that then gives rise to the auditory thought “I really, really cannot survive that happening”.  The body is reacting to the image my mind is generating.  
If this is the HOW of my pain, I become so absorbed in the potential future scenario that it becomes the telescope.  Not only do I lose awareness of being the person looking through the telescope, but I also lose awareness of the view through the telescope called the present moment.  Instead, I am 2 scenes removed from the being I truly am.  I am looking through the telescope to the degree that I am literally in that future scenario that is causing me pain.  As a result, I am suffering.  Not only am I suffering, I am suffering alone.  No one else is in that perspective/reality with me.  They don’t get why I am suffering so much.  If this is happening when we are technically in a car together, their consciousness is in the car and mine is in the painful future scenario.  We don’t occupy the same reality.  When they act like everything is fine, it makes my suffering worse.  This is what I mean by the HOW of suffering.  When you feel yourself suffering, you need to seriously sit down and observe HOW that suffering occurs within you before you ask WHY you are suffering.  
If we were to simply ask someone, why are you suffering?  They would not be able to give you the correct answer because they would not have dis-identified far enough to see how they are suffering.  Only when we know the how of suffering can we know the why of suffering.  Once we know the how, we can ask why.  Why is our suffering happening in the way that it is happening.  There are many angles we could take to asking why.  For example, using the previous scenario, we can ask WHY seeing the image of that potential future scenario causes you so much pain.  We can become aware of what we really want this way.  We might find that it is painful because the minute the mind generates this image; we notice that we think it is real.  We believe it is in fact what is going to happen.  It is not a potential to us, it is an actuality.  A fate.  We can ask to see an image of the aspect of us that is creating the image and ask him or her why he or she needed us to be aware of that potential.  We can ask him or her, what would be so bad about not showing me that potential?  
A while back, I was doing suffering awareness work like this on myself and when I asked to see the aspect of me that was creating the images of future disaster that was causing me pain, I clearly saw myself covered in burns and bloody and desperate to avoid the slightest touch.  When I asked her why she was generating those images, I got the immediate impression that it was because she could not handle anything else bad happening.  She was too wounded.  So it was a warning to try to keep me safe.  I could also see that she was an aspect of my ego that had taken control of my ability to see life-path potentials and was now telling me that to stop focusing on the potential bad scenarios in the future was to lose my ability to see the future, which is both dangerous and a threat to my identity.  My ego was hijacking my extrasensory abilities to keep itself safe and causing me a lot of pain in the process.  
Having dis-identified with this aspect of self by asking to see it outside myself, I was then able to imagine taking this burnt and wounded self to a safe place where I told her to put any of these thoughts into a bucket there where I could come look through them so they weren’t her responsibility anymore and where I could be in charge of keeping her safe and she could just relax in healing water and be healed.  
It is only when we see the HOW and the subsequent WHY of our suffering that we have any hope of properly addressing that suffering instead of taking shots in the dark or trying to follow other people’s advice about why we are suffering.  We will keep trying on other people’s opinions on suffering like clothes that don’t quite fit until we become completely aware of HOW our suffering is happening and WHY it is happening the way it is happening.  I want you to become aware that our being is always trying to help us.  We will so often find that they why of our suffering involves a positive intention.  So it is a good idea before you embark on this self-exploration process to watch my video titled: The Hidden Positive Intention (The key to letting go).
When we ask how, we begin to see things as a process.  When we ask how relative to our suffering, we begin to see our suffering as a process.  When we ask the why after the how, we get to see the purpose behind that process.  We then have the awareness necessary to intervene in that process so that the process itself does not control us.  
Most people have a primary process for their suffering.  Consider it the main demon in their life.  We tend to repeat this process every day and be the most unconscious of this process when it occurs within us.  It is our habit.  When we become aware of this HOW process of suffering, we can notice the beginning of this process of suffering when it occurs.  If we intervene at this point, we do not go as deeply into the process.  We pull momentum and gravity out of it the minute we are aware of it because we are not in the process at the moment we become aware of it, we are looking at it instead.  Eventually, if we intervene enough, the suffering habit dissipates and the rest of the process does not occur.  
For example, if I notice that the how of my suffering is going fully into images of potential future scenarios that I really do not want to have happen, when I feel a bit of emotional pain, I can use that pain like a meditation bell awakening me to the fact that I’m doing it again and snap out of it in that moment by using the pain as a trigger to ask myself “Ah… what was I just thinking about?  Was I just in a future scenario again?  If I can avoid it coming true, lets take steps to avoid it.  If I can’t find any practical ways to avoid it, maybe the aspect of me that generated that image needs some tender loving care and presence right now.
When you feel yourself suffering, I invite you to start switching your focus from what is wrong with me to how does the process of this suffering work?  Many of us think we are in a process of finding happiness when our suffering occurs because we are in fact in a process of not finding happiness.  We are absorbed in the telescope view of our unhappiness.  Be open to stepping back and seeing the processes that are actually taking place within you and the purpose behind those processes.
Suffering is a process.  Observe how this process occurs within you and ask why to find out the purpose behind that process occurring the way that it occurs.  The answer for what to do about your suffering will fall into your lap at that point as if it was always obvious and right under your nose the whole time.

The Truth about False Memory

As I said in a previous episode, regression therapy has been a cornerstone of healing from past trauma for thousands of years because it works.  I myself designed an entire process that is centered around regression. Regression therapy is essentially any healing process that involves revisiting the past memories of experiences that are the source of current issues.  The aim of doing so is to heal, transform and integrate their unconscious influence on the now. 
However, regression healing inevitably caused the subject of suppressed memory to become a hot topic in the field of psychology and with it, the highly controversial idea of false memory.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly suggest that you watch my video on YouTube about suppressed otherwise known as repressed memory (titled: Repressed and Suppressed Memory) before continuing on with this topic because it is critical to understand suppressed memory as a foundation for delving into the topic of false memory.
In short, false memory is the idea that memories or elements of memory can be false.  This is not really a topic that is up for debate because we know from previous court trials that memory can be false.  There have been people who remember a specific person as being the perpetrator in a crime, later to discover based on confessions and genetic evidence that the perpetrator was an entirely different person.  Memory can be extremely reliable, a veritable recording of the past.  Memory can also be distorted, contaminated, constructed and destructed.  But today, I’m going to address the argument that suppressed or repressed memories that are recovered from the subconscious mind with or without regression therapy can be false. 
The first thing that must be said is that all people have experienced memories that they have completely forgotten about.  Perhaps you have forgotten the color of the carpet in your childhood bedroom.  Maybe you forgot some traumatic experience at a talent show because life simply moved on.  These details may come back in a regression therapy session.  When they do come back, we don’t question whether that memory is real because it doesn’t conflict with our current reality or the narrative of our life.  Other people don’t question whether it’s real because it doesn’t conflict with their current reality or the narrative of their lives either.  We only begin to question the suppressed aspects of our memories when the memories that surface or the elements of the memories that surface begin to negatively challenge our current reality and the accepted narrative of our life.  For example, if you have told yourself the story that your family is so close, recovered memories of feeling isolated and not belonging as a child will be met with doubt.  You will wonder if you are going crazy or if the memories are real because accepting them, means you have to change the story you are currently identified with.  
On the one end of the spectrum you have memories that mildly challenge our narrative.  On the other end, you have memories that completely negate our narrative and that invalidate the narrative of the people around us.  It is these far spectrum memories that are the real subject up for debate when it comes to false memory.  Such as a woman who is 42 suddenly recovering memories of her father raping her and prostituting her out to other men when she was young.  Obviously, this is a memory that will be first doubted by the woman herself, and then directly opposed by her father and anyone who decides to side with him because these memories are accusatory.  The questions that are inevitably raised if the father vehemently denies the abuse are who is right and who is wrong? Is the adult child misremembering, or perhaps lying? Are the parents misremembering when they deny abuse, or are they deliberately lying?  What is true?  What is reality?  Who is right and who is wrong?
In the past, some of these people who recovered suppressed memories went on to prosecute based on those memories and this was when suddenly lawyers drug the debate over the reliability of memory into the media and into the public eye.  
The entire concept of false memory is a concept that is both complex and overwhelming.  We cannot deny that repressed and recovered memory is a reality.  We also cannot deny that recovered memory has the capacity to completely heal and completely destroy.  I have seen recovered memory save lives and end lives.  I have seen it heal families and also destroy families.  I have seen it destroy therapist’s careers.  If suppressed memory that is recovered conflicts with someone’s sense of identity, personal narrative or current reality, as a therapist you will find yourself fighting with their ego to the death.  It is common that they will turn against you, accusing you of leading or of implanting false memory instead of taking responsibility for the content of their mind and it is also common that their entire family and even friends will do so as well.  It will turn into a witch-hunt riding on the back of a conflict over a sense of reality.     
Given my position in the world, I am going to use this episode to offer you my perspective on false memory.  My answer might just surprise you.   There are people on this planet who fall into two extreme categories.  1. People who deny the authenticity of all repressed memories.  2. People who accept them all as true.  In my opinion, both of these extreme positions in fact create problems and also blind us to the truth of memory.  We are fueling denial regardless of which position we take.  
Reality is a debate in the field of philosophy for one main reason… no one can settle on it.  Even the best minds throughout history cannot honestly define what is real and what is not real.  Experience is largely the result of perception and perception is not necessarily an accurate reflection of what is objectively true.  This is why two people who experience the same event can have such different accounts of it.  On top of that, in a universe where we must account for dimensions that exist beyond timeline linearity as well as collective memory as opposed to singular memory, landing on a consensus of reality is not as simple as we would like to make it out to be.  This is one reason why as consciousness evolves; the justice system will eventually fall of its own weight.  If two people can experience two different realities at the same time, and if we can’t accurately say what is real, and if a judge’s perception is limited to his or her experience only, there is no way to accurately decide a case.  On top of this the human memory is both more capable and more incapable than we would like to make it out to be.  It is incredibly complex.      
Before we go on, I must say that there is a difference between a potential genuine false memory and lying about a memory.  Some people lie (intentionally or compulsively) about things that happened.  It is not accurate to say that this person is suffering from false memory.  And the vast majority of people who are accused of false memory who actually did not live through the things they say they did are in fact simply lying about what they experienced.  Assuming that false memory is a reality, we are dealing with people who are not lying and whom honestly hold the intensity of terror, guilt, rage and behavioral dysfunction we would see in conjunction with genuine abuse. 
Therapists tend to swing to either extreme.  Either they decide it is their job to help their client get a ‘grip’ on reality and thus impose their idea of reality on their client.  This approach often leads them to invalidate the client who is coming to them with stories of abuse.  Or more commonly, they validate any memory that comes up in therapy as real.  This is the safer approach because the recovery and expression of abuse is such an extremely fragile and vulnerable thing and what victims need more than anything else is allies.  They need people to believe them.  Nothing does more damage to a victim than not being believed.  By not believing, you are siding with the perpetrator.  By not believing, you are also siding with unconscious repression and conscious suppression and could potentially prevent someone from being able to integrate and recover at all. 
The reality is that memory is not contained inside the brain.  The brain merely processes and stores memory.  When it comes to memory, the mind is more complex than meets the eye.  For example, memory can represent actual experiences in extremely vivid detail.  It can also talk to us symbolically.  It can also be a reflection of collective human trauma.  This is why in my opinion, false memory cannot and should not be ruled out as a subject of study.  But it is a study that must be done and revealed delicately.  Potentially in the future, I or someone else will come up with a reliable and indistinguishable signal that will tell whether a memory is a false or a real reflection of something directly experienced by the individual in their singular past.  
That being said, in all my years of regression work, I have never directly had an experience with someone having false memories that they, themselves were convinced were real.  I have only ever had the experience of people having real memories that they were afraid were false and people who through progressive integration work come to see the memories they retrieve as symbolic fragmentations pieced together in the form of a memory instead of literal memory of a linear experience.  In all cases, these people did not in fact accept the memories as true, but instead continued to doubt them until their own subjective truth about the realness of the memories developed.      
And I have no patience whatsoever for people using the defense of false memory as a weapon against people who are claiming to have been abused.  This directly benefits perpetrators, who would love for you to side with them against the people they hurt.  False memory benefits abusers more than anyone else.  This also does irreparable damage to the person who is experiencing the memories.  Nothing could ever be more damaging than to meet someone’s memories from this angle.  Take my advice and do not go there with a ten-foot pole.  You need to have an open mind when it comes to any kind of memory work.  Additionally, every bit as great as the risk of accusing someone based on a genuine false memory, is the risk of the scapegoat of false memory becoming the very thing that serves as an excuse for the conscious mind to re-suppress actual abuse.  I have seen this occur multiple times over the course of my career in cases where the motivation is too big to maintain close connections to the perpetrators (usually family members).                   
I am going to put forth the idea that when we are doing regression work, we need to stop thinking in terms of true of false all together and instead, think in terms of VALID.  We need to become less identified with memory itself.  Memory serves a very important function and it can be extremely reliable but it is also not the solid bedrock we like to make it out to be.  Regardless of whether or not a memory is true or false, it is valid.  The mind is trying to communicate to us through actual memory or through symbolic memory about what is unhealed within us.  It is not the role of the therapist to decide what is true and what is false.  That is for a person, themselves to come to terms with.  
And as people, we need to take this responsibility and not leave it to someone else to decide for us or to tell us what memories are real and what memories are false.  On top of this, therapists in general need to really take care to make sure they are not leading their clients into false memory through the power of suggestion.  This is of course much easier said than done when you are doing regression work and are trying to help someone’s mind open to a repressed memory.  But my advice is to venture into the process with extreme caution, asking yourself if any questions you ask are potentially leading or suggestive in nature before you ask them.    
So now, my suggestion is to seriously take any memory that surfaces as valid, because it is.  My suggestion is to encourage the person who is uncovering the memories to remain as open as possible to them, seeing them as valid and allowing the truth about them to be revealed over time.   Because you know what?  If you allow memory to re-surface, the truth about those memories is always revealed over time.  
We know that suppressed memory is a reality because cult groups deliberately capitalize on this mechanism of the mind.  We also know that false memory is a reality because cult groups also capitalize on this mechanism of the mind.  But it is my experience that the truth about memory is revealed over time, this is why even implanted false memories that cult groups deliberately implant are eventually revealed as false if enough memory is retrieved.  It is the hardest thing in the world because when a memory challenges our sense of reality, we experience cognitive dissonance and thus immediately and desperately grasp for a solid sense of reality again.  We become desperate to figure out if the memory is real or not. But if we can encourage ourselves and our clients away from this grasping towards either extreme position of false or true and support them through uncertainty, they in fact have the greatest access to genuine healing.  
I also suggest that you encourage people to be very careful who they involve in the process (especially people they are tempted to confront) until this self-surety that is less subject to external influence naturally evolves.  I also want you to get that memory of horrible events does not just come up for nothing.  It does not just come out of thin air.  You cannot have a wonderful childhood and suddenly start having memories of horrific events.  Strictly energetically speaking, this is not vibrationally possible.  So, whether a horrific memory is false or real, if it is coming up, it is indicative of something serious and very real going on within a person (usually emotionally).                
I have said that our minds need to stay open to the idea of false memory.  But I’m going to end this episode by making you aware of just how seriously delicate the topic of false memory is.  Right now, I want you to close your eyes and I want you to think of the worst thing that ever happened to you.  Maybe it was when you were raped. Maybe it was when your dog died.  Maybe it was when your parents got a divorce.  Maybe it was an accident you got into.  I want you to relive it.  Remember every last thing you can possibly remember about it.  I want you to stop this video and remember it in as much detail as possible.  Do that now and start the video up again once you have done that.  
Now, with that memory alive in your being, imagine that I told you it never happened.  I do not believe you that it happened because it conflicts with what I know to be true.  Imagine I told you that I was there with you that day and I know for a fact it didn’t happen.  In fact, I have an interesting article you should read about false memory.   First of all, did I convince you?  Second, imagine the absolute desperation of being unable to prove to me that it did in fact happen.  Imagine if everyone around you agreed with me?  Do you feel like you’re going crazy yet?  This is the life that so many victims of abuse are forced to live out as a result of the craze of the false memory defense.  My suggestion is to never do that to another human being.  And most especially, never do that to yourself.                       

Suppressed Memory

Regression therapy has been a cornerstone of healing from past trauma for thousands of years. Regression therapy is essentially any healing process that involves revisiting the past memories of experiences that are the source of current issues.  The aim of doing so is to heal, transform and integrate their unconscious influence on the now.  It has been a cornerstone of healing because it works.  
However, regression healing caused the subject of suppressed memory to become a hot topic in the field of psychology.  And once recovered memory started to lead people to the courtroom, the media was suddenly set ablaze with the buzz of false memory.  This in turn made the topics of suppressed or repressed memory, recovered memory and false memory super controversial.  
To understand false memory, we have to first look at suppressed memory.  A suppressed memory occurs when a situation is associated with a high level of trauma or stress, and the memory of the entire situation is unconsciously blocked so that the person has no memory of it at all. Even though the memory affects that person on a conscious level, they have no ability to recall the specific memory. 
Some people in the field of psychology dispute the concept of suppressed memory, while others support it wholeheartedly. I’m one of the supporters. Suppressed memory is real, and in fact I believe that nearly everyone has experienced it. The question isn’t whether or not someone has suppressed memory. The real question is: to what degree?  Any time you do regression work, you discover elements of your life that you forgot.  Perhaps it’s a friend you used to have in grade school that you suddenly remember or the color of your childhood room.  When we recover these memories, we usually have a feeling of “wow, I can’t believe I completely forgot about that”.  We don’t question whether that memory is real because it doesn’t conflict with our current reality or the narrative of our life.  We only begin to question the suppressed aspects of our memories when the memories that surface or the elements of the memories begin to negatively challenge our current reality and the narrative of our life.  
To understand more about suppressed memories, you need to understand how trauma works. Trauma is merely a state of emotional and mental distress caused by an experience. And trauma is not necessarily a veritable tragedy. For example, it’s traumatic to experience birth in today’s mainstream medical facilities. It’s traumatic to a baby to be weaned from its mother’s milk. It’s traumatic to a three-year-old to lose track of his mother in a grocery store. With this broad definition of trauma, you can see that even the best parents on earth couldn’t raise a child in a way that the child will experience absolutely no trauma. And be aware that what might seem like a somewhat minor trauma, such as perhaps a childhood disappointment, does not feel minor when you’re experiencing it.
Now it might be tempting to think that the human mind could never forget something super traumatic.  This is true up to a point.  When someone of any age experiences an event that is emotionally traumatizing, they may have no way to integrate the event into their conscious life. For a multitude of potential reasons, they can’t make it part of their personal narrative.  When this happens, for the sake of their emotional survival, the person often entirely suppresses the memory. The memory is then dissociated from the self and stored in a fragmented way. 
Let me explain what I mean by fragmented. A memory is accompanied by senses, such as sound, taste, smell, sight, and emotion. When a situation is particularly traumatizing, the sensory aspects of a memory are often stored separately. For example, the mind suppresses the images associated with the memory deeper than the emotions associated with the memory. For this reason, people who recover suppressed memories often perceive them or begin to remember them in fragments, which is why it can be so confusing to go through the process of recovering them.
 
For example, a person who has been sexually abused in childhood may have no memory of the actual event. But because the mind didn’t suppress the scent aspect of the memory or the emotional aspect of the memory as deeply as the visual images associated with that memory, the person (now an adult) may be easily triggered by a smell. He might be innocently walking down a grocery store aisle with no conscious awareness of any past abuse, and then smell the same cologne that the childhood abuser used to wear. The scent can be really unpleasant, causing nausea or even an anxiety attack. 
The smell of the cologne brings back the terror (the emotional aspect) of the memory, but because the person doesn’t consciously recall the whole memory, he doesn’t recognize the trigger. The wave of nausea or panic seems to have come out of the blue, and because the reaction seems completely random, the person might think he or she is going crazy.
It serves the mind to dissociate when it experiences something traumatic. Let me explain this concept because it is important to understanding the Completion Process. A dissociative state is a psychological state when someone separates from an experience. In this way, dissociation is a defense mechanism or coping mechanism that enables us to avoid unpleasant experiences. There are mild and severe forms of it. 
Dissociation can be seen on a spectrum the same way that trauma can. At the mildest end of dissociation, a person could simply daydream instead of focusing on what they are doing or experiencing in the moment. Or a person might go numb. At the severe end of the dissociation spectrum, a person might completely detach from reality and start to experience periods of time when they lose a sense of identity or create new identities. This is sometimes seen when someone has experienced ritual abuse, sexual abuse, or the ravages of war. 
Now we understand that when dissociation is viewed on a spectrum, on one side you might have a person rejecting their feelings of anger, and on the other side, you might have a person separating from their entire identity in order to escape a horrific event. Any kind of dissociation creates a split within the person, between their conscious self and their subconscious self. If dissociation happens frequently, we will have many splits within ourselves.
By dissociating from an experience, you push it out of your awareness so you don’t have to endure the pain or discomfort of the feelings associated with the event. It also serves the mind because it prioritizes survival—not just physical survival, but also mental and emotional survival. If you were a small child dependent upon someone who was abusing you, you would have no choice but to remain attached to that person. 
In essence, the cognitive dissonance associated with “living with the monster” is so great that you actually could not go on living in the atmosphere of that much terror. So, by suppressing the memory of the abuse, you maintain your attachment to the adult who is abusing you and thus ensure your survival. 
As you work through regression therapy, you may well recover many memories you have forgotten and additional details about memories you already consciously remember.  Some of these memories may not challenge your sense of reality or personal narrative. 
Cult groups, such as the one that I, myself was inducted into in my youth intentionally program people to suppress memory, because it is a natural function of the brain.  If suppressed memory was not a reality, groups like this could not and therefore would not include this style of programming in their practice.  
When we suppress something, it doesn’t disappear. It just fades from our awareness. To acknowledge the suppressed memory, you will bring up the same fear of rejection that you suppressed earlier in your life, and you may well feel like you are going to die.  And if the memories that arise challenge your reality or personal narrative, instead of feeling relieved, you will most likely feel complete self-doubt.  At first, you will not know if those memories are real or not.  And if you share these memories with people whose sense of reality is challenged by these memories, or whom directly want you to have forgotten them, you can expect serious resistance.  You can expect for people to not believe you and turn against you and all those who participated in your regression therapy, most especially the therapist himself or herself.    
   
Everyone who was ever socialized (which is all of us) went through this process of splitting themselves into parts. We grow up with some parts of the self that are owned and other parts that are rejected. This self-rejection is the birth of self-hate. The emptiness that we feel is the result of those rejected (and therefore suppressed) parts of ourselves, including memories.  Your soul wants only one thing and that is to make you whole again. 
As you proceed through life, you’ll be provided with every opportunity to become whole again. But in order to return to wholeness, you need to see and accept the aspects of yourself that were rejected and suppressed along the way. I know firsthand that this is incredibly painful. Self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to those who avoid pain because, to become aware of those lost aspects, you must stop trying to escape the emptiness within you where those missing parts should be.
But I’m going to tell you boldly today that suppressed memory is reality of our human minds and that by not accepting this, we are doing a great deal of damage to ourselves as well as to other people who need us to acknowledge that this is a reality.

The Octopus Technique

Chances are if you are watching this video, you are old enough to have a developed ego.  You have a sense of yourself as a separate self that you call by your name.  You define yourself by your beliefs, your likes and dislikes, your past experiences and your current perspective.  The problem is that this identity becomes so solid that it becomes like an egocentric bubble.  We perceive other people through our own filters.  It becomes very hard to relate to people who are different to us.  We begin to project our own perspective onto them.  When we are practicing empathy, instead of stepping out of our perspective and into their shoes, we take our perspective into their shoes.  And so, even though we may see solutions they don’t see, we don’t accurately see or feel them.       
    In order to exit our own reality so as to enter theirs, and by doing so completely attune to them, I want to teach you a technique to use.  I call it The Octopus Technique.  We, as physical beings are extensions of source consciousness or what many people call God.  We are source manifesting physically.  To conceptualize of this, I want you to imagine an octopus.  The head of the octopus represents source.  A united oneness.  Sort of like a blank slate of potential energy.  The legs of the octopus represent aspects of that united oneness extending down into a human body.  So, Teal is a leg of the octopus.  And you are a leg of the octopus.  For this exercise, you are going to use this symbolic image to get into someone else’s perspective.
    To do this exercise, close your eyes and observe your breathing.  Feel your thoughts bouncing around and just let them do that until they slow down.  When you feel ready, imagine your consciousness or soul retracting back up your leg of the octopus and returning to source consciousness (the head of the octopus).  As you do this, imagine leaving your identity in this life behind.  See yourself leaving the story of your life, the people in it, your beliefs, your likes and dislikes, your past experiences all behind.  Feel yourself stripping free of them so as to return to source. 
Feel what that spacious potential energy feels like.  
Then when you are ready, think of someone whose perspective you would like to see.  Hold them as your focus and imagine finding the leg that extends from the octopus head you are in (source) down into their embodiment.
Imagine or sense or feel yourself going down the octopus leg into their perspective completely, having left yourself behind so all you are now is the consciousness who is feeling through their body, seeing through their eyes.  Imagine opening your eyes AS them.  Imagine smelling as them and tasting as them and most of all, feeling the emotions they are experiencing.  How does it feel to be in their body?  What are you thinking in their body?  See if you can feel their past experiences and how those experiences are shaping their current perspective.  If you are wanting to understand exactly how they experience a specific situation, let yourself live or re-live that experience AS them.  Feel and see the difference between how they experience life and how you used to experience life when you were you.   
Spend as much time completely immersing yourself in their perspective as deeply as you can. If you experience emotional reactions as a result of it, surrender and let it happen. Gain as much understanding and awareness as you can.  BE them until you feel a sense of emotional and mental and physical comprehension.  And then when you are ready, imagine retracting once again back up the octopus leg into the head of the octopus (source).  But this time take your comprehension of the person whose perspective you went into, with you.  Carry that comprehension and experience back down the octopus leg that extends to your perspective in this life.  Feel yourself carrying that full awareness and understanding as you come back to your own life.  And when you are ready, slowly open your eyes.  
All you need to know about the other person and about what to do relative to them will be revealed as a result of doing this exercise.  Your awareness will multiply and your perspective on so many things will change.  So be brave enough to leave yourself behind.  The more often you do this exercise, the better you will get at dis identifying with yourself so as to identify with someone else’s perspective.  And soon, it may not be a visualization.  It may in fact graduate to a full blown out of body experience.

Attunement

When we are born, we cannot conceptualize of ourselves as different to other beings.  Our ego is not formed yet.  We experience the distress of others as our own.  But as we grow, we begin to conceptualize of ourselves as having our own autonomous feelings and desires.  This is when the table flips.  We still don’t fully conceptualize of other people as different to ourselves.  But instead of seeing ourselves as an extension of the world around us, we see everything in our world as an extension of ourselves. 
I want you to imagine a two-year-old child.  The average two year old perceives that the world revolves around him or her completely.  Essentially, we have an egocentric worldview.  This is why we take everything personally as children.  For example, if mom and dad get a divorce, it’s because of me.  This two year old does not practice external consideration yet.  He does not think about how his whining or crying effects his mom.  He simply whines and cries because that is the truth about how he feels.  The two year old does not think about the perspectives or feelings of a kitten he encounters.  He picks it up by the neck because that is the most convenient way for a two year old to pick up a kitten.  When the kitten screams in pain and terror, he does not understand what the kitten is experiencing.  So he does not put the kitten down.  Potentially the kitten will die and then the two year old will be confused about what happened.  The two year old killed the kitten because he was not attuned to the kitten. 
Attunement is being or bringing into harmony.  A feeling of being “at one” with something.  The best way to imagine attunement is to imagine sitting in your car and reaching out for the radio dial.  If you want to hear the music being played at a specific frequency, like 98.2 FM, you need to tune your radio dial to 98.2 FM.  And then you will hear the music.  Your own radio dial needs to be brought into harmony with or become one with the radio channel you want to receive in order to perceive that radio channel.  
It’s no different with other beings, including people.  To be able to perceive other people and to feel and see and hear them and understand them and communicate with them, you need to attune to them.  You need to tune into them as if you are them so as to be able to feel or imagine the other person’s emotional experience and to understand what they are feeling .  This is what allows you to know what to do in any given situation to end conflict or improve a situation or to assist someone.   
Attunement is what gives rise naturally to empathy.  The most dangerous people in the world are people who are in an egocentric bubble.  They are essentially toddlers in a grown up body holding kittens by the neck.  But those kittens are other people.  And even though it would be great if all people just naturally developed out of the egocentric bubble and into attunement, the reality is that some people do not.  They stay in a reality built for one.  When you are in a relationship with this kind of person you end up feeling lonely, unseen, unheard, unfelt, misunderstood and abused.  You will feel like you are living in an entirely different reality than the other person.  You will feel this way because, you quite literally are.  You and this person are on entirely different frequencies and they are unwilling to tune into yours.  It’s the same as trying to find harmony when you are on the 98.2 fm station and your partner being on the 94.5 am station.  
So much about the development of attunement and healthy empathy along with it has to do with how we are raised.  We learn by virtue of example primarily.  We learn attunement by virtue of other people being attuned to us.  Ask yourself the following questions… Do I feel like my parents understood me when I was little, or even tried to understand me?  Did they see into me and feel into me and have empathy for me and adjust their behavior accordingly or not? Did they acknowledge how I felt or did they invalidate it, telling me I shouldn’t feel that way?  How did my parents treat me when I was cranky, frightened, or upset?  For the sake of your own understanding, once you finish this episode, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: The Emotional Wake Up Call.      
When our parents were not attuned to us, we went one of two ways to cope with the terror of that experience.
We learned that our survival depended on disconnecting from them and retreating into a narcissistic bubble where all that was real and all that mattered was our individual experience.   We learned that our survival depended on being hyper attuned to the people in our lives so that we could perceive them, anticipate their behavior and make adjustments to our behavior accordingly in order to avoid harm.           There are benefits and drawbacks to both coping styles.  Neither state is healthy.  It is not a fulfilling life to spend all your energy obsessively trying to keep yourself safe by attuning to other people.  To do that, you end up tuning out to yourself.  But the destruction on this planet owes itself to those people who have learned to cope by retreating into the egocentric bubble.  This is in fact what creates both the obsessively attuned and the narcissistic bubble polarized personalities. 
You cannot be attuned to a child and have them grow up narcissistic or codependent.  You cannot be attuned to someone and drop a bomb on them or shoot them.  You cannot be attuned to someone and say the wrong thing to them.  You cannot attune to someone and stay in denial about his or her reality.  And the bottom line is, unless you learn how to attune, your relationships will be riddled with conflict and painful for everyone around you, eventually making it painful for you too.        
Attunement begins with a choice.  The choice to attune.  Similar to the choice to turn your car dial to 98.2 fm.  You are not going to understand this concept at an emotional level yet.  So instead, think of it as awareness and watching the world around you and the people in it.  Consider that you are living your life in a bubble where nothing can come in.  There are layers and layers in between you and them.  You’ve got to pop that bubble so you can see them and feel them and hear them and really tune into their frequency.  Start making a practice of really watching the world as if you are an FBI agent whose job is to perceive every single thing you can perceive about your environment and the people in it.  Make a game of it.     Face your resistance to coming out of the bubble.  The egocentric bubble is a coping strategy that helped you survive childhood but that is now harming people around you and ultimately this harms you in the long run.  It’s holding you back instead of helping you.  But you have to be honest with yourself about why you don’t want to attune to other people.  Ask yourself, what would attuning to other people mean?  What would be so bad about really seeing them and feeling them and understanding them and perceiving their reality?  The bubble is about controlling your own reality.  Ask yourself, why do I need to control my reality?  It is tempting to think that the egocentric bubble is a good thing because it feels better than becoming aware of things that don’t feel good to become aware of.  But do not confuse this with deliberate creation of your reality.  There is a difference between creation of reality and resistance to reality.  The egocentric bubble is the opposite, like an addiction, it is an escape.  It is a resistance to what is.  This is why inevitably, it leads to negative results like failed relationships and aloneness.     Attunement requires that you understand that other people think in ways that are both similar to and different from the way that you do, and that they also have emotions they associate with those thoughts.  A person who is not attuned will project.  For example, you might imagine that if you were in someone else’s position, you would not feel how they feel.  You will tell them purely how you would feel if you were in their situation.  But you do so from the egocentric perspective of your past experiences and your privileges and your current level of awareness instead of theirs.  Instead of this giving rise to true empathy, it is merely projection disguised as empathy.  This is why if you are a person who has never experienced serious consequences as a result of being criticized, you might say, “If I were in your position, I wouldn’t take what they said personally”.  In other words, imagining how you would feel in their shoes is a perfect thing to do up until the point where you are forgetting that you stepping into their shoes with all of your perspective, is not you getting out of your egocentric bubble and into their shoes, it’s you taking your egocentric bubble into their shoes.  Notice the aspect of you that only cares to please others so you can avoid conflict and discomfort yourself.  When you don’t genuinely care about how other people feel, except in that them feeling bad creates problems for you, realize that you have the tendency to rush from problem to solution.  Know that the right or wrong thing to do in terms of action comes second to fully having awareness.  When it comes to attunement, you cannot rush into action.  In fact you cannot even see the right action to take or the solution unless you are fully attuned.  Imagine seeing a fish in a tank that is sick.  If you rushed into a solution, you might feed the fish.  Because you simply guessed at what was wrong and assumed the solution was to feed the fish. You were not attuned enough to see that the fish actually needed you to change the old water out for new water.  The same is true for people.  Become fully attuned and aware of the other person and from there, a solution will naturally arise and this time, it will be the right one. Tune into your own emotions.  If no one properly attuned to you when you were little, you do not grow up attuned to yourself.  It’s tempting to think that if you are in an egocentric bubble, you are tuned into your own emotions, but you are not.  Your mind hijacks you out of your emotions and you tend to delude yourself that you feel how you want to feel, rather than how you actually feel.  When you experience things that either do cause an emotion or that you think should cause an emotional reaction, ask yourself the following questions and be as brutally honest about them as you can…  
What was my perception of what happened?
What was troubling to me about what happened?
What were the emotions that I felt at the time it happened?
What emotions am I feeling in this exact moment?
What do I really need from other people in this circumstance? Do a perspective exercise that I call The Octopus Technique any time you want to understand someone.  To learn how to do this exercise, watch my video on YouTube titled: The Octopus Technique.  Explore how the other person feels.  When you come back from the exercise, ask yourself what was their perception of what happened?  What was troubling to them about what happened?  What were the emotions that they felt at the time it happened?  What emotions are they feeling in this exact moment?  What do they really need from me?   Practice connecting with people one on one.  To do this, watch my video on YouTube titled “How To Connect With Someone”.  Give the person you want to connect with your undivided, unconditional, focused presence.  Use body language that is open to them.  Become interested in them.  Ask them questions.  See into them, feel into them, and listen to them.  Seek to understand them and receive them exactly as they are instead of seeing them how you would prefer to see them. Be willing to be vulnerable enough to really feel strong emotion, including what other people feel.  Attunement causes you to experience strong authentic emotions as opposed to emotions related to suppression, avoidance, denial or defensiveness. For example, feeling the sadness inside someone may make you cry.  Let this process happen.  If you are concerned with staying strong and not being vulnerable, you will not let yourself attune to anyone when they are in a state that threatens your own sense of peace.      
Think about how good it would feel for someone to completely understand you.  Think of how good it would be to be able to have them be so perceptive of your internal world that they know exactly what you need and exactly what to say.  Think of how good it would be to have harmony in your relationships instead of conflict and for your relationships to feel secure and safe.  This is the kind of relationship that is available to you if you practice attunement with one another. 
If you are not naturally attuned to the people and things around you, you will have to consciously think about attuning.  You will have to practice it in the same way that someone has to really concentrate to do the backstroke when they first start swimming.  But with enough repetition, it will become natural to you.  It will become second nature and the disconnected, isolated, individual reality that is in denial of the world around it, will begin to feel like what it is, a prison.  You will see that instead of the place that keeps you safe, it is the place that keeps you and the world around you unsafe.    
 

The Healing Trap

Have you ever felt like you were in a situation where no matter what you try to do to heal, trying to heal yourself just makes matters worse and self help or any other steps you may take towards healing just makes you feel worse and worse and worse?  If the answer is yes, then you are stuck in the healing trap. 
The healing trap occurs when you have two competing and completely contradictory needs.  What are those needs? To understand that, we have to go back in time.  We have been living in an emotional dark age for a very long time.  People do not understand what emotions really are and do not understand how to interact with them.  This means that even the best parents often unintentionally mistreat their children’s emotions.  When we are little and we have a problem, the same thing happens as when we are adults.  Emotions arise within us.  For example, when we have to go to school but really don’t want to, we feel powerless and sad.  When the average parent sees this emotion, what do they do?  Chances are they do not handle it correctly.  What they usually do is to disapprove of the way we feel.  At worst, they directly shame us for the way we feel.  And at best, they may say something along the lines of “Come on now, everyone has to go to school, quit whining and get in the car we’re going to be late”.  They make us feel like there is no good reason for us to feel the way we feel.  And so, we decide that there must be something wrong with us.  And so, we feel ashamed of ourselves.  
To understand more about how to correctly deal with emotions, I suggest that you to watch my video on YouTube titled “ The Emotional Wakeup Call”.  And to understand more about shame and how to heal it, I suggest that you watch my video on YouTube titled: “How To Overcome Shame.”               
Not only do we spend a very long time in our earliest years completely dependent on our primary caregivers (much more so than most other species on earth), our survival as a group species also depends on our connection with other people.  Even though the modern world has evolved to allow us to live and survive single, this is a direct contradiction to the way we are biologically wired.  With this kind of wiring, the approval of our caregivers (especially parents) mattered more than anything to us.  Approval equals love and survival in our minds.  Disapproval equals being unloved and thus being alone and not surviving in our minds.  
The process of socialization, which all children go through (including us), is essentially a process of aspects of us being approved of and aspects of us being disapproved of.  Parents demonstrate their approval and disapproval in various ways and also punish and reward according to their approval or disapproval in various ways. 
We altered ourselves and suppressed ourselves and the way we felt like crazy when we were young in order to get approval from our parents.  We did it to gain reward and avoid punishment.  But what we don’t remember consciously is how painful this process was.  We learned that even if our parents said they loved us, our parent’s love for us was in fact conditional.  It was conditional upon us being a certain way and doing certain things.  In order to be able to gain their approval by any means necessary, we suppressed a desire.  The desire was to be loved exactly how we are.  We wanted the experience of real love.  We wanted the look in our parents eyes that said, “Nothing is wrong with you, nothing needs to be changed or fixed, you are perfect as you are”.  Let’s call this unconditional approval.
Alas, none of us got this message.  Instead we had to go on fixing ourselves to earn love.  And it was so painful to continually get the message that how we are is not ok; we eventually took over and became our own self-moderators.  We took over for our parents and eventually started approving of ourselves and disapproving of ourselves and suppressing our emotion and correcting our behavior before our parents had the chance.  We took on the lifelong task of fixing ourselves.  It is at this point that people began to call us “good”.  
This created a huge split in ourselves.  A split between the aspect of us who actually needs a solution to the problems we face (a solution to the way we feel when we feel bad) and the aspect of us who actually needs the exact opposite.  The aspect of us who needs unconditional approval, which is essentially to be told, “Nope, there is no change that needs to be made to you, you do not need to be fixed”.  
On one hand, healing is a good thing.  On the other hand it implies that something isn’t ok as it is and needs to be changed for the better.  It needs to be fixed.  So what happens if this suppressed and highly subconscious need for unconditional approval is strong within you is that when you try to heal yourself, the aspect of you that needs unconditional approval will be triggered.  It will dig its heels in.  To the degree you obsessively try to fix yourself, it will resist that same amount and you will soon notice that nothing you ever do seems to work.  This is the healing trap.  A death defying tug of war between the aspect of you who needs a solution and the aspect of you who needs unconditional approval for exactly how it is.  And the more you try to win that fight by trying to find a solution and by trying to heal, the more pain you will feel. 
When you are caught in the healing trap, we need to create alignment between the two warring aspects of ourselves by doing the following…
Showing the aspect of you that needs a solution that the conditional approval that is inherent in our quest for healing is the actual problem and thus unconditional approval as the actual solution. Showing the aspect of you that needs unconditional approval that the other aspect of itself is trying to find solutions, not because it needs it to change to be loved, but because it loves it already and thus obviously wants it to feel good instead of bad.  In other words, healing can be loving instead of a commentary on wrongness. Allow yourself to mentally leave one aspect of yourself out of the picture and where it wants to be while meeting the other aspect’s needs.          
We need to accept that as people, we are not a unified self even though we call ourselves by one name.  We are a conglomeration of many selves, many aspects of selves and many of them, contradictory in nature.  Unless we recognize this in ourselves, we will be forever trying to suppress aspects of ourselves in favor of others and thus will stay in a state of fracture and disunity instead of wholeness.    
To address these two different aspects of yourself, I suggest that you do a meditation where you close your eyes and ask to see the two different parts of you.  Then in an intuitive imagination experience, you can ask them each questions and let them answer.  Eventually you can have them interact with each other, resolve their differences and reconcile to find a way to align.  For example, one question you could ask the aspect of you who wants healing is, “What would be so bad about not having a solution”.  You will often find it boils down to the fear of being alone if the problem isn’t fixed. 
You could ask the aspect of you that needs unconditional approval “Why don’t you want to heal or get better?”  You could have the aspect of you that wanted a solution, provide for the aspect that wants unconditional approval, whatever that side has always wanted and needed, but never got.  For example, it could provide the message “You’re never, ever going to be alone”.  
If you are stuck in the healing trap and are struggling with this process, I suggest that you find either a voice dialogue therapist or a gestalt therapist in your area and explain this exact dilemma to the therapist.  Have them guide you through a therapeutic process accordingly.  I will tip you off that the side that needs a solution tends to be the adult and conscious side of you, where as the side which needs unconditional approval tends to be a childhood and unconscious aspect of you. 
I also suggest that you allow yourself to consciously allow for a split in yourself when you have a need to meet that directly conflicts with the need of another aspect of yours.  This is what I meant when I said that the third thing you need to do is to if you’re caught in the healing trap is to allow yourself to mentally leave one aspect of yourself out of the picture and where it wants to be while meeting the other aspect’s needs.  
For example, let’s say that one aspect of me needs significance and thus wants to be on stage, but another aspect of me is terrified to be on stage and needs to be kept safe by not being on stage.  Instead of bulldozing the aspect of me that doesn’t want to be on stage so I can get on stage, I can close my eyes and connect to the aspect of me that doesn’t want to be on stage and imagine leaving this aspect of me offstage with someone she loves, somewhere that she loves.  When I go on stage, I can imagine her off stage in that safe place and then imagine her re-joining me once I get off the stage.
As this concept applies to the healing trap, any time you are seeking a solution to your problem, you can imagine consciously leaving the aspect of you that needs unconditional approval with someone who is unconditionally approving and far away from the hospital or self-improvement technique.  Any time you are engaged in unconditional approval, you can for example imagine the aspect of you that needs a solution, being set loose in a library or meeting with a transcendent guide to tirelessly seek out the solution.  
When it comes to re-integration work, it is important to know that unconscious splitting is the dangerous kind of splitting where as conscious splitting can in fact be a crucial step towards wholeness.  
So, when you find yourself in a situation where no matter how desperate you are to heal, you never seem to get better, consider that you are caught in the healing trap.  Consider that the time has come to find alignment between these aspects of you that have directly opposing needs.  And consider that all they need to do in order to do just that is to begin to have a positive relationship with each other.        

What Is Tarot and How To Use a Tarot Deck

Chances are if you have even remotely dipped your pinky toe into spirituality, you have heard of Tarot.  Traditionally, since the 1400s, the tarot was a deck of cards much like playing cards.  Traditionally there were 78 cards in the deck.  And originally people would play card games with the deck.  The original tarot was a lot like the modern day playing cards, which all have specific suits that dictate the way the game is played.  Each card of the tarot symbolizes something and based on the symbol drawn the game unfolds in a specific way.  
 But the tarot’s purpose extended far beyond a card game.  Symbols are used to represent entire concepts such a spiritual principals, philosophical ideas and societal archetypes.  And each card in the tarot does just that.  It represents an entire concept.  And as such, it is used as a tool of divination.  Divination is the practice of seeing the unknown by supernatural means.  For example, most people do not see the future.  But tools like tealeaf reading or looking into a crystal ball can potentially allow people to see the future.  Tarot cards function like that.  And this is the primary function of tarot cards today.  In principal, whatever card is drawn or dealt is revelatory or provides insight to the person the divination is in service of.  
There is no way to tell you the single origin of the tarot cards because the tarot cards that you see today, which are designed and used strictly for occult practices rather than for playing cards, are a very rich blend of influences.  The symbolism of the cards has roots in things like Egyptian mythology and Jewish Kabbalah and Gypsy beliefs and Buddhist Dahrma and Christian doctrine and Celtic Druidic practice.  
Most decks are divided into the major and the minor arcana.  The major arcana consists of 22 cards.  They are the foundation of the tarot deck and in general reveal major life changes as well as the path of awareness, meaning and understanding.  The minor arcana consists of fifty-six cards and they are made up of four suits which ultimately represent the elements. The cups, pentacles, swords and wands.  They relate directly to things of a more practical and human nature and in general, tend to reveal things that are critical to know but that are more down to earth and day-to-day in nature.  Used together the major and minor arcana reveal the full story of the interaction between supernatural and worldy influences.  They reveal the relationship between the earthly realm and the divine realm relative to the subject at hand.   
In traditional tarot, it matters whether the card is drawn in reverse or right side up.  Because the meaning changes depending on which way the card is drawn.  There are different arrangements for the cards to be drawn in.  These are called ‘spreads’.  And every practitioner has a different way of shuffling, cutting, dealing, choosing, and cleansing the deck.     
Like astrology, traditional tarot is like Pandora’s box.  And it can literally be a way of life.  You can dive so deeply into it that there seems to be no end to the information and subtleties you find.  For the sake of a video this short, there is just no way to summarize even a fraction of it.  So if you are interested in it, by all means, dive into it. Study all the various interpretations and opinions on this highly symbolic and esoteric tool that you can find. 
Oracle cards serve the same purpose as tarot cards.  Oracle card is a catchall term for cards designed for divination but that are not designed in accordance to the structure, tradition and archetypes of the tarot form of divination.  As such, they do not necessarily inherently have the ancient, esoteric thought form of ‘Tarot’ attached to them.  There is no inherent tradition or particular structure to them.  All that is left up to the creator of the cards.  The decks can contain any number of cards.  They are also designed around a particular theme such as angels or spirit animals etc.
I love both forms of divination.  I have found oracle decks that I far prefer to many tarot decks and tarot decks that I far prefer to many oracle decks.  To generalize however, the thing I love the most about tarot cards is that they, and the spreads used to read them, are designed to weave together a full picture or story of the subject in question.  Many oracle decks are not designed to paint a full and detailed picture or story of all that is going on or what will happen and why.  They are more geared towards quick insight and breaking patterns that are limiting us through providing insight or awareness.        
  Even though there is a difference between the tarot cards and oracle cards, in many circles, you will hear the names used interchangeably because their purpose is the same.  For the rest of this episode, assume that by saying tarot cards, I’m referring to any cards, including oracle cards, whose purpose is divination.          
In reality, no one needs a tool in order to divine.  Every being walking this earth is an extension of source energy and therefore has the capacity to experience the mind and heart of what we call the Universe or God.  You are like an antennae who is born to receive the frequencies in the universe that exist beyond your limited time space reality.  Not many people manage to stay conscious of that receptivity to the degree that they can make use of it.  And for this reason, using an intermediary tool, such as tarot cards can be beneficial when the intuitive ‘signal’ is not clear. 
Like any good divination tool, the deck you choose should be a vibrational match to you.  It should be one that you resonate with.  This yields the best results.  The cards that ‘speak to you’ will perform the best for you.  You can of course have many tarot decks in your arsenal instead of just one.  But you will find that naturally, you will have a ‘go to’ deck that is your principal tool and you will soon notice that you will gravitate to specific decks for specific issues and applications.  Just like there are different tools for different jobs, there are different tarot decks for different divination purposes.  For example, one deck may be a much better tool for divining relative to a situation that involves a romantic relationship than another.  Or one deck may be a much better tool for divining life purpose.  So set the intention for the universe to draw you to your deck or decks and also, let yourself intuitively gravitate towards the one that you feel would be best for each scenario you want guidance about.
Because the cards are simply a tool that assists the intuition of the person doing a card reading, a reading is really influenced by the reader. A tarot reading is just as vulnerable to projection and spiritual bypassing as a straightforward psychic reading.  This is why a tarot reading can be so very different from one reader to the next, even if the same cards are drawn. Tarot is wide open for interpretation and perspective.  This is also why as a reader, it is critical to deepen your own spiritual practice and be deeply committed to awakening and deeply aware of your own strengths and shadows so that you can be a clear channel for the people hiring you for readings.  This is also why it is important to really ‘feel out’ the person doing your reading and to realize that not all readers are created equal.  I personally find that the very best diviners in general, including card readers, tend to have a deep and even dark, esoteric feel to them.  They tend to be the least afraid of information beyond the senses and as such, have the fewest filters for interpretation.  These people also tend to have the highest level of genetic influence for esoteric art forms, which lends itself to the craft.  
That being said, the best reader of any specific deck often has an energy that is the most close to the energies that deck is designed to access.  For example, a person who has an angelic presence is most likely going to give you the best reading out of an angel deck.  A person with an earthy, shamanic energy is going to give you the best reading out of a shamanic deck.  A person with a dark arts energy to them is going to give you the best reading out of a shadow deck.  This is because their own frequency is not so different from the interdimensional energies you are consulting during the reading and so their translation will be much more exact.       
In general it is a good rule of thumb to follow your joy.  But I want you to start playing around with fear a bit.  There is a kind of fear that happens when you are headed in the direction of expansion.  Lets call this good fear.  It is just resistance to something that is in alignment for you.  For example, we may feel fear committing to someone who we really love because of the fear that we may lose them in the future.  This fear is a growing pain.  It’s about getting out of your current comfort zone.  There is another kind of fear that clearly says, “this is not good for me, there is actual danger here and this person is really out of alignment”.  This fear is an indication that something is not right for us personally.  
If we are not receiving our intuition clearly, there is a good chance that fear has muddled the specific subject we are struggling to understand through a tarot reading.  Our conscious mind is not seeing something clearly because our subconscious is involved.  As a result, our conscious mind will have resistance to becoming fully aware.  Because of this, you will most likely feel a bit of anxiety relative to a reader who is able to divine clearly for your specific situation.  Not the ‘this is not right for me’ guidance that there is actual danger but the resistance to growth or knowing kind of fear.  For this reason, provided you want an honest reading as opposed to simply a feel good reading, it is actually a good idea if you feel this shred of fear relative to a reader, to ask yourself which kind of fear it is and to ultimately select a divination expert who evokes a bit of this ‘outside my comfort zone’ fear in you.                                      
 Using tarot cards can definitely sharpen your intuitive ability.  Like anything, it can also become a crutch that you become dependent on for lack of self trust.  But you will begin to notice that your readings (whether you are doing them for yourself or someone is doing them for you) will become more like confirmations than revelations.  This is your validation that the insight already belonged to you and that you were simply not trusting it.  Then you can practice writing down your intuition about the answer before each card is drawn.  Eventually the cards will be more ‘fun to use on occasion’ or in situations where you are truly not clear, rather than essential.  As you use tarot cards, you become more and more familiar with the unique feeling of interdimensional beings and information and thus more and more adept at evoking it and interacting with it and channeling it. 
Treat your tarot cards like a bridge between you and whatever energies in this universe contain the answer to the questions you are asking.  And you want this bridge to be as clear as possible so your consciousness and the consciousness of those who have your answers can connect across it with ease and without obstruction.  This means, clear your space and clear yourself.  For the best results, make sure your body is clear of alcohol and junk food and that you are do not eat grounding foods.  No meat or dairy, no root vegetables.  Make sure the space you are doing the reading in is also clear of clutter.  If you add anything to the environment, make sure you add things that assist the reading, like candles or crystals for example.  Make sure you are not in a rush.  I detest psychic fairs where your readings are done with psychics on a timer.  In this case, time constraint is serving as an obstruction.
Also, just like crystals, some decks need to be cleared and others do not.  Trust your intuition about which decks are in fact improved by not being cleared and which ones need to be cleared.  If in doubt, air on the side of clearing.  Some people are really strict about their decks.  They don’t want anyone else’s energy influencing the decks and so they don’t let anyone touch their decks and obsessively cleanse them if the travesty of someone touching them should occur.  
Let yourself be the one to decide how controlling and ritualized you are going to be about your decks, but I do want to just mention that the tarot is a tool for divination.  Your ability to divine exists within you and cannot be ‘damaged’ so chances are to the degree that you are attached to and identified with your deck, you rely that heavily on the tool itself for your intuition and thus distrust your own ‘channel’ to that very degree.  Being extremely attached to your deck and projecting supernatural power onto it does imbue the deck itself with a great deal of power, this is why so many religious relics maintain their power centuries after their creator or owner dies.  But beware that the power you give your decks, may just be power you are not owning in yourself.             
Clearing a deck essentially wipes the slate clean so you’re working with a fresh, clean tool that can serve as a clearer channel for the divine.  Some methods of clearing decks are using white sage smoke and smudging the deck, placing a clearing crystal on them that corresponds directly to the energy of the specific deck (use your intuition for this one), setting them out under the moon, burying them in the ground for a night, burying them in salt and shuffling the deck and cutting it until you feel a sense of “completeness”.  
The first thing I suggest doing before your reading is to mentally ask for your guides or angels to come in and not only assist, but also provide protection for the reading.  I have a mixed feeling about protection because by focusing on protection, you are also focusing on there being something you need to be protected against.  But if you’re in a state of fear already, you already think you need to be protected against something and so inviting in protection may just help you to release some resistance in this scenario.  
I have noticed that if people do not feel safe, the reading is heavily influenced by that energy.  Law of attraction never stops working and so when you are really feeling unsafe, the cards tend to reflect that vibration.  By mentally invoking an energy of protection before you directly begin tuning into and seeking out your interdimensional answers, your reading will be more clear and you will be much more open and receptive to the information received.
The second thing I suggest doing is to close your eyes and hold the question or the entire subject up for question in your being with focus like it is a pearl.  This pearl is your asking.  You’re solidifying it by focusing on it intensely.  Then imagine handing it up and over to whatever energies you want to ask.  You can hand this ‘asking’ up to whomever you are trying to target with your question.  For example, you can hand it up to the universe at large, to your idea of God, to an angel or group of ascended masters.  Then each time you breathe in, over the course of a minute of a two, imagine creating or pulling in a channel of energy (like an open energy tube or vortex) to yourself, the reader, the cards themselves or all three.  We call this ‘drawing down’.  The energy of this channel needs to be one of allowing.  You are not taking the information or answer from anywhere; instead you are building this bridge to make their job of providing information easy.  It’s a message and a vibration of openness, readiness and receptivity.
From there, it’s about using the cards either intuitively or following the instructions for how the creator intended them to be used.  And taking time to let the information process and be absorbed by your being fully.  
Trust that whatever card comes up for you is a direct match to your asking and that whatever unfolds during the reading is right for you at this time.  I remember watching a reading where the reader made a ‘mistake’ as to how the cards were ‘supposed’ to be drawn but the ‘mistake’ reading was in fact the one that was in perfect alignment with the questioning.  So, assume that during your reading, the universe at large has taken control of how it will unfold and as such, it will unfold exactly how it is supposed to.  From there, consider the information you receive an offering to you.  It is then ultimately your decision whether to take that offering and make use of it, or not. 

How To Figure Out The Cause of Your Illness

When the scientific process came about, suddenly we were able to trace backwards and recognize the physical cause of illnesses and ailments.  Illnesses ceased to be an abstract, etheric form of punishment.  For example, suddenly we were able to see that the plague was not caused by God as a punishment for prostitution.  Instead, we were able to see that it was caused by a bacteria transmitted by fleas and rodents.  
Knowing the physical cause of ailments is an essential part of healing from them.  However, we lost something when we began to believe that the physical cause of an illness was in fact the root cause of the illness itself.  We lost the knowledge that the story of what caused an ailment starts way before we even see a physical cause.  Saying that an ailment began with the obvious physical cause of that ailment is the same as saying that the song you are listening to comes from the radio on your nightstand.  When we all know that the story of where the song actually came from, begins way, way back before it reached the radio on your nightstand.  
Knowing that, I’m just going to lead off this episode with a statement… Ailments begin mentally and emotionally.  They then become physical.  The physical cause of the illness that you are experiencing, is just that, it is a manifestation of a deeper mental and emotional root cause.  
It is hard for us to see the power that the mind has over the body because we can’t “see” the mind.  It is abstract to us.  But play a game with me.  Close your eyes and think of biting into a lemon.  Imagine the way it smells and tastes.  Did any of you experience your sour reflex being triggered in the back of your jaw?  The mind does not know the difference between something imagined and something that is happening in the world.  It is all REAL to the mind.  And so, the body reacts.  The body is reflecting what is happening in the mind and the emotions exactly.  
We are not conscious of the reaction in our body to our thoughts and subsequent emotions.  Are you aware when you are stressed at work that your stomach is tight and your body has shut down blood flow to your extremities and your body is flooding with cortisol and your heart is working double time to cope and your liver is breaking don glycogen like crazy?  No, chances are that you are simply focused on whatever is stressing you out.  So, if you develop something like heart disease, you will be baffled as to why.  You do not recognize the cause of the effect.  
This is even truer when the root cause of our ailments began emotionally and mentally way back in childhood.  For example, cancer is caused by deep, unresolved grief in childhood.  But this is the very last thing people think of when they are diagnosed with cancer.  Instead, they look to environmental factors for the cause of cancer and rush straight in for chemotherapy treatments.
Ultimately, the root cause of our problems is in fact trauma; emotional and mental trauma that is unresolved.  When we think trauma, we need to think much broader than we currently do. Trauma is simply a distressing or unpleasant experience.  Looking through this lens, we can see that something as simple as being taught a painful belief about the world is a trauma.  Being weaned is a trauma.  Something like rape or war is simply an extreme form of trauma.  A trauma is an experience that puts us in a state of resistance, most especially a state of fear.  All too often, we survive trauma and dissociate from it instead of move through it and complete it.  If we do not find a way to resolve the trauma, it becomes an ailment.  It impedes our expansion.  It causes the blueprint of our being to be affected and the physical body manifests as a direct response to that blueprint.       
So what about ailments where you can actually see a physical cause, such as radiation or accident injury, such as a car wreck?  That’s where you think you have me right?  Think again.  In this universe, which is based on the law of attraction, like is drawn to like.  You can only experience something you are a vibrational match to.  This means, you ‘lined up with’ that physical cause in the physical dimension because of the deeper, emotional and mental cause.  For example, unresolved grief makes us a vibrational match to tragedy.  For this reason, it is not unheard of for a demographic of people, suffering from similar unresolved grief, to be a match to a collective tragedy that triggers cancer, such as a nuclear disaster.
This is the real reason why you can expose some people to a physical ‘cause’ such as a virus and find they are immune, whereas other people immediately succumb to it.   
The same is true for accidents.  The two most common vibrations people have that makes them a match to accidents is a feeling of powerlessness and also a thought pattern of self punishment.  An accident neutralizes our guilt and it is also a reflection of a prior trauma that is unresolved.  To even line up with an accident, there has to be a mental and emotional issue in place.  And I will tell you that where your body is injured in an accident is also no mistake.  There already has to be a weakness present in the area for the injury to be caused to that area.  
Thoughts and emotions even affect gene expression.  This is why an adopted child is at risk for breast cancer as much as a genetically related child is when they are adopted into a family that is predisposed for breast cancer.  They are adopting the mental and emotional patterns of the family that raises them and this effects how genes are expressed.  We have to start thinking about genes like playing cards.  Just because you are dealt certain genes, doesn’t mean they will automatically be played.    
The hardest part for people to swallow when they become aware of the deeper, root cause of ailments is the idea that they had something to do with their illness or accident.  It’s tempting to immediately go into a space of self-blame or to think that metaphysicians like myself are blaming and shaming others for their illnesses.  This is not the case at all. No one chooses consciously to be sick or to get into an accident.  Obviously if you were conscious of all the processes taking place in your mind and body, you would always choose health.  But our conscious and subconscious processes are complicated.  We are unaware of most of what is going on in our minds and emotions and bodies.  So, before we go on let’s just set the record straight.  It is not your fault you are sick or got into an accident or whatever else you are suffering from.  Now that it has happened, we have been called to become aware and conscious of all the emotional, mental and even physical factors contributing to the problem.  We are being called to awaken and to make changes.  Nothing more and nothing less.           
Also, I am all for approaching an ailment from all angles.  I love the idea of approaching it from an energetic standpoint, a mental standpoint, an emotional standpoint and a physical stand point, but never forget that the physical standpoint is quite literally the itty bitty tip of the iceberg and unless the greater part of the iceberg is addressed, any physical step you take to cure the ailment, will fall short.  The ailment is likely to simply come right back because the blueprint for the ailment did not change at all.
The body is trying to communicate with us about our being through maladies.  It is trying to tell us what is out of alignment, what is best for us and what we truly desire.  The approach to ailments needs to be “what is my body trying to say?”  So, I ask that even if you are skeptical; consider this way of approaching ailments for curiosity sake. It doesn’t hurt to try on this perspective.     
So, once you have manifested an ailment, what should you do to discover the root of that ailment? 
An ailment is always a manifestation of a prior vibration that has been active within you.  It is nothing more than a magnification or an exaggeration of the root cause.  This knowledge helps us see the number one best way to discover the root of your ailment.  So ask yourself, how does this ailment make me feel?  How do I feel about it?  And what thoughts does it cause me to think?  Those feelings and thoughts existed before the ailment you are experiencing today.  They are the things that are unresolved and unhealed.  For example to simplify, acne makes most people feel really insecure about how they appear to others.  But feelings of insecurity about how they appear to others and thus how they are accepted by others is in fact what causes acne to begin with. Think back in your recent and distant past to what could truly be causing you to feel that way and think those thoughts.  This is the real wounding that needs resolution.  Focus in on the onset of the ailment.  Ask yourself, when did this ailment happen or when did the symptoms first appear?  How had you been feeling and what had you been thinking in the months and weeks before the ailment appeared or the accident happened?  For example, you might discover that you started feeling your ulcers when you started having relationship problems and were feeling really resentful towards your partner and critical of yourself.       Ask yourself, what is this ailment preventing me from having or doing?  If I allow myself to have that in my life, what would be wrong with that?  Our body does not manifest ailments to hurt us.  Your body is not against you, it is for you.  So you must consider that the ailment you have is your body’s subconscious attempt to assist you.  If your body was trying to help you by doing this, what would it be trying to help and why?  For more about this concept, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled: The Hidden Positive Intention (the key to letting go).  Here is an example, people who develop MS, tend to feel unsupported.  But they do not feel worthy to ask for help.  So the body then shuts down its capability so other people have to pitch in and do their part.  The being can then experience being supported by others.  Another example is that some women who suffer from infertility have a subconscious aspect of them that does not want a child at all.  Perhaps their own childhood was painful and unresolved.  The body is actually trying to help them by not getting pregnant.  Some people who get cancer have deep unresolved childhood grief about the emotional neglect they experienced.  As a result of their upbringing they have become people who only ever do what they ‘have to do’.  Cancer is the body’s way of saying ‘stop doing what you have to do… start living by doing what you want to do or there is no point to living so we will die’.  We have to be willing to consider that the ailments we manifest are here to serve us in some way.  Even if it’s simply to make us aware of something that needs to change.   All ailments are a byproduct of resistance to something.  The question is, to what?  Expansion in life is the byproduct of desire.  We have to allow ourselves to flow in the direction of what we want.  When we think thoughts and take actions that allow us to move towards what we want, we are allowing.  When we think thoughts and take actions that disallow us from moving towards what we want, we are resisting.  For example, wanting money but thinking “money doesn’t grow on trees” is resisting.  It diminishes the flow of energy through our body.  It makes us a match to scarcity instead of abundance.  And so, we have to ask ourselves, what is this ailment showing me that I am resisting?  For example, joints are about flexibility.  So if you’re having a joint issue, ask yourself, how am I not being flexible in my life?  Resistance takes place on a mental, emotional and physical level.  So our aim should be to find the mental block, the emotional block and the physical block that is preventing the expansion (healing) of any ailment we are experiencing.   The oldest trick in the metaphysical book is to look at the manifestation of the ailment literally.  Research what experts have to say about the ailment and then think about it on an emotional and mental level as literally as possible.  Such as, a cramp is a contraction, stopping the process of something.  Then considering how you are doing that in your life.  Ask how am I contracting in my life right now and why?  And ask yourself how you were doing that prior to the manifestation of the ailment.  Another example is, Asthma.  Asthma is an issue with “I can’t breathe”.  Ask yourself, what in my life is making me feel like I can’t breathe”.  If your body was conversing with you through the ailment as literally as possible, what would it be trying to tell you about you and your life and what needs to change? Talk directly to the ailment itself or to the area that is affected in meditation.  This is an intuitive process.  We forget that we are imbued with consciousness.  This means every part of us has consciousness.  Connect to this aspect of you as if it has something to say to you.  For example, if you have cancer, close your eyes and begin to feel the cancer.  What does it feel like?  If it looked like something, what would it look like?  If it had a sound, what would it sound like?  Then imagine it has a voice of its own and begin to mentally ask it questions.  Any and every question you can think of is good to ask.  For example, why are you here?  What do you need me to change?  How are you trying to help me?  The sky is the limit to the questions you could ask and don’t be afraid to involve other people in your life to think up questions to ask it.  If you get stuck, you can do a left hand writing exercise, where you put the pen in the hand you do not usually write with and when you ask the questions, you can allow the part of you that you are connecting with to write through you.  For example, let the cancer use the hand you do not usually write with to answer your questions on paper.  This helps the conscious and logical, judgmental mind to not interfere with the communication. Heal your emotional body.  The unresolved wounds of our emotional body serve as the blueprint for our physical ailments.  For this reason, I want you to watch my video on YouTube titled “How To Heal The Emotional Body” and begin the process I demonstrate in that video.  I also encourage you to buy my book titled “The Completion Process”.  It is available as of August 2016.  As I said earlier, ailments are ultimately the byproduct of unresolved trauma.  This process makes you aware of the unresolved trauma and then brings that unresolved trauma into a state of completion.  Many people experience their ailments completely going away as a result of this process.   Approach your ailment as your teacher.  Ask yourself, if I acknowledge this _________ ailment as my teacher, what is it trying to teach me?  No one will ever be able to tell you what your ailments are trying to tell you about yourself and your life, better than you will.  You simply have to learn how to listen to yourself and to be willing to be brutally honest with yourself.  Soon you will be able to listen to yourself BEFORE your being has to go to the extreme of talking to you through the manifestation of a physical condition. 
Many experts have devoted their entire careers to decoding the root emotional and mental cause of specific ailments.  And it must be said that there are definite tendencies.  For example, it is a tendency for spine ailments to be related to issues of support.  And it is a tendency for issues involving the skin to be related to poor boundaries.  And most of us who are experts in this field agree on these tendencies.  If you are curious about what experts have to say about the emotional and mental causes of specific ailments, I encourage you to look into it and do your research.
Perhaps in the future, I will teach more about the root causes of specific ailments.  That being said, in my opinion generalizing can be as limiting as it can be beneficial.  I’d much rather you be able to interact directly with your ailment and speak to your body yourself rather than rely on an external source to tell you why a specific ailment has manifested in your body.  And using the previous steps to decode your ailments will help immensely.  Once you have discovered the actual root of the ailment you are suffering from, you now have the key to your healing. 

The Negativity Cure

The brain is a tool used to facilitate life here on earth.  We are meant to come to life for the sake of expansion.  But we could not stay here long enough to expand or grow if we could not stay alive here on earth.  For this reason, our brain is programmed at its most primary level for survival.  Things that pose a threat have more of an impact on the brain.  It is much more concerned with what is going wrong than with what is going right.  If it senses any danger it goes into fight or flight mode.  The brain then becomes fixated on potential threats.  We become hyper focused on the negative and trying to focus positively becomes very, very hard.  This natural and rather biological start to negative focus sometimes spirals due to the fixation on threat.  It creates a negative feedback loop. 
If you have felt safe most of your life, it does not take you effort to feel good.  Your brain is not in survival mode trying to avoid danger by worrying and negative focus and pessimism.  However, if you have been hurt, experienced trauma or not felt safe, it will take effort to feel good.  Your brain is locked in survival mode.  It is trying to stay safe and avoid danger by worrying, negative focus and pessimism.  It is a vicious cycle that leads you into a waking hell.  
The big problem is this: The brain is an efficiency tool.  It loves to take thoughts that are thought often or actions that are repetitive and make them immediate and subconscious.  Repetition (such as repetitive negative focus) trains the brain to do that thing immediately without your conscious attention.  It creates habit.   When you think the same thing or focus the same way or do the same thing over and over, the brain recognizes a pattern and wires itself for that pattern.  This is why neuroscientists so often say, the neurons that fire together become wired together.  When this happens it becomes easier to activate this circuit in your brain the next time and even easier the next time and even easier the next time.  Eventually the negative focus neuronal pathway becomes your unconscious default.  It has been ‘programmed’ into your mind.  Like code is programmed into a computer. 
When we experience a trauma in our lives, even if we have practiced positive focus in the past, we will often revert to this primitive ‘lookout for danger’ negative focus strategy.  So don’t be surprised if you get hurt in life and you subsequently experience this downward spiral after the fact.  Heartbreak is especially notorious for tripping this program.  The heart is full of neurons.  The heart tells the brain what to think.  When you experience a trauma related to love, the heart will inform the brain to go into ‘self protection mode’.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to watch my video on YouTube titled: “Heart Meditation”.  Stress also causes us to default to this primitive programming.  So reduce stress in your life in any way that you can as well.    
In the beginning of trying to change your negative focus, the portion of your brain called the prefrontal cortex will have to use conscious will to override the old pattern or ‘code’ in your brain until the code shifts and new neurons wire together creating a positive focus neural circuit that then becomes the unconscious default of your brain.
To begin this process, we need to employ an energy healing technique where we have someone else sit down with your head in their hands.  Do this daily if you can or as frequently as possible.  Have them connect to your brain specifically.  Then they focus on healing the negativity. Allow this healing process to be highly intuitive.  That being said, they can either remove the negativity and then replace it with positivity.  Or they can focus intensely on positivity from the get go, creating a frequency that is so dominant that it forces the frequency of your own brain to change to match it.  For example, they think of something that causes them to feel immensely happy.  They could then focus that positive energy through their hands and into your brain.  Have them maintain this focus until they feel a sense of “completeness”.  Music can also work quite well to help intensify the experience.  If they feel inclined to energetically send any messages through to the brain such as “the universe loves you or everything is happening to help you”, encourage then to do so.   Also, have them experiment with different hand positions until they find the one that allows for the best infusion of positivity into the brain.  I find working with the temples and cerebellum works amazingly for this.  
The strong, high frequency energy of the positivity they have focused into your brain causes the low frequency, negative energy in your brain to change. You can think of it like music. Experiencing the infusion of positivity, forces the low frequency tone of negativity to come into alignment and resonate with the new high frequency tone of positivity.  
You can also do this on yourself.  I find that when we are in our most intense negative spirals, we are often unsuccessful at thinking or focusing anything positive, and so it is better to have someone else be the one to do it.  However, as time goes on, we can place or own hands on our heads and begin energetically healing our own brain.  We can diffuse our own brain with positivity and alter our negative neural pathways. 
The next thing we need to do is to intentionally find the positive in the negative.  Torture is pain without purpose.  It is pain without meaning.  If we can find a positive meaning for the pain we experienced, we will not see life as a threat and we will come out of fight or flight mode.  So take the things or circumstances in your life that have caused you pain one by one and with each one, search diligently for the positive meaning inherent in that circumstance.  How did it serve you?  List every single positive aspects of it that you can think of. 
If you are currently experiencing something negative or painful, search deliberately for the positive possibilities that could come.  When we are negatively focusing, we begin to succumb to doom.  We project negativity into our future.  It’s important that we also see the positive potential in our future.  List all potential positive outcomes for the situation you are in.  And watch my videos on YouTube titled, “How To Stop Worrying” and “How To Stop Expecting The Worst”.      
The next thing you need to do is to sit in meditation and find the aspect of yourself that is thinking negatively chronically because it is terrified.  Find the aspect of you that is trying desperately to avoid being hurt because it has been so hurt before.  Where does it live inside your body? Ask this aspect of you, “What would be so bad about being positive or about positive focus?”  Talk to and validate and focus love and protection to and around this aspect of yourself. 
The next thing you need to do is to start and end your day with a gratitude list.  If we succumb to negative focus, this is hard to do.  But any little thing that we can say we like or enjoy is progress.  When we are ready, we can make this part of our day.  Periodically, we can scan our environment on a kind of mental scavenger hunt for things we like or appreciate.   Look for anything that causes you to feel the slightest hint of relief.
Create safety in your life.  Identify the areas of your life that make you feel the most emotionally, mentally or physically unsafe and deliberately take steps to make those areas of your life feel more safe.  Write a safety list; a long list of things that make you to feel safe.  For example, a warm bath, sitting with the covers pulled over your head, compression, being held, the smell of chamomile, watching the food network etc. And spend time each day engaging with at least one of the things you put on that list.  If you ever feel unsafe, go to the list and pick something off of it to do at that minute.  This will help to turn off the part of your brain that is wired for negative focus.  

Also, if you can, take actions that help you to shift focus when you are in a downward spiral.  Get out of the house, play music that shifts your mood, watch a movie, visit a friend etc.      

Negative is not bad.  If it were bad, the primitive brain would not wire itself for negative hypervigilance.  When we get into trouble is when our negative focus does not alert us to proactive changes we can make and ways to stay safe, but rather instills in us a world view of danger.  A worldview of pain.  This is when positive focus becomes necessary.
Those of us who are caught in the negativity trap have a few core beliefs that turn our life to ruins.  The first is: The world is dangerous.  The second is: The universe is against me.  The third is: If I focus positively, I’ll get hurt.  We need to deliberately change these core beliefs.  To find out how to do this, watch my video on YouTube titled: How To Change a Belief.           
There is a very subtle nuance we have to understand.  Positive focus becomes a tool that serves resistance if it is being used to avoid negative.  In this case, it only fuels the negative.  But if it is being used as a tool to deliberately create the experience you want or to shut down the part of the brain that is in negative hypervigilance mode or to heal from trauma, it can in fact restore you back to a state of empowerment and wholeness. 

The Sacred Directive of Relationships

Life, we use this word all the time.  But what does it mean?  What is life made of?  The answer is relationships.  Your life is only ever as happy as your relationships.  This includes your relationship with yourself.  And relationships are the heart of our expansion in this life.  Expansion was the purpose for this life.  Expansion is all about contrast.  Wanted and unwanted.  Light and dark.  So, we find that relationships are the source of our greatest joy and the source of our greatest pain.  
In relationships you are going to run into problems.  You are going to run into aspects that are unwanted.  You will feel the pain of it.  By virtue of having those experiences, you are going to get very clear about what you would prefer instead.  You are going to find out what you really want and need.  
Pain in life is the universe speaking through you.  It is the universe saying that whatever you are focused on or doing or whatever is happening is a contraction.   Contraction is the opposite of expansion.  Once we know that the pain is signaling us to go towards expansion, towards what we would prefer instead, we are called to do that.  If we do not, that pain turns into suffering.  Suffering is a state of perpetual contraction.  It is what happens when we have felt the pain telling us what we would prefer and still we continue to focus on and think things and say things and do things that feed the pain (and thus contraction) instead of the expansion.  
Where are we going wrong with relationships when they are causing us pain?  We are getting stuck in the trap of suffering.  We feel the pain within the relationship.  We are aware that the relationship is contracted and in need of expansion in some direction.  We need change.  Yet we continue to feed the pain and the contraction with thoughts that tell us that change is impossible.  We continue to tell the other person that we are in a relationship with, what they are doing wrong.
Many of us grow up in situations where the people in our lives don’t put any effort or energy into change so that we can feel good and expand and line up with our wants and needs.  We were taught that improvement was not an option.  It’s the mother who says, we have no money for a bike so you cannot have one instead of brainstorming ways to get a bike.  It’s the dad who takes his son to the psych ward to get on medication for his depression rather than tries to find a way that their relationship can feel better.  Take a look at your life.  Chances are as a child, you continued to line up with the message and subsequent belief “there’s nothing I can do or will do to make it better”, “this is just the way it is” “you’re stuck”.  This belief plays out in relationships.  The minute they become painful in any way, we spiral into an emotional place of doom because we feel like this is how it’s going to be.  When we feel powerless to create a change we are desperate for, we begin to criticize.  We tell the other person everything they are doing wrong.  We are screaming for them to change, but they don’t know what that change looks or feels like so they immediately go into defense.  They keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  We end up facing the choice to exit the relationship or to commit to unhappiness.  It is at this moment that we have to stop ourselves dead in our tracks.  We need to remember the sacred directive of relationships.        
The sacred directive of relationships is to use the pain in the relationship and your awareness of what is going wrong to decide clearly what you would prefer.  Use the contrast to decide what you need and want.  Make the changes you want to see as practical as possible.  And communicate that very clearly to yourself and to the other person.  This is actively and intentionally creating your life.  This is the opposite of powerlessness.    
By doing this, you invite the other person into the vibrational frequency of the expansion instead of the contraction.  You invite them into the ‘improvement’ and tell them how to get there.  Instead of showering them with what they are doing wrong, clearly lay out what doing it right would look like to you.  If you are meant to have that relationship in your life, the other person will open to you instead of close to you.  They will move into the expansion and shift.  If they do not, that person’s place in your life needs to change and potentially that means ending the relationship.  
Here’s an example.  Let’s say a woman falls in love with a man.  Soon after the honeymoon phase ends, she realizes that he is a workaholic.  The relationship becomes more and more painful because of all the times that she has to realize that she is not his priority.  Her soul is telling her through that pain that she wants and needs something different.  Let’s say that what she wants and needs is for the man she has committed to, to put the relationship and the sacred space of the partnership first in his life.  He does not have to choose between his work and the woman he loves.  He can have both.  But obviously having both must look differently than it does in order to meet her need.  At this point, the woman will probably spiral into torment because she is believing her thoughts that tell her that she is unloved and unvalued.  She will complain to friends.  She will criticize him and tell him everything he is doing wrong.  He shuts down, which makes matters worse because he disconnects from her more when she does this.  And she is now suffering.  The relationship is headed towards an end.  They are suffering because neither person has used the sacred directive.  They have not used the pain to conceptualize of and create the improvement.  They are telling the story; this is just how it has to be.  
If this woman were to use the sacred directive, she would sit down and decide exactly what this pain is telling her that she wants and needs.  She would then lay that out for him.  For example, when she realizes that what she wants and needs is for the man she has committed to, to put the relationship and the sacred space of the partnership first in his life…  She then tells him this and tells him how to do it.  She may say, “I need you to commit to a solid time at night when you put your computer away and the work day ends and instead your energy goes towards our life here, together.”  And “If our relationship experiences a rupture, I need you to make repair your number one priority and cancel your other plans”.  And “I need you to stay connected to me instead of disconnect and so I would like to go to counseling together to figure out how to stay connected.”
It is up to the man in this scenario to say yes or no.  If he says no, he is saying “I cannot meet this need”.    That’s a problem because you cannot un want what you want or un need what you need.  If the relationship you are in cannot meet your needs and if you cannot think of any creative ways to meet those needs and stay together, the relationship will inevitably end.  
Sometimes, this is how we find out that we are truly incompatible.  That our needs diametrically oppose each other’s needs.  But most of the time, what we find is the opposite.  What we find is that our needs are in alignment with their needs.  Using the above example, often a workaholic is obsessively working so that their success can get them love and thus get them the connection they want.  So, by prioritizing their relationship over their work, they actually do get what they wanted all along.  We often meet a partner or friend whose needs are a perfect match to our own expansion.  So making the changes that need to be made are in both of our best interests.  
In a relationship, once we know the wants and needs, it is up to us to brainstorm how to meet those wants and needs in ways that work for us both.  We need to be as creative as we can be.  And if we cannot, we need to be honest and part ways to create space for people whose needs and wants are a match to our own.  Relationships force us to be adaptable.  But one thing must be said for partnerships, if the health of the partnership isn’t the first priority, you are in a lifestyle arrangement, not a partnership.  Which is fine provided that the other person also wants and needs a lifestyle arrangement.  So be super honest what your true priorities are.  
So the next time you get into pain in a relationship, remember the sacred directive.  Instead of succumbing to the belief that no improvement is possible by spiraling into a bottomless pit of what is going wrong, use your pain to decide what you would prefer.  Consciously design your relationship and life.  And give your partner the opportunity to step into that expanded place.

Fuck The Law Of Attraction

The primary law governing this universe is the law of attraction. Essentially, the law of attraction is a law like gravity on planet earth. It is the state whereby things that are of like frequency are drawn together like a magnet. Like attracts like. 
 
I often call the law of attraction the law of mirroring because the way mirrors work are similar to the idea that created it in the first place. The consciousness we call source created the law of attraction time space reality as a learning hologram that would facilitate expansion. It accomplishes this through the law of attraction in that everything that is within you vibrationally is reflected externally in the world. You can only experience things that are a vibrational match to you. For example, a person who has low self-esteem, attracts circumstances, people, places, events etc. that are a match to the vibration of low self esteem. The idea is that by becoming conscious in this way, we give rise to stronger desire and by following that desire, alter our vibration into something else, and when that new thing is reflected, the process begins all over again. Coming into a law of attraction based reality is the PHD course of self awareness and the expansion which is why so many beings experience enlightenment here.
Having experienced the law of attraction and become conscious of the law of attraction, we are now in the process (as a collective species) of desiring a new law into existence, which will most likely create another time space reality governed by a different law. And why are we beginning to desire and therefore create a new universal law? Because quite frankly, we are experiencing the contrast of the law of attraction itself and for those of us who are experiencing the contrast of the law of attraction, we have one sentiment… Fuck the law of attraction.
The primary example of why is that if you were abused when you were young and couldn’t resolve it when it occurred, you grow up being a match to trauma. So all you attract is more traumatizing experiences. Why is this shitty? The very person who needs tenderness and love the most is in fact the most repetitively hated and hurt. Even though it is fair from a law of attraction standpoint because the universe is simply reflecting what is, it is not fair from so many other perspectives. The law of attraction causes downward spirals worse than any other law we’ve ever seen and people die every day because of not being able to get away from the cycle of being a match to things that are painful, which causes more pain, which increases the point of attraction to things that resonate at the same frequency as pain, which causes more pain which increases the point of attraction to things that resonate at the frequency of more pain, which causes more pain (need I go further?)
There are several reasons I could give for why the law of attraction itself sucks. I’ll let you think about that on your own time. But mostly I want to bring up the fact that people becoming aware of the law of attraction has created its own special little nightmare. Regardless of the fact that the law of attraction is a reality, our awareness of it and then serious lack of understanding about its complexity makes for a social atmosphere in the spiritual community that is enough to cause someone to run for the hills screaming.
For example, people who do not understand the law of attraction well enough, use the law of attraction to justify spiritual bypassing. For more information about how they do this, watch my video on YouTube titled “Spiritual Bypassing”. Spiritual bypassing hurts people. End of story. But the thing that bothers me the most, the thing I’m going to destroy in this episode of Ask Teal is the blame assumption that people make as a result of misunderstanding the law of attraction.
What is the blame assumption? It’s the assumption that because the world functions like a mirror, if anything unwanted is happening to someone, it must be because something about them is not healed or is out of alignment. Just look at the pressure inherent in this belief that if we are doing everything right relative to our thoughts and emotions, that the only thing we will ever experience in our lives is sunshine and roses. So if we attract anything less than that, we’re doing something WRONG. Look at the blaming and shaming that happens when someone manifests something negative in their life. We instantly turn towards them and say, “what did you do to create that?” Yes the law of attraction is a reality, but thinking or acting as if someone is at fault for attracting a rape of a divorce or a car crash is so cruel. And this is what those of us who are conscious of the law of attraction in an elementary way do to each other.
I think it is a good idea to consider over the course of your healing process that something within you is reflecting externally as whatever unwanted experience you are in. This approach not only puts the power back in your hands, but it also helps expansion and learning and awareness so much. But make no mistake. There are times when this approach to understanding what is happening in your reality is nothing short of primitive. This is especially true if you keep doing everything you can think of to try to improve your vibration relative to a circumstance and the circumstance does not get better, but may in fact even get worse. You may spiral at that point into a torture chamber of what the hell you are doing wrong. You may think that if you were doing something right, this wouldn’t be happening. It’s at this point that you need to hold up a mental stop sign for yourself and get something.
When we are aware of the law of attraction, we tell ourselves the story that if we’re using our minds and emotions correctly, anything unwanted shouldn’t be happening. And if it is happening, there is something inside us that needs to be changed or healed right away. And that if we heal it, the unwanted circumstance will immediately change or go away. We RESIST what is happening if we judge it as an unwanted experience. We live in a society that makes anything but sunshine, gumdrops and roses not ok. It is that resistance to the circumstance that is causing us to suffer. What we do not get is that the law of attraction is more complex than that.
When we come into this life, we become two points of perspective. We have two vibrational things going on at all points in time. We are simultaneously our physical perspective that we call by our name. And also we are the eternal perspective that observes through the physical perspective. We often call this aspect our higher self or soul. Guess what? The law of attraction is responding to both aspects of us. You (as a temporal being in this physical body) are essentially co-creating with you (as an eternal being that exists vibrationally). We experience things in our external reality that are a point of attraction for both aspect of us in our day to day life. Sometimes, the circumstance that our higher self is attracting is perfectly in alignment with what we desire because its perspective is different while at the same time, our temporal self judges it as a bad or mistake manifestation. We understand this relative to our incarnation. We can grasp that the higher self perspective may intentionally attract a difficult childhood so that we can get the ball rolling on expansion quickly because that will enable our intention for this life. So even though no one wants a difficult childhood experience on a temporal level, you may ultimately want it because it is the venue through which your desire for this life will manifest.
I’ll tell you a story to highlight what I mean. I had attracted a situation in my life where I was embroiled in a super contentious court battle. Understanding the law of attraction, the first place I wet with that experience was “It must be a match to something unhealed within me, so all I have to do to get out of the experience, is to find and heal or improve the aspect of me that is a match to this court case and the court case will end and my life will go back to peace. I had already judged that if everything was right within me that this court case shouldn’t be happening. Feel the resistance in that? Yet every time I found something that was a point of attraction to the court case, the circumstances of the court case got worse and I was embroiled in it more and more. Then, one day the court case took a turn whereby I was provided the opportunity to stand up and defend myself, something I was never able to do in childhood. It was so healing. Long story short, I finally got that it wasn’t a mistake I was making vibrationally that kept lining me up with this court case. The court case was a perfect match to my actual desires. It was the venue through which they would manifest. I just couldn’t see it from my temporal perspective because I had decided how my life SHOULD look and a court case didn’t fit into that. The court case fit into the category of unwanted.
But what if ‘not good’ is a judgment that is false. What if the unwanted experience is in fact just an ugly package containing the very thing we have been asking for? Then, you can see that nothing has gone wrong if it is in your life. Perhaps instead of changing your vibration so it isn’t part of your experience, you are instead meant to have the experience. And from your higher self perspective it is a GOOD manifestation even though from your temporal perspective it is a BAD manifestation. Perhaps doing the work to alter your vibration enough to allow for your temporal perspective to finally see how the situation is exactly what you have been unconsciously or consciously asking for. This is in fact what Karma is really about. When we are talking about Karma, we are talking about the things that are a point of attraction to our eternal self perspective.
The sentiment ‘everything that is happening is supposed to be happening’ can be a cop out that prevents us from becoming conscious and deliberately creating. On the other hand, the obsessive control over our reality that comes with trying to use the law of attraction to our advantage to deliberately create can be nothing more than resistance. It too can prevent us from being conscious. Conscious of the fact that there might just be more to the situation we find ourselves in than meets the eye. And so, it may just be a good decision to consider that the unwanted circumstance you are in may be no fault of your own, because instead, it may be a perfect match to what you have been wanting all along. A point of attraction to your higher self perspective. You just don’t see it yet. This may just be the way to find alignment with the situation so as to see that very truth.
Stop using your awareness of the law of attraction to beat yourself up. Stop using it to tell yourself that there is something not right or not good or not in alignment about you. Stop using it to add self blame to already painful and unwanted circumstances of your life. Stop telling yourself that if you were in alignment, the painful circumstance in your life wouldn’t be happening. Stop using your point of attraction to reinforce the belief that there is something wrong with you. You can’t know it shouldn’t be happening. Perhaps if you are experiencing something unwanted, nothing has gone wrong. You are simply resisting it and trying to make it go away because you just can’t see how it is right and in alignment yet.
So until we find ourselves in a new time space reality that operates according to a different law, know that the law of attraction is simple but it isn’t as simple as your mind has made it out to be. What is happening is supposed to be happening because, it is happening. So the question to ask yourself is, how do I jump on board with what is happening instead of resist what is happening by trying to get the situation to go away?

How To Listen To Yourself

Some of us know ourselves really well. We hear our inner voice speaking to us loud and clear and we are able to make decisions according to that inner voice quickly. But for some of us, this is not the case. We struggle to know how we feel and what we really think and what we want and don’t want. We have silenced our inner voice. The way to get that inner voice to grow louder is to look for it and listen to it. By doing this the whisper of the inner voice becomes a scream. 
 
We learned to ignore our inner voice because people in our life who mattered to us did not listen to it. Because they treated it like it didn’t matter, we learned that it didn’t matter. So their voice became louder within us than our own voice. We couldn’t hear our own inner voice over the loudness of everyone else’s voice.
The inner voice comes primarily through emotion, sensation and thought rather than an audible voice inside of us, even though it can take on this form sometimes. It is the aspect of our inner self, or core (or what some people call soul) that is telling us about ourselves and about the world we live in at each moment of the day. Some people call the inner voice intuition because it is inner knowing, inner seeing, inner perceiving and inner wisdom.

Not listening to the inner voice leads the body to try to communicate in other ways, through stomachaches and headaches and illnesses and even disease for example. Not to mention that the universe will try to magnify the inner voice through your external reality so you cannot longer run from your own inner truth.
I don’t want you to think that the inner voice is always pure. The inner voice is in fact influenced and distorted by the things we are unconscious of. It is effected by our past experiences, our fears, our beliefs etc. Our inner voice will reflect the exact state of our being with all of its purity and impurity. It is real. The more conscious and awake you become and the more shadow work you do, the more pure the inner voice becomes.
Many people in the business of wellness and spirituality will tell you that you have to ignore the aspect of the inner voice that is always telling you bad things about yourself, criticizing you or making you doubt yourself or making negative judgments etc. And instead only listen for the voice that is protective and loving and confident and clear. But I disagree with this approach completely. The inner voice that nags at you is still an aspect of you. Not listening to it, is not listening to your inner voice. And this type of inner voice is in fact trying to pull your attention to the wounded aspect of you that really needs the attention. And only through really listening to this voice as if it has something valid and important to say (notice I didn’t say true, I said valid and important) can we heal what needs healing inside us so the inner voice that is in a space of stillness and integrity and confidence can surface and speak to us. I am going to boldly tell you that in the end, even if you were never to do any inner work to purify the inner voice, it is critical to listen to what it is saying. It represents what is REAL about you right here and now.
When we are not connected to the inner voice, we are in a state of unconsciousness. We are in self-denial. Our inner voice could be screaming “I hate this person” but on the surface we might say, “I really like that person.” Or our inner voice could be saying “I want to be a singer” but on the surface, we say “I want to do whatever makes the most sense for me.” We go against our intuition sometimes to disastrous ends. Our inner self is ALWAYS communicating with us about its truth. We need to begin to listen. Otherwise, we have nothing REAL to work with. For example, there’s nothing to do shadow work on if you can’t listen to the inner voice. You may have experienced this conundrum when you can see that someone is triggered into an emotional state (which means the inner voice is desperate to be heard) but the person says, “No, I’m fine”. If the inner voice is suppressed in this way, there is nothing that can be done to resolve the trigger because the person is unwilling to listen to the inner voice.
So, how do we listen to the inner voice?
We turn our attention inward, towards our inner world. Imagine your skin was like a film that separated the outer world from your inner world. Pull all of your attention off of the outer world and put it into this inner world. If you need to close your eyes to do this, then do it. Pay attention to the sensations that are happening there in the internal world. Feel them like a unique sensory experience. If this sensation were a color, what color would it be? What texture would it be? Is it moving or still? If it were a shape, what shape would it be? What image do you get in conjunction with this sensation? Start to mentally engage with this image you have in your mind of the sensation. As if the sensation itself is a being or thing that can communicate with you. Start to ask it questions. Any question you feel like asking it is a good question to ask. Ask it questions about itself and about its perspective about you. Questions like “What are you? What do you represent? Why are you here right now? What do you want me to know? What do you need me to do? What is the truth that I do not want to admit to or express right now? If I were to tell the absolute truth in this situation and weren’t afraid to do so, what would the truth be? Listen to the answers that come to you. You may hear the answers or just know the answers or see the answers. No matter how those answers come, know that this is the inner self-communicating with you. This is the inner voice responding to you. Engage with this inner voice in whatever way you feel guided to continue based off of the answers you receive. As if you were literally having an inner conversation with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Let yourself intuitively just experiment with it. When you are feeling a strong emotion, such as when you are triggered or feel inspired, the inner voice is calling for you to listen. Don’t ever think that if you don’t know the reason why you feel the way you do that there isn’t a reason. But even when the inner voice doesn’t call you to listen, it is important to develop attunement with it and periodically check in with your inner voice in the same way that you’d check in with a partner of yours even if they weren’t in a crisis or yelling for your attention. We need to learn to go towards it. If you aren’t sure what the inner voice is saying, don’t rush it. Instead give yourself some time to really look and listen deeply to it so its truth surfaces. Delay making decisions if possible, not so that you can avoid the situation but so that you can make the decision from a space of clarity and with the truth of your whole being behind you.
If the inner voice doesn’t talk to you, be patient with it. This means it is testing you to see how dedicated you are to hearing it. It doesn’t trust you because you’ve denied, ignored, rejected and minimized it for so long. It needs to know you’re out of that abusive pattern before it speaks to you. To understand more about how this dynamic is set up and to learn how to un-do it and to learn how to address your inner voice, watch my YouTube video titled “The Emotional Wake Up Call”.
Practice connecting to your heart. The inner voice often speaks the loudest through your heart. To learn how to do this, watch my video on YouTube titled “Connecting With and Healing Your Heart”. But it is interesting to know that the inner voice can in fact speak through any aspect of you. It is the REAL you. So it can speak for your mind, your heart, your liver, your pancreas, your core or any aspect of you that you may wish to communicate with.
With practice, your inner voice will speak so loudly that you will not need to close your eyes or turn your attention inwards to try to listen to it and try to interpret it. You will not need to visualize to experience it. It will be talking to you in a language you fully understand and so it will come up from within to meet you and then you can choose to express it to the world.
That being said, expression is a good way to give the inner voice the permission to become louder. It’s the opposite of suppression, which is what made the inner voice go silent in the first place. So watch my video titled “How To Express Your Emotion” and make a practice of the process I put forth in that video.
Our inner voice is always talking to us about the things we experience in our lives and the people we meet. In the beginning, when we are first starting to listen to our inner voice, we need to stop and reflect. We need to trace back over what was said or what happened, what we thought about it, and how felt about what we thought. When we do this, the inner voice unearths the pathway by which we arrived at our intuitive reaction in any given situation. It enables us to identify the concrete reasons why for example we hesitated to make a decision that on the surface seemed a good one to make. The more often you're able to recognize why you have the instinctual reactions you do, the more comfortable you'll become that your inner voice can be trusted.
Surround yourself with people who care about your inner voice and who direct you back towards it. If this is an aspect of you life you want to develop, don’t be afraid to tell them that you would like their help when they feel like you’re not listening to your inner voice, to direct you into yourself and enable you to listen to it and ask it questions and then act in accordance with the answers that you receive. It’s really hard to develop the ability to listen to our inner voice and act in accordance with it when we are surrounded by people who minimize it and suppress it and ignore it and don’t consider it.
Sooner or later if you ignore and suppress the inner voice, the universe will find a way to drag you back to it. You will not be able to avoid it. Your life will become too unhappy to have the option to deny it. So I’d rather you live according to it from the get go. Build and direct your life out of the knowing of what is real about you and never let the voice of others, drown your inner voice out.

GET ON THE SAME PAGE (The Secret To A Feel Good Relationship)

In relationships, our differences are like unique flavors that are complementary to the overall flavor of the whole dish. A beautiful relationship is one that involves both autonomy and connection. 
 
Sometimes, we struggle with this concept. We lose ourselves in relationships and begin to perceive the relationship to be inhibiting to our freedom or swallowing of our identity. To enhance your awareness around this concept, I want you to watch two of my videos on YouTube. The first is “How To Develop Healthy Boundaries” and the second is “I Han Have Me and I Can Have You Too”. But sometimes, our struggle for independence and freedom within a relationship leads us to create real problems in our relationships.
On a vibrational level, as spiritual energy incarnated into a physical human perspective in this particular time space reality, we mush be a vibrational match to the people who we come together with in our life. This is the most true of our primary partnership, which is usually an exclusive romantic one. As we progress through life, we give birth to desires and those desires call us forward into our expansion. This forward progression causes change. In order to stay a match to people in our reality, we must change and progress in tandem. If we begin to vibrate at a different frequency and desire different things, we will eventually be led in different directions. This does not work for a partnership. It means the partnership will end. To understand more about this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “The Catch Up Effect, The Real Reason We Fear Change.”
What does this mean? It means quite simply that if we want our relationships to continue long term and if we want to feel good in our relationships, we have to BE ON THE SAME PAGE. When I counsel couples, every conflict I see boils down to this simple thing. The two people involved in the relationship are not on the same page. The differences between their perspectives and desires and therefore thoughts and actions about a subject are causing a wide vibrational gap to form between them.
In a relationship, it doesn’t matter whether one person likes chocolate ice cream and the other likes vanilla. There are a lot of differences of opinion that have no impact on a relationship. However, there are also a lot of differences of opinion that have severe impact on a relationship; things like one person wanting an open relationship and the other wanting an exclusive relationship. These are differences that if not reconciled, will cause an end to the relationship. These are genuine incompatibilities. And the real stress and pressure that is felt in a relationship is about these incongruences.
I’m going to break it to you in this way... In the world today, tolerance of differences is a social value. We love to say, “Agree to disagree” as if it is some enlightened form of acceptance. But it is not, it is nothing more than an unwillingness to try to really understand each other and find common ground. And guess what? Agreeing to disagree about things that have real impact on the choices you make today and thus your direction and thus your future, does not work in relationships. On a vibrational level, it is relationship suicide. It’s like saying to your partner, “Agree to disagree, so you go towards Japan and I’ll go towards Mexico and we can have a partnership from there”. It’s not going to be sustainable. This is why assessing compatibility is such a critical part of dating and forming friendships. And staying in a situation where you are putting up with being on a different page in a way that is causing you pain, is nothing more than endurism. To understand more about this concept, watch my video on YouTube titled: Endurism (The Flip Side Of Escapism).
If you are in pain in a relationship, I guarantee you it is because you are not on the same page. You’re trying to stay together despite the fact that there is a vibrational gap between you. You are in pain in the same way that you would be if you were trying to hold on to two sides of a canyon over a crevasse and the canyon was growing wider and wider and you were being ripped in half as a result. And the only hope of salvaging this relationship so it gets less painful is to get on the same page or part ways.
So what does it mean to be on the same page? It means being in alignment with one another so you are side by side, headed in the same direction. It means reaching agreement. It does not mean one of you gives into the other. It means you do anything you can do to find a meeting of minds so that both of you reach understanding, some kind of agreement and feel good about the direction you are headed. And this requires lots of effective and ongoing communication.
As people, we are in a state of constant flux. We change. And we cannot simply change our mind or our direction and expect our partner to be on the same page as us. Yet, this is what we do so often. We have very poor skills when it comes to resolving differences. We tend to swing to either ends of the scale. Either we give in and silently resent the other person and punish them in passive aggressive ways or we defiantly do whatever we want regardless of whether or not the other person is in agreement. This causes our partner to not trust us and feel abused by us.
What we have to get is that there is another option. To each become very sure of “where we are” emotionally and mentally and what we want so we can communicate it to each other. Then, we seek to find agreement that does not require sacrifice. We seek to find agreement that will feel good to both people.
The beauty of the fact that partners need to be in agreement to stay together is actually universally genius. It forces us to become aware. It forces us to have to expand our mentality and look outside the box so as to find alternatives that are potentially even better than either person had in mind to begin with. This is why it can be a great idea to involve outside perspectives in the attempt to get on the same page. People who are external to the relationship often see alternatives and solutions that both people involved were blind to.
It’s really important to realize that when most people say compromise, they really mean sacrifice what you don’t really want to sacrifice. This kind of compromise never works. It’s no better than agreeing to disagree. You cannot give up something that is important to you and accept what you do not want to accept. This only leads to emotional tension in the relationship and resentment. So, when you are trying to get on the same page in a relationship, don’t think about compromise. Don’t think about both of you giving up something important to you for the sake of the relationship. Think about trying to find a way that works for both of you where neither of you has to give up anything that is important to you. The point of trying to understand each other and see a disagreement from different perspectives is that just the act of doing this can actually change our point of view on the subject so we inevitably make different choices and go a different direction.
Sometimes, when our partner shares his or her perspective, we actually see that their perspective feels more right to our hearts and so we get on the same page as they are on. Other times, they see that our perspective is actually more in alignment and so they get on the same page that we are on. Other times, we both get onto a totally new page, but in alignment with one another. And other times, we find that what feels true and right to our hearts is to be on different pages and end the union in our physical life embodiment. We must allow for all of these potential outcomes when we set out to get on the same page with each other. But if it is a desire to stay together, it is more likely that the universe is simply using you both as a means to create expansion in you both and so, by intentionally finding a meeting of minds, you will get on the same page.
So, first identify what aspects of your life or subjects you are on a different page about where being on a different page is causing you pain. And then, here are some tips for getting on the same page with the person in your life who is on a different page.
Express to the person that you think you are on different pages about something and tell them what that something is. Then, express your need to get on the same page about it and why that is a need of yours. It’s important to make this conversation be one where the style of communication is not attack and defense. It needs to be one that gives both you and them a positive, solution oriented feeling. From there, you both have to agree to sit down with the intention of getting on the same page. Chances are, they will be up for it because they are just as uncomfortable as you are about being out of alignment with each other. When trying to reach a consensus, you have to enter into the conversation genuinely wanting to find a meeting of minds rather than to win or give in. It is important to not abandon yourself and really speak your authentic truth, while simultaneously allowing the other person the space for their authentic truth. The goal at first is to fully understand each other. This is where you put forth your perspective. Often I suggest to people to separately write down their perspective about the situation. Essentially, I have each person become very, very clear about what page they are currently on. Then, both parties come together and begin by sharing what they have written down. The most important aspect of this exercise is to become crystal clear about what you each want in this situation and what you each need in this situation. Then communicate that to each other. Ask as many questions of each other as you can so as to enhance both of your awareness about the situation. The goal in our minds must be finding a solution or option that meets both of our needs instead of compromise. It needs to be a win win. In fact, if you put it like that, you can understand the energy of being on the same page. Both parties have to feel like they have won by agreeing. And if being on the same page means making any concessions, you must make sure that the concession is one you are genuinely ok with giving. If it isn’t, you’ll be on the same page for 3 seconds before you end up on different pages again and so the exercise will have been useless. So we then brainstorm different options that could bring us together in agreement. If need be, we involve other people in this process so we can see alternative perspectives and alternative solutions. For anyone who is interested in some really great tools to use to resolve a conflict between people, I did a video titled: “How To Resolve Conflict” available through YouTube.
Relationships are the heart of our expansion here on earth. If we are suffering in a relationship, it isn’t complicated; it’s really this simple… you’re not on the same page at this red-hot minute. And if we want to maintain these relationships in a way that feels good, it’s really this simple… make an effort to get on the same page.

The Secret To A Happy Life

Life today is complicated. It is so complicated that you will be hard pressed to meet someone who isn’t completely overwhelmed with it. It can start to feel like you are stuck in perpetual angst. You feel pulled in all different directions. The pressure keeps mounting. Life feels unfulfilling. It is at this point that you need to purify your life. And the way to do that is to realize that even though life is complicated, it is also incredibly simple. It is as simple as figuring out what you value and living unconditionally according to those values. You’ve got to prioritize in your life according to your values no matter what. 
 
What is a value? It is what you consider from your honest, authentic core to be most important. Deep inside your heart, what do you really want? Your values are about how you want to be in the world relative to others and to yourself, what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it. When the things we do and the way we behave in the world towards others and towards ourselves match our values, we experience simple contentment. The complications fall away as we purify and streamline or lives in the direction of our true desires.
For most of us, there is a big difference between what we value doing and what we are actually doing, how we value acting and how we actually act. We feel like something is just wrong but don’t know exactly what and so we don’t know what to do about it. If we value spending time connecting with our family, but we work a 70 hour work week, we are not living according to our values. If we value being creative and artistic, but take a job in accounting, we are not living according to our values. If we value being useful to others and doing something of meaning, but sit on the couch binge watching TV, we are not living according to our values. If we value pouring all of ourselves into the pursuit of an achievement, but we quit pursuing our goals for the sake of taking care of someone in our life, we are not living according to our values.
The people who are happy on this earth, are the people who are actually doing what they value doing and acting how they value acting. They do not have the experience of being pulled in many different directions because they know their values enough to be able to prioritize according to those values and let the chips fall where they may. Life will seem much more simple because you will know exactly what decisions to make in your life as long as you are clear about your values.
The hardest part about defining your values (so as to live according to them), is to be brutally honest with yourself about what your actual values are. We live in a society that tells us some values are more acceptable than others. Some values make you good, while other values make you selfish and bad. In other words, you’ve been raised to think some values are right and some are wrong. This invalidation of our actual values (and subsequent true priorities) is what caused us to get out of touch with our actual values. To actually live according to our values, we need to be willing to consider that we may actually have values that we have been conditioned to believe are not acceptable to have in comparison to other values. This is especially true when we are expected to self-sacrifice. Essentially, other people expect us to have the same values that they have and thus prioritize according to those priorities.

Value conflicts are the main cause of incompatibility in couples. They are responsible for a huge number of the breakups you see happening in the world. Obviously if we are in a relationship and if values are reflective of our true desires, and our true desires are taking us in opposite directions, towards opposite ends, there is no way to keep the relationship together. The conflict will just keep mounting until there is a rupture beyond repair. This is why it’s so critical to figure out your values and to find a partner whose values are consistent with your own. I think this should in fact be the most important part of dating websites.
Values are not the same as goals. A goal is something that is achieved and then it’s done. Values are about something important that is ongoing. It is something you keep doing for as long as you hold that value, potentially for the rest of your life, as opposed to something that gets crossed off your list once it is achieved. For example, achieving a gold medal win at the Olympics is a goal, not a value. But achieving as an ongoing principal is a value. But there’s noting wrong with goals, in fact your goals can be a good way to figure out what your actual priorities are.
You have values relative to every sector of your life. You have values relative to work, values relative to friendships, values relative to marriage, values relative to parenting, values relative to personal growth, values relative to spirituality, values relative to leisure and the list goes on and on.

So how do you figure out your values? I have some questions here for you to answer…
Looking back at your life: When were you the absolute happiest and why? What were you doing, what factors contributed the most to your happiness? When were you the most proud of yourself and why? When did you experience the most fulfillment and meaning and why?
Looking at your life now: What situation makes you the unhappiest and why? What desire or need is missing from your life now? What part of your life now makes you feel the happiest and why? What provides the most meaning and what makes you feel the most proud and the most fulfilled in your current life?

Look at each aspect of your life and ask yourself, what personal qualities do I want to bring to this aspect of my life? How would I behave and what would I do if I were the ideal version of myself relative to this aspect of my life?
Looking at your future: If you could design the perfect life for yourself, what would it look like? What would you be getting out of your life being that way? What is the best part of your ideal future life, the part that matters the very most to you? What would make you the most proud, feel the most fulfilled and give your life the most meaning and why?
Ideally, you could design a life where you are able to make space for all your various values. You could engage in one value, without taking away from another value. But values are all about clarifying our prioritization. They dictate what we decide to do and not do.
This universe, being a time space reality of growth, loves to gain self-awareness through making you choose between top priorities. It loves to put you in a pinch where you have to decide what you really want. And if you don’t make this choice consciously, you will make it subconsciously. The problem is, the subconscious often prioritizes what provides safety as opposed to what provides the most personal fulfillment. So, you run the risk of losing something that is actually the most important to you by not consciously acknowledging this is your number one value and therefore priority and making life choices accordingly. For this reason, when we are looking at our values, we need to ask ourselves, “If I could only satisfy one of these values, which one would I choose?” If you don’t know what your true values are, life will teach you. Unfortunately, it likes to do so through the school of hard knocks. It will put you in all kinds of painful situations so you can figure out what you don’t want and consequently, highlight what you do want with glaring color.
You need to prioritize your top values and when push comes to shove, prioritize your number one core value above all others. Now is the time to take a look at your life and to be really honest about how you are not living in alignment with your top value or values. From here, it’s about deciding how to live in alignment with your actual values. It’s about asking what changes you could make today to do that. When you decide what steps to take in order to live in alignment with your goal, break those into even tinier steps and then, follow through.
When you are looking at your top values, ask yourself if these values feel true for you. Do they cause you to feel integrity? Can you proudly proclaim them to others and would you support these values even if they come with consequences or conflict with the values others expect you to have?
People ask me all the time how I deal with so much opposition and pressure in my career. The answer is simple, I decided long ago; after a suicide attempt in my teens in fact that nothing was ever worth living out of alignment with my true values. In my career, I am living according to my values and so I am willing to face the consequences and impact of living according to those values because anything is better than not doing so. It gives me a very strong core.
Sometimes values are a bit confusing when we decide that we value feeling a certain way or having a certain kind of person in our life or achieving a specific goal. When this is the case, you can ask the following questions:
Perhaps you decide you want to feel a certain way. Such as be happy. Ask yourself, If I did feel happy, then what would I do differently than I am doing today? What would I be doing more of or less of?
Perhaps you decide you want a certain kind of person or friend or romantic partner. Ask yourself, if I did have this kind of person in my life, how would I act or what would I do in the relationship? What qualities would I want to bring into the relationship? What steps could I take on my side to line up with that person?
Perhaps you have a specific goal you want to achieve. If this is the case, you just have to ask yourself, what am I trying to get out of meeting this goal? Or what is this goal in service of?
Determining your core values is the most important part of becoming aware of your values. Your core values are the absolute deepest values you have. They work similarly to core beliefs. They are at the root of all other values. To find these, we need to ask ourselves, what would this value mean to me? For example, if a value I have is making money and I ask myself what would making money mean to me? The answer may be freedom. Freedom is a core value of mine. I then make choices in my life in accordance with freedom. Or say spending time with my partner is a value, if I ask what would spending time with my partner mean to me? The answer is connection. Connection is a core value of mine. I then make choices in my life in accordance with connection. And if this core value is my top value, everything else in my life comes second to connection. We can take this deeper and deeper if we choose. For example, I could ask what would connection mean to me? Only to find that there is a value even deeper than connection such as belonging.
Strong emotions are always connected to a core value, which is why being really upset is a perfect time to really center in on our core values. The situation we are in, where we are really upset, is essentially threatening one of our core values. So use those times that you get triggered to really become clear about your core values. Look closely at how your life is not being lived in accordance with your core values!
Changing your life to live according to your priorities involves a lot of risk. It is a message to the universe about your actual commitment and where you are actually choosing to put your energy. It is a message to the universe that you are so committed to your value that you are willing to lose things that you are attached to that do not compare to your top value. And the universe will respond by falling into alignment with out top value.
It is very easy to put off acting in accordance with your values because of the risk involved. For example, say your value is spending time connecting with your romantic partner, but you think that to do that you have to make enough money to be able to quit your job and do that. This situation requires that you live out of alignment with your values today, working constantly to make enough money to quit, so you can live in alignment with that value one day in the future. This does not work. There is no true future in this universe. There is only now. The universe responds to your prioritizing in alignment with your values today. Do today as you would do in the future. That is the only way the future will look different and be the one that actually reflects your genuine values. And there must be no conditions set on living in alignment with your values. No exceptions. If of course you want to live a happy life.
Values may change over the course of your life. So you must let them change and let your life change accordingly. Living unconditionally in alignment with your true values is a lifelong practice. Meaning it never ends. It is the north star of our life. They are the foundation of who you are and what you stand for. Don’t try to talk people into having the same values as you have, just find people who already integrally have the same values. Because living in alignment with your core values is a scary change, I encourage you to watch my video on YouTube titled: The Catch Up Effect, The Real Reason We Fear Change. It is my promise to you, that even though it is frightening, you will never do more service to your life by doing anything than you will by changing your life so as to live in perfect alignment with your priorities today. So don’t let anyone talk you out of your core values. Knowing them and living by them is the difference between just going through the motions and really living.

Why People Cheat and Have Affairs

For so many thousands of years, infidelity has been so closely linked to immorality that it’s difficult to have a conscious conversation about it. It is such a hot button subject that you can almost feel the hair standing up on people’s arms when the subject even comes up. 
 
For those of us who have been cheated on, the experience of being cheated on causes wounds that leave us bitter and distrusting. For those of us who have cheated on our partner, the experience of cheating makes us feel ashamed of ourselves and condemned. Hardly anything else that we can do to each other creates more relationship insecurity. We walk into all subsequent relationships with that relationship insecurity. And the biggest part of that relationship insecurity is that we do not understand what causes people to cheat. Knowing what causes people to cheat, allows us to understand what we can do to prevent it.
I am going to progress throughout the rest of this video with the assumption that cheating means two people have both previously agreed to an exclusive romantic and sexual relationship and thus cheating is a betrayal of that agreement.
Most of us get into relationships because we desire to feel the security and consistency of connection. We often call this love. Also, many of our emotional needs are satisfied by having this consistent, secure connection. In order to feel loved, we have to see that these emotional needs are being considered and consistently met by our partner. Sorry to break it to you, you are not a one-person show. Many of the emotional needs you have, require another person or thing to be in relationship to, regardless of what you’ve been taught by spiritual people who profess the highly wounded egoic idea of being all things unto yourself.
This is a bit tricky because some of our emotional needs seem contradictory. For example, we have the need for autonomy and also the need for unity. And so much of the struggle in relationships is in fact about this conflict between seemingly opposing needs. To understand more about this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “I Can Have Me and I Can Have You Too”.
We have been telling the lie that cheating is all about poor self-control or about lust. Well guess what? Cheating is not about those things at all. We’ve been telling the lie that if a person loves you, they will never ever cheat on you and so if they cheat, it’s because they don’t love you. Again, this is not true at all. To understand more about this concept, watch my video on YouTube titled: “Endurism”. We’ve been telling the story that the person who cheats is the bad guy and the person who is cheated on is the victim. Again, this is not the full picture. So, knowing that everything we’ve been telling ourselves about cheating is a lie, what is the truth about cheating?
We cheat because our emotional needs aren’t being met in our current relationship. It is literally as simple as that. For example, one person may feel like they are losing themselves in a relationship and so they need to feel a sense of their own autonomy. By cheating, they are able to feel sovereign and strengthen their sense of separate self. Or another person might start to feel lonely and worthless in a relationship. By cheating, they are able to feel attractive and thus better about themselves and also feel the emotional connection they are being starved of by their partner. Knowing that cheating is a way of getting emotional needs met, it is easy then to see how cheating could become chronic or habitual. It could turn into an addiction such as sex and love addiction or porn addiction to help someone escape their feeling of inner emptiness and isolation. For more information about this, watch my video on YouTube titled: “How To Overcome Porn Addiction”.
Look back at the situations you’ve been involved in relative to cheating and try to see what unmet need you were trying to meet by cheating. Here’s an example. I remember cheating on a guy when I was teenager. At this time, he was a golden child who had everything good in life and loved life and I was the black sheep who couldn’t stop being hurt and who hated life. I began to feel less and less understood by him. My need to feel understood and seen and heard and felt turned into isolation every time he’d tell me to just lighten up and tell me I was just too negative. Eventually, I met a guy in anger management class who was an orphan and obviously in pain. He hated life just as much as I did because life treated him bad too. I ended up cheating on my boyfriend (even though I loved him more than anything) with this new guy because doing so, made me feel seen and heard and understood and as if I actually had some company where I was at. It made my sense of isolation disappear for a time. My needs were not being met within the relationship I had previously committed to.
I also remember being cheated on in my 20s. I was in a really dark space at the time and I had a habit of criticizing my partners. Gradually, the guy I was with started to feel less and less respected by me. His self-esteem went way down when he was with me. Eventually, he cheated on me. And years later he confessed that he just felt like he needed to feel respected and good about himself. He cheated on me with a girl who felt “over the moon excited” to be with him. He didn’t love her, but she showered him with compliments. His needs were not being met within the relationship.
I will say it again; cheating rarely has anything at all to do with loving or not loving a person. It has to do with emotional needs not being met. Does this mean cheating is good? Again, this is a debate over right and wrong or good and bad, which is futile. I’d rather say cheating is best avoided because it hurts both people. It causes suffering to the cheater and the cheated on. But so does just putting up with your needs not being met consistently. This is endurism. And there is something you can do to prevent both cheating and relationship endurism. That thing, is communicating.
Cheating does not happen in an atmosphere of effective communication. We need to become aware of what our needs are (especially the ones that are going unmet) and we need to voice our needs to our partner. We need to become aware of our partner’s needs (especially the ones that are going unmet) and from there, we need to discuss a way to meet both our needs and our partner’s needs within the context of the relationship. We need to have these crucial conversations the minute that the warning signs come up. And guess what, we need to be tuned into our partner enough to notice these warning signs. Also, communication doesn’t just happen in the form of talking.
In partnerships, we make bids for affection. For example, we may inch up close to our partner or crack a joke or do their laundry or do any number of things that essentially say, “I want to connect”. We often totally miss these bids. If we do notice them, we either intentionally ignore them, turn against them or turn towards them. Let’s say our partner buys us flowers as a bid for connection. We could ignore the bid completely and not acknowledge the flowers. We could turn against the bid by getting angry at him for doing it. Or we could turn towards the bid by thanking him for it and admiring the flowers. We have a way of telling our partners about our unmet needs through these bids. The relationships that make it, are the ones where partners notice and turn towards their partner’s bids.
I will warn you that sometimes, when we are open about our needs within a relationship, we find that our values are incompatible. For example, one person needs and values openness and the other needs and values privacy. This incompatibility makes a relationship not possible because there is no reasonable way to meet one partner’s needs in a way that feels comfortable to the other. We get to choose at this point to sacrifice our needs and values for the sake of the relationship (I have never seen this work long term) or break up.
If a partner is not willing to try to make the relationship work by finding ways to meet your needs and by voicing their needs, you are in an abusive or a one sided relationship and this also means you are with a partner who is not committed and is therefore not workable and you need to consider breaking up. I realize this is easier said than done. But you cannot have a need and not meet that need. To understand more about this, watch my YouTube video titled: “Meet Your Needs.”
All this being said, the vast majority of the time we will find that our needs and values are in fact compatible and there are ways to meet both partner’s needs within the relationship so both partners feel fulfilled and secure. And we need to have this conversation and keep on having it way before cheating presents itself as an option. Cheating is a last resort in relationships. It usually means the emotional tension has been high and people have been dissatisfied in the relationship for a really long time. Keep in mind that fidelity itself is a big issue in relationships and we often walk into relationships assuming we have the same definition of infidelity, when we do not. So this is also a conversation we need to have with our partner before entering into relationships. To understand more about this, watch my YouTube video titled: “Fidelity and Infidelity in Relationships”. When our needs aren’t being met, we tend to be less vocal instead of more vocal and this is the same as signing a relationship death warrant.
You need to know yourself in order to communicate yourself to your partner. Let’s assume you had to give a speech all about slime mold today on the spot. Chances are you’d be a terrible communicator about slime mold because you don’t know the first thing about it. So become an expert on yourself. Become an expert on your desires, your values, your needs, your truths and your authentic self. Then share these things with your partner. Your partner wants this information. Chances are what is driving them crazy is the confusion that is coming as a result of not knowing these things. And if you need help having this conversation, involve a trusted third party to do so. Choose someone who is not going to be biased towards one person’s needs or another, but who is instead going to help you communicate both your needs and find a way where you can meet them collectively.
The betrayal of cheating may not be justified. It is still the person’s choice to take the action, instead of to communicate their needs and figure out either how to meet them, or how to end the relationship. But knowing that unmet needs are the motivators for cheating helps us to know what we need to be continually focused on and fine-tune in our relationship so we can create an atmosphere of relationship security instead of emotional unsafety.

Endurism

How many of you have heard the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Or “No pain, no gain?” Or how about “It is what it is?” These sayings all have one thing in common. They help you to release resistance to a situation where you feel helpless to get out of a painful situation. 
 
Releasing resistance is a good thing. So where is the harm in these sayings? The harm is that they can serve as justifications for not actively making changes so as to move beyond a painful situation. They can serve to keep you stuck in pain.
We know the danger of escapism. We know the pain of being around a fair weather friend. We feel the frustration of spiritual bypassing. Many of us have a fairly good grasp at this point about the fact that running away from pain and from things that scare us is not the way to create a fulfilling life. But we need to be aware that there is danger at the other side of the scale as well. There is danger in becoming attached to pain, unwilling to leave it. I have decided to name this danger “Endurism”. Endurism is equally as unhealthy as escapism. It is a coping strategy. It is a coping strategy for dealing with the perception that we are helpless to get our needs met. But it is a coping strategy that ensures you will spend you life coping with a painful life instead of creating life you enjoy.
We live in a world full of super mixed messages. Our current society is all about avoiding pain and being happy happy happy. Just look at the way we deal with negative emotions in ourselves and others. Just take a look at our consumer products and you will see this. And yet, on the other hand, we live in a world that glorifies struggle and pain and suffering. All the medals and trophies go to the people who struggle and self sacrifice and who take pain upon themselves in various ways. We believe there is serious virtue in suffering.
The various religious and spiritual communities around the world take this to a whole other dimension by virtue of their addiction to goodness and rightness. We stay in situations and perpetuate situations that are causing us pain so we can feel like we are good and doing what’s right. It’s a dull and ongoing form of martyrdom. There is an element of endurism in every codependent relationship.
And within the law of attraction communities, we are often so aware that escapism doesn’t work that we swing the pendulum to the complete opposite side of the scale. We know it doesn’t work to try to take actions to make change that are not first backed by changes in thought. But we often get stuck there. We forget that in the physical dimension action is actually part of the change process. It may be the second step, but it is a step we must eventually take. We tell ourselves there’s nothing we can actually do about a situation because we are a match to it. So we will just learn how to allow it and trust that the universe will eventually take it away and take that action step for us. In reality, part of the path of improving your vibration will involve literally taking actions that are in alignment with improvement. Sometimes taking the change action is in fact the only way to increase your frequency further.
In endurism, we are in fact escaping something. That something is the fear of making a change and the responsibility required to actually make that change. Our ego fears that by making the change that will enable us to progress and reach our joy, we will become a bad person and therefore lose connection with the people and things we want to be connected to. For more about this concept, watch my video on YouTube titled: The Catch Up Effect, the real reason we fear change.
Let’s peel back the layers and look at yet another angle of this issue. When we are young, what we want is for someone to love us unconditionally. We want them to be connected with us no matter whether we are feeling negative emotion or positive emotion. But what actually happens? People don’t unconditionally love us and they demonstrate that their connection to us is contingent upon us feeling good. To understand more about this, watch my video called “The Emotional Wakeup Call”. Anyway, I have very little patience for the way that people shame this wound and subsequent desire with sayings like “misery likes company”. Misery likes company because it needs company. Take a look at how this is true of your own suffering.
When we have this wound, we develop the idea that if someone loves us, they will endure any amount of pain to be with us. Essentially, we all desperately want someone to say “I’d rather be in pain and with you than happy without you”. In fact, over the course of our relationship, we begin to incrementally cause them pain and put them in painful situations with us. We are doing this subconsciously but deliberately to try to create the experience of someone loving us so much that they will endure anything to be with us. We want the opposite of a fair weather partner. We want something secure and reliable. We expect them to endure pain for our sake and for the sake of our connection. We have been taught that this is love. In other words, edurism is undeniably linked to love for many of us. But it is at this point that our partner says, “Wait a minute, no… If you loved me, you wouldn’t want me to be in pain or expect me to be in pain or cause me pain or put me in situations that cause me pain. You’d take the pain away or rescue me from it”. And low and behold, a relationship stand off begins.
And now let’s peel back the layers even further. When we were young, we were absolutely powerless to our parents and caregivers. This means, if we were in pain or had a need or desire, we were dependent on them to remedy the pain or meet the need. And what do we find? All too often, our parents gave us the message “sorry kid, there is nothing I can do about it, you’re just gonna have to put up with it.” We were not enabled to brainstorm ways to actually improve the situation or meet our needs or reach our desires or find alternatives to doing what we don’t want to do. We learn because of the situation we grow up with that we just have to put up with feeling unsafe or put up with having no money or put up with not being able to have the things we want or put up with being abused or put up with doing things we don’t want to do.
This is one of the most detrimental mistakes that parents make. Parents feel trapped in their life and so what do they do? They teach their kids that they are trapped too. This is the stage for endurism. And we wonder why so many people today walk around in adulthood saying “I hate my job, but I have to go to work anyway” or “I hate my marriage but I’m just gonna have to put up with it until the kids go to college.”
This is my advice to parents out there reading this. You want to maintain your own healthy boundaries while helping your kids to grow up unlimited by your boundaries. You want them to grow up with an attitude of freedom and with an attitude of “I can”. Not with an attitude of I’m limited, I can’t or I’m trapped. You would rather raise an adult who actively makes positive change in their life than raise one who is really, really good at enduring pain and hanging in there. So I’m asking you to lead by example. Quit enduring in your own life and if there are ways you’re demonstrating “you have to just put up with it” to your kids, remember that this is the lesson you are giving them for their whole life about their pain, not just this specific situation. I suggest seriously involving them in the process of brainstorming. Make them think their way out of painful situations and take actions to actualize their desires. Change the conversation in your family from “We can’t” to there’s always a way so, “How can we”? All that happens when we feed kids the message that they have to endure something and can’t make any change to remedy the situation is we force the kid to develop an attachment to enduring. They have to become ok with enduring. They have to find spiritual and non-spiritual ideologies that support the idea of enduring. They will grow up to force their partners and kids to endure. They will become stuck and trapped and subconsciously think that to stay stuck and trapped is virtuous. You’re gonna raise a kid that is great at coping as an adult. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to raise a coper. So teach them freedom instead.
Now beware, when you look at the “endurism” you are engaged in relative to your life, you are going to become very defensive. You are going to find all kinds of reasons why it is good or right to perpetuate your painful situation. But reasonability is the enemy of progress. You have plenty of incredibly valid reasons to justify your endurism. No one is trying to convince you that your reasons are not valid. I’m just trying to convince you that your valid reasons aren’t good enough to justify living a miserable life.
Endurism is limiting. It is nothing more than the age old story of the elephants who are tied to a tree trunk they cannot move when they are little, only to grow to a size where they could easily move the tree trunk and not even realize it. So they stay tied to it unnecessarily. It is a taught limitation that turns into a self-imposed limitation. And sooner or later, an endurer is going to break. Endurism is to blame for most all chronic illness. It is to blame for terminal illness most especially. If we endure, the universe will eventually put us in a change or die scenario so we will get back on board with expansion. This is what terminal illness is all about… make changes for the better in your life or die. This is what life crisis is really about too. If you endure something despite desiring something else, there will eventually be destruction to the thing you are enduring. As in everything will literally fall apart so you no longer have anything to lose by following your joy.
Here’s an analogy. You are on a boat in the ocean. You don’t like that boat. So you desire a different boat. So it comes. And you still wont get off your old boat. You have lots of reasons for not getting off your old boat. So the universe says… “hm… I’m gonna have to make it easier for them to get off their old boat and onto the new one, so I’m gonna poking holes in the old boat”. But when the boat starts to spring leaks, instead of jumping on the new boat, you run around trying to patch up the holes on your old boat. Eventually, the only way to get you onto the new boat is for the universe to quite literally sink your boat so you end up in the water with the choice to drown or get on the new boat. This is why despite the fact that “Follow Your Joy” sounds like a precious and trite spiritual nugget, it is actually a super serious commandment not to be messed with. Anyone who has denied their own expansion will tell you that.

So how do you end endurism? Become acutely aware of the situations in your life you think you have to endure. Get really aware about the excuses you make so as to justify enduring those situations. Look for ways you actually DO have a choice in the situations you’re stuck in. Look at things you could actually do to make a change. Take your power back. Involve other people in the process too. Sometimes the elephant needs to be told by someone, “Hey… you’re three thousand pounds… you can move the damn tree trunk now”. Other people, who are on the outside of our jail cell, tend to be way better at seeing the way we can get out of the jail cell than we are from the inside.
Stop using spiritual ideologies and spiritual truths that are designed to help people release resistance to pain as an excuse to stay in the pain you’re in. Stop telling yourself or the people in your life that there’s nothing to be done and so how it is, is just how it’s going to be. Alternatively, you could keep doing that and watch your boat sink and their boat sink too
Did it ever occur to you that you did not come to this life to cope with life. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you came here to positively change life? And if it’s not you, then who is it going to be? Stop keeping your power locked away. Every great invention or revolution or personal change is the result of someone refusing to keep coping with life the way it is and deciding to get outside the box to go in the direction of what they would prefer. Every one of us in the world benefits from this kind of person.
The way out of endurism is very simple. It is to follow your joy. Prioritize things in your life and live your life completely according to your values. And anytime you run into a perceived limitation, start looking for the loopholes and levers that will get you to freedom instead. And when you are dealing with other people, perpetuate their freedom instead of imprisonment. Help them find the loopholes and levers that will get them to freedom. See that love is not about enduring pain. Encourage them to live their life according to their values. Enable them to follow their joy.

The Catch Up Effect (The Real Reason We Fear Change)

It doesn’t take a genius to see that there is so much fear around change. Most of us resist change like the plague. We would so much rather stick with what is familiar to us, even if it is causing us pain. Why is this the case? 
 
We cannot stand the pain of uncertainty. I did a whole video on this subject on YouTube incase you ever want to check it out. It’s called How to Deal With Uncertainty. Essentially, uncertainty is the state of being when something is either not known or not decided. When something is not known or not decided relative to a circumstance that causes us stress or pain, we feel vulnerable, anxious and helpless. But what I would like to expose to the collective consciousness today is that there is one particular type of uncertainty that creates the vast majority of our unwillingness to make changes in our life.
As humans, we are a group species. This means that our survival and ability to thrive is dependent upon being connected to other people. We have very real needs that do not go away when we grow older, which are dependent upon other people being there. In fact, most of the emotional needs are related to our connection with other people, such as the need to feel understood and to feel seen and to feel heard and feel belonging and to feel connection. This means, when we form bonds with others, those attachments are very, very strong. We depend on them so as to not starve emotionally. And in my opinion, emotional starvation is more of a threat to the physical human than physical starvation. This is why when someone is heart broken; you often see them quite literally starve themselves and loose weight dramatically. This indicates that emotional needs in fact rank higher for the physical human than physical needs. Separation from someone who you are attached to creates terror for you as a physical human.
We live in a vibrational universe. Everything is vibration. Generally speaking, over the curse of our life, if we are committed to growth and expansion our vibration will continually increase. Even if someone is not ‘conscious’ of growth specifically and simply makes a change for the better to their life, their vibration will increase. In a universe based on the law of attraction, we can only come into contact with and stay in contact with things that we are a vibrational match to in one way or another. So what happens if we change our vibration? We run the risk of no longer being a match to the people who we are currently bonded with in our current vibration. We run the risk of losing them. We run the risk of losing our connection. This triggers our attachment based self-preservation system. We would rather preserve our connection at all costs rather than become isolated, which is the number one worst fear for the physical human. It is a torture that far exceeds death. We would rather preserve our connection even if it means dropping anchor in the stream of expansion and staying stuck where we are, in excruciating pain.
The uncertainty that makes us incapable of making change is the uncertainty of whether or not the people and things we are bonded with and attached to will be lost to us as a result of making the change. Take a look at the story you are telling yourself about the change you are afraid to make and see how the deepest root of it, is in fact the fear of loss of connection and separation. For example, you may come from a background of poverty and you may not be making the changes to create wealth in your life. You may tell yourself that you are afraid of success. But is that really true? Or is it that you fear that by becoming successful, you are going to be shunned by your family, who has put down rich people all their life and made rich people ‘not one of them’. Or you may be afraid to make the change to your life to come out to your parents as gay, because you fear that they will reject you. Or you may be afraid to move to a different city because someone in your family needs you. By moving, you will feel guilty and bad and because being bad in your childhood led to punishments like time outs (disconnection), you are convinced that moving means losing your connection with them.
I call this the “catch up effect”. I call it this because any time you make a change for the better that increases your vibration and causes you to expand, the things and people in your life, must play catch up for you to stay a match to each other vibrationally. Luckily, because expansion is in the best interests of all beings, and because by loving them, you want to stay connected, the universe brings every opportunity to those things and people to make the shift with you. The universe does this in kind ways but also violent ways. In other words, by going with the current of your own expansion, it turns the fire up on the expansion of other people around you.
A while back, I was in the middle of a deep healing process and I got to a point where I could feel this process was about to change my entire vibration and my entire perspective on life and also my boundaries. I could feel that I was shifting in a way that would make me no longer a match to the relationship I was in, in it’s current form. I was so afraid of it that I went numb and couldn’t make myself continue with the process I was engaged with. I knew that by continuing, I was making a conscious decision to risk disconnection with my partner. I had to deal with that fear first before continuing. I had to become ok to potentially lose the connection so as to continue with the current of my own expansion. Fortunately, I was in a relationship with a man who was equally committed to growth and health and so when this terror came up, he essentially gave me permission to shift, even if it made our connection in our current state less secure. He later shifted with me. But I have had plenty of relationships where shifting meant losing the relationship in the physical dimension. I tell you this story to illustrate just how intense this fear is for us all.
Most people think it would be an absolute delight to be in a relationship with a spiritual teacher, like myself. But what they do not know is that the stream of expansion is flowing so fast through people who actively pursue and commit their life to awakening and expansion, that everyone in their life is drug along in that fast moving current. The flames of expansion can be turned up so high around people like myself that people who resist their on growth at all, get burnt by it. It can be agony to continually be forced to play vibrational catch up with someone you are in a relationship with so as to stay a match to them.
It is at this point that I will issue a small warning. The human ego, being comparative and competitive in nature, is tempted to use this idea of vibrational catch up as a means to strengthen its own sense of superiority. So I do not want you to begin using this catch up effect as an excuse to fuel your own sense of superiority. A person who is expanding is not “better” than anyone else. They have simply made a choice to ride the current of expansion. Rather I want you to use the catch up effect to understand what is going on in your life when you make a change and why you resist change so much.
Even the most unconscious person on this earth is a spiritual being and is therefore subconsciously aware of this effect. And so, on a subconscious level, he or she will be afraid to make changes to their life because they wish to prevent the pain of disconnection. He or she will most likely have to get to a point where the pain of staying as is, is equivalent to the pain of changing. In other words, they may have to feel as if they have nothing to lose for them to actually make a change. And the universe is perfectly willing to make this happen. Terminal illness in fact is all about this. It’s the universe putting you in a “you have noting more to lose… so change” scenario.
There is an old saying that goes, “To get what you want, you have to let go of what you don’t want”. This feels a bit like letting go of one ledge of a cliff in the hope that another ledge will catch you. So it is totally understandable why we would avoid this. This is a tormenting degree of uncertainty. If you are afraid of change, ask yourself “what or who am I afraid of losing my connection with by making this change?”
So what would I say to someone who is suffering from the fear of this catch up effect of universal expansion? I would say that you will find connection on the other side of your disconnection and that connection will feel so much better than the connection you have now. I understand you don’t have proof of that yet. And I trust that when you are ready to pull up your anchor and go with the current of your own expansion, you will do it.
I would say that the real dilemma of this life is that no one is exempt from the current of expansion. It is the reason we came into this life. So you must go with the direction of your healing, progression and desires or as you have noticed, you will suffer greatly. Do you want to live your life being held back in the prison of that pain so as to guarantee you will stay connected with someone? Is it even loving to them to do that; or by doing that are you preventing their growth, expansion, highest happiness and healing too? Perhaps the universe is calling you to make this change for the sake of them too, so you can call them into alignment with their own expansion.
Wouldn’t you rather have relationships where you are committed to consciously staying a match to one another by both committing to growth? Wouldn’t you rather have relationships where the other person looks you in the eye and says, I want your healing and your progression and your happiness and so I am committed to shifting with you when you shift rather than expecting you not to shift so as to stay connected to me? Wouldn’t you rather be this kind of friend or partner to others? Would you ever consciously want someone to give up on their own happiness, health and progress just to stay in a relationship with you? On a conscious level, no one wants this of anyone. The time has come to heal our past trauma around disconnection, separation and the isolation that followed.
Awareness is the principal ingredient for change. All other ingredients are accessory to it. And so, just by becoming aware of “the catch up effect” and seeing that it is really the root of our fear of change, we are a great deal closer to making change. When we can stare this root of our fear of change directly in the eye, we can resolve it and change will be the inevitable result.

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