What is the Spiritual Awakening?

The Spiritual Awakening is the idea that in our current times, there is a renaissance going on that is helping people escape the shackles of society and become more in touch with their true nature as beings. This movement is called the spiritual awakening, and it’s something everyone can take part in.

Spirituality and religion are two closely interrelated, but also vastly different entities. Spirituality is grounded in the notion that each and every one of us creates our own truth, and our own mission in life. Religion is grounded in the idea that there is a set docket of values and notions to follow, and these should be heeded closely and enforced.

Religion and Spirituality | Liturgy

As a part of the spiritual awakening in our times, it is encouraged for people to look internally and ask themselves, “What is it I really want to be doing with this life?” We can even try and reach down to the depth of our souls, and ask ourselves “When am I feeling my best?” or “When is my “vibration” highest? When do I feel the most alive?

To me, what I mean when I say “how I am vibrating” is, the sense of expansion, and warmth, and energetic increase that I feel with certain actions. Listening to the handpan, in its transcendent tones and utter tranquility as an instrument, oftentimes gets me into this “vibrating” feeling, along with meditation and yoga. Triggering these energy levels can be incredibly refreshing and revitalizing, and allows me to grow deeper into myself, and experience different, joyful pathways of happiness.

Where to buy genuine handpan drum instruments | AZ Big Media

For myself, I find that the transcendent notes of the handpan always call to me blissfully, as well as dancing. Dancing has always been something that helps me feel the most free, ever since I discovered it in college. I always had a really tough time making conversation at parties, so eventually I just decided to let the dance floor be my night at the party, and that’s where I spent my time. As for the handpan, this instrument is simply delightful in the way it sounds, the relaxation of it, and I simply can’t get enough of the way it sounds and makes me feel! The handpan and dancing have been great inspirations for me to get deeper into learning myself, my love for life (always a work in project), and becoming the truest version of myself.

Because, overall, what I think, is that the lives we live are most full for each of us when we become the truest version of ourselves, and express our truth to the world on a daily and momentary basis. That’s the number 1 way to become the happiest version of yourself, and get the most out of ourselves in this time alive. A lot of people in the world will say that it is chasing status or getting to a certain level of income, but I don’t think it’s that. Many of the happiest people I have ever met were in the marijuana industry, and these were very low income folks who had even spent time homeless, and they were happy as a clam. Not a thing to worry about, they lived their truth and focused on what mattered to them, with their happiness was through the roof.

Living our truths, expressing ourselves, and focusing on the wants and needs of the soul are what I think the spiritual awakening is all about. Creating a world that better complements the human condition, creating a world that allows us to be the free souls that we were all born as, I believe these are the key tenets to life.

So what can you do? Make a change! Take anything in your life that you can’t stand and get rid of it. Speak your truth! Or don’t say a word and let the silence be your truth. Do what you want to do, and do what makes you feel free! Because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

live your truth - Andrew R. French - Medium

Who am I and what is my mission?

Hello! Hope you are having a pleasant start to your week. Today I decided that I want to express my truth to the world, and explain a bit of my life and what I see as my purpose in the world.

I have come a long way through my life, through causing a teenage pregnancy which derailed me quite heavily (will explain) as well as my current mission to help heal the world through spirituality and expressing myself fully. This path has been challenging at times, but I feel it is the path I can do the most in the world.

I’ll start with my story a bit, and a bit about me. Starting at around the 7th grade, was when I first started feeling really anxious and out of place. I remember joining up into the ranks of foreign, “out-of-town” kids and being really uncertain about how I fit in, etc. This started my parade with social anxiety, which if I were to summarize, is kind of like where you notice every little social step going on around you, and then take all the negative parts of those noticings straight to the heart. Anyway, I went through high school, experiencing a lot of social anxiety and depression, which were tough. It was hard to fit in, and I just kind of kept a lid on myself, played the quiet kid in the back. Towards the end of high school, I started hanging out more, which was great! Problem was, it ended in a quite traumatic event, where I got a girl pregnant in my senior year.

I know that’s quite a big fact so I will explain a little more. Yes, my senior year of high school I ended up getting a girl pregnant, and yes, I am no longer involved in that situation. I was too young and too scared to know what to do, so I kept my options open and stayed away. It was a selfish decision, it was a self-preservation decision, and I don’t know how else I would have done it even looking back now. I’m sorry Megan, I am glad Whitney is doing well and you are providing for her, and I hope the very best to you and her.

Anyways, I guess I will just calmly resume the writing that I am going for. Not really sure how else to do it, we can take a second and count a few sheep. One sheep, 9 sheep. Okay lets go.

I ended up deciding on Ohio State for college, and as luck would have it, moving far away to Ohio didn’t help me too much with not feeling like I knew myself too much. Now to boot, there were some additional thoughts of how this far away girl was having my child, which was not the easiest thing either. So needless to say, the early college experience was something I didn’t love a great deal. Moving forward to end of sophomore year, I ended up in a fraternity, and moving along while still asking the big questions and learning life. Things went along until one big night of drinking during my third year, where on this fine night, I got really upset about a girl I liked, while also really drunk, and happened to forget my house key when I stormed home. My reaction was to bang on the doors of my house, screaming, so hard that I broke my pinkie, and also ended up breaking in one of the windows before I got in. // ( I like using the // cuz it means like, here’s an opportunity to pause, I just threw a lot in there) I woke up the next day not remembering this episode and just seeing my cut up hand and broken pinkie, and then saying to myself that changes needed to be made. This is when I enrolled in therapy and first began letting my parents know how I was really doing.

Therapy was really helpful, and turned me onto authors like Brené Brown, “The Gifts of Imperfection”, and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed ...
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A ...
Amazon.com: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A ...

These self growth books started helping me greatly in growing past my anxiety and insecurities, and I started growing and feeling more confident. I also would consider this time the start of my “spiritual awakening”, where I started seeing the world moreso as spirits walking around occupying earth dwelling bodies. But that also comes later, with rave culture. Lol. So in the mean time, these books helped me greatly with growth!

So as aforementioned, I would like to explain a bit about rave culture and its effect on me, because it is a significant part of who I am and the decisions I have made. Starting through college, I started using molly (ecstasy) at concerts, finding that it was a pretty revelatory experience that not only allowed me to fully understand the enjoyment of electronic music (a significant part of the appeal no doubt), but also feel more connected to those around me and overall “more understanding of the human experience”. Once I started attending these rave events, I began realizing that these type of people in the EDM/music festival community are the type of people I look up to a great deal, as they live lives that strongly embody kindness, being authentic/genuine, and “respecting the human experience”. What I mean by that phrase is, these are people that try to live without judgement, and embrace the fact that we are only on the earth for a limited time. In my opinion, these are incredibly valuable traits for better addressing the needs of our souls, and living more freely as our genetic makeup might ask for.

While we’re here, I think the question of “What is Spirituality” is really fitting to ask, so I will say that in my opinion, spirituality is about finding your own truth about the world. People who embrace spirituality are usually not as concerned with the normal goals of life, things like the pursuit of a nice house and material wealth. They are definitely more about embracing how we are little specks of dust on a huge planet, in an infinitely large galaxy. To me, spirituality is about looking up at the stars, and feeling a small part of a large galaxy, and then letting the knowledge of that freedom and smallness carry into the way we decide all actions.

I know this might sound like drudgery, but I think that accepting and thinking about these topics can provide a great deal of freedom! Like really, how incredible is it to think that we get to be alive, to look around and see and experience reality. It is a blessing, at the end of the day, and our time here will not last forever, so the moment is everything!

So where does that leave us? I have outlined quite an outrageous amount of information about my experiences in the rave community, and my experience finding Spirituality. My overall reason for sharing my experiences is in the hopes that these topics can help people find purpose and value in their lives, and not feel stuck in a shoebox, like I did in my time at Ernst & Young and other office jobs.

I’ll also add that, as the title suggests, it is my belief that I am a spiritual healer, and in a world that is in need of spiritual healers. I believe that I have fixed some the problems with myself through my time learning these topics, and that the concepts that I have started to learn can be incredibly transformative and useful to the world. This is why I am writing this essay, and more to come, as I would like to spread these ideas. I will also say, these ideas are my truth and it feels really good to voice them to the world. That is my reasoning, I hope you enjoyed reading!

Thinking of the Police during BLM Times- “black and white” thinking at work, for better or worse

Hello, hope you are well! It is a pleasure to be writing to you during these tumultuous times, and particularly with some controversial thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Yesterday was #BlackoutTuesday, where many of my peers and social media users shared black squares on their news feeds to promote their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement started with the despicable death of George Floyd, caused by a white police officer who held his knee to George’s neck, George also being handcuffed, until George passed away. It was horrible, and part of a trend of African American citizens being treated brutally by white police officers, with the events being captured on camera and causing outrage at large in the nation. This event is receiving more attention and support than I can remember among other events, almost to the point where it is offensive if you do NOT speak out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is something I have never experienced before. I didn’t feel obligated to speak out for #BlackoutTuesday for Black Lives Matter, even though I did attend the rally here in Denver on Tuesday in support of the movement. However, I DID feel obligated to express that yes, this Black Lives Matter movement is extremely significant, righteous, and well founded, but it simply isn’t as black and white as “Black Lives Matter- f*ck every other reason that comes into play in this situation”- which is why I made an Instagram post expressing that I do support the good standing police officers in this time.

The fact is, yes, there are a great number of racist, sh*thead police officers going to work every day. They are out there performing racism and doing horrible things to the African American and minority communities on a frequent basis. No denying that, and it is f*cked up to support that. There also is a great deal of systemic racism in place to oppress African American communities, not to mention a terrifyingly bleak history of African Americans as slave labor in the United States. All these factors can’t be overstated, and play into the current Black Lives Matter movement very significantly. But there is a couple points I would like to make to give a second side to the issue, when considering that there also is a voice to be heard for the police officers and what their contributions to the nation mean.

First off, I’d like to say that yes, as I mentioned above, there is a lot of sh*tty police officers with ill intentions going to work everyday. They are performing racism on the job, and disgracing the police force community. However, I also would like to point out that the main actions you will hear about from the police force community is going to be these extreme instances, the George Floyd or the Trayvon Martin instances, as these ones are the most outrageous and give an extremely clear rallying point for movements like BLM. In conjunction, I would like to say that these instances are not the majority of the cases! They receive the majority of the attention, and are the most attention grabbing, that is why they spread over mundane stories like “police officer does his job”. For most writers, this would be the *insert statistic here* point, and I would definitely do that if this were a school essay, but I’m just going to rely on you and I’s common sense and say that I think we can agree its reasonable to say that most police officers aren’t racist pieces of sh*t, maybe many are, but certainly not all. So when I hear arguments like ACAB, “All Cops Are Bad”, I get really disturbed, because that is simply not a rational or reasonable point of view. That is a case of turning these small number (I say that lightly) of very sensationalistic, over the top instances of clear racism and injustice, and making it seem like that is the majority of the cases, when that is going to hurt the work of a lot of the justice focused and well-acting police officers in the force.

At this point, I’d like to cite one of the favorite books I’ve read, Coddling of The American Mind by Jonathan Haidt, who talks in his book about black and white thinking and how thinking emotionally can lead to untruths and incorrect points of view (not trying to call anybody out!! 🙂 . In one of his chapters of the book he spends time outlining the uses of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (and I took some notes here explaining the concept, just ctrl+f Dichotomous Thinking), which is a very popular form of therapy concerned with handling the potentially catastrophizing nature of the mind, which will jump from one end of the spectrum to the other at any time. (An aside, so far this post and returning to CBT has actually been really helpful to me haha, because I am an extreme user of Black and White thoughts at this time in my life) In this case, with the Black Lives Matter movement, we are clearly seeing a groupthink mentality, which even if is in place for a noble and just cause, is not fully addressing the other side of the argument, that there are police officers doing their jobs and this interferes with that. In this case, it appears moreso to me that the mind is latching onto again, the sensationalist, intense stimuli that is presented in terms of the horrible events around George Floyd and others, and it is letting that overrule and control all further decision making. Again, this is one of the mind patterns that is treated for in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is an extremely widely used form of therapy.

I think I’ll wrap things up for now here, I’m sure I’ve offended enough people and my point is hopefully stated clearly. I am sorry to go against the grain, I just really feel passionately that there are two sides to this story, and this #BlackoutTuesday and BLM movement is one that is not fully addressing what is actually happening, as opposed to following the widely spread news and video content that is much more attention grabbing. I would encourage anyone to please read The Coddling of The American Mind, or skim through the notes I took as it presents some really concerning and factual information about how movements in our nation are trending towards extremes that may not be rooted in reality. That is all, hope you enjoy your day!

Coddling of The American Mind Book Notes 2.11.19

The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad ...

Coddling of the American Mind

Book Notes

(28)

Concept of Antifragility- For many things in life, people, items, ideas, they are weakened if they are never tested, and stronger when they are

  • Nassim Taleb idea
  • “Prepare your child for the road, not the road for the child”
  • Immune system concept- when childrens are not exposed to peanuts early in life, that leads to peanut allergys. This then spreads, as more peanut allergies lead to less peanuts
  • Research on Post-traumatic growth shows that most people report becoming stronger or better in some way after a traumatic experience.
    • The culture of safetyism is based on a fundamental misunderstandying of human nature and the dynamics of trauma and recovery
    • CBT therapy treat trauma patients by exposing them to that which they find upsetting, in an incremental manner.
  • Therefore, by hiding these triggering messages, the problem is being perpetuated through lack of exposure

Safetyism- safety is obiviously a positive part of life and has a lot of importance, but when safety as a virtue trumps all other values, it creates a feedback loop leading to more fragility and decreased resiliency

  • Safetyism is the cult of safety, an obsession with eliminating threats to the point of unreasonable legnths, depriving young people of the antifragile experiences they require

(30) 

– Igen: the internet generation is showing higher rates of depression and anxiety when compared to the milenials

– Idea that people should be safe from those who disagree with them

– the proposal is that today’s college students were raised by parents and teachers who had children’s best interests at heart, but who have not given the children the freedom to develop antifragility

Ch. 2 – Always Trust your feelings, the untruth of emotional reasoning

  • “Nothing is miserable unlss you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness nless you are content with it.”
  • What is CBT?
  • Developed in 1960s
  • Based on linkage between a persons thoughts and the feelings that correspond with them.
    • Feedback loop where irrational negative beliefs caused powerful negative feelings, which drove patient’s reasoning
    • Depressed peoples triad of beliefs: “I’m no good”, “my world is bleak”, “My future is hopeless”
  • Depressed people use these negative schemas, these thoroughly disempowering beliefs, to guide them.
  • CBT discovered that it was possible to break this cycle of negative thoughts, by examining the beliefs and considering counterevidence.
    • Basically re-training the brain to question their automatic thoughts and force a more productive pattern
  • CBT’s Goal is to create more empowering schemas (the unconscious thoughts that are bubbling up) such as “I can handle most challenges” or “I have friends I can trust”)
  • An author of the book (Greg) was noticing cognitive distortions very commonly which led to this book being written
  • CBT cognitive distortion list:
    • Emotional Reasoning
      • Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality
    • Catastrophizing
      • Focusing on the worst possible outcome and seeing it as most likely
    • Overgeneralizing
      • “This generally happens to me. I seem to fail at a lot of things”
    • Dichotomous Thinking (Black and white thinking)
      • All or nothing thinking
      • “I get rejected by everyone”
      • “That was a complete waste of time”
    • Mind Reading
      • “He thinks I’m a loser”
    • Labeling
      • Assigning global negative traits to yourself or others
    • Negative Filtering
      • You focus almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom notice the positives
    • Discounting Positives
      • Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial, so that you can maintain a negative judgement.
      • “Those successes were very easy, so they don’t matter”
    • Blaming
      • Blaming others for the way you feel
      • “My parents caused all my problems”
  • Microaggressions: teaching people to take more offense, find more errors in others otherwise dismissive remarks, encourages more negative emotions
    • A portion of political correctness is just to lower the number of insensitive and demeaning remarks, but when conduct that promotes aggression and interpreting intent is encouraged, it leads to trouble
      • There are ways this conduct can be handled without extreme reactions and assumptinos
      • Story of mixed marriage wife, who overcame her racist assumptions to instruct doctors of her unconscious husbands medical conditions, after they were not listening to her over what she perceived as racism
    • Microaggressions encourage an external locus of control. BAD
    • Internal locus of control leads to a much happier life
    • Microaggressions are leading students to more aggressive behavior, and interpreting more ambiguous material in their lives as negative

“Education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think”.

  • Ch 2 Summary 
    • What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. – Epictetus
    • “emotional reasoning is among the most common of all cognitive distortions; most people would be happier and more effective if they did less of it.

CH 3- The untruth of Us vs Them

  • Principle of Charity: One should interpret other people’s statements in their best, most reasonable form, not in the worst or most offensive way possible (advice I could use in my life)
  • “It’s as though some of the students had their own mental prototype, a schema with two boxes to fill: victim and oppressor. Everyone is placed into one box or the other”
    • Human minds are engineered to work from a tribalist perspective 
    • In current day conditions, tribalism has a lot more rampant aspects, where there are many more groups to be affiliated with and draw separation from
      • “Politics is all about groups forming coalitions to achieve their goals”
    • Identity politics- political mobilization organized around group characteristics
      • How identity is mobilized makes an enormous difference, it can be done by emphasizing the overarching common humanity of us as humans in mind, or it can be done with an Us vs Them mentality, banding a group together using Tribalism, binding people together in a shared hatred of others
      • Common Humanity identity politics was used by MLK, identifying all humans together as brothers and sisters, in order to heal the racial divide
      • Common-Enemy identity politics on the other hand, have had a rapid rise. Identifying a common enemy to enlarge and motivate your tribe.
        • For this chapter we are focusing on the identity politics of the campus left.
        • Example of this ideology would be Hitler using the Jews to expand the third reich
      • Marcuse, in 1965 “Repressive Tolerance” essay, argued accurately that indiscriminate tolerance is actually a repressive tool of the elite
        • When power differentials exist, tolerance only empowers the already powerful. 
        • Argument that true democracy might require denying basic rights to people who advocate for conservative causes, or for policies he viewed as discriminatory(66)
  • Marcuseanism- 
    • Intersectionality- preventing discrimination against blacks, and women is okay. But what about if black women are discrimintated against? This adds another category.
      • This, combined with tribalism, causes issues.
      • Creates sooo many axes for Us vs Them judgement, a problematic mindset.
    • “Life in a call-out culture requires constant vigilance, fear, and self-censorship” Think Andrew Bartow, always nervous
      • This greatly affects students in todays college classrooms. Social media callouts affect the students ability to give their opinions
  • The power of common humanity today
    • In sum of this chapter, it is most crucial to draw a larger circle around both your cause and the cause you stand for, then to fight for just your cause itself. The strategy used most commonly today though, is us vs them, band together and fight, strategies.
    • Us vs them is bad. Good vs evil is bad. Battles should be fought by finding common ground, starting from there, and picking specific battles on top of the common ground. 

End of part 1

Part 2: Bad ideas in action

  • Now we know the three great untruths of fragility, emotional reasoning, and us vs them mentality, we can observe these rules in effect

Ch 4: Intimidation and Violence

  • Feb 1 2017 UC Berkley riots
    • This riot marked An escalation of conflicts over campus speakers
    • Especially ironic given the 1964 freedom of speech movement that happened there.
    • Student publications contained much cognitive distortions such as that seen in Chapter 2
    • “If someone is using hate speech or making racially charged comments, physical violence can be justified to prevent this person from espousing their hateful views” received 30% of the undergraduate students approval. 
      • Example of concept Creep, as to what violence actually is. “hate speech”, which is a exaggeration, should not be responded to with violence.(86)
  • Violence/ riots after Berkley
    • March 2, middlebury college
      • Speaker- Charles Murray, libertarian scholar, conservative affiliated.
        • Protestors attacked murray. Some were masked. Murray was injured in the incidenct.
        • “those who wanted the event to take place made eye contact with me. Those intent on disrupting refused to. They couldn’t look directly, because if they did, they would see another human being.” – Murray
          • Really interesting quote to illustrate how messed up the crowd was, and how it really isn’t bad people doing the protesting, they are just swept up
      • Acts of violence and disruption against speakers continued. A university president spoke out in defense, to which students responded “Engaging with [the speaker], a white supremacist fascist supporter of the police state, is a form of violence”
        • Perfect example of dichotomous thinking of Us vs Them
    • August 11 2017- charlottesivelle neo nazi violence
      • President Trump did not condemn the violence
    • The tactics of protestors devolved into tactics that often hurt their own causes – misguided protest attempts, aggressive tactics
      • “Professors Like Me Can’t Stay Silent about this extremist movement on campuses” 2017 Essay
        • “we teach people not what to think, but how to think”
  • Why it is bad to say that words are violence
    • Interpreting a campus lecture as violence is a choice, and it is a choice that increases your pain, while simultaneously reducing your options for how to respond.
      • You should choose the Stoic (and Buddhist, and CBT) approach of Marcus Aurelius, “Choose not to be harmed-and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed-and you haven’t been.”
      • Don’t seek to be safe ideologically or emotionally. Those safety decisions are yours to ignore, it isn’t actual violence. It is WORDS. (96) – Van Jones
        • If I don’t feel good all the time, that is a problem, type views.
      • “I don’t want you to be safe ideologically. I don’t want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity. I’m not going to take all the weights out of the gym; that’s the whole point of the gym. This is the gym.” – Van Jones, 2017 U of Chicago Conversation

Chapter 5: Witch Hunts

  • Emile Durkheim, one of Jon’s favorite thinkers. 
    • Saw groups and communities as being like organisms in some ways.
    • Described a sort of man with “two levels” one where they are an individual, and another level called the sacred, which is a shared group mentality, with a group you work very well with.
  • Political Witch hunts generally have three common features
    • Arise very quickly
      • Involve charges of crimes against the collective
        • The charges that appear are against “The whole of existence”
      • The offenses that lead to charges are often trivial/fabricated
        • The crimes involve petty or insignificant acts
      • Fear of defending the accused
        • Like Erika Chistakis’ email about Halloween costumes at Yale, or Mary Spellman’s use of the word mold when reaching out
    • In today’s safetyism culture, intent no longer matters. Only perceived impact, which can be quite large due to concept creep.
      • Critics of a article using arguments of a perceived slight against transgenders were using more arguments against the word choice than the actual arguments of the article. Goes to show they did not have a strong stance
      • Led to a wide joint group of anger over article, which was rebutted by use of logic and sort of a “look at what you’re actually saying” sentiment
    • The point that professors / the school systems inherently lean left is made, with backup that it has gone from 2:1 in 1990 to 5:1 now (111)
    • Insane Story about Evergreen University, where the protestors make racially charged demands against the school when a professor defends his views, and they get their way with the university.
      • Story that shows what is possible when political diversity is reduced to very low levels, when the school’s leadership is weak and easily intimidated, and when professors and administrators allow or even encourage the propagation of the Three Untruths
    • In sum: 
      • humans are tribalist- we have the capacity to collectively punish deviance
      • Morally homogeneous groups 

    Part 3: The Causes for this safety movement

    CH. 6 Polarization Cycle


    Ch. 7 Anxiety and Depression

    • Mental health struggles are on the rise, particularly in adolescents and adolescent girls
    • Igen, the generation that begins in 1995 after millennials, is spending more time looking at screens then face to face with other humans
    • Additional point, that teens are now physically safer than ever before, but more mentally vulnerable than ever before
      • Suicide, and harm rates for adolescents, particularly middle aged and teen girls, has been soaring
    • Increased Screen time past two hours per day was found to have a direct correlation with depression rates
    • The potentially negative impact of screens and social media might depend on the amount of time that teens spend with other People
    • Jean Twenge, San Diego Statee social psychologist
    • Social Media is drastically increasing the FOBLO – Fear of Being Left Out in middle ages

    A Happy Day

     

    We can’t always say it’s a happy day, can we? Things go wrong, we don’t meet our own expectations. Things aren’t the way we planned.

     

    What’s the point anyway? Why do I even bother?

     

    There’s a place to go where it isn’t so bad. If you look inside, and breathe deep, things can go the way you want to.

     

    Stand there, look at your feet. Look at your hands. You’re alive evila

    Image result for odesza

     

    Why Not

    A lot of things in my life have gone the way of “Well, why not?”.

     

    When I tried Standup comedy.

    When I moved to Denver.

    When I left my job to pursue music.

     

    ‘Why not’ can take you a lot of places in life. Up, down, sideways- it’s my opinion though, that using “Why not” when making a big decision, and picking an option that you know is the tougher one for you, can lead to a lot of big things.

    //

    If I’m being honest with you at this moment, I’m not sitting at the top of my game right now (in my opinion at least…. which is going to keep me there isn’t it? 😉

    No, I’m not at the top of my game. I’m sitting here working a job in the cannabis industry that isn’t utilizing me to my fullest, with few friends to my name in my local state, hell the world, and not every day is easy for me. But you know what? Right now, I’m happy.

    I’m happy that I spent the day hanging out in my bed and taking things slow. I’m happy that I’ve pushed myself like I have to reach this niche in my life that I’m in. Because through following my truth, and telling myself ‘Why Not’, I’ve realized a lot of things and I think they’re things worth sharing.

    //

    When I left my job at City Year helping out with 9th Grade, I wasn’t sure about the decision. The facts were that I liked the job quite a bit, but as it is with everything, I wasn’t fully happy. I let that become my focus, and after pursuing music for the preceding year, I decided that music was where I could make the greatest impact with my life. So I said to myself, what’s stopping me, why not chase music? And I took the plunge.

    I’m a spiritual guy, and I believe strongly in the meditative power of dance, dance music, and the power of music to heal and bring people together. I still stand by this decision to have left, even though I miss City Year and the kids, and that old way of life. But as I sit here in my apartment typing, I feel content (for today at least) as I’ve realized that there is always a way to happiness if you are ready to accept where you are in your life fully.

    Me saying ‘Why Not’ and leaving my job caused me quite a lot of struggle, but at the end of the day I can sit here and rest content that I did not leave my cards on the table. That decision to jump or not, is one that people are faced with all the time, and can grow from.

    //

    Even though today, I don’t feel I’m fully aligned with my “Why Not” lifestyle, and I’ll explain why, for the past year I have let that guide my decisions and even though it hasn’t been the easy path, it has put me in a position where I feel happy with myself. I’m less afraid to be myself and take bold moves. To me that’s a very important thing, because we only get one life and there’s no sense in waiting for things to happen.

    //

    I was going to get a tattoo Thursday. A Hamsa hand, like the one pictured below. Where was I going to get it? Right in the middle of my chest. Symbolizing my spiritual quest and a “stay woke” of sorts

    Image result for palm frond hamsa hand

    I was nervous as hell leading up to Thursday. As I was texting with the artist Thursday morning, he gracefully gave me an out, and amid the snow situation and covid, I took the chance and postponed the appointment.

    I can hear you, “Why Trevor! Isn’t that disobeying your treasured advice! Why Not??!!”

    I made this choice because my Why Not quest has lead me onto a path which tests me every single day. As someone who sees himself on a spiritual quest to help people realize that we are just temporary beings in a world that is fully what we make of it, and that anything is possible, I wasn’t ready to take this step with the tattoo. So I balked. And balking after so many pushes forward, has given me a little relief from this intense quest I have put myself on. Hence why I’m happy for now.

    I know this is still shooting my own advice in the foot, but Why Not isn’t a constant rule. There is a place for giving yourself the time and space you need, you need to be aware it is a choice.. Because as far as I’ve pushed myself on this spiritual quest path, leaving my job for music, working in cannabis, at the end of the day if I can’t feel happy then pushing forward isn’t worth it. And that’s where I find myself now.

    //

    Why Not can put you ahead in life. There’s no doubt about it. Growth happens outside the comfort zone, and it happens when you want it to the least. But at the same time, be wary of your energy level and what the point of it all is anyway. Because pushing and pushing and pushing is no good if you can’t find the time to lay back and smile

    First Blog post (2018 journal post by sadboi!)

    I’m writing this to try out this “blogging” thing, and see how I like it. I’ve always been a fine writer in the past, and I think about life a lot, so why not marry the two!

    My thought of the day today is, beware of your thoughts. It’s easy, so damn easy, to let your thoughts wrench you from A. Reality, and B. What’s best for you. Let’s dive in.

    The mind is a problem-solving machine. Let’s take a second and think about that- your thoughts originate, from an evolutionary standpoint,  to plan for the future. Say maybe, to save some of the mammoth meat we just hunted for next year. Or create a contraption to tear and store the mammoth meat. The problem is, the mechanics of the mind do not always play in our favor. Sometimes the gears of our brain are whirring away when they don’t need to be. Sometimes they are running so fast you miss what would be bringing you and your life the greatest satisfaction. Sometimes, they can run amok, and take days and years from your life, as they narrow your focus on unimportant matters. The mind is not always to be trusted, as what it spits out is a result of evolutionary instincts, not your conscience or best interest, as many believe.

    To take an example from my life from just yesterday. I was out on a hike with some friends. One good friend, and few others – The others were opposite sex, which let’s just say, doesn’t help things when discussing me and my mind. Early into the hike, I felt uncomfortable and retracted from the experience. I made very little effort to join them or spend time with them, convinced that  “they won’t like me” or “anything I say will not get a response”. Thoughts of this nature consumed me. It truly was a difficult experience, I found myself walking ahead and giving myself space from the fear of them not liking me alone. Which, unfortunately, just left me with thoughts of anger, pointed at myself. Not an ideal situation.

    My recovery today has been more composed. After coming home frustrated, anxious, and hurt from the experience, my mood still was down this morning. Some thinking was needed on how to prevent this situation recurring, as it has affected me for years to this point. After realizing how my anxiety and racing thoughts were formed mostly from fear of them not liking me, and insecurity, I realized the only way through this rough patch was to push forward. I can’t give up on this problem so early in my life, and with a problem that will cause me such disaster and missed potential in my social life.

    So I decided to myself, that moving forward I need to improve on grabbing hold of my thoughts, and stopping them before they overtake me. Or not to grab hold of them rather, because they will come whether I tell them to or not. The decision instead, is whether or not to follow them down their dangerous path, towards self-blaming and anxiety. The choice is there, as long as self-awareness is in place.

    Everyone can stop their dangerous thoughts, it is a matter of hearing their murmurs, and redirecting your attention before being caught like a fly on a web. A fly on a web, like I was on the hike.

    So that wraps up my post for the day. It is difficult having to deal with a voice in your head that you think wants the best, but can be such a dangerous force. But luckily, it is a burden we all must bear. We can find support in each other, understanding in each other, who all have experienced this same nasty voice. So don’t be afraid to reach out and talk with those around you, to hear their story of how they deal with their insecurities, and troublesome voices in their head.

    Why Buddhism is True Book Review by Robert Wright

    Book Review-

    From Goodreads.com (https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/74825794) –

    “This book did not disappoint, as Robert Wright was able to craft a easily digestible (considering the topic material) and intriguing book about mindfulness meditation and the human mind. The book was much more about the topics surrounding buddhism as opposed to a sales pitch for the actual religion, but it was very successful in helping the reader comprehend and learn about the religion as well, and why it can be so beneficial when dealing with shortcomings of the human condition. The book covers important topics that I was interested in, such as what feelings really exist for, where our thoughts arise from, and other philosophical points about the self and how humans perceive the world. I really enjoyed the perspective it gave about why we think we’re the ones calling the shots, while in reality we are just the evolutionary products of billions of years of evolution, and this reality is not exactly optimal for present 21st century functionality. Why Buddhism is True is an eye-opening book from a wonderful author.

    “The human brain is a machine designed by natural selection to respond in a pretty reflexive fashion to the sensory input impinging on it. It is designed, in a certain sense, to be controlled by that input.”

    //

    For the difficulty of the topics in discussion, topics such as non-self, natural selection misgivings, and Buddhist philosophy, not only did Robert Wright do an astounding job simplifying topic material, but also giving his own insight and experiences to make the material as digestible as possible. As someone who has had many quarrels with anxiety, questioning life’s meaning, and other deep and inquisitive questions over why the universe and humanity is the way it is, I found this book to be a fantastic resource for these topics.

    I want to give some of my favorite takeaways from the book, ones that will help me remember the book and whatever audience is listening to better understand the book as well. The core takeaway from this book was to make you ask, why do we think the things we do, and are these things the right things? There were many other aspects, but Robert Wright emphasized these ideas surrounding feelings and their untrustworthiness, and a whole variety of others.

    Quick Hits:

    1. Human beings, by nature, do not see the world clearly. We chase pleasure, sex, and other inessential aspects of our world without heeding what is best for us.
    2. Humans have a mindset of perpetual aspiration: we live on a constant hedonic treadmill that does not have any sort of visible ending. This is a product of natural selection- it would not make much sense to the evolutionary ideal “move genes to the next generation” if we suddenly gave up on such pursuits in contentment
    3.  Suffering, or dukkha, is constant. Organisms are built to be in a state of constant discomfort, so that we are persuaded to move genes forward . This affects our cognitive and affective actions, as we will never be satisfied unless we take actions that supersede those of evolutionary creation.
    4. Evolution has given us a sense of tanha, a sense of”craving”, or “desire”. It comes as the desire to attain pleasurable things, or avoid unpleasant things, and this is the basis for all feelings.
    5. These two basic feelings can be weakened by mindfulness meditation. Meditation can weaken our enslavement to these two driving forces. Meditation can help us become more selective about the way we engage with feelings, as opposed to not feeling them at all.
    6. Self, not-self, emptiness, liberation, are all important concepts to research and explore through meditation.
    7. The idea of “thoughts think themselves”. A powerful example was the thought that everyone has their own thoughts, perceptions, and feelings about everything. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Value is a matter of perception and essence, depending on your position
    8. There is no CEO of the mind. You are a collective whole of the modules between various parts of your brain, all chiming in with different objectives. There is no one ruler, this is the idea of non self.
    9. The idea that objects and beings we perceive having “essences” is an illusion, as the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness posits. This illusion is generated by natural selection to give significance to things to decide whether they will contribute to gene advancement or not.
      1. Human beings are born with the fallacy to assume others make actions that show character over situational factors.
      2. Awareness that essence is a perceptual construct is an important realization.
    10. Awareness of Conditioning. Mindfulness meditation means increasing attentiveness to the things that cause our behavior. meditative practice allows us to intervene and challenge these patterns of influence.

     

    Buddhist meditation is, to summarize, an escape from the chains of influence of natural selection that has previously bound us, to which we have been overwhelmingly blind. We are animals created by natural selection, and in modern day 21st century, this alignment has fallen out of favor with our best interests as a species.