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The 8 Stages of Conscious Evolution

consciousness

Have you ever wondered…

About what level of consciousness you’re truly at?

Not in terms of it being a contest, or to say you’re better/worse than other people, but as a kind of inner GPS that simply tells you where you are.

As humans, we tend to have very distorted and biased perspectives, especially when it comes to ourselves.

It’s really easy to go on a yoga retreat and think you’ve transcended stress forever, or think you’re enlightened after reading a few spiritual books.

This is why it’s crucial to have references that “tell it like it is” and objectively reflect where you’re at.

I recently came across what can be described as a map of consciousness. It’s a research paper by Justin Faerman entitled Mapping the Evolution of Consciousness: A Holistic Framework for Psychospiritual Development.

This paper describes, in plain English, eight stages of consciousness. And it’s not abstract or woo-woo. It’s straightforward, simple to understand and backed by a lot of research.

Here are the stages outlined in the paper…

The 8 Stages of Conscious Evolution

stages of consciousness

Note: The first 2 stages are considered lower consciousness, while stages 3-8 are considered higher consciousness. This is not a judgment of being better or worse, but simply a means of classification.

Stage 1: Life Happens to Me (Externalization)

Stage 1 is categorized by patterns of externalization and an overall victim mentality. The dominant emotions are fear, disdain and hopelessness. There is also a belief that life cannot be trusted.

In this stage, blame is placed on other individuals, society, government, nature, disease, etc. and other elements believed to be outside of one’s conscious control and influence.

The motivating forces of stage 1 are safety and security.

Dominant Belief Structures:
Life is not safe; I am not safe

Mantra for Evolution:
“God does not play dice with the universe.” – Albert Einstein

Stage 2: Life Happens by Me (Control)

In this second stage, individuals realize that they have some degree of control. Yet this control is often motivated by fear and survival.

For example, war is an extension of this stage of consciousness. The enemy is perceived as a threat, and because of this, people believe they are morally justified to kill, eliminate or repress that enemy.

We also see various reflections of this stage of consciousness in our collective world. Look at how most people treat the environment and interpersonal relationships. Or consider the dominant mentality of politics and business.

This level of awareness is cut off from the following deeper understanding: Life is not a random series of events over which control must be exerted, but a deeper reflection of the internal psychodynamics of a person’s own mind and consciousness.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I must make it so; What I cannot control will destroy me.

Mantra for Evolution:
“If you bring forth what is within you, then that which is within you will be your salvation. If you do not bring forth what is within you, then that which is within you will destroy you.” – Gnostic Gospels

Stage 3 : Life Happens in Me (Creator)

In this stage, the individual begins to understand the direct connection between their own perceptions, beliefs and emotional state and the conditions of their life, relationships, experiences and reality as a whole.

This level of consciousness is represented by a fundamental shift, from disempowerment to empowerment.

In order to fully complete this stage, an individual must undergo a deep transformational process that includes the purging of all perceptual distortions (limiting beliefs) and the healing/release of all emotional wounds and traumas. The emergence of consciousness into later stages is observed in direct proportion to the evolution of an individual through this process of deep inner healing and transformational work.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I am in control; I am creative

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Mindfulness, Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, Emotional freedom techniques, Neuro-linguistic programming, Trauma release exercises, Psychotherapy, Ho’oponopono, Introspection

Mantra for Evolution:
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

Stage 4: Life Happens For Me (Receiver)

In this stage, we see the evolution of the self into the beginnings of deep joy and peace.

As the resistance to perceived undesirable circumstances in life falls away and one begins to understand that there is an intelligent ‘flow’ operating in every moment guiding the evolution of consciousness on both an individual and collective level through what could be dualistically termed positive and negative experiences.

The individual realizes here that even in great suffering, there is great wisdom and potential for expansion and evolution and that nothing is out of place, ever has been or ever will be.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I am loved; I am supported

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Seeing everything as perfect, Surrender, Acceptance, Letting Go, Embracing Flow and Effortlessness, Meditation

Mantra For Evolution:
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

Stage 5: Life Happens Through Me (Philosopher)

At this stage of consciousness, the individual begins to understand and observe that the Universe is evolving itself through them.

The individual begins to realize that all perceived suffering or negative events are either:
a) Created or called into their reality by aspects of their own consciousness in an effort to be resolved and transcended as part of their individual evolution and as part of the larger collective evolution or…
b) Exist due to their conscious or unconscious resistance to what is unfolding, which is essentially a resistance of oneself.

Individuals in stage 5 live more through their intuition, as intuition becomes clearer and clearer as one moves up the stages.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I am safe; Everything is perfect

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Intuitive Development, Kinesiology

Mantra For Evolution:
“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” – Rumi

Stage 6: Life is Me (Sage)

At this stage of awareness, the individual begins to understand that reality does not exist independent of consciousness, and therefore consciousness, or awareness if you prefer, is the causative factor of the universe and all that exists—that consciousness is creating all reality.

Individuals in this stage experience a profound sense of unity and oneness with everything.

When an individual fully enters and embodies this stage of awareness, their simple presence itself becomes a transformative experience for others. Individuals in this stage often become teachers or leaders, dedicate their lives to service of others or seek solitude to spend time in introspection, although they may also choose to live very normal and inconspicuous lives.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I am one; I am whole

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Service, Contemplation, Meditation

Mantras For Evolution:
“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.” – Alan Watts

“Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.” – Rumi

Stage 7: I Am Infinite (Avatar)

Individuals at this stage of growth begin to transcend the physicality within which we are proverbially ‘trapped’ until we reach this point.

Here individuals begin to harness conscious control over this process by directing their awareness in such a way (through belief, emotion, thought, visualization, the manipulation of energy, intent, accessing transpersonal aspects of the self and likely other mechanisms not yet discovered) as to be able to make use of these ‘higher order’ quantum-transpersonal abilities of the self.

Individuals at this stage perceive and know themselves to be limitless and are in various sub-stages of actualizing that reality beyond a simple intellectual understanding.

As individuals move more deeply into this stage they proportionally complete lower stages which leads to an embodied confidence, power and knowingness, which is palpable to most all who they come into contact with.

Dominant Belief Structures:
I am infinite/limitless; Anything is possible

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Esoterics, Visualization, Kabbalah, Sound/Vibration/Mantra, Qi/Nei Gong, Kriya Yoga

Mantra for Evolution:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Stage 8: I Am Energy (Mystic-Shamanic)

Individuals at this stage tap into phenomena like:

  • The ability to project consciousness across space and time, which encompasses the ability to see, experience and remember aspects of the self existing in other dimensions of time (past, present and future).
  • The ability to interact with and communicate with other forms of consciousness such as plants, animals, objects and consciousnesses not currently existing in physical form.
  • The ability to intuitively pick up sensory data beyond the limits of the physical senses.
  • The ability to feel, read, manipulate and project subtle energy that is otherwise unperceivable to those in lower levels of stage development and virtually unrecordable with current scientific instrumentation.

Those who have near death experiences as well as users of psychedelic drugs or plant medicines (ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, mushrooms, etc.) are often able to have highly embodied first-hand experiences of this state of awareness pre-development into this stage, giving them a proverbial taste of this reality without necessarily having done the psychospiritual foundational work necessary to experience this stage organically and therefore they often lack a deeper understanding of the larger framework of what is happening along with the ability to maintain it beyond a transitory phenomenon, still nonetheless forever changed by the experience.

As an individual becomes more grounded in the later phases of stage eight—which encompass this dimensional awareness—and simultaneously completes their evolution through lower stages, one would theoretically achieve complete enlightenment or non-dual self-realization.

Dominant Belief Structures:
Everything is energy; I am awareness; Reality is an illusion

Useful Psycho-Spiritual Practices:
Energy healing, Esoterics, Visualization, Kabbalah, Qi/Nei Gong, Kriya Yoga, Meditation, Visualization, Remote Viewing, Astral Projection, Telekinesis

Mantra for Evolution:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Although this model ends at stage 8, this doesn’t imply that no further stages exist and that somehow stage 8 is the pinnacle of conscious evolution. However, any claims as to what happens beyond stage 8 at this time are simply conjecture.

stages of consciousness

Self-Awareness

At this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of where you’re at.

When the descriptions are objectively laid out, it forces you to be honest with yourself.

It’s also helpful to accept where you’re at right now, while continuously learning and growing. Don’t resist where you are right now or beat yourself up, neither of those serve your highest interest. Choose love, gratitude and compassion in each moment and you can’t go wrong.

Here’s another important point: you’re not limited to one stage! Chances are that you’re dipping into different stages on a daily basis. But it should be fairly apparent as to what stage you’re grounded in at this point in your life.

For me, I’m pretty grounded in stage 5, though I often fluctuate between stages 3 and 6. I’ve tasted stages 7 and 8, yet these experiences have been few and fleeting. Sometimes I’ll even find myself in stage 1 or 2, and that’s okay. It’s all a part of the human experience.

This framework is beautiful because it allows you to effectively calibrate where you are. It naturally creates self-awareness. Awareness is the first step toward any change, and transformative in and of itself.

I encourage you to read the full paper, which you can download for free here:
Mapping the Evolution of Consciousness: A Holistic Framework for Psychospiritual Development

Which stage are you in at this point of your journey? Is this framework helpful for you?

Leave a comment below.

Much love to you on your path.

– Stevie P
 

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Momentum: The Most Underrated Phenomenon in Life

momentum

What direction are you building momentum in?

For better or worse, we’re beings of momentum. We’re all accumulating momentum in certain directions.

Are you deepening the groove of monotony? Working at a job you don’t love, coming home to watch tv and going to the same bars on the weekends to forget it all? That’s momentum.

Are you building momentum towards a purpose or a goal? That’s momentum too.

Our daily habits, whatever they may be, create momentum.

It’s a gift and a curse. Momentum is why it’s so hard to break out of comfort zones and overcome addictions. Yet momentum is also why people become massively successful and growth-oriented in all aspects of life.

Think about how hard it is for the person who comes home and watches tv every night to come home and NOT watch tv. Think about how hard it is for the workout junkie to take a week off from working out. Think about how easy it is for an avid hiker to hike a small hill. That’s all momentum!

For me right now, it’s harder NOT to write than it is to write. It’s true. I’m at the point where I can write 3,000 word blog posts in a few hours and books within a few weeks. I’ve built tremendous momentum with writing and synthesizing ideas. And I’m able to do this by leveraging a simple formula for mastering momentum…

hiking momentum

Mastering Momentum = Conscious Habits + Persistence

Conscious Habits

Be aware of your habits. Consciously choose to implement habits that build momentum in the direction you want to head in.

Most people fall into “negative” habits by default because they have no sense of purpose. If you have no sense of purpose, there are more than enough distractions to divert you (tv, social media, gossip…etc.).

Get clear on your purpose and what you truly want in life. Meditate on it. Build momentum towards that. With a sense of purpose, you become the conscious creator of what you want out of life.

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
– Seneca

Persistence

After consciously creating habits or rituals, you must apply persistence. This means doing it on a daily basis and sticking to it, day in and day out.

Persistence is what separates successful people from the masses who dwell in mediocrity. A writer writes every day to complete a novel. An entrepreneur works hard for years to bring their idea to fruition. Without persistence, the writer would give up after one writing session and the entrepreneur would give up as soon as they encounter resistance.

Resistance is the force that forces growth. By working through resistance you build massive momentum in the direction you want.

Focus on systems over goals. Yes, write down goals, but instead of fixating on them, focus on implementing the daily routines that will get you there. Momentum comes from daily habits. Become process-oriented because that’s where your character is built.

Momentum is the byproduct of what you do day in and day out. You can create momentum in the direction you choose by consciously implementing habits and applying persistence.

We’re beings of momentum. Momentum can either accelerate your progress or keep you trapped in unwanted patterns.

What direction are you building momentum in?

If you don’t like your direction, you have the option to change starting right now. Wake up to your superpower of conscious choice. You can change direction and build momentum towards whatever your heart desires.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

 

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The Story of Imaginal Cells (And How You Might Be One)

butterfly imaginal cells

Imagine…

That was John Lennon’s powerful message to humanity. He envisioned a better future and encouraged us to step into it.

Imagination is the basis for the creation of novelty; new ideas, new concepts, new everything. It’s that important and that potent.

Now here’s where things get really interesting. In biology, there is a term called Imaginal Cells. And they got that name for a reason.

We all learned that caterpillars go through a metamorphosis and become butterflies. But few of us know the details of how this process actually takes place. How it happens is absolutely amazing.

Imaginal Cells: From Caterpillar To Butterfly

After a period of ravenous consumption, the caterpillar finds a perch and forms a chrysalis. The end result, we know, is a butterfly. But the mindblowing thing here is that there is no structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly.

Inside of the chrysalis, the caterpillar actually dissolves into organic ooze. Cells, which are aptly called “Imaginal Cells,” begin to emerge. This is what starts the process of creating a new form and structure.

At first the Imaginal Cells – the seeds of future potential, which contain the blueprint of a flying creature—operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are viewed as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and form connections with each other. The Imaginal Cells communicate more, creating larger and larger cooperative networks until they eventually hit a tipping point. And a butterfly is born!

A Microcosm of Humanity

Now let’s relate the Imaginal Cell phenomenon to humanity.

Think about the general state of a caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly: mindless consumption. Sounds familiar, right? Go to any city, any store or just turn on the tv, and the level of mindless consumption is hard to miss. Humanity has been that way for a while, but the paradigm is shifting.

Then, when the new Imaginal Cells start popping up, they get attacked by the other cells. Look at what happened to all of the prophets, geniuses and visionaries (Jesus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gandhi, Nikola Tesla, Martin Luther King Jr, John Lennon…etc.). They get attacked and demonized by those who are still trapped in caterpillar mode. Those who I just named were some of the first Imaginal Cells, the harbingers of a new level of consciousness.

What if we (humans) weren’t just individuals, but cells of a superorganism?

Now remember that more and more Imaginal Cells start to pop up. Then they begin to connect, work together and create the new being.

Our outdated version of humanity is the caterpillar, mindlessly consuming everything in sight.

But now we’re seeing more and more of these Imaginal Cell-like people emerge, shedding away our collective chrysalis. And if you’re reading this, you’re one of them.

There’s a worldwide awakening going on. We’re coming together and cooperating to bring about a new humanity.

Cheers to becoming a butterfly.

– An Imaginal Cell Named Stevie P

 

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An Active Meditation For People Who Don’t Meditate

impatient meditation

Do you have trouble just sitting in silence?

Are your thoughts relentless and chaotic?

Well, here’s some good news… You’re not alone. Not at all.

In our culture of busyness and information overload, it’s nearly impossible to just sit in silence and instantly find peace like a yogi in the Himalayas.

We have work, responsibilities, stress, to-do lists, bills to pay and so much weighing on our mind. Without first addressing your stress, tension and cluttered mental-emotional state, it’s really difficult to just shut your mind off.

The solution to this is active meditation. Active meditation uses movement to cultivate stillness. It allows you to release all of the baggage you’re holding onto and clears the space to rest in the peaceful bliss at the core of your being.

Not only is active meditation highly effective, it’s also a lot of fun.

Meditation can be broadly defined as anything that brings a state of mindfulness, consciousness or awareness. And active meditation uses movement to get to this state.

I recently came up with an active meditation that I call Primal Meditation. I naturally found myself doing this the other day. And intuitively, I was guided to do it in a particular order, which felt so natural. Its foundation is drawn from Osho’s active meditations, along with the influence of Elliott Hulse and much of my own experience.

The whole thing only takes about 20-25 minutes. Anyone can do it, no matter your schedule or meditation experience. And the best thing about it is that it’s a whole lot of fun to do.

Primal Meditation

Part 1. Shake and Dance

Shake your body. Bounce gently at first and shake your arms and legs. Dance with the intent of working out kinks and energetic stuckness. Shake and flow. Engage in non-linear movements (wiggles, not right angles). Don’t try to look good, focus on flowing and releasing stuckness.

After just a few minutes of this, you will literally feel your energy become unblocked and begin to circulate more freely.

Music: Syria (Satori Remix) by Unders
Length: 8-9 minutes

Part 2. Gibberish

Freestyle rap or sing in gibberish. Pretend it’s a language you’re making up. The key is to not say anything with meaning, only nonsense. Let it flow out without judgment. Make any noises or sounds you feel like making. Get your body involved too while doing it.

Music: 808 TRAP BEAT INSTRUMENTAL – Strip Joint by 808 District
Length: 4-5 minutes

Part 3. Deep Breathing

Breathe deeply to the song. Find your own rhythm. As long as you’re breathing deeply, into your belly, that’s all that really matters. You can move your body intuitively as you breathe too, almost like tai chi or qigong.

Music: Breathe by Fabolous (Instrumental version)
Length: 4-5 Minutes

Part 4. Lay on the Floor

Lie on your back with your palms facing up (like savasana, or corpse pose, in a yoga class). Let go of any remaining tension you’re holding onto. Notice how your body feels. Notice any thoughts that arise in your mind. Become the observer. Allow yourself to just be.

Music: Silence
Length: Until you feel like getting up

To end the meditation, sit up, hold your heart with both hands, feel gratitude, then go about your day.

A note on customization: You can pick your own songs to use, as long as they don’t have words (because words can be distracting). But the songs I listed work as a good starting point, especially in terms of the vibe of each stage and the general amount of time.

The Benefits of Shaking and Dancing

Shaking breaks up neurotic holding patterns we have. It’s the simplest way to release tension and stress held in the body. When we hold emotions, they manifest in the body. Stress, for example, will result in tightening muscles throughout the body and clenching the jaw. There’s a reason why we use the expression “shake it off.” We’re literally shaking off our fears, anxieties, worry, stress, tension, frustration, sadness, grief…etc.

Dancing is a brilliant form of self-expression using the body. When the body flows physically, we allow our energy and emotions to flow as well, instead of becoming stuck. Dancing is also a means of releasing pent up energy. Most people in today’s world hold onto a lot of stress and fear, and don’t move their body as much as they should. And rarely do we move our bodies in an intuitive, non-linear and flowing way. The more flowing movement allows the analytical brain to relax, the ego to loosen its grip and all forms of fear to melt away.

We all know how good dancing feels, especially when we let go of judgment and really get into it.

The Benefits of Gibberish

“Gibberish is one of the most scientific ways to clean your mind and break the habit of continual inner
verbalization.”

-Osho

Gibberish is a brain dump of language. We’re crammed with words throughout our whole life, starting from the day we’re born. Gibberish allows you to break free from incessant internal verbalization and creates space for silence, peace and deep bliss.

It may sound crazy, but you can literally feel the benefits of gibberish within seconds.

The Benefits of Breathing

Obviously, breathing is necessary for even surviving. But conscious, deep breathing is important for THRIVING.

The breath is the bridge between the conscious and unconscious mind. It is the gateway to self-mastery. When done consciously and deeply, breathing has some profound benefits.

In relation to this meditation, the breathing stage rebalances your whole being and allows you to integrate the space you’ve created by shaking, dancing and speaking gibberish.

Deep breathing also floods your body with chi, or prana, and gives you a calm energy. It cultivates an environment of mindfulness, bliss and inner peace.

Dancing, shaking, gibberish and deep breathing allow you to clear your mental chatter, unkink emotional stuckness and release into a state of peace and clarity.

This meditation basically creates the space for inner peace to blossom.

For those who want a deeper dive into active meditations and clearing negativity, I highly recommend my course Primal Release. You can get the course by clicking the image below.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

primal release

 

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7 Types of Meditation (And How to Start Meditating Today)

“Know meditation, know life. No meditation, no life.” – Osho

Here’s something that might shock you. If you don’t have some kind of regular mindfulness practice, you’re not fully experiencing life.

What I mean by this is that when you’re mind-full, instead of mindful, you’re lost in thought – fixated on the past or future – and missing out on the present moment.

The present moment is all that’s really real. The past and future only exist as projections from our minds.

Think about some of the best experiences of your life. You were completely present, right? If you’re watching a sunset, you’re not thinking about what you have to do next week. If you’re making love, you’re not thinking about what that kid said to you in middle school (I’d hope not). These moments are so amazing because you’re completely present, fully immersed in the beauty of the moment.

Now what if I told you that you could live like this on a daily basis?

It’s entirely possible. I know because I do it, for the most part. Of course, I get carried away by thoughts sometimes and refer to the past or future when need be. But my “home” is in the present moment.

The best way to do this is through meditation.

And there are countless types of meditation…

meditation

7 Types of Meditation

1. Focused Attention

Focused attention (FA) meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and transcending your internal dialogue.

The prototypical example of this is gazing at a candle in a dark room. I’ve personally done this with pieces of art and it’s quite the experience.

You can focus on anything too: visual pieces, artwork, sounds, tastes, smells. Bringing attention to your own breathing can even be a focused attention meditation. The possibilities are endless.

Focused attention is a great way to cultivate mindfulness and practice being fully in the present moment. It bridges the gap between ordinary consciousness and a traditional meditative state.

2. Mantra Meditation

A mantra meditation consists of repeating a mantra over and over again. As an example, one of the most common mantras to repeat is “Om.”

Like focused attention meditation, mantra meditation gives your monkey mind something to focus on, which helps bring you deeper into meditation. I’ve had experiences where I’ve “come back into my mind” to find my mind still repeating a mantra. So that’s a testament to how effective it can be.

3. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation (TM) involves the use of a sound or mantra, and is typically practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. So it’s a specific type of mantra meditation.

It’s taught in person by a licensed TM practitioner. Everyone receives their own personalized mantra when learning TM.

4. Moving Meditation

A moving meditation is any kind of movement done in a conscious, mindful way.

Many activities can be a moving meditation; walking, yoga, qigong, workouts…etc. Even simple tasks like washing dishes can be a moving meditation if practiced mindfully. The key is being completely present and letting go of extraneous thoughts.

Someone who is an advanced meditator practices meditation through everything they do. In this way, life becomes a moving meditation.

5. Visualization

Visualization meditation consists of building an image or feeling in your consciousness. This could include chakra meditations, healing meditations, goal visualization…etc.

There are so many possibilities with visualization. The practice with visualization is cultivating the ability to fully focus your consciousness on the visualization, while letting go of any extraneous thoughts or distractions that come up.

6. Guided Meditation

Guided meditations are self-explanatory. It’s when another person guides you through a meditation.

Guided meditations come in wide variety of forms and can be “guided versions” of any of the categories listed above too.

Because someone else guides the way, guided meditations are a great way for people to dip their toes in meditation.

7. Mindfulness Meditation

This is the purest form of meditation. I don’t mean pure in terms of better. It’s just the simplest.

Mindfulness meditation can be thought of as the most basic form of meditation. All it consists of is simply sitting (or lying down) with your eyes closed and observing your thoughts. That’s it!

It’s really that simple. Just being aware of your thoughts is transformative in and of itself. Then you gradually drift into the space between thoughts, which is where the real magic happens.

Due to its elegant simplicity, I recommend everyone use mindfulness meditation as their core meditation practice. It’s the foundation of all of the other types of meditation as well as everything else in life (literally).

Now you might be asking,“Where do I start?”

The best way to start a meditation practice is by joining in on the 7 Day Meditation Challenge.

Find peace within and learn to revel in the chaos of reality.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Click the image below to join the 7 Day Meditation Challenge.

meditation

 

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Alan Watts on Music and Life

music life

Have you ever said this to yourself before?

“I’ll be happy when [this] happens.”

“I’ll be happy once I find the right girl/guy.”

“I’ll be fulfilled when ________.”

We’ve all done this. But here’s the thing: We’ve been programmed to do so.

We’re conditioned to think that salvation lies at the end of the rainbow. It’s a malicious deception that has us chasing that “something” our whole lives, yet never finding it. We believe that happiness awaits us tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. So most people spend their whole lives waiting for their lives to start.

Even when we get what we wanted, we don’t fully appreciate it, because our minds have been conditioned to constantly search for happiness somewhere in the future.

Here’s the secret: What we’re searching for is hidden in plain sight, in the here and now. This isn’t some woo-woo metaphorical rhetoric. It’s true and applicable RIGHT NOW. There’s a reason why the core teachings of almost every spiritual or self-help book is presence and mindfulness. It’s something that is absolutely crucial to understand and PRACTICE.

Take just a few moments to be fully present. Tune into the present moment, experience all of your senses (come to your senses), hold gratitude for where you’re at right now, and you’ll realize that this is what you’ve been searching for all along.

That’s the paradox. The happiness we think happens somewhere in the future when this or that happens has actually been with us all along, in the present moment.

You don’t listen to music just to hear the last note. You don’t eat a meal just for the last bite. You don’t just read the last page of a novel. You don’t just watch the climax of a movie. The process – the ups, downs, challenges and triumphs – is what makes everything beautiful, worthwhile and fun. The same goes for life.

Alan Watts brilliantly explains this concept in a lecture called “Music and Life.” The way he expresses this concept will shift your entire paradigm on life. Here’s the transcript:

Alan Watts

In music one doesn’t make the end of a composition the point of the composition. If that were so the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concerts just to hear one crashing chord; because that’s the end!

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our every day conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling that gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded. And what we do is we put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of “come on kitty kitty kitty”, and now you go to kindergarten. And that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade, and then come on; first grade leads to second grade and so on, and then you get out of grade school. Now you’re going to go to high school, and it’s revving up – the thing is coming. Then you’ve got to go to college, and by Jove then you get into graduate school and when you’re through with graduate school you go out and join the World!

And then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming. It’s coming, it’s coming! That great thing, the success you’re working for. Then when you wake up one day at about 40 years old you say “My God! I’ve arrived! I’m there”. And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.

And there’s a slight let down because you feel there’s a hoax. And there was a hoax. A dreadful hoax. They made you miss everything. We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage which had a serious purpose at the end and the thing was to get to that end. Success or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and we were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

Alan Watts – Music and Life

 

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How Stories Shape Our Culture

story book

What stories shape your life?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all live based upon stories. Collective stories are the basis of culture and personal stories are the basis of how we view ourselves as individuals.

Stories are the underpinnings of human reality. Humanity is built upon stories. Stories shape our culture, our lives and the way we perceive the world.

It doesn’t matter if it’s true or false, if a story is believed, it becomes a blueprint of reality.

Cultural Stories

Every culture has stories that act as the very basis for how people live their lives.

In ancient times, mythology shaped the way people viewed reality, the world around them, society and themselves.

Any religious culture is dominated by the stories of that religion. People’s whole lives, down to the finest detail, are dictated by those stories.

Our modern western culture is based on a combination of science, religion and history (his-story). Science is constantly updated, disproving older theories, while failing to explain the “why” questions of our reality. Most organized religions are distortions of spiritual truths for purposes of control. And his-story is merely the story told by the winners of wars.

These cultural belief systems are attempts at explaining truth, at best. And at their worst, they’re attempts at control and manipulation. I’m not saying that all of these are false; I’m saying that regardless of being true or false, these stories shape our experience of reality and every aspect of how we live our lives.

Let’s take the scientific paradigm as an example. According to this story (again, I’m not saying it’s necessarily true or false):

  • We are our bodies, or more specifically our brains.
  • We live on Planet Earth, which revolves around the sun, in an incomprehensibly large universe.
  • This universe started with the Big Bang (the Big Bang THEORY).
  • On Earth, we evolved from apes, growing smarter and more and more sophisticated, until we’ve dominated nature and now live in the wonderful culmination of all of that evolution and “progress.”
  • You see, this is a STORY, or the background program that we run our lives by. And that’s not even getting into the stories of history, money, work, relationships, purpose, pleasure and everything else that makes up our belief systems. These things determine how we perceive and interact with reality.

    Where does this story get us? Well, take a look at the world around you. Check out the “news.” If it seems a little disharmonious (which anyone with eyes can see), we have to start reevaluating the stories we’re living by.

    grand central station

    Your Story

    What stories are you telling yourself? What is your identity based on? What labels do you identify with?

    In the midst of the trend of collective stories, we have the personal stories we tell ourselves. These are our individual stories that shape the way we view and interact with the world.

    Let’s use a man named Henry as an example, whose personal story might look like this:
    I’m Henry.
    I’m a white man.
    I’m an American.
    I’m a Christian.
    I’m not good at math (because my third grade teacher told me that and I’ve believed her ever since).
    I’m good at fixing things (because my dad said I was when I fixed his truck).
    I’m an introvert so I don’t have many friends.
    My favorite color is blue.
    My favorite food is steak.
    I’m a car mechanic, so I’m not good with computers.
    I’m a lower middle class guy.
    I go to work every day, then come home, drink a beer and turn on the tv to relax at night.
    I don’t have time to eat healthy or work out.
    I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans.
    I wear boots and flannels because I’m manly.

    Ok, you get the point. This is all a STORY. Almost all of those things could be dropped and changed instantaneously. Our friend Henry could literally have a completely new life tomorrow, if he chose to.

    Programming and patterns are incredibly hard to break for us humans. But simple awareness of the stories we tell ourselves puts us in the position to consciously choose what our stories are.

    So what stories are you telling yourself? What identities are you carrying with you day in and day out? What patterns do you have? What are you building momentum towards?

    Gain some awareness of the stories you’re telling yourself. Only then can you choose to change your life for the better.

    individual

    Creating New Stories

    We can create new stories in each moment.

    It is a choice. But you have to first be aware to even know that you have a choice.

    We can tell new tales and shape reality in our own way.

    What do you want out of life? What is your purpose? What’s on your bucket list? Who do you want to be?

    Be open and willing to change.

    Find your vision and start working towards that. Only tell yourself stories which help to create that vision of yourself.

    The Power of Fiction

    The importance of stories is why I love fiction so much. Whether reading or writing, fiction helps to reshape our world.

    Truths which exist beyond the limits of our collective analytical mind are able to be conveyed through fiction, metaphor and myth. Paradigm-shifting truths are often expressed in this way. Just take a look at any sacred text or brilliant piece of poetry.

    Literary works can cut through and transcend cultural biases and blindness, giving the reader a taste of a completely “novel” reality (see what I did there?). It allows one to see outside of the box they’ve existed in their whole life, and presents the opportunity to step outside.

    This is why I read and write a lot of fiction. If we change the stories we tell, we change how our world is shaped.

    Want to get your hands on an example of a paradigm-shifting story?

    You can get a free copy of my new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s on Kindle Scout right now, which is a platform that allows readers to choose what gets published by Amazon. Basically, books that a lot of people nominate and show interest in get published. So I need your help to get Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth out there. It only takes a minute of your time.

    Here’s what I need you to do:
    1. Go to this link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/WNJWEXEM3HEZ
    2. Click “Nominate me”

    That’s it.

    And if the book gets selected for publishing, you get an early, free copy!

    Let’s reshape our world.

    – Stevie P
     

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    7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

    Face it. We’re all neurotic and stressed out to some degree.

    That’s the culture we live in right now.

    Because of this, it’s incredibly difficult to just sit cross-legged and be “one with the Universe.”

    I don’t know about you, but it takes me at least a few minutes before I stop thinking about something a kid said to me back in middle school. That’s the human mind for ya.

    It’s not all chaos and craziness though. There are certain practices that make it easier to drop into deep meditation. I call them “meditation on-ramps.”

    These are things you can incorporate into your life that will allow you to go deeper when you actually sit down to meditate.

    7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

    1. Breathing Exercises

    Any kind of breathing practices beautifully set the stage for meditation. Deep, conscious breathing causes your thoughts to settle and your body to relax, which allows for a peaceful, meditative state.

    In the yogic tradition, breathwork is called Pranayama. There are many, many breathing exercises to do and all are fun to experiment with.

    I personally do some deep breathing before every meditation session I do. I take about 7-10 long, deep breaths, then release into meditation. This helps clear my mind and relax my body.

    Try it right now: Take 3 deep breaths into your belly, let go of the stress you’re holding and feel the changes in your state of being.

    2. Nature

    This one is obvious, yet few people use nature as medication. A quiet, peaceful place in nature works wonders for stress and the chaotic assault of daily life.

    Spending some time in nature brings peace and balance to your being. If you take some time out in nature before or while you meditate, you will find that it greatly enhances meditation.

    3. Intentional Movement

    Consciously moving your body and releasing tension will definitely deepen your meditation practice. This includes yoga, stretching and walking outside.

    Engaging in intentional movement before meditating allows you to relax that much more deeply. There’s a reason why they do savasana at the end of yoga classes.

    4. Daily Practice

    We’re creatures of habit. This can be leveraged to our advantage, if done consciously.

    Meditating every day (especially the same time every day) helps you get “in the zone” more reliably. It builds meditation momentum, if you will. When you meditate every morning, your mind will be conditioned to let go during this time.

    5. Meditating in the Morning

    It’s really effective to meditate in the morning for several reasons:

  • The state between sleeping and waking is highly conducive to meditation
  • Your mind is clear first thing in the morning
  • Allows you to ease into your day
  • It gives you positive momentum to start your day
  • Makes you more peaceful, focused and mindful throughout the rest of the day
  • 6. Being Healthy In General

    Being healthy makes everything easier and more effective. Eat real food, walk outside, exercise, stretch, drink water, spend time in nature, watch less tv, consume less sugar, breath deeply, dance, express yourself, feel gratitude…etc. These are all simple practices, but they need to be practiced daily for optimal health.

    Your brain works better, your mood is more stable, you have less aches and pains, more energy and everything becomes optimized. Basically, when you’re unhealthy, you have more distractions in the way of your own inner peace.

    7. Prioritizing Your Well-Being

    If you make something a priority, you get it done by any means necessary. If you don’t make something a priority, you’ll find any excuse NOT to do it.

    Prioritize your well-being. Prioritize your peace of mind. Prioritize meditation. Once that intention is there, nothing will stop you.

    How to Actually Meditate Every Day

    Don’t know where to start?

    Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. You don’t have to meditate for hours a day to start seeing the benefits of meditation in your life.

    There’s a ridiculously EASY way to meditate every day. And it’s literally easier than getting out of bed in the morning.

    You don’t have to be an om-chanting yogi or a kale-munching vegan to meditate. Meditation is for anyone, anywhere.

    Want to learn how to meditate every morning? (and do it effortlessly, without it seeming like another thing on your to-do list)

    Join the 7 Day Meditation Challenge. It’s the easiest way to start meditating. Even if you already meditate, it will help you stick to a daily routine as well as give you tips to deepen your practice.

    CLICK HERE TO START THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

    Find bliss within and share it.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!

    meditation

    7 Surprising Benefits of Meditation

    meditation benefits

    Did you take your medication meditation today?

    Meditation is THE MOST important practice you can have, by a long shot.

    The benefits of meditation are mindblowing (I listed some of them in the Introduction to Meditation).

    Today, however, I want to share with you some of the more surprising benefits of meditation.

    Since meditation is the foundation of everything else, you will notice dramatic improvements in all aspects of your life when you engage in a consistent meditation practice.

    Some of these benefits will be completely unexpected, which is why I wanted to write this. Meditation really is the great enhancer of all aspects of life – both directly and indirectly.

    Let’s dive right into them…

    7 Surprising Benefits of Meditation

    1. Confidence

    Any inner work helps to cultivate GENUINE confidence. Meditation is one of the best ways of doing this.

    If you can face your internal fears, anxieties and looping thought patterns, the external world becomes much easier to navigate. A powerful, authentic confidence naturally emanates from someone who has mastered themselves.

    Through regular meditation, nervousness fades away and you become adept at working through fears of all kinds. Underneath all of it is love, and genuine confidence is a byproduct of self-love.

    2. Conversational Skills

    Building confidence naturally leads to better conversational skills. But that’s not all.

    Through meditation, you also become more present in conversations. This means that you’ll be a better listener as well.

    Meditation helps you get out of your head and fully into the present moment experience. And we all know how powerful conversations can be when we’re fully present and in that timeless flow state.

    3. Resilience

    Meditation results in physical, mental and emotional resilience. It creates a space of awareness between yourself and any type of pain.

    “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

    Meditation creates a subtle, yet powerful strength of character. You’re able to act in spite of fears and also let go of any fears you have.

    4. Being More Human

    When you practice meditation, you become more and more mindful, more and more in the moment, and more and more human. You gain heightened awareness of your body, mind, senses and the world around you.

    It’s the difference between truly experiencing a sunset as opposed to just looking and taking a picture, or truly tasting food instead of mindlessly chomping down while watching tv.

    Meditation allows you to more fully immerse yourself in the human experience.

    5. Sex

    Yes, meditation helps with sex too.

    Being completely in the moment, confident and moving intuitively is the perfect recipe for great sex. You’ll experience connection like never before.

    If two people already have a meditation practice, then sex itself also becomes a beautiful, mutual moving meditation.

    6. Patience

    “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

    When you engage in a regular meditation practice, you become hyper-aware of when you’re stressed, rushed or feeling impatient.

    From this awareness, you give yourself the choice to slow down and ground yourself in the present moment. Most people are rushing to go nowhere fast. A meditator is in no rush, yet gets more done.

    Any “waiting” can become meditation, instead of neurotically focusing on the future. Travel becomes meditation, instead of driving yourself crazy by wishing you were at your destination already. Eating becomes a meditation, instead of always thinking about the next meal.

    Through meditation, you’re able to smell the roses while actually being more effective; which leads to the next benefit…

    7. Productivity

    Meditation cultivates an unparalleled ability to focus.

    On top of that, meditation…

  • Increases mental strength
  • Increases memory retention and recall
  • Enhances cognition skills and creative thinking
  • Enhances decision making and problem solving
  • Improves information processing
  • Improves visuospatial processing
  • Increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions
  • The combination of brain-boosting benefits and peace of mind make meditation the ultimate tool for stress-free productivity. And with increased mindfulness, you’ll learn how to prioritize what’s really important, instead of frittering away your time just for the sake of being busy.

    The Easiest Way to Meditate Every Day

    Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. You don’t have to meditate for hours a day to start seeing the benefits of meditation in your life.

    There’s a ridiculously EASY way to meditate every day.

    It’s literally easier than getting out of bed in the morning.

    Everybody knows that meditation is beneficial. But very few people actually meditate regularly. What’s up with that?

    There are two reasons for this:
    1. It’s hard to find an easily implementable system
    2. Most people feel like they’re doing it wrong

    The idea of meditation can be intimidating for some people. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s no need to sit in the Himalayas or be some crystal-wielding guru. There’s no need to dedicate hours per day or wear silly clothes. Meditation is for everyone, everywhere.

    Want to learn how to meditate every morning? (and do it effortlessly, without it seeming like another thing on your to-do list)

    Join the 7 Day Meditation Challenge. It’s the easiest way to start meditating. Even if you already meditate, it will help you stick to a daily routine as well as give you tips to deepen your practice.

    CLICK HERE TO START THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

    It’s way simpler than you think to reap the massive benefits of meditation.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P

    meditation

    Introduction to Meditation

    meditation

    A meditation practice is the most important habit you can have. Hands down.

    The reason why meditation is so essential is that it’s the foundation from which everything else in your life is built upon.

    If you care about your well-being, meditation should be as embedded in your daily routine as brushing your teeth, showering and getting dressed.

    This article is an introduction to meditation.

    What is Meditation?

    Let me first tell you what meditation is NOT…

    Meditation is not forceful concentration or any sort of mental effort. Meditation is more of a NON-DOING than a doing; more of a LETTING GO than holding on.

    Meditation is simply a state of awareness. It is peace and stillness, blended with profound alertness.

    Meditation is the practice of mindfulness. It is observing your thoughts without being engulfed in them. It is objectively witnessing the activity of your body and mind.

    This state can be reached in many ways; not just by sitting cross-legged under a tree.

    Meditation must be experienced to be truly understood. I can give you all of the poetic language you can read, but you won’t really know what it is until you start practicing it. That’s why I’m all about creating easy meditation routines.

    Who Is Meditation For?

    The short answer: EVERYONE

    If you’re a human being, it’s beneficial for you to meditate regularly.

    You don’t have to be some super-spiritual guru to meditate either. Anyone can do it, no matter who you are or what beliefs you have.

    In fact, meditation is the most common habit shared among successful people interviewed on Tim Ferriss’ podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. Meditation is as useful and applicable to a corporate CEO in New York City as it is to a yogi in the Himalayas.

    The Benefits of Meditation

    meditation

    Meditation comes with a seemingly endless number of benefits. When you’re aware of just how helpful it is for your overall well-being, you’ll find it hard NOT to meditate.

    Physical Benefits of Meditation

  • Improves energy levels
  • Stress relief
  • Anti-aging
  • Increases immunity
  • Improves breathing
  • Reduces inflammatory disorders
  • Reduces asthma
  • Reduces premenstrual and menopausal syndrome
  • Helps prevent arthritis, fibromyalgia and even HIV
  • Mental Benefits of Meditation

  • Increases concentration
  • Increases memory retention and recall
  • Enhances cognitive skills
  • Enhances creative thinking
  • Enhances decision-making skills
  • Enhances problem-solving skills
  • Better information processing
  • Helps ignore distractions
  • Emotional Benefits of Meditation

  • Increases self-awareness
  • Increases happiness
  • Reduces depression
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces worry
  • Less impulsive behavior
  • Enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance
  • Improves resilience against pain and adversity
  • Increases optimism
  • Helps prevent emotional eating and smoking
  • Helps develop positive social connections
  • Improves mood
  • Improves emotional intelligence
  • Those are just SOME of the benefits. There’s a lot more where that came from. But that’ll give you a good idea of just HOW POWERFUL MEDITATION IS.

    If you saw a commercial for something with all of those benefits, wouldn’t you buy it in a heartbeat? Well, meditation is free and always available to you! So why not do it? What’s your excuse?

    Consistency is Key

    meditation

    With meditation, it is VITALLY IMPORTANT to have a regular practice.

    Consistency is more important than finding the perfect technique. Shorter, consistent sessions are also more effective than doing long, infrequent sessions (or none at all).

    Meditation is a gradual process. Remember, it is non-doing, meaning you can’t force or expect anything. You will have sessions where you’re in tranquil stillness and you’ll have sessions where all you do is obsess over what someone said to you at work 3 months ago. It’s all a part of the process.

    Here’s How to Get Started

    Focus on a system of a short, simple, daily meditation.

    That’s key. Yet this is where most people get stuck. Sure, pretty much everyone knows that meditation is beneficial and many have dabbled in it. But few people actually meditate every day.

    This is exactly why I created the 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE.

    Through years of trial and error, I’ve come up with the easiest way to stick to a daily meditation practice. It’s literally easier than getting out of bed in the morning. Along with how simple and easy it is, I provide a lot of unique tips to help you get the most out of your meditation practice.

    What do you have to lose? Actually a lot: fears, anxiety, worry, self-delusions, ignorance, resentment, over-thinking, regret, overwhelm…etc. That’s what you have to lose.

    Meditation is by far the most important habit to implement.

    Inner peace awaits.

    – Stevie P!

    ACCESS THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW

    meditation