4

Zorba the Buddha: The New Human

zorba the buddha

We humans have this weird tendency to repress parts of ourselves…

Depending on what beliefs or identity labels we cling to, we judge and repress all that doesn’t fit in with our chosen facade.

Many people repress their spiritual self, or even their emotional self. Then you have the spiritual escapists who neglect their physical self. Those are some general categories, but we all do this in different ways and to different extents.

Any paradigm that ignores or neglects aspects of self is NOT a helpful model of reality. They create all sorts of insidious problems and stifle our true potential.

Why limit yourself when the whole is available?

This is where the concept of “Zorba the Buddha” comes into play…

Ever since I first heard the term Zorba the Buddha, it resonated deeply with me.

This term was coined by Osho, who encouraged people to embrace the godliness of Buddha, without neglecting the worldliness of Zorba the Greek.

Zorba is a character in the book Zorba the Greek who epitomizes the Earthly romantic. He travels, plays music, drinks wine, embraces sexuality…etc.

Here’s what Osho has to say about this concept:

“Zorba is the foundation and Buddha is the palace. Buddha is the peak, but the foundation stones are laid by Zorba. It will be foolish to choose to be a Buddha without having the foundation stones.

I am absolutely mathematical about it: Zorba should be there and the stronger a Zorba is there, the better a Buddha is possible. So I can become Buddha any moment, Zorba is absolutely needed as the basic energy out of which the Buddha is going to be carved. Zorba is the marble rock out of which the Buddha statue has to be carved. I choose the rock…and Buddha is easy. It is just a question of opening your eyes. I don’t bother about Buddha; I am worried about people who are not Zorbas. How will they become Buddhas? They don’t have the basic material out of which a Buddha is made.

And this poverty has been given to people by our religious leaders. They have been told not to be materialists. They have been told to be celibate. They have been told to live in poverty. They have been told that life is out of sin. All these things have destroyed their Zorbas. Otherwise, every man is a born Zorba the Greek.

And if everything goes according to me, every man will die as Zorba the Buddha. Between the Greek and the Buddha there is not much distance, but first you must be the Greek.”

zorba the buddha

The head-in-the-clouds escapist mentality of some New Age people never felt right to me. Neither did the materialist philosophy that is all too prevalent in our society today. I’ve always felt like it’s best to embrace both at once, embrace all aspects of self, and embrace Wholeness.

Neglect the spirit and you become cynical and lifeless. Neglect the body and you’re prone to delusional flightiness and insanity.

As the Zen saying goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Spirituality is not about escapism. It’s about bringing the divine intensely into the physical reality and injecting it into each moment.

This schism comes from our dualistic mentality. We THINK the body and mind are separate. We THINK heaven and Earth are separate. Here’s the truth: There is no separation at all! Only the act of thinking itself causes the separation.

Love and Wholeness

Love is the unifying force. Love is connection between people. Love is connection with nature. Love is connection with everything. Love is the fabric of Oneness.

Fear is what severs that connection. So rejecting aspects of self is done out of some version of fear.

Be fully engaged in the present moment and let love be your North Star. With love as your guide, how could you go wrong?

Bases and Peaks

You can’t have the peak without the base of the mountain. Physicality is the base and spirituality is the peak. A base without a peak is incomplete, not fulfilling its potential. A peak without a base is a mirage, a delusion.

Materialism is like only placing lego blocks on the floor and never building upwards. Spiritual escapism is like trying to build a tower without a foundation.

Look at a pyramid. Most of the effort and materials go into the base. If a base is well-constructed, the capstone basically takes care of itself. The same goes for us. If we nurture and harmonize our mind/body, the spirit naturally comes through.

When you eat healthy, exercise, rest, laugh, meditate, dance, sing and spend time in nature, you naturally feel better! You feel more creative, more connected, more blissful and more inspired, right? That’s tapping into the Buddha within!

Catalysts Of Change

The core message of almost all spiritual and self-help books is PRESENCE, or being fully immersed in the moment.

Eckhart Tolle suggests that our primary spiritual purpose is to be fully engaged in the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh recommends walking meditations, a practice that helps with truly EXPERIENCING LIFE.

See the common theme? The key is EMBODYING divinity here and now, not trying to escape it. Again…

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Sometimes I get the urge to live in the woods as a hermit. But I’ve come to realize that this is a complete disservice to both myself and the world at large.

If I were to isolate myself, I wouldn’t be able to inspire people or spread love through human connection. I would also be denying myself of physical experience. That’s a disservice.

If we want to change the world, we must do it from the inside out. First it starts within, and then within communities. This is why I love people who are bringing conscious practices to communities and places that need it the most (urban gardening, meditation in schools, yoga, alternative/clean energy…etc.).

Running off into the woods is not the solution. We must face our collective dysfunction head on, just as we must face our internal dysfunction head on. As above, so below.

Choosing to be either spiritual OR physical is an illusion! The yin is within the yang and the yang is within the yin. And all of it is within the circle, the whole. You don’t have to choose one or the other. They’re facets of the same whole. Accept your Wholeness.

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Source, God, or whatever you want to call divinity – is All That Is. It’s everything, all possibility. Therefore, to neglect any aspect of self is to limit your own divinity.

Embrace Wholeness. Embody Love.

– Stevie P!
 

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1

“I Made It” Moments (The Bittersweet Truth)

remote work

I just had an “I made it” moment.

Digitally, I was on a conference call. But physically, I was on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, with my bare feet on the grass, the sun shining on my face, looking out at some of the most stunning landscapes I’d ever seen.

“I made it!” I thought to myself as I smiled at my “office” view.

“This is what I’ve been visualizing for the past 7 years… To be able to do this very thing I’m doing right now… Working remotely, having freedom of time and location, living life on my own terms and exploring beautiful places.”

Gratitude swept over me like a divine breeze. I basked in it, breathing in the incredibly fresh British Columbia air.

Then something unexpected happened…

As the euphoria faded, two bittersweet realizations hit me:
1. This isn’t the end. Although it feels like my dreams came true, there’s no feeling of closure here.
2. This feeling of having “arrived” is actually available in EVERY MOMENT, not just the ones we label as special.

You see, the moments when you’re able to live out your dreams are bittersweet. On one hand, it’s incredibly blissful. Yet on the other hand, it’s never perfect and it’s not an end.

My “I made it” moment actually manifested a bit differently than I expected when I first read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. That’s the book that first opened me up to the idea that this lifestyle was even possible.

Here’s the truth. I worked a lot more than 4 hours this week. And no, I don’t earn a full-time living off of this blog or my own products. But I do have a remote job that allows me to do this. And I’m making a little more money every month with my own projects. So although I “made it,” it happened differently than I originally expected. And who knows; if I had rigidly clung to my expectations, and not flowed with the opportunities that presented themselves, this dream may not have come to fruition.

lifestyle travel

The only constant in life is change.

Nothing is static. This means that even when you achieve something, you can’t hold onto it, because it has already changed, you have already changed, and the circumstances have changed.

Every destination is really just a checkpoint along your journey. Every summit is a false summit, a checkpoint, showing you that there are always more peaks to climb.

There is no finish line. There is no destination. Life is a continuous journey!

Why do you think “successful” people are constantly looking to raise the bar? Why is everyone trying to chase their next preferred high? Because most people are caught in this endless, elusive game of future fulfillment.

Here’s a profound reframe: Every moment is an “I made it” moment. We just fail to see it in day to day life. But if you live mindfully and learn to enjoy the process, you will find that “you’ve arrived” in every moment.

“Where are you really headed? How is it really that much better than right here?” – Corey Sheikh

Of course purpose is important. Goals are important. But it’s not the achievement of goals that is rewarding. The reward is who you become in the process of working towards your goals or purpose.

Yet the ego constantly projects into the future, hoping for salvation there. This creates the trap of thinking happiness lies somewhere in the future, while continuously missing the present moment. It really is a trap. And here’s the thing; the present moment, not the future, holds all of the bliss, happiness and peace you’ve been searching for.

It’s been here and now all along.

Learn to love the process. Learn to love the journey. Learn to love the open-ended flux of the eternal now.

Realize that every moment is an “I made it” moment.

You’ve arrived. Or more accurately, you’re ARRIVING… Always.

Much love.

– Stevie P!
 

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0

The 5 Love Languages (What’s Your Love Language?)

love language

What’s your love language?

Have you ever thought about it?

Love is Universal. But it can be expressed in many ways.

Though love is our essence, sometimes things get lost in translation. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the different kinds of love languages.

We all yearn for love. We look for love in different ways and express love in different ways.

Essentially, there are 5 love languages…

The 5 Love Languages

1. Gift Giving
2. Quality Time
3. Acts of Service
4. Words of Affirmation
5. Physical Touch

These are all different ways of expressing and receiving love. And each of us has unique preferences regarding these. Most people prefer one – or several – love languages, while others might be unimportant to them.

Here’s an example of each of the 5 love languages…

  • Gift Giving – Buying your partner flowers.
  • Quality Time – Taking your partner out on a romantic date.
  • Acts of Service – Running an errand for your partner.
  • Words of Affirmation – Saying “I love you.”
  • Physical Touch – Giving your partner a massage.
  • Different people prefer different things. With myself, for example, I could care less about receiving gifts or having an act of service done for me, but I highly value the other three. I need the sharing of quality time, physical touch and words of affirmation in order to really “feel the love.”

    It’s important to keep this in mind when interacting with people you’re close to.

    For example, if your partner’s primary love language is words of affirmation, don’t just get them roses for Valentine’s day and ignore them. They’d probably prefer a handwritten poem.

    Love languages go beyond romantic relationships too. They apply to all of our relationships.

    For example, if your best friend’s primary love language is quality time, it would be a better idea to go on a weekend trip with them as opposed to buying them a new shirt for their birthday.

    What is your primary love language? What love languages are important to you? What love languages are unimportant to you? How do you prefer to give love? How do you prefer to receive love?

    What is your partner’s primary love language? Or the people you spend the most time around.

    Leave a comment below.

    Much LOVE.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    0

    Essentialism: The Philosophy That Will Change Your Life

    essentialism minimalism simplicity

    “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee

    The key to success, the key to peace of mind, the key to making your dreams come true ultimately boils down to one thing: focusing on the essential.

    Simplicity, minimalism and the like may imply that blindly removing is the key. It’s not. Essentialism, however, is about finding what is essential for you and letting go of the unnecessary.

    What is “essential” can be different for everyone. For some people, that may be their family, for others it may be music, for some people it may be travel. It all depends on what you want to prioritize in your life.

    What are your priorities? What do you want to focus on? What is your purpose? What direction do you want to travel in? In order to make the most out of life, we must ask ourselves those questions and prioritize accordingly.

    If you don’t have priorities or purpose, then you will fritter away your days in a muck of endless distractions, yet feeling empty inside. Without focus, the world around you has more than enough distractions to keep you preoccupied, passive, stagnant and depressingly mediocre.

    Let go of the unessential and cut out distractions. If you want to write a book, watching tv for 2 hours a day won’t help. If you want to get in shape, prioritize your workouts and healthy meals. If you want to meditate, center your morning routine around it. If you want to be a better parent, spend more quality time with your kids by any means necessary. Find out what is essential to you and let go of the unessential.

    This applies to everything in life, from business to relationships and everything in between. A company will be successful if it focuses on its core mission. A relationship will be harmonious if both people place love first. A person will transcend mediocrity when they focus on their purpose.

    Make Essentialism an “essential” part of your life, and help bring your dreams to fruition.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

    PS – You see how short and sweet this article is? That’s Essentialism at work!
     

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    This Room: An Untold Story of Portland Oregon

    This is a short story. It’s my dedication to the city of Portland, Oregon. Not only that, it’s a reminder that everything (yes, everything) has some degree of awareness. Enjoy.

    – Stevie P

    hotel room

    I have seen a lot.

    Though I haven’t moved – physically moved that is – I have experienced more than the average human being.

    In the spring of 1971 (human time), construction workers birthed me. I became a hotel room, 325 square feet, on the sixth floor of a ten floor building.

    The construction of the building, and by extension myself, was a kind of gestation period. It was a slow emergence of awareness. A bare room is akin to an infant, a clean slate. As I was equipped with more and more – carpeting, wall paper, electricity and finally furniture – I matured into full awareness.

    During the construction process, my newly forming self experienced the daily visitations of workers. Some were gruff, tough men who lived hard lives. Their demeanor reflected that. They would come in, do their work and leave abruptly. There were other construction workers, however, who were like artists. They carried with them a more peaceful demeanor. When they worked, it was art. The way they wielded hammers was like Picasso with a paint brush. Their art was more practical than beautiful, but art nonetheless.

    The birth of me, as this room, was an interesting mix of these different character types. And this eclectic mix would energetically coat the room until the very end.

    My door, sturdy and steadfast, was my link to the building as a whole. But my window, a wide eye facing east, was my portal to the world at large. The river was right below me, with bridges on either side of it. Beyond that were more buildings, filled with my kinfolk. Further still, the buildings became consumed by green. Rolling hills with giant trees occupied the vast majority of the landscape. And standing proudly among all of it was the most majestic mountain. Its white cap stood atop a commanding base like the very pinnacle of existence.

    Eventually, I was decorated with creature comforts. The carpet, a sturdy short gray skin, was laid out. It was a christening. Black lines decorated the carpet, making it look almost like a map to anyone who really paid attention.

    Then came the wallpaper, which was golden and filled the geometric patterning. The shapes were mostly squares, layered angular patterns which gave the room an elegant yet royal feel. It was, of course, a microcosm of the luxury hotel as a whole.

    Then came the furniture; a bed, a dresser, a night stand, a desk, a coffee table and so on. A character was beginning to emerge. The blanket on top of the bed matched the style of the wall paper, golden geometry. But on the bed, the shapes were rounder, more feminine. This was a reflection of the women who were coming into my awareness now, decorating and adding feminine touches.

    I was now a full-fledged individual. And ready to accept guests.

    The first guest I received was a business man. Names don’t matter much to me so I never knew his (or anyone else’s for that matter). Anyway, this man was on a business trip from New York City. Yes, the big city, which makes Portland look like a small village comparatively (so I’ve heard).

    The first sign of him was the stomping of shoes in the hall, followed by a half-sigh, half-grunt of frustration when he reached the door. Key jingled and then went into the door with a click. The business man aggressively unlocked the door and through it open. The energy of the room instantly changed. He was stressed, in a rush. I could see the tension in his face as he neurotically combed his black hair to the side.

    The man proceeded to drop his suitcase on the gray floor and rush to the bathroom. Then, as quickly as he came in, he was out. And I fell back into quiet peace.

    That’s my default mode: quiet peace. It’s almost like waiting, but the patient, tranquil kind of waiting, as opposed to nervous, anxious waiting. It’s the kind of waiting that a lake does – one of those still lakes in the middle of the wilderness.

    Later, well after the sun had set, the man stormed back in, drunk but less stressed.

    He flung his clothes off onto the floor and belly-flopped into bed. His snoring was almost as peaceful as my default mode.

    The next morning, he awoke like a whirlwind, flinging clothing and shaving equipment around. He took a shower, and then the whirlwind was gone again, as quickly as he came, this time for good. The storm had passed over. But I soon figured out that most business men had this whirlwind-ness about them.

    There was one exception, many years later. He was a young business man. And quite different from every other person I would consider a “business person.” He had the attire of a business person, the black pants, button up shirt and so on. Yet he was relaxed and generally pleasant. The other interesting thing about him was his morning routines. Each morning of his 4-day stay, he would wake up, meditate and then stretch his body. This was honestly the only person I’ve seen do this kind of stuff, and it made me feel at peace too.

    Actually there was another one who meditated. She was a writer, who actually stayed in the room more than anyone else. She would sit at the desk in the room and meditate before writing. And wow, she would write for hours on end. She only stayed here for two nights, but she produced almost a full-length book in the process. This woman was an expert at channeling emotions, as well as all kinds of human concepts, into words.

    Every person who stayed in the room – stayed in me, if you want to look at it that way – added to and shaped my character. There were even a few dogs too, which was always a nice surprise.

    As you can imagine, I’ve seen all kinds of human beings coming and going. My very being was designed to be a temporary home, a short-term sanctuary, for any humans who were willing to exchange currency to have that.

    I would say that I’ve seen it all, but that’s a lie. No one being could see it all. But I’ve seen a lot. Like I’ve already said, I’ve even seen more than the average human.

    And speaking of the average human, there are plenty of those. One who stayed with me in 1991, was impeccably average. So impeccably average that I’m inclined to discuss it now. He was of average height, weight and looks. His routine was the average of all of the other people I have seen. He would wake up at the impeccably average time of 7:00am and go to sleep at the impeccably average time of 10:00pm. Even halves of the hour were too far from average for him. And so were his emotions. There was no happiness, no sadness, just a dull mix of everything. I would never have even remembered him if I didn’t have the inclination to make him my reference point for an average person.

    In order to even be aware of this average, I had to see a wide variety. I’ve experienced the full range of human emotion, which is an incredibly vast. I’ve witnessed sadness, joy, anger, happiness, resentment, bliss, depression, anxiety and excitement (among others). I’ve also witnessed the best and the worst of humanity, both of which become amplified behind closed doors. I’ve witnessed celebration, violence, people crying themselves to sleep, people having sex until they sleep, people drugging themselves to sleep (one resulting in permanent sleep), dance parties, sex parties, children playing games and adults acting like children (among other things).

    It seems humans are both angelic and devilish, the ratio of each depending on the individual and the moment.

    Although there is such a wide range, I still see some predictable trends. People, more or less, exhibited the same archetypal behaviors. Of course, each had individual quirks, yet most fit into a similar mold. That’s what culture does, right? Just as this room has the same decorations as the other rooms, people exhibit the same decorations, both physically and emotionally.

    Yet some individuals, for some reason, really stand out. The extremes of each archetype, for example, generally stand out. Along with those people who are oddly unique. One oddball was a woman who dressed and acted like a cat. She was pure entertainment. In terms of extremes, there was the couple who had sex 7 times in 14 hours. That was extreme. There was also the couple who never even touched each other, and barely spoke a word. That was also extreme. There were the two fraternity brothers who nearly destroyed me with their reckless antics. The silver lining of that one was that I got new silver lining (wallpaper).

    When I had the golden wallpaper, I saw different trends than I do now. The styles were different – the clothing, hairstyles, suitcases, ways of talking…etc. – just as the style of me, the room, was different.

    Why am I telling you this? Well, because everything has a story. Everything is aware.

    Every room, every building, every restaurant, every café, every bar, every shop, every bridge, every road, every sidewalk, every chair, every table, every rock, every blade of grass, every tree, every mountain, every river, every lake, every ocean… You get the point. It’s all aware. It’s all an aspect of All That Is.

    The city itself is a living entity. I know because I’m a part of it. Everyone and everything plays a role in shaping the city; just as everyone who entered my space has shaped me. It’s the same phenomenon from micro to macro. Intentions ripple infinitely across space and time, creating and creating and creating…

    Oh, and you know the mountain? THE mountain? That majestic titan of strength that watches over the city? That is The Guardian. There is no shaping The Guardian (not on this plane of existence, at least). But if you venture there, you will find that it has much to give.

    The Guardian is the force that holds the city and its people together. And in that supreme guardianship, all intents – good or evil – are given free will to form. Yes, it’s a co-creative, conglomeration of artistry through manifested intention.

    So, whoever you may be, reading this account, I ask you this…

    How are you shaping the soul of the city?

    portland oregon
     

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    I Believe I Can Fly: The Deeper Meaning

    I believe I can fly

    I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky.

    Those words shaped a generation of 90’s kids, and extended to include everyone who doesn’t live under a rock. You may have been inspired by it, as I know I have, but have you really understood the deeper meaning of it?

    I’ve always been deeply touched by “I Believe I Can Fly.” Yet a few days ago, I really listened to it and started to understand it on levels I hadn’t understood previously. It was the quintessential a-ha moment.

    Say what you want about R. Kelly, but there’s no doubt that he was tapping into a profound source of wisdom when he wrote and recorded this song. Here’s the breakdown…

    Manifesting Your Dreams

    “If I can see it, then I can do it
    If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it”

    This is the law of attraction at work. It’s crucial to see and visualize what you want in order to allow that possibility to come into your life. Visualize the action then actualize the vision.

    Then when you truly believe it, nothing can stop you. Beliefs are incredibly powerful. The placebo effect is a testament to that.

    “You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” – Robert Anthony

    Flight

    “I believe I can fly
    I believe I can touch the sky”

    This is the most memorable line of the song, the beginning of the chorus.

    Again, if you truly believe something, it opens you up to the possibility of it.

    Flying is a metaphor for manifesting your dreams. You have to believe it to achieve it.

    Also, flying is a state of consciousness. Our physical bodies are not meant to fly. That’s a part of this limitation and learning game we’re playing on Earth. Through placing limitations on ourselves, we learn more. However, when we tap into the essence of our being, we truly learn to “fly”, not in the physical sense, but in the ethereal sense. That is where “flying” really takes place for us as humans.

    Open Doors

    “I see me running through that open door”

    This line references visualization yet again. That open door signifies abundance or the achievement of your dreams.

    “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

    It Starts Within

    “There are miracles in life I must achieve
    But first I know it starts inside of me, oh”

    Anything is possible. We can achieve anything we put our minds to. But a fundamental shift within yourself is the prerequisite.

    The outer world is a reflection of the inner world, like a mirror. Change your inner world and the reflection in the mirror automatically changes. This is why Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That’s not an impotent platitude. It’s pragmatic advice!

    It all starts within. Our intentions ripple infinitely across dimensions.

    What chain reaction are you setting off internally?

    The “I Believe I Can Fly” Morning Routine

    Here’s a way you can implement the deeper message of the song…

    Listen to “I Believe I Can Fly” every morning!

    And when you’re listening to it, visualize your ideal life. Visualize your career, your partner, where you live, what you’re doing…etc. The more detailed the better.

    I’ve been doing this right after I meditate in the morning.

    Visualize and feel the power of the song. Then ease into your day and get started working towards that vision.

    Want to learn more about manifesting your dreams? Check out the 15 Minute Manifestation.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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    5 Simple Steps for Cathartic Writing

    catharsis writing

    Do you want to gain more insight into your life?

    Are you looking for guidance? Do you have pent-up emotions? Are you waiting for a breakthrough?

    Writing can be the key to unlocking all of this.

    Writing can be an incredible tool for catharsis, which is the process of releasing or transmuting strong or repressed emotions. All you need is a pen, paper and the courage to be honest with yourself.

    There are few tools that are as powerful and accessible as writing. I’ve personally had enormous breakthroughs, profound insights and mindblowing epiphanies while writing. Through writing, I’ve also been able to work through difficult emotions and find clarity in various aspects of life.

    This kind of writing is an awe-inspiring combination of self-expression, therapy, creativity, meditation and spiritual connection.

    It’s nothing complicated or time consuming either. All you need to do is follow these simple steps…

    5 Simple Steps for Cathartic Writing

    catharsis writing

    1. Relax

    Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Let the tension evaporate out of your body and mind.

    Become pure awareness.

    If you have difficulty relaxing or stilling your mind, I highly recommend engaging in a regular meditation practice.

    2. Tune In

    After relaxing for a few seconds, you will notice things start to come back. These might be thought patterns, emotions or physical tension.

    Be aware of these.

    Notice your thoughts. What thoughts are circling in your mind?

    Notice your emotions. What emotions are you experiencing?

    Notice your body. Where are you carrying tension?

    Awareness of these will act as cues for your subconscious mind to work through and transmute the disharmony associated with those thoughts, emotions and physical tension.

    3. Initiate

    Start writing by invoking your higher self.

    Note: According to your beliefs, you can invoke whatever wisdom feels best for you; Source, God, your higher self, your subconscious mind, infinite intelligence…etc.

    Here’s an example of how I initiate a cathartic writing session: “Through this pen my higher self flows.” I just write that sentence first and then let the rest of the writing flow.

    4. Flow

    Just write. Let it flow without resistance.

    Don’t filter yourself. Let it come through however it may, without judgment. Let the words flow through you.

    Keep writing for as long as you want. I usually stop after I get some sort of insight. After this, the flow tends to stop.

    Feel it out for yourself. And don’t have expectations. You might not have a life changing a-ha moment every time you do this. Some of the wisdom that comes through is far more subtle.

    5. The Takeaway

    Write down a takeaway from what you’ve written.

    This can be an affirmation or mantra to start using. It can also be something to do or an action to take.

    Sometimes, in the process of writing, a clear takeaway will come though. Other times you may need to come up with a takeaway after, based on what you wrote or insights you had.

    The takeaway is crucial. Because all of the insights in the world don’t mean anything if you don’t integrate and apply them.

    “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    This is a powerful process. I recommend everyone try this, even if you view yourself as someone who can’t write well

    Try it out and experience the power of catharsis.

    Happy writing.

    – Stevie P!

    PS – If you’re looking for more physical ways of facilitating catharsis, check out Primal Release.

     

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    4 States of Waking Consciousness

    create

    How much do you absorb compared to how much you create?

    How much silence do you get to balance all of the noise in life?

    What are the quality of your interactions like?

    These are some questions that shine light on potential imbalances in your life, and help to cultivate an empowering sense of self-awareness.

    And these questions have led me to develop a template for creating balance in life, the 4 States of Waking Consciousness:

    • Absorption
    • Creation
    • Silence
    • Interaction

    Each of these represents four general classifications of states we’re in throughout the day.

    The key, like everything in life, is to find your own unique healthy balance. And having a template like this greatly helps in cultivating the awareness necessary to create balance and achieve goals.

    The 4 States of Waking Consciousness

    states consciousness

    Absorption

    Absorption is, as you probably guessed, whenever you’re absorbing. Yes it’s true that we’re always absorbing through the subconscious mind, but here I’m referring more to absorption through the conscious mind.

    The state of absorption is basically whenever you’re watching, reading or consuming anything. For example, watching tv, reading a book, even looking at architecture is absorption.

    There are also scales of absorption. For example, watching tv is almost pure absorption, while reading is absorption that is less passive because the faculties of imagination and visualization are involved. And then something like sitting quietly and observing nature is absorption bordering on silence.

    Most people in today’s society are extremely imbalanced, being so absorption dominant that all of the other states become suffocated, leading to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual disharmonies.

    Prescription for the average person: Absorb less. Be aware of everything you absorb throughout the day. Only absorb what is in alignment with you highest good.

    Creation

    Creation is, obviously, whenever you’re creating.

    Creating comes in many different forms, through self-expression and anything related to art.

    Some examples of creation are writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing, chanting, designing, building something…etc.

    Creation is the active, the outflow, compare to the receptive, inflow of absorption.

    Most people in today’s society are severely deficient in creation. Because most people create so little, they’re blocking their flow of energy, which leads to stifled emotions, depression and anxiety (among other dis-eases).

    I discuss this topic in more depth here: Release Into Love

    Prescription for the average person: Create more. Express yourself more. Do something creative today, no matter how small.

    Silence

    Silence is the state of stillness, or pure consciousness.

    Silence is epitomized by the practice of meditation. It is a state of no-thought, no noise and no distraction. It is the infinite possibility from which everything else emerges.

    As I just mentioned, meditation is a means of dipping into silence. Think of it as a cleanse, or a reset for your entire being.

    Like with creation, most people today are severely deficient in silence. We expose ourselves to constant noise and distraction, both externally and internally. This never gives us the space to truly rest and dip into the essence of being, which rejuvenates and allows us to then live with increased peace and clarity.

    Prescription for the average person: An Introduction to Meditation

    Interaction

    Interaction is characterized by the exchanges between individuals. Any time a connection with another individual is being made, that’s interaction.

    Interaction is unique in that it can underlie absorption or creation. For example, when listening to someone else speak, you’re both interacting and absorbing. When you’re talking to someone, you’re both interacting and creating. When you’re simply in the presence of someone, or making eye contact with them, that’s pure interaction.

    Though interaction is not as stifled as creation or silence, those deficiencies have devalued the quality of most interactions. For example, most people opt to watch tv together instead of just being with the other person. That’s two people merely absorbing in the same room instead of actually connecting.

    Prescription for the average person: Enhance the quality of your interactions. Truly get to know people. Be present, make eye contact, listen intently and embody compassion.

    interaction

    Applying 4 States of Waking Consciousness

    Keep in mind that each individual has to find his/her own unique balance. But even with individual differences, it’s important to not become so imbalanced that it creates unwanted problems.

    As stated before, most people are severely deficient in creation and silence. This affects the quality of interaction, along with creating many other problems.

    And funnily enough, too much absorption affects the quality of absorption as well. Someone who spends all day on their Facebook newsfeed would not have the attention span or focus to read a book.

    Diagnosis

    A simple way to diagnose yourself is to think about how many hours per day you spend in each of the four states. Additionally, be aware of the quality of each. Then you can come up with a ratio that is a general estimate.

    For example, on an average day, my ratio (totaling 100%) might look like this:
    Absorption – 30%
    Creation – 35%
    Silence – 10%
    Interaction – 20%

    If you live in modern western culture, silence is going to be very low no matter what. But it’s important to get at least some silence each day. If you think about it, most people get absolutely no silence ever! We’re constantly distracted by smartphones, social media, tv, checking email, to-do lists and even other people.

    The benefits of silence are seemingly endless. This is why it’s crucial to get at least some silence every day.

    #Goals

    The other point about applying the 4 States of Waking Consciousness relates to working towards goals.
    If you have a goal, you may have to shift your proportions in order to achieve it.

    For example, if you want to write a novel, you have to be in creation mode more often. You may also need more silence in order to support that creativity. This means that interaction and absorption may have to take a back seat while you’re writing the novel.

    Expanding Your Circle

    Here’s a really cool phenomenon…

    When you engage in personal growth of any kind, you actually EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE.

    What I mean by this is you increase your capacity regarding each of the four states. It’s not necessarily that you have more time in the day, but the quality and intensity are increased.

    Any of these states can be deepened through practice. For example, by reading books you can learn to absorb and synthesize information more effectively. You can practice writing, thus being able to write better and produce more quality words per hour. You can practice meditation to deepen your state of silence. You can practice compassion to increase the quality of interactions.

    Whenever you increase your capacity, you expand your circle.

    consciousness

    So where do you stand?

    Here are some questions that will create more awareness for you:

    • Which of these states are you deficient in?
    • Which states are you overly immersed in?
    • How can you create more balance and harmony?
    • Do your proportions of these states reflect your highest interest?
    • How can you shift these proportions to create more peace and happiness?
    • How can you shift these proportions to solve a problem you have?
    • What goals do you have and how can you shift your proportions to achieve them?
    • What are your favorite ways to create?
    • What are ways to absorb that benefit you?
    • How can you get more silence?
    • How can you increase the quality of your interactions?

    Take a minute to ponder those questions. Let them sink in and create some awareness.

    I hope you found value in this template.

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!
     

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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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