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What Michelangelo Taught Us About Essentialism

Michelangelo

“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.” – Michelangelo

This quote by Michelangelo epitomizes the idea of Essentialism. What the Renaissance man meant by that poetic phrase was this: beauty is the removal of the unnecessary.

All aspects of beauty, all aspects of a beautiful life, simply emerge when we let go of the useless excess. When fear is let go of, we’re left with happiness. When we transcend limiting beliefs, success greets us. When we remove our blocks, creative inspiration flows.

Michelangelo also said the following regarding his artwork…“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” This further shows how, in his genius, he used reductionism to create great art.

This “Michelangelo mindstate” applies to everything in life. Even if not literally with certain things, it applies metaphorically.

So let’s extrapolate a bit. How do you think Michelangelo would have approached modern life? If I were to guess, it would be very similar to the concept of Essentialism.

More Quotes About Essentialism

  • “To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” – Lao Tzu
  • “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
  • “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” – Linda Breen Pierce
  • “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates
  • “Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” – Tim Ferriss
  • “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale
  • “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” – Lin Yutang

Can you see the trend? Some of the wisest people to ever walk the Earth emphasized the importance of simplicity and essentialism. Whenever you see this kind of trend, know that it’s a concept well worth investigating.

Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Yup, you read that right. That’s the title of my latest book.

And it was just released!

If you enjoyed this article, you would love the book even more. Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck is a deep dive into the philosophy and practice of Essentialism. It also gives you a manual of how to directly apply the principles to uncover your inner peace, happiness and fulfillment.

Get your hands on the book here:
Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck

Thank you and much love.

-Stevie P!
 

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Circle of Concern vs Circle of Control

circle of control

Most people literally throw their lives away because of this…

They waste their time and energy on things they can’t control, while neglecting the things they DO have control of.

If you want to step off of the sidelines and actually engage in life, you need to understand the concept of circle of concern vs circle of control.

Your circle of concern consists of everything within your awareness.

Anything that you’re aware of is in your circle of concern. This can be news events, your friend posting pictures of their travels on social media, what the president of the United States said yesterday, what happened in the last episode of your favorite tv show, that person who yelled at you in traffic…etc. All of that stuff.

Your circle of control is what you can actually control. You have control over the thoughts you choose, the actions you choose and the reactions you choose. That’s pretty much it.

Sadly, most people focus on their circle of concern and neglect their circle of control. This is insanity! And because so many people do this, it makes things worse on the collective level (because the vast majority live in fear and believe that their daily actions are meaningless).

It’s all about where your focus is.

If you focus on your circle of concern, you become passive. And because most things on the news or tv are not empowering, it’s most likely going to be passive and negative. This is the state most people are in. If you don’t focus on your circle of control, you’re going to be a victim. It’s that simple.

Are you going to be a passive victim or are you going to be responsible and empowered? That’s the question you have to ask yourself. You might not be able to change what the President said at a press conference, but you can change your own thoughts, actions and reactions.

This is where a sense of purpose comes into play. What do you want to do? What impact do you want to have? What ripple do you want to send across the Universe?

You can optimize your health.

You can write a book that inspires people.

You can smile at a stranger on the street.

You can hold the door open for someone.

You can give a genuine compliment.

You can support local businesses.

You can choose inner peace.

You can start a business that creates positive change in the world.

You can create art that brings people joy.

All of these are possible for anyone, but they require you to focus on your circle of control.

So I ask you these questions…

Where is your focus?

Are you creating more than you’re absorbing?

Are you making the world a better place, even by the slightest bit?

This is a call for you to step into your power as a creative being.

Let’s co-create a better world together.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

PS – This was an excerpt from my new book, “Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

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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!

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!

    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.

    Want to learn how to tap into the power of Essentialism? Check out my new book Essentialism And the Art of Not Giving a Fuck!

    Much love.

    – Stevie P!

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

    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!

    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

    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!

    1

    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

    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?

    I just published a new book, Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth.

    It’s a story written from the perspective of a dog, told in a journal-like format.

    And the twist is that dogs aren’t just dogs. They’re actually multi-dimensional superbeings checking out Earth and humanity.

    This story will stretch your mind, provide you with insights, entertain you, make you laugh and a lot more. It’s available for both paperback and Kindle.

    Get your paws on it here: Ralphie’s Account of Planet Earth

    Let’s reshape our world.

    – Stevie P