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

butterfly imaginal cells

Imagine…

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

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

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

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

Imaginal Cells: From Caterpillar To Butterfly

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

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

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

A Microcosm of Humanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers to becoming a butterfly.

– An Imaginal Cell Named Stevie P

An Active Meditation For People Who Don’t Meditate

impatient meditation

Do you have trouble just sitting in silence?

Are your thoughts relentless and chaotic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Primal Meditation

Part 1. Shake and Dance

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

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

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

Part 2. Gibberish

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

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

Part 3. Deep Breathing

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

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

Part 4. Lay on the Floor

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

Music: Silence
Length: Until you feel like getting up

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

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

The Benefits of Shaking and Dancing

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

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

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

The Benefits of Gibberish

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

-Osho

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

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

The Benefits of Breathing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love.

– Stevie P!

primal release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The best way to do this is through meditation.

And there are countless types of meditation…

meditation

7 Types of Meditation

1. Focused Attention

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

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

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

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

2. Mantra Meditation

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

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

3. Transcendental Meditation

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

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

4. Moving Meditation

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

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

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

5. Visualization

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

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

6. Guided Meditation

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

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

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

7. Mindfulness Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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

meditation

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

    7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

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

    That’s the culture we live in right now.

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

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

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

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

    7 Ways to Deepen Your Meditation Practice

    1. Breathing Exercises

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

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

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

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

    2. Nature

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

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

    3. Intentional Movement

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

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

    4. Daily Practice

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

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

    5. Meditating in the Morning

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

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

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

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

    7. Prioritizing Your Well-Being

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

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

    How to Actually Meditate Every Day

    Don’t know where to start?

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

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

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

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

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

    CLICK HERE TO START THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

    Find bliss within and share it.

    One love.

    – Stevie P!

    meditation

    7 Surprising Benefits of Meditation

    meditation benefits

    Did you take your medication meditation today?

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

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

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

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

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

    Let’s dive right into them…

    7 Surprising Benefits of Meditation

    1. Confidence

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

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

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

    2. Conversational Skills

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

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

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

    3. Resilience

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

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

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

    4. Being More Human

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

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

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

    5. Sex

    Yes, meditation helps with sex too.

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

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

    6. Patience

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

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

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

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

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

    7. Productivity

    Meditation cultivates an unparalleled ability to focus.

    On top of that, meditation…

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

    The Easiest Way to Meditate Every Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CLICK HERE TO START THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

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

    Much love.

    – Stevie P

    meditation

    Introduction to Meditation

    meditation

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

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

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

    This article is an introduction to meditation.

    What is Meditation?

    Let me first tell you what meditation is NOT…

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

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

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

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

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

    Who Is Meditation For?

    The short answer: EVERYONE

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

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

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

    The Benefits of Meditation

    meditation

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

    Physical Benefits of Meditation

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

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

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

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

    Consistency is Key

    meditation

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

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

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

    Here’s How to Get Started

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

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

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

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

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

    Meditation is by far the most important habit to implement.

    Inner peace awaits.

    – Stevie P!

    ACCESS THE 7 DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW

    meditation

    Hero Worship and The Shadow Self

    hero batman shadow

    Are you afraid of your own shadow?

    I’m not talking about the silhouette of yours on the ground; I’m talking about the psychological shadow.

    In Jungian psychology, the shadow is the collection of aspects of yourself that you deem unwanted or undesirable and hide deep in the caverns of your subconscious mind.

    What we classify as unwanted or undesirable is largely determined by our cultural conditioning. The classic example is the business man whose true passion is art, yet he suppresses this gift because of what his parents and society labeled as favorable or unfavorable.

    This happens with all aspects of self we refuse to accept (which can happen consciously or subconsciously).

    While the shadow self is often thought of as the “bad” qualities that we refuse to acknowledge within ourselves, the most suppressed qualities are often the best ones. This is what I call the golden shadow.

    The Golden Shadow

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
    – Marianne Williamson

    Hero worship is an extension of the golden shadow. We suppress our inner greatness and subconsciously project our collective golden shadow onto heroes.

    Heroes of all kinds – superheroes, celebrities, athletes, gurus – are thought of as amazing and perfect, while we view ourselves as a lesser “poor little me.”

    We put all of our hopes and dreams not in ourselves, but in our favorite athlete, or the president, or a superhero we saw in a movie. All of the beauty we’ve refused to accept within ourselves is projected onto models and the “beautiful faces” we see on TV. This is all externally projecting our suppressed greatness because somewhere along the line we’ve deemed ourselves unworthy of embodying.

    Here’s the truth. We all have greatness within. Yours may not look like Michael Jordan’s (who supposedly isn’t the nicest human being by the way – a testament to the grand deception of celebrity worship). Your greatness may not look like mine either. But I can guarantee that you have some kind of unique greatness. It’s been there all along, you’ve just refused to acknowledge it.

    The Darker the Shadow, The Stronger the Super Powers

    Mythological figures like superheroes and omnipotent gods are the projection of a society that feels weak and helpless. This collective projection comes from a huge “elephant in the room” shadow that we refuse to acknowledge. Our hero myths are created to fill the yearning for the brilliant potential that we’re systematically denying ourselves.

    Can we fly and lift giant boulders? Who really knows? But super powers are more metaphorical. We’ve denied our inner gems so vehemently that we subconsciously create external, all-powerful saviors to fill that void and balance the scales.

    We’re so afraid to step into our own power that we project it outward instead of owning it.

    We cowardly choose work unfulfilling jobs, sit on the couch and watch TV instead of coming to grips with the immense power that lies within. You don’t have to be rich and famous to do this. It all simply comes down to your focus. What are you focusing on? What are you giving energy to?

    Accepting your power within could be as simple as having a clear purpose in life, choosing a career you truly love, meditating, being fully present, feeling gratitude, honoring compassion, creating art or anything else where your focus is on cultivating your own gifts instead of focusing on something external.

    Once we start doing this, who knows what possibilities will emerge? We know next nothing about the nature of reality, so the (assumed) laws we think we’re subject to might change and/or dissolve as we let go of self-imposed limitations. Anything is possible, but we’re so quick to stubbornly argue FOR our limitations. We live in prisons that are locked from the inside.

    The God Within

    As humans, we have a tendency to project our best qualities onto external Gods, creating an external savior complex.

    If you view those qualities as something out there, then they become a mere intellectual concept and you relegate yourself to “poor little me.” But if you view those qualities as archetypes WITHIN YOU, the whole game changes.

    When you view Buddha or Jesus Christ as men to be worshipped who are more special than you, you’re missing the whole point. Buddha and Christ are archetypal examples of the “higher” consciousness that exists within all of us. Yet because we’ve been so conditioned to cast our greatness to the shadows, most people cannot even fathom this concept and argue for their own diminutiveness.

    “The kingdom of God is not in the clouds, in some designated point of space; it is right behind the darkness that you perceive with closed eyes.”
    – Paramahansa Yogananda

    The Heroic Chasm

    I’m not saying to never admire anyone else or be an egocentric narcissist. Not at all. When you shine light on your shadow and cultivate love within, only then can you truly love others.

    It’s useful to learn from others, but the difference comes in whether or not you choose to embody those qualities you admire.

    “It’s cool to imitate, just grow into your own
    Don’t let the green grass across the picket fence
    Turn you into Mr. Smith without a purpose or a home
    Underneath he is a Jedi, on the surface he’s a Clone”

    – Jay Electronica

    You see, most people admire others, but think “I could never be like that” or something similar that implies inferiority. That’s self-sabotaging victim logic.

    A 5’3” man probably won’t become a professional basketball player, but he most certainly has the potential for greatness in other ways. Well that’s not entirely true either. Look at someone like Mugsy Bogues, who actually was a 5’3” professional basketball player. So it is possible, if you choose to believe in yourself. Sometimes we need to redefine what possible is. “Impossible” is an opinion; a mere imaginary fence created by self-defeating, “poor-me” victims.

    If you hear about a successful business person’s morning routine, do you think “I don’t have the discipline for that” and flip to the next channel to distract yourself? Or do you take notes and start applying it towards your own mission in life?

    We must bridge the heroic chasm. On one side, you have the idolized hero, and on the other the average person who refuses to acknowledge their own greatness. The chasm is bridged by learning from “heroes” then EMBODYING those qualities which the heroes represent. If those qualities are not examined, learned and embodied, you just become another passive, “poor little me” for the rest of your life.

    The successful athlete continuously embodies and applies the qualities of the people they look up to. The wise person continuously embodies and applies the wisdom of others. The enlightened person continuously embodies an applies the God-like qualities.

    How are you going to bridge the heroic gap? Or will you choose to deny your greatness and cowardly feed your shadow with hero worship?

    Life to too precious to fritter away by denying your own greatness.

    Learn from others then cultivate that greatness within. It’s there within all of us.

    Be your own superhero.

    – Stevie P!

    Throwback Thursday: The Ego Shell and Emotional Armor

    muscular

    That’s me in July of 2011.

    I recently came across this picture again… And you know what? I never even realized how muscular I was then.

    Seriously, I didn’t. Body dysmorphia is an insidious delusion. Our minds play tricks on us more often than not.

    At that point in my life, I was dead set on achieving perfection in every aspect of life. I NEEDED to be the fittest, smartest, funniest, wisest and most creative person in the room, simultaneously; at all times. Now how about that for some constant pressure based on unreal expectations?

    If I could sum up my belief system, it would be this – Nothing was ever good enough.

    Of course, there are far worse problems to have. But this is an exposé of the more shadowy delusions so many of us face (or choose not to face).

    It’s not all bad though. This mentality greatly helped me in many, many ways. Due to this hyper-imbalance towards the warrior archetype, I’ve been able to learn, apply and do so much within a short span of 28 years. I’m grateful for that, though I recognize it no longer serves my highest good.

    I now know this phase needed to happen in order to get to where I am now and to give me massive momentum in the direction I’m going.

    With that nod of gratitude, I want to dissect for you the psyche behind the muscular frame you see in that picture…

    Layer 1: Emotional Armor

    I’m a sensitive person, a prototypical Cancer in that sense. Up until very recently, I would take any criticism like an arrow to the heart.

    When I started working out and seeing results, it was like discovering armor against criticism. Since I was wrapped in my ego and focused on the illusion of perfection (among other things), I created a need to protect myself emotionally. I feared criticism, so I devised ways to mitigate it.

    I felt like being muscular gave me armor against criticism. It was an ego shell. I thought that because I was “jacked”, people would be less inclined to criticize or make fun of me when I would act like my weird, authentic self.

    It worked, for the most part, and it did help me to get more comfortable with who I am as a unique individual. But I needed to address the root. Why was I afraid of criticism in the first place? The revelations I describe below helped me drop that fear.

    Now I no longer need emotional armor. I have nothing to defend, no false identity to parade to the world. Sure, I stay pretty fit. But the difference is, I don’t give a fuck now, whatsoever. I love myself no matter what (except sometimes when I forget to).

    Last year I actually took a few months off of working out. I just did a lot of yoga and walking. Why? Because I needed to go into my feminine side and allow myself to evolve, instead of forcing it or unknowingly closing myself off with a hyper-masculine, stubborn attitude.

    This more yin approach worked wonders and I was able to go through some incredible transformations. Then after a few months, I felt ready to ground back into my masculine side again. So I started working out again, but from a place of self-love, not to build emotional armor.

    Layer 2: Perfectionism

    Perfectionism was omnipresent for me throughout most of my life. I still even need to be mindful of perfectionist tendencies.

    Much of perfectionism is due to cultural conditioning. Our parents and teachers praised us only when we did something they labeled as good. The media perpetually force-feeds us with artificially projected images of perfection for every aspect of life.

    So many of us are slaves to our ego, which drags us along on the roller coaster of superiority and inferiority. No aspect of our society teaches us to embrace our uniqueness and accept ourselves as we are right now.

    Perfection doesn’t exist (in this reality at least). We’re all imperfect beings. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Imperfection allows for uniqueness and continuous improvement. That’s so beautiful, so… perfect. In a paradoxical way, we can find perfection in the imperfection of everything.

    For me, as I said before, nothing was ever good enough. I was critical of others, but even more critical of myself. My inner judge was a slave driver, constantly pushing me. I thought salvation was found in some future achievement or in becoming something more. My sense of self-worth was tied to the chaos of external circumstance.

    For a deeper dive into perfectionism, check out my article How to Overcome Perfectionism

    Layer 3: External Worthiness

    I used to believe that I could attain worthiness by achievement. Oh, how that resulted in unrelenting difficulty. Again, this is culturally perpetuated and many of us have this belief to some degree.

    I would not love myself as I was in any given moment. Instead, as I said before, the hope of salvation was somewhere in the future. But tomorrow never comes.

    Self-worth is a journey all of us face. We all must go within and remove the debris we’ve piled on top of our essence. That’s the key.

    The ironic thing for me is that my perfectionism made me want to improve every aspect of myself, even regarding self-love. Recently I got to a point where I felt clear and free. I still have certain hang-ups and delusions, yet I’m mindful of them and I accept my imperfections.

    I got so good at solving problems and shoring up weaknesses. But then I realized that this need to correct everything was the very thing blocking me from true self-love. So in essence, I raced down the highway of personal growth, only to find out that my biggest lesson was to enjoy the scenery.

    I’ve cultivated unconditional love within myself (most of the time). And because of that, I’m now able to love others unconditionally.

    Love… that’s what is underneath all of the layers.

    The biggest paradox of self-improvement is that we’ve had what we were looking for all along. We just couldn’t see it.

    Thank you for reading.

    – Stevie P!