2

A Glimpse into My Personal Journey

big tree

This is much more of a personal reflection than most of my articles. It started as a journal entry, but through sharing it, you may relate and find value in this too. Some may even find this outlandish, but it is my genuine self-expression and I know that others can relate at least the general themes to their own experiences.

These are chaotic times we live in, where outer and inner realities are going through rapid changes. If you’re experiencing any overwhelming changes in your life, especially if you’re someone on the spiritual path who’s undergoing a rapid expansion of consciousness, just know that you’re not alone.

Much, much love.

– Stevie P

6/13/2016
I’ve expanded my consciousness so rapidly over the last 8 months, since I quit my job, traveled the world, wrote two books and had innumerable mindblowing experiences. As with any rapid change, it can be difficult to manage at times. And it came to a crescendo over the last couple weeks.

Looking back, as hindsight is 20/20, I was honestly walking the thin line between genius and insanity for the last 2 weeks or so, up until this weekend. I was accessing knowledge, wisdom and understanding that was so intensely profound, to the point of being overwhelming. I was navigating territory completely unfamiliar to me, making me feel lost and honestly a bit afraid.

I felt what the people who want to just check out of society feel – drug addicts, suicidal people, everyone deemed as misfits and outcasts – I felt what they feel and felt it poignantly. It’s extremely difficult to bring that feeling through the filter of language. I also felt what the “crazy geniuses” feel as well, being so far gone in the realms of creative inspiration that physical reality seems almost irrelevant. I was imbalanced, however, clinging to the creative muse, instead of letting her come and go as she pleases, which is her very nature.

Note: I’m not sayin I’m inherently smarter than anyone else. We’re all geniuses in different ways. Most people just haven’t unlocked this potential.

I’ve been seeing the world from a subtle outside looking in perspective. And from this perspective, it’s so easy to slip into runaway ungroundedness and lose all touch with this realm of reality. When you have a different perspective than the norm (which is akin to being asleep), it’s like waking up alone in a new house before dawn. Yes, you’re conscious and awake, yet you’re confused and stumbling around in the dark. I spent the last couple weeks getting my footing and groping through the vivid darkness. But I’m now learning how to navigate with this new version of self.

Note: I’m using the term “asleep” not as a judgment, it’s just the best word to describe what I’m attempting to express. Everyone is on their own journey. There is no better or worse, just different. Who am I to judge someone else’s life?

Like Chuck Yeager said, “Just before you break through the sound barrier, the cockpit shakes the most.” My shaking and barrier breaking seems to have ended and now I’m flying smoothly again, just in a new domain of speed.

The lens that I’m viewing reality from was re-focused. It was blurry for a second, but I feel intuitively that I’m starting to see more clearly than ever.

I’ve learned this powerful lesson: If you ground yourself and master your mind, you can have that “higher” perspective without being lost in it; while still walking the Earth, being here now (in 3D reality) and enjoying the good things it does have to offer. Our selves are always changing, and sometimes powerful changes can throw off your balance. So it’s important to allow change to happen, while finding your balance through the process.

I found balance by getting out in nature every day, spending time with family and socializing more. Grounding barefoot on the Earth has also been a godsend for me.

I’ve also come to the realization that I need to connect with more people that I can learn from, who can help me along my journey. I’ve been pushing the boundaries so hard and for so long that, at times, it feels as if I’m alone in the depths of space. But I know there are other people who have already been through what I’m going through, which is true for any and all facets of the human experience. We’re all unique aspects of the same oneness helping each other out.

A message that I received during a Merkaba activation in Costa Rica keeps coming back to me; an image of a tree appeared to me and said “Stay grounded. You already have all of the answers.”

And it couldn’t be any truer.

Gratitude fills my heart.

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


 

The Paradox of Personal Freedom: How Positive Constraints Can Enhance Your Life

the path to freedom

As humans, we have an insatiable desire for freedom.

It’s only natural. Freedom is our essential state and we feel this in the innermost depths of our being. When freedom is blatantly denied, it is an excruciating hindrance and not tolerated for long.

However, every great truth is paradoxical from the perspective of the mind and through the filter of language. The idea of freedom is no different. You would think that total, complete freedom would mean total, complete happiness, right? But that’s not the case (in this reality, at least). Absolute freedom does not necessarily equate to absolute happiness.

Infinite options equals ultimate prison, in many circumstances. You end up with this paradox of choice issue. It’s like standing in front of shelving at a Safeway with 300 brands of toothpaste and just wasting 15 minutes of your life trying to pick a toothpaste. You don’t need that kind of cognitive burden and decision fatigue.
~ Tim Ferriss

 
Focused perspective allows for desired experiences to come to fruition, as a specific choice concentrates your reality based upon our intention. This focused perspective, or in other words, constraints on experienced reality, is the foundation for learning and evolution as humans. Limitation fosters creative solutions, resistance catalyzes growth and darkness is needed to truly appreciate light.

If you think about it, absolute freedom means sitting in infinite possibility without choosing a possibility. So in a way, you’ve chosen to compromise complete freedom just by participating in the 3D human experience.

Ok, metaphysical musings aside; what I’m getting at is this… In order to have a highly rewarding, fulfilling and purposeful life, you need to consciously apply the power of positive constraints.

You’re always making choices and assumptions (in every moment) that are condensing the light of your freedom/possibility to a focused area. And the key question is: Are you consciously aware of the choices and assumptions you’re making?

What are Positive Constraints?

Positive constraints are constraints that you consciously place upon yourself in order to direct your life in a desired direction.

For example, if you know that writing a book is something that will add immeasurable value to your life, you’re going to have to sacrifice other activities in favor of a regular writing habit. And you’re going to have to write even when you don’t feel like it. But as a result of this positive constraint, your life will be more fulfilling and you’ll create more freedom for yourself long-term.

Why Are Positive Constraints Useful?

Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.
~ Paulo Coelho

 
Positive constraints focus your experiences towards what you want to prioritize in life.

They actually create more freedom in many cases. If you want the freedom to travel the world, you have to make sacrifices to get there. You have to save money (though not as much as most people think), quit your job (or work for yourself and do it remotely) and decide where you want to go. All of those things are positive constraints to bring you to a place of freedom to travel.

Being an entrepreneur epitomizes attaining freedom through positive constraints. In order to work for yourself, make your own decisions and have freedom of time and location, sacrifices must be made to get there. A lot of groundwork is required to get any business or entrepreneurial project off the ground, yet once the ball is rolling, it can create long-term freedom in many aspects of life.

The Freedom to Choose to Concede Freedom

Having the freedom to choose your own constraints is what makes life fulfilling and worthwhile. If you’re forced to do something, that’s a blatant form of slavery. If you’re programmed into thinking you don’t have a choice, that’s a subtle form of slavery. Both are extremely disharmonious and antithetical to human happiness.

Ultimately, everything you do is a constraint on freedom. The Latin root of the word decision means “to cut off.” By making a decision, you’re literally cutting off all other possibilities. So it’s important to be mindful of your decisions in every moment, because you’re always making decisions whether you’re aware of them or not. It is choice (decision) that collapses the wave-form of all possibility and gives us a specific experience. Without choice, there would be no experience. Having free will without making a choice is to not have an experience.

The key is being conscious of the choices you’re making and being aware of what you’re keeping and what you’re “cutting off” by making a decision.

Family and Oneness

One of the most gratifying positive constraints is choosing to start a family. By starting a family, you are choosing to give up some freedom, but the rewards of caring for others, giving and sharing can greatly outweigh the emptiness that comes from just sitting on the prospect of possibilities. Plus, taking care of someone besides yourself can be immeasurably rewarding if you already have some degree of self-mastery to build upon.

Creating a family is unique in the sense that it imprints and amplifies your impact on other people (particularly children). If you haven’t released your own demons, you’re going to infect your family with your dysfunction. This is why families tend to repeat the same patterns generation after generation, unless someone becomes very conscious and grounded in their own power. On the other hand, if you’re harmonious within yourself, you’re going to spread the light of your love even more and that’s a snowball effect too. So from this higher perspective, you have the potential to create more freedom and happiness for the whole (which we’re all a part of) by choosing the positive constraint of starting a family.

How to Apply Positive Constraints

1. Decide what you want – This is the decision that cuts off other possibility and focuses your reality. Make sure you’re consciously focusing your reality and being mindful of where your intentionality is being directed.

On a larger scale, figure out your purpose. Find what you want to prioritize in life and cast aside the things that aren’t in alignment with it. Also, you don’t have to have a fixed purpose for the rest of your life. Your purpose can change and evolve as you change and evolve.

For a clearer vision of your purpose, read my article: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions

2. Implement habits to get there – Once you decide on what you want, action must be taken. Form daily habits to bring you in your desired direction.

Decide on 1-3 habits that are your “big wins” for the day and set aside blocks of time to do them, no matter what. With me, I set aside a 50 minute block for writing every morning and I record a video as well. Those have become things that I just do. Because I’ve built the habit, there is no decision to be made or questioning myself, they’re just what I do.

Don’t forget about the first hour of your day either. Your morning routine is the foundation for your day. Make your morning routine the leverage point from which you build positive momentum for the rest of the day. Ideally, it should consist of drinking a lot of water (re-hydration and cleansing), meditation and some form of stretching/mobility exercises/yoga to prime your body for the day.

More on morning routines:
How to Own Your Day: Tim Ferriss Shares His 5 Morning Rituals
The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

That’s it. Applying positive constraints is essentially just focusing and following through.

Enjoy your journey and much love to ya.

– Stevie P!

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


 

What Are You Being Distracted From?

I highly encourage you to do this awareness test before reading the rest of the article, as it will give you direct, applicable experience regarding the central theme of this article.

That video is a microcosm of what’s occurring on a collective level.

Distractions small and large, personally and collectively, all work this way. When your focus gets fixated on something, you filter out things that would otherwise be obvious.

It’s the old “Hey look at my right hand!” while the hidden left hand is covertly performing the magic trick.

The petri dish of culture (see what I did there?) we find ourselves in is a grand illusion, or a grand delusion, whose very existence depends on concealing itself behind endless distractions.

Weapons of Mass Distraction

The mainstream media is nothing but fear-porn and heated debates over minutiae designed to program and paralyze our psyches. Television is called “programming” for a reason.

Celebrity gossip is constantly thrown in our faces, like it’s of utmost importance to our lives. This further keeps people’s focus away from what really matters and exhausts energy on utter stupidity.

Sports, instead of being played by adults, have turned into a form of idol worship. Grown men wear the names of other grown men on their backs (jerseys) in a silly externalization of personal power. And most sports fanatics have more passion about other people throwing balls around than they do about their family or their own purpose in life.

Politicians discuss asinine topics instead of what really matters. If they would address the fundamental aspects of society, then real change would take place. But they don’t. A couple essential topics that need to be addressed are energy (which is the foundation of shelter, food, transportation and all human necessities) and the monetary system as a whole (which is fiat currency based on debt and funnels wealth into the hands of a few). But having a serious discussion about clean, free energy, for example, would render any control system obsolete, so that topic is vehemently ignored and suppressed.

Standard education has children memorizing and regurgitating useless facts instead of learning knowledge of self, critical thinking or applicable life skills. John D Rockefeller, who created the general education board for the US in 1902, summed it up when he said “I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.” For those who are willing to take an objective look, it’s not the education system, but the indoctrination system, driven by weapons of mass instruction.

Even though we all have access to more information in our pockets than the president of the United States had 30 years ago, most use their smartphones just to take selfies and proclaim to the world every time they step out of their house. Without a foundation of self-mastery, instead of using a smartphone as a tool, you become a slave to the tool.

The Essential Questions

How come very few people even consider the essential questions of life?

Who are we? Where do we come from? What is humanity’s story? What is the nature of reality? How do we interact with reality? Where do our ideas come from?

Why don’t we investigate these fundamental questions first? Wouldn’t it make sense to start there? Isn’t it important to understand the nature of the game you’re playing?

Why aren’t children taught any form of self-mastery? Wouldn’t mindfulness meditation (being able to objectively observe your thoughts and emotions) be useful? Of course it would. That is the foundation upon which any conscious change can be made. Wouldn’t something like yoga, getting in tune with your body, be useful? Wouldn’t breathing practices be useful to learn? I mean, deep breathing can extinguish the flames of anxiety in a matter of seconds. But nope, those things are completely ignored by traditional education.

Why aren’t the most useful skills of being human taught? Survival skills, growing food…etc. Why isn’t personal finance taught? Why do so few people even know what money really is?

Here’s why none of the most important questions never get addressed; because we’re being distracted in every moment. Between education (indoctrination), television, the media, misuse of technology and most adults being dizzyingly busy, the average person doesn’t have the time or energy left to explore the most fundamental questions.

I call this situation “the squeeze.” Resources are limited and economies are manipulated to put more pressure on families, so both parents now have to work to financially sustain the family. This creates a time squeeze in which people are too busy to explore the essential questions of life or even think for themselves. Combine this with omnipresent distractions (aka bread and circuses) and no one ever stops to question the situation in which humanity has found itself.

The term bread and circuses was coined by Roman satirist Juvenal, and it’s defined as “Something, as extravagant entertainment, offered as an expedient means of pacifying discontent or diverting attention from a source of grievance.” Does that sound familiar? The bread and circuses of today (education, media, celebrity gossip, politics, smartphone misuse…etc.) are pacifying your discontent with how blatantly dysfunctional our societal paradigms are. And what grievance is it diverting your attention from? Well, the grievance of knowing in your heart of hearts that there are far better ways of doing things, far more harmonious ways of living and far more that humanity is capable of achieving.

It’s all about distracting people from what really matters. A population can be easily controlled if all they focus on is external, asinine things. The distractions are so intense because once the curtain is pulled back, the powers that (wanna)be are exposed and their house of cards collapses. It’s exactly like what happens in The Wizard of Oz, the seemingly ominous authority figure, once exposed, is nothing but a fearful little man. His power was solely based upon creating fear through deception, and was usurped upon exposure. Once you shine light on cockroaches, they scatter. All it takes is a bit of light to illuminate a whole room. Cast the distractions aside and shine your light.

wizard of oz behind the curtain

photo credit: The Wizard of Oz

What Can You Do?

Stop distracting yourself – Turn off the tv, stop watching the news and stop giving your energy to the fabricated illusion.

Focus on yourself – Focusing on yourself isn’t selfish. To be able to serve you must first be fit to serve. You can only give what you’re able to give, so it pays exponentially to make yourself more able. Get in tune with yourself. Go within, meditate, observe your thoughts and emotions, do the inner work, rid yourself of limiting beliefs, let go of trauma you’re holding onto, continuously improve yourself and find/create your purpose. Maximize yourself and you will be of far greater benefit and help to others. If you know your own power, you’re not going to give it away to forces who don’t have your best interest in mind.

Investigate the nature of reality for yourself – Ask yourself the big questions posed above. Be curious, open-minded and entertain any idea without clinging to it. View the world as an idea playground. Do your own research, find a healthy amount of unique data points and form your own conclusions.

Don’t indoctrinate your children – Standard education, particularly in the US, is a massive consciousness-suppressant. And it was designed that way. As epitomized by the Rockefeller quote above, was designed to create obedient workers, not creative, free-thinking individuals. Everyone is a genius in their own unique way, it just takes years of mandatory education to bury it. Find a progressive, alternative school or homeschool your children (but make sure you’re a part of some community if you do this, as socialization is obviously important too).

Create your own culture – Read my article on this, “Stop Consuming Culture and Create Your Own.”

One love.

– Stevie P!

 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

 

Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


 

Stop Consuming Culture and Create Your Own

hands create sculpting

Are you creating the life you want? Or are you just absorbing a version of reality that has been projected upon you?

Are you living life on your own terms? Or are you letting your hopes and dreams become the desires of someone else?

Are you maximizing your own state of being? Or are you focusing on external distractions?

We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.
~ Terence McKenna

 
Absorbing culture, as opposed to creating your own, is an insult to both your potential and individuality.

We’re all super-creative beings, it’s just been systematically suppressed with most people. The potential that resides within every human being is almost unfathomable from the “poor little me” perspective. Every single person has unique skills and talents that, when cultivated, will be the building blocks of a better world. Are you cultivating and expressing your gifts? Or are you wasting your time on celebrity gossip or debating the latest sideshow act that the media has programmed you to react to?

The Low Information Diet

Many top performers in various fields (and happy people in general) consciously limit and filter the information they expose themselves to, particularly the news. Why? Because they’re focused on creating! And you should too if you care at all about living your life to the fullest.

I’m focusing my energy on growing stronger myself; which means exploring new ideas, trying new things out, not being afraid of experience, becoming a role model that can support other guys in becoming stronger versions of themselves. Because if I don’t do that, I’m just contributing to the fucked-up-ness of the world.
~ Elliott Hulse

 
The biggest culprit, in terms of information that hinders your well-being, is the news. When have you ever felt good after watching the news? And what did you personally do about the latest popularized tragedy? You’d be much better off working on yourself and helping those around you.

The ‘news’ is nothing more than outrage porn. Or fear porn. Or literal porn. Completely ignore it and spend your mental energy focusing instead on being healthy, being creative and improving 1% each day.
~ James Altucher (check out his article on this called “Go On a News Diet, Starting Today”)

 
It’s your choice whether or not to consume something. I’m not saying to never watch a movie or read a book again. Just be conscious about what you’re consuming and filter out the nonsense that doesn’t serve your best interest. Be mindful of your informational ingestion. Is what you’re consuming in alignment with your highest good? Is it making you a better person? Is it making you more of a role model to those around you?

Author, investor and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss has an entire category on his blog entitled “Low-Information Diet.” Yes, being conscious about the information you choose to absorb is that important.

If you’ve noticed, I’m quoting a few people in this article, yet I’m synthesizing these sources to create my own unique work here. Also, the information I’m sharing sheds light on things within you that you may not have been aware of. There’s a big difference between consciously seeking information that will help you improve and mindlessly consuming asinine gossip and spiritually paralyzing fear-mongering (“news”).

Our brains have a hard time processing what’s happening to billions of people, especially all of the horrors which the news seems to be keen on feeding people. Every person has a threshold of trauma which they can tolerate in their lives before the accumulated trauma becomes their primary operating system. The news creates information overload and forces people into a fear-induced paralysis.

Focus on what you can do right now. Tune into yourself, start expressing your inner gifts, spread love to everyone you encounter and inspire by example.

Lifting the Veil

Even the most conservative and closed-minded people can sense the blatant dysfunction of the culture we find ourselves in, although many refuse to admit the sheer grandiosity of the lies we’ve been sold.

Examine all of the major systems in place and you’ll find common themes of fear, deception, separation and scarcity. Mainstream media, education, religion, energy, healthcare (sick-care), politics and economics all operate under this paradigm. That’s why disharmony arises everywhere mainstream culture touches.

Thankfully, there are alternatives emerging across the board. And you can be a catalyst for positive change as well. Everyone has something amazing to contribute. But that will be stifled if all you do is focus externally.

Projected Reality

The universe does not exist “out there,” independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe. Physics is no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, fields of force, into geometry, or even into time and space. Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself.
~ John Wheeler

 
Reality is not as we’re told. It’s not as fixed and machine-like as we assume it to be (without any investigation), but more of a quantum soup of information that we’re decoding and projecting into simultaneously.

The building blocks of our reality, atoms, are not solid. They’re more than 99.999999% empty space. So how can a universe consisting of these non-solid atoms be solid? Well, it’s not. We just decode it that way. Just like how objects in video games appear solid, yet they’re not.

And we’re exactly in this situation in our world. We look around and it doesn’t seem that mathematical at all, but everything we see is made out of elementary particles like quarks and electrons. And what properties does an electron have? Does it have a smell or a colour or a texture? No! As far as we can tell the only properties an electron has are -1, 1/2 and 1. We physicists have come up with geeky names for these properties, like electric charge, or spin, or lepton number, but the electron doesn’t care what we call it, the properties are just numbers.
~ Max Tegmark

 
The human brain processes approximately 11 million impressions every second that it decodes into the five senses. These 11 million are filtered down to about 40 and from that our sense of reality is constructed. The brain also “fills the gaps” of the unprocessed information based upon what it believes should be there. It’s all about how we decode this sea of information. So if you change the way you decode reality, you experience a different version of reality.

Along with decoding the general informational template of reality, we’re all perpetually projecting into reality as well. The observer effect and the double-slit experiment show that the observer actually influences what is being observed. How crazy is that? Everything is interconnected and your consciousness creates ripples upon the web of reality whether you like it or not.

So it is highly important to be mindful of your beliefs that are decoding reality in a certain way and your focus/emotions/thoughts/words that are constantly being projected upon reality.

Energy flows where attention goes. What are you giving energy to?

Imagine your focus as life force energy flowing wherever it is directed. If you’re watching the news, you’re draining your own energy (it really is energetic vampirism) and energetically contributing to the fear, destruction and violence. Instead focus on what you can do to improve yourself and make the world a better place. Objective awareness is crucial too. I’m neither ignorant nor apathetic to what’s going on in the world. It’s just that I choose not to focus my energy on it and focus instead on improving myself, writing, inspiring, being kind to everyone I encounter, being a role model…etc.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
~ Dan Millman

 
Television is like a hack into our reality interface. It programs the subconscious, which then makes you decode and project reality based on that program. When you watch television, you’re in a state of light hypnosis, meaning your subconscious mind is primed to pick up hypnotic suggestions in the form of advertisements, subliminal messages, beliefs, ideals, opinions…etc. Of course there are some good shows out there, but the majority of it (especially news and commercials) are psyche-hacks to make you decode, project and act under a paradigm of fear, ego-enslavement, disempowerment and inadequacy. If you notice, most people exhibit predictable programmed reactions based on events publicized in the media. It’s all engineered that way.

There are six companies that control 90% of the US media. This is a ridiculous centralization of information sources. Combine this with how insidious television is and it’s the perfect storm for mass brainwashing. Get your information from various democratized sources (to have multiple data points for reference) and form your own opinions.

It’s all in plain sight too. Remember, television is called “programming” for a reason.

television programming

Culture Creation Case Studies

Look at what the downtrodden youth of the Bronx, New York created when American culture did nothing but oppress them. Neighborhoods were impoverished, schools were underfunded and traditional musical instruments weren’t available. They had limited access to many modern conveniences and a burning desire to express themselves. So what did they do? They created their own culture, hip-hop, which revolutionized music, poetry, art, dance, fashion and language.

The hippie movement of the 1960’s is another example of culture creation. During this time period, the Vietnam War (a horrible campaign of violence predicated on lies, like every war) was going on and the American way, up until that point, was characterized by unquestioning obedience towards authority. But the hippies bucked the system (some by protesting the war and aiding the civil rights movement) and created their own counter-culture instead of passively absorbing the culture projected upon them. That movement planted the seeds for alternative thinking, questioning authority, open-mindedness, various forms of artistic expression, spirituality beyond religion and a foundation of love instead of the undercurrent of fear that pervades mainstream systems.

Changing the World Starts with You

8731991851_d9e8b1f552_b

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
~ Rumi

 
You are the leverage point from which the world changes. Trying to change the external world without changing yourself first is like trying to comb the mirror instead of your own hair. And reality is a sort of mirror of our internal state (see the evidence above).

Also, if you’re changing things without a foundation of self-mastery, that change is coming from a fundamentally compromised place. An external focus on change is like standing on top of a boat yelling at things to move out of your way, while internal change is simply steering the boat.

How to Change the World

Know thyself – Get in tune with yourself. Go within, meditate, observe your thoughts and emotions, do the inner work, rid yourself of limiting beliefs, let go of trauma you’re holding onto, continuously improve yourself and find/create your purpose. You are the hinge from which the door to all change swings on, and inner work is the opening of the door.

Focus on your experienced reality – Not what’s on tv, not what’s on the news, not what Kanye West is doing. Focus on your experience, your personal relationships, your family, your community, your skills, your home, your joys, your passions, how you treat the people you encounter…etc. Everything else besides your present experience is just conceptual. What action can you take right now? (No, sitting on your couch moaning about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton doesn’t count.)

Vote with your dollar – We live in a consumerist society and corporations run the governments. These companies cannot exist if people don’t buy their products/services, it’s as simple as that. Are you contributing to the problem or solution? Be mindful of where you spend your money, because that’s the real voting (it’s democratized, direct and not rigged).

Find your gifts and express them – When you do the inner work and focus on your experienced reality (not manipulated “tv reality”), you will inevitably find and develop useful skills. Everyone has something useful and incredibly potent to contribute. You just need to shed the societal conditioning and find out for yourself. And each person, by sharing their gifts, will contribute to the creation of a better world. Some will invent ways to harness free energy (rendering oil dependency useless), some will be architects who design eco-friendly buildings, some will be great gardeners, some will be writers, some will be musicians…etc. All you need to do is look within and you’ll find that you’ve had brilliant gifts all along.

There are millions of other people that would benefit from a little bit of insight or wisdom from you in the way you choose to offer it. Maybe you want to become a coach. Maybe you want to build a business. Maybe you create a non-profit organization. Maybe you make videos. Maybe you write books. Maybe you make poetry. Maybe you play the violin. Whatever it is, you’re adding beauty to the world. You’ve gotta keep that balance. If you let the death and destruction weigh you down, you’re becoming an anchor!
~ Elliott Hulse

 
Be a beacon of love – Never underestimate small acts of kindness. The little things you do in each moment matter immensely, and they add up. Who knows how profoundly you can inspire someone with one simple act of kindness? Are you spreading love or are you contributing to the disharmony? The choice is up to you in each moment.

One love.

– Stevie P!

 

Join our Newsletter (Free Gift Inside)

 

10 Profound Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

classical music notes written

I’ve been hanging out with a few old friends lately: Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Bach, Chopin, Handel, Wagner and the rest of those OG’s.

Classical music has become a staple in my life. It’s a truly beautiful form of music that comes with a seemingly endless list of benefits which we can all reap. The first thing I do each morning is put on those harmonious, orchestra-driven melodies of classical music.

Why do I listen to classical music all of the time?

I like to call it “serenading the space.” Playing classical music instantly turns any room into a church of good vibes, a temple of celebration or your own tranquil sanctuary. Turn on some classical music and you’ll instantly experience this for yourself (if you haven’t already).

Classical music is the background music to my morning stretches, my writing routine and almost everything else I do. It weaves a fundamental layer of peace and harmony into the fabric of my life.

Now this is coming from a hip-hop head. Classical music was never really my thing. I don’t necessarily sit down and listen to it very intently either, but its benefits as background music are utterly unparalleled. Here’s why..

10 Profound Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Increases Physical Performance

Classical music, especially fast-paced classical music, has been consistently shown to increase physical performance.

We’ve all experienced that extra push that music can give us when working out. It gets you to squeeze out that extra rep, or run that sprint a little bit faster. And I don’t know about you, but I feel like the hero of a movie whenever I exercise to some epic classical music.

Also, because it doesn’t have words, classical music allows you to focus more on what you’re doing, instead of focusing on the music. If I listen to hip-hop when working out, I get a surge of motivation, but I’ll be less mindful of the exercise I’m doing. But with classical music, I get a similar surge in motivation, but I’ll be completely mindful and more present when performing the exercise.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10573664

2. Increases Sleep Quality

Classical music calms the mind, and when the mind calms down, the body follows. Listening to classical music is greatly effective for people who suffer from insomnia and other sleeping disorders. The soothing effects of classical music are tremendously conducive to sleep.

The conclusion of one study (entitled “Music improves sleep quality in students”) reads “Relaxing classical music is an effective intervention in reducing sleeping problems. Nurses could use this safe, cheap and easy to learn method to treat insomnia.”

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18426457

3. Eases Chronic Pain

Classical music has inherent healing properties and has been shown to reduce pain. Along with distracting people from the pain they experience, the relaxing and stress-reducing effects of classical music actually reduce pain as well.

Many hospitals have caught on to this and now play classical music because of its potent effects on pain reduction.

On top of easing chronic pain, classical music actually accelerates healing too. But whether it’s just the relaxing effects that stimulate healing, or if the sound vibration itself is healing, is up for debate. But the bottom line is that classical music reduces pain and helps the body heal. So drop the pain killers and put on some Mozart instead.

Sources:
http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0021-75572006000300006&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21704068

4. Improves Mood and Fights Depression

Classical music is well-known to boost mood, relax the mind and increase dopamine levels. Anyone can experience this too, just play some classical music and notice your mood shift for the better.

Classical music also has the same physiological effects as a massage, which is an impressive testament to how much music (frequency and vibration) really affects us.

The flipside of the coin of happiness is depression. So because classical music makes you feel good, depression naturally fades away, making classical music a powerful anti-depressant as well.

A large-scale example of classical music’s positive effects on mood is that it literally fights crime. Classical music is like a super hero and has been shown to reduce crime rates when played in public places.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000689930400736X
http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/06/10/05/how_classical_music_can_reduce_crime_benefit_your_mood_and_increase_your_spending.htm

5. Lowers Stress Levels

Going hand-in-hand with its mood boosting properties, classical music notably reduces stress. This makes sense, of course, due to its relaxation and mood enhancing properties.

Classical music has been repeatedly shown to lower cortisol levels as well. Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone,” so it’s a way to tangibly measure stress responses in people.

Stress is an epidemic in modern society, so listening to classical music is a great way to fight back against the chronic stress we’re all faced with in our day-to-day lives.

How can you be stressed when you’re relaxed and happy? You can’t.

Sources:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1069901/Listening-classical-music-relieve-pregnancy-stress.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110826/

6. Boosts Brain Function

The positive effect of classical music on brain function is so well known that it’s referred to as the “The Mozart Effect.”

Here are some examples:
In 1996, the College Entrance Exam Board Service conducted a study of all students taking their SAT exams. Students who sang or played a musical instrument scored an average of 51 points higher on the verbal portion and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test.

In a controlled University of California study, students who listened to 10 minutes of Mozart before taking SATs had higher scores than students who didn’t.

In a University of Washington study, people who listened to light classical music for 90 minutes while copyediting a manuscript caught 21% more mistakes.

7. Sharpens Memory

Being so beneficial for brain function in general, it’s no surprise that classical music improves memory as well.

Studies have shown that music enhances the memory of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. One of these was a UC Irvine study, which showed that scores on memory tests of Alzheimer’s patients improved when they listened to classical music.

There’s a slight caveat regarding classical music and memory though. In the 1960’s, a Bulgarian psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Georgi Lozanov found that different pieces of classical music were more beneficial to memory than others, depending on what stage of the learning process they were used. The learning process can be divided into three stages: relaxation, active learning and memory consolidation. Lozanov, after 30 years of experiments with music and memory, found that specific pieces of classical music yielded better results in these different stages of the learning process. Some pieces were better for relaxation, some were better for active learning and some were better for memory consolidation.

Sources:
http://www.rocketmemory.com/articles/music-and-studying/

8. Decreases Blood Pressure

Among classical music’s health benefits is that it decreases blood pressure. The tempos of music have a profound impact on both heart-rate and blood pressure. Slower, gentler music is relaxing, which slows the heart-rate and reduces blood pressure, while music with a faster tempo does the opposite.

Many pieces of classical music are also in sync with the body’s natural rhythms. For example, blood pressure rises and falls every ten seconds or so, which is a rhythm that many composers mirror in their works.

Another fun fact is that the second part of Beethoven’s famous Fifth Symphony is called the “music of a healthy heart” and it is especially recommended for high blood pressure.

Sources:
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/59065/20150610/your-heart-loves-music-operas-and-classical-music-can-lower-your-blood-pressure.htm

9. Enhances Creativity

Classical music is like a magical creativity catalyst. The good vibes put you in a clear, creative mood which acts as fertile ground for harvesting new ideas and insight. Combine this with enhanced cognitive function, being stress-free and relaxed, and you have a recipe for great creative work.

Classical music, because it doesn’t have words, doesn’t disrupt the creative process either. I personally get into much more of a flow state, especially when writing, when listening to music without words. Music with words tends to be distracting when doing any creative work.

10. Improves Productivity

Want to be more productive? Classical music helps with that as well. An often overlooked advantage of listening to classical music is that it can make monotonous tasks more tolerable. If you’re engaging in a repetitive task, classical music can “get you out of your head” and help pass the time in a more enjoyable fashion.

I personally would listen to classical music whenever I had to do a repetitive task at my job. It would transform an assignment, consisting of hours of manual data entry, from torturous to “this isn’t so bad” in a matter of seconds.

Lyric-less music aids productivity as well. According to studies from Cambridge Sound Management, intelligible words can force us to shift focus from our work to figuring out what someone is saying (that’s why it can disrupt creativity too). According to Cambridge’s 2008 study, speech distracts about 48% of office workers. So while classical music can boost productivity, other more-wordy genres of music may actually hinder it.

Sources:
http://cambridgesound.com/sound-masking-references/
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0003687072901019

Oh, and did I mention that listening to classical music instantly makes you well-cultured?

Classical music comes with a whole host of benefits that you can leverage to optimize your well-being. The composers were geniuses who could create audio medicine, gently speaking to our subconscious mind and harmonizing the totality of who we are.

So put on some Mozart and compose art. Play some Handel and handle your business. Bump some Bach and get “bach” to being happy.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

PS – I wrote this whole article while listening to classical music.