Posts Tagged ‘awakening’

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Veganism – a step towards a more compassionate world

December 11, 2012

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The human race in the 21st century seems to pride itself on its sophistication and civilisation. My belief is that we’re far from civilised and are, as Bill Hicks pointed out, only half-evolved:

 Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right? There’s another 90 percent of our brains that we have to illuminate.

In the same way that we can now sneer at our ancestors for believing the sun was a god and that the earth was flat, and express horror at the fact that kids were hanged for stealing apples and women were burned as witches for being different, so our descendants will deride us for our primitive behaviours. Fighting over territory, satisfying lusts for sex, blood and power – behaviours which are occurring, albeit in small and often petty ways  on a daily basis in each of our own little worlds, not just on a global level. We may be able to walk on two legs, communicate using a complex language system and create some amazing stuff, but underneath all that we’re still just driven by base animal instincts and ruled by those lower chakras.

 So how is this relevant to veganism? Here are some quotes from people far more eminent than myself who articulate this far better than I ever could:

 * “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” Pythagoras, mathematician

 * “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist

 * “To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.” Romain Rolland, author, Nobel Prize 1915

 * “If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth — beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals — would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?” George Bernard Shaw, playwright, Nobel Prize 1925

 * “What is it that should trace the insuperable line? …The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” Jeremy Bentham, philosopher

 * “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, author, Nobel Prize 1978

 * “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.” Mahatma Gandhi, statesman and philosopher

 And finally, my original point summed up beautifully:

 * “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” Thomas Edison, inventor

 The reason I feel there is a connection between the way we treat animals and our evolution is this. For many years I was a very strict vegetarian, then briefly I lapsed – not a lot, but enough. And with hindsight I can see that the reason I had this lapse and lost sight of the truth for a short while was because I was temporarily ‘asleep’  due to being in a very dark place in my life, and therefore living through my ego, my life ruled by fear rather than love. As I reawakened, opened up my higher chakras, and rediscovered my authentic self, I found myself naturally drawn to total vegetarianism again and the final turning point came when I stumbled upon a video online similar to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeJfY5CXTM0

The actual video I watched, which is no longer available, was entitled ‘If you eat meat, you can watch this’. Now, I am one of those highly sensitive types who can’t bear to witness violence of any kind, so I tend to avoid this kind of thing as I know it will literally haunt me for the rest of my life. But I thought the challenge was fair enough, so I forced myself to watch it (though I had to have the sound turned down, and keep scrolling up and down). What I saw was so horrific that it was enough to convince me that I would never touch any meat product again. It seems abhorrent to me that an animal should suffer such a terrifying and violent death – and in many cases, an entire lifetime of suffering –  just so that a human can eat a meal which he or she probably doesn’t even appreciate that much anyway. When you grab a burger in your lunch break, your only concern is to satisfy your temporary hunger, and then it’s forgotten about. Yet in order for you to eat that meal, a sentient being gave his or her life. I could never again eat something knowing that in its original form, this food was a creature who lived a miserable existence treated as a commodity and spent his/her last few moments on Earth shocked, frightened and in pain. (And on a purely energetic level, is this really the kind of energy you want to be ingesting?)

I’ve since extended this to all animal products, having researched more on dairy and egg production and been horrified at what I found. I also no longer use cosmetics, toiletries or cleaning products which use substances such as glycerin taken from animals, or any product which is tested on animals. This also extends to my clothing, shoes, bags and any other object I purchase. Becoming vegan has been a really exciting life choice for me (and it IS a lifestyle choice, not just a diet) and is the only logical step for anyone wanting to lead a compassionate and ethical lifestyle. Plus, the food is yummy – since becoming vegan I’ve eaten a wider range of delicious and healthy foods than I ever have in my life – and I’ve really surprised myself with my cooking skills!

 As you cut through the swathes of negative conditioning and beliefs which have masked your authentic self, achieving inner simplicity and enjoying the fulfilment, harmony and serenity which come from opening up your higher chakras and finding meaning in your life, you will probably also find yourself gravitating towards a cleaner, purer and more ethical diet in other ways. As well as becoming vegan, you will probably find yourself naturally rejecting such things as nicotine, excess alcohol, recreational drugs, too much sugar, salt and caffeine and processed foods. Most addictions to these substances are due to a lack of meaning in your life, so it makes sense that an improvement in your emotional, psychological and spiritual wellbeing will result in these habits naturally falling away. Where the mind and spirit go, so shall the body follow.

If you are interested in committing to a compassionate lifestyle and becoming vegan then there are now many great resources on the internet  – type ‘vegan starter pack’  into your search engine and you will find loads of interesting material to get you started.

I can also highly recommend Liz Cook’s book ‘So what do you eat?’  for some fabulous vegan recipes. They’re really simple and yummy and the book is beautifully illustrated, and it’s a great introduction to vegan cooking. It really helped me and my family to make the transition.Check it out here.

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Ten Signs You’re Awake

December 9, 2012

Following my previous post ‘Ten Signs of Awakening‘, let’s now take a look at ten ways to recognise that you’re well and truly awake – that is, what life will be like when you’ve been through the awakening process described previously and come out the other side. You don’t necessarily have to resonate with all of these to be awake but you will find each of these factors becoming more prevalent in your life once you do wake up.

1) Being true to you

Now you’ve shed your ‘stuff’ and been through the healing process, your authentic core self – call it your heart, your soul, your soul-self – is revealed in all its glory. At last you know who you are and what it is you want – and there’s a good chance it’s nothing like the life you’ve been lead to believe you should want or the ‘you’ that the world has reflected back at you.

That’s because unlike the unawakened world you’ve grown up in, you’re no longer experiencing life via the ego which views everything with fear, is self-obsessed and creates defences to protect itself. Instead, you’re seeing the world through your soul-self and the eyes of love, which means you now look out more than in and have made that all-important switch from ‘service to self ‘ to ‘service to others’, which is the cornerstone of soulful living.  You now see the truth of what the world needs – and you know what it is you can do to make that difference.

‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment’.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

2) Living in the moment

When you were asleep and living your life steeped in fear, you probably found yourself constantly dwelling on past grievances and worrying about what the future would bring. Whilst it’s important to learn the lessons which the past has taught us and to have a plan in mind for the future, when you constantly reside in those places, you miss so much of what is wonderful in the here and now – and also miss what needs to be done to make the world a better place. Living in the past and the future is SO self-absorbing and creates depression and anxiety – living in the moment brings inner peace which leaves you free to truly notice what is really going on both within and without you.

3) Getting in the flow

Remember those Universal nudges I mentioned in my previous post about awakening? Now you’re fully awake, you become a clear channel for Universal energy and as such, you will find yourself getting into the flow of life and riding a wave of Universal nudges and your inner guidance (the voice of your ‘soul-self). These nudges, coupled with the discernment of your intuitive self,  will help to guide you on to the right path towards fulfilling your life purpose and to live an existence which resonates with your authentic self.

4) Having faith

When you’re awake, you learn to relax and have faith in the aforementioned flow of life which will lead you in the right direction for both you and the good of the Universe.  Having faith means letting go of outcomes and getting out of your own way – in other words, you no longer try and control things or force them to go your way, as you know now that what is yours will come to you. (What it doesn’t mean though, is that you just sit back and do nothing – having faith doesn’t mean that you can’t be proactive in your life so keep on following those nudges!)

5) Appreciation and gratitude

Being awake means that you now find yourself spontaneously appreciating and feeling gratitude for what you already have.  Instead of living life in a state of perpetual longing, you love the gifts you already have and appreciate the simple things in life – your home, your family, your health, your own unique gifts. You will also find yourself noticing the beauty around you and may find that you have a newly awakened interest in the natural world. Spending time in nature can be very restorative for the awakened soul.

6) Being able to manifest what you need when you need it.

When you get into the flow and have faith, something really amazing happens – you find yourself manifesting exactly what you need just when you need it (NB this is NOT about what you ‘want’ – the Universe is not going to make you a multi-millionaire overnight, unless of course, it feels that this is appropriate for your particular life purpose!). This is  due to your inner guidance being in tune with the Universal Energy, creating a mutual support system which manifests everything you need for the highest good of your self and others.

7) Radiance

When you’ve shed the layers of darkness which have been masking your inner light, your authentic soul-self will be able to shine through. Consequently you will find others being drawn to you as you exude universal energy and light – you literally become a beacon of light for all around you. However this does not mean that an awakened life is completely free of darkness – though you will find that your ‘light’ repels a lot of dark energy, so you won’t be touched by it on a personal level as much as before – as we will see in point 8.

8) Living in balance

One of the misperceptions which some people have about being awake is that an awakened life is all sunshine, fluffiness and twinkly angels. This can result in some rather sneery attitudes towards awakening from those who would consider themselves ‘realists’.  However nothing could be further from the truth.

Being awake means that we still recognise what is often termed the ‘duality’ of life (the light and the dark, the yin and the yang)  – but instead of attempting to repress, deny or project these aspects onto others, we accept them as a part of the whole rather than a separate entity – hence the term ‘oneness’ which is used to describe life as seen through awakened eyes.  We realise that the key to life is finding the balance between these aspects of ourselves and the world rather than allowing one to dominate – and in the next point, we will see how being awake and in touch with our core self allows us to deal with darkness in a far more healthy and productive way.

Living in balance also means that we live our lives in a more holistically healthy way, as we recognise how everything is connected. So we balance work and play, mind and body, and naturally gravitate to a more healthful way of being.

9) Dealing with unavoidable suffering in a positive and meaningful way

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes three steps we can take towards discovering the meaning of life, the third of which is our attitude towards unavoidable suffering.

When we are awake, our authentic core self and the strength and inner peace which that gives us, means that never again will we be destroyed by external events in our lives. This does not mean that you won’t grieve or feel angry, but you will no longer allow any tragedy which befalls you to define you and control you.

To read more about people who have dealt with unavoidable suffering a positive and meaningful way and find out more about the three steps Frankl suggested to discover the meaning of life, check out my blog post on this here.

10) Being the change you want to see in the world.

When you’re fully awake, you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the walk too. Your whole life becomes  an example to others of how to find inner peace and you become the living embodiment of compassion and empathy. Your mantra becomes ‘Do no harm’ and you strive to leave the world in a better state than it was when you originally entered it in your current physical form.

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Ten Signs of Awakening

July 7, 2012

How do you do it and how will you know?

Awakening can be sudden or gradual – sometimes it happens as the result of a trauma or upheaval in our lives, other times it happens entirely spontaneously with no obvious trigger. You just know that life, the Universe and everything appear very different and that the truth about all this is perhaps not the same as the story you’ve been told by your parents, your teachers, your peers, society etc. However your awakening occurs though, you can guarantee you’re in for a bit of a bumpy ride.

But why is such a wonderful life-changing experience seemingly beset with difficulties?

It’s due to the healing and shedding of our ‘stuff’ which is a necessary part of the process, to make ourselves a clear channel for the Universal Energy (akin to what Jung termed the ‘collective consciousness’, though perhaps more amazing than even he realised) which is the most powerful – but underused – resource in the universe.

Pain is also a good indicator that something in our lives is out of balance and needs to change. Like the pain we feel in our physical selves to alert us to potential damage to our bodies, emotional and psychological pain alerts us to those areas in our lives which need healing so that we can tune into the energy of the Universe and of our own authentic soul-selves, instead of having our signal distorted by the chatter of egos – our own and those around us.

The process of awakening has a number of emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual and social implications, which are listed below (with some links for further reading if you’re interested in finding out more):

1) You see the bigger picture on a personal and global level.  And become very clear about where we’ve lost our way and what needs to be done about it. This can create feelings of anger, frustration and despair as we feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task which seems to stand before us. If you feel this way, remind yourself that you may only be one person, but you are still powerful enough to create great change – think of the ripple effect. Your efforts will reach way further than you can possibly even imagine. Just follow the path which together the Universe and your soul are leading you towards – the path of your true life purpose.

2) You feel good in your own skin and enjoy solitude and leading an authentic, uncomplicated life. And you become aware that to feel like this on a more constant basis, you need to ditch your baggage to discover and strengthen the authentic core you.

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/time-to-de-clutter/  (There are five parts to this article)

3) You recognise that inner peace can only come from within, not without.  Once you recognise this you begin to lose your unhealthy attachments to material things and to people.

4) Due to the mindbody connection, you may also experience unusual physical symptoms. Often repressed feelings get stuffed into parts of our body. Use the ‘bodyscan’ to keep yourself in tune with your physical and emotional self. (The ‘bodyscan’ is a straightforward exercise where you simply mentally  scan through your body and verbalise what is going on in there, and why you feel it might be happening eg churning in stomach area (solar plexus chakra) due to power issues; menstrual difficulties (sacral chakra) due to relationship issues; pain in left hand side due to problems with your feminine energy or a female in your life, and so on.)

5) You begin to understand how our energy systems affect us all. The basic seven chakra system (mentioned in point 4) is a really good place to start if you want to find out more about how you and the world operate.

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/the-chakra-system/

6) You become a clearer channel for Universal Energy. This is due to simplifying your life and digging beneath the layers to reach your authentic core so your energy is no longer blocked by your ‘stuff’. Try the ‘white light’ breathing exercise to increase your connection. (Visualise  white light (universal energy)pouring into your crown, flowing through every cell of your body and into the ground, then back up round your body and out of your crown again. Do this any time during the day to keep the connection fresh and clear.)

7) You become increasingly uncomfortable around lower vibrating energy. And therefore find it harder to be around certain people. You will feel repelled by anyone who is ‘toxic ‘ to your energy. If possible, simply choose not to be around them. If there are people you have to interact with, then at least minimise contact and try the shielding exercise to protect you during that time. (Visualise yourself protected and surrounded by a cloud of white light – again you can do this any time of day, quickly and easily, and can add to it too, by visualising drops of whilte light feeding into it. There’s no limit to how big the cloud can be so keep feeding it!)

8) You become intolerant of lower vibrating and overstimulating environments. In particular, environments you know to be embodiments of the wrong path. Because of this, you may also find yourself increasingly avoiding the media, especially certain news items.

9) You crave a more healthy, serene and compassionate lifestyle. You recognise how the mindbody connection works and begin to take care of your body as you appreciate it as your means to interact with the Universe. Bad habits fall away as your fears diminish and you may want to live and work in a different place. Increased empathy may also mean a vegetarian and more eco-friendly lifestyle too.

10) You start noticing nudges from the Universe. One of the fun aspects of waking up! As you become a clearer channel for the Universal Energy, you begin to receive messages from the Universe to nudge you in the right direction. These can take a number of forms, such as:
Synchronicities
Signs and symbols
Dreams
Telepathy
Intuition

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/so-what-is-synchronicity/

https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/dreams

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Wake up! Why our education system isn’t working

April 4, 2012

In my work, I talk a lot about ‘waking up’ and in this post I’m going to discuss how we end up becoming one of the ‘asleeple’  in the first place. Because the fact is, we’re not born ‘asleep’ – it’s a lifelong process of ‘training’ also known as ‘socialisation’, beginning as soon as we’re able to reasonably function in ‘civilised’ society. All young children are intellectually free and emotionally alive. But in our so-called developed world, it’s impossible to be an adult and retain the creativity and spontaneity of a three year old without being labelled mad or personality disordered – unless you’re employed as an artist of some kind. In fact, these childlike attributes are the cornerstone of mental well-being but instead, as soon as you can walk, talk and adequately use a toilet, these traits are beaten out of you and you’re indoctrinated into becoming a useful tool in our economic system.

‘Education’ is not really about teaching the things that you really need and want to know. What you’re learning is the stuff that the people who control everything ie the people with the most money, want you to know. These big business people who control our economy need a few highly educated people to do the brain work and a larger number of less well-educated people to do the grunt work. Therefore the system is geared towards churning out these two types, rather than catering for each person’s individual needs.

Look up ‘school’ in the dictionary and the definition will inevitably begin with the word ‘institution’. And this is exactly what school is – an institution, much like a prison or a children’s home, governed by a strict set of rules. (Whenever I refer to my school years, I talk about having ‘done my time’ because this is exactly how it felt – forced to attend the same place, day in, day out, and resigned to suffering bullying and boredom for years on end.) The rules are designed to make life simpler for the authorities by imposing their ideas of conformity on you – stand in line, no talking, short hair and other dress codes – and to teach you to unquestioningly obey authority. Teachers are given a lot of power over you and you are taught to obey them and all your ‘elders and betters’. The word ‘respect’ is used a lot – the teachers are apparently teaching you ‘respect’ rather than ‘obedience’ – but how can you truly respect someone who is showing little or no respect for you?

The problem with most teachers of course is that they too are ‘asleep’. Being asleep, they believe in the idea that everything is separate and have long since lost touch with their real selves. The focus is on competition – who is the best, who’s getting the highest grades – and the belief that true worth consists of being better and having more than the separate ‘other’. Consequently, children lose their intrinsic sense of the universal and their community values and learn instead to play the game of differentiation and dissociation, the punishment for refusing to play being abandonment and rejection. Their true self recedes into the shadow where it goes to sleep, often for the rest of their lives, and is replaced by a false self, developed to fit in with what others need you to be, but leaving you with a feeling of disconnection and dissatisfaction which can only be temporarily assuaged by external trappings, rewards for playing the game.

In school, these trappings take the form of grades and exams. Grades are used as a bribe to get you to do the things you don’t want to do – you work for the good grades and not because you’re interested in what you’re doing. Grades become an end in themselves, much like money in the outside world. The people with the best grades (or the most money) are perceived as the best people, regardless of the methods used to gain them and what they’re really like as people. In a similar fashion, exams don’t show how creative or intelligent you actually are – all they demonstrate is who is good at exams ie capable of trotting out parrot-fashion the information which has been drilled into them. During my time at school, I did many exams and received good grades in them all – and cannot remember a single thing that I supposedly ‘learned’.

And then of course, there is the ‘lower hierarchy’ – the one which develops amongst the pupils themselves. Here the trappings are social and psychological and the winners of this game are the ones who have learned to play the other game – the game of differentiation – the best. The children who have the least empathy – who are therefore more ‘separate’ – are the ones who will race to the top of this particular hierarchy. The less you care – or appear to care – about others, the more popular you will be. And the more you conform to the standards our society ascribes to be the best – for example, the more glamorous you are as a girl or the more sporty you are as a boy – the better your chances of being perceived as ‘popular’. Anyone who fails to play the game properly by being ‘too sensitive’ or ‘too different’ must be prepared to suffer the consequences. I am never surprised when I hear of yet another high school shooting. Doug Stanhope summed this up best in one of his stand-up routines:

“High school is horrible. I quit in ninth grade and it was the best thing I ever did. After every school shooting, parents come on television and say: `Rap music is the problem. And drugs. And the lack of metal detectors.’ No. The problem is that a lot of your kids are aggressive dicks and you won’t do shit about it. That’s the problem. You never hear these parents say: `It’s terrible that Andy Williams shot up Santana High School, but I accept it was also our boy Ethan’s fault, because he was a sadistic prick to that kid. Tell that to the cameras, Ethan. Tell them how you pulled Andy’s pants down, then pushed his head down the toilet.’ I never hear that on the news.
Williams was this frail little kid who was bullied, and shot up his school. George W Bush came on the news and called it `the ultimate act of cowardice’. “Cowardice? The ultimate act of cowardice is the fat-headed wrestling guy sitting behind the frail kid in math class, clipping him on the ear, saying: `What are you going to do about that, faggot?’ That is cowardice. When the bullets start flying past that jock’s saucer-shaped ears, that’s not cowardice. That’s payback.”

Ok, so I’m certainly not advocating that every bullied kid should get out there and start shooting the place up. But why are we so shocked when every once in a while someone is pushed over the edge because we’ve brought up our children to believe in differentiation and worship those who conform to our society’s idea of ‘the best’ whilst demeaning and rejecting those who don’t? When the people at the top of these man-made pyramids of power show little respect for those at the bottom, why are they so horrified when the people at the bottom show little respect for them? (You can read more on this in this blog post about last year’s riots in the UK here: https://empathicguidance.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/london-riots-remember-this/)

Home-schooling is on the increase, as is a form of education called ‘unschooling’ where the child’s natural interests are followed and developed. Unlike the school system, these forms of education consider the needs of the individual child, rather than just teaching them what the authorities feel you need to know to join the ‘asleeple’. School is simply a mirror image of our society, a society built on economic power, and a society which is founded on the idea that people exist for the sake of big business, not the other way round. The majority of changes which have taken place in this system are geared towards the people who have the power keeping that power. A recent example of this is the introduction of student loans. By taking on one of these loans, you’re effectively shackling yourself to the economic system before you’ve even dipped a toe into the waters of employment. Interesting, isn’t it, that these loans were introduced round about the same time that property prices zoomed into the stratosphere, making it increasingly difficult for people to be shackled to the system by a mortgage? The powers-that-be will always find a way to get you stuck in that dead-end job, the one that fills their coffers whilst simultaneously depleting yours, with no visible means of escape. Interesting, too, that this system was introduced after the people currently in power had already taken advantage of the ‘free higher education for all’ offered pre-1991.

The majority of degrees these days are not even worth the paper they’re printed on. A degree requires little more than a good memory and an ability to assimilate the academic orthodoxy of the day, which is why employers favour graduates, regardless of the field of study. As you’ve already proved yourself to be biddable and unquestioning, as far as employers are concerned, you’re ideal corporate material. And don’t assume that you’ll be financially rewarded either – graduates now earn only £140,000 more over their lifetime than non-graduates, instead of the £400,000 previously. They also pay back thousands more in tax than their degree will have cost. Furthermore, the higher the education, the cheaper the ‘citizen’ is to the government in terms of benefits (less chance of unemployment) and NHS costs (less illness). Increased levels of student debt, thanks to introduction of  exorbitant fees, also encourage graduates to go for the highest paid available job, rather than going into further study, volunteering or jobs that aren’t necessarily so well remunerated, meaning once again the economic system is the ultimate beneficiary. This introduction of market forces into higher education also results in the selection criteria of universities being based on a student’s bank balance not academic ability. Thanks to the creation of a two-tier education system, the gulf between the haves and the have-nots is widening more and more each day.

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How I changed myself…

March 24, 2012

In a previous post, I wrote about my first awakening experience and explained how this initial ‘waking up’ can be a little taster to whet your appetite for the fully awakened life.  However, before we reach this enlightened state, we often have to undergo a transitional period during which we strip back the layers of social conditioning and defensive walls, heal the emotional and psychological wounds and clear away the emotional and spiritual blockages which living a false life has created.

In some ways, the word ‘change’ is a misnomer – I prefer to think of this time as an alchemical process, where all the past stuff is transformed into gold, with all the garbage dealt with and disposed of and only the wisdom remaining. It’s also a time when we declutter ourselves and our lives to reveal what was within us all along –  that golden nugget which is our authentic core self.

My first counselling experience, as referred to in the ‘How I woke up’ post, had a dramatic impact on my life. Through this work:

* I realised how much my past was impinging on my present.

* I began to look for answers within rather than without.

* I finally got a glimpse of the real me, beyond what society or other external influences expected of me, and to be true to this real self.

* material stuff didn’t matter to me anymore and I felt a great urge to get rid of most of my possessions and live as simply as possible.

* being ‘of service’ felt like the most important thing to me and I felt strongly that this was connected in some way to my writing.

All this occurred in 1995 and I felt sure that this was how my life would be from this point onwards. Indeed, these basic principles still form the basis of my life philosophy and I feel they are the cornerstones of the awakened life. However it was early days for my authentic self, and though I’d had a glimpse of life through awakened eyes, it turned out there was still a lot of work to do before this authentic self could be fully realised.

Over the next decade and a half, I’ve worked really hard on my personal and spiritual growth and though it’s been really tough at times, I’ve learned a lot, particularly thanks to my decision to train as a counsellor and through becoming a parent.  I’ve also read a lot of books, spent a lot of time writing journals and spent months having personal counselling to help me deal with issues which were just too great to work through by myself.

Below is a list of many of the lessons I’ve  learned, in no particular order, and the changes I’ve made – as I said, I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure there are some things I’ve missed out but here are the ones I can think of right now:

* I gained a much clearer insight into my motives and the motives of others.

* I reframed negative past events and, after learning the important lessons those experiences had to teach me, was finally able to make peace with them and let them go.

* I learned a lot about how I relate to others including how to be assertive rather than passive or aggressive, and how to establish healthy personal boundaries.

* I learned how to reparent myself and love my inner child whilst simultaneously silencing  my inner critical parent.

* I learned not to be a victim and not to take everything personally – it’s not always about you!

* I learned that sometimes we have to sit with the bad stuff for a while and that instant gratification is not the key to long term contentment – short term pain really can lead to long term gain.

* through my relationship with my child, I learned the value of commitment – that if you ride out the bad times, the good times often just keep on getting better.

* I also learned that if we’ve had a bad day and take it out on our loved ones, it’s important to let them know that the fault lies with you and not them, otherwise you may negatively affect their self-image (not doing so is a form of emotional abuse).

* through my bad relationships, I learned a lot about what I DON’T want from my life and the people I share it with; that I have no time for games and just want straightforward communication, and that the only people I want around me are people who enhance my life, not those who are detrimental to it.

* I learned that everything I really need, I can give to myself if necessary.

* I learned the value of solitude and independence.

* I also learned the value of true friendship and support and that when you find this, you should treasure it as it’s very rare.

* I realised that capitalism and its propaganda machine, the media, are influencing and damaging our world and that consumerism is not the gateway to happiness and fulfilment.

* I learned that putting one’s self first is not always a bad thing if one ascribes to the right values – that the sum of the parts makes the whole and if all the parts are healthy, emotionally and spiritually, ergo the whole will be the same – and that is NOT the same as ‘selfishness’, enhancing one’s own wellbeing at the expense of others.

* I learned that we only have the present and that living in the past or hankering for a better future means we miss an awful lot of good stuff on the journey (though it’s wise to be in the present with a nod to the past and the wisdom gained from this, and an eye on the road ahead, being aware of opportunities and possible potholes).

* I learned that there are really only two states, love and fear, and that all the ills of the world come through fear in some form or other.

* I learned that embracing your shadow rather than denying it makes you more of a person, not less.

* I learned that there’s no such thing as a negative emotion – all emotions have a message for us – and whether or not the outcome is negative depends on how you express that emotion.

* I learned that true beauty is within and not necessarily without.

* I learned that you will never find contentment unless you are true to yourself.

* I learned that a great philosophy for life is ‘keep it simple’

* I learned that pretty much most of what society tell you is the way to live is wrong and that most of what we are meant to aspire to is a trap to keep you stuck in the rat race and keep you lining the nests of those at the top of the tree.

* I learned that self-responsibility is the key to holistic healing – to achieve healing, only you can do the work. Others can offer you guidance but the real work is down to you.

*I learned about my Highly Sensitive nature and how I have a gift for empathy, an awareness which has allowed me to take care of myself and use my traits in a positive way, rather than chastising myself for not being able to be out there in the world and deal with life in the same way as non-HSPs/empaths.

* I learned to listen to my intuition and follow the ‘nudges’ that the universe gives me through signs, symbols, dreams and synchronicities.

* I learned about energy and how Universal energy connects us all and how powerful a resource this can be if we learn to utilise it properly.

* I learned that sometimes you just have to let go and hand over whatever you’re going through to the Universe or whatever Higher Power you believe in.

* I also learned that although you’ll still go through difficult times, once you’ve found and strengthened  your authentic  core self, it becomes so much harder for life to knock you off your feet (even though you may find yourself wobbling precariously for a while).

So as you can see, my awakening has prompted a lot of personal change and made a huge difference to my life. I now know who I am and what I want and need, and I’ve healed and unblocked a lot of emotional, psychological and spiritual baggage, making me a clearer channel for Universal energy and increasing my empathic connection with the world.

Of course, personal and spiritual growth is a lifelong adventure and I’m still learning – currently I’m working through ongoing issues related to my most intimate relationships and am wrestling with the concept of money as an energy, something which many people who follow a spiritual path struggle with. But my reconnection with my authentic self means that I never feel that existential despair which used to dog me and even when things are tough, life never feels meaningless as my purpose is now so very clear.

In my next post, I’ll share with you how all this personal change has led me to my life purpose and what I’m doing in my own small way to help change the world. In the meantime, do please share your awakening and personal transformation stories with me in the comments below.

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How I woke up…

March 22, 2012

In my previous post, I shared the philosophy which forms the basis of this site and my work. For my next three posts, I’m going to share with you my own experience of the awakening process and the changes which this has brought to my life, to demonstrate how this works in practice and also perhaps to demonstrate that I practise what I preach! I would love to hear your personal awakening stories so feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the link in the right hand corner of the screen.

Growing up as a HSP (highly sensitive person) and empath in a culture which frowned upon any emotional display was a traumatic, confusing and demoralising experience. Any expression of anger, sadness, fear or indeed, any emotion construed as ‘negative’ (however justified that emotional reaction may have been) was immediately stamped on and derided. Being an empath, I also had the problem of picking up on everyone else’s repressed emotions yet had no outlet for this maelstrom of feelings which conspired to make my inner life very intense and distressing (and later resulted in some very unhealthy acting-out).

As an extremely bright child, there was also huge pressure on me to conform to a particular life path – stay on at school and get good A levels, go to university and get a 1st class degree then have a financially successful career. Taking time out to explore the world and find myself after school – something which I desperately needed to do – wasn’t even an option.

Consequently by the time I reached adulthood, I was stumbling around in the dark with no idea of who I really was or what I really wanted or needed. Years of repression and suppression meant that I’d completely lost sight of my authentic self. I can remember looking at my wardrobe full of clothes – none of which were of the same style and all of which were trying to convey a particular image – and wondering ‘which of these outfits is really me?’. I tried different careers and different courses, moved house several times and lived in different cities, made new friends and started new relationships but nothing seemed to fill that gap where my authentic self should have been.

I continued struggling to follow a path which had been prescribed for me by other people and society’s expectations and had very little to do with who I really was until finally, in April 1995, everything changed. Though it felt like some kind of wondrous miracle had occurred, with hindsight I was able to recognise the series of encounters, opportunities and synchronicities which lead to my awakening at this time:

* I’d tried every possible way to make the path I was on work but it simply wouldn’t gel for me. By April 1995, I’d literally reached the end of the line and was primed and ready for a momentous change.

* In the previous couple of months, I’d encountered a rather enigmatic character who came into my life for a very short time and vanished almost as quickly as he arrived. He was something of a free spirit who lived on a combination of his wits and his creativity, and he inspired me to start thinking outside the box and recognise that there was another way beyond the one I’d been programmed to believe was the only route.

* On 10 April 1995, I lost my job. This was an early instance of manifestation for me – it was a beautiful sunny day which felt to me like the first day of summer, and as I walked to work, I wished with all my heart that I didn’t have to go and waste my day doing that dreadful job. Half an hour later, I was walking back home, having been laid off the minute I arrived.

* Having manifested this opportunity, I now began to contemplate taking a break from the rat-race to explore the other options that were out there. However I was nervous about stepping off the path – I’d been indoctrinated to believe that the path I was on was the only one to follow and that any other choice would be foolhardy. I was also concerned about what I would do for money without a regular wage. About a week after I’d lost my job, I’d arranged to see an old schoolfriend. This friend lived a life which seemed anathema to me, stuck in a dull marriage and a dull job, and the thought of ending up in the same position as her, however safe it might be, filled me with horror. In a wonderful piece of synchronicity, this friend arrived on my doorstep at the exact same time as the post arrived – with a completely unexpected prize cheque for £100 from a premium bond gifted to me by my grandfather 25 years earlier. The message to me seemed loud and clear – the universe was letting me know that if I took the plunge and diverged from the safe but dull path (the one which my friend was trapped on), the money would come.

* The day I lost my job, I met a man who had just moved into a house across the road from me. I ended up dating him for a while and he introduced me to the world of spirituality, which until that point, I had rejected in favour of what I believed was a more ‘realistic’ view of life. I began to realise that there was more to spirituality than organised religion and eagerly began to explore this new world which had just opened up before me.

* Even though I knew I didn’t want to take yet another ‘crap job’, I still wasn’t sure what it was I actually wanted to do. To remedy this, I signed up for counselling at a local employment and learning advice centre. Though I initially attended because I felt that I was at a crossroads in terms of my career, the experience was far more intense and in depth than I imagined it would be and turned out to be the first step on a lifelong personal development journey which would completely transform my life.

The counselling helped me to recognise that what I really wanted to do was write so I decided to take a sabbatical from the rat-race and spend a few months working on a novel. The experience was a revelation – I had never felt so fulfilled and so free. And that summer, somthing truly amazing happened. For the first time in my life, I had a strong sense of inner peace which ran alongside an equally strong feeling of being ‘at one with the universe’. People who met me at that time told me that I literally glowed – my inner radiance was literally flowing from me – and I effortlessly drew people of all ages to me wherever I went.

I also remember feeling really comfortable in my own skin – the only words I can find to describe it is a ‘humble confidence’. Though I felt confident about myself, it felt different to an ego-driven confidence and I now recognise that it was because this confidence emanated from the depths of my soul.

The other really strong – and at that time, completely unfamiliar – feeling I remember having was a complete loss of fear. Nothing fazed me anymore, not even the thought of death. In fact, I couldn’t understand why anyone would be scared of death as I knew without a doubt that it wasn’t the end of everything, but that we simply moved on to another plane.

I wrote in my previous post that I belive that often we’re given a taste of the awakened life to show us how life could look if we were free from our baggage, whether it’s the stuff imposed upon us via our environment or stuff we’ve amassed ourselves. This initial awakening experience is just the beginning and in my next post, I’ll share with you the transformational process which awakening triggered and which proved to be a bumpier – and ultimately more enlightening – ride than I would ever have expected.

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Welcome! Wake up, change yourself and change the world

March 20, 2012

Welcome to the new-look Empathic Guidance site! 2012 is going to be a highly significant year for many of us, so I decided that now was the time to relaunch the former ‘Inner Simplicity with Empathic Guidance’ site and blog. Over the coming year, we’re going to see a lot of historic changes which will affect us personally, socially and globally (more on this in future posts), and I hope that my words on here will offer you support and inspiration to guide you through the months ahead.

To give you some idea about the theme of this new-look site and blog, here’s the blog post which prompted this change. It’s a piece I wrote a few years ago now and have published previously on myspace and on my Inner Simplicity blog where it has resonated with many readers, and I feel it’s still relevant today in terms of offering a succinct summary of my theories.

Wake up, change yourself and change the world

Ok, so the first thing I want to make clear is this is MY reality, no-one else’s. What is true for me may not be true for you, and I wouldn’t want anyone to mindlessly take on board everything I have to say. The whole point of this stuff is ‘personal empowerment’ and giving your power away to anyone or anything, be it a bearded man in the sky, a bearded man in a kaftan or any type of self-proclaimed guru, or even false gods such as ‘mammon’ is simply counterproductive. So have a read, explore the parts that interest you and reject the bits that don’t.

The second point to make is that the basis of this theory is energy. I’m no physicist and this is a brief summary of my ideas, so I’m not even going to attempt to explain the laws of physics, though I can tell you that there is plenty of scientific proof of my basic belief if you want to check it out. For now, in a nutshell, my belief is that everything is made of energy and that all this energy is connected, hence ‘one consciousness’.

So the whole planet is energy and the whole planet is currently living in a state of ‘duality’. This duality causes people to become judgemental and afraid, judgemental of things they label ‘bad’ and afraid that they may themselves be labelled ‘bad’.  Everyone is competing to be the best or certainly better than the next man. And as most people are never going to achieve this, they end up feeling bitter, disillusioned, disappointed, and often looking for someone to blame as to why they did not receive the promised treasures. As for those that do ‘succeed’, they too are afraid – afraid they will lose it all tomorrow and no longer have their ‘power’, hence using this ‘power’ to keep the little man down, be it through creating fear or creating apathy .

The reason for this is that the energies of the planet are currently imbalanced in favour of the masculine. This is why there is so much emphasis on acquisition and aggression; why sex and ‘stuff’ are overrepresented in the media. Masculine energy, in its positive state, is a ‘doing’ energy – but for it to be used for the good of all, it needs to be balanced with the feminine energy, which is nurturing and creative. When I talk about moving away from duality, I do not mean that there will be no more ‘black/white’ ‘happy/sad’ etc – I am talking about finding balance between two apparently opposing states. So an ideal state for the planet, in my view, would be using the masculine energy to manifest the creative and nurturing ideas of the feminine. So far masculine energy has been used to manifest more ‘stuff’ but only to satisfy the ego – the development of technology should have worked as an agency of freedom, allowing us time and energy for ‘giving’ using the feminine energy, but instead people have become focussed on the ‘getting’. This is why I think we have lost our way. Everything has become a commodity, how ever well-intentioned at the start (the Green movement is a prime example).

So that’s the overall picture. How does this affect the individual? The individual is like a microcosm of the planet, and at the moment most of us are being ruled by our masculine energy, in the form of our ego. The ego is also the basis for the ‘inner child’ – imagine the ego as a toddler in the throes of the terrible twos and you get the picture. As well as the tantrum-ing toddler, there is also the ‘critical parent’ – that voice that tells the toddler that s/he’s never going to get that flash car/gorgeous figure/ great career/hot lover because s/he’s a piece of shit and doesn’t deserve it, and anyway, everyone is better than her/him. So this is the battle – or some variant of this – that most of us have going on in our heads at some level on a daily basis.

But one day something happens to us – we realise that we have been sold a lie and that the things we were told would fulfil us – the job, the house, the car, the holidays and gadgets –  are just traps to keep us compliant. In fact, everything in our lives has been about raising us to maintain the status quo – our education has quashed our individuality and turned us into obedient drones and society tells us that the only way to be a ‘good, respectable’ citizen is by working your arse off 40 hours a week to pay for all the stuff that you good respectable citizens are meant to have, otherwise you’re simply not good or respectable enough. Either we come to this realisation slowly or we undergo a major crisis or some kind of positive spiritual experience which is the catalyst for this change. For me, it was losing my job and, after the initial panic about how I was going to survive,  realising that I didn’t want to take yet another boring, underpaid/overworked job just to satisfy some work ethic drilled into me by the powers-that-be. This was the summer when I caught a glimpse of how life could be, a little taster of how it feels to be awakened, and the true beauty of recognising that we are all one consciousness. This seems to be something that many people experience at the beginning of awakening,  perhaps so that we stick to the path when it starts to get bumpy.

Because it does get bumpy for a while, really bumpy. That ego/inner child/critical parent combo is not disappearing without a fight.  Depending on how much shit you have to work through, the next few weeks/months/years will be spent understanding and placating this part of yourself – notice I don’t say obliterating, because this is about balance. A healthy ego, a playful inner child, a nurturing parent – this is what we are aiming for. The ego is there for a reason – it’s the ego which keeps us alive and safe and well – but it needs to know that it is not the centre of the universe. So treat your ego in the same way you would treat that petulant toddler –  let it know that  you are willing to respect it, so long as it respects you – give it boundaries, listen to its stories and acknowledge its pain, but don’t allow it to use the pain as an excuse for negative behaviour, either towards itself or others.

While you are working through this stuff, be it alone or with a counsellor/guide (I would recommend both ways), you will also experience some physical symptoms. This goes back to what I said about everything being energy – everything is connected, and that includes the mind/body connection. As you begin living through your heart/soul instead of your mind/ego, our thoughts change to those of a higher vibration which impacts our feelings, and our body is also affected by these changes. An example of this is the stress reactions our body has – who hasn’t felt sick with nerves, at some point? Or found themselves physically shaken by bad news? Or on a happier note, felt your heart soar when someone you love tells you they love you back?  The body is full of energy points (the chakras) and you may feel some of the changes most strongly in these parts. I’m working on a comprehensive list of all of these changes, but probably the major ones are fatigue and various aches and pains which appear in some part of the body only to mysteriously disappear and never return. Many of the symptoms also sound like the menopause – hot flushes, memory loss etc – but as these are appearing in men and also in people of all ages, it’s actually a sign of hormonal changes taking place, as hormones regulate just about every function in your body including emotions, weight, body temperature, libido, mental activity concentration, sight etc.

And meanwhile there are other changes taking place. Your excitement at recognising this new way of being could lead to you reading everything you can lay your hands on to make sense of what is happening to you.  As you begin vibrating at a higher level, you will also find your tolerance level for things of a lower vibration diminishing . You may find yourself feeling angry at the world for a while. You become increasingly isolated and your home becomes your sanctuary as you feel out of step with everything and everyone ‘out there’.  Your senses become more highly tuned and you may find yourself craving foods you never wanted before and turning your nose up at previous favourites. Loud noises, bright lights and heaving crowds become unbearable and you may want to spend more time in natural surroundings. You no longer value material stuff anymore, as you realise that you already have everything you need (and more – you may even begin to give stuff away). As you become increasingly sensitive to energy, you may also find yourself having what people consider ‘psychic’ experiences – you know things you couldn’t possibly know and your intuition becomes more efficient. Some people feel that this is the voice of your Higher Self, or your spirit guides – my personal view is that we are tuning into a higher frequency and becoming more aware of the subtleties in the environment. Synchronicities increase as you tune into these energies more and more and life begins to ‘flow’. Your relationships change – some may even end as you realise you are on different paths and simply have nothing in common anymore, or you may become less tolerant of the ‘energy leeches’ in your life, as your self-respect increases. You care less and less what other people think (a major sign that the ego is losing its stranglehold) and instead of wondering what people can do for you, you start to look at what you could do for them – and do it.

It’s at this point that you know you are ‘awake’ as STO (service to others) rather than STS (service to self) is the cornerstone of spiritual awakening. You recognise that you are powerful already, that it was only your ego (and the egos of others in the collective unconscious) that gave you the illusion that you needed something more to prove your power, and that the divine spark, what people have labelled ‘God’, is something within you, within all of us, not just ‘somewhere out there’. You take responsibility for yourself and you no longer just want to talk the talk (or read the books), you want to walk the walk. And underlying this is a feeling of ‘all-rightness’. You feel all right in yourself – you’ve accepted yourself for who you are and embraced your ‘shadow side’ – and you feel all right in the world. You change what you can and accept what you can’t, be it in you or out there. And so what began as an individual change, begins to change the world, like that proverbial butterfly flapping its wings.

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