Sunday, December 18, 2016

What's the Point of Life?

Article c/o

What's the meaning and purpose of life?  Is it all just happenstance?  And what's the purpose of YOUR life?  Is your life on PURPOSE? Your SOUL incarnated here for a reason, do you know what it is?  Here's my take on this subject from a decidedly divine perspective.

The Higher Context of Life

We are all ethereal beings existing primarily in the non-physical realms of the universe. At the base level this means we are simply patterns of energy — yes, you are an ENERGY BEING. At a slightly higher level of abstraction, we are information and an information processor — we are pure consciousness. We are ideas in motion; we are repositories of knowledge.  Just one little problem with our knowledge, it's all CONCEPTUAL.  Conceptual knowledge is just abstract ideas.  Conceptual knowledge is relatively shallow knowledge because it is not based on hard-won experience.  DEEP knowledge is formed from concrete experience.  This is why we all CHOOSE to incarnate into a physical experience — to gain experiential knowledge.  We are asking ourselves this fundamental question — will our ideas and ideals stand up to the "REAL" world?

The Earth Experience

Higher levels of the conscious collective of the universe created planet Earth and the physical reality system it which it resides.  It is a playground where we can learn, grow, and test our ideas, principles, and values.  The primary goals are self-discovery, self-growth, and self-mastery.  By the way, Earth is not the only inhabited planet.  The universe (source consciousness) created many worlds to play the GAME OF LIFE on.  Apparently, it's experimenting with a great diversity of environments and life forms to see what it can learn about itself.
The EARTH GAME is said to be one of the most challenging in all the universe.  We generally start by incarnating onto less demanding worlds then we graduate to the SCHOOL OF LIFE on Earth.  Eventually, when we graduate from the Earth School, we become what some term "Ascended Masters" — we have achieved total self-mastery and no longer have any need to reincarnate.  Any guess to how many incarnations it takes to become to become a "Master"?  Many believe hundreds or thousands of times, at the minimum!
Let's review:
  • The universe created Earth as a playground for gaining experiential knowledge.
  • The Earth is essentially a cosmic school, and one of the most challenging.
  • The higher purpose of all physical experience is self-knowledge, self-growth, and self-mastery. 
  • We CHOOSE to participate because we want to LEARN and GROW.
  • It takes the average being many rounds (incarnations) to attain complete self-mastery.

The School of Life

If we were to use only one phrase to describe the cosmic purpose of the "game of life" it would be SELF-MASTERY.  At the root of it, it is the desire to gain deep experiential knowledge to validate and prove our pre-existing conceptual knowledge.  Since you are part of the one infinite being that we call the Universe, and this being is all-knowing, you potentially have access to all the conceptual knowledge of the universal mind — you simply don't realize it in your present form.
Many have suggested that "balancing karma" is one of the reasons why we incarnate.  But balancing karma is just the PROCESS by which we learn the lessons we came to learn.  Karma is a universal dynamic that is characterized in the universal spiritual law "The Law of Cause and Effect", often referred to as "The Law of Karma".  This law can be summed up by the saying "What we sow is what we reap."  When we create negative experiences for others, it eventually attracts similar negative experiences to ourselves.  Stated from a positive perspective, when we create happy and uplifting experiences for others, we attract the same to ourselves.  So balancing Karma is not a REASON for incarnating, it's simply a part of the PROCESS by which we learn.

The Lessons of Life

You incarnated for the powerful learning experiences that physical life has to offer.  You came here to learn about yourself and to grow — to become the best and highest version of yourself.  In the physical planes, you DEMONSTRATE what you have learned by the experiences you create for yourself and those around you.  This is the whole point of the "school of life", to DEMONSTRATE your self-mastery.  You came here to MASTER yourself: your mind, your body, your spirit.  More than anything, your many lives are a journey of self-mastery.  Where are you on your journey? The litmus test of self-mastery is LIFE MASTERY.
“What you do in life echoes in eternity.”
— Maximus Decimus Meridius
Here are some signs that you are achieving mastery:
  • Consistently experiencing happiness, prosperity, and a sense of fulfillment.
  • Consistently creating joyful experiences for yourself and others.
There are two general categories of lessons you came here to learn:  (1) Universal Lessons, (2) Personal Lessons.

The Universal Lessons of Life

The universal lessons are general lessons that apply to all beings, whether they are incarnated on Earth or one of the many other inhabited worlds in this galaxy and beyond. Below is a partial list.  Note that the list includes timeless qualities that have been discussed and highly valued throughout human history.  One could write an entire book discussing these lessons and qualities.  Suffice to say, if we learn these lessons and fully embody these qualities we will be well on our way to becoming masters, and our power to create wonderful experiences and to manifest our highest desires will be much greater.
Some of the universal lessons that life has to offer:
  • Compassion
  • Generosity
  • Gratefulness
  • Curiosity/Inquisitiveness
  • Honesty
  • Authenticity
  • Optimism
  • Enthusiasm
  • Mindfulness
  • Cooperativeness
  • Purposefulness
  • Confidence
  • Fearlessness
  • Self-discipline
  • Diligence
  • Determination
  • Perseverance
  • Resilience

Personal Life Lessons and Your Life-Script

We all have lessons that are specific to our unique soul-print and where we are in our soul's journey.  Before we incarnate, we decide the lessons that we want to learn so that we can evolve spiritually.  We create a LIFE-SCRIPT (a life plan, sometimes called a ‘blueprint’) based on what we are interested in experiencing and learning in our eternal pursuit of self-knowledge and self-growth.
“The soul's decision to incarnate is based upon three primary questions: (1) Am I ready for a new physical life? (2) What specific lessons do I want to undertake to advance my learning and development? (3) Where should I go, and who shall I be in my next life for the best opportunity to work on my goals?”
— Michael Newton, Journey of Souls
Your life-script is, in a sense, a LESSON PLAN.  We choose all the circumstances and situations that will enable us to learn our desired lessons.  Our life-script includes everything from the kind of parents, families, and childhoods we will have, to our career paths, health and financial circumstances, sexual preferences, marriages, children and the length of our lifetime.  We often design our life-script to focus on one area that we feel we have the most to learn and will, therefore, be especially challenged by during our lifetime.  We also plan when we will leave the earth plane and give ourselves multiple ‘exit points’ to choose from.

The Veil of Forgetting

Once we incarnate into human form, we lose conscious awareness of our life-script during our time on Earth.  This is an obvious necessity for the learning process; if we knew what the script was while we were in the "school of life" it wouldn't be nearly as effective.
Your life-script contains all the elements needed to achieve your experiential and learning objectives, but it is not completely rigid.  You can adapt it to some degree depending on the conditions on the ground, and there is plenty of room for lateral movement.
You created your life-script with many paths.  It's like a big branching structure. Each point where a path splits is a DECISION POINT.  Depending on what CHOICE you make at that point you go down a different path.  But have no fear, all the paths were designed by you to lead to the same place — your desired growth outcome.  It's just a matter of how long it will take.

Many paths lead to the same outcome
You have FREE WILL to choose as you see fit, but those choices have consequences.  The CHOICES you make in life are the key element of the learning process.  Eventually, you will make the choices that will lead you to the outcome that you planned to reach.
Your life-script, the broad strokes of your life, are pre-determined BY YOU.  The CHALLENGES in your life are BY DESIGN, and YOU designed them!  Knowing that you scripted your entire life is empowering because you realize you can discard the idea that life is happening TO YOU, and can replace it with life is happening BY YOU, FOR YOU — it is the end of victimhood, and the beginning of embracing the power of being THE CREATOR of your life.

A Metaphor to Explain How Soul Life Plans Work

Using the term "life script" for your soul's life plan is very appropriate because it's very much like the script of a play.  You are playing the lead role in the play that you wrote and scripted.  You scripted it that way because those were the themes you wanted to explore and experience.
In this play that you are playing the starring role in, your higher self and your spirit guides function like the directors.  They guide you so you can act out the play as intended without too many hiccups.  The better connected you are to your higher self and your guides the better able you are to follow the script to the letter and sail through all the experiences and challenges that you scripted for yourself as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
But make no mistake, you actually scripted potentially challenging situations and circumstances into your life, and you are expecting them with anticipation because you know you will grow from them — that's the whole point of the game.
If you are less well connected, or disconnected, from your higher self and guides you may stray more than a little from the script and some of the scripted challenges may turn into epics and you might end up spinning your wheels for quite a while before getting back on track.  It's not a matter of IF you will complete your life script — E.G., have the experiences you intended and grow from the challenges as you hoped for.  It's just a matter of WHEN.  Sometimes that will make for one heck of a long drawn out life with more pain and suffering than desirable.  Sometimes it might take multiple lives for you to fully explore and transcend all the challenges contained your script.
You, the real you, your higher self, is a thread of universal consciousness which has created a construct to experience within.  It's sort of like in the movie the "The Matrix" except the entity that created the construct is benevolent because that entity is YOU. YOU created the construct, well your higher self did anyway.
Another difference from The Matrix is that the YOU that is doing the experiencing of this construct is not a body trapped in a container or sitting in a chair and plugged into the construct.  You are pure consciousness; you are a focal point of the consciousness that resides within and permeates the energetic field of the universe.
Check out Discovered Your Godself? and The Multidimensional Self to learn more about the true nature of self.


Divine Life Purpose and Soul Mission

“We are frightfully concerned with our own deaths, sometimes so much so that we forget the real purpose of our lives.”
— Brian Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters
In addition to creating a life-script/lesson plan, you also define a LIFE PURPOSE (often referred to as your SOUL MISSION).  You collaborate with higher beings (conscious entities) to devise a life MISSION that will be rewarding and help others. It is something your higher-self was particularly interested in experiencing and doing.  It involves utilizing and perfecting the talents that are within you, part of your unique soul-print, and sharing them and the highest and best parts of yourself with others. Having a mission enhances your soul growth and ensures that you’ll be completely supported as you fulfill it.

Your purpose is something so exciting and rewarding that you’ll wake each morning invigorated to dive in.  Because of your enthusiasm you will spend lots of time and energy on it, become very proficient at it, and abundance will flow to you.

Everyone’s mission has the same underlying purpose: love, compassion, and service to others.  In essence, we’re all here to learn and teach these powerful ideas. Every action that we take either demonstrates fear or love. When we choose the path of love and "service to others" instead of "service to self", we grow, help others, and balance our karma.

Choosing your individual life mission is essentially just choosing the specific path of love and service you will take. Your mission isn't necessarily what you do for a living.  It may be something you do in your spare time.  Your mission may have nothing to do with what you DO at all, it might just be BEING YOU.  Just being the "wonderful you" serves as a positive example for all.

"How come I don't know what my purpose is?"  If you are feeling unfulfilled and that there's got to be "more to life", you are not alone.   Many people don’t have the faintest idea of what their mission or purpose is.

As with our life-script, we intentionally forget our life purpose when we incarnate. This forces us to discover it while we're here. Why would we make ourselves work so hard?  Because the process of discovering our purpose is educational and exciting — it is, in fact, one of the great lessons of life.  To discover your life purpose, you have to get in touch with your essence, that unique mixture of divine qualities that makes you distinctly YOU (your soul-print).  This requires us to learn how to listen to and trust our intuition and inner-wisdom — GREAT lessons indeed!

How will you know your purpose? You will recognize it because it will ignite a feeling of excitement in your heart and soul.  It'll make you feel enthusiastic, energized and alive. You’ll feel unstoppable, your creative juices will be flowing, and you'll wake up each morning with a spring in your step — in a word, PASSION!  Have you found your passion?

And here's the kicker, when you discover and start pursuing your purpose, your entire life will just keep getting better and better. You'll feel happier and healthier, even your finances will improve!

Keys to Discovering Your Purpose, Your Mission

Discovering your life purpose isn’t easy, but not as hard as you might imagine.  It is within you. You don’t need to look outside yourself for it. Just ask yourself what you love to do and how you can serve others with that talent. Go within and ask yourself for the answers.
In order to awaken your true life’s purpose you need to be ready to accept "change". Change may come in the form increased awareness, shifts in beliefs and/or attitudes, new lifestyles, or a new career.
So get ready for some changes and try the following:

1 - Listen to Your Intuition

Quiet your analytical mind, stop overthinking everything and LISTEN.  Listen to your inner-voice — it's the guidance from your high-self. Your intuition is actually your higher-self nudging you in the direction of your highest good.  Let go of the worries and concerns imposed by your analytical mind, and trust and follow the guidance — FOLLOW YOUR GUT.
Our higher-self will often send us messages in the form of repetitive thoughts or feelings, persistent curiosity about a subject, or other things that spark our interest or remind us of what is important to us.  Sometimes something serendipitous will happen that jolts our hidden passions and purpose.

2 - Figure Out What Makes You Happy

Ask yourself "What makes me happy?" and answer it honestly. Take the time to really analyze your happiness. What brings you true Joy? Write a list and look for a pattern.
Dig deep down and ask yourself who do you want to be, not what your family or friends want you to be, but YOU.  Figure out for yourself what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it might sound to other people.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger,  The Six Rules of Success
Ask yourself the following questions, then allow your heart to speak to you, and listen and be open to all possibilities.
Ask yourself:
  • What do I love to do?
  • What makes me smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
  • What activities make me lose track of time?
  • What are my greatest talents? What am I naturally good at?
  • What do people typically ask me for help in?
  • What do I love about myself?  What makes me feel great about myself?
  • What do I love about life?
  • What is really important to me?
  • What are my deepest values? What do I care about?
  • What would I regret not fully doing, being or having in my life?
  • What "causes" attract me? 
  • Who or what inspires me?
  • What talent or skill can I share with others?
  • If I had to teach something, what would I teach?
  • If I could communicate to a large group of people, who would those people be and what would my message be?
  • How can I be of service? Given my talents, passions, and values, how could I serve, help, or contribute?

3 - TRUST YOURSELF to Make the Right Choices for YOU

Listen to your inner-voice — then trust it. Sometimes your inner-voice may lead you along a path that could bring you great personal joy and fulfillment, but may seem unorthodox or impractical.  Sometimes finding and living your purpose could mean going against the wishes or advice of others, particularly those of close friends and family. Be TRUE TO YOURSELF regardless. WALK YOUR OWN PATH and choose it based your own PERSONAL TRUTHS — no one else’s.

4 - Have FAITH and TRUST in Your Dreams

BELIEVE in yourself and your vision, ignore the naysayers, and say YES I CAN and TRUST that success will come.
— Arnold Schwarzenegger,  The Six Rules of Success

5 - Be Patient

Discovering your life’s purpose may take some time, so be patient.  Patience, commitment, and perseverance are REQUIRED. Trust that everything happens in divine right time.  Making the commitment and taking the time to discover your true life purpose is well worth the effort.

Living Your Purpose

Living your life purpose, your soul's mission, is not always easy.  There will be ups and downs, and invariably, it takes hard work.  Accept the challenge of your higher-self and get ready to grow and enjoy like you never have before!
When you discover your passion and begin to live your purpose, life just keeps getting more and more wonderful.  You'll feel increasingly happy and fulfilled. And guess what? Your joy is a like a positive vibration that spreads and reverberates to every corner of your life and the world, and serves as an example for others to follow.

Follow your joy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Break the Habit of Overthinking

article c/o

Helpful ways to stop thinking and become present

One of the greatest addictions of humans, according to well known spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle, is thinking. While it’s an addiction you won’t usually hear about, we all struggle with it. We can’t stop thinking. We find it difficult to let go of thoughts and this creates havoc in our lives as well as much confusion.
The author of The Power of Now, encourages us to become more aware of the present moment and to let go of the pseudo sense of self.
“I don’t like mindfulness, which implies your mind is full of things. To be present, first of all use the present moment. Presence is a space of no-thought and can be there in the background when thinking is happening.”
Here Eckhart Tolle shows us ways to drop the endless cycle of thinking.

Find more great articles at

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How To Tell If You Have Inflammation

How To Tell If You Have Inflammation + 5 Things To Do To Fix It: A Doctor Explains

Article c/o  Dr. Amy Shah for

I still remember the day in medical school when I first understood the duality of the immune system. The same immune system that heals a wound from a car accident (or historically from an animal bite) is the same immune system that goes to the coronary artery of the heart and causes a heart attack. How can something be so good and then so bad?

It is now that I understand that the immune system has the power to do both—inflammation for good and inflammation that causes disease. So you might be wondering: Do you have inflammation in your body right now?

The answer is an unequivocal yes. The real question is: Do you have inflammation that chronic, low level, causing harm to your blood vessels, your muscles, or causing you to gain weight, for example?

If you have symptoms like headaches, bloating, joint pain, rashes, fatigue, weight gain, allergies, asthma, or mood issues—you are most likely inflamed. Sometimes inflammation can be "silent" or difficult to detect. The reason it is such a huge problem and why I'm telling you about it today is because it's the root cause of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and cancer.

Patients ask me all the time how to detect and calm their (bad) inflammation. My protocol is to first measure it with either a blood test, symptom store, or both. Then we go on to a host of solutions. Although it has to be personalized there are a few solutions that I have found immensely helpful in this arena. Here are just a handful!

1. Eat inflammation calming superfoods.

Food is the best lever for change in your inflammatory state. Eating more antioxidant- and polyphenol-rich foods can fight free radicals, which can calm inflammation. My favorite recommendations are green tea, and six to nine servings of green leafy vegetables like bok choy and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. Also omega-3-rich seeds, nuts, and oils. Lastly, other superfoods for inflammation include garlic, ginger, turmeric, pepper, and blueberries.

2. Eliminate fructose, white sugar, and white flours.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates spark inflammation by deregulating glucose and insulin, leading to oxidative stress. In short, insulin resistance triggers the inflammation cascade. My recommendation to patients when starting out: Use stevia for sweetness and sprouted grains for an occasional bread fix.

3. Do Inflammation-lowering activity.

In the past I was a glutton for punishment when it came to exercise. No pain, no gain, right? Actually, not right. Pushing yourself to the limit every day plus living a stressful life outside of that lead to chronic inflammation. For patients who do participate in heavy exercise we make sure to build in long and deep rest days.

4. Consider adding adaptogens to your diet.

Adaptogen refers to a plant's ability to adapt to its environment, to survive, and to adapt to exterior stress.

Adaptogenic herbs—such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, ginseng, phosphytidyl serine, and maca—help strengthen and stabilize the body, thereby mollifying the impact of stress. Adaptogens also improve the entire body's resistance to stress (not just a particular organ or system) and create balance and harmony in the body, helping to reduce chronic inflammation.

Stress is one of the top aggravators of inflammation. Making time in your schedule to include exercise, meditation, yoga, and moments of mindfulness really do make a difference.

5. Sleep and mindfulness are the secrets keys to a stronger immune system and lower inflammation.

Lack of sleep makes the body ripe for infection, while getting adequate sleep has an anti-inflammatory effect. A study from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta found that short sleep durations and poor sleep quality are associated with higher levels of inflammation markers. In fact, individuals who reported six or fewer hours of sleep a night had the highest levels of inflammatory hormones and changes in blood vessel function.

Mindfulness is the newest component of an anti-inflammatory plan (yet, ironically, it is ancient). We are now finding out through brand-new studies that the immune system is directly connected to the brain—therefore lowering inflammation can treat diseases like depression and anxiety. This also gives more credence to the fact that daily mindfulness/meditation is anti-inflammatory.

This is not exhaustive—I have many more things that I would recommend for you—this is just a place for you to start on your journey!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

10 Quotes From A Sioux Native American Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About "Modern Culture"

Article c/o Wisdom Pills                                                      Image: Kirby Sattler

Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent spread of the European pioneers. Raised in the traditions of his people until the age of eleven, he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned the English language and way of life. (Though a National Historical Landmark, Carlisle remains a place of controversy in Native circles.)

Like his above mentioned contemporaries, however, his native roots were deep, leaving him in the unique position of being a conduit between cultures. Though his movement through the white man’s world was not without “success” — he had numerous movie roles in Hollywood — his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people. By the time of his death he had published 4 books and had become a leader at the forefront of the progressive movement aimed at preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty, coming to be known as a strong voice in the education of the white man as to the Native American way of life. Here, then, are 10 quotes from the great Sioux Indian Chief known as Standing Bear that will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture.
  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.

  • Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.

  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.

  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.

  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.

  • This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.

  • It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.

  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.

  • …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.

  • Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.

Find more great articles at

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Article c/o

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Has A Secret Unpublished Layer On Top That Changes EVERYTHING!

Up until now, we knew about the 5 steps in the “Hierarchy of Needs”. But there is a 6th secret layer, on top of all the others, that was never published. It makes things so much clearer about our role in life! (and no, it’s not “Internet Connection”)

The first level are “Physical Needs” like air, water, food, warmth…  and if those are not met everything else falls off.

The second level is “Safety” meaning that, after we make sure we’ve acquired our basic needs, we seek security of our body, of resources, property, morality, family, health… after these are met we climb to the third level.

The third level is “Belonging”. We seek to belong, we crave for friendship, love, intimacy, sense of connection with others. After we establish belonging, the center point of our motivational drive climbs one level higher.

The fourth level is “Self Esteem”. We seek achievement in various areas of the community, we crave for confidence and respect. This is where most people get stuck, driven by their egoic nature, forever trying to satisfy their need for respect like filling up a black hole. The ones who manage to establish a solid structure of self esteem inside themselves, ascend to the next level.

The fifth level is “Self Actualization” and most people consider it to be the highest layer. After establishing a solid structure of basic needs, safety, belonging and self esteem, we seek to find ‘Who we really are?’. We dive deep into our self and hunt for our truth. We seek creativity, spontaneity, we have lack of prejudices and we accept the facts of the world as they are. We try to know ourselves, to master ourselves, to elevate ourselves.

For many years people believed that that’s it. That’s where the hierarchy ends. But they were wrong!
Abraham Maslow had another piece of this puzzle that he never made public. He passed away before publishing the complete “Hierarchy Of Needs” which had 6 levels.

Without further ado, the sixth step is “Self Transcendence”

Not an elevation of the self, but a subverting of it.


This takes us to different perspectives on human psychology itself. Achieving self actualization means resting comfortably inside the boundaries of human psychology, accomplishing what is knowable and testable, while self transcendence means pushing beyond them.

Whether through spiritual meditation, self denial, or more recently through technological means, challenging the definition of consciousness to expand into new areas of knowledge, beyond self knowledge, may be the ultimate stage of human development.

Transcending oneself is similar to what advanced meditators tend to describe. When they reach that ascended state they report being ‘everything and nothing at the same time’. This is one way to go with this.

Another, more technological path toward self transcendence is the singularity, an event in which human biology and computers become one. This is an opportunity to literally overcome our present physical limitations.

Overcoming the narrow confines of the self may be as simple as giving yourself over to others: their dreams, their goals, their passions. And by doing so, you become one with them.

Whichever way we choose, it seems that our journey doesn’t end with ‘knowing thyself’ but there is a lot more to embark toward.

After we discover our truth, we need to transcend with it. We are like a source for this unique essence. We pour our purpose into The Universe and we need to find ways to transcend without neglecting it.

However, what awaits us then, is as mysterious as The Universe and its vastness.

Find more great articles at

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Autumn Smoothie

What better way to glide easily into the next season than combining fruit from the tropics with the colors of fall?

The Turmeric Smoothie   

Used for over 2500 years in India, Turmeric has had a notable reputation in the culinary world for being the elite source of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-tumor, antibacterial, and antiviral agent. 

A relative of the ginger plant, this spice and medicinal herb, commonly used in many sweet and savory dishes, also helps flush out dietary carcinogens, boosts liver detox and treats depression.

Enjoy this delicious smoothie and the multiple benefits of turmeric.


-1 cup hemp or coconut milk
-1/2 cup frozen pineapple or mango chunks
-1 fresh banana
-1 tablespoon coconut oil
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric (can be increased to 1 tsp)
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ginger
-1 teaspoon chia seeds
-1 teaspoon maca (optional)
Process these ingredients in a blender until smooth

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Myth of "Normal"

There is no normal...let's learn how to live with our differences and support each other instead of judging

Dr. Gabor Maté on the Myth of “Normal” in Psychological Disorders. He explains how mental distress and pathology exists in a continuum and are largely a result of a materialist culture that rigidly “idealize individuality and ignores emotional needs,” prioritizing objects over people and well being.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Exercise Is ADHD Medication

Article c/o

Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility; new research shows just how critical it is to academic performance.

Mental exercises to build (or rebuild) attention span have shown promise recently as adjuncts or alternatives to amphetamines in addressing symptoms common to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Building cognitive control, to be better able to focus on just one thing, or single-task, might involve regular practice with a specialized video game that reinforces "top-down" cognitive modulation, as was the case in a popular paper in Nature last year. Cool but still notional. More insipid but also more clearly critical to addressing what's being called the ADHD epidemic is plain old physical activity.

This morning the medical journal Pediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings, according to University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues, "demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health." If it seems odd that this is something that still needs support, that's because it is odd, yes. Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive. This brand of research is still published and written about as though it were a novel finding, in part because exercise programs for kids remain underfunded and underprioritized in many school curricula, even though exercise is clearly integral to maximizing the utility of time spent in class.

The improvements in this case came in executive control, which consists of inhibition (resisting distraction, maintaining focus), working memory, and cognitive flexibility (switching between tasks). The images above show the brain activity in the group of kids who did the program as opposed to the group that didn't. It's the kind of difference that's so dramatic it's a little unsettling. The study only lasted nine months, but when you're only seven years old, nine months is a long time to be sitting in class with a blue head.

It may potentially be advisable to consider possibly implementing more exercise opportunities for kids.

Earlier this month, another study found that a 12-week exercise program improved math and reading test scores in all kids, but especially in those with signs of ADHD. (Executive functioning is impaired in ADHD, and tied to performance in math and reading.) Lead researcher Alan Smith, chair of the department of kinesiology at Michigan State, went out on no limb at all in a press statement at the time, saying, "Early studies suggest that physical activity can have a positive effect on children who suffer from ADHD."

Last year a very similar study in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that just 26 minutes of daily physical activity for eight weeks significantly allayed ADHD symptoms in grade-school kids. The modest conclusion of the study was that "physical activity shows promise for addressing ADHD symptoms in young children." The researchers went on to write that this finding should be "carefully explored with further studies."

"If physical activity is established as an effective intervention for ADHD," they continued, "it will also be important to address possible complementary effects of physical activity and existing treatment strategies ..." Which is a kind of phenomenal degree of reservation compared to the haste with which millions of kids have been introduced to amphetamines and other stimulants to address said ADHD. The number of prescriptions increased from 34.8 to 48.4 million between 2007 and 2011 alone. The pharmaceutical market around the disorder has grown to several billion dollars in recent years while school exercise initiatives have enjoyed no such spoils of entrepreneurialism. But, you know, once there is more research, it may potentially be advisable to consider possibly implementing more exercise opportunities for kids.

Over all, the pandemic of physical inactivity, as Hillman and colleagues put it in their Pediatrics journal article today, is "a serious threat to global health" responsible for around 10 percent of premature deaths from noncommincable diseases. But it clearly manifests in ways more subtle than deaths, including scholastic performance, which we're continuously learning. I talked last week with Paul Nystedt, an associate professor of economics and finance at Jönköping University in Sweden, who just published a multi-country study that found that obese teenagers go on to earn 18 percent less money as adults than their peers, even if they are no longer obese. He believes that's most likely because of the adversity that obese kids experience from classmates and teachers, which leads to both cognitive and noncognitive disparities between obese and non-obese kids. Because obese children are more likely to come from low-income homes to begin with, that only perpetuates wealth gaps and stifles mobility. Nystedt and his coauthors conclude, "The rapid increase in childhood and adolescent obesity could have long-lasting effects on the economic growth and productivity of nations."

John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard, suggests that people think of exercise as medication for ADHD. Even very light physical activity improves mood and cognitive performance by triggering the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, similar to the way that stimulant medications like Adderall do. In a 2012 TED talk, Ratey argued that physical exercise "is really for our brains." He likened it to taking "a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin." As a rule, I say never trust anyone who has given a TED talk. But maybe in this case that's a constructive way to think about moving one's body. But not the inverse, where taking Ritalin counts as exercise.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Meditation Literally Rebuilds Your Brain’s Gray Matter In 8 Weeks

Article c/o

Harvard MRI Study Shows That Meditation Literally Rebuilds Your Brain’s Gray Matter In 8 Weeks

A study conducted by a Harvard affiliated team out of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) came across surprising conclusions regarding the tangible effects of meditation on human brain structure. An 8 week program of mindfulness meditation produced MRI scans for the first time showing clear evidence that meditation produces “massive changes” in brain gray matter.

Study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program (as well as a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology) stated that meditation practitioners aren’t just feeling better. They are literally undergoing changes in brain structure that create the associated sustained boosts in positive and relaxed feelings.

Fellow MGH researcher Sue McGreevey notes that previous studies by Lazar’s group found structural differences in the brains of meditation practitioners compared to those with no prior experience most notably in the thickening of the cerebral cortex; the area responsible for attention and emotional integration. These prior studies, however could not narrow down the structural differences to meditation specifically until now.

This most recent study found that an average of 27 minutes of a daily practice of mindfulness exercises stimulated a significant boost in gray matter density, specifically in the hippocampus; the area of the brain in which self-awareness, compassion, and introspection are associated. Furthermore, this boost of gray matter density in the hippocampus was also directly correlational to a decreased gray matter density in the amygdala; an area of the brain known to be instrumental in regulating anxiety and stress responses. In stark contrast, the control group did not have any changes occur in either region of the brain thus ruling out merely the passage of time as a factor of influence regarding the drastic change in gray matter density fluctuations.

MGH fellow out of Glessen University in Germany, Britta Hölzel, states that neuroscientists are finding far more plasticity in brain structure than anticipated and that most importantly we are now aware from a scientific point of view that we can play a very active role in altering our brain structure to improve our overall well-being and quality of life.

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Today's Moments of Insight

Today’s Moments of Insight by Matt Kahn

In the beginning, a spiritual journey is a transition from living in various states of denial to discovering an insatiable love for truth. When living in denial, your focus is more concerned with anticipating fearful possibilities, while making choices to avert the very fearful things that only you may be imagining. Most of the time, even if something you fear becomes a reality -- the experience itself is never as scary, daunting, or hopeless as it was imagined to be.

When run by fear, your self-worth lives and dies by the outcomes you face or how others view you, while responding to life in a distrusting or defensive manner. In denial, you are unaware that each moment was created to assist you in opening up and evolving to your absolute potential. When this truth is denied or overlooked, happiness and fulfillment is imagined as fleeting moments in time when life goes your way.

In essence, denial means that you are choosing to see life in a way that denies you the right to consider a greater divine source within you that ensures the perfection and completion of your journey, no matter how different it seems from the way you want it to be. As a love of truth opens up within you, you begin to question, “Is my view of life the way it actually is or just my personal version of it?” Once everything can be seen as a subjective version of absolute potential, there is an inner sense of permission to consider other viewpoints with the courage to select a point of view that is less fearful and more supportive to the evolution of the whole.
While a love for truth creates an initial spark of inner spiritual exploration, it is certainly not the end-all-be-all of your adventure. It is actually just the beginning. When confusing the beginning of your journey with any imagined end point, you tend to rely on knowledge instead of love throughout your encounters. When this occurs, spiritual concepts become extensions of ego to defend against those who oppose your view or seem uninformed. This can even lead to the impulse of needing to constantly correct those, who in your perception of experience, are clearly out of touch with reality.

They may be as asleep as you sense them to be, but when relying on knowledge, you tend to be life’s exhausting rescuer that unknowingly attempts to rob them of their journey. You may even wonder, “How do I know the difference between being a rescuer and serving the evolution of someone’s journey?” The answer is astoundingly simple: when you are meant to pass along your knowledge to another, they will ask you a direct question.

If you are offering your knowledge before someone has personally asked you to be their bearer of higher wisdom, some form of projection or rescuing is occurring. If you see someone who can benefit from your knowledge, but hasn’t asked for it, maybe it can become a moment where you ask yourself: what are they here to teach me? What if I became the one who acted upon the very advice I’m waiting to dispense, instead of assuming my role in someone else’s journey?

When not relying so heavily on your library of knowledge, you become a living blessing of love. From this space, you are free to honor how each character in your play provides you opportunities to act upon your best advice as a way of making your love even more unconditional and potent in power.

When being rooted in love guides you beyond the love for truth, each fight against injustice, or judgment towards those who aren’t as knowledgeable as you, becomes a living prayer for the salvation of every heart. As this occurs, the unsavory actions of others can inspire a more powerful response of blessings and conscious action for the well-being of all.

Those who rely on their knowledge often imagine hypothetical circumstances to justify why loving what arises seems too passive in response. They are the ones who insist the people of this planet come together in greater conscious action, while being too consumed in righteousness to act upon the very suggestions they project. One who is rooted in love, feeds a hungry person in sight. One who relies on knowledge believes they are helping by trying to rally others into the very actions they have yet to choose.

This is why for some, loving what arises is the ultimate leap of faith one must take in order for attachments to knowledge to be living transmissions of heart-centered wisdom in action. In heart-centered consciousness, we don’t love instead of help. Instead, we help from a space of love by allowing love’s infinite wisdom to determine how our help is offered.

Relying on your knowledge also acts as a double-edged sword: when good things seem to happen, you may think you are being rewarded for what you know. Equally so, when you interpret your life circumstances as “bad”, “adverse”, or “wrong”, you may believe that if only you knew more than you do things would’ve been different.

At certain stages of your spiritual journey, you can be so knowledgeable, while still living in subtle realms of denial. When this occurs, there are reasons why your life happens that are superstitious, creative, and intriguing, while unrelated to the greater good of life’s eternal truth that only brings forth experiences to assist you in making more room for love to emerge.

This is why, further along the spiritual journey, a love for truth must transition into the truth of love, in order for the spiritually-hungry mind to merge into emotional oneness with the actions and integrity of an open loving heart. Once this merging occurs, truth is no longer something to know, keep straight, argue with others, attempt to defend, or in need of being remembered, but a fully-embodied expression of your highest self in form.

Inevitably, truth is not what you know, but how often you love. This is today’s moment of insight.

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Nine Ways a Meditating Brain Creates Better Relationships

Article c/o Marsha Lucas Ph.D.
for Psychology Today

It's never too late to have a (brain that's wired as if it had a) happy childhood

Therapists get this question a lot: "Okay, so now that I understand how my history made me a mess when it comes to relationships, what now? It's not like I can go back in time and change my childhood."

The "what now" is that there's increasing evidence that the simple practice of mindfulness meditation can re-wire your brain. In key areas, you can literally change and grow neural connections which support finding and creating better relationships. And in nine different ways, your brain can become more like those who grew up knowing how to love and be loved in healthy, sustainable ways.
As a psychologist helping others find their way to greater emotional well-being, I find that the most compelling benefits of a regular mindfulness meditation practice are a set of nine documented results. (I mentioned them in my previous post, Mindfulness Meditation + Neuroscience = Healthier Relationships.) I've seen the results confirmed through my psychology practice, in myself, and in the lives of my friends and colleagues.

At least seven of these nine benefits bear a remarkable resemblance to the characteristics of people who grew up with healthy, attuned attachments. Childhood attachment experiences have a huge impact on how we are wired for relationships, throughout our lives.

So, if we can change our brain to work more like those people with healthy attachment histories, we too can have a brain that's wired as if it had a happy childhood.


When I first learned about these from Dan Siegel, MD, I was stunned that something as simple as mindfulness meditation could make such inroads with the challenges of finding and creating healthy relationships.  Take a look at these benefits:

1. Better management of your body's reactions.
Stress and anger lose their grip on your body more quickly and easily. When you get home from a hard day at work, you aren't still carrying the pent-up tension and frustration in your body, and so you won't be driven towards an angry reaction to your partner's benign comment.
In a way, it's like re-setting your body's "alarm" button when it's gotten stuck in the "ON" position. Vital to your relationships is your ability to (a) recognize that that's what's going on, (b) understand what is happening in your brain and body that is keeping you there, and (c) un-stick that alarm button.

2. Emotional resiliency.
Being able to correct or repair unpleasant moods more quickly, without just sweeping them under the rug of resentments, frees you up to be less stressed by emotional upset, and more available to the next good thing.
Regulating your emotions doesn't mean ignoring them, denying them, or cramming them deep inside (they eventually erupt anyway, but in festered form). The trick is to be able to get yourself back to baseline with relative ease and efficiency.

3. Better, more "tuned in" communication.
Research on attachment and healthy brain development shows that having someone be attuned to you - they listen and "get" you without distortion, and respond in a way which is actually contingent upon you instead of just their own inner stuff -- is one of the chief ways that your brain gets organized for well-being.

That's true in childhood, and we're now learning that it's also true for adults. Mindfulness meditation helps you to be a more attuned communicator. Even better, new evidence suggests that the more you practice this kind of "attuned" communication, the more likely that your significant other will get better at it, as well. (More on that in another post.)

4. Response flexibility.
We often have a fairly limited repertoire of how we respond to those situations that just "set us off." Some people always blame and yell when they feel ashamed; others cry whenever receiving criticism, even if it is constructive and positive.

The habits of our nervous system can seem like electrical surges, leaving us vulnerable to making a real mess when we don't mean to. Having an emotional circuit breaker makes a real difference - creating the space for you to have a more mindful, conscious response. Mindfulness meditation, by beefing up areas which essentially buy us a tiny bit more time before we respond in a knee-jerk way, improves response flexibility.

5. Improved empathy.
There are some common misconceptions about empathy. Being empathic isn't about being a doormat, or mind-reader. It's also not about fear (I need to read this person really well so he doesn't get angry and hit me).

Being able to "get" and understand another person's state of mind is essential for healthy relationships, but being able to do so without losing your awareness of your own state of mind is vitally important. Getting your brain to let you perceive someone else, without your protective gear and lenses, and without getting lost in their "stuff," is something that mindfulness meditation does extremely well.

6. Improved insight (self-knowing).
Getting to know yourself in a real way, and within a coherent framework (How did I get here?), results in being far less vulnerable to getting lost when it comes to being in relationship with others.
When we meditate regularly, we're practicing our ability to notice what our brain is up to -- what the thoughts are, what the feelings are. We become increasingly able to tell the difference between those momentary and ever-changing events, and who we really are.
Through meditation practice, the brain gets re-wired and "remembers," more often and more easily, who you really are - not just your thoughts and feelings, so they don't carry you away.

7. Better modulation of fear.
If you're able to be more comfortable with things which once scared you (He's going to leave me; I'm not enough for her), and not as reactive to emotional fear, you change your entire experience of being in an adult-to-adult relationship with others.

It's important in relationships to have ready access to being able to soothe yourself when you're afraid, so that your reactions and interactions aren't overrun by your fight-flight-freeze response. There is compelling research on the brain mechanisms underlying the flexible control of fear, and those are remarkably similar to the brain areas which change in response to mindfulness meditation.

8. Enhanced intuition.
There's actually increasing neurochemical and cellular evidence of a sort of second brain in our gut (okay, viscera). Most of us are familiar with having some kind of "gut feeling," usually in response to something that has our attention. But what about all of those times when we're an auto-pilot, or distracted? Is the information in our gut turned "off'?

Hardly. Our viscera, and the rest of our body - our muscles, eyes, ears, skin, and so on - are telling us something. Most of the time, we ignore these messages, but the mindfulness practice of being more aware of what your body is telling you enhances the ability to be attuned to yourself, and what you unconsciously know - what we can refer to as "intuition."

Becoming emotionally "smarter" - by using the extra information from your non-brain parts - enhances your ability to be in mindfully aware, conscious relationships with yourself and with others.

9. Increased morality.
In addition to healthier, happier relationships with your partner and circle of friends, is there anything that comes from the first eight benefits?

The research on mindfulness shows that when people learn to meditate and practice regularly, their perceptions of their place in the world begins to shift - something corroborated by family members. They become more broadly compassionate, more likely to act on their highest principles, and demonstrate greater interest in the social good - what can very reasonably seen as living with higher morals. It's like having a healthier relationship with your whole community, not just the people closest to you.

An impressive list! It does take practice - and the practice is simple, but not easy. (Of course, with all of these benefits, there may be some other personal work to be done, if deeper unresolved issues are involved -- meditation alone doesn't mean you're off the hook for dealing with old wounds and their influences on you.)

The good news is that some of the research shows that you can see changes as little as twenty minutes of practice a day (and some experts say that you can benefit with even less than that - the trick is to be sure it is a regular, daily practice). I invite you to give it a try.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain

Article c/o The New York Times

A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

Most of us today live in cities and spend far less time outside in green, natural spaces than people did several generations ago.

City dwellers also have a higher risk for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses than people living outside urban centers, studies show.

These developments seem to be linked to some extent, according to a growing body of research. Various studies have found that urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dwellers who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.

But just how a visit to a park or other green space might alter mood has been unclear. Does experiencing nature actually change our brains in some way that affects our emotional health?

That possibility intrigued Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University, who has been studying the psychological effects of urban living. In an earlier study published last month, he and his colleagues found that volunteers who walked briefly through a lush, green portion of the Stanford campus were more attentive and happier afterward than volunteers who strolled for the same amount of time near heavy traffic.

But that study did not examine the neurological mechanisms that might underlie the effects of being outside in nature.

So for the new study, which was published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Bratman and his collaborators decided to closely scrutinize what effect a walk might have on a person’s tendency to brood.

Brooding, which is known among cognitive scientists as morbid rumination, is a mental state familiar to most of us, in which we can’t seem to stop chewing over the ways in which things are wrong with ourselves and our lives. This broken-record fretting is not healthy or helpful. It can be a precursor to depression and is disproportionately common among city dwellers compared with people living outside urban areas, studies show.

Perhaps most interesting for the purposes of Mr. Bratman and his colleagues, however, such rumination also is strongly associated with increased activity in a portion of the brain known as the subgenual prefrontal cortex.

If the researchers could track activity in that part of the brain before and after people visited nature, Mr. Bratman realized, they would have a better idea about whether and to what extent nature changes people’s minds.

Mr. Bratman and his colleagues first gathered 38 healthy, adult city dwellers and asked them to complete a questionnaire to determine their normal level of morbid rumination.

The researchers also checked for brain activity in each volunteer’s subgenual prefrontal cortex, using scans that track blood flow through the brain. Greater blood flow to parts of the brain usually signals more activity in those areas.

Then the scientists randomly assigned half of the volunteers to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet, parklike portion of the Stanford campus or next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway in Palo Alto. The volunteers were not allowed to have companions or listen to music. They were allowed to walk at their own pace.

Immediately after completing their walks, the volunteers returned to the lab and repeated both the questionnaire and the brain scan.

As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.

But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.

They also had less blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. That portion of their brains were quieter.

These results “strongly suggest that getting out into natural environments” could be an easy and almost immediate way to improve moods for city dwellers, Mr. Bratman said.

But of course many questions remain, he said, including how much time in nature is sufficient or ideal for our mental health, as well as what aspects of the natural world are most soothing. Is it the greenery, quiet, sunniness, loamy smells, all of those, or something else that lifts our moods? Do we need to be walking or otherwise physically active outside to gain the fullest psychological benefits? Should we be alone or could companionship amplify mood enhancements?

“There’s a tremendous amount of study that still needs to be done,” Mr. Bratman said.

But in the meantime, he pointed out, there is little downside to strolling through the nearest park, and some chance that you might beneficially muffle, at least for awhile, your subgenual prefrontal cortex.