We are living fragmented lives in an increasingly frenetic world. Overworked and overstressed we spread ourselves thin flipping between several roles in a single day. We can be a parent, spouse, employee, organiser, blogger, expert in a field, coordinator, entertainer or whatever role we have assigned ourself or have identified with.
Society and culture have also put on us pressures and beliefs that have sucked us in all this madness. Clearly, we are living a consumeristic culture in overdrive. The expectations from our peers and the messages from the mass media and cultural icons are all set to trance us into this consumeristic mass hallucination. In moments of clarity, many have stopped to ask themselves “How do I make it stop? Where is the emergency stop button? How can I break free from all this and return to a simpler, authentic and stress-free life?” – I’m sure you have, as have I too.
The good news is that living a simpler, stress-free life is not something that is a world apart. Like anything else it comes from our will and resolution but also from making some simple realisations and keeping them present in mind. I have listed seven key ideas about simple living that our constant doing and rushing has alienated us from.
Life Purpose is Simplicity itself:
Knowing your life purpose is the most powerful information you can acquire in a whole lifetime. Knowing your life purpose means knowing who you truly are which in turns means doing only those things which resonate with your authentic talents and motivations. Life becomes effortless. On the other hand not being aligned with your life purpose means creating friction and wasting time and energy doing things which do not flow with you.
In my book ‘The Art of Simple Living’, I make this very important point – that knowing your life purpose does not require looking for it in some special place or doing something extraordinary. It comes from simplifying. When you start discarding all those things which do not belong to you and simplify your day to day living, your life purpose comes in sharper focus because you understand better who you are.
Your Wants are not your Needs:
The consumerist culture has sold us wants as needs. As we are constantly bombarded by advertising messages on all media, we are made to believe that we ‘need’ that latest gadget or that cool accessory to be at pace with our times and our peers. The clear boundary between needing and wanting has been blurred. So we end up spending time, money and energy trying to acquire stuff or reaching goals because we believe we actually need them when in fact we only want them. As the latest fad passes away, we are only left with clutter and wasted resources.
Being sober about what are those things you really need and those which you only want can drastically simplify your life. You eliminate those things which are inessential to your core living thus opening up more time and space to fill in with meaningful things that are genuinely part of your life purpose.
Less is More:
Another thing society has seduced us into is the idea that more is better. We measure our success partly by how much wealth, status and accolades we accumulate in a lifetime. What is not measured is the stress and strain produced as an effect of pursuing these socially transmitted goals. Not to mention how far we deviated from our more authentic goals and happiness while doing this. We have been alienated away from the practical truth that less is decisively more powerful.
When you have less stuff, work and false ‘needs’ cluttering your physical and mental space, your life is more streamlined and frictionless. With less noise, it becomes much easier to bring your true aspirations and motivations in clear focus. This is the real power of less.
It’s Not what You Thought about Thinking:
One of the greatest ways to hack into a simpler life comes from your thinking – or rather lack of it. This is another belief we have been sucked into – that we must think to figure out our way and solve problems. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, thinking is on many occasions, the obstacle to the solution rather than the path to the solution. Not because thinking is bad or futile but because thinking or over-analysing a situation can at times create more noise while blocking our inner intuition.
Masters in the art of simplicity know very well how to make use of their intuition and when to refrain from analysing a given situation. This is because while thinking is energy intensive and can complicate matters rather than simplifying them, intuition gives us instant access to information that may have been overlooked by our conscious rationalisations. It is effortless, fast and simple.
You don’t Need Approval by Anyone:
Most of the time we are not aware how much our life is complicated by the need to be approved of by others. Some people seek approval constantly and feel the need to have their actions and aspirations confirmed by the stamp of approval of their peers or those in authority. The need for others’ approval, whether explicit or tacit, becomes in some cases a compulsive unconscious behaviour. It limits our possibilities but more importantly, it keeps us from being ourselves and living an authentic life.
The effect of all this is that our life becomes complicated and inefficient since we are putting others’ consent, approval or admiration in the equation every time. People who are completely free from what other people think of their life choices, have a much simpler and straightforward line to follow – their heart. Once you ditch the subconscious fear of being disapproved by others around you, you clear up the space to fill in with your own dreams and aspirations rather those of others.
Money Can Wait – Yours Dream Shouldn’t:
How many times have I heard people (and myself in the past) declare: “Once I will settle myself financially, I will be on my way to follow my dreams and aspirations.” The general sense to it is that “right now I am not living my dream – I have put it on the side while I try to make a living doing things I am not passionate about”.
There is a certain rationale that we believe is sane to follow but the truth is that it is partially insane at best. We limit ourselves thinking that we need to get a financial boost to jumpstart our life project. While it is agreed that some form of financial input or funding is needed to create certain projects, it doesn’t mean that you need to shelve it while you are acquiring your funds. What often happens is that you get derailed into other things while you are not actually doing your real stuff and your dream becomes only that – a ‘dream’. Other times, the financial aspect becomes an excuse to procrastinate or else we do not realise that the situation is not as bad as we fear and that for instance quitting your full-time job to get on your project is not half as financially strenuous as you may believe.
The Space Odyssey – Decluttering:
Read any literature about simple living and it is invariably tied to the idea of decluttering. It does a lot of sense of course because living a simpler life means above anything else being free from clutter that makes your life less simple to manage. My idea of decluttering spaces is a bit broader than that. While clearing physical spaces (and maintaining them clutter free) is an absolute necessity for making your practical living hassle free, I also like to emphasise that keeping our inner spaces clutter free is as much, if not more, important.
What do I mean by inner spaces? It is that space through which we listen to our innermost feelings, intuitions and reflections. It is of course not a space in the physical sense although it behaves like one because it can be blocked by clutter – mental chatter, too much information from the media, worries, beliefs, fears, etc. Likewise when it is free from such clutter, it opens up to allow more authentic things to flow into – joy, creativity, solutions, intuitions, etc. Once again, we are limited as too how much of that space we can free up (if at all) by our social demands and expectations.
We are made to follow certain social models and templates – like for instance being the self-motivated manager who is always on the ball and has little or no time for his inner life or introspection. Inner life is seen as belonging to those who are on the ‘wayside’ or have retreated from life rather than those who are on its mainstream. Wrong assumption, of course.
Dedicating no time to declutter your inner spaces through for instance, quiet time alone, meditation, play, art, relaxing, traveling,etc is what will knock you off from life’s ‘mainstream’. Instead of giving time to listen to your inner authentic aspirations, you would have lived the life of an automaton filling in a role laid down by society.
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Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field
A neuroscientist has suggested in a new theory that our consciousness is derived from a field of electromagnetic waves given off by neurons.
The study published last month in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness is entirely based off a theory absent of tangible evidence. However, the author of the research Johnjoe McFadden said that his hypothesis could offer a way forward for robots that think and feel emotions.
McFadden believes that neuron waves of electrical activity get sent out and as they propagate across the brain, they help compose our entire conscious experience.
Johnjoe McFadden, is a molecular geneticist and director of quantum biology at the University of Surrey. McFadden points to flaws in other models of consciousness as the reason that we don’t have sentient artificial intelligence or robots capable of achieving consciousness.
McFadden’s hypothesis swerves away from most traditional neuroscientists, who generally see consciousness as a narrative that our brain constructs out of our senses, perceptions, and actions. Instead, McFadden returns to a more empirical version of dualism — the idea that consciousness stems from something other than our brain matter.
McFadden’s theory adapts the idea of “dualism,” which is the belief that consciousness is a supernatural force. Dualism has long been rejected by scientists and ruled pseudo-science, but McFadden has attempted to apply a scientific explanation for the idea, which hasn’t been done before.
Neuroscience news reports that the theory is based on scientific fact:
“The theory is based on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the wire-like nerve fibres, but they also send a pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is usually disregarded, yet it carries the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, rather than a flow of atoms in and out of the nerves.”
It’s also a fact we have an electromagnetic field surrounding our brain is well-known and is detected by brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function and supernatural. Instead, McFadden contends that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving the ‘free will’ of an individual.
“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” McFadden said in a press release published by Medical Xpress. “I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”
Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics
(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.
On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.
The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.
The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.
Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.
The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.
At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.
Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of marijuana during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.
The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.
In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.
“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.
Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.
Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.
The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.
The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.
“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
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