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Consciousness

The Bullsh*t of “Good Vibes Only” (and Why Conflict Can Be Good)

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Conflict is not exactly something we enjoy …

UNLESS of course, you have a psychological addiction to creating drama (see drama queens). In which case you may want to seek therapeutic intervention.

No, in general, most of us seek a conflict-free life in which we are liked and accepted by those around us. Very few people like being disliked (unless you are some kind of anarchic m********). Most people want to fit in, be validated, agreed with, and approved by others … which is all very normal.

But what happens when this desire to avoid conflict becomes pathological?

The answer is that we become people-pleasers; sacrificing our authenticity to fit into a cookie cutter mold that is given the tick of approval by others.

Not only that but when avoiding conflict becomes pathological we may even start to adopt a “good vibes only” approach to life.

Let’s face it: on the surface, this appears kind of cute and has a faux-spiritual-new-age ring to it. But adopting this “positive-attitudes-only” philosophy to life is actually one of the most emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually detrimental attitudes you can adopt.

Why?

Because when we are trapped in the cycle of seeking positive vibes and avoiding conflict, we are not actually growing as people. Not only that, but we can actually become what I call “negativity-phobic” meaning that we develop a phobia surrounding conflict that can result in some pretty extreme and ironically negative behavior.

The Bullsh*t of “Good Vibes Only”

I have met and seen my fair share of good-vibe-only people in my field of work. I also am the creator and admin of four Facebook groups, which at the time of writing, have a collective total of 300,000+ members.

One thing I have noticed that has popped up consistently, no matter the environment or context, is that people don’t like critical thought. Critical thought is generally perceived as something “negative” and unsavory. Questioning and pointing out flaws and logical fallacies is something generally frowned upon and is almost immediately shunned, along with the person, who is perceived as a “troll,” “trouble-maker,” “argumentative person,” or most unfortunate of all, an “unawakened person.”

Not only that, but most people in the “spiritual” and self-help communities tend to be highly reactive towards any form of emotional conflict – or at best, passive-aggressive and self-righteous. It’s as if the spiritual ego that people adopt adds an extra layer of difficulty in dealing with negativity. We develop these strong ideals and beliefs about life based on regurgitated spiritual rhetoric (such as “all is Love,” “Love and Light,” “Think happy thoughts”) that when someone comes along as shits over that, we’re shocked.

I think this shock is the result of fear and anger. Fear that we might be wrong. Fear that our spiritual beliefs are no longer pacifying or creating a comfort bubble around us. And anger because we instinctively want to defend ourselves – the ego doesn’t like to be challenged or disproved. The ego wants to feel spiritually righteous; it wants the laziness of “good vibes only” because there is no challenge and therefore no threat.

But wanting and desiring “good vibes only” means that we are in a constant state of resistance to reality. Trying to create a “good vibes only” life, while understandable (especially if you’ve struggled with a lot of sadness, loss, and self-hatred in the past), limits your growth on every single level.

Why is demonizing and avoiding conflict limiting to your growth? We’ll explore that next.

Why Conflict is a Powerful Teacher

I am not innocent nor am I immune to the struggles of the “spiritual ego.” As a person who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian environment, I was taught to defend my dogmas, resist others, while at the same time trying to avoid conflicts and convert others.

Fast-forward to meeting my partner and co-writer of this site, Sol. Or shall I say: Shiva, the destroyer of worlds. Entering a relationship with this man was the most ego-destroying thing I have ever experienced – and I say that as a good thing. Getting into frequent conflicts in the early years of our relationship was the single most important thing that helped me to spiritually awaken.

Sure, it wasn’t pretty. I often felt a lot of self-pity, resentment, and anger surrounding my beliefs being systematically challenged and destroyed (hello Mr. INTJ). But it was keeping an open heart to this conflict and choosing to learn from it that transformed my life forever.

Without having someone call bullshit on all the ways that I lied to myself, I would never be where I am today. Without having someone point out to me where I was mistaken/wrong, it would have taken me years to develop the self-insight I now possess.

So here is why conflict is such a powerful teacher:

  • Conflict helps you to actively develop more patience and forbearance around others.
  • Conflict helps you to “see beyond the veil” of another’s actions and develop deeper insight and compassion for them.
  • Conflict reveals your own areas of vulnerability and insecurity.
  • Conflict shines a light on your shadow tendencies.
  • Conflict can point out where you’re genuinely going wrong.
  • Conflict is a no-bullshit teacher that reveals how you can grow more.
  • Conflict is a way to test your emotional and spiritual maturity.

Having someone say “no, you’re wrong, and here’s why” or “that is totally ridiculous” is an immensely valuable gift. Even if the person is NOT coming from a conscious or caring place, it is a gift to experience conflict for others, for it reveals the truth about ourselves.

The way in which we react to others speaks volumes about our capacity to practice kindness and understanding.

The way in which we react to others is a reflection of our own level of maturity or immaturity.

The way in which we react to others is a mirror of our own pain, insecurities, and fears.

There is a big difference between responding and reacting. Responding comes from a centered place of awareness and understanding. Reacting comes from unawareness and ignorance.

Do you feel mentally or emotionally threatened by another person who is “calling bullshit” on you or challenging you? Do you feel insulted by another person? GOOD. Find the lesson. Uncover the spiritual teaching. This person is your tough-love-boot-camp in the flesh.

Instead of reacting mindlessly to them, stop and be present. Be curious. Why is this person treating you in such a disrespectful way? Why does your ego feel so hurt? Do you secretly believe that the person might be right? Why is this a bad thing? What is the real cause of the other person’s aggression? What is behind their anger?

Ask questions and be open to accepting the truth. Ultimately your decision to learn from conflict comes from a choice: do you choose to use spirituality as a pacifier that bolsters your ego and makes you feel comfortable? Or do you choose to use spirituality as a way to pursue truth and authentic inner growth, which can be uncomfortable at times?

9 Signs You’re Negativity-Phobic

Ideally, all spiritual practices would help us respond with maturity, compassion, and understanding towards negativity. But that is not always the case.

Are you negativity-phobic? Read the following signs for some clarity:

  • You avoid people or situations that create uncomfortable feelings in you at all costs
  • You are attracted towards the lighter and more ‘higher-conscious’ aspect of spirituality, but feel repelled (and maybe also irresistibly drawn to) the shadow side or Underworld path of spirituality
  • You can’t handle criticism well (even if it is a well-meaning critique) and feel upset
  • You feel unusually defensive or on-guard around others
  • You’re highly sensitive to people’s thoughts and opinions about you
  • You intentionally try to block out all forms of negativity from your life
  • You refuse to acknowledge your shadows
  • You tend to be an idealist
  • You feel intense and overwhelming emotions such as anger, fear, hatred, or disgust when you’re confronted with a negative person

How many of these signs can you relate to? Be honest. If you’re serious about consciously evolving, it’s important to face reality.

How to Embrace Conflict

Embracing conflict doesn’t mean enjoying it or seeking it out. Instead, embracing conflict is about adopting a mindful attitude that values the experience as something useful to learn and grow from.

From a hell-of-a-lot of experience with conflict, here is what I’ve learned:

1. Stop and take a deep breath. Catch yourself before you react. Walk away if you must. Take a few moments to gather yourself, and then respond.

2. Ask yourself, “What is this person or situation secretly teaching me?” Sure, the person might be acting like an a******, but what message is being embodied through their actions?

3. Be curious and adopt an attitude of interested awareness when you feel triggered. Look at the emotions surging through your body. Examine the thoughts in your mind. Take note of how you’re feeling. To do this, you need to practice mindfulness.

4. Ask yourself, “What is actually hidden behind this person’s anger?” Stop taking emotions and apparent motives at face value. Try to think of all the possible reasons why the person is acting out or trying to hurt you. For example, maybe they have severely low self-worth. Maybe they are lonely and want attention (whether good or bad). Maybe they just went through a breakup. Maybe one of their loved ones just died. Maybe they’re experiencing a stressful day. Maybe they feel angry and sad about life. Be open to alternative explanations.

5. If you get emotionally triggered, reflect on the experience. What was it about the person that infuriated you so much? Instead of blaming them for how you feel, try to find the opportunity for growth that is being presented to you.

6. Understand that all unkind, cruel, vicious and abusive behavior has its root in pain. When I say pain, I mean emotional pain such as sadness, loneliness, emptiness, and fear. Once you can truly understand this for yourself, you will be able to keep your calm. Instead of running away from or avoiding conflict, you will face it and understand what is behind it with compassion or at least understanding.

Conflict is one of those hard-a**, no-nonsense, and in-your-face teachers of existence that shines a light on your capacity to handle and understand human aggression. Your ability to sit with it without reacting to it is a sign of spiritually evolved maturity. Perhaps even more courageous is to use conflict as a lesson; a way to meet your own shadows and flaws with absolute honesty.

I hope this article has inspired you to stop avoiding conflict and instead perceive it differently.

I welcome you to share your perspectives and experiences with this difficult topic below!


This article (The Bullsh*t of “Good Vibes Only” (and Why Conflict Can Be Good)) was originally created and published by Loner Wolf by Aletheia Luna and is republished here with permission. 

Consciousness

Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field

Justin MacLachlan

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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.”

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Consciousness

Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics

Elias Marat

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(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.”

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Activism

The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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esoteric meaning neo interrogation 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.

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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.

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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.

Imaginary Rights

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.

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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.

We Must Start With the Imagination

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?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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