Presence

As I sat on the train heading off on my first solo adventure I didn’t feel much at all. In fact, as my eyes wandered aimlessly over the rolling hills and green paddocks of the devonshire countryside, I felt empty. I guess in my mind I had expected to feel some excitement, some nerves, anything at all really. I had expected something. Instead; nothing. It was all about to begin, it was a big thing in my mind, my first time fully alone in the unknown. The ultimate illumination of the powers of my manifestation. What would my energy, emotions and thoughts create… Yet the sensations that consumed my body did not reflect the chattering of my mind. Strange, was the only way I could describe it.

I sat pondering, continuing to allow my eyes to drift over the now readily approaching city of Exeter. Suddenly something new popped into my stream of consciousness.

On my journey to live more presently, had I reached a point where I was unable to feel any emotion related to the future? Along with the release of any unnecessary anxiety or fear of the future, had I simultaneously lost the ability to feel excited for the future too? I felt excitement in my mind, but the sensation did not fill my body, it was a thought not an emotion. I was filled with disappointment. I wanted to feel excited. I begun to think about it more deeply.

By future emotions I mean emotions that are related to things that haven’t happened yet, emotions that spring from thought rather than from experience. In the same way that anxiety can be generated from a negative expectation of the future, excitement was simply its opposite, or more accurately a different manifestation of what was essentially the one. This makes sense when you think about how you sometimes feel nervous and excited all at the same time. You almost become confused as to whether you are nervous or excited, it’s hard to differ between the two. As I put the pieces of the puzzle together, I begun to see how I would only be excited if I was imagining something to go well. If I was expecting something to be good the sensations that arose in my body when I thought of the future were ones of excitement. Yet it was still an expectation. It was a logical contradiction. If I was to feel excitement, in the sense intended here, I would automatically open myself to the possibility of feeling anxiety of the same kind. They came hand in hand. If I was to free myself of unnecessary anxiety I had to accept that losing excitement was a condition. But why was I disappointed, why did I feel like it was a loss? I sat there almost laughing to myself. I am so used to being on a roller coaster of emotions, living, stuck on an endless treadmill of emotional intensity. I withstand the unpleasant sensations and relish in the euphoric ones, that’s how it works for most of us, I think… A constant craving for what we do not have. Now, in this moment, I had reached a place of equanimity. At this point in time I was totally at peace. I wasn’t feeling because I wasn’t expecting, I was present.  I was looking forward to whatever was to come, having surrendered any pressure on the outcome. I was able to think about my adventures to come without attaching weight to what would happen. Therefore I feel neither anxiety nor excitement. For the first time in my life I realized that if was fully present it would always be like this. I would not generate feeling from thought because I would not be attached to thought or idea. I would feel emotion only from what was generated in that moment. Emotion would come from my present reality rather than a mind created one. It felt real. It was truth.

༻❁༺ This page is dedicated to pieces I have written around certain themes I believe to be important and relevant to all of our lives. Through exploring these concepts we expand our awareness and it is through their implementation that these truths allow us to grow&flourish into the truest most authentic versions of ourselves ༻❁༺  

“We are stars wrapped in skin, the light you are seeking has always been within” ~unknown~

Responsibility

Total responsibility is the key to leading our lives exactly as we wish. It “allows us to claim ownership of the circumstances in our lives, and thereby, to contribute to making them better”. As implied by the language, “response ability ” is the capability to choose how we respond to everything that we experience; empowerment in its purest form. This realization can feel both intensely liberating and totally burdensome. Yet responsibility is not blame. In the sense intended here, it refers to the understanding that we in fact have total control over how we conduct ourselves, despite the common belief that circumstances, emotions or people force us to act in certain ways. The responses and thoughts that we choose, attract our experiences, in turn creating our realities. We are the masters and creators of our own universes; directly responsible for all that happens to us. It is the most beautifully freeing truth we can ever come to acknowledge.

The majority of us who live in the western world today have everything we could ever possibly need or even want within an arm’s reach. Everything in our society is set up to maximize convenience and comfort, with the technological evolution of products constantly being focussed on the newest gadgets that make life easier for us, a reality that is worrying in many senses. Essentially, the advancements of society seem to be conditioning us to become less self reliant, more lazy and ultimately less responsible for our own lives. While we were once capable of feeding, counseling or curing ourselves we now rely on professionals to decide everything for us. They guide us completely, and not always correctly. From the very minute we are in our mothers tummies she begins consulting someone on the appropriate way to give birth, to nurse her baby and raise her child. Once in the education system our choices are narrowed from day one. As kids, we are asked at a dangerously young age what we want to become. Our abilities become tailored to our specific goal. We become a professional in one tiny sliver of reality, the rest becomes someone else’s responsibility. This is can then be combined with the common scientific belief that life ultimately has no meaning; a reductionist view which I believe may have led us to become more irresponsible. As Jordan Peterson put it; people choose to believe there is no meaning because its easier. If nothing matters, you don’t need to take responsibility for your self or whatever actions you choose. I think we need to be asking ourselves whether we truly want to minimize the amount of responsibility we take for who we have become and what we have created? Do we want to live meaningless lives with no control over our own destinies?

The lack of meaning assigned to events, thoughts and emotions relieves us of many moral and physcological responsibilities. If nothing has meaning then it doesn’t matter how you act, think or feel because ultimately none of it means anything. The system of belief that you hold yourself to guides your actions, and while we are all entitled to our own ideas, the minute they begin to impede on the well being of ourselves and others around us, we need to start taking a look within and questioning how we are choosing to live our lives. Clinical phycologist Jordan B Peterson made a very interesting link between the lack of meaning and the failure to take responsibility. He illustrated how many of us spend our lives feeling purposeless in a search for meaning, due to the lack of responsibility that we take. People don’t want to add meaning to their lives because then they have to be responsible and that takes effort. He goes on to states that if we begun to make an effort to take responsibility we would inevitably find meaning, for we would automatically need to justify why we were choosing to conduct ourselves properly. For example if we choose to do something for the good of others we automatically assume a belief in moral responsibility. Therefore, by holding ourselves accountable, we act for the benefit of not only ourselves but also the collective.

The manifestation of a social direction that does not promote or encourage self liability also creates a lack of appreciation for what we do have, instead focussing our minds on what we don’t have. Most of us have so little to worry about in our daily lives that we start to develop a mental tendency to create our own problems, issues that are in reality non existent. Through this mind state many of us come to believe we are victims of other people’s actions and of our own lives. In fact those of us who have been born into loving families, who have a home,  nourishment and warmth in our hearts, are already so much more fortunate than we can ever come to give gratitude for. However, as we sink into this mind state of little gratitude we begin to feel like we are a total victim. We begin to believe that those around us or the universe itself owes us something. This is then, in turn, used as an excuse to lash out, to act obliviously and destructively. For when you are unaware of your self created issues, it’s always  everybody else’s fault, but never yours. Because of what you think someone did to you, you believe that you deserve to get away with such actions, you use the justification of what has happened to you in the past to try to explain to yourself why you keep choosing to act in such self destructive ways. Your past justifies your present, which then becomes a repetition of the past, a cycle of self destruction that is never ending. It is a cracked record that you will continue to play. A sound that nobody else can hear, for ultimately it can only hurt you.

Once you realize that other people’s actions are not done to you but to themselves and that their actions are simply a reflection of whatever they are experiencing, you stop putting so much weight on how other people talk to you, act towards you, or treat you. One then has the ability to not take everything so personally, to realize that it is your response to a situation that determines the way it effects you. Everything in your life does not happen TO you but FOR your growth.

Many of us have a tendency to project our own issues onto those around us, as it is always easier to take things out on others than to deal with the real roots of your pain. On this note, it is essential to realize that the projection of other people’s issues has nothing to do with you, it simply means that you are mirroring back something which clearly triggers them. If they are not ready to face that part of themselves yet, then they will project it onto you rather than dealing with whatever issue you have highlighted to them. I remember the famous saying; that what annoys you most in others is always something which you have not come to accept within yourself, or it would not bother you so much. Through out my experiences I have come to see how true this is. Instead of automatically assuming that every time someone annoys, angers or upsets me that there is something wrong with them, I try to look within and see why it gets to me so much. Usually it is a part of myself that I have not yet come to love or accept fully, therefore when I see it magnified in them, it illuminates a feeling of detest towards myself.
In conclusion; when others treat you badly they are simply treating themselves in such a way, as sooner or later it will come back round to them. If this treatment continues to affect you, all you have to do is remove yourself from such energies until they have chosen to begin healing themselves.

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“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life”
~Hal Elrod~

Furthermore, actions exist objectively. They happen as they are meant to. It is the perception of, and response to, the action that determines whether we decide to internalize it or not. We do not have to allow other people’s behavior or opinions to affect us personally, it is our choice to believe that their actions or words were aimed at us.

You can never blame or hold another to the path they have chosen to take, or the decisions they choose to make. Whether we make choices from a place of  conscious awareness or from total obliviousness, it usually comes from what we believe to be best for ourselves. Although not everyone’s path resonates with your truth, you must allow others to make their own  decisions and have their own experiences, trusting that they need to in order to grow into who they will become. Since we all see things very differently, we must always respect and honor the journeys of those around us. We are not them, we will never fully understand why they do what they do.

In my mind there there is no such thing as mistake, it is always a choice. Our choices simply determine when and in which area of life we grow. Each decision holds the same potential for further awareness of self, we only need to open our eyes. For it is in fact our greatest “mistakes” that teaches us our biggest lessons.

Through the embodiment of complete responsibility you no longer feel hurt or upset by other people’s behavior. You may still experience these emotions, but you know that what you feel in moments is not what you ultimately believe. Instead,  you are now able to hold space for those who are fighting internal battles, as you possess complete compassion for all that their journey is, simultaneously holding within you a deep understanding that they must make their own “mistakes”. As the true embodiment of the incredible master and creator that you are, you will always love unconditionally without expectation of reward or reciprocation.

The laws of the universe are such that the more you come to embody a reckless version of self, the more you pretend not to care about anybody, the more you run from yourself and the responsibility of your own life, the more you will continue to attract to yourself the situations that you believe you are such a victim of. The answer is simple, like everything in life, it is a choice. Wake up one day and stop choosing to repeat the negative cycles, the destructive behaviors, and create change for yourself, for until you yourself decide to end this loop it will not cease to repeat. You and only you have the power to change yourself.

The moment you begin to act differently, the minute you begin to live by who you want to be rather than the victim who continues to attract what they do not want into their life, everything will change. Until you make this choice your are essentially expecting everything around you to change without you having to do anything, does this sound like a realistic expectation?

You are a conscious being with the free will to do as you choose, you exercise this freedom in other areas of your life so why not now? Accept your reality, accept everything that you have done and all that you have been through. The things you are proud of and also those you are not proud of. Recognize that it was ALL part of your journey, they were ALL lessons you needed to learn. Realize that those who love you unconditionally will never hold you to your past actions or behaviors, they will respect and honor the fact that you are owning your journey, for only a coward runs from facing himself. True respect is felt for those who no matter what, always take complete and total responsibility for all that have created for themselves, the “good” and the “bad”.

Although initially the realization that all your issues are self created, that you have been the one making yourself miserable, that it was not what anyone else did to you that made you feel the way you do, comes as a massive blow; a massive blow to the ego mind. The same ego mind, that in attempt to keep itself in control, kept telling you that it wasn’t you, that it was the way people treated you that made you act the way you did. If only your external reality changed then you would too, sound familiar? It always starts from within, your external world is directly created by how you perceive things, a perception that correlates directly with who you are inside and where you are at in your internal world.

Your ego mind is not you, it’s not who you TRULY are, therefore there is no need to allow these thoughts or even beliefs to dictate your life. Through accepting total responsibility for everything in your life, whilst holding a deep sense of compassion and acceptance for ALL that you have chosen to experience and ultimately standing fiercely empowered in the truth of who you are, you will come to liberate yourself from your past, for it does not have to define who you are now.

As the absolute master and creator of your reality, the master who has taken responsibility for every aspect of their life, you will be completely free to start creating and attracting all that you truly desire. With the newfound knowledge that you were the creator of so many of your issues, you are also now aware that you are the solution to them all. You now have the ability to start vibrating higher, and to ultimately start achieving all that you believed you couldn’t before. As soon as you start personifying this truth, with complete totality and honesty, you will see.

For self responsibility is not heavy but weightless, it will uplift you, allowing you to flow through life effortlessly. So own it, own your journey. Be directly responsible for everything in your life. It is up to you to interpret the situations that arise in your life as such. The choice has been and always will be yours, to make, or not to make.

The power of trust ♡

The only universe that we ever experience is through the eyes of our own perception. Therefore, in order to trust  the universe, we must trust fully in ourselves first.

Being a petite young woman, it was paramount to have complete trust in myself, in my intuition, my judgement and ultimately, my journey.

It was important that I trusted that I was always being guided and protected at all times, not as form of nativity, but rather, as a way of acknowledging that all that I was experiencing was exactly what was meant to be. The situations that I attracted into my life were necessary for my growth, a direct reflection of my inner world.

One of my biggest challenges, was the fact that for the way I look, I am already naturally put at a “disadvantage” for essentially just being me. It was a truth that took me a long time to come to terms with, and is still something I am working to overcome to this day. In the world we live in today you are considerably more vulnerable to the horrors of the word as a small young female; subject to not only the same dangers as everybody else but also those posed by deliberately oblivious or undereducated men.

Although we continue to fight for an equally safe environment for beings of all sexes, the world is still full of racism, sexual abuse and inequality. I was also conscious of the fact that while in the west we may have made progress towards an egalitarian society, the rape culture was still very much real in a lot of the countries I was visiting. “ Even in Germany, rape laws were amended only in 1997 to create a legal category of marital rape”. As women we must do everything in our power to prevent the limitation of our freedom due to sex, simultaneously acknowledging how we may be perceived by others.

Being very aware that I cannot ignore my vulnerability or change it as it’s due to my physical appearance, frustrated me. I was filled with a a lot of anger towards the world. Emotion that needed to be channeled. Although I have never been one to let the way I appear limit me, the very knowledge that it changed the way people treated me made me furious.

Throughout my experiences, my perspective on the matter has been transformed. My anger at the world faded as I came to realize that simply feeling this way, would not change anything, rather I focussed on not allowing it to limit me. I did not change the way I dressed or presented myself, I just choose to be more aware. I realized it was in fact empowering. It was fulfilling to experience life without letting your physical appearance limit or define you.

And while it still meant that there were certain situations that were more dangerous because of how I looked, there were others that were made better for the same reason. By overcoming what seemed to be such a limitation at the time, I realized I was doing my part in the progression towards equality and awareness.

The best way to address this situation in my eyes is to always be completely aware of how you are coming across to someone who doesn’t know you at all. It is very important to be aware of cultural differences and language barriers as due to this so much unnecessary conflict occurs. An item of clothing or a gesture completely harmless to you, could be completely offensive in another culture, despite the purity of your intentions. Communicating properly and not assuming that people will understand,  could’ve been the solution to many conflicts that arose through miscommunication.

By being aware of my presence and the impact that I have on people, I have learnt to create energetic boundaries. Boundaries which allow me to be me, whilst at the same time emanating an air of confidence, which in turn helps to protect from any negative situations or energies who would wish to take advantage of my physical vessel. Since creating these boundaries I have found myself in situations in which I could’ve easily been in danger had it not been for this forcefield.

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” To travel is to evolve” ~ Pierre Bernardo ~

Recently we have been hitchhiking a lot and therefore putting ourselves in potential danger as our lives have been completely in the hands of those giving us a ride. On two occasions we have been approached by men asking if they could receive some kind of sexual favor in return for the lift.

However, what was interesting about the situations was how these men even bothered to ask, they had no reason to since we were completely within their power, in their car, in the middle of the outback, miles from anywhere. It was a truly empowering experience to feel this protected by both myself and the universe when the situation could’ve taken a very different turn. It allowed me to free myself of any remaining fears or doubts that I had due to my size and sex, and to embody the fearless warrior who will never allow any part of myself to limit me.

I personally believe that when it is my time to go it won’t matter where I am.

Once you have taken all the physical precautions that you can to make a situation as safe as possible for yourself, without allowing it stop you achieving anything, you must simply trust that you will only ever attract what you need. It’s important that when you are in potentially dangerous situations, that you don’t hold doubt within, as this could easily manifest as a negative situation in the outer world. If you feel uneasy or uncertain, listen to your intuition.

I found that it was also helpful to be aware of the messages that present themselves to you. By observing the synchronicities, you know when things are right, as they seem to flow with so much ease it almost seems magical. You come to see how your mindset and attitude towards life do directly influence the situations you attract to yourself and the way in which you perceive those experiences.

There is no point worrying once you have done everything you can to make a situation as safe as possible, as this worry achieves nothing and only means that you begin to live through your mind created fear, therefore attracting “negative” or dangerous situations into your life. Our minds are a lot more powerful than many of us realize.

The words above are not an encouragement to walk blindly into dangerous situations using the justification of your trust in yourself and the universe. I aim to illustrate that once you have done everything you can, the rest is out of your control; therefore you do not need to let your fear or worry limit you. After all, you are the master and creator of your reality. Through your experiences you will learn to let your intuition (or universal mind) guide you, you will simply know when things are right or wrong. Allow yourself to trust in your judgement. Like everything in life it’s all about the balance. Balance trust with precaution and you will never be limited.



“Finding yourself” cliche vs reality♡

The cliche of traveling to find yourself is something that has always fascinated me. Like most cliches and stereotypes, it had to have come from somewhere, and I was intrigued to explore its origin and discover for myself whether it was something that was true. In my mind the misunderstanding lies in the definition of what finding yourself actually means. We all have very different understandings of words and phrases so it is important to define what this means to me first.

Often when we speak of finding ourselves we seem to imply that it is an end in itself, that you will simply find all your answers and then that’s it, the journey is over. This then manifests as the common cliche;” I went traveling and I found myself”. To me, this is a misconception, and an inaccurate representation of reality. Whilst finding yourself infers an end, self discovery is an endless journey, one that many realize the true value of and therefore embark on when they begin to travel. We as beings are forever changing and growing and can only know ourselves truthfully in the present moment. Any other idea of who we are simply exists as a story of the past or a possibility in the future. There will always be more to you, more hidden aspects and parts of yourself that will be revealed to you throughout your life. Self discovery, like everything, is a process. It is a path that you continue to walk for rest of your life. Life is forever flowing and evolving and so are you, therefore your priorities wants and desires will change with you. I cannot imagine a point where you will be ultimately found.

As you travel you begin to see the extent of our adaptability. You see how easily we can become different versions of ourselves in accordance with the different situations we find ourselves in. Nothing spurs the illumination of new parts of yourself more new experience. If your mind believes it knows how you “should” act, you are never given the chance to do otherwise. With the awakening of new experience many parts of yourself that you never knew to exist before, come out to shine. This allows you to ultimately understand and know yourself better, away from other people’s, and your own, expectations. By traveling you give yourself the opportunity to be seen in a different light. You can now be seen for who you are in this present moment, most likely someone who has grown far beyond the image that has been held over you. Through seeing these many versions of yourself you not only come to know and see your natural strengths and weaknesses but also to know what version of yourself truly aligns with your full potential and the person that you want to be.

I believe that the illusion of having to traveling to “find yourself” also lies in the fact that in reality it does not matter where you are or who you’re with, you always have the power to delve within, to discover, to heal yourself and to begin to learn to embody your full potential, at any moment. It’s all a choice, the true self you seek is within you right now at the very moment that you read this.

While this is the truth, I also fully acknowledge that it can be very hard to heal yourself in the place you got sick, especially if you have lost sight of being or feeling any other way than you do now. Free from these fears, doubts and expectations that once weighed you down, in a place where no one knows you, you may finally feel as though you can change and embody the incredible being that you always have and always will be. As you begin to travel and experience new aspects of life your perspective widens and your mind begins to expand. As you exchange ideas and beliefs with different people from all walks of life you begin to view yourself and the universe in a very different way. By exchanging our individual truths and experiences with the people we meet we create connections, which in turn bring us closer to a world of complete acceptance, understanding and unconditional love for ALL. A place where everybody’s truth and well-being holds as much significance as the next person. With this widened perspective and understanding of humanity, we allow ourselves to become less affected by the  little things in our lives that once bothered us so much and seemed so all consuming. This in turn opens our minds to the truth that everything is only really as significant as you allow or choose it to be. You are now empirically aware of so many different aspects of this world; how beautiful, fragile, essential and precious our environment is and how much destruction horror and tragedy has occurred and is still occurring every single day. Suddenly the problems that you deemed so great back home dissipate before your eyes, as you realize that they were all self-inflicted mind created sufferings that held only as much power over you as you had given them.

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” A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

We as human beings have become so destructive and negative towards the planet, each other and ourselves, we really have strayed further and further away from all the simple truths that are essential to the survival and progression of the human race and this beautiful universe that we all share. Before traveling or venturing out of our comfort zones the only reality that we know empirically is our little bubble of reality where we are so “content”. A bubble in which you may have been aware of these truths, yet you had never experienced them, you had never felt the indescribable pain or the inexplicable beauty of this world. Such things never truly impact the way you feel, think or act until you experience them for yourself.

Through these words I hope to have illustrated that the true profundity of self realization is so much more than the cliche “finding yourself” does justice to. Travel is just one way of taking ourselves into the unknown and freeing ourselves from all the constraints that we inhibit in our lives.

An exploration of fear and anxiety

What it is that makes it so hard for us to live without anxiety, fear or worry? Why is it that so many of us feel constant comparison and competition? Could these feelings be so deeply imbedded within us and our society that they are inescapable?

Who we were, are, and will become is an intricate composition of nature and nurture. Human nature itself hold countless different components, many beyond my understanding at this point. However, my recent experiences with self-doubt and anxiety have sparked within me a desire to discover what lies beneath such intensely all-consuming sensations. With anxiety, self-doubt and insecurity seemingly at the forefront of our reality, I feel that it is really important that such feelings are understood and explored on a deeper level. In my own life, a more profound understanding has increased my awareness of such feelings, in turn enabling me to address them from more of an objective point of view. In the words that follow, I have delved into one idea of where it may all have come from.

When I feel anxiety, I feel the liquid fire of intensely cold fear.  A deep sense of dread consumes me, numbing me to my surroundings. My awareness heightens, leaving me with a feeling of complete vulnerability, likeable to that of a child in danger. A voice within my own mind critiques my life harshly, it watches my every move, judging and instilling fear and doubt within everything I do. Why is it that I am afraid? What do I have to be scared of?

My mind ponders the root cause of fear, like everything it must have its purpose. Fundamentally, I found that it is a survival mechanism that occurs when the brain senses a risk. It also enables our minds to think more creatively, helping us to survive dangerous situations. Both are functions which were constantly necessary in a time where we faced life threatening risks in our day to day lives. An age when situations of grave danger were vital to the survival of ourselves, our family’s or even our whole tribes. Our minds are also wired to predict future situations with an awareness of what could go wrong. “From the very advent of agriculture, worries about the future became major players in the theatre of the human mind” Put expertly by Yuval Harari author of Homo Sapiens. At the beginning of the agricultural revolution, it was with anxious minds and hearts that the farmers watched the skies, hoping for signs of rain to feed their crops. Their fears and worries were real, without the blessing of the rain there crops would die, causing themselves and their families to starve to death. This worry for the future is ingrained deeper than we know, for it is one of the minds ways of helping us avoid danger in the outside world. However, it is also a process which I believe to this day induces a lot of unnecessary anxiety . Essentially it means are brains are naturally programmed to take us out of the present moment. In my experience it is often a lack of presence that causes us to feel anxious about situations that haven’t even happened yet, as we struggle to predict and control what is beyond our power. Often this comes in the form of worry. We begin to overthink and worry about things that we need to do, then we become anxious thinking that we either have to many things to do at once or we are not capable of doing them. The best course of action in these cases is always to act. To act on your thoughts before you give yourself the chance to overthink. What we do not realize is that even if the situation was to become dangerous or we were not able to complete what we wanted to, we have only increased our suffering by experiencing it as a thought as well as a reality. I believe that in a day and age where we no longer face constant threat, these brain processes which were once so useful have quickly turned necessary fear into self-inflicted anxiety.

I began to observe within myself what else it was that generated unnecessary worry and “unwanted” nerves.  I discovered that these feelings were triggered not only by fear but also by competition or comparison to myself or those around me. It was the need to be better than or more than I was,  the feeling of not living up to the expectation of image, society or myself. Again, maybe these responses are imbedded, for competition and comparison were also tools that were vital for our survival. To be stronger, greater and ultimately better, allowed you to live longer, to survive when overs could not. Yet in most of our lives, a time when humans had to fight for enough resources to exist, is no longer. In my mind I begin to see why the western world is so riddled with feelings that no longer serve us.

I recently read an incredible book called Illusion and Reality ; The Meaning of Anxiety by David Smail which inspired me to look around at the society that we live in, it was then that I began to see things from another angle. I began to question whether these feelings were in fact induced by the society we have created, could they be a method of keeping us under control, a way of suppressing our true potential? When you do not love yourself wholly, when you believe that you are not enough, you spend your time filling yourself with fear, comparing doubting and worrying, forgetting that you are capable of the life you desire. Essentially you become passive, acceptant of treatment and a life that you do not truly want. Your limitless potential burns out, like the last flame of a dying fire. By competing amongst ourselves we forget to question the system, we forget to compete for a better world. All that is truly important becomes clouded by our own overwhelming inner struggle.

Once we realize that the only true competition is ourselves, it is then that we begin to work endless on our own growth and development, a process which threatens the control based society that we know today. Smail illustrated how we have given so much power to the eyes of society or as he called it the “other” that we have begun to live our whole lives seeking approval from this essentially non-existent entity. Rather than seeking to address the real issues of the overall system we are left so crippled by our own need to belong that we simply seek its approval. The “other” refers to everybody else but ourselves. It refers to the invisible pressure that we feel to be and act in a certain way. It’s presence holds power beyond speech and form. We have all at one point or another felt the judging gaze of the “other” yet we have also all taken part in it ourselves. Ultimately we are just as much a part of it as we are on the outside. However, when fear grips our every inch it is easier to join the judging masses than stand alone. Through a fear of not belonging we subject others to a feeling that we ourselves know to be so harmful. Therefore, if we truly educated ourselves on the reality we live in, would we no longer need to create this perfect image of ourselves and our lives? Would we realize that we have nothing to show or prove? Would we see that the validation we seek comes from within?

Smail went on to illustrate how it is more than a need to show off to any specific person but rather to show to this other (the eyes of society)  hat we have in some way amounted to something, that we have achieved success. Yet what is success? Do we even know what our own definition of success is? Or are we just blindly following the ideals of society?

The cycle of not feeling like we are enough, of feeling like we need outside validation to assure us we are who we should be, becomes endless.  So in an attempt to make sure we are meeting the expectations of the norm, we compare. We compare compulsively. We either conclude that we are better, inflating our egos and sense of self-importance. Or we leave feeling riddled with anxiety and inadequacy, having decided we are “worse”. It never ends in victory. Furthermore, what we compare ourselves too is more often than not a surface level, carefully chosen representation of somebody else’s life. It doesn’t represent their struggles, it doesn’t account for their own feelings of anxiety or inadequacy, it is simply a false comparison. One can never really know what is going on in another person’s inner world. It’s a very dangerous game to play, as we are all ultimately striving for something that is nothing more than a façade. In reality there is no “better” or “worse” as we are all uniquely beautiful beings who can only ever be the best version of ourselves. Therefore is this knowledge simply not embodied to its full extent? Or is there more to it?

From my own experiences, I have felt how deep these feelings can run. So as I delved into our biological dispositions, it all clicked. It became crystal clear why a society that wanted to maintain control would toy with our deepest human instincts.

As I looked closer I saw how comparison and judgement stretched far beyond social media, film, family jobs or advertising, from the minute we were born a box of expectation begins to form around us. An image we hold ourselves too begins to take shape. I remember as I was growing up, I would be told things about myself and about who I was. Others around me would say things such as  “she’s clever” “she’s naughty” or “she’s pretty” etc. Unknown to me, my identity was being created. Who I was, was formulating right before my eyes. As I grew a little older and became more aware of myself, I begun to act accordingly to the labels which had been placed upon me, all the time believing that they were just who I was. I would then go on to describe myself using the attributes to which I had been ascribed. I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a home with an extremely loving and accepting family who always allowed me the freedom to express myself freely and to be whoever I wanted to be. Apart from the home the only other means of conditioning in a child’s life is the education system. Therefore, without a compassionate, loving and safe home life the fear of not being enough runs even deeper. Emphasized by an unhealthy educational system based on unfair comparison, competition and expectation, an environment that thrives off labels, classification and judgment. A place where from a very young age you are told who you are and what you will amount to. Yet despite this incredible childhood, for which I am so grateful, I was still subject to the inescapable categorization of the world that we live in. Categorization ultimately makes it harder to break free. By labelling oneself as an anxious person rather than simply acknowledging that you feel anxiety in certain moments, you automatically put yourself in a box. You begin to identify with something that is impermanent. In doing so you begin to believe that is just who you are, that there is no other version of you to be.

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action”
~Dan Millman~

Later in life I began to notice that the words that had been used to describe me didn’t even necessarily fit, they weren’t really the me that I knew or wanted to be, I was more than “clever” or “naughty” I just hadn’t had the chance to figure it out because I had been too busy abiding by someone else’s rules. The first step was to free myself of everybody else ideas and to figure out who I was without all that. As I set sail on this journey of self-discovery, my authentic self-began to shine through. I think a big part of breaking the cycles of anxiety and inadequacy comes largely from knowing who you are and loving that version of self exactly as it is, for through this unconditional self-acceptance the pressures of the “other” becomes less. So how do we learn to escape the inaccurate or unrealistic standards of who we ought to be? How do we handle the anxiety and fear that our society generates within us?

For me the first step was observing how I felt anxiety. It was different in each instance and it was important to know where the feeling of dread actually came from. By asking myself this question I would look within to see in what areas of myself it was that I felt inadequate, therefore enabling me to give extra love and care to these parts. There didn’t always have to be an outer reason, I was justified in feeling how I did, simply because I did. By focusing solely on outer causes, I would lead myself down a path where I only accepted what I felt was truly justified. Therefore when I say that I was observing where it came from I am referring to my inner world. I observed that when I was anxious I became detached and disconnected from the present moment, the fear was really all in my mind. I had nothing to be afraid of as I was not in danger, but this knowledge didn’t stop me from feeling what I was feeling. To understand was not enough, I had to embody presence in every inch of my body for it to fully help me in the ways I knew it could. As the feeling would intensify I would feel as though I had left my body. I would be watching myself unable to interact authentically or truly express how I felt. At the same time I would become overly conscious of the fact that I would be coming across as very strange, even though in most cases this was not the reality. I would begin to focus intently on the way that I was being received, causing me to spiral into a dark place of self-doubt and fear. What I have come to realize was that this feeling only arose when I felt like I couldn’t be me. It would arise as a fear of not having expressed myself authentically. I guess I was afraid of what people or the “other” would think of me. It was the knowledge that I wasn’t living up to who I knew I could, and felt like I should be, in that moment. It was the pressure of my own expectation that really got me. I would compare myself to who I was at other times and then beat myself up for not staying true to that authentic me. I found that the situations which induced anxiety were caused by the stress and the expectation of my daily life; jobs, studies etc. All were realities in which it was easy to feel as though I was not enough. Every day we head out into a world filled with inaccurate representations of reality and unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. If we do not learn to love and accept ourselves unconditionally it is a world which can cause us a lot of suffering. Our outer worlds will always be full of triggers, many that we cannot change, but what we can do is heal from within. Through this understanding I was able to see that it was normal and more than okay to feel this way. In fact if anything was normal, it was to experience these feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Knowing that essentially it was something that we all have to go through enabled me to accept myself in every moment of my endless journey of unconditional self-love and acceptance. It was the realization that I, like you, are not alone in it. We simply have to be honest enough with ourselves and the communities around us to seek the support that we need. What was truly important for me was focusing on imbedding new knowledge. Shedding myself of the fear and replacing it with love. I had to learn to allow my waves of anxiety to occur, I had to experience and accept them for what they were. I had to be as honest and upfront with myself and others about the way I felt at all times. Hiding within the fear simply because it was comfortable was not a long terms solution. I knew, like everything it would be a process. By starting to tackle our worries, fears and anxieties we take the first step on the path to shedding all of our conditioning. I would, and will lose myself along the way, fear and anxiety will creep up many times, but each time I find myself again I will gain invaluable self-knowledge and wisdom. I am strong enough, and so are you.

There is never a right or wrong way to feel. How you feel exactly in this moment is what you are supposed to be experiencing and through allowing yourself to feel all that you do, your emotions begin to flow past you, continuing on their endless cycle. They do not define or trap you because you are more than them. The more I accepted and felt my feelings of fear and anxiety the quicker they dispersed. I accepted that it was unrealistic to think that I would not feel this way at times, I am human after all. Instead I began to learn from my emotions. The more I came to know them the less they affected me. Wisdom was, and is still the key. While anxiety has different causes and manifestations, in varying degrees depending on the individual, the knowledge that you are exactly who you need to be, in exactly the right place in your journey, no matter what expectation tells you, I believe, helps to subdue some of the intense feelings of worry and fear. If you yourself  know that you are doing all that you can, then who is anybody else to make you feel as though you are not enough. You are completely enough exactly as you are in every moment.

Ultimately I believe that while society exists as it is, we will all experience some anxiety, worry and fear to varying degrees, and while it is almost inescapable, all we can do is learn to give ourselves the compassion and understanding that we all deserve. If we can’t accept these feelings as part of ourselves, we cannot expect others to either. By learning a deep compassion for all that we experience, we can in turn share this understanding with those around us who are also fighting their own battles. For even if it doesn’t appear so on the outside, everyone experiences such emotions, they are part of being human in a society that thrives off fear and control.

The unknown

As I dove into the depths of my mind I was presented with a completely new realm; a vast ocean of endlessly swirling possibilities and potentials, waiting to be cultivated from the subconscious to the surface:conscious awareness. The possibilities are truly limitless, requiring only our awareness to bring them to fruition. True empowerment lies beyond the realm of what is known by the mind, here exists a field of pure potentiality, a breeding ground for ultimate creation.

The unknown; an endless void full of unrealized possibilities, where everything exists as a thought rather than an actuality giving you the ultimate power to create the physical reality you have always desired.

In the society that we live in today the unknown is commonly seen through the eyes of fear. Amongst other things, this is due to the fact that subconsciously our minds have been conditioned and programmed to view everything unpredictable or unfamiliar as something to be afraid of. In reality this mind created fear is fear of what we think we know the unknown will hold. Essentially it is a nonexistent. See, in order to be afraid of something in this way you must be living outside the present moment. Since nothing exists outside of the now, this fear is simply the minds creation of a negative premonition of what you believe could happen. Doesn’t this seem ridiculous? To allow one’s mind to create scenarios that are simply possibilities and put so much weight on them that you begin to change your present self to accommodate to that fear?
Although this may seem ridiculous now it has been bought to your awareness, it is in fact a constantly looping cycle that many of us continue to play throughout our entire lives. We spend our whole lives unconsciously developing mental habits and tendencies, creating and cementing thought patterns and emotional responses to all the situations and experiences that we have been, are, and could possibly be experiencing, till it gets to the point that we think we can predict how things will go. It is one of the minds methods of control. If the mind thinks it knows what will happen next it feels safe. However these patterns can send us spiraling deeper and deeper into a world controlled by our own expectations, in this world we begin to truly live inside a trap created by our minds. A trap of expectation in which you have now allowed yourself to believe your mind knows how you will react or respond to situations in your life, therefore you are no longer giving yourself the option to choose from the limitless outcomes that are actually possible. This trap of expectation not only eludes us into living within the constraints of our self-expectation but also opens the door for others to treat us the same way.

Each mind has its own unique perception, no two people will ever perceive the exact same reality, it is both the most beautiful and tormenting aspect of who we are as beings. Each individual creates with their minds a picture of who they think they are; the “ego” self, the identity or personality. This “ego” self then continues to create an image for everyone they know based on their past actions, words, traits or experiences.  The “ego” self hates change, it hates the idea that someone,  or worse even you, could stray from this mentally fabricated image, because if you did it would lose control, it wouldn’t know who you were outside of your ego identity.

The fear takes over. The fear of the unknown, the fear of the you that exists outside of the mentally created image that identifies solely with the “ego” , the fear that is completely irrational and self-inflicted. This fear is non-existent for things will simply be as they are.  We as infinite beings of Love and Light know this, even if it has been buried deep beneath a sea of conditioning. We are forever growing and changing and if we don’t create a space for ourselves to undergo this natural growth and progression we become stagnant, living our whole lives trying to fit into not only our own mental image but also that of others or the environment around us. These unhealthy patterns begin to define us. Everything outside the image of who you are supposed to be ; the unknown you, the real you that exists beyond the trap of our minds, becomes something to be afraid of. Any decision that your mind believes could create an outcome outside of what you deem to know begins to scare you. Nobody wants to their life governed by fear.

Your mind is a survival tool. Fear is a survival mechanism that occurs when your brain senses a risk. A mechanism that was extremely useful in a time where we had to face life threatening situations in order to just feed ourselves and our family as it allows us to think creatively in the name of survival. Yet it has quickly become misplaced in a day and age where we no longer have to endure such dangers in our day to day lives.  The mind also uses fear and control to best serve the “ego” self which thrives off external approval and acceptance. Since the mind is driven by fear and control it likes nothing less than change or the unknown because its programming has not reached this far, in this realm it has no idea what patterns to put into play, and this scares it. However our minds are so much more powerful than we realize and can not only survive but thrive and create in the realm of the unknown, we just have to teach them how to. We can either choose to live our whole lives solely identifying and basing our self-value on our minds, allowing our thoughts to run ramped , completely governing our actions.

“We do not fear the unknown, we fear what we think we know about the unknown”
~Teal Swan~

Or we can choose to identify outside of the mind and seize control of our lives by choosing to step outside and view the antics of the mind from the point of an observer. In doing so we observe the “negative” patterns and thought processes and learn to catch ourselves in these habits, therefore we are no longer controlled or governed by them but we simply view them objectively. You begin to notice that although the “negative” thoughts and emotions still effect you, this effect no longer consumes you, it simply passes as you observe the same old habits comically, watching them slip away. Rather than seeing the thoughts that come to your mind or the emotions you feel as a definition of who you are, as you would if you identified solely with your ego self , you see it instead as an opportunity to gain more wisdom of your mind ,which in turn allows you to train it further.  By treating these free flowing aspects accordingly you have begun to actualize and align yourself with the universal law of impermanence, you now not only know but understand the impermanence of our external reality, and that within the framework of our bodies. This knowledge is extremely valuable because it allows us to gain true objectivity over the situations and experiences in our lives, as when we truly realize nothing lasts forever it allows us to detach ourselves enough to not allow every little thing to influence or define us. In regards to the “negative” thought patterns or emotions that are still there, you are now simply aware of them arising and then passing away, because like everything in this universe; they are impermanent. The less consumed you become by your thoughts and emotions the less power your mind has over you and the more true freedom you have. Once we free ourselves completely from this illusion of sense of self depending on and identifying solely with the mind, we come to see that the unknown is nothing to be afraid of, the unknown is the true breeding ground of all creation, creativity, growth and change. You begin to see it would make no sense that one could change or create something in an environment where one’s mind believes it can predict the outcomes. The unknown on the other hand is pure freedom, a void between what we know and what we could create if we truly begun to utilize our minds as the tools that they really are.