Could it be that our modern life is not good for our mental health?
There is an alarming global epidemic of anxiety and depression on the rise. According to the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 people are committing suicide every year (incredibly, this is one person every 40 seconds) and many more are attempting suicide. Sure, life can be pretty damn difficult, but suicide? Wow. I hope you agree that this is some kind of world-wide cry for help, something must be done and this is an incredibly frightening sign that there is a real need for an awakening, a shift in our cosmic consciousness.
Mysterium tremendum et fascinans
Venezuelan/American, filmmaker Jason Silva, described by The Atlantic as a Timothy Leary of the viral video age begs the question, in an age of tremendous technological innovation and scientific advancements and with so many people moving away from traditional religious affiliations, how do we connect ourselves to a bigger meaning? How do we commune with something more real than the doldrums of every day reality? Something grand and awe-inspiring that fills our soul.
You see, as a child, I thought it was “church”, a place to at least attempt a holy communion with something bigger than myself. Now, as I am older, it is nature, meditation, dance and cherished moments with people I love. For some it is grandmother’s medicine, magic mushrooms and perhaps a heroic dose of LSD.
Perhaps all of those poor souls fed up with their human condition, need more numinous moments in their lives. Maybe they need more shots of awe.
To Render a Holy Moment with Me
I, personally, haven’t had that many moments of psilocybin-induced cosmic communion – glimpses of ecstatic illumination – but I do find myself feeling more & more connected after meditation and doing things like yoga. Jason Silva on the other hand takes the question one step further as ask just how might we turn our passing illuminations into abiding light, rendering ourselves holy. Whoa.
In his video “Beyond Anxiety & Depression” Jason believes that perhaps we, as a society, need a replacement to what religion once provided us. We need a cognitive reframing or possibly a psychic transformation. Oh to commune with the cosmos in order to impregnate our lives with meaning & signification.
To serve and savor the world.
I am fascinated with the idea of finding ways in which we can achieve those moments of awe-inspiring, mind-blowing moments of altered conscious states without drugs. A healthier way to reach new heights of clarity. Call them Eureka moments, a-ha moments, epiphanies, whatever — where everything seems to come together. When inspiration strikes and changes everything. The belief-
“If you can look at reality differently — shed your preconceptions and filters — you can change your life, you can invent something, you can make new observations, you can do things you were afraid or unable to do before. You have better access to the full spectrum of what exists.” Read more about Holotropic Breathwork here.
A More Painful Catalyst of Awakening
There are plenty of ways to wake up from the dreadful daze of an unfulfilled reality. Heartbreak can really shake you into a new more painful state of consciousness. On my quest to mend my broken heart, I’ve been reading a lot about love. All the different types of love and more specifically unconditional love.
Unconditional Love: How to Give It and How to Know When It’s Real
I may read back on this years from now and find I have a different point of view, but for the time being, I think this whole idea of unconditional love is nearly impossible for mortal beings. Even the grandest of caring mothers.
The truth is you can only love people as much as they are willing to be loved.
I really dig the way Teal Swan explains why unconditional love is so damn difficult. Her challenge, to try to give love for a day to something, anyone, a child, a pet, a plant for just one day is incredibly hard. A worthwhile listen right here . . .
I am re-reading When Things Fall Apart from Pema Chodron’s because I want to make sure it all sinks in deep. I need this wisdom.
The wonderful illustrations in this post from the talented Chiara B.
And in the word’s of William Shakespeare. . .
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
Your fate is in your beliefs and behavior, and how you respond to life events.
Those who have been reading know that I am working on improving my behavior. Here I share a few things that have changed. These are new perspectives that have helped me grow.
1. I have let go of trying to change or control others. You just can’t. Change yourself instead. Besides, it’s more interesting and rewarding. Life changes, when you transform. You heal, life heals. It is that simple.
2. Realize that feelings should be processed not suppressed.
3. Give up suffering needlessly, no longer worrying about worst case outcomes. The truth is, life is full of surprises. You must be wise enough to know that life doesn’t always produce what you wish would happen. It’s typically creates what is most likely to happen. Prepare for that.
4. Learn to listen and observe more, to understand what is really happening around you.
5. Take stock of this moment while mindfully paying attention to the here and now.
6. Choose to be more responsible of all that is happening in your life. I am beginning to own mine. It makes me feel stronger. More accountable. Even a little more in control.
7. Understanding that you should embrace your eccentricity. It’s what makes you, you. Don’t be worried about being different. Appearing normal will get you no where. Stop behaving as if you are seeking the approval of others. Seek approval from yourself.
8. Please continue to release all that no longer serves you. Let the useless go. People, places, things.
9. No more delusional thinking. Experience reality for what it is, not what you wish it was. That is kind of like #3.
10. Seek clearly without judging. Then you will see it most realistically. Reality is your friend.
11. Honor yourself and your desires.
12. It’s not necessary to share every little emotion, thought or feeling with anyone who will listen.
13. Forgiving and letting go. Put that on repeat. It is so freeing.
14. Cease to react to every little thing that happens.
If we are truly living, then we are immersed in a life of learning and growing as human beings.
As we are growing, we are in a continual cycle of aspiring, succeeding or failing. With wisdom we realize these positions are transitory. Quote from The Ego is the Enemy.
Personally, depending on which “part” of my life that I observe, I am currently in all three cycles all at once.
Aspiring, Succeeding, Failing
I am aspiring to launch and build my business, I am succeeding at helping my parents navigate their battle with cancer and I am failing at sustaining a relationship with my brother.
I am aspiring to find the best way to help my parents without enabling them, I am succeeding at keeping up with my own health and fitness routine and I am failing at prioritizing my time at work each day. I over estimate what time I really have and over promise to those clients I want to please.
What helps me during cycles of failure, is to be my own best coach. Just like a coach who faces a loosing team, I champion myself through difficult moments of exasperation by reminding myself of who I am and what I am capable of. I promise to face each moment with my highest standards.
On Being My Own Best Coach and maximizing my own potential.
I remember and I realize . . .
- the impact of my attitude on my life.
- to believe in myself.
- I am never given more than I can handle.
- I don’t have all the answers right now.
- to remain solution focused.
- to ask questions and ask for help. I investigate and research those that have been here before me. I look for guidance.
- I should listen for answers and rely on others who can help.
- I need to make corrections. Corrections in my work, my attitude and my behavior.
- that God is working with me every day. Guiding me to do my best. I am not in this alone.
- I have done more difficult things before and I have made it through, successfully.
- I remember that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.
Somewhere along stumbling to happiness and following our passion it’s easy to miss the true purpose of our existence. So wrapped up in achieving personal success, whatever we think that looks and feels like for us, we forget about the memorable mark our day-to-day behavior leaves on others. We get caught up in the bigger picture, the ultimate”legacy” we want to leave, placing the focus on our desires instead of others.
Making a True & Measurable Impact
Sure we talk about making an impact on the world, but the world is composed of millions and millions of people. To be aware of the impact we have on each other with every single encounter is the start. From this second to the next; that last moment until now, every look, every sigh, stare, word, jab, smile, frown, punch, hug. . . .even the thoughts we are thinking that we do not dare to share, our truest purpose is to become awake to how are we making each other feel. That feeling we leave behind is what matters most.
Did you lift them up? Show appreciation? Make them feel important?
It’s how we make each other feel. It’s the after effect, the residual emotion left from our words, our touch, listening to our friend, partner, parent, child, acquaintance, that truly matters mot. The bigger legacy of love is built on these day-to-day opportunities to make someone feel important and appreciated. Did we leave them feeling loved?
Leaving a legacy begins with our behavior and everyone has the opportunity to leave a legacy. It starts right in front of us, every second of the day. A chance to leave a legacy of love.
But people are so frustrating, so anxious, so hard-headed.
Try Reasoning instead of Rage.
It can begin with reasoning with those that are hurting. Reasoning communicates a message of respect. Respect is a building block to better relationships.
Recognizing the Good in All.
Praising another’s good behavior will reinforce even better behavior. When our good actions are praised we internalize it as part of our identities, and understand that even though we may have done things that weren’t kind in the past, we are able to change. Praise opens up the relationship to a higher standard.
Leaving a Legacy of Love Starts with Flipping the Script
Creating a new narrative about the way you want to leave your legacy. Sure you may build the next Facebook, Uber or Airbnb, perhaps you will find cures for diseases unknown but in between the chaotic moments of hustle and grind, how did you make everyone feel?
Listen to Flip the Script from NPR’s Invisibilia
How therapists use the concept of non-complementarity behavior to help you make your own relationships better. Are you arguing with others? Angry? Upset? How do you flip the script? It starts by doing the opposite of what your natural instinct is, and in this way transforms a situation. Usually when someone is hostile to us, we are hostile right back. The psychological term is “complementarity.” But then in rare cases someone manages to be warm, and what happens as a result can be surprising.