Article Title: How Do You Know Who You Are?
Author: Darren Bartolo (©2017)
I was in part two of a multipart dream training sequence. My guides had set up seven different soul paths for me to experience, each one evolving through their own unique life times. I intuited that one of the objectives of the training was to show me how consciousness evolves as we move from lifetime to lifetime. Cycling me through seven separate soul paths would give me a broader perspective on how different the experience can be depending on the age of the soul and the circumstances it’s born in.
I had just picked out a brush to practice Chinese calligraphy when my consciousness shifted into another body. It was all of a sudden very sunny. I felt disoriented (which was new, because the shifts up until that point where smooth, and my surroundings were quickly understood). I couldn’t really perceive anything beyond my body; it was bright, my eyes not adjusting. My mind felt cloudy. I was having trouble moving any part of my body. I didn’t have any language to explain how I was feeling. Maybe that body didn’t possess language. So, I don’t even know if I was thinking through this whole process, or I am just attributing a verbal description to it afterwards.
I became aware of my arms. They felt bound in some way. I was struggling to move them. I was panicked. And then, I looked down at the ground. A wave understanding. I saw my shadow. I was a butterfly! My were not bound; my wings were just emerging! All of sudden my panicked was replaced with clarity, hope, and excitement. I looked beautiful and graceful.
I had never been a butterfly before so I didn’t know how to make my wings flap! After a bit more struggle and some experimentation, I got them going and began to fly. It was awkward moving around without the use of my legs. But, it was a quick practice, and I soon flew off to explore the landscape.
I woke up. Wow. The thought immediately came to me: How would we ever know our form if we never saw our shadow? How would we ever know our features if we never looked at our reflection? We must practice observing our reflection.
SELF-REFLECTION, meditation, mindfulness, gives us space to understand our features.
I meet many people who do not understand how amazing they are - how resilient, how courageous. I can see it. But, they have never seen it because they have never been taught to purposefully and neuatrally self-reflect. They have never been taught how meditation temporarily gives them a vantage point to see their thoughts and actions from the outside, that mindfulness can reflect to them their decisions and impact on the world.
Yes, some of what they might see would be their upclose imperfections. But, nothing in life is perfect; nature thrives on variation. If they only took the time to practice self-reflection, they would slowly move their site back and their imperfections would fade, because they would see how those minute variations came together to form the magnificence of their whole being. Resilient. Courageous. Ready to fly.
***I use the term “guides” to name possible entities that have been conversing with me in my dream state since I was in college. Back then, I had been working to connect physically to the ethereal entities that may be helping me on my life’s journey. And, sure enough they started showing up, giving me some advice, some deeper insight, and some possible visions of my future. I’m both a mystic and scientist, so whether these “guides” showing up in my dream over the past 15 years come from a mystical sources or just my subconscious is up for fascinating debate. At this point, I don’t really care about the source because I usually end up getting great advice!
I was visited by one of my spiritual guides last night while I was sleeping (which happens every now and then) and I thought I would share the experience:
I was honored to meet with one of my spiritual guides last night while I was asleep. We were sitting on my bed and she was showing me a complex diagram that charted all of the circumstances and situations going on in my life. She was sharing this diagram with me to show just how much meticulous planning goes into selecting every event that occurs in my life. Along with the help of my conscious and subconscious and my other spiritual guides, each moment in my life is carefully orchestrated so that I can learn and grow most authentically.
Now, I know my guides are working with me constantly, but it was so beautiful to see it on paper: a reminder of how every interaction, no matter how brief, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is carefully drawn into my life to help me grow into a more compassionate and wise soul. I remember pointing to a few interesting boxes on the diagram in near disbelief saying, “that event was actually planned?!” Again, I wasn’t shocked to find out the effort we (me and my team of guides) make to manicure events in my life. Showing me the diagram was just a fun and gentle reminder for me to remember that all circumstances in my life, no matter how challenging, are events (that I agreed to live through) that drive me to evolve.
Staying "positive" isn't avoiding your painful realities or challenging situations. Staying positive is a PRACTICE of staying connected to your inner resilience, capacity to forgive, and ability to ask for help.
Found this thought provoking article (based on actually scientific research) about phrases most of use that are NOT in the best interest of our children. May we push ourselves more to understand those we raise and teach!
Parenting - Compliments that are hurtful
The following is a first draft of an article I am working on.
To find life's answers, we need to look within our hearts (or subconscious). Because, the answers that come out of our mind highly contaminated by our perceived social obligations AND with the fears, anxieties, and pressures of meeting those perceived obligations. Very few people know what they actually want because they passively let society tell them what they should look like and how they should act. They let society tell them how a woman should look and act, how a man should look and act, how a parent should look and act, how a child should look and act, how a good employ should look and act, how a student should look and act, role after role after role. Well, you know what? Those society roles never asked US how WE want to live! Rarely do those preordained roles have anything in common with our heart’s true desires. So, in order to cultivate our true happiness, we need to learn how to be the people we want to be, not the people we think we should be. And, let me tell you, I am gay, I am transgender, I am also a person of color. I quit my lucrative full-time job, gave away the majority of my belongings, and have travelled the world, on and off the grid, for the past 4 years. On paper, it sounds like I have broken free from society’s roles and am living my own truth every day. On the outside, it looks like I’m not concerned about society’s expectations of me. But, the human habit of adhering to social obligations are SO powerful, I still have to work every day to make sure I’m making decisions from my heart, and not from my head. Because, even if you break out of a role, you can accidentally be pulled into another role instantaneously. For example, I have broken free from the roles of finding happiness by accumulating things and measuring my self worth by successes I have at my job. But, that just leads to more roles I'm tempted to fulfill. Like now, for me, it’s: how does a spiritual teacher look and act, how does an author look and act, how does a successful musician look and act? And, before I know it, I’m once again doing things that I think I SHOULD be doing to fulfill those new role, instead making all choices with the guidance of my heart. Because, at the end of the day, how should I look and act? Like me! I should look and act like me!!! We should all look and act like ourselves!!! But, we can’t know how we really look and act by following society’s pre-written descriptions for us. The only way to know how we look and act is to go inside our hearts and ask. Venturing into our hearts is a journey that takes commitment and dedication. But, 99% of the time, we find that we’ve already known the answers to all the questions we’ve ever asked (we are just too scared to admit it to ourselves). Do you know how to safely venture into your heart, ask the important questions, and hear your heart’s answer? Do you have the wisdom and courage to enact the suggestions you hear? If not, meditate.
How can you, from where ever you are right now, help stop brutal acts of violence? Stay aware of all the GOOD that is happening in the world. Consume "healthy" news. Just how eating well keeps you energized and feeling good, "reading well" keeps you energized and feeling hopeful. When you feel hopeful, you'll do better work in your own life. When you do better work in your own life, you inspire others to do the same.
Good news here.
How can YOU help change the mind of white supremacists? How can YOU help Barcelona? Look inside. Peace must always start within. Seek resolution with loved ones and friends NOW; admit you were wrong NOW; confront your anger and anxiety and seek therapy NOW; admit your frustration and ask for help NOW; start learning how to forgive NOW; practice compassion NOW. To neutralize anger and hatred in the world, we must first neutralize it in our own thoughts, words, and actions.
Chanting "om" is a simple yet profound meditation technique. Try it with me! Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don't miss a practice. For more guidance, check our classes here. I love you!
Living peacefully and joyfully takes discipline and constant practice. But, it can be is as simple as taking even a brief moment to be still and breath. Here's a little bit of help today with your efforts. I love you! For more on mindfulness and meditation, click here.