The Expansiveness of Possibility

As we find ourselves in the middle of the year, it is an appropriate juncture to reflect on how we feel, what is going on around us and how to move forward. Given the strangeness of the past 18 months, if you’re anything like me, you might be questioning some of the chaos both within and outside of yourself.

Over this period during which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives so significantly in material terms such as how we interact, work and move, we have also experienced severe mental strain. We have had to reconstruct ourselves so that we can maintain some form of achievement and satisfaction, amidst sometimes drastic changes in our income, our living situations and our relationships.

All of this change and instability pushes us to work harder to maintain this standard of normality and as a result we are subject to very high levels of stress, which can feel overwhelming, suffocating and can at times dominate our state of being. We end up worrying all the time, working all the time to combat these fears and struggling to relax and even to sleep as we are in such a heightened state. We seek relief in various ways, some healthy and some, unfortunately compounding our stress, such as further overstimulation through social media, alcohol or substance abuse, excessive eating, TV or even sleep.

What I experienced recently and what I hope you can try is letting go of all of that bundled up stress and overstimulation by letting the bubble burst. This is not logical, because logically, if you just deal with everything you need to deal with, get everything on your to-do list done, tick all of the boxes, you should feel satisfied, relaxed and feel a sense of complete accomplishment. I would argue that what tends to happen, is that we accumulate tasks and goals to the point where we lose sight of the relativity of our actions. We focus on building and growing without realising that without a vision, tools to feel grounded throughout the journey and a set of rules, we won’t ever stop, we won’t ever feel satisfied and we will treat those around us, everything we have and even ourselves, as a means to an end – when in fact, there is no end.

If, instead, you acknowledge that the experience of life, of sensations, of the body, and even of our thoughts is more real and satisfying than any amount of accumulation or achievement, what might arise is a sense of possibility. The possibility that you can feel alive, in control, grounded and truly yourself, despite what might be happening around you. There truly are forces which change our environment and which we cannot control, but if you allow the bubble of pressure and stress to burst, and instead allow an expansive, light energy to emanate from within you, you might be able to see things more clearly and feel that sense of satisfaction that you’ve been unable to feel due to the overwhelming and endless sense of stress.

This might be sudden or it might be gradual, but some of the practical and more subtle methods you could try are:

  1. Pull away from over stimulation – social media I find is such a powerful source of stimulation and when you just stop mindlessly scrolling through, you immediately gain mental peace and clarity.
  2. Get a pen and write down the 5-10 things that are really stressing you out. This will already help. Once you have identified those issues, see if you cannot just let go of relentlessly worrying about those things, and realise how much mental and emotional energy you are dedicating to them. You could visualise the build up of energy in the form of a dark cloud. You might also be able to feel this energy as a heavy, hot and uncomfortable bundle. Taking a deep breath and then sighing it out, let that cloud disperse and mentally/physically watch/feel as a light energy effortlessly occupies that space where the dark cloud of stress was, and which is far more expansive and liberating than the heaviness of stress. This will bring relief mentally and will lead to less tension in your body.
  3. As part of the above exercise, you could bring some humour into the vision, and imagine something that you find hilarious or outrageous happening which helps the stress evaporate.
  4. Hopefully, once you have decreased your physical and emotional reactivity to those items, you might be able to relook at them more practically, and prioritise them. You might even be able to remove a few completely, and decide that right now you don’t necessarily need to focus on them. Then, with a sense of optimism and joy, perhaps you could look at that handful of to-do items and start addressing them with more patience and compassion.

Stress tends to make everything seem so difficult. It gives weight and energy to things which we might not even truly care about. I think social media is a very powerful tool in this sense, as it is designed to hold your attention, even when it is not adding value or has little relevance to your goals and your sense of satisfaction with life. As with all other forms of overstimulation, and arguably, addiction, we need to pull away, we need to have time every day to rest, to be still, to let go of the urge of engaging in those activities. When we have let go of some of the overstimulation activities, and perhaps some of the activities we have decided to look at later, we should have more time and space to relax. This new space might now be filled with clarity and possibility – the possibility that you can simultaneously feel grounded, focus on achieving your goals and feel grateful and compassionate for those around you, the beauty of your life and for yourself. Stress will always keep arising, but if we allow the expansiveness of possibility to counter this build up of energy, we can remain calm, optimistic and productive in a healthy way.

Lessons of acceptance and the beauty of nature

Whether you are vaguely interested in yoga or cannot go a day without some breathing, strength and stretching or meditation, I hope that the year is treating you well and I am grateful for your readership!

2021 has been a very interesting year for many of us, and it has been so hectic for me that I really could not find the space to send out a newsletter in April. The purpose of this article is to tell you a bit more about what I have been up to and to share my insights with you on how I have dealt with stress in the face of uncertainty or feeling disconnected.

At the end of February I was accepted to study Psychology part time at WITS. The decision to apply is part of a long term vision of equipping myself to more deeply understand how we experience life subjectively and the ways in which we can move toward a harmonious internal and external world.

By the middle of March I had also signed a contract to join a new company in an industry in which I am very new! Despite the increase in intensity in the face of uncertainty, I was very busy traveling around our beautiful country, and some of you were able to practice yoga with me virtually from these locations. I would like to share with you the lessons I have learned over the past two months.

  • Having a vision which depicts the way in which you would like to see your day and life play out has been very useful for me. It has given me the determination to focus on what is important in order to have as much influence as I can in bringing these goals to life, and to avoid situations or activities that would detract from this. It also sends a clear signal to those closest to you of what you are trying to achieve which in turn, gives them the information needed to support you.
Contemplating the simple joy of being
  • I have been reminded clearly of the importance of mental health. Despite my passion and understanding of holistic health, I too am subject to overthinking, destructive thinking and behaviour, food cravings, neglecting social relationships and ultimately neglecting my own path of health and spirituality. I wish that you take the time needed as we approach the middle of the year, to give back to yourself with more quality time alone and with loved ones, a healthy dose of fun and laughter, cleaner nutrition, more rest and a more balanced approach to day to day living, especially if you too have goals that may be stretching you to a new limit.

  • Sometimes we must relinquish control. When we have high expectations, the margin for error increases and we need to have a degree of acceptance of this. Ironically, the more we push towards goals and achievements, the more challenging it becomes to recognise the need to slow down, to rest, to balance our drive with relaxation and fun. I know for me, laughing is the way in which I release my stress constantly throughout the day. We must each decide on what we are willing to sacrifice to achieve our goals, but I believe that no goal is worth long term damage to health and important relationships. Again, being clear on your intention and communicating this to others may give us the space we need to breathe and become more observant, which, when highly focused, may provide necessary foresight.

  • We are completely connected to nature and our lifestyles should incorporate as much of this as possible to absorb the nourishment that nature constantly provides. With most of our lives focused primarily on human issues like work, technology and relationships, we have lost touch with the incredible complexity and power of nature around us. After spending 3 days hiking in Grootwinterhoek in the Cederburg, sleeping under the stars, feeling the fynbos on my skin and smelling the multitude of plant life around us, I was reminded of the healing and raw beauty of nature. I strongly recommend getting out into nature as often as you can, especially to connect to the deep rhythm within us.I am deeply grateful for my brother Paul, who organised this magical experience for us.
Hiking with friends, enjoying the incredibly beautiful Grootwinterhoek Wilderness Area

Going into May, I will be offering online and physical yoga classes and truly hope that I can make a positive contribution to the physical, emotional and spiritual health of as many of you as possible. I will offer online classes in the morning only for now. Let’s see how it goes!

Feel free to share any of the information in this newsletter with someone you know that might need motivation, guidance or would like to be part of a micro-community of individuals pursuing balance, strength and alignment between body, mind and soul. Feel free to pop me a message if you feel that I may be able to assist with your journey of deeper discovery.

Stabilise your energy

As we approach the final week of February, many of us seem to find ourselves caught in the same current we usually do as we move deeper into the year, with the pace of life carrying us along and the momentum picking up week by week. This is intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic and how many of us feel that we did not get the rest we needed over the festive season, and the constant stress and pressure we feel from financial strain, lack of social activity or increased work hours. Sometimes I feel that the pace and weight of it all is a bit overwhelming and other times I feel completely lost in the complexity and chaos. We may also feel anxious or afraid that if we slow down, we might lose out on opportunities. So where does that leave us? Do we give in and lose out on the progress we have worked hard to achieve until this point? Or keep pushing and hope that we don’t hurt ourselves? I propose a healthy middle ground, a set of habits that we can cultivate to give us the strength and sense of calm that we need to continue. Quite simply, I propose that we breathe a little deeper. Right now.

Sometimes it feels as though the only solution is to get away from whatever intensity we find ourselves surrounded by or that which is inside our own body and mind. However, if we can balance the pace and intensity of each thought, emotion, family or work culture or activity we are engaged in with a feeling of grounding, of being in touch with nature and simultaneously our true deeper selves, this can offer us a tremendous sense of true stability and power. I think the physical health benefits of exercise and yoga are often seen as the most significant, and while your general health and physical strength and suppleness will increase significantly if a yoga or exercise routine is adopted, I would argue that it is the effect of feeling grounded in the moment and in tune with your surroundings that brings true power into your life.

Photo by Oluremi Adebayo on Pexels.com

So how do we go about this, right now? How do we find more control and stability without making it another item on our to-do list, adding to our feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted? I suggest trying one or more of the following practices whenever you have 2-3 minutes, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or have a sense a of lack of control. If you feel a stronger sense of stress, anger or irritation – I would recommend the fourth activity followed by the first. You can also watch the video at the bottom of the page on Youtube for guidance.

  1. Focused breathing might not be for everyone, but it is very effective and the easiest way to meditate. Simply take 5-10 deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of air in your nose, mouth or throat. Focus on the temperature of the air, focus on the expansion of your chest, ribcage and belly, allowing the sound of the inhale and exhale comfort you. You might even close your eyes and visualise a calm, beautiful scene of nature such as a waterfall or forest. Before you know it, within 1-2 minutes, you will feel more centered, relaxed and energised, all at the same time. And that might be enough.
  2. Becoming aware of grounding and your posture is another powerful practice. If you are seated, wiggle around and really feel the chair beneath your pelvis. Sit up tall but relax your shoulders. Whether you are standing up or seated, spread the toes wide and really press your feet into the ground. Let your arms hang by your sides or into your lap and release tension in your forearms and hands. Becoming conscious of the points of contact and the weight of your body on the earth can give you a sense of energy and stability. It also makes a tremendous difference to practice this in nature – whether that means simply standing or sitting outside, or actually in a natural environment such as near a stream, the beach, or a forest. Stay here with eyes closed for 30 seconds feeling into that stability and after a while, open your eyes, lift your chin and feel a sense of confidence, lifting into the crown of your head. Engaging a wakeful posture plays a significant role in uplifting our mood and energy. Try to maintain this posture throughout the day.
  3. Gentle and coordinated movement is another effective method of shifting your energy. Simply lift your arms and hands from your sides upwards in a big semi-circular motion, with hands meeting way up above your head, and then release them outwards and down, the same way we lifted them up. Ideally, breathing in as you lift the arms up, and breathing out as you lower them. You could do this as many times as you like, but try go for at least 5 to get the blood flowing, deepening into your breath and feeling the earth beneath you.
  4. With increased stress comes the need to engage in more intense movement. Walk around, talk to someone, practice 10-20 squats or push ups. We need to let go of intense energy rather than keeping it inside. Maybe even grab a cushion and scream into it without straining your voice. Do what feels natural in letting go of some steam whilst avoiding hurting yourself or others emotionally or physically with that build up of energy. Once you are done, go back to activity 1; and re-focus on the breath.

It is that time of the year when we must take control of our energy, whether it is low energy such as laziness, anxiety, fear or sadness or a high type of energy like stress manifested as anger or irritation. Trust that you do have the strength to manage your energy and that you can take simple, proactive steps in stabilising and regaining that control. If none of these practices work, go back to what you know deep down works for you, as long as it is going to help you, not hurt you. You might also decide to talk to someone, ask them to be there for you. Having someone truly listen can be incredibly healing and if it is someone you are in close contact with regularly, ask for a hug. Give yourself the self respect and time you deserve and you might be surprised as to just how much control and power you have available to you at any time.

Set your intention

Intentionality

The quality of mental states (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, desires, hopes) which consists in their being directed towards some object or state of affairs.

We have all heard of the buzzword ‘mindfulness’ but not many of us talk about intention and intentionality. Both mindfulness and intention refer to focusing our energy on something. We all know that when we are distracted we tend to procrastinate. Our minds feel fuzzy, our emotions are unstable and ultimately we arrive at a point of frustration and anxiety from not being able to get done what we truly need to. Living mindfully and intentionally are antidotes to such states and outcomes.

When we direct our energy to what we are doing precisely in this moment, we become aware of what we need to do or not do. For example, if we are truly mindful when watching videos on social media, we may realise that we are thirsty, we are frowning, we are breathing shallowly, etc. At this moment we should probably take a break from the activity and re-focus. Moreover, if we are able to focus on precisely what we are doing in each moment, whether it be driving, writing an email, reading something interesting or listening to what a family member or colleague has to say, not only do we we optimise the efficiency with which we are able to perform that task, but this will lead to a calmer state of mind and body.

In addition to performing tasks and living in a more mindful state, if we are able to go a bit deeper and live intentionally, we can further reduce the anxiety generating affect of distraction and not applying ourselves. One method I have been using for the past year or two is by zooming out of my every day existence, so to speak, looking into the future and asking what I see as the vision of my life. I ask myself questions like ‘what kind of contribution do I want to make in the world?’ and ‘what would I like to attract into my life?’. I believe that if we then break down this vision into manageable goals to achieve on an annual, monthly, weekly and even daily basis, we can then structure lives in such as a way that we slowly but effectively achieve our long term vision, day by day.

From my perspective and experience, the reason this seems to work is that if you are able to understand on a granular level why you do what you do, each moment is enriched with a sense of excitement and passion because you now have the motivation needed to perform each task during the day. And this leads to the realisation that you have the opportunity to live each moment with intention. Everything you do, say and even think can be slowly customised to the vision you have set out to create. Of course this will change over time due to changes in your personality and changes in the world at large, but at least you have a clear picture for now of why you do what you do, to slowly build and create the vision for your life that makes you feel most yourself.

No two visions will be the same, and we may be able to let go of some of our unauthentic desires which may have been suggested or prescribed to us by our school, family, work or social culture. Many of these ideas will be relevant and important in the short to medium term, but once you have assimilated the value that you can, it is acceptable to move on and express yourself more fully, from the deep .

So, as I suggested in last months newsletter, find some time to feel a sense of calm, get a pen and paper and start to paint your vision so that you have the clarity to live each day intentionally. The joy of living in such a way manifests in feeling focused and energised, without the obstacles of uncertainty, doubt and frustration slowing you down. I wish you all the best on your journey of deepening self discovery.

Thought shapes the environment which shapes thought

There’s an idea. It then gets developed into a concept. The concept will then often be developed into a physical product or into a system or program. In both cases an idea is developed into reality. What I wondered about recently is the affect that a physical product or system has on ones’ mind. The fact that we have four way intersections, rectangular TV sets or circular dinner plates almost everywhere around the globe – points to how incredibly uniform and standardized so many products used in modern society are. The design, the shape, the functionality of most products worldwide are essentially the same. This may be due to globalization, but what interests me is not the standardized nature of these products, but the impact that these shapes or designs have on our thinking. For example, the roads we drive on, the way that traffic lights work, the way that all appliances work – do we realize that these things which make up our artificial world determine the way we interact with one another and the way in which we think? Do we ever stop to consider whether these things have a positive or negative impact on the way we live?  What if we subconsciously reject some of these designs or systems, but have no way of expressing our discontent? When we use so many products on a daily basis, do we consider that it was a small group of people who may have designed or developed what we use every day. I’m not going for a conspiracy theory here. I don’t think many products or systems are designed to control people, although some certainly are, i just think that many products or systems are designed with budgets, deadlines and profit in mind, with inadequate energy focused on the actual purpose or function of that product or system in the long-term. What if the design is nowhere near as useful or environmentally friendly as it can be, or even as it should be? I think this is the way that fossil fuel powered vehicles will be viewed in the coming decades.

If we compare our man-made world to nature –  it is constantly changing –  the seasons, the colours, the smells, the climate. And seeing as though humans are part of nature, I believe we belong to this dynamic and transient aspect of nature. Perhaps we need to be more proactive in expressing our frustrations with certain systems or products which we use on a daily basis and which influence our quality of life.

So I think it’s fascinating to realize what aspects of our man-made world affect the way we move, interact with one another and carry out our daily lives. At least if we are conscious of these affects, we can possibly make decisions to improve our experiences – for example taking different routes when driving places, driving at different times to avoid traffic, buying things that we really are attracted to and which suit us, instead of things which are trendy or to which we are addicted, exploring the options. I think it is this awareness which leads to creativity in the form of new and exciting products, important social movements, greater environmental protection or more holistic health care. Recognizing the affect that the artificial environment has on us and what we can do to improve it is key if we are to create a sustainable, high-tech world with less inequality and suffering.

Plastic – what are our responsibilities?

Walk into any public building such as a mall, grocery store or movie theater and you will see thousands of products all very beautifully wrapped in shiny multi-coloured plastic packaging. Soft-drink bottles, chocolate bars, yogurt, cereal and even fruit and vegetables wrapped up in plastic. Hard plastic, soft plastic, clear plastic, colourful plastic.

Now, there is no doubt that plastic is one of, if not the most abundant and useful material in the world. I actually don’t know how much of what we see around us would even be possible without plastic – especially in terms of technology such as electronics and transportation. However, most people don’t recycle at home and most businesses don’t recycle. So, there is this massive amount of plastic being generated and most of it is just ending up in a landfill – you know the place where a huge pile of waste is put into the ground? I really don’t know much about the various kinds of plastic but from what i have read it is an extremely long lasting material which brings me to my main point – why do we use an incredibly long lasting material for items that only last a days or a week or two at most? Ice cream, soft drinks, chocolate, cigarettes – all fast moving consumer goods, are all heavily packaged in plastic, yet only last a few days or weeks on the shelves and then a matter of minutes or hours after being consumed. The packaging is then thrown into the trash.

My responsibility ends here
My responsibility ends here

Many of these product companies show a little man throwing his trash so responsibly into a bin on the packaging of their products- where do they think this is actually going? Do they care at all if the packaging that they create in such enormous quantities ends up in a landfill, a river or on the streets? Once the sale is done do they care? Should they care?

I believe that any company which creates something which is going to be around for decades or centuries has the responsibility to care about what happens to it after the sale is over. I suppose it’s just part of our short-sighted money driven culture  – to not know or care what happens once the money is in the bank. But when the landfills are over-flowing (already happening in Johannesburg – seen it with my own eyes), what are we going to do about it? Some companies are now adding information about what the packaging is made from and encouraging consumers to recycle, which is good. Some retailers even have recycling bins outside their stores. Personally, I try to stay away from items packaged in plastic (not always possible). If unavoidable, I separate and recycle everything that I can. If I’m traveling or I can’t keep my empty plastic bottle or wrappers on me until I find a recycling spot, only then will I reluctantly put it into the bin. Even then – making sure the empty container is clean (if possible) ensures that it is recyclable. If the waste company servicing that particular bin happens to separate and recycle then at least that container is averted from ending up in a landfill and the methane which may be generated from rotting food left inside the container is also avoided.

Crazy idea, but I think where possible, the packaging material of products should be inline with the lifespan of the product. So projects like infrastructure, telecommunications, transport – things that will be important for a very long time to come should harness the longevity of plastic, while things like junk food and FMCG products should be forced to use short-term materials or at least biodegradable materials due to the massive quantities they are produced in and their very short life spans.

I think we will see far more biodegradable packaging in the near future and I hope companies which produce large volumes of plastic begin to think about the unnecessary impact they are having on the environment. Hopefully there will also be tighter regulations on the production of these materials. Thanks for reading!

Free your mind

Our society values alert problem solving consciousness, and it devalues all other states of consciousness. Any kind of consciousness that is not related to the production or consumption of material goods is stigmatized in our society today. Of course, we accept drunkenness. We allow people some brief respite from the material grind.

Graham Hancock

IMG-20121216-00207

Connect with those in need

Living in Johannesburg South Africa presents many daily challenges. I’m fortunate enough to have an education, a job, a car and a place to call home. But many people living here are far less fortunate than I am, and spend their days and nights on the streets. I know very little about what these folks get up to and how they sustain themselves but what I have noticed is that at almost every intersection in Joburg you will inevitably see a few people holding signs describing their situation and what they are in need of. The more creative will entertain by showing off their skills juggling or dancing. I’m not sure if giving money to these guys is the solution, but I’ve recently adopted a plan which I learned from my dad. He freezes water in plastic bottles and if he stops at a red light, hands them out to these dudes on hot summer days. They’re always very appreciative. It made me realize that there are possibly items that I have at home which I’ll never use and which could benefit someone else.

I’ve since put together a packet of items which I know will not serve me but may serve someone else. What I’ve been giving out lately is bars of soap which I’ve somehow accumulated, stationery and fruit. Most of the guys I’ve given to were really grateful and have subsequently asked that I bring them any old clothing, so that’s what my next plan is.

Not everyone lives in a city like this and not everyone travels by car most of the time, but for me, it’s a really simple and effective way of helping people out. I’ll see how the clothing distribution goes.

An inter-traffic juggler entertaining passers by for spare change.
One of the more creative inter-traffic performers

Organic solutions

Who controls the worlds resources? Who makes the rules, the laws by which we have to conduct our lives? Who is teaching us about the past and guiding us toward the future? Mostly government and companies run by old men.

Image from www.stencilrevolution.com
Image from http://www.stencilrevolution.com

Without entering the dark and destructive realm of pessimism, it feels as though the old have been leading us astray. Economic and legal systems seem to me to be rooted in the egos of old men and quite frankly, rotten to the core. I can’t help but feel that there is just too much red tape, too many acronyms, too many meetings and conferences reinforcing outdated ideas and ultimately too free a reign of dogmatic expression. I feel like the supposed leaders of our world; the politicians, the scientists, the doctors, the judges and the super wealthy do not understand and believe in a higher quality of life for their fellow people and other forms of life. Instead of continuously surveying the actual physical needs of our environment, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of our people, there tends to be a relapsing, dysfunctional expression of destructive behaviour from those on the world stage. It comes in the form of reprimanding, scaring, humiliating, condescending and trying to control and dominate, making a minority feel inferior. When those who call the shots behave in such primal and destructive ways, it leaves us with a massive task to attempt to truly grow as a people. Why are the rules governing our world in favour of such monolithic and wasteful organisations such as oil giants, agricultural tyrants and junk food companies?

This is a cause for concern among sane and caring people all around the world. We talk about it when we take home our salaries, when we hear about wars in the far corners of our earth. We watch documentaries about this shadow cast by such ominous organisations.

But what is happening as a result is truly amazing. One can now see the solutions and indeed the cures for these problems and insane behaviour starting to surface; arising organically in the form of organic food production, a move away from animal testing, a stronger focus on renewable energy, a rise in the importance of womens’ rights and the list goes on. This is so inspiring and is proof of the inherent good and resilience of the human spirit. It does create a contrast between what is possible for us as a species and what we have been lead to believe our value is in this world. We are not only capable of violence and destruction, but we are capable of loving one another despite our differences and creating a beautiful world for all to enjoy. It shows how ignorance can be debilitating and how important it is to love yourself, educate yourself, don’t follow the crowd if it doesn’t feel good and speak up! If you ignore your true self, you will fall prey to someone who wants to exploit you and this is where we have found ourselves as the human race – lead by those who have no interest in environmental sustainability or personal sovereignty – obsessed with short term profit, long terms selfishness and alienation.

Wind turbines in South Africa (I hope this doesn't look like an ad for Land rover)
I hope this doesn’t look like an ad for Landrover

We don’t need to be afraid of taking responsibility for ourselves and for our future. For me, this takes the form of eating locally, buying products with minimal packaging, recycling, avoiding highly processed food and chemical laden products, speaking up about injustice, saying no to violent movies and reckless companies and trying to find and support people and organisations who are committed to a sustainable future. I do believe that we have been and are constantly lead astray by many an irresponsible company, politician or celebrity. But it is becoming increasingly easy, affordable and rewarding to lead a balanced, healthy and successful life without supporting unethical organisations. I hope this article is filled with hope and not despair – knowledge is power.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe I’m wrong.

 

I think that most of the problems in our society are due to a lack of efficiency from government. Private companies should take a more significant role in taking on societal challenges. They are all that we can rely on. But maybe I’m wrong.

 

All green people are greedy and can’t be trusted. They all eat the same thing and they smell funny. I’ve never been friends with a green person and I’m sure I never will be. But, maybe I’m wrong?

 

If we are unable to question our own ideas and opinions, to look in the mirror and ask whether we are wrong, how are we to progress? To have the courage and the humility to challenge your own ego and test whether perhaps your thoughts are dragging you down, is essential. It is a challenge to cultivate patience and to carefully ask yourself whether you are still on track. As long as we cling to ideas which are outdated and no longer relevant, we will struggle to progress as individuals and as a society. We have so many big challenges as the human race in this time of rapid population growth, diseases of affluence, technological advance, environmental pressure and space exploration to name a few modern trends.

 

In life we establish ideas based on what we observe in our environment, but once the environment or our perception of it changes, we need to change our behaviour as well. When the time comes, we need to update our old selves, make new connections and move into new areas of thought and action. If we sincerely listen to what others have to say and to what the environment tells us, we will have the opportunity to shift into more efficient and more pleasant forms being. The inability to become aware of irrelevant and useless concepts keeps our potential dormant and prevents us from fully realizing who we are and what we are capable of.

image

 

“Many of us go through the motions in life without fully realizing our potential for greatness…Passing routinely through the events in one’s lifetime, from one to the next without honest reflection or examination of the meaning in them and how each experience shapes us personally, denies us that potential.”

Chirsty Turlington in Living Yoga.

 

An individual or an organization may decorate their outdated ideas with clever words or marketing schemes, but ultimately the truth will decide the fate of such a person or group. Here are some examples of ideas or concepts which I believe should be revisited with regard to their relevance to society. Hopefully these organisations and concepts can adapt and become better suited to our ever changing world, before they collapse and cause collateral damage. I may be totally ignorant with regard to some of these ideas, but maybe you can shed light on some of these topics and help me to update my own beliefs? Thanks!

 

The following is a broad list of concepts which I think are slightly archaic and may require revisiting, rethinking and some even eradicating:

 

  • The military and how murder is acceptable in the name of ‘national defense’
  • Dirty energy
  • Patriotism, racism, homophobia and other forms of arbitrary hatred
  • Land fills and non recyclable or non reusable products
  • Chemicals in food and water, genetically modified organisms and junk ‘food’
  • Television and invasive forms of advertising
  • Prison systems
  • Animal testing
  • The pharmaceutical industry
  • The definition of luxury and the arbitrary assignment of value eg. Fashion
  • Unnecessary packaging of products
  • The safety of alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine
  • Factory farming 

 

And pop music.