Do We Really Have Free Will?

Do We Really Have Free Will?

Do We Really Have Free Will?

I‘ve never really bought into the concept that humans truly have free will, and there’s a variety of spiritually-based reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons isn’t spiritual at all.

In order to have have free agency of our own will, we have to be a free thinker, and the truth is, very few of us actually are.

Humans, bizarre little ego-centric creatures that we are, believe that we have the freedom of choice in all that we do, as though we have total internal autonomy over what goes on inside our minds. And of course we would think that–we mistakenly believe that the rational mind is the king of our world.

Most of us spend very little time examining our motivations for the choices we make and the beliefs we hold, our biases, our fears, or put any kind of thought into how all of that unexamined subconscious shit informs our so-called rational choices.

Learn how to identify your belief systems

Reason vs. Logic

Humans are rational creatures, not logical creatures. Reason and logic are not the same thing.

All a rationale is, is an explanation about how you came to your conclusion. It doesn’t mean it’s the right conclusion, or that it’s a logical conclusion, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you’re being honest with yourself about your motivations, or that you understand the psychological factors that are driving your behavior.

People tell themselves all kinds of stories about why they do what they do. Many of them are lies.

True free will–and true free thinking–can only be found when we begin to uncover and understand our subconscious mind. Until then, we are susceptible to all kinds of bias, propaganda, and distorted belief systems.

As an acquaintance of mine on Instagram once wrote: if you’re not facing your shadow, you’re getting fucked by it. – @rainierwylde

Learn more about shadow work and it’s role in spirituality

PS – lots of you wanted me to open back up the question submission, so I’ve added that to the post footer. Can’t wait to see what your questions are!

Xo,

Ash

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On Cancelling Cancel Culture

On Cancelling Cancel Culture

On Cancelling Cancel Culture

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase “cancel culture,” and I’m sure you’re aware that it’s yet another aspect of the perceived culture wars in America. There’s been a lot of national discussion and politicization around the concept, and I see support for the idea of cancelling cancel culture seep into the spiritual community in various forms, usually under the guise of “everyone is on their own journey” or “we have no right to judge another’s path” or something like that.

That said, I also notice that a lot of people talking about cancel culture don’t seem to actually understand what it is and they’re making a very dangerous conflation that, in the end, would rob a great number of people from an opportunity for spiritual growth, perpetuate division, and is antithetical to one of spirituality’s main goals: unity consciousness.

Let’s explore!

What is Cancel Culture?

Cancel culture (also termed “call-out culture”) has been generally defined as many things, including, but not limited to:

  • Online or public shaming
  • Deplatforming people with ideas that are deemed unpopular or harmful
  • A form of social ostracism where someone experiences real consequences for their thoughts and opinions, such as losing their job
  • Censorship

There’s a lot of sociological nuance involved around these subjects which I find to be severely lacking in public discourse, and that’s partly the reason why I wanted to touch on it myself.

A lot of people are not going to like what I have to say about this, particularly people who think that cancel culture inhibits free speech, discussion, and debate.

People in positions of power who knowingly espouse ideologies, beliefs, attitudes, and biases that are directly harmful other groups of people should absolutely be canceled. People in positions of power who unknowingly espouse ideologies, beliefs, attitudes, and biases that are directly harmful to other groups of people and who refuse to educate themselves about why those things are harmful should also be cancelled. And in fact, the US Constitution has already cancelled a lot of those people, which we’ll get to in a minute.

This is the paradox of tolerance: The one thing a tolerant society cannot tolerate is intolerance. If a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized and destroyed by the intolerant.

In other words, if we ever want to build a society that is tolerant, free, and healthy, we need to stamp out intolerance wherever we see it, because if we don’t, it perpetuates itself and continues to drive division.

But before we can do this successfully, our entire society needs to undergo a massive education about what intolerance actually is. The rest of this post is what that education looks like.

The Dangers of Cancelling

There’s a couple of really harmful side-effects of cancel culture that need to be recognized and taken into account. A common instance of canceling involves someone digging up and exposing a video or written piece by someone from several years ago expressing cultural beliefs and opinions that are not deemed acceptable by today’s standards.

This is harmful for a number of reasons. For one, society and culture are changing rapidly. It may not look like it in the moment, and certain themes are changing slower than others, but overall, the world is definitely not the same place it was 20 years ago. Need proof? Just watch any comedy movie from the 90s. A good chunk of the jokes and many of the social situations that were made light of in those movies would never see the light of day by today’s standards. And that’s a good thing, because many of them were socially harmful to vulnerable groups like women and LGBTQ+.

Pop culture’s vast evolution of the last 20 years is a reflection of the evolution of our society. We’ve all grow and changed, too, and for many of us, our core views have as well. When we judge someone by a video or something they wrote years ago without taking into account their views today, we risk ostracizing people who may have actually already grappled with their discriminatory beliefs and attitudes. We have to be willing to give people the opportunity for growth.

A second major danger with cancel culture is how public it is. Many times, cancel culture leads to doxing. If you’re unfamiliar with doxing, it’s the practice of finding private information about someone and publishing it for all to see. Doxing in and of itself may not necessarily always be bad, but it’s extraordinarily bad in cases of mistaken identity where the wrong person is identified, or the person is doxed for something that is completely unproven. This has led to completely innocent people receiving death threats and harassment.

We can’t operate under a mob mentality, even if and when we have good intentions.

Misconceptions About Cancel Culture

Now I want to talk about all the ways that cancel culture is being used as an umbrella to shield deserving targets from the consequences of their actions, and subsequently rob them of an opportunity for spiritual growth.

Since the summer of 2020, we saw people being fired, losing corporate sponsorships, and experiencing other consequences of violent and racist behavior. There have been many people labeling this as cancel culture, and it absolutely is not. Why?

Businesses in the US, both private and public, are given the discretion to hire and fire who they want, for whatever reason they want, so long as it doesn’t discriminate against those individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, or national origin. By this same law, those businesses are legally bound to protect their employees from discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, and national origin.

Another driving factor in who a company hires (or fires) is company values. Company values are the foundational beliefs and qualities that a company holds which direct everything from company policy, to product development, to branding, to company culture. If an individual who works for a company exhibits behaviors that are out of line with a company’s values, the company has every right to let that person go (again, so long as it’s not discriminating against them based on one fo the things outlined above).

So when you have individuals on video exhibiting violent behavior or expressing “opinions” which are clearly rooted in subconscious bias or bigotry, one must assume that this person is bringing those same behaviors and opinions to work with them every day, and that those behaviors and opinions have already created a hostile work environment for other employees. The person expressing those opinions then becomes a liability to the company, because they are opening the company up to a potential discrimination lawsuit, and it’s in the company’s best interest (and the company culture’s best interest, and the other employees’ best interest) to eliminate that liability.

If they had expressed any of those “opinions” or behaviors within the walls of where they work, they’d be fired. And by displaying those opinions and behaviors publicly, on video (fully knowing they are being recorded), they are demonstrating that 1) they are unconcerned if anyone finds out and 2) they are knowingly bringing attention to themselves, their behaviors, and their opinions in such a way that it doesn’t matter if they are in a work environment or not. They’ve made their conduct public knowledge and damaged the company reputation by association.

These people aren’t being “cancelled.” They are experiencing the real-world consequences of their attitudes and actions. Actions have consequences. It is the epitome of entitlement and privilege to believe that one is somehow exempt from being held accountable for those actions.

The same goes for celebrities losing endorsements, for companies pulling funding, etc. etc. They have the right to dissociate themselves with anyone or anything that is not in alignment with their company/brand values, or anything that would create a hostile or discriminatory work environment or culture.

All of this applies to social media companies as well because they are businesses, too! A social media company crafts a set of terms and conditions for the usage of its platform that is in alignment with its company’s core values. So if a user of that platform violates the terms and conditions, they are also out of alignment with the company’s core values, and the company has the discretion to suspend or ban that user. As long as there are no government regulations place on that industry’s standards and practices, they are free to do whatever they want.

A lot of people (mistakenly) believe their First Amendment right to free speech somehow entitles them to free speech in the corporate realm. It doesn’t. You know why?

The United States Supreme Court has given corporations (most of) the same constitutional rights as people. That means that they are just as protected by the First Amendment as you are, but with the additional regulation that they cannot discriminate based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, and national origin.

All the first amendment means for you, as a person, is that the government can’t legally censor you. A business can censor you all day long as long as you’re standing on their property, be it physical, digital, or intellectual. So all of those people talking about how Orwellian it is for Twitter to be able to deplatform Donald Trump? They’re totally confused. 1984 was about government censorship, not corporate censorship, and Twitter has had the power to do this all along because America’s disdain for corporate regulation gave it to them.

This also applies to business-to-business companies and publishing houses. If a person or company is utilizing a service provided by another company, and it violates that company’s terms of service or core values, the company providing the service has every right to discontinue the contract. The Supreme Court set this precedent when it allowed a Colorado bakery to deny service to a gay couple on the basis of religious/moral values, and it also applies to businesses who refuse to serve anyone not wearing a mask, and business who chooses to end their contracts with politicians and celebrities who do and say anything that business doesn’t want to be associated with.

There’s really no other way to say it: if someone’s beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and actions are in any way based on conscious discrimination or subconscious bias, you’re not protected by the First Amendment at work because it doesn’t cover hate speech, the business itself has the exact same constitutional right that we all do, and it’s in direct conflict to the The Civil Rights Act, which protects vulnerable populations from discrimination at work.

The fact that a person isn’t aware of their subconscious bias or how it relates to their beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and actions doesn’t matter. That’s a personal problem because they refuse to educate themselves, not the law’s problem.

The law exists specifically to protect vulnerable populations from people like them, so by continuing to publicly espouse those ideas, they are in fact cancelling themselves, because the law has been the law since 1964, and their ignorance of it (and of their own bias) does not absolve them from their actions.

What is Bias?

Time for another sociology lesson! One of the biggest issues we have regarding sexism and racism is that no one understands what bias is…so I’m going to break it down for you.

Racism/Sexism, bigotry, and bias are three separate, but interrelated things.

The “isms”–racism and sexism–are the systemic power dynamics which one race or sex holds over another. We live in a world that was built specifically to oppress women and people of color, and while we have created some laws and enacted certain reforms in an attempt to rectify this, much of the structure is still at work. The people who benefit from maintaining this structure the most are white and male (and cisgender, heteronormativ).

Anyone who defends or upholds this structure, be they bigoted or biased, are considered racists and sexists. This is why we say that a person of color can never be racist: they do not have the societal power to systemically oppress white people–because it lies with white people. Likewise, women can’t be sexist. Reverse racism and reverse sexism are a structural impossibility, because a group of oppressed people simply do not have the collective systemic power to oppress their oppressors. When people talk about reverse-racism and reverse-sexism, what they are actually talking about is bigotry.

Bigotry is an overt prejudice, or an openly hateful attitude toward someone of a group other than yours. Women who hate men are bigoted toward men and get their own special label as well: misandrists. Black people who hate white people are bigoted toward white people. And likewise, white people who hate Black people are bigots, and men who hate women get their own special label: misogynists. People often use the term racist when talking about bigots, and indeed, racist does encompass bigotry. White supremacists are both racists and bigots. Not all racists, however, are bigots.

This leads us to our third category: bias. Bias is a covert or subconscious prejudice against other groups to which you do not belong. Everyone is biased. Literally everyone, regardless of your sex or skin color. You have subconscious programming (i.e. beliefs and attitudes) about everything. Those racists who are not bigots, but still defend and uphold the white power structure? They’re biased. The sexists who are not misogynists who defend and uphold the male power structure? They’re also biased.

These are the white people out there who think they have to be burning crosses to be racist and have absolutely no idea that their behavior is, in fact, biased (and racist). These are the men out there who think that they love women and also think that women should take cat-calling as a compliment, and the white people who keep insisting they aren’t racist and yelling “all lives matter.”

These actions are what we call microaggressions and they create a climate of hostility within our society. This is where the most confusion, and the most insidious abuse in society lies, and it’s the kind of thing that the concept of anti-racism is meant to tackle.
Bias is baked into our society, because our cultures themselves are built upon socially accepted stigmas and stereotypes that subconsciously program us with beliefs and attitudes about certain groups of people. Those stigmas and stereotypes are fed to us every day through our own media and culture.

As noted earlier on, as a society, we are becoming more conscious of these stereotypes and how they are portrayed and slowly beginning to make change, but it’s going to take a long time to dismantle them and subsequently deprogram our society.

Racism and misogyny can also be internalized by those who are victims of it.

Because of these pervasive, subliminal messages we receive from society, many people who are actually oppressed by these concepts end up internalizing them and viewing them as “correct.” Women who say things like “I hate feminists” have internalized misogyny. Black people who are against Black Lives Matter have internalized racism (and are often trotted out as the token examples of “This Black person who agrees with [insert covert racist concept here]”).

Why do these things become internalized? As noted earlier, a lot of it is completely normalized within our culture itself. Professional dress codes at work, for example, are inherently more rigorous for women than men, because women are expected to wear makeup, jewelry, heels, and dress up, whereas men only have to put on a pair of slacks and a collared shirt. If a woman were to walk into a job interview with no makeup, no jewelry, wearing a pair of slacks and a casual dress shirt, she wold automatically be judged more harshly than other women who wore makeup, because that’s what our entire society as a whole expects. And that’s a double standard.

It’s all of these double standards and subconscious biases that have the most insidious effects on the individuals subjected to them. It’s why women disproportionately struggle with body image and eating disorders. It’s why Black people are disproportionately arrested, convicted, and incarcerated.

What’s it all got to do with spirituality? I’ll tell you: spirituality is the examination and subsequent integration of the subconscious aspects of ourselves. The very nature of spiritual self-inquiry requires us to examine our subconscious bias.

Spirituality devoid of anti-racism work is not spirituality. Spirituality devoid of anti-misogyny work is not spirituality. It’s spiritual bypassing. The same goes for every other bias you may hold, whether it’s bias toward LGBTQ+, ableism, ageism, xenophobia, or any other kind of ism. As a spiritual person, it is also your duty to help liberate the people who are oppressed by these systems.

Calling Out vs. Calling In

Now that we’ve established what is and isn’t cancelling, and what the grounds for it are, let’s talk about the appropriate way to go about it. Cancel culture is also known as “call out culture,” and lately there’s been some counter movement toward something called “calling in” instead of calling out.

Calling Out: the practice of issuing a direct challenge or criticism of someone’s words, attitudes, or behavior.

Calling In: the practice of engaging in thoughtful discussion about someone’s behavior, asking questions, and attempting to understand their perspective and gently call their bias into question.

Calling out and calling in are both necessary and useful tools for social change. You just have to know when is the right moment to use each one.

Calling out is necessary when someone is in a position of power or authority and they are abusing that power, or they are exhibiting overt bigotry, and even in some cases of covert bias. If we don’t, they continue to abuse that power and authority and harm others, even their own followers in the case of social media influencers. We enable them when we say nothing.

Calling in is useful when it’s obvious that the person is simply ignorant of their own bias (which is literally all of them) and that person is not in a position of power or authority where their behavior can be directly and immediately harmful. It’s easier to call in people who are on the same level as you, with regard to power balances. It’s harder to call in people who are above you. It is absolutely your responsibility to call in people who you are in a direct position of authority over.

As we established at the beginning of this post, some people, especially in the spiritual community, think that calling out is akin to public shaming, and therefore, invalid. Let’s clarify that shame is about who you are and guilt is about what you did. You can call out a person’s actions without shaming them as a bad person. Shame and guilt are naturally occurring human emotions and as such, serve a purpose to motivate us to do better when it isn’t being used by an abuser as a tool to manipulate.

Using spiritual concepts to avoid feelings of guilt or sitting with shame is spiritual bypassing, and not confronting harmful (bigoted or biased) messaging, attitudes, and behaviors when you see them is what allows these structures to continue.

It’s just as important to be aware of your own motivations for calling someone out. Are you doing it to shame, or are you doing it to protect the vulnerable by raising awareness?

 

Xo,

Ash

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Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Over the last four years, I moved away from talking about the mechanics of metaphysics and psychic development and focused solely on the more advanced aspects of spirituality, like emotional states, self-awareness, and trauma healing. I began learning astrology, too! But with my recent post about the intersection of those things–Law of Attraction and abuse–I realized that there’s still a lot of interest about those mechanics, so I thought I’d do a refresher post for anyone who is new here, and perhaps package it all up into one neat blog post.

What is spirituality, anyway?

Metaphysics: a branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality and deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. Metaphysics studies the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.

Spirituality is the convergence point between science, philosophy, and psychology, also known as metaphysics. It is not a religion. You can’t be anti-science and truly be pro spirituality, as science is a fundamental and integral part of spirituality. A lot of so-called spiritual people are very anti-science, though, and that actually becomes a block to their spiritual development because they build a belief system around it and it places them in an unbalanced state. In other words, it keeps them out of alignment.

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll find that anti-science versions of spirituality mimic Christian ideologies. Flat Earth theory, for example, often circulates among groups in the spiritual community. It is incredibly anti-science and its foundational precept is that science is attempting to eliminate “God,” therefore anything related to science can’t be trusted.

This is a belief as old as science itself, when the church felt its dominant power being threatened during the Renaissance period and began persecuting budding scientists right alongside witches and pagans who were also being persecuted for gravitating to spiritual concepts. Several of the great early minds in science, including Isaac Newton, were occultists and the same goes for philosophy and psychology. You have to have a bit of a bent toward mysticism to want to study the nature of reality in all of its forms. And what are those forms?

Science is the physical arm of spirituality (body), while philosophy is the mental portion (logical mind), and psychology is the heart (spirit). The holy trinity. You can’t have a balanced, holistic view of our human experience without all three of them working in unison.

Hence what I said earlier about spiritual people who are anti-science being out of balance. They’ve cut themselves off from learning and integrating information about a fundamental piece of the human experience.

Why is religion considered a belief system and these things aren’t? In a sense, religion attempts to dictate reality through a socio-cultural system of designated behaviors, practices, and morals. On the other hand, science, philosophy, and psychology are the study of reality as it naturally occurs. They make and record objective observations (as objective as one can be). Naturally, as we are still growing and evolving, we are still learning and making observations about the nature of our reality.

Our study is not yet complete, and neither is our model of physics, our understanding of the human mind, or our understanding of the human experience, and it likely won’t be within our lifetime. In the meantime, there exists a gap in scientific knowledge about certain aspects of our experiences, such as those of a spiritual and paranormal nature. Some of the experiences that fall under that umbrella can be explained, if not fully then at least partially, but there’s a small few which have yet to be, including human consciousness, and that is what the majority of spiritualists concern themselves with.

Spiritual Laws of the Universe

A very large part of the foundational principles of spirituality are actually built on science, hence why I say you cannot dismiss science and still be spiritual–you would be denying the understandings of foundations of spirituality itself. There’s several fundamental spiritual laws which are based upon scientific laws, mainly as they apply to consciousness. One must understand several fundamental rules of consciousness as part of their studies of spirituality.

Consciousness

Consciousness is our ability to be self-aware: our thoughts, ideas, beliefs. The intangible aspects of ourselves. What is consciousness made of? Where does it come from? This is what we’re exploring when we talk about spirit.

A fundamental principle of spirituality is that consciousness and energy are one and the same. That means that because everything, even the physical matter in the universe, is made of energy, that everything is also consciousness, even if in a latent, non-aware form.

The general consensus among spiritual thinkers is that consciousness exists in quantum form outside of the body (rather than being produced by the brain itself) and that the brain acts as an antenna of sorts.

Science itself does not yet necessarily recognize this, though we are discovering aspects of quantum mechanics that may hint at it. Some scientists are currently exploring the notion that consciousness as science currently views it is produced at the quantum level inside the brain. Stuart Hameroff and 2020 Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Roger Penrose are two scientists examining this hypothesis.

The Law of Conservation of Energy

The Law of Conservation of Energy: energy in a closed system can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another.

We live in a physical universe where everything is made of energy in various forms. This is a scientific fact (facts are objective scientific observations). From this observation, spiritualists assume that consciousness itself must also be energy. As such, consciousness can neither be created nor destroyed. This is a common explanation for the existence of spirits and an afterlife.

The Law of Karma

The Law of Karma can also be encompassed under a couple of existing scientific principles: the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Action and Reaction.

The law of cause and effect is the foundation of the scientific process as noted by the man I mentioned earlier, Sir Issac Newton. It states that there is a reason for everything that happens. For every effect, there is a cause, whether we know it or not. And likewise, for every cause, there is an effect, which leads us to Newton’s third law: the Law of Action and Reaction. This law states that when two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. In other words, this equal-yet-opposite force is a mechanism through which we experience duality.

You see these forces play out in the concept of karma. Every belief, attitude, and action we take on earth sends out a ripple of energy that effects the physical world around us, including other people: cause and effect. Karmic energy is the after-effects of our words and actions–the legacy we leave behind us. When the negative consequences of our words and actions outweigh the positive consequences of our words and actions, our karmic legacy is unbalanced. Those consequences hold a heavier energy, and that heavy energetic legacy is left behind on earth when we die, both in our culture and the people we had interpersonal relationships with, contributing to the overall energy signature of the collective.

Likewise, our beliefs, attitudes, words, and actions often initiate equal and opposite reactions in the people around us: action and reaction. Opposing political ideologies is one clear example. The opposing force rises up in an effort to balance the karmic energy being left behind on the planet.

Just like the law of conservation of energy states, that heavy karmic energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. We are the ones who transform that energy when we focus on expanding our consciousness and healing the effects that karmic energy has had on ourselves, society, and the planet, thus changing the actions we take and the consequences of them.

Psychology and its various branches, like sociology, are in a way a study of karma, as well as an avenue through which to resolve it.

Time is an Illusion

When people think about karma, they almost always associate it with reincarnation. One of the fundamental beliefs behind the concept of reincarnation is that we must come back to earth in order to balance the karma we left behind in a past life, however, you’ll hear many spiritual teachers telling you that there past and no future, and that the “now” moment is all that exists. So how do we reconcile these two seemingly conflicting notions? Science has the answer!

Thanks to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, we know that our perception of time is intrinsically tied to space and the velocity at which we are moving through it. The faster we are moving, the slower time moves. Once we reach the speed of light, time stops.

Now remember that everything in the universe is made of energy, including consciousness. Light is also energy. In spirituality, we recognize these three things as being one and the same. This means that the energy of your consciousness, also known as your soul, is made up of light. This means that your soul exists at the speed of light. And if your soul exists at the speed of light…that means that it is not bound by time.

Read my previous blog post Time is an Illusion to learn more about this subject.

Therefore, from your soul’s perspective, there is no past or future. Only the present moment. That also means that all of your perceived past and present incarnations all exist concurrently in the present moment, and that the karmic energy of your other lives are being balanced in real-time with your actions in this one.

Now, if you really want to get trippy in terms of karma, you can also take into account the possibility that not only do we have a single reality that we exist in, but also multiple, alternate, parallel realities where some other version of our current and past selves play out additional scenarios of experience other than what we are experiencing from our current perspective, and those experiences are also attempting to balance the karmic energy of other concurrent lives.

As we evolve in this life, we also evolve and balance the karmic energies of all of our connected life experiences. This is why some spiritual teachers say we are here to work off karmic debts and others tell you that you only need to “breathe and be.” Their understanding is coming from two different levels of awareness.

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is another aspect of the Law of Karma which states that like energy attracts like energy. Let me be clear with that distinction: LOA is not like attracts like. That’s overly-simplistic and leads to a lot of misunderstanding. It is like energy attracts like energy.

How things appear on the surface may look similar, however, the underlying energy and intentions can be completely different. For example, you have two people doing psychic readings. The general assumption is that both people are “lightworkers.” However, one of those people is attracted to this position of authority as a means to gain power, control, and fame, and the other is attracted to this position of authority because they see it as a mission and genuinely want to help people heal. The underlying energies are complete opposites.

So if we want to truly understand the law of attraction, we have to understand it in energetic terms: heavy energy attracts heavy energy. Lighter energy attracts lighter energy. The vibrational frequencies of the energies are a match.

Duality comes from the illusion that there exists a lack of love. We call that illusion fear (not to be confused with danger). Fear-based energy is heavy and dense. Thus, fear-based energy manifests as spectrum of polarity (duality).

For example: total control and total submission exist on the same power spectrum and they are both symptoms of a heavier, “negative,” fear-based energy, one being a hunger for power, and the other being a state of feeling powerless. Thus, these two energies attract because they are the same fundamental energy, and give the illusion of opposites attracting.

When a person is embodying the heavy energy of control, they are attracted to people and situations who are embodying the heavy energy of powerlessness. This is how and why abusers seek out individuals with a lack of healthy boundaries. When an abuser meets someone with a healthy sense of boundaries, they will be repelled from being in relationship with that person because that person’s energy is not a match. Once they test those boundaries and recognize that they can’t consistently penetrate them without consequence, they will move on until they find someone who is easier to exploit.

Trauma energy is unprocessed fear that is lodged in our energy bodies. It manifests as fear-based beliefs, low self-esteem, and chronic anxiety, depression, hate, anger, etc. When that trauma has to do with a family or a social group, we call it generational or ancestral karma.

When we transmute that energy and convert it into a lighter form, that looks like healing trauma, dissolving and releasing energy blockages, having shifts in perspective and awareness, and increasing our self-esteem and capacity for empathy. One might describe this as resolving or releasing karma.

When one has healed that trauma and released the fear-based energy and programming, they will no longer attract those dualistic power dynamics, because they won’t tolerate them. Thus, a person with healthy boundaries is attracted to situations and partners who respect those boundaries.

When we are unaware of or avoiding our trauma, those repeated dualistic experiences trigger us into to recognizing our trauma energy. These repeated experiences are like re-breaking a bone in order for it to be set and healed correctly. When we aren’t paying attention or aren’t aware of the opportunity for healing, the universe and our subconscious mind, via the Law of Attraciton, keeps leading us back into situations and relationships that repeating the patterns to get our attention. Once you start to pay attention, you’re able to engage in the process consciously and end the pattern.

Triggering is a psychological term related to trauma and should not be confused with casual use in spirituality. Learn more.

In this way, you can look at the Law of Attraction as the mechanism through which we experience karma, and psychology as the avenue we use to heal karma and harness the Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction is not how we create karma and it is not a punishment for our actions. It’s just a force of nature, like gravity. It exists independently from the human (dualistic) concepts of “good” and “bad.”

So how do we come to create karma and hold trauma energy in the first place?

Read my post on Abuse and the Law of Attraction to learn more about this and the fundamentals behind LOA.

Karma is once again the culprit–the cause and effect of other people’s beliefs and actions, and the societal structures and cultures built around those beliefs throughout history. Unhealed trauma energy begets more trauma energy. It gets handed down from generation to generation. Karma was here before you and it will be here after you, and your actions while you are here contribute to the collective karmic energy on earth and within our own societies and familial lineages.

Therefore, the way for us to end this cycle is for all of us to focus on healing our personal trauma and changing the societal systems and cultures that perpetuate that trauma.

That, my friends, is the mechanics of spirituality in a nutshell.

I hope you learned a lot from this post about how science, psychology, and various aspects of spirituality are interrelated. I highly recommend reading the additional posts I recommended, as they will expand your understanding of these concepts.

Xo,

Ash

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The Divine Feminist

The Divine Feminist

The Divine Feminist

I was lazing around the house the other day when I had a highdea–more like an epiphany, actually.

A lot of what I’ve been writing about for the last three years is feminism, but through a spiritual lens. I’ve always associated third wave feminism with the rise of the Divine Feminine, but through that lens, I’ve seen feminism as not just a movement for women, but a movement for everyone.

Patriarchy is the suppression of the Divine Feminine essence within each of us (and as a consequence, the feminine bodies around us).

Learn about the Divine Feminine.

The Divine Feminine is our emotions, our empathy, our intuition, our pleasure, and our connection to the divine in ourselves and the universe. Without the feminine, we would not be able to know, feel, or recognize that we are all connected, and that we are all one with the greater force of the universe which is Love.

We have created a culture where the feminine essence is persecuted, condemned, suppressed, and ridiculed, especially within men. When the connection to the feminine essence is severed, it creates a deep core wound. And then those men (and many times women as well), cut off from their connection with universal Love and operating from that core wound, perpetrate acts of abuse, violence and oppression, whether overt and obvious or subtle and insidious, as a means to control and dominate others (slipping into their toxic masculine energy).

When we talk about the rise of the Divine Feminine, we aren’t only talking about female bodies. We’re talking about the feminine essence in all of us–a reconnection to our emotions, our empathy, our intuition, and our divine selves.

Only with this counterbalance can the masculine essence be recalibrated to its true purpose, which is to protect the vulnerable, not control them, dismiss them, or otherwise disempower them.

Divine Feminism

Divine Feminism is the intersection between the Divine Feminine and feminism.

Divine Feminism recognizes the feminine in all of us. It doesn’t expect women OR MEN to disregard their femininity as a means to obtain power in a patriarchal society. It celebrates femininity and recognizes its value.

Divine Feminism doesn’t expect or encourage women OR MEN to embody patriarchal ideals or gender roles.

Divine Feminism is anti-toxic-masculinity, whether it shows up in men or women or someone who identifies as neither. It recognizes the importance of a healthy inner-masculine.

Learn about the Divine Masculine.

As such, Divine Feminism values critical thinking, integrity, and leadership just as much as it values vulnerability and openess.

The Divine Feminist is a self-contained human being.

Xo,

Ash

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Belief and Manifestation

Belief and Manifestation

Belief and Manifestation

Happy Sunday! Just wanted to say a quick thanks to everybody who joined us on Facebook for the Full Moon Releasing Ceremony. Apologies for the poor audio quality–we’re learning. Misty and I will be making more videos in the future and eventually we’ll get the kinks worked out. Now that we’ve done the releasing for this full moon, I think we’re going to do a manifestation ceremony for the new moon coming up. I’ll keep you updated with details.

Another announcement: I contributed an article on crystals to boost your personal bliss to this month’s issue of Ista Magazine by The Decorista. Hop over and check it out.


Question from a reader:

“Hey Ashley! I’ve been reading about manifestation a lot and how our fundamental/subconscious beliefs draw experiences to us. After realizing what we subconsciously believe, what’s the best way to change it? For example, I’m realizing I’ve always believed that God won’t give me the things I want–I’ve entwined “struggle” with God’s will. Is it best to work “top down” with mantras? Or is there another way?”

First, for the readers who are unfamiliar, I want to address manifestation/Law of Attraction for a minute. People often get confused when it comes to Law of Attraction because they think of “like attracts like” in very literal terms: “If someone is being mean to me, it means I am mean,” or something of that nature, but that’s a little bit too literal.

Others will tell you that you attract what you already feel, energetically. “I’m feeling upset and sad so I’m attracting more things and people that will make me feel upset and sad.” That’s getting closer, but still a little bit too literal, and way too surface level.

Let’s take away the concept of “positive” and “negative” energy for a moment and just look at it as energy that is on the same frequency, whatever frequency that may be.

While it is emotional energy that is attracting like energy, it’s a much deeper, more subconscious form of energy that resides in beliefs and attitudes that we hold–the most fundamental beliefs and attitudes that are the foundation of all of our other, more surface level beliefs and attitudes.

A lot of the time, we don’t even realize that we hold those beliefs and attitudes even though we play them out in a myriad of ways day in and day out. For example, let’s say that deep down, you don’t feel worthy of love. That’s the most basic (negative) belief you hold about yourself and it’s the foundation of all kinds of other negative beliefs. Pretend that is the cornerstone, the first brick laid in the foundation of your ego.

The next brick that stems from not feeling worthy of love is, “I’m a bad person,” (i.e. I’m not worthy of love because I’m a bad person).

The next brick is, “I did something wrong,” (i.e. I did something wrong because I’m a bad person and that’s why I’m not worthy of love).

The next brick is, “This is my fault,” (This is my fault, I did something wrong because I’m a bad person and that’s why I’m not worthy of love).

You see, you begin to create a narrative–a personal story–out of these beliefs. But nobody really wants to think that they’re a bad person so they repress those thoughts and push them out of their mind, but they still reside in their subconscious as beliefs. Only now, the person has begun to ignore it. We call this the shadow self.

When these thoughts and beliefs and the emotions surrounding them become repressed and we’re not aware of them, we begin to project. In this instance, it might come out as someone who feels like a victim all the time. The subconscious narrative of, “This is my fault,” turns into, “Everybody blames me for everything.” This is so that the ego doesn’t have to bear the responsibility any longer (even though it’s the one holding the beliefs in the first place).

Now this person has this narrative of, “Everybody blames me for everything,” that they repeat over and over in a variety of situations, consistently reinforcing their own negative view of self, and at the root of it is the belief that they are somehow inherently flawed and they may even subconsciously feel responsible even when it’s not their fault! So they keep creating situations that reflect back to them this belief they hold about themselves.

As we dig through those layers and dismantle our belief system, brick by brick, we slowly reach the cornerstone and it’s through that process that we are able to change our most fundamental beliefs and attitudes.

Sometimes, simply uncovering and acknowledging those beliefs is enough to release them. Other times, they are deeply ingrained and we have to reprogram ourselves, in a way, in order to let go. That’s when mantras can be helpful. Sometimes those beliefs are resultant from trauma, in which case therapy can be helpful.

I wouldn’t really say that there’s a ‘best’ way to go about it, just your way. Play around with things and figure out what works for you. I’d recommend a holistic approach to it. Use mantras, do a releasing ceremony, figure out which chakra that particular belief is associated with and get yourself a crystal to help balance that energy, enlist the help of an energy worker, and work toward changing your internal narrative. Keep those things up consistently and eventually you will notice a change.

Xo,

Ash

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The Divine Feminist

Why Fear-Based Belief Systems Are Distorted

Why Fear-Based Belief Systems Are Distorted

Question from a reader:

“Ash, I like your posts on Facebook, and just visited your site. Please explain what you mean when you refer to being a “fear-based” psychic.”

This is a really great question topic and I’ve written a lot of material on fear-based beliefs which I’ll link here for your referral.

Essentially what it boils down to is, spirit tells us that love is the foundation of the universe and everything in it is made of love and there is nothing here that is not love. That’s kind of “Rule #1 of the Universe.”

When we incarnate here, though, we forget who we really are (that we are love and that everything is love) and in that forgetfulness, we have the perception that there is a lack of love–that love is scarce. From that perception comes fear and self-doubt, and then we act from a place of fear, scarcity, and self-doubt, thereby creating a world built on fear and scarcity that confirms our inner-feelings of fear, scarcity and self-doubt, and our inner thoughts and feelings are then “manifested” and reflected back to us in the world around us, like a self-fulfilling prophecy both in our personal lives through the relationships we have and the jobs we work and within the society that we live in through the systems of oppression we participate in and are affected by.

Fear-Based Belief Systems

A person lives in a fear-based belief system when they have not yet remembered who they really are and still cling to fearful beliefs and perceptions. Fear-based belief systems are rooted in duality–the concept that there is a polarization of good and evil. They have not yet recognized that the foundation of the Universe is love, and the only thing that makes it appear as fear is their own limited understanding of it.

To be clear, I’m saying that this disconnect from who and what we really are is what has contributed to the society that we live in, which then self-perpetuates those belief systems, manifesting physical systems of oppression and insecurity. The moment that we, as a collective, fully recognize that this scarcity of love is an illusion is the moment we stop acting from that place and we stop oppressing one another and inflicting harm, both on ourselves and each other.

Fear in this context–the fear that we are not good enough, fear of rejection, unworthiness, fear of not doing enough, or being enough–is not real or tangible. It is an idea that exists only in the mind and the only thing that allows it to exist there is the limited understanding of the nature of the self and the universe–that it is all love, and it can never not be love, thus it can never fear, for fear is the absence of love.

If the entire universe and everything in it is founded on love, then there can never be an absence of love. Fear, in this regard is an illusion.

So, that being said, everyone has a belief system and that belief system is essentially how that person perceives and interprets meaning in the world around them. How negative or how positive that perception is will be based on the degree to which that person has come to understand the universal truth that love is all there is.

Do you believe that the Universe wants humanity to thrive and flourish? Or do you believe that the Universe is indifferent? Or do you believe that God wants to punish us? Those are examples of core beliefs and attitudes that shape how we find meaning in our lives.

Do not confuse fear with danger. Danger is very real and tangible. Learn the difference in this post.

You Perceive What You Believe

Every psychic is human, and thus, are subject to that same rules as the rest of us. They all have belief systems, too, and those belief systems affect how they see and interpret psychic information.

You see, the thing is, what you believe in, you create. That is one of the (very few) rules of the Universe. When you live in a fear-based belief system, you see things that you don’t understand as being scary and fearful. You place that fearful belief on those things and then you begin to create them in that fearful image.

Let’s take “evil” spirits, for example. If everything in the universe is love, then there can be no evil, for evil is the absence of love (it’s fear-based). People may do evil things, because they have not yet remembered that they are love, but again, it is only their perception that there is a lack of love which drives them to act in accordance to that belief.

So, perhaps a person with a fear-based belief system comes across an entity that they perceive as negative. They then label this spirit as evil, a demon, etc. and treat it as though it is something to be feared, something that can harm you, etc. And yet all of these thing are beliefs. They BELIEVE it is evil, they BELIEVE it is something to be feared (because they are fearful, themselves) and they BELIEVE it can harm them. And what you believe, you perceive.

But love is all there is. Spirit also tells us that WE ARE ONE. That “evil” spirit, is just an aspect of YOU. You are literally afraid of a part of yourself.

Our Experience Is Not Objective

We often place great faith in our own personal experiences and the experience of others–especially people who we perceive as being in a position of spiritual authority, such as a psychic or channel. If someone who is a psychic experienced it, it must be true, right? If I experienced it, it must be true, right? But what your experience is entirely dependent on what you believe? And any experience that places you in a state of fear is a distortion of universal truth.

Love is the absolute truth. At least, that is MY belief. 🙂 It is what I choose. It is also what every spiritual teacher tells us. Duality–good vs. evil, dark vs. light–is merely an illusion for the benefit of our own spiritual growth and expansion.

Psychics Have Belief Systems, Too

So when you have a psychic reading, or you are reading something from some channeled entity, and what they are telling you places you in a state of fear–if it comes from the belief that there is good and there is evil, that there is dark and there is light, and that these forces are somehow in opposition to one another, battling it out, then you know that it is not coming from a place of oneness.

If it is coming from a dualistic viewpoint, it is coming from a perspective inside the illusion of fear.

If it were coming from a place of oneness, it would tell you that there is NOTHING to fear.

Love is all there is.

Xo,

Ash

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