Nonduality: Binary Thinking and Divine Dichotomies

Nonduality: Binary Thinking and Divine Dichotomies

Nonduality: Binary Thinking and Divine Dichotomies

For those who haven’t heard me mention it before, I’m a follower of nonduality. Being a nondualist means that I recognize that the binary way that we perceive existence (black and white, good and evil, this and that) are not just merely two sides of the same coin, but in many cases are what Neale Donald Walsch termed “divine dichotomies,” where two seemingly opposing things can both be true, simultaneously–or–they cancel each other out and neither are true (which is, itself, yet another divine dichotomy…).

For example, a universal Truth: either EVERYONE is special, or NO ONE is special. Both are simultaneously true, it’s merely a matter of which way you choose to look at it. This is a divine dichotomy.

If everyone is, in fact, special, then it literally means that by definition, no one is. This is another divine dichotomy.

We live in a world of duality that tells us everything is an either/or… but what if it’s a yes/and?

Having a shit load of Mercury influence in my astrology chart (including a Gemini Ascendant, Chiron, and North Node, a third house Moon and Mars, a Virgo Sun, and a sixth house Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus), I have a knack for exploring and recognizing both (or many) sides of binary thinking and perceptions.

I saw an Instagram post a while back that was tackling toxic positivity and shaming of negative emotions that said, “Don’t look on the bright side. Don’t focus on the positive. Don’t see the good in everything. Don’t look at the silver lining.” etc. with the implication of “just be with where you are.” And then I saw another that argued there’s no need to “reframe” failure as an opportunity or learn something from it and instead, we can just be ok with failing. 

And I thought about it for a bit, and I thought, why not do both? Isn’t that the whole picture?

Why does acknowledging a shadow mean you can’t look at the silver lining? Why does seeing the good in everything mean you have to ignore the negative? Why does acknowledging a person’s awfulness mean that you can’t also acknowledge their inherent humanness? Why does sitting with our own emotions mean we can’t acknowledge those of the person who hurt us? It is, after all, a sign of emotional intelligence to recognize that other people have feelings, too. Even shitty people. Why do we think that we can only feel love OR hate? Why can’t we love someone AND hate them at the same time (I certainly have)?  Are our own feelings not complex enough to hold two seemingly opposing emotions simultaneously?

Why can’t we acknowledge how all-encompassing and complex our human experience is? Why do we have to oversimplify our experiences into one thing OR another? WHY CAN’T WE DO OR BE BOTH?!

This idea that we have the capacity to hold seemingly opposing perspectives and emotions simultaneously has been a theme that has come up for me several times in the last few months and I’ve noticed more and more how our world does not necessarily operate from that holistic point of view. I do, however, think that’s part and parcel to the spiritual journey to explore both ends of a spectrum until we eventually reach equilibrium. I know I have.

I think part of our goal in transcending the illusion of duality is to recognize how binary thinking shows up in our everyday life, begin to recognize when two things can be simultaneously true, and learn to expand our awareness and emotional capacity to encompass multiple perspectives and experiences.

Xo,

Ash

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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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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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Spiritual Politics

Spiritual Politics

Spiritual Politics

Many of you know that I have a very conservative, religious upbringing. One of the things that always bothered me about many of the churches I attended growing up was pastors who preached politics. Many of them endorsed political candidates (always the republican candidate) and essentially encouraged their congregations to vote for that candidate, outlining all of the reasons why they were “god’s chosen candidate.”

Since the pandemic began, I’ve begun to see many alleged spiritual teachers doing and saying the exact same things, largely driven by QAnon. And this, once again, rubs me the wrong way.

Learn more about how QAnon infected the wellness community and what you can do about it.

No true teacher should be telling you who to vote for. They should encourage you to think for yourself. No true teacher should be laying out what you should believe and then say, “But I’ll let you decide for yourself,” because that’s leading the audience.

True spiritual teachers understand that the political saga playing out on partisan news television is a game that exists within the illusion of duality. Binary opposites: Left vs. Right. Republican vs. Democrat. Liberal vs. Conservative. This is the matrix. As long as one exists, its opposite will rise up to meet it, until we transcend the illusion and recognize that we are a single community and what is best for the most vulnerable among us is what is best for the whole.

Learn more about how separation consciousness shows up masked as spirituality and opposing politics.

What we are attempting to do here, now, is dismantle this system and build a completely new one. It does not look like capitalism. It does not look like socialism. It does not look like communism. It looks like something completely new that has never existed.

As we’ve witnessed, one person can, in a very short period of time, almost completely destroy decades of perceived progress. I say perceived because if it were truly transformative change, rather than performative, it wouldn’t have been burned down so easily.
 
Getting to the point where we even had the semblance of change took lifetimes of work from activists who never quit. They tried to enact change from the top-down, but because that change only occurred at the top, populism was still able to take hold and allow the past to rear its ugly head. So If you think that the kind of deeply transformative change we need in this country is as simple as voting for the next president, you are sorely mistaken. That kind of change has to come from the bottom up. No single person, no political Jesus, is going to swoop in and fix it. It’s almost silly that we expect a single administration, in mere four to eight years, to repair an entire society that was built on oppression and still operates from the cyclical trauma inflicted by that oppression.
 
That kind of deep change is for us, the people to do–not by simply casting a single vote for a person already entrenched in the system and expecting them to fix it, but by being the change you want to see. By inhabiting the consciousness that we purport to believe in. By no longer looking outside of ourselves for solutions, but by being the solution.

What does that look like?

It looks like taking responsibility for the change you want to see by implementing it in yourself and your own community. It looks like reaching out to each other, such as supporting or creating organizations within your community that aid the people most affected by systemic oppression. It looks like supporting one another in times of need in whatever way you can. For example, people are in financial trouble right now, but are offering their services on a pay-what-you-can basis anyway, and those who aren’t in financial trouble giving more to help them, or sending other people who can pay to them, to help keep each other afloat. That’s what community looks like. We don’t do it because we benefit from it, we do it because it’s the right thing to do for the good of everyone. It looks like an intrinsically-driven system built from the ground up, not a mandated top-down system implemented by a government.

Learn how certain political ideologies are rooted in separation consciousness.

It looks like uniting with each other and standing in our true power. It looks like creative problem solving at the local level. It looks like grassroots-led movements. It looks like something completely new that we have to build because it doesn’t not yet exist on this planet.

These are all Aquarian themes that we will see as we ramp up to the Age of Aquarius, as soon as Pluto is finished laying waste to all of the shadow energy of Capricorn (greed and selfishness in government and economic systems).

Learn more about the political and social changes we can expect in the Age of Aquarius.

What we need is each other.

But for as long as we, as a collective, continue to seek solutions externally by expecting someone else to do the work or come and save us, we will stay on exactly the same path we’ve been on. Thinking Donald Trump or Joe Biden, or whoever the fuck ends up on the ballots is going to save the world without you having to lift a finger is no different than sitting around and waiting for Jesus to come back or the aliens to land and rescue all of humanity from itself.

If any spiritual leaders are telling you to believe that the system is going to catch you right now, advocating for things to go “back to normal,” or to believe that any single political party or candidate will fix everything, then they are a part of the system. That is old paradigm and it is dead. Do not cling to what is crumbling before your very eyes.

What we perceived as “normal” was a broken shit show, and nothing that was an intrinsic part of that broken shit show is going to survive the next four years.

This is new paradigm. We are our own saviors. And do not let any spiritual teacher tell you otherwise.

Xo,

Ash

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