Friday, November 22, 2013

If you can laugh at yourself, you'll never feel needlessly embarrassed again!

An old saying tells us that "Laughter is the best medicine," and it's absolutely true. Our feelings have a tremendous effect on our health and wellness, and genuine laughter is the expression of one of the best possible feelings we can have- joy! 

Since embarrassment is basically the antithesis to joy, the feeling of lone shame and fear of public scrutiny, the ability to laugh at our own selves is absolutely vital towards feeling well and inwardly balanced. 

Laughter cures humiliation. By this, I don't mean that when we slip up or make mistakes we should scoff at ourselves, or have an outburst of sardonic cynicism; I mean, we should genuinely enjoy the joke played in life, even when the joke's on us. By doing this, we can go beyond ego; we can go beyond the typical feeling of separationwe ordinarily experience, the 'dvaita' duality of 'self versus others,' and instead rise into a feeling of inclusivity with everyone else, the 'advaita' non-duality of realizing we are all in this together. With the mirth of the laughing Buddha, and the selfless surrender likened to the saints who know that we are not our own selves, but expressions of the Divine Self, we must laugh merrily in those situations that would ordinarily make us want to crawl into a corner and hide. The witness can laugh at life; the struggler cannot. When even your own life is something about which you have awareness, when you witness your own thoughts, actions and experiences, you will be able to enjoy it so much more fully. Laughter is the technique and the result. To utilize this technique and realize this as a result all you have to do is be aware of yourself. The next time you find yourself in an "embarrassing" moment, look deeply, and find the humour in the situation. Laugh at yourself! When I say "laugh at yourself," I don't mean to imply that you should all be self deprecating, no. I mean, be grateful for the humour in those little jokes life makes of which you are the butt.

The title of this blog is something I "Tweeted" last week after scrolling through my past YouTube videos, and finding that one particular Q&A from last year had a rather... um... unfortunate thumbnail:

For a split second, I felt that lightheaded sensation of pure embarrassment I'm sure we've all had from time to time, as I realized that this video still (which awkwardly mixes the cliched facial expression of a sleazy used car salesman with the elegant Hindu finery I had worn in celebration of Deepavali, for a final result that looks pretentious and preposterous,) had represented "me" in the world of YouTube for over a year. But after a very short moment of cringing, the enlightened realization that there is no separate "me" returned, and the true hilarity of this ridiculous picture took effect. As a witness to the absurdity of the fact that this comical expression had somehow slipped past my information editing and made it into search engines everywhere played out like a comedy, and I simply erupted in laughter. (The YouTube fates hath made me to laugh so that all who see this can laugh with me!) No embarrassment, just enjoyment. It was then that I composed the Tweet, and very nearly shared this screen shot there, but decided to save it for a blog, so as to allow for a bit of expansion on the topic.

Two years ago, while I was in India, I made a short guided meditation video in the garden of the Rajarajeshwari temple called "Let Go of Embarrassment to Overcome Ego." In that video, embarrassment is overcome by flooding embarrassing memories and ideas with awareness to the point that the realization of self beyond public scrutiny is realized:

About a week after this video was published, I received an email from one of my dear viewers, Jenn, (the lovely organizer of my Vancouver events, who has a wonderful blog of her own that I highly encourage you to read here!) shared an experience: after watching the video, she was confident within herself that she had completely overcome any tendencies towards the ego of embarrassment. However, as life often tests us on those very things about which we have newfound confidence, the very next day, she found herself in an embarrassing situation: she got herself a hot cocoa during a break in a large work related seminar, then realized everyone else in attendance had returned to their seats and the program was starting up again. Hurrying to get back to her place, her pant leg caught in her heel, and she tripped and fell, spilling the hot chocolate all over herself! Meditation or not, she felt intense embarrassment. (Imagine, a conference hall full of business professionals all watched this happen.) In time, though, she remembered the meditation, and came out of the humiliation, recovered her true self, and now, I'm sure, two years later, she's able to laugh at this and more!

Like this, I invite you to think back on your own life, and recall any moments in which you felt truly, deeply mortified. As you reexamine these experiences, look deeply until the humour becomes obvious, and when it does, laugh! Innocently, lovingly, and free of self-consciousness, laugh! And, if you're feeling bold and eager to welcome others to laugh with you (not at you!) share your embarrassing story as a comment here! I may read it in an upcoming video.

To get the ball rolling and to (hopefully) give you a couple laughs, allow me to share two stories of embarrassment:

First, something I witnessed in a cafe in Vancouver in 2007:

One morning, on my way to work, I stopped in a busy cafe in front of a street that was being expanded through road work. About five spots ahead of me in the queue was a lady in uniform who was clearly a member of the roadwork team- she wore the reflective orange uniform and hard hat. After placing her order, she went outside, most likely to tell her coworkers that their coffee would be right out. Her order was up before she returned, and since it was a lot of coffee, there wasn't room on the waiting counter to hold all of it. Now, it just so happened that the barista was an exchange student from Japan, and though her English was very good, she had not yet mastered all the idiosyncrasies and nuances of the language. After glancing around the cafe, she called, "Street lady! Street lady! Your order is ready!" Everyone in line started to chuckle, and quickly, the manager of the shop rushed to her. I heard him say, "Dear, in Canada, the phrase 'street lady' means 'homeless lady.' Our customer is a lady who works on the street, but she's not a street lady." The humble employee reddened with embarrassment, and meekly said, "Oh, I hope I did not offend her." Her boss reassured her that the customer hadn't heard, and walked away. Still eager to fulfill the order, the coffee shop girl tried again, this time calling, "Five coffees for the lady who works the streets! Hey- lady who works the street- come get your coffee!" That time, not only the customers in line, but also the manager himself, burst out laughing! Through his wails, he explained to the girl, "'Works the streets' is even worse than 'street lady.' It implies that our customer is a prostitute..."

And now, my own story of embarrassment; this is possibly the funniest scene ever to have played out in my life. (In 2008, about a year before my true spiritual quest intensified and led to my higher realizations... in other words, before I learned to 'Unclutch' and humiliation was still humiliating!)

Once, about a week after I had started work at a shop on Granville Island called Dragonspace, my boss and I were behind the counter enjoying a little mid afternoon break. She was sitting on a little shelf, and I was standing casually, leaning forward with my elbows on the front desk and my back turned to her, relaxed, but ready to greet anyone who might enter the empty store. Birgit was telling me about her dog, Louie, who had recently gone to the vet with swollen anal glands. In detail, she explained to me how the vet had treated the poor dog, but that his symptoms weren't going away. Finally, she said that on her last visit to the animal clinic, she was told that she would have to wear a special glove, and reach in to give Louie rectal massages to reduce the swelling. She was really into her story, and completely hidden from the sight of the windows and the front door behind the tall opaque counter, so she didn't notice a quiet young family walk in, and she didn't see me smile to greet them. Instead, just as I was about to stand upright again and ask how they were doing, she blurted out emphatically, from the hidden spot directly behind me, "No! No way! No matter how much I love you, I am NOT sticking my fingers in your butt!" Of course, she said that in response to the vet in her story who had instructed her to do this for her four legged friend, but to the shocked and appalled parents and the three confused little children whom they were quickly ushering out the door whilst giving me very dirty and disapproving looks of scorn, it seemed as though I had tried to pressure my coworker to do something abominable... Only when the door slammed behind them and the little bell rang, she went quiet, and asked, "Um... when did they walk in?" I was so desperate to try to repair my tarnished reputation in the minds of these five complete strangers that I tried, in vain, to chase them down the boardwalk and explain what they had heard,  but as soon as they turned to see me calling, "wait," they rushed around the corner and ran. (Yes, that's how deplorable I seemed in their eyes...) Rather than make a further mockery of myself, I slunk back into the shop, where my boss was verily rolling on the floor in laughter... finally, after a few minutes of cheek-burning, my reluctance to see the humour in the situation overtook me, and I laughed, too. (But still, for the next few months, any time a memory of the incident creeped up, I would blush and recoil, wondering whether these people ever told their friends or relatives about the perversions going on behind the Dragonspace counter...)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Can't find your passion in life? Look to your childhood for the answer!

Namaste dear reader,

I'm writing this blog in response to one of my most frequently asked questions: What should I DO?

Many people ask me what they should do with their time besides watch television, flip through magazines, surf the internet, and shop. They're eager to start some kind of hobby, or, even better, revamp their career so that it's in tune with their true inner nature, but they're not sure where to start. We've all heard masters and spiritual teachers say again and again, "follow your excitement," and "follow your bliss!" But when it comes to applying that advice in life practically, how can we discern what our excitement and bliss actually is?

In a world gone commercial, where we're encouraged to watch the latest movies and lust after the most popular consumer products, it's hard to discern a passion unrelated to societal peer pressure. We're indoctrinated into thinking that our excitement should revolve around the latest trends, but when we try to keep up to date wearing the latest fashions, buying the newest gadgets, and watching the most popular television shows, we often feel overwhelmed and empty, because none of these things are truly related to our own genuine inner space; they are borrowed desires, not natural ones. Even when outwardly it seems a person is "keeping up" with the pop culture world, a part of them knows, inwardly, that something about it feels wrong. The inner alarm bells go off, and he or she experiences an intense urge to start doing what's actually right. Thus begins the quest to discern life's calling.

A calling is a unique knowing of what must be done in life in order to feel fulfilled. For example, some people excel and enjoy living their lives as writers, counsellors, teachers, doctors, engineers, architects, dancers, choreographers, nuns and priests, sannyasis and sannyasinis, paramedics, musicians, gardeners, chefs, mothers, fathers and more! We can tell that this is their calling by the joy with which they describe their professions. Likewise, many enjoy hobbies like gardening, flower arranging, origami, dog training, quilting, colouring, baking... Hobbies, too, can be a part of a person's calling, and often, hobbies can become lucrative pastimes, often eventually replacing the "job" once worked to support the hobby.

And yet, many people fall into a slump of frustration at the thought of the work they do because they're not expressing the joy of their passion, nor even sharing their understanding, but instead, are jumping through hoops laid out by others with whom they don't even agree just to pay bills. A block has been built up in the minds of many that when people grow up, they must stop doing what's fun, and instead, start working for a living. When they're not working, instead of enjoying fulfilling hobbies, many people exhaustedly flop onto the couch and watch television or read magazines, or play video games, because they simply lack the motivation to do anything else, and besides that, feel mentally and emotionally exhausted after a day at a much maligned job. Some people have asked me, "does everyone necessarily even have a passion?" because they can't seem to find anything that really drives their inspiration. The answer, of course, is "yes!" Everyone has a passion; everyone has something they love to do and that excites them to share with others. Simply, we, as a society, have forgotten that because it's we have been conditioned into thinking distraction is better than living; that watching characters interact on a screen is better than living our lives. That picking outfits from the pages of glossy magazines is better than sewing our own and developing a creative style. That hobbies and pastimes are reserved for children and the retired, and even then, only to those lucky souls who "find" their creativity and excitement.

How does one overcome this conditioning and live his or her true excitement in life? How does one discern the hobbies, jobs and expressions that form the prarabdha karma (the portion of one's soul's storehouse of karma meant to be completed in this very lifetime) we're really meant to live?

As the title of this blog suggests, the truth of who we are, what we love, and what we're called to do, can be found by thinking back clearly on our childhood!

Right now, even before reading further, take a moment to look within yourself and answer these questions:

(Writing them down on a piece of paper will help you put them into practice later, and also makes a great little bookmark or note-to-self to carry around as a reminder!)

- As a child, did you love to play outside? Draw, paint, colour, model with clay and play dough? Cut paper snowflakes and make crafts?

- As a child, did you like to play music, learn instruments, sing, dance, tap your fingers, hum, whistle and listen to songs?

- As a child, did you enjoy going to church or temple, praying, listen to stories from the Scriptures, contemplate God or meditate on the mysteries of life?

- As a child, did you enjoy writing stories or poems, did you keep a journal, read books, have others read to you?

- Did you love to go to theatre, or act in plays? Did you eagerly await a solo in the school Christmas Concert or other pageants?

- As a child, did you love animals? Did you wish to care for them and help them?

- As a child, did you love other children, and look forward to taking care of those littler than you?

- As a child, were you very social? Did you love playing with friends, visiting family, going to parties, telling stories, presenting things in Show and Tell?

- As a child, did you love to explore nature? To go on walks, play in fields, look at bugs and plants under a magnifying glass, watch the clouds, catch butterflies, hold ladybugs and blow the seeds old dandelions?

- As a child, did you build forts with cushions, make paper airplanes, build structures in lego, make snow forts or makeshift tents out of sticks?

- As a child, were you curious about the human body? Did you love to learn about which foods are nutritious, which exercises help which muscles health, why water and fresh air refresh the body, and how the inner organs work?

- As a child, were you very introverted? Did you like to spend time by yourself, thinking, looking at the stars, gazing out the window, wondering about the world?

- Were you extroverted, socializing and talking to whoever wanted to listen?

- Did you have a unique childhood passion (unrelated to television, video games and purchased toys, of course!) that I didn't list? If so, what was it?

For a few moments, contemplate on all this, and write down the interests that captivated you most. Let this list you've made not be finite, but continue to add to it as wonderful memories of the things you used to love to do come back to you! And, of course, if you're not doing any of those things now, start to creatively figure out how they can be immediately applied to your life once again!

Let me give a few examples:

If as a child, you used to build forts in your living room, and design structures out of lego, you have a clear calling and passion for architecture, engineering, model-making, repair work and building, and hands-on projects. If you're in an office job but yearn to be "making" things, start right now to build in your spare time! This could mean anything from refurbishing furniture for your home, to making toys for little ones whom you know, to even signing up for classes more in line with the field of work you're more passionate about doing!

If as a child you loved stories and books, and you kept a journal, but now, you're working as a salesperson, start writing again! Either journal, write poems, or even start a blog where others can peruse the things you're keen to share. Thanks to the internet, everybody can be a writer now, and have interaction with readers! (I can tell you from my own first-hand experience even with this blog here, it's a very fulfilling feeling to share something, and later discover that others have benefited from it!)

If as a child, you were passionate about health and the workings of the human body, yet now you're job is in law or something totally unrelated, it may prove exciting and inspiring for you to look into medical hobbies once again! Research more about nutrition, exercise, and put to practice what you learn. As with the suggestion to those engineers-to-be, you may even consider going back to school and learning a form of healing practice, whether it be medicine, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, or even massage therapy, herbal treatments, colour therapy, aromatherapy, etc.

Basically, my point in this writing and advice to you is this: if you feel like you're not doing what you're meant to do, and wish to start living more in tune with your true self, know that you can really find and live your calling. You can reconnect with yourself and with your passions. With the right effort and belief in yourself, anything you loved doing as a child, and dreamed of doing "when you grow up," you can start doing now. Begin as a hobby, and let it evolve!

In this list you make of things you loved doing most as a little one, before the pressure to get graded and pass in school, or earn money to pay your way in the life as an adult, were imposed upon you and started to drive your motivation, you can find the key to your life! By expressing your genuine passions, you will discover what it is to be yourself, and to contribute something unique to the world!

When in doubt, and if you're having trouble remembering clearly what you loved doing as a little one, go through an old family photo album! Ask your parents to share with you what they remember you doing, and consider how it can be applied now.

Also, I'm not just saying all this as a hypothesis. Truly, I know that the passions people have in their youth evolve into and represent the path they are meant to live in life. In these photos taken by my dear mother, you can clearly see the parallel between my childhood passions and my life's work:

Then: in the above picture was taken the very first time I held a felt pen. From that moment on throughout my childhood and even my teen years, one of my absolute favourite things to do was draw. 

Now: as a way to bring that lifelong passion for art into my adult life, I've published four art books- two colouring books, and two collector books filled with lines, dots, swirls and sweeps of design that I love to make, and that inspire others to become artists, too. 

(Check out my Colouring Club for more!)

Then: After drawing, music (especially spontaneous piano composition!) was my next creative childhood passion! 

Now: This has been carried into my adulthood through simply continuing to do it! (Not professionally or for profit, but as a hobby, outside of my writing and speaking career. Two videos featuring my compositions can be found on YouTube here.) (The lovely painting in the background is my auntie Mary Lynn, which she painted from one of her own childhood photos when she was in university.)

Then: I loved God with a passion for as long as I can remember. Truly, from the first time my mum taught me a bed-time prayer, thoughts of God were never far from my young little mind. In my earliest years, instead of thinking of Sunday Mass as a chore or an interruption in the weekend, I thought of it as a joyful celebration, and I dreamed of one day becoming an alter server. I would make my own pretend alter server paraphernalia, including two faux-candles, a large cross on a pole, and a rope belt with a white towel for a robe, and dressing in these, would solemnly march up and down my grandparents' corridor. When older relatives asked what I was doing, I told them that I was practicing so that one day, when the time came for me to serve God myself, I would be prepared. Also, at the age of 5, my grandad once invited me to choose anything I wanted from a drawer full of goodies that included toys, costume jewellery and books. Instead of those things that would appeal to most other little ones, my heart delighted in a simply blue beaded Rosary. I had seen a larger one like it in the hands of the statue of Mother Mary at church, and had often wondered what these wondrous beads were for. My grandad explained that they were for praying, and that very day, taught me to use it to count my prayers, which I did from then on- sometimes with family or at church, and other times, secretly in my room. At around that same time, I was given one of my first visions of my own future: while kneeling and praying, I saw myself as a grown woman, sitting on a stage with a basket full of rosaries. People came to me in a line, and one by one, I hugged them, and handed them a rosary. 

Now: Obviously, my entire life's work is dedicated to God, and done in surrender to God. I've had others- YouTube viewers and people who have attended my live programs- tell me, without knowing of my vision, that they have dreamed of or inwardly seen the same thing that I saw in my earliest prayers- the stage, the basket of rosaries (sometimes appearing in the visions of others as roses) and the lineup of people receiving hugs. I've partially fulfilled that vision by sharing a YouTube video about the practice of the sacred rosarian prayer, and have sent out and given away over fifty free Rosaries since that video's debut. One day, the full vision will also come to actualization once an ashram has been built. Besides that, the books I've written, blog posts, YouTube videos, and counselling sessions I've given, are all expressions of that same childhood spiritual passion. Truly, what I loved most as a child has become not only my livelihood, but my very life!

Then: and finally, as a little girl, I loved animals. (Here you can see me with my dear little friend Snoops peeking out from within my school bag.) At around the age of 7 or 8, on a fateful road trip from my hometown of Lethbridge to visit an uncle of mine who lived in Consort, Alberta, I made the association that the cows in the fields whom I saw out my car window were animals who had feelings and expressed love just as my beloved kitties, Snoops and her fluffy, cuddly brother, Sneaky, who was my childhood best friend and dearest little sweetie (about whom I'll write an entire blog post one day,) did. At that age, I first decided to stop eating meat, which I could only ever think of as being the cut up pieces of dead animals. 

In fact, I remember telling my mum in the car, "Do the cows die of natural causes and then get turned into hamburgers, or does the farmer kill them?" She replied, "The farmers kill them." Crying, I answered, "Then I'll never eat meat again!" I felt as if my whole world view had suddenly turned upside down, and people, whom previously I had loved, had all lied to me- that they were all merciless killers. Even while I was thinking thus, my dear mum who was yet  living in a world where renouncing meat was almost unheard of, was saying, "No way, it's not healthy, and not possible! No daughter of mine is going to become a vegetarian!" I replied, "I don't want to become a vegetarian! I don't even know what that is. But I will never, ever, eat meat again!" I lived the next couple of years of my life secretly picking meat off my plate and putting it back in the pots, until finally, at the age of 10, she allowed me to cut out all meat but fish. At 12, I became a true lacto-ovo vegetarian, omitting the fish and seafood, then at late 13, right before turning 14, became vegan. (When, thanks for an interview I had seen of Daniel Johns, I "Googled" the word "vegan" to find out why people gave up eggs and dairy, also, and knew, instantly, that I couldn't live with myself if I continued to support those industries.)

I decided very early on that somehow, I would dedicate my life to spreading the good news of the possibility to live without causing death to others through dietary and lifestyle choice. 

Now: Of course, throughout my adult years, I've stuck with this intention, and speak often about the health benefits, environmental benefits, and of course, animal welfare reasons, that support a vegan diet. Without "pushing" this on others, it makes my heart sing when viewers, readers and program participants of mine write to me thanking me for inspiring them to switch to a pure veg lifestyle!

So, as you can see from this little pictorial tour of my early years, it is not only possible to have the same enthusiasm in adulthood as in childhood, but also, it is the best possible way to live a fulfilled life! I can't imagine doing any kind of "work" that doesn't fit in with my inner space and inner ideals, and truly, I promise you, if I can do this- live the truth of what I love- then anyone can! All you have to do is rediscover your joy, then start living it once again.

May you, also, discover (or rediscover!) your childhood passions, and put them into practice! 

You CAN make a living doing what you love, and truly, if you are reading these words now, then this message is for you. Yes, Y.O.U. It's time to be yourself to the fullest, add your colour to this global rainbow, share your uniqueness with everyone around you, and fulfill your "prarabdha karma," the calling you brought into this life!

For more information on discerning your calling and finding the kind of work that really fulfills you, read my exciting new book, "Free Yourself." I've dedicated half a chapter to living a life structured around true joy and the expression of true talents, and overcoming borrowed societal ideas of work  in order to truly flourish. Don't miss out- this book is my blog + my YouTube channel x a thousand!

May your life be an ever unfolding journey of discovery, rediscovery, and connection to the Almighty!

With Love and Light always,


The colouring books and art books mentioned can be found here:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Water Gratitude Meditation

When I was in London conducting the weekend Free Yourself meditation program, one of the guided meditations I led the group through was a meditation on conscious drinking. So often, in our busy lives, we grab water by the glass or by the bottle, chug it down when we're parched, and dump whatever is left back down the drain. We don't feel connected to our water the way people did in generations past, when water was gathered at a stream or from a well. We don't know the thrill of grateful exhilaration felt by people in dry lands when rains come, or when clean water is discovered. For this reason, the conscious drinking meditation is one of the most important meditations we can do; it awakens our natural gratitude for the hydration we so often take for granted, and it also rekindles our awareness of who we are as a part of all things around us.

The meditation itself is really very simple, and you can do it anywhere, any time. First, get yourself a glass (or bottle, or even a mug- whatever,) of water. Make sure it's pure water, clean and free of pollutants. For a few moments, hold it near to your eyes and look at it closely. Then hold it up to your ear and swish it around in it's glass and listen to the sound it makes. Put it under your nose, and breathe in it's clean scent. Dip your fingers into it, and feel it's cool wetness. Then, holding it gently, close your eyes, and imagine the journey your water has taken to make it into your cup. Picture the ocean, the salt water, the marine life, and imagine waves and storms, and the formation of huge clouds. Imagine how those clouds drift through the sky, eventually pouring out their drops over land. Imaging the formation of lakes, rivers and streams; of underground watersheds and reservoirs. Imagine how the land comes to life at the touch of water. Imagine also the power it has; the force and effect of tsunami waves, and of torrential downpours. Feel the life-giving quality and also the power in the glass you hold, and be filled with gratitude that this water- this clear liquid capable of doing such wondrous things- is in your hands and ready to do something wondrous in your own life: be thankful to the water that is about to refresh you, quench your thirst, hydrate your body. With full awareness of the journey the water has taken, and with full gratitude to Existence for bringing it to you, raise the glass to your mouth, and take a sip. Savour it. Notice that it actually has a flavour- it tastes like purity. Slowly drink the whole glass with full awareness of every sip. When you're finished, remain seated with your eyes closed for a few moments. Remember the ocean, the lakes and rivers, and feel that they are now a part of your own body, and your own body is a part of them. Slowly, when you are ready, open your eyes. 

Whenever I've done this meditation in a large group, the energy completely transforms in the room. The dynamic amongst program participants is always elevated and beautiful when I've led classes, but this simple yet profound act of drinking with awareness increases it very powerfully because drinking water is something we all do every day, and nothing we do is ever done in an isolated way. When you bring full awareness to this very common act, and transform it into something spiritually sacred, you divinize every memory and every future act associated with drinking water. You awaken in yourself the gratitude the ancients had for their rains and that people living even now in dry places have for their wells and streams. You literally, physically, connect to everyone in the world around you, with love and joy. I guarantee you, if you take just 10 minutes (or more, if you'd like!) to do this small practice, you'll immediately change your entire day for the better. Try it right now! If you have time to read this blog, you have time to realize the ocean of transformation available through a simple, humble drink of water.

This meditation is included as one of the exercises presented in Step 3 of the Free Yourself book. Each step has multiple exercises to stimulate your awareness and make your life more beautiful. Don't miss out- get a copy here:

(Photo: taken by Alexandra Harmanas at the Chalice Well, Glastonbury, August 2013)

Friday, November 1, 2013

After a long absence from Blogger, I'm back and will start posting articles once again!

For now, if Free Yourself the blog inspired you, don't miss out on Free Yourself the BOOK:

(And, of course, the ever popular YouTube videos, which stand as a fill-in for the blank steps within the original blog post.)

Love you all, will write again soon,


Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Yourself from the International Conspiracy Against Enlightenment, An Essential 10 Step Program

Too lazy to read such a long blog post? Would you rather just hear me read it out loud for you? Done! This entire blog is available on YouTube for your listening convenience. (Note: Steps 5 through 10 are are not verbatim video versions of the written blog; instead, they are spoken discourses pertaining to the subject matter delivered.)

Free Yourself from the International Conspiracy Against Enlightenment 
(An essential ten step program.)
I highly recommend you look deeply into the issues I’m about to share with you here. It’s my hope that this presentation will spark your own passion to research the hidden agendas behind the all pervasive corruption in our world today, how that corruption affects your conscious path of self realization, and ultimately, how to go beyond all the obstacles stacked against you by the self-appointed global "elite," and rise into enlightenment, anyway. 

I have not placed (and will never place) a copyright on any of this material. Please share it, quote it, copy and paste it, e-mail it, print it and distribute it, and get these messages out any way you see fit. 
In ascending order, starting with the physical, moving into the mental, and finally the spiritual, the 10 steps to free yourself from the international conspiracy against enlightenment are:
1. Do not consume any fluoride, ever.
2. Do not consume any aspertame, ever.
3. Avoid eating genetically modified, non-organic and highly processed, “foods.” 
4. Avoid watching television.
5. Question your education.
6. Re-evaluate the validity of popular opinion.
7. Look within yourself to discover who you are.
8. Keep a Regular Spiritual Routine.
9. Drop all the judgements you have against those who are not ready to make the same changes you’re making.
10. Let Enlightenment be your number one priority!
The title of this blog may have you wondering, “Umm... Sudevi, what’s with the conspiracy theory?” 
In a nutshell, the international conspiracy against enlightenment is not a theory, it’s truth. As a world community, our freedom is not in the hands of a benevolent spiritual governing body dedicated to peace, love and bliss; rather, it’s controlled by a minority group of greedy strategists who are oath-bound and sworn to dominate us, profit from us, and keep us in a state of ignorant dependancy. 
Almost every experience we have in this world has been tweaked to keep us dependent upon those who do the tweaking. The food we eat, the water we drink, the jobs we fill, the entertainment we distract ourselves with, the medicines we ingest, and especially the politicians we turn to for help... all of it, the entire mass marketed global enterprise we call “home” is a gilded cage for our consciousness. 
If you take a trusting child and give him chocolate bars, comic books and video games, and then you tell him he’s free to do with those gifts whatever he wants, as long as he remembers you’re his boss, he will follow your rules as long as you continue to replenish his stock of bounty. He will thank you for the candy and the toys, and in time, you can add more and more restrictions against his freedom, but he won’t rebel. He will be so conditioned by the comforts of the surroundings you provide him with that he won’t even know he’s being imprisoned. If another child comes to him, and tells him he should get away from you and save himself from your restrictive rules, he will fight that child; he will think the other child is trying to ruin his life, because he thinks his life revolves around chocolate, stories and games.
Try the same experiment with a child who thinks for himself; a child who has overcome loss, or moved to a new place, or stood up against a bully; basically, a child who has realized what it is to be self sufficient. Give this new child the same chocolate, the same comics and the same games; then, like you told the first, tell him that he can do with these what he wants as long as he remembers you’re the boss. Just see. He will be suspicious of you. He’ll wonder what you’re trying to get by bribing him. He’ll wonder why you have the audacity to power trip and call yourself his boss just because you give him a few trinkets. He won’t even humour you with the chance to set up restrictions against his freedom, because he knows even before you try to bribe him that life is about more than just comfort. Such a child will choose hard freedom over cushy bondage any day.
We, as a society, are like the first child. We have been given an abundant food selection, all kinds of technological gadgets, infinite games to occupy our minds, and we’re told we can do with all of these whatever we want, as long as we don’t forget that the corporate industrial complex is boss. The corporate industrial complex, and along with it, of course, militant governments, dogmatic religions, mind controlled celebrities, conglomerate owned media monopolies, and more.
Our freedom is being widdled away, and we’re allowing it to be widdled away, because we don’t even know that our lives are about something more than sense pleasures and survivalism. We eat toxic foods and feed them to our children; we flip through pages of trite magazines and grocery store novels; we watch reality television and listen to hypnotic pop music; and even when we intuitively know these things are detrimental to our higher good, we go on thinking we enjoy them, anyway, because we’ve been conditioned to rely on them as escapes from the ennui of our begrudged, sectarian jobs. 
Our captors needn’t even guard the doors of our jail cells, because we don’t know they have us under lockdown. 
Too many shrug all of this off, thinking “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know,” or, “ignorance is bliss.” (Should these sayings be called “idioms” with an ‘m’ or with a ‘t’?)They will blindly acquiesce to corrupt politics, contaminated food, mind rotting television and toxic vaccinations, because they don’t feel up to the task of finding tangible replacements for a system they hate, but endure. I’d like to propose something radical, though: those of us who don’t know the ins and outs of agriculture don’t have to find a replacement for contaminated food; all we have to do is start eating organic, supporting the local organic farmers who are finding a way to supply uncontaminated nutritious foods, and share with our friends and families the inspiration to do the same. Those of us who live in cities with fluoridated water don’t have to convince everyone in our municipalities to protest against fluoride; we just have to buy decent filters for our own homes, switch to non-fluoridated toothpaste, and again, share with our friends and families the inspiration to do the same. We don’t have to struggle in battle against the FDA to make poisons like aspertame illegal; we just have to opt out of using these poisons in our own foods and drinks, and, as with the other changes we have the power to make, educate those around us to do the same. 
Basically, if we use pop culture as an excuse not to reach our highest potential, then we, and everyone else along with us, will fail miserably to appreciate the greatest blessings of life on Earth. If we convince ourselves that change is futile unless everyone else changes first, then nobody will ever change. But if, on the other hand, we choose to do what we know is best, eventually, and sooner than one might imagine, others will follow. It takes one voice to lead the world into song; one flame to light the candles of the many; one thunderbold to bring down the tower of Babel.
Only those among us who are lazy and irresponsible believe ignorance is bliss, because their ignorance gives them an excuse not to take action. Those of us who have responsibility, though, (the ability to respond) would never choose ignorance over awareness. Awareness is bliss. The devil you know is a devil for sure, but in the unknown, you may find an angel. (Genioms.)
So, how do we gain awareness? How do we stop blindly accepting the devil we know, and, as a result, welcome in the possibility of an angel we don’t know?
Read on. Think of this list as a starting point and a way to emancipate yourself from the war they’re fighting (failingly, I might add) to keep you under their tyranny. We need not fight back, but instead, take a page out of the book of Gandhi: we must peacefully resist falling prey to their hidden agenda.
Remember, dear readers, we are Human Beings, not consumers. We are sparks of spiritual consciousness living in human bodies on Earth. We are the children of a Loving Creative Source! We are not ‘citizens;’ we are not members of one demographic or another; we are not our genders, ages, names, or socio-economic classes. We are not here to run after the latest trends, or to blindly follow the dictates of chameleon-like leaders. We are here to wake ourselves up and understand that life is whatever we make of it!
To quote a powerful and enigmatic revolutionary of the inner world, Swami Vivekananda, “Arise! Awake! And sleep not until the goal is reached!”
You are the chosen ones who will determine your own destiny. And you have chosen yourselves!
If ever you choose to bow down and say “Dasoham,” let it be to the Infinite, and not to the Corporate.
Now, let’s examine the 10 Steps with detailed explanations:
Step 1. Do not consume any fluoride, ever.
Contrary to what we’ve been told, fluoride is not a miracle element that keeps our teeth cavity free; it’s a toxic by-product of the nuclear power industry. A deadly substance, sodium fluoride is mainly used as a rat poison and in other pesticides. So, why were we dooped into thinking it’s a necessary ingredient in dental care products, and tap water?
Fluoride’s harmful effects were first discovered by Nazi scientists who experimented with it while searching for methods of chemical mind control. They found that when ingested, fluoride attacks the brain, ultimately rendering useless the pineal gland, our production center for necessary amino acids. When the pineal gland isn’t functioning, we lose our capacity for independent thought. How did they, the Nazis, use this discovery? For sinister purposes, of course. They added fluoride to the drinking water in concentration camps as a preventative measure against an uprising among their prisoners. 
And our government is doing the same thing to us, today. If you live in the United States, it’s very, very likely that fluoride is in your drinking water. If you live in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and various other communities across Canada, ditto to you. They tell us this poison is being dumped into our water for our own dental good, but that’s not the real story.
Fluoride is a toxic waste by-product of nuclear power plants. What they’re dripping into our water is not a natural substance found anywhere on the periodic table; it’s a biohazardous material called fluorosilicic acid. Power plants aren’t allowed to just dump fluorosilicic acid into landfills, so, instead of investing in proper disposal methods, or, better yet, implementing safe and sustainable methods of power generation, these nuclear plants sell fluorosilicic acid to the pharmaceutical companies, who, in turn, sell it to us. People, what they are doing is outrageous. 
Why do they do it?
As I mentioned before, one (just one!) harmful side effect of fluoride ingestion is the calcification of the pineal gland. Since this list is primarily concerned with overcoming the obstacles blocking us from enlightenment, we’ll focus mainly on that, but be assured, the calcification of the pineal gland is not the only damage done to us by fluoride poisoning. 
The pineal gland, also known as the Ajna Chakra, or Third Eye, is a powerhouse of the central nervous system located in the middle of the brain. Scientists describe it as a visionary center; the gland which releases the chemicals responsible for our dreams and creative ideas and the part of the brain that becomes active when intuition is used. 
Yogic wisdom says the same thing about the Third Eye Chakra that modern scientists say about the pineal gland: it’s the chakra of mystic vision and enlightened awareness. In Vedic scripture, it’s written that enlightened people have soft, malleable third eyes, moldable like clay, while people trapped in ordinary, dull logic have third eyes that are rock hard and unseeing. The ancient Vedic scholars of India, called rishis, who wrote those scriptures, were literally, scientifically correct. When the pineal gland is working properly and releasing endorphines, it actually is soft and malleable like clay; when it shuts down all function due to calcification, it physically turns hard as a rock. 
The term ‘calcification’ means the buildup of calcium crystal in soft tissue. Ideally, fluoride would only calcify the teeth... but, when ingested, it instead attacks the soft tissues of the brain. Think of it this way: if you’re prone to burning and wish to avoid skin cancer, you will apply sunscreen before going outdoors; you won’t eat sunscreen. If your lips are chapped and dry, you may apply a moisturizer to them; you will not eat the moisturizer. So why, if we want fluoride to harden our teeth against cavities, should we swallow it and allow it into our bloodstream? It’s pure idiocy.
Even if enlightenment is not one of your goals, you NEED your pineal gland to function properly just to live a happy, mentally healthy life. Without the pineal gland, we become dull, dry and depressed. Our bodies have pineal glands for a reason, and so, it is our birthright to have them function properly. Those who are poisoning our water supply are stripping us of this birthright.
In laymans terms, what exactly, does this little gland do? 
The pineal gland is like a tiny factory that produces, then releases, the chemicals we need in order to enjoy creativity, intelligence, and spiritual satisfaction. They are called endorphines, and their existence in us keeps us mentally and emotionally healthy. (Not only does it produce endorphines like seratonin, dimethyltryptamene and melatonin, but also essential beta-carbolines like pinoline and other cancer-preventing amino acids.) The pineal gland is especially active in releasing these while we dream, meditate, create works of art and pray. Without the pineal gland and it’s endorphic gifts, our dreams would be colourless and unmemorable, meditations would be boring, creative blocks would build up against our playfulness and atheism would rule our minds due to seemingly unfulfilled prayers. 
While seratonin and melatonin are particularly concerned with our health and happiness, the endorphine called dimethyltryptamene (or DMT) specifically relates to our enlightenment, because it is the primary molecular substance released during meditation, prayer, deep sleep and every conceivable experience we might label as “mystic.” Visions can be seen, celestial voices can be heard, out of body and near death experiences can be had, and lucid dreams can be explored, when the pineal gland is properly producing and releasing dimethyltryptomene. For this reason, it has been hailed ‘The Spirit Molecule’ by the neuroscientific community who studies it. 
This has been known by the sages in every ancient mystery tradition across the world. The Vedic rishis who describe in detail the function of the Ajna Chakra; the Brazilian shamans who initiate seekers into higher dimensional states of awareness through the Ayahuasca ceremony, in which a sacramental tea containing plant-derived DMT is shared; the Native American medicine men who sought communion with God in vision quests by fasting and wandering to induce their brains into greater DMT production, and more. 
With the loss of our natural endorphines, we become depressed, dull and lethargic. Feeling this lethargy as the loss of something undefinable, we will seek from the outside world something to simulate the lost contentment which would be better sought in the inner world. In some cases, people will turn to illegal drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity to fill the void; in others, they will take the socially acceptable (and mass-marketed) route, and instead get hooked on prescription anti-depressant pharmaceuticals. 
We need look no further than the corrupt pharmaceutical industry to see why this toxic waste they call fluoride is polluting our tap water, bottled water, toothpaste, chewing gum and mouthwash: fluoride poisoning keeps us thoroughly dependent on pharmaceutical anti-depressants. We are bombarded with daily dire reports about the obesity epidemic, but obesity is not the only plague attacking us right now: we’re also caught in an endemic cycle of depression.
It was the pharmaceutical industry that spread propaganda to the dental associations in the 1950’s marketing fluoride as a wonder drug against tooth decay, and it was the same pharmaceutical industry, using gullible dentists as their puppets, that campaigned the governments across the “free world” to drip fluoride into the tap water. Basically, what they’re doing is this: they are selling us a misrepresented substance that causes a full shutdown of our endorphine release. Then, as owners of the drug monopoly, they sell us expensive drugs that temporarily simulate the effect of the lost endorphines. They are robbing us, then selling us weaker versions of that which they steal, continuously. 
Through fluoridation of our water, the pharmaceutical corporation has us trapped in a diabolical scheme. 
What would happen if the people who manufacture bandaids went around every day selling us blisters and sores and paper cuts, just so that we would have to keep buying bandaids? We wouldn’t take it! There would be public outrage! They’d be sued out of business! And yet, something even more abhorrent than that is being done by the makers of all anti-depressants, and most of us don’t even realize they’re doing it. 
As far as water is concerned, it’s obvious that we should drink it only in it’s natural state, free of fluoride. We should all check to see whether the city we live in is fluoridating the water, and if it is, we must buy proper filters, and petition city hall to put an end to the poisoning. 
Now, what about toothpaste, mouth wash, gum, and dental treatments? 
As far as I’m concerned, using fluoride is never a good idea. Consider this: to get a nicotine buzz, a person can either smoke a cigarette, or stick some chewing tobacco between their cheeks and gums. How does chewing tobacco give them the same high as smoking? Nicotine is absorbed through micro-pores in the gums and inner cheeks created by tiny bits of fiberglass in the chewing tobacco. It then goes straight into the bloodstream. With that understood, the same process takes place when we brush with fluoride toothpaste. The bristles of the brush literally force the fluoride into our gums, cheeks and tongues whereupon it directly enters our bloodstream, and is carried to the brain. The same thing happens at the dentist, when we swish with the fluoride rinse, or have cushions filled with fluoride goo placed on our teeth. Since the fluoride treatment usually happens at the end of the visit, after our teeth and gums have been cleaned, flossed, pricked and scraped, when our gums are at their most sensitive (sometimes bleeding) and more than ready to allow poisonous fluoride to leech it’s way into our system. 
Now, even if fluoride does for the teeth what it’s supposed to do, (and, knowing that another harmful side effect of fluoride poisoning is a form of tooth decay called dental fluorocis, that’s a big ‘if’) we are faced with a dilemma. Which is worse- getting a cavity, or living in a state of dullness, lethargy, and depression? For me, this is a no brainer. I’d rather run the risk of a lifetime wearing dentures than be stripped bare of all my pineal-produced endorphines. 
The good news at the end of all this is that fluorides harmful effects are reversible. The pineal gland can be de-calcified, through combining proper cleansing, detox, meditation, and future avoidance of fluoride.
If you live in a city that pours this toxic waste into your water supply, please, petition city hall to have it removed! And until they remove it, don’t drink from the tap unless you use a proper filter. Brita filters and boiling may remove bacteria, but both are useless when it comes to removing fluoride. Only reverse-osmosis filters can be counted on for that job. They can be found at a health food stores, or online. When you buy one, make sure to specify to the dealer that you want all fluoride removed from your water!
If you’re really serious about your mental and emotional health, you can go one step further, by also throwing away any toothpaste, mouthwash, gum and bottled water that’s contaminated, and replace it with something fluoride-free. (Tom’s of Maine and Jason Natural Cosmetics both make fluoride-free toothpastes, and some neem toothpastes from India are also free of fluoride. Health food stores are well stocked.) 
When buying bottled water, it’s important to read the label. If doesn’t specifically say “Fluoride Free” or “Sodium Fluoride: 0ppm”, then you can be sure it does contain fluoride. Don’t drink it! 
For more information, check out these links, and do some digging:
Step 2. Don’t consume any aspertame, ever.
Aspertame is an artificial sweetener used in sugar-free products. If you order a sugar free flavored latte at a coffee shop, for example, you’re ordering a drink that contains aspertame. Diet soda of all kinds; sugar free gum; diet bars and meal replacement shakes; and anything with “NutraSweet” or “AminoSweet” on the label, contains aspertame. 
Ironically, the highly marketable original brand name for aspertame targeted our first impressionistic minds by using the invented word ‘nutra,’ which is easily mistaken for the root of the word ‘nutritious.’ This is, in fact, the exact opposite of what aspertame really is; it’s not nutritious, but poisonous. Now, in an effort to dodge the low sales that came as a result of the public being made aware of aspertame’s deadly toxicity, the poison’s manufacturer, has renamed it AminoSweet. Clearly, this time they’re trying to cash in on a technical-term savvy health conscious demographic. It seems they think we’re stupid enough to assume aspertame is a source of some sort of beneficial amino acid. It’s not. A more apt brand name might have been something like, ‘CanceraSweet,’ since it has been linked to many types of cancer, ‘RetardaSweet,’ since it leads to mental retardation, or FibromayaSweet, since it has been found to cause Fibromayalgia... but then, they might not make as much profit if they sell it under a truthful name. 
We must remember, though, aspertame by any other name would be as toxic.
The first signs of poisoning someone will experience immediately after consuming the poison are: reduced IQ, memory loss, exhaustion, lethargy, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, audio and visionary distortions, slurred speech, frustration and anxiety. I’ll repeat: these are the first symptoms of aspertame poisoning, experienced directly after aspertame ingestion. With repeat exposure to this harmful substance, however, much more severe illnesses are likely to develop.
Aspertame has so many terrible side effects that listing all of them here would be impossible; suffice it to say, it’s never, ever advisable to consume it.
Our fear of being called fat and our greed for sweet flavoured foods and drinks, has led us into this NutraSweet, AminoSweet, aspertame nightmare. Beyond that, diseases like diabetes that are associated with sugar, make us think that chemically created fake sweeteers are better for our health than the real thing. Actually, as any good nutritionist will tell you, the only safe foods, are foods produced by nature; and the only “healthy” consumption of sweetness comes in the form of regularly eating fruits, and occasionally, eating sugary treats. Not daily, and not in large quantities, but moderate sugar intake, as a treat on special occasions, is far superior to the regular ingestion of sugar-free sweet toxins that has become the norm in this society plagued by diet fads. While natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, sugarcane, and sugar beet, can be taken on special occasions, aspertame should absolutely never be taken at all.
The American airforce, and commercial airlines, have actually warned their pilots not to consume any form of aspertame, since, in mild cases, it dulls the mental processes responsible for instant reflexes and quick decision making, and, in more severe instances of poisoning, it has caused epileptic seizures. (Obviously, none of this is conducive to safely flying aircraft!) 
Think of the implications this has on the rest of us. Even if we, ourselves, abstain from ingesting aspertame, if we are in traffic surrounded by other drivers who consume it, our safety is at risk. This neurotoxin should be made illegal.
Since this list is relatively short, I would recommend researching all forms of neurotoxins, like monosodium glutamate (MSG), not just fluoride and aspertame. A little digging will bring you into statistics and reports about all kinds of highly questionable, FDA approved, poisons. And remember, if your searching leads you to industry or government endorsed sites that assure the safety of these toxins, take all of their so-called ‘evidence’ with a grain of sodium fluoride.
Step 3. Avoid eating genetically modified and non-organic “foods.” 
An enlightened person is a person who lives in a state of yoga. Yoga means integration of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. In order to be in a yogic state, it’s essential to do good for the body, so that the body can be a conduit through which the mind can express the higher emotions of the spiritual self.
This doesn’t mean that a person who has a physical or mental illness or disability cannot become enlightened; it means, a person who willingly avoids properly caring for his or her body and mind will not be able to realize his or her highest physical or spiritual potential. 
The oft repeated idiom, “You are what you eat,” is more than just a catchy saying; it’s a scientific fact. More specifically, since ‘you’ are, of course, much more than just your body, we can replace this saying with something more accurate: “Your body is made of what you put into it.” 
In the ancient past, Vedic rishis in India learned that the foods we eat directly assist, or hamper, our ability to realize higher states of spiritual consciousness. Their dietary insights came from wisdom tuned equally to the body, mind and spirit, and with their balanced wisdom, they devised the ideal diet for spiritual seeking. It’s called the Sattvic Diet, and to this day, yogis, masters, and brahmin priests, sustain their spirit-tuned bodies by following it’s specifications. If you are truly and intensely committed to realizing enlightenment, I can’t recommend the sattvic diet enough! Our modern scientists are just now beginning to scratch the surface of the wellspring of knowledge the Vedic rishis possessed. The sattvic diet is a pure vegetarian diet, meaning, a diet without meat (including, of course, poultry and fish) or eggs. It also focuses on the elimination of certain herbs and spices that are better used medicinally, but not as a part of our regular day to day eating regime- like garlic, onion, green chili, and mushrooms. 
When the rishis of old came up with the sattvic diet, their main criteria in selecting proper foods, was energy. 

Some foods are stimulants, leading to a guna, or 'state,' called rajas, which manifests positively as an excess of energy, or negatively, as irritability. 

Other foods are sedative, and lead to a guna called tamas, which manifests positively as restfulness, or negatively as laziness and lethargy. 

Finally, the ideal foods are neither stimulating nor sedative. The ideal foods are neutral, and perfectly balanced. These nourish a guna called sattva, "purity;" beyond rajas and tamas. The term, "Sattvic" traces to the root word "sattva." It is the ideal diet to feed a pure and balanced yogic body, in order to experience the higher perceptive abilities and joy of a spiritually integrated mind.

Sattvic foods allow us to work hard when hard work is needed, without stress, tiredness, or irritability. They allow us to rest when rest is called for without lethargy, dulness or boredom. Indian rishis understood that we imbibe the qualities of whatever we consume, so they structured their ideal diet around foods that would allow us to imbibe the most ideal qualities possible. For example, they understood that eating meat leads it's consumer to the expression of the mentality of the animal killed and eaten. When we understand that when we eat, we consume the life force of the food we eat, the rishis conclusions make complete sense. Everything in existence has a unique life force energy. People have a life force energy, plants have it, animals have it, rocks, water and air have it. When we consume plants, we consume their life force energy, and make it our own. Ditto for animals. Not only the life force energy, we also consume whatever emotions and self-perceptions are contained within the bio memories of the animals butchered for meat. This means, if an animal lived a dull, caged and repressed life, we take in the bio memory of dullness, feeling trapped and repressed, by eating it. Also, if an animals last emotion is the feeling of fear and pain of slaughter, we take in the chemicals released into that animals system when we eat it- chemicals that stimulate such responses as fight or flight. This is why many people who make the switch to a vegetarian diet immediately notice a sense of peace well up within them. It's because, quite literally, we move beyond the limitations of base animal instinct when we elevate ourselves beyond the animal food chain. The rishis knew this, through experiential understanding and profound intuitively guided research, so naturally, they themselves abstained from consuming meat, and also, advised those who sought enlightenment to abstain from it, too. 

(An interesting thing to note here is that the ancient temple priests of the Vedic era- and even modern day Hindu priests!- were oathbound and sworn vegetarians! Because the general population relied on them to connect with higher energies, it was essential for their bodies to serve as clear instruments, and that their minds serve as clear channels.)

Updating the Vedic Diet... Back to the 'Present'
When we choose to adopt a diet specifically designed for higher awareness and conscious growth, we must remember that when the ancient rishis formulated their sattvic diet, the industrial poisons now marketed as “food” didn’t exist. Naturally, if the rishis had heard of such abhorrent neurotoxins as aspertame, fluoride, MSG, saccharin, preservatives, GMO’s, herbicides, pesticides, chlorine, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, fake sweeteners, and artificial coloring agents, they would have absolutely insisted that the whole lot of them be left out of the sattvic diet! Garlic, oinion, green chili and mushroom- the most detrimental flavoring agents known then- are relatively benign in comparison to the lethal additives disguised as ingredients we now consume. 
As far as the ancient rishis are concerned, in fact, we are living in the absolute dark ages of nutritional depravity. An interesting fact about these ancient Indian seers is that when they wrote predictions about the conditions we, as a species, would face towards the end of the dark ages (which I’ll describe in more detail later on) in their 'Shastra' texts, they listed, among other insufferably dire global plagues, this: “Pre-cooked food will be readily available.” In other words, rishis understood that a lack of food awareness would be a sign of humanity’s downfall. Since their wisdom tradition relied heavily on self-awareness in every aspect of life, the very idea of consuming food cooked by profiteering, conscienceless, corporate minded strangers, would have been unfathomable to them. 
Now, we must become the rishis of our times! If we are seeking enlightenment, the best diet we can adopt for ourselves, and share with our families and friends, is the sattvic one. Updated, of course, to fit the unimaginably bad eating habits of the world we live in today.
(For more information on the sattvic diet, ask your local Ayurvedic and Siddha doctors, check out the links at the end of this segment, or register to take a wonderful free course offered by the Nithyananda mission, called eN Health, when and where it’s available.)
To some, the idea of converting to a quote-unquote “restricted” diet, like veganism, raw foods veganism, fruitarianism, or the yogically endorsed sattvic diet, is beyond their scope of possibility. That’s because we have been raised in a society that for hundreds- if not thousands- of years, has been eating for pleasure, not for health, and certainly not for inner realization. We have grown up with industry-endorsed “food pyramids” that seem credible, because we have been conditioned into believing their lies by parents who were also raised to believe the lies, by their parents who were also raised to believe the lies, and so on, back to great great ancestors who coveted the availability of sense pleasing foods like meat and sweets that were once used as a status symbol of the 'upper crust' of society. It should be noted, and re-noted, that big-industry food dealers lobby the government to market and endorse food pyramids and misinformed nutrition guidelines for the sake of maintaining their greed driven companies- not as a social service to the public. Also, the same schools elementary, junior high, and high schools that propagate food pyramids in their health classes also stock vending machines with refined sugar and aspertame-laden pop, deep fried chips, fluoride filled chewing gum, and more. Beyond that, they serve nutritionally depleted prepared lunches to the misinformed student bodies. How is it that we have been duped into believing the lessons taught in schools that practice something even more abhorrent than the lies that they preach?

Of course, I, myself, live with a vegan sattvic diet while I'm in North America, and a sattvic vegetarian diet when I'm in India. (The milk industry in India is getting to the point of being not much better than it's western counterpart, but at least, some local organic raw milk farms with reverentially treated cows still exist.) For me, it's not difficult, and I couldn't imagine any other way of eating and living. But, those who are very much attached to the food of their childhoods and communities may be wondering this: 
"I can’t fathom limiting my diet to raw foods, veganism, or sattvic ingredients... what’s the bare minimum change I can make to achieve bodily health, and energetic receptivity?"

It's a fair question. All of us, even those among us who aren't fully enthused about 'limiting' their pleasures, deserve health.

And the answer is this:
At the very least, we should all avoid eating foods (and drinking drinks) that are genetically modified and not organic!
Since our bodies are made out of what we put into them, genetically modified foods genetically modify us! 

That last statement is an important one, so I’ll repeat it in bold. 

Genetically modified food genetically modifies us
How much do we really know about the growth hormones fed to farmed animals? Not enough to justify consuming them! 
What do objective medical studies reveal about the long-term health effects associated with ingesting pesticides, herbicides and preservatives? Nothing, because no such studies have been conducted!
Painful and disillusioning as this may be, we need to understand that the governments are not in place to protect us, but to protect the corporations that feed off us. “Consumer interest” is nothing but a term used to describe the corporate interest to keep us consuming! 

We have been forced to accept the endorsement of the FDA as the last word and final verdict of an ingredient’s safety; we have been conditioned to believe the propagandized food pyramid as an ultimate guide to nutritional health. Now, we must break free from the false illusions that such things as these actually exist to serve us! Those institutions that hold monopoly on food, drink and drugs do not serve us; we serve them by our blind faith in their legitimacy. As long as we assume that the government, FDA, and food industries cater to our true physiological needs, they will continue to take dirt bribes from the industries that swindle us, and deprive us of our natural states of health and wellness, all in the name of profit. 

My friends, please do one thing: experiment with your diet. Don't take my word, or the words of the rishis, as law. I don't want to implement one more system to replace an old one. I want to inspire you to find what works best for your own bodies. Try vegetarianism for a week, and see how you feel- see how much energy and life force vibrates within you! Try eliminating garlic, onions, green chilies, mushrooms, neurotixins and refined sugar for a week, and see how alert, aware and excited you become! Give it a week of your time to see, and then, if you feel benefited, keep it going. This isn't about creating rules to live by, but creating the ideal circumstances to live life.
The following link leads to a a must-see documentary about the world’s top producer of genetically modified “food,” Monsanto:
Recommended reading:
Diet for a New America, by John Robbins

Links to kick-start your research:
And, the ideal, well rounded program about health for enlightenment:


Now, before we move on to Step 4 and the beginning of the "Mental" section of this list, let's recap Steps 1 through 3, the "Physical" stuff: 

The pharmaceutical industry- the the help of the FDA- creates diseases by selling trojan horse medicines. Pills, vaccinations and supplements are sold under the guise of eliminating problems when, in actuality, they create infinitely worse long term complications than those they solve. These long term complications are cleverly packaged as 'side effects.' 

Next, the food industry- again, with the help of the FDA- maintains those diseases by selling us nutrient deprived, fat-filled and unhealthy crap laced with growth hormones, genetic modifications and flat out poisons. 

Now, it's time we destroy the diseases by remembering one simple yogic truth: health and wellness is our natural state. 

By doing something very simple- saying “no” to neurotoxins, anti-depressants (fodder for a future list, perhaps) and other marketed mind traps, fake, mass-produced, unethically sourced food, and the propaganda that such things are good for us. Replace all their poisons with stream or well filtered water, introspective self assessment coupled with Ayurvedic, Naturopathic and Siddha medicines to overcome emotional imbalances, and real food, bought from local organic farmers, we can bring our bodies closer to their truest state, the state of radiant good health! Only then will we be able to truly appreciate the next levels of this 10 step program, and enjoy their resulting benefits in our lives.

Step 4. Avoid watching television.
I’m using the word avoid here only because I want this list to be accessible to everyone. Quite frankly, if I thought all who come across it would be able to immediately practice every point made to the letter, I wouldn’t say “Avoid watching television;” I’d say, “Never watch television.” Sadly, though, we have become a civilization addicted to network programming to such a sick extent that we can’t even imagine life without the ‘idiot box.’ 
What component of television have we become addicted to?
Network programming. Network programming. Network programming
Repeat those words often enough and they start to sound a bit unsettling. That’s because ‘network programming’ isn’t shorthand for ‘scheduled television shows,’ as we typically believe it is, but to express the fact that the networks are being used to program us, the viewers.
All the major television networks in the world are owned by one small group of corporate conglomerates. The same corporate conglomerates also run the following monopolies: the music industry, the movie industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the bank industry, the oil industry, the food industry including all fast food chains, the fashion industry, the beauty industry, and, as I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, every other industry we are dependent on, as a part of their conspiracy against our basic human rights, which we need if ever we hope to realize enlightenment. Enlightened beings are dangerous to them. Enlightened beings are producers, not consumers. Enlightened beings are their nemesis. Let us all become enlightened beings!

But, on our way, let's see why these corporate conglomerates focus so much of their time and effort on the entertainment business. Why do they spend so much money entertaining us?
The entertainment industry is like the invisible bars that keep us locked in psychological prison, and the celebrities, newscasters and movie directors who determine what we should and shouldn't do to fit in, are the wardens. Our self-appointed corporate rulers use the entertainment industry to keep us from rebelling against them; and the entire system of television, movie and music is a mind-controlled pecking order of corrupt peer-pressure, with us- the viewers and listeners- at the very bottom.
Our favorite actors, actresses, singers, rappers, athletes, dancers, newscasters, producers, directors... all of them... are nothing but manipulated puppets whose strings are pulled by those who live to keep us repressed. I’m not trying to imply that everyone in Hollywood is in on this conspiracy; most entertainers are merely pawns on the chessboard, blissfully ignorant of the fact that a game of domination is being played, let alone the fact that they are the ground troops, fighting on the sinister side of the major player. We must forgive them, for they know not what they do. They are, for the most part, unaware of the reeking ill effects their endorsements have on the bodies, minds and souls of their fans. The industry preys on their talent by selling them the dreams of success and stardom. Then, the industry sets them up as mascots to win over our admiration, respect, trust, perverse love, and ultimately, worship. Celebrities are the blasphemous gilded idols of the church of the corporate agenda. 
To understand how this diabolical scheme works, let’s go back to school for a moment: 
It’s the first day of the academic year, somewhere around upper elementary, and you’re excited to show off your new clothes. You walk into the classroom, filled with the hopeful expectation that your classmates will admire your new look and envy the expensive, designer fashions you wear. But the unthinkable happens: your jeans are straight leg, while everyone else’s are flared. Your shirt is solid, while everyone else’s is print. At first, you hold your head high, confident that, even if you stand out, your attire is still ‘cool’ because it’s new and expensive. But when the recess bell rings, all your hope is lost. A popular kid corners you in front of everyone else, and says, “Where did you go shopping? At a garage sale for the fashion blind?” Everybody laughs, and at the end of the day, you run home crying, begging your mom to buy you the same clothes everyone else has. 
Apply that same model to college.
It’s the first day. You walk into class, sit down, and unpack your bag. Before the professor enters, you pull out your cell phone to set the ring tone to silent. The guy across the aisle from you- good looking, athletically built, stylishly dressed- shoots you a quizzical, sarcastic look. You ask him, “What’s up?” He says, “Nice cell. 2005 much?” Then he pulls from his bag a new touch screen phone, opens a web browser, types in the name of your cellular model, and hands his phone over to you. You’re confronted with an online review declaring the inadequacy of your once state-of-the-art flip phone. Humiliated, you go to an electronics shop later that day to replace your outdated model.
While these two examples of consumerist peer-pressure might seem far fetched, the reality is, almost everyone harbors an inner fear of being caught with something outdated, unpopular or uncool. It’s not just our clothing and gadgets that face the scrutiny of popular opinion; every aspect of our physical appearance and personality is held up against the standards set by other people who we collectively agree are the best. Popular kids; sports stars; fashion models; and leading them all, celebrities.
If some shareholder for a clothing manufacturer walked into a school and told the kids there that his brand of clothes is the maker of the new must-have trend item, none of the kids would buy into it. But, if that same clothing manufacturer paid a popular celebrity to wear his would-be trend out into the spotlight, whereupon it would be photographed for magazines and filmed for television, those same kids would suddenly want it. It’s not the “thing” itself that determines whether or not it becomes a trend, but the endorsement of social ring leaders. 
At school, the popular kids have no hidden agenda; they are transparent in their cruel intention to be on top of the social ladder, at the expense of those beneath them. But in the entertainment industry, there are shadow figures with ulterior motives manipulating the celebrities, who are nothing more than rich, famous, uber-popular kids in our pop culture, which is a globalized and dogmatic, anti-enlightenment school.
When we see a handsome heart-throb or a beautiful pin-up drinking a diet soda in a commercial, we will subconsciously remember that it’s the drink the ‘ideal people’ drink next time we see it on a menu, or grocery store shelf. If a health warning comes out about it’s poisonous ingredients, we’ll be hesitant to accept that warning because we can’t imagine the idyllic celebrity consuming poison. “If it’s good enough for that celebrity, it’s good enough for me,” we may think, believing, of course, that those who endorse products do so because they actually use the products themselves. We will esteem their endorsement over sound medical advice, and against our own better judgement.
And this goes for everything celebrities endorse. Sugary drinks and aspertame laden alternatives, fast food chains, chocolate bars, clothing brands, skin care products, make-up, soap, shampoo, hair dye, tooth whiteners, cars, computers, phones, service providers, airlines... in a world with an unending list of new products, the quantity of things they try to push on us is truly mind boggling.
Yet commercials, product placements and endorsements are only the tip of the entertainment iceberg; the invisible bulk beneath the surface is vastly more dangerous. We know that commercials, product placements and celebrity culture influence us to buy things, but they do something much worse than just that: they keep us locked in the belief that we are “consumers.”
What is a consumer
A consumer is the opposite of a producer. A consumer is dependent; hooked on that which he or she consumes. A consumer uses, abuses, buys, eats, votes for, wastes and demands more and more of whatever the producer supplies. 
We are brainwashed by the entertainment industry and the media into believing that Coka Cola is in a war against Pepsi; that McDonalds is competing against Burger King; that ABC is fighting NBC or CBS, or any other station, for viewers; that Fox News is a rival for News World or CNN; that the Lakers compete against the Bulls; or that we should choose sides with either Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston in an A-list, multi-national, Brad Pitt love triangle.
We need to wake up, and understand that Coca Cola and Pepsi, McDonalds and Burger King, are all on the same side; their mutual enemy is a health-conscious population, because a health conscious population would immediately put all of them out of business. They convince us, by putting various celebrity puppets in commercials, that they rival each other. This creates in us the false idea that we have a choice between which one among them we should choose; that way, we won’t consider the real issue, of whether or not we should eat or drink any their crap at all. ABC, NBC, and CBS all pander to the same viewers. The charade that they try to beat each other in a  ratings race is staged so that none of their demographic audience will question the fact that the same exact advertisers keep all of them wealthy, or that they all schedule their commercial breaks at the same time, or that their executives are traded back and forth like players on sports teams. The news media stations are all owned and controlled by the same banking families who also own and control public polling bureaus, newspapers, and political magazines. And, finally, neither Angelina Jolie nor Jennifer Aniston care even slightly what you, or any other fan, thinks about her love life. The competitions, dramas and news stories about them are mere smokescreens set up to keep us from looking behind the curtain.
We are not being sold products, we are being sold a skewed version of reality that keeps us in our place, at the bottom of the pecking order. 
Let’s pause here, to understand exactly what a pecking order is. 
Poultry farmers coined the term pecking order to describe the social structure that always forms in flocks of chickens. There is always one chicken who dominates the others. This chicken is considered to be at the top of the pecking order; he or she has first dibs on all food, water, and roosting areas. If a rivalrous chicken tries to usurp the place of the one at the top of the pecking order, the top chicken will “peck” at him or her to reinforce the idea of supremacy. Beneath the top chicken are the chickens who come next on the pecking order; those who have second dibs to the food, water, and roosting areas. Like with the first, if those below the second-in-line chickens try to take what is theirs out of place, they will be pecked into submission. The bottom of the pecking order includes a chicken or chickens who always come last. The numbers of grades between the top and bottom chickens in the pecking order depends on the size of the flock.
Our human brains have a small mechanism within them that is reminiscent of the chicken brain. Neuroscientists will sometimes call it our reptilian brain. The reptilian brain within our brain recognizes, validates, and submits to, social hierarchies, the same way chickens do. As a result, we can also get caught in a pecking order.
In school, the popular kids are at the top of the pecking order. The least popular kids are at the bottom. The reptilian brains within the children will keep them conscious of their place. If one rebels against this groundless hierarchy, and tries to point out a character flaw or weakness of the child on top, he will be ‘pecked’- teased, tormented, bullied, or beaten up- by the other children. 
In our society, the top of the pecking order is the upper crust- the royals, the captains of industry, the political elite, and the revered dogmatic clergy. They, the richest of the rich, have first dibs on world resources like land, gold, and oil, and if any beneath them tries to take something out of turn, they peck at their opponents using warheads and weapons of mass destruction. Since, of course, their actions are neither justifiable nor popular, they found a clever way to divert public attention away from them. They set up an entertainment industry that would appeal to the masses, and, in a strategic and manipulative move, created the ultimate deception: the shows and movies are not the illusion- the idea that the celebrities are at the top of the pecking order is! We, the “viewers” and “consumers” at the bottom of the industrial pecking order, will respond to celebrities with our reptilian brains, by putting them on pedestals, and emulating their behavior, while not forgetting our place beneath them. In the background, the real top cocks can go on doing with the the world whatever they want, because the masses are busy following trends, picking sides, buying things, and worshipping idols. 
Some will now be thinking, “From now on, I’ll mute the commercials, and stop idolizing the celebrities.”
That’s a start, but it only eliminates one of the many problems presented by television. Another is the problem of this false reality they’ve convinced us is the be-all and end-all of existence.
We think the world has always revolved around such things as the political right wing versus the political left wing; sports competitions; workplace boredom, pressure and stress; debt, creditors, collection agencies and banks; domestic tensions and family dramas; health care and education; rich and poor... 
No... the world has not always revolved around such things; only the world that they’ve trapped us in, largely through the use of the entertainment industry, does.
If you’re now wondering what more there is to life besides politics, family issues, work, finances, health, education and consumer products, be very clear, you are one of the victims they have trapped. Basically, the biggest blinder the moguls of the modern world have wrapped around our eyes is the blinder that hides this deep truth: there is more to life than that which can be perceived through the five physical senses. 
As long as we watch television (or listen to popular music, or go to the movies) we cast a vote in favor of the illusion that the world is nothing more than the physical. 
Pop culture has convinced us that we live in a one-dimensional framework of civilization based on work by day and play by night. Whether “work” means manual labor or intellectual labor, and whether “play” means playing or watching sports, going to nightclubs, reading magazines, visiting coffee shops with friends, or whatever else we distract ourselves with, is beside the point. 
How many of us fear the possibility of boredom at the thought of a life without mass media? How many of us don’t even want to listen to this, because we don’t want to lose our faith in our favorite show, band, actor, video game, movie, or news broadcaster? 
That is the main point of their agenda. 
We are addicted to network programming. Our addiction allows us to be programmed. 
Our likes, dislikes, beliefs, goals, hopes, fears and insecurities all come to us vis the corporate owned and operated celebrity puppets. 
Only if we stop watching television, reading magazines and newspapers, listening to mainstream music, and idolizing the figureheads placed at the visible top of those industries, will we stand a chance of escaping their indoctrination. And only if we escape their indoctrination can we hope to achieve the true, ultimate goal of life in human form on planet Earth- Spiritual Enlightenment.
I implore you to throw away the boob tube. If you can’t stomach the idea of life without media distraction, you can replace it instead with privately made videos on you tube.
For more information on television, pop culture, and mind control, please research further. There is a vast source of truth out there; all we have to do is look for it. I have personally found these sites very informative:
And, for you tube content to replace network programming, check out these channels:
(Ignoring the commercials, of course.)
Step 5. Question your education.
Sending our children to school and pushing them to obtain high school diplomas is not an optional practice in our society; it is mandatory, both legally, and peer-pressure enforced ethically. We've been taught, of course, to believe that going to school is necessary in order for us to become well learned, intelligent, contributing members of society. We've been taught, by institutions that we have no choice but to learn from, to believe that the form of education we are now given is an essential component to a well lived life.

We have been taught a lie.

Before really getting into this, I'd like to make one thing very clear. I am not opposed to education! I am opposed to the one-sided, blatantly insufficient slave system that passes for education in our modern public - and private! - school systems.

The first thing we should examine when questioning our education is the worthiness of stress to our livelihood, because the first lesson we learn in school, is that life is that our lives are the sum totals of various forms of stress.

Even in kindergarten, our innocent and developing brains are filled with such worries as, "I can't be late!" and "I hope I didn't forget something." As we progress through the grades, these comparatively small stresses are replaced by feelings of all around constant fear- to pass exams, to keep up with the other kids in phys-ed class, to know the correct answer if called on by the teacher, and worst of all, to have the right clothing, hairstyle and 'stuff' to be acceptably 'cool' by the other students. (Of course, this last point can't be credited to schooling; that's more or more the entertainment industry's doing. And yes, I meant to say 'more or more' and not 'more or less.')

Stress has infested our societal mind like a bad case of contagious, inescapable and invisible head lice. We are irritated by it, we all know it's a problem, yet no matter how much we try to wash it away, we can't seem to scratch it's itch.

Stress is programmed into us from birth. First, through the observation of our parents. How they rush through their morning routines to get to work on time, beat their foreheads in frustration when bills pile up, and argue about everything financial from retirement plans to student loans. This has been the case in our modern world for at least the last fifty years. Children have seen the stress levels of their parents rising and rising, and have resisted growing up in protest against developing that same stress pattern within themselves. The crux of the 70's "Flower Child" movement can be summed up as this- a generation of inspired youth attempted, en masse, to keep their inspiration alive. Of course, the institutionalized society eventually dragged them back, and most went on to become carbon copies of their parents before them- taxpaying, food-pyramid eating, television viewing consumers.

As if to thwart the possibility of another flower power movement before it has a chance to begin, the stress programming happening in kids today happens not only by way of observing their parents at home, but also, it darkens the sparkle of their bright and curious young minds in childhood itself.

As if commercials on television and a need to keep up with the latest technology isn't stressful enough for the young, schools have now refined the art of creating constant stress, fear and panic in all students by implementing rigid schedules, pressure to compete, fear of the future failure, reward and punishment based offices and an incessant need to run after goals.

Standardized testing, quarterly parent reviews, early applications to useless and financially crippling post secondary institutions, and more, are the driving force behind the mind control tool masquerading as education.

We should always question what is forced and not optional.

We, all of us, are forced into these cookie cutter schools where we are bombarded by indoctrinating curriculum. We are forced, en masse, to abide by redundant rules, and to memorize unchecked "facts" about our "history."

The school system is nothing more than a tool to dumb us down by making us 'smart.'

Our IQ's are much higher as a result of education, no doubt; but our ability to realize higher perceptions than that which is seen at face value is eliminated. Our ability to memorize is improved through schooling, but our creative drive and unique ways of thinking are stifled. Our obedience is greatly improved as a result of our schooling, but our independence is all but killed.

The left brain is pumped up at the expense of the right brain; fitting in is made mandatory and free thinking classified as one and the same with rule breaking.

If we don't question our education, we fall victim to it.

Hear the living enlightened avatar, Paramahamsa Sri Nithyanandaji speak on education:

See also:
Step 6. Reconsider the validity of popular opinion.
Coming soon.
Step 7. Look within yourself to discover who you are.
Coming soon.
Step 8. Regularly do some form of yoga.
Coming soon.

Step 9. Drop all the judgements you may have about those who are not ready or   
             willing to make the same changes you’re making. 
Coming soon.

Step 10. Let Enlightenment be your number one priority!