The following are some of Smile Ambassador's personal explorations into consciousness and the art of holistic health healing. We have agreed to partner in this project to share Smile Ambassador's perspectives and ideas. The format for this project is a simple series of questions & answers, provided by Smile Ambassador and supervised by Bruno Treves.
1. What is existence, what is energy and what is perception?
Prior to addressing any philosophical question, I must first acknowledge the biases that different mental states play in the formulation of my response. My mental states color my thoughts and perceptions, and thus my viewpoints are potentially in constant flux. For example, when we fall in love our entire perception of life is altered such that love totally encapsulates our meaning of life, and the same could be said of intense states of concentration. Nevertheless, I will attempt to come to a meaningful answer to this question, an answer not a slave to my current ever-changing predicaments.
So what is existence? Why are we here? For me, existence is a game that all souls play in their pursuit of reuniting with the Oversoul, God, or whatever you’d like to call him (or her for that matter). So how do we win this game we call life, because let’s face it, there’s a part of us that loves winning and there is no greater prize than to win at life. Winning at life is pretty simple, yet often hard to implement .
For me, winning at life means figuring out what things make me happy and then going about doing those things until hopefully all my actions are done out of happiness (I use the term happiness loosely as a positive sentiment like peace or joy). If we believe in the interconnectedness of everyone through something like Lynn McTaggert’s field of consciousness then anytime we feel happiness (even more so when we extend this to others) the whole world’s consciousness is uplifted. It then comes down to the question, will we let others or our present circumstances determine what we do with our lives or will we at this moment decide that we are no longer bonded by the shackles of the past and begin manifesting the future we desire.
So, what is energy? Energy is the universal force that ties everything and everyone together. We are all just atoms moving around in a sea of more atoms. Some of these atoms have been grouped together into complex structures like the human brain, but still, at its core, even the human brain is simply made of many atoms, vibrating in harmony (or disharmony!).
As I’ve come to be more in tune with energy, I’ve begun to realize this scientific phenomenon for myself, with some pretty incredible results. Everything and everyone emits energy in the form of an electromagnetic field called an aura, and the strength of one’s aura determines the energy we feel at the present moment. One can increase the strength of their electromagnetic field through activities such as exercise, yoga, or prayer.
2. What are the Chakras? How do they change over time?
There are officially 114 chakras in the body, but most people hold the belief that there are only seven; in reality, the seven just happen to be the “main ones”. Chakras are energy centers that determine how we feel mentally and physically. They energize our organs and when open allow for energy to move freely through the body. Chakras also possess a magnetic power that varies with the extent they are open.
For example, if our heart chakra is very strong we will attract people with similar open hearts and see the color green more (the color associated with this chakra). Ideally our chakras are balanced so that no one chakra overpowers another. The extent to which our chakras are balanced directly determines the quality of our physical and mental being.
There are innumerable resources on the web or in print that offer great advice as to how balance our chakras with diet, yoga poses, colors, sounds, and more. Opening up previously closed chakras has the potential to drastically change our perception of reality and provide a new level of depth to our lives that we might never have thought possible. Consequently, diagnosing and addressing which chakras need work should be high on our to do list.
Everything we do, say, or think effects our chakras. This is not to say that we should go around afraid of acting as we wish, but rather to exemplify the dynamic nature of these energy centers. Instilling a few chakra balancing techniques can have very noticeable and positive benefits to the psyche and physical body.
The great thing about chakra work is that the more balanced they become, the easier it is to further balance them. It’s like an exponential growth equation: at first, progress seems slow, then it skyrockets. This is not to say that there will not be regressions or times when we feel downright terrible, however, being informed in the workings of the chakras will allow us to self-diagnose and treat many of the mental or physical ailments that come up in our lives.
3. What are thoughts?
For me, thoughts are both attempts to intellectualize what we are experiencing in each moment and tools of creation. Often times though, we are so caught up in intellectualizing everything that we miss the inherent beauty of our surroundings. Beauty is something that cannot be intellectualized as it comes as a result of appreciating something’s unblemished true nature. For myself, I often miss out on appreciating the beauty that each human figure embodies. What I mean by this is that my prior thoughts about or experiences with someone distort my ability to them clearly—as quintessentially beautiful. Unfortunately, this is especially true for people that we know well.
When thoughts are formed into intentions they can be truly powerful forces of creation. Positive affirmations have been widely used with great success because of the power of thought. The analogy of planting a seed has been used to describe the way in which an intention or affirmation works. The seed is a thought usually in the form of a desired outcome.
For example, “What if I slept peacefully tonight and every night going forward.” I like to use the format “What if….“ instead of saying “I sleep peacefully…” because it takes the ego completely out of it. There’s no pressure to perform well at sleeping because you haven’t attached yourself to it. Along with the intention we must apply the proper nutrients of belief and positive emotion for this seedling to grow. Then all we have to do is watch in amazement as this seed grows into a beautiful sapling then great oak.
4. What is our inner voice and how is this different from pure consciousness?
Our inner voices take on a spectrum of tones and can drag us down or lift us up. Albeit not the end goal of pure consciousness—a state of profound bliss/ pure absorption in the present found in the complete absence of a self-concept and thus devoid of a inner voice—having a uplifting inner voice should be at the top of our priority list.
A great experiment for those inclined to try is to rehearse a phrase in your head and then modify your tone to make the phrase lower or higher. After this, try speeding or slowing down your voice. When I need confidence I lower the tone of my voice while voicing the word confidence either under my breath or in my head (its even more powerful if you do it out loud, so if you don’t mind the stares go right ahead and do it). When I’m feeling sluggish I say the word fast quickly for a minute.
If I’m feeling anxious I slowly and deeply say the word peace for a minute. When my inner voice takes on a negative tone its almost always because my energy is lacking direction. Taking a timeout and repeating the appropriate phrase redirects my energy, and as with any mind-improvement technique believing in its efficacy is 95% of the battle.
5. What are emotions?
Emotions are what make us human and can be both strong catalysts for action or debilitating. They either arise out of a place of fear or happiness, and the closer we are to these emotions the more we get to decide to act of emotions of happiness and ride through emotions of fear. The heart is the gatekeeper of our emotions, and when we resist our emotions they become trapped in our hearts like giant thorns.
For a long time I refused to feel sadness—when it popped up in my life I either consciously or unconsciously ignored it—until unbeknownst to me this sadness was silently killing my energy and zest for life. Almost all of us have emotions trapped in our bodies that limit us from feeling the joy of simply being alive. A technique I’ve used to figure out what emotions are currently trapped in my heart is going to a quiet place and Googling a list of emotions, and as I read through these emotions and I forcefully tell myself, “ you can feel [insert emotion].” This can be very intense and extremely cathartic.
An emotion that I hold on to various extents is a feeling of guilt. When I did this exercise for the first time after I said the phrase you can feel guilt my heart began pounding and tears came to my eyes. In the moment the experience was not a pleasant one, but after a quick nap man did I feel good. Another powerful strategy I have used to release sadness in my heart is listening to any soulful song (one I like is “Ever the Same” by Rob Thomas) while feeling my heart with both hands. This has at times caused me to experience deep sadness, which like the previous exercise is not the greatest feeling in the moment, but extremely gratifying in the following hours/days/weeks.
Releasing emotions is arguably the most beneficial component of asana yoga or exercise in general. The pain we feel when doing yoga or exercising is often the pain of trapped emotions, but ensuing this pain is the euphoric rush of endorphins. I believe endorphins are the hearts way of rejoicing at not no longer having to hold on to old emotions. It is often through work and struggle that anything of great value is gained and the same can be said for working with the heart. Mentally telling my heart “you can feel anything” has been very helpful in this process. When this gets absorbed into our conscious the heart becomes less and less dictated by past patterns of closing and far more joy enters our lives. We then feel more energized and ready to crush our Monday morning workouts.
6. What is love?
Yes, cliché as hell, but we can only give love when we feel love for ourselves. The great thing about love is that it’s such a powerful attractor. When we feel love for ourselves others naturally gravitate towards us and present their best selves. Modern relationships mostly lack love because the aforementioned fact does not hold. They are based on a mutual exchange of goods where both parties are happy when the exchange is fair and angry when it appears otherwise.
The terms "my girlfriend" or "my husband" when taken literally imply the possessive quality of most relationships. Love flourishes in relationships when we recognize that everyone is on their own journey and we make it a point to actively aid them in this pursuit. This implies that we fully recognize their individuality and wholeheartedly seek their personal growth—whatever that entails.
The modern relationship and some of my earlier relationships often follow a pattern that goes somewhat like this. We become infatuated with our new lover. Then we begin to notice their small flaws and perhaps furtively start enacting some measures to fix them. However, still enjoying their company we might begin to worry that we could lose them to another suitor or a career move and subsequently possessive tendencies enter the relationship. Pretty soon we wonder what’s going with Cindy on Friday night when we’re out of town, and so we naturally text or call her to ask what’s she’s up to. We breathe a sigh of relief when she casually remarks that she’s staying in and watching Netflix while our hearts goes to our throat when she excitedly states that she’s going to check out the new nightclub with the girls. Now we spend the entire night worrying what she’s up to---a night completely ruined.
Why do we get ourselves involved in this silly game? The answer again comes back to loving ourselves. If we love ourselves we do not NEED our spouse or girlfriend. When we love ourselves we still love and enjoy the company of our spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend, but we also love and enjoy the company of any others we choose to be with and ourselves.
Furthermore, when we recognize a shared higher goal of pursuing our journey (toward God, enlightenment, etc.) and the eternal nature of the soul, why should we even care if Cindy makes out with Bob at the new club? It potentially could be a growing experience for her and is chance for us to grow by letting go of jealousy.
7. What are the differences between positive creation and negative creation?
Positive creation the world and us while negative creation depresses the world and us. Positive creative acts are those done out of positive emotion while negative creative acts are those done out of a negative emotional state. We manifest positive things in our lives with similar positive thoughts and manifest negative things in our lives with similar negative thoughts.
For example, if we greatly fear getting injured in sports competition and we in fact get injured then we are victims of our negative creation. So how do we combat negative creative thoughts? There are countless methods of doing this, but one I like a lot is simply laughing/smiling at fearful thoughts when they come up. They are only thoughts and we give them power by giving them attention. Consequently, when we laugh at irrational fears we confirm their ridiculousness and stop this negative creative process in its tracks.
8. What are the Yin and Yang?
Boy/girl, sun/moon, land/sea, night/day, pleasure/pain, these are some of the yins and yangs that make up our lives. It is a fundamental law of the universe that everything as its opposite and thus balance can be only found in mutual occurrence of the yin and yang. If you are a Taoist philosopher you are undoubtedly very familiar with this concept, and thus anything I say I submit to your superior wisdom. Nevertheless, where this neophyte finds the yin and the yang most denied in modern society is in the expression of the male female sides that we all have. To deny this is to deny half of ourselves and consequently half of what it means to be fully alive.
Too often in our attempts to conform to an image as macho men or Barbie dolls we subjugate entire parts of ourselves. In my own process of opening up to the feminine side I have discovered that I really enjoy singing, and occasionally I can pretty good at it. This has brought new joy into my life that otherwise would never have been experienced.
Another benefit of opening up to the feminine has been my increasing ease with simply being friends with the opposite sex. With a decreased pressure to impress the opposite sex, I can more fully be the person who I’d like to be at any time---regardless of whom I’m around. This is still a work in progress and listening to Cyndi Lauper and Gwen Stefani on my iPhone has certainly helped.
9. What is anger?
Anger is one of the most underrated and least appreciated emotions. Usually when I’m not happy I’m angry about something--whether I’d like to admit it or not. If you believe in Freudian psychology than anger is the result of the super ego denying the id pleasure. For those unfamiliar, the super ego is that part in us that monitors our thoughts and behaviors to fit with our self-concept while the id is the pleasure seeking part that cares not for the idiosyncrasies of society and especially our self/familial/societal imposed responsibilities.
Basically, it’s the animal in us that wants to have sex, eat chocolate (or whatever your guilty pleasure food is), and cry when it doesn’t get its way. Ideally we completely accept this animal part of us and simply watch it—knowing that we neither have to deny its existence nor listen to it. To test whether my super ego has been denying my id I adapt an angry face—scrunching my eyebrows and gritting my teeth for at least a minute. If this energizes and relaxes me then I’ve been denying my id.
Hidden anger is big reason we do not feel love for others and ourselves. It is the silent assassin that causes depression, confusion, anxiety and a preponderance of other mental and physical symptoms. However, anger is nothing to be feared, and, in fact, if we learn to harness it when it comes up our lives can only get better.
But what do I mean by harnessing anger? If you did the above test and then felt energized and a little more motivated than you have of course realized for yourself that anger is wellspring of energy just waiting to be used. So, what I’ve done is think about something I’ve been fearing lately—this could be an exam in school, a meeting with the boss, or simply a tough workout. I apply my angry face while smiling and thinking about the feared scenario, and quiet often this fear is transformed into positive motivating energy.
10. What is energy work?
The energy work I’ve done consists of working on the subtle energy body that surrounds one (the aura) or working on the inner energy that flows through the body (chi). The type of energy work I have implemented lately is a form of healing touch that is similar to reiki. Healing of the aura consists of feeling the electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. The aura is usually about 4 inches from the body and ideally should feel smooth. When there is a blockage in the energy systems in the body this manifests itself in the aura, which then makes it feel prickly to my touch. This prickly feeling usually dissipates as I hold my attention to it and often the symptom of pain that accompanies it in the body dissipates as well.
Healing the aura around the feet has been of the most successful areas of healing for me. I believe that balance in the feet helps balance the rest of the body and straighten the spinal cord. Actually touching someone can have even more powerful effects, and personally I like to apply touch to the back of the legs and spinal cord. When we are stressed out the adrenal glands next to our kidneys become overworked and applying healing touch to these areas can be of great relief to people. I believe that energy work requires a certain willingness from the patient to let it occur (or at least this facilitates the process).
- Smile Ambassador