ideas on consciousness, Wellness, and Being

  • The Four Agreements, 4 Elements, and Freedom

    The Four Agreements, 4 Elements, and Freedom

    I recently finished a fantastic read of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide on Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book presented an ancient Toltec perspective on our lives and how the hidden “agreements” we make with ourselves and others have a huge impact on the world and reality we see around us. I strongly encourage everyone to read it as it is only 140 Pages and very well written. Without giving too much of the book away, I wanted to discuss each of The Four agreements in relation to our elemental philosophy.

    It is probably because I spend a lot of time contemplating the elements and how they are present in all things in our life, but anything with four parts almost always lends itself well to a further, deeper understanding through this elemental perspective of thought.  Ruiz listed the agreements as are:

    The Four Agreements

    • Be Impeccable with your Word
    • Don’t Take Anything Personally
    • Do Not Make Assumptions
    • Always do your best

    Though Ruiz only made allusion to elemental ideas, we will analyze them based on which element fits best to the idea presented with each agreement in his book. 

    “Be Impeccable With Your Word”

    The Four Agreements begin with “be impeccable with your word.” To summarize Ruiz on this, he explains that man must live by their word. Honesty, Integrity, Gossip, and Slander all affect our reality in some way. He compares the latter to Toxins that spread across our being from the first peccable word we speak. In this way we must live by the words we say, and only say the words we mean, but more than this we have to embody the person we speak into being. In this way the aspects of fire are almost screaming to be recognized and alluded to. The book of John begins with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This example was also made in the book, and drives home the fact that our word is more than simply what we speak. If John’s God can be boiled down to his Word, so much so that it is the first thing written by him, then a man’s word is clearly much more than the words he speaks, but our very being. We must realize that though we have an understanding and a perspective of ourselves, others know us only by their perspective. This perspective is made of our word, which constitutes our character, our disciplines, even our actions.

    By making our agreement to “Be Impeccable with [y]our Word” we embark on the practice of being everything we claim to be, and everything we desire to be. We hold ourselves accountable for every word and action we speak and begin to do so with the truest vision of ourselves. Not only will we become more honorable and just, but we will also have a clear direction begin to unfold in our lives. 

    Four Agreements: Be Impeccable with your Word

    “Don’t take anything personally”

    The second of the Four Agreements brought to us by Ruiz is “Don’t take anything personally”, which he explains is the source of almost all forms of insults. Ruiz brings to mind the concept that only we can truly insult ourselves. An analogy is made that if someone walking down the street were to stop and call you stupid, that says nothing about you as a person, but only of that stranger. However if you allow that remark to enter you, if you take it personally, then you begin to embody the insult, and wonder how this person could know you are stupid, how could they have seen your stupidity. Ruiz also explains that by living in the first agreement, you will find the vindication to embody the second agreement. Once you are living impeccably with your word, you will know you are not stupid, and a remark light that will roll off of you without injury because it truly cannot apply to you. You will know this in your being, and be unfazed by such an attempt to insult you. However I can say that this agreement and the next are far more difficult to enact than you might initially think.

    Most people have some kind of belief that they are relatively unbothered by a stranger’s mean remark. Truly most people probably could go on about their day without being too affected by some stranger in a bad mood, however, this is not true for those that we hold closer to us, yet the agreement is even more important for those people. If someone you love insults you, possibly calling you stupid, you would agree that carries more weight to you. The opinion of that person will be more important to you, so how could you simply bounce off of you? This was what I was thinking before Ruiz began to explain that not taking anything personally meant ANYTHING. Not only insults, but also compliments. This reshaped my perspective on the agreement, and demonstrated clearly to me its association with the aspects of Water. The element  of our emotion shows influence in the way we flow with insults and compliments. It is the element that relates to our relationships, family, friends, and loved-ones. 

    “Do Not Make Assumptions”

    Of The Four Agreements, the third is “do not make assumptions.” The nature of assuming is clearly evident as an exercise of our intellect. We weigh peoples actions against patterns we have seen in them and others, and decide what that means we might see them do in the future, or how they may be feeling. This clearly links itself to the element of air. We allow our brain to formulate incredible futures based on small, almost insignificant details that would have passed in the blink of an eye if we’d have allowed it. We meet a beautiful, attractive person and begin to plan our future with them before we even know their name. We are rubbed the wrong way by a customer and begin imagining the life they must live outside of that single interaction. In doing this we create what Ruiz explains as a toxin that spreads from that assumption, and infects our reality. It brings us suffering because our assumptions are quite often not the way our reality truly happens, and it causes a disharmony in us. Our air element is rebutted and thrashed by our singular closed-mindedness. 

    “Always Do Your Best”

    The last of The Four Agreements is a deceivingly simple one. “Do your best.” No matter what I write here, you already have an idea of what this phrase means. We have heard it our entire lives. I personally have written a multitude of poems with the phrase as either the focus or a recurring theme. Somehow still, it escapes us. This is because the idea of our best has been given to us, and often comes from outside sources. Most of us actually strive to do more than our best, and in doing so do not accomplish what we are capable of. We try too hard to push ourselves past our limits and produce, or capitalize, on our lives, that we forget what our best truly is. We misunderstand our innate capability and purpose, and push ourselves to be something we are not. Our best is who we are, the being that exists. With this being said, we can see that, not only is Earth the last remaining element, but it is also the element that fits perfectly with this, almost cliche phrase. We have heard it so frequently, and just as frequently we have misinterpreted its truest meaning. Just as earth is stable, unmoving, nurturing and formidable, the planet itself is always moving at a consistent speed. The cycles of the world move consistently through the seasons of the year without missing a beat. The many aspects of life around us that would fall apart if one of them were missing, continue because that is their nature. That is the state of being. The earth remains stable and consistent at the speed that maintains everything, just as we will maintain each of these agreements if we remember to do our best, not more, not less. 

    I tried hard not to summarize every single point made in The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz, but there was so much incredible information that I wanted to be able to bring at least some of the powerful analogies and imagery to this post, in hopes that we could more clearly see the relation to our own elemental philosophy. 

  • Density of Emotions: the 4 Layers of balanced Consciousness

    Density of Emotions: the 4 Layers of balanced Consciousness

    The former post on Duality touches on emotion a bit, in fact using the word twenty-one times. However the focus of that post is to highlight the duality of all things using our emotions as the observed duality. 

    What I want to talk about in this article is how we can better understand ourselves through our own experience of emotions, and what that understanding can do for us. I have said to my family, my friends, and even strangers that I believe emotions are not inherently part of us even though they may feel like extensions of us. More clearly I believe that emotions, although coming from somewhere inside our being, are actually more similar to outside factors like viruses, weather, accidents, etc. This idea has not only delivered me from some of the most intense and unbearable emotions, it taught me how to more clearly use my tools of perspective and acceptance to better my understanding of myself and existence around me. 

    Emotions as a Choice.

    Think about it. You do not choose to experience an emotion. Anger overtakes you, sadness overwhelms you. You don’t choose to endeavor those emotions, they come to you. Some people may disagree as the phrase “Happiness is a choice,” is one I have heard and read on more than one occasion.  While I do not disagree with this, I believe that to simplify an emotion down to choice does a great disservice to those who are chronically enveloped by unwanted emotion. That phrase implies that we can simply choose not to feel those emotions, which every human would understand as a fundamental fallacy. In this blog’s second post, almost a year and a half ago, we looked at happiness as something that requires practice and dedication, as a way to detach the idea of choice, and replace it with the idea of practicing. I chose the title “Happiness: Don’t Chase It, Practice It” because it made sense to me that we are not actually choosing a different emotion like happiness, but seeking to practice ways to extract or experience other emotions more regularly which is well within our right and power as a being.

    That is still not the point of this article. The intention of the words in this post are to give a deeper dive into our emotions and allow us to more confidently and thoroughly understand ourselves. As written above, emotions happen to us, they are not something we have direct control over, however, what we do or how we act once they do happen to us is what we can control. A virus is an outside influence that becomes dangerous or harmful once it is inside of us and begins to spread throughout our cells. We can take preventative measures to avoid viruses, but once they are inside us there is nothing we can do but protect others and maintain ourselves while the virus is expunged.  Emotions work in the same way. Something outside of our own being triggers a response within us, and it begins to spread across our consciousness, at times taking over our very lives leading us to become slaves to our own emotions. The key to maintaining our own autonomy over emotion is to know that these emotions are not a part of us, just as a virus is not a part of us. Understand that yes we are feeling emotion, but that emotion is not who we are, and says nothing about us other than how we are currently feeling. 

    Densities of Consciousness

    The obstacle presented by strong emotions is that they exist in our more dense level of consciousness. We’ve touched on the aspects of our lives and consciousness relating to Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. If we think of those elements as directly as possible we realize that in that  same order they are arranged from most dense to least.  Earth is the densest, followed by water, then air, and fire being immaterial at best is made almost entirely of light therefore it is the lightest. Most holistic and philosophical understandings of our Body-Mind-Spirit explain the idea of denser or “lower” consciousness ascending as we grow and understand ourselves. This same idea persists in our elemental philosophy, moving from the densest earth all the way to the lightest immaterial fire. Naturally our consciousness is at rest at the earthen level of our lives, our base ego. When our consciousness first awakens in our young bodies we are immediately surrounded with infinite sights and experiences of the physical earth-based density, aka the world we see and feel. Most times we have trouble even thinking outside of what is directly in front or around us. Once we begin to see outside of this level, we approach the density of water, our emotional ego. 

    Just as water is less dense than earth, but more dense than air,  our emotions exist in a non-tangible realm of consciousness that is less dense than our basic five-sensed body, but is somehow just as real to us. This is because unconsciously our being (not our body) senses emotion inside us, and even from outside sources. This is why other people’s emotions affect our own even just by being in the same room.  Until we can see emotions as events that are happening to us, and separate ourselves from them, we will continue to be shoved back down to the earthen level of dense consciousness. 

    This doesn’t mean that we cannot have experiences in our emotional, mental, or spiritual egos, but that we will struggle to maintain a consistent consciousness at those levels. They will be one-time, impactful, yet unrepeatable experiences. This is why so many people rarely make real emotional connections with others, fewer remarkable life-changing ideas, and even fewer spiritual experiences. Each requires a lighter level of consciousness that is often only achieved as the result of situational circumstance. To frequently experience these intentionally would require being able to bring ourselves to that egoic level and maintain it. I can’t pretend to have mastered this, but I can say that through regular emotional analysis and observation I have been able to reign in the turmoil of overwhelming emotions, and the even more elusive, intrusive thoughts. By working to achieve a more unified conscious lightness I believe our lives and the world around us would see revolutionary change in acceptance and understanding. 

  • Meditation: Nurturing The Mind in 5 Meditative steps

    Meditation: Nurturing The Mind in 5 Meditative steps

    Meditation is exercise. Just like our bodies need to exercise to some degree to process the calories and nutrients we intake every day, we also have to do this with the other four “bodies” of well-being. This article specifically will focus on Mental Exercise and what that means for our intellectual well-being.

    Our mental “body”, or intellectual well-being is something that is often lumped into many other concepts. The basis we will be working from though, is that our mental body is where our thoughts and ideas happen. The emotionless aspects of thoughts as they pop into your head. A thought is not your emotion or your spirit, and clearly not your body. It’s an event of the mind. As we go throughout our day our attention and mind are constantly fighting to stay focused on whatever it is that is in front of us. Advertisements on the radio, billboards, social media, all of these things and more are begging to steal a second of your mental energy. Try to look somewhere without seeing “branding” or “Marketing”. Each of these tiny aspects fights for even the tiniest spec of your thoughts and attention, and if we are not careful, they can take over our thoughts entirely. 

    If we move from one advertisement, to another, one cry of attention or call to action to another, our mind becomes weak and incapable of producing its own original and impressive thoughts because it spends its existence processing the thoughts of others. It’s an addictive mind-state to be in. It seems easier to process other thoughts than to process our own. To be told what and how to think as opposed to developing your own thoughts, doom-scrolling our lives away. Our minds weaken without us realizing. For these reasons it is important that we as humans embark on some sort of mental exercise. Not simply “brain games” on your phone or computer, but something a bit more intimate. My suggestion, and I believe the most direct answer,  is meditation. Meditation comes in many different forms. In fact as we move on from our mental body in the future, we will discuss topics of “emotional meditation” or “Spiritual meditation” but a basic meditation practice has to come before those. 

    Which Type of Meditation?

    Of the many forms of meditation, my favorite for beginners is a type mindfulness meditation(there are many). This practice involves simply sitting quietly and observing thoughts as they stumble into your mind. It seems easy, but it is far more difficult than it appears.  At first it is simple to acknowledge “I think that” or even “A thought I’m having is this”, but that is not the end of meditation. You must then be able to process that thought and allow it to leave. This is the part that is troublesome, or at least was for me. In the beginning my brain, like so many others, would spring from this initial thought into a chain of linked thoughts, and before I even remembered I was supposed to be observing them, I had gone through fifteen different thoughts that didn’t even seem related. It is easy for our brain to ride this frequency, jumping from one thought to the next. No regard to why the thoughts arise, only how they impact our immediate circumstances. When we are able to slow down, ask ourselves what we are thinking, where it came from, and how to let it go? Once we do this we start to feel the power of our mental well-being streaming back into our bodies. 

    Meditation Prayer

    This feeling is empowering. We begin to feel control over our thoughts, instead of being controlled by them. We become more knowledgeable of who we are, and what we are becoming. The oracle of Delphi said that to “To know oneself, is to know God” and even though that was written nearly 2600 years ago, the weight it holds is just as heavy as the day it was said. By sitting with our own thoughts, and observing them openly and freely, we begin to know ourselves as deeply and openly. There are many different guided meditations and incredible information on the internet about how to practice mindfulness meditation, so I won’t dive too deep into direction. I will however explain the process that works for me.

    My Mindfulness Meditation:

    1. Sit or lay comfortably. Spine as straight and body fully relaxed as you can manage. We do not want to fall asleep, but we have to be free of tension that will draw our focus while meditating.
    2. Close our eyes and just breathe for a minute to get into the rhythm. Sometimes it helps to focus on our breath in and out if the mind is racing too fast to observe
    3. As our brain begins to slow, ask ourself simply “what am I thinking” either aloud or quietly. This at times even becomes a mantra.
    4. When you realize you are having a thought, anything, no matter what it is, observe the thought by mentaling saying (I am thinking:) followed by that thought.
    5. Let that thought fade out, just as it faded into your head, and transition back to “what am I thinking”, repeat steps 4-5 for the duration of the meditation.

    As you continue his practice, the verbal, and even mental “mantra” become less necessary as it becomes easier to observe your thoughts and let them go without needing to guide them in and out of your head-space. This is the basis for how I began practicing mindfulness meditation. It is not a deep dive into everything mindfulness is, but it was a great place to start for me because it showed me that, just as I am not my body, I am also not my thoughts, my emotions, or my spirit. I am all these together and apart. Each is an aspect of me, not the human identity. 

    It is my hope that this short article might inspire others to reach into their own mind and practice some form of meditation to exercise and strengthen their mental well-being. It is easy to fall out of practice with, but every single time I return I am reminded of why humanity needs meditation, just like we need food, exercise, or connection. The practice of meditation strengthens and balances our air element by focusing on our mental well-being and strengthening our connection to the intellectual aspect of ourselves. On top of this, meditation can also be used in connection with other emotional or spiritual aspects of our life and health, and because of this is incredible for our general mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I guarantee if you enact a single month of dedicated meditation practice, even just 10 minutes a day, you will see a measurable change in your life.

  • Conscious Artistic Expression

    Conscious Artistic Expression

    We as humans appear simple in our needs at first glance. Food, Water, Shelter. It doesn’t get much harder?

    But those are not the traits of our needs that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom, and while it is increasingly important for us to remember that we are animals biologically, we also have to discover what it is that sets us apart from the rest of the animals. When we do this we can further understand our purpose in this experience. 

    To do this humans find our outlets of conscious artistic expression. This is the part of us that feels fulfilled when we create something or accomplish something that is important to us. It could also be called the feeling of success. It’s the things we do every day that bring us happiness from inside ourselves and it thrives with our passion. 

    If you’re reading this, you may not immediately know what your conscious artistic expression is, and I couldn’t tell you based on any rubric, but you certainly have one.I know that I am lucky enough to have a classical “art” be what I feel most drawn to do with my life: writing. However, more people than most will find their life’s expression is something far more abstract. What I know of my own creative language, is that it is something I feel I have always loved, but felt a necessity to do. Something that I subconsciously knew I was supposed to be nurturing, but somehow neglected. It is also something that I once exploited for money, as most of us do when we find something we excel at and enjoy doing. This is because it is unfortunately easier for others to see your expressive talents and seek to harness them for their own gain, often for the trade of currency for your time. Not nearly a fair trade. 

    Whether or not your career is currently squeezing out the drops of your creative energy, or if you know exactly what you should dedicate more time to, what’s important is that we actually do it. This is the “great work” some would refer to. It is that thing that we each were brought here to do. This idea of conscious artistic expression is not necessarily the same as simple art, though many artists find this expression in their art, as I do with words. 

    In fact, using a word like artistic may be a bit of a misnomer as it might not be what we typically understand as “artistic” at all. This is because the “art” we exist to create is the outcome of our lives themselves. The biggest masterpiece you will ever create is the person you are when you die. Not the material items, or power, or money you’ve accumulated, but that single person depicting a blip of existence, and all they have experienced. Everything we gain from experiencing life, paints a picture on our soul’s canvas that’s only ready to ship when we move on to the next realm. It is not “art” in the physical and mundane sense. It is the art your soul arrived in this existence to complete. The one that starts with your birth and ends with your death. The plan your consciousness had when it entered your body. We often stray from this plan. The world distracts us and makes us confused which path to take, but when we can sit with ourselves, and begin to know ourselves more intimately, we can see what this plan is simply the path we are on. It unfolds no matter which direction we step. Only when we begin to live inside of that truth can we discover our purpose, and feel ourselves embody creation at its very essence. 

    Elementally this concept is driven by our elemental fire. Fire is the element of spirit and purpose. It demonstrates influence through creation, passion and change and is exemplified by the satisfaction and achievement we as beings receive when we accomplish or create something in line with our truest purpose. When we are disconnected from our conscious artistic expression, we become dull and almost lifeless. We become less man and more robot, living through the motions of existence without ever truly experiencing its full extent. We as humans exist for more than nine-to-five, ambition-less lives. We owe it to ourselves, and to our spirits inhabiting these human bodies, to discover and enact the plan of purpose that was set in motion with our first breath.

  • Money Dreams

    Money Dreams

    Money is worthless,

    but the less we, this, believe,

    the more we endure suffering,

    The less we can perceive.

    Money is worth less

    Than the time, for it, you spend

    and if you forget this

    your happiness will end.

    You see, our lives are fleeting


    and when we pause to breathe

    the world embraces each of us,

    and brings our pain some ease. 

    But money doesn’t want this

    not for you, or me.

    It only wants results.

    Production driven greed.

    To trade away our lives for this,

    no bigger sin could be.

    We were gifted existence,

    not to sell for currency.

    I dare you, take it back,

    your life from greedy lords,

    and watch as you become,

    more than you were before.

    We do not need those fancy things

    that emulate some peace.

    We were born with peace inside

    and convinced it must be leased.

    It’s time for us to understand, 

    that we cannot afford.

    the lives we dare to dream

    by always seeking more

    Embrace your life’s simplicity.

    Know that, to leave and breath,

    Is wealth more vast than all the rest.

    Become the you, you’ve dreamed.

Tips of Tender

Extracted from years of my life spent reading, writing, and studying, it is my vow that this blog will remain free of ads, at no cost to you. The years spent creating this space have been incredibly fulfilling for me, but also require a diligent balance of time and money. Most days you can find me waiting tables to make ends meet, as gratuity is the most compatible form of compensation with my spirit. With that in mind if my words have brought you any illumination, please consider a humble donation.


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