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8 Facts About Life That Will Move You Forward & Improve Yourself

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8 Facts About Life That Will Move You Forward & Improve Yourself
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

No matter how much we believe we have our “shit” together, life carries many harsh truths, and no matter how much we may wish to run away from them, it is only through accepting them that we can take full responsibility for our lives.

You may be aware of some of these already, but for the rest, I’m willing to be the blunt bastard that tells them to you. You may hate me today, but you’ll thank me tomorrow.

For the record, this isn’t meant to be a pessimistic rant about how tough life is. It’s meant to motivate you to take action armed with this knowledge. 

Here are 8 brutally honest truths you need to hear if you want to get your shit together in both video and written form:

1. You’re Going To Regret How Much Time You Spend On Social Media

Social media is amazing, and I’m as addicted to it as you are. But social media is also making us all more disconnected than we’ve ever been before through the illusion of increased connection. Yes, we are able to communicate with thousands of people with ease, but with what depth?

Social media is robbing way too many of us of real connection and real life experiences. Rather than looking at the world as we walk somewhere or ride public transit, we regress to what the digital world has to offer. If our addiction level stays the same, things could become really scary, and this doesn’t even take into account the potential repercussions of so much exposure to technology.

2. Your Reactions Are The Problem

Yes, shit happens. And quite often that shit really sucks to have to go through or deal with. But regardless of how challenging something is, it’s always our reaction to it that will dictate how much it is going to impact our lives. 

You decide how much, and for how long, getting cut off on the highway is going to piss you off, and you decide how much someone’s poor opinion of you is going to make you shell up in insecurity. Let your natural reactions happen, but then consciously choose how long you want to let them impact everything else.

3. The Riskiest Thing You Can Do Is Avoid Risks

Whether or not you consider yourself a risk-seeker, there is nothing more risky than complacency. I’m not suggesting that you cannot get to a point where you are truly happy with your life and therefore simply want to sustain that lifestyle, but I’m suggesting that never taking any risks is about as dangerous as it gets.

Stop playing small if you know you want to play big, and stop telling yourself “this is good enough” if you know deep down you would love to do, create, and have so much more. The cost of taking that risk is your long-term happiness.

4. You Should Always Have Enough Money For What Matters

“I would love to attend that seminar or buy that course that can change my life, but money is too tight right now.” As true as that may be, you should always have more than enough to do the things that really matter.

The biggest obstacle is the way we instead spend it on the things that don’t. We don’t process buying a $7 premium coffee daily as an investment in nothing, but we do overthink and see spending a couple hundred dollars on something life-changing as too much. I’m not suggesting we start spending recklessly, or never treat ourselves, but rather that we do reassess how we currently spend our money.

5. People Are Going To Hate You No Matter What You Do

You can try and people please your entire life, but no matter what, some people are always going to dislike you. So rather than wasting your time trying to match what you think is the most acceptable, spend that time accepting exactly who you are.

6. Blaming Only Makes You Weaker

In the moment, to unjustly direct blame towards a circumstance or other person may seem relieving, but in the long term it really takes its toll. The less you take responsibility for your actions and decision making, the weaker you become mentally.

Taking responsibility may come with some immediate repercussions, but over time, it builds a life founded on honesty, and it strengthens your ability to tackle challenges when they do arise. 

7. People Don’t Think Of You As Much As You Think They Do

From our perspective, the whole world revolves around us, but there are 7 billion people who see it the same way. While we are not all inherently selfish or self-obsessed, we are all far more concerned with how we are perceived by others than how we perceive them.

So once again, embrace your true self and find peace in knowing that people are too concerned with themselves to give you as much as attention as you think they are.

8. Not Even The Perfect Relationship Is Going To Complete You

I have close friends whose long-term romantic relationships I not only admire, but also hope to one day experience. But even they, who seem to have found “the one,” recognize that true happiness comes from within and can never be filled in by another.

Relationships are an extension of our happiness and not the basis of it, so focus on strengthening the one with yourself and all of the others will follow accordingly. 

This article (8 Facts About Life That Will Move You Forward & Improve Yourself) was originally created for Collective Evolution and is published here under Creative Commons.

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Why Do So Many Advanced Souls Struggle With Abundance?

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Why Do So Many Advanced Souls Struggle With Abundance?
Photo Credit: Howl Stoogy

Inga Nielsen, Guest Writer

Very advanced souls have had many incarnations on Earth and have typically gone through the full spectrum of human experience. In these times they have chosen to incarnate as volunteers to assist the humanity in ascension and healing. Paradoxically, it is these souls that find manifesting and abundance to be one of the most challenging areas in life and in their conceptual framework.

Why is Material Abundance Such a Challenge for Many Advanced, Old Souls?

Old souls carry a baggage of lifetimes where they encountered darkness, poverty and abuse of power. The most traumatic aspects of these lifetimes leave scars on the soul, much like a physical trauma would scar the body. Younger, less advanced souls tend to have a much easier time manifesting money and possessions, for two simple reasons – they have more interest in the material world, and they have less obstructions, vows and past life karma preventing them from living in abundance.

Contrary to many teachings out there, abundance is not merely having money, houses, relationships, or getting anything you want. Many rich people suffer immensely in their personal lives. Personally, I remember a time in my life when I had everything I thought I should have wanted — a good apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world, a family, a permanent stable job that paid the bills, long holidays and ability to travel around the world. I remember running into an old friend who said — I would have given so much to live a life like yours, you are living a dream! And I understood, intellectually, that she was right, but I also realized that I wasn’t happy with my life at all. I would have given it all up in an instant if something better came up. What this “better” was, I wasn’t sure at the time. But none of these “achievements” mattered.

Abundance does not equate merely material success. At the same time, one does not become more – or less – spiritual by being poor or miserable. Nor is there anything sinful in being rich. Many advanced souls need to heal mind-level misconceptions and societal programming and get clear about what abundance really means for them.

Old souls, starseeds and other advanced souls are often afraid of power. Their souls want to play it safe, avoiding power to make sure they never hurt anyone again – or get hurt and betrayed themselves. This fear of power is a soul-level issue, and is often outside any conscious awareness. And yet it is one of the major blocks to abundance. Until it is dealt with, no amount of conscious affirmations or positive thinking will go deep enough to have any effect. In the physical world this fear of power may play out in different forms, from living in the parents’ basement to addictions and crime.

A good example of this struggle is past life vows. If we had many lifetimes as monastics, we may have vows of poverty that we never renounced. While it may have been spiritually beneficial at the time, and while we certainly should be allowed to choose simplicity – if we are constantly struggling with finances due to no conscious choice of ours, a soul-level vow of poverty may need to released. Once these vows are identified and cleared, life in the physical will also begin aligning.

Past life vows and soul-level trauma often manifest as self-sabotage for many old souls. It may feel as if we are constantly going upstream and witnessing the destruction of what was built up with so much effort, over and over again.

Another issue is lack of grounding. Very advanced souls tend to “ground up”, having too much energy in the upper chakras, while struggling with some of the practical aspects of life here on Earth. For some soul groups this is especially prominent. Things such as making money, getting an education, living a stable life all seem meaningless, when there is so much wealth in spiritual exploration and the invisible world. These souls tend to have other interests and priorities that do not necessarily align with what is deemed a successful life by worldly standards.

While this is certainly valid, sometimes it is useful to turn this around and ask ourselves, what would the world be like if highly spiritual people had access to more resources? If they could share those resources and put them to sustainable use? Sometimes all it takes is achieving basic groundedness – what if we could practice being more stable, organized and efficient?

Often, stability and groundedness require deep inner work. Very advanced souls often choose to incarnate into difficult environments and family templates— with a lot of war, strife, loss, adversity and lack of love. It is for this reason that it may be difficult for many of them to meditate and keep stillness, because of the traumatic lives they have had. The goal of this connection with the pain of humanity is transmuting it – but many old souls get stuck in the process.

Family and ancestral wounds, such as abuse or loss of possessions, are often inherited across generations. These deep wounds usually have a clinging energy to them that makes it difficult to make room for more light and joy.

Conventional therapy and over-simplification of the law of attraction often bring little relief for advanced souls, and tend to leave them with an even greater sense of failure (it worked for everyone else, but not for me – something must be terribly wrong with me!). However, once we get deeper to the level of the soul, and transform the blockages there, the 3D life will gradually fall into place. Visualizations and prayer often work better than meditation. Soul work tends to be more transformative and efficient than old-school therapy. The key is acknowledging the deep soul-level issues and beginning the work at the level of the soul.

About the Author

Inga Nielsen, MPH, assists people in connecting with their soul purpose through the Akashic Records. Inga is a Reiki master and professional intuitive, and learned about deep soul work in her own journey of healing. She is here to assist people in raising their vibration and living from their soul, as facilitators of their own ascension.

You can find out more about Inga on her website, Healing-Radiance.com, or connect with Inga via her Faceb ook page: Facebook.com/inga.healing.radiance.

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Consciousness

Shifting The Brainwave State: 6 Powerful Practices To Expand Your Consciousness And Harmonize Your Brain

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Shifting The Brainwave State: 6 Powerful Practices To Expand Your Consciousness And Harmonize Your Brain
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Justin FaermanGuest Writer

The brain and consciousness are inextricably linked, meaning that shifts in one of these aspects of the self-produce corresponding shifts in the other. This is in large part because consciousness is not restricted to existing only in physical form and is in fact a non-local field of energy [1,2,3,4,5]. This means that the brain is simply an organ which interfaces the mind with the physical reality.

To draw an analogy, it is a translator of physical sensation and other experiential phenomenon from the body to the mind and from mind to the body. The brain allows the mind to control and move through the body, but the mind exists as an energetic field independently of the brain, which is why scientists have never been able to pinpoint consciousness to any specific part of the brain or to the brain itself — because it does not arise from the brain. Metaphorically speaking, the brain is simply a tool that the non-local mind uses to interface with and experience physical reality.

With the brain being the primary organ through which consciousness experiences reality, its health and functioning affects our experience of consciousness in a significant way. If our brain is undernourished, nutrient deficient, stressed out or in chaotic brainwave patterns, our experience of consciousness in physical form (reality) will be diminished, which means that we’ll tend to experience more stress, depression, anxiety, fear, frustration, mental cloudiness and so on with a noticeable diminishment of higher, intuitive-transpersonal mental functioning, in other words, a shutting down of our higher intuitive abilities and spiritual awareness.

On the other hand, if our brain is nourished and relaxed with the two hemispheres operating in sync and harmony, our experience of reality will be exponentially improved (Learn more about how consciousness interacts with reality here: how to evolve your consciousness). We’ll find ourselves experiencing more inspiration, creativity, intuition, happiness, clarity, peace, joy and other positive emotional states. While there are many factors that influence our brain’s health and functioning, and hence our expression of consciousness, including our deeper psychodynamics, our diet and nutrition, and level of toxicity from environmental pollutants, among other things, I’d like to focus in on one specific factor that is easy to control and has a very significant positive impact on your experience of reality as far as all these things go. And that’s your dominant brainwave state.

Brainwave Patterns and Consciousness

In case you’ve never heard of brainwaves before, I’ll explain what they are and why you should care about them, as well as give a brief overview of the different brainwave states and how they correspond to your consciousness and experience of life. Then we’ll dive into six powerful practices for shifting them in a positive direction in order to expand your consciousness and harmonize brain function.

The brain operates largely through electrical signals sent between approximately 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) spread out across different regions. The firing of these neurons happens rapidly and creates wavelike rhythms of activation and rest, which can be measured by sensitive machinery. The rate at which the neurons fire and the synchronicity between the firing generates varying wave frequencies, which scientists have mapped, categorized and correlated to different states of consciousness as follows:

Gamma Waves: 27 Hz and up

Gamma is associated with expanded states of awareness, heightened intuition and creativity, activation of the pineal gland, feelings of peace, joy and oneness, enhanced mental clarity and focus, formation of ideas, language and memory processing, and various types of learning. Gamma waves have been identified as a characteristic brainwave pattern of regular meditators and monks and are present when we are dreaming, although they can arise in normal waking consciousness as well.

Beta Waves: 12 Hz – 27 Hz

Wide awake. This is the predominant mental state most people are in during the day and the majority of their waking lives. Although this state tends to be uneventful, don’t underestimate its importance. Many people who lack sufficient beta activity may experience symptoms of mental or emotional disorders such as depression or ADHD, and low SMR production (a sub-range of beta at 12-15 Hz) may be related to insomnia. Stimulating beta activity can improve emotional stability, energy levels, attentiveness and concentration in certain situations, however, most people notice more benefit from shifting their brainwaves into other less frequently experienced states.

Alpha Waves: 8 Hz – 12 Hz

Awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before you fall asleep, you are naturally in this state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more alpha waves. Many studies monitoring the EEG activity of experienced meditators have revealed strong increases in alpha activity. Alpha activity has also been connected to the ability to recall memories, lessened discomfort and pain, and reductions in stress and anxiety.

Theta Waves: 3 Hz – 8 Hz

Light sleep or extreme relaxation. Theta is also a very receptive mental state that has proven useful for hypnotherapy, as well as self-hypnosis using recorded affirmations and suggestions. Theta waves have also been correlated with bursts of inspiration, creativity and vivid visualizations.

Delta Waves: 0.2 Hz – 3 Hz

Deep, dreamless sleep. Delta is the slowest band of brainwaves. When your dominant brainwave is delta, your body is healing itself and “resetting” its internal clocks. You do not dream in this state and are completely unconscious. Delta is also associated with very deep states of meditation as well as healing and rejuvenation of the brain and body, which correlates to Stage 4 REM sleep, where Delta waves are most frequently experienced.

Clearly there are great benefits to be had by shifting your brainwaves into highly specific states, allowing your consciousness to experience reality through different ‘lenses’ that help it focus in positive, expansive and often times deeply healing ways.

Exercises to Shift Your Brainwave State

The exercises and nutraceuticals below have all been proven to shift brainwave patterns and improve trans-hemispheric communication in the brain, allowing for an expanded experience of consciousness. They are a blend of both organic, ancient practices and more modern technological advances, allowing you to blend the best of both worlds to your liking and suit your specific needs.

1. Deep Rhythmic Breathing Meditation
Brainwave States Cultivated: Gamma, Alpha, Theta, Delta

Meditation is one of the easiest and fastest ways to alter your brainwave state, and the longer and more frequently you meditate, the longer the brainwave state shifts last. Regular meditators tend to experience a semi-permanent to permanent brainwave spectrum shift toward gamma, alpha and theta as they literally recondition their neural pathways and stimulate new growth that reinforces these patterns [Liou, Litz, Udo,7,8,9].  Furthermore, this is what I call an organic method of altering brainwave state, meaning that the practice is initiated by the individual from within without relying on supplements or various technologies. This, of course, is ideal — to empower and activate one’s own innate capacity for evolutionary change.

Perhaps the best way I have found to do this is through what I call ‘Deep Rhythmic Breathing Meditation,’ although other forms of meditation are certainly effective for achieving these ends as well. It’s a simple practice:

1-) Find a comfortable seated position where your spine is as straight as possible while still being relaxed and free of tension. Feel free to use pillows, props, chairs, floor, etc. Whatever works for you. Hands should be comfortably placed in your lap or whatever other position you prefer.

2-) Once you have a found a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to relax further and then begin the Ujjayi breath, an ancient Daoist and Yogic form of breathing, which is described as follows:

Take an inhalation that is slightly deeper than normal. With your mouth closed, exhale through your nose while constricting your throat muscles. If you are doing this correctly, you should sound like Darth Vader from Star Wars. Some also liken this sound to the sound of the ocean.

Another way to get the hang of this practice is to try exhaling the sound “haaaaah” with your mouth open. Now make a similar sound with your mouth closed, feeling the outflow of air through your nasal passages. Once you have mastered this on the outflow, use the same method for the inflow breath, gently constricting your throat as you inhale.

You will continue to use the Ujjayi breath throughout the entire meditation. The Ujjayi breath allows you to slow down and lengthen your breath significantly versus normal breathing methods.

3-) Keep your awareness on your breath throughout the meditation and with each breath inhale a little bit more air and slightly deeper. With every out breath exhale a little bit more slowly and deeply. This is not a race, let it unfold naturally.

4-) Keep repeating this indefinitely. One single breath may end up lasting a minute or more. As you continue to breathe deeply you will find an exquisite and extraordinarily pleasurable peace wash over your mind and body. You will feel your brain moving into a state of deep harmony and relaxation. It is not uncommon to become very inspired and have intuitive insights flash into your mind. You will find your mood elevated and many experience waves of bliss. All these phenomenon and anything else you experience are in large part as a result of your brain waves moving into alpha, delta, theta and gamma wave states.

Enjoy the aftereffects for hours and sometimes even days. Repeat daily for maximum impact and lasting effects. Studies have found measurable alterations in brain size and genetic markers of stress reduction in as little as a few weeks.[11,12]

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
Brainwave States Cultivated: Alpha (short practice), Gamma & Theta (long practice)

The brain is split into two hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum, which is a broad band of nerve fibres that sends neural signals between the two and facilitates communication within the brain. Practices that synchronize the functioning of the two hemispheres have the effect of harmonizing the brain and shifting brainwave state away from beta and into the positive end of the spectrum. There are a number of ways to do this, including the meditation above, however each practice has its own unique effects and lends itself towards giving rise to specific brainwave states, each with their own nuances and benefits.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Sanskrit: Nadi Shodhana) is an ancient breathing practice that has the effect of altering brainwave patterns by working to synchronize brain hemisphere communication specifically. Although this practice works on a number of different levels to bring balance and harmony to the body and mind (energetically, emotionally, mentally), it primarily influences brain function due to the fact that the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body. Through the practice of this technique, you are forcing the mind and body to constantly alter attention and muscle control between each side/hemisphere, and hence it stimulates communication and synchronization between the two through the rhythmic movements and breathing patterns. This shifts brainwaves into an alpha state during shorter practice (1-5 breath cycles) and even into gamma and theta (5 or more breath cycles).

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana):

  1. Take a comfortable and tall seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
  2. Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
  3. With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
  4. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
  5. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
  6. Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
  7. Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
  8. Inhale through the right side slowly.
  9. Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
  10. Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
  11. Repeat as many cycles as you like, although 5-10 is a good starting point, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.

Steps 5-9 represent one complete cycle of alternate nostril breathing. If you’re moving through the sequence slowly, one cycle should take you about 20-40 seconds. Repeat daily for cumulative effects. Can be used as often as you’d like.

Advanced Practice: Do a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing before you meditate to help you shift your brainwave state more rapidly.

3. Binaural/Monaural Beats
Brainwave States Cultivated: Gamma, Alpha, Theta, Delta, depending on the music.

Sound is one of the most powerful influencers of mood and brainwave states known to man. Research pioneered in large part by Robert Monroe in the 1950’s and 60’s showed that by sending two different sounds with slightly different frequencies, one into each ear, at the same time, caused a standing wave in the brain of a certain frequency that the brain would eventually match if exposed to long enough. These technologies are widely known as binaural beats, with other variations surfacing in recent decades including monaural beats and isochronic tones, which are somewhat similar variations of this original technology.

Binaural tones are not necessarily melodic in nature, so they are often combined with more sensually pleasing music to cover them up, however, this does not reduce their effectiveness. It is primarily the rhythmic desynchronization of two sounds played through different ears that produces the effects — so long as headphones or properly placed stereo speakers are used, the brain will respond appropriately.

Binaural and monaural beats can be designed to synchronize brainwaves into any specific frequency the creator of the sounds desires, and therefore the experience can be much more precise and controlled than one can achieve with more organic methods, which are not quite as well understood. With binaural and monaural beats you can essentially pick your flavour of brainwave state, which can be very useful in achieving specific ends, for example, if one wants to deeply relax, then they could listen to a delta-wave-inducing track, or if one wants enhanced creativity and intuition, they could listen to a gamma-wave-inducing track.

4. Bilateral Eye Movements
Brainwave States Cultivated: Gamma, Alpha

Perhaps one of the easiest and quickest ways to generate hemispheric coherence in the brain and shift the dominant brainwave patterns is through the use of bilateral eye movements, which are a component of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. EMDR has been gaining popularity in recent years for its use in treating PTSD and emotional trauma, among other things. Studies have shown that specific exercises from the process have a measurable impact on hemispheric synchronization and tend to shift brainwave state toward the gamma end of the spectrum, although alpha wave patterns have been observed as well. [14]

The practice is simple: spend up to a minute or so shifting your eyes back and forth from left to right in rapid succession, without straining. If you are sensitive, you should be able to feel your mental coherence increasing as you practice.

For an advanced practice: try using the movements to work through difficult emotions as they come up. When you begin to feel a negative emotion surface, breath deep and begin the eye movements. Notice how things shift for you as you go through the process.

5. Resonant Vowel Sound Chanting & Organic Instrumentation
Brainwave States Cultivated: Gamma, Alpha, Theta

As mentioned previously, sound is a powerful catalyst for shifting brainwave states, but that also applies to sounds you generate. For millennia before the advent of binaural beats, various spiritual traditions discovered that specific sounds could influence consciousness in dramatic ways. Although the mechanisms by which this occurs are not fully understood, specific forms of chanting and instrumentation have been shown to reliably shift brainwaves towards the positive end of the spectrum.

One of the easiest to begin practicing on your own is resonant vowel sound chanting, which is essentially saying and holding a letter for an extended period of time, adjusting the shape of your mouth, tongue and throat as well as the pitch of the toning to facilitate the feeling of resonance in the body and mind. By shifting these four elements you can literally feel the sound in different parts of the body. As such, shifting these elements so that you feel the sound in the head tends to have the most profound impact on brainwave state, although feeling sounds resonating in other parts of the body can still affect brainwave state in addition to having other noticeable, beneficial effects in the body.

Try starting with the letter ‘O’. Simply take a deep breath in and on the exhale begin saying and holding the letter ‘O’ as long as you can without straining. It can help to close your eyes to tune into the subtleties of feeling in the body. Try experimenting with different vowels and letters.  Some good ones to start with are: O, A, E, I, U, M as these lend themselves best to holding for extended periods of time. The widely known ‘Om’ or ‘Aum’ combines multiple vowels and consonants in a single tone. You can practice as long as you’d like although benefits tend to plateau around the ten-minute mark in my experience, and noticeable shifts can be felt much sooner than that. Even just one or two repetitions can help shift you into more coherence.

The beauty of toning and chanting is that everything you need is within you. However, certain musical instruments are also known to operate by similar principles. In some way shape or form, all sound shifts brainwave patterns to some degree, but there is an entire class of instruments that are truly designed for this specific purpose. Singing bowls (Tibetan or crystal), gongs, handbells, chimes, didgeridoos, flutes, even certain types of drums and other more exotic instruments have been used by ancient cultures worldwide to induce expanded consciousness and brain coherence for thousands of years.

6. Green Tea/L-Theanine
Brainwave States Cultivated: Alpha

Green tea has long been revered in China, Japan and other ancient cultures for its legendary health benefits, but few know that it positively affects brainwave state as well. That’s because green tea is rich in L-Theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid that has been shown in numerous studies to shift brainwaves into the alpha spectrum quite readily. Interestingly, L-Theanine also helps the body process caffeine more effectively and gently, helping to mitigate the crash many experience a few hours after ingesting it, which generally makes green tea a more balancing and less disruptive stimulant herb than coffee or other caffeinated plants. While L-Theanine is also available in a supplement form, which may be appropriate for certain therapeutic uses and for those who avoid caffeine, whole food sources are otherwise ideal. As is common with plants, there are likely other synergistic, as of yet unidentified compounds that complement and enhance the effects of L-Theanine in green tea.

Recommended Articles by Justin Faerman
Sources
  1. Jahn RG, Dunne BJ. 1987. Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
  2. Radin D. 1997. The Conscious Universe. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
  3. H. Stapp, in Nadeau R, and Kafatos, M., The Nonlocal Universe: The new physics and matters of the mind, Oxford University Press. (1999).
  4. Radin DI, Nelson RD. 1989. Evidence for consciousness-related anomalies in random physical systems. Foundations of Physics. 19:1499-1514.
  5. R. Targ and J. Katra, Miracles of Mind: Exploring Nonlocal Consciousness and Spiritual Healing, New World Library, Novato CA. (1998).
  6. transparentcorp.com/products/np/brainwaves.php
  7. Liou, Chien-Hui, Hsieh, Chang-Wei, Hsieh, Chao-Hsien, Lee, Si-Chen, Chen, Jyh-Horng, and Wang, Chi-Hong. Correlation between Pineal Activation and Religious Meditation Observed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Available from Nature Precedings
  8. Lutz A, Greischar LL, Rawlings NB, Ricard M, Davidson RJ, Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:16369–16373 (2004)
  9. Udo Will, Eric Berg, Brain wave synchronization and entrainment to periodic acoustic stimuli, Neuroscience Letters, Volume 424, Issue 1, 31 August 2007, Pages 55-60, ISSN 0304-3940, 10.1016/j.neulet.2007.07.036.
  10. http://www.chopra.com/ujjayi-breath
  11. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2006/02/meditation-found-to-increase-brain-size/
  12. http://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/meditation-and-the-brain-makes-you-smarter/
  13. http://www.chopra.com/ccl/nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathing
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17984782
About the Author

Justin Faerman is a visionary change-agent, entrepreneur and healer dedicated to evolving global consciousness, bridging science and spirituality and spreading enlightened ideas on both an individual and societal level. He is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and a sought after coach and teacher, known for his pioneering work in the area of flow. He is largely focused on applied spirituality, which is translating abstract spiritual concepts and ideas into practical, actionable techniques for creating a deeply fulfilling, prosperous life.

Connect with Justin at ConsciousLifestyleMag.com and ArtOfFlowCoaching.com.

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Consciousness

7 Sacred Herbs For Activating And Harmonizing The Chakras

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7 Sacred Herbs for Activating and Harmonizing the Chakras
Photo Credit: Collective Evolution

Justin FaermanGuest Writer

While the chakras themselves are energetic-etheric in nature, they each have corresponding physical organs, glands and systems in the body that can, and do, have an effect on their functioning. When the associated organ-gland-system is weak or out of balance, the relevant chakra will be under active; and when the associated organ-system is balanced and healthy, the chakra will generally be in harmony.

This interconnectivity of the physical and etheric bodies goes the other way as well—if there is an energetic imbalance in a chakra, for example, as a result of emotional disturbances, then this can also cause the associated physical elements to become weak as well. As such, it is important to not only address physical imbalances with herbs and lifestyle adjustments, but also on an energetic level as well with breathwork, meditation, kriya-tantric yoga, qigong or whatever your preferred flavour of energetic medicine.

It is interesting to note that in the system of Traditional Chinese Medicine each organ corresponds to specific emotional states. This is an important distinction because, as mentioned, emotional patterns also have an effect on chakra function in the sense that negative emotions tend to disturb chakra function and positive emotional states tend to improve it. By using herbs to balance the underlying organs, glands and systems of the body, and hence the chakras themselves, it has the added benefit of helping us to work through the associated emotional patterns that may be also negatively impacting the chakras as well.

There are many different practices—both energetic and otherwise (as outlined earlier)—with the end goal of healing and balancing the chakras that are effective to varying degrees, but, like putting water into a bucket with holes in it, if the corresponding organs, glands or bodily systems are weak for whatever reason, simply charging the area with Qi or Prana will not necessarily be as effective as simultaneously working to heal any underlying imbalances in the physical body itself. Besides general lifestyle adjustments, there are few methods as powerful and effective as the proper use of herbal medicines to bring the various aspects of the body back into balance.

In a general sense, you will get the most benefit by using the following herbs as an adjunct to the energetic-etheric practices outlined above. With that being said, I recommend two ways of taking these herbs for maximum benefit and to avoid imbalances in the bodies—etheric and physical. The first is slightly more sophisticated and requires you to understand what chakras or organs-glands-systems may be weak in your body. If you have this awareness and knowledge then you will generally want to take specific herbs from the list below to treat that specific imbalance. On the other hand if you are not sure what is in or out of balance then I would recommend taking a blend of a small portion of each of the herbs outlined below in order to maintain systemic balance and harmony so as not to over-activate or neglect any specific chakra or part of the body.

1. Root Chakra (Mooladhara): Perineal Gland and Urogental System
Recommended Herb: Shilajit

Although not an herb in the traditional sense, Shilajit is the by-product of thousands of different herbs because it is the solidified resin of prehistoric forests compacted under the weight of the Himalayas for eons of time. As such it is very grounding, building and rejuvenating, rich in minerals and other compounds that literally restore the body at a foundational level. In that sense, the root chakra is also foundational in the chakric system and helps us stay grounded energetically. Shilajit also works on a number of other systems, organs and glands in the body and has many other remarkable benefits that you can learn about in the in-depth article I’ve written on it here. consciouslifestylemag.com/shilajit-benefits-ancient-superfood as there is simply too much to go into for the scope of this article.

2. Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana): Sexual Organs and Kidneys
Recommended Herb: Schizandra Berries

Schizandra is an incredible herb with many positive effects in the body, but it is particularly well known for strengthening and tonifying the sexual organs in both men and women. As a mild diuretic, it is also cleansing of the various energetic pathways that run through this area of the body and is particularly nourishing to the kidneys, making it an excellent herb for the sacral chakra and healing any underlying imbalances therein.

3. Solar Plexus (Manipura): Digestive Tract, Intestines and Adrenal Glands
Recommended Herb: Pine Pollen

Manipura is in many ways the seat of power in the body both etherically and physically—our digestive system is responsible for turning the food we eat into the vital energy that runs our body. When the digestive system is weak, everything suffers. The third chakra is also the etheric-emotional seat of our self-confidence and sense of personal power. Correspondingly, when it is weak or there are imbalances in this area, it manifests as fear, worry and anxiety, as these emotions arise when we lack self-confidence. Thermal bio-scans of thousands of people in large-scale research studies at major universities have found these emotions (fear, worry and anxiety) are concentrated and most often experienced in the third chakra area.

In that sense, few herbs strengthen the body quite like Pine Pollen. One of nature’s most treasured herbal medicines, Pine Pollen is rich in DHEA, the body’s master hormonal precursor, which nourishes the adrenal glands directly and balances the entire endocrine-glandular system, which is foundational to our sense of personal power and self. Pine Pollen is also phenomenally rich in rare and important nutrients and nourishes the body at deep levels, supplementing weak digestion, which is remarkably common, and giving us added energetic support, no matter what phase of life we are in. There are few things which energetically strengthen the body like Pine Pollen, making it a perfect corresponding herb for the third chakra.

4. Heart Chakra (Anahata): Heart and Lungs
Recommended Herb: Reishi Mushroom

In the Daoist tradition, Reishi is considered a supreme heart Qi tonic, meaning that it increases the flow of vital energy to the heart and strengthens it directly as a result. It is also calming and balancing to the nervous system, which helps with our overall emotional balance, of which the heart is the center in the body in many ways. Reishi is also a supreme ‘Shen’ tonic, which translates to herb that nourishes the spirit. As the Anahata chakra is the ‘gateway chakra’ to higher consciousness and the heart itself is one of the key intuitive centres of the body, Reishi is particularly nourishing and relevant as a tonic for this area. Reishi also increases blood flow to the heart and lungs, further supporting the organ systems underlying the heart chakra.

5. Throat Chakra (Vishuddhi): Thyroid Complex
Recommended Herb: Kelp/Seaweed

While there are many factors that influence thyroid health, perhaps the most pertinent is the supply of bioavailable iodine in the body. And there are few better sources of iodine than seaweeds. Rich in iodine and other important trace minerals, seaweeds supply the body with abundant raw nutritional materials that are hard to get and conspicuously lacking in modern western diets, even for those who eat quite healthfully. Iodine and the minerals in seaweed also strengthen the entire endocrine/glandular system as a whole, making it a great dietary addition for anyone doing regular energy or healing work.

6. Third Eye Chakra (Ajna): Pineal Gland, Brain
Recommended Herb: Gotu Kola

One of the premier herbs in the ancient Indian Ayurvedic system of holistic medicine is Gotu Kola, a powerful herb for the brain and related glands and systems. Gotu Kola enhances oxygen uptake to the brain specifically and to the body’s cells in general and has been shown to actually increase intelligence in long-term users. It has also been shown to enhance and harmonize trans-hemispheric communication in the brain, which is likely why it has been traditionally used by meditators. Brain hemisphere synchronization produces measurable changes in brainwave state into the alpha, gamma and theta spectrum, which are associated with expanded states of consciousness. Gotu Kola is also said to act directly on the pineal gland in part through the above mechanisms and due to the fact that it is a vasodilator, causing both increased blood and oxygen flow to key areas and glands within the brain and body.

The Hindus also consider it to be a powerful herb for balancing the pituitary gland and the crown chakra, essentially killing two birds with one stone. In that sense, the plant acts as a sort of ‘shortcut’ to help one access higher states of consciousness and awareness and is a key herb for harmonizing the brain and higher chakras.

7. Crown Chakra (Sahasrara): Pituitary Gland
Recommended Herb: Sage

I’m going to make a non-traditional recommendation here. Most know sage as the premier smudging herb, but it can also be taken internally and works in much the same way—to clear the etheric body and physical body of energetic blockages and imbalances, as well as destructive influences. As the crown chakra is the gateway between the higher non-physical planes-energies and the body, it is fitting to suggest an herb that is energetically cleansing and harmonizing rather than deeply physical in its effects, although sage certainly has those properties as well. Recently discovered in some fascinating studies is sage’s ability to increase perceptual awareness, intelligence, brain function and memory; and those intuitively tuned into the deeper effects of the herb will notice it also enhances sensitivity to subtle energies, which further cements its appropriateness as a tonic for this chakra. Taken in tandem with Gotu Kola, all of the physical organs, glands and systems correlated with the crown chakra are addressed, strengthened and balanced.

As always with herbs, seek organic, wild-crafted-harvested or biodynamic whenever possible and choose those with minimal, low-temperature processing to preserve active constituents and enhance potency. Start slow and work your way up in dosage to what intuitively feels right for your body as you acclimate to their effects, and be sure to take a few days’ break from the herbs now and then to let your body rest and integrate the changes.

Recommended Articles by Justin Faerman
About the Author

Justin Faerman is a visionary change-agent, entrepreneur and healer dedicated to evolving global consciousness, bridging science and spirituality and spreading enlightened ideas on both an individual and societal level. He is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and a sought after coach and teacher, known for his pioneering work in the area of flow. He is largely focused on applied spirituality, which is translating abstract spiritual concepts and ideas into practical, actionable techniques for creating a deeply fulfilling, prosperous life.

Connect with justin at ConsciousLifestyleMag.com and ArtOfFlowCoaching.com.

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Consciousness

Scientific Proof That Your Consciousness Exists After Death

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Scientific Proof That Your Consciousness Exists After Death
Photo Credit: www.scientificamerican.com

Justin Faerman, Guest Writer

Does life, or rather consciousness, continue after death? Are we more than just our bodies and brain? If you listen to Western materialist/reductionist science, the answer is a disheartening no. Consciousness, it is believed, arises from physical processes within the brain and when we die, consciousness dies with it, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens next. However, the great spiritual traditions have been telling us just the opposite for millennia: “We are spiritual beings, having a human experience,” to quote Teilhard de Chardin. But you’ll have to take that promise on faith, mainstream science tells us, as there is no reliable evidence to back it up.

But as is so often the case, things are not quite as clear cut as they seem at first glance. In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence to demonstrate that indeed consciousness is not a by-product of the brain, but rather that the brain is simply a tool of consciousness—a bio computer, if you will—and that when the body dies, consciousness continues to exist in different forms, and, in documented cases of reincarnation, in different bodies as well.

But I don’t expect you to simply believe me because I said so. Rather, I want to present evidence, both scientific and anecdotal to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the story currently being spread by those who think that consciousness dies and disappears with the brain is at best short-sighted and, beyond that, patently false.

You Are More Than Your Body

If consciousness is a product of the brain and nothing else, then when the brain and heart stop functioning, consciousness should also cease to exist. But unfortunately the evidence we do have shows that this is most definitely not the case. In fact, there are hundreds of documented cases (and likely thousands of undocumented cases) where people who had near death experiences—that is, when their bodies were pronounced dead by trained medical professionals, often for substantial amounts of time, but later came back alive through miracle or medical intervention—were able to vividly recount what happened to them during the experience and which was later confirmed to be accurate by independent persons.

Take for example, the case of Pam Reynolds, who:

“… underwent a rare operation to remove a giant basilar artery aneurysm in her brain that threatened her life. The size and location of the aneurysm, however, precluded its safe removal using the standard neuro-surgical techniques. She was referred to a doctor who had pioneered a daring surgical procedure known as hypothermic cardiac arrest. It allowed Pam’s aneurysm to be excised with a reasonable chance of success. This operation, nicknamed “standstill” by the doctors who perform it, required that Pam’s body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. In everyday terms, she was put to death.

“When all of Pam’s vital signs were stopped, the doctor turned on a surgical saw and began to cut through Pam’s skull. While this was going on, Pam reported that she felt herself “pop” outside her body and hover above the operating table. Then she watched the doctors working on her lifeless body for a while. From her out-of-body position, she observed the doctor sawing into her skull with what looked to her like an electric toothbrush. Pam heard and reported later what the nurses in the operating room had said and exactly what was happening during the operation. At this time, every monitor attached to Pam’s body registered “no life” whatsoever.

“After removing the aneurysm, she was restored to life. During the time that Pam was in standstill, she experienced a Near Death Experience. Her remarkably detailed out-of-body observations during her surgery were later verified to be true.” [1]

Another incredible example is the case of Dr. Melvin Morse and his patient Olga Gearhardt:

“Olga Gearhardt was a 63 year old woman who underwent a heart transplant because of a severe virus that attacked her heart tissue. Her entire family awaited at the hospital during the surgery, except for her son-in-law, who stayed home. The transplant was a success, but at exactly 2:15 am, her new heart stopped beating. It took the frantic transplant team three more hours to revive her. Her family was only told in the morning that her operation was a success, without other details. When they called her son-in-law with the good news, he had his own news to tell. He had already learned about the successful surgery. At exactly 2:15 am, while he was sleeping, he awoke to see Olga, his mother-in-law, at the foot of his bed. She told him not to worry, that she was going to be alright. She asked him to tell her daughter (his wife). He wrote down the message, and the time of day and then fell asleep. Later on at the hospital, Olga regained consciousness. Her first words were “did you get the message?” She was able to confirm that she left her body during her near-death experience and was able to travel to her son-in-law to communicate to him the message. This anecdotal evidence demonstrates that the near-death experience is a return to consciousness at the point of death, when the brain is dying. Dr. Melvin Morse thoroughly researched Olga’s testimony and every detail had objective verification including the scribbled note by the son-in-law.” [1]

But death is not required for consciousness to leave the body, as demonstrated by the famous case of Dr. Charles Tart and ‘Miss Z’ (whose name was changed for privacy purposes). Dr. Charles Tart is one of the world’s leading out of body experience researchers, who through a synchronous turn of events, ended up performing one of the most famous experiments of all time, demonstrating that indeed consciousness is not confined to or generated by the body or brain.

In a conversation with his children’s babysitter during the mid-1960’s, Tart learned that she had been having out of body experiences while sleeping for much of her life in which she reported that she often floated up to the ceilings of the room she was in.

Not one to miss an opportunity, a few weeks later Tart invited her to participate in a study to verify if she was indeed having true out of body experiences—or simply hallucinating as many sceptical scientists might claim.

He set up a simple experiment: He took Miss Z to his sleep lab where she would stay for four full nights, sleeping in a specially designed room equipped with medical instrumentation to monitor her brain waves, heart rhythms and other bio physiological and neurocognitive measures during sleep. Then he did something unusual that would help him to know if the out of body experiences she experienced were indeed real.  Dr. Tart explains in a paper on the research:

“Each laboratory night, after the subject was lying in bed, the physiological recordings were running satisfactorily, and she was ready to go to sleep, I went into my office down the hall, opened a table of random numbers at random, threw a coin onto the table as a means of random entry into the page, and copied off the first five digits immediately above where the coin landed. These were copied with a black marking pen, in figures approximately two inches high, onto a small piece of paper. Thus they were quite discrete visually. This five-digit random number constituted the parapsychological target for the evening. I then slipped it into an opaque folder, entered the subject’s room, and slipped the piece of paper onto the shelf without at any time exposing it to the subject. This now provided a target which would be clearly visible to anyone whose eyes were located approximately six and a half feet off the floor or higher, but was otherwise not visible to the subject.” [2]

The idea goes something like this: if Miss Z was actually leaving her body while asleep and floating up to the ceiling, she should be able to accurately report the secret, random numbers Dr. Tart had written on the paper in the envelope. And on the fourth night, something amazing happened:

“On the first three laboratory nights Miss Z reported that in spite of occasionally being “out,” she had not been able to control her experiences enough to be in position to see the target number (which was different each night). On the fourth night, at 5:57am, there was a seven minute period of somewhat ambiguous EEG activity, sometimes looking like stage 1 [sleep], sometimes like brief wakings. Then Miss Z awakened and called out over the intercom that the target number was 25132.” [2]

The number Dr. Tart had randomly selected and written on the envelope was indeed 25132. There was a 1 in 100,000 chance that Miss Z could have guessed the number by accident, which is statistically highly improbable and demonstrated that indeed Miss Z had a real out of body experience. Furthermore, she had accurately confirmed that the envelope was lying down on the shelf and not upright against the wall as she had assumed it would be in her waking state.

But things get even more interesting when you consider the cases in which people who are completely blind are able to accurately report details of their environment, confirmed by non-blind witnesses, during near death and out of body experiences. World renowned psychologist and researcher Stanislav Grof elucidates:

“An extensive study conducted by Ken Ring and his colleagues has added a fascinating dimension to these observations: people who are congenitally blind for organic reasons and have never been able to see anything in their entire lives can perceive the environment when their consciousness detaches from their bodies during various life-threatening situations. The veracity of many of these visions has been confirmed by consensual validation; Ring refers to such visions as veridical OBEs (out-of-body experiences) (Ring and Valarino 1998; Ring and Cooper 1999). Various aspects of the environment accurately perceived by disembodied consciousness of blind subjects ranged from details of electrical fixtures on the ceiling of the operating room to the surroundings of the hospital observed from bird’s-eye view.” [3]

Clearly, consciousness is not limited to only existing in physical form. But what about life after death? Do religious and spiritual theories of reincarnation hold up in the face of scientific scepticism?

Proven Cases of Reincarnation and New Life After Death

For more than four decades, Ian Stevenson, a Canadian-American psychiatrist who worked at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, pioneered research into reincarnation experiences from around the globe. Some of the stories he heard and subsequently researched to verify as true prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that consciousness is able to transcend bodies intact over lifetimes.

Here are a few of the more remarkable case studies he captured:

“A typical Stevenson case was that of Swarnlata Mishra, born in a small village in Madhya Pradesh in 1948. When she was three years old she began having spontaneous past-life memories of being a girl called Biya Pathak, who lived in a village more than a hundred miles away. She described that the house Biya lived in had four rooms and was painted white.

“She began to sing songs that she claimed she used to know, together with complex dance routines that were unknown to her present family and friends. Six years later she recognized some people who had been her friends in the past life. This stimulated her father to start writing down what she said. 

“Her case generated interest outside of the village. One investigator who visited the city discovered that a woman who matched the description given by Swarnlata had died nine years previously. Investigations subsequently confirmed that a young girl called Biya had lived in just such a house in that town. 

“Swarnlata’s father decided to take his daughter to the town and to have her introduced to members of Biya’s family. As a test the family introduced people who were not related to the child. Swarnlata immediately identified these individuals as being imposters. Indeed some details of her past life were so precise that all were amazed.” [4]

And another:

“Another case involved an eighteen-month-old boy called Sam Taylor. As his diaper was being changed he looked up at his father and said, “When I was your age I used to change your diapers.” Later Sam disclosed details about his grandfather’s life that were completely accurate. He said that his grandfather’s sister had been murdered and that his grandmother had made milkshakes for his grandfather using a food processor. Sam’s parents were adamant that none of these subjects had been discussed in his presence. When he was four years old, Sam was shown a group of old family pictures spread out on a table. Sam happily identified his grandfather every time with the announcement, “That’s me!” In an attempt to test him, his mother selected an old school class photograph showing the grandfather as a young boy. There were sixteen other boys in the photograph. Sam immediately pointed to one of them, once again announcing that that was him. He was right.” [4]

While western science may be quick to try and write off such cases as coincidental, these cases represent a mere fraction of one percent of the volume of similar research out there. Psychologists and doctors from around the world have been documenting cases like this for hundreds of years in obscure medical and psychological journals. The sheer volume of similar reports and statistical improbability of such occurrences points to the fact that there is a whole lot more going on in our reality than meets the eye.

What’s more is that some of the implications of recent quantum mechanics research lends support to many of these experiences. Certainly the work and research of Bohm, Laszlo, Pribram, Stapp, Hameroff, Penrose, Russell and Wigner offers much in the way of explanation in this regard, and each year more and more prominent researchers and scientist are beginning to see the inextricability between consciousness and quantum/subatomic reality, where neither can exist without the other. Depending on who you ask, the only framework that makes sense and completes Einstein’s work toward a grand unified theory of everything is one in which consciousness is the cause of all reality, in which case it most certainly does not die with the body, but is the cause of it in the first place.

Either way, as science and spirituality continue to merge, it is inevitable that the true nature of reality will be revealed and reconcile the often times conflicting experiences and beliefs of these two integral fields.

Citations
  • [1] Scientific Evidence Supporting Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife, http://www.near-death.com/science/evidence.html
  • [2] Journal of Near Death Studies, March 30, 1997
  • [3] Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy, 2010
  • [4] The Immortal Mind by Ervin Laszlo
Recommended Articles by Justin Faerman
About the Author

Justin Faerman is a visionary change-agent, international speaker, serial entrepreneur and consciousness researcher dedicated to evolving global consciousness, bridging science and spirituality and spreading enlightened ideas on both an individual and societal level. He is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and the Flow Consciousness Institute and a sought after teacher, known for his pioneering work in the area of flow and the mechanics of consciousness. He is largely focused on applied spirituality, which is translating abstract spiritual concepts and ideas into practical, actionable techniques for creating a deeply fulfilling, prosperous life.

Learn more at: www.flow-mastery.com and www.consciouslifestylemag.com.

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