Zach Herbert https://zachherbert.com Host to Rebels, Misfits and Independent Thinkers Sat, 25 Aug 2018 13:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Sell your Soul? Or lose your Love? https://zachherbert.com/sell-your-soul-or-lose-your-love-2/ https://zachherbert.com/sell-your-soul-or-lose-your-love-2/#respond Sat, 25 Aug 2018 13:30:17 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=4293 We all know what it’s like to be denied intimacy.

To have something stirring inside you… And feel that insistent tugging on your soul… To need to connect and share those deeper parts of yourself…

Only to be faced with rejection and disinterest in return. It’s a terrible, and terribly familiar feeling…

And yet, we rarely recognize it when we create that same feeling within the people that we love.

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Go to Part 1.

Last time out, we started exploring one of life’s shitty choices…

A choice that we’re faced with all too often.

And that we force upon the people that we love.

We talked about expression and need.

And what happens when we grow…

And how we create unintentional traps in our relationships.

If you don’t remember, go back and read that one first.

Because we’re going to jump in right where we left off…

Intimacy and Ultimatums

We all know what it’s like to be denied intimacy.

To have something stirring inside you…

And feel that insistent tugging on your soul…

To need to connect and share those deeper parts of yourself…

Only to be faced with rejection and disinterest in return.

It’s a terrible, and terribly familiar feeling…

And yet, we rarely recognize it when we create that same feeling within the people that we love.

Every time we refuse to connect…

Every time we greet passion with disinterest…

Every time we get angry at our partner for trying to connect intimately with someone else…

We’re leaving them with a choice.

And it’s that last example that really does it…

Love and commitment make for a troublesome combination when it comes to intimacy.

Or at least, they do when we stumble into them unconsciously.

Which, we pretty much always do.

Commitment is such an ingrained facet of our culture, that we rarely stop and question what it means…

Or what it truly involves.

It’s just what you do when you love someone…

Love and intimacy and commitment are a package deal.

And we get very uncomfortable when we’re faced with our partners being intimate with anyone else.

And I’m not just using intimacy as a surrogate term for sex here…

Sex and intimacy are two very different things.

Just ask anyone who’s been betrayed by a partner whose primary defense is, “but I swear, we never had sex!”

(Men tend to be particularly clueless about this one.)

Betrayal is never about the sex.

It’s about the outside intimacy.

And that’s a shitty situation all the way around…

Because we need to connect.

And when we won’t do it… We put our partners in a bind.

Sell their soul? Or lose their love?

Which really, truly sucks!

Because we aren’t trying to be mean

We aren’t trying to put them in a bind.

We just don’t want to lose what we have!

And that’s where we go weird with commitment

We use commitment as a prophylactic against fear and jealousy.

We use it to feel safe.

And the safety part… that part is fine!

Safe is good when we can find it!

The problem is that, like most unquestioned conventions, it’s all very self-serving

I’ll commit because I want to feel safe, and I want to feel secure. And I don’t want to feel jealous.

I don’t need anyone else.

So I want to commit to lock it in.

But if I step outside of my own self-centered perspective…

And consider what my commitment means from my partner’s point of view…

It tells a very different story.

The True Meaning of Commitment

Anytime we ask someone we love, to not be intimate with someone else, we’re taking on a responsibility.

Intimacy is a need.

Expression is a need.

We need to become… and share what we’ve become.

So when we ask our partners to not have their needs met by someone else—we’re volunteering to do it.

Which is not how we tend to think about it!

We think about our own needs when committing, but not so much about our responsibilities.

And that’s really where this whole mess gets started…

Sell your soul… Lose your love… It’s all rooted in glossing over responsibility in our relationships.

Well, that, and our inability to speak up, and ask for what we need…

We all have needs that need to be met.

But commitment is more about responsibility.

We have to own that.

We have to understand our needs.

And understand our partner’s needs.

(And then actually communicate them!)

How else can we truly commit, if we don’t even know what we’re committing to?

This is one area where non-monogamous circles tend to handle relationships better than the more traditional majority…

Polyamorous… Swinger… Kinky… Whatever…

The rules are more flexible in those circles, and that means that everyone has to actually talk about it

Consciously decide what the rules and needs and expectations are going to be.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should become non-monogamous…

Monogamy is just as valid a choice as any other.

But I am saying that the rules of monogamous commitments can’t be assumed either.

Any more than the non-monogamous ones can.

And that doesn’t just mean communicating up front, and then setting the relationship on autopilot.

That doesn’t work.

People change.

You can’t just—love someone—and expect them not to grow!

That’s what it fucking does!!

And that’s why commitment is such a bitch…

Because we’re committing to a moving target.

We’re taking responsibility for the needs of the people we love…

Knowing, that that very love, will make them grow, and change—and develop new needs

Which we will then be responsible to meet!

(That’s where compatibility comes in: it’s much easier to do your part if you’re compatible… If you aren’t, you’ll have to expend a lot more effort to live up to your obligations.)

And the harsh truth is: we’ll never be able to do all of it.

We’ll never line up on everything.

Different people… Different passions… Different paths…

We can step aside and insert our self-worth

“But I should be enough,” we say.

Sorry to break it to you… but you’re not.

Nobody is.

People have needs.

We need to grow and explore and connect, and share those precious parts of ourselves.

And our partners have needs too.

And none of us meets those needs, simply by existing.

We have to connect and engage, and share ourselves back.

We have to honor our responsibilities.

And be willing to allow space and freedom where we can’t.

Commitment can’t always be about safety.

Sometimes we have to grow too.

Find courage and security in ourselves.

Nerdy side-note: my level of “in”security is in direct proportion to how much outside intimacy I need to deny my partner, in order for me to feel secure..

Yes, it’s scary…

But if we commit, purely out of fear…

And a desire for safety…

Then our relationship is doomed anyway.

Whether to misery or mediocrity… it is doomed.

Because, in our pursuit of safety, we will inevitably grow and wither…

Bound at the root.

Or settle into some sinister, comfortable stagnation…

Where we never grow at all.

Faced again and again, with the same ultimatum.

It’s just the way it is…

Love isn’t Safe

And trying to make it safe, only makes it temporary.

Know who you are.

Know what you need.

Be vulnerable.

Express and expose yourself, and tell your partner what you need.

Talk to the people you love!

Commit consciously.

Understand your partner’s needs.

And meet them.

Own up to your responsibilities…

Or else give them the freedom they need, to meet those needs with someone else.

So you can both grow together.

And if you can’t

If you can’t meet their needs—and you can’t afford them that freedom…

Then own what you are asking!

Be extra vulnerable…

Say, “Oh god, I’m so scared and I’m so sorry. And I know what this means…

But I don’t think I can do this for you… And I’m too scared to let you go.

Because I’m afraid that if you connect that way with someone else, then you won’t want to be with me anymore…

And I don’t want to lose you!”

Own your fear.

And share it with them.

Own your ultimatum.

And work it through together.

Maybe all you need are baby steps and time…

Maybe there’s another solution…

You’ll never know if you don’t work through it.

And if they won’t work it through…

If they won’t listen, or open up, or be vulnerable in return….

If your needs can’t be met.

Then I’m so, so sorry…

Life can be absolutely shitty sometimes.

And you’ve got a choice to make.

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Sell your Soul? Or lose your Love? https://zachherbert.com/sell-your-soul-or-lose-your-love/ https://zachherbert.com/sell-your-soul-or-lose-your-love/#comments Sat, 21 Jul 2018 15:00:16 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=4274 Okay, so I’m not gonna lie…This post is a bit of an ass-kicking.

Because that question in the title? Sell your soul, or lose your love?

It’s a choice you have to make FAR more often than you realize.

And worse… It’s a demand we continually MAKE upon the people we love.

Without even knowing that we’re doing it…

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Okay, so I’m not gonna lie…This post is a bit of an ass-kicking.

And if you really take the time to think it over, it’s probably going to leave your guts in a twist.

Or at least, it should

Because that question in the title?

Sell your soul, or lose your love?

It’s a choice you have to make far more often than you realize.

And worse…

It’s a demand we continually make upon the people we love.

You, me, and everyone else.

Without even knowing that we’re doing it…

Intimacy & Awesomeness

A few articles back, I wrote about the paradox of community and connection.

About how as you grow, you get wiser and deeper and more and more awesome…

And you become more capable of connecting.

On lots of different levels.

But at the same time…

All that growth and awesomeness makes you different.

And you end up with fewer people that you can connect with.

You get deeper.

Your circle of friends gets smaller.

Now, ideally the friends you have are much much closer.

And you get to connect with them on a much deeper level.

And share some of that awesomeness that you worked so hard to create…

I mean, if you think about it, that’s why they’re your friends!

You can’t connect with everyone.

And so when you can connect…

Well, those are the people you keep!

But the most intimate connections are usually reserved for our spouses and significant others…

It’s our romantic relationships that go the deepest.

And again… barring babies, that’s usually why they become our partners…

Because we can share more of those deep aspects.

And sharing those parts is a very intimate thing.

The deeper the expression—the more intimate the connection.

The more intimate the connection—the more likely we are to love.

But even then, we can rarely share all of ourselves with a single person.

There are always points that don’t match up.

Different personalities… Different passions… Different interests…

We never match 100%.

Which is okay!

We don’t really expect to match perfectly on every little thing.

We can’t.

And that’s where things get dangerous

Because we’ve just started laying the trap for that insidious question in the title.

But to understand why, we need to take a quick detour…

Expression & Need

We’re all familiar with the idea that we have needs that need to be met.

Which, some of that is just animal needs…

Food, shelter, safety and so on…

That stuff’s just basic biology.

But beyond that…

The deeper needs…

The ones Maslow threw under self-actualization

Those all come down to expression and connection.

We don’t tend to think about it, but that’s what “self actualization” is

We are driven to explore and grow and realize our true potential.

To become more and more awesome…

To become… something.

But in order to become something, we need to share what we’ve become.

We can’t just keep it bottled up inside.

If we do, it’s still just potential.

“Actualized” means shared

It means expressed

That’s what it means.

The whole idea implies connection.

So as we grow and change…

And discover all of those quirky, awesome, passionate and powerful parts of ourselves…

The things that make us who we are…

Make us… something

We need to share them.

We need to.

Deny the animal food—and the animal withers.

Deny the self actualization—and the self withers just the same.

…and now the snare is nearly complete.

Connection & Commitment

We’ve all been confronted with situations where our needs aren’t being met.

In relationships, it’s the single biggest source of anxious conversation…

Every ominous, unfortunate interaction that begins with the words, “We need to talk…”

Unmet needs.

We need our needs met.

And we’ve all left relationships when our partner can’t (or won’t) meet them…

The big ones are the deal breakers.

Not enough love… Not enough sex… Not enough trust…

Not enough time.

The little ones we learn to live with

We talked about that already.

Different personalities… Different passions… Different interests…

In a mature relationship, we expect and accept our differences.

The trap lies at the intersection, where connection meets commitment.

Unmet needs aside, the other big deal breaker in a relationship is betrayal.

Sometimes that simply means lying

But usually it means connecting intimately with someone else

Betraying our commitment with outside intimacy.

It’s a basic rule of our society that once you commit to someone, you aren’t allowed to be intimate with anyone else.

We even call it “cheating.”

Because it’s against the rules.

And we need rules…

We need some way to protect ourselves.

The deeper the connection, the more vulnerable I have to be to share it…

And the more damage I risk if I’m betrayed, and that connection is stripped away

And if I’m going to risk that

Risk that my self could finally be real—finally be something—that I could finally be loved

Only to then be unmade back to nothing…

It’s worse than if I had never been real at all.

Potential is better than nothing.

So I need some sort of assurance…

A promise…

That if I express myself…

And expose myself…

And share with you who I really am…

That you’ll love me and accept me…

And promise not to hurt me…

And share back who you really are…

And we’ll keep each other safe

And we’ll both grow further together…

Just please…

Please don’t betray me…

And the trap is sprung.

What does it mean, when growth means depth and difference?

When self-actualization requires intimacy and connection?

When we have to become, and share what we’ve become?

When vulnerability carries true risk?

When love helps us grow?

And our commitments keep us safe?

It means: Sell your soul. Or lose your love.

Because if you allow yourself to connect, you will grow.

And so will the one who loves you back

You’ll both grow in ways that you never could have predicted.

And that growth will create new differences.

New points of potential, like budding leaves upon your soul.

The question now is: what will you do with the points that don’t match up?

Even if your relationship has grown beyond the superficial differences…

A few stray flowers left to fade…

What will you do with the deeper ones?

Points of expression are points of connection.

And we’re made to connect.

And that means that every part of yourself that you withhold—that you deny expression and connection—is a part of your self that’s left to wither.

A bit of your soul that’s left to die.

And the same is true for our partners

If there’s a deep and important part of our partner that we can’t connect with… (It’s just one of those accepted differences.)

And if we don’t allow them the freedom to connect and share it with anyone else… (Hey wait a minute, that’s intimate and we’re supposed to be committed!)

Then we’ve just delivered an ultimatum.

An ultimatum that strikes to the very heart of who we are

Life’s Shitty Choices

Have you ever felt confined in a relationship?

Like a root-bound plant? Nourished but unable to move?

Saturated, yet starving at the same time?

Where you know that you can’t be who you need to be?

But still, you stay there anyway?

Right up until you can’t?

This is why.

It’s the result of one of life’s shitty choices:

Sell your soul. Or lose your love?

And it’s not a simple choice!

The only reason that you’re root-bound is because the relationship helped you grow to that point in the first place.

New leaves upon your soul…

Spawned by love and expression.

And now demanding more of the same.

You can’t share all of them in a single relationship, because all of them don’t fit.

They can’t.

And so you have to make a choice

You don’t want to lose what you have…

I mean, most of your deeper needs are already met!

It’s really just a few of them that aren’t…

Just a bit of new-sprouting potential and need

(And a few insistent old ones, that have never, ever been met… But hey, you’ve lived without them this long…)

What’s cutting off a few limbs, in the face of complete annihilation?

If you never stay, you never grow.

And your commitments have carried you this far…

And so you stay.

The relationship continues to nourish the parts that fit…

Which continues to cause new growth.

Which you, in turn, deny.

Sell, sell, sell your soul away.

Until finally, you can’t contain your self anymore…

And your soul smashes the fucking pot! And cries out for release!

And you say fuck it, and opt to lose your love…

You cancel your commitment, and let the new leaves flourish.

(Maybe… Assuming you aren’t consumed with trying to reconnect roots in the intimate connections that you lost…)

You move on to a new life, and new relationships.

And start the process over…

You call it honoring your soul, and giving those starving parts of yourself a chance to connect and grow and love, before it’s all too late.

Everyone else calls it a mid-life crisis.

Potayto. Potahto.

The real gut punch comes when we own up to the fact that we’re responsible for those same choices in our partners

Every time we refuse to connect…

Every time we can’t manage to show interest…

Every time we cop an attitude because they tried to share with someone else…

We may not get what they’re trying to express.

And they may not get it yet either!

Doesn’t matter.

The need is still there.

We have the luxury of indifference.

But they have a choice to make

The True Meaning of Commitment

Now, I know this all sounds bleak.

And like there’s nothing we can do.

But I didn’t present the situation this way out of hopelessness.

I presented it this way because the process is natural and unavoidable.

And if we ever want to be freed from life’s shitty choices—or at least, this particular one—we need to be honest with ourselves.

Own our fear, and stop making ultimatums on the people that we love.

We need to own up to the true meaning of commitment.

But… this article’s already running long.

So we’ll pick it back up there next time…

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Episode 003 Mystics and Misfits https://zachherbert.com/episode-003-mystics-and-misfits/ https://zachherbert.com/episode-003-mystics-and-misfits/#respond Fri, 05 May 2017 21:34:01 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=4013 Given an opportunity for true authenticity…

Where you’re allowed to be, as complex and wild and thoughtful…

And sexy and dark and brilliant and silly…

Just whoever you choose to be…

And given this deeper, vaster—probably infinite universe.

Where we don’t even know what’s possible… Or where we’re going… Or what we even are…

What does spirituality look like now?

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Episode 002 The Third Primitive https://zachherbert.com/episode-002-the-third-primitive/ https://zachherbert.com/episode-002-the-third-primitive/#respond Fri, 05 May 2017 21:23:08 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=4012 You are unauthorized to view this page.

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Episode 001 Mighty Man and Monster Maker https://zachherbert.com/episode-001-mighty-man-and-monster-maker/ https://zachherbert.com/episode-001-mighty-man-and-monster-maker/#respond Fri, 05 May 2017 21:10:33 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=4006 You are unauthorized to view this page.

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Essential Ideas #4 https://zachherbert.com/essential-ideas-4/ https://zachherbert.com/essential-ideas-4/#comments Sat, 11 Feb 2017 16:50:05 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=3930 Okay, it’s been a little while… I should probably break your brain again.

Well, maybe “break” is too strong a word for this one… Bruise? A minor thought-stopping at worst…

Anyway, it’s about physics and spirituality and symmetry, and how we look at the world.

And it might sting a little, because I have to call bullshit on a couple popular spiritual ideas… But don’t worry. It’ll all work out in the end!

The Essential Idea is this…

There ARE no forces of nature!

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Okay, it’s been a little while… I should probably break your brain again.

Well, maybe “break” is too strong a word for this one…

Bruise?

A minor thought-stopping at worst…

Anyway, it’s about physics and spirituality and symmetry, and how we look at the world.

And it might sting a little, because I have to call bullshit on a couple popular spiritual ideas…

But don’t worry. It’ll all work out in the end!

It’s the next entry in the Essential Ideas series… and it’s definitely something you need to know.

The Essential Idea is this…

There are no forces of nature.

Startling, I know… But it’s true.

There are no “forces” of nature.

Physics, now, is all about symmetry.

And that’s important to know for a couple reasons

One, it’s just good to have a basic grasp on current science…

And by “current,” I mean: science that came about sometime in the last hundred f’ing years.

(I’m going to refrain from bitching at length over how our educational system is still teaching kids ideas that are centuries out of date—and how those early conceptual prejudices make it so much harder for us to learn the more beautiful, contemporary concepts!!!)

(!!!!!!)

But two, in terms of spirituality, people are still trying to tie their beliefs into those really old ways of thinking.

And that really needs to stop.

Because if we ever want science and spirituality to be on speaking terms again, we all need to be using the same language.

And that means speaking a language that modern science can actually work with…

And that means no more forces.

The thing is, spiritual authors have their hearts in the right place.

They’re trying to bring the world back together. (Mostly.)

And the hope is that by drawing analogies to familiar physical processes, it makes the spiritual beliefs somehow more legitimate.

Less woo-woo and mysterious… And more palatable to serious science…

Like the “Law of Attraction.”

Supposedly, it’s a law that describes how the universe responds to your thoughts and beliefs and draws things into your life…

And that’s “totally legitimate,” because it’s just an attractive force of nature… “like gravity.”

Now, aside from it actually being a bunch of fictional bullshit designed to make money

The other problem with that whole “legitimizing process” is that they’re speaking the wrong language.

Because there’s no such thing as an attractive force of nature.

At least, not in physics…

Not anymore.

Physics began leaving that whole “force” business aside back in 1915 with Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In the modern world, not even gravity is “like gravity.”

Gravity isn’t a disembodied force.

The earth isn’t reaching out and drawing you in…

There is no “attraction.”

Gravity is nothing but geometry.

Ripples and curves in the structure of spacetime.

Which I know sounds really freaky and esoteric…

But that’s just because the shit we’re taught in school cemented our conceptual foundations in ideas that were laid down in the late 1600’s!

(!!!!!!)

At some point, I’ll do a full article on Einstein’s gravity…

It’s such a beautiful concept! And something that everyone should know.

But for now, the important point is that gravity isn’t a force

It’s geometry.

And that’s partially why real physicists don’t take ideas like the Law of Attraction seriously… (Setting aside the fictional bullshit reason.)

It’s like trying to legitimize crystal healing to modern medicine by appealing to its impact on the four humors!

It’s just too ugly and archaic to even be considered as a respectable idea.

But what about the other three forces?

You might remember from school that there are four:

Gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear…

Well, those other three aren’t “forces” either.

And they’re even more abstract than gravity.

They’re all based on multidimensional symmetries…

Rotations in abstract mathematical spaces that hold no obvious connection to the world we see around us.

I know, I know… Even more freaky and esoteric.

Stay with me…

We talked before about Emmy Noether.

About how she began a revolution in physics

And banished the concept of force, and replaced it with the more elegant concept of symmetry…

But I didn’t go into what a symmetry actually is.

Well, a symmetry is a glimpse into the fundamental structure of reality.

It’s like an alchemical formula that transforms one element into another…

And like a Rosetta Stone, that translates seemingly isolated descriptions of the same underlying universe…

Even more simply: a symmetry is a connection that defines a relationship.

And physics is all about symmetry.

And that actually does give us a link between science and spirituality…

Kind of…

One Song

As it turns out, there is an idea in popular spirituality that’s pretty compatible with contemporary physics…

It’s the idea that the universe is nothing but a frequency realm of vibrating energy.

Now, just to be clear, the universe is not made of energy

That part’s crap.

And the universe can’t be reduced to the idea of “higher and lower vibrational rates” either…

That part’s also crap.

And then there’s the part where spiritual authors can’t define what a “vibration” is

Or what’s vibrating…

Or what any of their terminology means…

Or… Okay, fine…

Basically every detail about the popular frequency realm concept is crap.

But… the sentiment is good!

We just need to lift that sentiment out of the sloppy, archaic, substance-based style of thinking that it’s stuck in…

And give it a shiny new foundation that’s based on symmetry!

And for that, we need to get a little nerdy.

And we also need pictures!

Here’s one you’re already familiar with…

It’s a bunch of frequencies, vibrating at different rates.

Gaze wistfully at it for a minute…

Because we’re about to trade it in for something better.

The first thing we want to do is get rid of the wavy lines, and replace them with rotations around a circle…

Every point on the wavy line represents a phase in the wave.

It goes down, and comes back up again, until it returns to where you started.

And as it rotates, the state of the system changes.

Same concept. Different visualization.

But there’s a benefit to visualizing the circle, because the circle has something the wavy line doesn’t…

Symmetry.

See, symmetry is what allows you to transform one state into another, while another aspect of the system remains unchanged…

I know… abstract again…

Take the arrow as an example:

The arrow isn’t symmetric.

If you rotate the arrow, it’s easy to see the change.

But a circle is different:

The circle is symmetric.

It doesn’t change at all when you rotate it.

At least, not when you rotate it around a central perpendicular axis…

(If you rotate your screen to the side, the circle becomes an oval, and you can see the difference.)

It’s a one-dimensional symmetry.

In contrast, a sphere is symmetric no matter which way you rotate it in three-dimensional space.

A three-dimensional symmetry.

Now…

If you put the arrow in the circle… (Defining a state by assigning a phase angle.)

The symmetry tells you how you can rotate the system from one state to another.

In this case, by rotating it around the circle’s symmetry axis to change the angle of the arrow.

That might represent changing the state of a system over time…

Or it might mean translating from one point of view to another.

(Lay your phone on the table. If you want to change the direction of the arrow, you can either rotate your phone—or you can get up and move around the table and rotate your own point of view… The two are equivalent.)

And that’s basically a simple version of modern field theory!

It’s all phase rotations and symmetry.

The spaces that get rotated are more complex than circles and spheres in three-dimensional space…

But it’s the same basic idea.

Just imagine that any time the phase arrow points to the left, it represents a particular particle with certain properties…

And anytime the phase arrow points to the right, it represent a different particle with different properties…

Well, the symmetry tells you the relationship between the two.

How to transform one into the other—and thus, how the “particles interact.”

The “forces of nature” aren’t forces at all.

They’re rules to transform certain states and properties into other states and properties…

Whether that means the states of particles, or the state and structure of spacetime itself!

And the reason we have four fundamental forces—four separate symmetries—is just because we haven’t been able to figure out how to connect them yet!

Electricity and magnetism used to be separate too.

But we discovered the symmetry that “unifies” them…

Revealed that they were really just two ways of looking at the same thing!

And so now you should know what it means when you hear the term “unified field theory.”

Because the belief is that there’s probably only one fundamental symmetry.

And the four separate symmetries we have now, aren’t really separate…

Any more than electricity and magnetism were.

So, now that the essential idea is in place

Go back to the spiritual concept of a vibrating frequency realm…

Except forget about “energy” and “higher and lower vibrations.”

Reality is way too beautiful for such a crude, one-dimensional model.

Drop all that crap, until only the sentiment remains.

Visualize the ripples and waves and patterns traveling across the surface of a lake…

Rotating phase angles that change and intersect and interact.

Or better yet, think about music

Ripples and waves and patterns traveling through the air.

Well, that’s what the universe is.

And that’s what YOU are.

Ripples and waves and patterns in the fabric of reality itself.

Different “particles”—different patterns.

Different “properties”—different patterns.

Different forms and movements and vibrations—different patterns.

And “physics” is about the symmetry that connects it all.

The underlying alchemy that transforms anything into anything else

Any point of view into any other…

Physics isn’t about the attractive and repulsive forces that we experience in everyday life…

It’s about the unity that lies beneath.

Sooner or later, we’ll figure it out.

We’ll all be speaking the same language.

And we’ll finally be able to see the universe—and everything in it—for what it actually is…

One song. 

If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.

And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!

In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z

About Zach Herbert

I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.

Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

Find out more here. And follow me on Facebook at:

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Everyday Awareness #5 https://zachherbert.com/everyday-awareness-5/ https://zachherbert.com/everyday-awareness-5/#comments Sat, 14 Jan 2017 15:07:47 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=3916 Up next in the Everyday Awareness series: a quick and easy way to get out of your head—and back into your body.

You can do it when you’re stressed or anxious or ruminating or freaking out… and it will make you feel better.

And when I say quick… I mean SUPER quick!

This one works. And it won’t even take you a full minute!

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Up next in the Everyday Awareness series: a quick and easy way to get out of your head—and back into your body.

And when I say quick… I mean super quick!

This one works. And it won’t even take you a full minute!

Last time out, I gave you a versatile little exercise to rise above your thoughts, and curb the runaway dialog in your head…

That’s good for all kinds of things.

Like quieting your mind, and dealing with difficult emotions, and discovering that YOU were never your thoughts and emotions in the first place.

But one thing it’s not good for is staying grounded.

For keeping your awareness in your body, and connected to your environment.

You can do both at the same time:

Disidentify from your thoughts, while still remaining grounded…

But unless you make a specific effort to do it, working on all that transcending stuff tends to make you dissociate.

YOU rise above your thoughts…

But your attention ends up directed into your thoughts and away from the world around you.

It just feels easier and more natural to do both at the same time…

Like raising both eyebrows together—or curling all of your fingers at once, instead of individually.

You can move them independently…

But it isn’t something you tend to do, unless you’re specifically trying to do it.

That’s one of the downsides of traditional meditation.

They teach you to transcend. Or to be present in the moment

But that sets up all kinds of secondary motions in your consciousness.

And if you aren’t careful, you can end up really disconnected from your body.

This exercise will get you back in it…

Getting Grounded

We get stuck in our heads for lots of different reasons…

Maybe you’re worried.

Maybe you’re distracted.

Maybe you’re just focused and working on a problem.

Whatever the reason, the result is that you tune out the world around you…

And your body gets left somewhere in the distance.

Now, sometimes being dissociated is a good thing…

Like if you’re doing dreamwork, or searching for subtle visions.

But in general, unless you have a specific reason to not be in your body—you’re probably better off in it.

And one of the best ways to get back in your body is to do this exercise…

Are you ready?

Cuz this one is really complicated…

Find a doorway, or a corner, or an open bit of wall.

And lean forward, like a plank, with your feet back and your hands up and against the wall.

You should be tilted far enough that your weight is split between your hands and your feet.

Where you’d fall if you let go.

But not so far that you can’t support yourself.

Press into the wall. And drive your toes into the ground.

And hold it.

And that’s it.

It doesn’t sound like much… But it works.

You’ll feel the difference in just a few seconds.

You can do it when you’re stressed or anxious or ruminating or freaking out.

You can even tell your kids to do it when they get upset and all wrapped up in their heads.

You don’t even have to tell them that they’re meditating if you don’t want to.

No cross-legged sitting, or focusing, or funny finger shapes required.

Just lean on the fucking wall—and your awareness will ground back into your body.

It’s seriously that easy.

Go try it and you’ll see!

If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.

And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!

In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z

About Zach Herbert

I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.

Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

Find out more here. And follow me on Facebook at:

The post Everyday Awareness #5 appeared first on Zach Herbert.

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If so. Then so. Just so. https://zachherbert.com/if-so-then-so-just-so/ https://zachherbert.com/if-so-then-so-just-so/#comments Sat, 31 Dec 2016 19:43:20 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=3910 A few articles back, I wrote about The Death of the Now. About Einstein’s discoveries on the nature of time and space… And their devastating impact on traditional spirituality.

And I got a lot of feedback from people hoping to show me HOW EASY IT IS to center my awareness in the here and now…

To BE present.

Apparently, while I was poking holes in the old-fashioned INTERPRETATIONS of abiding spiritual experience, I didn’t do enough to validate the EXPERIENCE ITSELF.

So let’s pick up the present moment again… This time, from an experiential perspective. And explore some of the profound insights and liberating changes that come from being present.

(And then I’ll stab a few more holes in it at the end. Just for fun!)

The post If so. Then so. Just so. appeared first on Zach Herbert.

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A few articles back, I wrote about The Death of the Now.

About Einstein’s discoveries on the nature of time and space…

And their devastating impact on traditional spirituality.

And I got a lot of feedback from people hoping to show me how easy it is to center my awareness in the here and now…

To be present.

Apparently, while I was poking holes in the old-fashioned interpretations of abiding spiritual experience, I didn’t do enough to validate the experience itself.

So let’s pick up the present moment again…

This time, from an experiential perspective.

And explore some of the profound insights and liberating changes that come from being present.

(And then I’ll stab a few more holes in it at the end. Just for fun!)

But first…

Be Here, Now.

Such a simple mandate…

Be here/now is one of the most popular slogans of the New Age.

And as New Ageisms go, it’s one of the most useful.

But like most simple mandates, it’s worth digging in to the details.

To ask what it really means…

To see where it can help you on your journey…

And, more importantly, where it can’t.

Abiding in the present moment can be a powerful tool for transformation.

For reducing the stress of everyday life.

For finding freedom from runaway thoughts and emotions.

For realizing who and what YOU are.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for every situation…

As a practice, it’s simple and essential.

As a philosophy… well, let’s just say I’m not a fan.

So, before we continue, I’m going to throw in a quick caveat. Just so I don’t feel negligent…

The directive to be here/now is about the personal experience of abiding in the present moment.

Not about the present moment itself.

It’s about consciousness.

Not time.

Time is a different subject entirely—and one that the old spiritual traditions are woefully under-qualified to handle.

So, if you believe that the reason you should be here/now is because only the present moment is real…

Or if you think the present is somehow “more spiritual” than the future or the past…

Or really, if you believe that spirituality has any profound insight at all into the nature of time

Then go read The Death of the Now.

And don’t give up until your brain breaks and your world changes.

Because we’ve got 111 years of immaculately beautiful science that literally leaves spirituality in the dark ages on the subject!

But, setting time aside, there are some great experiences to be found when you are being present.

And the best way to understand them, is to start with what happens to your consciousness when you aren’t

The World: Live in Concert!

Think of consciousness like a radio…

And the world around you like a live concert. \m/

When you are tuned in to the present moment, everything is in sync.

You are living and listening to the world.

But when you aren’t being present, your consciousness is tuned to another station.

Or maybe several stations all at once.

The world is still roaring away around you… but you’re busy trying to listen to a different song in your head.

Now, that in itself isn’t inherently bad.

But there’s a cascade of motions that usually follows…

Your awareness is already divided, between the song of the world and the music in your mind.

But inevitably, one of them is more appealing than the other…

And so your mind tries to lean into one and block out the other.

Or maybe your head is full of clashing melodies—fears and anxieties that you can’t be rid of—and you don’t want to hear any of them.

Or you’re worrying about the song the world is going to play next…

Or stewing about the song it played last week…

And so you begin straining to pull them all together.

To bend all of the songs into unison.

To make them fit.

Except that you can’t.

You can turn the radio dial in your head. But you can’t control the world.

The world plays on.

And all of that internal stress causes you to dissociate from the world and pull your attention inside yourself.

Which makes the anxiety worse.

And that sets even more songs playing in your awareness.

And so you struggle to pull those together…

On and on and on…

Further from the world.

Further and further from harmony.

Abiding in the present moment tunes your consciousness to the song that is already raging around you.

It might be overwhelming, or intimidating, or exhilarating, or mellow, or you might be caught throwing elbows in the pit…

But whatever it is, as long as you are tuned into the song that’s playing, everything is in sync.

You aren’t straining against yourself.

Or straining against the world.

The world plays on, moment to moment.

And you play along with it.

Now, that in itself doesn’t really do anything extraordinary…

At least, not directly.

It doesn’t free you from your ego…

Or reveal who YOU are…

It doesn’t directly fulfill any of the popular spiritual goals…

Contrary to all the New Age promises, simply being present doesn’t do anything but get you in sync with the world.

Transcending your self image, opening yourself to others, focusing your attention, discovering nondual unity—those all arise from other motions.

Being present just makes some of those motions easier.

Because you aren’t already distracted by internal conflict.

Abiding gets you out of your own way.

And that’s an important piece.

Particularly if you’re looking for inner peace…

If so. Then so. Just so.

All suffering begins with resisting what is.

You can be sad without suffering.

You can hurt without suffering.

You can fail and fall and even die without suffering.

The world can bring forth terrible things.

But suffering comes from within.

From resisting what is.

Which is why everyone from Buddha to Yoda tells you to keep your awareness in the here and now.

That doesn’t mean you have to accept what’s coming…

It doesn’t mean you can’t fight to change the world.

It just means you can’t change what already happened.

If you want to change something, change what happens next.

Right now is what it is.

And the sooner you get on board with that, the better.

Now…

Having said all that…

Let’s get stabby!

Just because you can find freedom from suffering, doesn’t necessarily mean you should

Sometimes suffering is the right choice.

Sometimes being here, now, is that last thing you want to do.

If you want to have an out-of-body experience… or enter a lucid dream from a waking state… or induce subtle visions…

Then tuning your radio to here and now is not going to help!

There are actually as many reasons to not abide in the present moment, as there are to do it.

It all comes down to what you’re trying to do… moment to moment.

All the New Age gurus and wandering Buddhists love shout “be here, now!”

But people rarely stop and ask, why?

They just do it.

A kind of mindless mindfulness

Sometimes abiding helps.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

It’s a tool—not a philosophy of life.

It’s just one Motion of Consciousness.

And there are 9 others that are just as useful!

Besides, “here” doesn’t have to mean here… and “now” doesn’t have to mean now

You can let go of this world and enter a dream state…

Or travel into visions of other realities…

Or glimpse another time…

And you can abide in those places, just like you can abide in this one.

In fact, if you want the experience to last, you had better!

But you have to let go of here to get there.

And that’s why I’m not a fan of be here/now as a philosophy…

It shrinks your world

And diminishes your options.

And preserves an archaic understanding of time.

It’s a great practice.

It’s a shit worldview.

Because the practice was never about the world.

And it was never about time.

It’s about YOU.

And that’s where spirituality took a bad turn…

It realized that suffering comes from resisting what is.

And that we typically resist by dwelling on the future or the past.

And that we can surrender into the present moment, and find freedom from that resistance.

But

All of those insights are about the nature of consciousness.

We may use the phrase “the present moment.” And talk about “letting go of the past.”

But terminology aside, time has got nothing to do with it.

When you struggle and worry over the future, you are thinking about the future. (Right now, in the present moment.)

You aren’t actually living it.

You aren’t bi-located, experiencing two timelines equally and concurrently.

(And yes, it is possible to do that, but that isn’t what the spiritual traditions are warning you about!)

The warning is about dividing your awareness.

And then struggling against yourself…

It’s about losing yourself in turmoil, and inner conflict, and endless rumination.

And never ever realizing that you—the real YOU—can let go and rise above it.

Really, once you dig through all the bullshit and bad philosophy, all that stuff about being in the present moment was never about time.

And ultimately, it’s not about finding freedom from suffering either…

It’s about discovering who YOU really are.

(Which, ironically, does not come from abiding.)

Being here, now, is just an easy first step on the way to a deeper discovery.

And that discovery is, itself, just a single melody in your playlist…

There are others.

So really, it all comes down to a choice…

Yes. It’s easy to be present.

And if that experience is enough for you—then you can choose to make it your life’s philosophy.

Be here, now.

And let the other stuff go.

The present moment makes a beautiful melody.

And there are worse ways to spend a life.

You might even get lucky and stumble into some of the classic mystical experiences, like formlessness or nonduality.

But only if you branch out in spite of yourself.

The other choice is make your own music…

Tune into the present moment and play along…

Then tune it out when the time is right.

Conduct mesmerizing harmonies…

And then throw down cacophony.

Find your inner peace…

Then embrace suffering, when suffering will carry you home.

There are more melodies and experiences out there in the universe than any of us will discover in a thousand lifetimes.

You can seek inspiration and improvise and explore…

Or play along to spirituality’s greatest hits…

I’d recommend both.

But it’s entirely up to you.

Now, seriously, go back and read The Death of the Now.

Be here/now if you like, and put in the effort to understand Einstein.

I swear it’s gonna pay off!

If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.

And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!

In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z

About Zach Herbert

I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.

Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

Find out more here. And follow me on Facebook at:

The post If so. Then so. Just so. appeared first on Zach Herbert.

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Alone, Together https://zachherbert.com/alone-together/ https://zachherbert.com/alone-together/#comments Sun, 11 Dec 2016 17:40:54 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=3886 So there’s this thing that happens, as you get wiser and deeper and more and more awesome…

You become more capable of CONNECTING.

You explore. You grow. You change. And all of those things create layers of complexity and depth… Layers that you can share with other people.

But… And here’s the shitty part… All that awesomeness also makes you DIFFERENT. And so it gets harder and harder to find people to connect WITH.

Because we all get deeper in our own unique way.

And that creates a frustrating dilemma…

As YOU get deeper—your circle of friends gets smaller…

The post Alone, Together appeared first on Zach Herbert.

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So there’s this thing that happens, as you get wiser and deeper and more and more awesome…

You become more capable of connecting.

You explore. You grow. You change.

Life kicks your ass (repeatedly) around the room. The way life does…

You discover your true passion and purpose

And all of those things create layers of complexity and depth.

Layers that you can share with other people.

But

And here’s the shitty part…

All that awesomeness you’ve been building also makes you different.

And so it gets harder and harder to find people to connect with.

Because we all get deeper in our own unique way.

And that creates a frustrating dilemma…

As you get deeper—your circle of friends gets smaller.

Alone, together.

When you’re young and in school, you have lots of people to interact with.

With lots of things in common.

Because you’re all just getting started.

And you’re still less awesome than you will be…

Even when you’re different, you can usually find a clique of friends who feel the same way.

And you can all be different together…

And when your interests are too diverse for one clique—you just join more.

As many crowds as it takes to stay connected.

And yet—no matter how many crowds you run with—as you grow, you grow apart.

You get married, or have kids, or build a career, or live through difficult times…

You travel and explore. Discover the passions you couldn’t have even imagined when you were young…

And every new layer has the potential to be one less thing you have in common.

One less thing you can share with the crowd.

Of course, you can still connect in the old ways…

Laugh and reminisce… Hit the old hangouts…

But the whole point of developing all those new awesome parts is that you want to share those!

And so your circle of friends diminishes.

It happens to everyone…

The result is that loneliness has become one of the defining traits of our culture.

So how do we fix it?

How do we reconnect?

Well that’s easy…

We just need to find more friends so that we’ll be more connected!

And how do we do that?

We empower ourselves with technology, stay in contact, and focus on the things we have in common!

And how do we do that?

We get shallow.

Wait… What?

Okay, so that’s not actually a solution.

But it is the fashionable response.

We grow deeper… Drift away from friends… Crave contact…

And the easiest way to make contact is through the things we have in common with the greatest number of people…

Which are—by definition—the shallowest aspects of ourselves.

And so we gravitate into social circles (and social media trends) based around simple principles…

Like religion, or sports, or political campaigns.

Simple beliefs, simple values, simple slogans…

They all make it easy to come together, and to find something in common.

All it takes is: Go team! And we’re back in contact!

Except that that doesn’t solve the problem…

Because what we’re craving is deeper contact.

Not just more

But that kind of contact doesn’t fit in a social media meme.

And all of the standard outlets—the religions, the sports, the politics—none of them lend themselves to deep.

Or to being different.

Because as soon as you start digging beneath the surface…

Questioning why a particular belief exists… Or if the status quo should change… Or how a slogan translates into the real world…

Or, god forbid, inquiring into the merits of other teams

Then all the differences start to pop up again.

And suddenly you’ve got splits and schisms everywhere…

And you need new communities to accommodate the differences.

Until you start digging deeper into those, and the whole process begins again…

It’s the grand, cosmic fucking joke of personal growth and connection:

  • Growth enables, and demands, deeper connection.
  • Connection demands community.
  • But growth creates differences.
  • And communities are based on the things we have in common.

It would be funny if it weren’t so fucking frustrating and sad.

Would be, that is, until you throw technology in the mix.

And then the whole thing becomes downright hilarious…

Because technology makes everything better.

And technology makes everything worse.

It’s made it so much easier to move and grow and explore.

Opened so many doors, and exposed us to so many different perspectives.

And given us the tools to reach out to anyone, anywhere around the world.

Personal growth has become so much easier.

Communication has become so much easier.

But easier communication doesn’t lead to deeper communication.

(Why talk when we can text?)

The net effect is that, as we’ve grown deeper, our connections have become shallower.

We may have friends all over the world…

But we’re lonelier now than ever.

So what’s to be done?

Well, it’s a bit of an experiment…

But I still think that spirituality can play a role in solving the dilemma.

It’s just going to take a different kind of spirituality…

And a different kind of community.

In the past, spirituality and religion have always been about finding a group of people who share the same values and beliefs.

(At least, the community aspect has.)

Basically, if you found a religion you could buy into, then you found a community by default.

But that only lasts as long as everyone buys into the same story and vision…

Start asking too many questions—or following your own dreams and desires—and you’re right back on the outs again.

The same thing applies to the whole spiritual-but-not-religious movement…

It’s a little more flexible than organized religion…

But not much.

It still doesn’t allow anywhere near the variety of personal styles and ambitions that it would take to accommodate all of us.

We need something more universal.

Now, people have tried building universal spiritual communities before…

Around concepts like love and compassion and acceptance.

Simple principles…

But that just reinforces our dilemma.

The love and understanding and acceptance part is great.

It just isn’t enough.

We also need a way to share the deep, complex experiences and ambitions that only come with growth and exploration.

We need a way to share the awesome parts that make us different.

And that’s where Open Source Spirituality comes in.

The idea is to give you the tools to grow and explore.

To discover who YOU really are.

To be vulnerable and brave and authentic in ways you’d never even dreamt.

And have all the experiences that are available to you…

Not just a few that are endorsed by a particular tradition.

Because your goals and dreams and destinations are always up to you.

YOU choose what to make of your life.

What to make of YOU…

Not me. Not your friends. Not your family. Not your past. Not some ancient fucking religion.

YOU.

But that’s not the experiment…

That part works for sure.

The experiment is creating a new kind of community.

See, giving you the tools to grow and explore is going to change you.

It’s going to create layers of depth and complexity and experience that you’ll want to share.

And that’s going to make you different.

Even moreso than you already are.

So we can’t create a community around a common destination.

Because there is no common destination.

But all those tools you use to travel and transform?

They don’t just help you change and grow…

They also help you share the awesome new parts of yourself.

To connect and communicate the things you’ve learned.

To understand how you’ve changed—and how I’ve changed—and how the two relate.

And so even though you’re going to journey someplace completely different from me…

And pursue dreams and destinations and subtleties of self that are yours and yours alone…

We still have something in common

A common language and toolset and framework for exploration.

And that lets us grow—and it lets us connect.

It dispels the paradox of community and connection.

An unlikely tribe of rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

The idea comes from the modern Open Source communities.

Programmers and builders and DIYers…

People who have completely different backgrounds. And completely different destinations.

But the Open Source framework gives them a way to connect and share their passions.

To explore and express and engage.

Even when—especially when—everyone is creating something different.

It’s a powerful new kind of community.

It’s just never been tried around spirituality and consciousness before.

So it’s an experiment…

I can share the tools.

And they will change you… And make you more awesome…

The question is whether or not we can all come together?

So that we don’t have to journey alone.

I think we can.

And this is where it starts.

If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.

And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!

In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z

About Zach Herbert

I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.

Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

Find out more here. And follow me on Facebook at:

The post Alone, Together appeared first on Zach Herbert.

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Finding Your True Voice https://zachherbert.com/finding-your-true-voice/ https://zachherbert.com/finding-your-true-voice/#comments Sat, 26 Nov 2016 15:14:20 +0000 https://zachherbert.com/?p=3877 So I ran into a fascinating idea recently… About finding your true voice… And learning to express yourself in an authentic way.

Now, I’ve written before on authenticity… About finding and expressing who you really are.

But this is something different…

Because this time, when I say “finding your true voice,” I don’t mean it metaphorically…

I mean your actual voice!

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So I ran into a fascinating idea recently… About finding your true voice…

And learning to express yourself in an authentic way.

It’s become a new passion project of mine.

And so I thought I’d share it with you.

Because it’s honestly something I’d never even considered before!

I’ve written before on authenticity…

About finding and expressing who you really are.

But this is something different…

Because this time, when I say “finding your true voice,” I don’t mean it metaphorically…

I don’t mean your personality and style…

I don’t mean your inner guidance and intuition…

I mean your actual voice.

As it turns out, almost none of us speak in our true voice…

In fact, most of us have never even heard what our real voice sounds like!

But we can learn.

…and that’s just super fucking cool!

The Psychology of the Voice

It’s no mystery that our psychology changes who we are.

As life knocks us down, and picks us up, we make constant adjustments in our consciousness…

We pick up new wounds… New ways of coping…

We learn to defend ourselves—rightly and wrongly—from all the stresses that come our way.

Settle into routines…

That’s why it’s so important to learn to move your consciousness more effectively.

It lets you roll with the punches… Break out of your patterns…

And undo some of the damage that you pick up along the way.

But what I’d never considered before is how all of life’s bumps and bruises affect your voice!

Though it makes perfect sense in hindsight…

Our consciousness and emotions are not isolated from our bodies.

And some of our psychological wounds have physical repercussions…

We change our posture… The way we walk… How we interact…

Well, our psychology also changes the way we speak!

We change the way we breathe.

We set up muscle memories in our face and throat and chest.

We adopt habitual patterns to our vocal style and pitch and pace…

And our true voice gets buried beneath all that other stuff.

But it isn’t gone for good…

If we reconnect to our breath… And relax the muscle memory… And release the rigid patterns we’ve adopted…

Our true voice emerges!

Connecting to the Breath

I’m not going to try to cover the whole process of finding your true voice.

I’m not an expert on vocal technique. And there’s no way I could fit it all into a single article anyway!

But I will talk about a couple of the basic elements, since they’re so easy to implement…

The first is learning to breathe properly.

I know. It sounds boring…

But breath is to the voice, what fuel is to a car.

If you don’t have enough breath—if you hold it, or you dump it—your true voice can never get moving in the first place.

So you have to breathe.

Now, I’ve known for a long time that most of us don’t really breathe the way we should…

But what I didn’t know, is that if you lie down flat on your back, your body will automatically breathe properly!

And that gives us a template that we can follow…

You should try it!

Lie down, without propping your head up, and place your hands on your ribs.

And breathe…

Feel how your ribs move when you breathe lying down

Now stand up, and feel how your ribs move there…

The goal is to make them both the same.

Memorize what it feels like to breathe lying down…

And then practice breathing the same way when you’re upright.

Every time you catch yourself not breathing… Or breathing shallow… Come back to those big, rib-expanding breaths that you memorized on your back.

So that’s the first part…

The second thing is connecting your breath to your voice…

In addition to not breathing enough, we also don’t allow our breath to move in connection with our voice.

I think the easiest way to get a grip on this one is to intentionally do it wrong…

First, try to speak while holding your breath.

Like you don’t want to let any air out of your lungs at all…

You can force the sound to come out…

But there’s not enough breath to power an authentic voice.

Next, sigh your breath out with your voice like you’re working on a phone sex line…

Let the air dump out with the words.

That’s the other extreme.

Your true voice lives in the middle.

Not too much breath, where you sound like Jessica Rabbit…

Not too little breath, where you’re wringing the sound out of your vocal chords.

See if you can figure out where in that spectrum you’ve been speaking from. (I hold slightly.)

And then work your way out of the two extremes, and see if you can find the perfect balance in the middle.

From there, there’s all kinds of technique and vocal variety that you can work on…

Ways to connect more deeply to your true voice…

Ways to outwardly express the feelings and emotions inside you…

Ways to turn your voice into a tool for expressing your authentic self…

But that’s way more than what I can cover here!

Tracy Goodwin has a fantastic video course on finding your true voice over at Udemy.

It’s really worth checking out if you’d like to dig deeper!

If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.

And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!

In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z

About Zach Herbert

I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.

Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.

Find out more here. And follow me on Facebook at:

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