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Being part of the personal-development world, I often come across attitudes which appear to call out for truth yet seem to embody, erm…well, a lot of bullshit.

You might agree that the world is in a bit of a state.

But as always, it’s all to do with our own self and mess.

Hopeless pessimists tend to take on the victim-mentality, blaming external forces for our inevitable doom.

On the other hand, delusional optimists prefer to think ‘everything will be ok’ without taking any meaningful action. So in a similar way, they also put responsibility in the hands of some unseen mysterious power.


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But no real change is ever possible without self-honesty and sincerity.


I’ll first give you a personal example.

I passed by a homeless person sitting right outside my local Co-op. It was about 11pm, middle of January, around 2 degrees.

I could barely feel my hands and feet. All I could think of was quickly getting my pack of almond milk and getting back to my heated home, to finally snuggle in my very warm and comfy bed after a busy day.

Seeing this man, I couldn’t imagine what it must be like for him. His face and eyes were screaming of despair and loneliness. I felt his pain and wondered how he would get through the night without freezing to death. Literally. Literally!

But did I invite him into my house for the night? Take a guess.

Not only did I not, but passing him I could barely bring myself to even properly look at him.


I found it too disturbing. Acknowledging his miserable existence, in this very moment – breathing right next to me, without actually doing anything about it.

My mind tried rationalising this by saying there are so many homeless people, it’s not like I’m going to invite them all over to my house now for winter.

Or it said I’m not the only one living in my house and I know the others wouldn’t be happy with this filthy stranger sleeping on our sofa.

My mind was arguing it’s simply NOT PRACTICAL and that’s it’s not my problem to solve.

My practicalities, my comfort, had priority over his survival. Over his actual life.

This made me feel very uncomfortable, just until I fell into a long restful sleep under my warm, fluffy duvet.

“Sincere thought means thought of concentration (quiet awareness). The thought of a distracted mind cannot be sincere. Man’s mind and his behavior are one, his inner thought and outer expression cannot contradict each other. Therefore a man should set up his right principle and this right mind (principle) will influence his action.”
Bruce Lee ~

Many people who consider themselves more ‘spiritual’ or self-aware, seem to think they’ve got it all sorted and that the troubles of the world are to do with everybody else who’s not as ‘conscious’.

So let’s have a look at 5 BS ‘conscious’ ideas.


1. Meditation will save the world


The first bullshit approach is that if we just sit and meditate everything will be OK.

Now don’t get me wrong – of course I’m all for any kind of mind-work. It’s what I do, and I agree that it’s the most important and actually the only real starting point.

I believe it’s essential we know our own selves and minds and how to use them positively, creatively and powerfully.

I agree global peace won’t happen without our own peace.

But meditation is still not a substitute for REAL ACTION. It’s only a tool, not the target or an end.

It’s not enough to think ‘I’m just gonna sit here, meditate and send good vibes and the universe will take care of it’.

No, the universe won’t take care of it, it’s too busy creating and annihilating galaxies.

The universe won’t do anything without you. You’re part of it and it needs you.

And surely, as an expert meditator you would know that in fact you are the universe…?

So actually, this encourages complacency, laziness and avoiding responsibility. It’s an easy way out.

While you might be sitting there humming on your yoga mat thinking you’re doing your bit for humanity, there are people out there who need real help, whom we can help, even with small gestures and actions.

And these people aren’t only in some far away land we can choose not to read about in the paper, but all around us; in our own neighbourhood and community.

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Gandalf ~


2. Be part of a like-minded community


Nothing wrong of course with wanting to share and collaborate.

But many of those who view themselves as switched on and open-minded believe the problem lies in the ‘others’.

People in general mostly validate the others who are most similar to themselves.

I meet through my work as well as personal life people from all backgrounds. They might label themselves as business people, media or tech nerds, hipsters, hippies, artists or whatever else. And they often most like to mix with those they label in the same way.

‘Spiritual’ types are often no different – they like to associate with others who share their beliefs, opinions or backgrounds, having very little interest in engaging with those who are of a different ‘group’.

But what about the fact we can often  learn something from or share stuff in common with those who are very different to us?

It’s not uncommon for me to be asked by the more ‘new-age’ types about my reasons for working with ‘business women’. As if those in business are any less worthy or don’t have family, friends, values or hearts.

We complain a lot about the direction of the world and politics and lack of tolerance and respect for others, but where is ours? How often do we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, really listen to them, try connecting or making friends with those who have a completely different outlook?


By Eran Mendel


3. Detachment


Considered very ‘spiritual’ – let go of your attachment to this physical world and life.

And the more ‘advanced’ you are in your process, the more removed you are. Because you realise this world is one of ‘illusion’ and therefore there’s no need for real engagement.

So sure, seeing through the illusion of it all and recognizing the bigger picture is a step forward and I’m all for it.

But the point isn’t to ‘leave’ this world behind. That will happen anyway!

Imagine a video game. Knowing it’s a game, would you therefore decide not to play, or to carelessly press buttons ‘cuz it’s not real and doesn’t really matter? Or would you play this game just to stay put and watch nothing happen? Of course not, that would be pointless.

No, you play the game doing your best to make progress, maybe even learning or exercising your brain in some way, and you enjoy it – not taking it too seriously – knowing it’s not real.

So this idea creates complacency and laziness, cuz ‘it doesn’t matter anyway’, avoiding taking responsibility.

What about bringing more fearlessness, passion, compassion and integrity – for the same reason that ‘it doesn’t matter anyway’…?

This world is for us to experience. Whether ‘real’ or not or what’s beyond it, doesn’t change the fact that right now, we’re here with an opportunity to make a difference to this experience.


Take action

Image: Jeff Sheldon


So real detachment should in fact bring more presence, and help us be more conscious feeling even more in this world. More connection, not less.

If you want to advance in your life-game you need to completely get into it.

You balance detachment with engagement – you know you’re a player and you give it your all.


4. The Law of Attraction / Power of Intention


A favourite in the world of self-development; ‘new-age’ and business alike.

Again, this may be great stuff and very true to a degree. It’s also an essential starting point.

And again, it also creates laziness and avoidance of responsibility. We don’t miraculously turn into all powerful beings just because we wish it and imagine it.

’Oh, why don’t I just sit here and visualise and things will magically materialise’.

No. We still need to do the work. Nothing will happen without your directed action. Move your ass.


Do the work

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Secondly, these popular ideas about manifesting your ‘true potential’ and becoming some master of the universe can create lack of empathy towards others less fortunate.

We forget that this opportunity is reserved to us the privileged. We have the freedom, resources and time to spend on exercising these abilities and skills.

Not everyone is in this position. And this isn’t necessarily their ‘fault’. Random circumstances have determined that many endure suffering you’re very blessed you’ll never have to experience. At this very moment they’re fighting for another opportunity to breathe.

Stating that ‘everything’ is an expression of what we (subconsciously or not) ask for or focus on, implies that all people are asking for their pain. This is simply untrue.

We say or think this ‘cuz we feel the need to reason things we don’t want to accept.

Unfortunately though, some things simply suck.  Yeah, there are many who subconsciously choose the victim-mentality, but there are also those who have been genuinely victimised. We may not like this but it’s how it is.

So this idea can create lack of interest or compassion towards those we think should just use their power of intention and ‘follow their dreams’, while they’re too busy trying to survive.


5. ‘Love and light’


Another ‘spiritual’ common phrase.

I find this one particularly delusional. For two main reasons.

First, the denial of the ‘dark’.

We don’t wanna deal with it. Not for real. Sure, we might discuss it as a concept, its place in the paradox of life & death and maybe even quote one of Jung’s famous sayings on the topic.

But we’d really rather not look into our authentic own. Not truly, not honestly.

‘Spiritual’ people like to be perceived as peaceful, content, balanced and full of joy. But dark is valid, valuable and purposeful.

For example, fear could teach you about presence. Grief might teach you about value. Anger might motivate you to take action. Greed can direct to gratitude…the list goes on.

But most of the time we prefer to look away from what we consider ‘wrong’, unacceptable or just not very pretty to look at or admit to.

Self-honesty is too discomforting. Ignorance is bliss. This comes out of fear and perpetuates even more fear – the exact opposite of what this phrase supposedly tries to spread.


Your dark side

Image: www.giphy.com


Secondly, this brings in complacency again and distance rather than real connection. Instead of direct loving action, we hide behind these meaningless words, secure in our self-centredness.

Will my sending love and light to that homeless guy help him keep warm and get through the night? If your house was on fire, would you be happy with people sitting around sending you love and light?

And never mind the fact that this love is often reserved only for those in our own groups we identify with – going back to #2.


So what then…?


Of course there are no quick-fix solutions to the state of the world.

But HONESTY is a good place to start – first and foremost with ourselves.

Developing more compassion and connection on an everyday basis, with our own dark selves as well as with others’, facing our own faults and responsibilities even when we don’t feel like it.

Speaking up for what matters, taking a clear stand rather than just standing by or wishing it away. Discussing and listening, and contributing when we can, even in small ways.

Making Love more real and not just an empty word. Words are powerful – we should use them truthfully & intentionally.

More truth, less BS.


By Tobias Sallewsky


“I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole.”
~ Carl Jung ~



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