Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have

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Validating Personal Experience


Mindfulness (Photo credit: kenleyneufeld)

I have found it is all too easy to moan (to myself) about my own experiences not being validated then recognize I am judging somebody else’s experience; in essence invalidating their unique suffering because it isn’t something I immediately understand. The positive thing is I recognized I was doing it and my hypocrisy even if I never stated any of my thoughts out loud or anywhere else besides inside my head. Thankfully, I usually don’t say the stuff I’m thinking for the most part but I still don’t like thinking it in the first place.

Being mindful in our daily life requires us to look at/reflect upon/ and or examine our thoughts and actions and how they are affecting us, as well as others. I have become much more aware of my thoughts over the years and what patterns to watch out for if I want to stay healthy. Keeping a mindful watch on our thoughts is a good way to prevent depression and anxiety. It also helps us to avoid saying things we might regret upon further reflection. So although it isn’t always comfortable I am pleased that I can witness my thoughts and actions in a mindful manner. I’m not always mindful though and in those instances where I’ve ‘slipped up’ I simply note that and try to return to the present moment (without beating myself up for it).

It’s been my experience, since becoming more mindful in my life, that I can pause long enough to try understanding another person‘s behaviours and their reactions. This has helped me be less defensive in return. I find myself stopping and asking myself how the other person may be thinking. When I do this I discharge any anger or negativity much quicker than if I merely assumed the other person to be wrong for not doing/saying what I would like. It doesn’t take away the initial frustration all the time, but minor incidences can be handled far more easily now. I may still get annoyed someone did something I didn’t like but it isn’t all consuming either. The annoyance passes and I’m able to return to a baseline state of contentment or equanimity.

Taking into consideration other people’s personalities and experiences before I make a judgement has helped me greatly. I used to get quite agitated by certain people’s behaviours but I have come to find it more useful to pause and reflect on why the person may have behaved as they did. This tends to engender a sense of compassion too as I am not solely focused on myself. By bringing our awareness to the lives of others it allows for a certain spaciousness to develop between our mind and the outside events taking place. If I can make room for a certain mental curiosity it helps me stop reacting in a knee-jerk fashion all the time. This has taken me a number of years to cultivate but I am proud of myself for the place I have reached.

My teenage years and early 20s were marked by a sense of moral superiority and personal piety despite being an Agnostic at the time. I guess one need not be religious to be pious but it does seem to occur more within that context. At any rate, I felt myself qualified to negatively appraise other people’s lives when they didn’t fit my idea of a ‘proper lifestyle’. Now I should mention I was never a bigot or racist or homophobic or anything but I had prudish beliefs around sexuality (despite being a feminist!). I also found it easy to condemn people when they hadn’t measured up to my expectations. In short I wasn’t a whole lot of fun to be with. My ability to take another person’s perspective was poor so I viewed everyone through the same lens. I was short on empathy and certainly didn’t have any compassion. Thankfully all that changed.

Mindfulness changed my life. Mindfulness meditation even more so. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t been introduced to those two things. They helped me achieve an open mindedness that I didn’t think was possible. There were some growing pains as would be expected. I passed judgement on small minded people failing to initially see the irony in that situation. Fortunately, I did not hold onto that judgement for long and grew past that particular limitation.

I am in no way perfect or cured of all my worldly problems but I feel better equipped to deal with them. I feel better about who I am and how far I’ve come since entering therapy, especially mindfulness and meditation. My personal advice to anyone who wants it would be to read up on mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. It’s been implemented into many mainstream hospital programmes for stress and used for depression and anxiety”off label”. You can find many books on mindfulness in your local bookstore focused on it in a general way or targeted toward various disorders.

To have peace in one’s life requires some changes in our behavior for most of us. But it needn’t be terribly difficult. If we all simply *tried* to be more aware of what we say and do I think our world would be a better place. It’s something we can all do regardless of religion or culture. The idea is fairly simple and straight forward, although not always easy. Peace comes from within and starts with you (me). As each of us changes our ways focusing on the thoughts we think and words we speak, it creates a domino effect. Haven’t we all experienced something similar with kindness? Someone is kind to us and we in turn do something nice for someone else without even thinking about it. Similarly, when we’re mindful and aware of how we are around others we tend to be more peaceful, less reactive.

What do you do to encourage peace in your life? Are you trying to be more mindful or less judgmental?  This has been my attempt at participating in Bloggers 4 Peace. See the badge on the right hand side of my blog in the side panel of widgets to join in.

©Natalya, 2013.



Personality Variations as Seen Through the Lens of Soul Level/Type

I’ve been read a book called The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended by Ainslie MacLeodthat

Cover of "The Instruction: Living the Lif...

Cover via Amazon

details how our soul age influences our personalities in this life. The author goes over different fears associated with different soul ages and types, as well as various ‘missions’ or lessons. It’s a unique way of viewing the people in your life-including yourself, as it addresses variances between people in a way that hopefully engenders compassion from the reader.

Certainly, for myself, I found that I was having lots of ‘aha’ moments where people’s previous irksome behaviours seemed to now be “forgivable”. No longer can I think of myself as being superior or inferior to others. Instead, I look at people through this new ‘lens of awareness’, if you like, and understand better why what annoyed me before about people doesn’t so much now.

It’s hard to be annoyed by someone if you know they can’t help it!  Of course I still get annoyed but it doesn’t last when I remind myself that I am no better because I have a soul age “past all that nonsense”; as I was once in their shoes too. If I view everyone through this enlarging lens it allows me to have easier access to compassion. I find myself listening to the news or reading something and the people involved correspond predictably to their soul age/level in their actions and beliefs.

It helped me to understand why some people think acts of violence, including war, are acceptable; whilst to others, including myself, it’s abhorrent. So I’m not judging people so much now thinking in some sort of smug way that I’m enlightened, whereas war mongers and proponents of violence are neanderthals. I guess I’ve given up my throne of moral and ethical superiority and decided I can have my views but am no better or worse for them.

What are the soul ages or levels? you must be wondering by now. Well they go from level one to level ten. The level one souls are the youngest and level ten the oldest. Everyone else is in between somewhere. This isn’t something scientifically verifiable so any skeptics who absolutely require evidence for everything in order to believe won’t be pleased. However, if you’re open minded and interested I’ll share the descriptions here (my descriptions are very brief so I don’t advise trying to figure your type out with any seriousness until you’ve read the book).

Young souls correspond to level one through five, whilst old soulsgo from level six to level ten. The young souls are

Younger souls have not been around forever but can still have past lives

characterized by a need for simplicity which comes through clearest at level one when they’re still new to being human. Levels two, three and four want to belong socially and are concerned with fitting in, not standing out too much and supporting the status quo. Acceptance of violence being normal and unavoidable are strongest when one’s soul is still young. By level five you find people being very exciting and dynamic wanting to push forward with everything. You can thank level five souls for new forms of transportation and “discovery” of “new” territory and lands. Many political rulers are also level five souls, as they enjoy holding power. Desire for keeping up with others will be strongest when one is still a young soul-perhaps not materially but in values. Race, gender and class are also most likely to cause problems at the young soul levels. A fear of death is also strongest in young souls.

By level six the soul enters into the old category. Level six, seven and eight souls start seeing through the illusion of materialism and physical world preoccupations. Starting at level six there is a great need for introspection but uncertainty about where to find happiness. Thank level sixes for trade unions and cooperatives because they value what’s best for the community instead of only themselves. Level seven and eight are inventors, innovators and highly creative and curious. Many of the world’s great artists and inventors belong to level seven and eight souls. Environmentalists also belong to these levels, as they become concerned for the future of the planet. By level nine and ten you’re nearing the end of your journey in human form so illusions fall away more readily and souls of these levels will want to tie up any unfinished business from previous lifetimes, including addictions, phobias and any issue that’s been clinging on for the ride.Self absorption can become a problem at level nine when resolving issues becomes a preoccupation; however level tens are much less self absorbed and try to contribute to society and live quiet lives.

In general, old souls will not be especially caught up in materialism and wanting fame and glory, nor will they be

I’ve been around for a LONG time!

religious or afraid of death. Many will be spiritual though and express their beliefs at an individual level or in smaller groups of like minded folk. Unconventional career choices and an inability to fit in tend to crop up in older souls too. Race, gender and class tend, in general, not to be concerns for older souls.

To sum up, the descriptions are as follows (copied word for word from the book):

  • Level 1: isolation, apprehension, simplicity and naivety
  • Level 2: fundamentalism, nationalism, conservatism, and discrimination
  • Level 3: church, community, conservatism and conformity
  • Level 4: religion, aspiration, morality, conservatism
  • Level 5: ambition, materialism, power and mainstream views
  • Level 6: unity, social justice, drama, and self-questioning
  • Level 7: complexity, curiosity, creativity and intensity
  • Level 8: sophistication, liberalism, environmentalism, and activism
  • Level 9: spirituality, self-improvement, healing and idealism
  • Level 10: altruism, connection, eccentricity and inertia.

After you’ve figured out what soul level you are you can find out what type you are. This is descriptive telling you what

Woman sitting with her dog

focus and traits are associated with your soul type. I shall give you the short version so if you’re interested I encourage you read The Instruction: Living the Life your Soul Intended. It’s an enjoyable read with no attacks on any particular type. Young souls and old souls are equal just different. Same goes for your soul type and mission (soul mission can be read about in the book).

Soul Type
Dedication, stoicism
Empathy, loyalty
Erudition, eloquence
Restraint, rationality
Sensitivity, idealism
Passion, playfulness
Determination, practicality
Charisma, wisdom
Compassion, spirituality
Inspiration, love

To determine which soul type you are look for the one that resonates strongest with you at an intuitive or gut level. Then look for your second strongest to determine your primary influence. Your secondary influence is your third strongest type.

There are ten missions too that further define how you will present in this world. I won’t go through the descriptions but will list what the missions are. You have a primary and secondary mission. The strongest is your primary mission. If you’re at all interested in what I’ve written I’d encourage you to read the book! 🙂

What’s your soul’s mission?

  • Change
  • Exploration
  • Examination
  • Flow
  • Control
  • Connection
  • Reliance
  • Healing
  • Avoidance
  • Love

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.