More Kindness, Less Hate

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

I don’t have an answer for the world’s problems. It’d be deluded to think that any one person does. I do have an idea of what we can do better, and it’s a simple and sensible solution. Although I think we should be more peaceful and try to love everyone, that’s not what I’m recommending today.

I’d love to see a compassionate revolution spring up overnight, but we don’t seem to be ready for that yet. What we can do right now is treat each other better. This small change would allow us to collectively focus on a larger societal transformation.

I’m not suggesting anything extreme. Just more kindness and less hate. In this ideal world, we’d be quicker to forgive than hold a grudge. Instead of being selfish, we’d want to help others. Instead of putting each other down over what divides us, we’d unite over what we have in common.

My intention is not to change anyone, but to suggest things we can do to make this world better for us and everyone we share it with. My hope is that this reaches the people who want change but are unsure how to go about it. I also want to reaffirm that change is always possible, but like anything, it requires effort.

I’m not losing sleep over whether anyone takes this advice. But I do want to help people be open to this change that in my opinion could improve the world substantially. We’re all aware of the imbalance in society and the clear need to change something. Mine is just one of many voices suggesting what we could do better while keeping in mind that I know nothing in the big picture.

I often wonder why people avoid kindness. Looking back, I wonder why I’ve avoided it in the past. Why do we build up resistance to kindness in favor of anger and cold-heartedness? My best answer is that it threatens the ego. To be kind is to put someone else’s needs or wants before your own. This denies the ego its self-centered satisfaction.

For this reason alone, many people go out of their way not to be kind. There’s a pervasive idea in our society that we must be tough and disconnected from any part of ourselves perceived to be weak. Unfortunately, in our world, kindness is weakness. Why be kind when you can gain more from putting yourself above others? Why risk appearing polite and thus exploitable?

This mindset has helped us survive throughout our rough history, and in many ways, it still applies today. Personally, my philosophy is that kindness should come with just enough of a hard edge that people don’t take your niceness for granted. The last person you want to be is the one everybody takes advantage of because you’re too polite to stop them.

The aim is to create a world where we no longer have to worry about this. We can be kind and be ourselves without the threat of anyone making us into anything less. In this ideal world, kindness is inherent. Selflessness is normal, and we replace the apparent need to put each other down with the inclination to help each other thrive.

This is the world I want to see, and no matter how many times you’ve heard it before, it starts with small positive changes we can each make. As sappy as this will sound, nothing will change if there’s no change in the hearts of every individual. Our job is not to force anyone to be nicer, but to encourage kindness and remember to practice it ourselves.

If we want to evolve into the next phase of our technological and spiritual evolution without destroying ourselves, kindness and empathy must come first.

Featured image credit: Pixabay

About the author: 

31287220_1930589003619961_7591073383912046592_nI’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, the environment, activism, music, and other awesome stuff. I run Karma Yoga Daily, a news blog dedicated to sharing daily wisdom.

This personal blog I run is pretty great, too.

Follow me on Facebook (Wes Annac, Karma Yoga Daily) and Twitter (Wes Annac, https://twitter.com/love_rebellion)

If you enjoyed this post and want to support my work, consider a donation by sending funds via PayPal to wesremal@yahoo.com.

Recent articles and videos:

No copyright. Share freely with attribution to Wes Annac and Karma Yoga Daily

Thanks for reading!

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A Step in the Right Direction: Texas Republicans Support Cannabis/Hemp Decriminalization

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

Cannabis has come a long way in the United States, but it still has a long way to go. 10 states have legalized it, 31 have legalized for medicinal use, and 22 have enacted decriminalization laws that drastically reduce the penalty for being caught with it. The changes so far have been massive, and the momentum can only grow from here.

In a surprising sign of where things are headed, the Texas Republican party recently came out in favor of marijuana and hemp decriminalization; as well as an expansion of Texas’ medical marijuana program. This is notable because conservatives often take an anti-marijuana stance, claiming legalization will lead to an increase in addiction, expose more kids and teenagers to cannabis, and put more impaired drivers on the road (among other fear-based scenarios).

Let’s not forget the bizarre statement from our Attorney General that “good people don’t smoke marijuana”. This is the kind of opposition we’re dealing with. Continue reading

I Know Nothing

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

I used to love complicated ideas. I used to believe all kinds of things and entertain myself with grandiose concepts. If it was in the fringe category, especially in regard to spirituality, I loved it. The more detached it was from what we think is reality, the more it became my reality.

This isn’t a bad thing, because life is too short not to spend pursuing your interests. If you love tea or coffee, then enjoy them while you can. Run a mile every day if you love exercise. If you love the paranormal, new age spirituality, or anything society would make you feel crazy for, then dive headfirst into it.

I’ve long been unafraid to put my weirdness out there for everyone to see. Despite this, lately I’m not as interested in complicated ideas. I want simplicity. Everyone else can have their big ideas about angels, extraterrestrials, ascension, cities of light, 12th dimensional rainbow merkabas, etc. I’m not criticizing it – it’s just not for me anymore.

I’ve become aware that I know absolutely nothing. I cannot say with 100% certainty that I know how the universe functions, what happens when we die, or what the state of consciousness we access in meditation really is. Humanity as a whole knows very little about all this. Who am I to say I have the answers?

It’s humbling to realize you know nothing. To see that like everyone else, you’re feeling around in the dark grabbing at ideas that appeal to you. It’s easy to think these ideas are the truth. But if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the dark backdrop behind them. This is the inescapable void of nothingness and uncertainty.

No matter what we believe, the reality of death and the possibility of nonexistence plague us. One day, we’ll either leave this world for something new or blink out of existence entirely. Just as there’s a probability that consciousness continues after death, there’s a probability that it doesn’t. To me, that’s the scariest thought of all.

When you start thinking in this direction, you realize how starved for truth you really are. It makes you see everything in a new light – including the beliefs you once subscribed to. This leads some people to become atheists and others to become more spiritual or connected with themselves. I’m somewhere in the middle.

I am by no means skeptical of spiritual ideas, but I approach them differently now. I’m more discerning and willing to question an idea before letting it in. Generally, I approach spirituality more objectively than before.

I have no interest in proving any of the spiritual or paranormal stuff I write about. If I write about ghosts, it’s purely for entertainment. Not truth. The purpose of the spiritual writings is to search for truth via metaphysical outlets. But I know that I can’t prove karma, kundalini, or other concepts are real.

We can measure the effect meditation has on the brain, but nobody has proven that it gives you access to other dimensions. Most spiritual concepts have not been proven, as by nature, they run against the materialist mindset that dominates mainstream science.

Although I’m not a skeptic, I no longer take any idea at face value. Along with this, I’m no longer on a quest to prove spirituality is legitimate. I’ve torn down my beliefs and peered into the void behind them, realizing death is inevitable and looking for something real beyond this world.

From scratch, I built a new, simple philosophy.

This is where karma yoga, and by extension, the new Karma Yoga Daily blog come in. Obviously, I did not invent karma yoga. But I take inspiration from the idea of service (in my case, writing) as a way of life and a way to progress spiritually. Even if “progress spiritually” just means to become a better person, I’m onboard.

I love the simplicity of karma yoga. Be kind, work hard, help others, and include yourself in your service. Take care of yourself by doing good, healthy things that help you feel better. Appreciate your opportunity to spend your days helping others, and beyond that, enjoy your life while it lasts. Treat every breath you’re fortunate enough to take as a blessing. If you believe there’s a creator and other worlds we will one day inhabit, thank them for the gift of life.

My path has not been easy, but neither has anyone else’s. I’m grateful that I had to tear it all down and start anew not as an atheist or skeptic, but as a person with a simple philosophy that works for me. You can believe whatever you want, as I have no interest in making you think you’re wrong. It feels great to admit that this is all I need.

About the author: 

31287220_1930589003619961_7591073383912046592_nI’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, the environment, activism, music, and other awesome stuff. I run Karma Yoga Daily, a news blog dedicated to sharing daily wisdom.

This personal blog I run is pretty great, too.

Follow me on Facebook (Wes Annac, Karma Yoga Daily) and Twitter (Wes Annac, https://twitter.com/love_rebellion)

If you enjoyed this post and want to support my work, consider a donation by sending funds via PayPal to wesremal@yahoo.com.

Recent articles and videos:

No copyright. Share freely with attribution to Wes Annac and Karma Yoga Daily

Thanks for reading!

Featured image credit

Introducing: Karma Yoga Daily

Introducing: Karma Yoga Daily

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

Openhearted Rebel has become Karma Yoga Daily. In this article, I explain why I made this change and why I think karma yoga is important for our world today.

“I believe in Karma. If the good is sown, the good is collected. When positive things are made, that returns well.” – Yannick Noah (source)

Karma yoga has little to do with yoga but everything to do with karma. It is a lifestyle predicated on service to others as the purpose of an individual’s life. If you take up this path, then you dedicate your life to helping people as much as possible. Continue reading

How Can We Make a Difference?

Help OthersBy Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

I wrote the following for the 293rd issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.

Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. You can find the option to subscribe at the bottom of this post (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).

What can I write that will make a difference? Who am I to think I’m capable of doing so?

I often wonder what apparently special traits I possess that would lead anyone to think I’m enlightened or even worthy of support. Don’t get me wrong; I love all the support. But despite it, I know I’m just a kid with a lot to learn who loves spirituality and likes to think about how we could do things better.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Is it narcissistic to think I have something so good to offer that people will support it? Continue reading

Video: 5 Benefits of These 5 Teas

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

This is the video version of my article, 5 Benefits of These 5 Teas

Ten minutes of tea talk.

If you like this video, subscribe and hit the bell to be notified of future videos on the channel. Also, check out OpenheartedRebel.com for daily articles on activism, the environment, religion & spirituality, and other topics. Continue reading

Make Religion Loving Again

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

On Saturday, May 5th, I made a post on social media about religion. I’d like to expand upon it here. I wrote:

“Some of the worst people in the world are the religious ones who sh*t on everyone else’s beliefs/lifestyle. If you’re religious or spiritual, just be yourself and love your God in whatever way you prefer. Meditate, study Hinduism, and learn about chakras if you want. Or don’t. If you’re an atheist, shout your love for science from a mountaintop. I promise you won’t be possessed by the devil or fall into some mythical hell.

“The true ‘agents of satan’ are those who use their religion to justify a contrived sense of divinity and attack everyone who doesn’t think like them. They’re not doing the work of the Lord – they’re being a d*ck. The world would be much better if they went away and stopped bothering the rest of us who are just trying to live.

“If you cannot muster up love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding for all people regardless of race, religion, or how they feel about your God, you are not living religiously. You are a false prophet living for your idea of what God wants.

“Isn’t it interesting how your God reflects your beliefs and what you think is right/wrong? That’s because it’s not God, it’s your ego. It doesn’t matter how much you study scripture or how strictly you adhere to some belief system created to control you. Condemnation and conversion will never be reflective of a truly religious life.

“And yes, I know I’m being hypocritical by saying we should love everyone but calling out religious people who are judgmental. I’m imperfect, as we all are. I don’t claim to be some born-again Christian arbiter of what people should think or how they should behave.

“My advice is just to be yourself. Do no harm, but take no sh*t from religious bullies who try to make you think you’ll go to hell if you don’t let them tell you what to believe. Also, when you find out how much money these people make off of Jesus, you’ll understand why they’re so nutty about gaining followers.”

I know this sounds harsh, but my intention was not to go after all religious people. I’m generally okay with religion. I study it and try to find what’s at the heart of every teaching.

I think that what we know as religion was, at one time, used for good. In many ways, it still is today. Despite the manipulation and everything lost in translation through the ages, many religious texts still hint at the golden rule (if not directly point it out).

There are religious people who live a positive life and only want to help others. They don’t condemn those who think differently. They know they can’t change anyone, so they focus on becoming the best version of themselves. They’re not driven by ego and the desire for control, but love and the desire to grow as a person. Instead of judging, they empathize. Instead of going after money or power, they live humbly in service.

These are not the people I refer to in the rant above.

I mentioned in that post that condemning and converting non-believers does not reflect a religious life. In my mind, a truly religious life is built upon love and empathy over all else. From these divine qualities spring others that will help you make your little corner of the world better.

love-definition-1

I don’t know why religion has taken such a dark turn, but we now have this whole other thing that’s as far from the truth as you can get.

We have people fighting and killing each other over slight modifications of the same philosophy. We have accusations of devil worship against people with alternative beliefs – a modern-day religious witch hunt. If you pay attention to these radical religious groups, you see their members accuse each other of being satanic for believing slightly different things. It’s insane.

I don’t know how people can be so attached to these belief systems yet blinded to the golden rule that inspired their creation. Admittedly, the tone of my post was less than loving. But some things need to be said or done, even if it’s at the momentary expense of peace.

There comes a time when we can no longer accept condemnation, hate, or insanity in any form. It will only get worse if we don’t keep it in check. Since this is a moral conundrum, I suppose we should find a middle ground between being peaceful and calling out hate when necessary.

I believe love is God and there is no greater truth. It doesn’t bother me if you believe something different. Just don’t come knocking down my door and calling me a heretic without expecting me to defend myself.

I hope these people find the truth, and I don’t hate them for thinking differently. If I have any animosity, it’s because it perplexes me that they can be so dedicated to their religion yet miss the point by being so hateful. Love, empathy, discipline, and humility are all you need. It’s not that hard.

I wish they could see the source of all this conflict – a lack of love – and realize they’re fueling it. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I feel bad for them. Love and empathy are much simpler and more rewarding than these crazy, twisted philosophies that lead to all this nonsense. I hope they can see the error of their ways, but my inner skeptic doubts that their egos will soften anytime soon.

I’m trying to live by my own newfound religious/spiritual path and its accompanying principles. Call them what you will – rules, structured activities, guidelines by which to live – they’re helping me create a better life and be more tolerable to the people around me. They’re also helping me develop discipline and a resulting sense of accomplishment.

These disciplines include working hard at my writing and whatever other creative projects come along, as to me, this is a form of karma yoga (service to humanity). They also include empathy and helping people even when it’s uncomfortable.

More than anything, this lifestyle is one of peace and service to humanity rather than conflict with myself and others. I’ve only recently started on this path, and I obviously haven’t mastered it. It’s never easy at first, but you must wade through the confusion if you want to find the bright meadow at the end of the murky swamp.

One thing I may never empathize with is how people who are supposedly religious can be so hateful. But if they don’t hurt anyone – except with their opinions but let’s face it; we’re all adults and we can take it (words are just words) – then I have no reason to hate them. I should wish them well and, as with anything, look at myself to figure out why their words affect me.

It’s all about improving yourself and helping the world while you’re here. I sincerely hope religious radicals can one day understand this and join the rest of us in trying to help this suffering planet.

I wrote the following for the 290th issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.

Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. You can find the option to subscribe below (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).

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$11.11 monthly subscription via PayPal, debit, or credit.

About the author: 

I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love. I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.

I also have a personal blog in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).

I write from the heart, sharing informative and enlightening content with anyone who wants to check it out.

Follow me on Facebook (Wes Annac, https://www.facebook.com/openheartedrebel) and Twitter (Wes Annac, https://twitter.com/love_rebellion)

If you enjoyed this post and want to support my work, consider a donation by sending funds via PayPal to wesremal@yahoo.com.

Recent articles and videos:

No copyright. Share freely with attribution to Wes Annac and Openhearted Rebel.

Thanks for reading!