Art as a Spiritual Practice

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebellion

Some people who make art consider it a spiritual practice.

For them, it’s more than just a fun activity. It’s a way to express who they are while connecting with something profound deep within them. Being creative allows them to venture into their mind and soul, forming a vital connection that many people are sadly missing.

Creativity makes life a lot more colorful. Most artists, musicians, and writers can’t live without the fuel that being creative gives them. Although not all creators consider their work a spiritual practice, they all express something powerful and often beautiful in their art. They love it enough to devote their lives to it.

Many of us wonder what this power really is. Is creativity just a fun mental exercise that some people enjoy more than others, or is there something deeper to it? Continue reading


Blending Self-Improvement with Zen

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebellion

To me, spirituality is more than a fad or a way to appear wiser than I really am. I use it as inspiration to improve myself.

Some teachers say that trying to change yourself at all is misguided and pointless. They believe that spirituality – Zen in particular – is about accepting who you are and letting go of all ambition to be something else.

For many, spirituality is a haven from the grind of daily life. It doesn’t encourage them to confront their struggles, but rather, let go. They believe that letting go of all desire, ambition, and struggle is the only way to achieve a proper meditative state. Self-improvement doesn’t matter if this life is an illusion we must wake up from.

I disagree; spirituality and self-improvement blend well for many people. Some of us need a philosophy that discourages stagnation, pushes us to be better, and keeps us from negative thoughts that might otherwise consume us. Continue reading

Karma Yoga Podcast – Episode 2: Addiction, Spirituality, and Manipulation

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

Episode 2 is here! This week, I’ll discuss the ways we can use spirituality to treat addiction. I’ll also discuss the manipulation often associated with spirituality.

The podcast is up on YouTube (video below), and you can also listen to it on Anchor at this link:


Hey everybody! Welcome to episode 2 of the Karma Yoga Podcast. I’m Wes Annac, and this week, we will be discussing some of the ways that spirituality can help with the treatment of addiction. I will also share my thoughts on the manipulation you sometimes find when pursuing spirituality. 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.

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Video: 5 Ways Meditation Helps the Mind and Body

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

This is the video version of my article 5 Ways Meditation Helps the Mind and Body.

In this video, we’ll look at some of the lesser known benefits of meditation. If you like it, subscribe and hit the notification bell to see future videos on the Wes Annac/Openhearted Rebel YouTube channel.

Continue reading

My Problem with God

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

I wrote the following for the 285th 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. The option to subscribe is given at the bottom of this post (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).

I’m one of those people who will tell you they’re spiritual but not religious. This is because I have a problem with the way religious leaders portray and profit from God.

My problem is not with the idea of a creator or other states of consciousness we possibly depart into after death. My problem is that religious leaders use God to control people. They tell people our creator is a man in the sky who judges sinners, but despite his disdain for those who sin, he’s allowed countless corrupt leaders to speak for him. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

My problem with God is a problem with man, because man has muddied what God and spirituality used to represent. Don’t get me wrong; there have always been well-meaning people who try to show the way and don’t stray from their path the moment they’re tempted. But there are also a lot of scammers, snake-oil salesmen, and just plain selfish people. They manipulate the masses into supporting them by appearing enlightened or close to God. Continue reading

Spirituality, Addiction, and the Power of Choice

Spirituality, Addiction, and the Power of Choice

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

I wrote the following for the 250th 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. The option to subscribe is given below (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).

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

We find freedom through our choices in each moment. No matter how spiritual we try to be, we’ll fail if our choices are misaligned with the path we’ve chosen.

I’m not saying we should aim for perfection, because we’re human and we all make mistakes. If we have a goal for life, however, we should take steps to achieve it and make sure we don’t sabotage ourselves along the way.

Continue reading