Episode 4: Spiritual Myths & Unpopular Opinions Pt.1 | What you need to know about manifestation, happiness, energy protection, universal lessons, and more!

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Hello magical souls and welcome to another episode of The Soul’s Human Experience Podcast.

I cant wait to talk about todays topic, which is spiritual myths slash unpopular opinions. I have six of them to discuss with you and my goal here is to offer you a new, different perspective that can help you just let life be easier, because these topics are all quite common. Before we get started I just want to say that these are all just my personal opinions that come from my own personal decade long spiritual awakening journey, and you don’t have to agree with me. Take what resonates and leave the rest. So with that said let’s dive right in to the first and probably juciest one which is about manifestation. And I just want to give another disclaimer about this topic, which is overall, I don’t have a problem with manifestation and I do practice it. Ok but here’s the thing, sometimes manifestation gives me the ick. Does anyone even say that phrase out loud? Now that I just said it I realize I’ve only ever seen it written out. Anyway, manifesting has become such a popular topic, I think even people who would not consider themselves spiritual or spiritually literate if you will, talk about manifesting. And there’s thousands of manifestation coaches out there who make a living helping other people manifest. Neither of those things are what bothers me, I actually think it’s great that it has become so mainstream and I love that you can easily find help with it if you want it. Here’s what I don’t like about manifestation that just does not pass the vibe check for me: it’s become synonymous with the acquiring of stuff, and amassing more and more and more things, and usually money, luxury goods, extravagant travel, homes, cars, whatever, all wrapped up as a solution to a problem-the problem of your current unhappiness. And to further my disclaimer which at first might sound contradictory but it’s not and you’ll see why as I explain, but I do not have any issue with acquiring material goods. I might dedicate a whole episode to material items because the topic deserves that much time, but I love a designer item and I love travel. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m not privileged-I have had and am extremely appreciate of those things. I’m not hating on material stuff at all and you know why, it’s here for us to experience and enjoy. What I don’t like is the concept of more more more, and the “selling” of manifestation. Because what’s being sold to you in regards to most manifestation is the subconscious thought of “You don’t have enough. You need more in order to feel happier. Your life will be so much more fulfilling when you have more than you do right now.” BOOM there it is. Those thoughts can eat you alive, they are not true, and it’s also a very slippery slope to never feeling satisfied. Seeking is an expression of lacking. And on that note, I think subconsciously manifestation turns a lot of people off because they can sense that “not enough” energy on a subconscious level.

Because what are you actually looking for when you want to manifest something? What are your desired manifestations just different names for? They’re different names for happiness and satisfaction and contentment and peace. Under the surface label of money, relationship, career, etc. is actually wanting to feel fulfilled. Acquiring any of those things will only give you a temporary fix and by temporary I mean that could be several years. But eventually, it will wear off, become familiar and normal, you’ll level out again and look for the next thing to acquire to try and fill that void.

And in case you’re thinking, “Well obviously I want more for my life or I want something different than I have right now, because I’m not happy with my current situation”. The truth is, and this is a hard, tough-love truth but I’m going to give it to you straight. If you cannot find happiness right now, you will not find it in your manifestation. Because happiness does not come from somewhere outside of you. And this has become a very good segway into the next myth that I want to discuss and that’s the myth of the search for happiness. This idea that happiness is external and must be sought, found, captured, and held onto tightly. The happier and more content you are the less you will want to acquire. It’s backwards from the way it’s most often presented, which is the more you acquire, the happier you’ll be. In reality, you are trying to fill a void that is endless without change at the root. The core things that make up happiness are available to you right now. And the problem is that you don’t think they are. 

Again, I just want to reiterate quickly before we move on that there is nothing wrong with wanting things. If there are things you want, whether they’re material or something like friends or a partner, that is totally fine. It’s a natural part of humanness to want things, and like I said everything you want is here for your enjoyment, because if it wasn’t meant to be enjoyed then it wouldn’t be here. My own coaching offer is based around living a more authentic and abundant life, but I’ve tried very hard to demonstrate in it, that it’s less about gaining, and more about removing-removing limitations or unhelpful subconscious programming, because who you are already, underneath your programming, is naturally abundant, and authentic, and joyful, and free. And that’s my goal is to help you access that, what already lies within you. One of my mentors says that people don’t need more I can, they need less I can’t. I love that, I think it’s so true, that’s what my approach is, and fits nicely with the message of this episode. What I’m trying to get across here is that it’s important to understand that acquiring more is not a source of sustainable long term happiness or satisfaction and that you don’t need more of anything in order to feel those things. “More” is simply a perk, an accessory, a decoration, an enhancement, to absolutely enjoy, go for it! I encourage it. But it is not going to replace the root of where happiness actually comes from. And I’m going to get into that now. Because I’m sure you’re thinking ok then tell me where it comes from then! I will I will. 

When it comes to happiness there’s the spiritual side and the science side. Not that they can’t go together, they do, but one of the things I did during lockdown at the beginning of 2020 was enroll in Yale’s famous happiness course. It’s called The Science of Well-Being by Yale University and it’s completely free on Coursera. I highly highly recommend this course. It has such good information about understanding happiness from a scientific perspective and I gained a lot from it. In fact most of the things I learned in the course I still put into practice today over two years later. To be fair I was practicing some of them before also but that’s ok. So like I said, if you’re interested in it, definitely go take the full course, it’s a 19 hour time investment and it is worth it. But I am going to sum it up for you right now in a few minutes. So if you don’t want a spoiler, come back to this episode later. In a nutshell, there are eleven main things that will make you a happier person according to scientific research and here they are:

The first thing to increase happiness is to reset your reference points. Which means, notice your environment. What media and entertainment are you taking in? Where are you spending your time? What are you spending it on? And are those things making you feel good? Or do they make you feel bad? For example about ten years ago I was a big fan of a beauty youtuber who in addition to doing makeup, would also do fashion hauls and home decor videos. I loved the makeup videos but I started to feel really bad about myself when she would do designer bag hauls and show off her large house. At that time I was working part time in a retail store and living with my parents. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I was a far cry from ever living the life that she was showing. So what did I do? I unsubscribed from her youtube channel and never watched another one of her videos. And low and behold I wasn’t feeling so bad about myself anymore after removing that reference point from my life. Your reference points will serve as natural markers of comparison. Make sure that what you surround yourself with and what you consume makes you feel positive and uplifted, and does not lead you to negatively comparing yourself to others or feeling bad about yourself.

The second thing to increase happiness is variety. The saying variety is the spice of life is true. Varying your experiences will make you happier. I try to consciously incorporate new or different things into my day whenever I can because energetically, I have always felt that changing the energy of your day or changing the energy of the space you’re in, will change your experience. Like I was obsessed with rearranging my room as a kid because the change in energy was so fun to me. I could always feel the difference. It’s the same idea. Even if you can’t do something new every day, every week, or every month, maybe you could switch up the order in which you do things. If you always work out in the morning maybe switch it up and do it in the evening. If you always go to the same place for coffee every morning maybe try a new place or try a different coffee drink. I’ve heard Tony Robbins talk about how as humans we naturally crave routine, but then at the same time we crave new experiences, and it’s a paradox. So my personal rule is just do what feels right. If I feel more like doing a routine then I will. If I feel like doing something different then I will. And I just let my intuition guide me when it comes to that. 

The third thing to increase happiness is to put more value on having experiences over having things. I’ve already talked a lot about how acquiring things won’t make you truly happy, but here it is again. The science backs it up. I can’t say I’ve ever regretted spending money on an experience. Even earlier this year I went to Universal Studios because I wanted to see Harry Potter world because I’m an elder millennial and I can’t help it. Anyway to be honest I really did not enjoy it, Universal that is. It was cool to see but I was quickly reminded that I can’t do roller coasters and honestly I’m a bit traumatized from them but I still don’t regret going. And 99 percent of the time it’s without a doubt enjoyable to go have experiences. But I can say with certainty that there are things I regret buying. Just something to keep in mind if you ever find yourself choosing between purchasing an experience or purchasing a tangible item.

The fourth thing to increase happiness is savoring. This is one of my favorites on the list, and favorite practices in general. Savoring is the act of stopping to smell the roses. It’s consciously deciding to pause and take in the moment, versus letting it pass by you while you’re living on auto pilot. Do this as much as you possibly can. When you’re drinking your coffee or matcha, just take a second and notice how good that moment is, even if just for two seconds. If you go on a walk really notice the trees, the flowers, anything and everything, with a curious wonder and attention. Stopping to see the beauty that’s right in front of you is no exaggeration, life-changing. A very interesting point that was made for savoring in the course, is that researchers found that when you savored an experience AND then told someone else about it, it increased the positive effect even more. 

The fifth thing to increase happiness is gratitude journaling. I’m sure many of you listening already journal in some capacity. Science says writing down what you’re grateful for makes you feel happier. Surprisingly I’ve actually never been a big fan of this one. It always felt like a chore to me and I found myself listing things without actually cultivating a feeling of gratitude. So now what I do instead is say thank you in my head on the spot whenever I think of it. Like right now, thank you universe for this microphone I’m speaking into. Thank you to my voice for these words, and thank you to all of you for listening. I learned the thank you method from someone else and I cannot remember who it was, but this way feels so much better to me. And that’s the thing to keep in mind with all of these, they may not all resonate for you and that’s ok. In the course, they recognize that too and so they ask you to pick just one of the eleven and practice it every day for a month. That is a really fun experiment.

The sixth thing to increase happiness is simple acts of kindness. Something as easy as a genuine smile, holding a door, or letting someone go in front of you in line, all count. As we’re well aware, our ego wants us to get, collect, acquire, and the irony is that giving actually feels better than receiving. I believe one of the things our world is lacking the most is kindness, and compassion. You don’t know what the next person is going through, and something as small as a genuine compliment could change their whole day. And yours too. The ripple effect of kindness and positivity is really mindblowing, and I believe that because those are higher vibrations than negativity, they travel faster and farther out. So it’s quite easy to have love win. Random acts of kindness for the win, literally. 

The seventh thing to increase happiness is social connection. Humans are naturally social beings so it’s not really surprising that shared interaction has a positive effect on us. Just being around other people will have some effect as well. As an introvert I really related to that because I find social connection to be difficult honestly, but I love living in a city because I’m still around people all the time and it makes me feel less alone. I grew up basically surrounded by cornfields and felt so isolated all the time so I can attest that there is a big difference. 

The eighth thing to increase happiness is time affluence. So having an abundance of time makes us happier than being busy non-stop. I was not surprised by this one at all and I think it’s a very important research point because I hope it becomes a larger conversation around dismantling hustle culture. The constant need to be occupied and produce and accomplish is programming that needs changing in my opinion. So here you have it, science says that freedom of time is the way. This is probably the most difficult one to put into practice because we all have obligations. Just suddenly creating extra time in your day sounds near impossible to many people, I’m sure. A tip I have, and this has worked well for me, is to create the illusion of more time. All time is an illusion anyway so does it really matter in the first place? These are the questions I ask myself. Anyway, one example of how I do this is I will usually go for my daily walk either first thing in the morning or when I have a break in my day, so that way my evenings are completely free and I don’t have any obligations, have-tos, or should-dos, and that creates the illusion of having more free time. You might have to get creative but I recommend shifting things around and giving it a try if free time is something that appeals to you. 

The ninth thing to increase happiness is meditation. Ya’ll I can’t say enough good things about meditation. It changed my life when I first discovered it back in 2011. Since then I’ve been on and off again but every time I come back to it I’m reminded of how powerful and beneficial it is. Meditation of course has its own body of research and benefits that you could deep-dive into further if you wanted to. 

The tenth thing to increase happiness is exercise. If you can get moving, not only will you feel happier, but of course there are clear physical health benefits as well. If you don’t know, I used to be a personal trainer and a barre instructor, and as a former fitness professional I think the key to consistent, maintainable exercise is to find something you enjoy doing. Or at the minimum something you don’t dread. Because if you feel like you have to force yourself, that’s not going to be sustainable. Try out different forms of exercise and see what you like. Simply walking is a great choice, and dance is super fun, great, exercise as well. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

And, the eleventh and final thing to increase happiness is, drum roll…sleep! I doubt anyone will be surprised by this one. We all know sleep is important, yet we can often disregard that importance thinking it can be made up or we’ll just power through or whatever. Not long ago I listened to a sleep scientist talk about how when we sleep at night, our brain literally rinses itself clean with spinal fluid. I had never heard that before and I found it so fascinating. He also said that missed sleep can’t really be made up just as an FYI. So make sure you get enough sleep so that your brain gets cleaned and you become a happier you. 

That wraps up the science portion of what makes us happier. Now, spirituality, the cause of being unhappy is from one, clutching or controlling, and two, forgetting that you are one with the universe. And therefore the reverse is also true, to be happier, surrender and release control, and remember that you are a sparkle of the universe itself. When you grasp at something because you’re trying to hold control over it, you essentially suffocate it. There is no room for it to breathe, and the opposite of what you want often happens, which is that the tight grip creates resistance and tries to get away. The tighter you grasp something, the more it will slip through your fingers, but if you can relax and let go, then not only do you let whatever it is off the hook, but you let yourself off the hook too. That is powerful healing work right there. Whatever it is that you’re trying to control will stay if it’s meant for you. If it’s not then you have to let it go. Holding onto something that wants to go only causes suffering. You don’t want to attach yourself to something that isn’t meant for you. If you can approach life accepting what is, as it is, without trying to force anything, then you will be happier. As for the second part, we often forget who we really are. Even I like to be reminded of who I really am, and I wrote a book about it. Essentially, separation causes suffering. That just means forgetting that you are the universe individuated. It’s infinite wisdom and love lives within you and you are always connected to it. That oneness, that sacred connection, is so incredibly powerful. There’s an exercise in NLP that essentially walks you through remembering this connection and I am always in awe when I walk someone through it because usually there are tears and profound feelings of love. It’s incredible to witness that shift of mindset. So if we can be better at reminding ourselves of our true nature, there will be less suffering and more joy. 

I think incorporating both the science and the spiritual approaches will give you a great outcome. Whichever points resonated for you in particular, where when you heard it you thought, oh that sounds really good or I like that a lot, that’s how you know which ones to start with. I think I’ll have to do a part two to talk about the rest of the myths so stay tuned for that, but I hope this has been helpful to gain a deeper understanding of happiness and manifestation. This is the last episode in the initial launch of the podcast so as I said in the previous episodes I would love to answer your questions, offer you guidance, or if you have a story you’d like to share, please email it to hello@annaschlinghoff.com. You’ll definitely want to join me back here next week because we’ll be talking about the myths of staying high vibe, energy protection, and lessons from the Universe. You won’t want to miss it and I’ll see you in the next episode.