Category Archives: Shifts in Consciousness

This Reggae Song Reminds Us to Love Life

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

Open My Eyes is a song from American reggae group Soldiers of Jah Army, also known as SOJA. Featured on their 2006 album Get Wiser, the song’s slow, smooth reggae groove is infused with a powerful message about loving life no matter how rough it gets.

SOJA is a Grammy-nominated reggae band hailing from Arlington, Virginia. (1) On the band’s website, guitarist and lead singer Jacob Hemphill states that their goal is to speak for the voiceless, the defenseless, and the human race as a whole. (2)

“Our goal as a band is to stick up for the human race. We see the world and we try to make it better in the limited time we have here.” – Jacob Hemphill (2)

Continue reading This Reggae Song Reminds Us to Love Life


Embrace the Shadow Self: Your Dark Side Misses You

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

What should you do when you experience a spiritual awakening in which you realize reality is an illusion, everything is connected, and you’re slowly evolving on a mental, physical, and spiritual level? It’s lot to take in, and what you do afterward is crucial.

You have a few options; some that will take you higher and some that will stall your spiritual growth indefinitely. You can, for example, start behaving in a way you assume is more “enlightened”. You can try to be positive every second of every day in hopes that your forced good mood keeps you in harmony.

Constant Positivity Only Goes So Far

You can go straight to social media, proclaiming to the world that you’re #woke and telling everyone to just stay positive (despite the very real hardships people go through every day).

This will work for a while. You’ll feel like a #woke warrior with a high vibe and an unshakable spirit. If something goes wrong, you’ll tell yourself to just think positive. It will all work out if you avoid negativity and refuse to get upset. Don’t think about what upsets you or bums you out. Just be positive.

Before too long, however, something will feel amiss. Your curious mind, which led you to awaken in the first place, will continue questioning things. This will include your newfound philosophy.

You’ll continue to deeply examine life and the “you” living it until you discover an inherent flaw in your previously infallible belief in positivity.

For most of us, that flaw is that despite our incessant love and positivity, we still feel sad. We still get angry. We still get weak and succumb to the world’s temptations. That dark side of us we thought we transcended is still intact and begs for our attention.

This is where self-honesty becomes important. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll explore those negative feelings and consider that they have a role to play in your life. If you’re not, you’ll think you’ve simply failed to be positive for a few moments and push yourself right back onto that self-destructive path.

Don’t Stop Being Positive

I don’t recommend giving up on positivity altogether, because it’s good for you. It’s healthy to look at the positive and the negative. Personally, if I didn’t see both sides, I’d either be in denial or miserable and depressed.

To focus only on positivity is to bury your head in the sand regarding the problems in the world and in yourself. You’ll feel good, but you’ll be blissfully unaware of these issues that desperately need your attention. This is the opposite of being awake.

But if you focus only on the bad and decide that positivity in any form is naïve, your world will turn dark quick. Give yourself permission to be positive, optimistic, and hopeful. But don’t ignore the world’s problems or abandon your dark side for the sake of staying emotionally high.

“If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low” – Matisyahu (1)

So, you have a choice when you first “wake up”. You can tell the world how awake you are and insist we all stay positive; or, with meditation and introspection, you can silently contemplate your shortcomings and the role your dark side can play in catalyzing spiritual growth.

I know the latter option doesn’t sound too fun. The concept of endless happiness and bliss is much more appetizing. In chasing endless happiness, however, you avoid a fundamental aspect of the evolution of mind, body, and soul: the shadow self.

What Is the Shadow Self?

Let’s learn a little about this part of ourselves we fight to ensure never reaches the surface.

According to Mateo Sol at Loner Wolf, Carl Jung created this now well-known archetype to describe a fragment of our unconscious comprised of all that negativity we repress because we think it’s bad for us.

Soul work, Mataeo writes, inevitably makes us aware of the darker aspects of our psyche.

“If you’re truly honest about self-exploration during your soulwork journey, you will come across many aspects and traits about yourself that you will find difficult – if not completely disturbing – to accept.” (2)

Carl Jung, he writes, was led by reading spiritual scriptures to create the “Archetypes model”.

“In the domain of psychology, renowned psychologist Carl Jung devoted a lot of thought to this problem of the ‘Shadow Self’, being deeply invested in the research of ancient esoteric knowledge and spiritual scriptures to not only treat the mind of man, but his soul as well.

“In response to his serious preoccupation Jung created the Archetypes model, a concept wherein he believed our unconscious minds are fragmented or structured into different ‘selves’ in an attempt to organize how we experience different things in life. Two of Jung’s major Archetypes are The Persona and The Shadow Self.” (3)

Mateo describes the persona and the shadow self:

“…The Persona, according to Jung, defines what we would like to be and how we wish to be seen by the world.  The word ‘persona’ is derived from a Latin word that literally means ‘mask’, however in this instance the word can be applied metaphorically, representing all of the different social masks that we wear among different groups of people and situations.

“On the other hand, the Shadow Self is an archetype that forms part of the unconscious mind and is composed of repressed ideas, instincts, impulses, weaknesses, desires, perversions and embarrassing fears.

“This archetype is often described as the darker side of the psyche, representing wildness, chaos and the unknown. Jung believed that these latent dispositions are present in all of us, in many instances forming a strong source of creative energy.” (4)

The Mask Is Here to Stay

In my opinion, the persona is unavoidable to an extent. We all wear a mask. We all have this side of us tied to the ego that doesn’t want to be embarrassed or humiliated and just wants to fit in.

The world could certainly use more authentic people, but I don’t think we can or should remove the mask entirely. The problems come when we latch onto the mask and forget about the shadow self or the unconscious altogether.

One way we become reattached to the persona after a spiritual awakening is by insisting on being positive and refusing to see the negative. We decide one day to never take off the mask and let our hurt show. In this way, an awakening can unfortunately lead to the opposite of what was intended.

Instead of exploring our unconscious, which is our link with the other side, we abandon it. By adopting false positivity, we cling to the persona and push the shadow self ever deeper until it’s forced to erupt just to get our attention.

Spiritual Bypassing

This suppression is known as “spiritual bypassing” or using spirituality as a reason not to explore your subconscious because of the demons that lurk deep below. Confronting these demons is the chief purpose of a spiritual awakening, and the fact that it’s often used not to do this is a little ironic.

Jordan Bates at High Existence describes spiritual bypassing, citing psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters.

“In the early 1980s, psychologist John Welwood coined the term ‘spiritual bypassing’ to refer to the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid confronting uncomfortable feelings, unresolved wounds, and fundamental emotional and psychological needs.

“According to integral psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters, spiritual bypassing causes us to withdraw from ourselves and others, to hide behind a kind of spiritual veil of metaphysical beliefs and practices. He says it ‘not only distances us from our pain and difficult personal issues, but also from our own authentic spirituality, stranding us in a metaphysical limbo, a zone of exaggerated gentleness, niceness, and superficiality.” (5)

The purpose of this “exaggerated niceness” is to separate ourselves from those negative feelings that will eventually come to the surface anyway. Tragically, some people genuinely believe that to let these feelings in is to stray from their path. They try their hardest not to acknowledge anything negative.

This constant positivity keeps you in the shallow end of the mind, stopping you from diving deeper, finding the monsters at the bottom, and kicking their asses (metaphorically, of course). When you finally acknowledge them, everything changes.

Not for the Faint of Heart

Since I like to cite spiritual teachers in these writings, let’s hear from a few about the harshness encountered on the spiritual path and why we should be open to it. It turns out there’s no shortage of guidance on the inevitability of struggle and the ways in which it can help you become a better “you”.

According to Bernadette Roberts, this journey is not for the faint of heart.

“This is not a journey for those who expect love and bliss; rather, it is for the hardy who have been tried in fire and have come to rest in the tough, immoveable trust in ‘that’ which lies beyond the known, beyond the self, beyond union, and even beyond love and trust itself.” (6)

One challenge, she writes, is the dissipation of the ego and subsequent descent of the “cloud of unknowing”.

“In experience, the onset of this process [of God-realization] is the descent of the cloud of unknowing, which, because his former light has gone out and left him in darkness, the contemplative initially interprets as the divine gone into hiding.

“In modern terms, the descent of the cloud is actually the falling away of the ego-center, which leaves us looking into a dark hole, a void or empty space in ourselves. Without the veil of the ego-center, we do not recognize the divine; it is not as we thought it should be. …

“From here on we must feel our way in the dark, and the special eye that allows us to see in the dark opens up at this time.” (7)

St. John of the Cross affirms that the spiritual path contains plenty of “darknesses and trials”.

“The darknesses and trials, spiritual and temporal, that fortunate souls ordinarily encounter on their way to the high state of perfection are so numerous and profound that human science cannot understand them adequately; nor does experience of them equip one to explain them.

“He who suffers them will know what this experience is like, but he will find himself unable to describe it.” (8)

Brother Lawrence encourages introspection after an awakening.

“When we enter upon the spiritual life, we should consider and examine to the bottom what we are.

“And then we should find ourselves… subject to all kinds of misery and numberless accidents, which trouble us and cause perpetual vicissitudes in our health, in our humors, in our internal and external dispositions; in fine, persons whom God would humble by many pains and labors, as well within as without.

“After this we should not wonder that troubles, temptations, oppositions, and contradictions happen to us from men. We ought, on the contrary, to submit ourselves to them, and bear them as long as God pleases, as things highly advantageous to us.” (9)

Your demons become your allies when you embrace and work to heal them. You no longer worry that the universe is punishing you and instead take responsibility for your role in your struggles. When you ignore and avoid them, they grow and grow until they become your most formidable opponents.

They’re easier to deal with if you confront them early on when they have less power over you, but their power grows if you continuously ignore them. They slowly take over, demanding you do what would’ve been far easier in the beginning.


The plain truth is that you can’t run from the “negative” things that form the individual and collective shadow self. Nor can you run from the struggles on your path. You’re a spiritual being, but you’re also human. Your dark side is a natural part of the human experience, and struggle is a natural part of life.

Suppressing or ignoring them is not.

You can get to the heart of this beast within you by letting it surface and figuring out what caused it to form (besides the fact that it’s natural).

Then, positivity will arise naturally when the moment calls for it; as will anger, sadness, disappointment, and all those other feelings we don’t prefer. The difference will be that instead of pushing them back down, you’ll feel them, learn their lessons, and let them go. This is evolution.

Let the process flow naturally instead of clouding it with forced positivity, and you’ll enjoy true, authentic happiness and spiritual growth.


  1. “Matisyahu – King Without a Crown Lyrics”, Lyrics Mode:
  2. Mateo Sol, “Shadow Self: Embracing Your Inner Darkness”, Loner Wolf
  3. Loc. Cit.
  4. Loc. Cit.
  5. Jordan Bates, “10 ‘Spiritual’ Things People Do That Are Total Bullshit”, High Existence
  6. Berandette Roberts, The Experience of No-Self. A Contemplative Journey. Boston and London: Shamballa, 1985, 13.
  7. Bernadette Roberts, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian, ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1991, 131.
  8. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez, trans. Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. Washington: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1973, 69-70.
  9. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God. Mount Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1963, 22.

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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, Wes Annac’s Personal Blog, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).

I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.

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By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

You are a gift from above with unique talents that make you who you are.

You are a spark of the Godly consciousness responsible for the most beautiful, terrifying, breathtaking things in existence, and you have more power than you think.

Like the rest of humanity, you have a purpose on this planet. You’re on a mission, and the mission is yours to define. For guidance on what you should do, I suggest looking in your heart.

What are you passionate about? How can you make the most powerful impact on the world while doing something you love? Ask yourself this question and you could very well discover your purpose.

Continue reading You

Alchemy, Astrology, and Spiritual Transformation – Part 2 (Conclusion)

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

I wrote the following for the 233rd 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).

Last week, I gave a basic introduction to astrology and alchemy with the promise that in this next installment, we’d learn how the two are connected.

When researching their connections, however, I discovered an overwhelming amount of information that would take countless reports to cover. So, for the sake of length, we’ll check out some basic information on their connections and leave the more complex stuff for another time.

Continue reading Alchemy, Astrology, and Spiritual Transformation – Part 2 (Conclusion)

Love Brings Spiritual Awakening

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

I wrote the following for the 230th 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).

To love is to liberate, and with true love comes peace, compassion, and a calm mind. These qualities come to the surface naturally with an open heart, but you might feel like you need to strive for them if the heart’s closed.

Ironically, in ceasing the quest for knowledge or evolution, we discover wisdom and make an effortless transformation in mind and heart.

We make connections we never noticed before, and we grow and evolve without realizing or striving for it. We stop getting stressed when things go wrong, because the mind and its whirlwind of emotions no longer influence us.

As we’ll learn, true love brings an absence of the mind-centered judgment that removes our awareness from the present moment. This moment holds precious gifts we should not only be aware of, but cherish. Continue reading Love Brings Spiritual Awakening

Tap into the Source

By Wes Annac, Editor, Culture of Awareness & Openhearted Rebel

There is a Source of energy, inspiration, and abundance we can all tap into, but we have to be aware of it first. It’s here waiting patiently for us to realize it exists, but until we can be open to it, it’ll sit at the edge of our perception and guide our lives without us knowing.

It’s difficult to become aware of something you can’t initially see, feel or sense, but the more you’re open to this Source, the more it reveals itself.

When it comes to spiritual terminology, I tend to use different labels to define the same things. For example: to me, there’s no difference between the higher self, higher consciousness, and the Source. There are differences for other people, but to me, they’re all constructs that help us conceptualize higher states of consciousness and the idea of a creator.

Despite that they all originate in the human mind, we can use them to connect with a higher power through meditation and other spiritual activities. Continue reading Tap into the Source

Expanding with December’s Full Moon and Reclaiming Our Natural State of Grace

qtq80-j8yxli-1920x500By Shannon Hugman, The Master Shift

On December 13th and 14th (depending where you are in the world) there will be a full moon rising in the sky.

Full Moons are times when the hidden comes to light; when things below the surface bubble up to be seen. This often occurs through triggers, intense emotions and relationships.

However this is not a time to get tied up in our personal struggles and dramas. What will serve us right now is to rise above conflict and observe what is occurring. Continue reading Expanding with December’s Full Moon and Reclaiming Our Natural State of Grace

God Alone is the Doer

By Steve Beckow, Golden Age of Gaia

I mentioned earlier that in the face of the challenges that the Reval will bring, I’ve felt it necessary to surrender to God’s will rather than rely only on my own strength and insight.

I’ve felt inadequate to the task and half measures won’t produce the result I need.

I begin that work by studying what the masters have said on the subject so far.

I mentioned as well that I’m going to depart from my previous practice of drawing only on Company of Heaven sources and incorporate as well materials from among enlightened terrestrial masters and afterlife communicators. You therefore may see a few strange names. Continue reading God Alone is the Doer

The Greatest Task That Lies Before the Awakened Human Being

By Cherie Roe Dirkson, Conscious Life News

“The law of attraction is infallible, and every single person is getting what they are asking for, even though most of the time each person is not aware that they are asking for what they don’t want. There is such absolute beauty in the law, which is so responsive and giving in every single moment so that we can experience our lives.

The law never changes — we must learn how to live in harmony with the law. That is the greatest task for every single human being.” ~ Rhonda Byrne (The Secret Daily Teachings)

You got to love how the ‘law’ works, right? No? Are you pulling your hair out at some of the things you’re manifesting?

Join the club!

Upside Down and Inside Out

Yesterday I was putting my video blog together. It’s usually a wee bit of a task and I’m prepared for that. I spent hours writing the forward blog and then got to editing and splicing the footage I’d filmed the day before. Continue reading The Greatest Task That Lies Before the Awakened Human Being

Soul Evolution

By Adeana M. Slater,

We have so many blocks placed in front of us that we need to recognize and become aware of in order to heal and transform as a soul. Since we are here now on Earth at this time, we are meant to be here. This means that it was planned and predetermined for you to be on Gaia during this magnificent time in all of the history of the universe to participate in and be a part of this Ascension process. Indeed you are a strong soul and have been selected to be here not only for the experience but to assist in this period of evolution for yourself and all of humanity. Continue reading Soul Evolution