People have forgotten how to think for themselves. Are you one of them? You are if you still watch and listen to mainstream news. Mainstream news is little more than baby pablum put together and spoon fed to you in nice, neat sound bites to make sure you never get the whole truth. Mainstream news is useful for only one thing – to get an idea of what the people in power want you to focus your attention on. It doesn’t matter whether it is truthful or not. It doesn’t matter that it is shallow or heavily biased. It doesn’t matter that the entire background and much of the story is missing. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. It only matters that you spend your precious consciousness focused on it because that means you’re NOT focused on anything else that might tell you the whole truth – or develop your ability to discern the truth for yourself. In the same way that we now have to bag our own groceries, do our own bank deposits, pump our own gas, figure out our own healing programs, and put together our own music, we now have to put together our own news. You have to do your homework when it comes to the news. Look around. Dig for info. What shows up? What fits together? There is a ton of misinformation, bias, disinformation, nonsense, fear, propaganda, and crap out there. There have been plenty of times I threw my hands in the air and thought, “This is ridiculous! Everything I read or watch contradicts the thing I just finished reading or watching.” But learning how to put the news together is like anything else, you have to start somewhere. You will pass through stages. The first stage is usually shock. You think the majority of what you are reading and hearing can’t possibly be true. The next stage is overwhelm. Who and what should you believe? There is too much to even begin to assimilate a small amount of it. You drift from one extreme website or YouTube report to another. The third stage is sorting. Some of what you read begins to sink in and you begin to see certain themes again and again, read certain sources frequently, and develop a loose framework of ideas about what is actually happening in our world. The fourth stage is arguing. You begin to get a fair but flawed picture of what is going on in the world and try to tell your family and friends – who are not really interested and who sometimes accuse you of becoming a conspiracy theorist. You back away in embarrassment and uncertainty. The fifth stage is going deeper. Stinging from the criticism of family and friends, you expand your reading and listening in order to get a more accurate picture. You listen to all sides of a topic and a wide variety of reports – pro and con – about events taking place or continuing to unfold, and you begin to develop a well-rounded picture of what is going on in the world. You find yourself following certain threads more closely than others. You also begin to recognize who is grounded and accurate as well as who gets totally caught up in hyperbole and melodrama. The sixth stage is discernment. By now you have a number of sources you go to regularly. You know how to listen to what is being said and what isn’t being said, and you are putting pieces together to make a fairly accurate assessment of the situation in many areas of life on our planet. The last stage is thinking for yourself. At this stage, you have a sense of the history and background in the issues of our time. You know who is pushing one set of ideas and who is peddling a competing set of ideas, and you’re pretty clear about how each source is most likely to present the information at hand, what their positon and their biases are. You also know what your position and biases are as well. In other words, you have begun to know yourself, achieved the ability to see, hear, and think for yourself, assess what is likely to come down the pike, and to make appropriate decisions. Nothing is more critical for you in the development of your own consciousness!