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It’s not what you think. I won’t ask you to become anti-mainstream by changing your behavior, your looks, your diet and whatever else happens to be trendy, and profess to the rest of the world how much of a rebel you are. All the while most other people you know are following the same so-called anti-establishment path. The world is full of people who fight the mainstream so much that they fail to see how mainstream it is to fight the world.

If you want to be a true rebel, leave the world alone for now and ask yourself this: Am I willing to wean myself off from the need to filter my experience through my intellect? To swim upstream means to go against the flow, and it doesn’t take a genius — or a crystal ball — to see that the current of humanity is one of obsession with the need to intellectualize everything.

We need scientific proof that God exists, as if God were some kind of rare critter that’s extremely hard to photograph. We insist on getting straight facts only about what causes a disease and what keeps us illness-free, as if the physical body were completely independent of our mental and emotional states. We keep blindly believing what we’re being fed by those we empower to inform us, as though we have no such built-in equipment as intuition and an innate bullshit detector.

The mainstream is obsessed with the intellect. It’s completely disconnected from and cynical toward any kind of unseen or intangible reality. To live a mainstream life is to buy into the convoluted mental world of the ego, in which fear, lack and separation reign. In such a world, each human walks through life perpetually busy and stressed, competing for attention and approval and carrying a heavy load on his shoulders. Sadly, he still feels alone.

The mainstream is the downstream; it’s the way most people roll. Not because they’re stupid or masochistic but simply because they never questioned, or are afraid of the consequences of questioning the direction in which everyone else seems to flow. The “safety in numbers” myth is a powerful tool to preserve mass unconsciousness.

This is really mind boggling to me because the mainstream way I just described is not the natural way for a human. It’s the normal way because we made it so but it’s not the natural way.

How many stories have you heard of people who risked their lives, and sometimes even lost their lives, to save someone else, most of the time someone they didn’t even know? And when they’re called heroes they just say they did what everyone else would have done. Maybe not everyone else would act in such an altruistic way, but we all have that instinct, whether we know it or not. We may think that our most basic instinct is to survive, to protect ourselves no matter what. But what if our elemental impulse is to express our true nature, whether we call it divinity, love or oneness? That makes a lot more sense to me.

To live from the truest place of ourselves then, means to swim upstream. Swimming upstream entails having enough sense to trust one’s inner senses and to listen to and live from one’s heart. It’s knowing that who you are in reality can never be hurt, but that who you think you are may be and probably will be hurt many times over until the lesson of true identity is learned. Once we start swimming upstream and get over the mental concept of how difficult that is, we find that our lives simplify and our burdens get lighter. We finally remember that the true way is the way of the heart, and that the intellect is just an accessory that often malfunctions and therefore can’t be blindly trusted.

Now that you know that the mainstream is not what you think it is — because nothing is ever as we think it is! — ask yourself again whether you have the courage to swim upstream? Are you ready to open yourself up, heart, mind and all the senses you have, to experience reality as it is, rather than as you think it is? As Shakespeare famously said in Hamlet: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Word.