Let me start by saying that “Practicing the Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle is a book that I strongly urge everyone in the world read or listen to (I’ve listened to it twice now). I’ve been doing some very thorough reading for the last two years, and this work presents everything you need to know in a concise and easy to understand way, with specific techniques to practice in your daily life. It will change your life (and the lives of the people around you) for the better.
Having said all that, let me do my best to give you some helpful tid bits I’ve learned from it and some of Tolle’s other works. Please don’t take my words as a substitute for getting a copy of this book (in print or audio) as Tolle does a much better job at explaining it all.
Acceptance is the key to eliminating all of the pain, suffering, frustration, annoyance, etc. in your life. You may have a relatively happy life, but if you are like most people and experience periods of time when you are dissatisfied in some way, shape, or form, it is a sign that you have not fully accepted “what is” in your life. Pain and suffering are caused by nonacceptance. If you are ready to be free of negativity, it’s time to start practicing acceptance. I’ve been doing it for the last week or two and experiencing some very positive transformations. I’ve also realized that acceptance is a prerequisite to experiencing compassion because you can’t feel compassion toward someone or something that you have not fully accepted for who or what it is.
Before I continue, do not mistake acceptance for becoming complacent. Just because you accept something does not mean you can not take action to make changes. You are not accepting a situation, you are accepting the “isness” of the current moment. Since you are powerless to change what has happened, you can either react to it out of resistence (if you have not accepted it for what it is) or you can react to it from a place of acceptance, which leads you to a much more insightful and positive action (as opposed to a programmed reaction). Say yes to what is, then take action. Surrender to the way things are “in this moment” without judgment and inner peace naturally manifests.
For example, we have several dogs and a new foster puppy who needs to be house trained. So, when the puppy poops in the house, I don’t accept that there is poop in the house and leave it there. I accept that it has happened and take the necessary steps to fix the situation without judging myself or my wife for allowing it to happen. Taking steps to fix the problem from a place of acceptance makes cleaning up poop a much more tolerable task.
When you experience conditions in your life that seem to limit you in some way, realize that these are concealed openings into the formless state of peace for which you have been searching all these years (whether you realize it yet or not). Be grateful when you experience another frustration, because you have been given yet another opportunity to practice acceptance. I know it sounds crazy to some of you who have a very challenging time, so it’s important to start this practice with the little things in life that frustrate you.
You will begin to notice that there are recurring things in your life that cause you frustration, and will continue to do so until you accept them and deal with them from a state of acceptance. When an opportunity arises to practice acceptance, notice how you feel (angry, sad, lonely, worried, etc.) and recognize it without judging yourself for feeling that way. This puts you in the place of who you truly are: the consciousness behind your thoughts, the silent observer. This opens the door for you to be more mindful of how your mind works and increases your awareness.
One final thing to remember in all of this involves staying present, or in the now. Stay out of the past and the future as often as possible when time is not necessary for practical purposes. Clock time involves setting a goal and focusing on each step as you work toward that goal and letting go of the outcome. Psychological time is the compulsive projection on the future goal and all of the possible outcomes (something I catch myself doing fairly often). We tend to use our past to create our identity and look toward the future for fulfillment, but remaining in the present brings us a sense of freedom. It takes practice to stay present, but I have seen first hand the positive impacts it can have.
As Tolle says, don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. You will likely see that surrender to what is will transform you, which will in turn transform the world around you. You will naturally begin to attract less negativity as you free yourself from the power it has over you. Realize that most people around you have no choice in what they do because they are in a mindless state (as we all are most of the time) and your resentment will disappear.
Get “Practicing the Power of Now” and listen to it or read it, and apply it in your daily life. In the meantime, share with me your questions or comments. I’m going through these changes now and may be of at least some help in clarifying what I have discussed here.
Peace be with you Now,