Monday, February 26, 2007

Allowing Peace

For those of you who are interested in obtaining an unprecedented level of internal peace, which would thereby create an environment of peace around you and ripple outward, I find the words of Eckhart Tolle quite simple and to the point. I’m finding myself fully in the present more and more often these days, but still being sucked into the old patterns of habitual reactions. Practice makes perfect as they say.

Tolle’s website has numerous interviews that I am still reading through, but I have found his words to be quite powerful (especially when listened to on audio). To paraphrase what is quoted from an interview below, if you just accept everything that happens to you without judgment, you no longer get upset when things don’t go your way. When you just do your best and release your attachment to the outcome, it brings about an inner peace that dissolves all of your worries and anxieties about what the future may bring.

So next time you find yourself being cut off in traffic, spoken harshly to by someone, or in some other way hampered by events or other people, remember that everything happens of its own accord and that the majority of people are just going through life with blinders on, cruising on an autopilot programmed by their past experiences. They are not fully aware of the effect they have on the rest of the world as of yet and can not help doing what they do. It’s not your job to fix them when it happens, just to accept them for who they are and not take it personally. You will begin to feel more at peace and an increased level of happiness if you begin to practice what is suggested below. I know I have.

In the meantime, feel free to share this message with anyone you think might like the message it conveys, and/or email me with your feedback. I hope you have a great week and enjoy life and all it has to offer all of the time.
Take care,

The Power of Now and the End of Suffering

Sounds True (ST): Being "in the present" sounds so obvious, and yet is quite hard to sustain. Do you have any practical tips for people for maintaining awareness of the present moment?

Eckhart Tolle (ET): Although the old consciousness or rather unconsciousness still has considerable momentum and to a large extent still runs this world, the new awakened consciousness – presence – has already began to emerge in many human beings. In my book The Power of Now, I mention ways in which you can maintain present moment awareness, but the main thing is to allow this new state of consciousness to emerge rather then believe that you have to try hard to make it happen. How do you allow it to emerge? Simply by allowing this moment to be as it is. This means to relinquish inner resistance to what is – the suchness of now. This allows life to unfold beautifully. There is no greater spiritual practice than this.

ST: How much time and effort is required to realize "the power of now?" Can this really occur in an instant or is this the work of a lifetime?

ET: The power of now can only be realized now. It requires no time and effort. Effort means you’re trying hard to get somewhere, and so you are not present, welcoming this moment as it is.

Whereas it requires no time to awaken – you can only awaken now – it does take time before you can stay awake in all situations. Often you may find yourself being pulled back into old conditioned reactive patterns, particularly when faced with the challenges of daily living and of relationships. You lose the witnessing presence and become identified again with the "voice in the head," the continuous stream of thoughts, with its labels, judgments and opinions. You no longer know that they are only labels, judgments, and mental positions (opinions) – but completely believe in them. And so you create conflict. And then you suffer. And that suffering wakes you up again. Until presence becomes your predominant state, you may find yourself moving back and forth for a while between the old consciousness and the new, between mind identification and presence. "How long is it going to take?" is not a good question to ask. It makes you lose the now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Breaking the Cycle

I hope you are doing well and staying warm this winter. I had a few thoughts I wanted to share with you all that will hopefully prove to be helpful in your life.

As you’re probably aware a lot of the things we do and say on a daily basis are done so out of habit. I have recently found a way that has helped me break out of the cycle of habitual doingness, which increases our level of mindfulness and has some other hidden rewards.

When you feel compelled to do or say something, whether it’s making a call, paying a bill, going to the refrigerator, walking the dog, or whatever; stop and ask yourself, “Do I really need to do/say that right now?” The answer to this question may be cloudy and may include rationalizations like, “Well if I don’t do it now, I’m not going to do it.” However, I always reassure myself that everything that needs to get done will because that’s the way it has always worked, and that I might actually benefit by pausing before acting.

Once you have asked yourself this question, do something different. This could be as simple as stopping to take a deep breath, sitting quietly for a moment, looking at your surroundings to appreciate their beauty, or whatever. The key here is to just break the routine by not immediately doing something out of habit.

Once you have taken a moment for yourself before following the compulsive act in question, then go ahead and do whatever it is (if it actually needs to be done), but do it differently. Do it in slow motion. Do it in a different order than you normally would. Say something different. Just do it in such a way that it takes away the automation of the action.

If you find that you have already done or said something out of habit, don’t feel bad. Just pause to reflect and find the humor in what you just did and the results it brought about. Realize you did it just out of habit and that it would have gotten done one way or the other. Then, do something different as stated above. This is in effect practice for next time and good mental exercise.

The point is just to get you to start breaking out of acting out of habit. A lot of the things I feel compelled to do in a day just make my life more complicated than it needs to be. If I take a slightly more hands off approach, things still get done but with less stress on me and those around me. Hopefully you will not interpret this to mean “do nothing” and instead will see it as an opportunity to do everything with more awareness.

I also wanted to close with some quotes from a book I recently finished, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and have selected some of my favorite quotes from the book (see below). I hope you all are doing well and enjoying February to its fullest. It’s over before you know it.
Take care,

Way of the Peaceful Warrior
It is better for you to take responsibility for your life as it is, instead of blaming others, or circumstances, for your predicament. As your eyes open, you’ll see that your state of health, happiness, and every circumstance of your life has been, in large part, arranged by you – consciously or unconsciously.

Nothing separate remained. I had become everything. I was Consciousness, recognizing itself; I was the pure light that physicists equate with all matter, and poets define as love. I was one, and I was all, outshining all the worlds. In that moment, the eternal, the unknowable had been revealed to me as an indescribable certainty.

That’s exactly what it is, Dan – a thought – no more real than the shadow of a shadow. Consciousness is not IN the body; the body is IN Consciousness. And you ARE that Consciousness – not the phantom mind that troubles you so. You are the body, but you are everything else, too.

What you enjoyed as a child can be yours again. Jesus of Nazareth, one of the Great Warriors, once said that you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Feelings change, Dan. Sometimes sorrow, sometimes joy. But beneath it all remember the innate perfection of your life unfolding. That is the secret of unreasonable happiness.

There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don’t worry, you are already free!

We are only symbols and signposts. What matters is compassion, kindness, taking ourselves less seriously, and waking up to the gift of life in each passing moment.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Fear is a naturally occurring phenomenon that affects us all. It is a learned behavior that we encounter in our early years of development. It continues to surface throughout our lives until we deal with it and release it. It stems from the ego and the realization of our separateness from everything around us. To quote an early lesson from A Course in Miracles, “A meaningless world engenders fear.” But nothing in the world is meaningless. The only thing that’s meaningless is all of the definitions we place on the world we see. Our own paradigms create our fear, when in fact there is nothing to fear.

This ties in with what Joseph Campbell says about Adam and Eve’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. It is a symbolic representation of the loss of innocence of the fact that we are all one. Once we lose that innocence we are born with, fear steps in and the ego begins to take care of us, comforting us in our time of need and reinforcing our differences. As we become attached to our self-created identity, we become fearful of losing it and fearful of anything that conflicts with our personal belief system.

The up side to all of this is that fear can be overcome. Transcending our ego and returning to the innocence of oneness is part of the key. Once we realize that there is no us and them, we can come to terms with all of our fears.

Some will say that some fears serve a natural purpose in ensuring our survival, and to this I can not argue. All I can venture forward is that fear may not be the appropriate response when confronted by a man eating lion as fear tends to lead to paralysis. There may be more appropriate responses to potentially dangerous stimuli.

One of the things I have come to learn is that the fears we have today will continue to surface throughout our lives until we stop and look to the core of that fear and recognize it for what it is. According to David Hawkins, all fears come back to one central fear, the fear of death. This also gets back to our fear of losing our personal identity, something our ego has a problem with. But it can be surrendered as an inevitability we all face, allowing us to live our lives to their fullest potential, not hampered by fear.

As movies like The Secret illustrate, we create the reality we see as well as the things that happen in our lives. Our mental outlook and belief system attract certain events in our lives. Since fear is actually a projection of what might happen in the future, it involves anticipating something that has not yet occurred and may not occur, unless of course we spend too much of our time dwelling on it.

I believe the events in our lives serve as sign posts we can either choose to ignore or follow. If we ignore them, we might end up driving in circles for a while, in which case we will encounter recurring themes. If we pay attention and use our intention as a guide, we might end up getting to our final destination in one piece.

Here’s a quote for you to ponder from Buckminster Fuller, “If success or failure of [this] planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?” I believe everything we do or think affects everyone in some way, whether it’s directly or indirectly, so I feel it important to act accordingly to the best of my ability and focus my energies on improving my ability to act in accordance with the highest good. Treating everyone with compassion and generosity, and being grateful for all we have is one of the best ways I know to proceed. I hope you will consider doing the same if you are not already.
Peace and love,

PS - My friend Jason, who you might remember had a bad fall a few months back, has also started a blog (see link below). He has begun reading some of the books I have recently read and has some very insightful posts you might enjoy.

You may also want to check out some of the recent discussion on my blog spurred by my previous message on Christianity. Your comments and feedback are always welcome whether it’s sent directly to me or posted online.