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How enjoyable is it to live in constant discontent, restless, and always wanting more?
Until he was almost thirty, Eckhart Tolle described his life as “a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression.” On one particular evening of darkness and despair, Tolle suddenly had this realization that he was talking to himself and listening at the same time. His inner talk was: “I cannot live with myself” and this led him to ask whether there was one or two of him – the I and the ‘myself’. He then thought: “Maybe only one of them is real.”
It led that evening to an intense physical and spiritual experience after which he fell asleep. When he awoke, his life (and all his thinking) had changed forever and for many months he lived in a state of pure joy marveling at the miracle of life.
The biggest lesson Tolle shares in his book The Power of Now is that we need to stop identifying with our minds and live in the present moment. The benefit to being present is that you can feel whole and complete NOW – not at some uncertain point in the future that’s only possible if you achieve a, b, and c. You measure this by how much peace of mind you feel now – how much joy, ease, and lightness. This is the joy of being – something that can be felt but never understood mentally.
1. AVOID LIVING IN THE PAST AND FUTURE and denying the PRESENT
Tolle describes thinking as a “sickness”. What he calls the “tormentor” in our heads is what sucks us of positive energy and fuels problems. We have become enslaved puppets to our thinking, our minds, and our emotions. He believes that over 80% of our thinking is “repetitive and useless” and often dysfunctional and negative. (If you want to test this out, do nothing for the next 60 seconds and just listen to the thoughts that go through your head).
As you start to WITNESS your thoughts (some of which are ridiculous), you can get increasing separation from them. Don’t take your thoughts so seriously. Smile at the voice in your head. It is not the real you. Keep reminding yourself: They are just thoughts. This is the same process high performers use to filter out self-doubt and the inner critic voice that sometimes tells you that you’re not good enough and can talk you out of doing things that are good for you that you don’t feel like doing.
2. Feel a sense of connectedness to everything
According to Tolle, true joy comes from two things: being “intensely conscious of the present moment” and an awareness that everything is connected. In order to feel this “silent but powerful sense of presence,” Tolle suggests taking any routine activity and giving it your fullest attention.
Three Ways to Experiment with Being Present:
1. Sit still for 30 seconds and ask yourself: “What’s going on inside at the moment?” and just feel the energy of my emotions. You will become present.
2. While someone is talking to you at dinner, look at him/her intently and fully listen.
3. After you think of a negative thought from the past, ask yourself: “How do I solve this problem now?” This will help you address it in the present or realize it is a pointless old problem that your ego-mind is creating for no good reason. Shining light on it will gradually defuse it. PS Write this one down – it is extremely helpful!
3. Stop “looking outside for scraps of pleasure, validation or love” and tune into your best internal self
For all of us responsible for bringing in business and the days when things seem slow, Tolle states that we should stop focusing on seeking external validation when the greatest treasures are within.
When we don’t feel connected to others or the world around us, we see ourselves as separate from everything – and our egos kick in. Ego and our minds thrive in the past and future and try to avoid being in the present. Yet we can’t do anything about the past or the future.
4. We can only work on the present – the more you let this sink in, the happier you will be.
Even if you’ve had a really frustrating week with little positive validation to your efforts, pause for a moment. Those frustrations are in the past (even if they’ve left a ‘legacy’). What can you control about them now? This moment and then the next, right? Focus on what you can control. Eventually, this circle of influence will grow. It will probably take longer than you want it to but do outstanding work and your circle will grow.
Why do we obsess about the past and future rather than the present moment? Because the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation and fulfillment. Tolle says that both of these are ILLUSIONS in that no exists anymore or yet.
5. Living through memory and anticipation is a GUARANTEE FOR UNHAPPINESS and endless focus on things you can’t control.
The only precious thing about time is right now otherwise you miss out on life. The only experiences we ever have happened in the present, but the mind can’t understand any of this – and it is excluded from this.
Focusing on a deep love for all that IS – rather like a gratitude habit – can help you make the shift from MIND to BEING and to feeling really alive now. You can still work on lofty goals, but the point is to feel complete as a person now not with all these conditions, ifs, and ‘someday’ thinking.
“In time prosperity manifests in various ways.” But it cannot come in the future without a grateful heart and a present consciousness – you might make a lot of money in the future, but you will still feel mostly empty inside. Your true prosperity comes from:
a) Being grateful
b) Feeling fulfilled for what you have NOW
c) Doing your best to enjoy the present.
To present and enjoy life now!
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121