Recently, after having been fired from my job (one that I despised anyway), I have found myself with some extra time on my hands. I have been reading a book entitled A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle.
Based on the fact that I enjoy pondering the reason for our existence, the purpose and all the Great Questions of Life, this book has captured me in ways transformational. It has always been that I believe wholly in the idea that people are not as they appear. When I was 13 I was given the choice whether I wanted to continue to attend church or not. I chose Not. To that point, my perceptions of church-goers were negative. I saw Christians as a lumped together group of hypocritical folks. I found the teachings that the Bible is to be taken literally to be ludicrous. The Bible is a sacred tool, no doubt, but it is, in my opinion, very symbolic. The idea that heaven is a place that awaits do-gooders and is off in the sky somewhere is not a concept I could ever wrap my mind around. I attached the religion to those feelings and had nothing to do with God for years based on my hurt and pain at the hands of the church.
Sometime in my twenties, I found myself searching, chasing a longing to find what was missing from my life. Since then I have been on a quest to define spirituality and God and what it means to me on a personal level. I am not a part of any organized religion, but know myself to be a very spiritual being, cultivating a close relationship with a Higher Power.
I believe that we are spiritual beings/souls having a human experience, in essence inhabiting the physical form for as long as it takes to learn whatever lessons are up for us, to eradicate patterns of negative thoughts, to truly learn how to live from Love. Some souls have been here numerous times, and are old and wise and some are new to the human experience.
I think, so far, the part of the book A New Earth that has stayed with me has been the idea that we are not 'our stories'. We are not the identity that we have so closely attached to our thoughts, our history, our beliefs. When you stand in front of someone, what do you talk about? Do you speak of all that has 'happened to you' in your life? Do you remind yourself of your past? We all have that voice in our heads - the one that won't shut up and usually keeps a running dialogue of thoughts about this or that. The Ego (which is our thoughts, our identity as we know it) has the controls of our life, so completely in fact, that we fail to recognize each moment as it is. No past, no future...just this tiny moment for all it is, its very Essence, if you will. Now, I have been putting this theory to the test for the past couple weeks. Noticing when I am thinking...then taking a step back and putting a halt to that mind chatter, if even for a few seconds. Then I can become the One who is Aware, in the moment. Very challenging. For me, when I can take notice of my thoughts, I also immediately notice a part of my body that is tensed. In noticing the thinking, I also feel that tension melt and my body relax and become less stressed...imagine if we could do that all the time! That is the goal.
It is amazing how much we are actually inside our heads. How do we interpret each moment? Moments do not need interpretation, yet most of us taint everything we experience with belief systems, identity with our stories, connection with memories and all that we think defines who we are. In fact, none of that is who we are, it is conceptual identity wrapped around a bunch of thoughts and perceptions we have built based on life's experiences. Not based in each moment. Some claim Victim hood - the bad things that have happened TO them, they have no control over their lives, and they tell these stories to anyone who will listen. There are many roles the Ego can play while we remain totally unaware and asleep to its control. What we see in others and react against are actually aspects of ourselves that we keep hidden and choose not to acknowledge based on a belief that we harbor.
When we point a finger at someone, we are actually needing to examine ourselves and exterminate a belief or perception. Awareness comes with realizing that others reflect to us ourselves, in various forms. I am still grappling with that one. A biggie for me is hating when someone is always talking about things they are good at. In asking myself the question, "what part of that is in me and why does it bother me" I realized that the reason I don't like to hear someone else speak positively about themselves goes back to when I was a child and I never felt like what I did was good enough, thereby developing low self esteem and never feeling like I had a right to talk about anything that I can do well, fearing no one would care to listen. So, when I hear someone else talking about themselves, it hit a trigger deep inside for me and the emotion attached to that was a negative one. What I really hated was not listening to the other person, but the fact that I felt I had no right to speak positively about myself. Kinda tricky, huh?
Eckhart urges the human population to begin to notice true Life energy. Sit for a moment and feel, No thinking, just feel the life running through your body. Start with your hands and move through your body, feeling the Power of Life that is within your body. It took me awhile to be able to do this, the mind is always trying to distract...what needs to be done for the day, where we need to go, who we need to talk to, etc, etc....
How do we base future behavior? One moment at a time. Second by second. Letting emotions pass through instead of getting stuck and hung up. It is all just an illusion and the trajectory of Life changes once you can disconnect yourself from your patterns and beliefs and simply just Be. From Love. With Love. In Love.
Anyway, I am still reading this book and will probably read it again once I finish it. It is like having one epiphany after another.