Friday, May 20, 2011

Enlightenment, Eckart Tolle and The Power of Now - Part I

"It can transform your thinking... the result? More joy, right now?" - O: The Oprah Magazine
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You asked for this - so dear reader, I will give it to you although I can't promise that you'll grasp this right away. It took me time to understand the deeper meaning and concepts behind Eckart Tolle's, The Power of Now. 

In order for you to begin to understand the meaning of his work, and to move on your path toward "enlightenment," (what the buddha calls the end of suffering) what you need to work on understanding first is that you are not your mind. 

"What? Huh? That makes no sense, what do you mean?" 

The brain, your mind is an organ in your body - just like the heart or your lungs. It is an instrument or a tool and there is a higher part of you that can control your mind. Still unclear? Try this. What are you doing right now with your body ? Your legs? Your fingers? Are you wiggling your toes? Or playing with your hair? Did you consciously using your mind make your body do that? See... there is another part of you, not just your mind. 

Tolle says, "Thinking has become a disease." You know those nights where you can't get to bed because the noise in your head won't stop?  You have the power to switch on the "off" button - no one has ever told you that though, until now. 

Tolle says, if you can't be free of your mind whenever you want to be, "then the mind is using you, you are unconsciously identified with it, so you don't even know it's your slave. It's almost as if you were possessed without knowing it, and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself."

Here is a simple exercise you can start with, compliments of Joseph Russo, my spiritual mentor and Author of Thoughts to Live By 

PRACTICING ‘NO MIND’ During meditation we learn to still the mind. But to carry this meditative state into daily life we may need to practice NO MIND. As we do this we become more sensitive and receptive and experience more fully and objectively.

Here’s how:
  • When conversing, experience the other person’s words and actions without reacting. Just be still and fully attentive, keeping your mind clear and your heart open

  • As you practice NO MIND even the most familiar person can be experienced as if for the first time; you can have a better connection with them and have new ‘first’ impressions of them.

  • During NO MIND, living becomes a self-expanding discovery process; true knowing and understanding, as well as love, beauty, uniqueness and joy become more readily available. 

  • Ordinarily, the mind acts as a biased filter screening out much of reality. It defines, compares, judges and reduces reality to mental constructs born of past experience.

  • It can keep us from experiencing the wonder of living and from gaining new insights and understandings. To experience life more deeply, it helps to practice NO MIND.
This is living meditation -- the dropping of thought and receiving existence by directly sensing with the intuitive intelligence of one’s whole being. Then the mind serves as a clear channel connecting the outer world with our inner world, and a new level of awareness and consciousness can take hold.

Have you experienced "no mind" - how do you quiet your mind? 
Stay tuned, this is part I of an on-going series!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let Go and Let God (or spirit, or whatever you want to call that greater power)

On April 4th, 2011 I was in a car accident...

I was on my way home from Fayetteville, NC driving on the interstate when a small truck in front of me slammed on his brakes. Cars were all around me and I only had a few seconds to brake before I slammed into the back of his vehicle. My initial thoughts "this is really really bad." 
In the last six weeks I have realized that to call something "bad" or "good" is to create a label and then most often we create a story around that thing.  For example, the accident was "bad" because I totaled my car and had to spend a bunch of money to get things back to normal.

It can go fast or slow - its your choice
Well, 6 weeks later I have come to be extremely grateful for that car accident. While I would rather never have something like that happen again, it helped me to put things in my life into a very clear perspective. Where was I going so quickly? Hadn't I moved here to North Carolina to slow down a bit? What was and is really truly important to me? Where was I spending my time? Who was I spending it with?

Letting Go and Letting God (or spirit or whatever you feel comfortable calling that greater power) allowed me the incredible opportunity to see that I was unconsciously starting to re-create situations in my life that I had worked so hard to dissolve when I moved here.  Its incredible how caught up we can become in the daily routine of living and we forget to step back and have a spiritual practice that allows us to create space.

Space is best created through meditation. Now, I am one of those people who fights my ego to meditate - its very challenging for me to sit and think of NOTHING for even 5-10 minutes but when I do, the gifts I receive are so plentiful. So how do you begin the art of meditation?

Sitting in a chair or on the floor will do.

The best way to begin meditating...

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground
  2. Dont rest your back on the chair
  3. Place your palms face up on your upper legs
  4. Breathe! Concentrate and focus your mind on feeling your body (what does it feel like to have your feet planted firmly on the ground? What does it feel like to have your legs touching the chair)
  5. Then slowly feel the energy moving throughout your body start feeling the energy in your feet, then your legs, then upwards till you reach the top of your head)
  6. If your mind begins to wander, thats okay - just allow yourself to feel the power of your presence - give yourself the gift of just 5 minutes of thinking about nothing except the energy of your body
  7. Be patient with yourself it takes time! The thoughts will come and thats normal - just dismiss them for the time
  8. See what messages you feel come to you - if you get quiet enough you may get a beautiful piece of information from your higher self :)
Accept and allow - surrender to what IS - stop fighting the world , this doesn't mean allowing others to walk over you, you can surrender and still be strong.

Do you meditate? How does it work for you? COMMENT PLEASE!!! 
Let me know what you'd like to see in this blog!

With all my love,

Email marni with your thoughts!