Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Power of Now

Have you ever heard of Eckhart Tolle? He is a spiritual teacher and an author. Susan, my T, is a big fan of his writings and has often mentioned his book "The Power of Now"
Following are some quotes from Eckhart Tolle:
"Nobody’s life is entirely free of pain and sorrow. Isn’t it a question of learning to live with them rather than trying to avoid them?The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. "
"The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now." (*Small disclaimer....I don't entirely agree with this statement but it has it's applications....)
"What you refer to as your “life” should more accurately be called your “life situation.” It is psychological time: past and future. Certain things in the past didn’t go the way you wanted them to go. You are still resisting what happened in the past and now you are resisting what is. Hope is what keeps you going, but hope keeps you focused on the future, and this continued focus perpetuates your denial of the NOW and therefore your unhappiness.Forget about your life situation for awhile and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is NOW. Your life situation is Mind-Stuff. Your life is REAL."
"You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future or recreate the past."
I have never felt particularly compelled to read his stuff but I'm feeling like this is the right time. I think I need some help in developing my own spirituality since traditional religion has been a hot button of anger for me for many years now. I hope that nurturing a sense of spirituality will help me identify something I can relate to as a higher power. I also feel like doing some work around being more conscious of the NOW is an important step since I believe my eating disorder to be largely about dissociating. The first quote about human pain being self-created....for me, I believe it to be true. I punish myself. I abuse myself. It's unconscious. Susan calls this "keeping the pain body alive". If I can embrace the present, as it is, then maybe I won't feel like I need to escape so much. And maybe I can enjoy more.


April_optimist said...

Great post. It took me sooooo long to stop trying to avoid life and enjoy each moment instead. I still don't always succeed but I'm far happier than I was when all I could do was remember past hurt and expect future hurt.

I've got an award for you on my blog!

Strong and determined said...

Thanks for a thought-provoking post. I liked the quotes so much, I included a couple on my blog, and added a link to your blog so people could read the full post.

Thanks for being there for me - I appreciate your support and insights!

Enola said...

I am still trying to live in the present. I spend too much time worrying about the future.

Angel said...

I hadn't heard of Eckhart Tolle before, but I am familiar with the idea of looking for spirituality that feels right for you. Maybe you'll find someone out there has already put your feelings into a tome for you to find, or maybe it's something that you will come to one "a-ha!" at a time; maybe it's even something that you will come across while mentally drifting at the lake while not focused on worrying, work, stress, etc.

Is the choir you regularly sing with a church choir? I guess I assumed it was so I was surprised to read that religion is a hot button issue for you. The allure of singing when you have a strong voice I do understand, but to give voice to religious idealogy that you may not you feel conflicted about that?

Kim said...

Angel, that's a good question and one I've pondered often. My choir is an independent group so we do not exclusively sing religious music but we do many church appearances. Is it wrong for me to sing about something I don't really believe? I mean, I believe in God, for sure. I just don't connect to the whole healing, protection, "let go & let God" philosophy. The fact is, if there is ever a time when I feel less hostile about God, it's when I sing. And, whatever my idea of spirituality formulates to be, I know it includes lifting up other people which is something I'm able to do through music. I do consider my voice a gift and I'm able to connect to spirituality in some small way by sharing my gift. We often sing at a retirement community and I feel SO *high* when I leave there, seeing the joy it brings to the residents. And I feel no conflict about that!

Jackal said...

Thought provoking.

Angel said...

That's a good point, about your singing making you feel closer to (via less hostility) your sense of HP or a god. Singing is not my gift so I didn't know that you felt that way. It makes sense though, now that you mention it.

Most people's spirituality or even simply their gift does involve lifting people up, otherwise they are projecting negative energy and you can't make a positive from a negative. (Haha, high school science--get it? lol) Bringing a measure of happiness to another person...that is special and something to treasure. No wonder you feel so good after doing that!

What about if you thought about the healing and protection aspect of God as being the sense of mental peace you get by thinking that you are not in control of the universe, that you are not alone in this? Maybe it's not meant to be taken in the sense that God is really able to physically protect everyone but that is more of something to give you peace, to feel that there is some sense of justice to the universe more than a literal guarantee?

There's also some comfort in the concept that you cannot control the world so you might as well not try. It is reassuring to think that there IS someone in control, though; otherwise we would have to think that the world is merely random events with no rhyme or reason. Who wants to believe that? So for most it is either God or some other sense of Higher Power who is in control of the universe--but it isn't you. So to me that part of programs for addiction is more about giving people a sense of peace than about forcing them to define their concept of and relationship with God or some other Higher Power.

Hmm, I hope that makes some sense and maybe even helps a little. If not, well, I'm not perfect either and my intentions were good. You seem to be having some very insightful moments that are bringing you peace so I hope it continues. {{Kim}}

Kim said...

Thank you, Angel.....that absolutely DID help and gives me a new aspect to ponder.

psychbaby said...

wow. I need to reread that when I'm thinking more clearly.

Thank you.