It’s easy and sometimes even pleasurable to get caught up and live in our past.
You’ve likely experienced struggle, heartbreak, loneliness, failure and loss.
But you know what’s worse than experiencing any of these events once in your life?
Painfully replaying each of these moments over and over again in your mind.
In The Power of Now, Tolle reminds us that we don’t have to replay the horror, the pain, and sorrow of our pasts repeatedly in our minds.
6 “living in the moment” strategies Tolle shares in The Power of Now:
You probably aren’t going to spend another week of your life re-reading Tolle (although I highly recommend it) and it will likely take us all a couple lifetimes to fully understand Tolle’s reflections.
I’m going to take to try to take out the Tolle-speak and seemingly dense spiritual concepts and explain The Power of Now as I understood it.
Here are 6 practical and actionable steps Tolle suggests.
If you simply implement one of the strategies below and shift your mindset, I promise you that your life will change forever.
1. Stop thinking. “What the…!?” you’re wondering as you read this line…
Tolle provides a solution to reoccurring sadness and pain in your life. Your thoughts continue to replay in your mind like your favorite iTunes track.
Each replay is a swift reminder and a continuation of past pain.
“When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge…You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it,” Tolle writes.
So sit and become aware of your life’s darkest moments repeating themselves in your thoughts.
In the course of your day, when you feel sadness and loss, just call your thoughts out: “There you go again, mind! Taking me through this roller coaster of emotions. Replaying that sad and tragic past once again…”
Stop the mental replay by becoming aware of the negative.
When you stop thinking of or re-playing painful events in your mind, Tolle says, “You’re no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.”
Action: Watch your mind. Or watch for feelings of sadness and pain throughout the day. When you are feeling sorrow or pain, immediately call out the thoughts that led you there.
Thinking about your difficult childhood, the loss of a loved one, your pet dying?
Shine a flashlight on these sneaky thieves wandering around the dark alleys of your mind.
2. Be highly alert in the present moment.
Well, geez, how do you do that? By being completely present in any activity or conversation you are in.
Ask yourself, “Am I in the present moment?” in whatever it is that you’re doing.
“Am I focusing on the task at hand?”
“Am I here or are my thoughts floating in la la land?”
Give normal and everyday activities your full and utmost attention.
As an example, Tolle writes, “Every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every moment, even your breathing. Be totally present.”
Do this while you’re walking around town, getting in and out of the elevator, walking to the train station or wandering around the grocery store.
Be present in every moment by paying as much attention as possible to that moment.
3. Become aware of the pain-body within you.
Tolle defines the pain-body as lingering emotional pain.
He notes that some of us live entirely through our pain-body, whereas in others, the pain-body may be asleep 90% of the time.
For example, I used to be preoccupied with the pain of breaking up about 90% of the time.
My pain-body became ever more important in my life because it gave me a troubling new sense of self.
In the past couple of years, I have spent less time thinking about and experiencing the pain-body of loss and heartache.
When you and I become our pain-bodies, we have something to identify with.
“I’m the person who suffered loss.”
“I’m that person who failed financially.”
After marinating in this identity, you get swept over by a wave of pain, sadness and sorrow, and it supplies you with your identity. Your ego identifies with this pain-body and your pain becomes your self-image. You become your past, your loss and your hurt.
“Once this pain-body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both…” Tolle reflects.
So, how do you dissolve this pain-body?
Tolle summarizes this process: “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it…don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make yourself an identity out of it.”
“Stay present and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you…This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence.”
4. Be aware of the difference between your “life” and “life situation.”
Tolle makes a distinction between your life and your life’s circumstances or situations. He refers to life situations as “psychological time.” Life situations are the past and the future.
You resist what happened to you in the past, don’t accept it in the present and are anxious about the future.
Whatever is happening to you is your life situation, which happened in the past or could happen sometime in the future. Both of those places aren’t the present moment.
Tolle says you could have a lot of situational problems, and most lives are filled with them, but you should find complete comfort and peace in the present moment.
“Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the lights shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing…” Tolle gently nudges us.
You don’t have to identify with or be defined by your past.
If you accept the present moment, you can deal with those situations as they are.
You can’t change what has happened and what is coming your way: past and future.
All you have at this exact moment is something that needs to be dealt with or accepted. That’s it! “Why make it into a problem?” Tolle inquires.
“All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems.”
Although Tolle says this is a simple choice, I’m certain if you adapt this philosophy and start living it, your life will completely transform. You’ll be a new person who will no longer be crushed by the weight of the past or the future.
5. Drop negativity like a piece of hot coal.
For more happiness and peace of mind, Tolle proposes letting go of negativity.
“How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don’t want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.”
You have a choice to be entrenched in your past or to live for the moment that you have right in front of you.
Often we’re chock-full of negativity in our life because we refuse to accept something that happened in the past or are resisting something occurring in the current moment.
Tolle’s suggestion is to choose the current moment and accept what is, choosing to let go of the heavy baggage and drop the hot coals by consciously choosing to let go of the pain of the past.
When you let go of the pain surrounding the past and the negativity associated with it, you will find an ever-present peace of mind in the present moment.
6. Let go of the future. I sure love the future, don’t you? What’s not to love about it?
In my future, there is happiness, bliss, abundance and eternal joy.
Of course, Tolle bursts all our bubbles and insists on prying the future out of our hands.
Forget the future, he says:
“‘When I obtain this or am free of that – then I will be okay’. This is the unconscious mind-set that creates the illusion of salvation in the future,” Tolle writes.
Sure, we could find peace, happiness, and fulfillment some day, or we could scratch that futuristic thinking and chose to have all of that in this very moment.
You don’t need to go anywhere to find this joyful state of being.
“You ‘get’ there by realizing you are there already,” is one of the most powerful Eckhart Tolle quotes in the Power of Now.
I devoured this book once a long while back, but this past year, I really started to understand it, and it’s been a life-changer.
You can CHOOSE to let go of your past pain and suffering.
Become aware of how those past misfortunes resonate with negative feelings, thoughts and emotions.
You suffered once, why suffer again?
The future is a whole other story that isn’t here – you can’t do anything about, can’t change it, can’t guarantee happiness in it. You don’t even know if you’ll be there when you get there. So why live for a tomorrow that may never come?
Live for the present. Live in this very moment.
Change your mindset and accept this very moment. Right now, chose to be happy, choose to let go, to lift that heavy burden off your shoulders and release the heaviness of the past and future this very minute.
Give yourself permission to breathe in and breathe out with peace of mind, acceptance and emotional freedom.
Would it be too much to call this enlightenment?
What are you doing at this very moment? Are you being fully present and going to leave a comment below ? 🙂 Tell me about your experiences or strategies for letting go of the past.
Meeting Shiva, a spiritual memoir by Tiziana Stupia
A friend yanks you out of the water before you drown. (Never mind that you were just taking a leisurely swim.)
A holy man bestows you with a special mantra which you repeat to find unlimited spiritual bliss. (That and an increasing army of cattle, goats and livestock on your farm)
Or serendipity could even unveil a literary feast of a memoir which resonates with your very being, help shifts your perspective and ingrains the seed to heal from a broken-heart.
That’s what occurred when the universe presented me with Meeting Shiva: Falling and Rising in Love in the Indian Himalayas, a first time spiritual memoir by Tiziana Stupia.
She travels to India. (Check)
Falls in love. (Fist bump)
Finds herself in relationship. (Yup!)
Finds herself in profound pain and confusion. (Amen, sister)
And has insightful spiritual realizations…well I was with her all the way until the discovery of weighty truths but not too shabby otherwise.
This memoir simply knocked me over like a Japanese bullet train because of the incredulity of the story and the gripping account of an impermissible romance.
I gasped for air reading because the author not only lived my story but started imparting the deepest spiritual truths for awakening and healing.
Tiziana’s journey to her soul-mate.
While I’ve always day-dreamed, fantasized,imagined finding a spiritual Goddess tucked away in the holiest of lands, Tiziana seemed to have found the man of her dreams tucked away in the remotest regions of the Himalayas.
The small predicament is that her soul-mate, Rudra, is a “drop-dead gorgeous” ascetic monk who serves as the administrator of the ashram she decides to reside in.
The development of the passionate romance in the holiest of ashrams was a real page-flipper which made me constantly ask myself, “Holy Lord Shiva! Is this *$&#&@*@ real? A true story?”
Tiziana finds herself in a forbidden romance. Rudra has so much to lose. The ashram seemed intimate enough that word of this intense love affair could have leaked out at any moment.
As thoughts of “could we” and “should we” danced in their minds, a passionate and amorous relationship begins to unfold.
More torrid than a Spanish telenovela and more taboo than your typical Bollywood romance, Tiziana shares the entirety of her relationship with us.
The intense romance slowly turns to confusion and frustration for the author as she finds her spiritual and meditative Indian boy-friend isn’t quite all he’s cracked out to be.
As she delves in further to know the spiritual-seeking monk, she’s shaken up by his very “un-guru” like personality, unholy behavior and disturbing addictions.
Who’d have thought?
This book is no Eat Pray Love, which is the only narrative I could remotely compare it too.
A single woman on a journey to find herself, her purpose and her man. Except unlike EPL, I found Meeting Shiva fast-paced, attention-grabbing and acutely wise.
Tiziana is able to make profound self-revelations and discover sage-like spiritual truths which she shares with us to help us on our journeys.
Here are 5 insightful revelations she imparts to us in the course of this memoir:
5 Lessons of Meeting Shiva
1) Love is freedom. Sometimes loving someone is having to let them go. (Still haven’t woken up from the knock-out punch of this insight)
You may love someone deeply but loving them may be holding them back on the path they’ve chosen for themselves.
You may have to put your own needs and desires aside and let go of the person you love so they can grow and develop.
2) Love which lasts requires authenticity. For any relationship to work, it needs to come from a centered place of authenticity and awareness.
Tiziana shows us that you cannot simply fill a void in your life with a romantic partner, without delving in further into each other’s background and issues.
You must come to the table as you are and be willing to confront your own insecurities, shortcomings and pain.
You can’t just sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.
3) Love yourself first. Tiziana realizes that in order to find true love, she has to go through much self-healing and growth.
If you want to stop living the life of conditioned responses and pain from your childhood, you have to work on yourself, heal, grow and become the person you’re capable of.
Otherwise, you will continue to find partners who you think will help you heal and fill the void you feel.
Unfortunately, they can’t help you as much as you can help you.
4) Pain brings transformation. Tiziana came to realize that relationships are learning experiences and can bring profound healing and growth.
Staying in the fire can bring the greatest alchemical transformation.
Start thinking of relationships as a spiritual journey towards healing, not an emotional treadmill you have to endure.
Your change in perspective about relationships can help you change your understanding and purpose while in a relationship.
You’ll go from a place of satisfying needs to embracing healing.
5) Enlightenment is here now. Enlightenment doesn’t have to mean heaven, God shining down upon you or moksha.
It simply could mean liberating yourself from years, and sometimes lifetimes of accumulated patterns and conditioning.
Liberation means to be free from all that so you can be aligned with your true blissful and joyful nature.
Enlightenment is already here and within you. You just need to realize it.
In addition to her savory and heart-rendering personal life story, the memoir touches upon mythological stories of India, the caste system, Indian customs and traditions, the nature of living in a patriarchal society and more.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic heartbreak, seeking spiritual wisdom or simply looking for a laugh-out-loud, cry-even-harder personal journey, you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Meeting Shiva.
Be prepared to have a life-changing experience.
What are your thoughts on the 5 spiritual lessons from Meeting Shiva? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
* Lord Shiva (or most likely, I) will award one lucky commenter, drawn at random, a free copy of Meeting Shiva simply for sharing your insights in the comments below.
“Inner Guide…I wholeheartedly welcome your guidance. I ask that you teach me to perceive everyone as equal, and to see everyone as love. Teach me love through every holy encounter.” Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles
“You’re going to stop harassing Linda and allow her to do her work at her own pace,” I instructed the manager at the hospital.
“This is her workplace. She’s not going to be bullied by you or anyone else!”
The snarling manager who had it with me was on the phone, calling security to have me removed from his office and the hospital.
In my most inspiring and sacred job as a union organizer, I’ve had to get in the face of unruly managers plenty of times.
The people who steal your peace.
Many conversations have turned into shouting matches. Sometimes, the cops have shown up. The mutual feelings of animosity and anger were shared by all.
Not only in the workplace but every day of your life presents you with situations where you will be angry, frustrated or extremely annoyed with the people around you.
You want to yank out her hair and strangle her. You want to pour a bucket of water on her lovely dress so she’s soaked, embarrassed and brought back to reality!
Not just your girl-friend but,
– The rude clerk at the grocery store who refuses to give you a double coupon discount.
– The hotel receptionist who insists on giving you a smoking room
– Your co-worker who’s supposed to listen to your ideas but goes ahead and does whatever she pleases.
– The obnoxious retail lady who shoo’s you off to the plus-sized dresses when you clearly don’t belong there.
– The boy-friend who forgot your anniversary, birthday, Mother’s Day, boxing day, President’s Day and hey maybe, the murder-worthy day to forget – Valentine’s day.
Can you love the people who you’d rather run over with your Prius?
The ones who make you angry?
Cut you off in traffic? (I just cut someone off recently while driving – a nun of all people! A story for another day).
The people you get angry with daily and feel like beating up with your designer Alexander Mcqueen heels? Or run over with your Prius? Or want to throw over the bridge?
In my case, how do I come to love the people, the adversaries, who sometimes do horrible things to workers? How do I love them?
I know there’s a fine line between being a pushover and standing up for what you believe in but how I do I love the people I’m angry with?
How did Nelson Mandela survive prison to fight apartheid? Dolores Huerta endure strikes and fasts for workers? Wendy Davis stand up, without food or water, for 11 hours for her beliefs?
Leggo your EggoLet go of your ego and chose love.
Sending out love makes you happier, reduces turmoil in your life and creates more harmony in the world. Loving others is also a way to celebrate the divinity in all people.
Gabrrielle Bernstein orders us to step back, put our hands behind our back, and reads us the Miranda rights. Well, she reads us our ego’s rights and how to incarcerate the pesky character.
“The intention of the ego is to maintain control over the perception that the other person is separate, through attack, judgment, jealousy, and so on,” she writes in her latest book, May Cause Miracles.
Gabby says that’s we’re protecting ourselves by thinking attack thoughts on others and by doing so, creating more attack. Yup, it’s a vicious cycle.
She pushes us to challenge our gargantuan egos which occupies our consciousness and radiate love instead.
“The spiritual act of surrender releases you from the ego’s grip and opens up your consciousness to receive guidance. (Shift) the goal of the relationship from one in which you defend specialness and separation to one in which you experience oneness and wholeness.”
Can you love more daily?
To chose love more, you have to come to terms with your judgment and impressions of people. You have to notice what your default perception of people are.
Where does your mind go when you face rudeness, annoyance or arrogance?
Do you attack? Or let go and love?
Once you are aware, let me challenge you to love more.
Can you hold less grudges and forgive more trespasses against you?
Can you put yourself in another person’s shoes? Sympathize with them?
You can’t become a perfect human overnight. You’re going to get upset and angered by the countless transactions you have every day of your life. And want to put people in a neck brace. Don’t do that.
You’ve gotta use every opportunity to look at the situation with love. It’s a daily practice. Hell, it’s a minute by minute practice.
So, instead of feeling attacked, fearful or angry with someone, chose in that moment to love them.
The most improbable results manifest when you do this. I notice that when we treat the other person with love, the other person changes! Often, they respond more logically, kindly and with love themselves. It’s like a magic trick. Gabby would call it a miracle!
You can change the way someone behaves by treating them showering them with love. I’m not a woo-woo kind of guy who believes in tarot readings, divine signs and all this spiritual mumbo jumbo. What the &%#@…let me take that back.
That’s exactly the kind of guy I am but don’t allow that to undermine what I’m about to say.
Do this today:
1) Confront your hatred, judgment and anger towards others. Acknowledge it and be aware of how you are responding to those closest around you. Not just in your personal life but everyone you interact with.
2) Choose to react differently – chose love over fear. As Gabby suggests, set the intention of your relationship with the other person as one of finding peace and love, not attacking them.
Respond to every attack, judgment and negative perception of someone with Gabby’s mantra: “I am willing to see love instead of this.” When you’re lied to, frustrated, angry or upset by someone, chose to see love in the situation, instead of the ego-based thoughts.
3) Chose love in every situation you’re wronged, challenged , rejected, hurt, misunderstood, labeled, you’re made fun of, talked about, lied to…
4) Find more happiness, peace, love and joy in your life when you love someone you want to strangle. Note how your internal world changes for the better. Notice how your external world is filled with more kindness, understanding and love.
How do you love someone who you makes you angry? Let me know in the comments below – one of you lucky comment-leaving souls will win a free copy of Gabby’s book, May Cause Miracles.
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” the Dalai Lama
Do you think about happiness much?
Like why you’re unhappy all the time? Or why your life is as happy as bottomless Mimosas, advertisement-free television and 3-day weekends?
Or are you like most people out there, having experienced brief periods of bliss, but generally searching for that elusive concept called happiness?
If you’re searching for happiness like a banker searching for sunny tax-shelter islands or the Bachelorette searching for the man of her dreams, then you’ve got to watch this video above.
As you watch this video, you’ll ask yourself a number of questions.
Vishnu, what do you know about happiness?
Very little, my friends. That’s why I followed Gretchen Ruben’s advice to imitate a spiritual master and picked up this book by the Dalai Lama called, The Art of Happiness. I dug into the nitty-gritty details and pulled out the pearls of wisdom the Dalai Lama shares on the subject of happiness.
Yes, you can spend 7 hours reading this book or 7 minutes listening to me tell you what I learned from the Dalai Lama’s handbook on happiness.
What I learned from this book, Eckhart Tolle’s book, and my friend, Galen Pearl’s book on happiness, is that happiness is really an inside job. We can change our mindset and take practical actions to strive towards more happiness in our lives. I share at least 6 of the Dalai Lama’s strategies in this post.
Why in God’s name are you in front of a Christmas tree?
I was going for the Santa Claus look then realized that I had neither the costume, the beard or the hat.
Actually, this video was made during the Christmas holidays — what better backdrop for your viewing pleasure than this decorated Christmas tree?
What’s up with the lighting and why does this video look like some low-budget movie production?
Simply, cause that’s what it is my friends. Me, my flip cam, the bad lighting, the Dalai Lama and you. I’m no professional and this is one of my first videos. Until I get the lighting down or hire Oprah’s cameraman, bear with me.
Watch this video, then please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I want to hear from you – yes, you! Tell me, what makes you happy? What are your rules for happiness?
If I don't eat you in .04 seconds, there is a God!
Piercing almond-shaped eyes.
Crushing-molars being sharpened like knife blades preparing to indulge you like a sumptuous delicacy.
Orange striped carnivorous animal, lying in wait to pounce at you at a moment’s notice.
The majestic Bengal tiger of South India.
Named Richard Parker.
Well, Richard Parker, the name of the Bengal tiger in Yann Martel’s book and now movie, may have a funny name but is not as casual of a creature as his name makes him out to be.
If you’ve read the book or watched the movie, you’ll be familiar with the fictional story of the Patel family moving their zoo animals from South India to Canada. The Japanese cargo ship the family is traveling on capsizes in a violent storm and Pi Patel spends the next 200 + days of his life on a small life boat with a Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker.
Which God saves Pi’s life?
Throughout the novel, we learn Pi’s epic venture is both a religious and spiritual one.
Prior to Pi’s epic journey, Pi is toying with the idea of being a Muslim, Hindu or a Christian. In fact, he practices all three religions angering the local clergy of all faiths.
“But he can’t be a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose” the religious clergy declare as they congregate in his house, at the same time.
With the eyes of a minister, a priest, the Imam and both his parents on him, Pi blurts out “Bapu Gandhi said ‘All religions are true’ I just want to love God”.
After months of consternation and feeling the glaring eyes of the spiritual crowd in his house, Pi’s father chimes in to offer his support, “I supposed that’s what we’re all trying to do – love God”.
Throughout the book, Pi reaches out to God and we can only imagine that it must been some phenomenal power that keeps Pi alive. And carries him across the Ocean for more than 200 some days. Oh yeah, with the company of a BENGAL TIGER!!
Was it the miraculous power of God, of all faiths and religions, which saves Pi’s life?
Pi was indiscriminate in his preference for a particular God – in fact, he believed in the God of all faiths equally.
Is there only one God?
According to Hindu traditions and dogma, there is also one universal God or ‘Brahman’. Hinduism actually believes that there are many paths to reach this God.
The Hindus believe that there’s no need to get into the details of how you reach the divine – as long as you’re trying to reach enlightenment through the path or religion that serves you best.
You don’t have to go with Ganesha, Shiva or Vishnu (the God, not the blogger) to attain salvation – you can just as well get there through Jesus or the teachings of the Buddha.
Which religion has the truth? Which one does God prefer?
Those of other religions and faiths would most likely call the Hindus universal acceptance of all religions and Gods ridiculous, even blasphemy.
Many religions want a mandate – that heir faith and their faith alone will get you to enlightenment, realization, divinity.
But could the God of one religion be the God of all religions?
Could there be only one God like there is only one sun? For example, people viewing the sun from different locations all around the world. Everyone will have a different perception/angle from where they stand on the planet but ultimately they’re all only viewing one sun?
Is God present in all religions?
Does God cozy up to anyone seeking Him and trying to live more divinely?
Or does God have the ins with your religion and planning to help you get on the VIP list to the club called salvation?
What do you believe? Please leave a comment below and chime in.