Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's not just you, it's all of us

One of the teachers I've found to help us learn to step back from our insanity and move beyond it is Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. I recommend his book or his spoken word version of it. One of the reasons I can do that is that Tolle's message in no sense suggests that he is any kind of authority on the subject of your sanity. You are. You, the Eye inside you watching you, the Ear inside you listening to the mumblings of your mind, those are the authority. Tolle merely reminds us to step back from ourselves, to remember that you are not your mind, and that you are not bound by time.

"The time-bound mode of consciousness is deeply embedded in the human psyche. But what we are doing here is part of a profound transformation that is taking place in the collective consciousness of the planet and beyond: the awakening of consciousness from the dream of matter, form, and separation. The ending of time. We are breaking mind patterns that have dominated human life for eons. Mind patterns that have created unimaginable suffering on a vast scale. I'm not using the word evil. It is more helpful to call it unconsciousness or insanity."

We are experiencing, on personal levels, an evolutionary (and revolutionary) change in the consciousness of the entire species. We have entered a new period in the evolution of our species, one which requires us to wake up to our possibilities: "... there is no absolute guarantee that humans will make it. The process isn't inevitable or automatic. Your cooperation is an essential part of it. However you look at it, it is a quantum leap in the evolution of consciousness, as well as our only chance of survival as a race."

What can you do, now, to begin to heal from these illusions and to regain access to the incredible energy and joy available to you? First, there is no one way. There are many ways, many practices, many small and large changes available to you, right now, in your daily life, that will bring you closer to sanity. You are doubtless familiar with some of them. You may be practicing some of them.

Quietude. Find one place in your life where you can reliably go to find silence and solitude. It can be a very small place, but it should be comfortable for you, it should be quiet if not silent, and it should be free from interruptions. Begin to make this place a sacred space for yourself. Arrange it so it's open and uncluttered. Eliminate all distractions from this space. This space is the outward representation of a still, quiet place in the center of your mind. Spend at least ten or fifteen minutes each day in this space - up to an hour or so if you can. Sit comfortably there. Eyes closed or open, no matter. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, nice deep breaths, at least ten of them. You have one and only one role in this space, to listen to your breath and to the babbling of your mind. Let your mind ramble but don't encourage its thoughts. Watch them from a distance, as if you were listening to the thoughts of someone else. Don't judge the thoughts. Don't dwell on any of them. Let them come, let them go. Be the Observer of your mind. Over time you'll find there are longer and longer spaces between those thoughts. Pay attention to the sound of your breathing, or the sound of your heart, or the single-pointed vision of a candle flame during these moments.

In your daily life, whenever possible, turn off distractions like radio and television. Especially television. Become mindful that most media (again, especially television) is an invasive tool designed to encourage consumption. Remind yourself whenever you see or hear a television that there is a real difference between want and need, and that marketing executives have dedicated themselves to masking that difference and creating false appetites in their viewers. Here's something fun and liberating: give yourself and everyone you love this gift for birthdays and holidays: the TV B Gone. It's a useful and slightly subversive tool to liberate the human mind and spirit. Try it out on a television in a public space that no one is paying attention to. Relish the quiet and peace that results. Others around you will appreciate it too, possibly without quite knowing why they feel more relaxed and at peace.

No comments: