My friend Cliff saw Eckhart Tolle on the Oprah Winfrey Show, bought "A New Earth," written by Tolle, and read every word.
About two months later, he stopped for coffee on his way to work, stepped off a curb, and fell on the pavement face first.
His hip broke. He heard the crack on the way down.
A day later, the doctors performed a successful hip replacement, and Cliff was in for a long rehabilitation period.
Cliff's attitude impressed all of his friends. He was jolly, telling jokes and instructed all of his visitors to read "A New Earth."
Most of my friends have seen "The New Earth Webinar" on Oprah.com, but we all got stalled on the last segment, Chapter 10, which we heard was two hours long.
But seeing Cliff do so well facing his challenge, and as I attributed this to Tolle's book, I decided to watch it.
At the same time, the 9/11 attack anniversary was commemorated privately and publicly here in the U.S and throughout the world.
Tolle talks about his vision of the New Earth, which simply is bringing consciousness to every moment, becoming aware that we are aware, becoming still within this awareness.
This expanded perspective brings us to the realization that we are far greater than the body or the physical dimension we all seem to agree on.
The rhythms of life include the ebb and flow, the expansion and contraction, the inhaling and exhaling, the heart in motion and at rest, if only for a mili-second.
We sleep then we wake up, whether remembering our dreams or not.
The seasonal changes give rise to a rebirth in spring time and a dissolution of life in the Autumn and Winter, and a great abundance and plenty in the Summer months especially here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
And in this cyclic rhythm, there comes a time in the outgoing of life, in the Youth of our lives, when we return to the Source, as we age.
In this phase of our earthly existence, we may come to the realization that we are not separate from other humans, animals, rock, wind or water.
As we experience the death of loved ones, or perhaps a near death experience in our own lives, an awakening often occurs.
As terrible as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were, they served to temporarily wake up America. For a period of several weeks, we were all bonded in a unified state of love and compassion.
In New York, people spoke of an aura of safety, where people were not afraid to speak to one another on the streets. People actually poured forth their stories and communicated their inner most feelings with perfect strangers.
This is a beautiful example of a shared awakening. No one wanted this sense of unity to end. But of course it did when the wars began.
Years ago, I shared a joke with one of the Family Practice Residents. I'd ask him, "Are you a human doing or a human being?"
I gave him a book called The One Minute Meditator, and he eventually decided he'd rather Be, rather than constantly Do, so he slowed down his life.
The act of being brought into our doing is what matters the most, Tolle said on the last Webinar.
The act of being becomes more valuable with age but many young people also see the wisdom of this, these days.
We don't have to be on the death bed to accept the Reality of Spirit.
Do you know when you are in the presence of a peaceful or disturbed person?
A disturbed person slams doors, sighs with worry or contempt, and throws papers across the room.
Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Naht Hahn said of Thomas Merton, the Christian Mystic: "He knows how to shut a door," gently, with mindful awareness and with respect.
Yes, respectfully shutting a door, making bread by hand, serving and preparing a meal, and washing each dish synchronized with the conscious breath is the portal to Mindful Living.
Tolle says, "The only actions that do not cause opposing reactions are those aimed at the good of all."
It's not what you do or what you say, but how you do it or say it that matters. Are you centered and focused as you do it or say it, or distracted and ill at ease?
Do I open the door as a means to an end or am I opening it with my fullest attention?
Tolle cites 3 components to Awakening:
Tolle says that as you go about your day, if you are not experiencing acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, than you are bringing suffering to other people and to the world.
Don't worry about the difficult boss, the violence in our cities, the killing of innocent people, the outcome of the 2008 Election here in America or anywhere else.
By accepting these challenges, you are not condoning them, says Tolle.
Begin to practice "Presence Power," which is the act of developing your spiritual muscle.
Oprah made a good point that if you want to run a marathon, you must train for it.
The same is true for developing presence and conscious awareness.
Ask yourself: "Am I able to accept this moment exactly as it is?"
Because the control freak boss or whom ever you are confronting is a lovable and loving child of God/ess.
But you may still need to step aside from it.
If you are stuck in an elevator with an ego-driven, loud talking ignoramus, accept it, do not resist it.
Watch the drama as you would a movie. Step back!! Enjoy the show!!
Ask yourself: "Am I ok with the present moment?" If not, I am not empowered, says Tolle.
What ever you do, from the act of making tea, looking out the window, watching the clouds, listening to the rain, the airplane, the breathing of your dog: by bringing presence to these small acts, by fully dimensionalizing the here and now, great meaning and purpose results.
Be vigilant, like a radar and ask yourself from moment to moment, "Am I accepting, enjoying, enthusing?"
As you perform an action, ask yourself, "Am I contaminating my movements and actions with negativity from past memories, or am I joyfully accepting and honoring this moment and Life Itself?"
Tolle says that true success depends on the quality of energy flowing into what you are doing.
Choose to do what you must do, or don't do it. Make the process a conscious one.
As you enjoy the process, great creative thoughts, leading to enthusiastic action, arise.
Again, practice with small acts. If I don't like going to work, accept it (and show up anyway). If I am stuck in mud up to my knees, accept it.
Joy and enthusiasm arise from the ability to accept the small challenges.
The world is not here to make you happy. It is here to make you conscious, Tolle emphasizes.
As we enter the flow of living, a conscious species is born.
We are It!!