Years ago, I shared a joke with one of the Family-Practice Residents. I asked him, "Are you a human doing or a human being?" I gave him a book called, The One Minute Meditator, by Bill Birchard and David Nichol, and he eventually decided he'd rather “Be” than constantly “Do” – so he slowed down his life. “The act of being brought into our doing is what matters the most,” said Eckhart Tolle on the last New Earth Webinar with Oprah. 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 our death bed to accept the Reality of Spirit.
Do you know when you are in the presence of a peaceful person or someone who is disturbed? A disturbed person slams doors, sighs with worry or contempt and throws papers across the room. Vietnamese Buddhist, Thich Nhat 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 you open the door as a means to an end or are you opening it with your fullest attention?
Tolle cites three components to awakening – acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Tolle says that as you go about your day, if you are not experiencing acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm, then 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 and the outcome of elections 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.
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 right now?" Ask, “What is my relationship with the present moment?” The control-freak boss or whomever you are confronting is a lovable and loving child of God. You may still need to step aside from these people or situations.
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 and enjoy the show! Ask yourself, "Am I okay with the present moment?" If not, I am not empowered,” says Tolle.
Whatever you do, from the act of making tea, looking out the window, watching the clouds, listening to the rain, the airplanes, 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 and 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 you don't like going to work, accept it (and show up, anyway). If you are stuck in mud up to your 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.
I went to my Oral Surgeon not long after my friend Cliff fell and broke his hip, carrying a copy of A New Earth under my arm. The surgeon immediately made a comment about the book and the webinar on Oprah's show. As we discussed the ideas in the book, I noticed that he "got it." He knew exactly what I was talking about when I said that the book is about how to live mindfully, consciously and in the now. When I mentioned that the egoist mind can be eradicated by present-moment living, the surgeon went on a rant about rude behavior, unkind people and violence in American Society. I said, “Yes but you don't need to react to the chaos. Inner peaceful-presence is always available for your pleasure and inward sense of solace.”
I wondered if he was referring to a client who was having a melt-down in the waiting-room as I was led back to my exam room. She insisted that the office hadn’t called her that morning to tell her about her rescheduled appointment. The woman was angry, tense and had the look of someone who was just about to commit a murderous act right there in the waiting room. The other people looked anxious as she continued yelling at the receptionist. Eckhart Tolle would call this woman's negative energy her "pain-body."
As the surgeon and I reacted negatively to her energy, our own pain-bodies were triggered. The pain-body is the energy field of old emotions that live in every human being. The pain-body is not just individual in nature. It accounts for all the suffering of collective humanity as in the case of rape, pillage, tribal warfare, wars, slavery and genocide. The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness.
There it was in the waiting room that day – a living, breathing pain-body that triggered everyone else's pain-body to react, to feel better than, to judge this woman and to even use her as an example as to why people in today's society are so disturbed. Since so few of us like going to the Dentist, let alone an Oral Surgeon, the pain-body is perhaps more easily triggered in places such as these.
This is a beautiful example of an activated pain-body, yet every day we can find at least one. The beauty is found when reactions cease, and we become the Compassionate Presence or witness, who really is a spark of our own divinity.
True happiness arises out of present-moment attunement and is always available as soon as we allow it!