The spirit of love

by Deepak Chopra

Like the tiny spark of fire that consumes a forest, the spark of love is all you need to experience love in its full power and glory, in all its aspects, earthly and divine. Love is spirit…

In the West, what we generally call love is mostly a feeling, not a power. This feeling can be delicious, even ecstatic, but there are many things love is meant to do that feelings cannot. When love and spirit are brought together, their power can accomplish anything. Then love, power and spirit are one.

There has never been a spiritual master – not Buddha, Krishna, Christ or Mohammed – who wasn’t a messenger of love, and the power of the message has always been awesome. It has changed the world. Perhaps the very immensity of such teachers has made the rest of us reticent. We do not accept the power love can create inside of us and, therefore, we turn our backs on our divine status.

Love is spirit. Spirit is the self.

Self and spirit are the same. Asking, “What is spirit?” is just a way of asking, “Who am I?” There isn’t spirit outside you; you are it. Why aren’t you aware of it? You are, but only in a limited way, like someone who has seen a glass of water, but not the ocean. Your eyes see because in spirit you are the witness to everything. You have thoughts because in spirit you know all. You feel love toward another person because in spirit you are infinite love.

Restoring the spiritual dimension to love means abandoning the notion of a limited self with its limited ability to love, and regaining the self with its unbounded ability to love. The “I” that is truly you is made of pure awareness, pure creativity, pure spirit. Its version of love is free from all memories or images from the past. Beyond all illusion is the source of love – a field of pure potential. That potential is you. What is the path?

The most valuable thing you can bring into any relationship is your spiritual potential. This is what you have to offer when you begin to live your love story at the deepest level. Like the seed needed to start the life of a tree, your spiritual potential is the seed for your growth in love. Nothing is more precious. Seeing yourself with the eyes of love makes it natural to see others that way too. You will be able to say of your beloved, as the poet Rumi does: “You are the secret of God’s secret. You are the mirror of divine beauty.”

The path to love is something you consciously choose to follow and everyone who has ever fallen in love is shown the first step on that path. The unfolding of spiritual potential has been the chief concern of all the great seers, saints, prophets, masters and sages in human history. Theirs was a carefully charted quest for the self, a far cry from our notion of love as a messy, emotional affair.

In India, the spiritual path is called Sadhana and although a tiny minority of people give up normal life to wander the world as seekers of enlightenment (monks or sadhus), everyone, from those in the most ancient civilization of Vedic India until today, considers their life to be Sadhana, a path to the self. Although the self seems separated from us, it is actually intertwined in everything a person thinks, feels or does. The fact that you do not intimately know your self is amazing, if you come to think about it. Looking for your self, the Vedic sages declared, is like a thirsty fish looking for water. But as long as the self has yet to be found, Sadhana exists.

The goal of the path is to transform your awareness from separation to unity. In unity, we perceive only love, express only love, are only love.

While the inner transformation is taking place, every path must have some outer form to sustain it. In India, a person’s nature leads him to the style of path appropriate to reaching fulfillment. Some people are naturally intellectual and are therefore suited to the path of knowledge, or Gyana. Some are more devotional and are suited to the path of worship, or Bhakti. Some are more outwardly motivated and are suited to the path of action, orKarma.

The three are not mutually exclusive; ideally, one would include in one’s lifestyle daily periods of study, worship and service. All three approaches would then be integrated into a single path. It is, however, entirely possible to be so taken with a single approach that your whole existence may be centred on reading the scriptures, contemplation and scholarly debate – the life of Gyana. Or you may spend your time meditating, chanting and participating in temple rituals – the life of Bhakti. Or you could do social work, apply yourself to mental and physical purification and do God’s bidding in daily activity – the life of Karma. Even in the most traditional sectors of India today, these paths have broken down, giving way to modern lifestyles in which study and work have little or nothing to do with spiritual aspirations.

What does this mean for a Westerner who has never been exposed toSadhana? I propose that being on the spiritual path is such a natural and powerful urge that everyone’s life, regardless of culture, obeys it. A path is just a way to open yourself to spirit, to God, to love. These are aims we all may cherish, but our culture has given us no established, organized way to reach them. Indeed, never in history has a seeker been confronted with such a disorganized and chaotic spiritual scene.

What we are left with is relationships. The desire to love and be loved is too powerful ever to be extinguished and fortunately a spiritual path exists based upon this unquenchable longing. The expression “path to love” is not simply a metaphor; it reappears throughout spiritual history in many guises. The most ancient version is the Bhakti or devotional tradition from Vedic India, in which all forms of love ultimately serve the search for God.

The Sufis of Islam have their own devotional lineage. Rumi, who I quote so often, was more than a poet; he was a great teacher of this path. To him, God was the sweetest, most desirable lover, whose touch he could feel against the skin:

“When it’s cold and raining, you are more beautiful. And the snow brings me even closer to your lips. The inner secret, that which was never born, you are that freshness, and I am with you now.”

Christ initiated another version of the path in his supreme teaching, “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus always spoke of God as a loving father. The Christian version of the path is therefore a relationship not so much between lovers as between parent and child or a shepherd and his flock (we shouldn’t forget, though, the image of Christ as bridegroom and the worshipper’s soul as the bride).

So it isn’t the tradition that is lacking. One might more fairly say that in most religions the teaching of love, as originally presented, seems to have faded, to become more an ideal than a practical reality. But amidst all the confusion and breakdown of traditional teaching, there is still the spark of love that brings two people together, and out of that, a path can be made.

Like the tiny spark of fire that consumes a forest, the spark of love is all you need to experience love in its full power and glory, in all its aspects, earthly and divine. Love is spirit and all experiences of love, however insignificant they seem, are actually invitations to the cosmic dance. Within every love story hides the wooing of the gods and goddesses.

In a different age, the most fleeting of infatuations had spiritual meaning; the nearness of God in the beloved was taken seriously. Since the advent of Freud, however, psychologists have assured us that falling in love is illusory; the sense of ecstasy that is part of falling in love is illusory; the sense of ecstasy that is part of falling in love isn’t realistic. We must learn to accept the temporary nature of romance and disregard the “projected fantasy” that we might be as immortal and invulnerable as passionate lovers feel.

We would therefore have to be skeptical of Walt Whitman when he rapturously declares, “I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself. (They do not know how immortal, but I know).”

See Deepak Chopra in Vancouver at the Orpheum Theatre, February 20. Tickets through Ticketmaster, 604-280-4444 or www.ticketmaster.ca Deepak Chopra is the prolific author of more than 50 books.www.deepakchopra.com

Drop your reactions

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

Your relationships will be changed profoundly by surrender. If you can never accept what is, by implication, you will not be able to accept anybody the way they are. You will judge, criticize, label, reject or attempt to change people. Furthermore, if you continuously make the Now into a means to an end in the future, you will also make every person you encounter or relate with into a means to an end.

The relationship – the human being – is then of secondary importance to you, or of no importance at all. What you can get out of the relationship is primary, be it material gain, a sense of power, physical pleasure or some form of ego grati€cation.

Let me illustrate how surrender can work in relationships. When you become involved in an argument or some conict situation, start by observing how defensive you become as your own position is attacked, or feel the force of your own aggression as you attack the other person’s position. Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to be right and make the other person wrong. That’s the energy of the egoic mind. You make it conscious by acknowledging it, by feeling it as fully as possible. Then one day, in the middle of an argument, you will suddenly realize that you have a choice and you may decide to drop your own reaction, just to see what happens. You surrender.

I don’t mean dropping the reaction just verbally by saying, “Okay, you are right,” with a look on your face that says, “I am above all this childish unconsciousness.” That’s just displacing the resistance to another level, with the egoic mind still in charge, claiming superiority. I am speaking of letting go of the entire mental-emotional energy €eld inside you that was €ghting for power.

The ego is cunning so you have to be very alert, present and totally honest with yourself to see whether you have truly relinquished your identi€cation with a mental position. If you suddenly feel very light, clear and deeply at peace, that is an unmistakable sign that you have truly surrendered. Then observe what happens to the other person’s mental position, as you no longer energize it through resistance. When identi€cation with mental positions is out of the way, true communication begins.

Non-resistance doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing. All it means is that any “doing” becomes non-reactive. Remember the deep wisdom underlying the practice of Eastern martial arts: Don’t resist the opponent’s force. Yield to overcome.

Having said that, “doing nothing” when you are in a state of intense presence is a very powerful transformer and healer of situations and people. In Taoism, there is a term called wu wei, which is usually translated as “actionless activity” or “sitting quietly doing nothing.” In ancient China, this was regarded as one of the highest achievements or virtues. It is radically different from inactivity in the ordinary state of consciousness, or rather unconsciousness, which stems from fear, inertia or indecision. The real “doing nothing” implies inner non-resistance and intense alertness.

On the other hand, if action is required, you will respond to the situation out of your conscious presence.

The ego believes that in your resistance lies your strength, whereas, in truth, resistance cuts you off from Being, the only place of true power. What the ego sees as weakness is your Being in its purity, innocence, and power; the ego exists in a continuous resistance mode and plays counterfeit roles to cover up your “weakness,” which, in truth, is your power.

Until there is surrender, unconscious role-playing constitutes a large part of human interaction. In surrender, you no longer need ego defences and false masks. You become very simple, very real. “That’s dangerous,” says the ego. “You’ll get hurt. You’ll become vulnerable.” What the ego doesn’t know, of course, is that only through the letting go of resistance, through becoming “vulnerable,” can you discover your true and essential invulnerability.

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.

Choose happiness

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

Would you choose unhappiness? If you did not choose it, how did it arise? What is its purpose? Who is keeping it alive? You say that you are conscious of your unhappy feelings, but the truth is that you are identi€ed with them and keep the process alive through compulsive thinking. All that is unconscious.

If you were conscious, that is to say totally present in the Now, all negativity would dissolve almost instantly. It could not survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence. Even the pain-body cannot survive for long in your presence. You keep your unhappiness alive by giving it time. That is its lifeblood. Remove time through intense present-moment awareness and it dies. But do you want it to die? Have you truly had enough? Who would you be without it?

Until you practise surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in or don’t, as the case may be. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life. When you do, the energy that you emanate and which then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs our world – the energy that created the existing social, political and economic structures of our civilization, and which also continuously perpetuates itself through our educational systems and the media.

Through surrender, spiritual energy comes into this world. It creates no suffering on the planet. Unlike mind energy, it does not pollute the Earth and it is not subject to the law of polarities, which dictates that nothing can exist without its opposite, that there can be no good without bad. Those who run on mind energy, which is still the vast majority of the Earth’s population, remain unaware of the existence of spiritual energy. It belongs to a different order of reality and will create a different world when a sufficient number of humans enter the surrendered state and so become totally free of negativity. If the Earth is to survive, this will be the energy of those who inhabit it.

Jesus referred to this energy when he made his famous prophetic statement in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the gentle; they shall have the earth for their possession.” It is a silent, but intense, presence that dissolves the unconscious patterns of the mind. They may still remain active for a while, but they won’t run your life anymore. The external conditions that were being resisted also tend to shift or dissolve quickly through surrender. It is a powerful transformer of situations and people. If conditions do not shift immediately, your acceptance of the Now enables you to rise above them. Either way, you are free.

It is true that only an unconscious person will try to use or manipulate others, but it is equally true that only an unconscious person can be used and manipulated. If you resist or fight unconscious behaviour in others, you become unconscious yourself. But surrender doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be used by unconscious people. Not at all. It is perfectly possible to say “no” firmly and clearly or to walk away from a situation and be in a state of complete inner non-resistance at the same time. When you say “no” to a person or a situation, let it come not from reaction, but from insight, from a clear realization of what is right or not right for you at that moment. Let it be a nonreactive “no,” a high-quality “no,” a “no” that is free of all negativity and so creates no further suffering.

If you cannot surrender, take action immediately: speak up or do something to bring about a change in the situation or remove yourself from it. Take responsibility for your life. Do not pollute your beautiful, radiant inner Being or the Earth with negativity. Do not give unhappiness in any form whatsoever a dwelling place inside you.

 

 

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.

Conscious communication

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

The single, biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw

By the age of two, most humans are learning how to talk. However, some people can go a lifetime without ever learning to really communicate. Communication is one of the biggest problems between couples and between parents and teens. While there may be a lot of talking going on, it is often “talking at” rather than “talking with.”

The word communication comes from the word “commune,” which means to be in a state of intimate, heightened sensitivity and receptivity, as with one’s surroundings.

Humans are gifted with the ability to share meaning. This happens best when there is a heightened sensitivity and receptivity to what the other is saying. We see this during the honeymoon stage of a new relationship when both people hang on to each other’s every word and intimacy develops as each person shows real understanding of the other. To truly see and know another is the deepest of all intimacies.

Of course, it is ego that gets in the way. When it has its own agenda, it is not so interested in another’s point of view. Think how present and responsive we can be when listening to the trials of a friend. We have no real vested interest in how he or she views the situation or chooses to respond. We simply want to be there for them and lend support.

However, dealing with a spouse or teen when there is a difference of opinion is another matter entirely. The ability to listen with a supportive and receptive ear somehow disappears as ego is immediately on guard. Ready to attack or defend, there is no time for ego to take up the cause of the opponent.

Ego assumes power and what began as differing points of view becomes a win/lose contest. It is now about challenging the views of the other and making him or her wrong. Ego must do this for if the other is right, then ego is wrong and ego will not stand for that. Ego will argue for its “rightness” even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Fairness, respect and validation of the other go out the window.

Often, this is a long-standing pattern and two people will fall into it almost unconsciously without realizing it has happened. Interestingly, even though both are contributing to the negative process, each person will blame the other for being difficult. Unquestionably, the relationship suffers and the partners will not have the trust and closeness they undoubtedly both desire.

There is a way out, however. It requires a conscious shift and staying conscious regardless of what the other person says or does. It helps to set a goal of always making the relationship more important than the issue and to then establish an agreed upon process to use when discussing an issue. For example, the agreement might be that each person states his or her case without interruption or interrogation and the listener repeats back the essence of what was said to ensure accurate understanding.

Once both sides of the issue are understood, it is not about trying to convince the other to agree or give in. This will only lead back to arguing and the accompanying negativity. Rather, the next task is to work together to find a compromise or solution that will work. Whereas, in the old way, each person merely reiterated his viewpoint and perhaps denigrated the other with escalating intensity, in the new way, once each person has stated their case, there is a shift: having heard my way and your way, we now work as a team to find a “third way.”

This takes practice and mutual co-operation. If the process starts to derail, it needs a time out. Reminding each other that the relationship is more important than the issue and refusing to let ego jump in and take you out of integrity will assist in establishing a higher road.

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For articles and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca

Positive change

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

If you find your life situation unsatisfactory or even intolerable, it is only by surrendering €rst that you can break the unconscious resistance pattern that perpetuates that situation. Surrender is perfectly compatible with taking action, initiating change or achieving goals. But, in the surrendered state, a totally different energy, a different quality, ows into your doing. Surrender reconnects you with the source-energy of Being, and if your doing is infused with Being, it becomes a joyful celebration of life energy that takes you more deeply into the Now.

Through non-resistance, the quality of your consciousness and, therefore, the quality of whatever you are doing or creating is enhanced immeasurably. The results will then look after themselves and reect that quality. We could call this surrendered action. It is not work as we have known it for thousands of years. As more humans awaken, the word work is going to disappear from our vocabulary and perhaps a new word will be created to replace it.

The quality of your consciousness at this moment is the main determinant of what kind of future you will experience, so to surrender is the most important thing you can do to bring about positive change. Any action you take is secondary. No truly positive action can arise out of an unsurrendered state of consciousness.

I can see that if I am in a situation that is unpleasant or unsatisfactory and I completely accept the moment as it is, there will be no suffering or unhappiness. I will have risen above it. But I still can’t quite see where the energy or motivation for taking action and bringing about change would come from if there isn’t a certain amount of dissatisfaction.

In the state of surrender, you see very clearly what needs to be done and you take action, doing and focusing on one thing at a time. Learn from nature. See how everything gets accomplished and how the miracle of life unfolds without dissatisfaction or unhappiness. That’s why Jesus said, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…”

If your overall situation is unsatisfactory or unpleasant, separate out this instant and surrender to what is. That’s the ashlight cutting through the fog. Your state of consciousness then ceases to be controlled by external conditions. You are no longer coming from reaction and resistance.

Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do to change the situation, improve it or remove myself from it?” If so, take appropriate action. Focus not on the one hundred things that you will, or may, have to do at some future time, but on the one thing that you can do now. This doesn’t mean you should not do any planning. It may well be that planning is the one thing you can do now. But make sure you don’t start to run “mental movies,” project yourself into the future and so lose the Now. Any action you take may not bear fruit immediately. Until it does, do not resist what is.

If there is no action you can take and you cannot remove yourself from the situation, use the situation to make yourself go more deeply into surrender, more deeply into the Now, more deeply into Being. When you enter this timeless dimension of the present, change often comes about in strange ways without the need for a great deal of doing on your part. Life becomes helpful and cooperative. If inner factors such as fear, guilt, or inertia prevented you from taking action, they will dissolve in the light of your conscious presence.

Start by acknowledging that there is resistance. Look at the thought process involved. Feel the energy of the emotion. By witnessing the resistance, you will see that it serves no purpose. By focusing all your attention on the Now, the unconscious resistance is made conscious and that is the end of it. You cannot be conscious and unhappy, conscious and in negativity. Negativity, unhappiness or suffering in whatever form means that there is resistance, and resistance is always unconscious.

 

 

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.

Dare to be you

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

This above all: to thine own self be true and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare

Many of the clients I work with experience frustration as a result of being people pleasers most of their lives. Generally, this process begins in childhood because it serves a purpose for ego. However, for many people, dissatisfaction and even resentment set in at some point in adulthood.

Very early in life, a child learns that behaving in ways that make others happy brings rewards. He also learns that behaviour that annoys or upsets others brings the opposite. For young children, regardless of how much parents express their love, an angry or upset parent is associated with a loss, or, at the very least, a disruption in the flow of love to the child.

Children are very adept at reading parental emotions, body language and facial expressions. If parents react with anger and judgment to a child’s misbehaviour, rather than accepting the child but correcting the behaviour, the child will feel rejected. Not liking this feeling, the child learns what to do to gain acceptance, which is associated with being loved and lovable. Without acceptance, the child feels both unloved and unlovable.

For some, this association between disappointing others and being unlovable persists throughout life. This is especially true for those who are quite sensitive or who have low self-esteem. The gauge for their value exists outside of themselves. It is like looking at the thermometer outside the kitchen window and assuming the reading applies to the temperature inside.

This is the perception ego develops and it is reinforced repeatedly. In school, the answer the teacher is looking for is more important to the child than his own creative response. Dressing like others takes precedence over putting together unique ensembles. In later years, it is more important to agree with others than to speak one’s truth and risk offending anyone. Doing what others want becomes a greater priority than honouring oneself.

After years of performing for the external audience, it can be hard to know who the real self truly is. Many would not even know what they would do in their lives, or what they would be passionate about, if they were no longer dependent on the good opinion of others. Yet they begin to feel a growing frustration and resentment and the sense they are not fulfilling themselves. This nudging could well be the work of soul, which knows that a very important aspect of our time on Earth is the full realization of our own uniqueness.

Our essence, or essential self, is like a seed that wants to grow. Unfortunately, for so many of us, the people in our lives did not nurture that seed. Instead, they tended to the garden in their own mind about who we were or how we should be. Under these conditions, the seed of our true self could not even begin to germinate.

Time, however, moves on, and soul realizes that a good portion of our time here has elapsed; it is time to get on with knowing and expressing our authentic self. Slowly but surely we become restless. We begin to notice that what we are thinking and feeling inside does not match what we are doing or expressing on the outside.

We begin to feel conflicted, and perhaps, for the first time, realize we are responding to external signals rather than to our own inner signals. There may follow a confusing and tumultuous time as we grapple with which signals to follow. The inner signals reveal what we want to do; the outer, what we think we should do. As we begin to validate our inner voice – our own truth and knowing – we begin the journey back to self.

It is not always easy and others may balk at our changes, but it is the road we came to travel, and it is waiting.

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For articles and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca

Hidden wisdom of the Tao

interview by Laurie Nadel

Q: What is the Tao Te Ching?

A: The Tao Te Ching is the wisest, most influential book ever written. It was written 2500 years ago, at the time of Confucius by a Chinese master named Lao Tzu. The Tao offers a way of living with integrity. In fact, Lao Tzu believed that people do not need rules. Just raise your children to grow up and stay connected with the Tao.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Tao?

A: It contains 81 verses. You can read it in an hour and a half. Each of those 81 verses begins with living contentment and peace. When you live the Tao, you become peace, rather than talking about it. The Tao has no rules. The Tao does nothing but it leaves nothing undone. It does not interfere. It allows and is constantly creating.

Q: You grew up without a father, spending time in foster homes during your childhood. Yet you dedicated this book to him. Why?

A: My father walked out on our family. I never saw him and have no memory of him. Living the Tao, I am able to extend love to him and thank him for being who he was. People do what they know how to do. I see now, it’s all perfect.

Q: How has writing a book changed your life?

A: Two years ago, when I turned 65, I started on the Tao. I told my secretary to sell everything and give everything away. I walked away from it. The Tao teaches us to let go of things. Use the 80/20 rule. If you take all your clothes, you’ll find out that you only wear 20 percent of them. You just don’t wear 80 percent. Take what you have and don’t use and circulate it. Give stuff to people who truly need it.

Q: Why is trusting your intuition essential for living a happy life?

A: Intuition is getting closer to your source. It’s God talking to you. You get more intuitive insights as you get closer to God. True happiness comes from knowing you are connected to something so grand and so great…and so much bigger than your puny little ego. It’s an inner vision that everyone has. You get to a point where you can totally rely on it. When I am taking calls, something will flash through my mind. Maybe that caller is in Nova Scotia or Wisconsin. I don’t know who he or she is. And I will ask that person about a name that has flashed through my mind. Intuition has never let me down.

Q: What rules does the Tao offer for a happy life?

A: The Tao has no rules. When you run your life by rules, you’ve left the Tao. It speaks of noninterference and nonviolence. You can’t be a person of the Tao and have an enemy. Never use enemy and I in the same sentence. When you use violence to stop what you don’t like, you create a new generation of people who are going to go after people who bombed their parents’ village. Every time you use force, you create a counterforce. Think about how you get rid of dandelions: You don’t go out with a shovel and start smacking them because all of those fuzzballs go up into the air, creating more dandelions. Violence begets more violence. The Tao says that any single person in any line of violence…whether you drive trucks, design weapons, sell guns….there are hundreds of links in the chain. If one person refuses to deliver them or design them or sell them, you have stopped the chain.

Q: How can you live without laws and rules?

A: We need to lead by an inner kind of law that connects us to the source of all things. We are all pieces of God. We have to find the highest place within ourselves that wants to give. The Tao says that Source wants us to allow things to be. You have to plant a seed and leave it alone. It was probably a lawyer who said that we’re not a nation of people, we are a nation of laws. We are not a nation of rules. We are a species of beings who have a higher place within ourselves and a higher connection to the Source of all creation.

Q: Can you give us an example?

A: A lot of the Tao has to do with water. Water is the softest of all things, yet it is the most powerful. The ocean stays low because it patiently allows all things to flow into it. It is always flexible. You can’t grasp it. The Tao is not about grasping but allowing, like water.

Q: You are the father of 8 children, ages 17 – 40, and grandfather of 5 kids. How can the Tao help us to be better parents?

A: Catch them doing something right instead of something wrong. Remind them of their greatness on a daily basis. Constantly let them know you care about them. But you also have to let go. The term “enough is enough” is out of the Tao. As parents, you have to know when not to interfere with your children’s lives. You have to know when to not push and let them make mistakes and make their own decisions. Involve your children in your passions and hobbies. We taught all of our children to meditate. We took them on walking meditations. They laughed but now they say it was one of the most important things in their life. Expose them to great ideas. Let them see you doing things you love. Then you will respect your children’s passions as they grow.

Q: You write that thoughts create reality. What do you mean?

A: We are what we think about. If what we think about is what we don’t like, then why are we surprised when what we don’t like turns up in our life? If you think about all the things that are wrong in your relationship, then you will continue to attract what you don’t like….even what you don’t like in yourself and in your children. You have to monitor what you think about. Peacemakers never put their thoughts on what they don’t want, only on what they intend to create and what they intend to manifest.

Q: How does that work? It sounds bewildering.

A: Excellent! Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment! The Tao says to stop trying to figure it all out and just be in a state of awe. Then how could you not love yourself? The best way to show love to God is by loving each other. When enough of us do that, we’ll love everybody.

Q: Isn’t that naive?

A: When you think from this perspective, on what’s possible, then you always have hope. You always know that there is a way.

Q: You mention God a lot. How are you so certain?

A: Each person has trillions of cells. Our planets are specks of energy. The sun is 93 million miles away. If it was 2 feet closer we would burn up and if it was 2 feet further we would freeze. You are part of that creative infinite organizing intelligence. The first 9 months of your life you turned everything over to God. You didn’t worry about whether your kidneys would show up. And you showed up into the world and you were turned over to people who said, “We’ll take it from here.” And that was your mistake. Your task is to know that God doesn’t make mistakes. How could you believe that you are not worthy of yourself? You came out of that creative infinite organizing intelligence.

Q: How can all this make me happy ?

A: Stop looking for happiness. It’s an inside job. To live the Tao means to live peace. Be it. Radiate it out. When you have to choose between being kind and being right, it’s always better to be kind.

Wayne Dyer appears at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver at 7pm, on December 1.

Laurie Nadel, Ph.D. is the author of Sixth Sense: Unlocking Your Ultimate Mind Power.

True surrender

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

If we always accept the way things are, we are not going to make any effort to improve them. It seems to me that what progress is all about, both in our personal lives and collectively, is not to accept the limitations of the present, but to strive to go beyond them and create something better. If we hadn’t done this, we would still be living in caves. How do you reconcile surrender with changing things and getting things done?

To some people, surrender may have negative connotations, implying defeat, giving up, failing to rise to the challenges of life, becoming lethargic, and so on. True surrender, however, is something entirely different. It does not mean to passively put up with whatever situation you find yourself in and do nothing about it. Nor does it mean to cease making plans or initiating positive action.

Surrender is the simple, but profound, wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the ow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity. It becomesparticularly pronounced when things “go wrong,” which means there is a gap between the demands or rigid expectations of your mind and what is. That is the pain gap. If you have lived long enough, you will know that things “go wrong” quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practised if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life.

Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identification and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind. Surrender is a purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that, on the outer level, you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now.

For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn’t say, “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. You don’t need to accept an undesirable or unpleasant life situation. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say there is nothing wrong with being stuck in the mud. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it. You then narrow your attention down to the present moment without mentally labelling it in any way. This means there is no judgment of the Now. Therefore, there is no resistance, no emotional negativity. You accept the “isness” of this moment. Then you take action and do all that you can to get out of the mud.

Let me give you a visual analogy to illustrate the point I am making. You are walking along a path at night, surrounded by a thick fog. But you have a powerful ashlight that cuts through the fog and creates a narrow, clear space in front of you. The fog is your life situation, which includes past and future; the ashlight is your conscious presence; the clear space is the Now.

Non-surrender hardens your psychological form, the shell of the ego, and so creates a strong sense of separateness. The world around you and people, in particular, come to be perceived as threatening. The unconscious compulsion to destroy others through judgment arises, as does the need to compete and dominate. Even nature becomes your enemy and your perceptions and interpretations are governed by fear.

There is something within you that remains unaffected by the transient circumstances that make up your life situation, and only through surrender do you have access to it. It is your life, your very Being, which exists eternally in the timeless realm of the present. Finding this life is “the one thing that is needed” that Jesus talked about.

 

 

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.

Release attachment

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Forever is composed of nows.

– Emily Dickinson

According to Buddhist philosophy, there are two major causes of all human suffering. The first is attachment and the second is the inability to accept change.

Attachment is when our wellbeing is dependent on things being a certain way. We can become attached to people or possessions and be devastated if we lose them. We may be attached to success, popularity or looking a certain way. Addictions are an extreme form of attachment, but there is likely an addictive component to all forms of attachment.

The inability to accept change is related to attachment. We like things the way they are and experience great discomfort if things change. This does not refer to change we have initiated ourselves, but rather to change that is imposed by others, or by fate.

The reason that attachment and the inability to accept change create so much suffering is because, in this world, change is a constant. Nothing stays the same. So if we become attached, sooner or later we will have to let go. In the meantime, a lot of energy can go into maintaining that attachment and we experience anxiety at the thought of losing it.

Of course, this suffering is all the work of ego. Ego is that part of our awareness that gets so caught up in the story of life, taking on the roles of producer, director and lead character. Ego has an idea of how the script should unfold, and so becomes invested in how others, including the universe, play their parts!

Things will not always go according to ego’s plan, but generally ego is not a good sport about it. Think of a football team. The coach has a plan and the players are trained to execute that plan. However, they have little control over what the other team will do, who will fumble or be tackled, or even the field conditions.

A professional, sportsmanlike team will not spend a lot of time blaming others or making excuses for what went wrong. Instead, they look at what they can do to improve their performance and their ability to handle the opposition. They then begin to focus on the next game. They do their best, but there are no guarantees.

Life is much the same. We have our plans, hopes and dreams, but there are no guarantees. Somehow though, it seems harder to view our lives with a degree of detachment. Imagine watching a football game and cheering for your home team. It is so easy to get caught up in the game, feeling elation or disappointment. Now imagine watching a movie in which there is a football game. You know it is not a real game and so you watch with interest to see how it will unfold, but without the same attachment.

This perspective is similar to that of our soul. Soul knows that whatever will be, will be. Soul can already fast-forward to the end of our time here. It does not necessarily know all that will happen, but it knows that much of what aggravates and absorbs ego is ultimately of no consequence.

When we tune into soul and really grasp that perspective, there is a sense of peace and release that floods the body/mind. We can relax, surrender and watch how the story of our life evolves. We know without a doubt that everything is in a constant state of change, as are we.

We become centred in the core of our being, rather than in things outside of ourselves. We know that even if everything will not always be okay, we can still be okay.

We cannot know the future, but we can know this present moment. Be fully present, perceiving what is here. Release moment after moment and embrace each new moment as it comes. We are not destined to suffer just because we are human. We have the remarkable ability to choose. Choose peace. Choose bliss.

 

Gwen Randall-Young is a psychotherapist in private practice and author ofGrowing Into Soul: The Next Step in Human Evolution. For articles and information about her books and “Deep Powerful Change” personal growth/hypnosis CDs, visit www.gwen.ca

The light of the world

THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

When you are fully present and people around you manifest unconscious behavior, you won’t feel the need to react to it, so you don’t give it any reality. Your peace is so vast and deep that anything that is not peace disappears into it as if it had never existed. This breaks the karmic cycle of action and reaction. Animals, trees and owers will feel your peace and respond to it.

You teach through being, through demonstrating the peace of God. You become the “light of the world,” an emanation of pure consciousness and so you eliminate suffering on the level of cause. You eliminate unconsciousness from the world.

This doesn’t mean that you may not also teach through doing – for example, by pointing out how to dis-identify from the mind, recognize unconscious patterns within oneself and so on. But who you are is always a more vital teaching and a more powerful transformer of the world than what you say and more essential even than what you do.

Furthermore, to recognize the primacy of Being and thus work on the level of cause does not exclude the possibility that your compassion may simultaneously manifest on the level of doing, and in effect, by alleviating suffering whenever you come across it. When a hungry person asks you for bread and you have some, you will give it. But as you give the bread, even though your interaction may only be very brief, what really matters is this moment of shared Being, of which the bread is only a symbol. A deep healing takes place within it. In that moment, there is no giver, no receiver.

But there shouldn’t be any hunger and starvation in the €rst place. How can we create a better world without tackling evils such as hunger and violence €rst?

All evils are the effect of unconsciousness. You can alleviate the effects of unconsciousness, but you cannot eliminate them unless you eliminate their cause. True change happens within, not without.

If you feel called upon to alleviate suffering in the world, that is a very noble thing to do, but remember not to focus exclusively on the outer. Otherwise, you will encounter frustration and despair. Without a profound change in human consciousness, the world’s suffering is a bottomless pit. So don’t let your compassion become one-sided.

Empathy with someone else’s pain or lack and a desire to help must be balanced with a deeper realization of the eternal nature of all life and the ultimate illusion of all pain. Then let your peace ow into whatever you do and you will be working on the levels of effect and cause simultaneously.

This also applies if you are supporting a movement designed to stop deeply unconscious humans from destroying themselves, each other and the planet, or from continuing to inict dreadful suffering on other sentient beings. Remember; just as you cannot €ght the darkness, so you cannot €ght unconsciousness. If you try to do so, the polar opposites will become strengthened and more deeply entrenched. You will become identi€ed with one of the polarities; you will create an “enemy” and so be drawn into unconsciousness yourself.

Raise awareness by disseminating information, or, at the very least, practise passive resistance. But make sure that you carry no resistance within, no hatred, no negativity. “Love your enemies,” Jesus said, which, of course, means have no enemies.

Once you get involved in working on the level of effect, it is all too easy to lose yourself in it. Stay alert and very, very present. The causal level must remain your primary focus, the teaching of enlightenment your main purpose and peace your most precious gift to the world.

 

 

Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.