28 August 2012


"When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction - you don't look to it for salvation. Therefore, you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success has the power to change your inner state of Being. You have found the life underneath your life situation." - The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle
I have been taking small sips of the Power of Now for a few weeks now, and it really has been a blessing. But I didn't always think of it as such. I would go through the chapters, finding inspiration and passages that really spoke to me. But one of the biggest lessons of all from this book - to stop thinking and come into Being - had been extremely intimidating to me. At first it was discouraging. I would try to imagine myself sitting in an open, lush field with a blank mind and a light heart. Animals would frolic around me, the sun would endlessly kiss my cheeks, and the whole Earth would hug me. But somehow this seemed unattainable. It fact, when I realized I was still sitting on my couch, it seemed outright stupid. But I continued to wade through the book. As the teachings went on, and they tend to repeat, the whole concept of "not thinking" became frustrating... and then almost maddening. I wanted that stillness and peace of mind SO badly, but couldn't imagine a time when I would actually be able to stop all of my thinking and just be still (outside of savasana). WHAT would it feel like to have that in everyday life? Would I really be able to achieve that? WHEN? I thought a LOT about not thinking... funny how that works. But I kept on pressing through the book, picking it up whenever I had some quiet time and really trying to go through it slowly to give its teachings a chance. Often, when I would come across 11:11, I would wish for the stillness to wash over me.

Last week, I went through a what would often be described as one of the most saddening, upsetting, heart-wrenching experiences for a young woman - a break-up (#firstworldproblems). I had thought about what it might look like as I lay on the couch. Would I collapse on the floor and feel like my whole chest was ripped open, like last time? Would I cry so hard that I couldn't breathe? Would I need to go out with friends every single night so I wasn't reminded of my aloneness? I imagined myself as a complete and total MESS.

When it was upon me, surprisingly, it looked and felt nothing like this. I was strangely calm as I talked out my experience of the relationship and why things had to end. It felt like someone had hijacked my body to carry out a mission, and I just along for the ride. I didn't hesitate, I didn't feel nauseous, and I didn't fight back tears. It felt like I had just awakened from a day of meditation - so relaxed and collected. Why did I feel so at peace? Why wasn't I a ridiculous blubbering freak at this point? *Cue depression, sad music, anxiety, regret* No? Nothing? 

And then it hit me.

"What are you thinking?" 
I respond, "Nothing." 

Wait, really? Yes, really. I had no thoughts. I had no expectations. I was 100% in the moment, and letting it just be whatever it was. I didn't think about how I would feel the next day or in a week or when X happened. I had surrendered all of that "junk" that usually gets in the way of following my intuition. I even felt happy, knowing that I wasn't being ruled by any of those usual inhibiting fears and whisperings. Everything was unfolding around me and I let it happen, as if I knew it was meant to be just as it was.

THIS is what Tolle was talking about! Even in the most "dire" circumstances, the mind is still. I couldn't even believe it. It felt like a higher power was giving me this strength that I didn't know I had access to. I was a pillar of strength - I could take on anything and offer support too. I wished so badly that everyone could feel this. Nothing could hurt me or scare me at that point. And at that realization, I made a vow to bring that stillness into every day. Would I struggle on some days? Of course. But now that I knew what it felt like, I had something to reflect on to pull me back into a present consciousness. 

I feel so blessed. I want to take the credit for creating that peace of mind and inner strength I experienced. But it almost felt outside of me - like I had been taken over and marionetted down the Path that the Universe intended for me. However, I think what really happened is that I disidentified with my mind. I am so used to letting my mind rule me and BE me, that separation from it didn't feel like the "person" I am used to being. How incredible. Our identity is made up of something very different than all of those erratic thoughts, bouncing around the brain like a million ping-pong balls with no destination. There is more to us than the pain-body that tries to hold us back from pressing through the scary, difficult times. There is an actual inner energy that is PURELY us, and we can only take on that form when we severe the ties from our mind. 

This may all sound crazy to you. It sure did to me when Tolle explained it. But I'm telling you right now, that you TOO can have this if you really want it. You can get to really know your true SELF and experience pure bliss, peace of mind, and blinding happiness. You may not recognize this self (which you have most likely been burying with a pain-body or your mind) at first. But soon enough, it will feel strange to instead be ruled by the mind. You will actually feel more at home in the still mind state instead of in the problem-solving, messy, time-bound state you tried to find comfort and happiness in before. As Tolle says, you can find the life underneath your life situation.

I'd love to hear any of your thoughts, or perhaps about your first experience of the still mind, whenever that time may come. <3

Yuna - Thinkin Bout You (Frank Ocean Cover)

15 August 2012

Bad Apples.

One of my fellow Bliss Sisters (who I am yet to meet but still feel connected to by default of the amazing group energy) posted the inspiration below, and I felt encouraged to share it with my friends.

Because life requires that we interact with different personalities, it is not uncommon for us to encounter a situation where there is one person whose behavior may negatively impact the experiences of others. Someone who is loud and crass can interrupt the serenity o
f those who come together to practice peace. A disruptive worker can cause rules to be imposed that affect their colleagues‚ professional lives. A team member who is pessimistic or highly critical may destroy the morale of their fellow members. And one "bad apple" in your personal life can be a potent distraction that makes it difficult to focus on the blessings you've been given and the people who love you.

There may always be people in your life who take it upon themselves to create disruption, foster chaos, stamp out hope, and act as if they are above reproach even when, in doing so, they put a blight on their own experiences. But you don't need to allow their negativity and callousness to sour your good mood. Often, our first impulse upon coming head-to-head with a bad apple is to express our anger and frustration in no uncertain terms. However, bad apples only have the power to turn our lives sour if we let them.
If you can exercise patience and choose not to respond to their words or actions, you will significantly limit the effect they are able to have on you and your environment. You can also attempt to encourage a bad apple to change their behavior by letting your good behavior stand as an example. If your bad apple is simply hoping to attract notice, they may come to realize that receiving positive attention is much more satisfying than making a negative impression. While you may be tempted to simply disassociate yourself entirely from a bad apple, consider why they might be inclined to cause disturbances. Understanding their motivation can help you see that bad apples are not necessarily bad people. Though bad apples are a fact of life, minimizing the impact you allow them to have upon you is empowering because you are not letting anyone else affect the quality of your experiences. You may discover that buried at the very heart of a bad apple is a seed of goodness." by Madisyn Taylor 

This post couldn't have come at a better time for me. It is definitely encouraging to me as I learn how to cope with bad apples in my life and still maintain my high spirits. Instead of tossing out the bad apples, I should be a shining, ruby example to those people who may bring me down. I haven't been doing that lately... and it's upsetting to look at those times that I was out of control of my emotions around those people.

I find that when I struggle to keep "bad apples" around, it often shortens my fuse and makes me overly emotional when I try to convey to them MY perspective on things. But that reactive attitude is just fighting fire with fire. We both end up anxious to convert the other person to our own beliefs, and, by default, lose all our abilities to listen and empathize with the other. That is extremely counterproductive and just outright hurtful. I hate when people shut down and lose their rationality, so why in the world would I want to be that person. I DON'T!

I need to lead by example rather than forcing my own beliefs down people's throats. I could list a million books those negative people should read and recite quotes and mantras that I believe would make their lives better. But at the end of the day, that's not my job. I should be more focused on bettering myself (not others) so that I can indeed be that shining example. Because even though I read all of those materials, I am still struggling myself to put them into practice! I have my OWN work to do. We don't have to agree on everything, or ANYthing for that matter. But I can still be loving and empathetic. Someone can only be wrong and intolerable if I make them out to be those things. "Wrong" isn't a physical thing - go find me some "wrong" outside... it doesn't exist! Lead by example... lead by example.... what kind of example do I want to be? What kind of example do YOU want to be? Let's focus on that, instead of how we wish other people would be.

13 August 2012


"Be the ever-alert guardian of your inner space. You need to be present enough to be able to watch the pain-body directly and feel its energy. It then cannot control your thinking. The moment your thinking is aligned with the energy field of the pain-body, you are identified with it and again feeding it with your thoughts...
So the pain-body doesn't want to you obserive it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe it, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it presence. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This mean that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself through you." The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

I've been slowly easing into The Power of Now and really drinking in the teachings. Although it's a small book and it's not loaded with big words, the concepts are really deep and take time to process. Everything I've read so far is really interesting: recognizing the pain-body; learning to watch the thinker instead of being those thoughts. I'm just finding it a bit intimidating because it's all so new and it seems so difficult to master. But that doesn't mean I'm not willing to try my hardest.

I really like the portions of the book that I posted above. It's about thinking of all your past and present pain as an entity that lives within you and is fed by your negative thoughts. When I think about all of the worries, resentment and judgement (all are tied to fear) I carry around as a demon that is separate from the core of my being, it seems much more attainable to starve that entity and recognize that I am NOT all of those things. It seems creepy, but I like to imagine that when I start experiencing negative thoughts, like how dreadful someone is or how I don't feel pretty enough or brave enough, it's really that terrible pain-body hacking the true me. At the point that I start to identify with the demon's whisperings, I know that I am "unconscious" - as Tolle explains, this implies a complete absence of the watcher (I explain 'the watcher' in my previous post). In those moments, I am allowing my mind to control me instead of assuming power of that mental control panel. I feel like that pain-body not only says things about myself, but it also projects a lot of negativity onto friends, family, and colleagues - I start to see them as attacking me, when really it's just that same pain-body acting up within myself. It's tough to realize that I have been blaming others for their beliefs or judgments when really the problem itself lies in my unconsciousness (aka being ruled by the pain-body).

What seems the most challenging about separating myself from that pain-body is that Tolle says not to analyze its negative thoughts, but just to listen in - draw awareness so that they can't survive. My instinct is to super-analyze and look for the root of the issue. But I now understand that would mean I am further pulling myself out of the present and feeding that dejecting body even more by identifying with it. It's definitely going to take a lot of practice to start believing that those thoughts really are not my own, and that they actually belong to the pain-body. We have the power to flick the "off" switch on that entity, but it requires a strong ability to watch it objectively.
"If you are able to stay alert and present at that time and watch whatever you feel within, rather than be taken over by it, it affords an opportunity for the most powerful spiritual practice, and a rapid transmutation of all past pain becomes possible."
Today I am going to stare down that pain-body and do something that it would definitely advise me not to - face my fear and anxiety about keeping in touch with people that intimidate me. Gotta start somewhere! What can you do today to debilitate your pain-body?

One Republic, Marching On

06 August 2012


Wow! I haven't written in a while. I think that a combination of fear and procrastination (wait, that's the same thing) kept me from posting. Now, more than ever, I need to release some of that stagnant energy and experience a complete renewal. Looks like the stars are going to be encouragingly aligned this month too! I feel another transformation coming... I've been blocking the good vibes of the Universe with my negative thoughts on repeat. Time to get all that "crap" out of the way.

I've been going through a rough time lately - just a growth period that I was afraid to face. I've had a lot of questions on my mind that seemed to rule me, like how to proceed with difficult, disrespectful people in my life, and how to prioritize my own happiness while staying in touch with people that leech the light from my heart (it's not so easy to cope when those people are family). Instead of setting time aside for myself to journal or to really think on this, I have run away from it until the point of being sick over it. I'm ready to face it now - after all, this is life and it's the only one we get. We should prioritize happiness and peace of mind every day. I hate to think that I've thought "I'll get it to" for so many weeks.  

I had an awakening this weekend that really kicked off my desire to start a-new. A friend was going through a hard time, and I was offering advice like "don't have any expectations about the future, or you will spoil the present!" and "you are passing so many judgements against yourself that you aren't allowing any room for growth!" Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. WHY wasn't I taking my own advice? I had so much pent up fear about what it might mean to reach out to that intimidating person or loving my perfectly imperfect self every day that I didn't even realize that I had gotten so far away from the messages that really center me: acceptance and love (of self and others). The mirror was held up to me when I was trying to motivate my friend and I realized that I really needed to practice that same advice in my own life.

That same morning, I picked up a book that I had been meaning to read for a while - The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I was immediately reminded of why I had done so much spiritual reading in the months that I was riding the high from my last transformation. Just reading a few pages of this book immediately motivated me to start living my best life again. Those pages also revealed to me the biggest obstacle I had been facing the last couple of weeks (and, really, my whole life)...

"The philosopher Descartes believed that he had found the most fundamental truth when he made his famous statement: 'I think, therefore I am.' He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking. The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind."

This was ME! I am Descartes, letting my mind control me, instead of having control over my mind. I have been identifying as the thinker, instead of listening to those voices in my head impartially. [Note: I need to keeping reading the book and learning how to detach from the mind. So while I tell this story in the past, it is still my present experience. But, I have found awareness that such a way of living exists, and I WILL learn how.]  I separate myself from the world, experiences, and emotions when I let my mind take over. I don't know how many minutes of my life I have actually spent detached from my mind - separate from those poisonous thoughts. Maybe a total of 10 minutes, facilitated by savasana in my yoga classes. Even then, I know that the little chit-chat monsters that hiss stories of unworthiness and incapability were banging down the door.

 "The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation."

Sweet encouragement. I think I'm feeling ill *cough cough*... time to leave work and go home to read! Hah - I wish. I can make time for reading and recentering now that I see how badly I need it. I am very excited and totally confused by how this whole 'detach from the mind' thing is going to work. But the key word needs to be "excited." I need to start replacing my fear with excitement so that I am actionable and accountable for the transformations that I want to induce in my life.  

I would love to hear from any of you who are Tolle fans and may have read The Power of Now. I also have A New Earth on my shelf, so that will come after!

Today I am planting the seed.

It's Time, Imagine Dragons
"It's time to begin, isn't it?"