Most of my life, I followed a spiritual path along with learning what I could from Christianity and Eastern religions and adapting them. I guess I felt I had done a lot of work on myself and I changed over the years from what I learned. I felt a comfort zone in that I felt safe – “she’s clear; everything’s okay in the eyes of God” – and everything was okay for many years. But I still wasn’t aligned and I didn’t know it.
From the beginning of 2008 I noticed more and more things showing up that were evidence that whatever I’m doing isn’t working anymore (see my previous post What Do You Identify With? The Ego Knows - adding to that list: my car was hit by a truck in a parking lot while I was still in it – Note: minor damage nobody hurt). In fact, as I had mentioned in that earlier post, it had gone the other way almost to the point of wondering if there was something conspiring against us. In Empowered Soul, Andrea Hess’ post The Leap Into Growth started pointing me in the right direction when she said,
“Who or what is pushing you out of your comfort zone right now? Honor these people and situations as your master teachers. They are serving you on your path, perhaps in ways you don’t appreciate right now. It may seem that they are conspiring to make you fall into the abyss of the unknown. But perhaps, as you go over that cliff, you realize that you are not falling - you are flying!”
Coupled with that and reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61)(Paperback) and participating in Oprah Winfrey's free 10-week teleclass on this book my awakening has begun.
Deep down, I had a knowing that there were some major things that needed to change that I can no longer ignore – the obvious evidence got my attention. I believe the Universe can only take you so far with your resistance until you find yourself up against a wall, as Andrea Hess of Empowered Soul talks about in her post Deconstructing Our Brick Walls. You can’t go on blindly anymore – something has to give. What has to give for me is my identification with ego.
Some of the major things I am learning from this book that have opened my eyes are:
YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK
My thoughts ran rampantly all the time. I used to think, if you just thought and never spoke what you thought, you didn’t give it power. That’s true to a certain degree but the thought has an energy it carries of its own and if you keep entertaining the thought and repeating it in your head, you’re giving it just as much power.
Also, if you’ve engaged in the thought, you have identified with it and it becomes a part of you, even if you’ve never mentioned a word. Tolle says, “Through complete identification with the mind, a false sense of self – the ego – came into existence.” The ego lives in the past and the future – never the now. If you’re remembering past conditioned thoughts and mulling over them, you’re in ego’s grip. If you’re having negative thoughts about what may possibly happen in the future, you’re also in ego’s grip.
All that there is – is now, the present moment. Even when you think of something from the past you bring it into the now; likewise, if you’re thinking of something in the future you’re bringing into the present while you’re thinking about it.
What we need to do is become aware of our thoughts and observe them along with the emotions attached to them. Realize these thoughts are not you – these thoughts are not me. You are the one that is observing these thoughts and as we get proficient at this, the thoughts and old stories will fade and dissolve and we will be living in the present moment in alignment with Spirit.
FACE THE THOUGHT AND EMOTION
I had picked up somewhere the belief that if you have a negative thought or emotion you need to change it to something else – just put it out of your mind. I intuitively began to realize that when I changed a negative thought to something else I wasn’t really facing it. I was only pushing the negative thought down – suppressing it. It only appeared I was moving away from it. That’s why I believe all the negative, conditioned thoughts keep coming back. They’re stored in a reserve waiting to be triggered for the right moment. You haven’t really done anything with them.
I am learning that when one of these negative, conditioned thoughts show up, I first notice it and observe and be with it (not identify with it) in the present moment until it dissolves or diminishes. It’s a type of surrendering and accepting it for what it is, as Alex Blackwell of The Next 45 Years talks about in his post Four Rocks to Grasp in Life in the Rock of Surrender. It’s not the easiest thing to do, especially if there are emotions attached to it. But, again, the more I sit with this and observe knowing what it is and where it is coming from, it gets better. Tolle says, “Any negative emotion that is not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment it arises does not completely dissolve. It leaves behind a remnant of pain.”
We have them. In fact, most of us are born into this world with a pain-body according to Tolle:
“This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body.
The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis…. The collective pain-body is probably encoded within every human’s DNA, although we haven’t discovered it there yet.
Every newborn who comes into this world already carries an emotional pain-body. In some it is heavier, more dense than in others.”
So, if you feel like you have two people living inside of you and one shows up unannounced and demanding and you wonder where did that come from, it’s probably the result of accumulated emotional pain energy - pain-body. You can become deeply negative suddenly or feel a dark and heavy mood out of the blue. Tolle says, “It may be shocking when you realize for the first time that there is something within you that periodically seeks emotional negativity, seeks unhappiness. You need even more awareness to see it in yourself than to recognize it in another person.” When you become aware of what this is, you can observe it just as you do your thoughts and emotions. When you only observe and not attach to it or label it, the negativity is diminished.
The purpose of all this for me was to realize that all of what has been happening is not of the real me – it’s of the false self – ego – pretending to be me. Realize that the real you is always intact with Spirit and is not in contention, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or possessed.
I have only touched the surface of what there is to learn from these teachings and I wanted to share them with you as I continue on this journey. I invite feedback and comments from those of you already reading the book or even if you’re not. It will give me further insight into what I’ve posted.
As this knowledge resonates and takes hold, more and more of us will learn and align with our true purpose and meaning of life - that is to be awakened and aligned with Spirit in the present moment living the life we were destined to live.
From the kitchen table - Pat
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