More and more I think Eckhart Tolle is right. I think there is definitely something good, a worthy practice or pursuit, in staying in the present moment. As I continue to plow through ACIM and learn about the intricacies of the ego, I am coming to understand some things, some past experiences.
I first “met” or encountered or even experienced Tolle I think back when I was living in my grandma’s attic. Man I really miss those days! There I was, all this space to myself, places where I could go outside and do yoga or meditate, and I never really appreciated it! I guess the fact that my mother and my grandmother were constantly arguing, and I felt like I had to play referee may have contributed to my not seeing the blessings I had been given. Also I was far away from town and other people – no social opportunities. But I had a bed, my own relatively warm room (warmer than the RV anyway!) and plenty of space and time to do something with my life. If I had been intelligent at all I would have started to be serious about YouTube, back in 2009, BEFORE all their restrictions and censorship. Who knows? Maybe if I had I would now have my own huge channel and thousands of subscribers, enough that I could relocate anywhere I like.
In any case, some folks were going to repair our bathroom and remove mold, so my grandmother’s insurance company moved us all out into hotels until everything was finished. While I enjoyed my time at the Staybridge, I read Tolle, Basho and Ryokan. That’s when I started to write these shorter, Haiku-like poems. It just fit me, felt right. In immersing myself in Tolle’s teachings, I found myself in that space where poetry flows effortlessly through me. It is the exact same space I am in when I am in the natural flow of my life instead of struggling against the current. One way you, the readers, know that I am not in the present moment, not in the flow, is that there are no new poems being shared here. The few I have shared these last few months were written last year, or during some brief time when I was in a happier state. When I am angry, depressed or suffering from cabin fever, like now, the stream of poetry finds no access through me, and I can no longer be a channel for it. Or anything of a loving or spiritual nature. I am sure you can see that from the things I have written these last few months.
I think I understand a few things about this now… It occurs to me that a truly enlightened person is permanently focused on the present moment. They have to be, and this is important because, the ego does not have any influence or power in the present moment. I am certain this is true. Nobody who is fully aware, fully present, gets caught up in other people’s BS. This must be how I was able to stay at my brother’s the last time I was there, and when he blew up, I did not engage. I was able to just walk away. I am sure I wrote about this here some years ago. When you are fully aware, fully present, fully IN your present moment experience, you are happier, you are more inspired, you are more loving and you are more of a conduit for true spiritual energy, that might manifest through you in the form of writing, or art, or some other creative endeavor. In other words, if you are blocked creatively, it seems to me the most effortless fix would be to find a way to get into the present moment. Meditate, accept your feelings about your art as they are, embracing them, feeling through them, then releasing them and letting them go. If you can get into the present moment, and practice staying there even for a few days, my guess is that the ability to create will come flowing back.
From what I can understand of ACIM, the ego is past-focused, and it uses the past as a reference for the future. But it NEVER, EVER dwells in the present moment. Someone in the sway of their ego will find themselves easily caught up in the ego BS of others around them. They are easily influenced by the actions of others. They experience anger, discontent, frustration, unhappiness, stress and a host of other negative emotions. Why is that? Lost a train of thought here, but will type in in faith and knowing the words will come if important…
Why is it that someone being driven or influenced by their ego is unable to experience more joyful, spiritual states? Simple… Because there is this idea (I guess it comes from the ego) that the present moment experience should be something other than what it is. It is that simple. It really is. If you are angry it is because you are in denial of how things are. You want things to be different, you believe and really feel they should be different. But reality doesn’t bend to your will like that. Actually, as long as you are angry and struggling against reality, you will continue to create a reality that seems to be fighting against you, that seems to be in some struggle with you. It’s that rowing against the current state. Caught up in your ego, you never realize, it never occurs to you, that you can simply accept reality as it is, get back into the current, and determine to create a better experience for yourself.
You see YOU create the current of your life! How’s that for mind-blowing? All the energy you have focused and invested in whatever or wherever you have focused or invested it over the years you have been alive has created a stream, a natural state, in which your life flows. The only way to change that flow is to place all your energy and focus in the new direction you wish to go. And you start RIGHT NOW, in this moment. Then you practice placing your energy and focus in this new direction, every day, until the new current is established. Then you flow in that direction. The current CURRENT you’re are in is very powerful. Or at least it seems to be very powerful, and in your perception it is very strong. You have put YEARS of energy and focus into it. So don’t expect overnight miracles. They can happen – “Anything Is Possible, All Possibilities Exist” (the author), but it is more likely you will have to continue to ride them as you slowly shift things and change their direction.
What does this entail? ACCEPTING THINGS AS THEY ARE, IN THIS MOMENT! Yup, that is what you have to do. The ego has likely influenced the current flow of your life, and that is why your life sucks big, giant hairy goat balls right now! The ego does not have your best interests at heart, only its own. It doesn’t care about you at all. In fact it hates you. That is essentially what ACIM says, and for all I know it is true. The good news is that each moment brings a chance for you to change where you put your energy and focus, an opportunity to begin the most likely (but not necessarily) slow, tedious process of creating a better present moment experience for yourself. But you always, ALWAYS, have to accept the present moment experience as it is. You made it after all! It is YOUR creation!
Teal swan has several videos on anger, and I forget now what she said to do. Something about asking yourself what needs are not being met? In any case, if you are angry, I would perhaps follow her advice, because if nothing else that causes you to pause. It is a good interrupt. You need an interrupt so you can become aware and initiate any change. The next thing I advise is asking yourself, what is it you are denying? What is it you are attempting to deny the reality of in this moment? What is it you feel should not have happened, or should be different? What is the “should story” running in the background here? You need the interrupt to get a chance to become aware of that “should story.” Once you have become aware of it, THEN you have to accept it.
That first step, BTW, I think of as ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, AKA, “It is what it is.” That leads, naturally to acceptance, because it is how it is. It will not change by you being angry at it. Actually, your anger will ensure you keep reliving that same state, over and over again. You will keep having that undesirable and unwanted present moment experience. ALL RESISTANCE EMPOWERS (gives power to) WHATEVER YOU ARE RESISTING! I am sure I have said this before, and that is what I mean. Your denial, your “should story”, is a form of resistance, and you resistance provides the power that creates, drives and perpetuates the experience making you angry. So you have to ACCEPT it, because it is there, you can’t deny it away.
Next you have to feel your way through it. This is where Susan Jeffers, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway” comes in. You have to feel what you feel. You have to allow yourself to feel. You have to embrace these feelings, allow yourself to feel them as long as you need to feel them, then when you are ready, you have to release them and let them go. LETTING GO is another egoless state. LETTING GO is antithetical to the ego, just as acknowledgement and acceptance of things the way they are is. These things are directly opposite to the egoic state.
The ego wants to retain. It wants to be angry, it wants to hold grudges, it wants to hate, it wants to be bitter, it wants to be resentful. So it drives you, as long as you are under is influence, held in its sway, to be angry, bitter, hateful and resentful. If you think you are a religious or spiritual person, and yet you have any energy invested in, or focus invested on, any of these states, anything that is the opposite, at its root, to love, you are not truly religious or spiritual. Because a truly religious or spiritual state is one where the individual is influenced by love, not their ego, PERIOD. There are no exceptions!
Any investment in your identity as a religious or spiritual person – as Christian and part of the Christian group, or a Muslim and part of the Muslim group, or a Buddhist and part of the Buddhist group or even as a spiritual, not religious person (this is me) – this is a sure sign the ego is behind the wheel of your life. I am in the same boat as the rest of you in this. Anything we would make as part of identity, and invest all our energy and focus into who we believe, feel or think we are (BLM, LGBTQ – I am looking at you!) is sheer ego. And as long as our egos are in control, there will be war, there will be disease, death and destruction, because our egos hate us, and want to destroy us. It seems odd and counter-intuitive, because once we are dead, our ego is also dead. But our egos are insane. You can not apply logic to insanity. You can not apply reason to the unreasonable.
Your beliefs, religious, spiritual, scientific or anything else, your racial identity, your gender, your sexual preferences – all of this BS does not go with you when you die. Understand that. It all dies with your physical body and your ego. Who you really are is none of that shit. To get more in tune with who you really are, hold your beliefs loosely, let them go when they no longer serve you, and practice being in the present moment. Accept things as they are, and if you want a better present moment experience, invest the energy, effort and focus in the direction you wish to go. But always say in the flow, in a state of acknowledgement, acceptance, allowing then releasing and letting go. If you want to be happy, if you want to be effortlessly creative, that is the state you need to be in, If you want to experience true joy, that is the state you have to be in, and I suspect, that if you want to manifest desirable, wonderful things in your life, that is the state you have to be in. You have to let all the other BS go.
Somehow, someway, I am determined to change the current course of my life to one of abundance and joy. I will get out from under the influence of the ego and get into the present moment, with full awareness. And I will practice staying there, until it becomes the natural current of my life. And I will know I am in that state when all my creative endeavors flow effortlessly through me, just as they did when I dipped my toe into the waters of this experience all those years ago. I keep forgetting all the things I have learned. All the lessons I went through. It is not easy to create such a drastic change in one’s nature, ones state or natural way of being. Or at least it seems as if there is a lot that gets in between me and the intention to change. Thankfully this is a journey we can take together, we can support each other and help each other. Actually I have created a place for that here:
I think change seems difficult, seems hard, because so much energy and focus has created a current state that seems to resist change. The current is very strong, if it has been created while under the influence of our ego. We have invested a lot of energy and focus into our current life experience. But ACIM may be right, this may all be an illusion, “albeit a very strong, persistent one.” (Albert Einstein) The ego is just an illusion. It is not real. It’s like we put the VR glasses on, and now are struggling to take them off. But they can easily come off, allowing us to see things as they really are. We just have to raise up are arms and take them off. It seems harder than it really is. Maybe there is no current dragging us along at all, maybe the currents are just our beliefs, and when we let them go, we come to see that we are not being carried or driven anywhere. We can just start walking in whatever direction we choose. Maybe that’s how things really are. I don’t know, but I will apply and remember what I have learned, and shared with you here.
Here’s to making our experience of this world exactly what we want it to be!