Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Power of Now

I was lost in my own mind.  Struggling to find an inner balance and peace.  I could only think about what I didn't have.  Where I wanted to be.  How my current life situation wasn't good enough.  I had an emotional breakdown.  I couldn't handle the pressures anymore.  Yet I was living my dream.  Why wasn't I happy?  Out of sheer necessity, I asked a friend at work, whom I go to frequently to get my emotions in check, to go out for a bite to eat.  She willingly accepted.  I figitted as we sat waiting for our food.  "Okay", she said, "When you eat this, close your eyes.  Remember the scene in Ratatouille when Remy was describing the flavors he was experiencing, and how they seemed like fireworks?  I wan't you to experience your food in that way.  Recognize every flavor.  Trust me, you'll love it!".  So I did.  We had ordered a special Thai lettuce wrap that included the most unusual flavors and textures.  With my eyes closed, I stopped thinking about everything else, my attention solely on the flavors; identifying each and every flavor.  It was sweet, spicy, citrusy, red-peppery, shrimpy, vibrant, alive!  It was the most amazing experience I had had in quite a while.  Suddenly I was a bit more aware.  I was settled.  I was ready.

The sun just burst through my window and into my room as I finished that last sentence.

As we continued our conversation, she quickly recognized that I was longing for something more.  On the surface, it was a longing for the ability to be creative.  To be an artist.  But was that truly what I wanted?  Looking back, I just wanted to be happy.  At peace.  At a place where creativity flows easily, not forced.  Deep down she must have realized that, too, and proceeded to share with me one of the greatest tips I have ever received.  "Go to this podcast", she said.  "I used to talk to my mom back in Italy every morning as I was driving to wok.  It was evening in Italy, and she was tired and stressed from the day, and I would soak up that stress and anxiety, even before I started my own day.  It was very unhealthy for me.  When I realized that, I decided to make a change.  I found this podcast, and every morning as I drive to work, I listen to it.  It has completely changed the course of my day, and I think it will help you tremendously."

Here is the link to the Oprah Winfrey Spirit Channel Podcast on iTunes:

I started with "The Shadow Effect" series, as I had read the book last year, and got a lot out of it.  Most of it resonated with me, but there was still something lacking.  I was still living from the level of the mind.  A prisoner to my insecurities and fears.  I decided to approach the podcast series from the very beginning.  It started with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey discussing his book "A New Earth".  I remember seeing his books on sale at the book store in the mall I used to work in.  At the time I spent whatever energy I could reading books from Deepak Chopra, which I highly respect and recommend, but I thought that was all I needed to know.  I was not as open to new ideas back then.  I wasn't ready.  But now I was.  As I watched the video of Eckhart and Oprah, a new realization hit me like a freight train.  He stressed how important it is to stop thinking.  To allow the mind to rest.  I had been so caught up and exhausted by my own mind that the concept of allowing it to shut up was incredibly reassuring and relieving.  But I wasn't ready yet.  I still fussed about my room, frustrated with how little space I had, how messy it was, how I couldn't find that damn sock!  Why did I have to kneel down!  This was such a pain!!!

I was in so much pain that I couldn't even sit up straight as I plopped myself on my floor.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I would let my mind rest.  I sat in silence as I let all the tumbling thoughts come into my mind, but patiently waited until they left.  A few minutes later, I was able to breath more deeply, and suddenly, I was sitting upright.  The frigidness in my mind and body had subsided, and I was free.  When I opened my eyes, my mind was clear.  My room was bright blue.  I was seeing things in a whole new way.  I laughed at how ridiculous it was that I was upset about a missing sock.  I rediscovered my true self.  The rest of the weekend I spent in the moment.  It was magical.  It was vibrant.  It was new.

The next day, my friend loaned me her audiobook "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.  I'm just about finished listening to it, and I have to say it was completely changed my perspective on life.  This author, this book, this podcast, this friend revealed my inner self and saved me from the shackles of my mind.

I am fully alive, no longer identifying with my ego.  I am the awareness I experience in the present moment.