Periodically while reading A New Earth I found myself pausing and asking “what does he mean?” Usually I would have to read and re-read the particular sentence or passage before the words sunk in. I found this happening with more frequency when reading the last few chapters of A New Earth.
Eckhart begins with the phrase Gnothi Seauton which means “Know Thyself.” These words are posted at the entrance of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle. History tells us that people would visit the Oracle to learn what destiny had in store for them. However, before asking what destiny has in store for us, Eckhart reminds us that we must first ask “Who am I?”
As has been discussed in previous chapters, we often identify ourselves by our names, jobs, positions, physical attributes, and so forth. These are external attributes and roles and attachment to our roles can impede our ability to live in the present moment. In other words, it is okay to identify ourselves by our roles but we shouldn’t become so attached to the role that when that role ends (e.g. such as leaving a long term job position) we don’t know who we are or what else to do.
According to Eckhart, when you realize who you are NOT, then who you ARE will be revealed.
Hmm, okay; big pause here.
This realization may occur when something we identified with is gone. This loss could be through death, disaster, or even loss of social position. When this happens we have two choices: resist or accept. When we resist, we fight the present situation; we are reactive and confrontational. When we accept the situation, we go through the suffering and increase our awareness. We accept the present moment.
Another way to understand who you truly are is through abundance or acknowledging the good that is already in your life. Too often we think that WHO we are is how we see ourselves treated by others. We aren’t respected. We don’t receive recognition. We aren’t loved. Our needs are not being met. We believe we have nothing to give or that people are withholding what we need. “Poor me.” Instead of acknowledging the good already in our lives all we see is lack. And acknowledging the good in our life is the basis of abundance.
This is where gratitude comes into play. This was an “a ha” moment for me because “gratitude” was the word I chose for myself this year. And these words in A New Earth really hit home:
Whatever you think the world is withholding from you,
you are withholding from the world.
You are withholding it because deep down you think you are small
and that you have nothing to give.
In other words, if you don’t let flow whatever it is that you think the world is withholding, you won’t know that you have it already within you. Outflow determines Inflow. Or “what you give, you get.” Tell people you appreciate them. Praise someone for a job well done. Say thank you more often. Smile at a stranger.
When you acknowledge abundance, when you express gratitude, when you see the fullness in life, you send out positive energy, you begin to live in the present moment and in that moment you may find who you truly are.