Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Your Inner Purpose: A New Earth Webcast Chapter 9

As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.

What is our inner purpose?  Why are we here and what are we supposed to do?  Isn’t that the ultimate question that we frequently ask?  From the time we are old enough to think about what we want to do with our lives, we ask this question. 

Eckhart believes each person has two purposes in life: an outer purpose and an inner purpose.  The outer purpose is the DOING of our lives; thinking about the future, where we’re going and what we’re doing.  The inner purpose is BEING; the aligning of our lives, where we are right now, with the present moment.

When we realize our inner purpose, our being in the present moment and being aligned with life, then our outer purpose will be fulfilled.  And it begins with awakening.

Throughout The New Earth Eckhart talks about awakening, of becoming conscious and dropping the ego, and how if we learn to quiet our minds, to take a breath (or many breaths), and focus on the present moment, that we will discover our inner purpose.  He also stresses that this is not some miraculous transformation that happens over night.  (Sorry, I haven’t found the Fairy Godmother of Awakening with her magic wand…yet.)  This is a process.

Eckhart describes awakening as a shift in consciousness; a time when we are not lost in our thinking or where thinking runs our lives. 

That doesn’t mean we stop thinking or stop having that voice that pops into our heads.  That voice shows up almost every morning when I get in the shower.  It reminds me about an email I need to send or a phone call to make.  Sometimes a problem gets solved or a creative idea is born.

Yet what is different is that as I become more aware of this voice in my head (remember, I once named her Esther), I remind myself to get quiet and focus on the present moment.  To feel the warmth of the bathroom floor (we splurged and installed radiant heat.)  To listen to the birds chirping.  To listen to Pippin purr as he settles in on the rug.

When we awaken, we become aware.  And when we become aware, we can make a conscious choice to be present rather than let the useless thinking take over.

And what does that have to do with inner purpose?  It means that we need to connect whatever we are currently doing now, our outer purpose, with our inner purpose.  By connecting the current activity with inner purpose, we bring deeper meaning into what we do.

So, for example, when you have to cook dinner after a long day, and you really don’t feel like it but you need to do it, you can piss and moan about it and resist it, which does not make it a fulfilling task for your or your family OR you can accept it and say “Okay, I have to fix dinner now.  This is what I need to do and I need to bring my full attention to it.”

The next thing you know, you find that you actually like cooking and maybe discover a long forgotten cookbook or a recipe you haven’t fixed in a long time.

Another cool thing about increased awareness is synchronicity.  As you become more aware, more present, the universe begins to bring things to you.  You might notice “coincidences.”  The wholesale order you hoped for arrives in your email.  You get accepted into an important show.  You win an award.  Perhaps unexpected money comes to you or that car you wanted to buy is on sale. 

Would some of these things happened anyways?  Perhaps.  Would you have noticed them?  Maybe.  Would you have struggled to make some of it happen?  Possibly.  But there may be no joy in it.

Our outer purpose will change over time and varies from person to person.  Our inner purpose is to awaken.  Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling our outer purpose.


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Discovering Inner Space: A New Earth Webcast Chapter 8

Our minds are full of internal thoughts
and our external lives are filled with things to do.
There is no space in our lives.

And so began the discussion on discovering our inner space.  And how true it is.  We get up in the morning and we start thinking about what to make for dinner.  We run from place to place; meeting to meeting, the soccer game, the little league game, the book club meeting.  No wonder we want to stop the world and get off.

What is inner space?  It is that part of you that allows you to step back from yourself and witness what is happening to you and around you; you witness your own behavior, actions, or words.

And how does one come to find his/her inner space?  Through awareness and presence.  When you bring awareness to a situation, an urge, a pattern or habit, consistently as it happens, you begin to develop inner space.  This awareness may not always succeed, especially when the desire, the long-ingrained pattern, is strong.  So don’t expect perfection the first time around or maybe not even the 5oth time around.  However, the more you apply awareness to a situation, a pattern, a habit, it will gradually lessen.

In a previous post I referred to this as my “oh crap” moment.  The moment when you’re talking about something with someone and you say a word or phrase that may hurt their feelings and as soon as the words are out of your mouth you realize the hurt you may have caused.  Sometimes this realization happens immediately after the fact and sometimes it happens way after the fact.

Lately I’ve noticed myself becoming more aware of an emotion or reaction that wants to emerge during certain situations or conversations.  Instead of allowing the reaction to emerge, I find myself pausing.  I take a breath during that moment of silence and then speak.  And this is hard because we are conditioned to fear moments of silence.  Yet it is in the silence where we find stillness, awareness, and presence.  I am learning to be comfortable with periods of silence.

I’m also reminded of phrases I heard as a child: “bite your tongue,” “silence is golden,” and “think before you speak.”  Perhaps those who spoke these phrases to me were demonstrating some level of awareness that I was, well, not aware of at the time.

It is also important to remember when you step into this inner space that you not judge yourself.  You need to simply observe.  If you begin to judge yourself, then you clog your mind with those thoughts again (hello inner voice).

This too, shall pass  This too, will pass

Oh how I hated this phrase as a kid.  Why on earth would I want something to pass?  Why would I want it to end?  Remember how hard it could be to leave a friend’s house after playing all day?

This too, shall pass tells us that we should not cling to situations or objects.  It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves or perhaps find comfort in these words.  Rather it means that we need to become aware of the fleetingness of situations and that should help us enjoy life even more. 

If we are aware of the nonpermanence of people, objects, and situations, we will enjoy them more.  If we cling out of fear of loss, if we expect people and things to be as they always have, we become trapped inside the events of our lives.  Through nonattachment we will also find inner space.

Discover your inner space by bringing little gaps into your daily life.  Take a breath.  Listen and allow the silence.  Practice nonattachment, nonjudgement, and nonresistance.  Don’t be too harsh on yourself if it doesn’t happen right away.  Space opens gradually and when it does, be sure to step in.

 


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The Core of the Ego: A New Earth Webcast Chapter 3

The New Earth webcast with Oprah and Eckhart Tolle continued its discussion on the ego this past week.  In this segment, Eckhart discussed the core of the ego.

Earlier we were introduced to the ego which was defined as that which we identify with: concepts, our story, our past.

Now it was time to discuss what makes the ego thrive.

A key to what makes the ego thrive is complaining and resentment, reactivity and grievance, faultfinding, wanting to be right, and to feel superior.

Egoic complaining is complaining that serves no purpose because it does not bring about change.  A classic example is receiving cold soup in a restaurant.  If you state the facts, “My soup is cold, may I have hot soup, please” you are stating the facts without negativity, without reaction.

However, if you state “This soup is cold you idiot.  Every time I come in here the soup is cold. Can’t you people make hot soup” you are complaining, reacting, and finding fault.

When we label people (“jerk,” “idiot”), we desensitize ourselves to that person.  When we react with force, it means we need to look within ourselves because what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.

When we start to complain, we need to recognize it and become aware of that inner voice.  We need to ask ourselves if this complaint is meant to bring about change or if we are complaining simply for the sake of complaining (and therefore boosting our own ego.)

If we are to be agents of change in this world, something has to change in our state of consciousness, otherwise we contribute to the turmoil.  Meditation, quieting the mind, looking to the inner body, the self and bringing awareness to the present moment are all approaches to take in promoting change within ourselves.

WORRY

Worry is a common emotion that many of us deal with in these days of turmoil.  We worry about situations and project them into the future.  “Oh how dire it will be if this happens and that happens.”  Worry can consume us.

What does it mean to worry?  It is the unconscious mind movement into the future.  You extend the situation into the future and how bad things will be.  Worry pretends to be necessary yet serves no real purpose.  Worry does not bring about change.

To step out of worry, you must ask yourself “what can I do now?”  “How can I BE NOW in this moment?”  Take responsibility for your own life and state of conciousness first.  Be with yourself, be present, and connect with the feeling of aliveness within.

Often we worry about other people.  When you ask yourself whether you can be of help to another human being, ask is there something in you that can bring about change in the conciousness of the other human being.  Can you give the person space?  Sometimes just being there is healing.

Sometimes we are so completely identified with forms that we cannot enjoy them fully because of fear or worry that we will lose them.  When this happens, I am reminded of the following story:

A guru collected tiny glass figurines because they brought him joy.  People knew how much he enjoyed these figurines and he often received them as gifts.  The guru put the figurines on a deep window sil where he could see them and enjoy them.  One day the window was left open and a strong wind came through the window.  It blew the drapes around.  The drapes caught on the figurines and brought them crashing to the ground.  The guru’s students were alarmed and afraid.  What would the guru say?  What would he do? 

As the students cleaned up the broken glass, the guru came into the room.  The students explained what happened.  The guru calmly replied “It is okay.  While the figurines were here, they gave me pleasure and made me happy.  And now they are gone; their purpose fulfilled.  It is okay.”

What you fight, you strengthen and what you resist, persists.  Make peace with whatever it is.  Be as present at you can in every moment, in any life experience or situation.

Recognize the ego in yourself and in other people.  Become aware of the ego and bring that awareness into the world.  If you don’t have a good relationship with the now, you won’t have a good relationship with life because life IS NOW.