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Archive for March, 2008

Why Was the 4th Eckhart & Oprah Class SO Helpful for Me?

Posted by apwood on March 25, 2008

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Because I’m dense when it comes to the non-physical. Examples and tools are what help me put the intangible into a perspective that can be used on a daily basis. And once again, Eckhart Tolle was full of great examples in the online class with Oprah for the Chapter Four of “A New Earth,” titled “Role-Playing: The Many Faces of the Ego.”

This is the first week that I did not try to log onto the Monday night class at www.Oprah.com, because I was tired. Last week I watched it on Monday night and found myself unable to go to sleep until after midnight. Tuesday morning at 6 am came too early (I’m one of those must have 8 hours of sleep kind). So thinking that watching it Tuesday at noon would allow me to absorb more won out. Well, I’m less tired today but I did miss that Christmas morning excitement I felt when logging on at night for the live event.

Either way, I’m so glad to have watched it. Each week brings more insight into how the ego impedes happiness and what to do about it. There were so many examples or faces of the ego covered but here is what was talked about that really affected me.

Eckhart said – Power is within. If you are not present you don’t know this. So you will try to get it from others.

This seemed to sum up to me why I was always wanting. Wanting stuff. Wanting more. Wanting something from someone. We are always searching for that power outside ourselves which can only be found inside and therefore we are never satisfied.

Eckhart told a story of what this Zen master said about an athlete. “That His Need to Win Drains his Power.”

Anybody who has played sports knows this is the case. When you aren’t thinking and you are completely focused on that moment, you do well. When you think too much, or psych yourself out, you don’t do well.

Eckhart went onto say that you should focus on the small steps each day and find joy in them, (you know where you ultimately want to end up) otherwise once you get it, it won’t be worth it because you didn’t enjoy getting there.

Many people called in with questions and Oprah did a great job of asking the laymen questions for us! Like how do you stay in that present state of consciousness (that many have and can achieve while meditating or sitting quietly) while your child is screaming or your boss is yelling at you?

Again he had wonderful examples – the one that struck me the most was when he said – practice being transparent. Instead of being a wall when these assaults hit you, allow them to flow through you.

I loved his statement that – True freedom is when your inner state is no longer dependent on external conditions. He told one caller that her daughter’s screaming was not the problem – it was her reaction. This hit home (as a mother). I never looked at it like the problem was mine -not my daughter’s. Another wow moment!

Continuing with being a mother. They talked about not being identified with the LABEL of MOTHER. That we should fulfill our functions; looking after, guiding, etc. But not becoming completely identified so that the function doesn’t become a role.

I got 2 things from this line of thought:

1-By losing our whole self in the role of Mother, it will take away from my being present in other situations and relationships – friend, wife, daughter, aunt etc.

2- Eckhart talked about identifying with the role, a mother will stay in that function with their children even when they are grown. This is why some Mothers still feel the need to tell their grown children what to do and treat them as though they were still small. Ultimately, this will impede my enjoying all of the stages of my daughter’s life.

Oprah went on to clarify that parenting changes as the child grows. I’m seeing this as my daughter approaches 12 yrs old. We now have issues that we didn’t when she was younger. Something I need to work on. Which Eckhart said something along the lines of it starts with me. All my relationships can change depending on my “BEING” and my reactions.

It was truly the most example filled and take-home-tools-for-every-day-life filled class yet!

The class ended with Oprah asking Eckhart how he could sum up this chapter and he said – Balancing the human & the being. Functioning while rooted in being. Having constant peace in the background.

Aaahhh, I look forward to that – but I will try to find joy in the steps getting there!

I look forward to next week!

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Why was the 3rd Week with Eckhart & Oprah-Just As Exciting to Me As The First?

Posted by apwood on March 18, 2008

mpj042259800001.jpg8:30 pm EST, it was time to take my seat at the 3rd weekly class by Oprah & Eckhart Tolle. Exhausted from a long day, I debated. Logging on, just in case so I was guaranteed a seat… The rush came over me while watching the clock count backwards. It was the same one I felt the first week… anticipation, wonder, and so much more. I can only describe it as a kid on Christmas morning at the moment before opening the presents, the awe, hoping for that special something.

Sounds corny, but that is how it feels to me.. even this 3rd week. I wanted to go to sleep and watch it tomorrow but the exhaustion lifted and now I’m more awake than I was an hour and a half ago. Since we are all energy, does all that collective positive energy make everyone coming to the class feel this?

I chose not to ‘take notes’ as i did the first week. Last week as well as this week it seemed to be a distraction. Just wanting to absorb what was being said was more important. There really is no way to completely ‘get it by reading a summarized account. I’ve finished the book and it had a profound impact on me. I’ve been rereading it because there is just so much that I’m amazed by and just want to keep absorbing. But I’m truly grateful for the class because it is really reinforcing the concepts.

Eckhart is truly talented at giving examples of issues and resolutions in an easy to understand way. I think a big problem with people ‘getting’ philosophical or spiritual content is the inability of the messenger to present it in a way that can be grasped by those who are not already enlightened. Even those of us who had glimpses of it but couldn’t wrap their head around it without those examples had problems expanding our understanding.

The concept of becoming aware of the ego seems so simplistic, it is so noticeable when Eckhart points out the attributes i.e. – anger, aggression, judgment, hostility, complaining, etc. Noticing it in glimpses is so different from living without being run by the ego. But Eckhart made me feel better when he explained the process. First you will notice afterwards -i.e. after yelling, you’ll come back a few minutes later and realize it. Then the awakening may happen in the middle of it. Then before you act on it. The ultimate goal being able to separate from the ego completely by not having the urge to act on it since you don’t relate to those actions anymore. Although still in the beginning stages some of the time, I am so much more aware and able to separate (even if it is afterwards or halfway through).

At the end I again felt relief when Eckhart said something like the ego isn’t the enemy, it is not threatening. I had been thinking that my ego was an enemy not a sad or confused child. It is much easier to be gentle to the later, which will ultimately bring about the change more quickly. Also that the ego had a purpose to make us realize that there is a consciousness. So the suffering has a purpose, it makes me look at it like ‘thanks for all that‘ instead of ‘why did I have to feel such pain?’

Eckhart gave a great example of a plumber that had come to his home. The man was hostile and gruff. Eckhart did not get offended or take it personally as he could see that this man was conditioned to be this way. Maybe he was always treated with anger since being a child. Not reacting to the man’s rudeness, Eckhart treated him kindly and patiently and almost better than one would a non-rude person. Eckhart explained that after about 20 min. the man was talking to him with a kind and gentle voice just as Eckhart was speaking to him with.

What a great example. It made me realize that most of my life has been spent reacting to the way people spoke to me or how a situation felt unfair to me and I was not happy with it. Covering sadness with anger, so not to appear weak (I equated sadness and tears with weakness) I looked at life through a negative aspect. Complaining, dissatisfaction, feeling things just weren’t fair was the norm. Still is sometimes but more quickly than I imagined, I’m beginning to see that as Eckhart explains that accepting and ‘making friends’ with the present moment is the best thing you can do. He says (without looking up his exact words I believe Oprah said this is on pg 78) that ‘what you resist persists.’

So being present and non-reactive to a situation will lesson the negative reaction resulting in a more positive outcome. Genius. It seems so simple when you hear it – and it probably is – when you make it your habit instead of what most of us have as our habits.

So just some of my ramblings…

My question since last week about labeling- Is the ‘not labeling’ stuff that Eckhart talks about (because it causes us to become disinterested) the reason that so many marriages fail? Is the word “marriage” the problem since it labels the two people and causes them to no longer be interested in the other.

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Why take Oprah & Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ Online Class?

Posted by apwood on March 5, 2008

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For one reason only – because You Want to be Awakened.

Wow, the first class with a reported 500,000 participants -I suppose many of us wish to find that something we feel we’ve been missing. Why am I writing about it? Because I am excited and the couple of people I invited to do this with me declined. Which is fine – they weren’t ready. (I learned that as well (: So I wanted to share with someone – if your up for it – hope you enjoy!

So back to the class. First I must say… that Oprah never ceases to amaze me with her ability to evolve and bring that to the entire world. She truly epitomizes the beauty of what can happen when you are dedicated and come from a place of love. She said during the class that she has for a long time gotten down on her knees and asked God to use her for good. Well, Oprah – he has and you have and how amazing it is to watch and learn from.

Eckhart was like no one I’d ever seen or heard before. He was quiet, with a confident timidness that I didn’t know existed. He never hesitated with his answers and they were so descriptive. Not knowing what to expect, I was thrilled to hear him use so many great tangible examples of how to begin to bring consciousness and being present. You could tell he is exactly what he speaks of – just being one with what is. You may think that a spiritual teacher that is so unassuming may be boring or dry. Quite the contrary, Eckhart is engaging, descriptive, and even humorous. He glows.

If you thought about reading the book or listening to the class but didn’t for some reason, and you want a recap here are some key points from my perspective.

*Not living in the present moment and living from an egoic state you feel constant frustration because the future will never be here. Life always happens in the present moment.

*Becoming present or aware that there is a separation inside yourself, the ego (your mind or thinking part that is not in the present moment because it is thinking about the past and the future and judging people, and situations and is never satisfied) & the essence (the true you; the part that is present and only present, that is complete, fulfilled, non judging, is ok with what is, that is the part of you that is the formless )

*It is not necessary to judge others or try to change their behavior or think that they should want to be awakened to this. They will when they are ready, when they have suffered enough and want to live from their true essence. Each persons responsibility is to be present in themselves. This presence brought about by stillness and awareness will allow you to experience life from your true essence and not react through your ego.

*How can you learn to start doing this? By asking yourself as many times as possible each day – What is my relationship with the present moment? (If there is negativity then realize -I’m fighting what is) Make peace with the moment to get out of it if it is a negative situation because what you resist makes it worse.

*Find a place of acceptance and become friendly with the present moment regardless whether your ego would judge it as good, bad, or indifferent. If you are friendly with life it will be friendly with you, support you, and work with you.

*So How do you shed years of conditioning of seeing life through the egoic state of judgment, frustration, impatience, and wishing for the future? Just be present and find as many times per day to ask yourself until it becomes second nature. The example Tolle used was ask yourself – Am I Breathing? Feel the breath in the body. This takes you out of your mind into the present when all that you are doing is concentrating on that breath. Using your sensory perceptions while doing the smallest tasks can do this. Like washing your hands. Smell the soap, feel the warm water. At these moments you are present. Almost as if he knew what Oprah had said to herself when she described doing this walking up her steps, Tolle said that the mind says – What is the point of this? I have more important things to do? Oprah laughed as her mind had done that. This he explained was the ego trying to hang on because it doesn’t want to go. When you are present continually, the ego dies. Tolle also said that the more you bring in the present the more the old way goes. You can start retraining the mind by using the simple things to start.

*Begin shifting to this state of consciousness by looking at nature without naming anything – just be and this essence that you will feel is how you can feel the essence in yourself.

*By telling yourself, Thoughts are only a small conditioned part of me, not me. I can separate them. I’ve made a decision to ask (God, life, or however you wish to label the greater power) to guide me to what I am suppose to do.

*You don’t become good by trying to be or do good, but by finding the goodness that is already in you.

*The ego wants to be recognized as spiritual or good or more enlightened. This means that dysfunction is still operating.

*Beneath the good and bad is the formless. Being conscious without thinking is the essence of every human being.

This is just a short overview of what was talked about in the 90 min. class. All of the concepts, words used, examples, and phrases are all repeated from what I heard while listening to the seminar and are not my original thoughts. I took notes and shared what I heard from my perspective and interpretation. If any of it resonated with you and you wish to listen for yourself here’s the link – www.oprah.com and click on Chapter 1.

I have had so many “Aha moments” as Oprah defines them.

One was when they were talking about ego being the part of us that wants more stuff and is never satisfied for long. I’d never really had a lot of expensive stuff througout my life so I haven’t had much of an attachment to material things. However, I do have just a few sentimental things that I cherish. When Eckhart was discussing that it is ok to want stuff and have it, just that you can tell if it is ego that wants it if you aren’t satisfied for long or you are devastated when losing it. Because anything tangible will come and go – but what is truly important (our essence) can not go away or die. So our bodies die, but our spirits do not.

This brought me back to a time in my late teens when I lost a necklace. To me it was of great magnitude because the tiny cross on it was bought by me with the last $40.00 given to me by my mother. She died 6 days before my sixteenth birthday from scerosis of the liver. I hadn’t lived with her or known much about her since I was 5 years old. After she died I was given a bank envelope with $40.00 in it that she had been saving to buy me something for my sixteenth birthday. She was on disability and did not work so I knew this had been a lot of money to her. I wanted to buy something with it that was special and would remind me of her so it sat in a drawer for a few months until i came upon a tiny gold cross in a store one day. I knew that was it because she loved rosaries and crosses and I could wear it by my heart everyday. While out dancing one night in a club, I felt the necklace slide down. I flipped, crying in front of everyone as I crawled on the floor looking for that tiny cross that represented all that I had left of my mom. I never found it.

I’ve done a lot of work over the last 20 years and I was aware that my mom’s spirit still lived on and she was around me. But it wasn’t until Eckhart was speaking that I realized that I had never needed that tiny cross. That the pain I associated with losing it was not real because something material could not represent my mom’s essence or spirit and it did not keep her near me. She already was.

This is just one example of how this book and class have touched me so far. And this is just the beginning? I look forward to more.

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