Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I know we are all looking for more happiness. How could you ever have enough? But, what I have learned from Buddhist teaching is that with happiness inevitably there is also unhappiness. Certainly, being aware of that can cause a slight dampening of spirits in connection with that happy making item, event, person. However, a slight reduction in intimate connection with this sensation Happiness, can actually be a good thing.

When we can stay at least just a little aware of how our emotions can change and fluctuate, see that what can make us happy can become something that makes us sad, or unhappy, then we are able to stay more even emotionally. Certainly the highs are fun, but the greater the high the lower the low. If we stay more evenly emotionally keeled, we are able to enjoy a stable, contented, peaceful existence.

Recognising how quickly the bad emotions pass helps to relax us when those times come, to accept, and not resist what is life just now for us. With that, very often the bad dissolves, or passes quickly. Resisting the bad emotions causes greater unhappiness for ourselves than the original emotion ever would have. Certianly, resistance exaggerates, and elongates our unhappiness.

Alternatively, recognising that we are happy now, but this too shall pass, may slightly dampen that happiness. But when the time for that happiness fades, we can accept and adjust more easily to the change in lifes tone.

If we can access the quiet, peaceful nature of our true selves, whether happy or sad, we always have that basis of peace to gratefully bask in.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meditation Practice

For a long time I had lost my meditation practice. Years ago I would daily practice a chakra meditation. However, I found having young children made meditation hard. They were always wanting you, or you were always cleaning up, or preparing food, and then you were just too tired.
When I read Eckhart Tolle, I stopped even thinking of meditation. He doesn't talk a great deal about a meditation practice. More, he tends to support just present living - all the time! If I could live presently all the time, I am sure, I wouldn't need to meditate. However, in this I am still a novice.
So, recently, I have taken up regular meditation again. I am trying to meditate twice a day. My kids are a bit older now, and when they are home, I can negotiate 15 minutes away from them. They are accommodating, too, because Mummy is so easy to get along with when she meditates!
I am finding this regular practice so beneficial. Within that meditation time, I explore the sense of Stillness, Space, and Silence. The peace, the oneness with God, and the aliveness of my body. In short, I am getting intensive practice into Eckhart Tolle's Now twice a day. With that, I can get in touch with those sensations more easily during the day. I am regularly reminded to seek out that space within me during the day. I am more peaceful, and I feel the Now more strongly for the practice.
I would urge all who want to try to connect with that spiritual self, Being, God, to try to make a place for regular meditation practice and see what it can do for your spiritual journey.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Communication Frustration!

What frustration is this??!!

Trying to communicate with others in another room of the house. Calling out, "I can't hear you", "what?" and other obvious and irritating time wasting statements.

A friend (Bree) made a rule - "I am not going to answer you if there is a wall between us."

I am making that rule now (and I'm going to try to keep it!) and see if I can limit the irritation and frustration of the whole house conversation.

Meditation and Kids

So - I'm crying. I've just blown up at Samantha, I'm crashing around the house, and thinking this is just IMPOSSIBLE!

I was given a book about meditation - I have several, but this one has pretty pictures - after putting out a question for meditation direction. The book has inspired me. I have meditated for the past three days morning and night. I am thinking, yesterday I was able to stay more present, and conscious. I'm feeling good!

Then Sam gets up, moaning and groaning, growling and grizzling (yes - my sunshine child!) This is the second time she is doing this 'stage'. I try to stay patient and calm - more moans, and grizzles and foot stamps. Then I loose it. And now I write it - I see. Her pain body wants and needs my pain body, and I have graciously given it to her.

I have a friend who says, let's get Eckhart Tolle down here to take care of the kids, and we'll go up the mountain for a few days. Let's see how peaceful and calm he is when we get back!

I think parenting can be really hard.
Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mum, mummmmmm!!!! How on earth are you supposed to stay present?

All you can do is let the past misdemeanours go, and get on the horse again.

If I EVER get to a point where I can always stay present and calm during the kids drama I will KNOW I have reached enlightenment. But then, I wont even be excited about it, will I?! I'll be too enlightened to allow my ego to gloat.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A blessing.

May the sun bring you new energy by day,

may the moon softly restore you by night,

may the rain wash away your worries,

may the breeze blow new strength into your being.

Apache Blessing

(Due to some sort of error, I believe to be a part of the Blogger system, I cannot upload pictures to accompany my posts at the moment - my apologies)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Soul Questions

Lately I have had some questions about SELF. If we follow Eckhart Tolle, then I understand that we all need to find stillness, and access Being, the One, perhaps God, the Universal Life Force. A Oneness that links everything in the universe, big or small. It is the infinite, and eternal. At our essence, that is who we are.

But. Doesn't that make us all the same, in essence. Clearly, we are not all the same. Another tried to explain that it is the way that essence flows from you, that is your unique Self. I worry that I want a unique self for Ego purposes.

Then I picked up a book that has been sitting on my shelf such a long time, neglected, waiting for the right time to appeal to me. And so it is here. The book is by Sue Minns, called Bodies and Souls - A down-to-earth guide for the human experience. The book had been purchased after it had been highly recommended to me, but had never grabbed my attention. I wasn't ready, I guess.

Sue Minns differentiates between the Soul and the Spirit. The Spirit being that described above, while the Soul is "our essential natures, the very hearts of us, our natural talents."

She says, "The Soul is like a snow flake, a totally unique, individual particle. Spirit is the cloud that formed it, and from which it fell." Sue describes the Soul as the element of us that senses our human experience. "Each individual Soul is like a sensor-cell for All That Is."

And finally this feels like the answer to Self. Soul explains for me the difference between stillness, and the vibrant life sensation that I can have when really seeing a beautiful flower, or am awe struck by a magnificent tree, or that pull toward another person that does not make rational sense at all, or when I take the time to really taste what I am eating, and listen to the sounds of my life.

Lastly, Sue writes "You are unique! Not a clone, not a robot, not a carbon copy. Listen to your soul. It gives you permission to be - it requires you to be - fully present as a shimmering representative of the Great Creative Spirit. Throw the rule book out of the window; give your soul some time; dare to be different. You might even hear laughter as your soul - on behalf of its Creator - begins to live through you."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shining like the sun.

I still work toward seeing the light in others around me. Sometimes I see a glow in my children. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to see the world in its full color, without interpretations, names, commentary, expectations and criticisms piled on top of it a lot of the time. However, I have had enough lovely moments of shining treasures that I can glimpse it.

Below is Thomas Merton's words, written in mid 1900, about the revelation he had one ordinary day:

"In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. … This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. … I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak his name written in us … like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely. . . . I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere." (Shining like the sun)

Can you see the light?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The universe speaks!

Can you hear the universe conversing with you? Do you spend time in quiet and stillness giving the universe the opportunity to let you know its secrets? What would you think if you heard its whisper? Would you take a step in a new direction if you heard the universe speak?

"Every one of us is a mystic. We may or not realise it. But whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, mystical experience is always there, inviting us on a journey of ultimate discovery. We have been given the gift of life in this perplexing world to become who we ultimately are: creatures of boundless love, caring, compassion, and wisdom. Existence summons to the eternal journey of the sage – the sage we all are, if only we could see."
(Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions, By Wayne Teasdale)

Take some time to Be, and see where it leads you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now 4

Another entry by our guest blogger, Brad Harris.

The next Bible verse quoted by Eckhart Tolle in ‘A New Earth’ is from the gospel of Matthew. It records Jesus as saying:
‘ if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well’. Matthew 5:40

This seems a simple piece of advice but the implications of it are enormous. It goes far beyond not taking people to court to rectify disputes. My understanding of what Jesus was saying used to be that, in order to please God I needed to discipline myself to always put
others’ needs first. This in itself is surely not wrong. Who could question the need to be considerate of the needs of others in every thing we do. Our actions, if based only on selfishness and self-satisfaction are inevitably going to cause harm to others - either directly or indirectly.

In taking this view of Jesus’ teaching I came to think that I didn’t deserve success or wealth and that I shouldn’t even expect happiness. In fact my life always had to take second place to others. I felt that my life should be dedicated to constantly giving in to the will of others. I began to devalue my own life! And what’s more, other people began to take advantage of my ‘good nature’ and I became somewhat of a ‘door mat’.

In ‘A New Earth’ Eckhart Tolle records his conversation with a dying women. He tells her “Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the Being it can not feel. You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it’s the ego. And you are never really attached to a thing but to a thought that has ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘mine’ in it. Whenever you completely accept a loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the I Am which is consciousness itself, emerges”.

The women replied, “Now I understand something Jesus said that never made much sense to me before: ‘If someone takes your shirt, let him have your coat as well.’”

Tolle replied “That’s right. It doesn’t mean that you should never lock your door. All it means is that sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on”. (p. 41)

When I can understand that ‘my’ coat (or anything else that I call mine) is not really mine in the first place, I can’t feel hard done by at having to give it to someone else. I go with the flow of life more easily by accepting what comes and accepting what passes. Every moment, no matter how it appears on the surface is a blessing from God and I rejoice in it. It’s not a matter of taking second place to everyone else. It is a sacred realization that everyone and everything has equal value in God’s eyes. We are all a part of His creation and in ‘letting go’ we get more than we could ever realize. Amazing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Gruen Transfer - Advertising

You may or not have seen a very successful show on the ABC called The Gruen Transfer. It is a 30 minute show devoted entirely to looking at advertising, most specifically television advertising. It is a fascinating insight into a world of attention grabbing, what triggers our interest and desires, and how that can be manipulated. It also looks occasionally at how advertising has developed, and in some cases become very sophisticated.

I was made aware of the power of advertising when I watched a history program many years ago. The program spoke about the problems that many western countries faced after the Second World War. Much industry was in place to develop and produce weapons and ammunition, which were no longer required. This industry began to create and produce items such as fridges and washing machines. However, after many years of conservative spending and economy that was the result of the dread years of the Depression, no one would buy the new products. They were considered luxury and non essential to the spend thrift population.

Something was required to change the habits and thoughts of the populace, so the would buy. In order to keep money moving, industry producing and workers employed, people had to buy what they did not believe they needed. Then began a new phase in the advertising realm (used most effectively during the war years as propaganda) to create a desire in consumers that they did not have. The campaign was "You deserve it."

And consumers believed it and changed their spending habits to prove it. They agreed they had suffered many years of hardship, and want, and making do. They believed it was time to reward themselves. Then they bought a new washer, although the old one worked well enough, but was not as shiny.

I was astounded that this consumer desire that most of us have suffered has been a manipulation from the beginning. Not only does it continue on - only becoming more subtle, sophisticated, invasive and expensive - but it's still necessary to the continued function of this world system. In reality, the people of the past may very well have deserved some luxury after years of saving, and re-using, and making do. But I am not sure how the argument goes nowadays. Never-the-less, advertising still manages to make us feel we deserve to up-grade.

This advertising world encourages us to be dissatisfied with what we have, to want more, better, bigger, brighter. Advertising and its role in our world perpetuates suffering in our human phychi. Rather than an attitude of gratitude for all we have, and the beauty of our world, we are encouraged to be dissatisfied with how we live. Rather than bringing our minds into the Now, advertising is there to remind us to strive for more, make more money so we can buy more. Advertising,therefore, takes our thoughts directly into the future. And instead of allowing our ego to subside, we have advertising to trigger everything our ego's feed on - envy, desire, greed, dissatisfaction, and criticism.

What can we do? Personally, we can understand, and recognise the mechanics of advertising - recognise the deception and manipulation there in. Remain conscious. Practice gratitude everyday. Question what we NEED. Fast forward the ads.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The suffering of expectation

Sometimes when I tell people that I run an Eckhart Tolle Silent Meditation Group, I am told - "Oh, I need something like that" or "That would be really good for me."

It jars a little to hear these words. I give details of the meetings and await their disappointment. I feel they will be expecting something from our gathering, to learn something or be given something. In fact, those in our group don't come to gain, but bring something with them to share - their presence.

I understood after hearing Eckhart Tolle speak about speaker expectations - it is an area I fear he knows a bit about. People come to hear him, but have an expectation of finding themselves, receiving the answers. When they don't receive such unattainable gifts of knowledge, they become disappointed, and disillusioned. They are let down.

For those, however, who listen with an aware presence, so much more is gained - they have no expectation, or illusions of what they will receive. Instead they have an awareness and appreciation of the Now, and are able to share their presence and at the same time feel, enjoy, marvel in the presence of others so giving.

Expectations are a wishful projection onto a future event - a very reliable route to suffering.

All are welcome to our group meetings and the more exposed to Eckhart Tolle teachings, and others like his, the more conscious the world of humans will become. However, our meetings do not provide the answers, or the truth or a route to the real you. As Eckhart says, those things are already part of you and cannot be given.

Come, be empty of expectation, be still, and on a good night you may just get a glimpse of heaven.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Year of Wonders

It is over a year ago that I read A New Earth, and a short time after that that I began the Silent Meditation Group in Sutherland.
In a spiritual sense it has been a huge year.

~Last year I could sense the life tingle in my hand, as directed by Tolle. Now I can stop and feel my whole body alive.
~12 months ago I might have the odd moment of peace, and now can have entire days of presence (school days only!)
~Back then I loved to look at special trees and be awed by them, now I can feel a buzz of life connection with trees and flowers, clouds and waves.
~Once a different dimension was just a science fiction concept, now I see it
fleetingly out of the corner of my eye.
~Last year I had no belief in God, and now I think I share his source, and feel his pure patience and faith in me.
~I never believed I was good at learning languages, but this year I learnt a new language, and found others who speak that language, too.
~A year ago I could be irritated, and bored, frustrated and annoyed, and now a mantra seems to have developed in my head of its own accord, "You don't have to feel like this." And it hits me over and again, This is the Good News.
~I would spend days, weeks at a time getting lost back in thought, and now it is rare not to connect with presence at least several times a day.

And all this is Good News for anyone else starting on the spiritual path. For all I have done is to simply get back to Presence/Now/Being/Stillness whenever I remembered to, and now I see that that is enough. Eventually this brings about a more conscious you than unconscious.

I wonder what I will be able to say next year!

Postscript: I should mention that finding Eckhart Tolle as my teacher, and making a regular time commitment to his guidance, which I do through running the Eckhart Tolle Silent Meditation Group, has been an important part of my Year of Wonders. If Eckhart Tolle speaks to you, check out his website for a local meditation group to join, or do something radical, START YOUR OWN.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now 3

Our guest blogger, Brad Harris, continues with his series, A New Way of Seeing God.
This time we take a look at the two verses in the Bible from which Eckhart Tolle takes the title of his book ‘A New Earth’. They are both prophecies relating to a transformation of the earth. One is from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah and one is from the New Testament book of Revelation.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” Revelation 21:1
“For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17

I used to understand these verses as a vision of the future ‘Kingdom of God’ which God promised to establish on the earth at the second coming of His Son. They spoke to me of God’s intention to totally overturn the world’s present systems of government and to create a ‘new world order’ under the kingship of Jesus. I believed that those people found to be faithful to God in this life would be granted eternal life in a perfected world when Jesus returns.
This belief made more sense to me than an afterlife in heaven, as it gave me hope that all my personal problems and all the problems facing the world (eg. poverty, starvation, global warming, global financial crisis) would ‘one day’ end. My thoughts and hopes were tied up in a future event. In a sense, my life was always ‘on hold’ as I waited for my life to be fulfilled by God’s promises. Although I was confident that these things would come to pass, my faith in future outcomes often paled into insignificance when things in the ‘here and now’ weren’t working out as I believed they should for a good Christian. There were so many questions I couldn’t truthfully answer. Why is there so much evil in the world? Why do ‘bad things happen to good people’? Why doesn’t God answer all my prayers?
Complicating these questions was the fact that many Christians didn’t agree with my particular interpretation of the Bible. Many, in fact most, Christians believe in heaven as the place where the afterlife takes place. How could so many people of the same religious tradition see things so differently? Wasn’t a correct belief necessary to obtain the promise of eternal life? What would happen to those who had wrong beliefs?
In ‘A New Earth’ Tolle says that the New Heaven is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, presence, and awareness, and life in a New Earth would be the physical reflection of that awakened consciousness. He states that looking to the future for salvation is one of the oldest dysfunctions of the mind – that is, looking toward a future time for happiness, rather than seeing it in the moments in which we live – in the present moment.
Tolle points to salvation in the inner realm of consciousness, and that nothing we can imagine in the future can free us. No future event is going to make us free. As Tolle puts it: “Nothing is going to make us free because only the present moment can make us free. The realization is the awakening.”
‘What did Jesus tell his disciples? “Heaven is right here in the midst of you”.’ (p. 308)
Having got the sense of what Tolle says I have come to realize that salvation is no longer a future event (either on earth or in heaven). It is here and now. It is freedom from ego, freedom from being dominated by my own thoughts.
This life, every day, every moment is “heaven on earth”. How could it get any better than this? My relationship with God is stronger and more real now and I have ceased to be anxious about the future because “future” no longer exists to me in the way it did before. The details of what will happen in the future (either on earth or in heaven) are of little interest to me now – and the best thing of all is that I no longer worry about being ‘good enough’ to be rewarded by God in a future kingdom for, as Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is within (me)” (Luke 17:21)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Head Space

When you hear Eckhart Tolle speak, or read his words, you often hear him say that if his words are not resonating with you, or are meaningless to you, then you may yet to have had your first glimpse of consciousness without thought. This first moment of consciousness is an act of grace, and can happen to anyone, in any circumstances, at anytime. You can't DO anything to bring it about.
But, for so many, living a life of unhappiness, emptiness, hurt, dissatisfaction - ordinary, common lives - how can a thoughtless moment squeeze in. These are heads full of history, hurts, problems and a constant stream of wanting, needing, hoping, wishing, looking to the future with desire. There is no space for an act of grace. And I should know, and perhaps you do too, for I have been there.

I don't remember any particular act of grace, but I have had some beautiful moments of peace, and a glimpse of God since. Sometimes I feel a flash of connection with trees, or the waves of the sea, and in general life is a lot more peaceful and quiet inside and out.

My act of grace, and the choice to pursue it thereafter, I don't believe, was possible without the clearing work I did beforehand. I didn't know what I was clearing for. I only looked toward a happier existence, and to be able to teach my children a better way of living than bitterness, anger, and dissatisfaction.

So, can we expect a great wave of spiritual enlightenment for a larger population without spending some energy on some clearing? Clear away some personal history - accept, forgive and let go. Learn to be grateful for how we live, and not always be looking for more. Clear a space in which we can love ourselves a little more, give ourselves value. THEN there may be a little space for meditation, to sit quietly, to listen to a beautiful piece of music, and to give grace an opportunity.

I think the role of those who help others to clear mental and emotional space are just as important as Eckhart Tolle, and other spiritual leaders, in helping great numbers of souls to a more spiritual existence.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now 2

Brad Harris is our guest blogger continuing his theme - A New Way of Seeing God.

In my last blog, I said that ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle had totally changed my way of thinking about God, Jesus and the Bible. Whilst this may not be totally true (I have been reading lots of books in this area, and can’t always remember where ideas come from) Eckhart did ‘kick start’ a radical change in my thinking.

As you read my thoughts on each of the Bible verses quoted by Eckhart in ‘A New Earth’ you may only notice a subtle change in my thinking. But these changes resonate strongly with my new spiritual growth, and have helped me to integrate my Christian faith and spirituality. I hope sharing them will be of interest to you.

So here goes. The first verse is Matt 6:28-30. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?

My old thinking about this verse went something like this: Even flowers have enough ‘faith’ to trust God for their care and protection and to help them grow. Therefore I should be developing sufficient faith to trust that God will always care for me. If I am faithful enough, I will always ‘bloom’ despite the adverse circumstances that inevitably happen in my life. I will have everything I need. God will provide my food, clothes, house, car, and job - all the good things in life.

I could see God’s hand at work in His creation (who could deny the intricate beauty of the ‘lilies of the field’?), the trouble was I would often become despondent because I knew in my heart I was never good enough to please God.
It seemed to me that I could never have enough faith to deserve God’s protection and nurturing. Why was I so selfish and untrusting? I needed more faith, but it was always a constant struggle to develop and maintain faith during the trials and temptations that life brought me.

Instead of being encouraged by Jesus words I felt like I was being condemned.

In A New Earth Eckhart says, “Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. We could say that the totality – Life – wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling itself doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And if it has to die prematurely it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life. It senses, no matter how obscurely, its rootedness in being, the formless and eternal one life.

… Jesus goes on to say that if God clothes simple flowers in such beauty, how much more will God clothe you. That is to say, that while nature is a beautiful expression of the evolutionary impulse of the universe, when humans become aligned with the intelligence that underlies it, they will express that same impulse on a higher, more wondrous level.” (P.268, 269)

In light of what Eckhart says I have chosen a new way of living. I have chosen to be at one with life. I’m not striving anymore for what I don’t have. I’m not wishing I were a ‘better’ person. I am just accepting what is. ‘What is’ must be God’s will otherwise it would not be. In this new way of being I am more peaceful and worry has largely become a thing of the past. Now I know that it is not so much a matter of a test of my faith in God but a realization, a knowing, that God is real. He is less ‘out there somewhere’ and more ‘inside’ me and surrounding me in every moment of my life.

How could I want anything more? Now I KNOW that “the LORD is my shepherd -and I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

Friday, June 25, 2010

God is for Everyone

'Through the present moment, you have access to the power of life itself, that which has traditionally been called "God". As soon as you turn away from it, God ceases to be a reality in your life, and all you are left with is the mental concept of God, which some people believe in and others deny. Even belief in God is only a poor substitute for the living reality of God manifesting every moment of your life.' P267. A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life Purpose, by Eckhaart Tolle
Could this be why I haven't been able to find a church to suit my children and I? Is it possible that Christian churches in general, are simply engaging in the idea of God, the mental concept of God, but somehow not LIVING it, not experiencing God as a constant presense?
Surely a church that breathed God, felt that One presense, would not be exclusive, would not look for the Devil undercover, would recognise that oneness in others, would not care which path you take to access the oneness, as long as you get there.
A church that LIVES God would surely be an inclusive community.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Escapism doesn't get much better than the Twilight book series. Written by Stephanie Meyer, this young adult story has become massively popular with younger and older women alike. It is the story of a vampire, Edward, falling in love with Bella, a non-vampire.
A friend talked me into starting the series, and I did not stop until I had read all 4 books. Her mother overheard us talking about the books and surprised me by saying that her daughter had got her reading them, too, and she was ashamed to have become completely engrossed - at the age of 61!

So what is it that is so appealing about Twilight? Undoubtedly,it is the unshakable connection that Edward and Bella have: like destiny, or two past lives meeting, or soul mates. That connection (does such a thing really exist, or is it a fabrication of the female Psyche?) is so appealing to women. To have a man that is completely and utterly devoted to us.
And there is the danger element, the constant tension, the restrained passion and the out of this world-ness. All rolled together women want to re-read the books, re-watch the movies and make stars out of the actors playing the movie roles.

Are the readers happy, though? Are they having fun?

Twilight is a fantasy more obvious than most fictional love stories. I mean, vampires don't exist. There is no chance, therefore, this story could become a reality for anyone reading it. I am not sure that undying, unshakable love really exists, either, in therealm of humans. Danger definitely does exist in the human world, but it is rarely romantic.
So, when we become involved with a story that is outside reality, like Twilight, we escape our own world. But we also begin wishing (no matter how far fetched the story) for a differnt life from the one we live. We hope for the passion, danger, excitement, only to be disappointed with the ordinary life we lead. We look to our partners and can only find them wanting compared to our fictional hero; we become dissatisfied them. We might ask them to be different, but our partner is just human and doesn't understand what we want.
And then we are a long, long way from being present in the Now, and a great distance from happiness, joy or peace. In this place we are in a realm directly opposite that which the Buddha suggests we need for non-suffering - acceptance and allowing what IS.
Twilight has been a great ride, but getting off is a bit like breaking an addiction. Refocusing takes some time and effort, as we suffer withdrawal.

I'm starting to think the ride isn't really worth the toll.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now

A guest post by Brad Harris

Although I can’t quite remember exactly when I first read The Power of Now, I do remember the circumstances in which I became aware of the book and how it just ‘jumped into my lap’ in my favourite bookstore in Bowral. Having just been told about Eckhart Tolle and the concept of ‘living in the Now’ by a counsellor, I went looking for the book soon after when my wife and I were day tripping in one of our favourite destinations, the Southern Highlands of NSW. Not even sure if I would find the book, and before I had even made my way to the rear of the store where the ‘spiritual/self help’ books were located, I looked down to see a whole row of hard cover special editions of The Power of Now (it was an anniversary edition I think). Anyway, the book seemed to be yelling at me “but me, buy me!”

I bought it, read it and my life has not been the same since.

The last book that had anywhere near the life-changing effect on me was ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M. Scott Peck. That book started me on a journey of seeking God in a spiritual sense beyond that which I knew of Him in a religious sense. Having grown up it a Bible-based fundamentalist church and having attended Sunday School, Bible Study Classes and Gospel talks all my life, I felt I had a good understanding of who God was, who Jesus was and what life was meant to be all about. I even thought I knew the future of the world (a big claim when I think of it now!) For me the Christian life was all about living according to a set of rules now in order to experience ultimate happiness in the future – an eternal future. It was the only way of doing Christianity that I knew.

Again I am not sure what came first, my awakening or my reading of the Power of Now. The book either contributed to my new way of being or explained the strange but amazing transformation that was happening to me.

I had discovered that I was not the ‘I’ of my thinking. I had become aware that there was a part of me that was continually thinking (usually a lot of meaningless rubbish and untruths about myself, my circumstances and other people) and that part of me was not the real me but my ego. This new awareness has helped me know myself more fully, relate better to other people and most of all opened my eyes to a new way of seeing and experiencing God.

This new relationship with God had serious consequences for my world view and my long held beliefs about Jesus. What for me was once a nice neat package of beliefs that formed a picture of the world that made sense to me, was sent into a mad spin by my newly emerging outlook on life. It was though my religious beliefs were a completed jigsaw puzzle that had been thrown in the air and I was now sitting on the floor picking up the pieces and trying to put them all together again. But first I had to work out what the picture should look like. A friend said she liked that description of what happened. She asked “I wonder where Jesus fell?” That question has been plaguing me ever since and my search for the real Jesus is has become my highest priority.

My re-imaging of God and Jesus, while helped by Eckhart Tolle’s insights has been an ongoing journey, with lots of doubts, lots of further reading and lots of new discoveries. I look forward to sharing some of this journey with you in future blogs where I will take each of the Bible verses quoted by Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth (the follow up to The Power of Now) and give you some insights into how Eckhart’s way of interpreting these has changed my thinking and my life.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The NOW - an escapist pursuit?

I sometimes wonder if the enjoyment of the Now is just another escapist pursuit, like a reading a good book, or being involved in a movie. Is it just another way to avoid reality? Am I just being taken for a ride by the soft, quiet tones of Eckhart Tolle's words?
But, unlike other escapist past times, the Now wont end, wont become a disappointment somehow, or an annoyance over time. It will constantly be available when I choose, and wont disappear, perish, grow old, or die.
So, although my mind may have me question the peace and stillness of presence as real, the Now rings true. And the gentle calm, and acceptance that being present in the Now brings cannot be denied - even by a rational mind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Canvas

I have been thinking that being present in the Now, our stillness, awareness, just being-ness is the canvas on which life comes and goes. When you can stay aware of the canvas, feel the space in which life is evolving, and the silence into which sound is playing, and the stillness in which life moves, well, then you can see how it is all spiritual, for the canvas is spiritual.
Eckhart Tolle offers us many ways to access the Now and Being through silience and space, and they felt like different places. Now I see that that they are all the same presence, the same canvas on which life skims over. They simply seemed seperate because that is the only way we can rationally understand it using words and our minds. But when we stop trying to understand, and just feel, it is possible to sense the space and the silence, and the Now as one.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fantasy Future

I have always been big on planning. Mapping out the path to success, riches, secruity, grand holidays and different lifestyles. Ideas of excitment and change and growth. I have always been prepared to work toward them, motivated by the end goal.

This has kept my head, and thoughts, firmly in the future.

So, when Eckhart Tolle says to remain present, have your thoughts only in the Now, or rather, don't think, just BE in the Now - I can struggle. In fact, it can seem a little dull, to be HERE, rather than in the exciting future.

However, it is becoming more and more difficult to avoid noticing that that shiney future isn't getting any closer. I strive toward it, but it is not making it actually materialise. Which means, the wonderful future I keep my eye on is in reality just a fantasy land - or might as well be. Like constantly reading an engrossing book, or being really envolved in a movie THAT NEVER ENDS, fantasy future land isn't real and is a distraction from experiencing what IS real. Do I want to keep living like that?

While my head is in fantasy future land, what am I telling myself about Now? As I strive toward more, better, greater, freer, I am feeding the concept that what I have Now is not enough - not good enough, special enough, free enough. It's easy to see the problem with that. (And is most likely why fanstasy future never comes true.)

The ironic part is, that with a reminder from Eckhart Tolle, when I look at Now, it is really fine, sometimes wonderful. So, why all the struggle to get away from the reality of Now?

Fantasy land has been part of my journey. It has kept me positive when I could have been down. It has kept me motivated and energetic when I might otherwise have stagnated. It has given me hope when I might have accepted defeat. But I think fantasy future land needs to be over for me Now.

Fantasy future land has served it's purpose, and in many ways has lead me to spirituality. The striving, running, onward and upward has been the freeway part of my journey, but I see a sign post, and have slowed down enough to read it.

I have decided to take a new road and get off the bypass.

Introducing Rob Bell

I think in many ways christian beliefs and Eckhart Tolle's teaching are compatible. However, I have struggled to find a church that I am able to sit comfortably in with my Tolle ideas in my head. So, it seems, in theory I could be both a christian and spiritualist, but in reality I feel I need to choose. That was until I was introduced to Rob bell. It is my good fortune to have met a man struggling with his faith after reading Eckhart Tolle. He discovered the American pastor Rob Bell and shared him with me. Rob Bell is a young, energetic, passionate christian. He seems to believe in the adaptability of the bible and faith. Rob Bell encourages his church goers to express their doubts, believing that it is not possible to never have some. Bell looks at changes in the bible, and varying interpretations of it to support the idea of versatility of the bible. And frequently Bell will encourage us to be present in the moment we are living. All this either allows a place for the spiritualist in christianity, or positively encourages it. Rob Bell helps me have faith that Christianity and spirituality can be interconnected. In fact, he makes the claim that Everything is Spiritual.
Check this snippet out:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spiritual Practice and Work

Sometimes it can seem hard to maintain our spiritual practice when we are engaged in activity work or relationships. Eckhart Tolle states that it is those times that are our practice, however.
We need to focus our inner attention on the body, and the vibrations there that become stronger and stronger with practice. Then we need to keep some of that attention on the inner body as we go about our lives.
Times of waiting that everyone is subject to, in lines or traffic or waiting on slow children, are perfect times to practice drawing our attention in, making these times enjoyable rather than a time of frustration and annoyance. Thus, two birds with one stone!