GPS for the Soul

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I am still working my way through Eckhart Tolle’s Power of NOW (1999). Something he said made me realize that we have an inner GPS system which pokes us when we aren’t living the life we are meant to live. If we know when to recognize it and listen to its guidance, we will experience greater contentment and a healthier mental state.

On page 27, Tolle says, “The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgment. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment…”

This observation really resonated with me! First, I was reminded of my last few years in the Jehovah’s Witness religion. I was in mental anguish and couldn’t figure out why. I went to see a therapist because of it–something frowned on by JW’s, in general. I was seriously decompensating. I couldn’t focus. I was saying and doing all the wrong things. I thought of death on a daily basis.

After reading the above in Tolle’s book, I now realize that I was resisting something that had become painfully obvious. I don’t know if it was my subconscious mind, authentic self, Higher Self, or Spirit Guides, but something was prodding me to get out and I wasn’t listening.

On more reflection, I could trace similar periods in the past. When I was a full-time minister for Jehovah’s Witnesses back in 1997, I went through another comparable phase. I would break down into tears during the meetings for no particular reason. I attributed it to my own “sinful inclination,” which only made it worse. In this case I decided to leave English and start attending a Spanish Congregation. Things improved for a short time while I was distracted, but the red-eyed monster kept popping up and getting progressively more insistent until I finally figured it out and left the religion.

I’ve been going through something similar in the past few weeks. Since we moved to PA, I have been helping my husband with his Ebay business while my ankle heeled. Initially, I loved going to auctions and researching items and seeing them sell. Then we went to a few auctions where there was a lot of negative energy. I came home distraught. I couldn’t get over the feeling that I was a total fuck up. I got yelled at by a cashier at the local Giant grocery store and left the store crying. I started thinking about death again.

Then I read the above words in The Power of NOW. Was it possible I was causing my own pain with my resistance? “What was I resisting?” I asked myself. That same day, I decided to go back to work doing massage. I had been toying with the idea for a while and finally decided to take the plunge. I felt some fear after making the decision because I have been a basic shut-in for a year.

The next morning, though, I awoke with a whole new perspective. For the first time in weeks, I felt genuine enthusiasm and confidence. Is this what I was resisting? Was my subconscious mind trying to tell me, “You’re not a hustler. You’re a healer!” I went from being afraid of venturing out of the house to eagerness in getting the process started. I couldn’t believe the about-face!

All I can attribute it to is Tolle’s observation that unconscious resistance creates disharmony and pain. It’s like we have this inner GPS system that keeps us on our prescribed path, and lets us know (in no uncertain terms) when we get off-course. All we have to do is recognize the signs and adjust when necessary. Remember, 1) Pain, 2) Judgment, 3) Negativity. If your every thought is consumed with one, or all, of those, ask yourself what you are ignoring that needs attention. Is it your job? Your relationship? Your roommate? For the sake of your mental health, stop resisting and embrace the sweet relief that comes with following your innate guidance system! Resistance is futile.

 

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Me, My Ego, and I

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In the fall of 2011 I started studying Tarot. This in spite of a lifetime of being taught it was forbidden by God and was direct contact with the Devil himself. Many of the books and magazines published by the Watchtower Society show images of Tarot cards and Ouija boards as examples of Satanic practices. (I am now the proud owner of 4 Ouija Boards and 3 Tarot decks.)
One of the first things I learned when I started studying Tarot was how to figure my life and year cards. By adding the numbers of our birthday and our birth year, or the current year, we get a number that coincides with a Tarot card and establishes the theme for our life/year.
I was so fascinated by this prospect that I actually went through and figured out every year card from the day I was born until 2016. It took me hours, but I was intrigued to notice how the cards corresponded with various key moments in my life. Every year now, I carefully consider the theme of the year and do a year-ahead reading to get a grasp on what the year will bring. I was able to predict the exact time in which our house in Oregon would sell and even predicted my mother-in-law’s death.
This year, from my last birthday in September 2013,  I am in the energy of the Death card. This is the first time I have ever had this card as a year card. Rarely does it mean literal death (although it did in the case of my father). It usually means profound change. Something dies so something else can be reborn. It often relates to parts of the ego dying.
I have been interested to see how things would play out this year, and since the year is winding down (Death card energies will end at my next birthday, Sept. 7th), I have seen some interesting shifts. I didn’t even know what the ego was a year ago, but I am beginning to grasp its significance. I had a friend explain it to me and I have been reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power Of Now. I liken the ego to a toddler within us who sometimes throws tantrums, thinks the world revolves around them, and obsesses over inane things–like believing the world is way more concerned with what we do and how we look than it actually is.
When we feel persecuted, or forget to appreciate what we have because of the many things we want, we need to remind ourselves that our ego is taking over and we need to reign in our inner toddler. Eckart Tolle calls the ego “a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.” He goes on to say that “to the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only the past and future are considered important…It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it–who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: ‘One day, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace.’” (Tolle, 18)
Dwelling on the past, or future, and preventing us from being fully present is a state of the ego, the false self who only makes us (and sometimes others) miserable. If we could focus more on the here and now, we could increase our gratitude and reduce our anxiety and angst.
How do we separate ourselves from our ego? Start noticing its existence. As you mentally stand back and observe its negative reaction to things, notice that a separate part of yourself is detached from the ego–it has to be in order to notice your behavior. (Most of us can remember times in which we have reacted to something and a part of us was detached enough to recognize our reaction as a speculative, or critical, observer.) The more we practice this ability to detach, the more we can control our reactions.
Since I’ve been studying the metaphysical, I have received lots of guidance to meditate in order to quiet the mind. When reading The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, she encouraged writing three pages of Morning Pages every day. I heard a friend recently refer to these as “stream of consciousness” writing, but I didn’t really get the significance of either. I have tried meditation and Morning Pages off and on over the years but could never see the long-term benefits enough to continue for long.
Thanks to Eckhart Tolle, I finally understand why we are encouraged to meditate and write without necessarily having something concrete to write about. He says on page 19 of The Power of Now, “Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.”  Consciousness, the place where the thinking mind is quieted, is where creativity is born. If you are anything like me, you have insisted that you cannot be creative. But if we could learn to stop thinking, stop the ego from taking over and regurgitating the past and projecting it into the future, or over-analyzing everything we do, say, or write–we could find creativity hidden within us. How do we quiet the mind and tap into the super-consciousness where creativity lives and breathes? Meditation, stream of consciousness writing, anything that quiets the mind and allows it to drift. I can already tell you this isn’t easy. My mind is very stubborn and I have spent my entire life thinking my intelligence was the only thing I have going for me, but now I understand why I should learn to quiet my mind.
I recently read a book on Dowsing by author Joey Korn. He says, again and again, that it’s not the rods, pendulum, or willow twig that does the dowsing–it’s the dowser. The earth’s energies interact with our own and communicate what we are looking for, be it water or energy fields. Since most of us aren’t in-tune enough with our psychic abilities, the rods (etc) give us the answers we need.  If we aren’t getting the reactions we need, it’s the fault of our own mind disabling, or second guessing, the pull of the earth’s energies. So, once again, the thinking mind is getting in the way of our super-conscious mind which knows how to interact with energies, spirits, and our own creative potential. If we can learn to control our thoughts and emotions by quieting our ego and our intellect, I believe the possibilities are endless!
“Enlightenment means rising above thought…In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way than before.” (Tolle, 19) It’s time we reached out for enlightenment and gained control of our minds. Imagine what kind of world this would be if we were all more creative and less reactive!