Tag Archives: Eckhart Tolle

Intent of the Day: Conflict with Patience

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Patience and perseverance
have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
-John Quincy Adams

These are tough times. It is hard to know the difference between what is real and what is propaganda, what requires our full attention and what is just distracting noise, what is truth and what is the fear of what-if. So what will disarm this fear? What is the best way to combat the anger? Will we fight fire with fire and will anything be left standing after the fire storm? Today our intent is to address conflict with patience.

How do we do that? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

In the Now: Words of Wisdom from Eckhart Tolle

In Living with Intent, Mallika Chopra shares her story of meeting with author Eckhart Tolle. After months of scheduling to sit down with the famed spiritual thinker, Mallika found herself flying to San Francisco for a fifteen minute appointment. Her father Deepak reminded her that Tolle was always “in the now” and when she watched the minutes tick away into her interview as he asked them to listen to the distant bells ringing, she found the plans made for her fifteen minutes were better set aside so as to be in the now as well.

Today we share words of wisdom from Eckhart Tolle. May they invite you into the now wherever you are. Continue reading

My Birthday – Setting Intents for 44!

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Tomorrow, July 24, is my birthday. I will officially, technically, be in my mid-40s.

At 43, I completed and released my 3rd book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy. In the process I made some significant steps to bring more balance and joy into my life – all of which can be read in my book! And if you want to give me a birthday present go ahead and buy it for yourself or a friend – Ha Ha! 🙂

Many people ask me if I am in a better place after writing the book. I can categorically say yes! I am happy and healthy and feeling fulfilled – a good place to be. I made some major changes in my lifestyle that, while still inconsistent at times, have become part of my daily habits. Meditation has been more regular. Exercise and sugar, well, lets say the journey remains messy.

This morning, my last day of being 43, I had to go to the DMV to renew my license. In my sleep last night, I remembered that I had got a notice two months ago that I had to go before July 24th when it expired, and take an eye test, give my fingerprints, and take a new photo.  I had an hour waiting with nothing to do so started scribbling notes for my intents this year.

Here they are: Continue reading

Why Do We Search For More in Our Lives?

shutterstock_69910780What is my purpose?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say this, to me or other people recently.

People often come to see me when they are in their 30s or 40s and say, I have done what was expected of me and had a career doing the right thing, now I want to do something else. Something that makes me feel whole/complete. Something that brings me joy and fulfilment and helps me fulfil a personal quest. But, I’m not sure what my purpose is.

Is there a shift in the energy of the universe that is making people question this more than before? Is there a shift in me that I am hearing it more that I did? These are questions I have been pondering for a while.

 My question is why is there such a quest now for understanding this age old adage? When I ask people to tell me more about what they mean, they explain that they want more out of their lives. They seem to want to dig deeper, feel more intensely, taste more flavorfully, see and really observe more clearly. Maybe we are listening with more intention?

Surely then our purpose is to do just that, be in the moment and experience the moment for what it is? Eckhart Tolle says, “Listen to people’s stories, and you’ll find that they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now” The ego doesn’t know that your only opportunity for being at peace is now.” Is my purpose to be right here, right now?  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have goals or ambitions in place. I am simply saying that if I just concentrate on this moment I might find that it is full of opportunities that I might miss if I focus on the tomorrows.

I have come to understand that there are some “action steps” that help us make light of that question, “what is my purpose?” Action step one, I have to acknowledge that I am a creative being. We all have creativity within us no matter what we do or how. The second action step is to recognize it and develop it further. The third action step is to follow what feels right in your heart. To stop pleasing other people or doing what is expected of you. Now it is time for you to do what it is that you want. The fourth action step is to enjoy who you have chosen to be.

Paulo Coelho sums it up beautifully when he says:

People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of

– The Alchemist.

Guess what – I’m human!

Smoke This!I think people have a fear of being found out.

I know this because I once had this same fear. This fear of being caught with my hand in the non-organic, sugar laden, big corporation labeled cookie jar instead of a raw, homemade dessert with DIY edible decorations. I have feared the wrath of my peers at not having read that book or been to that seminar, and having instead chosen to spend my weekend watching reruns of Hannah Montana with my kids, taking a trip to McDonald’s to eat a dead cow (I hope it’s a cow, whatever!), and letting them frolic in the play area while I perused the latest issue of my favorite gossip magazine (because sometimes you gotta know who cheated on who, right?). And I admit it: right now as I write this, I am enjoying a cup of Folgers coffee and smoking a cigarette.

I used to be afraid of being seen as flawed, as not “spiritual” enough. I was afraid people would see the missing eye on my blissed out bunny slippers or hear me snore during that last 15 minutes of yoga class, when what I should have doing was meditating.

So, like many of my friends, I scoffed at those around me who accidentally let their humanness slip out. I judged and sighed knowingly and gazed upon that lost soul with that look – you know, that look you get from someone who has decided they are somehow better than you, that they have tasted the elixir of enlightenment and you just don’t have the right stuff to play in their galaxy or dimension, that they are taking their unicorn and going home. But with each sigh, with each judging gaze of my blinded by light and bliss eyes, deep down inside I wished I, too, could just take off my crystals and that itchy hemp shirt and just wear my Walmart shorts and eat a Nestle ice cream and be okay with that, too.

I looked around me and saw that so many were struggling to keep up with the Jones, or I should say the Chopra’s (wink wink). This being spiritual thing is exhausting. It seemed ironic that the idea of living a spiritual life was supposed to mean living without judgment, but let’s be honest here, there seems to be a lot of judgment around what it means to be spiritual.

So what’s a girl to do who just wants to have some peace in her life, be happy and find joy, love and be loved, feel good about the world, who sometimes has wild experiences in what seems to be other dimensions, but could just be she had a little to much wine and well, you know, she can’t really explain it but it was really mind blowing, who sometimes feels deeply connected to all things known in this dimension and others, but sometimes wants to eat crappy food and shop at a discount store?

Do it. Do it and enjoy it. Seriously, go right now and do anything you want. If it brings you joy, do it because that is LIVING. We ARE human; we are all a work in progress and we are all here in this reality to live in it, learn from it, to expand within it and out of it at our own pace. There is no spiritual handbook with points next to each enlightened feat accomplished. Deepak and Eckhart are not somewhere up there keeping score.

Being human is in fact normal, and when I let go of trying to be anything other than human, suddenly I find myself spending more time doing the things that brought me the peace and joy and enlightenment I had been searching for. Funny how that happens: when I stopped chasing, it stopped running.

How to Find Your Way In Weird World

Looking through binoculars/en spanareBy Jay Forte

I finally had to turn off the news yesterday. So much cynicism and negative events fill virtually every moment of the broadcast – I think I had had it with sensationalizing the negative. There were so many challenges and battles between people, and within organizations and the government. There are few other words to describe this moment in time than “weird.” What is with our inability to find common ground, care for and respect each other, and value our planet?

Though our world may be weird (and I wonder if every generation says this), it is still our time and place to have an amazing life – weird world or not. Maybe we need two options: how to cope with its weirdness and possibly learn how to undo the weirdness so we won’t have to always just cope.

As an energy coach (a coach who observes, assesses and integrates our normal and stress-induced energies as a means of achieving greater productivity, happiness and success), I am aware that we as a population resonate at a low catabolic (negative) level of energy. This is primarily due to our self focus. Our brain helps us with this narrow perspective because it his hardwired to ensure we survive; our first reactions are always to think about ourselves. This includes the fight-or-flight reaction in stressful situations or in periods of change. So, we show up ready to run or duke it out, always focusing on me, me, me. Though this may help us survive, in the long run it doesn’t seem that this kind of “survival” is anything to aspire to.

Author Seth Godin calls our fight-or-flight or reactionary brain, our lizard brain. This is us in “autopilot” – reacting instead of responding. This gives me amazing hope because there are times when we all can move from react to respond – from auto pilot lizard brain to thinking it through/being intentional. You can imagine that much of my coaching work is helping people see their reaction and learn to shift from it to intentional responses. Here in lies information in how to find our way in our weird world.

What to do?

We can cope. Sometimes realizing that things are the way they are allows us to stop fighting with them and start to accept what is. Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth that to be connected to a great life, we should always be in only one if these 3 states of mind: acceptance (hey, it is what it is), enjoyment (hey, I really like this) or enthusiasm (hey, this rocks). Anything less limits or diminishes us. So, realizing that the world is as it is can encourage us to take it as it is and cope by accepting what is. We can do this but I think this is accepting average instead of greatness.

Or, we can choose to change today’s weirdness. What are our options for change? I think it goes back to understanding personal energy. The more we focus on ourselves, the less connected we are to others. We don’t see their intrinsic greatness; we don’t value them and their lives as much as ours. To move our world out of weird, we will each need to be more present and aware – more conscious and mindful. Because as we start to show up more to the moments of our lives, we have more information and have greater clarity to be able to be more intentional in how we choose what we do next. This means not letting our lizard brain take over; instead, we access our creative brain. We move out of reaction into intentional responses. When we take the time to understand that everyone is born awesome and are just trying to figure out how to show up to life, we can be more aware, empathetic, connected and less self-focused. This expands our energy and our opportunities. We can truly move our world out of weird and into great. Easy? No. Doable? Yes.

So how do we find our way in a weird world? We can cope. Or, we could realize that we have the ability to change it. Start with you. Stop, think, assess, choose more wisely and more intentionally; don’t react, respond. Then encourage this in your family, friends workplace, social networks and soon the world. Okay, maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but imagine what that world would be like.

We never need to accept weirdness as our standard. Though our fundamental brains just want to keep ourselves safe, our more advanced brains can rise above – choose more wisely, see more opportunities and see the greatness in each being. Be present. Gather information. Be intentional. That is how it is done. I’m in, how about you?

Tornadoes, Bombings, and Kidnappings – How Tragedies Activate Our Higher Selves (Part 2)

PrayClick here for part 1.

Author Seth Godin shares that, in today’s world, big change doesn’t happen top-down – by governments or companies deciding what to do. Big or epic change happens from the ground up. It happens as thousands of people decide how they want something to be and then go do it. We can influence this string of tragedies between people by a creating a groundswell of respect and appreciation by people who recommit to seeing the good in others, valuing others and using their unique abilities to see and solve today’s challenges.

Tragedies get our attention. Tragedies interrupt our daily flow – they demand us to step into larger and more responsible roles. When life is fine – we are less intentional in our approach – almost going through life in autopilot. In these moments, we are less focused on how we can connect with each other more significantly or find ways to live more safely on the planet. But when something unusual – painful and tragic – happens, we dig deeper, find resources within ourselves and work more significantly with others to give, improve, support, and care. We are more responsive and more compassionate.

Eckhart Tolle shares in his book A New Earth, “As unhappiness increases, it also causes an increasing disruption in your life.” And when the pain is great, we change. When tragedies strike, we are shaken out of our normal, self-centered worlds and have a glimpse of our greater humanity, greater suffering, and greater need. In this moment, we connect to what is best in us and we solve, invent, work together, and let petty differences disappear. Remember the unity we felt after the Boston Marathon bombings, 911, the Oklahoma tornadoes and hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

The planet and people are the greatest sources of our tragedies. We can’t do much about the planet other than to understand it and use our collective genius to work together to learn how to live safely on it. We can however, learn to be more focused on each other’s greatness as the way to discuss our differences instead of attack, to work through problems instead of shooting or bombing, and to consider that every life is as valuable and important as every other life, regardless of faith, career, social status, or ethnicity. We are each born awesome; when we each are able to know ourselves and know our world, we can then unite to connect the best of ourselves to address today’s needs, challenges, and opportunities. Our problems and our solutions are in our humanity.

As my mother used to say to my five siblings and me when we complained about some physical attribute we inherited from our family that we didn’t like (long arms, unruly hair, Italian nose), “Look deeper. You have enough of the right stuff to make a profound difference in this world. You have what others need in the way of ideas, intellect, compassion and awareness to invent what needs to be invented and to learn to see the divine abilities in every other person.”

What if each of us learned to respond in “tragedy-mode” even when there were no tragedies? What if we cared more for others to help them reach their potential and soar in life instead of taking them down? What if we used our amazing intellectual abilities and wisdom to develop ways to keep people around the planet safe, regardless of what the planet was doing in its life cycle, then hurry to respond if something larger than our solutions happens?

Tragedies have the ability to help us discover and live what is best in us. The better question is why must we wait for a tragedy to access our more expansive, wise, and compassionate selves? If they are present in tragedy, then they are also present in happier and less dangerous times. All we need to do is to call on them.

So, maybe tragedies occur to remind us that we have greater power and influence over the outcomes of things than we think. That perhaps tragedies exist to show us that we have what we need to proactively stop future tragedies from happening. It is our choice to show up each day respecting and caring about others, and understanding our world to know how to live in it safely and wisely. And when the unavoidable humanity and planet collisions occur, that we quickly, wisely and compassionately respond.

Disempower Your Fears by Exposing Them to the Light

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 12.38.59 PM“So I just discovered Intent.com,” she said looking up at me from long dark lashes.

I nodded.

“And I found your writing,” she continued. “I found your piece about giving voice to your fears. So I wrote some of mine down.”

[Read the article here.]

I felt a smile crawl across my face. This private client is young and hungry and beautiful beyond her ability to even fathom. Her bravery never ceases to amaze me. She is about to embark on her first yoga teacher training; she just got accepted to her desired master’s program. We have been meeting with the intention of preparing her for yoga teacher training — both physically and mentally.

“Can I read you my fears?” she asked in a hushed whisper tone. She looked absolutely terrified. I could tell if I made one false move, she might bolt for the door.

“Absolutely,” I said. I steadied myself, uncrossed my legs and sat up straight. I wanted to be fully present for her. I took a deep breath. In her ever-wise ways, my young student did the same. And then she began.

The first fear came with tears. Her bottom lip was trembling. She had articulated it clearly with essential language. She wasn’t hiding anything. Her courage was astounding. Ironically, her fear centered around not being able to speak clearly and be understood. I knew it to be relevant as I had mistaken her name when I first met her. She has one of those names that has many similar derivatives. I called her by the wrong one for the first couple of weeks of knowing her. She didn’t correct me for some time. This was a good fear of hers to squelch. I could see how this would serve her well. I encouraged her to continue.

Her second fear was easier to share. She was getting more confident in this process. It was not wholly unrelated to the first fear and it is one that many young women suffer: the fear of not being taken seriously. This one was familiar. I too had suffered this one, but I was not as wise as she at her young age. I wasn’t working with the tools of awareness and integrity in quite the same manner. I knew this one wouldn’t hold much power over her for long. She only needed to see the value in what she has to offer. I gently persuaded her to go on.

The third fear was the most cliche, the most predictable, the most common. She laughed as she read it. But the laughter was an attempt to cover great, long-standing sorrow and self-loathing around this very common issue of body image. I let her release this anguish. I did not attempt to mask it. I let her see it for it’s gruesome self — a man-made demon, the product of programming and media assault, wholly and completely without merit for her or any woman.

That was it. She survived. She looked so relieved, already lighter.

“Ok,” I said. “Let’s discuss them.”

We went through each fear, point by point. We traced them back to their earliest known similar fears, memories, and origins. I explained to her the teaching’s of Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth. I relayed to her the ways in which he explains a pain body and how we each have them as large, energetic masses of pain that we carry around. They start early, when we are young. Then we add to them. We build and build them until before we know it, they are making decisions for us and acting without our permission. Many people are ruled by their pain bodies — spending their time looking for misery in the outside world with which to feed it. This is why you see some people’s eyes light up when they hear of someone else’s misery. This is why some folks gravitate towards gossip and gore, rather than light and love. This practice of voicing your fears helps to dispel your pain body’s existence. If we clear these dark energetic masses, we no longer have the need to add to them or feed them.

My student was nodding. She was doing great work. She was sharing fearlessly each thing that came to mind, no matter her perceived limitations.
Fears are universal. There is no greater connection than that which we share over our fears. What’s more is that we all have a similar reaction to our fears. We do a fascinating exercise in Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training’s where we take the time to verbally describe our reaction to fear:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constricted throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Arm pits sweating
  • Shallow breathing

And so forth.

Then we share these descriptors with the group at large. Some one hundred and fifty plus people share their reactions to fear. The amazing thing is: we’re all the same in our response. It’s biological. It’s the fight or flight response. It’s primal stuff. And yes, the fight or flight response is a very handy mechanism when you are actually in a life threatening situation. But that’s not what we are talking about here. We’re talking about being afraid to speak in public for fear of our inability to clearly communicate and being afraid to be seen because we have a negative body image. And no matter how terrifying that may be, we’re not going to die from it. There isn’t a dinosaur that is about to eat us. Our biological response is not appropriate for the situation. Therefore, we have the unique opportunity to begin to overcome these fears.

As we discussed these principles, my student began to perk up. She became lighter and lighter and soon, she was smiling with incandescence and ease. Once she became so effervescent, I asked her to teach (and practice) some sun salutations. She bounced up and beamed her way through them.

I offer you this practice humbly. Dis-empower your fears by exposing them to light. Darkness cannot grow in the light.

5 Quotes From Eckhart Tolle That Could Change Your Life

Eckhhart_Tolle_front-1Spiritual teachers and writers often talk about the importance of “being present” and practicing non-attachment when it comes to worries about the  past and future. But how do we actually stay non-attached in practice? When difficult emotions arise or life becomes too chaotic, many of us lose sight of the practices and teachings we’ve gained in yoga or meditation.

In the latest issue of Spirituality & Health magazine, the editor-in-chief sat down with renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle to discuss the practical aspects of living in the moment, and how to deal with daily challenges like anger and negative emotions.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom we gathered from the article:

On the present moment:

The actual experience of awakening can only be in the present moment.

On focusing on the future:

The future does not exist, because nobody has ever experienced it. You can only ever experience a present moment.

On global responsibility:

Your primary responsibility is your own state of consciousness. And once that is achieved, then whatever you do and whomever you come into contact with, and even many people you don’t come into direct contact with, get affected by your state of consciousness.

On the difference between being aware and being unaware of negative emotions:

[W]hen there’s a lack of awareness, then you get completely taken over by those negative feelings. There’s no inner space anymore, and you think, say, and do things that are controlled by that negative energy inside you… The difference is, when the same thing happens again and you become irritated, you become angry, whatever it is—reactive in some way—sad or depressed, there’s an awareness that this is happening to you. You have the observing presence in the background that’s more who you are rather than the emotion. You are still there as it happens.

On engaging in “awakened doing”:

Awakened doing is when you don’t create suffering anymore for others—or for yourself—by your own actions. It also implies that your primary intention, the focus of your attention, is on the “doing” in the present moment, rather than the result that you want to achieve through it.

We hope you find these quotes as inspiring as we did, and grab a copy of Spirituality & Health to read the rest of this amazing interview!

*****

 

MayJune2013_Eckhart.1Read the entire conversation with Eckhart Tolle in the May-June edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! The issue also features: 

For more enlightening, empowering, and inspiring information about your physical and emotional health, subscribe now to Spirituality & Health. 

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One Thing That Changed EVERY DAY of My Life in 2012

Photo: Toan Lam, Journal by: Caroline Harper

I’ve never really made New Year’s resolutions. But last year, I resolved to do one thing that changed me (from the inside out) every day of 2012.

I finally got around to keeping a journal — why did I wait so long?!

It’s not just one of these woo woo journals for the sake of saying you keep a journal. Instead of a sole gratitude journal, I started an evidence/gratitude journal — inspired by two people, one of whom I know, another who I will know or at least meet one day: Devyn Rush and Oprah Winfrey.

I’ve always been a fan of Oprah and have always kept her crusade to inspire folks to keep a gratitude journal in the back of my mind. It sat on the back burner until December 19th of 2011 — that’s when I finally lit the flame.

An inferno of miracles ensued.

I always thought, why keep a journal? I am present now, enjoying the now already. Well, what I realized is that this is where the magic happens — when you actually put them down on paper, effervescence happens… your thoughts manifest into something tangible, something real.

 

My friend Devyn Rush, a former American Idol contestant who is also a national spokesperson for U.G.L.Y., a bully prevention organization, told me about this journal, “Building the Best You.” If you get the privilege to know Devyn, you will walk away feeling reenergized by her infectious positive energy. At her behest, I decided to finally put pen to paper and took the penning plunge promise. My goal was to write in it everyday — I knew this would be a big feat for me because I get bored easily — but I’m proud to say I did it. Woo hoo. And whoa! Wee. Wow.

This viscerally changed me from the inside out.

What’s the difference between a gratitude journal and an evidence journal? The evidence part is when you log what you did for the day — then the gratitude part is when you write down things that unfolded that you’re grateful for.

Everyday I wrote down what I did that day, then at least five things that I was grateful for. The Building the Best You journal is a two year journal, each page is split in half. The left fold is year one, the right fold, year two.

I remember Oprah saying, “Some days I’d be grateful for seeing a squirrel in the park.” And boy wasn’t that the truth. She’s right, it doesn’t matter how simple something seemed or the lack of things you felt grateful for, it’s the fact that you’ve put this gratitude exercise into practice. And like a muscle that is put into action, I’ve become more aware and conscious of the beauty surrounding my life everyday. My favorite author, Eckhart Tolle, calls this “awareness.”

No matter how bad my day was, I found myself grateful for the lessons that came in different ways, shapes and forms. I started searching for things that I was grateful for during my days: a phone call from a loved one, discovering yet another street-corner style hero to feature in my nonprofit, Go Inspire Go, or a walk with a friend along the pier. It became habit.

I randomly flipped through my journal a couple of nights ago and was happy to see that I was grateful for “being present” and “my breath” and feeling connected to something bigger than myself were constant themes. What a big accomplishment.

Among the highlights of things I’ve logged:

1. Being more present than ever before: to nature, people and my spirit — not the “ego” or “thinking thing” rather, what Tolle calls “the watcher” — my inner compass.
2. Connections to people. I felt like the Universe sent me personal and professional connections that continue to help me grow as a person as well as progress within my nonprofit, Go Inspire Go.
3. Realization that when you become present and surrender to the ebb and flow of life, you are open to receiving more. Gratitude begets more goodness (and things to be grateful for).

What I’ve realized is that the miracles have always been there; I just became aware that they were happening — which in turn created and ignited more miracles. That’s the law of attraction at work. Ever notice how when you start the day by saying, “This is going to be a bad or stressful day” — the universe delivers a “Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?” What about those days when you say, “It’s going to be a great day!”

As a kid, I always woke up thinking, “What will I learn today? Who will I meet? What will happen?” Now I go to sleep logging the days happenings, building awareness and counting my blessings. In a sense, keeping this journal brought back the child within and has taught me to unlearn certain things we’ve learned as adults and to go back to that innocent, creative, awe-filled child’s lens we all had when we were discovering the world as children.

I’m glad I finally took action to count the miracles and enjoy them fully — I’ve evolved physically, mentally and spiritually thanks to the simple five-minute exercise of keeping an evidence/gratitude journal.

Are you aware of the miracles showing up in your life everyday? Write them down and witness them multiply.

My favorite author Eckhart Tolle says that the universe conspires to help us all. “But if the shutters are closed the sunlight can not come in.”

Cheers to a new year of counting your blessings and logging the light that comes through your window.

Happy New Year — Happy New You.

Sincerely,

Toan

P.S. What can YOU do?
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