Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A New Earth -- The Discovery of Inner Space

Jenn's thoughts and learnings from the eighth week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

I have to say, while I enjoyed taking a week off from my usual routine, I really did miss diving deeper with Eckhart and Oprah and A New Earth. It's good to be back!

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
I was so excited that they were talking about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor! Apparently Oprah is having her on the Soul Series radio show after A New Earth is all over. If you haven't yet seen the video that's been going around, take a few minutes to treat yourself to a viewing. Really inspirational stuff. Apparently, she thinks that your right brain IS the consciousness, the awareness, the presence that Eckhart talks about. It's all connected!

This, too, shall pass
One of my favorite expressions that you run into on the spiritual path just about everywhere, really, is "This too shall pass." It's an incredibly powerful concept that allows you to let go of the outcome of any experience. Most people find it soothing it times of stress or sorrow, a reminder that tomorrow is another day full of new possibilities, but don't like to apply it to the happy times, seeing it as a reminder that the joy can't last and feeling like it's a bit of a buzz kill. The thing is, nothing lasts, and once you truly come to understand this, you can truly accept the present moment without judgment, without expectation. It is an expression of true freedom, allowing you to enjoy this moment and not think about what is going to come next, relieving you of any sense of dread or worry, enhancing the joy and pleasure.

Spiritual does not mean passive
A young man was asking about how one stays present and follows one's true purpose but still manages to pay the bills on time and take care of the mechanics of life on this planet. Oprah really got into this one, I think because it's a fairly common misunderstanding, this idea that somehow being spiritual means we're supposed to be passive. It's akin to the misconstrued idea that if we all followed our bliss then everyone would want to be an artist and no one would be a garbage collector. Truly, it's about aligning yourself with what resonates with you and allowing things to flow from that place. Oprah is a perfect example of how it works--she is someone who has shown up completely as herself and the universe has said, yes, please, more of that! She did not sit on top of a mountain and meditate and expect things to come to her, however. She took action, showed up, and allowed the universe to flow from that point. The same is true for everybody. You go to work, staying fully present to Who You Are and aligning your action with what resonates for you and things will flow for you. In Religious Science there's a saying, "Treat and move your feet." It essentially means pray, set your intention, and then get out there and stir things up and see what falls out. Try it out yourself--take steps in the direction of your dreams, stay present and connected to your true self, and see what happens.

Everything is amazing
Towards the end of the webinar, one of the callers was talking about how present she's felt being on vacation but that she's worried when she returns home she'll fall back into her old patterns. Oprah's response really stuck with me. She was basically saying you just have to be really conscious about bringing this work into your daily life, making sure you take the time to practice awareness. But then she said, when you really put this into practice, EVERYTHING is amazing. It's not just that nature is beautiful and the sound of a child laughing is joyful and whatnot, it's that even just the act of breathing in and breathing out takes on a whole new level of consciousness and presence that just simply BEING is amazing. Wow. When she said that, I really got it, really felt it for that moment. What a way to live, to truly live your life. And you don't have to go anywhere to find it--it is always available to you, within you, right here, right now.

Homework
So my assignment to myself and to anyone else who is interested in giving it a try is to practice Active TV watching. Eckhart talks about this in the book as well as on the webinar. The idea is to not allow watching TV to make you unconscious. Pick and choose when and what you're going to watch--don't watch TV for TV's sake, but make sure that what you're watching is something you truly want to watch. While you sit there, practice staying conscious throughout, feeling the aliveness within your body, staying aware of what is passing through your mind. Don't allow yourself to glaze over--move your body periodically and look away from the television from time to time, allowing your gaze to fall on something tangible within the room. Use this time to practice staying present instead of using it as a time to escape. Good luck, let me know how it goes! Namaste.

Photo: "inner space," originally uploaded by Wendy

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1 comment:

Fran said...

As I was reading your post, I was reminded of what my teacher, August Gold, says from time to time. She says that being spiritual doesn't make you a better person. It just makes you more of who you really are. I really love that! I think that is what Oprah has done- shown up as more of who she truly and has become a real gift to the world as a result