Thank goodness I'd already started on my path to enlightenment when my daughter so rudely called out my fat panties last week. I've been meaning to share two very important things that have happened to me in the last month- I read "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle and I started Jenny Craig.
First, the book that has changed me and so my life. I've been wanting to devote a whole blog entry to "A New Earth", but was stalled by the enormity of the subject. If you are looking for a spiritual awakening, if you long for a closer walk with the divine, if you feel as if you are balancing on a knife-edge waiting for the fall, then this book is for you, but I'm no spiritual guru so read it for yourselves.
How can a book change a life? The same way any epiphany or moment of clarity can change a person's perspective and a shift in perspective is usually all it takes. "A New Earth" addresses the expression of God within each of us, revealing all external bru-ha-ha as just a bunch of fiction we participate in to feel alive because we have lost our connection with our inner being (that's a clumsy summary). I know, I know, that sounds hokey, but I am experiencing it so hokey or not, I feel it.
Tolle describes the current state of humanity as lost in the ego. Because this can all turn very philosophical, esoteric, borderline new age, I'm not going to try and explain the ego or it's structures (hoping you'll read and learn for yourself if interested), but will instead identify two of the things I've learned about my ego and how it controls me in a not so awesome way.
First, Tolle writes about the frenetic thinking that occurs in the mind at all times. I always thought I was unique (ego) in the way my mind never shut-down (except when watching television) and was always thinking, always moving on to something else, but as Tolle points out, that is a part of humanity's condition not just this jurl's brilliance. Tolle also points out that all these thoughts hijacking your focus are either thoughts about the future or the past, none of which is particularly relevant in the present.
When I read that I realized the truth of it- my mind was always on what has happened to me or what might happen to me. WTF. To what end does this thinking get me? It gets me lost in an illusion of the mind and disconnected from the most powerful moment there is, the only moment there is, the present. How many times have I arrived at my office yet have no real memory of the drive? A bajillion times! What was I thinking about? Oh let's see...imagining an argument that never occurrs, or obsessing over some issue that's not even my own and I can't fix, or feeling guilty about dropping my kids off at day care then double guilty because truth be told I really just want to go home and be myself! What a waste of time. Meanwhile the present is passing me by and with it the miracle of life that infuses every present moment.
I could go on and on about how I've been missing the moment, but I'll spare you. Instead, I will give an example of how I now am focused on the present. When playing with my daughter and/or son I no longer think about the dishes that need to be unloaded out of the dishwasher or the e-mails I need to answer. Now, I think only about what the Barbie I've been assigned is going to say next or what funny sound will make my baby giggle. I have found a peace and connection to the spirit of my children that is miraculous and joyous. It takes a lot of practice and my mind still wanders to some of the craziest stuff, but the awareness it the first and most important step.
Another ego issue, Tolle tells us, is the need for the ego to insist that you are this or that. You are a mother, you are a teacher, you are fat, you are mistreated, you are fill in the blank. The reality is we are none of these self-assigned monikers. We are the spark of God, the flower of life and it is only our ego that craves more expression than this. Again, I could blah, blah about this aspect of the teaching, but I'll focus on one of my egoic role addictions.
My ego is so strongly addicted to having a weight problem that if I didn't I would no longer know who I was and what to do with myself. If I can't talk about my fat panties and feel like my addiction to food is the worst of any one I know, well, then what on Earth will I do? I really got this when a friend of mine started Jenny Craig and I insisted it couldn't work for me because I can't control myself and would eat a week's worth of food in one day then go to the grocery store for more. But why? I'd never tried such a program and had no reason to assume it would not work for me other than my ego's self-destructive desire to be to far gone for success. Insanity.
Once I caught on to the ego's stupidity I signed up asap and have already lost 15 pounds. I love Jenny Craig!! Take that, you ego bastard!
Anyway, read the book if you want, don't if you don't. Jenny Craig rocks and I'm getting rid of these fat panties because I am not a fat person, I'm simply "I am" and that is plenty.