My three magnificent sons have been visiting here in Spain over Christmas and New Year's. I've been so thrilled to have them all together again at one time and in one country, rather than seeing one here and another there, and so on. But ... they all caught some nasty bug that has been doing the rounds here from northern Spain to the Mediterranean Coast where I live. High fever, nausea, painful cough, etc. (Funnily enough, I didn't get it despite our close physical proximity since the first came down with it, and each of his brothers in close succession, and despite the fact that I became - ipso facto - and naturally enough, nurse and chief cook and bottle-washer).
However, this did spoil our carefully laid plans and we have been obliged to curtail many of the activities and sight-seeing excursions to Cordoba, Seville, and Granada that we had wanted to undertake together, creating some expected and logical disappointment, and so today, as I woke up, I picked up a well-worn copy of Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose and opened it at random.
(If you have not seen his ten 90-minute webinars about this book on Oprah's website, click here to access them. This link is always available on the right side-bar of my blog in the links section.)
This is what I read as a subtitle on the page that had opened: Not Minding What Happens. Tolle refers to Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher, who traveled the world for over 50 years attempting to convey through words - which are content - that which is beyond words, beyond content. Tolle writes that at one of Krishnamurti's talks he asked his audience if they wanted to know his secret; many had been coming to his conferences for years and had still not grasped the essence of his teachings.
"This is my secret," he said. "I don't mind what happens."
And Tolle explains: To be in alignment with what is means to be in a relationship of inner nonresistance with what happens. It means not to label it mentally as good or bad, but to let it be. Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring about change in your life? On the contrary. When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.
Chris Griscom also wrote, many years ago, in one of her many magnificent books: where there is no resistance, there is no pain.
As I read those words, I remembered something similar in Tolle's seminal work The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. The two short paragraphs in that earlier book had meant a great deal to me almost three years ago when I was given a diagnosis of malignant uterine cancer.
Tolle wrote this: The present moment is sometimes unacceptable, unpleasant, or awful.
It is as it is. Observe how the mind labels it and how this labeling process, this continuous sitting in judgment, creates pain and unhappiness. By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be. This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace. Then see what happens, and take action if necessary or possible.
Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Aways work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.
Why not use that as your guiding motif for this New Year that has just begun: Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Aways work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.
This will miraculously transform your whole life.