Every once in a while, I will read something that totally speaks to me. I recently finished reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and let me tell you… my perceptions on many everyday things have been changed.
I love books that open my eyes and give me literal “woah!” moments. This one did that for me. It made me think a little deeper and recognize things that I hadn’t noticed before. I’m noticing things in myself as well as in other people. Why we act the way we do, or why we say the things we say.
Without getting too carried away here, the gist of the book is to make the reader aware of their consciousness and inner ego. It goes into great detail about how much of a role our egos play in everyday life and how it creates unhappiness, anger, jealousy, and basically all of those other negative feelings. Why we talk badly about other people, why we resent things our friends do, why we snicker and feel threatened.
One part that I wanted to share with you was about acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm and how if you are not doing everything with one of the three, you are creating unhappiness and suffering for yourself.
How many times have you complained about something you’re doing, or something that needs to be done? “Ugh the laundry needs to be folded!” How many times have you been in a situation that made you miserable and mumbled obscenities under your breath? I sure know I have… often. But what if instead of complaining and turning the situation into a negative experience, you simply accepted that it is what it is, and pushed through it? Doing just that stops the cycle of negativity and most importantly — your ego — from doing what it does best… creating unhappiness for you. By accepting that this is what’s happening right now and it’s okay, you become more neutral to the situation… heck, you might even turn it into a positive experience.
Doing things with enjoyment and enthusiasm is even better because, obviously, you actually enjoy doing them.
Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or vision that you work towards.
I was talking with a friend the other day who was complaining about her work situation and how she has never had any luck with getting a job that she would actually love to have. She felt as though she was stuck in this place where she would always just find herself settling for something she didn’t like. I thought of this book and the cycle of suffering she has been creating for herself by clouding up her mind with negative thoughts (i.e. “Everyone gets the good jobs and I’m stuck here in a job I hate!”). I mentioned that she should maybe try to just accept the situation she was in and see what happens. When you accept the situation, your evil ego (the root of your unhappiness) has nothing to feed off of. You will see the clouds start to fade and a bit of sunshine poke through. You will be more at peace with the situation and will be able to move on from it.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “like attracts like”? It means that when you live your life in a positive state, positive things will continue to happen for you. The opposite is then true as well… if you keep giving in to a negative state, nothing good can come out of it and you will continue to have negative experiences. You spread your positivity or negativity onto others as well. Whenever I think of this theory, I can’t help but think of those annoying Facebook friends (I know you have at least one too!) who, day after day, have something to complain about because something went wrong in their lives again. When you surrender and tell yourself that it is what it is (i.e. accept it!), you are stopping that cycle of negativity dead in its tracks.
“You know what’s funny, I really think that some people are just successful and able to get what they want and others just aren’t….” she told me. “Honestly, from an outsider it does seem like your success comes easy. I don’t think that’s really the case. I think you do a lot of work, however you just are successful. You almost always are. Some people can try and try and nothing happens, no success comes to them.” I thought this was interesting because in my own mind, there is so much stuff that I’ve been extremely unsuccessful at, but of course nobody really sees that from their point of view. (I honestly wouldn’t even describe myself as successful to somebody because that comes from such an egoic place as if I am better than somebody else). Outsiders only see the final product of something that worked. The thing is, when something doesn’t work out, I move on to something else, or change it, and don’t dwell on it and get my panties in a bunch. I throw things at the wall and see what sticks.
It got me thinking about how this relates to the enthusiasm part of the book, and I realized that I don’t do things that make me unhappy, I do things that I like and I do them with a great amount of enthusiasm. I told her: “Everything I do, I do it because I want to do it. I don’t look at a challenge as a challenge to overcome, I look at it as a new fun thing that I am excited to conquer….. I also do think that while I am creating something, or working on a new project, I am totally 100% present in the moment. I am not thinking about where it will get me to or how it will pay off. Obviously I have an ultimate goal in mind, but I don’t constantly cloud my thoughts with that end goal while I’m in the moment, creating.” I realized then that the things that do end up working in my favor have been things that I’ve done with enthusiasm. The stuff that doesn’t work has come from a different place, an egoic place, of wanting.
So many of us are living for something. We’re thinking about how what we do today will make a better future for us. That is the ego by the way… Always wanting more and more and more and will never be satisfied no matter what you do. What we all need to realize is that right now, this very moment, is the only thing that matters. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. We have zero control over either one, but we do have control over NOW. Once we can learn to accept the present moment… accept the now, enjoyment — and even enthusiasm, will come to light and be present in whatever you do.
I seriously want every person to read this book so we can talk about it and live in a world where ego doesn’t dominate everything we do. Where we accept the things that we don’t like so much, and do the things that we love without an ulterior motive.
What is something that has been bugging you, or something you dislike doing? Can you tell yourself today that you will just accept it for what it is?