yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

yoga is a way of life.. For inner peace and good health, practice yoga

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fear Can't Exist in the Now

Hello everyone. I have been writing every 3 weeks here at "Peace and Health" as I find that I accumulate experiences I wish to share on that schedule.

With the end of summer (sniff, sniff), with the anniversary of the still-sad events of Sept. 11, with the continuing bad economy (good for a few, bad for most), and a desire inside myself for more knowledge and skills in order to live life joyfully, I have studied 2 interesting books recently which I would love to share, as well as recommend a most amazing film which touches on many big, universal human themes. I also want to give you a simple exercise to try.

The first book is entitled, "There is Nothing Wrong with You," by a Zen teacher named Cheri Huber. It is a charming and helpful reminder that we are not who we have been conditioned to become through our early experiences of surviving within a family, getting "educated" in school, and following societal expectations. We are each perfect as we are and are connected to each other and the universe, not separate from each other and all living creatures.

The second book, "The Power of Now," by Eckhart Tolle, is a masterpiece explaining that it is possible to live a life with less fear and suffering if we live it in the present (now) instead of dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. This is what Buddha taught, and there are many references to this concept in ancient religions and philosophies. Tolle says, in an excerpt from the book:

"...Most people only shift between ordinary unconsciousness and deep unconsciousness. What I call ordinary unconsciousness means being identified with your thought processes and emotions, your reactions, desires, and aversions. It is most people's normal state. In that state, you are run by the egoic mind, and you are unaware of Being. It is a state not of acute pain or unhappiness, but of an almost continual low level of unease, discontent, boredom, or nervousness--a kind of background static. You may not realize this because it is so much a part of "normal" living, just as you are not aware of a continuous low background noise, such as the hum of an air conditioner, until it stops. When it suddenly does stop, there is a sense of relief. Many people use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, television, or even shopping as anesthetics in an unconscious attempt to remove the basic unease. When this happens, an activity that might be very enjoyable if used in moderation becomes imbued with a compulsive or addictive quality, and all that is ever achieved through it is extremely short-lived symptom relief." Tolle talks about the limited life we lead when we think we are our minds, or our thoughts, staying in a small loop of problems that keep us restricted and tense. Our identities are not derived from our thoughts; mind machinations that dwell in the past and worry about the future. When we bring ourselves back to the present moment, we are free to live and be fully awake to reality.

The film I watched is "Madadayo" by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It was his last film and is a tribute to the good fortune any of us has to find a cherished teacher whom we can emulate. I felt while watching it the other night that it is so superb that I wish I could give a copy of it to all of you, and dream that all school children could be shown this film (along with their parents, but with the parents in the back of the auditorium and children in front to experience it for themselves). It is a tender, funny, humane story and I just adore it.

Here is a simple exercise, a "Prayer to Being in the Now:"

I hope you enjoy it, and I hope we can all find peace and health together. Everything is possible that way! Right NOW.