Eleven Million Downloads of Oprah and Eckhart!!!

I just finished listening to Oprah and Eckhart’s fifth class tonight, and I just wanted to say, did everyone catch that there have been eleven million downloads of their class worldwide?  Eleven Million!!!!!!!!  What more can I say? Thank you Oprah for this unprecedented event!!

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Synchronicity and Being an April Fool

Early tomorrow morning I will be catching a flight east that I bought several months ago. My job at Stanford came to a finish last week, and I planned to visit family and friends in New England. It just so happened that there was a plane change in Chicago in the middle of the trip. Just a few days ago I received a big surprise! I was invited to come be in the audience for an Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago that will be focused on A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

I know almost nothing more than this still, but the synchronicity of the invitation to come to the show at the same time when I just happened to be in Chicago anyway made it hard to say no. So I will be stopping in Chicago on my way east and will let you all know what that is like on this blog when I have the chance. I had been talking by email to Joan Tollifson, who has lived in Chicago for years and is planning to move to Oregon, and so asked her what hotel to stay at in town. Well, that night she just happened to have dinner with someone who is one of the subscribers to the Wide Awake Living newsletter and who evidently has a very nice guest room where I have now been invited to stay during my time in town. Oh my goodness. It sure looks like life wants me to go to Chicago! I am not someone who ordinarily would ever see the inside of a TV studio. It’s funny how when you let go of the reins of your life, you really had better mean it, because you might just end up doing things that you never would have done otherwise. This has a similar feel to it as the experience I had of being “moved” from Vermont to California. The context it falls in is one of having numerous job applications and interviews for my next position at Stanford, and nothing coming of it so far. Interesting. Mind wants to know what’s going on, but it just doesn’t know. I’m just doing the next obvious thing all the time and seeing where it goes. Maybe if life doesn’t give me a job, its an opportunity to put a lot of focus on writing the next book. But what’s up with this Chicago thing? I know better than to try to guess.

Spring

 

Eckhart Tolle on Oprah, Chapter 2:

Changing the Focal Point of Our Lives to the Present Moment

On the second web-cast of Oprah Winfrey’s phenomenally large online class with Eckhart Tolle, the stand-out for me was when Eckhart talked about making the present moment the focal point of our lives. Eckhart has a wonderful way of saying inspiring things using such plain language that we can all get it, no matter what our spiritual or religious background might be.  We can see into the meaning of his simple words, and connect with the reality that they are pointing to.

We heard in his earlier book “The Power of Now” about the importance of the present moment—about how the past and the future are not real in the same way that this present moment is realpast and future are just ideas that are programmed into our minds.  This must have resonated with many of us, because the Power of Now has been on the best seller lists for so long. Now Eckhart has written A New Earth and it has already sold 3.5 million copies, even before Oprah started this class. We must have an abiding interest in this message! And we want to knowafter exploring our interest and enjoying these wonderful books, is there a way that we can actually experience this reality that Eckhart is talking about in the midst of the commotion of our busy daily lives?

What would it really mean to change the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and to stay living in the world? If we are willing to really have that happen for us, what would it mean for our lives?  The content in each of our lives is different obviously, so the exact details of what would change would be as unique as we each are as people.  On the other hand, there are universal patterns about this inner shift that Eckhart is referring to.  One of these is expressed so succinctly by the description he uses of having a space develop between our sense of self and our thought processes. This space occurs and expands as we disidentify with our thought processes, and relate to them instead as a wonderful tool that we (an identity outside of them) use. In our lives up to this point, we have been fused with these thoughts that go through our minds, as if our ideas about ourselves are actually equivalent to who we are. When we stay in the present moment and notice that our thoughts are arising and are something quite separate from who we are, then a space is appearing. At first it may seem vague and fleeting, but over time if we keep giving this our attention, the space seems to widen and become permanent and “normal”. We notice our thoughts as if from a slight distance, as only being thoughts and not having anything to do with who we are.  We no longer look to our thinking processes to provide us with crucial information about who we are, and so are freed in a wonderful way from reliance on our thoughts, feelings or circumstances conforming to our preferences.  They no longer affect us in the same way.

This lack of reference to thinking for clues about our identity, doesn’t leave much possibility for using the past and future as focal points for our daily living. Past and future turn out to not exist outside of our thought processes.  We can watch our thoughts creating both. Meanwhile it is all happening in a present moment that seems to be pregnant with possibility and vitality.  When we stay with it enough to recognize the incredible beauty of the life force expressing itself around us in a myriad of forms, it can feel quite overwhelmingly and radiantly beautiful, no matter what the content of it is.

If what we are going to do today or how we are going to behave in a particular situation has been a compulsive recreating of the past (making today be much like yesterday and projecting that into tomorrow) we become freed from that.  Although such freedom from the past is generally felt to be wonderful, what is sacrificed to get there is the knowing of what will be happening in the future.  To the mind, this tends to be a profoundly unacceptable situation because of its need to control life, and mind may be making noisy complaints about that. The noise, however, is occurring on the sidelines of awareness once we are experiencing the space that we have been referring to. It is just mind doing what minds do, making noise and being a tool that is trying unsuccessfully to retain control over its rightful master, you.  It no longer is needed for that particular job. You already know who you are.

As we allow the present moment to be the focal point of our lives, we are freed from the domination by our thoughts that has been the normal human condition for thousands of years. We are freed to live our lives without compulsive referencing to ideas about what is possible and the world opens up to us. We use the mind to reference practical thingswe don’t want to forget our phone number, or forget how to cook dinner. Mind is the most amazing and practical tool when it comes into its rightful place of serving something beyond itself. And when it is not needed, it can rest. What is here in this focal point of the present moment then, is the simple yet vitally alive world that surrounds and includes us. We feel the wind in our hair again. We see the incredible vitality in the world around us—we see God (or call it Life, or Love) peeking at us out of everything. We experience the joy that every birdcall has all along been offering us.  The veil of thinking has been lifted off of the world, and life as it is, including our own, can now be experienced.

Experiencing the world in this way is such an overwhelmingly wonderful experience that once it is felt, it forever remains as a motivation for the sometimes time-consuming process of learning to live it in the midst of everyday life. At first it may be that even little disturbances like a harsh word or a traffic jam with jump-start mind into such compelling noise that the experiencing of the present moment may not be possible until that event is long passed.  But gradually over time, with steady attention to who we really are, we are able to stay conscious in the little things and only more charged and potent events can throw us. Gradually we come to live our whole lives in this new world. We have changed the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and our world reflects back to us the incredible gift of the Life that we have been given and that we are.

© 2008 Alice Gardner

www.wideawakeliving.com
Author of Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice”

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Eckhart Tolle & Oprah: Changing the Focus of our Life to the Present Moment

poppy.jpg

On the second web-cast of Oprah Winfrey’s phenomenally large online class with Eckhart Tolle, the stand-out for me was when Eckhart talked about making the present moment the focal point of our lives. Eckhart has a wonderful way of saying inspiring things using such plain language that we can all get it, no matter what our spiritual or religious background might be. We can see into the meaning of his simple words, and connect with the reality that they are pointing to.

We heard in his earlier book “The Power of Now” about the importance of the present moment—about how the past and the future are not real in the same way that this present moment is real—past and future are just ideas that are programmed into our minds. This must have resonated with many of us, because the Power of Now has been on the best seller lists for so long. Now Eckhart has written A New Earth and it has already sold 3.5 million copies, even before Oprah started this class. We must have an abiding interest in this message! And we want to know—after exploring our interest and enjoying these wonderful books, is there a way that we can actually experience this reality that Eckhart is talking about in the midst of the commotion of our busy daily lives?

What would it really mean to change the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and to stay living in the world? If we are willing to really have that happen for us, what would it mean for our lives? The content in each of our lives is different obviously, so the exact details of what would change would be as unique as we each are as people. On the other hand, there are universal patterns about this inner shift that Eckhart is referring to. One of these is expressed so succinctly by the description he uses of having a space develop between our sense of self and our thought processes. This space occurs and expands as we disidentify with our thought processes, and relate to them instead as a wonderful tool that we (an identity outside of them) use. In our lives up to this point, we have been fused with these thoughts that go through our minds, as if our ideas about ourselves are actually equivalent to who we are. When we stay in the present moment and notice that our thoughts are arising and are something quite separate from who we are, then a space is appearing. At first it may seem vague and fleeting, but over time if we keep giving this our attention, the space seems to widen and become permanent and “normal”. We notice our thoughts as if from a slight distance, as only being thoughts and not having anything to do with who we are. We no longer look to our thinking processes to provide us with crucial information about who we are, and so are freed in a wonderful way from reliance on our thoughts, feelings or circumstances conforming to our preferences. They no longer affect us in the same way.

This lack of reference to thinking for clues about our identity, doesn’t leave much possibility for using the past and future as focal points for our daily living. Past and future turn out to not exist outside of our thought processes. We can watch our thoughts creating both. Meanwhile it is all happening in a present moment that seems to be pregnant with possibility and vitality. When we stay with it enough to recognize the incredible beauty of the life force expressing itself around us in a myriad of forms, it can feel quite overwhelmingly and radiantly beautiful, no matter what the content of it is.

If what we are going to do today or how we are going to behave in a particular situation has been a compulsive recreating of the past (making today be much like yesterday and projecting that into tomorrow) we become freed from that. Although such freedom from the past is generally felt to be wonderful, what is sacrificed to get there is the knowing of what will be happening in the future. To the mind, this tends to be a profoundly unacceptable situation because of its need to control life, and mind may be making noisy complaints about that. The noise, however, is occurring on the sidelines of awareness once we are experiencing the space that we have been referring to. It is just mind doing what minds do, making noise and being a tool that is trying unsuccessfully to retain control over its rightful master, you. It no longer is needed for that particular job. You already know who you are.

As we allow the present moment to be the focal point of our lives, we are freed from the domination by our thoughts that has been the normal human condition for thousands of years. We are freed to live our lives without compulsive referencing to ideas about what is possible and the world opens up to us. We use the mind to reference practical things—we don’t want to forget our phone number or forget how to cook dinner. Mind is the most amazing and practical tool when it comes into its rightful place of serving something beyond itself. And when it is not needed, it can rest. What is here in this focal point of the present moment then, is the simple yet vitally alive world that surrounds and includes us. We feel the wind in our hair again. We see the incredible vitality in the world around us—we see God (or call it Life, or Love) peeking at us out of everything. We experience the joy that every birdcall has all along been offering us. The veil of thinking has been lifted off of the world, and life as it is, including our own, can now be experienced.

Experiencing the world in this way is such an overwhelmingly wonderful experience that once it is felt, it forever remains as a motivation for the sometimes time-consuming process of learning to live it in the midst of everyday life. At first it may be that even little disturbances like a harsh word or a traffic jam with jump-start mind into such compelling noise that the experiencing of the present moment may not be possible until that event is long passed. But gradually over time, with steady attention to who we really are, we are able to stay conscious in the little things and only more charged and potent events can throw us. Gradually we come to live our whole lives in this new world. We have changed the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and our world reflects back to us the incredible gift of the Life that we have been given and that we are.

© 2008 Alice Gardner
Author of Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice”

 

Eckhart Tolle & Oprah: Changing the Focus of our Life to the Present Moment

poppy.jpg

On the second web-cast of Oprah Winfrey’s phenomenally large online class with Eckhart Tolle, the stand-out for me was when Eckhart talked about making the present moment the focal point of our lives. Eckhart has a wonderful way of saying inspiring things using such plain language that we can all get it, no matter what our spiritual or religious background might be. We can see into the meaning of his simple words, and connect with the reality that they are pointing to.

We heard in his earlier book “The Power of Now” about the importance of the present moment—about how the past and the future are not real in the same way that this present moment is realpast and future are just ideas that are programmed into our minds. This must have resonated with many of us, because the Power of Now has been on the best seller lists for so long. Now Eckhart has written A New Earth and it has already sold 3.5 million copies, even before Oprah started this class. We must have an abiding interest in this message! And we want to knowafter exploring our interest and enjoying these wonderful books, is there a way that we can actually experience this reality that Eckhart is talking about in the midst of the commotion of our busy daily lives?

What would it really mean to change the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and to stay living in the world? If we are willing to really have that happen for us, what would it mean for our lives? The content in each of our lives is different obviously, so the exact details of what would change would be as unique as we each are as people. On the other hand, there are universal patterns about this inner shift that Eckhart is referring to. One of these is expressed so succinctly by the description he uses of having a space develop between our sense of self and our thought processes. This space occurs and expands as we disidentify with our thought processes, and relate to them instead as a wonderful tool that we (an identity outside of them) use. In our lives up to this point, we have been fused with these thoughts that go through our minds, as if our ideas about ourselves are actually equivalent to who we are. When we stay in the present moment and notice that our thoughts are arising and are something quite separate from who we are, then a space is appearing. At first it may seem vague and fleeting, but over time if we keep giving this our attention, the space seems to widen and become permanent and “normal”. We notice our thoughts as if from a slight distance, as only being thoughts and not having anything to do with who we are. We no longer look to our thinking processes to provide us with crucial information about who we are, and so are freed in a wonderful way from reliance on our thoughts, feelings or circumstances conforming to our preferences. They no longer affect us in the same way.

This lack of reference to thinking for clues about our identity, doesn’t leave much possibility for using the past and future as focal points for our daily living. Past and future turn out to not exist outside of our thought processes. We can watch our thoughts creating both. Meanwhile it is all happening in a present moment that seems to be pregnant with possibility and vitality. When we stay with it enough to recognize the incredible beauty of the life force expressing itself around us in a myriad of forms, it can feel quite overwhelmingly and radiantly beautiful, no matter what the content of it is.

If what we are going to do today or how we are going to behave in a particular situation has been a compulsive recreating of the past (making today be much like yesterday and projecting that into tomorrow) we become freed from that. Although such freedom from the past is generally felt to be wonderful, what is sacrificed to get there is the knowing of what will be happening in the future. To the mind, this tends to be a profoundly unacceptable situation because of its need to control life, and mind may be making noisy complaints about that. The noise, however, is occurring on the sidelines of awareness once we are experiencing the space that we have been referring to. It is just mind doing what minds do, making noise and being a tool that is trying unsuccessfully to retain control over its rightful master, you. It no longer is needed for that particular job. You already know who you are.

As we allow the present moment to be the focal point of our lives, we are freed from the domination by our thoughts that has been the normal human condition for thousands of years. We are freed to live our lives without compulsive referencing to ideas about what is possible and the world opens up to us. We use the mind to reference practical thingswe don’t want to forget our phone number or forget how to cook dinner. Mind is the most amazing and practical tool when it comes into its rightful place of serving something beyond itself. And when it is not needed, it can rest. What is here in this focal point of the present moment then, is the simple yet vitally alive world that surrounds and includes us. We feel the wind in our hair again. We see the incredible vitality in the world around us—we see God (or call it Life, or Love) peeking at us out of everything. We experience the joy that every birdcall has all along been offering us. The veil of thinking has been lifted off of the world, and life as it is, including our own, can now be experienced.

Experiencing the world in this way is such an overwhelmingly wonderful experience that once it is felt, it forever remains as a motivation for the sometimes time-consuming process of learning to live it in the midst of everyday life. At first it may be that even little disturbances like a harsh word or a traffic jam with jump-start mind into such compelling noise that the experiencing of the present moment may not be possible until that event is long passed. But gradually over time, with steady attention to who we really are, we are able to stay conscious in the little things and only more charged and potent events can throw us. Gradually we come to live our whole lives in this new world. We have changed the focal point of our lives to the present moment, and our world reflects back to us the incredible gift of the Life that we have been given and that we are.

© 2008 Alice Gardner
Author of Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice”

 

Eckhart Tolle and Oprah: What does life want with me?

When I was a youngster, John F. Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.  This inspired a generation into a more creative approach to lifea movement from an attitude of entitlement into one of service to something greater than our own personal well being. On last Monday night, in a web-cast with Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle (which has, 6 days later, already been listened to by 1.5 million people) we were asked to expand this inspiration beyond nationalism, beyond looking out for the good of our country above other countries. This naturally follows in a world where one of the main forms of conflict is between countries. Our world is now being brought together through technology and communications, and by individuals noticing a unity in which we are all connected.  In this web-cast, and in his book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle specifically is suggesting “Rather than asking, ‘What do I want from Life?’, a more powerful question to ask is, ‘Life, what do you want from me?’”

It is a crucial time in the human history where we are confronting a world situation that has the possibility of causing at least mass destruction if not self-annihilation in the long run.  It seems that maybe life is experimenting in the way it is developing the human race. It seems that for some reason it has been important that life include the amazing cognitive abilities that humans have developed and continue to develop, as a part of itself.  The risks of this experiment are the intractable issues that we see all around us in the modern world. Our cognitive abilities are running amok in a sense. Our ability to conceptualize, to have thoughts and ideas as we know them, has created in each of us a false sense of self as being someone separate from all other lives.  This in turn creates self-centered behaviors that happen, often out of fear, and without reference to what is good for the whole. If each of us stays simply looking out for our separate personal selves in the way that we have been doing for thousands of years (relating to life as the mind-constructed version of ourselves), we may not have much of a future any more. 

The world situation and all the intractable problems that modern society is presenting us with are a wonderful pointer towards the possibility and necessity of awakening out of this bundle of ideas about who we are and into living a life that is an expression of what Life wants, not what we personally want.  This is also so beautifully expressed in the Christian tradition as “letting go and letting God”.  Whether we use Christian or other religious terminology or not, this shift is an essential step that needs to be taken, if we value our survival as a species and the survival of our beautiful and precious planet.  Religions have been pointing to this for a long time, and it is our generation for whom it is now becoming the critical issue behind all of the other issues that plague our world and disturb our personal lives by doing so.  In these circumstances life seems to be saying to us, “awaken now”. This is the time to come finally into the fruit of the religious teachings of the many traditions, and to stand in the radiance of the one life that shines through them all and through each of us.

© 2008 Alice Gardner

www.wideawakeliving.com
Author of Life Beyond Belief, Everyday Living as Spiritual Practice”

20-percent.jpg

 

Eckhart Tolle and Oprah:What does life want with me?

When I was a youngster, John F. Kennedy said “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. This inspired a generation into a more creative approach to lifea movement from an attitude of entitlement into one of service to something greater than our own personal well being. On last Monday night, in a web-cast with Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle (which has, 6 days later, already been listened to by 1.5 million people) we were asked to expand this inspiration beyond nationalism, beyond looking out for the good of our country above other countries. This naturally follows in a world where one of the main forms of conflict is between countries. Our world is now being brought together through technology and communications, and by individuals noticing a unity in which we are all connected. In this web-cast, and in his book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle specifically is suggesting “Rather than asking, ‘What do I want from Life?’, a more powerful question to ask is, ‘Life, what do you want from me?’”

It is a crucial time in the human history where we are confronting a world situation that has the possibility of causing at least mass destruction if not self-annihilation in the long run. It seems that maybe life is experimenting in the way it is developing the human race. It seems that for some reason it has been important that life include the amazing cognitive abilities that humans have developed and continue to develop, as a part of itself. The risks of this experiment are the intractable issues that we see all around us in the modern world. Our cognitive abilities are running amok in a sense. Our ability to conceptualize, to have thoughts and ideas as we know them, has created in each of us a false sense of self as being someone separate from all other lives. This in turn creates self-centered behaviors that happen, often out of fear, and without reference to what is good for the whole. If each of us stays simply looking out for our separate personal selves in the way that we have been doing for thousands of years (relating to life as the mind-constructed version of ourselves), we may not have much of a future any more.

The world situation and all the intractable problems that modern society is presenting us with are a wonderful pointer towards the possibility and necessity of awakening out of this bundle of ideas about who we are and into living a life that is an expression of what Life wants, not what we personally want. This is also so beautifully expressed in the Christian tradition as “letting go and letting God”. Whether we use Christian or other religious terminology or not, this shift is an essential step that needs to be taken, if we value our survival as a species and the survival of our beautiful and precious planet. Religions have been pointing to this for a long time, and it is our generation for whom it is now becoming the critical issue behind all of the other issues that plague our world and disturb our personal lives by doing so. In these circumstances life seems to be saying to us, “awaken now”. This is the time to come finally into the fruit of the religious teachings of the many traditions, and to stand in the radiance of the one life that shines through them all and through each of us.

 

© 2008 Alice Gardner

whitefruittreesmaller.jpg

750,000 People signed in to hear Oprah & Eckhart

What a phenomenon Oprah is. There were so many of us that the technology failed. I finally was able to watch the video last night and loved it. The downloading site Oprah’s people put up worked well and the video was clear. Amazing the way people all over the place can talk to each other by video phone now.

Oprah’s tech people are working on it this week and hope to make it so that we can all watch it online by next Monday.

750,000 People signed in to hear Oprah & Eckhart

What a phenomenon Oprah is. There were so many of us that the technology failed. I finally was able to watch the video last night and loved it. The downloading site Oprah’s people put up worked well and the video was clear. Amazing the way people all over the place can talk to each other by video phone now.

Oprah’s tech people are working on it this week and hope to make it so that we can all watch it online by next Monday.

750,000 People signed in to hear Oprah & Eckhart

What a phenomenon Oprah is. There were so many of us that the technology failed. I finally was able to watch the video last night and loved it. The downloading site Oprah’s people put up worked well and the video was clear. Amazing the way people all over the place can talk to each other by video phone now.

Oprah’s tech people are working on it this week and hope to make it so that we can all watch it online by next Monday.