"My 3 Breakthrough Insights From Retreat With Eckhart Tolle...I’ve just spent three heavenly days in Mill Valley, California on retreat with Eckhart Tolle.
The vibrant peaceful energy of mindfulness (or as Eckhart calls it, ‘presence’) gradually seemed to seep into every corner of my body and being over those days. It is still with me even as I sit here writing in a bustling cafe in San Francisco. I gained so much from these past days but there were three key insights, three ‘ah-ha’ moments that were true breakthroughs for me and I want to share them with you.
1. A Powerful Spiritual Practice: Vigilance In ‘Trigger Moments’“ What are the moments of life that tend to trigger unconsciousness in you?” Eckhart asked. Unconsciousness, spiritually speaking, means that you are ‘taken over’ by reactive habitual patterns of thinking and behavior. You become angry, defensive, moody or negative. He asked us to reflect over the past week and to either write down or note mentally those things that triggered us to become ‘unconscious’ (If you’re unsure you could always ask your housemate or partner – they’ll tell you! (and when you do, that might be a trigger moment too!). Some people are very mindful … until money issues come up, and then there is fear and panic. For others it’s jealousy that takes them over or it could be that when you talk to certain people (like your parents) you ‘lose it’ in some way, maybe becoming frustrated, judgmental or impatient.
Eckhart invited us to take note of these triggers, to know what ‘pushes our buttons’ so that we can become incredibly vigilant at the very moment when they arise again in our life. This way, these triggers lose their power to pull us into unconsciousness and negativity. We can now meet those triggers from a new place of heightened awareness and can choose new responses rather than ‘falling into’ old reactions. I love that we can take our challenges and turn them into a spiritual practice. Something we once saw as an obstacle can then become our greatest source of liberation – love it! Why not make a list of your ‘trigger moments’ in the past week and try this powerful practice out for yourself?
2. Wow Moment: Quantum Physics Says Spirituality Is Aligned With Science. On the second day of the retreat, we had an intriguing surprise as Eckhart talked with Lothar Schafer whose work in Quantum Physics has led him to the conclusion that we are all one consciousness. The full interview with them was taped and will be released in the coming months but I’d like to share with you my favorite quote from Lothar … “Spirituality is now, for the first time in history, perfectly aligned with the cutting edge of science. Some people see spirituality as stupid, but being spiritual, that is being in touch with the source of consciousness within you, seems to me highly intelligent and the source of much happiness in humans.”
3. Insight: A Moment of Awe Is A Spontaneous Meditation. Some moments of life are awe inspiring, aren’t they? They stop us dead in our tracks and open us up to the wonder of life. Maybe we see a beautiful sight like a sunrise or a majestic mountain or could be a spine-tingling piece of music that does it. “In those moments you experience a cessation of thinking, the mind is rendered speechless,” said Eckhart, “and that is a form of spontaneous meditation. You may notice a sense of aliveness, connectedness and peace within you in those moments and that is because the usual noise-making activity of the mind has subsided – you can now feel your own radiant true nature, your beingness, and it feels good!”
What a beautiful and inspiring insight! Many of us experience these little mini-meditations – these moments of awe – during our days and weeks. What we may not have noticed at the time though, is that our mind had become still. We may not have realized the connection between the cessation of thought and feeling content and peaceful. That's a powerful insight to have because that realization may change the way you live your life. It may change your priorities. It may change your assumptions about what happiness is and where it comes from. It could create a seismic shift in your life to have that simple realization. It sure did change mine.
So then – enjoy your delicious moments of awe all the more! As they happen notice the stillness and quiet within and know that it is always there for you, that oasis of calm – just one deep, slow, conscious breath away."