Throughout my life I would have described myself as a spiritual person. A voracious reader, and particualrly about anything to do with the human condition, I was also given to a great deal of introspection. And yet…
The kind of serenity described by Paul at Philippians 4:7 as “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds” eluded me.
Like many people I took seriously the scriptural admonitions to constantly examine myself, and the secular ones as well: “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
And still the “peace of God” was nowhere to be found.
Time passed, and while my own studies continued and I learned much it wasn’t until I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle that I came to understand that the manner that I carried out that self examination had a good deal to do with my lack of peace and serenity. The constant replaying of events to see if I was overlooking some flaw in myself or if I was unfair to someone else was in and of itself a dysfunction that was actively stealing the very state I was seeking.
I read this book far before Mr. Tolle’s webclass with Oprah Winfrey, and am so glad I did. This allowed me to absorb the words, tenets and principals for myself without the filter of the bruehaha that erupted when these were broadcast to such a huge audience. And frankly I didn’t find the naysayers very convincing.
Frankly it was a bit entertaining to hear the followers of the man who asked that they disown themselves and follow him loudly decrying Eckhart Tolle’s admonition to abandon the ego. And of course, that wasn’t what he was doing at all. He was saying that the ego was out of balance, and that this preuoccupation with and identification with the ego’s stances, positions and ensuing drama was unhealthy and harmful.
People that have read my work before are familiar with my statement that “The longer I live the more often the answer to my questions is Balance!” So I was quite ready to accept the idea that an out of balance ego was sure to be a source of trouble. Just as it would be detrimental for someone to abdicate all thought of self as without a balanced amount we would lack food, sleep and shelter. So I came to understand Tolle’s words to advocate a release of the out of balance ego that centers so much of it’s identity with life’s content as opposed to our true identities comprised of our consciousness.
Once I embraced these concepts, I almost immediately began to experience the promised peace and serenity. Not the absence of emotion predicted by Tolle’s detractors but a feeling of satisfaction from letting go of all the folderol that had kept me out of the present moment. To put it in a way we have all heard, but few actually experienced: “Grass was greener, the sky bluer and food tasted better.” Of course, the actuality was that my consciousness was actually finally free to experience colors, sounds, tastes and textures more fully than I had experienced since I was 8 years old…
The peace that passes all understanding is actually freedom from the tyranny of that unbalanced ego. It is freedom from the constant inner dialog as we rehash how wer were wronged, or even perhaps how we had wronged someone else. It makes it possible to release grudges and forgive what we may have previously thought to be unforgiveable.
Most importantly, that peaceful serene tranquility gives all that reach for it a whole new life…