3 Valuable Lessons from Eckhart Tolle’s Teachings
I’ve been writing a lot lately about the “May Mayhem,” the “June Crazies,” and the “End of School Year Sillies.” Whatever you call it, for those of you with children in school, I find life ramps up several notches starting in about early May and ending with a big “hurrah” when school is out in June (for my northern hemisphere friends).
I put a call out on my Facebook profile last week for feedback from those in my community for how they “get through.” What are their “tips” for managing this particularly crazy season?
Interestingly, instead of time-management tips, scheduling advice and exclamations of “Just say NO!” the feedback that came was all around grounding, reconnecting with what’s important, and doing what you need to calm your internal chaos.
I learned terms like “procrastibaking” (love that one!) and discovered that many of my clearly highly evolved friends turn inward to manage the chaos and choose activities that help focus them and quiet their minds.
This fit so perfectly with where I have gone this these past few years, and connected beautifully with a talk I attended here in Calgary last week by Eckhart Tolle – author of The Power of Now and internationally renowned thought leader – on quieting the busy mind and becoming more present to your thoughts.
Tolle was a stunning presence in a 4000-person theatre. This little hunched over man quietly made his way to the stage and sat with no more than a chair, a lamp and a microphone as he spoke to all of us in hushed tones for two hours.
You could have heard a pin drop at almost any time.
He captivated us with his presence, his style and his wisdom as he shared his teachings about how so many of us humans spend our lives trying to escape from the chaos of our minds.
He talked of distractions such as alcohol and drugs, of the busyness of work and activity; he talked of how the way you experience life is a mirror back to you of your current state of consciousness.
Tolle talked of learning to just be with yourself as you are, vs. making up a story to go along with it that may take you somewhere it really isn’t.
So, quieting your mind, and being with what is vs. jumping into the frenetic chaos in the world outside of your mind, is really the key.
But how to do that?
When I apply Tolle’s teachings to my initial question of how to manage the end of school year crazies, this is what I came up with:
1. Take time each day to connect with yourself and quiet your mindTake time each day to connect with yourself and quiet your mindClick To Tweet
I like to use the early morning quiet of the day to do this, but any time of day can work, you just have to do it. My three favourite ways to do this are:
To help in my quest to quiet my mind, I have tried several different mediation apps:
- Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have a number of complimentary 21 days to mindfulness series. I really enjoy these and they have a focused topic for each series. Introduced by Oprah and guided by Deepak, their soothing voices are enough to lull you into a meditative state regardless of the topic.
- Headspace and Calm are two of the most bestselling apps out there with guided meditations to teach you how to mediate. I have tried both. For me, it’s your preference of voice that is the deciding factor between them. Headspace has its founder, a British man, speaking while Calm has a soft, female voice. Both are paid apps with a few free trial offers.
- I am now trying the app “Insight Timer” which is lesser known but recommended above the others by those who don’t make money off their recommendations. I quite like the voice on this one, female and soothing, so I’m looking forward to continuing this trial.
Several of my friends tell me they like to bake to quiet their mind. I connect with this as well. In fact, for those of you who watched my Facebook video last week, you could hear a timer going off in the distance – that was me, “procrastibaking” and quieting my mind through making muffins before starting work for the day.
There’s something very soothing about the rhythm of baking a tried, tested and true recipe, with a tangible (and yummy!) product coming out as a result. Also, knowing that home baking can bring comfort and a groundedness to my family as well, is an additional bonus.
C. Run or walk
These are forms of active meditation. Anything that’s repetitive can be considered a meditative task. I remember my Mom spending a lot of time ironing – I’m sure it was her time to just be quiet, in a tucked away corner of the house, so she could quiet her mind from the chaos of us kids.
I love to walk or run – preferably outside. The added ambiance of nature or outdoor activity is food for the soul.
2. Allow your inner calm to create outer order
Just because everyone around you is losing their mind, doesn’t mean you have to lose yours – as the saying goes. By bringing your composed, present, self to the environment, you will automatically help quiet what’s going on around you. Your kids will pick up on it, your colleagues, your friends.
I was hired once as an external consultant to do just that – I’m sure of it. I had a formal role within the chaos of the office, for sure, but the gift I really brought to the environment was a grounding and a calming of the staff. They needed a centrepoint to pull them off the roof when the environment got really crazy.
In fact, I know I have brought this sense of presence to my workplaces throughout my career. It helps calm others and the situation down, when you are not externally reacting to a situation, and can clearly see a path out of the chaos around you.
3. The answer lies within you
Basically, your life is only as crazy as it feels. Many people thrive in a chaotic environment, and in fact will purposefully contribute to it. They love the energy of it, the excitement, and the busyness. Others find themselves retreating from that environment, and just wishing it would all go away.
What about you? Do you love it when everything is busy and energetic around you? Or do you find yourself retreating to what is now the still, calm space of your mind.Your life is only as crazy as it feelsClick To Tweet
The bottom line is you get to choose. And you can make it happen.
And Tolle’s big secret? “More important than what you do is how you do what you do,” says Tolle.'More important than what you do is how you do what you do' Eckhart TolleClick To Tweet
Look into the eyes of a wide-eyed baby or your faithful dog; the eyes that look back are pure, and non-judgemental and fully in the present moment, Tolle tells us. There is no chaos in the mind of a happy baby or a relaxed dog. They both exist to interact with you at the purest level: that of being fully in the present moment.
How can you be that way more often and bring who you are vs what you are doing to the environment around you?
I invite you to try some of these techniques and see how they impact the craziness of the end of school year and the June crazies. And then tell me how you made out! Or please do share your favourite tips in the comments below.
To your success – at home and at work,
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