By Theresa Puskar
October 1-2, 2016 – Eckhart Tolle Foundation, Huntington Beach CA
“The world is not here to make me happy. It is here to make me conscious…then I become happy!” – Eckhart Tolle
I recently visited California to seek the assistance of a remarkable Neuro Emotional Technique practitioner, Dr. Ray Gin. While I was there, I also attended a seminar, Living a Life of Presence hosted by the Eckhart Tolle Foundation. While I was grateful for the exceptional healing I received from Dr. Gin, I also felt immense gratitude for the workshop. I know that it too had a profound effect on me and my wellbeing.
There were several wonderful inspirational speakers at the event: Eckhart Tolle, Kim Eng, Jack Kornfield, Elizabeth Lesser and David Wilcox, Susan Stiffelman, Steve Taylor, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Daniel Siegel, and Brother David Steindl-Rast. While I thought that the highlight of the seminar was to see Eckhart live and in person, I ultimately learned that inspiration came from a variety of other channels as well, particularly Marianne Williamson.
There were two themes that really resonated for me throughout the weekend. The first was to commit myself to greater trust, and the second was to focus my intentions on service. While each speaker supported these messages, Eckhart and Marianne really drove the messages home.
“I am not upset about this situation. I am upset about what my mind is saying about the situation. When I realize that situations are not real, I will not react!” – Eckhart Tolle
This particular quote really spoke to the part of me that is ultra-reactive, and takes everything in life so personally. While my ego claims that the situations I find myself in are the cause of my suffering, if I am truly honest with myself, I see that my mind is the real issue. One of the speakers said that a truly enlightened soul is always very humorous. What was most remarkable about Eckhart is that his lessons were always shared with great humor. I felt deeply blessed to have an opportunity to be in his presence, and to share many huge belly laughs with him. On several occasions he roleplayed the ego, and in doing so modeled its absolute absurdity! What I noted is that the humor came from our ability to witness our egos in action, and laugh as we noted our fallibility and humanness. There were so many truisms and powerful messages that Eckhart shared, it was difficult to keep up with them all. Here are a few golden nuggets of wisdom he shared that impacted me the most:
“Cessation of compulsive thinking is awakening. One of the quickest ways to cessation is letting go of resistance to the present moment.”
“Nothing you manifest will satisfy you unless you realize who you are.”
“To make the present moment my friend is to always say ‘Yes’ to everything that arises within it.”
“Take note of when you are having a dysfunctional relationship with the present. For example, when you are complaining, note that it is the ego judging negatively.”
Eckhart encouraged us to “Get out of our prison of continuous conception of things. We need to find the space and be the space.” He shared several practices to assist us on our journeys towards awakening. Two that were most poignant for me were to: 1) Invite cessation of thought by inviting perceptions without thinking. Walk, eat, and sit consciously – observing or experiencing without labeling. 2) Spare 10 seconds when getting into the car. Sit in stillness before turning on the ignition. Don’t count. Simply look out the window, note the sky, feel the steering wheel. Use your senses to fully experience the moment.
“Make yourself available while you are still a mess!” – Marianne Williamson
During my tenure as an audio producer with Nightingale-Conant, I had the distinct pleasure of producing two audio programs with Marianne Williamson. She is a remarkable woman. In fact, I’ll never forget the time I spent working with her. Her forthrightness, honesty, and frankness were an inspiration, and vastly changed the course of my life. Because I had worked so closely with her in the past, while I was excited to hear her again, I didn’t expect anything new. That must have been my ego playing tricks, because Marianne’s lecture deeply impacted me; in fact, she had me in tears.
“When the ego weeps for what it has lost, the spirit rejoices for what it has found.” – Sufi saying
I am going through some major transitions in my life, and I must admit that my ego has been doing its fair share of weeping. When this quote was shared at the seminar, I took a deep relaxing breath, and settled in. I forgot that while my ego is acting out its dramatic “mess,” my spirit is rejoicing. With each prick of the ego, its deflation creates room for spiritual advancement and deeper understanding. Another message Marianne shared that really struck a chord was to:
“Ask your divine:
‘Where would you have me go?
What would you have me say?
What would you have me do?’” – Marianne Williamson
This is such a powerful prayer, and I look forward to ending my daily meditations with it. For as I have been sitting in silence and scanning my tight, fear-filled body, I realize that so much of the time, many of my thoughts are fear-based. I have allowed my ego to become the driver and take the wheel of my life. However, in doing so, I realize that I have lost my trust in the magic and mystery that comes in the divine plan. I need to surrender my ego, and focus on how I might best serve the world. There is such liberation and ease that comes from surrendering to spirit, and I very much look forward to focusing on building trust and service into my heart’s song.
“Live life trusting in it, and choose love.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast
The final speaker of the event was Brother David Steindl-Rast. An extremely holy, compassionate, and humble man, his presence is very palpable. In its simplicity, his message, “Live life trusting in it, and choose love” really encapsulated all that I learned over the weekend. I feel so deeply blessed and privileged to have spent time with these remarkable spiritual teachers, and I look forward to putting their lessons into practice in my life. I hope you will join me in doing so.
Theresa Puskar, our All About Town contributor, is a writer, trainer, speaker, minister, and inspirational audiobook producer. She is the author of The Terri Series – seven children’s books that focus on bullying, honoring diversity, celebrating creativity, non-judgment of emotions, finding alternatives to technology-based entertainment, discovering a non-judgmental God, and overcoming fears. She has also recorded a powerful experiential audio program, How to De-Clutter Your Mind and Live a Heart-Centered Life. To place an order or learn more, log onto her website, theresapuskar.com.