THE FIGHT FOR INNER PEACE
Just after spending a week reading inspirational material and deciding a thought-provoking blog would help others address the issues in their lives, I started a workshop on Eckart Tolle’s The Power of Now. The thrust of the first chapter focused on NOT THINKING. Thinking, he said, is our ego taking over. If we want a life of peace and joy, we must focus on not thinking – on being!
Well, having already published two (what I hoped would be) thought provoking blogs, I chuckled at the irony. Caught in the pincer between thinking and being, I tried thinking my way out, then silencing my mind and meditating into a state of being. If you recognize this conflict, I’m sure, like me, you are laughing. Adding punch to my dilemma I had just listened to an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his book Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age. In it he emphasized the importance of movement and change to keep one’s brain young. I had decided my big change would be doing things with my left hand.
So now we have Tolle arguing for stillness and a state of being – Gupta extoling motion to keep us thinking, so the controversy expands.
This morning convinced recognizing my children and comprehending the contents of a book was of paramount importance as I aged, I deliberately did everything with my left hand, beginning with eating my breakfast. I am so right-hand dominant a two-year-old could beat me in a left-hand arm wrestle, so this meant every task took longer. I dropped, spilled, fumbled, even took a fork in the lip – all time-consuming acts. I called patience, usually far behind the lines in my life, up to the front, and battled on. Cleaning my teeth left-handed took tremendous concentration, turning over the 1000 pieces of the new puzzle I started demanded patience. As I focused on the task at hand, my brain quieted. Thinking crept across the line waving a white flag. Being accepted the surrender. Things I concluded opposed each other, came together in an unexpected way, helping me grow new brain cells, while I quieted those already at work. Doing the tasks left-handed had bonuses like body building my patience, and by requiring total focus, silencing my thoughts. Thus my presence emerged, conquering ego. How delightful! What joy I felt as my essence – the energy that is me, emerged from the conflict between thinking and being.
Others in the Tolle workshop expressed their futile attempts at quieting their minds. I’m a worrier, list maker, cogitator some described. Others said they talked out loud to themselves throughout the day. Yet another concluded her thoughts were needed for stimulation and to fill time. Hmm. Any of these habits makes turning off the faucet of your mind difficult. Yet, if you can suppress the flow of thinking to the odd drip, you find quiet and inner peace. I suggest you change something you do so the act requires your total attention. Gupta advised picking a new route for your commute or a walk through the woods. You might alter the type of material you read or try playing a different game. I know I will continue picking up my fork with my left hand, until eating that way no longer requires total focus and quiets my mind. I hope you, too, make a change and discover the joy of being.