I was at the Findhorn Community in northern Scotland when I first heard of Eckhart Tolle and his book, The Power of Now.
The Power of Now was many things to me but mainly it taught me how to escape emotional suffering by connecting my thoughts to the present moment and end the emotional turmoil found while living in the past and the future.
I had already done a lot of work around releasing trauma and abuse from my childhood years, which was wonderful. But in my everyday life I still found myself worrying about what could be and often would create pain about imagined future events that would drain my energy.
In meditation one day, I heard a clear message that my only real problem was my thought patterns.
“You are always over there, hardly ever in the present moment,” Stillness spoke.
I needed to go back to the Tolle teachings that I had read in The Power of Now. I needed to live them not just read them; to make them a part of my cell memory so that old patterns would be erased.
I began with Acceptance and Surrender quotes to remind myself that when I am in alignment with what is, I am not fighting things I cannot change. I do believe that deciding to accept past events must come before an end to emotional suffering.
Otherwise we fight an elusive shadow—and it truly is a disempowering fight.
“Surrender comes when you no longer ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.”
“Bring acceptance into your non-acceptance. Bring surrender into your non-surrender. Then see what happens.”
“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and become comfortable not knowing.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
We can spend years trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of abuse and trauma, when there will never be any satisfactory answers.
I’ve been there, done that.
“When you deeply accept this moment as it is, no matter what form it takes, you are still, you are at peace.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Ultimately, inner peace is what we are seeking. There are no outer manifestations of peace that will do. We can find ourselves in the most beautiful natural setting, such as an Oceanside sunset or a whimsical forest and experience a sort of peace but back in our ‘real world’ peace is far from our hearts.
This is why distractions such as vacations, television, shopping, etc. can never replace what acceptance and surrender accomplish.
“If you can learn to accept and even welcome endings in your life, you may find that the feeling of emptiness that initially felt uncomfortable turns into a sense of inner spaciousness that is deeply peaceful.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Once we find ourselves in this expansive state that Tolle speaks of, we can begin the work of ending our suffering.
“Suffering begins when you mentally label a situation as bad. That causes an emotional contraction. When you let it be, without naming it, enormous power is available to you. The contraction cuts you off from that power, the power of life itself.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
This quote has helped me immensely. I no longer label events, I just allow them to be neutral, and in allowing this, I am no longer a slave to the past.
“Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no. If you had not suffered as you had, there would be no depth to you, no humility, no compassion.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
While I am grateful for the compassion and depth that has surfaced in my soul as a result of my experiences, I do not wallow in the pain of those experiences. Doing so, hands the power to those who hurt me. And why should I allow them to continue hurting me for years after whatever happened?
If I do, I have given my ego something to feed on. And how does it serve me to hang on to my pain. Past events hurt me once. If I do not move on, I agree to hurt myself.
“If you are in the habit of creating suffering for yourself, you are probably creating suffering for others too.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
I chewed on the above quote for a while before I understood why my ego was so wrangled by it. Sometimes we think that our suffering does not affect others, but of course it does, and in the end, it is our responsibility to end the madness.
Yes it is.
“True freedom is living as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience in this moment. This inner alignment with the Now is the end of suffering.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
So now, when you understand that everything is choice, especially your reaction to this particular moment, things become simple. But not easy. Knowing and doing it are not the same thing.
But it is practice, like anything else. After a while, this will be your default mode, just as pain and suffering was your default before.
“The interconnectedness of all things: Buddhists have always known it, physicists now confirm it. Nothing that happens is an isolated event. The more we label something, the more we isolate it. The wholeness of life becomes fragmented through our thinking.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
I agree that it is not what happens but our thoughts about what happens that hurts us most.
To find true peace, surrender and true joy, we must understand the connection between our thoughts and our suffering.
Because when we suffer, the whole world suffers.
There is nothing that affects one of us that does not affect others. The energy of our suffering spreads like a ripple on the surface of the water. The energy we emanate affects the micro and the macro of our planetary existence.
When we change ourselves we change the world.
I hope that these quotes offer a place to start on your journey to peace.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Ian Espinosa/Unsplash