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Split in Two...

July 2nd, 2012

Blog Format

This week I would like to reflect on a negative tendency we all have: to be "split in two"

split

The idea of writing about this, came as I was reading one of my all-time favorite books: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, where he explained this concept of being split, in a way that made total sense to me and I just wanted to share a few passages and ideas from his teachings, in the hope that you will find them useful and thought provoking!

In case you would like to know more about this book's author, he is one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time, he is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition, but in his teachings he conveys a simple but powerful message: there is a way out of suffering and into peace and we all have access to it.

So, how are we split in two..? well to understand this concept, lets talk first about the difference between clock time and psychological time.

Clock time is the tool that allows us to organize our days, while psychological time is the tendency our minds have of lingering on the past or the future.
Although we need to use clock time in order to plan ahead and organize our days, we do NOT need to use psychological time at all, but we do... all the time.

According to Tolle, Psychological time is at the root of most of our suffering, and we all seem to be trapped in it.

Psychological time constantly ties us to the past or to the future, and robs us from the present, or rather from the capacity of being fully "present" in the now. According to Tolle: all negativity arises from the accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.

In other words, we are always split in two... although we are physically here and now, we are mentally in the past or the future, which means we are rarely, if ever, fully present where we are, and that hinders our capacity to live a truly fulfilled life.

A better way to put it is: If you experience emotions like: unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry, etc. (different forms of fear) it means there is "too much future" in your mind, and not enough presence.
If you experience guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, etc. (different forms of non- forgiveness) it means there is "too much past" in your mind, and not enough presence.

The past and the future are not real: the past is only a memory trace and there is no way to change it and no point on lingering in it, as for the future, it is just a mental phantom: a hope or a fear of a situation that is not real and we don't control. The only thing that is ever real and eternal is the present.

The present I refer to here is not the time-bound concept of present itself: this second, this minute, this hour. It is more about a "presence". This presence can not be measured by seconds or minutes but rather by our level of consciousness and awareness of our inner and outer surroundings.

Many people have asked the book's author a relevant question:
What about working towards the future you want? How can that be negative?
It is true that present actions will determine future outcomes, so there is nothing wrong about having goals and acting in ways to achieve them. However, if your goal is taking up so much of your attention that you reduce the present moment to a means to an end, you are missing the hole point, and you will miss the clarity needed to take the actions that will ensure a better outcome.
If you focus too much on a future goal, outcome, dream, etc; you are just waiting to start living.

It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.
Think about it: How much of your time do you spend waiting?
Is one thing to wait on line for the bus, or at the post office, but here I am talking about "large-scale waiting"(as Tolle puts it), which is: waiting for the next vacation, for a better job, for a truly meaningful relationship, to make more money, to be important, to become enlightened, to retire, etc.

If you are constantly split in two you do not have the "presence" that can allow you to find the answers, the clarity, the intuition, the insights to do what is best in the here and now. Only this presence has the answers, is the only thing that is real and eternal.
Only by fully embracing the present, with no resistance and with full attention, can we act in the best way possible for the best possible outcomes.

Thrive always to be present with your full attention here and now and you will see how your life starts to shift towards peace and fulfillment, it is so simple and yet so complex!!! But this capacity is more or less dormant in each and every one of us, so we need to wake it up!.

Have a great week!

Announcements:

Nothing to report this week, for my US readers: HAPPY 4th of July!

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