On Becoming Aware and Present

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In 2008, I participated in a ten-part series presented by Oprah Winfrey and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. Oprah and Eckhart took millions of viewers on a chapter-by-chapter journey through A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Eckhart’s seminal work).

Their intention: To teach viewers how to focus and become more aware and present.

Since that time, I have reread A New Earth several times and also picked up Eckhart Tolle’s other book, The Power of Now. I highly recommend both books.

Whenever Oprah hosts Eckhart on Super Soul Sunday, I make a point of watching and taking notes. I was inspired and entertained by the following interview segment from the November 12, 2012 broadcast:

Oprah: How do you accept an unpleasant situation, if change is not possible?

Eckhart: You must accept a situation, even if change is not possible. The basis for effective enlightenment is to come in alignment with the present situation. When you accept the “isness” of life, greater intelligence arises. If you are angry and resist the unpleasant situation, you will remain stuck in it.

Oprah: How do you calm the voice in your head?

Eckhart: This question implies you know that your mind can’t stop. This is a good first step. Take the energy away from these thoughts, by asking yourself if you can feel the energy in your hands. Wait and you will feel it. Then move to your legs and other body parts. The inner body serves as a wonderful anchor for a sense of presence. This allows you to be distracted from your other thoughts.

Oprah: How does one clear the mind of bad memories?

Eckhart: Recognize that these memories are thoughts only in your head. They are not realities because they have already happened.

Oprah: How do you have fun?

Eckhart: I enjoy the present moment wherever I am and that’s fun for me.

Oprah: Are you happy?

Eckhart: I am in a state of peaceful aliveness.

Oprah: What do you believe in?

Eckhart: I believe in nothing in particular. LOL

Oprah: What are you grateful for?

Eckhart: I am grateful for always this moment…the now, no matter what form it takes.


Oprah and Marianne Williamson

In 1992, Marianne Williamson released A Return to Love, a reflection on the principles in A Course of Miracles. The book resonated with Oprah who bought one thousand copies and invited Marianne to appear on her popular talk show. That year, A Return to Love became the fifth highest best-selling book in the United States. Since then, she  has written nine other books, among them The Age of Miracles, A Woman’s Worth and Everyday Grace. In 2006, a Newsweek magazine poll named Marianne Williamson one of the fifty most influential baby boomers.

Yesterday, the popular spiritual teacher appeared on Super Soul Sunday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of A Return to Love. A long-time fan, I enjoyed the telecast and couldn’t stop taking notes. Throughout the program, Marianne  radiated peace and joy while dispensing her many pearls of wisdom. I agree with Oprah’s final comment: “You are the best prayer I have ever known.”

So many wonderful quotations…

Love is a radical idea.

No religion has the monopoly on truth.

We are either walking in the direction of love or the direction of fear.

Every life is a platform.

The spotlight isn’t pointed at you; it radiates within you.

For every person, there is a highly individualized curriculum.

You can have a grievance or a miracle, but not both.

A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.

As long as you keep your heart open, the miracle will find you.

The key to happiness is the decision to be happy.

I can choose to learn the lesson through joy or pain.

If you know what changes a heart, you know what changes the world.