On the Hiking Path: Photo by Noelle
“As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person. What you want from them may be pleasure or material gain, recognition, praise or attention, or a strengthening of your sense of self through comparison and through establishing that you are, have, or know more than they. What you fear is that the opposite may be the case, and they may diminish your sense of self in some way. When you make the present moment the focal point of your attention–instead of using it as a means to an end–you go beyond the ego and beyond the unconscious compulsion to use people as a means to an end, the end being self-enhancement at the cost of others. When you give your fullest attention to whoever you are interacting with, you take past and future out of the relationship, except for practical matters. When you are fully present with everyone you meet, you relinquish the conceptual identity you made for them–your interpretation of who they are and what they did in the past–and are able to interact without the egoic movements of desire and fear. Attention, which is alert stillness, is the key.
How wonderful to go beyond wanting and fearing in your relationships. Love does not want or fear anything.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
I happen to love this quote, but I must confess I wonder if I shall ever achieve what it suggests. Though I spend a daily habit in embracing what is here, I find myself fluctuating between the extraordinary ordinary preciousness of this now and the seeming forgetfulness of an ego on speed. Struggling, often, to be this self-aware, awake, and evolved being all the great Mystics speak of. On paper we can all sound amazingly evolved, but I wonder if Tolle, Tuttle, Kabat-Zinn or Foster have to, themselves, remember their own teachings, again and again. Sometimes Alice’s rabbit hole is a donut that has no bottom.
I remember seeing the Dalai Lama speak. He opened with the following, (paraphrased, of course) “Look I am just a man. Look here. See? One eyebrow goes up and the other goes down. One has tufts of hair growing out, while the other doesn’t. There is no perfection here. I am an ordinary person like you. I am a sacred being as much as you, which is really all any of us are. Sacred imperfection.” I don’t remember what else he talked about, but I remember him pointing at his eyebrows and laughing heartily at his own aging body. I find immense comfort in that, and so, it is what I take into this day. My sacred imperfection.