Showing posts with label Consciousness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Consciousness. Show all posts

Monday, May 17, 2021

The "Ahhhh" Moment

People talk about the "Ah-ha!" moment, but you hear less often about the "Ahhhh" moment. It's something that you might want to try to work into your schedule at least once a day. Maybe even more often if you can.

I have an Ahhhh moment every morning I go to the beach. It usually happens as pre-dawn I hit the apex of the A. Max Brewer Memorial Bridge. I don't know who A. Max Brewer is/was, but I sure like his bridge. Here is a picture of my morning commute. You can just make out the edge of the Indian River (which is actually a lagoon). Majestic. Ahhhh.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emails About Kierkegaard

I know what you're thinking: "Gee, Todd, your life must be pretty dull if you're exchanging emails about a Danish philosopher from the 19th century." Ok, ok, I hear you, but hear me out.

Let me give you a little background on how this email came about. A couple of friends of mine read my book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, and one of those friends described my book to the other as, "out there." Which is about the best review a writer can hope for. Why? Because this means that the book contained ideas and concepts that the reader didn't necessarily agree with (or thought he didn't), and yet it was written well enough that he was able to get through it, he was able to finish the book. That's big! I couldn't really hope for more.

This fellow, I'm told, is also a big fan of Søren Kierkegaard, the aforementioned 19th century Danish philosopher (these are the upper crust circles of people who actually have favorite philosopher that I run in, folks, what can I tell you?). So much so, in fact, that he named his child after him (Søren, not Kierkegaard). Which I think is pretty cool because it's a pretty cool name, only I hope he didn't use the o with the slash through it (ø), which would probably get a little annoying for the kid.

Anyway, I was only vaguely familiar with the philosophy of Kierkegaard  (I'm a novelist, after all, not a philosopher, or worse a "philosophizer" as Robert Persig puts it in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), so after the conversation I went on line and brushed up on it, and lo and behold, what did I find but that the depressed Dane agreed wholeheartedly with everything in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder! He professed, you see, Kierkegaard did, a similar brand of what has been labelled "existentialism."

I had always heard the term bandied about and had an idea what it meant, but not until now did I make the connection between the "existence" in "existentialism" and "being" and "consciousness." These are all exact synonyms. What Kierkegaard was talking about, what Eckhart Tolle is talking about, what I'm talking about in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder--it's all the same thing.

And now from the email . . . Oh, and be sure to check out the link to the exercise mentioned a couple of times below so you know exactly what we're talking about when we talk about existence.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Celestine Prophecy - A Cautionary Tale

The Book

A really great idea, poorly executed, and yet James Redfield has sold something like 23 million copies of The Celestine Prophecy. Why? Well, because it's a really great idea for a novel, I suppose.

But just imagine if Dan Brown had written The Celestine Prophecy (23 mil.) in addition to The Da Vinci Code (80 mil.). If I were Redfield, I'd ask Dan Brown to help me write a revision of The Celestine Prophecy for the 25th anniversary of its publication coming up in 2018 (published in 1993, you do the math). It would sell another 20 million easy.

Because there's a lot to like in The Celestine Prophecy: jungles, the Andes, Machu Picchu. But there's also a lot to hate there too. I've tried three or four times over the years to read it but I just couldn't do it. And I like this kind of novel, one that tries to teach you something, especially something about consciousness, enlightenment, awakening--all that crap. Heck, I even write books like that myself and I still couldn't choke it down.

The problem is, it's just so poorly written, and that's where the cautionary aspect of this blog post comes in. The Celestine Prophecy was originally self-published, and it shows. Redfield sold 100,000 copies out of the back of his Honda--Accord-ing to lore (sorry, couldn't resist)--so at that point it must have been tough for the editors at Warner Books, which scooped up the publishing rights to the book after that, to talk much sense into Redfield. And what did they care, really? I'm sure they were happy to keep the printing press churning out twenty-dollar bills. This was an unholy union that I suspect damed the movie version to hell, Satan's spawn that it is, but we'll get to that in a moment.

You might also like: These articles about Eckhart Tolle

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rate My Haiku

Bluejay Through a Kitchen Window 
Drip in the kitchen
Bluejay in a barren tree
Keep pipes from freezing.

Why is haiku so fun to do? I think it's because they tend to just come to you, presenting themselves almost fully formed, arising out of a moment, very much like the moment itself.

Then you can look at it later and relive that moment, and remember that it was a moment, which in tern (no pun intended, this was supposed to be "turn") helps you to remember the present moment and come back to it quickly.

What do you think? Is this one any good? Feel free to put one of your own in comments.

Photo curtesy of Garden Walk Garden Talk.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's Your Drama?

Ok, I'll go first.

My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship.

No, that's too abstract. Let's try again. My drama has been to take things personally in the context of a love relationship. There, now that's something people can relate to, I think. 

Things said and done by my significant other would be felt as intense "emotional pain."

[Ok, now I've said the same thing in three different ways. Take a moment and look at those three descriptions of my drama and try to understand how they're all saying exactly the same thing.]

This "emotional pain" would cause me to react against the supposed source of this pain, my significant other. But of course, she wasn't impacting my physical body in any way, so how could she have been the source of my pain? She couldn't. In fact, it was my own thoughts that were causing this "emotional pain," so called. I was doing it to myself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Your Outer World is a Reflection of Your Inner State

Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in a marital relationship. It's one thing to believe that the person sitting across from you at the dinner table is mean, a jerk, exhibits all sorts of negative unconscious behavior. That very well may be true, and you can work very hard to try to "fix" that person. That effort is unlikely to succeed, but you can try.

 The more important question is why? Not, "Why is this person like this?" Most people in bad relationships spend the bulk of their time pondering this question, both in their heads and out loud. It's a futile inquiry. The better "why" questions is, "Why is this person part of my world?" For the answer to this one you have to look inside yourself. That's where the title to this post comes in.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Avoid Dramatic People

What a liberating feeling! I've learned to avoid dramatic people! I used to fall pray to their painful whimsy because I used to be dramatic myself. And this is really the key to getting past these people: recognizing and acknowledging your own drama.

Without a nice soft spot to sink their drama hook into, dramatic people have no hope of reeling you into their made-for-TV movies. Don't judge them and don't judge yourself, just recognize and acknowledge on both counts. And don't try to help them. The more you engage, the more you get sucked in.

The only way to help them is to avoid them altogether, leaving them to occupy a world of their own making, full of drama and other dramatic people. If this is not a formula for sufficient suffering that stands a chance of breaking them free of the self-inflicted burden they carry, I don't know what is. Perhaps by being forced to go ever deeper into their drama in this way they will emerge free on the other side of it.

One thing I've learned: Life plays chicken with you until you learn not to flinch. Drama is the bad habit of flinching at everything that life brings your way. And Life won't stop bringing these "opportunities" your way until you learn not to react to them, that is to say dramatize them.

And this is one of the many ways that we can understand that the Universe is truly a beneficent place. It will never give up on all of us drama queens.

You might also like: Dramaholic

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daily Tolle #5

"Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form. Inner nonresistance to form--whatever is or happens--is a denial of the absolute reality of form. Resistance makes the world and the things of the world appear more real, more solid, and more lasting than they are, including your own form identity, the ego. It endows the world and the ego with a heaviness and an absolute importance that makes you take yourself and the world very seriously. The play of form is then misperceived as a struggle for survival, and when that is your perception, it becomes your reality."

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, pp.208-9

You might also like: The Power of Now - The Entire Book

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic? Comments on a Psychology Today Article

About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine brought this Psychology Today article (Do You Believe in Magic? : Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama, and the Future of Psychotherapyto my attention and I posted a couple of comments. I'm not sure why--maybe PT reposted the article--but new comments began showing up in my email in the last week or so, and I was moved again to respond to some of the responses posted by the author of the original article, a psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen A. Diamond. I thought you might enjoy reading the exchange:

Your Comments on Tolle

Dear Dr. Diamond,
Spoken like a true Aristotelian.
But perhaps you should read Tolle's books before you comment on them. And if you could refrain from ad hominem attacks on people (even gurus) that would be lovely.
Also, the colorful language you use to subtly slur ideas you don't agree with is probably counter-productive, if your goal is an honest discussion. Probably better to present their ideas objectively and then tell us where you disagree.
Interesting stuff about Jung and the Dalai Lama though. Thanks!

Reply to Todd

You are welcome for those things you found interesting. But tell me/us: What is your take on this topic?

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Power of Now is in the Public Domain

I'm happy to report that Eckhart Tolle has seen fit to allow his seminal book, The Power of Now, to slip into the pubic domain, which means it's now free. I've posted it in its entirety to my Pages section (right). Let me know if you find this format helpful.

Please take a few moments to take a look at it. Click once or twice on each page to enlarge the print to your liking. A page or two each day while seated at your desk between tasks or clients is guaranteed to change your life.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Affirmations Help You Live Consciously

The most important affirmation you can incorporate into your life is, "I am fully committed to feeling great 100% of the time," followed closely by any affirmation you can come up with having to do with self-confidence. Feeling great 100% of the time is self-confidence, in my opinion, and since self-doubt doesn't feel great at all, it's covered in this one. Say it as often as you think of it throughout your day--especially when you don't feel like feeling great--and it will change your life.

So what's happening when we engage in this simple exercise of affirmation? What's happening is, you're beginning to live your life consciously. Plato said, "The unobserved [i.e. unconscious] life isn't worth living," and as most of us who have suffered through a lot of unnecessary suffering at the hands of unconscious living can easily attest, Plato was right.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Love, and do what you will." --St. Augustine

I am the least moral person I know. Let me explain.

One of my favorite books is A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. In that book, Tolle quotes St. Augustine's "Homily Number 7 on the First Epistle of John," reproduced below in it's entirety, in which Augustine preaches, "Love, and do what you will."

Augustine (354-430 AD) was the Bishop of the city of Hippo in what is modern-day Algeria. His simple precept is a far cry from what the Roman Catholic Church (and most Christian denominations) are today, with its complete incorporation of ethics, morality and judgment, a result of the adoption of Aristotelian philosophy in the thirteenth century via the writings of Thomas Aquinas, most notably Summa Theologica.

"Love, and do what you will," is the original Gospel with a capital G. Jesus taught people not to judge.

The problem is, you can't have a conception of morality or ethics without judgement. Most people just laugh this off, thinking, "That can't be what Jesus really meant. He just meant to say, 'don't be a judgmental person,'" as if this answers the question. What is a judgmental person? Where do you draw the line? Judgment is judgment and Jesus didn't misspeak.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Use Daily Affirmations to Strengthen Self-Confidence

The core principle of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, the granddaddy of all success literature, is the building of self-confidence through twice-daily affirmations, a process Hill called "auto-suggestion." He says quite pointedly:
Taking inventory of mental assets and liabilities, you will discover that your greatest weakness is lack of self-confidence. This handicap can be surmounted, and timidity translated into courage, through the aid of the principle of autosuggestion.
Your problem, in other words, is a lack of self-confidence, and here's how to fix it. And fix it, it does.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BE Your Body to Ward Off Disease?

Wow. This article is exactly what I'm talking about.

High BMI? What it means for your child, and what you can do about it

Apparently, Michelle Obama needs a doctor to tell her that her kids are getting too fat. I feel sorry for these girls later in life.

Occasionally, I sit with my mom, who is in her 70s, and watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. While I will happily admit to enjoying them from time to time, it's clear from the commercials that these shows know exactly which demographic is watching: old people. Every other ad is for something having to do with bladder control, bowel movements, dentures and all sorts of exotic prescription medication with a list of potential side effects that take up the second half of the thirty second spot, and read at double speed at that.

My mom and I often joke that the announcer ought to just come right out and say it: "If this medicine doesn't kill you, it might just cause your psoriasis to itch a little less."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eckhart Tolle Says Birds are the Enlightenment of the Animal Kingdom

One of the many things I enjoy about being back in Lexington is the natural beauty we have here. From the descent into Bluegrass Field over lush green horse farms, rendered Emerald Isle green by too much rain this spring, to the birds (and other critters) in my mom's backyard, Lexington is still a city carved into the countryside. (Be sure to click on the pictures for some incredible resolution.)

Eckhart Tolle says that birds are the enlightenment of the animal kingdom. Watch them for any length of time and it becomes difficult to disagree. (I'm not so sure about chipmunks but they are awfully cute.)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It's interesting how things come together. I've always wanted to move from Naples up to Rome, but the challenges of such a move have always seemed daunting.

This morning, my friend who lives in Rome called to tell me he knew of an apartment that might be right for me. I agreed to come take a look at it this weekend, but at the same time, a pang of impossibility hit me right in the solar-plexus. It told me quite clearly, "Nice idea in theory, but it just can't be done."

This sort of thinking has always plagued me, I now realize. It sends conflicting messages to the universe, so to speak, as to exactly what it is that you want, so you stand no chance of bringing that idea into being. The initial creative thought--I'd like to move to Rome--is completely negated by the destructive thought--it's impossible.

This has always plagued me, but now this negativity has bubbled up to the surface. Unconscious thoughts have become conscious; their days of destroying what I would create are numbered (see Conscious Backgammon).

From the Archives

What's Your Drama?

Ok, I'll go first. My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship. No...

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