Eckhart Tolle says peace and happiness are found in alignment with the present moment, the Now. Why? The present moment is the only life you have. The past is a memory and the future is a dream. Therefore, the quality of your life depends upon your relationship with the present moment. Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “Do you want to know what my secret is? I don’t mind what happens. That is the essence of my inner freedom. It is a timeless spiritual truth: release attachment to outcomes deep inside yourself and you’ll feel good no matter what.” In essence, Krishnamurti is saying that he doesn’t allow his mind to judge what happens. This is not cynicism or inaction but a conscious choice. You also need to decide what relationship you want with the present moment. If you do nothing you will continue to react based upon unconscious conditioning. But you can choose to take control. Tolle says that if you live on auto pilot your ego treats the present moment as a means to an end, an obstacle to be overcome or an enemy to be opposed so you live in a dysfunctional relationship with your own life.
Here are three areas in which many damage themselves with destructive beliefs and mental habits when living on auto pilot.
- First, yourself. You see yourself as the victim. You feel sorry for yourself while at the same time you unconsciously set yourself up again to repeat the role of the victim proving your belief true. You refuse to face your fears, avoiding or repressing them until they control your life. You relive your traumas for many years until they become part of your identity. Healthy living allows for a time of grieving, forgiving and healing unless one wants to live chained to the past. When you regularly relive your traumas you recycle negative energy which eventually expresses itself in physical illnesses.
- Second, others. No one can control another. No one “makes” you feel or respond a certain way. When you allow an inept or antagonistic person to “make” you angry or frustrated you have permitted it. You give away your power when you allow others to trigger you. You are responsible for how you feel and act so take control of yourself. When you respond from your heart rather than your mind you regard the inept or antagonistic people as blessings because they hold up a mirror so you can observe your level of consciousness. If you choose to act with compassion, love and wisdom you guard your own peace of mind and quietly leave them alone.
- Third, the world. The world isn’t fair. It doesn’t owe you anything and it doesn’t revolve around you. The quality of your life is a function of your creative ability but even then there is no guarantee you will get what you want. Tough times will come to everyone. You will experience both physical and mental pain (and suffering if you fail to exercise control over your mind.) You will lose loved ones to death and your mental strength will be tested. And eventually your health fails and your body dies.
But you have a choice to either live dysfunctionally or in alignment with life. If you decide to assume responsibility for your beliefs and mental habits wonderful things begin to happen. Your awareness increases so you can identify the beliefs and habits that need your attention. As you address these your peace and happiness increases. Your power increases in proportion to your level of consciousness. Soon you develop an attitude of gratitude and attract others with positive energy. Life still treats you as it does everyone else but you are no longer fighting it. You use it as a means for spiritual growth.