Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, two of the most popular spiritual teachers of our time, recently came together at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, Calif. for an unprecedented and remarkable conversation to share their insights and wisdom. Together, Eckhart, Deepak, and a surprise guest eloquently reminded us of the one thing that truly matters and ultimately will change the world: To know our innermost self, our essential nature as pure consciousness.
Eckhart began by making the analogy that our negative thoughts can be similar to a viral infection in our minds. These thoughts have a seductive quality, similar to the pull of a magnet. Our negative thoughts of judgment, criticism and condemnation have powerful momentum because they've been with us a long time and we believe they are true. If we are unaware of this, we are at the mercy of whatever thoughts arise in our minds.
We all long for joy, inner peace and love, but as Eckhart noted, some people are so deeply trapped in their mind of judgments, criticisms and condemnation, that they are unconscious, subsequently dehumanizing others. At an extreme level, this is how violence occurs. When we lose connection with our essence, we lose connection with others, and we are left with a total loss of empathy.
A relevant question was posed to Eckhart via Facebook, "How do we learn to turn off our inner judge?" Eckhart suggested that the inner critic manifests in many ways -- by complaining, blaming others, judging others and yourself. The mind has countless stories, and these stories appear real and justifiable to us. The key is to disidentify from our judgments and invite the space of no thought into our lives. Consider the possibility of relinquishing your inner judge, and letting go of your negative thoughts. How would that change your life? More importantly, how would it change the world?
At the end of the evening, Deepak announced that Wayne Dyer, the renowned self-help author and speaker, was in the audience. Wayne joined Eckhart and Deepak on stage for the remainder of the event. Wayne spoke about a love, which has no opposite, namely a love that never changes and never varies: pure love, a love to which he aspires. What if we all aspired to live from pure love? How different would our world be? Wayne asked a significant question: How much of what we do and the choices we make are based in fear? For example, do you drive the speed limit to be safe because you love yourself and care for those around you, or do you drive the speed limit because you are afraid of getting a ticket? Do you make your food choices based out of fear or love? In closing, Wayne said, "If we could just get the fear out of our hearts, and live from a place of no judgment, criticism, or condemnation we could be content."
We came full circle when Eckhart noted that fear perpetuates itself through our judgments in our minds. Judgments are thoughts that we identify with and believe, thus possessing us, and producing the viral infection in our minds. Intellectually, we may understand the idea of distancing ourselves from our negative thoughts, but real change comes from practicing in our day-to day lives.
For this, Deepak gave us STOP, a formula to help us disidentify from our negative thoughts. Give this a try when you notice your inner critic jabbering away.
T= Take three breaths and smile everywhere in your body;
O= Observe your body; and,
P= Proceed with love and kindness.
Deepak distilled the evening into three observations. The first was to go with the flow. Secondly, he noted that love does heal. He finished with a quote by Nisargadatta Maharaj, "My love radiates from me like light from a bonfire focused on none, denied to none."
If we can bring our awareness to the present moment, we will awaken to the truth of who we are: our essential nature as pure consciousness. And it is from pure consciousness that love, joy, and inner peace, spring forth.
This is how we change the world.
For more from Eckhart Tolle, please click here.