Eckhart Tolle is well known as one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. In the last several years, he has risen to prominence not only for his books–which include The Power of Now and A New Earth–but also for his television appearances and spiritual seminars. Although he has much to offer us on the discovery trail to our deeper nature, he is also skilled at teaching us the art of deliberate thinking. It’s for this reason that I include him in this article.
Regarding the subject of deliberate thinking, many individuals may question whether such is, indeed, possible. Undoubtedly that’s because most people have neither attempted nor practiced it. For these people, thoughts just occur as they may, most often randomly and repetitively. Consequently, their lives are a reflection of thought processes that lack intention.
Some experts believe that we cannot possibly know what our next thoughts will be; that we are not, in fact, capable of producing them. This may or may not be true; but through deliberate effort, we can at least attune ourselves to the nature of thoughts we receive. In one presentation, Eckhart likened the process to the following:
Imagine that we are sitting on a park bench. We have no particular agenda in mind except to enjoy time in nature. A few minutes pass but then a dog runs into our field of vision. It sniffs the ground in one location; paws the earth at a second; stops to urinate at a third. The dog goes on and on. In this example, the dog–of course–is analogous to our thinking process. Must we follow that dog–and focus on it exclusively–merely because it entered our field of vision? If our answer is yes, we are training ourselves to be the subject–not master–of every other dog (thought) that enters our mind. Negative and ugly dogs undoubtedly lead to more thoughts of a similar nature, connected as though by an invisible leash. Fortunately, however, the same is true of positive thoughts.
What does this mean in practical terms? That we may choose not to follow painful thoughts related to our ex spouse, business deals that went wrong, or financial worries that would keep us awake at night. That we may choose not to focus on relationship thoughts–be they platonic, romantic, or familial–that would cause us stress, worry, or concern. We are not being negligent when we choose not to do so; we are nurturing a better state of mind and preserving our sanity. And we may remind ourselves just who gives importance, relevance, and meaning to all of our thoughts and experiences. Do they come labelled as Win, Lose or Place apart from our own thoughts toward them? Of course, not! We are the scepter holders of opinion.
With practice, we may train ourselves to follow the thoughts we wish to entertain. Thus we become the master. There will also be times when we may choose not to think; to remain, instead, in the bliss of present awareness without engaging the thinking process. We may also liken thinking to our arms or legs: Just because we have them, must they always be in motion? No, they may be at rest…as may our thinking. If we have nothing good to think, we may choose not to engage negative thinking just to fill time. Such, in fact, will benefit us greatly.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏