Tag Archives: Eckhart Tolle

Priorities – #2

Priority: a preferential rating- especially one that allocates rights to something in limited supply; something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives

Yesterday, in my paralyzed position of pain due to my pulled pectoral muscle (how’s that for a plethora of powerful P-words) I was forced to be a watcher instead of a doer.

I watched a video of the dying professor who looks so good, Randy Pausch, give one of his “last lectures” on time management at University of Virginia. He is a man who has the unenviable perspective of knowing that his days are numbered. (I know, I know. All our days are numbered, but we think our death will be decades or eons from now.)

Time is the most precious gift we have, he says. We must remember this. Over and over and over. Once a moment has passed, it’s gone forever.

I didn’t listen to the whole lecture, so I don’t know if he touches upon the Eckhart Tolle (Buddhist, Taoist, etc etc) mantra of being present to THIS moment instead of clinging to the past or fretting about the future.

But he did talk about setting priorities. What’s important? Why am I doing this? Does this matter? Is it on purpose?

I don’t know about you, but I find it pathetically easy to get lost in trivial pursuits. Reading stories in the news that are unimportant and have no bearing on my life. Rambling thru internet searches that are fascinating and purposeless. Phone calls that chit-chat on an on about nothing in particular. Meetings for the sake of meeting.

The other issue is that I complicate my life with more than an underfunded single woman past middle age can handle on her own:

  • A 3,000 sq ft home that needs cleaning, organizing, beautifying and occasional fixing
  • A 1/3 acre yard/garden that needs weeding, trimming, feeding, watering, re-organizing and occasional fixing.
  • A mind that is hungry for new learning and new experiences – and therefore continuously thinks up new projects to sink into.
  • A soul that is hungry for music, dance, beauty, connection, color, flowers, love.
  • Friends and family I love dearly – some of whom can only be visited by airplane.

I can’t do everything to my high standards. I probably can’t even do half of everything to my standards. Where do I cut back? What is my highest priority? What is the highest and best use of my time?

Since I’ve been a feng shui consultant I’ve become especially sensitive to clutter in my own home and have gotten rid of a lot of it. But what is left is still always talking to me: use me, put me away, fix me, spend time with me.

If I want to focus on priorities I need to majorly downsize. Or find a partner with whom to share the bounty and the work… It’s time to make downsizing a Project – a goal with specific steps.

Purpose – aaaagggghhh!

I started this blog of P-words because so many words beginning with the letter P are Problems for me.

Procrastination, Perfectionism, Productivity, Potential.

Practice – as in establishing a regular writing practice (why I started this blog).

Publish – as in putting it out there (again, why I started this blog).

And the big one: PURPOSE.

What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is my special gift to the Planet this time around?

You’ve probably struggled with this question too – unless you are one of those maddening people who knew from the time you were eight years old that your purpose was to heal sick animals, or rescue people from burning buildings, or be the President that America has been waiting for – and you proceed steadily on that Path.

Many of us have been blessed and cursed with a wide variety of interests and talents, but none great enough to be the One True Thing our lives are all about. We charge down one path for awhile, then something more interesting pops up and we head off in another direction. That’s my life story.

Eckhart Tolle speaks extensively about purpose in his latest book, “A New Earth.” From pg. 258:

Our true and primary purpose cannot be found on the outer level. It does not concern what you do but what you are – that is to say, your state of consciousness… Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary….

Your inner purpose is to awaken…. Your outer purpose can change over time. It varies greatly from person to person. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose.

What he says in a hundred different ways is that our purpose is to become conscious, egoless, present in this moment – and this moment and now this moment – no matter whether you’re washing dishes, paying bills, lying sick in bed, grieving a loss. When you’re present to it, anything is possible. Outer purpose is more easily revealed and moved towards.

OK. At the risk of disappearing up my own asshole, I’m going to stop.

Let me know how you found your purpose – and what it is.


Last night I got a call from the person in my life who has the densest pain-body of anyone I know.

“Hi,” he said. “I’m feeling really really bad. In case you’re interested.”

“Uh, wow.” I said. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“So bad I’m taking Klonapin.”

Then I heard the tell-tale sipping sound. “And are you drinking too?”

“Yeah,” he said, “and it’s working fairly well.”

And then he launched into the litany of his worries and woes. I KNOW he is having a particularly hard time right now, and my heart goes out to him, but I was flummoxed as to how to respond.

This despite having just read Chapter 5, “The Pain-Body,” in Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and watched the segment on Oprah.com.

Tolle talks about just being Present when you’re with someone who is suffering – and how that may give the person enough of a glimpse of the Present moment that he can begin to separate from the pain-body.

But I am not there yet. I don’t want to hear the whole depressing story; I’ve heard it in excruciating detail over the years, with only the names and places changed. Tolle says that every time a person recites his sorry story (to himself or another) he only strengthens his pain-body, and I don’t want to be a part of that any more.

Tolle says (page 144):

The pain-body is a semi-autonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, en entity made up of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, not unlike a cunning animal, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival… it needs to feed … it thrives on negative thinking as well as drama in relationships. The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness.

It’s a part of the thinking-ego-emotion cycle. This friend has an amazing mind which, when engaged in constructively, is a gift to the world. In recent years, however, his mind has been increasingly trapped in his pain-body.

I keep hoping that THIS crisis will precipitate an awareness breakthrough. That THIS time, he’ll find a way into and through his sad story, so he can see himself as the beautiful soul he really is.

Right now for my own mental health I need to keep my distance, but I will give him the Tolle book and point him to the webcasts. Maybe Tolle’s wisdom can crack a wedge in the pain-body.