Monday, January 25, 2010

Perspective on the crevasses

"To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now... become alert, attentive to your thoughts as well as your emotions.

Watch out for the low-level unhappiness in whatever form, such as discontent, nervousness, being "fed up," and so on. Watch out for thoughts that appear to justify or explain this unhappiness but in reality cause it. The moment you become aware of a negative state within yourself, it does not mean you have failed. It means that you have succeeded. Until that awareness happens,, there is identification with inner states, and such identification is ego."

-- Eckhart Tolle, Oneness With All Life

This photo shows the view from the Huston Camp and Conference Center, where I went for some quiet time last weekend. It's a place I love to go, but there's a part of me that finds it uncomfortable as well. Because when I'm there, alone in my room, or out in the woods, or sharing meals in this dining room in the company of strangers, I am away from all the little distractions of my homelife. The distance is a blessing, in that it gives me an opportunity to get the big picture, to see all the little cracks and crevasses in my life, the dark and light spots, the cloudy and the clear. I get to watch the workings of my mind.

But the truth is, it's not all that much fun to watch my mind go off on its tangents; to see how much energy it spends spinning through its cycles of whining and discontent, criticism and competitiveness, comparison and contrition. It can, in fact, be not just humbling but discouraging. So it's good to be reminded that awareness, not perfection, is the goal.

Yes, that crafty ego has a way of consuming lots of brain time with its incessant negativity. But any time you catch it "doing its thing," you have an opportunity; an opportunity to breathe, release, and know that the part of you that SEES those bad behaviors is being brought to fruition in the act of seeing. And once you can see, you can also see that it's your ego, not your circumstances, that feeds suffering and discontent -- always good to know.

But then you have to forgive your imperfections.

Sometimes that's harder.

But it's all good.


Maureen said...

Very nice, Diane. Not perfection. Only One has that.

What a gorgeous place! An image such as this always reminds me how much beauty is in the world and how open-mouthed it can leave us.

altar ego said...

oh my goodness, what a spectacular view! I could sit and contemplate that magnificence for hours on end, I think, especially watching the light change while shadows stretch and retreat. I think I need to start saving my pennies for a trip to the NW.