How Can I Stop Thinking and Remain Present While Life Is Going Well?

Some people find that when problems come, they suddenly wake up and go, “Oh!” They become more alert and more present. When all is going well, alertness decreases and they go, “Okay, let’s have another drink. Where are we going on vacation next? Oh, let’s go to Bali. Oh, great!” And then they’re in Bali on the beach, or they’re getting a body treatment in a spa. And they might think, “Well, I’ve got exactly what I need for my full awakening because the outer conditions are now perfect.”

Yet, you may be surprised that it is quite possible that if you were wrongly imprisoned and put in a dreadful prison cell, the chances of you becoming present would probably be greater.

It’s the challenges that we need. Now, please don’t ask the universe to wrongly imprison you. The universe will give you what you need. However, to have what the mind calls the “most suitable condition for my spiritual growth,” is not necessarily the most suitable condition for your spiritual growth. “I need security. I don’t want to have to worry about money. I need people to give me enough space. My body needs to be looked after. I need to have the stimulus of travel.”

That sounds wonderful, but that’s not how it works. You’re more likely to find it when things go wrong in your life. Those can be awakeners.

There are some teachings that tell you your life is complete when you’re so good at manifesting that you always can manifest what you want. However, what you want may be a reflection of a certain egoic pattern in your mind and it may not be what is best for you. In many cases, what a person wants is not what they really need.

There was a time when I was completely lost, not knowing what to do. I thought, “I must get a job. Okay, what can I do?” That was already after my shift, but the shift was just inner. So, my outer life was a bit lost for a while. The job search never quite worked out for me.

Well, I wasn’t worried—but there was a continuous shortage. There is an example I gave in Stillness Speaks of somebody sitting on a bench, putting his hand in his pocket, and pulling out a pound or two, saying, “Oh, that’s all the money I have left.” That happened to me. On several occasions, I put my hand in my pocket and there was only a very limited amount of money left.

I wrote about that very briefly in Stillness Speaks as an example of what the situation would be like if I became invested in a story about myself, saying, “I’m ruined! I’ve thrown away all the great opportunities that life has given me and here I am stranded on a park bench. This is what my life has come to. I’ll have to go begging for money now. I have to do the most menial job just for money.” The story would go on and on in the mind. But I didn’t have that mind anymore, fortunately. If I had had it, the story would have made me very unhappy.

I gave that as an example because putting your money in your pocket without a story, you simply say, “Well, that’s the money left in my pocket. Is there anything I can do about it? Hm. Well, I can try to talk to that person or that person I know. Or I might see if someone will put me up for a few days. Or I can go to an employment agency and see if they have a temporary job.”

Without the story, there’s no suffering. With the story, there’s suffering.

And so, I stopped trying to fit in, and then people came to ask me questions occasionally. The teaching gradually started. Time came in. It took years to evolve—the ability to speak, the ability to help people using words and to find the right terminology to point to things. It just happened gradually.

Again, there’s the interplay of time and the Now. The horizontal dimension took time for the teaching to grow, for the new state of consciousness to become fully incorporated. And yet, there was always present moment awareness as the foundation.

So, when you’re aligned without the unhappiness of the story, you’re more likely to invite helpful factors into your life because—through that inner alignment—you are much more connected to the totality. You’re not cut off. When you’re connected to the totality, it can help you much more through synchronistic events. So, that’s the beauty of it.

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Author Information

Eckhart Tolle

Spiritual Teacher and author was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.

Books from Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth Cover image
Eckhart Tolle
 
The Power of Now Cover image
Eckhart Tolle
 
 

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