I love it when students of the Power of Now have an ah ha moment talking about the spiritual journey and say:
“Oh I can’t wait to get there”.
Eckhart Tolle would say:
“You mean you can’t wait to get here!”
This present moment is the final destination of the spiritual journey – entering it more deeply and constantly until we break through into what Eckhart describes as a connection to “Oneness”, the part of our identity that is not separate from the whole.
Having spent many years studying, practising and teaching on Eckhart’s and many other spiritual teachers work in the hope that something would rub off on me, I finally began to awaken to this realisation.
The ideas presented by Tolle in all his books, audio and video teachings are so direct and practical. But like any spiritual process, it takes time to assimilate them and put them into practice in our lives. That is why I find a workshop is so useful in order to bring the work alive and make it accessible in an everyday sense.
Eckhart at one point in his teaching says there are two steps to liberation and enlightenment:
- Become the witnessing self or as mindfulness teaches: the observing self.
- Connect to Oneness.
The first step is remarkably like any mindfulness work or practice; as we become the observer of ourselves our identity moves away from the story and self-image we have created. This story is always pulling us back to the past and anxious about the future. With practice, we identify more as the awareness, the loving peaceful watcher or witness that is no longer so absorbed in our thoughts, emotions or sensations. The freedom this gives is enormous and life changing!
The second step however Is another step entirely.
Oneness is the generic term for what traditional religions described as God, Allah, The Universe, The Divine Reality etc. Connecting to this part of my identity is a work in progress but more and more I can feel the ground of my being centred here.
Mindfulness and Mysticism
Richard Rohr the Franciscan writer and scholar in describing this second step calls it the Eternal Now. The more I move into the present moment and embrace my deeper identity the more I am embraced by a Divine reality. Of course, today it’s important to be sensitive to people’s terms and beliefs around this Oneness and the work I offer is always inclusive and respectful.
The image I use in my teaching is that we are all flowers in the field and mindfulness practice helps us to calm, accept and even like our flower, as well as relate to the other unique flowers in healthy and loving ways. But the second step is to know ourselves as the field – the part that connects us all together and I call this the mystical part of the journey.
I am always exploring the question as to what does spirituality look like if it is a domain and not owned but courted by a religious tradition?
And the big question is what does it give me?
Or how does it add value to my life?
In some moments, and as a developing medium, I can communicate to the spirit world, and this has helped me realise that life goes on. But as a developing mystic, I have also tasted this eternalness. I feel the true gift of spirituality is the Knowing not the belief, that there is a part of me that does not die. Imagine how this changes your life when all fear of physical death disappears as you are so held in Great love!
Going back to Eckhart he would say “death is the opposite of birth; life has no opposite – it is continuous.”
These are of course what are called mythic poetic statements in the teachings. Which means they sound nice but mean nothing unless you experience something yourself.
I leave you with a short poem I wrote and hope to see you at the workshops.
The Unanswered Question
Stop looking for answers
hold instead to the question
in your heart.
The question taken inwards
unfolds into a stairway
that guides you down
into the centre of your soul
where the wonder,
and grace of the unknowing
light a candle
in the darkness.
Where majesty and mundane
can exchange notes
that only a silent listener
And love plays the flute
That sends sweet melodies
To sooth your suffering
And free set your spirit free
We are delighted to welcome John back for two wonderful workshops:
The Power of Now with John Doherty, Saturday 18th July, 10am-4pm
Mindfulness and Mysticism, Sunday, 19th July 10am-4pm