After spending two weeks in noisy and loud Rome, I decided to take a break from the hassle of the big city and travel to the countryside of Umbria, a lovely, verdant region not far from Rome. There I stayed in a picturesque, transformed-to-hotel farm, where the fastest moving thing was a male pigeon trying to seduce the female. When I first arrived, it was as if someone had “plugged me” into the socket of vitality, hope and endless space. I felt at once connected to my purpose, my Essence, my sense of direction (not just about where to go to dinner but in life), and more.
Eckhart Tolle (http://www.eckharttolle.com/), the now famous author of The Power of Now and A New World, is fond of using the dog analogy. He says that when we look into the eyes of a dog, all thinking ceases and we are at once connected to the Truth of life, where the present moment takes precedence over thinking and worrying. Love takes over: Love for the dog, love for life, love for anything that isn’t real and powerful as the love a dog feels for its owner.
I felt equally as connected to myself when I arrived in Umbria: all the doubts, self-criticism and useless pondering disappeared and I was left with the clarity of what is, which can be summarized as follows:
1) We are One with Nature and what surrounds us.
2) We are loved by virtue of being alive, and the only element keeping us from this awareness is our subconscious, engaged in reminding us that we need to either work harder or don’t deserve a happy life.
3) Living mindfully is key to feeling the connection to our bodies, our inner landscape and our surroundings. This means slowing down and becoming aware of our actions.
4) As Beings endowed with a body, a mind and a spirit, we cannot afford to leave out any of them. We need to honor the Spirit through contemplative/spiritual activities and/or disciplines that nourish the soul. We need to feed the hungry mind through the use of our fine intellect: this could be our work, which, if emerging from our spiritual connection, often means creating something. We must experience our body through physical movement, where all thought ceases and we are at once engaged in the movements at hand. This could be any type of martial art (which also assists with contemplation) or other forms of physical exercise.
5) We don’t need to read about how to be at peace. Happiness comes and goes, but true peace and contentment are part of our intrinsic fabric. We just have to stop the incessant thinking and return to our basic functions, which also include combining our natural, innate gifts with what we do on a daily basis.
We are now inundated with ads and offers on ways to be happy just by buying into a program or another. When I follow these leads and even purchase some, it soon becomes another job I have to fulfill, and before too long I experience discontent and a sense of failure because I can’t keep up with the daily tasks. The answer? Let it go and surrender to what is.
As Eckhart Tolle is fond of saying:
“The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are.”