We should never underestimate the importance of taking concrete actions towards actualising our goals. Yet there is a genuine distinction that has to be made if you want to take action that is truly powerful in the highest sense. I am talking about a power which emerges from the deepest core of your being.
Though I am increasingly reluctant to use the word, this power is the essence of the “spiritual”.
We all have this power within us. But it is not the kind of power that you can wield for personal gain. If you crave it you cannot have it. For like water in the palm of your hand, the attempt to grasp it dissipates the very thing you seek to possess.
There is a seemingly insignificant video on YouTube that you really should watch if you want a perfect example of Gentle Aligned Action. The video (http://ow.ly/nu54G) features Eckhart Tolle, and has been seen by a mere three thousand people at the time of writing. There is a story that Tolle tells in the video which I am going relate here (beginning at 2.08 – you can also see it at the end of this post).
Although today Tolle is one of the most famous spiritual teachers on the planet, for years he lived as an effective hermit. Before he became an icon of the modern spiritual movement his days often consisted of little more than sitting on a park bench near the ocean, watching seagulls. For the best part of a decade he had no job and little money, typically eating only one meal a day. On the surface he would have appeared to have been nothing more than a meek and fragile-looking man of unexceptional appearance, doing nothing. No doubt most people would not have been able to tell the difference between him and a homeless person with a drug or alcohol problem.
But there was a difference. The distinction was that Tolle existed in a state of perfect presence for over fifteen years. Yes, nothing much happened during that decade and a half. At least not on the surface.
Then one day in his mid-forties as he was sitting under an oak tree in Somerset, England, a slight sense of “divine discontent” came upon him. It was the subtle sense that there was more that could be done with his understanding; some action which might somehow be of benefit to others. There was a sense that he could be of greater service to this world.
This was not the self-flagellating fear that hits many people of middle age; the terror that their life is passing them by and that they have done nothing worthwhile, or indeed become nothing worthwhile. This was a quiet inner knowing that something was required to be fulfilled.
Since he did not know precisely what this imminent calling was, or what was required to be done, Tolle simply asked the universe for “an acceleration”. Then he went home.
Notably, nothing happened. Not for days, nor even for several months. Then one morning he awoke and knew that he had to leave England to go and live in the United States. He then took action based upon that inner knowing, and soon found himself in the USA. It took another year or two, but eventually he ended up making an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The rest is history, as they say.
Eckhart Tolle never asked to become successful and famous. Note that he did not push and shove his way to the top. Nor was there a deep existential longing to become something else, or be somebody else. He simply surrendered to a greater sense of calling.
There was an attitude of great patience, and of great trust. There was no sense of separation from life or the universe, no belief that the world owed him anything. In fact there was little sense of self at all, for in presence the mind and its sense of self tends to dissipate.
Such an attitude is the bedrock of Gentle Aligned Action.
Significantly, Tolle says that fame and success are not in themselves of lasting value to the spirit. They cannot fulfill you. Fulfillment must come in embracing life, which is only ever found in the present moment.
Like me, Tolle does not believe that we can control the world with our thoughts. And like me he does believe that the universe tends to reflect back to us our inner states.
True abundance cannot be found from beyond us, from the world of form. It is found only in embracing the now. When we are fully present desire vanishes, and there then arises a spontaneous expression of gratitude and love. This is actually the true state of the human being (as opposed to the “human doing” or the “human becoming”). I have found that in such a state of perfect presence there are but four words that tend to repeat themselves over and over.
Thank you. I love you.
Now, that is what I call true prosperity. It is true abundance.