Eckhart Tolle - Why We Feel Anxious Most of the Time
By Tom Hasker, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International
In our world today there is a huge emphasis on the developing our mental intelligence, with education and workplaces demanding a very high level of mental ability for our modern world and that is fine, the world is a complex place! What happens though is that we can get lost in pursuing money, relationships or things and ‘forget’ to live our lives. You can notice this in the language we use; ‘pursue a career’, ‘hunt for a bargain’, 'running a business'.
Author and teacher Eckhart Tolle describes this feeling in an extract from his book The Power of Now, (page 62);
What Are They Seeking?
"Carl Jung [Founder of analytical psychology] tells in one of his books of a conversation he had with a Native American chief who pointed out to him that in his perception most...people have tense faces, staring eyes... He said: ‘They are always seeking something. What are they seeking? [They] always want something. They are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad."
‘Always Seeking Something’
What Eckhart Tolle shares here is that happiness and a fulfilling life is not ultimately found from the ‘pursuit’ of something outside of us. In the ‘Beggar and the Box of Gold’ story we featured previously, Eckhart Tolle shared that the only way we can be truly happy is when that life and spark comes from us, not from some event on the outside. We might feel a brief high level of gratification when we get promoted, find a great deal or go on a date, but these are only surface level and not deep, lasting and enduring feelings.
How To Apply This Practically?
This is a lifelong practice but if we are feeling like our minds are racing and running too fast, then the best thing we can do first to improve our quality of life, is to slow it down!
If we want to connect to deep, lasting and enduring feelings of happiness, then our ability to feel and to ‘take a moment’, to be still and quieten the thoughts that run through our minds is a powerful skill that helps us to get clarity and realise that we are happy already. Imagine you are diving for a pearl on the seabed: you need to go slowly and go deep with care and awareness. You can’t find pearls by speeding across the water’s surface!
Slowing down also has the great advantage that it allows us to make decisions with a clearer head.
Try taking 5 minutes today, to put aside your urgency, take some deep breaths and notice what you are really feeling like inside.