“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most pre- cious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle
Well, we made it to the final lesson of the Seven Step Guide to the Life of Your Dreams. I do hope you’ve found our time together helpful. I sure have, the comments and responses to this email course have lifted my spirits giving me a much deeper understanding of life’s greatest illusions. Thank-you for that. Be sure to check out the end of this email where I have an important announcement about The Tiny Book of Magic: A Genie’s Guide to a Dream Life.
Now, let’s get to the most important illusion of them all – Time.
The illusion of time
The seventh and final of life’s great illusion states that time exists. Looking beyond the clock we come to realize that time is intimately interwoven with thought. These two of our most seemly real inventions do not hold up to the light of reality. Being able to see through this greatest of illusions will render all remaining hardship, struggle, and pain powerless.
People that are truly in the moment have an energy that draws you to them. Eckhart Tolle certainly had this. Greeting him at his car as he arrived at Queen Elizabeth theatre, he asked me to follow him to his room after the sound check. As we sat in the green room, meeting each other for the first time we discussed topics that ranged from the root of fear to the evening before us. And all the while I had the sensation that as he spoke he was also watching himself at the same time. Making him feel much larger than his small frame. With only 15 minutes before I was set to go on stage and introduce this beautiful man, I felt no fear or thoughts of my upcoming task in front of 2800 people. Replaced, instead, by a wonderful conscious connection between us. The next two hours would see Eckhart speak about the power of now with as much humor and compassion as I’ve ever seen anyone. The audience was held in rapture and you could hear a pin drop. No coughing, no cell phones, just the silence of Eckhart’s magnetizing and powerful words. I watched most of it from the side of the stage, time standing still.
We’ve come full circle on this topic of magical wish fulfillment and have now reached the central and grand master of illusions: Time. Luxuriously wandering to this part of the story, we are now ready to rise above it by gaining a clearer understanding what your purpose in life is. Every aspect of this universe has a purpose. Much as an acorn’s purpose is to grow into a maple and a caterpillar a butterfly, each person in this world has a purpose to fulfill. The sooner you realize what yours is, the happier and more fulfilled you will become. Some people naturally flow into theirs at a young age, gliding through life in bliss. For the majority of us humans, it’s more of a slog, with two steps forward and one step back.
“Be” while doing
The first way to transcend the illusion of time is to practise always having an awareness of your true nature while going about your everyday tasks. When you speak directly to Eckhart, his practice of this is palpable, creating a true space affecting anyone to have the pleasure of coming into his presence. A practice that can be cultivated in you. Previously, we talked about the importance of realizing you are a spirit having a human existence with closed eyed mediations. Here, we take that realization a step further and do so while being. Some techniques to help you with this process include walking mediations, meetings, and practising changing your perspective from a tense eye focused to one where you see the world from your heart centre.
When looking out into the world, take your focus away from your eyes, allow your brow to relax, and shift the perspective to a space in the middle of your brain, or the hypothalamus gland. This will become your meditative anchor. Now, attempt to view your surrounding from this perspective. Instead of straining your eyes to look out into the world, relax your brow and view the world from this space in the midst of your head. Francesca McCartney calls this the meditative sanctuary and the practice can be transformative in developing a connection with space while going about your daily tasks.
The iconic monk Thich Nhat Hanh has made walking mediation much more popular in the west recently, and it is one of the best ways to bring spirit into conscious doing. I first began practising it on my morning mediations on Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland overlooking the water as the sun rose. During my three to four minute walk to a mediation spot on the north side of the hill, I would become conscious of every step I took,made easier by the fact that early in the morning there would always be snails on the path. Conscious not to step on them, I imagined myself stepping on lotus flowers that I did not want to hurt. Making each step a practice in mindful concentration, I would feel the earth beneath me, accepting its energy into my body, merging with it. Steps would be slow and precise with no thought of going or coming, all concentration reserved for each step. It’s very important to practise this in a slow, methodical, mindful way. The goal is to release yourself from your thoughts and become one with the now.
Being in nature is one of the best ways to reconnect with your spirit because the magnificent energy of the trees and water can overshadow our thoughts, helping you merge back into truth. This is why, whenever I can, I have walking meetings to discuss business. Ingrid and I also do this every morning and it helps us stay connected while planning for the future.
Do more of what you love
Another practice used to transcend the illusion of time is to begin to do more of what we love. Have you ever noticed that when you are doing what you love, you lose track of time? This isn’t an accident. It’s because time is only a concept directly linked to thought and when you are doing what you love, you break these imaginary boundaries. The challenge is, when we grow up, most of us forget to do what we love due to the pressures of existing. Working long hours to keep the bills paid has a way of messing things up. But we can change that by putting the focus back to where it counts. Make a list of the things you love to do and begin carving out more time to do them in your everyday. This may be things as simple as playing a sport you love or as profound as switching careers entirely. Let spirit guide you.
Choose to love fear.
Escaping the illusion of time entails choosing to love fear in as many moments as possible. Paulo Coelho points out in one of my favorite books, The Alchemist, “there is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Let’s reset our fears, and bring the music back to our ears. Marianne Williamson illustrates this point beautifully in this quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Saying things like, “I can’t do that, I have too many responsibilities” is a cop-out. The fact of the matter is, you’re happy in your bubble, even if it’s slowing killing you. Fearful thoughts poison you, releasing cortisone into your body. When humans were running around as hunter-gatherers, fear served us well, reacting mostly when life was in danger. Fear causes your body to instantly prepare for fight or flight, causing an adrenaline rush which gives your body a big shot or cortisone, tensing muscles, speeding your breathing, and speeding up your heart rate. This instinct was very helpful if a sabre toothed tiger was about to jump on you or even in more recent times before man began to encroach on nature so much. Today, our fear is rarely used to avoid a potentially life threatening situation. So, when your mind tells your brain it should be fearing something, it can’t tell the difference between the sabre toothed tiger and the fear of potentially failing an exam or not performing well at a sales presentation. The fearful thought triggers the cortisone, which is essentially poison to your body. It’s not meant to be used regularly throughout the day and when it is, your body simply can’t handle it, and it causes deterioration leading to diseases, both physical and mental.
You have the divine responsibility to love fear. I realized that while danger can be very real, fear is, without a doubt, a choice. And if fear is expressed in situations that aren’t dangerous, then it doesn’t serve anyone, least of all yourself. If you lived on the surface of the sun or in the midst of light would you know anything of darkness? So it is with love and fear. Ask yourself, which feels better? Now direct your attention to it. Like your ancestors, with fear, you can choose to fight or flight. But there is another way. Shine a light on it. Understand it. Question it. Love it. Use it to propel you to greater heights than you can imagine.
To see through the illusion of time:
- Be while doing
- Go to the meditation sanctuary
- Do what you love
- Get in the zone
- Choose to love fear