What is Gratitude?

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” ~Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

So ends this journey book.  I wrote here before that reading it will make your mouth water for whatever it is that feeds your soul. Your very limbs will revolt to drag you to the pen or the mat or the wheel or whatever it is that allows you express truth and let it flow through you.

Reading it I found myself reflecting on my own life, of course, and these last words drew from me such salty tears. Having been brought to the altar built of the myriad blessings of my life so far, I have at times felt so tempted to relive and address each one, individually. As naturally as this impetus arises, it’s roots are in the past. In an old way of seeing where each blessing, or demon, or moment is individual, could be addressed as a singular thing. When really each moment is created by and creates so many other moments and each one of those dissolves in each new present which is  really the eternal present, ever re-created.

This is the insight behind the country songs and Hollywood movies all titled something like “Pass it Along.” My own pass it on story stars an amazing individual named Lew. Several years back, when I was feeling every bit adrift, the new divorcee with a new career and a new feeling of solidity at my core but no idea how to let my old stories wear away, I was faced with crisis after crisis. Most of them presented as financial problems, and I was in fear. Lew was an angel of abundance and solidity and he made a donation to my cause. It had been our mutual intention for me to repay him as I became able and I did in fits and starts, as  I did with all my other indebtedness I had dragged from my old life. But I hadn’t completed my obligation to him and I nurtured this obligation not as a blessing, but with worry, and not a little bit of shame. Shame that I’d needed the  help, that I’d received it, that I had not yet repaid it in kind. None of this was part of the blessing of course; it was all an old story I’d dragged along.  

I was finally in a position to repay him. I was so ashamed of how long it had been, how  much he had given and that I was in need in the first place, that even repaying him felt like it wasn’t enough.   When I approached him he smiled so easily and told me to forget about it. He told me to do the same someday, I’d know when it was time. I cried. 

What I learned was that transparency and communication are more prescious than score keeping, even when you’re the only one playing. That dragging around feelings of indebtedness – different than honoring agreements – was not a way to honor what I’d been given. In that moment with Lew I learned that as grateful as I felt, as blessed as I knew I was, as important as it was to express to this all to Lew himself (for this expression is part of transparency), he didn’t need my gratitude. He knew that we both and all are part of something much bigger, that we never know what we’re really contributing to or taking from and that all that really matters is responding out of love in the present moment.

What he knew, the seed he helped me crack open, was that real gratitude is just that: responding out of love right now. Going backwards only re-inforces who we have been. History is important when we find it in the present, like that seed splitting conversation with Lew in the parking lot. It was important just then for me to acknowledge what he’d done for me, what I was prepared to do to honor my indebtedness – which I had instead converted to worry and shame for the intervening time – and this opened the door for his smile, and his new blessing, which is in a way a new obligation to help someone else. But this one, I promise not to convert to worry and shame and only to nurture the seed in my heart knowing that I’ll know when the time comes, because a ray of light will warm the patch of earth under which the seed slumbers, growing roots, and I’ll recognize the seedling as it arises.

Living this way feels like true gratitude.  

A New Earth, Chapter 1: The Flowering of Human Consciousness

Tomorrow evening kicks off the webinar with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah at 7pm MST. Check the website to arrange to be a part of this truly groundbreaking 10 week series.  a_new_earth_button.jpg   Each week is focused on a chapter, and the first sets out the book’s purpose:

“Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of consciousness?” (p. 5)

Can I? Can you? I believe so.

One of the qualities that sets this book apart is that it is more a tool than a set of claims. This is very exciting. This is not an argument or an attempt to change your beliefs or improve your habits, though any of those activities may ensue. Or not.

“This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken. … If the awakening process has begun in you, the reading of this book will accelerate and intensify it.” (6-7)

What do you make of this? Do you believe it is  possible to loose our conditioning? The ultimate condition of language, and therefore the mind, is time and soon follow space and duality. Are these structures outside of which we can be? Have you? How?

I look forward to reading of your experiences here and elsewhere. Thanks for being. Here. Now.


(the universal spark of me recognizes and bows to the same universal spark of you)

Root Chakra Class

Muladhara. Root Chakra. Where it all begins, all ends. It’s about needs and families and roots and survival. It’s sound is “lam”.This is a playful rendition of its Sanskrit:


Class this week and next will focus on the root chakra. We’ll be using movment, breath, imagery and sound. It will be a hip opening extravaganza! Here’s my class plan (copies available on Sunday at 6pm class at YogaNow 215GoldSW in Albuquerque):



You can find our dedicated group for discussion of Eckhart Tolle’s new book A New Earth at yogaeveryday.gather.com.

The cool thing about joining the group – aside from being quick & easy – it becomes a co-blog. You can comment on what others write or make your own article (blog) reflecting how you are digesting your experience.

Look for this icon newearth_iconleader_christine1.jpgon the groups page.

Let me know if you have any difficulty and I’ll help. yogaguidesatgmaildotcom

Dharma Now.

Self-possessed, resolute, act

without any thought of results

open to success or failure.

This equanimity is yoga.

Bhagavad Gita

Eckhart Tolle refers to the ego using others as reflectors, turning them into objects and trapping the mind in the false succession of past and future. In yoga and other Eastern systems they refer to the dharma.

The ego structure disappears as you sense what appropriate action is, take it, let go in the moment.

Sounds like idealism, doesn’t it. Who can be indifferent to success or failure? Who can not worry about the opinions of others? Who can release results? The one who is in the moment, who has taken appropriate action and is aware.

You are This Beautiful Place

As I was resting and recouping one day, allowing the mind to empty and relax (it wants to, you know :), I realized…

I am just in this really beautiful place.

I am in this beautiful place.

I am this beautiful place.


Beautiful Place.

You are, too.

Awareness & Thinking: A User's Guide to Recursive Consciousness

Something Tolle said from the very beginning rubbed the trained Philosopher in me the wrong way: Stop Thinking. That’s like blasphemy for someone who deals in definition, analysis and understanding. Or so I initially reacted.

Tolle makes a deeply subtle distinction between thinking and awareness that helps to illuminate the nature of reflective, or recursive, consciousness. Simple on its surface, the fact that human consciousness is multileveled and that the levels are free to act independently or interact together has been the bedrock of philosophical observation since the Ancients. Plato and Aristotle used the metaphor of the tripartite soul. The Medievals related to God as the ordering principle. Descartes made a crucial, revealing and powerful error in taking as his bedrock “Cogito ergo sum” often translated “I think, therefore I am.”

Tolle directs us behind thinking, defined as unbridled naming or language using. Who is it who thinks, and thus knows “is”? (Yes, Billie, it does depend on what the definition of “is” is.) Tolle’s work is no polemic against analysis or language, but a careful understanding of its relevance, which has for so long been taken to be universal. Language depends on distinctions, on duality. The very structure of sentence making depends on the subject object distinction and is remarkably useful. We are often seduced by this usefulness, however, into mistaking description for experience. Tolle’s call is one to experience, to silence punctuating our endless naming which breaks the present apart into past, present, future, memory and expectation, subject and object.

Take breathing breaks to interupt the stream of unconsciousness and bring awareness to thinking mind. Do you know where your mind is and what it’s up to? Check in, surprise yourself.

Happy New Year!!

So how’s yours going? It’s New Year in March here at the Love, Truth, Beauty: Here, Now home. Why? Well, because I took the first two months off, because we’re past Chinese New Year (I just threw that in…), and because among the reviews I have for you is a reflection and Oprah! sponsored discussion of Eckhart Tolle’s newest – and best – work, A New Earth.

 Button yogaguide.gather.com

Did you enact a resolution? Do you abhor resolutions? Do you thrive on the intensity of making them? I didn’t resolve any one thing myself, but I reflected quite a bit on what they are and why they seem powerful.

To resolve is to unify, to simplify. To resolve a dilemma is to reach a new plateau of understanding. And of course we make resolutions about things which are difficult for us. It is the appearance of dilemma, of the need to make a bianary choice, the illusion of duality that prompts the intensity of resolution.

What if, instead of willfulness and overcoming energy we allow ourselves not to try. Stop Trying. Cease Effort. Is there possible in this moment an opening in which true resolution can occur?

I believe it is this radical sanctifying of our consciousness of the present moment which Eckhart Tolle has found a way to not only describe in his book, but to invoke. To create through the experience of reading a revolutionary breakthrough into the wisdom of the present. Revolutionary because it changes our lives, our relationships to our lives and livlihoods, and revolutionary because it must be chosen, allowed, again and again.

I’ve stated elsewhere that bliss is the birthright of all sentient beings. I believe that Tolle’s new book – and Oprah’s webcasts and discussion groups inspired by it and led by the two of them – are powerful tools in the awakening of this revolution.

I hope you’ll join us, here and over at yogaguide.gather.com to share your personal revolution.

Power to the people: Love, Truth, Beauty: Here, Now.