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Enter Zen From There – Truth #1 from A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Last Fall, a Ray of Sunshine suggested I read a book titled, A New Earth, by new age spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. She said the book changed her life and the way she looked at it and thought it might help with my anxiety. It took till I got back to Southwest Florida for the OldOld Man’s birthday to get over my anxiety enough to read it, but once I did I found incredible calm.

Now I’m not one for the pick & choose of a “new age” thinker and I’ll never agree with Tolle’s view on forgetting the past, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a bit of good stuff – both refreshers and stuff I’ve never thought of – that helped me set my mind at ease.

The first concept I find myself repeating daily is the phrase, “Enter Zen from There.” Tolle tells the story of a zen master and his student were outside in meditation when the student asked how one enters Zen. The student waited five anxious minutes while the master stayed in thought. After the five minutes, the master asked,

“Do you hear the sound of that mountain stream?”

The student wasn’t quite sure what the master was asking but after a couple seconds he stopped thinking about how to enter Zen, paused, listened and heard the stream.

“Yes, I can hear the stream,” said the student.

“Enter Zen from there,” replied the Master.

In that moment, the student received his first satori – revelation.

The student and master finished their meditation and began walking down the hill. Once they reached the bottom of the hill, a question dawned on the student.

“Master, what would you have said if I wasn’t able to hear the mountain stream?” asked the student.

“Enter Zen from there.”

Ray Charles & the Hummingbird.

Immediately I thought of the movie Ray where Ray Charles & Della are having coffee and Belle asked how Ray got around. Ray asked if he could hear the hummingbird. Della asked him, “what hummingbird?” Ray told her to listen.

After a couple seconds, Belle starts to tune everything out until eventually she heard the humming bird in the bush by the open window. Ray told her that was how she heard.

I Trust My Ears More Than My Eyes

Whenever I was asked the question, “What sense would you least like to lose.” Most say their eyes. I say my ears. People usually thought I was crazy, but I hold true to it this day. I could always learn to read braille and I could still play guitar if I didn’t have sight – not to mention the memories of colors and images, but I could never hear music again if I didn’t have sound.

I trust my ears more than my eyes. In college, it’s how I got through classes when I didn’t want to read. It also help me discern the Good people from the machine cogs. At the boat, it kept me from getting hit by a car after 8 years working in a parking lot. I haven’t used them as much lately. Frankly, it’s sad. And to realize I can use them to enter into a moment and be able to focus on a moment is a truth I’ll forever be grateful.

There are a few more truths from A New Earth that I’ll share in the upcoming days as I remember that writing is my job.

I’ll enter Zen from there.

And all the other truths I’ve learned in the last few months.

Photo Credit: Robert Hruzek via Flickr

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