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Practicing Presence with Eckhart Tolle

Practicing Presence with Eckhart Tolle

Do you ever feel as if you’re going nonstop, with each demand on your time as urgent as the next one? Maybe you feel like your day is spent putting out fires with little time left for planning, perspective, and much less, presence? I have certainly been living in this space for the past year, trying to give my all family and business, and feeling like I’m failing at both.

Our “go go go” culture can leave us feeling as if we’re being pulled in untold directions, each with its own, unique sense of importance. With all of our demands (both real and perceived) and the noise those demands stir, it can be hard to even find the time to take a look at our experience through a macro lens.

I try to remember to step out of the chaos as often as I can, but it’s definitely not easy. Distraction abounds, new demands arise, and despite the best of intentions, a day that at first seemed spacious and intentional can easily get derailed before I’ve even finished breakfast.

When the walls feel like they’re closing in and I’ll never possibly get “it” all done, I literally pull myself up out of the stress and drop myself right back down in the middle of nature. A quick walk with one of my dogs, checking on the garden, planting my bare feet on sun-soaked soil, or spending time beneath the branches of a tree are my go-to stress relievers. And they all take 10 minutes or less.

That’s why this quote from spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, really called to me.

“Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.”

The symbolism of trees has been explored for many centuries; known for their majestic qualities of immortality, their resilience, their embodiment of life as one great big, connected circle, their representation of the family unit, their depiction of strength, power, and rebirth. There’s no denying the influence that trees have on us and our world.

As a generally tired and overstimulated society, I can think of no better an exercise in practicing presence. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy that time beneath the canopy of a nearby tree. Consider it a gift to your soul!