Published in Womeninc, June 2008
by Diana Gabriel
“Presence is a prerequisite for any authentic relationship.” Eckhart Tolle
The past few columns have discussed some approaches that are outward in nature, starting with giving the gift of presence to others to “spring cleaning” to determining how you want to be in relationship with others. After so much energy going out, it feels like a good time to pause and experience some silence – some presence with your Self. With the long, busy days of summer upon us, I invite you to give yourself the gift of some quiet time and to go deep within to the still place at your center. Take time outside to enjoy nature, the special beauty that is summer in the Midwest. When you take time to just be, you allow space for a time of discernment and examination, to look at who you are and how you want to show up. Authentic expression arises from a depth of self-examination, and quiet is key to getting there.
I am one of millions of people participating in Oprah’s web cast regarding Eckhart Tolle’s book The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Simultaneously, I have been preparing my materials to facilitate a 3-day leadership retreat in June. I am intrigued by the similar messages I am finding not only in Tolle’s work, but in others such as the Arbinger Institute (Leadership and Self Deception), Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath’s work with identifying strengths, Sharon Park’s work at the Whidbey Institute, Ron Heifetz’s work at Harvard and even the core message from Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic, who stated in a presentation that all great leaders spend time in self- examination and growth. It seems that all these people are suggesting that for us to be our personal best, we need to be quiet, slow down and spend time in reflection.
In The New Earth Tolle says: “When you yield internally, when you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens up. If action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by creative intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen. If no action is possible, you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender.”
Humanity is at a critical juncture both in terms of our environment and how we act as human beings. We need to be able to step out of our egos, be present with ourselves and decide what part we want to play in changing the negative energy that abounds in the world today. I believe that each and every one of us has the gifts, talents and abilities to contribute to change. It is critical for us to be silent, to get in touch with ourselves, in order to become influential leaders for the common good.
This is also the common thread that I see in all these works. Self-examination is what leads to self-awareness and knowing that we have choices. Without self-awareness we just keep spinning in the same old ways and ruts. It is necessary for us to be conscious and awake in order to be in choice about who we want to be and the impact we want to have.
Eckhart states, “The only truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” So what does this mean in real life? We are free to be in the moment/present, we are free to be in choice about being aligned with who and what we want to be. We are free to choose how we show up in life.
I believe that Oprah is a great example of a person who is conscious and intentional in using her gifts, talents, time and resources to the fullest to be in alignment with her values and purpose. She speaks to her intention of working on herself, her awareness. As you settle into a quiet moment for reflection, consider what awareness and intention might look like in your life. Each of us has seeds of possibility. It is important to be intentional and authentic in how we choose to share these. The ability to do so begins with some quality time spent with your quiet Self. Have a great summer.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose by Eckhart Tolle