Unpacking Approaches to Living Your Best Life

The one thing I love nearly as much as my first-born, are books.

Shopping for books is my out and out favourite thing to do.

I have a couple of storage units full of them and my humble abode is bursting at the seams with literally stacks of books in every room.

Whilst I can appreciate not everyone shares my joy at the feel of a good book, I proudly fly my ‘geek flag’ when it comes to them.

That’s possibly because it took me the better part of 35 years to start flying said flag! 🙂

So, in this first of many posts, I thought I’d start unpacking the authors who I’ve been bonding with this past decade or so, in the hope it might bring you some slither of enjoyment too.

Afterall, who knows when a snippet sprung from the tomes of studious brains might in fact elevate your next conversation from pleasantries to robust, stimulating debate.

A Journey Back To Me

As I hit the final stretch of my 40’s, it’s fair to say, I’ve had a couple of trips around the ether on my journeying Back to Me.

My most recent trek, the most fulfilling despite the complexity.

The journey to personal growth and living our best life is a unique experience for each individual.

Time, a firm friend in this trial and error voyage of lived experience.

While my beautiful piles of books offer articulate insights and in some cases guidance, for achieving fulfilment and happiness, wisdom found is only beneficial when shared.

So I thought, over the course of the next week or so, it’d be fun to explore the wisdom found in six popular tomes: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, “Evolve Your Brain” by Joe Dispenza, “Life Force” by Tony Robbins, “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan B. Peterson, “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer, and “The Dragons of Eden” by Carl Sagan.

Why these books?

Well, we had to pick a starting point for our voyage and these six were the ones that jumped out of my bookshelf at me.

Besides, by understanding the key themes and principles of these books, we can deepen our understanding of the benefits of a holistic approach to living our best life.

Unpacking Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle, born on February 16, 1948, in Lünen, Germany. He is best known for his books “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth,” which have been highly influential in the field of spiritual self-help and personal development.

A renowned spiritual teacher and author, Tolle’s teachings emphasise the importance of living in the present moment and transcending the ego to achieve inner peace and spiritual growth.

His work draws upon various spiritual traditions, including: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity, synthesising their core teachings to create a simple yet profound message.

Tolle’s A New Earth focuses on spiritual growth and inner peace by transcending the ego and living in the present moment.

Now, if your brain works like mine, you’ve probably started thinking ‘Freud’ on hearing ‘ego’ mentioned.

The iceberg model is a metaphor used in various fields, including psychology, to explain the idea that there are different levels of awareness and consciousness that exist within an individual.

The model compares the human mind to an iceberg, with only a small portion visible above the water’s surface while the majority of the iceberg lies below the water.

In psychology, the iceberg model is often used to illustrate the three levels of consciousness proposed by Sigmund Freud in his psychoanalytic theory.

According to Freud, the conscious mind represents the tip of the iceberg that is visible above the surface of the water. This level of consciousness includes our immediate awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

The second level of consciousness in the iceberg model is the preconscious, which lies just below the surface of the water. This level includes thoughts and feelings that are not currently in our awareness, but can be easily brought to consciousness with some effort or prompting.

The third level of consciousness is the unconscious, which lies deep below the surface of the water and makes up the largest portion of the iceberg. The unconscious includes thoughts, feelings, and memories that are not easily accessible to our conscious awareness, but which nevertheless influence our behavior and experiences.

Overall, the iceberg model serves as a helpful visual representation of the different levels of awareness and consciousness that exist within an individual, and can help to explain how our thoughts, feelings, and experiences are shaped by both conscious and unconscious processes.

Tolle & The Concept of Ego

Tolle often discusses the concept of the ego in his work.

While he does not specifically reference Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, in his discussions about the ego, there are some similarities between their ideas.

Similarities with Freud

Freud believed the ego is the part of the psyche that mediates between the impulses of the Id and the demands of the external world.

Whereas Tolle suggests the ego is the false sense of self that is created by identifying with our thoughts and emotions.

Tolle’s perspective on the ego is rooted in spiritual teachings, particularly in the traditions of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, and differs significantly from Freud’s psychoanalytic framework.

Accordingly, Tolle sees the ego as a source of suffering, and his teachings focus on practices such as mindfulness, presence, and surrender to help individuals overcome the ego’s hold on their lives.

Therefore, while there may be some overlap between Tolle’s ideas about the ego and Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, Tolle’s perspective is primarily informed by spiritual teachings rather than by Freudian psychology.

Accordingly, Tolle prophesies that by detaching ourselves from our ego-driven thoughts and embracing the power of the present moment, we can achieve a greater sense of inner peace and clarity. Not surprisingly, emphasising ‘letting go’ of the ego is essential for personal growth and a fulfilling life.

In A New Earth, Tolle recommends several practices to cultivate inner peace. These practices include:

  1. Being present in the moment: Tolle emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. By focusing on the present moment, we can find a sense of inner peace and stillness.
  2. Observing the ego: Tolle suggests that the ego, or the false sense of self that we create through our thoughts and beliefs, is a major obstacle to inner peace. By becoming aware of our egoic patterns and tendencies, we can begin to disidentify from them and find a deeper sense of peace.
  3. Practicing acceptance: Tolle emphasizes the importance of accepting things as they are, rather than resisting or fighting against them. By accepting the present moment and all of its challenges, we can find a sense of peace and contentment.
  4. Cultivating inner stillness: Tolle recommends practicing meditation or other mindfulness practices to cultivate a sense of inner stillness and calm. By quieting the mind, we can find a deeper sense of peace and clarity.
  5. Cultivating compassion and empathy: Tolle suggests that cultivating compassion and empathy towards others can also help to cultivate inner peace. By connecting with others and recognizing our shared humanity, we can find a sense of peace and unity.

Key takeaways: Embrace the present moment, let go of ego, and cultivate inner peace.

Overall, Tolle’s approach to cultivating inner peace emphasises the importance of presence, self-awareness, and compassion towards oneself and others.

What do you do each day to cultivate your inner peace?

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