Thrill Seekers, Job Hunters and Souls Seekers Have So Much in Common
The way I see it, human beings are hard wired to connect with something much greater outside themselves. We’re like the little guy in the E.T. movie that just has to phone home. We have this drive in common, but we go about it in so many different ways.
The thrill seeker searches by jumping off a bridge, skydiving or racing at high speeds. Long distance athletes works towards a chemically induced “runner’s high.” (I’m a long distance runner. This can be cool.) Soul seekers and yoga practitioners quiet themselves ignoring distractions and bask in the stillness. The paths are very different yet according to Eckhart Tolle in his book “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” they are manifestations of the same thing.
Here’s a quote from his book:
The reason why people love to engage in dangerous activities, such as mountain climbing, car racing, and so on is that it forces them into the Now – that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of personality.”
Growing up, I believed sin separated us from God. I did something wrong. I drove a wedge between us. I behaved and it got me closer. It was like playing cosmic Simon Says going back and forth, back and forth. Now I am NOT condoning sin, but I’ve learned that the idea of physical closeness and separation from God makes no sense. How can I change my proximity to an all present, all loving God? He’s either here and he’s always here or he’s not. And I’m not willing to believe the latter.
What I can do, however, is increase and decrease my “awareness.” I can feel closer or far away, but it’s only a measurement of my perception – all together different thing. That’s exactly Tolle’s point. Why does a person dropping at maximum velocity feel so alive? It’s probably because they’re NOT thinking or worrying about an unbalanced checkbook, a project gone sour, illness or a broken relationships. They’ve escaped, if only temporarily, any guilt, shame or regrets. They’re beyond the worry and anxiety about the future. They are “oh so ever” in the present mainly because jumping out of the immediate Now could lead to something really bad – think sudden impact.
The rush or aliveness they feel is a heightened state of exactly this “awareness.” It’s a lifting away of a fog clouding our perspective preventing us from seeing what is right in front of us. And why do we feel so alive? Because we’ve escaped our mind’s warped preoccupation. We escaped all these useless emotions along with its past and the future and we experience the very real right Now.
Tolle quotes Christian scripture, a few Zen masters and teachings from Islamic Sufism. All of them agree that a life consumed by things outside the present – or the Now as Tolle calls it – keeps us from experiencing true joy. It’s that very obsession that keeps us from what we all want.
As job seekers, we face very real fear, anxiety, worry, sleeplessness and who knows what else. But as a job seeker alumni, let me recommend we frame the problem differently. This may be not be what you want to hear, but if I were to ask a job seekers in a serious financial pinch, “Can any of your collectors at this very moment cause you harm?” The answer is probably, “No.” Then suppose I challenge them with another the question, “Can you enjoy this moment without the shadow of tomorrow’s impending doom rattling that peace?”
As a runner and Yoga practitioner to do some of the things I mention to stay centered. These practices open up my awareness and make it easier to get out of my head and appreciate the Now. Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and his second book “A New Earth (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)” both push us in this direction. If we can only step outside of our incessant minds and see the ridiculousness of our flawed thinking, we can develop awareness of the truly beauty all around us. We can then gift ourselves with of the joy, peace, joy and happiness independent of the circumstances. That includes if we get that job today or not.
It’s so much nicer to have that control.
Hope this helps!