Last updated October, 2018.
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the bottom of the page (no email required).
The cartoon above is from Tolle's book "Guardians of Being." It's illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip MUTTS.
In eight panels, it aptly describes our usual state of being: lost in compulsive thinking.
This compulsive thinking is the foundation for the struggles we all face:
The only thing I would change about the message in the cartoon is the last panel - instead of "Shtop (stop) thinking" I would say
"Stop getting caught up in mental drama." Or, "Stop following your mind wherever it leads."
This is the essence of mindfulness and meditation. They are practices that allow you to strengthen awareness of your mind and its non-stop activity. They help you develop the skill of observing it all without getting caught up in it. They train you to move your attention away from the mental noise and drama instead of indulging it.
As such, you are no longer held hostage by the next thought, emotion, or urge that pops into your head.
And, you can begin chipping away at the conditioned behavior (habitually reacting to everything with desire or aversion) that creates the struggles in your life.
Address the root cause.
Your struggles and suffering - whether it's stress, feelings of anxiety or depression, low self-confidence, extreme emotions...or anything else - are caused by the difference between the way things are and the way the mind thinks they should be.
Does it make sense to continue trying to control everything "out there" to conform to the mind's expectations? Or, is a more skillful use of your time and energy changing the way you deal with the thoughts and stories the mind constantly churns out?
If you believe it's the second option, continue reading...