Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Animal Zen

It can seem like overkill but having the same book in Kindle format as well as an audiobook can be a valuable combination.  It is not true for some of my friends but for me, listening to a book while driving around town is a great way to get small doses of the text read by the author or an expert narrator. Professional narrators are very skilled and are often better than the author at reading aloud.  Sometimes, however, the author is just great.  You can hear the exact voice tone and emphasis that the writing was meant to convey.  Jacqueline Novogratz in "The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World" actually lived the whole story and created much of the philosophy and its modifications of how to work with entrepreneurs in developing countries.  

A few years ago, I read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now."  I would say I understood about 80% of it.  Recently, had a special offer and I thought listening to the whole thing might improve my understanding of the book.  What an underestimate!  Suddenly, I feel as though it is the best book I know about ways to live more peacefully with one's mind in this world we were just given, without a user manual and little control of ourselves or the rest of it.

Tolle's slight German accent is pleasant to listen to and many of his remarks are wonderful.   He writes:

I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.

Even ducks have taught me important spiritual lessons. Just watching them is a meditation. How peacefully they float along, at ease with themselves, totally present in the Now, dignified and perfect as only a mindless creature can be. Occasionally, however, two ducks will get into a fight — sometimes for no apparent reason, or because one duck has strayed into another's private space. The fight usually lasts only for a few seconds, and then the ducks separate, swim off in opposite directions, and vigorously flap their wings a few times. They then continue to swim on peacefully as if the fight had never happened. When I observed that for the first time, I suddenly realized that by flapping their wings they were releasing surplus energy, thus preventing it from becoming trapped in their body and turning into negativity. This is natural wisdom, and it is easy for them because they do not have a mind that keeps the past alive unnecessarily and then builds an identity around it.

Tolle, Eckhart (2009-03-25). The Power of Now (p. 190). New World Library. Kindle Edition.

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