Eckhart Troll: A ramble

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Disclaimer: this post may or may not make sense. Have spent the majority of the day outside, on what appears to be the surface of the sun. I think my brain is sun burnt. This is highly likely to be an unreadable ramble, but plough on I shall! Enjoy?

Right. So. Most of my nearest and dearest are aware that I absorb any and all kinds of media with even a mild whiff of psychology, philosophy or whispers self help, so it should come as no surprise that I’ve been bingeing on a 10 episode podcast series featuring the teachings of Eckhart Tolle this past week.

For anyone unfamiliar with this super chill German fella, he’s kind of a big deal when it comes to spirituality and mindfulness. He waxes lyrical about the benefits of living fully in the “now” and not taking your own pesky thoughts too seriously. So far, so good. I can see why people love listening to him. However, I kept finding myself getting annoyed and/or stressed at intervals whilst listening or trying to practice some of what I’d learned.

This morning, while I was holding my eyelids open and praying for coffee to appear on my bedside table, I had a bit of a moment where I realised what’s been bugging me. I’d been trying too hard to take all of it in at once, because I’d assumed that because I liked some of his ideas that all of them must be applicable to me.

Here are some of his ideas that I liked/that resonated with me:

– There’s rarely a problem in the present. However stressed, bored, lonely etc you feel right now, is there a problem right this very second? Possible, but unlikely. Unless there’s a bear in your kitchen. Is there a bear in your kitchen?!
– It’s pointless trying to reason with people or yourself when emotions are high. Better to do your best to be aware of how you’re feeling in the moment and reconsider whether action is necessary later.
– Energy can’t be created or destroyed, so in a way, we’re all part of one connected, ever present life force (yes, I know, shut up).
– When thoughts are overwhelming, you can centre yourself by concentrating on how your body feels (internally – I’m not suggesting touching yourself up on your commute). Thoughts are often only that – thoughts. You don’t have to act on or believe them all. Stop touching yourself.
– Wanting the present moment to be different is pointless and just causes more internal tension. All we ever have is now – it is what it is, so accept.

However, there are a few things I feel Tolle alludes to that don’t sit right with me:

– If you don’t buy into everything he teaches, you simply aren’t “awake” enough – don’t worry, you’re just unevolved. Come back later and try again! Ugh.
– Thoughts = bad. The more enlightened you are, the less you need to think. I’d love to find out how someone can come up with a whole spiritual theory and write multiple bestselling books without borrowing from at least some of their thoughts. Cut the poor thoughts some slack!
– If something or someone offends you or does you a disservice and it hurts, it’s just your “pain body” speaking. It has nothing to do with the other person being a bumclanger and everything to do with your sensitive ego.

I think (dammit!) I have an idea of how Eckhart Tolle would respond to my latter list – It’s just my ego talking. It wants to cling to existence and so it’s fighting to defend itself. Or he’d perhaps tell me I’d misunderstood. And maybe imaginary Eckhart is right!

While I was having this hypothetical argument with no one this morning, I twigged that the way I was thinking is one of the most interesting quirks of being human. What other creature on this planet can take a concept and both accept and reject it simultaneously without having a full melt down, or even feeling like they have to pick one side over another? For example, I really love the idea that we’re all one energy expressing itself in myriad forms. I also think that this is woo-woo bullshit. But I still sort-of believe it anyway, and that’s fine!

Humans are idea machines. We’re so lucky to live in a world blanketed by a colourful patchwork of beliefs and theories. We’re free to knit our own personal blankets of beliefs from this poorly stitched together metaphor, and we can change our minds at any time – whatever we need to cling to to get by. That’s pretty great, isn’t it?

I see no problem in reading every available “how to live your life – we swear THIS way is right right way!” book and watching ALL the Ted Talks, but I feel we (or at least I) need to remember that we can pick and choose the messages that serve us (with the caveat that we’re not harming others with said messages), rather than by living life by one doctrine, just because we like a few ideas within it.

…or do live by one doctrine if that’s what brings you peace and contentment?


See, two more opposing beliefs in my one, melted head! What you gonna do about it? =)

Did any of that make sense? Let me know and/or send help in the comments. Once you’ve wrestled the grizzly from your kitchen, that is.

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Sweet dreams are NOT made of these

My pet sub woofer (for he is smol), Jesse, looking much more rested than I feel today.

For the most part, I like my brain. It gives me ready access to puns when I need them (which is more often than you’d think), and is great at navigating me towards things I can eat. It has its “fun” neuroses, like the one where it tells me that my pets will spontaneously combust unless every electrical item has been deactivated in my house before I leave it, but largely, we’re on good terms. At least until I relinquish control and drift off to sleep. Then it’s grey matter party time.

I’m fascinated by sleep – particularly sleep disorders and dreams. I love a good documentary on the messed up things that happen to us in the land of nod, and I’ve read a few books on the topic (recommendations always welcome!).

Our minds are, for want of a less obvious term, fucking mental. I’m quite a light sleeper, so I often remember my dreams and can experience a few per night. Here are just a couple of examples of dreams I’ve had this weekend:

  1. I dreamed most of a movie (bar, annoyingly, the ending) about the misfortunes of a transitioning drag queen pursuing fame in rave culture and hiding a pregnancy. If I was less lazy and had the ability to screen write, I’d be penning the shit out of that one – it’s got Netflix movie written all over it!
  2. I’m on a night out with Ben and Chris from Parks and Recreation. At one point, we’re in a stadium, watching a school play over cocktails. The kids perform the song Never Enough from The Greatest Showman and I burst into tears. Well, it is a very powerful song.
  3. I move into a 3 story mansion with my pets, my boyfriend and one of my sisters. Mansion is creepy because it looks like the previous owners just upped and left without taking any of their stuff with them. My sister, who has chosen the top floor to live in, isn’t concerned by all the porcelain dolls and watering cans full of what seems to be petrol, but by the fact that the floor in her kitchen feels spongy.

*Baffled shrug*

I feel massively fortunate that I’ve never experienced the more “fuck that shit” spectrum of sleep problems, like sleep paralysis, but I’ve experienced my fair share of weirdness, so I’m going to share said weirdness with you here. Tuck yourself in and I’ll tell you some bedtime stories…

Hypnopompic hallucinations

This is where you “see things” as you’re waking up, usually when you’re moving out of a dream state. I’ve always had this from what I remember and these days, I’m usually aware that it’s happening. The things I see as an adult are more like moving blobs and sometimes face shapes in the dark with no clear form, and only for a few moments while I wait for my eyes to readjust. When I was in my early teens, however, a couple of my more “memorable” experiences of this were waking up and seeing my mum’s disembodied face hovering right in front of my nose before vanishing into the dark, and seeing a figure in a fluffy dressing gown shuffle into my room, stand at the foot of my bed and slowly turn its face towards me. Which was, obviously, a skull. Cool. Cool.

Exploding head syndrome

Where your head literally explodes.

Heh. Only joking. This has only happened to me once, but it very nearly made me soil myself. I was drifting off to sleep after another long and rewarding day of overthinking and snacking, when, just on the threshold of passing out, I hear the LOUDEST bang I’ve ever heard. It sounded like a lorry driving into the house or a plane crashing into my roof, a la Donnie Darko. Once the resultant inevitable hand flapping and heart attack subsided, I realised that the earth shattering bang came from inside my own mind. Just – why? What evolutionary purpose does going “BANG!!” to yourself while you’re at your most vulnerable serve?!

Teeth clicking

Something that makes me a delight to share a bedroom with. During times of stress (I have no chill, so this is pretty much all times), I click my teeth together while I’m asleep. Not grind. Click. Like an extra from The Walking Dead, or a set of novelty wind-up dentures. My sister, who was treated to a performance of this whilst sharing a hotel room with me a few years ago, informs me that this habit is “fucking creepy”. I like to think I do it because I don’t like missing out on a good chat while I’m asleep and my subconscious is just trying to strike up a conversation in morse code.

False awakenings

AKA the absolute worst. I think these are meant to be related to stress somehow too. You know when you get up in the morning and go through all the usual “getting ready” rigamarole? You do your teeth, get dressed, sort your hair out and get in the car. Only to then “wake” up again and go through the whole thing all over again another couple of times, assuming that this time you’re actually awake, for real -like Groundhog Day but with your morning routine.

I’ve even made it as far as most of the way through a day at work before I’ve realised that I am, in fact, asleep, and I have to get up in a few minutes’ time and do Monday all over again, this time in real life. I firmly believe that when this happens, I should be allowed to ring in to work and tell them I’m not coming in, because I’ve already been in today. Three times.

Last night, I had a fun mish mash of false awakening and night terror. As I type this, I am completely and utterly knackered and am only 50-60% sure that I’m actually awake and not trapped in some kind of Inception-esque loop:

I “woke up” in my spare room which I took myself took myself off to last night to go and read for a bit – I couldn’t drift off on account of the cough and cold I have, and t’other half was working the next day and I didn’t want to disturb him. The room was pitch black and for some reason , I felt total and absolute terror. Something was wrong with me – my heart was trying to beat itself out of my chest and my body felt slow and drugged, like I barely had control over it. I managed to stand for long enough to flop over to the light switch, which wouldn’t turn on, nor would the light on the landing, which made me feel even more frightened. I dragged myself on all fours to the bedroom, crying and clawing weakly at the bedding to try and get Andy to help me. He’s baffled and doesn’t know what’s wrong. The terror reaches a horrible peak, and I scream and scream, totally helpless and feeling the air rush out of my throat, not making a sound. Then I wake up. And the whole thing starts again, about 5 or 6 times.

Such fun.

Anyone else out there’s brain go haywire on them while asleep too? Reassurance that I’m not actually crazy (or that I am, but that there are more of me out there) would be nice, so be please a dear and share your freaky sleep experiences in the comments.

While you do that for me, I’m off to grab a coffee. A STRONG coffee.

Knowlege Gobbler: How a Personality Quiz Brought Me Back to Blogging

How do? Welcome to Spilled Think – the blog that this thirty-something, easily distracted human of the ovary-wielding variety intends to violently splatter her thoughts at. Not unlike a toddler flinging spaghetti at a wall. Or the worse metaphor about a curry and a toilet bowl I was about to use. But I’m not going to.

Sorry. I already sort-of have now, haven’t I? I hope you weren’t eating.

Until recently, I could be found at rebeccawritesandran.blogspot.com,* which initially started as a “look at me, I’m a runner now!” bragging platform, documenting of my training for my first (and last, probably) ever marathon. I had a blog. I had a niche. I was good to go. And then my hypermobile, barely-attached feet went on strike. After a couple of years of blogging under a somewhat misleading website name, I slowly felt increasingly disconnected from it, which is a shame because I love stringing words together and casting them into the many-eyed void that is the internet.

Cue four months of watching TV and uncomfortably fidgeting because “Unnnngh! I want to write something, but not on that blog. Anyway, I don’t have time. I’m so busy and important. Ooh, there’s a new Louis Theroux show out…Where have all my crisps gone?”

What pulled me out of my four-month writer’s paralysis was a quiz I stumbled across on one of the many MANY podcasts I listen to on my daily two-hour commute, called The Good Life Project. Long story short, the presenter, Jonathan Fields has spent a crazy amount of time researching what drives people in life, and he found that as a species, despite the fact that we’re all super-special individual snowflakes, our “reasons for being” can generally be narrowed down into ten categories they called Sparketypes:

sparketypes

I ‘borrowed’ this image from the Sparketype Mastery Guide I bought from The Good Life Project…nice people of  The Good Life Project, please don’t sue me, for I am poor!

Because I’m a sucker for anything that whiffs even vaguely of psychology, I was naturally drawn in. I’m one of those people who constantly agonizes about what I need to be doing with my life to be living it “properly”. Sadly, I don’t think worrying and eating cheesy snacks count as a reason d’être – if it was, I could proudly claim to be a fully self-actualised human.

At the end of the podcast episode, which was called What Should I Do With My Life? First, Do This, Fields directs the listener to a quiz that helps you work out what your main Sparketype is and which one comes as a close second. I jumped on that mofo immediately.

I filled the quiz in, thinking “la la la, I’m so creative and wordsy, I’m bound to be a maker, because I’m sooo artsy-fartsy!”

…I got Maven – driven to learn (with maker a close second, so while I might not be fully artsy-fartsy, at least I’m a bit artsy-slightly-windy). Which was a bit of a surprise. Until I realised it shouldn’t have shocked me at all. Mavens enjoy learning for its own sake, and whether they have any use for that knowledge whatsoever doesn’t matter that much.

Here’s why that answer was spot on:

  • I grew up asking so many questions, that I was once told by my mum to “Stop asking so many bloody questions, I’m trying to pee!” I had a genuine anxiety that I’d get to adulthood without knowing enough. I’m still convinced I don’t know enough.
  • I’ve always said that if I won the lottery, I’d become one of those token oldies you see hovering around university course after university course like a ghost whose unfinished business was that it never learned enough about human behaviour or obscure Welsh literary history while it was alive.
  • I devour books, audiobooks, documentaries and podcasts like my brain is a leaky bucket that needs continual topping up.
  • I am a font of useless knowledge. I couldn’t tell you how to change a bike tyre or how to do long division, but if you need to know the name and background of any member of a pop-punk band from the early noughties, or why holding a pencil between your teeth is proven to put you in a better mood, I’m your guy!

The main purpose of the quiz is to help you determine how to best spend your time, whether that’s at work or otherwise. I’m fortunate that in my job, even though it’s stressful and a bit bloody far away, I’m constantly learning new shit and having to write about said new shit on the daily (I work in internal comms for a company with many, many different departments), so if I’m a knowledge gobbler with a penchant for making stuff out of said knowledge, then that’s not a bad place for me to be.

So that left my free time to think about. My lovely, digestible podcasts, books etc. etc. fill me up, but I still feel like something’s missing. I want to be able to make something out of that information, whether it’s actually useful or not. Hmm…what could I possibly do that’ll allow me to create something from what I learn? Some kind of platform for expression perhaps, where I don’t have to commit to documenting just one area of experience/learning? Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. What a conundrum.

Div.

So, yeah, here’s my new blog! Every article I’ve read about blogging (because, duh, of course I had to read up on it before diving back in) encourages you to pick a niche and become an expert in it, but I tried that and my foot threatened to leave the leg it was attached to as a result. For the good of my sanity and body parts, I’m opting for the no-niche option. I shall be a niche-less wonder. Every day’s a new learning experience and I shan’t be caged, godammit!

Anyway, you’ve been patient in indulging me. Here is a link to the quiz, which has been spookily accurate for the people I’ve gently encouraged (harassed) to take it. And here is a link to The Good Life Project’s website, which is full of useful resources for making this our little flashes in this pan of existence a bit more fun. Enjoy!

If I’ve successfully figured out how to enable comments (fingers crossed!), let me know your results and whether they rang true for you too.

Until next time =)

 

*If you’ve come with me all the way from my Blogspot page – Hi, I love you. *Small, bashful wave.*