Most people wake up and have a constant stream
of negative thoughts until they go to bed. And the majority of those thoughts will never
actually happen. And the things that will, don’t even really matter or are simply going
to be challenges that they’re going to overcome. It’s funny that most people might not even
realize this. It has become the norm. Unless you’ve tried to become aware of your thinking
or tried meditating, you might not even realize what your mind is doing to you. Now the mind
is probably one of the most powerful tools that we have, but the more powerful something
is, the more dangerous it is if a person doesn’t know how to be in control of it. It’s literally
like taking a chainsaw and giving to the guy who has no control over his limbs. So why
is that you want to become aware of this or as Eckhart Tolle says, “watch the thinker?”
Because it’s killing you. The more we study this, the more we realize that it’s physically
killing us. If you go outside and look at people, you will see cortisol producing machines.
That’s literally what everyone has become. And it’a apparent in how they walk and how
they interact with each other. It is literally killing you. Not only is it ruining your life,
it’s literally physically killing you. So a lot of people have come to understand this,
and most people have started to see the value in becoming present. But really, there are
two obstacles to becoming present. And it is the past and the future. And people have
an easier time reconciling the past with the present, even though I’ll still get questions
like, “Oh, so uh, what are your biggest regrets in life?” And I’m like, “Uh, I don’t know.”
They’re like, “Come on! You gotta have some.” But I really don’t know, because I don’t think
about that. It just doesn’t make sense to take something that isn’t and let it negatively
affect something that is. And I think most people understand that, maybe not in practice
but at least in theory they understand that. But the really big problem has come with the
future and the present moment. How do you reconcile those two? I want to set those powerful
goals, I want to have a powerful vision, but how do you reconcile that with being present
to the moment? And there are really two kinds of people. The first one is the classic rat
racer. In two years, he’s going to get a $2 raise, and that’s all he’s anxious and stressed
out about for the next 2 years. After he gets that $2 raise, he’ll be quasi-happy for 2
minutes, and he’ll be back to another 2 years of stress and anxiety for another $2 raise.
And that’s most people. And then some of those people will pick up the Bhagavad Gita or Eckhart
Tolle’s The Power of Now and completely misunderstand it and say, “Well, no more goals! That’s just
ego gratification! From now on I’m staying fully present to the moment!” And honestly,
anything’s probably better than being a rat racer, but ultimately you don’t want to get
stuck in either one of those paradigms. So let’s look at an analogy from Tal Ben-Shahar
that should allow us to never ever have a problem understanding how you can have a vision
and goals and stay present to the moment at the same time. Tal Ben-Shahar says, imagine
you’re a mountain climber. Okay, we all get it. Happiness isn’t in the peak. If a helicopter
picked you up and dropped you off at the tip of the mountain, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, look!
I’m a happy mountain climber! Look at how proud I am of myself!” But he says, neither
is it in aimlessly wandering at the base of the mountain. Happiness is the experience
of climbing towards the peak. And that’s literally how you want to look at it. You set up that
powerful vision, that worthy goal of yourself which is the peak, and then you follow that
path that leads you there while you stay present to the moment on the journey. And again there’s
going to be some guy that says, “Well, you’re taking out all the spirituality from Eckhart
Tolle,” or whatever. But look, you’re obviously misunderstanding it. Eckhart Tolle does not
say don’t plan. If that was the case, the guy would still be sitting on a park bench
instead of going on Operah and producing multiple best-selling books.