OPRAH: Okay, what if you're not in a dangerous situation but have normal, everyday problems? I have a lot of those swirling around right now.
ECKHART: Start by entering the present moment so you find that space in which problems cannot survive. In that moment, you contact a deeper intelligence than the conditioned thinking mind. That is the place where intuition, creative action, knowledge, and wisdom come from. Make sure you're not in a state of negativity with the present moment, because you can take action on the basis of negativity-for example, you might feel angry about not having much money. You work extremely hard and after some years you become wealthy. But all that action is contaminated by negativity if it comes out of anger, and it will create further suffering for yourself and others.
OPRAH: How can you change that?
ECKHART: See how you relate to this moment. When you do that, what you're really asking is, "What is my relationship with life?" The present moment is your life. It's nowhere else-never, ever. So no matter what the situation is when you align yourself with the present moment, find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is an essential part of being present. When you go deeply into the present, gratitude arises spontaneously, even if it's just gratitude for breathing, gratitude for the aliveness that you feel in your body. Gratitude is there when you acknowledge the aliveness of the present moment; that's the foundation for successful living. Once you've made the present moment into your friend through openness and acceptance, your actions will be inspired, intelligent, and empowered, because the power of life itself will be flowing through you.
OPRAH: Even if what's going on in that moment is making you uncomfortable.
ECKHART: Yes, even if the mind judges the moment as negative. Sometimes the mind will tell you there's no point in even trying. But you don't have to believe every thought that comes into your mind.
OPRAH: Do you practice this all the time? Are you always in the now?
ECKHART: Yes. Occasionally if, for example, I see somebody inflicting pain on somebody else, anger may arise briefly and pass through. But it doesn't link into the brain and create an enormous amount of useless thinking. Emotions can come and go, but I'm in a state of surrender to what is, because what is happening is already the case. You can't really argue internally with what is; if you do, you suffer.
OPRAH: But does accepting whatever is happening leave you passionless for life?
ECKHART: No. In fact, you are more passionately alive when you're internally aligned with the present moment. You let go of this inner resistance, which on an emotional level is negativity and on a mental level is judgment and complaining. People have an enormous amount of complaining going on in their minds. Some even do it out loud.
OPRAH: And usually they're complaining about what happened in the past.
ECKHART: Or what should be happening but isn't. These are ways of denying the present moment. That's a very dysfunctional state because you're basically denying life itself. There is no life outside of now.
We Hear You!