Presence & Peace

Posted by Kurt Daradics on June 05, 2010
Dale Okuno is one of our investors at CitySourced. He's also one of my mentors and close friends. To give some context, Dale is very level headed and recently sold his company to Ebix, a Nasdaq traded company. He built it from scratch up to nearly 400 employees.

Dale and I recently took a road trip up to Mammoth a few weeks ago and in the car on the ride up he started telling me about this book called "The Power of Now" by Eckart Tolle and how it was one the most profound books he's ever read, which was meaningful to me because Dale has referred some of the most important books that I've ever read, including "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoloeon Hill, as well as "Pschyo-Cybernetics" by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.

The premise of the "Power of Now" as Dale described it, is to obtain consciousness, true consciousness, by 'watching' the thinker. In other words, begin to watch and observe the thoughts that your mind thinks and realize that this is your ego, how it works (most of the time to our severe disadvantage), and how to break the vicious cycle. Dale described the mechanism of the ego as if your mind is a movie projector beaming images (thoughts) onto the screen. Dale asked me to consider what would happen if I simply removed the screen, where would these images project? Dale also relayed a story about an experience he had in college while studying philosophy that transformed his life relating to a moment in time when he first internalized these concepts, and the tangible and positive effects this transformation has had on him.

Being the go getter I am, I went and bought the book as soon as we returned and read it in two days. A few days later we reconnected and I shared with him some of the breakthroughs that I was experiencing as a result of reading "The Power of Now." For example, I've been having anxiety around time and wanting to find ways to slow time down. The book delivered some brilliant insights around time (clock time & psychological time) that gave me an understanding, and thus access, to the 'eternal now'. This one shift alone has given me a deep seated peace that I can feel in my core. Also what I've noticed is that I started waking up very early in the morning (6am), and feeling vital and refreshed.

My new waking up early phenomena also has something to do with embracing the 'fear' or as the book describes it as 'pain' and this counter intuitive act of becoming 'conscious' of the emotion, watching it, and then that simple exercise vaporizes it.

I've also noticed that I'm not in such a rush anymore. I'm enjoying the moment. For example, I'm enjoying mundane things like brushing my teeth, and I've slowed the breakneck speed that I raced for so long. I'm relishing the sound of the water flowing out the faucet and the sensation of the bristles on my teeth. I know this sounds so lame and cheesy, but it's really like that for me right now, and this is giving me that sense of wonderment back like when I was a kid. I just want to wake up early and go outside and play. It's just now the playground is the world and I have these amazing contacts and projects to work with. And the ironic things is that I'm getting more done because I'm more present and peaceful, which seems to make me more creative and efficient.

Becoming present and having peace is much more than just reading these books though. It's also breathing properly (yes I've recently learned how to do this), eating healthy, meditating, intense and regular exercise, sleeping well, being organized, spending time with friends and family, and so on. Basically, there are no short cuts, and I've had to learn the hard way. There is no doubt in my mind that focusing on the fundamentals is the foundation that the good life can be build from.

Here's the deal though, even though I was practicing the fundamentals, the concerted effort was out of tune until I discovered the melody of the 'moment'. As I allow this melody to lead, it gives me assess to the present, and the peace that comes with this makes everything else just harmonize and flow.

To illustrate this in practice, I woke up early and ran 4 miles on the beach in Santa Monica this morning. Whenever I wanted to to quit running, I was would just focus on the present, breathe slow and deep, and allow my senses to be mesmerized by the beauty of nature that was all around, and this kept me energized and out of my head and I completed.

So I encourage you to take the time to exposure yourself to whoever and whatever it is that will deliver deeper access to the presence and peace inside of you that has yet to be untapped. One place to start would be to ask yourself, "What does the world need most that I'm most qualified to deliver?" Use this as a place to focus your energy and get some inspiration around getting after it. I'm be happy to talk with you about this and have lots of resources that have been helpful for me that I'm more than happy to share.