The power of now - Eckhart Tolle0
”Who are we?“ and ”What is the nature of the Universe in which we live?”
Our answers to these questions dictate the quality and characteristics of our personal relationships with family, friends and employers/employees
MYTH #1 Humanity has reached the pinnacle of its development
MYTH #2 We are completely separate from each other, nature, and the Kosmos.
there are no absolute boundaries between the body/ego and the totality of existence.
MYTH #3 The physical world is all there is.
At core, this new world view involves seeing yourself, others, and all of life, not through the eyes of our small, earthly self that lives in time and is born in time. But rather through the eyes of the soul, our Being, the True Self.
Our drifting awareness, our tendency to take the path of least resistance by being less than fully awake to the present moment, creates a void.
Seldom do we find ourselves resting in the oceanic depth of the here and now. For it is here in the Now where we find our True Self, which lies behind our physical body, shifting emotions, and chattering mind.
The crowning glory of human development rests not in our ability to reason and think, though this is what distinguishes us from animals. Intellect, like instinct, is merely a point along the way. Our ultimate destiny is to re- connect with our essential Being and express from our extraordinary, divine reality in the ordinary physical world, moment by moment.
Ultimately, proof lies not in intellectual arguments, but in being touched in some way by the sacred within and without.
Introduction - THE ORIGIN OF THIS BOOK
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind.
That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself. Tears came into my eyes. I got up and walked around the room. I recognized the room, and yet I knew that I had never truly seen it before. Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence. I picked up things, a pencil, an empty bottle, marveling at the beauty and aliveness of it all.
I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.
I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind.
This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy.
What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form.
A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.
Later, people would occasionally come up to me and say: “I want what you have. Can you give it to me, or show me how to get it?” And I would say: “You have it already. You just can't feel it because your mind is making too much noise.” That answer later grew into the book that you are holding in your hands.
THE TRUTH THAT IS WITHIN YOU
I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self' that 'I' cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
dialogues continuously alternate between two different levels. On one level, I draw your attention to what is false in you. I speak of the nature of human unconsciousness and dysfunction as well as its most common behavioral manifestations, from conflict in relationships to warfare between tribes or nations. Such knowledge is vital, for unless you learn to recognize the false as false as not you there can be no lasting transformation, and you would always end up being drawn back into illusion and into some form of pain.
On another level, I speak of a profound transformation of human consciousness not as a distant future possibility, but available now no matter who or where you are. You are shown how to free yourself from enslavement to the mind, enter into this enlightened state of consciousness and sustain it in everyday life.
the deeper self that immediately recognizes spiritual truth, resonates with it, and gains strength from it.
Don't read with the mind only. Watch out for any “feeling-response” as you read and a sense of recognition from deep within. I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don't know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.
Don't get attached to any words. They are only stepping stones, to be left behind as quickly as possible.
Chapter One - YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND
THE GREATEST OBSTACLE TO ENLIGHTENMENT
With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.
I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside.
Those who have not found their true wealth, which is the radiant joy of Being and the deep, unshakable peace that comes with it, are beggars, even if they have great material wealth.
They are looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love, while they have a treasure within that not only includes all those things but is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.
The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form.
The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflict within and without becomes the norm.
I love the Buddha's simple definition of enlightenment as “the end of suffering.”
Being = God ?
Being You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling- realization” is enlightenment.
Neither God nor Being nor any other word can define or explain the ineffable reality behind the word, so the only important question is whether the word is a help or a hindrance in enabling you to experience That toward which it points.
Being. It is your very essence, and it is immediately accessible to you as the feeling of your own presence, the realization I am that is prior to I am this or I am that. So it is only a small step from the word Being to the experience of Being.
What is the greatest obstacle to experiencing this reality?
Identification with your mind, which causes thought to become compulsive.
Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal.
This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.
It also creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.
The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever- increasing fragmentation of the mind.
Enlightenment is a state of wholeness, of being “at one” and therefore at peace.
Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking.
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship. It comes between you and yourself, between you and your fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness,
the illusion that there is you and a totally separate “other.” You then forget the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, you are one with all that is.
By “forget,” I mean that you can no longer feel this oneness as self-evident reality. You may believe it to be true, but you no longer know it to be true. A belief may be comforting. Only through your own experience, however, does it become liberating.
Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance. For example, there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in the body, but when this process continues in disregard of the total organism, cells proliferate and we have disease.
To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly you usually don't use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.
I can still choose to use my mind to get and accomplish things?
Just as dogs love to chew bones, the mind loves to get its teeth into problems. Thats why it does crossword puzzles and builds atom bombs. You have no interest in either. Let me ask you this: can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the “off” button?
If not, Then the mind is using you. You are unconsciously identified with it, so you don't even know that you are its slave. It's almost as if you were possessed without knowing it,
and so you take the possessing entity to be yourself.
The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity the thinker.
Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.
You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.
FREEING YOURSELF FROM YOUR MIND
What exactly do you mean by “watching the thinker”?
virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don't realize you have the power to stop.
You have probably come across “mad” people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, thats not much different from what you and all other “normal” people do, except that you don't do it out loud.
The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on.
it may be reviving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations.
it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry.
Even if the voice is relevant to the situation at hand, it will interpret it in terms of the past. This is because the voice belongs to your conditioned mind, which is the result of all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mind-set you inherited.
So you see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of it.
Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy.
It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease.
The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation.
Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can.
Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns; be there as the witnessing presence.
Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door.
this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought.
The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it.
This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.
With practice, the sense of stillness and peace will deepen. In fact, there is no end to its depth. You will also feel a subtle emanation of joy arising from deep within: the joy of Being.
In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state. You are fully present. It also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body.
In that state, you feel your own presence with such intensity and such joy that all thinking, all emotions, your physical body, as well as the whole external world become relatively insignificant in comparison to it.
And yet this is not a selfish but a selfless state. It takes you beyond what you previously thought of as “your self.”
Instead of “watching the thinker,” you can also create a gap in the mind stream simply by directing the focus of your attention into the Now.
Just become intensely conscious of the present moment.
create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware but not thinking. This is the essence of meditation.
In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself.
Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on.
Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath.
There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.
So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind.
Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger.
One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child.
This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.