Thursday, 10 May 2012

Eckhart Tolle ~ The Power of Now


Eckhart Tolle
"You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!"
Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now

There is frequent mention of the amazing and beneficial effects of inner body awareness, the sense of freedom that comes from letting go self-identifi-cation with one's personal history and life-situation, and a newfound inner peace that arises as one learns to relinquish mental/ emotional resistance to the "suchness of the present moment."
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now (2004) 
Namaste Publishing.


23 comments:

  1. FOUNDATION IDEAS:

    "... 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 behavioural manifestations...

    "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." (p.7) The Power of Now

    "I also show you how not to make that which is false in you into a self and into a personal problem, for that is how the false perpetuates itself."

    "... I speak of a profound transformation of human consciousness... You are shown how to free yourself from enslavement to the mind, [and] enter into this enlightened state of consciousness..."

    "I endeavor to take you with me into that timeless state of intense conscious presence in the Now, so as to give you a taste of enlightenment." (p.8)

    "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. Living knowledge, ancient and yet ever new, is then activated and released from within every cell of your body." (p.9)

    ... most people's thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful... It causes a serious leakage of vital energy. (p.22)

    The present moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind. (p.23)

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  2. ECKHART'S EXPERIENCE:

    "Until my thirtieth year, I lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. (p.3)

    After a night spent in complete anxiety and perplexity, Eckhart in his despair said these words:

    "I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly 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' and 'I' cannot live with." "Maybe", I thought, "only one of them is real." (p.4)

    Eckhart says, "I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts..." (p.4)

    After a very amazing experience that Eckhart describes in "The Power of Now" (Introduction) he wakes up in the morning and experiences the world in a whole new way:

    "Everything was fresh and pristine, as if it had just come into existence... That day I walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth, as if I had just been born into this world.

    "For the next five months, I lived in such a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss." (pp.4-5)

    He goes on to say:

    "I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn't understand it at all... after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me... What was left then was my true nature as the every-present I am: consciousness in its pure state before identification to 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." (p.5)

    "... the undercurrent of peace (that) has never left me since then."

    "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.'

    "Before I knew it, I had and external identity again. I had become a spiritual teacher." (p.6)


    All excerpts from The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle (2004)

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  3. THE PAIN-BODY:

    ... accumulated pain is a negative energy field that occupies your body and mind. If you look on it as an invisible entity in tis own right, you are getting quite close to the truth. It's the emotional pain-body. (p.36)

    It has two modes of being: dormant and active... anything can trigger it... (p.36)

    When it is ready to awaken from its dormant stage, even a thought or an innocent remark made by someone close to you can activate it. (p.36)

    Some pain-bodies are obnoxious but relatively harmless... Others are vicious and destructive monsters... Some are physically violent; many more are emotionally violent... (p.37)

    Thoughts and feelings you have about your life then become deeply negative and self-destructive. Illnesses and accidents are often created in this way. Some pain-bodies drive their hosts to suicide. (p.37)

    Watch out for any sign of unhappiness in yourself, in whatever form - it may be the awakening pain-body. (p.37)

    The pain-body wants to survive... and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify with it. It can then rise up, take you over, "become you", and live through you... It will feed on any experience that resonates with its own kind of energy... the pain-body... will create a situation in your life that reflects back its own energy frequency for it to feed on. (p.37)

    Once the pain-body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator... You are not conscious of this, of course... If you were truly conscious of it, the pattern would dissolve, for to want more pain is insanity, and nobody is consciously insane. (p.38)

    The pain-body, which is the dark shadow cast by the ego, is actually afraid of the light of your consciousness. It is afraid of being found out. Its survival depends on your unconscious identification with it, as well as on your unconscious fear of facing the pain that lives in you. But if you don't face it... you will be forced to relive it again and again. (p.38)

    The pain-body doesn't want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe it, feel its energy field within you and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it presence. (p.38-9)

    You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to by you, and it can no longr replenish itself through you. You have found you own innermost strength. You have access the power of Now. (p.39)

    ... you cannot fight the pain-body. Trying to do so would create inner conflict and thus further pain. Watching it is enough. Watching it implies accepting it as part of what is at the moment. (p.39)

    The pain-body consists of trapped life-energy that has split off from your total energy field and has temporarily become autonomous through the unnatural process of mind identification. (p.39)

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  4. THE PAIN/PLEASURE CYCLE:

    Emotions... [are] part of the dualistic mind [and] are subject to the law of opposites. This simply means that you cannot have good without bad... (p.29)

    ... in the mind-identified condition, what is sometimes wrongly called joy is the usually short-lived pleasure side of the continuously alternating pain/pleasure cycle. (p.29)

    Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within. (pp.29-30)

    The very thing that gives you pleasure today will give you pain tomorrow, or it will leave you, so its absence will give you pain. (p.30)

    Humans have been in the grip of pain for eons, ever since they fell from the state of grace, entered the realm of time and mind, and lost awareness of Being. At that point, they started to perceive themselves as meaningless fragments in an alien universe, unconnected to the Source and to each other. (p.31)

    Pain is inevitable as long as you are identified with you mind... I am talking here primarily of emotional pain, which is also the main cause of physical pain and physical disease... every pleasure or emotional high contains within itself the seed of pain: its inseparable opposite, which will manifest in time. (p.31)

    There are two levels to your pain: the pain that you create now, and the pain from the past that still lives on in your mind and body. (p.32)

    The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is... resistance... negativity... The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment... (p.33)

    What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say "yes" to life - and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you. (p.35)

    As long as you are unable to access the power of the Now, every emotional pain that you experience leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you.

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  5. RESIST NOTHING:

    "... Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy... I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words "resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest... Suddenly there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that. (Introduction, p.4)

    By watching the mechanics of the mind, you step out of its resistance patterns, and you can then allow the present moment to be. (p.35)

    Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it... This will miraculously transform your whole life. (p.35-6)

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  6. "THE FALL":

    Humans have been in the grip of pain for eons, ever since they fell from the state of grace, entered the realm of time and mind, and lost awareness of Being. At that point, they started to perceive themselves as meaningless fragments in an alien universe, unconnected to the Source and to each other. (p.31)

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  7. PSYCHOLOGICAL TIME:

    [Mind] cannot functon and remain in control without time, which is past and future, so it perceives the timeless Now as threatening. Time and mind are in fact inseparable.

    ... we need the mind as well as time to function in this world, but there comes a point where they take over our lives, and this is where dysfunction, pain, and sorrow set in. (p.34)

    How to stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make Now the primary focus of your life... Always say "yes" to the present moment. (p.35)

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  8. OBSTACLES TO BEING IN "BEING":

    "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." (p.15)

    "The compulsive thinker, which mans 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." (p.15)

    "Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judements, and definitions that blocks all true relationship." (p.15)

    "... 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. Continuous monologues or dialogues... 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." (p.17-18)

    "Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks them and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. (p.18)

    "The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind."

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  9. DEEPER TRUTHS TO PONDER:

    You will not be free of (that) pain* until you cease to derive your sense of self from identification with the mind, which is to say from ego. This mind is then toppled from its place of power and Being reveals itself as your true nature. (p.28)

    * [defined as an emotion coming close to 'fear' but also including a] "deep sense of abandonment and incompleteness" ... that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form. (p.28)

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  10. As long as I am my mind, I am those cravings, those needs, wants, attachments, and aversions, and apart from them there is no "I" except as a... seed that has not yet sprouted. In that state, even my desire to become free or enlightened is just another craving for fulfilment or completion in the future. So don't seek to become free of desire or "achieve" enlightenment. Become present. (p.31)

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  11. THE MIND-EMOTION RELATIONSHIP:

    Mind... is not just thought. It includes your emotions as well as all the unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns.

    Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It (emotion) is the body's reaction to your mind... (p.25)

    The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgments and interpretations, which is to say the less present you are as the watching consciousness, the stronger the emotional energy charge will be... (p.25)

    "An emotion is the mind's reflection in the body"

    ... the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth... your state of mind at that time. (p.26)

    ... to watch an emotion ... is basically the same as listening to or watching a thought... a thought is in your head, an emotion has a strong physical component and so is primarily felt in the body.

    You can then allow the emotion to be there without being controlled by it. You no longer are the emotion; you are the watcher, the observing presence. (p.27)

    Qu: "So observing our emotions is as important as observing our thoughts?"

    Ans: "Yes"

    ... but don't analyze, just watch. Focus your attention within. Feel the energy of the emotion. If there is no emotion present, take your attention more deeply into the inner energy field of your body. It is the doorway into Being. (p.27)

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  12. "THE EGO" AS USED IN ECKHART'S TEACHING:

    The term ego ... when I use it here means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.

    To the ego, the present moment hardly exists.

    It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it - who are you? (p.22)

    It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfilment there.

    The ego... looks (at the present) through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end... (p.23)

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  13. PERSONAL IDENTITY DERIVED FROM THOUGHTS:

    ... you derive your sense of self from the content and activity of your mind.

    ... you believe that you would cease to be if you stopped thinking.

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  14. WHAT IS "THE MIND" ??

    Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used to a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down. (p.21)

    The mind is essentially a survival machine. Attack and defense against other minds, gather, storing and analyzing information - this is what it is good at... (p.24)

    One of the main tasks of the mind is to fight or remove (that) emotional pain* which is one of the reasons for its incessant activity...

    * [defined as an emotion coming close to 'fear' but also including a] "deep sense of abandonment and incompleteness" ... that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form. (p.28)

    You will not be free of that pain until you cease to derive your sense of self from identification with the mind, which is to say from ego. This mind is then toppled from its place of power and Being reveals itself as your true nature. (p.28)

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  15. THINKING AND CONSCIOUSNESS:

    Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without conscousness, but consciousness does not need thought. (p.23)

    No-mind is consciousness without thought.
    All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. (p.24)

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  16. THE SUPER-CONSCIOUSNESS:

    There is clearly an intelligence at work that is far greater than the mind... The more we learn about the working of the body, the more we realize just how vast is the intelligence at work within it and how little we know. When the mind reconnects with that, it becomes a most wonderful tool. It then serves something greater than itself. (p.24-5)

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  17. ECKHART ON "ENLIGHTENMENT":

    All quotes from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (2004)

    "The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some super-human accomplishment, and the ego like to keep it that way, but it is simply you 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." (p.12)

    "To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of "feeling-realization" is enlighten-ment." (p.13)

    "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..." (p.15)

    "... the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind..." (p.21)

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  18. A GAP IN THE "MIND STREAM":

    "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... In this way you draw consciousness away from mind activity and create a gap of no-mind in which you are highly alert and aware, but not thinking..." (p.20)

    "... every time you walk up and down the stairs... pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands... the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap... when you get into your car... Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence.

    "There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.

    "Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger." (p.21)

    The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle (2004)

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  19. THE STATE OF "PRESENT ALERTNESS":

    "This is not a trancelike state. Not at all...

    "In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state.

    "You are fully present... 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... " (p.19-20)

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  20. HOW TO FREE YOURSELF FROM "MIND":

    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
    listen to it impartially

    Do not judge or condemn what you hear


    "This is what I mean by 'watching the thinker'...

    " You'll soon realize: 'there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it'. This 'I am' realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.

    (p.18-19) The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle (2004)

    "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.

    "A new dimension has come in:

    As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence - your deeper self - behind or underneath the thought

    The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides

    you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it

    This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking

    When a thought subsides, you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream - a gap of 'no-mind'

    When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you

    With practice, the sense of stillness and peace will deepen ~ there is no end to its depth

    You will also feel a subtle emanation of joy arising from deep within: the joy of Being

    "At first the gaps will be short... but gradually they will become longer... This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with Being..."

    (p.19) The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle (2004)

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  21. "WATCHING THE THINKER":

    "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 perace - arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken." (p.17)

    "One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head... 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." (p.21)

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  22. DEFINITION: "BEING". WHAT DOES ECKHART MEAN?

    "Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life...

    "Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form...

    " ... it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature.

    " ... don't seek to grasp it with your mind. Don't try to understand it. 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." (p.13) The Power of Now

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  23. QUOTABLE QUOTES:

    "There was never a time that was not Now"

    "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. Living knowledge, ancient and yet ever new, is then activated and released from within every cell of your body."

    The Power of Now (p.9)

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