New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
By Eckhart Tolle; ISBN 978-0-452-28996-3
5 star must reading. [The
following is what I highlighted during my read of this excellent book -- I
recommend it on my Top-ten List of Peace resources. My purpose in
providing them is to interest you, the reader, and hope that you will obtain and
read the complete work. To properly understand the highlights, you need to
read the book to put them in the proper context.]
1. The Flowering of Human Consciousness
Since time immemorial, flowers, crystals, precious stones, and birds have held special significance for the human spirit. Their special significance and the reason why humans feel such fascination for and affinity with them can be attributed to their ethereal quality.
Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness or spirit in every creature, every life-form, recognize it as one with their own essence and so love it as themselves.
This is the spiritual awakening that we are beginning to witness now.
...this book itself is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness. ... As you read, a shift takes place within you.
This book is about you. It will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready.
You cannot fight against the ego and win, just as you cannot fight against darkness. The light of consciousness is all that is necessary. You are that light.
If we look more deeply into humanity’s ancient religions and spiritual traditions, we will find that underneath the many surface differences there are two core insights that most of them agree on.
The first part of this truth is the realization that the “normal” state of mind of most human beings contains a strong element of what we might call dysfunction of even madness.
...maya, the veil of delusion.
... to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskilfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering.
Driven by greed, ignorant of their connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behaviour that, if continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction.
If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived “enemies” – his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.
Fear, greed, and the desire for power are the psychological motivating forces not only behind warfare and violence between nations, tribes, religions, and ideologies, but also the cause of incessant conflict in personal relationships.
It is important to realize, however, that fear, greed, and the desire for power are not the dysfunction that we are speaking of, but are themselves created by the dysfunction, which is a deep-seated collective delusion that lies within the mind of each human being. ... haven’t gone to the root of the dysfunction.
You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.
...the blueprint for dysfunction that every human being carries within: the ego.
...out of this insight into the nature of the human condition – we may call in the bad news – arises a second insight: the goodness of the possibility of a radical transformation of human consciousness. ...this transformation is called enlightenment.
The greatest achievement of humanity ... the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. ...one of the most profound spiritual books ever written, the Tao Te Ching.
To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.
And so religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong” and thus define their identity through their enemies, the “others,” the “nonbelievers” or “wrong believers” who not infrequently they saw themselves justified in killing. Man made “God” in his own image. The eternal, the infinite, and unnameable was reduced to a mental idol that you had to believe in and worship as “my god” or “our god.”
They did away with layers upon layers of deadening conceptualization and mental belief structures... Unlike mainstream religion, their teachings emphasized realization and inner transformation.
...how “spiritual” you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness. This in turn, determines how you act in the world and interact with others.
... the ego is destined to dissolve, and all its ossified structures, whether they be religious or other institutions, corporations, or governments, will disintegrate from within, no matter how deeply entrenched they appear to be. The most rigid structures, the most impervious to change, will collapse first.
Responding to a radical crisis that threatens our very survival – this is humanity’s challenge now.
...humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.
What is arising now is not a new belief system, a new religion, spiritual ideology, or mythology. We are coming to the end not only of mythologies but also of ideologies and belief systems. The change goes deeper than the content of your mind, deeper than your thoughts.
Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms. If evil has any reality – and it has relative, not an absolute, reality – this is also its definition: complete identification with form – physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms. This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole, my intrinsic oneness with every “other” as well as with the Source. This forgetfulness is original sin, suffering, delusion.
...heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness.
Earth, on the other hand, is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner. Collective human consciousness and life on our planet are intrinsically connected. “A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and “a new earth” is its reflection in the physical realm.
Chapter Two: Ego:
The Current Stat of Humanity
Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable. This is because it has unfathomable depth. All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.
...the greatest miracle is the experiencing of you essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images. For this to happen, you need to disentangle your sense of I, of Beingness, from all the things it has become mixed up with, that is to say, identified with. That disentanglement is what this book is about.
What you usually refer to when you say “I” is not who you are. By a monstrous act of reductionism, the infinite depth of who you are is confused with a sound produced by the vocal cord or the thought of “I” in your mind and whatever the “I” has identified with.
They are ultimately no more than thoughts held together precariously by the fact that they are all invested with a sense of self.
To be more precise: Most of the time it is not you who speaks when you say or think “I” but some aspect of that mental construct, the egoic self. Once you awaken, you still use the word “I,” but it will come from a much deeper place within yourself.
Most people are still completely identified with the incessant stream of mind, of compulsive thinking, most of it repetitive and pointless.
This is the meaning of being spiritually unconscious.
Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.
“Life isn’t as serious as my mind makes it out to be.”
I became free of compulsive thinking and of the false, mind-made I.
...thinking is only a tiny aspect of the consciousness that we are...
Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.
When you live in a world deadened by mental abstraction, you don’t sense the aliveness of the universe anymore.
Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates out consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease.
As a spiritual practice, I suggest that you investigate your relationship with the world of things through self-observation, and in particular, things that are designated with the word “my.” You need to be alert and honest to find out, for example, whether your sense of self-worth is bound up with things you possess.
“Do you realize that you will have to let go of the ring at some point, perhaps quite soon? How much more time do you need before you will be ready to let go of it? Will you become less when you let go of it? Has who you are become diminished by the loss?
“That is the joy of Being. ... You can only feel it when you get out of your head. Being must be felt. It can’t be thought. The ego doesn’t know about it because thought is what it consists of.
Whenever you completely accept a loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the I Am which is consciousness itself, emerges>
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.
...enhancement of one’s self through “more than” and diminishment through “less than” is neither right nor wrong – it is the ego. The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behaviour in yourself, smile. How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long? Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal. It isn’t who you are. If you consider the ego to be your personal problem, that’s just more ego.
In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless. In the last moments of their life, they then also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but that been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind.
How do you let go to attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. In the meantime, just be aware of your attachment to things.
...the imbalance of resources created by the insane and rapacious need for more, the greed of the ego. It finds collective expression in the economic structures of this world, such as the huge corporations, which are egoic entities that compete with each other for more. Their only blind aim is profit. They pursue that aim with absolute ruthlessness. Nature, animals, people, even their own employees, are no more than digits on a balance sheet, lifeless objects to be used, then discarded.
Apart from objects, another basic form of identification is with “my” body. Firstly, the body is male or female, and so the sense of being a man or woman takes up a significant part of most people’s sense of self. Gender becomes identity.
Although body –identification is one of the most basic forms of ego, the good news is that it is also the one that you can most easily go beyond. This is done not by trying to convince yourself that you are not your body, but by shifting your attention from the external form of your body and from thoughts about your body – beautiful, ugly, strong weak, too fat too thin – to the feeling of aliveness inside it. No matter what your body’s appearance is on the outer level, beyond the outer form it is an intensely alive energy field.
What I call the “inner body” isn’t really the body any more but the life energy, the bridge between form and formless. Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can.
It is your essence identity. Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system of the body’s ability to heal itself.
More fundamental than the external forms –things and bodies – are the thought forms that continuously arise in the field of consciousness.
Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of “I Am,” which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form. This is the meaning of identification. This is forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare.
The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks. ... When you are aware that you are thinking, that awareness is not part of thinking. It is a different dimension of consciousness. And it is that awareness that says “I am.”
There are many accounts of people who experienced that emerging new dimension of consciousness as a result of tragic loss at some point in their lives.
Whatever they had identified with, whatever gave them their sense of self, had been taken away. Then suddenly and inexplicably, the anguish or intense fear they initially felt gave way to a sacred sense of Presence, a deep peace and serenity and complete freedom from fear.
In the face of this, how can it be that I feel such peace?
The answer is simple, once you realize what the ego is and how it works. When forms that you had identified with, that gave you your sense of self, collapse or are taken away, it can lead to a collapse of the ego, since ego is identification with form. When there is nothing to identify with anymore, who are you? When forms around you die or death approaches, your sense of Beingness, of I Am, is freed from its entanglement with form: Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter. You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications. You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with. That’s the peace of God. The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.
Whenever tragic loss occurs, you either resist or you yield. Some people become bitter or deeply resentful; others become compassionate, wise, and loving. Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life.
When you yield internally, when you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens up. If action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by creative intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen. If no action is possible, you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender. You rest in God.
Chapter Three: The
Core of Ego
...every ego is continuously struggling for survival, trying to protect and enlarge itself. To uphold the I-thought, it needs the opposite thought of “the other.” ...The others are most other when I see them as my enemies. ...faultfinding... complaining about others. ...At the other end of the scale, there is physical violence between individuals and warfare between nations. ...Because when I criticize or condemn another, it makes me feel bigger, superior.
...you can only be in a state of non-reaction if you can recognize someone’s behaviour as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it’s not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were. By not reacting to the ego you will often be able to bring about the sanity in others, which is the unconditioned consciousness as opposed to the conditioned. ... Your greatest protection, ... is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Non-reaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.
There is no ego ... if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral.
The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.
To carry a grievance is to be in a permanent state of “against”...
Don’t try to let go of the grievance. Trying to let go, to forgive, does not work. Forgiveness happens naturally when you see that it has no purpose other than to strengthen a false sense of self, to keep the ego in place. This seeing is freeing. ...”Forgive your enemies” is essentially about the undoing of one of the main egoic structures in the human mind.
The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. And what is a grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.
Every ego confuses opinions and viewpoints with facts. Furthermore, it cannot tell the difference between an event and its reaction to that event. Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation. Only though awareness – not through thinking – can you differentiate between fact and opinion.
Beyond the realm of simple and verifiable facts, the certainty that “I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous thing in personal relationships as well as in interactions between nations, tribes, religions, and so on.
The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth.
...the Christ within; ... your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the indwelling of God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself – and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement – all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love.
Both sides believe themselves to be in possession of the truth. Both regard themselves as victims and the “other” as evil, and because they have conceptualized and thereby dehumanized the other as the enemy, they can kill and inflict all kinds of violence on the other, even on children, without feeling their humanity and suffering. They become trapped in an insane spiral of perpetration and retribution, action and reaction.
By far the greater part of violence that humans have inflicted on each other is not the work of criminals or the mentally deranged, but of normal, respectable citizens in the service of the collective ego. One can go so far as to say that on this planet “normal” equals insane. What is it that lies at the root of this insanity? Complete identification with thought and emotion, that is to say, ego.
Greed, selfishness, exploitation, cruelty, and violence are still all-pervasive on this planet.
...you have much to learn from your enemies.
Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.
War is a mind-set.
Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.
...alternative approaches to disease that do not treat the illness as an enemy and therefore do not create new diseases.
You do not fuel the drama anymore that is part of all egoic relationships. What is its fuel? Reactivity. The ego thrives on it.
Do you want peace or drama? You want peace. There is no one who does not want peace. Yet there is something else in you that wants the drama, wants the conflict.
Can you be aware of your mind racing to defend its position, justify, attack, blame? In other words, can you awaken at that moment of unconsciousness? Can you feel that there is something in you that is at war, something that feels threatened and wants to survive at all cost, that needs the drama in order to assert its identity as the victorious character within that theatrical production? Can you feel there is something in you that would rather be right than at peace?
Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. This is why we may also call it Presence. The ultimate purpose of human existence, which is to say, your purpose, is to bring that power into this world. ... Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can only be present Now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Only Presence can undo the past in you and thus transform your state of consciousness.
Spiritual realization is to see clearly that what I perceive, experience, think, or feel is ultimately not who I am, that I cannot find myself in all those things that continuously pass away.
The only thing that ultimately matters is this: Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times? To be more accurate, can I sense the I Am that I Am at this moment? Can I sense my essential identity as consciousness itself? Or am I losing myself in what happens, losing myself in the mind, in the world?
Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.
DANGER. ALL STRUCTURES ARE UNSTABLE. ... Once you realize and accept that all structures (forms) are unstable, even the seemingly solid material ones, peace arises within you. This is because the recognition of the impermanence of all forms awakens you to the dimension of the formless within yourself, that which is beyond death. Jesus called it “eternal life.”
This is why it is hard for a famous person to be in a genuine relationship with others. A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever. That alert attention is Presence. It is the prerequisite for any authentic relationship. The ego always either wants something, or if it believes there is nothing to get from the other, it is in a state of utter indifference: It doesn’t care about you. And so, the three predominant states of egoic relationships are: wanting, thwarted wanting (anger, resentment, blaming, complaining), and indifference.
Chapter 4: Role-playing: The many faces of the ego.
The ego thrives on others’ attention, which is after all a form of psychic energy. The ego doesn’t know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside.
All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.
...as every therapist knows, the ego does not want an end to its “problems” because they are part of its identity.
...true love, which contains no wanting whatsoever.
When you play roles, you are unconscious. When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role. It is the beginning of freedom from the role.
The functions people have in hierarchical organizations, such as the military, the church, a government institution, or large corporation, easily lend themselves to becoming role identities. Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role.
...the insanity of the collective was so obvious.
If there is unhappiness in you, first you need to acknowledge that it is there. But don’t say, “I’m unhappy.” Unhappiness has nothing to do with who you are. Say: “There is unhappiness in me.” Then investigate it.
The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is.
Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.
The fact that you temporarily know more or that you are bigger does not mean the child is not your equal.
Awareness is the greatest agent of change.
If your parents are doing this to you, do not tell them they are unconscious and in the grip of ego. That will likely make them even more unconscious, because the ego will take p a defensive position. It is enough for you to recognize that it is the ego in them, that it is not who they are. ...you can them accept your parents’ behaviour with compassion, without needing to react to it, that is to say, without personalizing it.
What difference does their approval or disapproval truly make to who you are? All such unexamined assumptions cause a great deal of negative emotion, much unnecessary unhappiness.
“If you think you are so enlightened ... go and spend a week with your parents.” That is good advice. The relationship with your parents is not only the primordial relationship that sets the tone for all subsequent relationships, it is also a good test for your degree of Presence. The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.
...give them space – space to be. ... Eventually, they will make mistakes, and they will experience some form of suffering, as all humans do. In fact, they may be mistakes only from your perspective. What to you is a mistake may be exactly what your children need to do or experience. Give them as much help and guidance as you can, but realize that you may also at times have to allow them to make mistakes... Suffering drives you deeper. The paradox is that suffering is caused by identification with form and erodes identification with form. A lot of it is caused by the ego, although eventually suffering destroys the ego – but not until you suffer consciously.
Suffering has noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.
The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.
The child has a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role, no matter how conscientiously that role is being played. ...In fact, doing is never enough if you neglect Being. The ego knows nothing of Being but believes you will eventually be saved by doing. If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more you will eventually accumulate enough “doings” to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. You won’t. You will only lose yourself in doing. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus becomes futile.
Formless attention is inseparable from the dimension of Being. How does it work?
As you look at, listen to, touch, or help your child with this or that, you are alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than that moment as it is. In this way, you make room for Being. In that moment, if you are present, you are not a father or mother. You are the alertness, the stillness, the Presence that is listening, looking, touching, even speaking. You are the Being behind the doing.
There is no equality between you and your child because there is only form in your relationship, and in form, you are of course not equal. ...Only beyond form, in Being, are you equal, and only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship. The Presence that you are, in the timeless I Am, recognizes itself in another, and in the other, the child in this case, feels loved, that is to say, recognized.
To love is to recognize yourself in another. ... The longing for love that is in every child is the longing to be recognized, not on the level of form, but on the level of Being. If parents honour only the human dimension of the child but neglect Being, the child will sense that the relationship is unfulfilled, that something absolutely vital is missing, and there will be a build-up of pain in the child and sometimes unconscious resentment toward the parents.
When another recognizes you, that recognition draws the dimension of Being more fully into this world through both of you. That is the love that redeems the world.
Love implies duality: lover and beloved, subject and object. So love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality. This is the birth of God into the world of form. Love makes the world less worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself.
Most of the people who are in positions of power in this world, such as politicians, TV personalities, business as well as religious leaders, are completely identified with their role, with a few notable exceptions. ...If the egoic earth drama has any purpose at all, it is an indirect one: It creates more and more suffering on the planet, and suffering, although largely ego-created, is in the end also ego-destructive.
...those who do not attempt to appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world. They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole. Their influence, however, goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence – simple, natural, unassuming – has a transformational effect on whoever they come into contact with.
...the Being behind the human, a field of pure potentiality rather than something that is already defined.
Why does the ego play roles? Because of one unexamined assumption, one fundamental error, one unconscious thought. That thought is: I am not enough.
The ego in its blindness is incapable of seeing the suffering it inflicts on itself and on others. Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet. Negative states such as anger, anxiety, hatred, resentment, discontent, envy, jealousy, and so on, are not recognized as negative but as totally justified and are further misperceived not as self-created but as caused by someone else or some external factor. “I am holding you responsible for my pain.” This is what by implication the ego is saying.
The ego cannot distinguish between a situation and its interpretation of and reaction to that situation.
If in the midst of negativity you are able to realize “At this moment I am creating suffering for myself” it will be enough to raise you above the limitations of conditioned egoic states and reactions. It will open up infinite possibilities which come to you when there is awareness – other vastly more intelligent ways of dealing with any situation. You will be free to let go of your unhappiness the moment you recognize it is unintelligent. Negativity is not intelligent. It is always of the ego. The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent. Cleverness pursues its own little aims. Intelligence sees the larger whole in which all things are connected. Cleverness is motivated by self-interest, and it is extremely short-sighted. Most politicians and businesspeople are clever. Very few are intelligent. Whatever is attained through cleverness is short-lived and always turns out to be eventually self-defeating. Cleverness divides; intelligence includes.
...other more subtle forms of negativity... impatience, irritation, nervousness, and being “fed up.”
...one of the most common negative states that is easily overlooked... Do you often experience a feeling of discontent that could best be described as a kind of background resentment?
Being at peace and being who you are, that is, being yourself, are one. ... Peace, after all, is the end of the ego.
How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. ... There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being on with life is being one with Now.
To create suffering without recognizing it – this is the essence of unconscious living; this is being totally in the grip of the ego. The extent of the ego’s inability to recognize itself and see what it is doing is staggering and unbelievable. It will do exactly what it condemns other for and not see it.
To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now. Ask yourself, “Is there negativity in me at this moment.”
To become free of the ego is not really a big job but a very small one. All you need to do is to be aware of your thoughts and emotions – as they happen.
...the ego is in its essential nature pathological, if we use the word in its wider sense to denote dysfunction and suffering.
Sometimes organizations or entire nations have paranoid belief systems at their very basis. ...makes others into inhuman monsters. ...The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life. It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others. But, of course, you won’t be able to see that. It is always others who seem to be doing it to you.
The collective ego of tribes, nations, and religious organizations also frequently contains a strong element of paranoia: us against the evil others. It is the cause of much human suffering.
Violence is a primitive but still very widespread way in which the ego attempts to assert itself, to prove itself right and another wrong. With very unconscious people, arguments can easily lead to physical violence. What is an argument? Two or more people express their opinions and those opinions differ. Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions which are invested with a sense of self. In other words: Identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions (thoughts), I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously, I feel and act as if I were fighting for survival and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief.
Anybody who is one with what he or she does is building the new earth.
When work is no more than a means to an end, it cannot be of high quality.
...”anti”-energy creates new obstacles, new opposition. Many people are truly their own worst enemy.
Cooperation is alien to the ego... the more you include others, the more smoothly things glow and the more easily things come to you.
In order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.
A collective ego is usually more unconscious than the individuals that make up that ego. ...Nations not infrequently engage in behaviour that would be immediately recognizable as psychopathic in an individual.
Enlightened collectives will fulfill an important function in the arising of the new consciousness.
If there is such a thing as “my life,” it follows that I and life are two separate things, and so I can also lose my life, my imaginary treasured possession.
There is no such thing as “my life,” and I don’t have a life. I am life. I and life are one. It cannot be otherwise. So how could I lose my life? How can I lose something that I don’t have in the first place? How can I lose something that I Am? It is impossible.
Chapter 5: The Pain-Body
The voice in the head has a life of its own. Most people are at the mercy of that voice; they are possessed by thought, by the mind. And since the mind is so conditioned by the past, you are then forced to re-enact the past again and again. The Eastern term for this is karma.
The fundamental difference between an instinctive response and an emotion is this: An instinctive response is the body’s direct response to some external situation. An emotion, on the other hand, is the body’s response to a thought.
Although the body is very intelligent, it cannot tell the difference between an actual situation and a thought. It reacts to every thought as if it were a reality.
The vicious circle between unexamined thoughts and emotions, giving rise to emotional thinking and emotional story-telling.
Those thoughts exist at a preverbal stage and could be called unspoken, unconscious assumptions. They have their origin in a person’s past conditioning, usually from early childhood. “People cannot be trusted” would be an example of such an unconscious assumption in a person whose primordial relationships, that is to say, with parents and siblings, were not supportive and did not inspire trust. Here are a few more common unconscious assumptions: “Nobody respects and appreciates me. I need to fight to survive. There is never enough money. Life always lets you down. I don’t deserve abundance. I don’t deserve love.”
You can see how problematic the duck’s life would become if it had a human mind. But this is how most humans live all the time. No situation or event is ever really finished. The mind and the mind-made “me and my story” keep it going.
Our duck’s lesson is this: Flap your wings – which translates as “let go of the story” – and return to the only place of power: the present moment.
What a heavy burden of past they carry around with them in their minds.
...most people carry a large amount of unnecessary baggage, both mental and emotional, throughout their lives. They limit themselves through grievances, regret, hostility, guilt. Their emotional thinking has become their self, and so they hang on to the old emotion because it strengthens their identity.
Our very presence then becomes our identity, rather than our thoughts and emotions.
Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?
Any negative emotion that is not fully faced and seen for what it is in the moment it arises does not completely dissolve. It leaves behind a remnant of pain.
In some cases, it interferes with or sabotages every intimate relationship. ... Even if both of your parents were enlightened, you would still find yourself growing up in a largely unconscious world.
This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body.
The pain-body, however, is not just individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence. This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis... The collective pain-body is probably encoded within every human’s DNA...
Every newborn who comes into this world already carries an emotional pain-body.
...the suffering body of Christ... Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence.
The pain body is an addiction to unhappiness.
...a psychic parasite...
It is almost unbearably painful for a young child to have to witness the emotional violence of their parents’ pain-bodies, and yet that is the fate of millions of children all over the world, the nightmare of their daily existence. That is also one of the main ways in which the human pain-body is passed on from generation to generation.
A deeply unconscious person whose pain-body habitually replenishes itself through physical violence often directs it toward his spouse or children. ... The person who is talking and making promises, however, is not the entity that commits the violence, and so you can be sure that it will happen again and again unless he becomes present, recognizes the pain-body within himself, and thus dis-identifies from it.
Most pain-bodies want to both inflict and suffer pain, but some are predominantly either perpetrators or victims.
In intimate relationships, pain-bodies are often clever enough to lie low until you start living together and preferable have signed a contract committing yourself to be with this person for the rest of your life. You don’t just marry your wife or husband, you also marry her or his pain-body – and your spouse marries yours. If can be quite a shock.
It would be hard to find a partner who does not carry a pain-body, but it would perhaps be wise to choose someone whose pain-body is not excessively dense.
Sometimes people with such dense pain-bodies become activists fighting for a cause. The cause may indeed be worthy, and they are sometimes successful at first in getting things done; however, the negative energy that flows into what they say and do and their unconscious need for enemies and conflict tend to generate increasing opposition to their cause. Usually they also end up creating enemies within their own organization, because wherever they go, they find reasons for feeling bad, and so their pain-body continues to find exactly what it is looking for.
...one of the things that would amaze you is that millions of people love and pay money to watch humans kill and inflict pain on each other and call it “entertainment.”
...films can fulfill a vital function in the awakening of humanity.
Nobody knows the exact figure because records were not kept, but it seems certain that during a three-hundred year period between three and five million women were tortured and killed by the “Holy Inquisition,” an institution founded by the Roman Catholic Church to suppress heresy. This surely ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history.
Other cultures and religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, also suppressed the female dimension, although in a less violent way. Women’s status was reduced to being child bearers and men’s property. Males who denied the feminine even within themselves were now running the world, a world that was totally out of balance.
What is it that suddenly made men feel threatened by the female? The evolving ego in them. It knew it could gain full control of our planet only through the male form, and to do so, it had to render the female powerless.
In time, the ego also took over most women, although it could never become as deeply entrenched in them as in men.
But things are changing rapidly now. With many people becoming more conscious, the ego is losing its hold on the human mind. Because the ego was never as deeply rooted in women, it is losing its hold on women more quickly than on men.
Spiritual practices that involve the physical body, such as t’ai chi, qigong, and yoga, are also increasingly being embraced by the Western world. These practices do not create a separation between the body and spirit and are helpful in weakening the pain-body. They will play an important role in the global awakening.
It is always the case that both victim and perpetrator suffer the consequences of any acts of violence, oppression, or brutality. For what you do to others, you do to yourself.
There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges – the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.
Chapter six: Breaking Free
The beginning of freedom from the pain-body lies first of all in the realization that you have a pain-body. Then, more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the pain-body in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active. When it is recognized, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and renew itself though you.
It is your conscious presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body. When you don’t identify with it, the pain-body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself anymore by feeding on your thoughts.
How can you be responsible when you are unconscious, when you don’t know what you are doing? However, in the greater scheme of things, human beings are meant to evolve into conscious beings, and those who don’t will suffer the consequences of their unconsciousness.
When you can’t stand the endless cycle of suffering anymore, you being to awaken.
I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. ... “At this moment, this is what you feel,” “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you fee. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?”
“I am not asking you to do anything. All I’m asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. ...if you don’t mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don’t you want to find out?”
Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.
...the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world.
Highly sensitive children are particularly affected by their parents’ pain-bodies.
Let your attitude be one of interest or curiosity rather than one of criticism or condemnation.
Not all unhappiness is of the pain-body. Some of it is new unhappiness, created whenever you are out of alignment with the present moment, when the Now is denied in one way or another.
The pain-body’s unhappiness is always clearly out of proportion to the apparent cause. In other words, it is an overreaction.
Pain-body and ego are close relatives. The need each other.
It requires a high degree of Presence to avoid reacting when confronted by someone with such an active pain-body. If you are able to stay present, it sometimes happens that your Presence enables the other person to dis-identify from his or her own pain-body and thus experience the miracle of a sudden awakening.
“This isn’t important at all, is it?” “No, it isn’t”...
I had not reacted, not confirmed the reality of her story, not fed her mind with more thought and her pain-body with more emotion. I had allowed her to experience whatever she was experiencing at that moment, and the power of allowing lies in non-interference, non-doing. Being present is always infinitely more powerful than anything one could say or do, although sometimes being present can give rise to words or actions.
Knowing the oneness of yourself and the other is true love, true care, true compassion.
Whatever you identify with turns into ego.
...”fed up with being unhappy.” Some people may feel, as I did, that they cannot live with themselves anymore. Inner peace then becomes their first priority. There acute emotional pain forces them to dis-identify from the content of their minds and the mental-emotional structures that give birth to and perpetuate the unhappy me. They then know that neither their unhappy story nor the emotion they feel is who they are. They realize they are the knowing, not the known. Rather than pulling them into unconsciousness, the pain-body becomes their awakener, the decisive factor that forces them into a state of Presence.
However, due to the unprecedented influx of consciousness we are witnessing on the planet now, many people no longer need to go through the depth of acute suffering to be able to dis-identify from the pain-body. Whenever they notice they have slipped back into a dysfunctional state, they are able to choose to step out of identification with thinking and emotion and enter the state of Presence. They relinquish resistance, become still and alert, one with what is, within and without.
The Next step in human evolution is not inevitable, but for the first time in the history of our planet, it can be a conscious choice. Who is making that choice? You are. And who are you? Consciousness that has become conscious itself.
“How long does it take to become free of identification with the pain body?”
And the answer to that question is: It takes no time at all. When the pain-body is activated, know that what you are feeling is the pain-body in you. This knowing is all that is needed to break your identification with it. And when identification with it ceases, the transmutation begins.
When you feel the pain-body, don’t fall into the error of thinking there is something wrong with you. Making yourself into a problem – the ego loves that. The knowing needs to be followed by accepting. Anything else will obscure it again. Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the is-ness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer. Through allowing, you become what you are: vast, spacious. You become whole. You are not a fragment anymore, which is how the ego perceives itself. Your true nature emerges, which is one with the nature of God.
Chapter seven: Finding Who You Truly Are.
Gnothi Seauton – Know Thyself. These words were inscribed above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle.
What those words imply is this: Before you ask any other question, first ask the most fundamental question of your life: Who am I?
Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. ...Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.
What matters to you is not necessarily what you say or believe, but what your actions and reactions reveal as important and serious to you. So you may want to ask yourself the question: What are the things that upset and disturb me?
If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace. If peace mattered to you more than anything else and if you truly know yourself to be spirit rather than a little me, you would remain nonreactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations. You would immediately accept the situation and thus become one with I rather than separate yourself from it. Then, out of your alertness would come a response. Who you are (consciousness), not who you think you are (a small me), would be responding. It would be powerful and effective and would make no person or situation into an enemy.
How you react to people and situations, especially when challenges arise, is the best indicator of how deeply you know yourself.
If the thought of lack – whether it be money, recognition, or love – has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. ...Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
Try this for a couple of weeks and see how it changes your reality: Whatever you think people are withholding from you – praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow.
The source of all abundance is not outside you. It is part of who you are.
Most people define themselves through the content of their lives. Whatever you perceive, experience, do, think, or feel is content. Content is what absorbs most people’s attention entirely, and it is what they identify with. When you think or say, “my life,” you are not referring to the life that you are but the life that you have, or seem to have.
What is there other than content? That which enables the content to be – the inner space of consciousness.
...a higher order and purpose.
We can never understand this higher order through thinking about it because whatever we think about is content: whereas, the higher order emanates from the formless realm of consciousness, from universal intelligence. But we can glimpse it, and more than that, align ourselves with it, which means be conscious participants in the unfolding of that higher purpose.
...a higher order in which everything has its perfect place and could not be other than what it is and the way it is.
You cannot understand it through thought, but you can sense it when you let go of thought, become still and alert, and don’t try to understand or explain. Only then can you be aware of the sacredness. ...As soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it, and when you realize that, you become a conscious participant in it. In this way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life.
...the universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected, in which nothing exists in isolation.
The wise man’s “maybe” signifies a refusal to judge anything that happens. Instead of judging what is, he accepts it and so enters into conscious alignment with the higher order. He knows that often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves, in isolation.
The cosmos is not chaotic. The very word cosmos means order.
“This is my secret”... “ I don’t mind what happens.”
When I don’t mind what happens, what does that imply? It implies that internally I am in alignment with what happens. “What happens, “ of course, refers to the suchness of this moment, which always already is as it is. It refers to content, the form that this moment – the only moment there ever is – takes. To be in alignment with what is means to be in a relationship of inner non-resistance with what happens. It means not to label it mentally as good or bad, but to let it be. Does this mean you can no longer take action to bring about change in your life? On the contrary. When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself.
He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama.
Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.
The most important, the primordial relationship in your life is your relationship with the Now, or rather with whatever form the Now takes, that is to say, what is or what happens. If your relationship with the Now is dysfunctional, that dysfunction will be reflected in every relationship and every situation you encounter. The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. It is at this moment that you can decide what kind of relationship you want to have with the present moment.
Once you have reached a certain level of consciousness... you are able to decide what kind of a relationship you want to have with the present moment.
...you are really deciding what kind of a relationship you want to have with life.
The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego.
...and you come to inhabit a world of problems that all need to be solved before you can be happy, fulfilled, or really start living – or so you think. The problem is: For every problem that is solved, another one pops up.
A vital question to ask yourself frequently is: What is my relationship with the present moment? Then become alert to find out the answer. Am I treating the Now as no more than a means to an end? Do I see it as an obstacle? Am I making it into an enemy? Since the present moment is all you ever have, since Life is inseparable from the Now, what the question really means is: What is my relationship with Life? This question is an excellent way of unmasking the ego in you and bringing you into the state of Presence.
So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of the ego. It is the only true spiritual practice.
...not referring to clock time...
What we are speaking of is the elimination of psychological time, which is the egoic mind’s endless preoccupation with past and future and its unwillingness to be one with life by living in alignment with the inevitable isness of the present moment.
The more reactive you are, the more entangled you become with form. The more identified with form, the stronger the ego. Your Being then does not shine through form anymore – or only barely.
Through non-resistance to form, that in you which is beyond form emerges as an all-encompassing Presence, a silent power far greater than your short-lived form identity, the person. It is more deeply who you are than anything in the world of form.
Non-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it, consciousness (spirit) is freed from its imprisonment in form. ...Resistance makes the world and the things of the world appear more real, more solid, and more lasting than they are, including your own form identity, the ego.
We are here not only to experience limitation, but also to grow in consciousness by going beyond limitation. ...Those limitations either keep you trapped in egoic reaction, which means intense unhappiness, or you rise above them internally by uncompromising surrender to what is. That is what they are here to teach.
The affluent world is even more deeply identified with form, more lost in content, more trapped in ego.
People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly.
The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you –ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.
You haven’t been diminished at all. In fact, you have expanded. You may then come to an amazing realization: When you are seemingly diminished in some way and remain in absolute non-reaction, not just externally but also internally, you realize that nothing real has been diminished, that through becoming “less,” you become more.
If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength. This spiritual truth is diametrically opposed to the values of our contemporary culture and the way it conditions people to behave.
The answer is both simple and profound. When you are aware of space, you are not really aware of anything, except awareness itself – the inner space of consciousness. Through you, the universe is becoming aware of itself!
God, the scriptures says, is formless consciousness and the essence of who you are.
The collective disease of humanity is that people are so engrossed in what happens, so hypnotized by the world of fluctuating forms, so absorbed in the content of their lives, they have forgotten the essence, that which is beyond content, beyond form, beyond thought. They are so consumed by time that they have forgotten eternity, which is their origin, their home, their destiny. Eternity is the living reality of who you are.
“One,” means ‘man.’ The other means ‘no.’ And the two together means ‘Buddha.’ I stood there in awe. The character for Buddha already contained the whole teaching of the Buddha, and for those who have eyes to see, the secret of life. Here are the two dimensions that make up reality, thing-ness and nothing-ness, form and the denial of form, which is the recognition that form is not who you are.
Chapter eight: The Discovery of Inner Space.
This, too, will pass. What is it about these simple words that makes them so powerful?
...the good that comes through inner non-resistance to events, that is to say, being at one with what happens. ...the wisdom of non-judgement...
...the fact of impermanence which, when recognized, leads to non-attachment. Non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.
Being detached does not mean that you cannot enjoy the good that the world has to offer. In fact, you enjoy it more. Once you see and accept the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures of the world while they last without fear of loss or anxiety about the future.
This, too, will pass. Suddenly, there is space around the event. There is also space around the emotional highs and lows, even around pain. And above all, there is space between your thoughts. And from that space emanates a peace that is not “of this world,” because this world is form, and the peace is space. This is the peace of God.
All such suffering is due to an overvaluation of form and an unawareness of the dimension of inner space.
When the world is not viewed from the perspective of the formless, it becomes a threatening place, and ultimately a place of despair.
Most people’s lives are cluttered up with things: material things, things to do, things to think about.
This is the dimension of object consciousness that is many people’s predominant reality, and that is why their lives are so out of balance. Object consciousness needs to be balanced by space consciousness for sanity to return to our planet and for humanity to fulfill its destiny. The arising of space consciousness is the next stage in the evolution of humanity.
Space consciousness means that in addition to being conscious of things – which always comes down to sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotions – there is an undercurrent of awareness. ...you are also conscious of being conscious. If you can sense and alert inner stillness in the back ground while things happen in the foreground – that’s it!
Space consciousness represents not only freedom from ego, but also from dependency on the things of this world, from materialism and materiality. It is the spiritual dimension which alone can give transcendent and true meaning to this world.
Whenever you are upset about an event, a person, or a situation, the real cause is not the event, person, or situation but a loss of true perspective that only space can provide. ...The words “This, too, will pass” when used as a pointer can restore awareness of that dimension to you.
Another pointer to the truth in you is contained in the following statement: “I am never upset for the reason I think.”
Space consciousness has little to do with being “spaced out.” Both states are beyond thought. This they have in common. The fundamental difference, however, is that in the former, you rise above thought; in the latter, you fall below it. One is the next step in the evolution of human consciousness, the other a regression to a stage we left behind eons ago.
Television has this in common with alcohol and certain other drugs. While it provides some relief from your mind, you again pay a high price: loss of consciousness.
Laughter is extraordinarily liberating as well as healing.
“For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!... the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance – little maketh up the best happiness. Be still.” – Nietzsche
Why is it the “least thing” that makes up the “best happiness”? Because true happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears. The thing or event is so subtle, so un-obstructive, that it takes up only a small part of your consciousness – and the rest is inner space, consciousness itself unobstructed by form. Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. In other words, the form of little things leaves room for inner space. And it is from inner space, the unconditioned consciousness itself, that true happiness, the joy of Being , emanates. To be aware of little, quiet things, however, you need to be quiet inside. A high degree of alertness is required. Be still. Look,. Listen. Be present.
It was his first satori – flash of enlightenment. He know what Zen was without knowing what it was that he knew.
Presence is a state of inner spaciousness. When you are present, you ask: How do I respond to the needs of this situation, of this moment? In fact, you don’t even need to ask the question. You are still, alert, open to what is. You bring a new dimension into the situation: space. Then you look and you listen. Thus you become one with the situation. When instead of reacting against a situation, you merge with it, the solution arises out of the situation itself. Actually, it is not you, the person, who is looking and listening, but the alert stillness itself. Then, if action is possible or necessary, you take action or rather right action happens through you. Right action is action that is appropriate to the whole.
All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness.
This is most people’s reality” As soon as something is perceived, it is named, interpreted, compared with something else, liked, disliked, or called good or bad by the phantom self, the ego. They are imprisoned in thought forms, in object consciousness.
You do not awaken spiritually until the compulsive and unconscious naming ceases, or at least you become aware of it and thus are able to observe it as it happens.
So who is the experiencer? You are. And who are you? Consciousness. And what is consciousness? This question cannot be answered. The moment you answer it, you have falsified it, made it into another object. Consciousness, the traditional word for which is spirit, cannot be known in the normal sense of the word, and seeking it is futile. All knowing is within the realm of duality – subject and object, the knower and the known. The subject, the I, the knower without which nothing could be known, perceived, thought, or felt, must remain forever unknowable. This is because the I has no form. Only forms can e known, and yet without the formless dimension, the world of form could not be. It is the luminous space in which the world arises and subsides. That space is the life that I Am. It is timeless. I Am timeless, eternal. What happens in that space is relative and temporary: pleasure and pain, gain and loss, birth and death.
You get taken in by every thought, every emotion, and every experience to such a degree that you are in fact in a dreamlike state. This has been the normal state of humanity for thousands of years.
Although you cannot know consciousness, you can become conscious of it as yourself. You can sense it directly in any situation, no matter where you are.
Discover inner space by creating gaps in the stream of thinking. Without these gaps, your thinking becomes repetitive, uninspired, devoid of any creative spark, which is how it still is for most people on the planet.
“Be aware of your breathing as often as you are able, whenever you remember. Do that for one year, and it will be more powerfully transformative than attending all of these courses. And it’s free.”
Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space. It is one way of generating consciousness.
Breathing isn’t really something that you do but something that you witness as it happens. Breathing happens by itself. The intelligence within the body is doing it. All you have to do is watch it happening. There is no strain or effort involved.
Many people’s breath is unnaturally shallow. The more you are aware of the breath, the more its natural depth will re-establish itself.
Formal meditation, however, is no substitute for brining space consciousness into everyday life. Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment – the key to all inner transformation. Whenever you are conscious of the breath, you are absolutely present. You may also notice that you cannot think and be aware of your breathing. Conscious breathing stops your mind. But far from being in a trance or half asleep, you are fully awake and highly alert. You are not falling below thinking, but rising above it. And if you look more closely, you will find that those two things – coming fully into the present moment and ceasing thinking without loss of consciousness – are actually one and the same: the arising of space consciousness.
If you have a compulsive behaviour patter such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths. This generates awareness. Then for a few minutes be aware of the compulsive urge itself as an energy field inside you. Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behaviour. Then take a few more conscious breaths. After that you may find that the compulsive urge has disappeared – for the time being. Or you may find that it still overpowers you, and you cannot help but indulge or act it out again. Don’t make it into a problem. Make the addiction part of your awareness practice in the way described above. As awareness grows, addictive patterns will weaken and eventually dissolve. Remember, however, to catch any thoughts and justify the addictive behaviour, sometimes with clever arguments, as they arise in your mind. Ask yourself, Who is talking here? And you will realize the addiction is talking. As long as you know that, as long as you are present as the observer of your mind, it is less likely to trick you into doing what it wants.
Take two or three conscious breaths. Now see if you can detect a subtle sense of aliveness that pervades your entire inner body. Can you feel your body from within, so to speak?
...your physical body, which is form, reveals itself as essentially formless when you go deeper into it. It becomes a doorway into inner space. Although inner space has no form, it is intensely alive. That “empty space” is life in its fullness, the un-manifested Source out of which all manifestation flows. The traditional word for that Source is God.
When I no longer confuse who I am with a temporary form of “me,” then the dimension of the limitless and the eternal – God – can express itself through “me” and guide “me.” It also frees me from dependency on form.
The all-important question is: At this moment, can I sense the presence of inner space, which really means, can I sense my own Presence, or rather, the Presence that I Am?
As much as possible in everyday life, use awareness of the inner body to create space. When waiting, when listening to someone, when pausing to look at the sky, a tree, a flower, your partner, or child, feel the aliveness within at the same time. This means part of your attention or consciousness remains formless, and the rest is available for the outer world of form. Whenever you “inhabit” your body in this way, it serves as an anchor for staying present in the Now. It prevents you from losing yourself in thinking, in emotions, or in external situations.
The frequency and duration of those spaces determine your ability to enjoy life, to feel an inner connectedness with other human beings as well as nature. It also determines the degree to which you are free of ego because ego implies complete unawareness of the dimension of space.
De-emphasizing who you are on the level of form is another way of generating consciousness. Discover the enormous power that flows through you into the world when you stop emphasizing your form-identity.
“Stillness is the language God speaks, ....” Stillness is really another world for space.
Being aware of stillness means to be still. To be still is to be conscious without thought.
When you are still, you are who you are beyond your temporal existence: consciousness – unconditioned, formless, eternal.
Chapter Nine: Your Inner Purpose
As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.
There is no substitute for finding true purpose.
...the most important thing to realize is this: Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary. While this book speaks mainly of your inner purpose, this chapter and the next will also address the question of how to align outer purpose and inner purpose in your life. Inner and outer, however, are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to speak of one without referring to the other.
Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity. ...Your outer purpose can change over time. ...Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose. It is the basis for true success.
Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate. For most people it is not an event but a process they undergo. Even those rare beings who experience a sudden, dramatic, and seemingly irreversible awakening will still go through a process in which the new state of consciousness gradually flows into and transforms everything they do and so becomes integrated into their lives.
Awareness takes over from thinking. Instead of being in charge of your life, thinking becomes the servant of awareness. Awareness is conscious connection with universal intelligence. Another word for it is Presence: consciousness without thought.
The initiation of the awakening process is an act of grace.
For some people, the reading of this book will initiate the awakening process. For others, the function of this book is to help them recognize that they have already begun to awaken and to intensify and accelerate the process. Another function of this book is to help people recognize the ego within them whenever it tries to regain control and obscure the arising awareness.
Once you have had a glimpse of awareness or Presence, you know it firsthand. It is no longer just a concept in your mind. You can then make a conscious choice to be present rather than to indulge in useless thinking. You can invite Presence into your life, that is to say, make space. With the grace of awakening comes responsibility. You can either try to go on as if nothing has happened, or you can see its significance and recognize the arising of awareness as the most important thing that can happen to you. Opening yourself to the emerging consciousness and brining its light into this world then becomes the primary purpose of your life.
So while you are perhaps still waiting for something significant to happen in your life, you may not realize that the most significant thing that can happen to a human being has already happened within you: the beginning of the separation process of thinking and awareness.
Seeing the madness of our civilization so clearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them.
Something is true when it resonates with and expresses your innermost Being, when it is in alignment with your inner purpose.
...outer purpose alone is always relative, unstable, and impermanent. This does not mean that you should not be engaged in those activities. It means you should connect them to your inner primary purpose, so that a deeper meaning flows into what you do.
...not your aims or your actions are primary, but the state of consciousness out of which they come. Fulfilling your primary purpose is laying the foundation of a new reality, a new earth. Once that foundation is there, your external purpose becomes charged with spiritual power because your aims and intentions will be one with the evolutionary impulse of the universe.
When you look upon what you do or where you are as the main purpose of your life, you negate time. This is enormously empowering. ...Whatever you do, you will be doing extraordinarily well, because the doing itself becomes the focal point of your attention. Your doing then becomes a channel through which consciousness enters this world.
Whatever you do takes time, and yet it is always now. So while your inner purpose is to negate time, your outer purpose necessarily involves future and so could not exist without time. But it is always secondary. Whenever you becomes anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else is secondary.
Everybody’s life really consists of small things. Greatness is a mental abstraction and a favourite fantasy of the ego. The paradox is that the foundation for greatness is honouring the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing the idea of greatness.
...why did anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. You forgot your main purpose. One small error, one misperception, creates a world of suffering.
...one with what Life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed.
...be true to life by being true to your inner purpose.
Your primary purpose is now to enable consciousness to flow into what you do. The secondary purpose is whatever you want to achieve through the doing.
When you meet with people, at work or wherever it may be, give them your fullest attention. You are no longer there primarily as a person, but as a field of awareness, of alert Presence.
The arising of that unifying field of awareness between human beings is the most essential factor in relationships on the new earth.
What the world doesn’t tell you – because it doesn’t know – is that you cannot become successful. You can only be successful. Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which comes with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.
What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now.
Some changes may look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.
Inner alignment with the present moment opens your consciousness and brings it into alignment with the whole, of which the present moment is an integral part. The whole, the totality of life, then acts through you.
The whole is made up of existence and Being, the manifested and the unmanifested, the world and God. So when you become aligned with the whole, you become a conscious part of the interconnectedness of the whole and its purpose: the emergence of consciousness into this world.
...nature lives in unconscious oneness with the whole. It is our purpose and destiny to bring a new dimension into this world by living in conscious oneness with the totality and conscious alignment with the universal intelligence.
Can the whole use the human mind to create things or bring about situations that are in alignment with its purpose?
Yes, whenever there is inspiration, which translates as “in spirit,” and enthusiasm, which means “in God,” there is a creative empowerment that goes far beyond what a mere person is capable of.
Chapter Ten: A New Earth
...it follows that the universe too has an inner and outer purpose inseparable from yours. The outer purpose of the universe is to create form and experience the interaction of forms – the play, the dream, the drama, or whatever you choose to call it. Its inner purpose is to awaken to its formless essence. Then comes the reconciliation of outer and inner purpose: to bring that essence – consciousness – into the world of form and thereby transform the world.
...on this planet at this time, that transformation is the task allotted us. This is the reconciliation of outer and inner purpose, the reconciliation of the world and God.
No thought can encapsulate the vastness of the totality. Reality is a unified whole, but thought cuts it up into fragments. This gives rise to fundamental misperceptions, for example, that there are separable things and events, or that this is the cause of that.
There is ultimately no such things as “your” life, since you and life are not two, but one.
There is in our civilization a great deal of ignorance about the human condition, and the more spiritually ignorant you are, the more you suffer.
It is precisely through the onset of old age, through loss or personal tragedy, that the spiritual dimension would traditionally come into people’s lives. This is to say, their inner purpose would emerge only as their outer purpose collapsed and the shell of the ego would begin to crack open.
Why is old considered useless? Because in old age, the emphasis shifts from doing to Being, and our civilization, which is lost in doing, knows nothing of Being. It asks: Being? What do you do with that?
...some great loss or disability on the level of form has become an opening into spirit. When you have had a direct experience of the unstable nature of all forms, you will likely never overvalue form again and thus lose yourself by blindly pursuing it of attaching yourself to it.
When the ego is no longer identified with the return movement in a person’s life, old age or approaching death becomes what is meant to be: an opening into the realm of spirit.
On the new earth, old age will be universally recognized and highly valued as a time for the flowering of consciousness.
As the new consciousness is beginning to emerge on the planet, an increasing number of people no longer need to be shaken to have an awakening. They embrace the awakening process voluntarily even while still engaged in the outward cycle of growth and expansion. When that cycle is no longer usurped by the ego, the spiritual dimension will come into this world through the outward movement – thought, speech, action, creation – as powerfully as through the return movement – stillness, Being, and dissolution of form.
Without the impairment of egoic dysfunction, our intelligence comes into full alignment with the outgoing cycle of universal intelligence and its impulse to create. We become conscious participants in the creation of form. It is not we who create, but the universal intelligence that creates through us.
Struggle or stress is a sign that the ego has returned, as are negative reactions when we encounter obstacles.
The only actions that do not cause opposing reactions are those that are aimed at the good of all. They are inclusive, not exclusive. They join; they don’t separate. They are not for “my” country but for all of humanity, not for “my” religion but for the emergence of consciousness in all human beings, not for “my” species but for all sentient beings and all of nature.
We are also learning that action, although necessary, is only a secondary factor in manifesting our external reality. The primary factor in creation is consciousness.
Consciousness is the intelligence, the organizing principle behind the arising of form. Consciousness has been preparing forms for millions of years so that it can express itself through them in the manifested.
The unmanifested flows into this dimension as awareness, inner space, Presence. How does it do that? Through the human form that becomes conscious and thus fulfills its destiny.
On our planet, the human ego represents the final stage of universal sleep, the identification of consciousness with form. It was a necessary stage in the evolution of consciousness.
Awakened doing is the outer aspect of the next stage in the evolution of consciousness on our planet.
Awakened doing is the alignment of your outer purpose – what you do – with your inner purpose – awakening and staying awake. Through awakened doing, you become one with the outgoing purpose of the universe. Consciousness flows though you into this world. It flows into your thoughts and inspires them. It flows into what you do and guides and empowers it.
Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness.
What you do will be dysfunctional and of the ego unless it arises out of one of these three modalities.
The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all – from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.
Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that this is what you have to do. Acceptance means: For now, this is what the situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly.
If you can neither enjoy nor bring acceptance to what you do – stop. Otherwise, you are not taking responsibility for the only thing you can really take responsibility for, which also happens to be one thing that really matters: your state of consciousness. And if you are not taking responsibility for your state of consciousness, you are not taking responsibility for your life.
On the new earth, enjoyment will replace wanting as the motivating power behind people’s actions.
When you make the present moment, instead of the past and future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of Being. When the creative power of the universe becomes conscious of itself, it manifests joy.
That tomorrow will never come unless you begin enjoying what you are doing now.
Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you.
...what is the relationship between something that you do and the state of joy? You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end. It isn’t the action you perform that you really enjoy, but the deep sense of aliveness that flows into it. That aliveness is one with who you are.
Here is a spiritual practice that will bring empowerment and creative expansion into your life. Make a list of a number of everyday routine activities that you perform frequently.
Then, whenever you are engaged in those activities, let them be a vehicle for alertness. Be absolutely present in what you do and sense the alert, alive stillness within you in the background of the activity.
If you feel your life lacks significance or is too stressful or tedious, it is because you haven’t brought that dimension into your life yet. Being conscious in what you do has not become your main aim.
The new earth arises as more and more people discover that their main purpose in life is to bring the light of consciousness into this world and so use whatever they do as a vehicle for consciousness.
The joy of Being is the joy of being conscious.
Awakened consciousness then takes over from ego and beings to run your life.
Some of those people who, through creative action, enrich the lives of many others simply do what they enjoy doing most without wanting to achieve or become anything through that activity.
Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or vision that you work toward.
When you want to arrive at your goal more than you want to be doing what you are doing, you become stressed. The balance between enjoyment and structural tension is lost, and the latter has won. When there is stress, it is usually a sign that the ego has returned, and you are cutting yourself off from the creative power of the universe.
“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” The word enthusiasm comes from ancient Greek – en and theos, meaning God. ... “to be possessed by a god.” With enthusiasm you will find that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. In fact, there is nothing of significance that you can do by yourself. Sustained enthusiasm brings into existence a wave of creative energy, and all you have to do then is “ride the wave.”
Enthusiasm brings an enormous empowerment into what you do...
Unlike egoic wanting, which creates opposition in direct proportion to the intensity of its wanting, enthusiasm never opposes. It is non-confrontational. Its activity does not create winners and losers. It is based on inclusion, not exclusion, of others.
When enthusiasm encounters obstacles in the form of adverse situations or uncooperative people, it never attacks but walks around them or by yielding or embracing turns the opposing energy into a helpful one, the foe into a friend.
Enthusiasm and the ego cannot coexist. ...Enthusiasm knows where it is going, but at the same time, it is deeply at one with the present moment, the source of its aliveness, its joy, and its power.
...make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole. ...see yourself inspiring countless people with your work and enriching their lives. Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows from the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of all.
All this implies that your goal or vision is then already a reality within you, on the level of mind and of feeling.
You cannot manifest what you want; you can only manifest what you already have. ... Jesus gave the key to the creative use of mind and to the conscious manifestation of form when he said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
...when you look to the future for salvation, you are unconsciously looking to your own mind for salvation. You are trapped in form, and that is ego.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” writes the biblical prophet. The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven – the awakening of consciousness. The earth – external reality – is only its outer reflection. ...only the present moment can make us fee. That realization is the awakening. ...So the new heaven, the awakened consciousness, is not a future state to be achieved. A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment...
“Heaven is right here in the midst of you.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all life-forms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth.
A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!