Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment
By Eckhart Tolle
star must reading.
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.]
PREFACE TO THE PAPERBACK EDITION
The more the dysfunction of the human mind plays itself out on the world stage, clearly visible to everyone in the daily television news reports, the greater the number of people who realize the urgent need for a radical change in human consciousness if humanity is not to destroy both itself and the planet.
I have little use for the past and rarely think about it.
“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
I could still function in the world, although I realized that nothing I ever did could possibly add anything to what I already had.
...forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind.
What was left then was my true nature as the ever-present I am: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I have originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious.
“You have it already. You just can’t feel it because your mind is making too much noise.”
...become capable of breaking out of inherited collective mind-patterns that have kept humans in bondage to suffering for eons.
On one level, I draw your attention to what is false in you. I speak of the nature of human unconsciousness and dysfunction as well as its most common behavioural manifestations, form conflict in relationships to warfare between tribes or nations. Such knowledge is vital, for unless you learn to recognize the false as false – as not you – there can be no lasting transformation, and you would always end up being drawn back into illusion and into some form of pain. On this level, I also show you have not to make that which is false in you into a self and into a personal problem, for that is how the false perpetuates itself.
On another level, I speak of a profound transformation of human consciousness – not as a distant future possibility, but available now – no matter who or where you are. You are shown how to free yourself from enslavement to the mind, enter into this enlightened state of consciousness and sustain it in everyday life.
Don’t read with the mind only. Watch out for any “feeling-response” as you read and a sense of recognition from deep within.
Living knowledge, ancient and yet ever new, is then activated and released from within every cell of your body.
...in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. Some of these, such as the ancient religions, have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual essence has become almost completely obscured by it. To a large extent, therefore, their deeper meaning is no longer recognized and their transformative power lost.
ONE: YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND
...enlightenment... is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.
Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally.
The word Being explains nothing, nor does God. Being, however, has the advantage that it is an open concept. It does not reduce the infinite invisible to a finite entity. It is impossible to form a mental image of it. Nobody can claim exclusive possession of Being. It is your very essence, and it is immediately accessible to you as the feeling of your own presence, the realization I am that is prior to I am this or I am that. So it is only a small step from the word Being to the experience of Being.
The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind.
Enlightenment is not only the end of suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible liberation this is.
The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.
...can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found the “off” button?
The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.
It is not uncommon for the voice to be a person’s own worst enemy. Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy.
The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation.
...listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.
You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This ‘I am’ realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises beyond the mind.
As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence – your deeper self – behind or underneath the thought, as it were.
...a gap of “no-mind.” At first, the gaps will be short, a few seconds perhaps, but gradually they will become longer. When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with Being, which is usually obscured by the mind.
... directing the focus of your attention to the Now.
This is the essence of meditation.
There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.
...80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful.
The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it here it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.
The present moment holds the key to liberation. But you cannot find the present moment as long as you are your mind.
The predominance of mind is no more than a stage in the evolution of consciousness. We need to go on to the next stage now as a matter of urgency; otherwise, we will be destroyed by the mind, which has grown into a monster.
All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.
...creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude.
Mind in the way I use the word, is not just thought. It includes your emotions as well as all unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns. Emotion arises at the place where mind and body meet. It is the body’s reaction to your mind – or you might say, a reflection of your mind in the body.
If you have difficulty feeling your emotions, start by focusing attention on the inner energy field of your body. Feel the body from within.
If you really want to know your mind, the body will always give you a truthful reflection, so look at the emotion, or rather feel it in your body. If there is an apparent conflict between them, the thought will be the lie, the emotion will be the truth. Not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at the time.
So observing your emotions is as important as observing our thoughts?
...ask yourself: What’s going on inside me at this moment?
You will not be free of that pain until you cease to derive your sense of self from identification with the mind, which is to say from ego. The mind is then toppled from its place of power and Being reveals itself as your true nature.
Love, joy, and peace cannot flourish until you have freed yourself from mind dominance. But they are not what I would call emotions. They lie beyond the emotions, on a much deeper level. So you need to become fully conscious of your emotions and be able to feel them before you can feel that which lies beyond them. Emotion literally means “disturbance.”
Real love doesn’t make you suffer.
Don’t seek to become free of desire or “achieve” enlightenment. Become present. Be there as the observer of the mind. Instead of quoting the Buddha, be the Buddha, be “the awakened one,” which is what the word Buddha means.
TWO- CONSCIOUSNESS: THE WAY OUT OF PAIN
The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life.
...the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering – and free of the egoic mind.
...don’t create any more time, or at least no more than is necessary to deal with the practical aspects of your life. How to stop creating time? Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.
Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life – and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
Accept – then act.
...the emotional pain-body.
...look closely and you will find that your thinking and behaviour are designed to keep the pain going, for yourself and others. If you were truly conscious of it, the pattern would dissolve, for to want more pain is insanity, and nobody is consciously insane.
The pain-body doesn’t want you to observe it directly and see it for what it is. The moment you observe it, feel its energy field within you, and take your attention into it, the identification is broken. A higher dimension of consciousness has come in. I call it presence. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you, and it can no longer replenish itself though you. You have found your own innermost strength. You have accessed the power of Now.
“Everything is show up by being exposed to the light, and whatever is exposed to the light itself becomes light.” Just as you cannot fight the darkness, you cannot fight the pain-body. Trying to do so would create inner conflict and thus further pain. Watching it is enough Watching it implies accepting it as part of what is at that moment.
You need to be present enough to be able to watch the pain-body directly and feel its energy. It then cannot control your thinking.
“Unconscious,”... means to be identified with some mental or emotional pattern. It implies a complete absence of the watcher.
...the esoteric meaning of...alchemy: the transmutation of base metal into gold, of suffering into consciousness. ...you becomes whole again. Your responsibility then is not to create further pain.
The process that I have just described is profoundly powerful yet simple. It could be taught to a child, and hopefully one day it will be one of the first things children learn in school. Once you have understood the basic principle of being present as the watcher of what happens inside you – and you “understand” it by experiencing it – you have at your disposal the most potent transformational too.
...unconscious fear of losing your identity will create strong resistance to any disidentification.
Only you can do this. Nobody can do it for you. But if you are fortunate enough to find someone who is intensely conscious, if you can be with them and join them in the state of presence, that can be helpful and will accelerate things. In this way, your own light will quickly grow stronger.
To be such a fire is one of the functions of a spiritual teacher.
You don’t need fear to avoid unnecessary danger – just a minimum of intelligence and common sense.
You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion.
Ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation.
Once you have disidentified from your mind, whether you are right or wrong makes no difference to your sense of self at all, so the forcefully compulsive and deeply unconscious need to be right, which is a form of violence, will no longer be there. You can state clearly and firmly how you feel or what you think, but there will be no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it. Your sense of self is then derived from a deeper and truer place within yourself, not from your mind.
This is the end of all arguments and power games, which are so corrosive to relationships. Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within, and it is available to you now.
So anyone who is identified with their mind and, therefore, disconnected from their true power, their deeper self rooted in Being, will have fear as their constant companion. The number of people who have gone beyond mind is as yet extremely small, so you can assume that virtually everyone you meet or know lives in a state of fear. Only the intensity of it varies.
Another aspect of the emotional pain that is an intrinsic part of the egoic mind is a deep-seated sense of lack or incompleteness, of not being whole.
The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.
All of these things you will have to relinquish sooner or later.
You will know it at the latest when you feel death approaching. Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” – and find that there is no death.
THREE – MOVING DEEPLY INTO THE NOW
The problems of the mind cannot be solved on the level of the mind. Once you have understood the basic dysfunction, there isn’t really much else that you need to learn or understand.
You have already understood the basic mechanics of the unconscious state: identification with the mind, which creates a false self, the ego, as a substitute for your true self rooted in Being.
...become present. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is not dysfunctional. It is a wonderful too. Dysfunction sets in when you seek yourself in it and mistake it for who you are.
Here is the key: End the delusion of time. Time and mind are inseparable. Remove time from the mind and it stops – unless you choose to use it.
...honor and acknowledge the present moment and allow it to be.
The more you are focused on time – past and future – the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.
Life is now.
The reason why some people love to engage in dangerous activities, ..., is that it forces them into the Now – that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of the personality.
...to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you.
Break the old pattern of present-moment denial and present moment resistance. Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed.
Through self-observation, more presence comes into your life automatically. The moment you realize that you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. ...the witnessing presence.
Intense presence is needed when certain situations trigger a reaction with a strong emotional charge, such as when your self-image is threatened, a challenge comes into your life that triggers fear, things “go wrong,” or an emotional complex from the past is brought up. In those instances, the tendency is for you to become “unconscious.” The reaction or emotion takes you over – you “become” it. You act it out.
Identification with the mind gives it more energy; observation of the mind withdraws energy from it.
The energy that is withdrawn from the mind turns into presence.
Learn to use time in the practical aspects of your life – we may call this “clock time” – but immediately return to the present-moment awareness when those practical matters have been dealt with. In this way, there will be no build-up of “psychological time,” which is identification with the pas and continuous compulsive projection into the future.
The enlightened person’s main focus of attention is always the Now, but they are still peripherally aware of time. In other words, they continue to use clock time but are free from psychological time.
Nonforgiveness necessarily implies a heavy burden of psychological time.
If you set yourself a goal and work toward it, you are using clock time. You are aware of where you want to go, but you honor and give your fullest attention to the step that you are taking at this moment. If you then become excessively focused on the goal, perhaps because you are seeking happiness, fulfillment, or a more complete sense of self in it, the Now is no longer honoured. It becomes reduced to a mere stepping stone to the future, with no intrinsic value. Clock time then turns into psychological time. Your life’s journey is no longer an adventure, just an obsessive need to arrive, to attain, to “make it.” You no longer see or smell the flowers by the wayside either, nor are you aware of the beauty and the miracle of life that unfolds all around you when you are present in the Now.
...The present moment is all you ever have.
You will not have any doubt that psychological time is a mental disease if you look at its collective manifestations.
...the implicit assumption that the highest good lies in the future and that therefore the end justifies the means. The end is an idea, a point in the mind-projected future, when salvation in whatever form – happiness, fulfillment, equality, liberation, and so on – will be attained. Not infrequently, the means of getting there are the enslavement, torture, and murder of people in the present.
How does this mind pattern operate in your life? Are you always trying to get somewhere other than where you are?
In the normal, mind-identified or unenlightened state of consciousness, the power and infinite creative potential that lie concealed in the Now are completely obscured by psychological time. Your life then loses its vibrancy, its freshness, its sense of wonder.
The mind then creates an obsession with the future as an escape from the unsatisfactory present.
Usually, the future is a replica of the past. Superficial changes are possible, but real transformation is rare and depends upon whether you can become present enough to dissolve the past by accessing the power of the Now.
...what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence. So the only place where true chance can occur and where the past can be dissolved is the Now.
All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
Ultimately, there is only one problem: the time-bound mind itself.
Presence is the key to freedom, so you can only be free now.
Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures.
...feel the life energy inside your body. Allow everything to be, within and without. Move deeply into the now.
Ultimately, this is not about solving your problems. It’s about realizing that there are no problems. Only situations – to be dealt with now, or to be left alone and accepted as part of the “isness” of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Problems are mind-made and need time to survive. They cannot survive in the actuality of Now.
The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts.
When you create a problem, you create pain. All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems. Although it is a simple choice, it is also very radical. You won’t make that choice unless you are truly fed up with suffering, unless you have truly had enough. And you won’t be able to go through with it unless you access the power of the Now.
We are breaking mind patterns that have dominated human life for eons. Mind patterns that have created unimaginable suffering on a vast scale.
...it is a quantum leap in the evolution of consciousness, as well as our only chance of survival.
To alert you that you have allowed yourself to be taken over by psychological time, you can use a simple criterion. Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease, and lightness in what I am doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment, and life is perceived as a burden or a struggle.
...completely accept what is, because you cannot give your full attention to something and at the same time resist it.
As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.
Do not be concerned with the fruit of your action – just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. This is a powerful spiritual practice.
On a deeper level you are already complete, and when you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do. Being free of psychological time, you no longer pursue your goals with grim determination, driven by fear, anger, discontent, or the need to become someone.
Everything is honoured, but nothing matters.
FOUR – MIND STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING THE NOW
Intellectual agreement is just another belief and won’t make much difference to your life. To realize this truth, you need to live it.
Tomorrow’ s bills are not the problem. The dissolution of the physical body is not a problem. Loss of Now is the problem, or rather: the core delusion that turns a mere situation, event, or emotion into a personal problem and into suffering. Loss of Now is loss of Being.
First you become aware of just how rarely your attention is truly in the Now. But to know that you are not present is a great success: That knowing is presence.
...you shift back and forth for a while between consciousness and unconsciousness.
Eventually, presence becomes your predominant state.
...always want something.
...the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving.
This collective dysfunction has created a very unhappy and extraordinarily violent civilization that has become a threat not only to itself but also to all life on the planet.
Make it a habit to monitor your mental-emotional state through self-observation. “Am I at ease at this moment?” is a good question to ask yourself frequently. Or you can ask: “what’s going on inside me at this moment?” Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality without.
Either stop doing what you are doing, speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel, or drop the negativity that your mind has created around the situation and that serves no purpose whatsoever except to strengthen a false sense of self. Recognizing its futility is important.
Only people who are in a deeply negative state, who feel very bad indeed, would create such a reality as a reflection of how they feel. Now they are engaged in destroying nature and the planet that sustains them. Unbelievable but true. Humans are a dangerously insane and very sick species. That’s not a judgement. It’s a fact. It is also a fact that the sanity is there underneath the madness. Healing and redemption are available right now.
You have an idea in your mind that “everything is ok,“ but deep down you don’t really believe it, and so the old mental-emotional patterns of resistance are still in place. That’s what makes you feel bad.
To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.
If there is truly nothing that you can do to change your here and now, and you can’t remove yourself from the situation, then accept your here and now totally by dropping all inner resistance. The false, unhappy self that loves feeling miserable, resentful, or sorry for itself can then no longer survive. This is called surrender. Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power. Through surrender, you will be free internally of the situation. ...you are free.
Or is there something that you “should” be doing but are not doing it? Get up and do it now. Alternatively, completely accept your inactivity, laziness, or passivity at this moment, if that is your choice. Go into it fully. Enjoy it.
Either way, there is no inner conflict, no resistance, no negativity.
Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there,” or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane.
Die to the past every moment. You don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.
Are you worried?... There is no way that you can cope with such a situation, because it doesn’t exist. It’s a mental phantom. You can stop this health-and life-corroding insanity simply by acknowledging the present moment.
Ask yourself what “problem” you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment? You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with the future – nor do you have to. The answer, the strength, the right action or the resource will be there when you need it, not before, not after.
It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.
Waiting is a state of mind. Basically, it means that you want the future; you don’t want the present. ...With every kind of waiting, you unconsciously create inner conflict between your here and now , where you don’t want to be, and the projected future, where you want to be. This greatly reduces the quality of your life by making you lose the present.
...The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.
Your life’s journey has an outer purpose and an inner purpose. ...If your destination, or the steps you are going to take in the future, take up so much of your attention that they become more important to you than the step you are taking now, then you completely miss the journey’s inner purpose, which has nothing to do with where you are going or what you are doing, but everything to do with how. It has nothing to do with the future but everything to do with the quality of your consciousness at this moment.
...the outer purpose is just a game that you may continue to play simply because you enjoy it.
Ultimately, of course, every outer purpose is doomed to “fail” sooner or later, simply because it is subject to the law of impermanence of all things. The sooner you realize that your outer purpose cannot give you lasting fulfillment, the better. When you have seen the limitations of your outer purpose, you give up your unrealistic expectation that it should make you happy, and you make it subservient to your inner purpose.
As you become more conscious of your present reality, you may suddenly get certain insights as to why your conditioning functions in those particular ways – for example, why your relationships follow certain patterns – and you may remember things that happened in the past or see them more clearly. That is fine and can be helpful, but it is not essential. What is essential is your conscious presence. That dissolves the past. That is the transformative agent. So don’t seek to understand the past, but be as present as you can. The past cannot survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence.
FIVE – THE STATE OF
These are parables not about the end of the world but about the end of psychological time. They point to the transcendence of the egoic mind and the possibility of living in an entirely new state of consciousness.
Whenever you watch the mind, you withdraw consciousness from mind forms, and it then becomes what we call the watcher or the witness. Consequently, the watcher – pure consciousness beyond form – becomes stronger, and the mental formations become weaker.
If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it.
Only the stillness in you can perceive the silence outside. And what is stillness other than presence, consciousness freed from thought forms? Here is the living realization of what we have been thinking about.
“I AM THAT I AM.” No time here, just presence.
The “second coming” of Christ is a transformation of human consciousness, a shift from time to presence, from thinking to pure consciousness, not the arrival of some man or woman.
If you are drawn to an enlightened teacher, it is because there is already enough presence in you to recognize presence in another.
Darkness cannot recognize light. Only light can recognize light. So don’t believe that the light is outside you or that it can only come through one particular form.
Group work can also be helpful for intensifying the light of your presence.
Although group work is invaluable, it is not enough, and you must not come to depend on it. Nor must you come to penned on a teacher or a master, except during the transitional period, when you are learning the meaning and practice of presence.
SIX – THE INNER BODY
If you had a strong aversion to the word God, which is a negative form of attachment, you may be denying not just the word but also the reality to which it points. You would be cutting yourself off from the possibility of experiencing that reality.
But as long as you are run by the egoic mind, you are part of the collective insanity. Perhaps you haven’t looked very deeply into the human condition in its state of dominance by the egoic mind. Open your eyes and see the fear, the despair, the greed, and the violence that are all-pervasive.
Above all, don’t forget to observe your own mind. Seek out the root of the insanity there.
Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be conceived or spoken of – yet I am speaking of it now.
The one thing that truly matters is then missing from your life: awareness of your deeper self – your invisible and indestructible reality.
To become conscious of Being, you need to reclaim consciousness from the mind. This is one of the most essential tasks on your spiritual journey. It will free vast amounts of consciousness that previously had been trapped in useless and compulsive thinking.
Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. It is alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet – in your abdomen, your chest? Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every call? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy?
It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive.
All spiritual teachings originate from the same Source. In that sense, there is and always has been only one master, who manifests in many different forms.
Although all spiritual teachings originate from the same Source, once they become verbalized and written down they are obviously no more than collections of words – and a word is nothing but a signpost.
Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality. You are your body. The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested. Through the inner body, you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life – birthless, deathless, eternally present. Through the inner body, you are forever one with God.
The key is to be in a state of permanent connectedness with your inner body – to feel it at all times. This will rapidly deepen and transform your life.
See if you can be in touch with your inner body at the same time. Keep some of your attention within. Don’t let it all flow out. Feel your whole body from within, as a single field of energy.
So when such challenges come, as they always do, make it a habit to go within at once and focus as much as you can on the inner energy field of your body. This need not take long, just a few seconds. But you need to do it the moment that the challenge presents itself. Any delay will allow a conditioned mental-emotional reaction to arise and take you over. When you focus within and feel the inner body, you immediately become still and present as you are withdrawing consciousness from the mind. If a response is required in that situation, it will come up from this deeper level.
Attention is the key to transformation – and full attention also implies acceptance.
Forgiveness is to relinquish your grievance and so to let go of grief. It happens naturally once you realize that your grievance serves no purpose except to strengthen a false sense of self. Forgiveness is to offer no resistance to life – to allow life to live through you.
Awareness of the inner body is consciousness remembering its origin and returning to the Source.
Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking. I cannot tell you anything that deep within you don’t already know. When you have reached a certain stage of inner connectedness, you recognize the truth when you hear it.
The more consciousness you bring into the body, the stronger the immune system becomes. It is as if every cell awakens and rejoices. It is also a potent form of self-healing.
...you psychic immune system is greatly enhances as well. The latter protects you from the negative mental-emotional force fields of others, which are highly contagious.
There is a simple but powerful self-healing meditation that you can do whenever you feel the need to boost your immune system.
...”flood” your body with consciousness. Close your eyes. Lie flat on your back. Choose different parts of your body to focus your attention on briefly at first: hands, feet, arms, legs, abdomen, chest, head, and so on. Feel the life energy inside those parts as intensely as you can. Stay with each part for fifteen seconds or so. Then let your attention run through the body like a wave a few times, from feet to head and back again. This need only take a minute or so. After that, feel the inner body in its totality; as a single field of energy. Hold that feeling for a few minutes. Be intensely present during that time, present in every cell of your body. Don’t be concerned if the mind occasionally succeeds in drawing you attention out of the body and you lose yourself in some thought. As soon as you notice that this has happened, just return you attention to the inner body.
Conscious breathing, which is a powerful meditation in its own right, will gradually put you in touch with the body.
If you need to use your mind for a specific purpose, use it in conjunction with your inner body. Only if you are able to be conscious without thought can you use your mind creatively, and the easiest way to enter that state is through your body. Whenever an answer, a solution, or a creative idea is needed, stop thinking for a moment by focussing attention on your inner energy field. Become aware of the stillness. When you resume thinking, it will be fresh and creative. In any thought activity, make it a habit to go back and forth every few minutes or so between thinking and an inner kind of listening, an inner stillness. We could say: don’t just think with your head, think with your whole body.
When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen. That takes attention away from thinking and creates a still space that enables you to truly listen without the mind interfering. You are giving the other person space – space to be. It is the most precious gift you can give. Most people don’t know how to listen because the major part of their attention is taken up by thinking. They pay more attention to that than to what the other person is saying, and none at all to what really matters: the Being of the other person underneath the words and the mind. Of course, you cannot feel someone else’s Being except through your own. This is the beginning of the realization of oneness, which is love. At the deepest level of Being, you are one with all that is.
Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting with each other, not of human beings communicating, being in communion. No relationship can thrive in that way, and that is why there is so much conflict in relationships. When the mind is running your life, conflict, strife, and problems are inevitable. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no-mind within which the relationship can flower.
SEVEN – PORTALS INTO THE UNMANIFESTED
The unmanifested is the source of chi. Chi is the inner energy field of your body. It is the bridge between the outer you and the Source.
Chi can be likened to a river or an energy stream. If you take the focus of your consciousness deeply into the inner body, you are tracing the course of this river back to its Source. Chi is movement; the Unmanifested is stillness.
Let your spiritual practice be this: As you go about your life, don’t give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within.
Feel the inner body even when engaged in everyday activities, especially when engaged in relationships or when you are relating with nature.
You take a journey into the unmanifested every night when you enter the phase of deep dreamless sleep. You merge with the Source. You draw from it the vital energy that sustains you for a while when you return to the manifested, the world of separate forms. This energy is much more vital than food. But in dreamless sleep, you don’t go into it consciously.
The unmanifested does not liberate you until you enter it consciously.
Use your inner body as a portal through which you enter the Unmanifested, and keep that portal open so that you stay connected with the Source at all times.
Another portal into the Unmanifested is created through the cessation of thinking. ...This is what Meditation is all about.
Surrender – the letting go of mental-emotional resistance to what is – also becomes a portal into the Unmanifested.
It’s up to you to open a portal in your life that gives you conscious access to the Unmanifested. Get in touch with the energy field of the inner body, be intensely present, disidentify from the mind, surrender to what is; these are all portals you can use – but you only need to use one.
As soon as one of the portals is open, love is present in you as the “feeling-realization” of oneness. Love isn’t a portal; it’s what comes through the portal into this world.
Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. A portal is opening up.
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
EIGHT – ENLIGHTENED RELATIONSHIPS
True salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of Being that depends on nothing outside itself. ...it is to “know God” – not as something outside you but as your own innermost essence.
True salvation is a state of freedom – from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping, and clinging. It is freedom from compulsive thinking, from negativity, and above all from past and future as a psychological need.
You “get” there by realizing that you are there already. You find God the moment you realize that you don’t need to seek God.
On the psychological level ...the longing for wholeness – the return to oneness – manifests as male-female attraction, man’s need for a woman, woman’s need for a man.
If in your relationships you experience both “love” and the opposite of love – attack, emotional violence, and so on – then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love. ... True love has no opposite.
First you stop judging yourself; then you stop judging your partner. The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. That immediately takes you beyond ego. All mind games and all addictive clinging are then over. There are no victims and no perpetrators anymore, no accuser and accused.
Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.
This is the realization of oneness. This is love.
What is God? The eternal One Life underneath all the forms of life. What is love? To feel the presence of that One Life deep within yourself and within all creatures. To be it. Therefore, all love is the love of God.
Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her.
True communication is communion – the realization of oneness, which is love. Usually, this is quickly lost again, unless you are able to stay present enough to keep out the mind and its old patterns.
Although brief glimpses are possible, love cannot flourish unless you are permanently free of mind identification and your presence is intense enough to have dissolved the pain-body – or you can at least remain present as the watcher. The pain-body cannot then take you over and so become destructive of love.
Every crisis represents not only danger but also opportunity. If relationships energize and magnify egoic mind patterns and activate the pain-body, as they do at this time, why not accept this fact rather than try to escape from it? Why not cooperate with it instead of avoiding relationships or continuing to pursue the phantom of an ideal partner as an answer to your problems or as a means of feeling fulfilled? The opportunity that is concealed within every crisis does not manifest until all the facts of any given situation are acknowledged and fully accepted.
With the acknowledgement and acceptance of the facts also comes a degree of freedom from them.
As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.
Whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out the “madness” in you and in your partner, be glad. What was unconscious is being brought up to the light. It is an opportunity for salvation. Every moment, hold the knowledge of that moment, particularly of your inner state.
The relationship then becomes your sadhana, your spiritual practice. If you observe unconscious behaviour in your partner, hold it in the loving embrace of your knowing so that you won’t react.
But if you then remember to know your reaction, nothing is lost.
Humanity is under great pressure to evolve because it is our only change of survival as a race. This will affect every aspect of your life and close relationships in particular. Never before have relationships been as problematic and conflict-ridden as they are now. As you may have noticed, they are not here to make you happy for fulfilled. If you continue to pursue the goal of salvation through a relationship, you will be disillusioned again and again. But if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world. For those who hold on to the old patterns, there will be increasing pain, violence, confusion, and madness.
At times, it may be appropriate to point out certain aspects of your partner’s behaviour. If you are very alert, very present, you can do so without ego involvement – without blaming, accusing, or making the other wrong.
Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring in the light.
Being the knowing creates a clear space of loving presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. No greater catalyst for transformation exists. If you practice this, your partner cannot stay within you and remain unconscious.
If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, non-defensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present.
Giving space to others – and to yourself – is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships – when the pain-body has be transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions – and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.
If your partner is still identified with the mind and the pain-body while you are already free, this will represent a major challenge – not to you but to your partner. It is not easy to live with an enlightened person, or rather it is so easy that the ego finds it extremely threatening. Remember that the ego needs problems, conflict, and “enemies” to strengthen the sense of separateness on which its identity depends. The unenlightened partner’s mind will be deeply frustrated because its fixed positions are not resisted, which means they will become shaky and weak, and there is even the “danger” that they may collapse altogether, resulting in loss of self. The pain-body is demanding feedback and not getting it. The need for argument, drama, and conflict is not being met. But beware: some people who are unresponsive, withdrawn, insensitive, or cut off from their feelings may think and try to convince others that they are enlightened, or at least that there is “nothing wrong” with them and everything wrong with their partner. Men tend to do that more than women. They may see their female partners as irrational or emotional. But if you can feel your emotions, you are not far from the radiant inner body just underneath. If you are mainly in your head, the distance is much greater, and you need to bring consciousness into the emotional body before you can reach the inner body.
If there isn’t an emanation of love and joy, complete presence and openness toward all beings, then it is not enlightenment. Another indicator is how a person behaves in difficult or challenging situations or when things “go wrong.”
If you are in a relationship, many of your challenges will come through your partner. For example, a woman may be challenged by an unresponsive male partner who lives almost entirely in his head. She will be challenged by his inability to hear her, to give her attention and space to be, which is due to his lack of presence. The absence of love in the relationship, which is usually more keenly felt by a woman than a man, will trigger the woman’s pain-body, and through it she will attack her partner – blame, criticize, make wrong, and so on. This in turn now becomes his challenge. To defend himself against her pain-body’s attack, which he sees as totally unwarranted, he will become even more deeply entrenched in his mental positions as he justifies, defends himself, or counterattacks. Eventually, this may activate his own pain-body. When both partners have thus been taken over, a level of deep unconsciousness has been reached, of emotional violence, savage attack and counterattack. It will not subside until both pain-bodies have replenished themselves and then enter the dormant stage. Until next time.
...once you understand the root of the dysfunction, you do not need to explore its countless manifestations.
A clear and still space of pure awareness would come into being – the knowing, the silent witness, the watcher. This awareness does not deny the pain and yet is beyond it. It allows the pain to be and yet transmutes it at the same time. It accepts everything and transforms everything. A door would have opened up for her through which she could easily join him in that space.
If you are consistently or at least predominantly present in your relationship, this will be the greatest challenge for your partner. They will not be able to tolerate your presence for very long and stay unconscious. If they are ready, they will walk through the door that you opened for them and join you in that state. If they are not, you will separate like oil and water. The light is too painful for someone who wants to remain in the darkness.
Generally speaking, it is easier for a woman to feel and be in her body, so she is naturally closer to Being and potentially closer to enlightenment than a man.
...the energy frequency of the mind appears to be essentially male. The mind resists, fights for control, uses, manipulates, attacks, tries to grasp and possess, and so on. This is why the traditional God is a patriarchal, controlling authority figure, an often angry man who you should live in fear of, as the Old Testament suggests. This God is a projection of the human mind.
To go beyond the mind and reconnect with the deeper reality of Being, very different qualities are needed: surrender, non-judgement, an openness that allows life to be instead of resisting it, the capacity to hold all things in the loving embrace of your knowing.
Whereas mind-energy is hard and rigid, Being-energy is soft and yielding and yet infinitely more powerful than mind. The mind runs our civilization, whereas Being is in charge of all life on our planet and beyond.
At this time, the vast majority of men as well as women are still in the grip of the mind: identified with the thinker and the pain-body. This, of course, is what prevents enlightenment and the flowering of love. As a general rule, the major obstacle for men tends to be the thinking mind, and the major obstacle for women the pain-body.
The number of women who are now approaching the fully conscious state already exceeds that of men and will be growing even faster in the years to come.
Do not use the pain-body to give you an identity. Use it for enlightenment instead. Transmute it into consciousness.
...become very alert and inhabit your body as fully as possible. When the first sign appears, you need to be alert enough to “catch” it before it takes you over.
...catch it before it can take over your thinking or behaviour. This simply means putting the spotlight of your attention on it. If it is an emotion, feel the strong energy charge behind it. Know that it is the pain-body. At the same time, be the knowing; that is to say, be aware of your conscious presence and feel its power. Any emotion that you take your presence into will quickly subside and become transmuted.
Then continue to be alert and wait for the next sign of the pain-body. When it appears, catch it again in the same way as before.
Whatever form this takes, stay present. Give it your complete attention. Watch the turbulence inside you. Know it is there. Hold the knowing, and be the knowing. Remember: Do not let the pain-body use your mind and take over your thinking. Watch it. Feel its energy directly, inside your body. As you know, full attention means full acceptance.
Through sustained attention and thus acceptance, there comes transmutation. The pain-body becomes transformed into radiant consciousness.
In this way, a permanent energy field of a pure and high frequency will arise between you. No illusion, no pain, no conflict, nothing that is not you, and nothing that is not love can survive in it. This represents the fulfillment of the divine, transpersonal purpose of your relationship. It becomes a vortex of consciousness that will draw in many others.
...you can relate deeply only if you are conscious of Being.
Acute unhappiness can be a great awakener.
If you cannot be at ease with yourself when you are alone, you will seek a relationship to cover up your unease. You can be sure that the unease will then reappear in some other form within the relationship, and you will probably hold your partner responsible for it.
All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.
But do you need to have a relationship with yourself at all? Why can’t you just be yourself? When you have a relationship with yourself, you have split yourself into two: “I” and “myself,” subject and object. That mind-created duality is the root cause of all unnecessary complexity, of all problems and conflict in your life. In the state of enlightenment, you are yourself – “you” and “yourself” merge into one. You do not judge yourself, you do not feel sorry for yourself, you are not proud of yourself, you do not love yourself, you do not hate yourself, and so on. The split caused by self-reflective consciousness is healed, its curse removed. There is no “self” that you need to protect, defend, or feed anymore. When you are enlightened, there is one relationship that you no longer have: the relationship with yourself. Once you have given that up, all your other relationships will be love relationships.
NINE – BEYOND HAPPINESS AND UNHAPPINESS THERE IS PEACE
Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.
Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time.
Seen from a higher perspective, conditions are always positive. To be more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They are as they are. And when you live in complete acceptance of what is – which is the only sane way to live – there is no “good” or “bad” in your life anymore. There is only a higher good – which includes the “bad.”
You are allowing it to be as it is, that’s all. This “allowing to be” takes you beyond the mind with its resistance patterns that create the positive-negative polarities. It is an essential aspect of forgiveness.
...when a loved one has just died, or you feel your own death approaching, you cannot be happy. It is impossible. But you can be at peace. There may be sadness and tears, but provided that you have relinquished resistance, underneath the sadness you will feel a deep serenity, a stillness, a sacred presence. This is the emanation of Being, this is inner peace, the good that has no opposite.
What if it is a situation that I can do something about?
Do what you have to do. In the meantime, accept what is. Since mind and resistance are synonymous, acceptance immediately frees you from mind dominance and thus reconnects you with Being. As a result, the usual ego motivations for “doing” – fear, greed, control, defending or feeding the false sense of self – will cease to operate. An intelligence much greater than the mind is now in charge, and so a different quality of consciousness will flow into your doing.
It seems that most people need to experience a great deal of suffering before they will relinquish resistance and accept – before they will forgive. As soon as they do, one of the greatest miracles happens: the awakening of Being-consciousness through what appears as evil, the transmutation of suffering into inner peace. The ultimate effect of all the evil and suffering in the world is that it will force humans into realizing who they are beyond name and form.
You dissolve discord, heal pain, dispel unconsciousness – without doing anything – simply by being and holding that frequency of intense presence.
When you are fully conscious, drama does not come into your life anymore.
Whenever you are not honouring the present moment by allowing it to be, you are creating drama.
You can still make your point clearly and firmly, but there will be no reactive force behind it, no defence or attack. So it won’t turn into drama. When you are fully conscious, you case to be in conflict. “No one who is at one with himself can even conceive of conflict,” states A Course in Miracles. This refers not only to conflict with other people but more fundamentally to conflict within you, which ceases when there is no longer any clash between the demands and expectations of your mind and what is.
All suffering is ego-created and is due to resistance.
Through allowing the “isness” of all things, a deeper dimension underneath the play of opposites reveals itself to you as an abiding presence, an unchanging deep stillness, an uncaused joy beyond good and bad. This is the joy of Being, the peace of God.
The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realization. You must have failed deeply on some level or experienced some deep loss or pain to be drawn to the spiritual dimension.
Your physical energy is also subject to cycles.
The compulsion to do, and the tendency to derive your sense of self-worth and identity from external factors such as achievement, is an inevitable illusion as long as you are identified with the mind.
...nothing lasts in this dimension...
Nothing can give you joy. Joy is uncaused and arises from within as the joy of Being. It is an essential part of the inner state of peace, the state that has been called the peace of God. It is your natural state, not something that you need to work hard for or struggle to attain.
...there can be no “salvation” in anything they do, possess, or attain. Those who do realize it often become world-weary and depressed.
When you reach this point, you are one step away from despair – and one step away from enlightenment.
“All I have learned in the twenty years that I have been a monk I can sum up in one sentence: All that arises passes away.” I have learned to offer no resistance to what is; I have learned to allow the present moment to be and to accept the impermanent nature of all things and conditions. Thus have I found peace.
To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness.
It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly.
...you are free to enjoy and appreciate them – while they last.
...with dependency gone, there is no fear of loss anymore. Life flows with ease.
All inner resistance is experienced as negativity in one form or another. All negativity is resistance.
...whenever you are unhappy, there is the unconscious belief that the unhappiness “buys” you what you want.
Negativity is totally unnatural. It is a psychic pollutant...
Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now. Let it teach you Being. Let it teach you integrity – which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real. Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying a problem.
...by flapping their wings they were releasing surplus energy, thus preventing it from becoming trapped in their body and turning into negativity. This is natural wisdom...
...any changes that you make ... arise out of a change in your level of consciousness. And as far as that is concerned, it can only mean one thing: becoming more present.
Whenever you notice that some form of negativity has arisen within you, look on it not as a failure, but as a helpful signal that is telling you: “wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present.”
All this can be transformed into spiritual practice.
Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or her behaviour is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to do. But that person no longer has the power to control your inner state. You are then in your power – not in someone else’s, nor are you run by your mind.
Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.
When you accept what is – every moment – is the best. That is enlightenment.
True relationship becomes possible only when there is an awareness of Being. Coming from Being, you will perceive another person’s body and mind as just a screen, as it were, behind which you can feel their true reality, as you feel yours.
Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creatures.
One of the most powerful spiritual practices is to meditate deeply on the mortality of physical forms, including your own. This is called: Die before you die. Go into it deeply. Your physical form is dissolving, is no more. Then a moment comes when all mind-forms or thoughts also die. Yet you are still there – the divine presence that you are. Radiant, fully awake. Nothing that was real ever died, only names, forms, and illusions.
In compassion, the seemingly opposite feelings of sadness and joy merge into one and become transmuted into a deep inner peace. This is the peace of God. It is one of the most noble feelings that humans are capable of, and it has great healing and transformative power.
To have deep empathy for the suffering of another being certainly requires a high degree of consciousness but represents only one side of compassion. It is not complete. True compassion goes beyond empathy or sympathy. It does not happen until sadness merges with joy, the joy of Being beyond form, the joy of eternal life.
We are not separate form our world, so when the majority of humans become free of egoic delusion, this inner change will affect all of creation. You will literally inhabit a new world. It is a shift in planetary consciousness.
Your primary task is not to seek salvation through creating a better world, but to awaken out of identification with form. You are then no longer bound to this world, this level of reality. You can feel your roots in the Unmanifested and so are free from attachment to the manifested world. You can still enjoy the passing pleasures of this world, but there is no fear of loss anymore, so you don’t need to cling to them.
In a way, you then don’t need the world anymore. You don’t even need it to be different from the way it is.
It is only at this point that you begin to make a real contribution toward bringing about a better world, toward creating a different order of reality. It is only at this point that you are able to feel true compassion and to help others at the level of cause. Only those who have transcended the world can bring about a better world.
You may remember that we talked about the dual nature of true compassion, which is awareness of a common bond of shared mortality and immortality. At this deep level, compassion becomes healing in the widest sense. In that state, your healing influence is primarily based not on doing but on being. Everybody you come in contact with will be touched by your presence and affected by the peace that you emanate, whether they are conscious of it or not.
This breaks the karmic cycle of action and reaction.
You teach through being, through demonstrating the peace of God. You become the “light of the world,” an emanation of pure consciousness, and so you eliminate suffering on the level of cause. You eliminate unconsciousness from the world.
Who you are is always a more vital teaching and a more powerful transformer of the world than what you say, and more essential even than what you do.
Without a profound change in human consciousness, the world’s suffering is a bottomless pit.
Remember: Just as you cannot fight the darkness, so you cannot fight the unconsciousness. If you try to do so, the polar opposites will become strengthened and more deeply entrenched. You will become identified with one of the polarities, you will create an “enemy,” and so be drawn into unconsciousness yourself. Raise awareness by disseminating information, or at the most, practice passive resistance. But make sure that you carry no resistance within, no hatred, no negativity. “Love your enemies,” said Jesus, which, of course, means “have no enemies.”
Once you get involved in working on the level of effect, it is all too easy to lose yourself in it. Stay alert and very, very present. The causal level needs to remain your primary focus, the teaching of enlightenment your main purpose, and peace your most precious gift to the world.
TEN – THE MEANING OF SURRENDER
Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation. It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is. Inner resistance is to say “no” to what is, through mental judgment and emotional negativity.
If you have lived long enough, you will know that things “go wrong” quite often. It is precisely at those times that surrender needs to be practiced if you want to eliminate pain and sorrow from your life. Acceptance of what is immediately frees you from mind identification and thus reconnects you with Being. Resistance is the mind.
Surrender is a purely inner phenomenon. It does not mean that on the outer level you cannot take action and change the situation. In fact, it is not the overall situation that you need to accept when you surrender, but just the tiny segment called the Now.
...positive action... is far more effective than negative action, which arises out of anger, despair, or frustration. Until you achieve the desired result, you continue to practice surrender by refraining from labelling the Now.
Not only your psychological form but also your physical form – your body – becomes hard and rigid through resistance.
If you find your life situation unsatisfactory or even intolerable, it is only by surrendering first that you can break the unconscious resistance pattern that perpetuates that situation.
Surrender is perfectly compatible with taking action, initiating change, or achieving goals. But in the surrendered state a totally different energy, a different quality, flows into your doing.
Through non-resistance, the quality of your consciousness and, therefore, the quality of whatever you are doing or creating is enhanced immeasurably. The results will then look after themselves and reflect that quality. We could call this surrendered action.
It is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that is the main determinant of what kind of future you will experience, so to surrender is the most important thing you can do to bring about positive change. Any action you take is secondary. No truly positive action can arise out of an unsurrendered state of consciousness.
In the state of surrender, you see very clearly what needs to be done, and you take caction, doing one thing at a time and focusing on one thing at a time.
If your overall situation is unsatisfactory or unpleasant, separate out this instant and surrender to what is.
Then look at the specifics of the situation. Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do to change the situation, improve it, or remove myself from it?” If so, you take appropriate action.
Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life. When you do, the energy that you emanate and which then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs your world – the energy that created the existing social, political, and economic structures of our civilization, and which also continuously perpetuates itself though our educational systems and the media. Through surrender, spiritual energy comes into this world.
Unlike mind energy... it is not subject to the law of polarities, which dictates that nothing can exist without its opposite, that there can be no good without bad.
If the Earth is to survive, this will be the energy of those who inhabit it.
The external conditions that were being resisted also tend to shift or dissolve quickly through surrender. It is a powerful transformer of situations and people.
It is perfectly possible to say “no” firmly and clearly to a person or to walk away from a situation and be in a state of complete inner non-resistance at the same time. When you say “no” to a person or a situation, let it come not from reaction but from insight, from a clear realization of what is right or not right for you at that moment.
Your relationships will be changed profoundly by surrender. If you can never accept what is, by implication you will not be able to accept anybody the way they are.
Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to e right and make the other person wrong. That’s the energy of the egoic mind. You make it conscious by acknowledging it, by feeling it as fully as possible.
When identification with mental positions is out of the way, true communication begins.
Nonresistance doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing. All it means is that any “doing” becomes nonreactive. Remember the deep wisdom underlying the practice of Eastern martial arts: Don’t resist the opponent’s force. Yield to overcome.
...”doing nothing” when you are in a
state of intense presence is a very powerful transformer and healer of
situations and people. In Taoism, there is a term called we
wei, which is usually translated as “actionless activity” or “sitting
quietly doing nothing.” In ancient
The real “doing nothing” implies inner non-resistance and intense alertness.
...Being, the only place of true power.
...only through the letting go of resistance, through becoming “vulnerable,” can you discover your true and essential invulnerability.
Surrender transforms you. When you are transformed, you whole world is transformed, because the world is only a reflection.
As far as the still unconscious majority of the population is concerned, only a critical limit-situation has the potential to crack the hard shell of the ego and force them into surrender and so into the awakened state.
It is the “peace of God, which passes all understanding.” Compared to that, happiness is quite a shallow thing. With this radiant peace comes the realization – not on level of mind but within the depth of your Being – that you are indestructible, immortal. This is not a belief. It is absolute certainty that needs no external evidence or proof from some secondary source.
Your first change is to surrender each moment to the reality of that moment. Knowing that what is cannot be undone – because it already is – you say yes to what is or accept what isn’t. Then you do what you have to do, whatever the situation requires. If you abide in this state of acceptance, you create no more negativity, no more suffering, no more unhappiness. You then live in a state of non-resistance, a state of grace and lightness, free of struggle.
Now here is your second chance at surrender. If you cannot accept what is outside, then accept what is inside. If you cannot accept the external condition, accept the internal condition. This means: Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labelling it mentally. Embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace. This is your crucifixion. Let it become your resurrection and ascension.
When there is no way out, there is still always a way through.
They found God through surrender, through total acceptance of what is, into which they were forced by their intense suffering. They must have realized on some level that their pain was self-created.
God is Being itself, not a being. There can be no subject-object relationship here, no duality, no you and God. God-realization is the most natural thing there is.
The way of the cross is complete reversal. It means that the worst thing in your life, your cross, turns into the best thing that ever happened to you, by forcing you into surrender, into “death,” forcing you to become as nothing, to become as God – because God, too, is no-thing.
...enlightenment as a collective phenomenon will be predictably preceded by vast upheavals.
You finally surrender because you can’t stand the pain anymore...
Choice implies consciousness – a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice.
“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The mind, conditioned as it is by the past, always seeks to re-create what it knows and is familiar with. Even if it is painful, at least it is familiar. The mind always adheres to the known.
Show your friend how to be the observing presence behind her thoughts and her emotions. Tell her about the pain-body and how to free herself from it. Teach her the art of inner-body awareness. Demonstrate to her the meaning of presence. As soon as she is able to access the power of the Now, and thereby break through her conditioned past, she will have a choice.
If you are one of the many people who have an issue with their parents, if you still harbour resentment about something they did or did not do, then you still believe that they had a choice – that they could have acted differently. It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The min-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone’s illness? The only appropriate response is compassion.
You cannot truly forgive yourself or others as long as you derive your sense of self from the past. Only through accessing the power of the Now, which is your own power, can there be true forgiveness. This renders the past powerless, and you realize deeply that nothing you ever did or that was ever done to you could touch even in the slightest the radiant essence of who you are. The whole concept of forgiveness then becomes unnecessary.
An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for ending the violent conflict endemic on our planet.
Author’s Website http://www.eckharttolle.com
Preview of Book at http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sQYqRCIhFAMC&dq=power+of+now&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=NHXfScr5O4_EMuuw4IkJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6#PPP1,M1