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is a spiritual teacher and the best-selling author of A New Earth and The Power of Now.
Krista finds a helpful tool in dealing with the stress of moving.
"In the Waters of Consciousness"
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I was having problems 9 years ago. I was guided to a spiritual teacher in Princeton, NJ Teresa Badher. Teresa used Eckhart Tolle book " The Power of Now" as one resource in help me to not live in the past. Not dwell on old wounds or issues. Not to have hidden shame of things "I" thought were bad. It is only the "now" that is important. The past is just that "past".
I still work with Teresa Badher when I start drifting out of "spirit".
When I started with Teresa I had to be very carful when I talked to my friends about my discussions with Teresa as they thought I had "gone over the edge". Now the world has shifted. Mostly in the US. People are accepting and wanting more information.
The more you (the United States) accepts the more the awareness is going to awaken in the people.
I put his teaching into practice by listening to people and asking them questions. If stranger is talking to me about something that happened them, I ask them question for them to think about. Not giving advice, just asking question make people think about an answer.
Example If someone is mad at someone else, ask them to tell you what they would say if that person what right in front of them NOW. Expressing their anger about them to you sometimes helps by getting it out in the open so it can be released.
Things like that are important to all. It is better for everyone to take on a "Little" anger then to have it dwell inside of a person. That is when the anger can build and then explode.
I have spent my life trying on a variety of spiritual traditions in search of the right fit, though no single tradition in all its elements has ever rang true enough for me to wholly embrace. A spiritual grazer of sorts, I'd consider everything offered, help myself to what nourished me, then move along. While the Buddhist teachings have always held the strongest draw for me, as with many other spiritual traditions I've explored, I would always reach the point in my practice where I felt mired in what felt like unnecessary complexity. Either that or it would become apparent to me that the teacher had not sufficiently overcome egoic issues to aptly guide me in overcoming my own. That's why I still have to laugh when I consider that the purest spiritual truth I've ever discovered came to me by way of a talk show host, a mega pop culture icon named Oprah. And it happened at a time in my life where the urge to move forward in my search was particularly intense. I don't recall how I ended up on the Oprah Web site that day -- I believe I was researching a story I was working on (I'm a writer and editor) and found myself staring at an advertisement for something called "A New Earth." So, Oprah is pushing environmentalism, I thought. Good for her. My curiosity was piqued and I clicked the mouse. It's funny how such a small act can turn out to be a life-changing one. From the moment I first read and subsequently heard Eckhart Tolle's teachings, I experienced something I thought I'd either never experience or would eventually experience years down the road -- core spiritual truths stripped down to their simplest form, conveyed in simple language, offered freely -- no allegiance required; no "God club" to join. More importantly, these truths put into practice have transformed my life. I've experienced more peace, more joy, more acceptance in my life through the miracle of a few simple, conscious breaths, than through all the complicated yoga poses, costly retreats, time-consuming meditation efforts and church services I've ever attempted. Through the recognition of myself as witness to my mind, I've found that what I was seeking so desperately was something I've always known but forgotten. It was like awakening from a self-induced amnesia. Though I sense that even Tolle's teachings can never reach the full depths of spiritual truth, this is the best damn launching toward it that I've ever experienced. My belief about my true purpose has shifted and after long years of wandering and wondering, I am here now. And that happened in the blink of an eye, really -- the moment the truth of what Tolle said revealed itself to me, that was it. I shifted direction, and the path was so much clearer. And the shift has had physical ramifications, as well. I realized recently that since that shift occurred, I have not been physically ill for a single minute. I lost the extra weight I was carrying, my stress has gone. The financial problems, work problems, relationship problems that once filled my mind and drove me to near madness -- well, they just aren't there anymore. Nothing changed outwardly -- I still earn the same paycheck, work the same job, have the same partner. The alleviation of self-imposed suffering was always just a shift in thought away. I have quit resisting my life and through acceptance of what is, have discovered satisfaction and peace in all aspects of my life, including the very ones I fought tooth and nail to remove myself from just months earlier. I'm noticing the wonderfully rich natural environment around me and seem to have more time than ever to spend in the peace and beauty of nature, often sharing it with my precious grandson -- that's a far cry from the frantic, frazzled "Granny" he had just months ago!
The most profound spiritual truth wasn't something far away, afterall, something unattainable, hidden or available to just a privileged few. It was always right inside. I just needed to hear the softly spoken, well chosen, simple words of Tolle to point the way to myself through presence. I had to be still to know ...
Eckhart's teachings have brought an end to forty years of seeking for spiritual truth. With his guidance, I have found the truth right here in my own being.
My Christian upbringing taught me that there was a God who lived outside of me and judged me constantly. I tried to be good, and became a people pleaser, but I SO longed for a real connection. It wasn't until I read "The Power of Now" that I finally was able to drop all concepts of an external god, immediately recognizing the truth in what Eckhart was saying.
While reading his book, I was experiencing intense suffering in a dark and difficult relationship. Even though I knew of my inner divinity, my strong egoic conditioning fought hard against that realization, until I finally surrendered to Life. I learned to love in a completely new way. Although the relationship eventually dissolved, I realized that I had lost nothing, because nothing could destroy the love that is inside of me. This painful situation, along with Eckhart's teachings, awakened me to "ananda" - divine bliss.
I now know that Life, as it unfolds each minute, is perfect. I practice coming back to the present moment thousands of times each day. In the sanctuary of this presence, in my own being, I find release from all fear, release from the need to control life, and support that helps me not to react even when my conditioned mind says I have every reason to react.
My practice is minute by minute, waking up out of my thoughts again and again, whenever I remember, and letting go of judging how well I do that. Sometimes I have to let go of not being able to let go. The trick, Eckhart has taught me, is to allow whatever is happening to be as it is. My own reactions and self-judgment are sometimes a part of what is. I let it go now, not exactly by DECIDING to let it go,, but by simply dropping all of my thoughts and coming into presence. I do this by remembering my body, going down into my heart, my belly and my feet. I then know that I AM consciousness. I am that which is looking out from my eyes. It is both exhilarating and peaceful. And it is available to me every single minute. This is the practice. There is nothing to believe in: no rules, no authority, no ideas and no punishment. There is simply BEING; and the freedom to play with form - to cry and to smile.
Eckhart gave me permission to do this. When I finally gave MYSELF permission to just BE, I found the meaning of Life. I am so grateful.
At an Omega Institute conference in NYC perhaps 9 or10 years ago, I chose to attend Eckhardt Tolle's workshop on his philosophy and book, The Power of Now. His ideas touched me then, but I was not yet ready to pursue his teachings.
Apparently, this past year my own journey has brought me to readiness. The New Earth has been transformative,........it is a continuing part of my journey as I struggle each day to be aware, conscious, and recall that "I am not my story". It has been difficult to quiet the voices in my head, but my I am able to notice visceral feelings that tell me to stop and take time to be witness to my ego. I can visualize putting my ego on my shoulder. I breathe deeply and summon the courage to wait and watch. Everything seems okay, if even for a second. Actually my experience of time, (perhaps timelessness) is different, as well.
To be conscious of my feelings, (ego, pain-body) and and know that all is truly fine NOW, has changed my understanding of myself in relation to all the significant others in my life.
I am able to (more often) to feel and think at the same time. I am grateful for that gift.
I attend an ongoing discussion group and read and reread chapters of the book and occasionally watch the podcasts. I have listened to Eckhart's retreat tapes on The Art of Prescence. There is always a new awareness that deepens my spiritual growth.
Words do not suffice......it is only more of a 'story".
I came across Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now at Amazon 4 or 5 years ago and was not immediately drawn to it, as it seemed a little more God-centered than things I normally read. I finally looked for it at our local library and found the Power of Now on cassette tape and checked it out. I was immediately taken with the message in the work and started talking with others about it. I have read a lot of books over the years and been impressed with their messages, but never so much as with this work. Since that time, I have collected most of Eckhart's books on CD and listened to them over and over. The major message in the work is that stepping back from the unobserved thinking mind, which he calls the ego, will allow the real you, consciousness itself, to have control of your life. I am able to step back sometimes and recognize this particular state. It does dissolve conflict, it does bring peace to the moment, and it does eliminate the normal insanity that we are all experiencing. For me, I have to keep listening to Eckhart's works frequently to get pointed in the right direction. This could be boring, but listening to him read his books or listening one of his interviews actually reduces boredom. I have actually listened to him while exercising and it actually reduces a lot of the anxiety that I feel. There was a year or two when I had stopped listening to his works. A friend whom I had introduced to his work told me about the Oprah webinar back in February and I ended up buying the book and CD of a New Earth. I am so glad for that, now. Eckhart's becoming widely known seems a positive thing. I'm sure that many will listen for a short time and then move on to the next big thing. However, the simple message is so genuinely powerful, that it will make large impact on some people. The big challenge is for Eckhart's "signposts" to remain in front of people for the tremendous amount of clock time that it takes to retrain people's brains.
The teachings have changed how I view who I am, they have opened up a space for healing and comfort and peace. After losing my only son to suicide in 2007, I would never of thought that I could experience such peace and tranquility. I was in awe in how you spoke to my soul on every level and I am continuing to transform and intentionally bringing in consciousness each day. After having an experience where my son soul or consciousness connected with mine, I do know that only form dissolves and consciousness continues. I speak about your book and this wonderful journey to everyone I meet. I am open to being used to bring light and consciousness with everyone I meet. Thank you for sharing your light and helping others on this journey.
Eckhart Tolle is unlike almost any other teacher in that he radiates the Presence or Being that he talks about so very strongly that it is sufficient to entrain the listeners up into that state. This occurs whether one is watching him on video, listening on audio, or reading one of his books. His careful focus and centering within, rather than placing his focus outside and all around himself, as people commonly do, along with his quiet, measured tone and pace of speaking all help one to enter into Presence with him, to enter the now. This is a blessed state.
Another distinction that sets his teaching apart from the masses of books and teachings all about is that he is insistent on the listener/reader's ability to literally experience this now, this Presence, immediately, or at least very quickly. He is famous partly because "the proof is in the pudding;" his simple writing helps us all to practice what he preaches. I have been deeply immersed in the Presence often ever since the early part of his webinar with Oprah.
So many of us are and have been spiritual seekers for years, for decades, and yet we never quite get where we want to be. Eckhart takes us there. He makes it easy and simple, he radiates the Presence he speaks of, and he is thoroughly humble, in full awareness that he is not the source of the light that he brings. This, in fact, may be his biggest secret. NO ONE gets this big on his own. Spirit, or God, is so clearly, blatantly apparent when he speaks. It is THIS to which we all respond, I think, whether we are aware of it or not.
I want to re-emphasize a very key highlight of Tolle's magic, which is his insistence that we can all do the exact same thing. We can all contact and get into the flow of the exact same Presence. It is not personal, it is universal! The Presence is literally, not figuratively, One. So, it is NOT really Tolle's magic at all; it is the magic of the Presence. He is just the vehicle, the transparent window, or window pane, as he likes to call himself. This is the absolute truth, based on my experience.
Okay, there is one more important thing, and that is his teaching on the mind, and identification with the mind, and how to break this identification. He actually gives us our identity back, for goodness sake! The mind will NOT get you where you want to go. This simple, yet profound teaching, brings gently earth-shattering changes to anyone who practices what he teaches. This is precious beyond belief. He shows you how to leave the mind behind, for you cannot bring it with you into Presence.
Tolle is a simple, humble man whose transparency allows the light of God to shine through him and use him to deliver a very needed teaching in these difficult times. There are few teachers of this caliber alive today, or at any time.
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my feelings and awareness about Eckhart Tolle. I hope you can sense in my writing the Presence that I enjoy since encountering the Tolle teachings. He does not really originate anything. He just ties it all up together into a very simple, workable, practical, demonstrable, experiential teaching. :-D
A year and a half ago, while sitting with some friends in my dorm room, I suddenly became overwhelmed with an intense feeling of fear coupled with a need to escape. The whole world seemed to be shattering around me, I had the fear that even the dormitories on my university campus might crumble and fall. This spontaneous isolating fear the doctor's called a panic attack. The "panic attack" sparked a lot of philosophical contemplation. How was it that I was experiencing the exact same external conditions as my friends and yet I was interpreting them so differently? I became aware through my nightmarish pain that the external world is indeed only a reflection of your internal state. I also realized, after numerous failed attempts to escape the NOW, that the NOW was all there ever was. This only exaggerated the painful fearful feelings because I realized I could never escape what was, and what was happened to be very very scary and painful. I developed Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. I experienced life through the veil of anxiety for the next year. Every day the panic attacks would come in waves and when they came, yet again, the whole external world seemed the most frightening place and my thoughts would turn into fearful apprehension: What if these buildings fall? How come people don't get scared of being trapped in here? etc etc.
I came across The Power of Now in my Mom's storage room while I was home for christmas. Apparently my mother had bought it as a gift for my sister but my sister had only dismissed the book and left it in a box full of junk. I picked up and started reading. I was very intrigued and relieved- finally! someone else appreciates the illusion of past and future. I was intrigued and wanted to discover how shattering the illusion of time could be liberating. For me it only intensified my fear and need to escape. I read the book and started to take little steps to implement the power of now in my life. There was no extroardinary change, however, only a tiny relief. A month later though, I saw A New Earth on a shelf 25% off and noticed the author was the same as that other 'random book' I had read over Christmas. I bought it and started reading. Halfway through I became completely paralyzed with bliss. I really can't put this experience into words. It was as if everything made sense. There were no questions. I remember being amazed as I experienced the powerful energy of what Eckhart calls the 'inner body.' I had no thoughts at all. I just lay and felt the energy all throughout my body. Without trying, I understood The Bhagavad Gita, which I had read (and subsequently dismissed as just another stupid spiritual text) a month earlier for a Philosophy class. Phrases kept arising from The Bhagavad Gita. "The wise grieve neither the living nor the dead for to the wise death is no more than taking of an old dusty jacket." This phrase I didn't just understand, but appreciated and experienced as truth. Or, "I am the seed that can be found in every creature." This statement too I experienced (not just understood) but KNEW in the surest way to be true. I was so happy it felt like even my toes were smiling!!! I felt detached (but not in a scary way in a wise knowing way) from my earth identity and body and past. I experienced myself beyond all this. It was amazing!! Felt like this for a few hours. The next day I still felt very happy and joyful. The agoraphobia diminished and I found myself taking buses to differnet cities and going to visit friends who lived a few hours away. I stopped all medication. I remember picking up the bottle of medicaiton and smiling at it thinking, 'how small the effect of this pill compared to what I've just discovered.' There was no more pain. I realized that all panic stemmed from projection into the future so I became very committed and at peace with the present moment. I accepted everything. This was 7 months ago and I am still doing very well and am not on medication. As you can see Eckhart's teaching have really changed or should I say eliminated 'my life' revealing only the life that is leftover. Sometimes the ego creeps back and I fall back into suffering, but I've had so many glimpses of presence that I can never forget for long. Thank you!! :)
My story: A long time ago I took a course in Jewish mysticism, Kabala, at the Tremont Street synagogue in Cambridge. One day when I exited with my friend Sarah, we saw in the moonlight, in the street, the Hebrew letters made of rain water and it was such an intense, mystical, shared experience that we never returned to this class, feeling we could not handle this. This was awesome but also created great fear in both of us.
Since then Sarah has died of breast cancer but what is coming to me, namely the deconstruction of language, of letters, is showing me that there is a vast story created through words themselves and my life is a dance of astounding visible synchronicity. I know I am not alone in this experience as the astonishment of this is palpable wherever I go and others are telling me their stories as we do connect around the world.
Many books have been written about synchronicity and books have been written about the power of the letters, the Hebrew letters and about Babel. It is said in Jewish mysticism and in Sufism that the power of the letters themselves, in that contemplation, that an entire universe arises and that they contain the entire creation.
I have proof on paper that there is nothing, cannot be anything, random aobut what I am experiencing and putting down on paper, day after day. I do see that the well we draw from, that well that is spiritual, comes from the same source and that certainly, as Tolle writes, there is such synthesis, such One ness. It is not a new notion as there are so many books, so many poets, who have gone to this place. There is a one ness to all of this and I am saying God wrote a story and that we are all of us in this together, more connected to each other than we ever thought possible. There is already palpable proof, call it scientific, that this is true, and certainly by way of a life, namely mine as I am doing a weave across the universe and it is astoundingly beautiful.
We must act as if we have free will, namely the "man date" is to honor all creation, all beating hearts and we need to care for the environment NOW. I think the phrase I follow is more: I LOVE THEREFORE I AM. For whom does the bell "Tolle", it tolls for us all, and we must move towards awe, a deep feeling of sanctity. This is a short note (insert musical not here). I am saying it's about the music, always has been about the music. The Al Gore Rhythm (algorithm) is to "get with the program" and global warming is surely close to Global Warning.
No one is interviewing me nor do I seek interviews. The Diary is at the Hay Library, in parts, The Mel Yoken Collection of Letters, Brown University. This story is about LOVE.
Of course everything I say is an attempt to put into words something that exists on many levels. I was totally blown away when I read "The New Earth" by virtually everything in it. I had danced around these ideas as they were presented by other spiritual teachers and disciplines. But Eckharts book really made it all understandable as a whole way of thinking rather than in bits and pieces. One of the most freeing aspects was the notion of the pain body. In my life I have always felt guilty about the pain I felt or more truly the pain I was always trying to supress. To understand that as humans we are the inheritors of pain to a greater or lesser degree depending on our circumstances was a revelation. I now see the pain I am more willingly experiencing as my fair share of the pain of humanity. Instead of feeling it as a judgement of me I see it as part of our inheritance as humans. Now I think "why not me". Just this one aspect has been transformational but along with experiencing the present moment, the idea that the ego feeds on the drama it creates,righteous suffering etc. has been transformational to my thinking, my being and my life.
I have not read any of Eckhart Tolle's teachings, however, in reading your description of his work I am reminded of my favorite passage ever written. It was the opening paragraph to a movie review written by Richard Corliss of Time Magagazine about two monologue-based movies, the most well known being Lilly Tomlin's, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life. I was blown away by the realization that the bulk of our lives are spent in our heads and that, therefore, we have enormous control over how we choose to act on out thoughts. I immediately copied it and hung it on my refrigerator where it has hung for 17 years. I only wish Mr. Corliss knew how much that single paragraph has meant to me. I share it with you:
Monday, September 30, 1991
Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
"We all live monologues. These conversations with ourselves are the endless, anarchic commentary running in our brains. They contain -- just barely -- our rage and desperation. They are the rough drafts of spoken discourse, the side trips into daydream irrelevancies, the lusts and prejudices left unsaid but so deeply felt. Ultimately, our interior monologues amount to a lifelong novel in progress, or perhaps the world's windiest suicide note. Transcribed, they could tell more about what we are than everything we do."
Having been born into and raised in the Catholic tradition, that was the sum total of my faith and belief. I was comfortable with the edicts and rituals that were established centuries ago. I married a man of the same faith, as did my four sisters. We all appreciated the morality and disipline of this religion and wanted our children to be raised and educated in the same tradition.
When the sex abuse scandal within the catholic church came to light in 2002, I felt the same sense of disgust, as many did, and even though I personally knew of two children who had been molested by priests, the impact of this crime was very slight to my psyche. That all changed abruptly in 2004 when my son recovered the memory of sexual abuse by a priest from our parish, a man who had abused three boys at another parish before being reassigned to our church and school. The abuse took place in a hotel and my son dissociated and repressed the memory through twenty years of a very tortured existence. In the aftermath I was left with no faith, no beliefs and a mountain of pain and hurt.
In 2007 my sister gave me the "Power of Now" by Eckert Tolle. As I listened to the CD's, much of his teaching made sense and equally as much did not. How can we stop our thoughts and how can we stop the horrible pain that we live and breath. I had so assimilated the catholic religion into the core of my being and now how could I believe in a God associated with unspeakable evil. As I read church history and watched and listened to the news, god and all religions became an absurdity. In the name of God religions have used their power to molest, murder, debase, control and manipulate the human race. And yet, we must surely, at least up to this point in our evolution, have a base need for organised religion. Why else would churches be such a huge part of our landscape.
Now it is 2008 and Oprah has brought Eckert Tolle and "A New Earth" into the homes of millions of people across the world. We are all searching, we are all hurting and in need of a new perspective on a path to peace. Mr. Tolle came into our living rooms and other gathering places with a nonjudgemental acceptance and love of the world. He understands suffering, as he has suffered. As I listened and began to apply the principles of living in the present I began to notice a change in my perception. I have learned the importance of surrendering and accepting the pain of this heinous crime to my son and the effects it will have on the rest of our lives. When thoughts of anger and dispair, with their all-consuming negativity, enter into my mind, I tell myself that now, in this moment, all is well and I can move into just simply "being", and with that, I feel a peacefulness and a reprieve from conflict. Now, I know I have my work cut out for me. You can't take 60 years of Catholocism and flip it to a new spirituality. However, in my search for answers, I have found the beauty in stillness, the easing of pain in surrender and acceptance of what is, and in the practice of the now, of just being, I experience a sense of enlightenment, a grand harmony with the universe. That is God!
Whatever our beliefs, whatever our age, whatever our past history, we all have the power to turn off the noise and go deep within to that place of stillness where your truest self resides.
As a physical therapist of 32 years' I have a fairly unique window on how people suffer, both physically and emotionally. As part of my physical & therapeutic treatments I often have to coach people in how to deal with the stresses of life, often the primary cause of their issues.
Tolles' ideas have helped me to realize that only entity that is ever REAL is NOW...to me this means that ALL the religions and cultures of the world have clouded our individual perception of "what IS" and this has resulted in individual pain, grief,conflict and wars and suffering throughout the world. So, I look at my role as taking one person at a time and just like that old story about throwing back one sand dollar at a time as they wash up on the shore, each of us must facilitate one another's journey back to the sea on one
I believe that we must move towards an understanding of the inter-connectedness of all....
Until we are all on this same page, mankind will forever be stuck in a self-centered pursuit when in fact we are all in this journey together. I am afraid that many religions are mis-directed towards individuals clearing their own pathway to salvation, ignoring the collective journey and projecting always an self-centered individual pursuit into a future that is not real.
As Kabbalah teaches we must peel away all of the layers through our individual actions of Tikkun Olam, "repair the world" to get to the light, and this is how we end suffering. BR
There've been so many changes that i can't even think of them all at the moment. But what jumps out at me first, is this. I used to try to forgive people for what they say by trying to figure out their meaning behind it. I viewed them then as people in pain and not just mean spirited people and i feel now that i spent way too much time trying to figure things out. What i took away from E. Tolle's books was incredibly freeing for me. I no longer have to do that. I can just know automatically that there exists a painbody in most people and i dont have to react to it or even try to figure it out. I'm more relaxed now. His book, The New Earth, was the best book i've ever read in my life - and i knew it when it read it - but felt even stronger about it after i listened (and re-listened) to the podcasts of the interviews w/oprah (Oh THANK GOD for Oprah- i mean it!) I shared her enthusiasm for E. Tolle and his teachings. He was amazing with his explanations and i learned so much.
Between January and late August of 2007, I made weekly trips from the Baltimore area to Newtown, Pennsylvania (located between Philadelphia and New York City) to spend time with my mother who had been placed in a hospice. To cope with the long drive, I loaded up on audio books from the library. In mid-March, I found myself listening to Eckhart Tolle, only because I had exhausted the supply of Alan Watts and Wayne Dyer books available from the Catonsville library.
On March 16, 2007 a mixture of snow, sleet, and freezing rain turned what was normally a three hour trip into a seven-hour ordeal. Somewhere between Wilmington Delaware and the southern tip of Philadlephia, the words of Eckhart Tolle penetrated to the deepest level of my consciousness. Although the traffic had been slowed to a rate of four miles per hour, my concern about time completely slipped away. Everything I could see, every sound entering my ears, and every breath I took suddely acquired a depth that was almost miraculous. My being alive in the here and the now took on an importance that it never had before. Everything changed for me that day; the past lost its hold on me and the future lost its importance.
Accepting each moment as it comes has become the central point of my existence. With this acceptance has come a deep sense of peace and a calmness that penetrates every aspect of my being. Living in the here and now, making the best use of whatever comes my way, has given my life a renewed energy and a depth of purpose that keeps me grounded in the present moment.
I frequently revisit the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, always with a sense of deep gratitude for the gift he has given me.
I recently was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lyphoma, completed chemo and found his books invaluable during the long winter months of this year. While the chemo was beating the cancer I had to find ways to beat that incessant "monkey mind" which was anxiety filled about the future and certainly not wanting to stay in the "now".. Learning how to lean into this difficult and yet growth filled time in my life was a challenge and Eckhardt's wisdom, so steeped in buddhism was amazingly calming and joyous for me.
I first read "Power of Now" a number of years ago. It was so full of such wisdom that it took me a while to absorb all of it.
There were a number of ideas that still resonate with me. I carry these ideas on a laminated card in my purse and use it to remind me of these insights when I find myself floundering.
The first is: "Is there joy, ease and lightness in what you are doing? If not, change how you are doing it, not what you are doing." That has guided me daily since I read it all those years ago. It has enriched my life in countless ways.
The second is: "Do you have a problem NOW? A problem is something you are thinking about but can't do anything about at this time. When you create a problem, you create pain. Decide: I will create no more pain for myself." The decision to create no more pain for myself has pulled me up short many times when I realize that was exactly what I was doing.
The third is: The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. This really stops me cold sometimes. I'm ruminating about problems because they create an identity for myself? Is this the identity I want for myself? A victim? A wronged person? It has really helped me to think, "I will create no more pain for myself" and stop the ruminating.
Enough said. This book has been truly life altering for me. Although it took some time for me to absorb the lessons in the book, they have had more impact on how I live my life and the choices I make than any other book I've ever read.
I get panic attacks at times; i'm 61 years old, and they began when I was 27. I developed the fear of having a panic attack in public, where i would feel excruciatingly terrified, out of control, panicked, and ashamed.....
When i read Eckhart Tolle's short book about Practicing The Power of Now about 7 years ago, I learned yet another wonderful tool to help me deal with my anxiety/panic.
Thanks to him, I will now ask myself, when I catch myself beginning to scare myself with "what if...." conversations (what if i have a panic attack while driving in the middle lane?), "Am i ok NOW?" And the answer is always, Yes. Or I'll ask myself: "Is there a problem NOW?" and the answer is No.
Once about a year ago i was in Arizona where the night temperature was stifeling (sp?) hot....I needed to walk about 3 blocks to a store and had no water with me. I began to panic with my thoughts as my body felt the oppressive heat. My breathing changed, I felt the fear. And then i realized that I was thinking in the future, if only a minute into the future. So i took it one step at a time. "Am i ok right NOW? Yes." next step: same question. after doing this 5 or 6 times, i calmed myself down and next thing i knew, i saw the lights of the store i was going to....all i needed to do was experience my NOW, not my thoughts about an imaginary, scary future.
This was a huge gift.
And so is your radio show!
The gem I carry with me is that I can have only one thought in my mind at a time and I control what that thought is. I can choose to pay attention to the present moment and let the past and the future take care of themselves. Holding onto this gem helped me through a very dark time in my life.
The last relationship I was in was very rocky. It started out well; however, things slowly declined as my boyfriend lost his job and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After about a year the relationship ended when he was arrested for assaulting me. A year long restraining order was put in place. I made every effort to get his stuff out of my place so I could start over.
Then, in June 2006, I was confronted with his suicide. He hung himself in the basement of a friend's house. My first thought was, "What could I have done to save him?"
That gem shone through without my conscious awareness. My next thought was, "Stop. You are not responsible for his behavior. Take care of yourself now." I went to a support group for survivor's of suicide and went out to dinner. I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to deal with this. I did the best I could with the resources I had at the time.
B4 New Earth, deeply spiritual w/ background of Catholicism & foreground AA principals evolving into biblical Christian principals. Endless searching, paralyzed & driven by fear. Never felt right in my own skin. Walked the planet isolated & trapped. First experience seeing self left me completely unguarded & vulnerable. Came out of nowhere. Been listening to E.T. CDs for a yr (his talks) & read PON yrs ago (1st exp. of not being my thoughts, most powerful moment of my life up to that pt.). CDs were affecting how I experienced myself leading to the moment of pure BEING. (2004)New Earth found me. Read it 3 times & listened to it on CD at least 15. Still changing my entire life. Lost career 2 yrs ago with no resistance (used to be a fighter). Experienced joy in seeing ‘space being made in my life…’ Found myself having a house sale & selling almost all of my things. Happened naturally, effortless(observed myself doing it, very cool). Process of letting go of things was powerful & freeing. Could hold something in hand & know I couldn’t let go. Other items my body said ok. Powerful! Nothing in my life today I could not let go (some thoughts, maybe not). The way I experience myself in the world is more pure today. I honor & listen to the voice & notice unconsciousness regularly. Meet w/friends weekly 3 yrs now to discuss lives & experiences & challenge each other to grow in awareness. Shifting now out of about 7 months of sitting & doing nothing. Just found myself drawn to sitting, ‘immersed in the bliss of being’. did not plan or look for it, just happened. Could do nothing else. Beginning to share my experiences in classes & small talks. I am bursting for the opp to share, touches me so deep. Money is almost gone, including 401k & fear is disappearing. NE has been the most powerful source in my life in seeing me, the world, & the fabric of the ego to which I was completely attached & unaware. The depth of its impact can’t be felt in 2000 words.
My story is not so much the AH HA moments as there are so many it is difficult to select which ones to write about. Rather, mine is of results, of a life altering, complete 180 degree change/awakening that I am still in the midst of. EVERYTHING is changing & has been for a while. I am paralyzed in fear & in the bliss of being. been reading & studying personally & in groups since Dec. 2005. read it 3 times & listen to it on cd at least 15 times. Until recently it was all I listened to anytime I was in the car. my first experience of being the observer of my thoughts reading P O Now, I found the thought & moved my head to the side to keep the thought separate, there it was and here I am, not part of it. In Jan. 06 left 18 years of corporate work & can not go back. experiencing being in the “no man’s land between two worlds” & have been there for 2 years sitting, crying, feeling, being still, & full of the bliss & joy of being as my money runs out & the fear about money fades. The day I left work, I pressed play & the cd began where it left off. The exact words that came when it began to play, & I will never forget this, were, “realize that space is being made in your life for something new to emerge.” I cried. I have spent 2 years ‘being’ in the world, just being, and watching everything change, relationships, work, fears, money. I went thru 15 yrs of 12 step spirituality & 10 yrs therapy in prep for this teaching coming to me, it catapulted me into depths of being I never knew. I study his other cd’s & dvd’s as well. the first I experienced the stillness it appeared like a movie I was watching. In my car driving it hit me, stillness everywhere & those moving were moving within the stillness, almost slow motion. ‘I put the girl down 5 hours ago, are you still carrying her?” sticks with me all the time, everyday & immediately brings my attention to me being in MIND, in the past. I am bursting for the opportunity to share my story, it is so amazing for me.
I have 3 favorite quotes from New Earth; ‘I put the girl down 5 hrs ago, are you still carrying her’, ‘I don’t mind what happens’, & ‘enter zen from there’. These are with me always now & offer clarity on levels I have never known. So simple, so powerful. When I explored beliefs from the perspective of being only thoughts I have held for a long time, eventually, I watched, again as the observer, as my belief systems crumbled around me(I had to be willing to look, honestly, & ask the hard questions). Some still surface, some I catch & let go, others grab me. Some I can look at & they fade away, others hang on. So it is. Beliefs beyond religious crumbled; VERY significant in discovering the depth of ME, & others fell away as I recognized my identity in them-what I think I got from them. really seeing the identity was all they gave me, they let go of me. ign posts-have them all over my house & in my car. Rotate & change them for what speaks to me at the time. Today, the bathroom mirror & the top of my PC monitor show me ‘I DON’T KNOW’. The kitchen cupboard door displays ‘what are you aware of right now’, the wall above my dresser says, ‘breath’ & ‘you are enough’, the car dashboard says, ‘I put the girl down…’. These all are exacting in their ability to bring me into the moment. To stop the thinking & return me to the deep emotion I often feel, a felt sense of being that brings me to tears, like coming home. My water bottle-I bought a glass one & it brings me into the present moment, no thought at all, every time I pick it up. It is glass, if I drop it it will break. Instant awareness of where I am & what I am doing, all thinking stops if only for a second, it helps. I struggle to find the words that express the depth of emotion & sensation I have experienced & continue to experience most days of this life now. It fills me in ways words are hard to represent. Tears on the other hand, oh how they free me.
I read The Power of Now about 50 times over in 1999. At that time,
I so relieved to know gain a distinction on what Eckhart calls the
'pain-body'. Beyond this knowledge, however, little changed in
regard to my ablitiy to disidentify with the constant movement of
I agree with wholeheartedly when Eckhart says that 'being' requires no more knowledge. This is true, but only from a subjective point of view. Please, let me explain. I do not know if you are familiar with the work of American spiritual philosopher, Ken Wilber. He would also agree with that 'being', from a subjectice viewpoint, requires no more knowledge. Wilber's work divides the life experience into
four quadrants. As you can see, the beingness we speak of is
located in the first aspect, and while it most certainly affects
the other four, it does not also deny the fact that maybe some
development (knowledge) might be nice to have in those other
Part 1 - Subjective: Thoughts, Emotions, Meditation, Introspection.
Part 2 - Inter-Subjective: Relationships, Belief Systems, and Culture.
Part 3 - Objective: Home, Health, Possessions, and the Sciences.
Part 4 - Inter-Objective: Finances, Politics, Social Structures.
I believe if we only focus in the subjective aspect of our beingness,
we will be unable to cocreate a new reality.
Tolle's work is refreshing and gave me the inner and outer freedom I was looking for. I believe that I came into contact with his work because i was ready emotinally, mentally, spritually, and socially.
I communicate with others from a deeper level, and I am more authentic in my interactions. When I have anxiety or conflicting situations (which of course are man-made experiences - forms) I stay within my body (which Gesalt theoriest would say - the body never lies.) You see Tollie is right, the body is the "gateway to the present state." I also believe in the universal law (not sure if Tollie talks about this) thus, what I project out to the world is what I attract to myself. However, if I am present in all my interactions and experiences i will experience Maslows peak experiences; and I won't play games with others, as Eric Berne talks about, because I won't be trying to elivate myself in any way.
Lately, I told a co-worker that "I want to get closer to myself." she wasn't very supportive of my statement. You see Tollie's work is helping me get closer to me, I love being within my own skin. I don't feel the need to have noise or people or events to be content/comfortable within me. I really make decisions from a different place now. I am not as reactive - perhaps my age has something to do with this. I feel peaceful and I thank Tollie and many other scholars for this their work.
I live a very quiet personal lifestyle, at first some coworders and family made comments about me living in solitude (meaning I spend my days off work walking, reading, watching drama movies or documentaries etc...,) and basically I can go without talking to another human being or having any contact with another human being for several days. They stated, it's not normal/natural or "don't you feel lonely, I would feel lonely being all by myself." I have always been somewhat sensitive and reactive to these comments, but to be honest I love the isolation, although ironically I don't feel isolated within me. Reading Tollie's work inspired me to trust my "organic self" as Carl Rogers would have stated. Thankyou.
live it, not do it. when dropping the I, anything that's not the essence becomes nothing.
Because it was never something,people's heads "made it that something". The only
moment is this one.
15 Aug 08
Eckhart Tolle, along with Wayne Dwyer, (and it is to the point to note he insists on calling himself: "Dr. Wayne Dwyer"), are Westerners who have found, either on their own, or through the readings, the foundations of Buddism, Zen, and/or many other of 'Eastern' teachings, including those of the late, great Jiddu Krishnamurti.
They have taken these as their own and made them more understandable to thousands of people who might not otherwise have 'found' them, and that is a very good thing. However, as always happens when Westerners 'discover' Eastern ways, they make them into 'big-sellers'. The usual groupies or cultists follow.
These popularizations are so typically Western, so far removed from the essence of the Eastern message, that I find it all quite distastful. Westerners make these things the same 'businesses' all religions are, and have become, from the beginning of time; IE: religions, for better or worse, are the 'businesses' of the priests, (to the warnings of all the actual 'founders' of these 'religions' themselves.)
The writings, revelations, and suggestions of Tolle, like so many others are so very good to know about and to bend into our own daily life structures. BUT go to a gathering of any Zen, Tolle, Krishnamurti gathering, and I find the same-ole-same-ole hangers-on, groupies, and cultists, most of whom infrequently go beyond the leaders' words, or do any 'internalizations' themselves; in other words...the sheep (again )gather behind the pastor, look for 'redemption' on the cheap!
Oh boy...where to go? What to do? How to handle it all? For me ONLY Krishnamurti gives me useable suggestions, he is the 'source', the one man who strongly eshewed a 'following', and that was one hell of a start!
REspectfully and with kind human regards,
I think that exists various levels within the process of awakening. Depending in what level you are is your understanding of this book when you read it. I notice that for some people it's just a glimpse and they still have a lots of questions. An another hand, some people, like me, seems like your head was open and everything was put in there. All of sudden everything is clear and easy to understand. Like I have being prepared for this moment. For me, this book "New Earth", change my world up side down. I notice nature. I am at peace 85% of my day. I am learning everyday more about spiritual things.
I first heard about Eckhart Tolle about 6 years ago. When I first read the Power of Now my whole being cried YES. Just as some background I was raised Catholic and have 2 degrees in Theology from Catholic Universities. However as I got older I became strongly disenchanted with organized religion and left my religion. Although for a very brief period I TRIED not to believe in God I could never fully embrace atheism. I knew in my gut there was something more and I definitely knew that organized religion was not going to get me that more that I was sensing. Reading his book made me feel like I had come home. I knew that for me he was right. Throughout my life I have struggled with depression, severe at times. When I read his book the depression would go away. So I would carry his book around with me and just pop open a page to calm myself if I was stressed or depressed. Eventually I read somewhere where he said that doing the work of Byron Katie would help me live the life he spoke of. I now also do "The Work." For me it is a powerful combination. From the outside my life could look very stressful. I have been laid off with no job prospective and I am so calm. I don't wake up in dread or panic. I actually am experiencing an amazing peace. I am so gratefully to have teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and also Jill Bolte Taylor. These people are helping me realize the awakening that I have always longed for.
PS. From my experience the term God does a grave disservice to the divine. I don't like to use that term, so I say that I don't believe in God but I am definitely no atheist.
I am a psychologist who sees a variety of patients. On occasion I recommend Tolle's books. When my patients are "ready" it spurs incredible discussions & has helped them relax & realize what's important-- something unknowable with our normal "egoic minds", but sublime with our transcendent selves!
I also listened to The Power of Now on cd & at one point found myself overcome by a transcendent, overwhelming feeling of peace & love. I started sobbing joyfully in my car on the highway (in rush hour yet!). Unbelievable! Now when I get caught up in my pain body, I gently remind myself it's the product of my ego, not reality.
As a Christian, I feel Tolle's message is totally congruent with my beliefs-- I believe what Tolle has been saying is what Jesus really meant, a meaning that has been almost lost in most modern interpretations of Christianity. Living in the now connects us with absolute love.
I have been in a state of depression for a very long time and when I heard via a pod cast Eckart Tolle, I became hopeful that perhaps he had the answer to my suffering. I immediately when out and bought two of his books and have been reading and listening ever since. I have a VERY active monkey mind and I am going to learn all I can about it, and my hope is I can experience the now and be the person I was meant to be. I cannot tell you how much I have benefited from Speaking of Faith. Last year I was in a very serious accident and listening to SoF pod casts while incapacitated was such a tremendous experience.
I first become familiar with Eckhart's work in 2005. I was 23 at the time.
I had been studying "spirituality" for quite some time, but I had never read a book that put things as clear as The Power of Now.
I finished the book in one session and experienced immediately a reduction in thought. Over the course of a few years I feel, although no way to prove this, that I had reduce my thoughts by almost half what they use to be. I say half because I have half as less thoughts that deal with daily anxiety, worry, doubt and fear. And the small thoughts that do so up in those areas fade much quicker than before.
Eckhart has been the most influential spiritual Sherpa in my journey.
Now I take what I've learned from Eckhart (and others) and bring it to my various ventures. Especially in the world of raw food.
I've included a video in the URL for you to get an idea of what I mean.
All my teachers have arrived in perfect order. After years of therapy, spiritual exploration and regular hourlong meditation, Mr. Tolle came a-knockin'. He articulates what has been for me experiential, non-verbal. I now have virtually no drama in my life which is nothing short of a miracle. Absence of drama has made my life MORE exciting, passionate, and fun. It's like overcoming an addiction: I could not imagine a life without alcohol. I'd be bored and boring! Now 6+ years sober, I cannot imagine a life WITH alcohol. Living according to Tolle and other teachers along the same vein has given me so much peace and joy, enthusiasm and humor.
Here's a wonderful example from last week: a senior manager aggressively and impolitely accused me messing up a small request. At the moment it happened I immediately went into the witness/awareness state without even thinking about it. I watched the situation outside myself. I heard the person's concerns; got that his over reaction had nothing to do with me; and responded with genuine compassion. Yes, I hadn't completed the task and I would do so within 15 minutes. The person's energy completely shifted, he apologized for jumping down my throat and expressed his relief I would take care of that and other issues. I have no doubt a potentially stressful altercation (for all concerned) never manifested because I would not allow it to escalate and become more than it actually was. I thank my years of practice, study and of course Eckhart Tolle.
Eckhart Tolle's writings at once fused together ---- finally --- a language of spirituality that included my experience. Throughout my life, when people pressed me to label myself with a religion, I refused. Instead, I would answer that I am a spirit of the earth, here and now. To so many people, this is not enough. So, when I explain that when my body leaves, I live on in this world by what I do and how I do it. Their answers always included some way they could package me all up with their labels ---- "Liberal" "Humanist" "Hippie" "Wiccan" "Buddhist" ... and on.
While listening to this program, I remembered an uplifting moment when a good friend and colleague told me, "when you come into the room, there is a calm around you." And I was further encouraged when another women's eyes filled with tears and she said, "please don't think I'm a freak, but you have such a warm aura around you, I feel fortunate for my children to be in your presence and it makes me cry." Wow. Of course, this is not how I always am....I am an average person and I have chosen to love what I do. This is really something others think is special....but little do they know, this is how I am myself in the world when I am at my best ---- in love with the moment I'm in.
One of the many turning points in my life --- many years ago now -- was a quote (I do not know who phrased it, but I should) "If you can't get out of it, get into it." And, to paraphrase -- live what you love and love what you do.
I live and love the work I do everyday with children who have special needs. With the emphasis on inclusion, I believe all children have special needs, so this is my way to mentally refute the limiting language the schools have decided to place on children....namely, a "special ed. student." This label is difficult and limiting for the children at the same time it is this label which our bureaucy finds funding for assistance to these children (and all other children to learn how to be more accepting and caring toward them).
On the concepts surrounding the "pain body" ----- Tolle's words are magical. We see everywhere the drama of cycles of pain bodies in individuals. Especially I see this in my teenaged daughter.
So, today, with my love for her, Tolle's mind/body teachings will be a focus of study.
Thank you Eckhart Tolle for sharing your journey so exquisitely. Your experiential language speaks to me in a way that raises the hair on my neck in excitement......to something that is so familiar...like an ancient memory.
With love and admiration, Deb Sweeney
Lately, I have had trouble being around a family member who has been doing work at my house. He believes and frequently tells me all the stories about himself, especially the ones in which he sees himself as "victim". He experiences the world as very negative and easily gets impatient and angry with himself as well as others. I was impatient with and judgmental of him internally, and avoided listening to him for very long before I had to change the subject. I had loaned him a copy of "A New Earth," not sure he would read it.
One night we had harsh words on the phone when I said I was under stress about my doctor's appointment the coming week and not to come work the next day. He was upset to find out so late--"Go ahead, join all the other customers who pull out at the last minute," he told me. We finally agreed he would come after all and just leave me be.
I have been reading Tolle's "Stillness Speaks" and was struck by his talking about relationships and the importance of experiencing others not as the "conditioned self" they believe in and which they present to you. He says believing that conditioned self is the real person is like "imprisoning both of you." And of course, he suggests instead to see beyond that false self to the "essence" within the other person.I kept thinking about those words and realized I couldn't change my relative, but I could change myself--in the way I perceived both him and myself. I began asking for guidance in how to do this.
What happened when he showed up the next day was quite surprising. He brought me a rose and said he knew he was not good with words but wanted to be supportive of me, one of the few members of his family he has left. I was very touched and thanked him for being so sweet. What followed was an unusually mellow and productive day. We managed to stay in the moment more. Later he shared with me, not his negative stories, but the fact that he has been reading "A New Earth" bit by bit. The rose is still beautiful on my kitchen table; I think of it as "the bloom of the present moment."
Realizing that I am not in my thought changed everything. No longer am I in control of my mind and that is such a relief. I feel rooted now. There is other important teaching but this realization had the most impact on my life. I thank Eckhart enough.
Thank you for providing Eckhart interview. Mean a lot to me.
I have done reading in Buddhism,Lao Tsu and recently "A New Earth"..I feel I am getting better at turning off the "Monkey chatter" in my busy mind..I worry greatly about global warming,the 6th great extinction going on now,warmongering,the probable economic depression,my nehphew's recent imprisonment for drunk driving,my dear neighbor's son's imprisonment on false charges of numerous rapes,attempted murder and my nursing job is in danger as my hospital cuts back on staffing,making safe pt care very diffucult....Surprisingly,I am experiencing a sense of peace and well being for me and the world!! Thanks for your show!!Jean
There are many areas of my life where I have put into action the philosophy that Eckhart is teaching.
The biggest/one area is to stay present in the moment. That in and of itself says it all.
My husband and I have agreed to stay present with our disagreements. We are no longer allowed to bring the past into our conversation, no more 'you always' or 'you never' or 'its always been like this or that' We stay present, and if something bothers us, we need to speak up NOW, and if not, then we have to let it go. It has made even the need to speak out seem less important. I have noticed we argue considerably less, not really at all anymore. We are incorporating this into dealing with our children,and although it is difficult at times, it is helpful and I feel less stressed.
That leads me to the next area, stress. I have a lot less stress. I am able to work through stressful moments by mentally noticing my stress and then letting it go. There was an interesting moment when I was listening to the Eckhart/Oprah class, and Eckhart said something to the effect of your mind not knowing the difference between what is happening now and what you are remembering. So, if you are always replaying bad memories or thoughts, you are continuing the stress process. This made alot of sense to me, and I became aware of the physical reaction each time it happened to me afterward. It is alot easier to 'let go' now, and if I feel myself going there with the stress, I just say to myself, 'oh, there is that feeling again' I acknowledge it, and release it.
Another way these teachings have impacted me is in my career. I am a nurse in a busy hospital, and deal with patients with all sorts of illnesses and diseases. I feel that I have more patience with my patients, and that I am able to work with them in a more calm, relaxing demeanor. I use staying present and positive with my patients in order to help them through difficult or painful times. I have noticed an improvement in my patient care, and in my patients attitudes.
One important way Eckharts teaching has really helped me is that it also took me out of the victim role. I have spent many years mourning my parents death, and feeling sorry that I lost them both by the time I was 21. I never understood 'why I had to live my life out with no parents' It always seemed a cruel way to be treated by the universe. Now I feel like my parents death has happened and its okay. I am still here living today. Today is a gift, the present. I spend alot less time thinking of the their death, and more on living today, now.
So, when asked how Eckharts teachings have impacted my life, I would have to say in every way possible. I feel a more positive change in my life. I have found myself sharing these thoughts/ideas with friends and loved ones when they are having their own troubles in life. They seem to get it, right away, and state feeling better by the end of our conversation. I recently sent A New Earth to my brother who is going through a divorce. He is on his second read, and highlighting areas in the book, he tells me that this book has changed his life. WOW! What else can I say. The message is loud and clear.
It is hard to describe how deeply Eckhart Tolle's teachings speak to me. The first time I read The Power of Now in '97 the words leapt into my heart and at the same time left my mind far behind. I was not able or ready to make it into a practice. With the release of a New Earth I was excited to experience his new book and read it in '05. Still not understanding how to make it work in my life. But finally in '08, me (the student) was ready for the lesson to appear. It was not until my last love relationship went sour did I finally begin to understand how my "pain body" had sabotaged every love relationship I had ever experienced. The man in my life and I triggered each other's pain bodies with such intesity it was frightening. Many times I recall the "feeding" that it required and how it would take over my consciousness so much so that I would ask my "who is this person I become" during those episodes. After three years of agony and ecstasy, we stopped living together at the begining of this year and shortly there after Oprah's New Earth web cast was released. I downloaded the book on to my ipod and my friend did the same. It was truly amazing how we were apart yet closer and healing ourselves deeply. We could see clearly how destructive our egos had been in our relationship and how our past pain and well developed pain bodies had found it's perfect dysfunctional match in each other. A relationship filled with many highs and as many lows...As sad and as painful as our relationship became it had a strong spiritual connection on so many levels that we are still discovering them. Without him and without our intensity I would not have become so disgusted and get so low as to demand a new way to handle my mind.
And now living alone (and loving it) I able to see how my pain body now feeds on my thoughts, greedy parasite that it is! Every day it is a challenge to stay present. It takes vigilance and discipline. The ego is a cunning and a deadly mental contsruct. The peacefulness I feel when I am free of it, even if it is only fleeting, keeps me on track and working toward expanding the spaciousness until it fills me on a regular basis. I want to be a light in the world. I want to be the change, I wish to see. I listen to Eckhart Tolle teachings 4-5 days per week. Having downloaded as many of his teachings as I can find on my ipod. My friend has a great t-shirt "Peace is my religion". Consistant Enduring Peace inside of me is how Peace in "our" external world will be realized. Eckhart's teachings have given me useful tools so that now finally after years of searching I am headed down the peaceful path. No past and no future only The Now where all things are possible and the fullness of life is experienced. Yippee!
I have read 3 of Tolle's books and listened to Christa's interview. While Tolle understands the personal part of the spiritual journey, his responses to Christa questions regarding issues social justice fell flat. True, those who struggle with survival do not have “happiness” on their radar screen. However, because they are connected to each of us, those who risk starvation (the Global South) deserve our attention and resources. They have the right as human persons to have their basic needs met so they can contribute their gifts and have the opportunity to experience happiness too. Tolle never mentions this.
It is not enough that we are each transformed on the inside. Social inequalities are built into our political and governmental structures, our religious and educational institutions and laws. Laws need to be changed. People need to be educated. North Americans resist social justice (and like personal/private sprituality) for this very reason. Who benefits?
I do not know if Tolle is educated on issues of social justice (he doesn’t speak about it) but I do know this: spirituality that remains personal & private will not get us where we need to go – which is caring for those with no voice, those who are hungry, those at risk. "We are all really responsible for all."
This is somewhat humorous story regarding Tolle's teachings. A couple of months ago I decided to adopt a young feral cat that was hanging out in the yard. I drew her in with food and over time gained her trust. Things were going well and I was able to catch her one morning and take her to the vet for shots and to be spayed. When I brought her home, she stayed inside for a couple of days to recover, but it was clear that she wanted back out.
The problem was that I was (am) going to be leaving the country for four months and needed to take her to my brother's home to be cared for. The catch was, she would have to be an indoor cat during her stay there. I then decided to lure the cat--now named Zazz--back inside and keep her there. I was successful but Zazz was miserable--I had attempted to force something and it was not good. After several days of misery I decided to give it up and take Tolle's advice on just embracing uncertainty. I let Zazz back out and decided the worst case scenario would be that she would just stay on the property and my neighbor would set out food when he could. My job was to dump the fear, accept the moment and go with that.
The funny thing was--as soon as I let it go and left it up to Zazz, she started wanting to come in--and now--loves being in the house. She has her favorite chair and a host of cat toys. In short, she discovered she can have a pretty cushy cat life and I discovered I can actually practice acceptance. We're both a lot happier.
Everything Eckhart Tolle says in his books and DVD (Stillness Amidst the World), resonates with me.
I particularly find, when I walk in nature, the stillness outside of me and within me and find myself noticing every sound I hear. How it comes out of the stillness and then returns into the stillness. I'm aware of spaciousness all around me and within meand .
I' glad to say I released "my story" (of my earlier life) some years ago and since reading Eckhart's books, I'm able to recognise my "pain-body" and my awareness of my thoughts on a daily basis has me recognising when I'm "re-incarnating".
Thank you for this wonderful episode! As a self proclaimed secularist I have often snorted at the topics of "speaking of faith" and directed the dial elsewhere. However, the power of NPR reigns supreme! Thank you for providing a show that really applies to the type of spirituality that I want to have! Just listening to the show brought me a level of NOW-ness :)
I read Power of Now in 2004, shortly after my Father passed away. I read it rabidly and took notes on notecards, which I still read from time-to-time, 4 years later. They are getting quite dog-eared!
It was a life-changing book. I was glad I stumbled on it, before all the hype; as I, like you, Krista, am wary of hype. Especially in regard to spiritual figures, like Tolle.
I have since given and recommended it to many friends. My (new) husband, is currently listening to it on CD.
I missed your interview. Thank God, for podcasts!
Love your show! Wish I had your job(!).
~Liz Burke Drymon
Four friends and I “attended” Oprah’s free-to-the-public 10-chapter discussions of Tolle’s A New Earth. None of us lives in the same community, so our shared thoughts following each class were via Email. These are some of our reactions to the classes:
- It was a unique privilege to simultaneously gather with millions of people from around the planet….meditating together at the beginning of each class, then hearing Oprah and ET discuss each chapter in detail, enlarging on what we had individually read each week. It was also instructive to see/hear other “attendees” (via Skype) present their personal life situations and well-thought-out questions.
- We were curious about how Oprah, with her TV image and strong ego, would “play off” of ET and his remarkably consistent ego-less presence. Over the 10 weeks, she appeared to listen more and interrupt less. She seemed increasingly calm and restful. She and ET appeared to develop an affectionate, genuine, comfortable relationship, which ultimately enhanced learning, all around.
- ET, as others have noted, has nothing new to share in his teaching; but, he weaves wisdom from a variety of traditions, uses new nomenclature, and provides an essential teaching that could change how we view ourselves and others, and how we view — and function in — the world. Through his sometimes-unique interpretation of Christian scripture, from his knowledge of A Course in Miracles, from his understanding of Buddhism, acquaintance with Hinduism, as well as the Tao, he creates a new garment that, cloaking even a 1000 people, could change the future of this planet.
When the SOF Email arrived in my in-box last week, I was thrilled. Krista Tippett had interviewed Eckhart Tolle! She is one of the best interviewers in the U.S. I have listened to countless podcasts and my life is so much richer and expanded because of Speaking of Faith.
My first thought? I’ll bet Krista was reluctant to do this interview. I appreciated reading her blog and learning that, indeed, she had had misgivings. I am so glad that she overcame them. She prepares exceedingly well for her interviews and asks pertinent, deep, important questions. She carefully listens to the interviewee’s responses. The interview, therefore, becomes more of a conversation…not just an exercise in asking prepared questions. During the interview, there was an initial sense that Eckhart Tolle was simply repeating what I had heard him state previously; but with Krista’s thoughtful interviewing, I heard new things emerge and was helped to understand more fully those things that might be called his essential teachings.
I have listened to the condensed interview, the expanded interview, and have read the transcript, the blogs, and listened to the music (thank you, SOF staff, for all the work you put into each week’s program). My respect for Eckhart Tolle remains strong and I am grateful he was granted this added sense of legitimacy through a Speaking of Faith appearance.
Several bloggers have been critical of Tolle’s seeming lack of concern for social justice. I don’t see that. What I do see is his insistence that if action is required it will be the most effective if it comes from a place of genuine essence (God/Being) and an understanding of universal connectedness/unified wholeness. In contrast, when we function completely from our problem-solving, busy minds, we end up imposing our ego-generated solutions and thus impeding the flow of Love. Anger and righteousness put up barriers between people. They lead to increased labeling (e.g. poor, victim, ‘other,’ helper, advocate) and often get in the way of the genuine healing compassion that surfaces from a deep recognition of oneness.
A girlfriend suggested I read Eckart's book The Power of Now after I consistently complained to her about my boyfriend at the time. She listened very patiently, probably for months, as I went over and over all the things 'he' did to make me mad, frustrated, sad, crazy, etc., etc., etc. When I finally bought the book and started reading it, it was like a lightening bolt hit me. It made perfect sense and I totally changed my way of thinking. Up until then I was a bad Catholic who was always chronically guilty, even if I had done nothing 'wrong'! I read the entire book and while I was actively reading it, I was much more in control of my life situation and my thoughts. After I finished it and some time had passed, I found my old ways returning. I decided to read the book again. The second time I found all sorts of new things that I had not noticed and had not made an impact on me the first time. I initially read the book over four years ago. I ended up breaking up with my boyfriend but we did it with no drama and no bad feelings and we still talk once in a while. That would have never happened before I read the book. After all, if he hadn't pushed every button I had, I may never had discovered Eckart's book. It has been a slow process as I had built up my ego to huge proportions over the years and it continues to come back over and over. At this point, though, I catch myself continuously and stop the behavior that I know is fueled by the ego. My biggest challenge right now is to remember to always live in the 'now' and to embrace it... not wish for tomorrow or for something to be different. I just listened to the radio broadcast with Eckart on "Speaking of Faith". It again brought home lessons that I know but have either forgotten or pushed aside. I also am on the second read of A New Life and have watched 5 weeks of Eckart's webcast with Oprah. This is a continuous process for me and I'm so grateful that Eckart chose this calling as his life situtation work. People tell me quite often now how wise I am and how much I help them with their life situations. I think I just let myself 'be' and give them the space to 'be' and they gain something from that. I have challenges in my life and I know that if I had not found Eckart's books, I could easily be depressed and always feeling sorry for myself. Instead I am almost always very happy and believe in always living to the fullest extent possible. Everyone says they admire me for it. I just say, it's really the only way to be : ) I'm so blessed that I found Eckart's teachings and I will forever be grateful.
Just as The Power of Now, A Course in Miracles and Conversations with God have had an impact, so has A New Earth had its influence. When we soeak of "impact" or "influence" we may very well be speaking of "tugs at our consciousness." I can afford to be open to any of these sources because I base everything I learn on the idea that I am free to believe whatever I want. My "feelings" tell me what I can accept or not. I have learned to be patient, and wait for my voices to tell me that I am ready for this new insight, or not. Life has never been easier, thanks to that awareness.
It seems like so much today in personal growth from self-help, 12-steps, to religion requires following a step-wise process or a code or precepts ... in other words they all require me to believe in something and if I don't then convince me to shift my belief system to a new one that promises happiness or salvation or some sense of freedom spiritual or otherwise.
Eckhart Tolle's simple teaching has been literally a breath of fresh freedom for me. The teaching says Presence for me ... simply to short circuit all the "thought" based philosophy and faith beliefs by simply going beyond belief. Why believe when I can just simply be. Why have faith when I can have something beyond belief ... I can have the direct experience of universal Presence.
I have read Tolle's Power of Now, A New Earth, and Stillness Speaks,
and listened to several DVD and CD retreats. I have also gone to one
of Tolle's 5 day retreats live ... with all the above speaking to me ... resonating to my stillness.
The teachings I imagine seems very much like the core essence of
many of the great masters throughout the millennia ... find the Stillness within ... quiet the mind ... be aware of the Universal Presence that I am ... the very same that you are ... beyond personality. This message ... this teaching is so profound for me.
Of all it has real and practical application within my everyday life. First off whenever possible ... which is whenever I remember I practice watching my breath ... and feeling my inner body and awareness flowing about my body. This alone has given me a stronger feeling of Presence in my life ... a strength of grounding. I feel a stillness ... an internal silence that has grown to supplant mental noise .. I no longer ruminate about past and future events and anxieties. I feel what I might call a deep sense of inner peace that emanates throughout my life. ... and when thought, planning and is needed it presents itself in my mind ... but so much clearer is the canvas that the thought will paint on when I am spacious and free.
I feel spacious, more light-hearted, less "serious" ... life is more fun. If I don't like something then I either (1) get more present and possibly start to like it ... even become enthusiastic about it OR (2) change it if I can, OR (3) say yes to the way things are this moment ... acceptance. In any of the above cases I am really saying "yes" to the present moment.
It is amazing how relaxed I can get internally and my breath and life then gets more flowing. I love how there is no hocus pocus involved ... no rules or many step plans. No achievement other than getting more still inside ... which is in a very core way quite the opposite of achievement. OF course then with the peace I can launch off into achievement if it is warranted. Please note that the truly amazing thing is that there needs to be NO preconditions in the world around me or in the thought forms of my mind for me to move directly
into the state of Presence and have all stress fall away to relief and freedom. This is such an important observation for me. It truly amazes me each and every time.
This has changed my life in a natural organic and real way.
I am 53 years old and my story reaches back to my early to mid 20's, where being raised with no religious roots, I had an inner quest for something ‘more’. From the age of 16 to 23 I was heavy into drugs and toward the end of that era I was mixing marijuana with transcendental meditation. Shortly thereafter I heard the 'good news' of God's love and accept that for the next 30 years. I met my wife at a nondenominational church and raised 3 children in that environment.
I could write pages detailing my journey to Mr. Eckhart’s 'The Power of Now' but I will just hit some highlights. I bought the book just over a year ago and I didn't start reading it until 3 months ago. I couldn't get past the first chapter earlier until my 'world' shook a little wilder. He is right; it’s suffering that propels us to wake up. I believe I am on the same path; I just merged onto a new highway.
At times now, I want to sell everything, divorce everyone and move to Thailand to spend all my time in quiet secluded meditation. (I thought that with the Christian faith though too.) I am convinced that whatever your spiritual practice is it has to work in the day to day moments of this ‘life’. So I am patient with my self as my practice take root and grows. Mr. Eckhart is truly a sage of our times. Thank you Sir.
I came across Eckhart Tolle's book "The Power of Now" quite by accident while browsing the shelves of a local bookstore. After leafing through it I found that I was attracted by the theme and bought the book.
Eckhart's proposition of turning down internal dialoge has been helpful to me. I used to get myself worked up just thinking about problems in my life. I now try to not dwell on situations but rather take action and move on. I find that this has improved my quality of life tremendously. I have always been able to enjoy the moment, being just as happy listening to the birds chirping in my backyard as going on vacation, so that part came easily to me. I think that if more people embrace Eckhart's philosophy, the world would be a better place. I also admire his modesty. He stresses the message and not the messenger, something that isn't practiced by many spiritual teachers.
I have recently read his second book "A New Earth" and found it very good. Hopefully, being associated with Oprah will spread Eckhart's message to a broader audience. When I was younger, I read the works of Ram Das. I found his writing beneficial also, but there is something about Eckhart's writing that brings home the message more clearly.
"The Power of Now" CHANGED my life 3 years ago. I too was suffering from severe depression rooted in the poor decsisions I made in my recent past, my current situation (I was without a job) and I thought my future was lost. A very good friend, who interviewed Eckhart, Glenn Plaskin, gave me a copy of the book. At first I thought it was a tough read, but then I got the reduced version, "Practicing the Power of Now", got it in Audio Format as well, downloaded it to my iPod and now I listen to it whenever I need a "refresher" or reminder...
I remember to "LAUGH" at that inner voice when it comes up to beat myself down or when I get angry at myself... it happens a lot!
I now live in Bogotá, Colombia and have purchased the book in Spanish and gave it to a friend who is a counselor here in the LGBT community. He loves it and said last night that it will TRANSFORM his PRACTICE!
And a good friend who lives in Poland, who has a lifelong chronic illness bought the book upon my recommendation and said it TRANSFORMED her life...
Krista, thank you for all of your programs. I look forward to each one EVERY WEEK!
Peace to you, your family, your staff and to the WORLD!
I was given the audio tapes by my son a few months ago and i can't tell you how much they have impacted my life. I listened to the tapes many times, and they have helped me with my depression and the way that i look at things. I use the signpost of asking myself during the day "am i friendly with the present moment" and it totally changes something inside. I love listening to Eckhart Tolle's teaching and it has changed how i think about life.
A couple of months after reading Eckhart Tolle's books I decided to really put these teachings into practice by quitting smoking. I had smoked for over 30 years and had tried to quit a number of times. At first I used a drug to help me quit but then went of it completely after a month. It's been 5 months now, the longest I've ever gone without a cigarette and I hope to continue being smoke free. This has been one of the hardest things I've ever voluntarily put myself through and I NEVER EVER want to repeat the first 3 months of it again. However, I credit the success I've had with Tolle's teachings. I've stayed present for much of the pain of these 5 months. I've come face to face with the seething rage, more times than I realized I would, that was one of the emotions of the pain body that smoking has masked for me. There were times when I just sat with the anger or the sadness, not judging it, not putting a story to it, just sitting with it and allowing it to be and sometimes it would get bigger but always it got smaller. A number of times this exercise would exhaust me physically however, I would always feel some kind of opening that allowed me to feel the freedom of diminishing the long held pain. I am by no means free of all my pain; I still lose my state of present moment awareness on a daily basis; I continue to get caught in the web of my own pain body but now a space has opened that wasn't there before. This gives me hope and inspires me to continue putting forth the effort of staying present in the now.
I recently came out of a rehab facility for substance addiction after attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for 14 years. Although I identified as an alcoholic all those years, I found that not drinking was not enough. I believed that there was a God, but only as a concept and not a living presence within myself. I became unhappy and desperate. My mind was never at peace. My drinking was the only thing that used to calm my mind, and now even that was no longer an option. So I eventually started drinking and using again, even more so than the first time. I almost died as a result of my substance abuse. It wasn't until a counselor at the rehab facility explained it this way--that I have a disease that wants me dead--that I began to finally comprehend the nature of what I was up against. While in recovery someone there told me about a group of AA meetings in my area focusing on alcoholism, ego and self. I had never heard my disease described this way--alcoholism as a mind-powered disease and how it manifests itself in the day I'm in. I immediately connected with the message. One evening, as I was returning home in my car, I heard the first chapter of Tolle's The Power of Now in the author's own voice on Air America radio. I was instantly transfixed. It was as if the universe had placed exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time in my recovery. I have been listening to audio CD's of the Power of Now and A New Earth for several months now. Each time I listen, the teaching becomes richer, deeper and more relevant. My awakening has absolutely transformed my life in the way I interact with others, in the way others treat me and in the peace and inner joy I have in my daily life. I enjoy spending time with people much more than I ever have. I listen more. Strangers smile at me in the street. I sense I am emitting a positive energy flow that i know people feel. I am at complete and utter peace with myself. As Eckhardt says, through pain we create the opening for change. I am grateful for the suffering I needed to go through to get me to "crack open my ego," to recognize my compulsive alcoholic thinking so I could dis-identify from it and find ultimately find serentiy in my life. Tolle's teachings are a wonderful companion to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They work together synergistically to deepen my understanding of myself and my conscious contact with my higher power. Thank you, Eckhardt, for making such a profound difference in my life. I hope I can pass along my experience, strength and hope to other alcoholics who are still suffering in sobriety. Much love to you, John S (AA traditions do not allow me to release my full last name as this is a program of anonymity. I hope you will understand.)
Eckhart Tolle's teachings re-emphasize what I have learned from a progression of self-learning experiences starting with a 12 Step Program about 30 years ago. Letting Go and trusting something other than myself evolved into an exploration of the body-mind where all information pertaining to self resides. Learning how to focus via the Focusing technique into my body's awareness and messages evolved
into deep tissue work and ultimately the combination of both with Integrated Awareness teachings/workshops. Also, calming my mind and body via meditation and Buddhist teachings. Integrated Awareness work is a profound revelation of static body energy surrounding trauma, known and unknown to the mind. When this stress is released and understood a fuller "relationship with the present moment" is actualized. I am so glad to have heard your program this morning and
for the opportunity to listen to Mr. Tolle speak via your web site.
Integrated Awareness can to located on the web. Barrett Lansing is the founder/teacher.
One becomes a teacher for others without having to do anything! The shift in energy becomes a strong 'power of example'
In the later years of my nursing career I explored Holistic Medicine, Therapeutic Touch,& Alternative Medicine. In retirement I turned to art and focused on abstract painting which became another
meditative process and joy.
In the writings of James Hillman I accepted his vision of the Soul
throwing out an image for one to follow. Sometimes it may be an image or a 'knowing' to make a change, or explore an idea. I am aware of the times I have been 'led'; which I believe is not intellectual but an inspirational event that can happen due to living in the now and in my body's felt sense.
I've always sensed something greater than myself. Always thought it would be egocentric to assume Earth held the only life in the universe. That the world of form was all there was. Never had science been in opposition to religion. However, neither resonated for me at a deep level. While it seemed to me that science was beginning to find some common ground with religion (The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton is a good example), I realized science by it's very nature can't make a leap of faith. Conversely, religious scripture is far to open to interpretation. Ministers were either too traditional or too liberal. I'd found some comfort in Deepak Chopra's early work, but nothing life altering. It wasn't until I came across Tolle's work that something (and this is the key word) resonated with me deeply. I could see myself in it very clearly. Perhaps it is because the wording is so psychological in nature (I grew up in a household full of practitioners). When I began to meditate, my life changed. I no longer needed my Lexapro just to make it though the day. Though alcoholic, I was able to quit, easily. I began eating healthy and exercising regularly for the first time in my life (I've lost about 30 pounds so far. My life is far from perfect, but this was the only spiritual teaching that has opened the door to real and lasting change for me. Interestingly, now I can listen to church sermons, read the tao de ching etc. and see the interconnectedness of it all, and why I enjoy listening to this show and hearing everyone express the many different and necessary voices of god.
As old as I am, I never really had a clear understanding of 'ego' until I read Tolle's "A New Earth".
The point that impressed me the most was the comparison of 'dark' being the ego and 'light' coming from the heart. He states that when we become aware of this point, the light goes on and cark cannot exist in light. It was really an ah-ha moment for me.
I have become more tolerant of people who are egotistical, as I understand that most are not aware of this life condition. Of course, I suppose some are arrogant enough to just not care how they come accross.
Thank you for letting me share.
I have been a student of the "wisdom and enlightenment" teachings for 35 years and have been reading Tolle for a few years now but nothing hit me so precisely as his teachings from his latest book on the "fear body' as I transited thru a change in relationships, country of residence, etc etc and all my "stuff" came up. Tolle's Teachings spoke directly to me and finally helped me "see" what I have so destructively evaded for my whole life. I definitely made a huge shift in consciousness with this realisation which I hope expresses itself through my being in the daily world.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story of the impact that Mr. Tolle and his work have had on my life.
It was just a year ago when the economic crisis was starting to take hold and the realization that life as we had come to know it, was changing in a profound way.
A colleague had just announced that he was leaving our company and I was heartbroken over the news. I left work early that day, and sought comfort in my home and with my family.
I could not find a place of peace for myself that day however until I saw a copy of Mr. Tolle's "A New Earth" sitting on my coffee table. A friend had given me the book months before, with a glowing recommendation, and I had not found the time to read it. That day, there was the book, just when I needed it, waiting for me.
Mr. Tolle's words were a salve to my heart that day. I read his book for the first time cover to cover. I have since read it 3 more times. I bought the book on CD and listen to some portion of his words every week.
I have found his humility and wisdom to be grounding and critical at a time when the world has, in so many ways, gone mad. The lessons on the ego, community and contribution have deeply altered my views of the world and my experience of it.
I am grateful to you, Ms. Winfrey and others who "get" Mr. Tolle's messages, for putting the conversations out here for us to particpate in. Mr. Tolle's form of leadership is what we desperately need in this moment. I have given his book to many others since my discovery of it.
All the best,
I have yet to hear the program, but I really did try several times to read the book. In, I think, the introduction, Mr. Tolle claims to be "enlightened." That put me off immediately, and I could not read the rest, because I was so upset by it!
In my experience, anyone who claims to be enlightened rarely is. If you are an enlightened soul, you know that there is always more to learn, there is always more to the journey.
So I was prejudiced by his statement, and though I usually enjoy this type of reading, and many of my friends recommended the book, I just could not get through it.
Sorry, Mr. Tolle!
Sincerely, Kat Gibbons
While I did not get the chance to hear the program, I just read your introduction to the interview with Tolle. I receive your emails and was intrigued by the fact that "The Power of Now" was the subject of Speaking of Faith.
I too approached the book with not much enthusiasm and some skepticism. I was at a low point in my life, having just gone through some major struggles and health issues. The book was recommended to me as part of my therapy to regain balance in my life and an awareness of myself and of those around me.
So I started reading - quit reading - started reading - quit reading - often throughout the book. Not being one to ever sit still, and be aware of the NOW, it was a challenge to even read the book!
I cannot say I am at the point that I am able to connect with all of what Tolle says - that will take time and lots of space! But I can say that the thought that "now is all I have" and to be aware of that comes to my mind many times a day.
Some of the book's insights, interwoven with my strong faith, have helped me regain a sense of balance in my life. And, perhaps, allowed me to think outside of my traditional spirituality. A good thing to do, I believe.
Nine years ago my sister and I were estranged after the death of my mother. There were legal battles, accusations and tremendous feelings of betrayal. Throughout the past nine years(and the chronological shift from 40 to 50) I had replayed the events endlessly in my mind-reconstructing situations, rewriting responses and replaying the entire event...sometimes even in my dreams. A friend had suggested that I read Tolles book about 4 years ago-I bought it and put it at my bedside. I finally opened it in June of this year. Staying in the "now" although not an entirely new concept, when presented by Mr. Tolle seemed attainable for me. I approached the reconnect with my sister determined to be "present" only to that moment, that conversation, that connection as it stood on its own. It is not an easy task, but it is so amazing to relate to my sister as she and I "stand". When we "remet" for the first time since moms death
as soon as I saw her get out of the car I found myself standing and walking toward her with my arms out stretched-the only thing that mattered was that moment. At that moment I felt more love for her than I have ever experienced with her before. Seriously...We are continuing to build a relationship and although it is not "second nature" yet for me to stay "in the now" the results are so gratifying that I make it my goal with every encounter with her. Its also amazing that she is following suite...we have not spoken about the book or my intention. Pretty cool stuff.
i discovered Eckhart tolle's writings when I was undergoing heavy duty chemotherapy for lymphoma last year...I found little comfort in my way to thinking about Christianity but found his Buddhist-leaning writings most helpful as I struggled to "be here" fully during my illness. I found that actually being present with my illness and fatigue and accepting it as a normal part of suffering in life made it much easier and facilitated spiritual growth in unexpected ways.....
My years in school,growing my intellect,covered a period of 24 years culminating in my becoming a psychiatrist.I thought at that point that what I had gleaned from the years would get me through almost any situation.When I was 47 years old, however, our youngest son as well as another man was taken from the earth by a terrible auto accident. To know the stages of grief is not the same as going through them, I soon discovered.My education and intellect was no match for the multiple and powerful feelings and the parade of painful thoughts that now accosted me. How was I to deal with the needs of myself, my family and my patients while overwhelmed by my loss?
The power of the loss made it impossible to deal with anything but the present instant.Spiritual readings and a spiritual group I had joined were also recommending "staying in the Now". I began to take each day one instant at a time. I began to make progress, if unevenly, as the days passed. Soon it became clear to me that the "why" of the past and the "what if" of the future were causing a useless, almost relentless buzzing of my mind and thoughts until I applied the brakes by returning to Now. Eventually I realized that the Now was actually a Power that was "in me but not of me". Still,it was there to help me whenever I chose it instead of relying on intellect and my past "education".
Soon I would read A Course in Miracles which explained in detail what I had slowly begun to discover. I began to use the concepts of Now and the Power greater than Frank by handing over each session with a patient to Now and the Power. I saw some wonderful things happen in the office of which I was clearly incapable of producing. Although I never abandoned my role or responsibilities as therapist, this new approach brought me healing as well as my patients. Soon I would discern that intellect had much to do with the past and future while intelligence lived only in the Now and was the entrance way to healing. It was also the door to awakening to the beauty and majesty of What We Are.
Thus, your recent communication on Tolle resonated in a powerful way in me. I very much appreciate your sharing Tolle and his books with us.I am also very impressed with your ability to see how the intellect, a very impressive one in your case, can be a two-edged sword sometimes blocking growth and self-realization instead of promoting it. Your open mind is a welcome sight clearly discernible in so many of your communications. Blessings to you,
I've been a spiritual searcher for several years. Along with the search for a spiritual practice that would satisfy me, I also have been looking for a way to become the person I want to be rather than the one who seems to be bent on giving everyone the wrong impression of who I am. About 15 years ago "the answer" seemed imminent when I became a member of the Unitarian Universalist church and was introduced to Landmark Forum. It was a beginning but neither was all I hoped for. I left the church, tried another program (Legacy, very similar to Landmark), and reluctantly decided that I would always be a seeker.
I had been active in the many social justice causes (anti-war, anti-racism, anti-homophobia), but when I met someone who was involved in working FOR peace instead of always being against something, I decided that perhaps being with "peaceful people" would bring me the inner peace I longed for. On more than one occasion, when I voiced this need for inner peace, the person I was talking to told me I needed to read The Power of Now, so I did. Then I heard about A New Earth, so I read that too. But it wasn't until I saw Eckhart Tolle with Oprah that it all came together. I love his energy. He's such a precious little elfin man, so unprepossessing, so calm (not at all robotic, as you know). I have tended to shy away from "religions" that rely on the teachings of one person who claims to have all the answers. Somehow, he is different.
What the teaching has done for me personally is to show me a way that I can become the loving person I want to be simply by becoming constantly mindful of the things I do and say; Eckhart calls it becoming the Awareness that sees what is going on. This was not a new message for me. That first Landmark Forum workshop in 1995 had given me my first look at my strong need to be right, and the price I was paying (loss of love). I even had a bumper sticker on the DASHBOARD of my car: "Would you rather be right or be happy?" The answer was obvious; the means, not so much.
The difference between Eckhart's teaching and what I had already learned may be his simple, direct "instructions." He told me about my ego in terms that I had never heard before, as something that we all have that makes us say and do those things we wish we wouldn't. He says not to complain, not to even THINK a complaint. He says not to judge how others live their lives. Just stop. He's convinced me that I will not become diminished if I'm not always right about everything. Those are my biggest obstacles to happiness. I can't explain why Eckhart has been able to do what other practices have not done. Perhaps it has only been possible because I retired last year and have been traveling the country alone in a small motorhome. I used to say that if it were not for other people I'd be happy. Now I'm alone most of the time but I always welcome the opportunity to test my new-found mindfulness.
Eckhart says that if you read his book and you don't know what he's talking about, you're not ready for the message. Well, I was READY, and I've never felt so at peace. A side benefit has been my belief in what Eckhart says about the universal consciousness: that when more and more people become conscious, the whole world will have to become conscious and we will learn to, no, we will HAVE to love one another. And to help that day come I don't have to march or float petitions or "fight" any more. All I have to do is tap into that consciousness; find the frequency; slip into the stream. It feels great to be alive and I'm becoming the real me, more and more every day.
I began reading the Power of Now in early 2007. I could only read it in small chunks then would need to reflect on one point, and often, return to that point. I wasn't sure I was 'getting' it, but I loved reading what Tolle said so simply and directly, some of which I'd heard from my sufi teachers. It was nice to hear the lessons in a non-denominational way that I could discuss with others not of my same religion.
I had been a smoker for a very many years. In April 2007 I got very sick. Flu, virus, whatever, I was flat out for a couple days. I could barely take care of most basic needs. I didn't smoke for two days, but when I started to come around, still pretty sick, my first thoughts were all of smoking: "where's my cigs, where's a lighter, can I make it outside or should I open a window and smoke there." My next thought was "that's insane when you're so ill!" and in the past many times I've gone ahead and smoked in that very situation, even with that same recognition of how crazy it was, thinking I'm hooked. But this time a new thought came: "those are only thoughts, and I am not my thoughts!" And I was free of it.
From that day I've not smoked another cigarette. It wasn't hard, there was no struggle, and I did not have major withdrawals. If the thought of smoking popped up, I answered it the same way.
If I got nothing more from the book or the teaching that would be hugely enough. But I use it often, in many situations. I don't know that I "understand" anything else of it, but to know I'm not my thoughts has been a major tool of liberation.
I was so thrilled to listen to this program again. I listened to the uncut version 3 times! Heaps of thanks and appreciation to the team.
When it was aired last year I had been meditating with a zen teacher for just 2 months. I began meditating because I had watched Eckhart's series on Oprah and felt that I needed something extra to assist me with what he was teaching. I found it almost impossible to stay in the present moment.
Listening to the program again (and again and again!) I found that I understood what he was saying at a very deep level. I had understood it intellectually before but the meditation I have done since has enabled me to really get what he is saying. It also helped me appreciate how far I have come with the meditation, as the first 9 months was sheer struggle. If I hadn't been with a teacher I doubt if I would have stayed the course.
The day after listening to the program I found myself reacting very strongly to my sister's attacks on our mother. I got caught up in the situation before I could stop myself but did manage to realise it and cut the conversation short. Then I got an attack of the guilts for not supporting my sister in her suffering. It was good to be able to have a framework for understanding the modus operandi of the pain body. It is all too real until we dismantle the belief in it.
Krista! What a terrific job you did interviewing Eckhart! I was introduced to him through Oprah's web event and was able to listen every week. As I listened to you with him I was wishing that you were the one that had done the seminar with him. Such great, insightful questions you asked without imposing too much of yourself. I truly appreciated how you asked him how he had his "moment" of transformation. So many have had those glimmers of inspiration that gradually lead to transformation - but he had a moment when it all happened. Great question. Eckhart's books and teachings have so positively affected so many which so valuable to everyone. The more people who can individually find peace, the closer we become to world peace. I am curious that he does not reflect much on how "his" work is a reflection of other past spiritual teachings. I see him as a modern prophet sharing these ancient ideas with us today in today's language. As I watched "Kung Fu Panda" with my family I was so struck by the wise Turtle teacher who said, "Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. Today is a gift - which is why they call it the present." This is a truism that all the great teachers have tried to share with us. "The kingdom of Heaven is within," as Jesus said and all the others. I sometimes feel with Eckhart that he introduces us to these ideas as if they are new. And perhaps for some that is wise. Referencing other past teachers may turn some away. Thanks for letting me babble. You really did a great job, Krista, with him and I really just wanted to thank you for all the work you do. Oprah's XM radio station has a weekly show called the "Soul Series," hosted either by Oprah, Elizabeth Lesser or Rev. Ed Bacon. It would be great if you could share with us what your thoughts are on the "Soul" with them!
I discovered Tolle nearly ten years ago now. I have read both of his books, I think twice each. I have found him to be totally congruent with the life lessons I have learned through my long-time 12 step work.
Although there is much more to it than this, I tend to boil Tolle's message down to this: Be here now. And this is a mantra I use in my daily life. Whenever my mind drifts to the past or the future, I try to bring it back into the present. Even if all I do is recognize, be aware, that in this present moment my monkey mind is cavorting in the psat or rambling through the future. If nothing else, this awareness serves as a pressure valve to release whatever regret, resentment or remorse I may have about the past, and whatever fear, anxiety or expectation I may have about the future. I can say to myself: Okay, in this moment, my mind is in the past, but recognize it for what it is, something already gone by that will not come again, and there's no need to experience emotional stress around it anymore. LIkewise when I spin off into the future.
I find that this message of be here now has made me far more aware of everything in this moment. As right now I am aware of the tactile feeling of the laptop keys as I type away. I see more things in my vision in the present moment. I notice that I notice things that others with me don't notice. I believe this intensified awareness of the moment is a direct outcome of my study and adoption of Tolle's philosophy, if that is what it is. It also grows out of my long-time 12 step work, for the message is very similar, and there are techniques we learn to help.
To those who have just discovered Tolle, or are just now trying to become more aware of the here and now, learning to live in the present moment as fully as possible, I offer this: It isn't easy to get to that point. It takes a lot of practice. Kind of like learning to play a musical instrument. So just keep at it. Even five minutes a day spent sitting in an easy chair and paying attention to your breath going in and out -- call this meditation if you wish but you can also just call it breath awareness--this will help estblish a sense of the present. I don't find this to be the case all the time now, but more often than not (51 percent of the time maybe?) i experience myself experiencing the here and now, even as I stated earlier if that just means a heightned awareness that my monkey mind is tromping through the past or future and I can watch that like I would watch a movie.
I can't recall if this is directly from Tolle's writing or something I read elesehwere or something I came up with myself through his insipration. Anyway I don't want to take credit for it, so I'll give him the credit: Be here now because full awareness and experience of this moment is the closest thing we mortals can come to experiencing eternity.
A paradox exists: when emptying the self, opening it to the present, Tolle (among others) speaks of this as getting to know the self, the opening of the lotus, if you will. To be is not to be. What bothers me about his view is this, and it was well represented by his experience of the woman talking out loud on the bus, as if to somebody, but to no one. He thinks that is the manifestation of the inner noise that mutes the now, if I understand correctly.
I hear this another way. Mental noise demanding attention would be the echoes futile and frustrating interpersonal patterns (leaving aside illnesses that make the noise pathological, I suppose). A person who knows he or she won't get stuck in a Scylla or Charybdis of interpersonal short-circuits won't have the noise to contend with. And it is in learning to relate better in more situations that we get command over the noise. The inner dialogues are sort of rehearsals or re-hearings, useful interpersonally.
But maybe the "self" is the interactivity, the command of the noise, our ability to orchestrate the feelings that speak up.
It is another Sunday and I am out driving and hear the notice for your show at 3pm. I know your shows are always a gift and I make the emotional space to be willing to be receptive to what is presented. Your voices are so soothing. I am immediately drawn in and centering, allowing the room for what is, to be delivered.
I am stuck by how often we move from place to place with our bodies, but not our consciousnesses. We take up the space, but do not exist in it. He speaks to the existence in each moment. To know the one we call ourself and at the same time allow the room for the pain body, or what may come through us or to us, to exist simultaneously with us but not consume us such that we lose our consciousness.
There was such a peace with him, and with you Krista, asking him the pointed questions such as how noterioty may have changed his life. It has and yet he is not consumed with it. It is merely a part of his existence, it is not his true self.
It is his ability to describe living with the ambiguities of life, witnessing them. To live with the many contrasts and still be in the center, present.
I was so struck by him saying there is no drama in his life anymore. As though he has caught up with himself and has learned to live in his body and his life. It takes time and practice. Cultivation.
I do this work, myself, daily. On the addictions medicine unit we talk about mindfulness, of acknowledging the addiction from the true self. The importance of learning to awaken to habitual nature, the simplicity of breathing in each moment and of practicing gratitude in that awakening.
I breathe, therefore, I am.
Cheers, Krista, I love what you offer the world with your shows.
I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Eckhart Tolle this weekend. I have participated in transformative programs based in the work of Werner Erhard for over 20 years and many of the themes and philosophies discussed and written about by Tolle are accessible through the current incarnation of the work of Werner Erhard through the programs Landmark Education.
The core distinctions such as the internal conversation, perceptions of reality as being only perceptions and how they shape our actions are extremely powerful insights that over 100,000 people a year experience over through the Landmark Forum in three days.
Here is the media link on Landmark Education's site and I think you might find the independent research studies to be very engaging.
Also Dave Logan and Steve Zaffron's book the Three Laws of Performance give business people powerful access to some of these distinctions as well.
I have listened for years and keep up the great work.
As was the case with another poster on this site, I am chagrined that it was Oprah that brought Tolle to my attention. I don't remember how I learned of her discussions with Tolle as I rarely watch her show, but participating in the online discussions was life-changing for me. I am familiar with many faith traditions and have read enough of "new age" thinkers to dismiss their writings as useless to me. Tolle was different. My initial impression was that he was an odd man with an odd laugh. But I was quickly drawn in. I think it is the simplicity of his explanations and the wonderful examples he gives from his own life and the lives of those he has counselled. His lack of ego makes him a remarkable teacher. I have learned tools I now use every day to put aside thoughts that are destructive and to value the present. Listening to him again this week in the Speaking of Faith interview was a wonderful refresher course. He truly has changed my life. There are few people I can say that about.
I was feeling horrible last evening and a friend, Rita, called and told me Tolle was on SOF. I put the radio on and felt a sense of peace. I am going to get the The New Earth book and look at it. I am blind and don't feel very peaceful. Tolle spoke of pain bodies and voices in our heads and mine must be an Olympian--always screaming about being worthless unless you hav ea job, have good health, can travel alone well, and make money. I'm so sick of that voice! I wish Tolle or someone would write a book for blind pepole's specific needs, too. I plan to check out your show more often. It seemed interesting. I wish you everys uccess with it.
When I'm walking down the hall to my office in the morning, I try to prepare for the beginning of the workday by "zooming out" to a spiritual perspective. I know that in a few minutes I'll be writing emails, answering the phone, taking directives from my boss, and all the other stuff that seems to fill every second of time while I'm at work. Unless I find a balance, an ease, a peace with myself and the day before I walk in that door, I'll never get it later.
One concept or technique I've used to slip into that "zen" mindset is to imagine I'm moving through water. Water forces your movements to be slow and fluid. As I walk down that long hall and think of moving through water, I feel my gait change, and I feel an easing in my chest, like I've just been told I can have the day off. Also, focusing on this analogy takes my mind off of whatever I was (inevitably) stewing over or stuck on. By the time I get to the door to our suite, I'm ready to receive whatever the morning has in store for me with an equanimity I wouldn't have otherwise had.
I try to take a walk around my lunch break as well, even if only a short one, so I can practice this and other balancing techniques and reset my perspective for the afternoon.
I am amazed at the synergies of different but similar stories and movements. I became part of "selfleadership.org" five years ago and it teachers similarly to Eckart Tolle's work, A NEW EARTH. I delivered a paper at the 2006 International Conference for Social WOrkers in Hong Kong in which I sated that Descartes idea: "I think therefore I am" is at the heart of perpetual conflict in our world. When what I think defines who I am and what you think defines who you are then we have to fight for who we are. What if the "I am who I am and then I respect therefore the who that you are" then mutual respect and shared responsibleness can bring harmony in our internal and external worlds. In other terms: when my parts are part of the whole of me, and when the whole of me welcomes the whole of you and your parts.....harmony and balance will come. I believe more and more that what ever you want to call it: Buddha Spirit, Consciousness, Jesus, Islam higher Self, Hindu Guru...it is the light in all of us. It is being the "I am who I am" without needed to impose that on anyone else. It is the power of now now. It is being authentically "I am" without imposing or intruding on any other I am that is. It is authentic presence in the now in the past and into the future that heals all.
Christianity's greatest asset is the person and authentic presence of Jesus and its greatest liability is the presentation of Jesus as the ONLY way. The way is "authentic presence in the inner and outer world in the moment which his Jesus! Lost to many churches Jesus is in every person. When Jesus declared "I am the way", his focus was not on any particular religious tenet as many churches would have us believe. Rather his way was the way of being authentically present in the now of each person's day, sacrificing the drive to be reactive to the design to be proactively compassionate toward everyone and everything, and to live in peace internally and relationally regardless of the external threats. Jesus is not the way as any church defines Him. The way is Jesus as He lives so we should live also.
I am a member of the United Church of Christ and a pastor and psychotherapist. The shift in awareness described above is the shift that Eckart is talking about. It is a shift from over and against any parts in me or you to a calm, compassionate, courageous embrace of all people as who they are regardless of anything. This parallels the Dalai Lama's "Unbiased Compassion" It is what everyone has and everyone in the world needs. Let's let the self of compassion and calm rise up and settle down in all of us to the glory of God and the good of humanity. Dr. Donald L Paine, www/parakalein.org
eckart tolle tells us that we are an individual of the past......it is good that we let go of the previous events...bury them and never think of them!
I got married 6 months ago to a wonderful man. We have many similarities along with many differences in our way of thinking. Listening to The Power of Echart Tolles Now brings theses differences into perspective. I am a very forgiving person, some very hurtful bad things have happened to me, but I have always been able to move past this, be the bigger person and forgive, then move on. This is a quality that my husband loves about me, yet it also irritates him to no end, and has caused a few disagreements between us. He sometimes feels that I make myself a door matt for others to step on, because I can just let things go. I would love for him to listen to this pod casts as I think Mr. Tolles has made some sense of this. I agree with everything he says. I do not obsess about the past and the future, I am a pro at turning of the background noise off, turning of the mind and rising above thinking. These are qualities I have, but they are qualities he does not. He is at times full of anger and feeling sorry for things he does not have, he most definite wants what the future has to offer but when it gets here, his ideas of what the future should be has changed so he is always disappointed. He has asked me many times how do you do it? And I do not have an answer for him. It is just who I am. I will end with agreeing with Mr.Tolles you’re inside thinking influences the outside world around you.
Having seen many of Eckhart Tolle's interviews, read book, it all makes sense. I understand it. I have recently started practising observing my thoughts, emotions, reactions. I find that more than observing I am judging myself for having thoughts, emotions, reactions. A voice in my head says..there you are thinking again..there u r feeling angry again. I am really struggling with this. Anyone else feeling this or have felt this in their journey in the past. I would really appreciate any advice on this.
Tolle talks about authentic experiences of reality. He offers an entry into the mind that can see beyond the stories and dramas that we occupy ourselves with. This material is not something that can be debated. Either you experience it or its message will escape you. Tolle himself suggests that his message is a useful addition to a spiritual practice and that is something that is often overlooked. A genuine spiritual practice goes beyond this entry point and has the advantage that you can have a higher approach without the danger of getting lost in the emptiness of the higher and more subtle realms. Someone here mentioned his story about the Zen Master and his student. The student asks "How to enter Zen?" and the Master first asks him, "Do you hear that stream?" At first, the student can't hear it and listens more intently. After some time, he hears a faint whisper of water over rocks and says, "Yes, I hear it." The Zen Master says, "Enter Zen from there." The student has his experience of Zen. This illustrates the mind that can enter the Now. It is not focused on a thought - it puts all its attention on something of the present moment. Hearing or not hearing is beside the point. What matters is the attention to a present reality. Again, this is just the beginning. The higher level would not rely on something external - like a stream - to be present. Attention to Being allows a transition to a more inner and universal Now. This too is just an entry to further experience. You should know that there are real teachers to be found. Each one of us can find the teacher suited to their path. Search until your heart is satisfied, but search with love.