This week was the 8th of 10 classes Oprah is doing with Eckhart Tolle on his book A New Earth. They get better each week. I made notes on a few points that struck me. They follow with some of my own comments.
“You can’t leave your mind, you can only go beyond it”. This after joking about how we would have left a person long ago who treated us like out ego does.
An excellent discussion on overcoming addictions and addictive behaviors. Just being aware of the issue as it arises, seeing it as it is without judgment. In the light of awareness, it will dissolve. One fellow they chatted with overcame a cigarette addiction quickly this way but was taking longer with alcohol and using TV for numbing. (avoiding feeling) Myself, I watch very little TV as it has little left if we screen out programs designed to be lost in. Thats not to say its not fine to escape a little. The challenge is when it takes over our lives and we live in front of the TV. Eat there. Have it on when company comes over.
This too shall pass, the old Sufi saying. A reminder that it all changes so if we can learn to just be OK with that, we will drop a lot of suffering. We often try to hold on, wanting it to ‘be as it always was.’ It Never is.
One questioner asked about how we tell between a decision based on ego and one arising from within. Eckhart observed that an ego decison will have an element of fear, anger, or angst associated with it. Something deeper will arise in peace and confidence. We will have a sense of knowing its the right move, even if there is some difficulty with the consequences. They didn’t talk about the tendency for the ego to then step in and second guess with doubt etc. So the key is in being alert to how it was at the time of the decison, then you can easily cast aside what arises against that later.
They then had a very interesting discussion about worry vs doing. Many spiritually oriented people have this idea to “Don’t worry, be happy” – which is correct, but then they wait for it to work out. They don’t get that they have to DO. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, in order to be you must do. Without doing, being ceases. The way for things to happen is in doing. Money, like any other form of energy, flows with doing. So yes, don’t worry, but also yes, act. As we drop our resistance to what is, we lose the worry aspect. This makes us far more effective doers and avoids wasting our energy on nothing. When we resist, we create obstacles OR we stop acting. In the east, there are 3 gunas or qualities to all things – sattva (purity), rajas (energy/motion) and tamas (inertia). It is the shifting in balance of these 3 qualities that give rise to the variety of expression. Resistance requires energy so has a rajas characteristic. Not doing is inertia or tamas. It is notable that not doing is the worst, yet is a hallmark of many spiritual people who somehow think that avoiding is superior. Avoiding a decision is a decision in itself and points to denial.
“you merge with the action and the solution will arise” Of course, they don’t mean identification with the doing, they mean complete non-resistance or allowing. What Tolle calls acceptance.
“When we are in alignment, we get the right job and the right income.” There are no issues with over-extending or debt. Of course, most of us have some areas of our life that need work (laughs).
Someone else asked about how to tell if a goal is ego driven or arising from within, from our purpose. Eckhart said this takes practice. When we achive the goal and are not satified, we know it was ego driven. They didn’t touch on the difference between craving and desire or passion. (hmm haven’t posted on that) Craving, a kind of insatiable need, is a hallmark of ego. Passion or desire that satisfies is a hallmark of living to our purpose.
There was also some talk about rock stars and that they are because and they last because they have to. They are driven by purpose to that. Fame was not the goal.
“If you accept the unacceptable, you will go deep very quickly”. You accept it because it is. Not because you condone it, but because it is. There is great freedom and power in that. They talked of examples of prison as a place where peole can be liberated. Satyam Nadeen awake in jail, for example. Tolle awoke through suffering. I took an easier path (laughs).
Looking forward to next week where they get into purpose.