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"All language is metaphor. The I AM is an abstraction, a metaphoric appearance produced by a chemical reaction. There is neither bondage nor the haver of, or an "I" which possess it."Sat, February 17, 2007 - 12:08 PM permalink - 0 comments
"THUS THE PSYCHOSOMATIC SUBJECT IS NOT REALITY." (Spanda Karikas)
"Only a water droplet in the ocean (I AM) imagines it is separate and has a will, volition, lessons, a mission, or a purpose. If everything is the ocean (THE SUBSTANCE), how could "the all" have a will, a mission, or a purpose?
"I HAVE TAKEN AN AXE TO THE I AM." (Nisargadatta Maharaj)
"I" am in no way suggesting that "doing" a "spiritual" practice or following a "spiritual path" is bad, however, what must be grasped are the following:
1. WHO (WHAT "I") IS DOING THE PRACTICE?
2. WHAT DOES THE "I" THAT IS DOING THE PRACTICE WANT TO ATTAIN, GET, ACHIEVE, OR BECOME?
3. WHY WOULD AN "I", WHICH IS NOT, WANT TO ACHIEVE, GET, BECOME, OR HAVE A "STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS" THAT IS IMPERMANENT AND IS NOT?"
"Spiritual Paths" are the techniques, the approaches the ways or means, if you will, by which "you" as a participant reach these high, lofty "spiritual states". "Spiritual" paths not only include techniques or approaches, but also underlying precepts that manifest in the form of both implicit as well as explicit rules. For example, from celibacy, poverty, and charity to mantras, meditation, and service to God or being open, loving, and forgiving are just a few of the possibilities. However, what is spirituality or a spiritual path other than a VEILED remedy?
Nisargadatta Maharaj put it this way:
"I do not accept paths.....All paths lead to unreality; paths are creations within the scope of knowledge, therefore, paths and movements cannot transport you into reality. Because their function is to enmesh you within the dimension of knowledge, while reality prevails prior to it." (The Nectar of Immortality, p. 40)
"This provocative statement provides us with more than we might ever need. For if "Spiritual Paths" ultimately can only entrap, giving us a like-minded community a spiritual life(style) which enhances the illusion that eventually we will "get" something, the path serves not only as a veil, but also as a trap. So many people after so many years of following a path have felt and continue to feel trapped at worst, or basically the same at best. Moreover, the question arises, "If all is illusion, whereby the starting point is the "belief" called I AM, (another illusion), how can one illusion, which originates in the place where the spiritual path begins (with the false concept I AM, i.e., I am doing, going to attain or have something) lead you out of the illusion of I am? The answer to these rather blasphemous questions, which we dare to ask, leaves us with several important answers:
1) ALL spirituality and spiritual paths have as their beginning point I am.
2) ALL spirituality is part of the illusion, or mirage, and as such, each form of spirituality contains within it the implicit promise of some altered reality----where "I" can be, do, or have _________ (fill in the blank). Thus it hooks people into believing that "they" will attain or get something like a state, which is also part of the transient mirage.
3) Spiritual paths, too, are part of the mirage or illusion and hence keep us in their wishful, hopeful context, trapped within the mirage." (from "YOU ARE NOT: Beyond the Three Veils of Consciousness")
"Later I understood the meaning of spirituality and came to the conclusion that it is as discardable as dishwater. Therefore, I am in no way concerned with spirituality." (Nisargadatta Maharaj, The Nectar of Immortality, p. 177)
[Incidentally, Eckhart speaks of the same, just uses different "words" (pointers) to "point" to the SAME thing.]
"Now, not to throw out the baby (spirituality) with the bathwater (spiritual paths), we can begin to understand that attempts at "spirituality" through a "spiritual path" to attain or get something are ego driven or better said, driven by the illusionary body's nervous system and its desire to survive. It is, therefore, suggested that to understand this could be enough. This "I" do not know, however, the survival need of the I AM is so strong and deep that to "get" this understanding, a little enquiry might be helpful. Regarding meditation, Nisargadatta Maharaj said this: "A little daily housecleaning might be helpful."
"But for all, including the enquirer, negator and seeker, I-dentity, too, ultimately must be discarded. When asked what is the most difficult to discard, Yogananda Paramahansa said it is the spiritual ego.
"Not only does "spirituality" and the "spiritual path" contain the illusion of an "I" getting something, but psychology, too, which has now been sanctified and is often followed with the fervor of a religion also imagines and believes so much in its theories, conclusions, diagnoses, treatment, and unquestioned slogans and retoric that analysts and therapists do not realize that these theories and abstractions are manufactured through the I am by a chemical reaction. Moreoever, they are inferences; abstractions of abstractions of abstractions with so much more omitted than "seen," so that naturally, the theories would have to be limited, inaccurate, and in a word, unreal.
"When asked about analyzing psychological material for meaning, Ramana Maharishi replied this way: "When cleaning your house, it is not necessary to analyze the dirt."
So, all of this is nothing more than getting beyond the SPIRITUAL VEIL MADE OF CONSCIOUSNESS by exploring what "spirituality" calls techniques, signposts, or approaches on the spiritual path, but which is really nothing more than an OBSTACLE to Reality. Thus, the 3 veils of consciousness are 1) the body and nervous system, 2) Spirituality, and 3) a personal enlightenment, where the seeker is propelled beyond the delusions of enlightenment and WHO AM I? into the realization of THAT ONE SUBSTANCE.
Not only have "I" experienced what has been explained above, when "I" say "experience", "I" am talking about something that is NOT "intellectual". For years, "I" suspected that going from being a devout Catholic to a spiritual newager (sort of, as I read all the books) to realizing (at the time when "I" was frustrated and "The Power of Now" had just came out) that everything "I" was reading regarding spirituality was yet another "form" of the "same ol" that "I" had intellectualized before. It wasn't anything "new". And it all makes so much more sense, when realizing that there is nothing to add or take away from what we already are (THAT ONE SUBSTANCE).....thereby putting away the "tools" that no longer "helped" me....from one "trap" to another, was all "I" was bumping into, until integrating and experiencing Reality.....glimpsing it and letting go of resistence. That is the key, so it seems.
How Thoughts Become Body and Events: We now have scientific evidence that our thoughts trigger emotions which in turn become body matter through the work of glands and chemicals such as neuropeptides, adrenaline and others. Hence, our entire body is continually constructed and destroyed from our thoughts. The scientific rule is that whenever an emotion is registered by the body, various emotional chemicals are manufactured by various glands and these in turn have various constructive or destructive effects on the body.Sat, February 3, 2007 - 4:31 PM permalink - 1 comment
Emotions are energy in motion. They are the body's way of registering a thought as a thing that can be experienced. Haven't you ever noticed that two people can be watching the same thing but they both react with very different emotions? It is because they both have different mental interpretations of what they see. It always works like this: thoughts create emotions (energy in motion) and these emotions manifest into physical using the Universal Laws of Attraction and Cause and Effect.
Emotions, if you are wondering, actually arise from your etheric body, your energy body, the one that keeps your 'flesh' animated, the one that leaves when you 'die'. A thought moves energy in your etheric body which you experience as emotion. To complete the cycle of experience, the emotions do two things. (1) They trigger certain specific glands in your body. These glands then release various chemicals and hormones that have various constructive or destructive effects on your body. (2) They attract and create external conditions and opportunities that resonate with their particular nature so that the thought can be fully experienced.
From the above explanation, you can now see how your body literally represents every single emotion and thought that you have ever had. You very literally become what you think about. Quantum physics now fully explains beyond any doubt that our thoughts are the things that group together and collapse energy packets from a probability into physical matter in a given place and time. When you are stressed, various body processes are activated. On the short-term your thought process and muscular tension is messed with. On the long term you suffer various serious health conditions. In fact, an analysis of the cells of a perpetually stressed out person always shows far more toxins within the cell than those of a person who is mostly relaxed and balanced. As you will see below, your thoughts also scientifically cause the environment and conditions in your life, such as your financial state, health and relationships.
Feelings vs. Emotions: Here is a quick paragraph to clear up a common confusion. You have emotions and feelings. These are two very different things. Emotions are your energy field's reaction to your thoughts. Feelings are communication from your soul/spirit. Instinct, gut feeling, intuition and so on are all feelings. Feelings are not emotions, although the two are often confused. Feelings do not arise from your mind, nor are they reactions of your thoughts. Emotions are reactions to your thoughts. Once again, emotions are your energy field's reaction to your thoughts, but feelings are direct communication from your soul/spirit.
More on How Thoughts Become Situations around You: The world that you live in comes about in a certain way. Most people do not understand how it comes about, moment by moment, exactly. In fact, very, very few people understand how each moment is created. Understanding how your world comes into being, and your exact role in it, is what shall begin to get you out of the trap of suffering and shortage and into freedom and abundance.
Your Energy Centers (Chakras): Now that you are becoming a master of energy, let us see how you are constructed in even more detail, as this has everything to do with your entire life! You are not constructed haphazardly. You are an energy system that is intricately put together with purpose and exactness. You are not a random ball of energy. You are a column of energy with several centers. Each center has a specific function and characteristics. Herein lays the keys to the manifestation of your successes and failures, diseases and health, and much more.
In the west, they are called energy centers; in the east they are called chakras. Although there are many energy centers and points within you, the major ones that we are interested in right now are the seven main ones that form your earthly being and feed all the thousands of minor ones. To put it simply, your spirit (life-force) gives life to your body and to your experiences and creations through these seven centers. So their function is to bring continuous life/energy from spirit into matter. As you will soon see, each has a specific function, characteristics, a mapping to various body parts, and so on. And each can be functioning well, be blocked and losing energy and causing failure and disease within its particular mapping, and it can also be enhanced and increased in power and vibration. You will see all this later on in this book.
Your energy centers are located within your energy body, your etheric body, the one that animates your flesh body and leaves when you 'die'. You cannot find your energy enters by operating on a body with a knife. In short, your energy centers, chakras, are your soul's interface, connector and adaptor to your body and the world. They are the channels through which soul/spirit becomes manifest as matter for the sake of experiencing itself. Chakras are the channels of spirit-to-matter manifestation. Thought, words and actions are the tools of manifestation. To manifest simply means to express as matter. You will see how they all work together. For now, here is a summary overview of these centers (more details later, tailored specifically to your situation):
Here is something that will help you tremendously in your understanding of your life and transforming it as you wish: In this universe, created by Infinite Intellegence, absolutely nothing exists in chaos, disorder and accident. And you are created in the image and likeness of this Creator (remember, you are spirit with a body that responds exactly to mind instructions).
Being one with Infinite Intellegence, you are infinitely powerful, abundant, peaceful and perfect in the exact same way. You may have forgotten this, but evolution and growth is all about remembering what you already are. Step by step, you realize higher aspects of yourself. You remember. As such, there is nothing new to learn. All you are doing is unlearning the original error, step by step, at whatever rate you choose.
Everything works perfectly with precision according to universal laws. It is impossible to create chaos, as that would mean undoing the eternal design put forth by an infinitely intelligence life force. However, it is very possible and commonplace to judge things as chaotic. When you judge a thing as chaotic (something that 'should not have happened'), you throw your very own self into chaos.
Your judgment of life's situations as chaotic things happening to you is what strips you of your power to see the reason behind the situation and to respond effectively and positively to it. At this judgment point, you create stress in your life. You also split your personality into two, one which you wish to hide and run away from, and another that you feel has been victimized. This is the root cause of all disease, suffering and pain and it is totally unnecessary and preventable.
Your illusionary perception can be corrected by your decision to acknowledge that everything is in order. Once you acknowledge that, you can now look behind the event to see the reason. Within that reason is a seed to your highest growth, healing and accomplishment! Indeed, healing is merely the revealing and acknowledgement of the perfect truth underneath all the illusion.
Your Energy Center (Chakra) Cycles: Energy Seasons of your Life: Have you ever noticed how everything in life is cyclic? Plants grow in seasons; the weather is in seasons; the moon and sun work in cycles; and so on. We humans also have many cycles operating within us and in conjunction with the rest of nature. Right now, we shall look at the energy center (chakra) cycles and how they operate in your life.
As you now know, you have 7 major chakras. As you may have heard, the first 5 years of a child are very important and formative. The medical and psychological professions have noticed that. But as you will see, it is actually the first 7 years that count so fundamentally. It is only that the last two years contain aspects that are not yet highly developed at this stage of our evolution even in adults (these are intuition and inner sense from the sixth chakra, and universal consciousness from the seventh chakra), and so they were initially ignored.
Every year when a chakra comes into primary focus in one of your two cycles detailed below, you have a chance to (1) experience its powers, (2) heal and advance its powers, and (3) experience its blockages so that you may heal them.
Your growth cycles in two ways (also, see chart below): (1) you have major chakra growth cycles that are seven years long each. When you are born, your first major cycle is dominated by first chakra issues (family and social bonds, belonging, and basic support). After that, the next seven years (from your 6th birthday) are dominated by second chakra issues (relationships, creativity and power). This cycle goes on until you get to the seventh chakra in your 43rd to 49th year (that is from your 42nd birthday). You then start again after that in your first chakra.
(2) Every year you also have a chakra theme year that works together with your chakra cycle. Your first year of life is a first chakra theme year. Your second year (after your first birthday) is a second chakra theme year. And so on. After you get to your 7th chakra, you start again, and the cycle goes on this way. For example, in your first year of life, your major cycle is a first chakra year, and so is your theme. So your total learning and formation will be highly on the family bonding angle. On your second year, you are still in a first chakra major cycle, but your theme now shifts to the second chakra. So you develop the second, from within the first. Do you see how they work together? Take an example of the teenage years, which everyone can relate to. From the age of 14 (which is the start of your fifteenth year) to the age of 21 (which ends your 21st year on earth), you are in the third chakra (unfolding of your personality, decision-making and self-esteem) as the major cycle. This is where all that so called 'rebellion' comes from, the natural cycle of individuating and learning cause and effect through your own decision-making. Now, here is a chart showing the cycles as they work in your life:
The Energy Centers (Chakras) in Detail: "Let us create Man in our own image and likeness." – Genesis - So far, we have seen scientific and spiritual evidence that you are a being of light, an energy being. That is your construction, a construction that literally means your power is limitless, your safety is guaranteed, your invincibility is indestructible, your thought power unquestionable, and your worth infinite. We have seen how the universe is one large ocean of energy, from a scientific standpoint, literally explaining the spiritual teaching that we are all One. Now let us see what this directly means in your life, strengths, limitations and growth.
"There is no order of difficulty...Forget not that it has been your decision to make everything that is natural and easy for you impossible. If you believe ... is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in order of difficulty ... is centered on this." - A Course in Miracles “Is it not said in your law [religious texts] that ye are gods?" - Jesus
Basic Principle: The basic principle here is very simple. And this is what it is: each chakra radiates timely energy streams (e-motions) that correspond to its functions. These emotions are literally energy in motion. They are specific to the time of the experience. For example, when someone expresses their love for you, your fourth chakra increases its rotation and vibration, and this is experienced as the love emotion within the heart region. All emotions are in-the-moment. Now, you have several choices. You can (1) let the emotion flow fully to its full completion and accept and own it, watching it with detachment (2) or you can try to suppress it or disown it (3) or you can get all entangled in it and lose your presence.
When you go through it with choice 1 above, you live fully in the moment and it is complete. No blockages develop, the full lesson is learnt or the full joy experienced, and that chakra remains healthy and in fact grows from that experience. Always remember that an emotion can only be released or worked with in the moment it is happening and not in memory. You cannot block it and go to deal with it later in your own privacy. The only way to work with past emotional blockages is to re-enact the past moment so that the emotions are back in the moment of Now.
When you go through the emotion with choice 2 above, you cause a blockage. You did not express your emotion. For example, if as a child your father told you 'you will never amount to anything', you experienced an emotion at that time. Most likely, you wanted to tell him 'no way, that's crap', and you also wanted to tell him his attack was causing anger in you, and you wanted to find out whether there was really something wrong with you, why he was saying these things to you. But most likely you did not do these things because you were afraid of a beating or punishment. And this is how a blockage is developed.
What does this have to do with your money, health and relationships? Absolutely everything! Money comes from prosperity. Prosperity is a feeling of having it all, being in the flow. This feeling attracts corresponding situations and opportunities. And this is eventually experienced physically as money and wealth. Prosperity is an inside job. Success is the person you become, not a point you chase after. Health is a feeling of well being, a feeling of being wholesome. This feeling is expressed and experienced externally as good health and vitality. Stress kills you because it is the opposite of that feeling. Relationships are an expression of unity. Unity comes from love. You cannot feel ultimate love unless you feel complete and love yourself wholly. Only when you are complete and intact, when you feel perfectly worthy and self-loving, can you be a complete entity capable of merging with others without issues of attack and victimization coming up.
Third Energy Center (Solar Plexus Chakra): Personality and Individuality, Decision-Making, Self-Responsibility and Self-Esteem - (These remain healthy or develop disease based on the wholeness of this chakra):
Body Parts Powered By It:
Mid of spine
Issues Powered By It:
Knowing how to create your reality using the laws of cause and effect
Personality and individuality
Causes and Effects of Dysfunction in It:
Inability to make decisions
Using various ways to dis-empower others, such as negative criticism
Lack of experience with the laws of cause and effect
Lack of honor for yourself
Lack of self-confidence
Fear of intimidation
Resenting taking responsibility over others who may not be able to help
themselves in certain situations
Ignoring your gut instinct
Lack of respect for self and others
Fear of making decisions
Fear of criticism
Taking away decision-making right and power from others
Pegging your self-esteem and self-confidence to external things and people
Any form of giving away your power over yourself to others people and things
Fear of failure
Being controlled by other people's expectations
Dependency on others to appreciate you
Fear of having responsibility over yourself and your life
Fear of loss
This energy center deals with development of personality and individuality, decision-making, self-responsibility and self-esteem. Healthy development in this center enables you to trust your decisions and feel safe making them. It also enables you to lead a life that feels fulfilling to you. The more developed this center is in you, the less blocked it is, the higher your self-esteem will be. A person with self-esteem shortages tends to attract relationships and conditions that mirror their low self-worth back to them.
This center is also the source of instinct, or gut-feeling. Instinct is a natural feeling that comes from within, from your soul, regarding what is happening in your life at the moment. It is a communication that is always right and timely. It is always there, but few hear it because of all the mental and emotional interference they carry around them. Low self-esteem and poor decision-making development are especially blocking to this instinctive feelings. A person with low self-esteem and decision-making capability is unable to trust and follow their instincts because they have given away their power to external entities, always wondering whether they will fail in the eyes of others. Instinct from the soul will always guide you toward the right path for you. It cannot be wrong, for it is from a source that defies space and time, the part of you that is closest to The Source, the Creator. Instinct always guides you to take the next greater step. Sometimes this step may be to the unknown, and therefore only those without fear of external factors can follow it consistently.
This chakra calls for yet another move away from group thought, of course. It is a step further towards individuating. Without breaking away from group thought, your self-esteem cannot mature fully because self-esteem literally means moving the power base from external factors and authority to internal guidance and security. External factors always change so the only true security that can last you a lifetime is to be found deep within you. Without internal power, you would be unable to effect your life situations to your satisfaction and comfort on the long term. So moving away from group thought is not a selfish and arrogant thing to do, as long as you don't do it by attacking that group thought. Just as much as you have a right to have your own system, so does everyone else. People do not have to agree with you, and in fact fighting to prove yourself right is a power-eroding battle to yourself and others. It is absolutely pointless and damaging to all involved. All you are asked to do is put your foot down to the universe and claim your own say, no more, no less. Remember, the world will always reflect your internal composition back to you. It is the law of cause and effect.
If as a child and throughout life you avoided or were not given the chance to make decisions and experience your own power, you would not have had the chance to see that you really do have power and to experience that your choices have outcomes. You would not have had the chance to experience the laws of cause and effect. Hence you would now find it hard to believe that you have power and your choices always give corresponding outcomes. The world may look like a random place to you, a place where luck and misfortune places a role.
Unfortunately, most of our society today strips its children of the necessary experience of decision-making when this chakra is most active in their growth as a theme year chakra (in their 3rd and 10th years) and much more importantly as the major cycle chakra, which is from their 14th birthday (their 15th year) to their 22nd birthday (the end of their 21st year). This leaves them quite dependent and incapable of making decisions they can believe in and experience effects of. These are the teen years during which children naturally feel the urgency to learn this skill. Now, it does not help that the parent criticizes their decisions and tells them they are incapable of making decisions because they are 'too young to know'. Parents and society in general has tended to criticize the teenage years and put as much control as possible, which is very counter-productive in many ways. Sure, teens need guidance, but exerting no-choice control and telling a teen that they are incapable of making good decisions so they must be made for them is, as our societies now prove by result, not the way forward. A person must have a chance at making their own decisions (with guidance but not interference), even if they may be mistaken, or else they will not learn the cause and effect nature of choices, the power of choices, or even the existence of choice-making ability. The law of cause and effect, of reaping and sawing, is what runs this entire universe. Even quantum physics and other branches of science attest to this. And the years to naturally learn of this law by first hand experience, without interference, is from the 15th to the 21st year. Failure to do so vastly dis-empowers a person for they do not believe that their decisions have any effect, they do not believe they are capable of creating their own lives, and this ends up victimizing them for years to come until they learn the hard way that cause and effect is the way of the world. As a man thinketh, so is he. How else can you learn this naturally without experiencing it consciously without external interference and pressure?
Relationships - True Love and the Transcendence of DualityFri, January 26, 2007 - 11:01 AM permalink - 0 comments
by Kim Eng copyright September 2004 source Eckhart Teachings
During my travels, one of the most frequently asked question is "What is it like to be in relationship with an enlightened being?" Why this question? Perhaps they have the idea or image of an ideal relationship, and want to know more about it. Perhaps their mind wants to project itself to a future time when they, too, will be in an ideal relationship and find themselves through it.
What is it like to be in relationship with an enlightened being?
As long as I have the idea in my head "I have a relationship" or "I am in a relationship," no matter with whom, I suffer. This I have learnt.
With the concept of "relationship" come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a "relationship" should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer. The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.
How we relate, or rather how well we love, depends on how empty we are of ideas, concepts, expectations.
Recently, I asked Eckhart to say a few words on the ego's search for "love relationships." Our conversation quickly went deeper to touch upon some of the most profound aspects of human existence. Here's what he said:
ET: What is conventionally called "love" is an ego strategy to avoid surrender. You are looking to someone to give you that which can only come to you in the state of surrender. The ego uses that person as a substitute to avoid having to surrender. The Spanish language is the most honest in this respect. It uses the same verb, te quiero, for "I love you" and "I want you." To the ego, loving and wanting are the same, whereas true love has no wanting in it, no desire to possess or for your partner to change. The ego singles someone out and makes them special. It uses that person to cover up the constant underlying feeling of discontent, of "not enough," of anger and hate, which are closely related. These are facets of an underlying deep seated feeling in human beings that is inseparable from the egoic state.
When the ego singles something out and says "I love" this or that, it's an unconscious attempt to cover up or remove the deep-seated feelings that always accompany the ego: the discontent, the unhappiness, the sense of insufficiency that is so familiar. For a little while, the illusion actually works. Then inevitably, at some point, the person you singled out, or made special in your eyes, fails to function as a cover up for your pain, hate, discontent or unhappiness which all have their origin in that sense of insufficiency and incompleteness. Then, out comes the feeling that was covered up, and it gets projected onto the person that had been singled out and made special - who you thought would ultimately "save you." Suddenly love turns to hate. The ego doesn't realize that the hatred is a projection of the universal pain that you feel inside. The ego believes that this person is causing the pain. It doesn't realize that the pain is the universal feeling of not being connected with the deeper level of your being - not being at one with yourself.
The object of love is interchangeable, as interchangeable as the object of egoic wanting. Some people go through many relationships. They fall in love and out of love many times. They love a person for a while until it doesn't work anymore, because no person can permanently cover up that pain.
Only surrender can give you what you were looking for in the object of your love. The ego says surrender is not necessary because I love this person. It's an unconscious process of course. The moment you accept completely what is, something inside you emerges that had been covered up by egoic wanting. It is an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It is what you had been looking for in the love object. It is yourself. When that happens, a completely different kind of love is present which is not subject to love / hate. It doesn't single out one thing or person as special. It's absurd to even use the same word for it. Now it can happen that even in a normal love / hate relationship, occasionally, you enter the state of surrender. Temporarily, briefly, it happens: you experience a deeper universal love and a complete acceptance that can sometimes shine through, even in an otherwise egoic relationship. If surrender is not sustained, however, it gets covered up again with the old egoic patterns. So, I'm not saying that the deeper, true love cannot be present occasionally, even in a normal love / hate relationship. But it is rare and usually short-lived.
Whenever you accept what is, something deeper emerges then what is. So, you can be trapped in the most painful dilemma, external or internal, the most painful feelings or situation, and the moment you accept what is, you go beyond it, you transcend it. Even if you feel hatred, the moment you accept that this is what you feel, you transcend it. It may still be there, but suddenly you are at a deeper place where it doesn't matter that much anymore.
The entire phenomenal universe exists because of the tension between the opposites. Hot and cold, growth and decay, gain and loss, success and failure, the polarities that are part of existence, and of course part of every relationship.
KE: Then it's correct to say, we can never get rid of the polarities?
ET: We cannot get rid of polarities on the level of form. However, you can transcend the polarities through surrender. You are then in touch with a deeper place within yourself where, as it were, the polarities no longer exist. They continue to exist on the outer level. However, even there, something changes in the way in which the polarities manifest in your life when you are in a state of acceptance or surrender. The polarities manifest in a more benign and gentle way.
The more unconscious you are, the more you are identified with form. The essence of unconsciousness is this: identification with form, whether it is an external form (a situation, place, event or experience), a thought form or an emotion. The more attached to form, the more unsurrendered you are, and the more extreme, violent or harsh your experience of the polarities becomes. There are people on this planet who live virtually in hell and on the same planet there are others who live a relatively peaceful life. The ones who are at peace inside will still experience the polarities, but in a much more benign way, not the extreme way in which many humans still experience them. So, the way in which the polarities are experienced does change. The polarities themselves cannot be removed, but one could say, the whole universe becomes somewhat more benevolent. It's no longer so threatening. The world is no longer perceived as hostile, which is how the ego perceives it.
KE: If awakening or living a life in an awakened state does not change the natural order of things, duality, the tension between the opposites, what does living a life in the awakened state do? Does it affect the world, or only one's subjective experience of the world?
ET: When you live in surrender, something comes through you into the world of duality that is not of this world.
KE: Does that actually change the outer world?
ET: Internal and external are ultimately one. When you no longer perceive the world as hostile, there is no more fear, and when there is no more fear, you think, speak and act differently. Love and compassion arise, and they affect the world. Even if you find yourself in a conflict situation, there is an outflow of peace into the polarities. So then, something does change. There are some teachers or teachings that say, nothing changes. That is not the case. Something very important does change. That which is beyond form shines through the form, the eternal shines through the form into this world of form.
KE: Is it right to say that it is your lack of "reaction against," your acceptance of the opposites of this world, that brings about changes in the way the opposites manifest?
ET: Yes. The opposites continue to happen, but they are not fueled by you anymore. What you said is a very important point: the "lack of reaction" means that the polarities are not fueled. This means, you often experience a collapse of the polarities, such as in conflict situations. No person, no situation is made into an "enemy."
KE: So, the opposites, instead of becoming strengthened, become weakened. And perhaps this is how they begin to dissolve.
ET: That's right. Living in that way is the beginning of the end of the world.
The Age of Awakening
by Kim Eng copyright August 2003 source Eckhart Teachings
The evolution of consciousness is inevitable. It seems we are living in an age of awakening. This may not be immediately apparent when we watch the daily news and witness the violence, the warfare, the horrific suffering that humans inflict on each other. Here it seems that nothing has changed or things are getting worse. What we are witnessing in fact is the unconsciousness of the human mind playing itself out in front of our eyes. This is the world we create when we are unaware of the one source that sustains and connects us all, and instead identify with opinions, judgments, labels and mental positions. The one source, the one consciousness that is prior to and beyond any form - color of skin, gender, culture, religion, or even any thought the mind can think.
When we witness world events on television, we are in fact seeing only the effect of human unconsciousness. However, it is only in yourself where the prime cause originates and thus can be dissolved. Only then a new world can come into existence.
KE: Large numbers of people are beginning to awaken spiritually at this time. Many of them look to a teacher, such as yourself, for guidance and support. Although ultimately nobody can do it for you, a teacher is no doubt helpful - some would say essential - during the process of awaking. In the face of such overwhelming demand for spiritual truth, why is it that you have substantially reduced your public teaching for the remainder of 2003? (except October, see Eckhart's "upcoming events" at www.eckharttolle.com). What is your message to all those awakening beings who rely on you for guidance?
ET: Don't rely on me. Whoever and whatever you rely on externally will let you down sooner or later. All forms dissolve, change, die, leave you. Many people feel they are being drawn to me, the "form" of Eckhart, but they are wrong. They confuse form with essence. When people come to a talk, an intensive, or a retreat, they don't come to be with me, although this is how it may look on the surface. They come to be with themselves, or rather, to be themselves more fully. Something shines through the form of Eckhart, and it is one with the essence of who you are. The peace, stillness, joy or intense aliveness you feel in the presence of the spiritual teacher emanates from the one Source within yourself, inseparable from who you are at the deepest level. The teacher cannot give it to you. He or she reveals to you what is already there, within yourself.
The teaching is continuously available to you through the books, tapes, videos. For those who are ready to awaken, they are just as powerful as the physical presence of the teacher. But beware of excessive attachment to these things and the constant need for more, which is not a true need but a mind-created one. One needs to see when the point has been reached where that which is helpful, that which puts you in touch with the truth of who you are, has served its purpose. Buddha had the beautiful analogy of the "raft crossing the river" - once you have crossed the river, you don't carry the raft around with you. As long as you need the raft, the teaching is there.
Through the books, tapes, videos, the teaching is there in its full power, and that teaching, if you allow it, will put you in touch with the only living teacher there is: your own innermost being. But the egoic mind keeps saying: I need, I want, I must have. The mind's need for more is a way of avoiding and truly being with the teaching. Which is here now.
KE: You are already yourself, fully.
ET: Yes, nothing essential can or needs to be added.
KE: What is the nature of that self that we already are? Can one say anything about it?
ET: One can only point; but not explain or define. One can say: space, or inner spaciousness, is who you are at the deepest level. It is utterly still, yet vibrantly alive. I have nothing to give you except that: space. But since space is the essence of who you are, I have nothing to give you (Eckhart chuckles). If you look for anything other than space in a spiritual teacher, you will be disappointed, let down. Whatever he or she gives you, it will never be enough. Nothing in the realm of form will satisfy you for long.
KE: Yes, form is duality. Therefore, at sometime or another, the opposite must occur.
ET: When you internally allow each moment to be as it is, when you witness your thoughts and emotions as they happen, space arises within you - stillness, peace. That is who you are. That is beyond the opposites.
Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose - An Interview with Eckhart Tolle
by Kathy Juline copyright 2006 source Science of Mind
"Reprinted from the October 2006 issue of Science of Mind magazine. Used with permission."
Eckhart Tolle’s first bestseller, The Power of Now, has riveted readers with its enlightened insights. Staying in the present moment, he says in that book, is the way to eliminate the suffering created through identifying with the mind. In his latest book, A New Earth, Tolle continues his theme of present moment awareness, elaborating on it with his unique clarity and depth, and he also explores how an awakened consciousness aligns us with our life purpose. We have both an inner and an outer purpose, according to Tolle. Our outer purpose changes with circumstances and necessarily involves time, whereas our inner purpose remains always the same: It is to be absolutely present in whatever we do and so let our actions be guided and empowered by awareness, the awakened consciousness, rather than controlled by the egoic mind. We fulfill our destiny and realize our purpose when we awaken to who we are: conscious Presence.
Tolle has taken the essence of spiritual wisdom from such great teachers as Jesus and Buddha, and put this wisdom into meaningful expression for today, just as Ernest Holmes has done through his formulation of a Science of Mind and Spirit. When Holmes says of spiritual mind treatment that it is “clearing the thought of negation, of doubt and fear, and causing it to perceive the ever-presence of God,” he is gleaning the same wisdom from ancient teachings that Tolle has also done in his books. Now, with A New Earth, he makes this key to enlightenment—being fully conscious in this very moment—real and alive for us in today’s words and for today’s world. His book title comes from the biblical passage in Revelation promising a new heaven and a new earth. It is a metaphor for the state of conscious awareness of infinite being (heaven), which continually comes forth in a new way into new form (earth). Because his meaning goes beyond an intellectual grasp, Tolle’s ideas ask for contemplation. They are more to be opened up to than studied. “Words are only pointers,” he says. “What is being communicated lies beyond words, but we can use them to go at least in the direction of what is meant and that is helpful.”
SOM: In your vision of a new earth, the purpose of life involves what you call awakened doing. What do you mean by this?
Tolle: Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.
In awakened doing there is complete internal alignment with the present moment and whatever you are doing right now. The doing is then not primarily a means to an end, but an opening for consciousness to come into this world. Aligning yourself with the Now is aligning yourself with universal purpose, the purpose of the whole. What is the purpose of the whole? The birth and flowering of consciousness. The whole then guides you in whatever you think or do.
As I explain in A New Earth, awakened doing has three modalities, depending on circumstances and the nature of the activity. They are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. If there is neither acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm in what you do, you are out of alignment with universal purpose. You are creating unhappiness, that is to say suffering in one form or another. One way of defining the ego is simply this: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. What I refer to as the “new earth”—the outer forms created by awakened doing—arises as more people realize that their purpose is to allow consciousness to emerge through whatever they do.
SOM: Do you believe that humanity is ready for this transformation?
Tolle: Yes. I see signs that it is already happening. For the first time there is a large scale awakening on our planet. Why now? Because if there is no change in human consciousness now, we will destroy ourselves and perhaps the planet. The insanity of the collective egoic mind, amplified by science and technology, is rapidly taking our species to the brink of disaster. Evolve or die: that is our only choice now. Without considering the Eastern world, my estimate is that at this time about ten percent of people in North America are already awakening. That makes thirty million Americans alone, and in addition to those people in other North American countries, about ten percent of the population of Western European countries are also awakening. This is probably enough of a critical mass to bring about a new earth. So the transformation of consciousness is truly happening even though they won’t be reporting it on tonight’s news. Is it happening fast enough? I am hopeful about humanity’s future, much more so now than when I wrote The Power of Now. In fact that is why I wrote that book. I really wasn’t sure that humanity was going to survive. Now I feel differently. I see many reasons to be hopeful.
SOM: You say in your new book that for humanity to make this transformation, there needs to be a shift from object consciousness to space consciousness. Can you explain more about that?
Tolle: Yes. I am saying that I see the emergence of space consciousness as the next stage in the evolution of humanity. By space consciousness I mean that in addition to our being fully conscious of things—that is to say of sense perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and whatever happens in our lives—there is at the same time an undercurrent of awareness or Presence operating in us. Awareness implies that we are not only conscious of things, such as the objects and the people around us, but we are also conscious at the same time of being conscious. Conscious of the timeless I AM without which there would be no world. We can sense an inner alert stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground. That is the unconditioned. That is true intelligence. If there is only object consciousness in our lives, we remain trapped in the conditioned, trapped in form, which creates an appearance of separation. We are always trying to change the form or are resisting it in some way. We are looking to the world of form for salvation. But when we are aware of space consciousness, aware of being aware, we are freed from identification with form, which is ego, and there arises within us a sense of oneness with the whole and with our Source.
SOM: So attachment and struggle are released.
Tolle: That’s right, because in space consciousness there is no future and no past. There is only the present, and it is always free. This is what the Buddhists call “emptiness” and Jesus calls “the fullness of life.” It is the same thing, or rather no-thing. Because it is an opening into the vertical dimension, which has no limit, the present is never confining or fraught with problems. Problems need time, that is to say past and future, to survive. On the other hand, if we let our focus drift back to the past or forward to the future, we are functioning in the horizontal dimension, and this results in an expanded differentiation of forms deriving from ego constructs. Entering the vertical dimension requires a high degree of Presence. The Now needs to be the main focus of our attention. Of course, we need the concept of time in order to function, for example, to schedule this interview. But the point is not to be limited to that dimension alone. The arising of space consciousness—a shift to vertical rather than horizontal awareness—is the next stage in the evolution of humanity, and it’s happening more and more as our awareness remains in the now moment.
SOM: Can you suggest some ways to stay focused in the now?
Tolle: One thing we can do is to notice the little things all around us, paying attention to details such as the birds in the trees and the flowers in the garden or the park—just notice the beauty everywhere, even the smallest things. To notice seemingly insignificant things requires alertness. That alertness is the key. It is the unconditioned. It is consciousness itself. Another helpful practice is to watch the breath, and breathe consciously. If we are paying attention to our breath, we cannot be thinking of anything else at the same time. Our attention is in the now moment and not on our worries about yesterday or our plans for what we will do next week. We are just breathing, not thinking. Because the practice of breath meditation takes us out of the activity of thought, it is an effective way to awaken. In fact, breath, because it has no form as such, has traditionally been equated with spirit, the formless One Life. In the German language, the word atmen, meaning “breathing,” is derived from atman, which in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, refers to the innermost essence or universal self.
SOM: Why is it a desirable practice to free the mind from thinking?
Tolle: Thinking, or more precisely identification with thinking, gives rise to and maintains the ego, which, in our Western society in particular, is out of control. It believes it is real and tries hard to maintain its supremacy. Negative states of mind, such as anger, resentment, fear, envy, and jealousy, are products of the ego. When the ego is in control, these states of mind appear to us to be justified and also to be caused by some external factor. Usually another person is blamed for these feelings. Their true cause, however, is not to be found in the content of your life, but in the very structure of the egoic mind. It needs enemies because it defines its identity through separation, and so it emphasizes the other-ness of others. For this reason, letting the ego be in control leads ultimately to violence, fighting, and war. This is madness, but the ego doesn’t see it that way.
The film A Beautiful Mind does a good job of depicting how the mind can delude us if we are not aware that it is controlling us. It’s the true story of a man who is a genius but he’s also insane. The audience doesn’t know that he’s insane until he himself realizes it as the story unfolds. The film makes the point that when you become aware that you are insane, you are no longer insane. So when you become aware of your mind, you are not identified with your mind anymore. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. The madness is caused by thinking without awareness, and thinking without awareness is how the ego keeps us in its grip.
SOM: Are you suggesting that we just change the content of our thoughts away from negativity or rather that we cease the activity of thinking?
Tolle: Positive thinking is certainly preferable to negative thinking. But to be in the consciousness of the now moment and to practice awareness of the divine Presence is what Jesus means in his Sermon on the Mount when he says, “Take no thought for your life.” From this state of Being comes great creativity. “Change your thinking” can really be understood as telling us to cease the constant busy activity of the mind, which is repetitive, futile, and often negative. Instead of constantly thinking, we become still and quiet, and we become conscious of being conscious. This is the realization of I AM, the realization of Being, our essence identity. When we are rooted in that, thinking becomes the servant of awareness, rather than a self- (ego) serving activity. It becomes creative, empowered.
SOM: You talk in your book about the pain-body, both personal and collective. What do you mean by the pain-body?
Tolle: The pain-body is my term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose. These negative emotions leave a residue of emotional pain, which is stored in the cells of the body. There is also a collective human pain-body containing the pain suffered by countless human beings throughout history. The pain-body has a dormant stage and an active stage. Periodically it becomes activated, and when it does, it seeks more suffering to feed on. If you are not absolutely present, it takes over your mind and feeds on negative thinking as well as negative experiences such as drama in relationships. This is how it has been perpetuating itself throughout human history. Another way of describing the pain-body is this: the addiction to unhappiness.
SOM: Can you suggest a way to eliminate the pain-body?
Tolle: Yes. We release it by cutting the link between the pain-body and our thought processes, so that we no longer feed the pain-body with our thinking. Every negative thought has a similar frequency to the pain-body and so feeds it. It cannot feed on positive thoughts. When the pain-body no longer runs the internal dialogue of our compulsive thinking, we become aware of it directly. We feel the emotion in our body, and so we bring awareness to it, the light of consciousness. The old emotion is then transmuted into consciousness in the same way that a fire transmutes everything into itself. So disidentification from the emotion and just being in the now moment is the way to stop the cycle of constantly recreating painful experiences.
SOM: Fear seems to lie behind most negative emotions. How can it be released? You speak about a process of disidentification. How does it work?
Tolle: Fear arises through identification with form, whether it be a material possession, a physical body, a social role, a self-image, a thought, or an emotion. It arises through unawareness of the formless inner dimension of consciousness or spirit, which is the essence of who you are. You are trapped in object consciousness, unaware of the dimension of inner space which alone is true freedom.
Every fearful thought is about future, is about something that could or may happen. Most people are familiar with the “mental movies” that cause stress and anxiety and keep you awake at night, while your body lies in a warm and comfortable bed. The moment you recognize a fearful thought for what it is, that is to say futile and self-destructive mind activity, you begin to disidentify from it. Awareness or Presence then takes over from thinking. I am not saying that you don’t think anymore, just that you no longer confuse it with who you are. Thinking becomes rooted in awareness rather than being autonomous and self-serving, which is the ego.
Every pain-body contains a great deal of fear, since fear is the primordial negative emotion. How do we deal with that? Here again, you recognize it for what it is: the pain-body, an accumulation of old emotion. Once you recognize it, it cannot take over your mind, feed on your negative thoughts, and control your internal dialogue as well as what you say and do. Once the pain-body has come up, don’t fight or resist it. It is part of the “isness” of the present moment with which you always need to be in inner alignment. So you allow it to be there. If you don’t feed it anymore, it loses its energy charge and the negative emotion undergoes transmutation.
SOM: You speak in your book of the ego’s incessant wanting and its insatiable need for more. Wouldn’t certain things we want be considered worthwhile, though, such as wanting to become a better person?
Tolle: The desire to become a better person is usually to do with wanting to improve how I feel about myself, how I see myself, or how I am seen by others. It is to do with mental image-making, that is to say, ego. That includes, of course, wanting to become enlightened or more spiritual. Awakening or spiritual realization is the discovery that you don’t need to add anything to yourself in order to be yourself fully. You don’t need to try to become good, but allow the goodness that is within you, inherent in Being and inseparable from who you are, to emerge.
SOM: You say that as people awaken to their true self and their life purpose, a new earth is created. What is this new earth like?
Tolle: I don’t want to speculate about the characteristics of the new earth, but whatever it is, it will be an outer manifestation of the new heaven, the inner realm of consciousness. It will arise out of the awakened consciousness that is unconditioned and free from the illusions of ego. Hints of what the new earth will be like are found in the Bible, where it says, for example, that “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb ….” One way of understanding this is that what we perceive as external reality is one with and a reflection of collective human consciousness, so a change in consciousness will change not only the world we create, but our entire way of perceiving reality.
As human beings awaken from the dream of identification with form, consciousness can begin to create form without losing itself in it. The true essence of who each of us is, is being realized. The coming of a new heaven and a new earth, predicted both in the Old and the New Testaments, is an apt metaphor for this shift in consciousness. This shift, however, is not a future state to be achieved or even believed in. A new heaven and a new earth are arising within each of us at this moment. So awakening to your life’s purpose is not to try to look to the future and expect fulfillment there but to stay in the moment, allowing the ego to dissolve. Your life’s inner purpose is primary, and your inner purpose is to awaken, to be conscious. In whatever you do, your state of consciousness is the primary factor.
INTERVIEW: The Power of Now and the End of Suffering
by Sounds True copyright source Sounds True
For two years, a small man sits quietly on a park bench. People walk by, lost in their thoughts. One day someone asks him a question. In the weeks that follow there are more people and more questions. Word spreads that the man is a "mystic," and has discovered something that brings peace and meaning into our lives. It sounds like fiction, but today that man, Eckhart Tolle, is known worldwide for his teachings on spiritual enlightenment through the power of the present moment. His first book, The Power of Now, is an international bestseller, and has been translated into 17 languages. More than 20 years have passed since Eckhart Tolle answered his first question on that park bench. While his audience has grown, his message remains the same: that it is possible to stop struggling in your life, and find joy and fulfillment in this moment, and no other.
Sounds True: Can you describe to us your own experience of spiritual awakening (and of course, can you define spiritual awakening as well)? Was there a singular event that occurred or has it been a gradual process?
Eckhart Tolle: Since ancient times the term awakening has been used as a kind of metaphor that points to the transformation of human consciousness. There are parables in the New Testament that speak of the importance of being awake, of not falling back to sleep. The word Buddha comes from the Sanskrit word Budh, meaning, "to be awake." So Buddha is not a name and ultimately not a person, but a state of consciousness. All this implies that humans are potentially capable of living in a state of consciousness compared to which normal wakefulness is like sleeping or dreaming. This is why some spiritual teachings use terms like "shared hallucination" or "universal hypnotism" to describe normal human existence. Pick up any history book, and I suggest you begin with studying the 20th century, and you will find that a large part of the history of our species has all the characteristics we would normally associate with a nightmare or an insane hallucination.
The nature of spiritual awakening is frequently misunderstood. The adoption of spiritual beliefs, seeing visions of God or celestial beings, the ability to channel, to heal, to foretell the future, or other paranormal powers – all such phenomena are of value and are not to be dismissed, but none of them is in itself indicative of spiritual awakening in a person who experiences them. They may occur in a person who has not awakened spiritually and they may or may not accompany the awakened state.
Every morning we awaken from sleep and from our dreams and enter the state we call wakefulness. A continuous stream of thoughts, most of them repetitive, characterizes the normal wakeful state. So what is it that we awaken from when spiritual awakening occurs? We awaken from identification with our thoughts. Everybody who is not awake spiritually is totally identified with and run by their thinking mind – the incessant voice in the head. Thinking is compulsive: you can’t stop, or so it seems. It is also addictive: you don’t even want to stop, at least not until the suffering generated by the continuous mental noise becomes unbearable. In the unawakened state you don’t use thought, but thought uses you. You are, one could almost say, possessed by thought, which is the collective conditioning of the human mind that goes back many thousands of years. You don’t see anything as it is, but distorted and reduced by mental labels, concepts, judgments, opinions and reactive patterns. Your sense of identity, of self, is reduced to a story you keep telling yourself in your head. "Me and my story": this what your life is reduced to in the unawakened state. And when your life is thus reduced, you can never be happy for long, because you are not yourself.
Does that mean you don’t think anymore when you awaken spiritually? No, of course not. In fact, you can use thought much more effectively than before, but you realize there is a depth to your Being, a vibrantly alive stillness that is much vaster than thought. It is consciousness itself, of which the thinking mind is only a tiny aspect. For many people, the first indication of a spiritual awakening is that they suddenly become aware of their thoughts. They become a witness to their thoughts, so to speak. They are not completely identified with their mind anymore and so they begin to sense that there is a depth to them that they had never known before.
For most people, spiritual awakening is a gradual process. Rarely does it happen all at once. When it does, though, it is usually brought about by intense suffering. That was certainly true in my case. For years my life alternated between depression and acute anxiety. One night I woke up in a state of dread and intense fear, more intense than I had ever experienced before. Life seemed meaningless, barren, hostile. It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought came into my mind, "I cannot live with myself any longer." The thought kept repeating itself several times. Suddenly, I stepped back from the thought, and looked at it, as it were, and I became aware of the strangeness of that thought: "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me – the I and the self that I cannot live with." And the question arose, "Who is the ‘I’ and who is the self that I cannot live with?" There was no answer to that question, and all thinking stopped. For a moment, there was complete inner silence. Suddenly I felt myself drawn into a whirlpool or a vortex of energy. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words, "Resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. Suddenly, all fear disappeared, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.
The next morning I awoke as if I had just been born into this world. Everything seemed fresh and pristine and intensely alive. A vibrant stillness filled my entire being. As I walked around the city that day, the world looked as if it had just come into existence, completely devoid of the past. I was in a state of amazement at the peace I felt within and the beauty I saw without, even in the midst of the traffic. I was no longer labeling and interpreting my sense perceptions – an almost complete absence of mental commentary. To this day, I perceive and interact with the world in this way: through stillness, not through mental noise. The peace that I felt that day, more than 20 years ago, has never left me, although it has varying degrees of intensity.
At the time, I had no conceptual framework to help me understand what had happened to me. Years later, I realized that the acute suffering I felt that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from identification with the unhappy self, the suffering "little me," which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that the suffering self collapsed as if the plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left was my true nature as the ever present "I AM": consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. You may also call it pure awareness or presence.
ST: In your own life story there seems to have been a relationship between intense personal suffering and a breakthrough spiritual experience. Do you believe that for all people there is some connection between personal suffering and the intensity that is needed for a spiritual breakthrough?
ET: Yes, that seems to be true in most cases. When you are trapped in a nightmare, your motivation to awaken will be so much greater than that of someone caught up in a relatively pleasant dream. On all levels, evolution occurs in response to a crisis situation, not infrequently a life-threatening one, when the old structures, inner or outer, are breaking down or are not working anymore. On a personal level, this often means the experience of loss of one kind or another: the death of a loved one, the end of a close relationship, loss of possessions, your home, status, or a breakdown of the external structures of your life that provided a sense of security. For many people, illness – loss of health – represents the crisis situation that triggers an awakening. With serious illness comes awareness of your own mortality, the greatest loss of all.
For many people alive at this time, loss is experienced as loss of meaning. In other words, life seems to lack purpose and doesn’t make sense anymore. Loss of meaning is often part of the suffering that comes with physical loss, but it can also happen to people who have gained everything the world has to offer – who have "made it" in the eyes of the world – and suddenly find that their success or possessions are empty and unfulfilling. What the world and the surrounding culture tells them is important and of value turns out to be empty and this leaves a kind of painful inner void, often accompanied by great mental confusion.
Now the question arises: What exactly is the connection between suffering and spiritual awakening? How does one lead to the other? When you look closely at the nature of human suffering you will find that an essential ingredient in most kinds of suffering is a diminishment of one’s sense of self. Take illness, for example. Illness makes you feel smaller, no longer in control, helpless. You seem to loose your autonomy, perhaps become dependent on others. You become reduced in size, figuratively speaking. Any major loss has a similar effect: some form that was an important part of your sense of who you are – a person, a possession, a social role – dissolves or leaves you and you suffer because you had become identified with it and it seems you are losing yourself or a part of yourself. In reality, of course, what feels like a diminishment or loss of your sense of self is the crumbling of an image of who you are held in the mind. What dissolves is identification with thought forms that had given you your sense of self. But that sense of self is ultimately false, is ultimately a mental fiction. It is the egoic mind or the "little me" as I sometimes call it. To be identified with a mental image of who you are is to be unconscious, to be unawakened spiritually. This unawakened state creates suffering, but suffering creates the possibility of awakening. When you no longer resist the diminishment of self that comes with suffering, all role-playing, which is normal in the unawakened state, comes to an end. You become humble, simple, real. And, paradoxically, when you say “yes” to that death, because that’s what it is, you realize that the mind-made sense of self had obscured the truth of who you are – not as defined by your past, but timelessly. And when who you think you are dissolves, you connect with a vast power which is the essence of your very being. Jesus called it: "eternal life." In Buddhism, it is sometimes called the "deathless realm."
Now, does this mean that if you haven’t experienced intense suffering in your life, there is no possibility of awakening? Firstly, the fact that you are drawn to a spiritual teaching or teacher means you must have had your share of suffering already, and the awakening process has probably already begun. A teacher or teaching is not even essential for spiritual awakening, but they save time. Secondly, humanity as a whole has already gone through unimaginable suffering, mostly self-inflicted, the culmination of which was the 20th century with its unspeakable horrors. This collective suffering has brought upon a readiness in many human beings for the evolutionary leap that is spiritual awakening. For many individuals alive now, this means: they have suffered enough. No further suffering is necessary. The end of suffering: that is also the essence of every true spiritual teaching. Be grateful that your suffering has taken you to this realization: I don’t need to suffer anymore.
ST: Your teaching about "the power of now" seems so simple. Is that really our primary spiritual task – to fully engage the present moment?
ET: Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past: the "little me" and its story. This false self is never happy or fulfilled for long. Its normal state is one of unease, fear, insufficiency, and nonfulfillment. It says it looks for happiness, and yet it continuously creates conflict and unhappiness. In fact, it needs conflict and "enemies" to sustain the sense of separateness that ensures its continued survival. Look at all the conflict between tribes, nations, and religions. They need their enemies, because they provide the sense of separateness on which their collective egoic identity depends. The false self lives mainly through memory and anticipation. Past and future are its main preoccupation. The present moment, at best, is a means to an end, a stepping stone to the future, because the future promises fulfillment, the future promises salvation in one form or another. The only problem is the future never comes. Life is always now. Whatever happens, whatever you experience, feel, think, do - it’s always now. It’s all there is. And if you continuously miss the now – resist it, dislike it, try to get away from it, reduce it to a means to an end, then you miss the essence of your life, and you are stuck in a dream world of images, concepts, labels, interpretations, judgments – the conditioned content of your mind that you take to be "yourself." And so you are disconnected from the fullness of life that is the “suchness” of this moment. When you are out of alignment with what is, you are out of alignment with life. You are struggling to reach a point in the future where there is greater security, aliveness, abundance, love, joy ... unaware that those things make up the essence of who you are already. All that is required of you to have access to that essence is to make the present moment into your friend. And you may realize that most of your life you made the present moment into an enemy. You didn’t say “yes” to it, didn’t embrace it. You were out of alignment with the now, and so life became a struggle. It seemed so normal, because everyone around you lived in the same way. The amazing thing is: Life, the great intelligence that pervades the entire cosmos, becomes supportive when you say “yes” to it. Where is life? Here. Now. The “isness” of this moment. The now seems so small at first, a little segment between past and future, and yet all of life’s power is concealed within it. When there is spiritual awakening, you awaken into the fullness, the aliveness, and also the sacredness of now. You were absent, asleep, and now you are present, awake. The secret of awakening is to unconditionally accept this moment as it is. Some people do it because they can no longer stand the suffering that comes with nonacceptance of the isness of this moment. They are almost forced into awakening. Others have suffered enough and are ready to voluntarily embrace the now. When you become present in this way, the judgments, labels, and concepts of your mind are no longer all that important, as a greater intelligence is now operating in and through you. And yet the mind can then be used very effectively and creatively when needed.
Now the question may arise: Would there be anything left to strive for when you are so present in the now? Wouldn’t you become passive in that state? Many meaningless activities may fall away, but the state of presence is the only state in which creative energy is available to you. When your fulfillment and sense of self are no longer dependent on the future outcome, joy flows into whatever you do. You do what you do because the action itself is fulfilling. Whatever you do or create in that state is of high quality. This is because it is not a means to and end, and so a loving care flows into your doing.
ST: Being "in the present" sounds so obvious, and yet is quite hard to sustain. Do you have any practical tips for people for maintaining awareness of the present moment?
ET: Although the old consciousness or rather unconsciousness still has considerable momentum and to a large extent still runs this world, the new awakened consciousness – presence – has already began to emerge in many human beings. In my book The Power of Now, I mention ways in which you can maintain present moment awareness, but the main thing is to allow this new state of consciousness to emerge rather then believe that you have to try hard to make it happen. How do you allow it to emerge? Simply by allowing this moment to be as it is. This means to relinquish inner resistance to what is – the suchness of now. This allows life to unfold beautifully. There is no greater spiritual practice than this.
ST: On your video The Flowering of Human Consciousness, you talk about a "new" consciousness that is emerging in our time. What do you mean? Hasn’t the present moment always been available to genuine seekers? What’s new about our current time in history? Are you pointing to a certain evolutionary process – an acceleration in human spiritual development?
ET: Yes, the present moment has always been available to spiritual seekers, but as long as you are seeking you are not available to the present moment. "Seeking" implies that you are looking to the future for some answer, or for some achievement, spiritual or otherwise. Everybody is in the seeking mode, seeking to add something to who they are, whether it be money, relationships, possessions, knowledge, status – or spiritual attainment. "Seeking" means you need more time, more future, more of this or that. And there is nothing wrong with it. All that has its place in this world. To make money, to gather knowledge, to learn a new skill, to explore new territory, even to get from A to B – for all these things you need time. For almost everything you need time, except for one thing: to embrace the present moment. You need no time to open yourself to the power of now and so awaken to who you are beyond name and form and realize that in the depth of your being, you are already complete, whole, one with the timeless essence of all life. For that you not only need no time, but time is the obstacle to that realization, seeking is the obstacle, needing to add something to who you are is the obstacle. The story of your life, how it all unfolds, whether you succeed or fail in this world...Yes, it matters, yes, it’s important – relatively, not absolutely. Only one thing is of absolute importance and this is it. If you miss it, you miss the deeper purpose of your life, which I call the flowering of human consciousness. And ultimately nothing else will satisfy you.
Some of the first human beings in whom the new consciousness emerged fully became the great teachers of humanity, such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, or Jesus, although their teachings were greatly misunderstood, especially when they turned into organized religion. They were the first manifestations of the flowering of human consciousness. Later others appeared, some of whom became famous and respected teachers, whereas others probably remained relatively unknown or perhaps even completely unrecognized. On the periphery of the established religions, from time to time certain movements appeared through which the new consciousness manifested. This enabled a number of individuals within those movements to awaken spiritually. Such movements, in Christianity, were Gnosticism and medieval mysticism; in Buddhism, Zen; in Islam, the Sufi movement; in Hinduism, the teachings called Advaita Vedanta.
But those men and women who awakened fully were always few and far between – rare flowerings of consciousness. Until fairly recently, there was not yet a need for large numbers of human beings to awaken. For the first time in human history, a large-scale transformation of consciousness has now become a necessity if humanity is to survive. Science and technology have amplified the effects of the dysfunction of the human mind in its unawakened state to such a degree that humanity, and probably the planet, would not survive for another hundred years if human consciousness remains unchanged. As I said earlier, evolution usually occurs in response to a crisis situation, and we now are faced with such a crisis situation. This is why there is indeed an enormous acceleration in the awakening process of our species.
This new large-scale spiritual awakening is occurring primarily not within the confines of the established religions, but outside of those structures. Some of it, however, is also happening within the existing churches and religious institutions wherever the members of those congregations do not identify with rigid and exclusive belief systems whose unconscious purpose is to foster a sense of separation on which the egoic mind structures depend for their survival.
ST: How much time and effort is required to realize "the power of now?" Can this really occur in an instant or is this the work of a lifetime?
ET: The power of now can only be realized now. It requires no time and effort. Effort means you’re trying hard to get somewhere, and so you are not present, welcoming this moment as it is.
Whereas it requires no time to awaken – you can only awaken now – it does take time before you can stay awake in all situations. Often you may find yourself being pulled back into old conditioned reactive patterns, particularly when faced with the challenges of daily living and of relationships. You lose the witnessing presence and become identified again with the "voice in the head," the continuous stream of thoughts, with its labels, judgments and opinions. You no longer know that they are only labels, judgments, and mental positions (opinions) – but completely believe in them. And so you create conflict. And then you suffer. And that suffering wakes you up again. Until presence becomes your predominant state, you may find yourself moving back and forth for a while between the old consciousness and the new, between mind identification and presence. "How long is it going to take?" is not a good question to ask. It makes you lose the now.
ET: How would you recommend that people listen and watch "The Power of Now" teaching series in order to get the most out of the teachings? In your opinion, why are audio and video teaching tapes such a powerful way for people to learn?
ST: If at all possible, you should not be engaged in other activity while you are listening or watching so that you can give your complete attention not only to the words but also to the silent spaces between the words. You will most likely learn many helpful facts about the emerging state of presence as well as the obstacles you are most likely to encounter. But this is only the secondary function of these tapes. Their primary purpose is not to convey information, but to help you access the state of presence as you listen. As in all true spiritual teachings, the significance of the words that are being spoken goes far beyond their informational content. Words that arise spontaneously out of the state of presence are charged with spiritual power: the power to awaken. All that is required of you is to be in a state of attentive listening. Don’t just listen with the head. Listen with your entire body, so to speak. Feel the aliveness, the animating presence, throughout the body as you listen.
I recommend that you listen and/or watch these tapes over and over. Each time you listen, it will feel as if you were listening for the first time. Each time you listen, you will grow in presence. But do not listen compulsively. Allow a gap of at least two or three days, and ideally more, before you listen to the same tape again. Each time after you finish listening, just sit in silence for a few minutes.
Enjoy the greatest adventure a human being can be engaged in: to be part of the emergence of a new consciousness.
The Most Important Dimension of Human ExistenceFri, January 26, 2007 - 10:59 AM permalink - 0 comments
by Eckhart Tolle
We’re here to find that dimension
that is deeper than thought.
This teaching isn’t based on knowledge, on new interesting facts, new information. The world is full of that already. You can push any button on the many devises you have and get information. You’re drowning in information.
And ultimately, what is the point of it all? More information, more things, more of this, more of that. Are we going to find the fullness of life through more things and greater and bigger shopping mall
Are we going to find ourselves through improving our ability to think and analyze, and accumulate more information, more stuff? Is “more” going to save the world?? It’s all form.
You can never make it on the level of form. You can never quite arrange and accumulate all the forms that you think you need so that you can be yourself fully.
Sometimes you can do it for a brief time span. You can suddenly find everything working in your life: Your health is good, your relationship is great, you have money, possessions, love and respect from other people.
But before long, something starts to crumble here or there, either the finances or the relationship, your health or your work or living situation. It is the nature of the world of form that nothing stays fixed for very long — and so it starts to fall apart again.
The voice in the head that never stops speaking
becomes a civilization that is obsessed with form,
and therefore knows nothing of the most important
dimension of human existence:
“What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose yourself?”
It has been said: There are two ways of being unhappy: not getting what you want, and getting what you want.
When people attain what the world tells us is desirable — wealth, recognition, property, achievement — they’re still not happy, at least not for long. They’re not at peace with themselves. They don’t have a true sense of security, a sense of finally having arrived.
Their achievements have not provided them with what they were really looking for — themselves. They have not given them the sense of being rooted in life, or as Jesus calls it, the fullness of life.
The form of this moment is the portal into the formless dimension. It is the narrow gate that Jesus talks about that leads to life. Yes, it’s very narrow: it’s only this moment.
To find it, you need to roll up the scroll of your life on which your story is written, past and future. Before there were books, there were scrolls, and you rolled them up when you were done with them.
So put your story away. It is not who you are. People usually live carrying a burden of past and future, a burden of their personal history, which they hope will fulfill itself in the future. It won’t, so roll up that old scroll. Be done with it.
You don’t solve problems by thinking; you create problems by thinking. The solution always appears when you step out of thinking and become still and absolutely present, even if only for a moment. Then, a little later when thought comes back, you suddenly have a creative insight that wasn’t there before.
Let go of excessive thinking and see how everything changes. Your relationships change because you don’t demand that the other person should do something for you to enhance your sense of self. You don’t compare yourself to others or try to be more than someone else to strengthen your sense of identity.
You allow everyone to be as they are. You don’t need to change them; you don’t need them to behave differently so that you can be happy.
There’s nothing wrong with doing new things, pursuing activities, exploring new countries, meeting new people, acquiring knowledge and expertise, developing your physical or mental abilities, and creating whatever you’re called upon to create in this world.
It is beautiful to create in this world, and there is always more that you can do.
Now the question is, Are you looking for yourself in what you do? Are you attempting to add more to who you think you are? Are you compulsively striving toward the next moment and the next and the next, hoping to find some sense of completion and fulfillment?
The preciousness of Being is your true specialness. What the egoic self had been looking for on the level of the story —I want to be special —
obscured the fact that you could not be more special than you already are now. Not special because you are better or more wretched than someone else, but because you can sense a beauty, a preciousness, an aliveness deep within.
When you are present in this moment,
you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises,
and also love.
The only way love can come into your life
is not through form, but through that inner spaciousness that is Presence.
Love has no form.
Transcribed by Carl Gustav Jung 1916Fri, January 26, 2007 - 10:57 AM permalink - 0 comments
The Dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought. They prayed me let them in and besought my word, and thus I began my teaching. Harken: I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty. Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything else of nothingness, as for instance, white is it, or black, or again, it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no qualities, since it hath all qualities. This nothingness or fullness we name the Pleroma.
Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct from the Pleroma, and would possess qualities which would distinguish him as something distinct from the Pleroma. In the Pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless to think about the Pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution. Creatura is not in the Pleroma, but in itself. The Pleroma is both beginning and end of the created beings. It pervadeth them, as the light of the sun everywhere pervadeth the air. Although the Pleroma prevadeth altogether, yet hath created being no share thereof, just as wholly transparent body becometh neither light nor dark through the light nor dark through the light which pervadeth it. We are, however, the Pleroma itself, for we are a part of the eternal and the infinite. But we have no share thereof, as we are from the Pleroma infinitely removed; not spiritually or temporally, but essentially, since we are distinguished from the Pleroma in our essence as creatura, which is confined within time and space.
Yet because we are parts of the Pleroma, the Pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point is the Pleroma endless, eternal, and entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it. It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous. Only figuratively, therefore, do I speak of created being as part of the Pleroma. Because, actually, the Pleroma is nowhere divided, since it is nothingness. We are also the whole Pleroma, because, figuratively, the Pleroma is the smallest point (assumed only, not existing) in us and the boundless firmament about us. But wherefore, then, do we speak of the Pleroma at all, since it is thus everything and nothing? I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere, and also to free you from the delusion that somewhere, either without or within,there standeth something fixed, or in some way established, from the beginning. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative. That alone is fixed and certain which is subject to change. What is changeable, however, is creature. Therefore is it the one thing which is fixed and certain because it hath qualities: or as even a quality itself.
The question ariseth: How did creatura originate? Created beings came to pass, not creatura: since created being is the very quality of the Pleroma, as much as non-creation which is the eternal death. In all times and places is creation, in all times and places is death. The Pleroma hath all, distinctiveness and non-distinctiveness. Distinctiveness is creatura. It is distinct. Distinctiveness is its essence. and therefore it distinguisheth. Wherefore also he distinguished qualities of the Pleroma which are not. He distinguisheth them out of his own nature. Therefore he must speak of qualities of the Pleroma which are not.
What use, say ye, to speak of it? Saidst thou not thyself, there is no profit in thinking upon the Pleroma? That said I unto you, to free you from the delusion that we are able to think about the Pleroma. When we distinguish qualities of the Pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing concerning the Pleroma. Concerning our own distinctiveness, however, it is needful to speak, whereby we may distinguish ourselves enough. Our very nature is distinctiveness. If we are not true to this nature we do not distinguish ourselves enough. Therefore must we make distinctions of qualities.
What is the harm, ye ask, in not distinguishing oneself? If we do not distinguish, we get beyond our own nature, away from creatura. We fall into indistinctiveness, which is the other quality of the Pleroma. We fall into the Pleroma itself and cease to be creatures. We are given over to dissolution in nothingness. This is the death of the creature. Therefore we die in such measure as we do not distinguish. Hence the natural striving of the creature goeth towards distinctiveness, fighteth against primeval, perilous sameness. This is called the PRINCIPIUM INDIVIDUATIONIS. This principle is the essence of the creature. From this you can see why indistictiveness and non-distinction are a great danger for the creature. We must, therefore, distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma.The qualities are PAIRS OF OPPOSITES, such as -
The Effective and the ineffective.
Fullness and Emptiness.
Living and Dead.
Difference and Sameness.
Light and Darkness.
The Hot and the Cold.
Force and Matter.
Time and Space.
Good and Evil.
Beauty and Ugliness.
The One and the Many.
The pairs of opposites are qualities of the Pleroma which are not, because each balanceth each. As we are the Pleroma itself, we also have all these qualities in us. Because the very ground of our nature is distinctiveness, which meaneth -
1. These qualities are distinct and separate in us one from the other; therefore they are not balanced and void, but are effective. Thus are the victims of the pairs of opposites. The Pleroma is rent in us.
2. The qualities belong to the Pleroma, and only in the name and sign of distinctiveness can and must we possess and live them. We must distinguish ourselves from qualities. In the Pleroma they are balanced and void; in us not. Being distinguished from them delivereth us.
When we strive after the good or the beautiful, we thereby forget our own nature, which is distinctiveness, and we are delivered over to the qualities of the Pleroma, which are pairs of opposites. We labor to attain the good and the beautiful, yet at the same time we also lay hold of the evil and the ugly, since in the Pleroma these are one with the good and the beautiful. When, however, we remain true to our own nature, which is distinctiveness, we distinguish ourselves from the good and the beautiful, therefore, at the same time, from the evil and ugly. And thus we fall not into the Pleroma, namely, into nothingness and dissolution. Thou sayest, ye object, that difference and sameness are also qualities of the Pleroma. How would it be, then, if we strive after difference? Are we, in so doing, not true to our own nature? And must we none the less be given over to the sameness when we strive after difference?
Ye must not forget that the Pleroma hath no qualities. We create them through thinking. If, therefore, ye strive after difference or sameness, or any qualities whatsoever, ye pursue thought which flow to you out of the Pleroma: Thoughts, namely, concerning non-existing qualities of the Pleroma. Inasmuch as ye run after these thoughts, ye fall again into the Pleroma, and reach difference and sameness at the same time. Not your thinking, but your being, is distinctiveness. Therefore not after difference, ye think it, must ye strive; but after YOUR OWN BEING. At bottom, therefore, there is only one striving, namely, the striving after your own being. If ye had this striving ye would not need to know anything about the Pleroma and its qualities, and yet would ye come to your right goal by virtue of your own being. Since, however, thought estrangeth from being, that knowledge must I teach you wherewith ye may be able to hold your thought in leash.
In the night the dead stood along the wall and cried: We would have knowledge of god. Where is god? Is god dead? God is not dead. Now, as ever, he liveth. God is creatura, for he is something definite, and therefore distinct from the Pleroma. God is quality of the Pleroma, and everything I said of creatura also is true concerning him. He is distinguished, however, from created beings through this, that he is more indefinite and indeterminable than they. He is less distinct than created beings, since the ground of his being is effective fullness. Only in so far as he is definite and distinct is he creatura, and in like measure is he the manifestation of the effective fullness of the Pleroma.
Everything which we do not distinguish falleth into the Pleroma and is made void by its opposite. If, therefore, we do not distinguish god, effective fullness is for us extinguished. Moreover god is the Pleroma itself, as likewise each smallest point in the created and uncreated is Pleroma itself. Effective void is the nature of the devil. God and devil are the first manifestations of nothingness, which we call the Pleroma. It is indifferent whether the Pleroma is or is not, since in everything it is balanced and void. Not so creatura. In so far as god and devil are creatura they do not extinguish each other, but stand one against the other as effective opposites. We need no proof of their existence. It is enough that we must always be speaking of them. Even if both were not, creatura, of its own essential distinctiveness, would forever distinguish them anew out of the Pleroma.
Everything that discrimination taketh out of the Pleroma is a pair of opposites. To god, therefore, always belongeth the devil. This inseparability is as close and, as your own life hath made you see, as indissoluble as the Pleroma itself. Thus it is that both stand very close to the Pleroma, in which all opposites are extinguished
God and devil are distinguished by the qualities of fullness and emptiness, generation and destruction. EFFECTIVENESS is common to both. Effectiveness joineth them. Effectiveness, therefore, standeth above both; is a god above god, since in its effect it uniteth fullness and emptiness. This is a god whom ye knew not, for mankind forgot it. We name it by its name ABRAXAS. It is more indefinite still than god and devil. That god may be distinguished from it, we name god HELIOS or sun . Abraxas is effect. Nothing standeth opposed to it but the ineffective; hence its effective nature freely unfoldeth itself. The ineffective is not, therefore resisteth not. Abraxas standeth above the sun and above the devil. It is improbable probability, unreal reality. Had the Pleroma a being, Abraxas would be its manifestation. It is the effective itself, nor any particular effect, but effect in general.
It is unreal reality, because it hath no definite effect. It is also creatura, because it is distinct from the Pleroma. The sun hath a definite effect, and so hath the devil. Wherefore do they appear to us more effective than indefinite Abraxas. It is force, duration, change. The dead now raised a great tumult, for they were Christians.
Like mists arising from a marsh, the dead came near and cried: Speak further unto us concerning the supreme god. Hard to know is the deity of Abraxas. Its power is the greatest, because man perceiveth it not. From the sun he draweth the summum bonum; from the devil the infinum malum: But from Abraxas LIFE, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil.
Smaller and weaker life seemeth to be than the summum bonum; wherefore is it also hard to conceive that Abraxas transcendeth even the sun in power, who is himself the radiant source of all the force of life. Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of the void, the belittling and dismembering devil.
The power of Abraxas is twofold; but ye see it not, because for your eyes the warring opposites of this power are extinguished. What the god-sun speaketh is life. What the devil speaketh is death. But Abraxas speaketh that hallowed and accursed word which is life and death at the same time. Abraxas begetteth truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act. Wherefore is Abraxas terrible.
It is splendid as the lion in the instant he striketh down his victim.
It is beautiful as a day in spring.
It is the great Pan himself and also the small one.
It is Priapos.
It is the monster of the underworld, a thousand-armed polyp, coiled knot of winged serpents, frenzy.
It is the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning.
It is the lord of the toads and frogs, which live in the water and gets up on the land, whose chorus ascendeth at noon and at midnight.
It is abundance that seeketh union with emptiness.
It is holy begetting.
It is love and love's murder.
It is the saint and his betrayer.
It is the brightest light of day and the darkest night of madness.
To look upon it, is blindness.
To know it, is sickness.
To worship it, is death.
To fear it, is wisdom.
To resist it not, is redemption.
God dwelleth behind the sun, the devil behind the night. What god bringeth forth out of the light of the devil sucketh into the night. But Abraxas is the world, its becoming and its passing - Upon every gift that cometh from the god-sun the devil layeth his curse.
Everything that ye entreat from the god-sun begetteth a deed from the devil.
Everything that ye create with the god-sun giveth effective power to the devil. That is terrible Abraxas.
It is the mightiest creature, and in it the creature is afraid of itself.
It is the manifest opposition to the Pleroma and its nothingness.
It is the son's horror of the mother.
It is the mother's love for the son.
It is the delight of the earth and the cruelty of the heavens.
Before its countenance man becometh like stone.
Before it there is no question and no reply.
It is the life of creatura.
It is the operation of distinctiveness.
It is the love of man.
It is the speech of man.
It is the appearance and the shadow of man.
It is illusory reality.
Now the dead howled and raged, for they were unperfected.
The dead filled the place murmuring and said; Tell us of gods and devils, accursed one! The god-sun is the highest good, the devil its opposite. Thus have ye two gods. But there are many high and good things and many great evils. Among these are two god-devils; the one is the Burning One, the other the Growing One. The burning one is EROS, who hath the form of flame. Flame giveth light because it consumeth. The growing one is the TREE OF LIFE. It buddeth, as in growing it heapeth up living stuff. Eros flameth up and dieth. But the tree of life groweth with slow and constant increase through unmeasured time. Good and evil are united in the flame. Good and evil are united in the increase of the tree. In their divinity stand life and love opposed.
Innumerable as the host of the stars is the number of gods and devils. Each star is a god, and each space that a star filleth is a devil. But the empty-fullness of the whole is the Pleroma. The operation of the whole is Abraxas, to whom only the ineffective standeth opposed. Four is the number of the principal gods, as four is the number of the world's measurements. One is the beginning, the god-sun. Two is Eros; for he bindeth twain together and outspreadeth himself in brightness. Three is the Tree of Life, for it filleth space with bodily forms. Four is the devil, for he openeth all that is closed. All that is formed of bodily nature doth he dissolve; he is the destroyer in whom everything is brought to nothing.
For me, to whom knowledge hath been given of the multiplicity and diversity of the good, it is well. But woe unto you, who replace these incompatible many by a single god. For in so doing ye beget the torment which is bred from not understanding, and ye mutilate the creature whose nature and aim is distinctiveness. How can ye be true to your own nature when ye try to change the many into one? What ye do unto the gods is done likewise unto you. Ye all become equal and thus is your nature maimed.
Equalities shall prevail not for god, but only for the sake of man. For the gods are many, whilst men are few. The gods are mighty and can endure their manifoldness. For like the stars they abide in solitude, parted one from the other by immense distances. Therefore they dwell together and need communion, that they may bear their separateness. For redemption's sake I teach you the rejected truth, for the sake of which I was rejected.
The multiplicity of the gods correspondeth to the multiplicity of man. Numberless gods await the human state. Numberless gods have been men. Man shareth in nature of the gods. He cometh from the gods and goeth unto god. Thus, just as it serveth not to reflect upon the Pleroma, it availeth not to worship the multiplicity of the gods. Least of all availeth it to worship the first god, the effective abundance and the summum bonum.. By our prayer we can add to it nothing, and from it nothing take; because the effective void swalloweth all. The bright gods form the celestial world. It is manifold and infinitely spreading and increasing. The god-sun is the supreme lord of the world. The dark gods form the earth-world. They are simple and infinitely diminishing and declining. The devil is the earth-world's lowest lord, the moon-spirit, satellite of the earth, smaller, colder, and more dead than the earth. There is no difference between the might of the celestial gods and those of the earth. The celestial gods magnify, the earth-gods diminish. Measureless is the movement of both.
The dead mocked and cried: Teach us, fool, of the Church and the holy Communion. The world of the gods is made manifest in spirituality and in sexuality. The celestial ones appear in spirituality, the earthly in sexuality. Spirituality conceiveth and embraceth. It is womanlike and therefore we call it MATER COELESTIS, the celestial mother. Sexuality engendereth and createth. It is manlike, and therefore we call it PHALLOS, the earthly father. The sexuality of man is more of the earth, the sexuality of woman is more of the spirit. The spirituality of man is more of heaven, it goeth to the greater. The spirituality of woman is more of the earth, it goeth to the smaller. Lying and devilish is the spirituality of the man which goeth to the smaller. Lying and devilish is the spirituality of the woman which goeth to the greater. Each must go its own place. Man and woman become devils one to the other when they divide not their spiritual ways, for the nature of the creatura is distinctiveness. The sexuality of man hath an earthward course, the sexuality of woman a spiritual. Man and woman becomes devils one to the other if they distinguish not their sexuality. Man shall know of the smaller, woman the greater. Man shall distinguish himself both from spirituality and sexuality. He shall spirituality Mother, and set her between heaven and earth. He shall call sexuality Phallos, and set him between himself and earth. For the Mother and the Phallos are super-human daemons which reveal the world of the gods. They are for us more effective than the gods, because they are closely akin to our own nature. Should ye not distinguish yourselves from sexuality and from spirituality, and not regard them as of a nature born above you and beyond, then are ye delivered over to them as qualities of the Pleroma. Spirituality and sexuality are not your qualities, not things ye possess and contain. But they possess and contain you; for they are powerful daemons, manifestations of the gods, and are, therefore, things which reach beyond you, existing in themselves. No man hath a spirituality unto himself, or a sexuality unto himself. But he standeth under the law of spirituality and of sexuality. No man, therefore, escapeth these daemons. Ye shall look upon them as daemons, and as a common task and danger, a common burden which life hath laid upon you. Thus is life for you also a common task and danger, as are the gods, and first of all terrible Abraxas. Man is weak, therefore is communion indispensable. If your communion be not under the sign of the Mother, then is it under the sign of the Phallos. No communion is suffering and sickness. Communion in everything is dismemberment and dissolution. Distinctiveness leadeth to singleness. Singleness is opposed to communion. But because of man's weakness over against the gods and daemons and their invincible law is communion needful, not for man's sake, but because of the gods. The gods force you to communion. As much as they force you, so much is the communion needed, more is evil. In communion let every man submit to the others, that communion be maintained, for ye need it. In Singleness the one man shall be superior to the others, that every man may come to himself and avoid slavery. In communion there shall be continence. In Singleness there shall be prodigality. Communion is depth. Singleness is height. Right measure in communion purifieth and preserveth. Right measure in Singleness purifieth and increaseth. Communion giveth us warmth, Singleness giveth us light.
The daemons of sexuality approacheth our soul as a serpent. It is half human and appeareth as thought-desire. The daemon of spirituality descendeth into our soul as the white bird. It is half human and appeareth as desire-thought. The Serpent is an earthly soul, half daemonic, a spirit, and akin to the spirits of the dead. Thus too, like these, she swarmeth around in the things of earth, making us either fear them or pricking us with intemperate desires. The Serpent hath a nature like unto woman. She seeketh company of the dead who are held by the spell of the earth, they who found not the way beyond that leadeth to singleness. The Serpent is a whore. She wantoneth with the devil and with evil spirits; a mischievous tyrant and tormentor, ever seducing to evilest company. The White Bird is a half-celestial soul of man. He bideth with the Mother, from time to time descending. The bird hath a nature like unto man, and is effective thought. He is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the Mother. He flieth high above earth. He commandeth singleness. He bringeth knowledge from the distant ones who went before and are perfected. He beareth our word above to the Mother. She intercedeth, she warneth, but against the gods she hath no power. She is a vessel of the sun . The serpent goeth below and with her cunning she lameth the phallic daemon, or else goadeth him on. She yieldeth up the too crafty thoughts of the earthy one, those thoughts which creep through every hole and cleave to all things with desirousness. The Serpent, doubtless, willeth it not, yet she must be of use to us. She fleeth our grasp, thus showing us the way, which with our human wits we could not find.
With disdainful glance the dead spake: Cease this talk of gods and daemons and souls. At this hath long been known to us.
Yet when night was come the dead again approached with lamentable mien and said: There is yet one matter we forgot to mention. Teach us about man. Man is a gateway, through which from the outer world of gods, daemons, and souls ye pass into the inner world; out of the greater into the smaller world. Small and transitory is man. Already is he behind you, and once again ye find yourselves in endless space, in the smaller of innermost infinity. At immeasurable distance standeth one single Star in the zenith. This is the one god of this one man. This is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity. In this world is man Abraxas, the creator and destroyer of his one world. This Star is the god and the goal of man. This is his one guiding god. In him goeth man to his rest. Toward him goeth the long journey of the soul after death. In him shineth forth as light all that man bringeth back from the greater world. To this one god man shall pray. Prayer increaseth the light of the Star. It casteth a bridge over death. It prepareth life for the smaller world and assuageth the hopeless desires of the greater. When the greater world waxeth cold, burneth the Star. Between man and his one god there standeth nothing, so long as man can turn away his eyes from the flaming spectacle of Abraxas. Man here, god there. Weakness and nothingness here, there eternally creative power. Here nothing but darkness and chilling moisture. There Wholly Sun.
Whereupon the dead were silent and ascended like the smoke above the herdsman's fire, who through the night kept watch over his flock.