Monday, March 9, 2009

Tolle Oneness With All Life

I generally haven't enjoyed Eckhart Tolle's first two books because I found them to be platitude-dense and over hyped. However, like one of those treasure scanners with a metal detector on a beach at sunset, I came across a gem today - from a book of excerpts from Tolle's A New Earth book called Oneness With All Life.   I noticed a few sections that I had overlooked when reading A New Earth the first time around.  Possibly I'd been too dismissive of it (I've been told I can be, but I doubt it) or perhaps I'd been distracted (who me?  Is that a squirrel over there?) but in either case it passed me by.  

The quotes relate directly to his philosophy that your life is your thoughts, and to change your life you must change your thoughts.   I remember the day in my early 20's when this concept occurred to me, and I love the way Tolle explains it, below in its purest form:

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is. There is the situation or the fact, and here are my thoughts about it. Instead of making up stories, stay with the facts. For example, "I am ruined" is a story. It limits you and prevents you from taking effective action. "I have 50 cents left in my bank account" is a fact. Facing facts is always empowering.

Why do anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. One small error, one misperception, creates a world of suffering.

People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness. They don't realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn't have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that lies beyond what is happening or not happening. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is untouched by time.

What a perfect way to tell us to live in the moment!  Not to worry about tomorrow or yesterday but to think about the moment of now.  It doesn't mean not to prepare for tomorrow -- but don't LIVE in it.  It also means not to live in yesterday, rethinking the things we did and making them seem better or worse in our minds.  Just live the moments and remember everyone else is doing the same thing, doing the best they can with what they know (and that includes our parents).  


Thauna said...

This is a great quote/passage! I should look for that book...I had a hard time with A New Earth and it's still sitting on the book shelf mocking me. I think I got turned off when Tolle was explaining what Jesus does he know? Kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But I know I need to get past that and keep reading. I also have all the of webcasts of Tolle/Oprah downloaded on my iTunes...I have only watched a bit of the first two webcasts.

I'm a huge believer in thought changing everything. That is a great reminder that the event is neutral and to look at the facts vs. the story we create. I'm good at creating stories, but I get to rewrite them at will! :o)

GardeningJo said...

I honestly didn't like A New Earth. I like this passage and don't recall it either. I'm not so much dismissive as I don't remember things things lately. Distracted, oh yes! (Look! A Woodpecker! Now why did I come into this room?)

Interesting post given my thoughts throughout today.

Bev said...

I didn't like A New Earth either for many reasons...but what you just wrote here makes scense to me, and will think more about it..I sure have enjoyed coming to visit your blog...will definately be back!!!