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Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:25 pm
by Galadriel
Hello everyone,

I am new here and I hope I am not opening a new thread with a topic that in some way already exists. If so, please feel free to move my thoughts/question.

Of course the books of Eckhart Tolle got me here in the first place and the fact that I can see some critical thinking going on on these boards as well.
In the midst of all these talks about enlightenement, awakening, purpose etc. I can't help but wonder about the process of change in itself. Are we really capable of change, completely by ourselves, motivated and introduced by ourselves. Of course you can change your body, looks or the way you dress etc., but can you truly change your mental state or your way of thinking, completely motivated by yourself? Isn't it always some kind of external influence it takes to create a change? So, are we doomed to make the same mistakes or choices over and over again, unless we receive some external influence or force that makes us change?

And: If you manage that, how do you keep it up, if your surroundings are still the same? The demands put on you don't change with you. So if you can even manage to change you're in a constant battle to uphold it against a sea of old requests and expectations. Who can endure that in the long run? Or aren't you supposed to move, to change your life more radically, change your environment so that people who don't care for it, people who are so wrapped up in their own lives can't basically force you back into something you're not anymore?
In a world where change is the only constant, but people who are relentlessly, endlessly, desperately fighting to keep holding onto something constant, people who put every possible obstacle in your way to stifle your change, is it becoming an act of insanity to change without leaving it all behind?
Is this the reason why pretty much every person who was sucessful with changing in some huge mental way picked up his/her things and left it all behind? Like a partner, a city/town, a relationship of any kind, a job or even society?
Is that the way it truly works and once you're back in your old environment you revert back either immediately or gradually, but sooner or later completely to who you were before?

Thank you all in advance for reading and hearing my questions.

Re: Change

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:42 pm
by eputkonen
Galadriel wrote:can you truly change your mental state or your way of thinking, completely motivated by yourself?
Mental state and thinking comes from understanding. How do we change our understanding? I find we can only just look at it deeply. Some thought comes up or there is a reaction to some event in life...just look at it. Where did it come from? What is the origin? Our suffering comes from ignorance. So in understanding what we are doing and why...ignorance might be dispelled. Once ignorance is dispelled...there is a different understanding...which results in different mental states and thinking. We do not need some external influence or force that makes us change. What external influence can influence or compel understanding? This world is really pretty insane...and the external influences don't seem to be changing this.

Surroundings do not matter if understanding changes. The world does not need to it is understood needs to change. Perhaps you get frustrated or road rage while driving to work. With a change in understanding, this may cease to arise...even though you continue to drive to work and encounter traffic. Is it really awakening if you avoid situations because you can not handle them?

If it is a constant battle, then you have not yet understood. In a more classical Indian analogy (where there are poisonous snakes), let’s say you are locked in a dark room and you see a shape on the floor that looks like a snake. You would worry, fear, and basically suffer…all the while you are stuck in this dark room. But if the light was turned on for…but for a few seconds, you could see it is a piece rope. Then the light goes off again, and yet the fear and worry do not return. You have realized that what you are seeing is a piece of rope. It no longer fools you…even if the darkness returns.

There is no difficulty in living the recognition of the “snake” being a piece of rope. There is no constant battle in trying to not think it is a snake. The difficulty lies in if it is not truly realized and it still remains unknown for what it truly really is. You caught a glimpse of that shape in the light and it looked like it might not have been a snake…but the glimpse was not long enough to truly be sure…and so there is still doubt. And so although you want to live from the recognition of it being a piece of rope…you are still not really sure and think it could be snake. The illusion only truly falls away when there is full realization…not a passing glimpse that is not fully recognized and so can be doubted.

This is the way of understanding. Once there is understanding, being in the same environment is no longer an problem or issue.

Re: Change

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:59 pm
by Webwanderer
Galadriel wrote:can you truly change your mental state or your way of thinking, completely motivated by yourself? Isn't it always some kind of external influence it takes to create a change?
It is commonly stated that to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result is the definition of insanity. So it would seem that to learn from what happens is the origin of change and a demonstration of sanity. One might argue that whatever change was initiated, it was from an external stimulus. But don't we live in a constantly changing environment, albeit often quite subtly? So then, are we not adapted to, and by, a changing environment to consider options in changing according to conditions and circumstances?

As there is no true static environment, there is really no case for assuming change is solely caused by external influences. Correlation does not prove causation. Especially when there is no control to compare to.

I think a key distinction in changing one's mental state is the rate of change. Small adjustments are less noticeable and are the primary basis of evolution of consciousness over time. Large, quantum leaps, are more rare but do happen when conditions are ripe.