From Eckhart Teaching Newsletter
“I received many excellent questions, which is why I answered more than the usual two or three, and in the next newsletter I intend to answer some more questions that have already been submitted.
However, as I am sure you know, all questions as well as answers are made up of thought, but the truth of who you are is not realized through thought. At best, thought can be helpful for those who still need signposts, but only in the relinquishment of thought does the truth reveal itself.
Peace and joy be with you all, this Christmas and beyond.
For the New Year, I wish to offer this quote to you from A Course in Miracles:
“Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening”.
You often use phrases such as "true alignment with life" and "inner
alignment with what is". How can we ever be out of alignment with what is?
Surely what is is WHAT IS and must include confusion, resistance and non
surrender to the present moment.
Answer: What you say is the truth. As long as that truth is not recognized, however, there is suffering (which of course is part of what is.) As soon as it is recognized, a new dimension arises: awareness, Presence. This is the awakening, the shift, the transcendence of suffering. So, when I say alignment with life I mean conscious alignment. Non-surrender to the present moment is ultimately only non-recognition that you are already one with what is. This is the illusion of separation (which, of course, also has its rightful place within the totality). So we are all on a journey from unconscious to conscious alignment with life. (Please see also A New Earth, page 163/64 for another perspective on this).
Dissolving the ego is quite a scary business. When it comes to complete surrender, it is actually quite difficult to do because everyone wants to be an individual. Is individuality lost? Is there any awareness of an individual self after awakening and what about after physical death?
Answer: When you say “individual self”, I assume you mean who you are in your essence, your true identity. What is the essence of who I am? Is it the flesh and bones of my body? Is it my memories, my thoughts, my emotions, social roles? It is none of the above. Who I feel to be in my essence - what some people call “my individuality” or “my identity”, is felt to be something very precious, but what exactly is it? It is the underlying sense of I Am, which is consciousness itself. It is the only thing I cannot lose because it is who I am. So we could put it like this: you will lose everything except yourself.
You say: “everyone wants to be an individual”. I would just say: everyone wants to be. Awareness of Being is self-realization. Awareness of Being is true happiness.
It is grief I would like you to talk on some more. I have “Even the Sun Will Die” and get it about form, just having lost 3 family members. Even when watching my mind, and feeling some peace, tears just come like a tidal wave. Then there is a hole, I sit with it, but all the spiritual teaching in the world does not seem to allow relief from grief. It is as if as a human form you have only one way and that is through; I noticed feelings of guilt for the feelings, but even surrender doesn’t seem to help... for want of trying to communicate my question much is lost... Grief seems separate to me, from all other emotions we experience and can have some effect on anger, self pity ect.
Answer: If you surrender to what you are feeling (and not feed the feeling with your thoughts, with stories), grief will burn up the ego and then show you its other face, which is peace or even joy. Joy is the dynamic aspect of peace. But don’t expect to obtain anything through surrender.
You say, “even surrender doesn’t seem to help”. As long as surrender is a means to an end (help, relief etc.), it is not complete surrender. There is an expectation. In true surrender, you ask for nothing, expect nothing. You simply embrace what is. Another way of putting it: you suffer consciously. Blessings on your journey.
Is it frustrating to have gone from being able to interact with people on a casual basis, to having now found yourself behind a network of protection from which you are unwittingly walled in and limited in how much you can do and respond to? My analogy is of the rock star who starts by playing pubs and clubs and is close contact with those he is trying to reach, but in reaching becomes a victim of his success, no longer able to interact on a direct level - more a myth to the public and a prisoner to his work. I very much enjoyed being in your presence at Glastonbury a year or so ago.
Answer: Your assessment of my situation is right. In the past, the limitation was that the teaching only reached a small number of people. Now, it is reaching millions and I am for the most part not able to interact with people personally anymore. This would indeed be frustrating if I didn’t know and accept that every situation one encounters will bring its own limitations. For everything gained, there is something lost. For everything lost, there is something gained. That’s just part of the world of form.
I am a devoted listener of your words and the space in between them. I along with many others I know are wondering what kind of food diet you recommend in assisting our realization of present moment? Strictly vegetarian or are animal products ok?
Answer: I recommend listening to the body. When you look at a food item (or imagine ingesting it) become still and alert. You will then feel the body either opening up (saying “yes”) or you may notice a slight contraction, which means the body is saying “no”. The body knows more about food than your mind ever will.
You realized the “truth” (I am referring to the permanent shift of consciousness you have achieved) with no help from others. Do you know of anyone who achieved the same by following your teaching through books/tapes?
Answer: For most people, the shift is not a single event but a process they undergo. It is a gradual disidentification from thoughts and emotions through the arising of awareness. Many people, through coming into contact with the teaching, are now undergoing this process, and some are already free.
I have been wanting to ask you this for months- What are your thoughts on the New Testament? It appears that you believe certain parts were add-ons, or apart from the essence of the teaching. Are there any parts in particular? And why?
Answer: The New Testament contains deep spiritual truth as well as distortions. Those distortions are of two kinds. Some are due to a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching, others arose because people had an agenda (wanting to fit Jesus into their preconceived notions, wanting to make converts etc.). At some point, if there is another book, I may write about this in more detail. But you can find all this out for yourself. When you are present, you access your inner knowing and you will sense what is true and what was added on or distorted.
If you only live in the now, what would stop someone who is in a relationship or marriage from resisting the temptation to have sex with anyone who is attractive but who is not his/her partner? After all, if you are in the now and see someone attractive, you want to have sex with them now.
Answer: Does living in the Now mean giving in to every impulse that arises? Then all those people who chase one sexual partner after another must be enlightened.
As long as you want something from another (such as sex), are you present? Or are you seeking to reach some point in the future that promises fulfillment? (And thereby making the present moment as well as the other person into a means to an end.) All wanting implies that the future is more desirable than the present, does it not?
It is inevitable that physical attraction towards another person will sometimes occur. That’s no more than part of nature. When you identify with that impulse, it becomes “you” and turns into wanting. The other person then becomes a means to an end – the end being sex, the attainment of the object of your desire.
When you are present, you can observe the attraction or the sexual feeling within yourself, recognize it as natural, accept it, even enjoy it without needing to act it out. After all, it may be totally inappropriate to do so within the totality of the situation. When you recognize yourself as the space of consciousness in which the impulse arises, you don’t become the impulse; you don’t lose yourself in it. Being present is being the space, rather than what happens.
Inspirational Quotes by Eckhart Tolle
“Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creatures.”
“True salvation is freedom from negativity, and above all from past and future as a psychological need.”
“Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no. If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you, no humility, no compassion.”
“Enlightenment means choosing to dwell in the state of presence rather than in time. It means saying yes to what is.”
“As you go about your life, don’t give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within. Feel the inner body even when engaged in everyday activities, especially when you are relating with nature. Feel the stillness deep inside it. Keep the portal open.”
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