Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

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Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:27 pm

Hi everybody. I figured I wouldn't get a useful or objective response if I posted this question on a Christian site, as most Christians seem to not really understand Eastern religion/spirituality. I was raised, like most of us, in a Christian culture and that is the organized religion I am most comfortable with. However, for a long time I have wondered as to why there is narrative involved, I've been bothered by it as a "belief system" and something that seems mind-made, and it doesn't resonate for me the way Eastern spirituality (which also includes Tolle) does. I don't understand the need for a belief system when it seems the real stuff is the stuff I can directly experience. Learning about Buddhism for example, has made me wonder about the whole Father and Son story and why we have all these personages in Christianity. Why is there a story you have to believe in? Why does one need to pray to someone out there? This implies an individual that hears you as opposed to meditation which is about connecting to the ground of being in life/reality in general. Can anyone speak to this? I know I'm not articulating this well.
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:41 pm

Can someone help?
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby kiki » Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:12 am

Why is there a story you have to believe in? Why does one need to pray to someone out there? This implies an individual that hears you as opposed to meditation which is about connecting to the ground of being in life/reality in general. Can anyone speak to this? I know I'm not articulating this well.


Christianity, as well as Islam and Judaism, are religions based on the assumption that we are separated from God and that humanity is inherently sinful. So we are taught to pray to God because he is "out there", outside ourselves. There exists both good (God) and evil (Satan), and if we don't follow the prescribed "salvation story" and practices of a religion we will suffer the consequences in the afterlife. Those religions provide that story, which is taken on faith to be true. One must rely on faith because there isn't actually any real proof that any of those stories are true. That's what faith is, the belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Because there is no proof people of different religions are very often at odds with one another as they argue and counter argue over their different versions of what they only believe to be true. Another way of putting it is this: Those religions are set up in a dualistic way, and it's up to the individual to choose which salvation story bets fits them, and to follow the wrong story (or no story) puts you at peril.

On the other hand, in a nondualistic view each (apparent) individual is required to see directly for himself the truthfulness of non-separation from anything, which can only be realized in the here and now. Every "story" becomes an impediment to the realization of unity, so why bother entertaining one? Just see for yourself what's present and real in the here and now when all stories drop away. So, no faith is required for this because there is no story that requires a belief.

Religion wants you to believe its story so you must develop, build, and maintain a faith that it's true. This keeps people trapped at the level of the mind, thereby keeping the story going and keeping God "out there", and "salvation" in some distant future.
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:02 am

joe wrote: I don't understand the need for a belief system when it seems the real stuff is the stuff I can directly experience.

It's likely you don't understand it because you now know instinctively that there is no 'need' for a religious belief system to get more clarity on the true nature of life and being. Experience is the best teacher.

Learning about Buddhism for example, has made me wonder about the whole Father and Son story and why we have all these personages in Christianity. Why is there a story you have to believe in?

The belief in religious dogma mostly serves as a stepping stone for those that need that type of structure. There are those so entrained with the fears of a religious story that getting free is not easily done. There is yet some value in religion and well serves many who embrace it. That said, the religious structure generally serves the church hierarchy more so than it does the followers who support and contribute to it.

Why does one need to pray to someone out there?

Prayer is often misdirected. It can however, serve to focus ones' attention on a reality greater than the one generally perceived from our human perspective. That focus is akin to alignment with our true nature and can be a valuable contribution to our expanding consciousness. The quality of that focus is key.

This implies an individual that hears you as opposed to meditation which is about connecting to the ground of being in life/reality in general. Can anyone speak to this? I know I'm not articulating this well.

In rudimentary levels of prayer it does tend to imply a separate deity. With growing clarity however, the one praying may recognize that prayer can be focusing element in the intentional exercise of LoA. A simple focused "I Am' is a kind of prayer and enhances ones' sense of presence and being.

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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:57 am

Those are good ways of putting the issues, and familiar notions to me. I guess what I am trying to understand is WHY someone would need to believe a story, with all it's areas for mis-translation, historical innaccuracies, the multiple complexities of language, etc. I can see why people who are trapped by a belief system or are not willing to look into other traditions and methods would not get being present as a spiritual path, but the whole narrative thing seems so arbitrary and simplistic to me. I mean, how can you trust anything as elaborate as that? I can understand how faith can be thought of as universal, in the way that Tolle and others speak of it. But faith as in, there is this whole story about a Father and Son as actual personages, is something tied to a very narrow understanding. Another thing that confuses me is that the closest thing to Buddhism and Hinduism (and people like Tolle who are influenced by those traditions) is contemplative mystical Christianity. Yet as wise as it seems it still ultimately depends on the narratives of the Bible. How can something so close to Mindfulness (as a tradition spanning all religions) still be stuck in such a narrow belief system? How can wise sages be limited in such a way? I wonder if I'm coming at the issue from the wrong perspective or missing something.
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:16 am

Things are very quiet here...
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:37 am

Can anyone else provide any insight???
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:16 pm

How can something so close to Mindfulness (as a tradition spanning all religions) still be stuck in such a narrow belief system? How can wise sages be limited in such a way? I wonder if I'm coming at the issue from the wrong perspective or missing something.


I guess what I am trying to understand is WHY someone would need to believe a story, with all it's areas for mis-translation, historical innaccuracies, the multiple complexities of language, etc.



What you're basically asking is why do groups of people come to group thinking... and the answer is often times survival, something bigger than themselves to believe in.

I don't want to appear disrespectful but stories help to illustrate nuances, and the more one becomes aware of the nuances the more the complexity of them can be understood.

Have you read the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch, Joe? It might give you some answers to your questions.
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:40 am

What's that all about?
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:01 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:
How can something so close to Mindfulness (as a tradition spanning all religions) still be stuck in such a narrow belief system? How can wise sages be limited in such a way? I wonder if I'm coming at the issue from the wrong perspective or missing something.


I guess what I am trying to understand is WHY someone would need to believe a story, with all it's areas for mis-translation, historical innaccuracies, the multiple complexities of language, etc.



What you're basically asking is why do groups of people come to group thinking... and the answer is often times survival, something bigger than themselves to believe in.

I don't want to appear disrespectful but stories help to illustrate nuances, and the more one becomes aware of the nuances the more the complexity of them can be understood.

Have you read the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch, Joe? It might give you some answers to your questions.


And how does it relate?
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby smiileyjen101 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:56 am

Do you mean how does the CWG series relate, or the whole post?

If you mean CWG it addresses where the words & stories have been either misunderstood or used as a means to an end (usually power over). It also offers clarity. Well worth a read, very enjoyable & enlightening.
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby joe » Thu Jan 14, 2016 7:00 am

But still an "he's out there" concept of God right? A personification of Reality?
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:24 pm

It's not so much of 'he's out there' with Walsh's God. It's more like 'God' is a perspective or context within Walsh. Walsh's God is his own true nature and essence interacting with his human experience. Walsh himself is a perspective and context of that greater consciousness out on the leading edge of physical experience. It's the same with all of us and our greater beingness in relation to our humanness. The finer one's alignment, the clearer this relationship becomes.

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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby Manyana » Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:15 pm

This is a short piece of a conversation between Neale Donald Walsch and ET. I like NDW's honesty in this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paQ1gMCxrwo
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Re: Tolle, or Eastern approaches vs. Christianity

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:17 am

That's a gorgeous (& very authentic) clip Manyana, thanks for posting. I also love how NDW listens with his whole body... yum.

But still an "he's out there" concept of God right? A personification of Reality?

I like Webby's answer to this. "Walsh's God is his own true nature and essence interacting with his human experience."

I can comfortably 'hear' what NDW's 'god' has to say, he's funny, irreverent, wise and wonderful and NDW is a good listener & responder. That's not to say that I 'adopt' him as my god, and nor do either of them ask you/me to. NDW just shares his conversations in yes a him-me way, mostly I think (having read them and seen him in person) because maybe... (my view only) NDW likes his humanness, likes his flaws and his vulnerabilities, possibly even because it breaks down some of the separation theology between people.

When I saw him he explained that he is/everything is 'an aspect of divinity'
Divinity is merely wisdom & clarity in all of creation.
We are in the realm of the physical because divinity seeks to know itself experientially through the expression of life - through you, as you, for you.
Being while doing is one of his mantras - obviously from that clip above that he sometimes forgets - in essence it's pretty much the same message as ET in terms of being in states of acceptance, enjoyment &/or enthusiasm - all expressions of wisdom & clarity in the present moment.

He also posed that we've created the separation theology creating the separation between the divine that is us, and the divine that is other/s.

When he asked himself Who Am I? after a hilarious chronological list (in his teens he was his hair, @ 21 he was his car, @ 30 he 'knew' he was his women, in his 40s he heard he was his job - he'd 'made it' he was now his job.... in his 50s he realised he was not his hair, car, women, job his answer was I am God/Love/Creation, and as this 'ambassador' I have the full authority of divinity itself.

Which is when he mentioned 'free will' merely being an agreement that no one else is going to choose (that within our power & authority to choose) for you. "I would not presume to choose for you." as the true meaning of us having 'free will'.

He says such wonderful things as 'honesty, is the highest form of love'. He says wonderful things about what is love, and what it is misunderstood to be or to mean 'love' - for that I adore Don Miguel Ruiz's definition - 'love is the equilibrium of gratitude & generosity'.

I would also stay with Ruiz for his 5th Agreement in terms of holding awareness - our wisdom & clarity when looking at how others interpret things - Ruiz: Be sceptical, but listen.
True scepticism is open minded, curious, willing to explore, willing to allow - to take it back to ET - in acceptance, enjoyment &or enthusiasm.

These topics of divinity, of god, of belief systems, they are certainly topics one could get their knickers in a knot over - --- but inside it all is another aspect of divinity. Awareness knows this. And with love - gratitude & generosity - we can be at peace with it and ... still choose for ourself how we express our own particular aspect of divinity :D
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