The Now is boring

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)
Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:21 pm

Thanks for all the advice. I think there is something here that helps me. :)
kiki wrote:When you are new to this kind of observation "practice" it seems like it takes effort because you aren't used to it, but later it is so natural and simple that it happens automatically.
...
But also remember, you are new to this, and conditioning is deep seated so it may take some time to overcome this tendency.
Now you are talking about time again. What I hear is: "Some day I will be able to be present in the Now."

Now, in and of itself this makes perfect sense to me. But Eckhart Tolle rails against this kind of thinking. He keeps saying that we must not seek salvation in the future and that we must not "work toward" awakening. That makes me feel extremely frustrated. :/
kiki wrote:... the more you will realize that "something" is present that is alert and awake that sees thoughts come and go...
I'm not sure that it is always alert. It seems to me that the awareness-part of me is often sleeping and not really noticing anything that goes on.

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rideforever
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by rideforever » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:31 pm

If you find the Now boring, then do something else.
I was proud, and I demanded the finest teacher
.. .. and when he appeared
.. .. .. .. I was so small

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by kiki » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:54 am

Now you are talking about time again. What I hear is: "Some day I will be able to be present in the Now."

Now, in and of itself this makes perfect sense to me.
Then stick with that.
But Eckhart Tolle rails against this kind of thinking. He keeps saying that we must not seek salvation in the future and that we must not "work toward" awakening. That makes me feel extremely frustrated. :/
In the truest sense now is all there ever is, and it's the only place/time awakening happens. The problem with that, however, is that you don't really realize this until you wake up. In the meantime, :wink:, forget about the absolutes of what Tolle says and use what works for you. You aren't obligated to follow to the letter every utterance of anyone, including Tolle. It's OK for you to feel your way through this, taking what's useful and discarding what isn't. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to awakening, as though you are following a recipe to make something.

Each person's conditioning is unique to them, so what might work for one person won't work for another. Be willing to be creative in your exploration of awakening, be patient with yourself, and be alert to self-judgment because that only keeps you trapped in thinking. Consider yourself to be someone who is exploring uncharted territory, someone who is willing to travel beyond the sight of the shoreline rather than following the exact path of someone else and who's afraid to make a mistake. Even mistakes can teach you something, so don't be afraid to fail. You are your own best teacher, so learn to trust your intuition and follow your instincts. And don't expect to live anyone else's journey. This is your journey, after all, because it's your life, and the journey is the most interesting part of all of this so have fun with it. And if you find yourself frustrated then you know you are taking all of this too seriously. In other words, lighten up. A change in attitude can work wonders.

kiki wrote:... the more you will realize that "something" is present that is alert and awake that sees thoughts come and go...
spectrum wrote:I'm not sure that it is always alert. It seems to me that the awareness-part of me is often sleeping and not really noticing anything that goes on.
If that were the case you wouldn't notice your frustration.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
---

Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:39 am

kiki wrote:
Now you are talking about time again. What I hear is: "Some day I will be able to be present in the Now."

Now, in and of itself this makes perfect sense to me.
Then stick with that.
But Eckhart Tolle rails against this kind of thinking. He keeps saying that we must not seek salvation in the future and that we must not "work toward" awakening. That makes me feel extremely frustrated. :/
In the truest sense now is all there ever is, and it's the only place/time awakening happens. The problem with that, however, is that you don't really realize this until you wake up. In the meantime, :wink:, forget about the absolutes of what Tolle says and use what works for you. You aren't obligated to follow to the letter every utterance of anyone, including Tolle. It's OK for you to feel your way through this, taking what's useful and discarding what isn't. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to awakening, as though you are following a recipe to make something.
OK. Thanks. :)

Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:44 pm

The I and the Me

I have meditated, trying to see if I could separate the "I" (the awareness that observes) from the "me" (the mind that thinks).

When I try to separate them, I envision the mind as a sort of horizontal structure. A landscape or a city, or even a pizza. (Yeah. At times the image comes to me of the mind as a pizza, complete with pepperoni slices. :)) All the thoughts move in this two-dimensional landscape. In contrast, I visualize the awareness as a slim, needle-like shape. It is something capable of moving in three dimensions; lying submerged in the "sauce" of the pizza or rising above it to behold the pizza from above.

I have noticed that the "me", the mind, is very much built up of fears and longings. It spends a lot of its time worrying about the future. I have many thoughts of the formula "if X happens (or doesn't happen), it will be bad".

One thing that makes it difficult for me to "be with what is" is that I long for a feeling of happiness. I have the idea that "peace" is not enough; that I need to have an explicit feeling of happiness in order to be fulfilled. I do not know if this idea is true or not.



Submission

I am afraid to accept the now and stop struggling to change my life situation. It feels like submission, like giving up. I fear that if I accept the now, I will lose all power to change my life, and what change have I then of being happy?

I got an idea today: Maybe this has to do with my conflicting feelings of masculinity and femininity.

I was reading Paulo Coelho's Aleph. In it, Coelho claims that religion and spirituality originated with female shamans and that the "good" feminine spirituality was later usurped by men. I found myself repulsed by this tale because I considered it to be hippie-feminist pseudohistory and wishful thinking. Then, a bit later, Coelho states that in order to be a shaman, one must be in touch with one's feminine side (whether man or woman). This struck something in me. I wondered: Is this what I fear? My own feminine side.

I am very aware that I have "masculine" traits and "feminine" traits. I have trouble with both. I have a fear that my feminine traits (such as a desire for emotional intimacy and harmony) make me "less of a man" and thus prevent me from attracting the women I desire. I tell myself a story about how my last relationship was ruined because I was "unmanly" - too emotional and too weak. Hence I have a fear that I need to "be a man".

Also, I have a lot of pride and am unwilling to allow anything or anyone to have power over me. I fear submitting to anything. Is this what I need to learn in order to experience the spiritual? And if so, how do I do that?

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by oak tree » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:42 pm

Yes I would say the spiritual state is just being totally surrendered to life. Of being open to whatever arises. Is this what you are seeking? To return to the natural state of innocence, vulnerability and openness?
Maybe you are tired trying to protect yourself, trying to be in control, trying to figure everything out. Maybe you wish to let go?

What do you really want?

Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:38 pm

oak tree wrote:Yes I would say the spiritual state is just being totally surrendered to life. Of being open to whatever arises. Is this what you are seeking? To return to the natural state of innocence, vulnerability and openness?
Not necessarily. Not in-and-of-itself. But I have been told by all sorts of spiritual teachers that surrender and acceptance are the roots of all things good.
oak tree wrote:What do you really want?
I want to be happy. I want to enjoy life. I want to be able to find beauty and joy in things - in as many things as possible. I want to achieve external things (romance, sex, success in my artistic pursuits), and I want to be able to fully enjoy these things without worrying about other things.

I do not necessarily insist on being free of suffering. I just want to have far more joy than suffering in my life.

A part of me believes that achieving external things (romance, sex, success in my artistic pursuits) is the key to being happy. I suspect, though, that this is not the whole truth. I know that my happiness depends not only on external circumstances but also very much on internal circumstances. I know that I often have trouble enjoying the "good things" in my life because I worry.

A good example is sex. I have trouble enjoying sex. I usually find myself worrying that I am not a good enough lover, that the girl will leave me. Or, even if it feels good now, I worry that it won't last. Or I resent the girl for not being the one I really want.

I suspect that Tolle is right when he says that presence and acceptance of the moment is the key to enjoying things. Hence I am trying to learn it.

Moreover, I have many limiting beliefs, and I suspect that they are preventing me from achieving the external things I want. I have heard that presence and acceptance is also key in overcoming limiting beliefs. That is another reason why I am trying to learn it.

So, to sum up: I want to make good things happen in my life, and I want to be better at enjoying whatever happens in my life.

magicbutterfly
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by magicbutterfly » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:34 pm

So, to sum up: I want to make good things happen in my life, and I want to be better at enjoying whatever happens in my life.
You can only do it in this moment. Whatever you are doing now, do it to the best of your ability. When you are doing your art, do it the best way you know how. When you are having sex, do it the best way you can. In that moment.
If you catch yourself worrying or judging - face it - say to yourself, I just caught myself worrying that perhaps I am not as good as I could be at this, perhaps I would like to learn more. And perhaps you could find a mentor for your art or ask the girl you are having sex with to help you give her more pleasure.
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by oak tree » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:35 pm

If you want to achieve external things I suggest you take whatever action you can. But if you are very attached to the outcome there will probably be tension, stress, worry etc.

You say you want to find joy and beauty in things. In my experience you can find beauty in any moment , losses and failure can be very beautiful also. A lover leaving you can be beautiful. Pain can have a sweetness to it . There can be joy in your sorrow.

Sometimes what seems like a disaster, a mistake can actually be a great opportunity. A blessing even.

If things don't work out the way you planned maybe it's for the best. Maybe what life is giving you is exactly what you need to experience.

jimmyrich
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by jimmyrich » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:07 am

Spectrum wrote:Hi.
I am re-reading The Power of Now. (I've read both it and A New Earth a couple of times.) I feel frustrated about something. Tolle tells us that the key to happiness is to release concern about the past and future and focus my attention on the now. My problem with this is that... the Now is boring!
Just my psychological take on "boredom". I believe that boredom is a consequence of inner, unresolved/unhealed pain that becomes noticeable when there is nothing to distract the victim from the constant presence of this pain. It's pain stored up in us from a bad childhood or other traumatic, painful events that we don't normally notice until there is nothing to hold our attention and we are faced with FEELING what we usually can avoid feeling or enduring - INNER PAIN! Little babies to not normally suffer with "boredom" because they enjoy just being them self and have not yet stored up memories and feelings of pain/discomfort/self contempt/unhappiness/fear/regret/disappointment, etc. A baby can play with it's own toes, fingers, shadows, toys, etc. for hours without GETTING BORED (feeling pain). But older ppl carry around a lot of inner pain and it comes to the surface as "boredom" when they have no interesting distractions.

re: Tolle's advice is great in those moments where I feel intensely unhappy. Then Tolle's words help me to disengage from the unhappy thoughts and return to a neutral state of "OK, life is not so bad". But I would like to be happy, not just neutral.
>> I believe what you are calling "neutral" is still an unhappy, hurting place for you or you'd enjoy and appreciated it whereas being "happy" is an escape from the unhappy state of "neutrality".

re: When I deliberately focus my attention on the Now, what I find is a feeling of semi-relaxed boredom.
>> Or mild PAIN! It's pain no matter how you describe it and is coming from inner pain when there's nothing to cover it up.

re: I can appreciate what Tolle says about how "there are no problems in the Now". I get how that is sort of true. But there also doesn't seem to be anything of particular value in the Now. I do not find the "joy of Being" that Tolle talks about. This makes it difficult for me to believe that the Now is the gateway to all things good.
>> For a while my experience of the Now was unsatisfactory and left me wondering what it's all about but recently, I entered the Now and then suddenly found myself separate from my pained, unhappy, fearful little, egoic self and existing as my REAL NO-PAIN SELF! It's a transition that ET speaks of where, by observing our self or our thoughts, we can suddenly realize that we are not those observed objects but are something quite different and, in my case, arrive at what we really are - A REAL SELF or ME and it's not boring at all since the issues and pains of my little, egoic self are not ME or MINE.

re: Am I doing something wrong? Is there some flaw in my thinking?
>> For me, it was when I momentarily went beyond, above or outside of my "thinking" that I returned to or became MYSELF. When I realized that my mind is over there and I am over here, I was suddenly converted to my REAL, ETERNAL and trouble free SELF - which isn't a "self " at all but more like a BEINGNESS. It's kind of beyond words!
good luck releasing your hidden inner pain that produces boredom and becoming your real self again. :) jim

Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:55 pm

jimmyrich wrote:
Spectrum wrote:Hi.
I am re-reading The Power of Now. (I've read both it and A New Earth a couple of times.) I feel frustrated about something. Tolle tells us that the key to happiness is to release concern about the past and future and focus my attention on the now. My problem with this is that... the Now is boring!
Just my psychological take on "boredom". I believe that boredom is a consequence of inner, unresolved/unhealed pain that becomes noticeable when there is nothing to distract the victim from the constant presence of this pain. It's pain stored up in us from a bad childhood or other traumatic, painful events that we don't normally notice until there is nothing to hold our attention and we are faced with FEELING what we usually can avoid feeling or enduring - INNER PAIN! Little babies to not normally suffer with "boredom" because they enjoy just being them self and have not yet stored up memories and feelings of pain/discomfort/self contempt/unhappiness/fear/regret/disappointment, etc. A baby can play with it's own toes, fingers, shadows, toys, etc. for hours without GETTING BORED (feeling pain). But older ppl carry around a lot of inner pain and it comes to the surface as "boredom" when they have no interesting distractions.
Spectrum wrote:Tolle's advice is great in those moments where I feel intensely unhappy. Then Tolle's words help me to disengage from the unhappy thoughts and return to a neutral state of "OK, life is not so bad". But I would like to be happy, not just neutral.
I believe what you are calling "neutral" is still an unhappy, hurting place for you or you'd enjoy and appreciated it whereas being "happy" is an escape from the unhappy state of "neutrality".
Spectrum wrote:When I deliberately focus my attention on the Now, what I find is a feeling of semi-relaxed boredom.
Or mild PAIN! It's pain no matter how you describe it and is coming from inner pain when there's nothing to cover it up.
You know, this is actually a really great post. You made me realize some things.

When I experience strong negative feelings, and I manage to do something to release them or soften my attention to them, I usually revert to this state which I have variously reffered to as "boredom", "neutrality" and "emptiness". You are right, it is not really neutrality. It is a state of background unhappiness. A tolerable level of unhappiness, but still very noticeable unhappiness.

Spiritual people tell me that my natural state is one of joy. I have never accepted that. I have always believed that my natural state is this emptiness, this background unhappiness. I have always believed that I needed something "extra" to bring happiness into my life; some explicit "thing" to enjoy. I have never accepted the claim that "just being" could ever be enough; that I could ever lastingly enjoy just being myself.

I have always (consciously and unconsciously) thought of this background unhappiness as my natural state. In Eckhart Tolle's terms, I have identified with it. I have assumed it to be "me". Hence I haven't seen it as a "thing". I have regarded it as the background behind things. Hence I have not been able to observe it. Whenever I tried to observe it, my attention would slide off it like water from a duck. I was blind to it.

But I think you are right. It rings true to me. Perhaps this background unhappiness really IS a "thing". I will devote more attention to investigating it.

Thanks! :)

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by jimmyrich » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:10 am

Spectrum wrote:I have always (consciously and unconsciously) thought of this background unhappiness as my natural state.
And much of society will back you up on that assumption because very few people are ever motivated to deeply examine their own experiences to see/feel what actually causes this "boredom" that they and almost everybody experiences. It's a "group hypnosis" reaction when there's nothing to keep a person's mind off of "issues".
But I think you are right. It rings true to me. Perhaps this background unhappiness really IS a "thing".
I'd say it's a "thing" (Inner Pain) if it represents deep, subtle layers of: unhappiness, fear, anger, sorrow, pain, etc. that can not be hidden when there is nothing going on to distract the victim from noticing their inner pain that society politely calls "boredom".
good luck examining this for your self...... :)

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Re: The Now is boring

Post by jimmyrich » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:36 am

Spectrum wrote:
oak tree wrote:Yes I would say the spiritual state is just being totally surrendered to life. Of being open to whatever arises. Is this what you are seeking? To return to the natural state of innocence, vulnerability and openness?
Not necessarily. Not in-and-of-itself. But I have been told by all sorts of spiritual teachers that surrender and acceptance are the roots of all things good.
I believe that what they fail to tell us is that so long as we are carrying around a load of buried, painful, unhappy, hidden and PAINFUL feelings and memories from an unhappy childhood in a dysfunctional family, it may not be possible to "surrender" and be "accepting" in any way or for very long. Somehow, so many "spiritual" teachings skip right over this point as if we can just put on some "spirituality" and our unhealed, old feelings will either evaporate or lay down and die! As for me, I had to go to work on exposing and healing my hidden wounds before they would let me get "spiritual".
oak tree wrote:What do you really want?
I want to be happy. I want to enjoy life. I want to be able to find beauty and joy in things - in as many things as possible. I want to achieve external things (romance, sex, success in my artistic pursuits), and I want to be able to fully enjoy these things without worrying about other things. I do not necessarily insist on being free of suffering. I just want to have far more joy than suffering in my life.
IMO, that is evidence of some kindS of unhealed, unresolved inner emotional wounds that will need to be addressed sooner or later. Unhealed wounds have a way of wrecking much of our current, conscious life in an effort to get our attention and be finally FIXED.
Google: healing our repressed feelings
good luck :)

Spectrum
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Re: The Now is boring

Post by Spectrum » Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:10 pm

jimmyrich wrote:
Spectrum wrote:
oak tree wrote:Yes I would say the spiritual state is just being totally surrendered to life. Of being open to whatever arises. Is this what you are seeking? To return to the natural state of innocence, vulnerability and openness?
Not necessarily. Not in-and-of-itself. But I have been told by all sorts of spiritual teachers that surrender and acceptance are the roots of all things good.
I believe that what they fail to tell us is that so long as we are carrying around a load of buried, painful, unhappy, hidden and PAINFUL feelings and memories from an unhappy childhood in a dysfunctional family, it may not be possible to "surrender" and be "accepting" in any way or for very long.
But I don't even have childhood traumas. I remember my childhood as being fine. Not spectacular - in fact pretty boring - but fine. Come to think of it, I believe I have had this feeling of boredom and vague unhappiness for as long as I can remember.

One thing that may be of interest, though, is that I don't remember much of my childhood. Everything from my first 15 years is pretty blurry. I mean, I remember a bunch of facts such as where we lived and who my friends were and what my interests were, but there are relatively few scenes that I can actually recall.

In fact, one of my earliest memories is a scene where I asked my mother: "Mom, how come you adults remember things that happened many years ago while we children can barely remember anything?"

It is not that I have a general memory problem. I remember my more recent years fine. It's my childhood that is all blurred.

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