I can't be doing this right...

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 :)

I can't be doing this right...

Postby 64zysws » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:09 am

So I picked up a copy of The Power of Now the other day and tried to apply some of its principles. This is not working for me as advertised...

I have tried to be present, but it just makes me feel horrid. I don't get any feelings of "bliss" or "joy" that Eckhart claims I should be feeling. I just feel empty, void, lifeless, as if I'm separated from the world; when I silence my mind it's like I'm out of phase with the rest of reality, like things are happening around me and I'm a half-second behind it all. This doesn't feel "present" to me at all... it's the polar opposite of presence because I'm lagging everything that is happening around me!

It's an awful headspace to be in, and after coming out of it all my energy had been drained. I felt tired and de-energised and depressed, and it took me hours to get back to feeling normal again.

Why would you people purposely do this to yourselves?
64zysws
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby lmp » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:47 pm

I wonder if a squirrel came down from a tree and sat in your lap if you wouldn't look at it, examine its movements, try to touch it. You would just be spontaneously present with this little thing in your lap. Nothing depressing about it. This kind of interest in what is going on could be extended to the feeling of the wind on your skin, the sound of a bird - to really listen.

What can be depressing is pretending to be present or interested in something when one is really worrying about the phone bill. Then be interested in why you are worried or in the phone bill if that is what you wish to think about for a while. Why do you feel lifeless? What makes you feel full of life, if you know that feeling still?
lmp
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 7:23 pm

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby 64zysws » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:50 pm

I have cleared my mind, and stopped my thoughts. Interestingly, I don't have any trouble doing this at all. I just go into a similar state as I do when playing music, for example... not thinking consciously about playing every note; rather, just being there in the moment, letting the music flow. This part is easy for me. The "getting there" aspect is not what I am questioning, I am questioning the way this experience is meant to be perceived. Eckhart says that I should be experiencing bliss and joy, but how can I feel bliss and joy when I am feeling nothing at all? It's contradictory. I do feel nothing at all when I clear my mind and enter the now. I am feeling nothing, thinking nothing; but upon reflection this state is anything but pleasant. He says that it doesn't feel trance-like, but to me it is entirely trance-like. He says that I should experience a sense of connection with the world around me, with others, with all things; but instead I feel a sense of disassociation, as if I am entirely alone, disconnected from the world, from others.
64zysws
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby 64zysws » Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:26 am

I am standing in front of a mirror, looking at myself. I am looking at my reflection looking back at me. I close my eyes, exhale, and clear my mind, empty it of all thoughts. I reopen my eyes. I observe the reflection in the mirror. The reflection now looks blank. I think nothing of this; I do not critisise, nor judge. I merely observe. The reflection's eyes appear dull, vacant. Where its eyes once sparkled with life, it now looks void and lifeless. It doesn't look happy nor unhappy. It merely is. It doesn't look something I could engage with, nor would I want to, because it looks like it is looking right through me. If I spoke to it, it would take seconds, maybe minutes, to respond, its voice a distant echo of myself. I understand that it is not here with me, now, as I am here; it is elsewhere, somewhere far away, distant. I am momentarily unnerved by this realisation, but I still my mind once more. I realise that whilst I do not judge, I cannot care. I accept separation from myself, and surrender to nothingness.

As I look back at my reflection looking through me, I realise that this does not matter. This does not matter, because nothing does. The reason nothing matters is because nothing can matter.

The fact that it exists, or that I exist, is meaningless.

I take no joy in this realisation.
64zysws
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:30 am

64zysws wrote:The fact that it exists, or that I exist, is meaningless.

It's not that it is meaningless. More accurately is that it's meaning free. In other words there is nothing in life that has inherent meaning. That's a good thing because it offers each of us the opportunity to apply whatever meaning we prefer to every event and condition in life.

That said we are mostly conditioned to apply certain meanings due to parents and a whole host of environmental influences. But we can, and often do, create new meanings that serve us better, that enhance our life experience in ways that old meanings/beliefs did not.

You are at a crossroads. The meaning you are currently applying is that your existence is meaningless. This meaning has brought you a particularly unpleasant experience. And it's only true because you have chosen to believe it is so. You can choose another way however. You can apply any meaning you want. This post of mine is just such an example. You say life is meaningless. That's your meaning - meaninglessness. Mine is that it just one possibility. It means you are exploring a certain quality of limitation. It's not right or wrong, only a particular experience. Such is the nature of exploring in this human environment.

As I look back at my reflection looking through me, I realise that this does not matter. This does not matter, because nothing does. The reason nothing matters is because nothing can matter.

Again, another applied meaning that brings a certain quality of experience. Consider this: Meanings matter. This is a materieal life experience. The meanings you apply become material as experience, or matter. You want a meaningless life experience? Just keep applying the meaning of nothing matters. Life will respond and demonstrate it as a material experience.

When you want something else. Apply another meaning that might you prefer. Life doesn't care. It's neutral. It's meaning free. It only serves to bring experience through the focus of our attention. It's really pretty cool - when you take advantage of it.

WW
User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6278
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby 64zysws » Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:05 am

Webwanderer wrote:You are at a crossroads.


I agree.

Webwanderer wrote:It's not that it is meaningless. More accurately is that it's meaning free. In other words there is nothing in life that has inherent meaning. That's a good thing because it offers each of us the opportunity to apply whatever meaning we prefer to every event and condition in life.


You know, I thought that I understood this before going in, so to speak, and I have an intuitive understanding that this is truth. I am surprised that my experience thus far has been so bleak. Maybe I haven't internalised that belief just yet; or, rather, maybe I thought it was true, but don't yet believe it to be true, and when moving beyond my thinking mind I ended up in a dark place. I may have also allowed the first experience to set the tone for the experiments that followed.

I will give it a break for a week and let my subconscious mind digest my experiences and then try again.

Thanks for your feedback.
64zysws
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby DylanDude » Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:26 pm

I'd say that what you are experiencing sounds pretty terrible. I'd stop doing that right away. Otherwise you might get so used to doing it that you'll not be able to stop and you'll live the rest of your life as a zombie.

How are you doing this? where does you attention go? your breath? your vision? your body?
DylanDude
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:11 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby Webwanderer » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:30 pm

I suggest you focus your attention on appreciation. Appreciate life just because it is. Isness is an amazing miracle. How is it that life is? There is no answer, yet here we are in amazing diversity of being. There is only the incredibility of it, and we can appreciate on many many levels that life is and we are. It's truly beautiful - if we choose to see it that way. Or we can choose to see it some other way. That's freedom. That in itself is beautiful.

WW
User avatar
Webwanderer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6278
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 am

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby lmp » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:54 pm

64zysws wrote:I have cleared my mind, and stopped my thoughts. Interestingly, I don't have any trouble doing this at all. I just go into a similar state as I do when playing music, for example... not thinking consciously about playing every note; rather, just being there in the moment, letting the music flow. This part is easy for me. The "getting there" aspect is not what I am questioning, I am questioning the way this experience is meant to be perceived. Eckhart says that I should be experiencing bliss and joy, but how can I feel bliss and joy when I am feeling nothing at all? It's contradictory. I do feel nothing at all when I clear my mind and enter the now. I am feeling nothing, thinking nothing; but upon reflection this state is anything but pleasant. He says that it doesn't feel trance-like, but to me it is entirely trance-like. He says that I should experience a sense of connection with the world around me, with others, with all things; but instead I feel a sense of disassociation, as if I am entirely alone, disconnected from the world, from others.


It is rather difficult to come to terms with this feeling of 'nothing at all'. It is thought that asserts that it is meaningless and it's almost like we have to forget about our resistance to the nothingness, that it is a very flat experience. When it is not objected to, it is my experience that that the positive feelings begin to bubble up in unexpected ways, the appreciation of beauty, the feelings of love towards things, joy, happiness. There's not something we can blame for it not happening, but examining the resistance can be a way of finding what is actually going on, subtle patterns of desires for various things.
lmp
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 7:23 pm

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby Onceler » Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:31 pm

I too was hung up on bliss and joy for years.....I'm not a naturally blissed or joyous person. I believed that these things were essential and that I needed to experience them continuously to be spiritually evolved. I no longer believe this, or rather, have reframed or reconcieced what bliss and joy are. I'm now more interested in the psychological term 'flow' because it describes more accurately what I experience much of the time. Flow is a state of deep focus and involvement in an activity. It is a state of doing, whether it be dishes or writing, in which one is focused on the action not on ones thoughts or emotions. Another aspect of flow is that time passes quickly, or one doesn't pay attention to the passage of time.

This means, in my thinking, that when one is in flow, bliss and joy are irrelevant, as there is no place in ones consciousness for these emotions. This sounds like where you are when playing music. It is where I go more and more these days, rather than dwelling on my emotions or problems or cyclical anxious thinking. I believe flow is the natural human state.....being immersed in our active human life, solving problems as they arise in the moment, directing our attention effortlessly toward what needs to be paid attention to.

As an example, I spent all day yesterday working on a friends house. I drywalled a bathroom and did other carpentry type jobs. The work was absorbing enough that I wasn't bored, just completely focused on what I was doing. On several occasions I noted that my actions just seemed to be flowing along. Even mistakes were easily incorporated into the flow. At the end of the day, over beers, my friends and I commented on how quickly the day passed and how satisfying it was to work with our hands and work with friends.

I would replace 'bliss' and 'joy' with 'satisfaction'. This state can be experienced even when things go wrong, even when negative emotional states are experienced temporarily. I think Tolle, the Zen masters, spiritual teachers, et al. Are talking about flow and immersion. This is what the now is. This is why we embody human life.
Be present, be pleasant.
User avatar
Onceler
 
Posts: 2198
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:35 am
Location: My house

Re: I can't be doing this right...

Postby DavidB » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:36 am

He says that I should experience a sense of connection with the world around me, with others, with all things; but instead I feel a sense of disassociation, as if I am entirely alone, disconnected from the world, from others.


As I look back at my reflection looking through me, I realise that this does not matter. This does not matter, because nothing does. The reason nothing matters is because nothing can matter.

The fact that it exists, or that I exist, is meaningless.

I take no joy in this realisation.


Ah yes, this is very familiar territory. I got stuck in the meaninglessness/void aspect of nature for quite some time, it nearly did my head in. :D

It wasn't until I realized that the void, meaninglessness, emptiness, was a type of perspective, viewing so to speak, the true nature of reality in only one context. The true nature of reality can indeed be perceived as a void, totally and utterly meaningless, completely and utterly empty of anything at all, total and utter annihilation. What I didn't realize for a long while however, that the true nature of reality was also complete and utter fullness. Emptiness and fullness are one and the same.

It might seem as if this were a duality, but it isn't, it just appears like that to us. The emptiness and the fullness are two aspects of our true nature. Nothing and everything are the same thing, perceived as opposites, as it were. I have this quote at the bottom of all my posts, which I love, because it resonates so beautifully: “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

If we can only understand this one thing, then we need not understand anything else.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
User avatar
DavidB
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:55 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Return to Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google Adsense [Bot] and 3 guests