Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

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Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby enlightened_robot » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:37 am

Before I start this stream of consciousness let me preface it by saying that I have tried about 5 times to come up with a proper discussion topic and found myself unable to string my thoughts coherently, so i'll see if this stream of consciousness will bring out the wonders I have about The Power Of Now.

I have so many wonders about the book that I read. The Power Of Now, it is an incredible concept. It is something so obvious yet so hidden to most people. Eckhart is definitely on to something, but his explanations only convinced me so much. I need something more. I have too many lingering questions unanswered. For example how does one apply these teachings to the most dire of situations? What if I was suffering from an extremely painful disease, or if I was pushing out a kidney stone? How does someone deal with constant physical pain due to circumstances out of their control, or circumstances within their control? The idea of surrender and acceptance when having these situations in mind seem to be opposite of what someone should do. I would want to do something about it. If someone came and chopped my arm off I am not going to just stand there and be like "this is fine, i'm at peace". Like wtf no. This plays a bit into my other concern, which is, what do you even do once you have achieved enlightenment? This concerns me because supposedly when Eckhart had his epiphany he went through a period of just sitting around "doing nothing" and basking in the beauty of life and presence. Now that is all fine and cool, I have no real issue with that except that if I just suddenly had an epiphany in my life and started wandering about simply being content with living and experiencing consciousness I would probably die. I can't seem to get over the idea that becoming fully conscious and present leads one to become entirely self-absorbed and complacent, not interested in doing anything but simply being. I tend to imagine a monk meditating in the mountains somewhere as being the ultimate goal. To completely detach from civilization and just live minimally experiencing life. This just feels so wrong to me. Eckhart does mention that we shouldn't be moving backward, but that we should be moving forward. That humanity should have a shift in consciousness if we want to survive. Yet when I read other parts of the book it seems to self-absorbed and comes mostly to the benefit of the self. Especially in the section about enlightened relationships. I don't even know man. If enlightenment comes, what happens to things like ambition? Drive? Discipline? Creativity? Just action in general? Please someone explain how acceptance of the now can help me make meaningful change in myself and the world.
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby GermanEnlightenment » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:09 pm

Hi there. :) Your questions are quite common. In fact, I had the same concerns as you have after reading "PON". Will I just be sitting arround all day, doing nothing? And if bad things are happening to me, should I just let them happen without doing anything?

However, that´s a misunderstanding of what Eckhart is teaching. Let´s take your example. If someone would show up to chop your arm off I guess the best thing would be to defend yourself or run away. Being in the now doesn´t mean that you just let things happen to you and you are just totally passive and non-reactive. What Eckhart is talking about is that if you find yourself in a situation where things already happened to you, YOU can choose how to deal with it. Say, your mom died. You can repress these upcoming feelings of sadness, anger, depression etc. all you want but sooner or later they will come back to you. They want to be felt and not be repressed or denied. So when those feelings show up, you accept them because they are already in you. Running from them might be a short-term solution but it won´t help you in the long run. Feeling those emotions has nothing to do with being passive, it´s actually the exact opposite because you feel empowered by no longer running away from "negative" emotions. You let them wash over you and realize that yes, they may be painful but they can´t kill you. A lot of sufferings in humans occur because we fear having to experience negative emotions, not realizing that by doing that we are already in a state of incredible fear. If you go through the fear, you will come out on the other side, feeling much more powerful than before!

It´s funny that you (or rather your mind ;)) asks what will happen to ambition, drive, discipline, creativity etc. Most of us are so deeply ingrained in the struggle-mindset that we don´t even consider that life could be different. We believe that everything we do must take a lot of effort, that life is hard and nothing that is worth having comes easy. That´s one way of living your life. Is that really what you want?
Why not align with your authentic self and do the things that you enjoy doing? You probably have had those moments in your life where it seemed like everything worked in perfect synchronicity. You worked hard, yes, but it didn´t feel like work, it felt like passion. Like you were drawn to a specific activity that you couldn´t stop doing because it felt so good doing it. You weren´t just reaching for an end result, no, you actually were excited about the journey, about the process. Why not have a job that fills you up with the same passion?
You will realize that the more you align with yourself, the less you will do activities that feel joyless for you, activities that seem like you are not excited about in the slightest. Don´t get me wrong, it doesn´t mean that you are excited about everything you do, but you can f.e. do your tax returns with peace in your heart, not being upset about doing this work or wishing for the activity to be done as fast as possible. But you won´t do any activities anymore that feel bad to your soul, your body and your spirit. In my case e.g. I started doing sports, I stopped watching to much bad television, I started eating healthy, I stopped sorrounding myself with people that were just toxic, I started talking to much more girls to finally get a girlfriend etc. I could basically fill a whole book of how much my life has changed due to Eckhart´s and probably ten other spiritual teachers (get more input from them as well!), to me it´s like I woke up from a really bad, long dream. It´s like I´m not even the same person anymore. The way I see the world now and how other people and the world are reacting to me is so incredibly different that I can´t put my joy about that into words. :)

You mind asks a funny question, it sounds like:"Well, if I´m enlightened and always feel good won´t that be boring?" :lol: It´s really funny because as human beings don´t we all want to be happy, peaceful and content within ourselves? If that´s the case after being enlightened why should it matter what we do? What we do is not as important as the energy behind what we are doing. Are we acting out of fear or out of love? Do we take actions that are self-loving or actions that show we care more about satisfying other people, society, the world, our fathers etc.? Do we try to fill a void inside of us with the actions that we take or have we realized that we have so much to offer to the world that we don´t have to beg others for love, appreciation or approval?
Our egos don´t understand this the idea of giving love without wanting anything in return. We made love into a business transaction between people, not something that is shared to increase our own joy and the joy of our partner even more. But that´s another topic I guess.

Well, I guess I lost my train of thought and I´m not sure where I wanted to go next with this but feel free to ask me more. :lol: :D
"Happiness / Something in my own place / I'm standing naked / Smiling, I feel no disgrace / With who I am/ I´m a lucky man...with fire in my hands"
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby DavidB » Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:54 am

Eckart isn't teaching a formula, quite opposite, it's abandoning teaching formulas.

Echart does give a lot of examples on how to deal with life's situations from a present state of awareness, but the real message is that we are never more capable to deal with life's situations than when we are present.

Being present is empowering, which is to say, it empowers us to deal with life's challenges much more effectively and maturely. Being present doesn't mean being passive, quite the contrary, it means being capable of dealing with difficult life situations with clarity and confidence. Presence is empowering your own innate strengths, quite the opposite of the emotionally charged dis-empowering we are commonly used to.

Being present is being centered in your own life essence. Potentially never again being susceptible to stress, tension, anxiety, worry or fear. :)
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby enlightened_robot » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:22 am

Thanks for the replies! :)

I do understand that presence is a powerful thing that can help you deal with life challenges. I understand that being present connects you with something greater, and leads to a state of inner peace. I wanted to discuss a bit more about GermanEnlightenment's points regarding ambition, drive, and discipline. I think that you've attached a rather dark connotation to those words. I want to believe that one could be present, while still being ambitious, driven and disciplined. I want to believe that one could set goals for one's self and have the presence to achieve those goals. But at the same time not have their inner peace be contingent on the outcome of those goals. If we are unable to set goals for ourselves, then how will we ever improve any of our situations? How will we combat the so called mass of unconsciousness present in the world? I don't want to turn a blind eye to the massive systems of oppression that exist in our society, but at the same time I don't want to be emotionally burdened by them. Eckhart says that being present is supposed to increase the empathy felt toward other people, but paradoxically he says the focus should be towards the self. How then could one explain benevolence? Does selfless action truly exist?
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby GermanEnlightenment » Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:37 pm

enlightened_robot wrote:Thanks for the replies! :)

I do understand that presence is a powerful thing that can help you deal with life challenges. I understand that being present connects you with something greater, and leads to a state of inner peace. I wanted to discuss a bit more about GermanEnlightenment's points regarding ambition, drive, and discipline. I think that you've attached a rather dark connotation to those words. I want to believe that one could be present, while still being ambitious, driven and disciplined. I want to believe that one could set goals for one's self and have the presence to achieve those goals. But at the same time not have their inner peace be contingent on the outcome of those goals. If we are unable to set goals for ourselves, then how will we ever improve any of our situations? How will we combat the so called mass of unconsciousness present in the world? I don't want to turn a blind eye to the massive systems of oppression that exist in our society, but at the same time I don't want to be emotionally burdened by them. Eckhart says that being present is supposed to increase the empathy felt toward other people, but paradoxically he says the focus should be towards the self. How then could one explain benevolence? Does selfless action truly exist?


There is nothing wrong with setting goals. However, what we unconciously do most of the time is postponing our joy and happiness by thinking that we can only feel good about ourselves if we reach a certain goal. Most of us feel unfulfilled and lacking because we haven´t achieved x, y and z. We only grant ourselves a feeling of joy or contendedness if we achieve or get something or someone while struggling incredibly hard in the process of doing it.

I want to illustrate that with two examples.
I like weightlifting, it´s something I enjoy doing two or three times a week. But some time ago I forced myself to go to the gym five times a week because I thought I needed to do more and that I would have to struggle to get a muscular and attractive body. I did that for a couple of weeks and suddenly I didn´t enjoy weightlifting anymore because it became a struggle to me and in the end I was simply bored of constantly lifting weights and having to eat a lot more during the day. I restricted myself and diminished my own joy because of forcing some mechanical and menial routine on me. At a certain point I stopped going five times weeks and went back to going two or three times a week and suddenly I was interested in working out again. I listened to my heart and used that extra time that I gained to become more conscious of how I´m living my life. Suddenly I had a lot more free time to do things that I´m really passioned about (reading books, meditating, writing translations, learning about life).

Second Example. I have a friend who also enjoys weightlifting. It´s his greatest passion. He´s in the gym nearly every day and he loves to cook himself huge meals after working out extremely hard. It takes him no effort to go to the gym every day. He loves seeing his body grow bigger and bigger and he feels like he´s missing something if he hadn´t worked out for a day. It´s his greatest hobby.

What I´m alluding to here is that we should only do things that fill us with joy, happiness or inner peace. If we treat ourselves with love and care we will manifest a reality that is the exact mirror of that.

So it depends from what place your goal-setting stems from. Do you feel good about your goals and excited to go for what you want? Or do you feel like you have to force yourself to achieve the things you want, believing that you have to sacrifice your happiness to achieve what you want. F.e. working 60 hours a week for a year in an office just to get a promotion while hating your work and your colleagues but believing that everything will change as soon as you have your new position.
But setting goals can also be good because it means also that you want to change something. Maybe getting another job because you don´t like your current one? Only through contrast can we know what we want and what we don´t want to have in our life. It can mean that by getting years of experience of working in a job that doesn´t suit you, you have more of an idea of what actually want to do. The only constant in this universe, ironically, is change.


The other things that you are talking about is that yes, a lot of things in our world are "going wrong" and no, you shouldn´t turn a blind eye on them. However, if you choose to suffer because there´s so much wrong with the world, you´re not making a difference. You just add another layer to the already high mountain of suffering in the world. First you have to make peace with yourself, becoming aligned with the truth of what you are. You can´t positively change the world if there is a lot of pain, hatred, suffering etc. in you. You can´t give people advice of how to live a happy and fulfilling life if you don´t know how to do it yourself. You wouldn´t ask an enterpreneur that filed for bankrucptcy like ten times on how to establish a successful business, would you? :D

And no, I don´t think that selfless actions exist in this universe. That, however, is not a problem unless you make it into one. We live in a world where we believe we have to sacrifice our own happiness by making others happy first. Nothing could be further from the truth. First and foremost, we have to fill up our own cup to bring positive changes into the world. If that sound selfish, well that´s because it is from our mind´s perspective. But only because we believe that we will become so self-absorbed and vain that we don´t care about anyone else but ourselves. That, however, is not true because if you treat yourself lovingly and you feel the joy of your existence there´s no reason why you wouldn´t help other people and make their lives better by being present with them. The difference is that if you are helping people from a space of awareness, you just do it out of joy, empathy and connectedness. You don´t do it because your mind wants something in return for the favours that you are doing to others. That´s ego-talk: "I did this for them, so they have to do this or that for me." Do you see the difference? Of course, you can only act out of awareness if you really want to do something, as opposed to doing something because you feel like you have to do it because of reasons x, y and z.
And the things is people feel it to. If your friend asked you to help him move and you don´t want to, he will realize that you don´t enjoy being with him and helping him out. And you can probably rememeber a time when you asked someone a favour and they reluctantly agreed but weren´t really happy to be with you at that time. Did that feel good to you? That they didn´t want to be there? That they only agreed because you are friends with them? I don´t think so. :)
"Happiness / Something in my own place / I'm standing naked / Smiling, I feel no disgrace / With who I am/ I´m a lucky man...with fire in my hands"
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby Sighclone » Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:43 pm

Great comments, GE. e_r's hope is to be Awake and yet driven. As you note, achieving that combination depends on the source of the drive; generally it is ego. ET says, essentially, remain Present and right action will follow naturally. But when most people begin to awaken (including ET, by the way) there is this huge discovery of Spaciousness, of Stillness (see the last two chapters of ANE.) ET sat on a park bench for two years. Wow. So I sympathize with e_r's question, assuming it comes from beginning to wake up.

e_r: As you stumble into, or get launched deeply into, or get pulled by Grace into Awakening, expect disorientation. (Also discussed in PON, and experienced by ET.) And questions like you have presented in this thread will surface. Yours is presented mostly as what appears to be a logical contradiction (drive and ambition vs. Awareness of and identification with Being.) You have begun to awaken, or you would not spend so much time reading, ruminating and posting, etc. This topic has big charm for you -- that is all good!! You are where you are, and will be at a different "place" tomorrow.

It is a good idea to take an inventory of personal goals and objectives right now. And, there is no blame or fault in putting major changes "on hold" until you see what the trajectory of your spiritual growth pattern is. Do not blame or shame yourself right now. Particularly do not listen to old social or parental injunctions about "what to do with your life." You are exploring a relatively unpopular path right now, so there will not be a big group of people to talk with about it. And you can experiment daily. You might try sitting down in the morning and looking at your day with the intention to remain as Present as you can. "OK, I have to do A, B, and C. I accept that. Now how can I do them with as much Presence as I can maintain?" Generally, in my experience, the "doing" is slower and appears more deliberate. When Eckhart gets a tough question from his audiences, his first response is silence. Kind of like he is allowing the big engine of Being to ramp up and inform his response. Give it a shot on some typical day.

But also, regularly reconsider the big picture. Just for the analogy, imagine that you are sitting in a chair across from God. And God says: "OK e_r, apart from aligning with Me, what are you drawn to in action in this temporal world of people and forms? Dig deep, be totally honest, and tell me." Ask that question of yourself very seriously regularly. And if some new direction appears, test it. See if it remains attractive after a month, maybe several months. And then own it and start working towards it. If it is a valid direction, the Universe will support it.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby enlightened_robot » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:17 am

Thank you so much for the explanations! Reading through them gave me chills. It was hard for me to realize what you were all trying to explain on my own, which is why I came here for help. So thank you once again.

Just to give a little backstory about me personally to add some context, I come from a first-generation immigrant family. I didn't have many privileges growing up, but my parents worked hard enough to get us to a pretty decent place in life. They always emphasized the importance of education and going to college, and since I looked up to them I followed their advice. Getting to college became the goal that motivated me to earn good grades and to be involved in highschool. But once I actually got to college, that drive completely dissolved. What resulted was 4 years of a half-assed education, and a slowly forming cloud of negativity that would eventually blow up in my face. By the time I left school, my self-esteem was at an all time low; I had symptoms of major depression. This was in part triggered by an LSD trip, where every aspect of my ego was scrutinized and crushed down. At some point within my 5-month recovery I read PON, and have since been pondering all of the intricacies and applications of its messages. I feel I am finally at a point where I am at peace with myself. That being said, there is still so much I want to learn. Thanks again for the replies :D

If there are any other readings or books that I should read next, please let me know!
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby GermanEnlightenment » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:20 pm

@enlightened robot

You are very welcome! :)

At the moment I´m reading a lot Teal Swan´s articles: http://tealswan.com/articles
Check them out, they offer so much practical advice for your daily life and it´s very likely that they will help you on your journey. Check out her youtube-account as well. She has a lot of videos that go into great depths on certain issues.
"Happiness / Something in my own place / I'm standing naked / Smiling, I feel no disgrace / With who I am/ I´m a lucky man...with fire in my hands"
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Re: Stream of Consciousness from a confused reader.

Postby Sighclone » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:16 pm

e_r:

Glad you joined. You will be among many, including myself, who were helped here through a tough period. Absolutely read A New Earth, by Tolle, if you haven't. And then bump around in Adyashanti's works, exploring his website, buying used copies of his books, etc. Other authors I like include John Prendergast ("In Touch"), and of course, Nisargadatta and Ramana Maharshi. Byron Katie's "Loving What Is" is excellent, and the YouTube sessions with Tim Freke, and his books...and Ramesh Balsekar, too.

Andy
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