He Had Me at Hello

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He Had Me at Hello

Postby mtb324 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:25 pm

I have been practicing mindfulness for about 5 years through Buddhism and just read the Power of Now. I loved it and it really spoke to me, especially Chapter 3. However, I wish there was more in the book about the "how" instead of the "why." For many years I have tried to be more mindful and stay present, focusing on daily tasks and bringing my mind to them. I try not to dwell in the future or the past. To motivate myself to do this, I even went around with a click-counter for about a year, giving myself a point everytime I found myself doing something mindfully.

And yet, I feel like I still do not live in the present very often. I begin to get frustrated, despite my best efforts to be gentle with myself, at the constant need to pull myself back to the present over and over 1,000 times a day. Tolle claims he is in the present a lot of the time. But I wish he would talk more about the how of this...not the why. He had me on the why at hello and yet spends so much of the time telling me why I need to do something I seem to not be able to do.

Does anyone have other writings by Tolle or other strategies to help keep the mind in the now?
Thanks so much!
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby dijmart » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:32 am

Hi MTB,

I'm suprised no one answered this post! Welcome to the forum. I will give you my take on the issue you brought up.

It's not just mindfulness that needs to happen. Your intellect needs to come to the realization that it IS awareness/consciousness. This is called Self realization or awakening. The "how" is by doing Self inquiry. Find out who you truly are, awareness. Not the body/mind/sense complex (ie, person).

I started with Tolle many years ago and have since gone to traditional Vedanta. So, when I say your "intellect" needs to realize it's because you (pure awareness) are already realized. It's the mind enlivened and illumined by pure awareness that has to "realize" it's true nature. It may seem illogical, but think about it. Your mind is also awareness (reflected awareness) and it's the mind that sufffers. The irony of it is that suffering ends once the intellect (discriminating faculty of the mind) realizes it's not the mind after all, but awareness. Strange, huh? But true.

Also, there is a shift in perception that starts to happen from "being" the egoic person to being "associated" with the apparent person and "watching" the ego/person do it's thing. Yes, you still feel, think, act, but with discrimination between you (awareness) and the "apparent" person that you will be forever associated with, until the death of the body.

Pure awareness and it's projection or reflecton (ie, the world and all jivas) are intertwined together. The wave (person) is a part of the ocean (Isvara/ creation/god), but both are water (awareness/consciousness). Just because the wave (person) realizes it's water (awareness), doesn't make it dissappear, as it's still part of the ocean (universal creation).

Hope that made sense, if not, ask me to clarify and I will try.

Dij
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby Reagan » Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:53 am

Hi MTB,
This is the latest version of an essay that I posted earlier.

The Time We Still Spend in the Mind

I was blessed to have a Now where I felt truly present. I have had more, they come quicker.

But as beautiful as those moments are, I at least must still deal with the daily reality of the time I spend in my Mind. I have to spend time there to function in the World of My Reality, slips are frequent. Truth be told, I'm pretty sure I'm spending more time in my mind than I’m aware of. What has my Flashlight yet to reveal? Ego, you are the cutest little dust bunny and I find it almost impossible not to play with you. I really just want to take care of you, keep you safe and feed you. But ohhhh how you multiply and take up precious space when I do!

Cutesy analogies aside, I have to ask myself, am I "Mind shaming"? Something that is helping me is Surrendering to My Reality; my mind is my Mind is imperfect. But by diligently being The Watcher of my Mind, I not only observer my Mind, I improve my Mind! Just Watch and change is inevitable. If you just Watch, your Consciousness will eventually, inevitably find its way to negativity all on its own; you need do nothing but let it happen. And then, transformation begins as you finally realize that you CAN turn off the incessant mind that WILL NOT STOP EVER.... Until you let it happen with Conscious recognition of what it is.

As the Ego and Painbody slowly starve, interesting things happen as you begin to approach others without Judgment. Suddenly it is less about need, rather: "How do I Consciously choose to interact and present Myself to this Person. And from a practical standpoint, you start to have a LOT more cycles to actually do good, clear, productive work! Now suddenly, the time that you do spend in your Mind takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not such a bad place at all with proper housekeeping and maintenance! I must go into my Mind to forge my New Mind into an organism born from Consciousness. You must handle the pieces and parts to really observe them (some reassembly required). But let me warn you, some of those pieces and parts are dirty, nasty, bad! Early on, handling them will cause you pain as you peel back the lies and deceptions. Yet thus, day by day improvements in Mind are My Reality. And while I struggle with the knowledge that I am not at all who I thought I was, I am comforted by the Knowing that I am infinitely more! I am the Buddha, a few milli-seconds at time.......

However, daily life resumes where I could really use an exterminator for that pest Ms. Painbody. But of course, there is none; must track down the hidden food source. Flashlight getting brighter. Just Watch and let it happen. I wish no harm on any form of consciousness which is why I say "that bitch needs to DIE"! Oh my, was that a Judgment? See what happened; the Watcher stepped in and said, "Those are some strong words. Are you judging?" And my answer is no. I'm playing with words the way the mind does. I'm making a thing out of the Painbody as a mental exercise used to compose these words, when, in reality, it is no more real than the fanciful Ms. Painbody or the ridiculous Ego dust bunny. You can't judge something that is not real.

I am amazed at the steady and rapid progress of my Mind. Annoyance, bat it aside with hardly a Thought. Judgement, catch it quickly with your Attention before you feed it; do that enough, and you won’t even think it. Traffic jam, chores, just another opportunity to be Present. Emotion, now THAT you need to pay attention to. What is the source? Did you choose it, or did it choose you? Just Watch it long enough, and you will know.

As your mind heals, your ability to sustain presence increases. Then you realize quite suddenly that there is no more negativity being built up and there is an upwards trajectory without limit as the Painbody, and the Ego, and the Past die more and more with each passing day. I honestly wept tears of joy when it finally sunk in and I KNEW that I could be free of my mind and its pain. In that moment, I was free, and there was only joy of being. That is Past, and I Now find myself somewhere on a continuum of Consciousness, sometimes very high, sometimes near unconsciousness. But that state can never be again, at least for long. And all of this is OK because I KNOW where it is heading if I just continue to watch. Nothing more, just watch.

And I just gotta say it "Damn, it is GOOD to be alive" even while knowing in my Mind good has an opposite. But that is just a projected Future. Which I had not Thought about...... right up until I wrote these words...... Man, this stuff is messing with my Mind, and I kind of like it!

And so, that is the state of my Mind. It is imperfect and that is. Should I Choose to make further changes to my Mind, I can only do that NOW. And yet, in the most delightfully serendipitous way, I don't really have a choice any more. I can no more stop Watching than I can Breathing, and all I need do is let it happen.
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby dijmart » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:56 pm

Hi Reagan,

I like your writing style! Nice post! Since I already replied in another thread. I'll just comment on this quote-

In reality, it is no more real than the fanciful Ms. Painbody or the ridiculous Ego dust bunny. You can't judge something that is not real.


Yep, your right, none of its real. Including the apparent person one thinks they are..it's all just awareness. However, just because it's ultimately unreal, doesn't mean it doesn't "apparently" exist. Anything experienced exists, even if it's not real.

Like if someone is hallucinating and they are seeing bugs on the wall. You can tell them they aren't real, but to them they exist. Once told that they aren't real, they can understand this and to the extent they will still be bothered by it depends how identified they are with the vision and thought "bugs are on the wall".
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby Reagan » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:39 am

Hey dijmart,
I'm trying to think of my mind more as a tool these days. The mind loves problems right? I think of my mind as a great calculator that I feed equations to. The past is a big input to the equations. And that is good input, as long as it stops there. But if you also input past pain and ego, then those inputs also form part of whatever comes out..... The past is. It is real as it is part of our consciousness. It informs us to make things better with the actions we take now. It just does not need all the baggage that can tag along from the mind.

This was my meditation on a drive back from a weekend away. It put me in a very peaceful place and I put my mind away when I was done with it. It feels well used.

Reagan
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby dijmart » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:27 am

Hi,
I'm trying to think of my mind more as a tool these days.


Yes, use your mind, instead of it using you.

The mind loves problems right?


Yup! Sure does... but it's your belief in them that cause the problems. So, let it chatter away if it must, just be careful of what you chose to believe.

This was my meditation on a drive back from a weekend away. It put me in a very peaceful place and I put my mind away when I was done with it.


Sweet! :D
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby mtb324 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:33 am

Thanks for the very wise replies to my original post here. Some really brilliant stuff and it was great to read. I especially love the dust bunny analogy.
But to get back to my original point, I wish there was more "how to" involved in Tolle's books and the comments here.
Like how to stay in the now. So often he says, stay in the now, stay in the now, stay in the now. Yes, I want to---want to so badly.
And yet, my moments there seem so brief. Like let's say I go to take a shower. Before I get in, I give myself a pep talk. "OK, Matt, you are going to have an incredibly mindful shower here. Feel that soap, smell that soap. feel your scalp and the shampoo." etc, etc. Then I get in and whoops there goes the mind. Off it goes to my problems, ruminating. OK, Bring it back. Remember that soap! Smell it, feel it. Off it goes again.
I know this is normal. I know I'm not supposed to get down about it, just gently direct it back.
Except, except...It's been 5 years now and I feel I have not really gotten anywhere. I am no more mindful. I don't live in the now all that much more than when I first starting reading about the power of now.
I wish Tolle had spent 2 chapters on the why and the next 8 about the how... what do I do? How can I force myself...

Also, I have a job as an assistant principal in an elementary school. Incredible stress, incredible demands on my time. You can imagine if I can't even get through a third of a shower, how my mind is at school. Not at all in the present...worries, stresses, distractions.
I'm 42 years old and would love, LOVE, to live my last 30 or 40 or 1 or however many years I have left in the present as Tolle claims he is.
But how do you do this? I almost wish there was someone behind me to pinch my neck every time my mind drifted off. Maybe that would keep me in the now. I can't think of how to motivate or punish myself into doing it though.
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby dijmart » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:11 am

It's not just mindfulness that needs to happen. Your intellect needs to come to the realization that it IS awareness/consciousness. This is called Self realization or awakening. The "how" is by doing Self inquiry. Find out who you truly are, awareness. Not the body/mind/sense complex (ie, person).


I'm going to repeat my answer to you. Perhaps you didn't think I was being literal. You need to neti-neti (I'm not this or that, maybe while in meditation would be good for you) until your are left with what you are...awareness, that is aware OF all the things you can think, hear, feel and see. You are none of these things, although you are associated with them.

The mind goes off and running, because it's chasing objects (thoughts are subtle objects within awareness) and is turned "outward" towards these objects. You need to turn the mind inward (away from objects) by doing Self inquiry, meditation, etc. To become skillful at mindfulness, being present and becoming Self realized.

This is no easy task! So don't be hard on yourself. The mind pines for attention! In your example of being in the shower...who is the one that was aware that you weren't being mindful? Who recognized that presence was lost? ...was it MTB or awareness itself? Inquire into that question.

Is MTB who you "really" are? Or are you the one aware "OF" MTB?
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby Reagan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:42 am

Hi MTB,
I understand your situation. There is so much information coming at your from PON that it is hard to know exactly what to work on. For me, it comes down to being the watcher consistently. I find that if I do this one thing, improvement is virtually guaranteed. This was the message that I tried to impart with my essay, but I now fear that trying to be cute with words got in the way of the message. ET says this repeatedly saying things like "at least be the watcher", but he also says many other things repeatedly.....

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being in your mind in the shower or anywhere else. It is required to function in the world. What you are doing in your mind is the important part. Make your mind a partner, make friends with it. It is a tool there to server you, not be served by you. Dwelling on past or future, or letting negativity in is not serving you, you are serving your mind (if that is what is happening). If you are practiced at being the watcher, you may have negative thoughts, but you can catch them quickly and deflect them. And if you watch them closely, you will slowly and inevitably start making progress.

That is all I got.....

Reagan
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby randomguy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:43 am

But how do you do this?

By seeing that it's already done.

I can't think of how to motivate or punish myself into doing it though.

Have you considered that it's not a matter of willpower?

There are quite a few "how tos" in PON. For example, attention on the inner body as a portal to presence. Another is to accept the present moment. Tolle does chose his words to make it less likely to turn it into a step by step plan the mind can latch on to but that's because doing so is counter productive to noticing what he is pointing out, namely that the stillness he speaks about is already present within you, but obscured by the noise of mind.

Have you considered that the intense wanting to silence the mind, may itself be more noise of the mind obscuring the stillness within you?

Consider this Anthony DeMello quote, "Step by step, let whatever happens happen. Real change will come when it is brought about, not by your ego, but by reality. Awareness releases reality to change you."

We don't will ourselves to peace by being at war with our mind. How has that worked out so far? What happens when you allow whatever is in the present moment to be as it is including your experience of it and your reaction to it, all of it?
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby Mystic » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:34 am

mtb324 wrote:Does anyone have other writings by Tolle or other strategies to help keep the mind in the now?


Another book by Eckhart tolle is "Practicing the Power of Now" which has more explanations regarding the how of now. :D


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002361MNS
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Re: He Had Me at Hello

Postby Onceler » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:57 pm

"The how of now". I like that!
Be present, be pleasant.
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