Are goals allowed?

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 :)
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Fleches
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Are goals allowed?

Post by Fleches » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:45 pm

I read the posts in the "why do anything" thread with interest, because they chime with some questions I have about TOPN. I'm only half way through and while I'm open to what ET is saying I am not totally convinced as yet.

My main issue is that, from the perspective of the now, it really doesn't matter what you do. If you can stay in the moment and keep the egoic / dualistic mind in its place, you can rejoice in being whatever else may be going on. But taking action brings you out of the moment because it requires the use of time. Taking complex goal-driven action even more so - it means doing lots of planning and strategizing. While ET talks about using clock time when you have to deal with the practical aspects of your life, he doesn't (or so far he hasn't) said what these may be. It seems to me that caring about things and having goals is not very consistent with the idea that you should only leave the now when you have to.

Like many others I believe that projecting a particular image can often help a person achieve their goals. One person might want to appear more hard-working than they really are, perhaps, or more ambitious. In the social sphere you might want people to notice that you are funny or generous. In other words, being seen by others in the right light - whatever that may be in the particular context - can move your towards your goals. I take this to be fact. My problem here is that it is difficult to draw a concrete, practical distinction between wanting to be seen in the right light and defending your ego.

It may be that these questions will be answered in the later chapters of the book, but I would very much like to know what others think about them.

F

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Post by Webwanderer » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:10 am

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

This familiar Bible quote came to mind as I read your post. Does this mean do nothing? How would we accomplish anything with out some type of goals.

I think there is a distinction in having and working towards earthly goals, and being consumed by them to the extent that ones world view becomes dominated by a mind attached to those goals.

Life is for living and creating. But cognizance from an observer perspective, while working towards those goals, remains the state from which clarity offers freedom from attachment to those goals.

Consider the following comparison:

Recall a time recently (possibly even in the last few minutes), where you were lost in a story. One of those mental tirades where we replay and identifiy with some event that impacted you emotionally. Do you recall how you lived the story in your mind and emotions, how you felt it even though it was just a replay and possibly a reoganization of the memories. It happens to most everyone. The attachment to these stories reinforces the sense of separate identity.

Now purposefully recite (mentally or verbally) a story, goal or idea, and while doing so observe the reciting from a present space of clarity, where you hold the awareness of the activity. Recognize thinking is happening. In this case thinking and activity management are present but without the attachment of identitification. Presence is not lost and attachment free progress is posible.

It is indeed possible to pursue goals and remain present. What seems to wane with presence-awareness is greed and emotional attachment to a preferred outcome.

Oh, and welcome to the forum Fleches.

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Post by kiki » Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:20 am

Hi Fleches, and welcome.
But taking action brings you out of the moment because it requires the use of time. Taking complex goal-driven action even more so - it means doing lots of planning and strategizing. While ET talks about using clock time when you have to deal with the practical aspects of your life, he doesn't (or so far he hasn't) said what these may be. It seems to me that caring about things and having goals is not very consistent with the idea that you should only leave the now when you have to.
Taking action happens now, planning and strategizing happens now - everything happens now. If you need to plan for something then do so, whatever it is. But when you're done planning then let it go and stop the mental projection into the imagined future associated with those plans.


What ET is pointing out is that fulfilling/meeting some goal doesn't work as far as making us happier because a new goal will get created when the inevitable dissatisfaction arises again. Wholeness/completeness isn't gained by meeting goals; it's only when we know what we actually are that we discover that we are already whole, already complete.
Like many others I believe that projecting a particular image can often help a person achieve their goals. One person might want to appear more hard-working than they really are, perhaps, or more ambitious. In the social sphere you might want people to notice that you are funny or generous. In other words, being seen by others in the right light - whatever that may be in the particular context - can move your towards your goals. I take this to be fact. My problem here is that it is difficult to draw a concrete, practical distinction between wanting to be seen in the right light and defending your ego.
If you want to attain certain goals and it helps to "project a particular image" to achieve those goals, fine. But don't confuse this with waking up to your fundamental reality, which is what PON and enlightenment/awakening is all about. Wanting to be seen in a particular light is ego screaming out to be noticed. Wanting to be seen in a particular light IS ego defending itself. If that's what is important then great. But this has nothing to do with waking up. You must decide want you really want; if it's to wake up then you must recognize all the actions and strategies ego uses to cover up your true nature. If waking up is the priority then return again and again to the clarity of being that you are, and see everything else for what it is - a temporary appearance within your true nature.

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Post by weichen » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:56 pm

Fleches wrote:I believe that projecting a particular image can often help a person achieve their goals
I sometime visualize the following image:

I have a lot money in the bank, but I only spend a few dollars a day on myself, eat and dress very simple. Have a tiny apartment. I do pour in huge amount of cash (many millions) in innovative projects that help the public. I visualize myself to be a nobody and very peaceful and happy.



In a way, goals and visual images are neutral (they don't necessarily violate the NOW). The key is what is your goal, and what do you visualize.

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Post by eseward » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:57 pm

kiki wrote:What ET is pointing out is that fulfilling/meeting some goal doesn't work as far as making us happier because a new goal will get created when the inevitable dissatisfaction arises again. Wholeness/completeness isn't gained by meeting goals; it's only when we know what we actually are that we discover that we are already whole, already complete.
Exactly. So well said, kiki. The crux of the issue IMO.

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Post by Titania » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:37 am

This is where I am confused at the moment...

Everyone has dreams and goals and this is what motivates people to do things and achieve and get up from bed and live.

Makes me wonder how I can integrate this into the moment.

I am confused on this topic.

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Post by kiki » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:38 am

Having goals and dreams and working toward achieving those is fine as far as that goes. But ask yourself what is the goal and dream really about? Are they part of exploring what it is to be human or are they hiding another agenda, namely, satisfying a perceived lack?

If a goal is undertaken to make yourself more complete, to fill some idea of lack that you have then they become obstacles to happiness. This is because this sort of happiness is conditional. What if that goal isn't met, then where is the happiness? What if that goal is met, only to be replaced by the realization that the happiness doesn't last? A new goal will arise and the cycle will continue.

If, on the other hand, you have a goal in mind with no egoic investment then that's different. Meeting or not meeting the goal doesn't really matter then, so happiness or a sense of completeness doesn't rest on it. That sort of goal becomes a way of exploring what's possible rather than fulfilling some idea of need.

So when you do have goals keep attention on whatever the current step is in meeting that goal. In other words, make presence with current action toward achieving that goal the priority. Be wary of thinking that the goal itself has any answers for you in terms of making you better in your own eyes or the eyes of others. That sort of thinking arises out of the ego. Let thinking about the goal be absorbed in whatever the current action is and let the fruit of your actions take care of themselves.

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Post by D'ray » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:15 pm

Awesome answer kiki.

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Post by heidi » Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:11 pm

Everything's allowed. In fact, when you allow things, like goals or dreams, they often just manifest on their own with little help from you. :)

I agree with Kiki, the motive is something you may want to look at.
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