What is the now?

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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astaroth
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What is the now?

Post by astaroth » Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:23 pm

Doing.
It just... happens. I see myself walking around, doing things mechanically. Reacting to people mechanically. When I try to stop it there is suddenly an inner conflict. There is the false self witch wants me to do something and there is just another false self that tries to forbid all these mechanical actions. I know, keeping things under control is just another egoic desire.


And there is nothing, absolutely nothing to do from the perspective outside the false self. Consciousness just observes. It doesn’t do or say anything. But not doing what the false self wants me to do seems like an extreme struggle. I’ve had enough struggles. So I decide to just watch what my ego pushes me to do. Completely passive. Completely mechanical.

But that’s not the point…

Also the same it is with the stories. I’m watching my mind telling me stories, passively. Mostly it’s the story about a guy called astaroth, searching for a silence and emptiness he has experienced several times – silence that mostly isn’t there. I know it’s all a story, I know this desire for silence, for not thinking about spiritual stuff all the time is part of the story. So I let my false self tell me this story, this desire for something „more spiritual“  ha ha
So I don’t suffer about the story. But there also isn’t any joy, any emptiness. I can’t drop that story. It seems to me like another inner conflict like „This story shouldn’t be there.“ The story seems to grow stronger the more my ego wants to get rid of it (what, of course, is also part of it)
And what am I?
I’m a bored visitor, getting sick of an inner movie repeating itself all the time.
I see the story about myself a lot more clearly now for what it is. But what is this „dropping stories“ about?

Sometimes I try to forget everything I know. I just take several breaths and try to go deeper into the now. But he story of myself comes back with great power. There is no peace in it.

I tell you, I’m so sick of this story. I just want that sweet silent emptiness, that inner peace I felt several times. This magic and holyness of each moment – I then move very slowly like this silence is a fragile, delicate thing.

I had to be so true to myself to accept that I have fed my mind with spiritual ideas and that I just changed the dream of a suffering guy against the dream of an awakening guy. There is too much analysing, too much „how to“. It is a grace I recognised this. I decided not to read any more posts on the forum for some time. This was too much food for my mind which tried to keep things on it’s own level.
I see the false self produces all this „thinking-about-it“, these stories, to protect itself from genuine experience which would be it’s death. So I decided to forget everything and make my own experiences. I just… don’t know how… So allow me this last question.

„What is the now? How can I escape the level of mind?“

thanks for your help,
astaroth
...you might remember me from such educational films as "Zen for couch-potatoes - The wisdom of never doing anything" or "Buddha from da hood - Was he a brother?"

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kiki
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Re: What is the now?

Post by kiki » Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:40 pm

Believe it or not you are on the cusp of great clarity, of clear seeing of what you are. All of this "turmoil" generated by the mind can leave the mind exhausted until it finally gives up the struggle entirely, revealing at last what it was you thought you were looking for. The need for further explanations, the endless analysis, the wondering, the need for more and greater detailed "how to get it" directions from others is all part of a very clever egoic strategy that just keeps you trapped. These are some of the many things that comprise "doing" which only serves to obscure clear seeing.

So what's left? Not doing. Just be still for a moment without any attempt to get anywhere else, without any desire for things to be different and see what's here. What's real and true right here this very moment? Find that. Breathe in and out, that's here right now - any effort needed for that to happen? Of course not, it just happens. Who is doing the breathing? Nobody, it happens on its own. Stay with that for a while and see what happens. Look around and see what is before your eyes - any effort needed to see? No, it just happens - seeing simply is taking place. So just see, no need to label or analyze what is seen, just the act of seeing itself is enough. It's the same for all of the senses. Perform a simple action like drinking your coffee but without doing anything else - just the action itself is enough. In the zen tradition they state it like this: When I eat I eat, when I drink I drink. In other words, the action itself has nothing else attached to it - just the purity of the action is enough. Play with these things for a while and see what happens.

Now what's it all happening within? What notices all of this spontaneously, effortlessly? Awareness/You. Can you "pin down" what awareness is? No, because it is no-thing; but there can be the realization of what it is, not just an intellectual understanding but a realization. Some, like ET, call it the "now". Some call it "emptiness". Some liken it to the spaciousness of the sky - wide open with no boundaries or limitations, allowing everything else to appear within it. Some call it the natural state of awareness, unconditioned consciousness, Being and so on. The label isn't important though, so don't get hung up on it. What is important is the realization that it's here, that it is unchanging, that it is by nature an open surrendering to what appears within it, that it is what you are. It may take some time but when this becomes more and more clear that that is what you are nothing else really matters much. It doesn't matter much when mind becomes active again when you can see that you are not the mind. There is no more desire to "get out" of the mind - that is seen (not just understood) to be just a function of the ego.

It is this last point that is so troublesome to people - identifying with what's happening in the mind, creating an identity out of mental content. So, notice thinking - any effort needed for that? Again no - thinking simply happens, nobody is doing it, but it is easily seen to be happening. But prove it to yourself, prove the fact that nobody (ego) is the author of the thoughts that appear. This is Ramana's approach, self-inquiry. Ask "What/who am I really?" and then look. See if you find anyone substantial and separate from consciousness. If you look all you will find are changing ideas of "me", but what illuminates those ideas? What lets you know that an idea is present? Just simple ordinary consciousness - but you have to see this for yourself. Let the realization blossom that consciousness is watching everything without itself being affected one way or another, and that everything it sees changes while it doesn't. That simple consciousness is deceiving to the ego/mind, however, because it is thought/believed that this couldn't be it, this couldn't possibly be the answer to all of its questions, but it is. And that, my friend, is how ego keeps itself going - believing something else must be "it" and then looking for it. So instead, return again and again to the immediacy of this moment, to what is unchanging amidst all the change.

So the bottom line is this: relax about everything that's happening and realize that you actually are the observer of everything that's happening. Stop the "doing" and instead see what's going on, see how ego reasserts itself, and when you see how this happens then relax again and let it all drop away. The struggle and frustration arise out of "doing" in its many forms, so learn to recognize when "doing" gets hooked into again so that it can be released.
"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
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Re: What is the now?

Post by Webwanderer » Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:40 pm

What a terrific post by Kiki. I'm not sure it can't be said any clearer.

I would add one small point(er). Somewhere you may be holding an unconscious assumption of separateness, that life is as it is seen from an ego perspective, even though life is seen from mental silence. This invisable assumption of identity is isolating and creates feelings of being lost and alone. Once you recognize this identity hook you may see it as just more internal content, and that Greater Awareness which is ones true being can emerge.

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Re: What is the now?

Post by shappy » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:15 pm

Some great advice, guys.

Hey astaroth,

How do you drop your story? Good question. To drop something implies that you have to do something... namely, "the dropping". It's a verb... an action. So we think, "how do we do this dropping??" But the thing is, all our stories are not real. They are imagined. So if we think we have to do something to stop them, then it's merely affirming the existence of something imaginary.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Imagine a giant boa constrictor moving towards you. First you feel it moving up your leg. Then it wraps itself around your torso and makes its way up to your neck. Then you feel it slowly tighten around your body... around your neck. You hear the snake as it covers your head... it covers your eyes so you can't see anything. You're paralyzed with fear. Any minute now the snake will completely choke you and you will die. What do you do?

What can you do??

- try to shout for help
- bite it
- desperately try to fight it

but if the snake senses you resisting it will just kill you faster.

OR...

You stop imagining.

*poof* The snake is gone.

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Re: What is the now?

Post by kiki » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:14 pm

Nice illustration, shappy. All of that "doing" we think we do arises out of imagination - there is the ego that thinks/imagines it is doing something while all along the ego itself is imagined. The "dropping" of the doing is a result of the seeing how the imagined ego hangs on. Without that ego, "doing" ceases - action then flows but there is nobody left claiming to be the author of it.
"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
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Re: What is the now?

Post by astaroth » Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:22 pm

Hi guys. Thanks for your help.

Some very strange things happened to me today. Right now, I can't really tell you what it is. It was not enlightenment, that's the only thing I know ;)

I was taking a bath and tried to observe my thoughts. Like so many times before I tried to observe my thoughts - and again it was impossible to me. I stepped out of "the story" and waited for the next thought like "watching a musehole", how somebody had described it. The frustrating thing was again that I managed to stay present only until the next thought. Maybe I was able to observe one thoughts or two - but then I found myself again analysing and thinking about something. And there was this endless analysing, this confusion about what to do, all the doubts, it was chaos inside me. I just wanted to take a gun and blow that motherf... out of my head.
I let my mind do whatever it wanted. I somehow knew what was going on was not real - still I suffered about it because it was so different to the "goals" I've had the last time. Also... it was a wonderful feeling to let my mind do what it likes. It was a dream. But I enjoyed to have fallen asleep. I thought: Maybe it's my painbody which needed it's food. Maybe it were the intellectual structures about "enlightenment" which finally broke together under their own weight. I didn't care about it. Whatever it was, it felt good to do something completely "unspiritual". Althoug it was a depression, it felt like living.

I got out of the bath after hours of suffering and desperation. Too complicate to tell you what was going on.
Then I read kiki's answer and suddenly, for no reason, I felt peace. I went on letting my mind do what it likes to. I listened to it and didn't try to do anything. Not trying to hear the silence, not trying to "give the thoughts space", not trying to add an "it says" to every thought, not trying to step out of the story I'm into as often as possible, not trying any of the wonderful things I learned here on this forum. And it felt great.

I don't know where I am now. I don't feel enlightened. I feel "normal". Hard to say. I don't try to stay in the now or something or use ET's portals. I'm just doing nothing.

Maybe I have fallen asleep deeper than before. Maybe I have left some useless baggage behind.

Let's see how things go on... But I wonder: Can you really "do" something to see more clarly?

astaroth
...you might remember me from such educational films as "Zen for couch-potatoes - The wisdom of never doing anything" or "Buddha from da hood - Was he a brother?"

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Re: What is the now?

Post by kiki » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:01 am

Astaroth wrote:I went on letting my mind do what it likes to. I listened to it and didn't try to do anything. Not trying to hear the silence, not trying to "give the thoughts space", not trying to add an "it says" to every thought, not trying to step out of the story I'm into as often as possible, not trying any of the wonderful things I learned here on this forum. And it felt great.
Great! Just relax about the whole thing and "do nothing" - give yourself permission to let things be as they are without interference of any kind.
I don't know where I am now.
Neither do I.
I don't feel enlightened.
Neither do I.
I feel "normal". Hard to say. I don't try to stay in the now or something or use ET's portals. I'm just doing nothing.
Same here.
Maybe I have fallen asleep deeper than before.
Doubtful.
Maybe I have left some useless baggage behind.
Probably.
Let's see how things go on...
Sounds good to me.
But I wonder: Can you really "do" something to see more clarly?
Ahhh, there is that pesky questioning mind again. Do you really need an answer? Would it be OK not to know, not to know anything? Try that on for size and see what happens.
"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
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Re: What is the now?

Post by as.it.is » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:13 am

Our Mind always try to define how awareness moves, how the Now is , who we are and always try and attempt to find itself on this Mystery at this moment.

By being on this blog for sometime now I realized how the ego keeps coming back (moves) and awareness can see it's movement.

I guess what we are getting at it's letting this Awareness, Now , Silence move on it's own , if it wants to come here and post something let it be, if it wants to drop all of the seeking let it do it, WE ARE NOTHING INSIDE... who would you be without spiritual seeking, a relationship, attachement to things, a career your bank account your closed one's ...you still would be nothing, who would you be with it nothing.

The truth embodies everything inside and outside if we are NOTHING INSIDE what's outside? LOVE.

I woke up this morning opened my eyes and first thing I see is my forearm and realized what a miracle is to see my forearm
at that moment I had no mind , no thoughts , no feelings just my vision and the image of my forearm and the truth of that experience ... afterwards the body felt like something we wear like clothes and eventually ego came in and I stared the day, experience it for yourself because nothing ultimatelly can describe your truth which is everything and nothing at the sametime in Infinity.

This expression we are all part of this imensity that is itself awake.
When you awake it will be your biggest regret.

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Re: What is the now?

Post by Webwanderer » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:28 am

I'm with Kiki. I don't feel enlightened either.

I do feel a greater sense of clarity as to the nature of the moment's content. What that means is I'm not so identified with the thoughts that flow through my mind in any given moment. They are just part of the fabric of now.
astaroth wrote:Like so many times before I tried to observe my thoughts - and again it was impossible to me.
Consider taking a different approach to watching thought. Rather than actively watching for thought activity, just be silently aware of the general content of the moment. Listen/observe/smell/feel whatever exists within your field of perception. This is an active sensing as if there was something essential you are trying to decern, and it is only revealed in the faintest whisper of perception.

Open up to your senses, and whatever they reveal, as to what is manifesting in your immediate world. If you are actively listening/feeling/sensing, the mind is silent. As the mind engages in thought/analysis, recognize you have stopped listening/feeling/sensing and there is something essential that you are missing. Then return gently to open awareness.

Practice this for a while until you can easily recognize the difference between mentally silent presence awareness, and ego/mind engagement. Once you gain some clarity in this manner, recognize that thought activety is just another type of content within your field of being/awareness.

Schedule some dedicated moments for this practice, but also return to this perception many times during your day. This is not to be done with a sense of tension, but rather a condition to relax in. With practice you will reach a tipping point where your sense of identity will shift from an ego perspective of separation, to presence awareness free from attachment to identifyers.

Be patient, you cannot force awakening.

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Re: What is the now?

Post by boogeyman » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:35 am

Theres some great pointers here.

I've been feeling the same
as astaroth this last weekend. Frantically trying to do something
about the ever louder noise in my head. The noise that I usually
just can live with but lately is't just been an endless cycle
of things that can go wrong with my life. This creates a
state of panic fear and anger that can last up to a day.

I've always found it hard to watch my thoughts. I find my self
thinking what i'm thinking. The ego tries to be watcher.
I just keep telling my self "watch the thoughts"
but really, I dont know how... Last night I experienced a new perspective
about "watching the thoughts". and it seems to be working...
Just BE there, fully, when the thoughts happen.
Instead of being on autopilot, semi-coscious of the thougts,
just be with the thoughts as they happen.

My mind could take the "watch the thought" and twist it around,
but it cant do anythig with, "Be there fully when thoughts happen".

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Re: What is the now?

Post by kiki » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:16 pm

boogeyman wrote:Just BE there, fully, when the thoughts happen.
Yes, that's it. Just BE there fully with whatever happens. That's enough.
"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
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Post by astaroth » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:21 pm

boogeyman, I found true for myself what you wrote.

After having recognized a thought there was a "subonscious glint of unpleasance". I tried very hard to find out what it is. It wasn't even a thought. I almost went crazy because I couldn't find out what it is.

Maybe, no I know. There was something like "Oh no, a thought again!". The unpleasant feeling was not because of the content of the thought but because of it's existance. Somehow... I took the thoughts more serious than something else... Because "I" couldn't accept that doing nothing is the essence of observation. It was a "practise" - something you don't like but you have to do. Doing... Observating was = doing something to me. Doing the observation. That was the fault. A struggle against the thoughts' existance.

I still don't know how to "be there, when thoughts" happen. But Im happy I'm finally rid of this egoic observation. At the moment, like I said, I'm doing nothing. Thoughts happen and I let them do what they want. No silence, no "waking up", just constant thinking - I'm into a dream and find it beautiful not to force myself to wake up any more.

I let the future unfold and make no plans. The right way of "being there" will show itself to me - the last months I tried it the other way round, if you know what I mean. ;) I don't believe in "spiritual practise" any more.

greetings,
astaroth

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Re: What is the now?

Post by astaroth » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:57 pm

Hi...

That may be not interesting for you, but I want to share my things with you one more time. May it be helpful for another lost soul ;)

After a day of no "try" in any way to "gain" peace (all I hope never to find in my vocabulary again) I will try it one more time. May sound silly, I know. How can I try? I am at peace now. I will try to welcome all these analytical thoughts about enlightenment and spirituality and also the ego's voice, screaming "DON'T ANALYSE!!!!"
I will take only one line on my further road: "Welcome everything in your house".

Do you think, it is easier for some people to see clearer?
I do.

It was a thought, which was there all the time. I "observed" it, but this "obersvation" only was to numb it.
I have always been a guy thinking a lot (!), analysing everything. In many situations I was so caught in "thinking-about-it" than just doing it. And when I then finally did it, there were doubts all the time, thinking, analysing and so on...
People knew me as very unconcentrated and forgetful because my mind was always over-active. I just wanted to escape this hell of mental noise. This brought me here.

For example, I tried many times to accept something. A thought, a feeling, a situation, whatever. And what did I? There was the thought "accept it!". That was all. And I could have screamed because I didn't know how to escape the level of mind.

Okay, so I am. I can't change it.

But I will not stop searching until I've found peace. My analytical understanding of the "concept of enlightenment" :lol: is more than sufficient, as you can imagine :wink:
And I am like a shark who has smelt blood. These short moments of silence were so absolutely beautiful and peaceful... I can't tell how much pressure was falling off my shoulders.

Just wanted to share this with you. All the best,
astaroth

edit: maybe I just got the point about acceptance. Acceptance cannot be done actively. Acceptance is the natural result when you just really watch something without judgment. Maybe I will forget it, I know myself too well. But, right now, this is only one more product of eternity. And so... it's okay.
...you might remember me from such educational films as "Zen for couch-potatoes - The wisdom of never doing anything" or "Buddha from da hood - Was he a brother?"

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Re:

Post by boogeyman » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:05 pm

astaroth wrote:
I still don't know how to "be there, when thoughts" happen.
I've had these small climpses these few days of how to be there when thoughts happens.
I have a similar tendency of over analysing, over thinking, so I know what you mean.
You know when your on "autopilot", you know what its like when the mind is doing it's
thing and you see whats happening in a sort of semi conscious way. Then you "wake up"
and notice you were lost in thought. maybe just for a second and then it starts again
and then you THINK "ok, now I will remain fully present and not get lost in thought"
As that thoght is there you usually allready are lost in thought, again. But that short
moment when you realized you were lost. That is a moment of presence.

Maybe a good practice would be to think consciously. This gives it a different perspective (not being at the mercy of the mind).
Instead of "watching the thoughts" you actively think, but you think more fully, giving it a different quality.

Sit down in a quite place and actively start thinking, BUT give your full attention to the thinking.
Start thinking like a small child, really slowly, and really simple things, being there fully with every thought.
You know when you usually think, the thoughts are really fast and they jump around, making it hard to
concentrate. Thought automatically slows down once you give it more attention, because
there is more of paying attentio than there is doing (thinking). It's as if your building
a card house out of playing cards. You have to give all your attention when placing the cards
so it wont fall down. You have to watch every movement that its just right, the cards are just in the right
angle etc ect. If you start to hurry you wont be able to pay as much attention.

You can build the worlds biggest
card house as long as you concentrate, as long as you pay attention to what your doing.
Similary pay attention to your thoughts, don't think quick and superficially. Take your time and think deeply and fully. The content of your thoughts dosen't matter, its how you relate to them.

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Re: What is the now?

Post by weopposedeception » Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:32 am

I have abandoned any ideas about ever achieving a completely thought-free state. And I have never learned how to train my mind to think the "right" thoughts so I would be happy all the time.
It's kind of like I'm walking down the street in Manhattan at rush hour. I can negotiate my way around, in between people, not paying attention to anyone in particular.
However, I have my days where I'm intimidated or conned by these thoughts fairly heavily. Maybe it's because I look/feel like a tourist.

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