What if your "now" is horrifying?

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What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by premiumphoto » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:27 am

Hello everyone! My name is Don from Oklahoma. My handle is related to my profession as a portrait photographer. Anyway, I started reading Eckhart while on a trip to Cabo San Lucas to do a wedding. I read the Power of Now and wow! I can get into more detail later. I have had a burning question I have wanted to ask Eckhart but anyone here will certainly do! And that question is related to the title on my post. There are many children who were so traumatized that they took an extreme form of NOT being present and have various forms of personality disorders (MPD, schitzophrenia, etc.) I have a friend of mine who lives in constant 24/7 pain. Both physical and emotional. She cannot take most pain meds due to severe allergic reactions. When she was a child, she was horribly abused by her father daily. She has worked harder on herself to become normal than anyone else I know. Her story is far worse than that but that is enough to give you an idea. How does going more deeper in the now and fully accepting the present horrifying moments of daily beatings help my friend or the countless abused children in the world? Eckhart says

" Focus your attention on the now and tell me what problem you have at this moment. There is no answer because it's impossible to have a problem when your attention is fully here, in the Now. "

I'm not so sure that is true. But I confess there must be another way to look at it that I am not seeing. I am really not trying to be dramatic here. I have lived in Africa and other places that were just horrific for the residents. I'm wondering how this teaching can be applied correctly? But mostly I am concerned NOW for my friend who has stated she will not allow herself to live in the pain she is in much longer.

Sorry for the ramble.

Don

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Onceler » Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:33 pm

Welcome to the forum, premiumphoto,

I don't pretend to know the answer to this question, but can give it my best shot by directing you elsewhere. I adopt the belief that we are given what we are given for a reason...if that is pain, then there is a reason behind it. Again, I am not in intense pain, so I don't know from experience.

I would look into Byron Katie, who has an interesting take on reality and gives methods for working with ones reality called "the work". She is very much about investigating ones beliefs and acceptance of reality as it is through this investigation. I see this as the pencil and paper part of Tolle's teachings...they are compatible. There are some youtube clips on her site (thework.com) that show people in rather dire circumstances, such as your friend and how Katie works with them.

I know there will be other helpful answers to your question, as there are many insightful folks here. Take care.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Webwanderer » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:01 pm

The point of living in the now moment is to live from truth. Can living in imagination ever be preferable to reality? Your first response may be "yes", under circumstances such as you discribe. But at what cost? Should one choose an imagined and separated identity that offers no opportunity to transcend difficult conditions? If your friend is living in such emotional and physical pain, and can find no escape from it, it seems her greatest opportunity is to find a way to live beyond it. Memories and physical pain are better tolerated from clarity of presence than isolating blinders of avoidance.

How much of her emotional turmoil is self-generated do to her living in judgment of being wronged in the past? She may not be able to change what happened but she can change how she relates to the memories. Awakened perception offers the opportunity to release energies that imagination can only hide from. Physical pain is no different. If meds are not an option, a transcendant perception may be her most effective approach. Many othes have done just that. Christian Science literature is filled with documented healings from the practice of transcendence.

It's important that we don't limit our options by investing in "can't". Most of what seems impossible is made so by adopted beliefs in limitation. But our essential being is unlimited in its very nature. Awaken to that ever present nature and see that "can't" is just a belief that ties us to our suffering.

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by HermitLoon » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:17 pm

Suffering is.
When suffering becomes too much to bear it ends.
The ways are many.
Peace

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by kiki » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:29 pm

There's not much to add what already been said, but I'll just say this: No matter what the outer circumstance is it can serve as a means to transcend suffering. Great pain doesn't necessarily mean one cannot awaken, and in fact can be the springboard for great growth. Pain can remain but suffering can end because pain is physical while suffering is a creation of the mind. And just because pain is present doesn't mean action can't be taken to rectify it. Those who suffer abuse at the hands of another have every right to take action (hopefully legal action) to extricate themselves from it. Nobody has the right to abuse another and if they aren't capable of doing something about it then intervention by others may be necessary. But what is past is past and no amount of thinking about it can eliminate what happened. The only thing that can be done is what Webwanderer has so eloquently stated, witness those thoughts and emotions from clarity of presence. This gives one the opportunity to see that they are not those things, but are in fact that which witnesses them, that they are no longer defined and limited by anything from the past or anything in the mind.

By the way, welcome to the board, premiumphoto.
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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Sighclone » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:41 pm

Welcome premiumphoto!

Eckhart clarifies that accepting does not mean condoning, and reminds us to change what must be changed; From PON, page 82:
If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.
Your friend's gruesome pain has become a gruesome memory. If she invests energy in the memory, and believes "My life is ruined forever," then there will be suffering. Byron Katie's cognitive techniques in "the work" have received high praise recently from the conventional practitioners of psychotherapy. I would encourage your friend to investigate her.

Namaste, 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: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by premiumphoto » Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:14 am

Sorry for the delay everyone. And thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses. Let me clarify a few points. My friend does not dwell on the memory of her past abuses by her father. She does not have a "victim" mentality. But all the abuse she suffered has caused permanent lasting damage to her body to the point where the pain she lives with is unbearable for her. She is not dramatic about it but it affects her thinking because she is unable to sleep for more than three or four hours a night. She has been unable to change the pain. She does accept it fully. But the acceptance of it does not change it. She has said she has found a group that performs assisted suicide and if she can not get relief from her pain that she will use them. She would rather be dead than to go through life with the intensity of pain she experiences. I'm not sure how that plays karmiclly, but I don't think I can find fault with it from her perspective . It just seems that acceptance of her situation does not bring her relief. What could I possibly tell her that would bring her relief? She tells me these things because she knows I will not judge her or tell her she shouldn't feel a certain way. Or that she should not do something. I would feel much sadness if she killed herself. But then again, is the sadness merely selfish? She would not be in pain anymore and would be free from the earthly existence and literal "pain body" that she was unable to transcend.

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Onceler » Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:07 am

That is a tough situation to be in, both of you. It's good she can feel that she can be honest and open with you, but I suppose you find it as somewhat of a burden. I think the best gift you can give her is clarity and presence and act out of that state of being for her interest whatever they may be. Your clarity and presence may help her realize what she needs to do and be clear about it.

Good luck.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Sighclone » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:18 am

I would recommend that she personally contact both Loch Kelly (lochkelly.org) and Byron Katie (thework.com). She should pay whatever it takes to have a separate individual session with each of these counselors. They are more familiar with the serious problems your friend experiences than I am. I would say the same to my sister or wife.

Sometimes surgery is effective in relieving peripheral nerve damage, also. Before suicide, certainly this should be considered.

I wish you both well.

Namaste, 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: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by premiumphoto » Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:48 pm

Many thanks to everyone for your responses. I will definitely point her to those two teachers and believe she will get the healing she needs. I am wondering in a larger sense if Eckhart is wrong in his statement that we have no problems in the now of this moment. Many people in th eworld live with real, dreadful, circumstances of abuse and starvation that is real and present. They cannot change it, and I fail to see how accepting it fully really benefits them. When I lived in Africa, no matter how much food we brought to starving villages in Zambia, we knew that many would die. Are children who are abused to merely accept what they cannot change? This seems like a teaching that is not helpful. I love Eckhart, but this area I just can't seem to get my head around as I have seen over and over again the evils of the world and the real problems that are a part of the now in people's lives. There must be something better than "accept what you cannot change."

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by freedom » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:48 pm

Hi,

I have a very challenging health situation which I am unable to change and have pondered ET;s words like yourself. What seems to be genuinely useful is;

I can't change this however there is no need to add to my life situation's difficulty by giving and believing the mental commentary that initially accompanied it,
i.e this shoudn't be happening to me
my life is total hell
there is nowhere to go now.

Nothing has changed but most of the time mental anguish is absent (not always!).

I found Byron Katie's work really helpful.

wishing your friend some ease.

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by kiki » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:05 pm

Well said, freedom.
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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by Sighclone » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:48 am

premiumphoto -

I agree with you regarding suffering in this moment. There are those, like your friend, who know suffering on a daily basis. I have not, save some periods of anxiety and low-grade depression. Eckhart knew psychological suffering on a daily basis. I think he believes so much in the "power" of Now, that he believes even deep pain can be relieved. See pp. 35-36 in PON: "Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it Make it you friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life." I have almost never had a 'present moment' with great physical or psychological pain, so I have to take Eckhart's claims as a leap of faith. Given the effects on me of other experiences I have had since reading Eckhart, I'm comfortable taking that leap.

As a second recommendation to your friend, she should get a copy of "Ordinary Women Extraordinary Wisdom" by Rita Marie Robinson, ISBN # is 9781846940682. This is a wonderful series of interviews with very different but, of course, very similar women. Also, there is a wealth of bibliographical references and website resource links. Oh, and it's got a female perspective too! :) Please have her read it.

Namaste, 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: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by premiumphoto » Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:19 am

Eckhart is one of the very few, possibly the only, teachers that strike me as writing or lecturing while tapped into a stream of pure truth energy- if that makes sense. Most other teachers strike me as being a mix of everyone they have read or studied with- and are saying things others have said before. His effect on me has been nothing less than profound. I have had a heart for suffering people in the world and in addition to my friend, have seen much suffering, especially in children. The world can be very cruel and I have struggled with a "theology" that worked everywhere on the planet. I have had to step back and realize that Eckhart is not God and is not perfect. I think that many people do suffer now and in this moment and to accept it like you chose it isn't helpful for them- especially kids who experience parental abuse. However, I feel Eckhart is trying to find words to describe a truth that is there but words are failing him. I know he would clarify this point if he put his attention to it.

I must thank everyone who gives so freely of their time on this little corner of the internet. It is truly a wonderful space that I am very thankful for.

Don

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Re: What if your "now" is horrifying?

Post by BevBeing » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:02 pm

Hi premiumphoto

You have put to us thoughts & questions on this topic that are shared by many. I'm not sure if you have had a chance to look at (or listen to) one of Eckharts Retreat series

Touching the Eternal - India Retreat
Titles:
· DVD 1 The Renunciation of Thought
· DVD 2 Death & Dying: The Greatest Portal
· DVD 3 The Power of Not Knowing
· DVD 4 Addiction to Suffering
· DVD 5 Spiritual Practice and Patterns of Resistance
· DVD 6 The Last Delusion

It covers topics in a different way from those discussed in The Power of Now & A new Earth

Part of the introduction to the series states :

With Eckhart’s guidance, the rigors of living in India served as teachers pointing to the release of attachment to form and to seeing deeper into the inner. Join them in this transformational experience and allow yourself to be guided through words and stillness into the state of presence. This is the surrendered state of consciousness in which the very limitations of form become an opening into the divine.

Perhaps you & your friend may be able to use some of the pointers Eckhart provides in the series.

In love & conscious awareness

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