Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

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Glycine
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Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Glycine » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:44 am

I would like to start with two quotes from ANE (chapter 10):
"when consciousness becomes form, it enters a dreamlike state"
"consciousness loses itself in form, becomes identified with form"
All the books that I've read consider that animals live continuously in the present and only adult humans are able to pull themselves from the present and fantasize about past and future.
However, I'm strongly inclined to believe that many animals are able to do the same thing humans do (to some extent).
A well-known example is that of animals (from insects to mammals) building shelters and, especially, storing food for the winter.
A cute example is that of a chipmunk gathering seeds in its cheeks and then spiting out those seeds in a small storage space. The chipmunk knows winter is coming and it will be hungry; therefore, it doesn't eat the seeds right away, but saves them for the future.

Now, two funny questions:
- Is it possible for the chipmunk to awaken?
- If the chipmunk's ego dissolves, how will the form of the chipmunk (the empty shell) behave?
Last edited by Glycine on Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wander
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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by wander » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:02 am

hmm well i would have to disagree. Instinct is what drive a chipmunk to store for the winter. I do not believe that its any kind of higher thought. It is not thinking about the future it is just acting. And besides someone who is living fully in the present moment can still plan for the future without leaving the present moment. example someone calls to make plans to go outside in the snow. your going to get your winter clothes ready before you actually go outside. but you never would have had to leave the present moment.

Hmm well im sure someone will explain this better....

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by goldenbirdies » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:46 pm

Does Eckhart not speak of something that is a halfway-house between "mind" and "pure consciousness" - a sort of "universal intelligence"? If so, could this be ego-less but capable of planning at the same time?

A different angle on it is that many animals are territorial - which raises further questions about the presence of ego.

David
David

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Glycine
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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Glycine » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:20 pm

For wander: thinking always happens in the present, but it can be about the future or past!!! This is a tricky issue!
For goldenbirdies: good point! Storing food and building shelters were just two examples. Your example is very good at indicating the presence of ego. The fierceness with which some animals defend "their" territory, especially against members of their own species, indicates a strong ego.

To say it briefly:
I believe that awakening and enlightenment is not for the human form only. Many other forms are probably capable of realizing their true nature! It would be interesting to identify them - they could be good pointers.

"Enlightenment Exists" - Thank you, Sighclone!

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by James » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:22 pm

Perhaps the chipmunk storing seeds is what causes winter. :roll:

J.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

Glycine
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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Glycine » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:25 pm

James wrote:Perhaps the chipmunk storing seeds is what causes winter. :roll:

J.
:D :D :D

Priceless! This is the answer!
"Thread solved"

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Sighclone » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:59 am

James - How funny, I laughed out loud.
:lol: Andy

Glycine - you are welcome...
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: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by domokato » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:09 pm

Glycine wrote:I believe that awakening and enlightenment is not for the human form only.
I notice many on the boards are posting about their beliefs. I just want to remind everyone that Tolle warns about having beliefs since a belief is a mindset, and holding a mindset is a hindrance to awakening. When you hold a belief you find evidence to support it and become blind to the possibilities.

As for your question, I think animals do not "think" like humans because they don't have language. No language means no symbols with which to represent abstract thoughts. Animals' behavior is guided by instincts and conditioning. They may be able to think ahead to the future (probably in the form of images), but I think they would return to the present moment automatically since it would be pretty hard to get caught in a thought-loop.

My puppy cried the first night he was away from his litter mates. Does that mean he was thinking about his litter mates in the past? Or does that mean he was conditioned to having them there with him all day? Can't really say.

I think I raised more questions than I answered...haha.
~housecat

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by James » Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:13 pm

Some good points domokato.

Instead of analyzing and interpreting the world around us including animals and nature, we can quietly commune with it, sense it on a deeper level than the mind, and may discover the blessings of spontaneous insight and clarity. We may never have all answers to our questions about life, but in realization perhaps we will find that we are at peace with not knowing, and that the questioner is dissolving.

J.

Glycine
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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Glycine » Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:05 am

You are right, James.
I found a Zen koan that is similar to your approach:
During the Kamakura period, Shinkan studied Tendai six years and then studied Zen seven years; then he went to China and contemplated Zen for thirteen years more.

When he returned to Japan many desired to interview him and asked obscure questions. But when Shinkan received visitors, which was infrequently, he seldom answered their questions.

One day a fifty-year-old student of enlightenment said to Shinkan: "I have studied the Tendai school of thought since I was a little boy, but one thing in it I cannot understand. Tendai claims that even the grass and trees will become enlightened. To me this seems very strange."

"Of what use is it to discuss how grass and trees become enlightened?" asked Shinkan. "The question is how you yourself can become so. Did you ever consider that?"

"I never thought of it in that way," marveled the old man.

"Then go home and think it over," finished Shinkan.

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by ppinny » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:17 am

Hi all,

Just got internetted up after a long time away. I'm in Panama actually, sharing my life with my human partner and an eight month old nocturnal monkey, Doodle; and my first "net" action finds this post! :)

[quote="Glycine"]The fierceness with which some animals defend "their" territory, especially against members of their own species, indicates a strong ego.[/quote]
Perhaps those that didn't protect their food sources just died out. I sense no ego here. ( [i]Aotus Trivirgatus[/i], i.e. Doodle, share food between family members, share food sources with other monkeys and even sleeping quarters with other species so there my be something to learn there too, but i digress!!)

I don't know if he considers the future or the past, (though clearly he remembers it) or is possessed of "language" and i don't think it matters. What i do know is that we have been blessed beyond measure to have been able to care for him and learn from him.

[quote="James"]Instead of analyzing and interpreting the world around us including animals and nature, we can quietly commune with it, sense it on a deeper level than the mind, and may discover the blessings of spontaneous insight and clarity. We may never have all answers to our questions about life, but in realization perhaps we will find that we are at peace with not knowing, and that the questioner is dissolving.[/quote]

James encapsulates my experience of Doodle perfectly here! I wish i could have put it so well!! We have been able to communicate at such a deep level, perhaps because of the sidestepping of the unconscious, at least from his side, and seemingly without the need of "language". Perhaps this smart-ass-fore-brain language business is as much a problem as a possible solution!

ppinny

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by kiki » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:49 am

It's nice to have you back, ppinny. Don't know why your quotes didn't post properly because the code looks correct. Curious. I'll see if I can fix it.
Curious. I'll see if I can fix it.
No success. Very strange.

I tried to fix them too. Same results. Must be a gremlin at work :?

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Mushinsan » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:44 pm

Words are the weapons that wound the soul.

What exactly is instinct? A word to describe something we dont understand. Does a baby form in the womb because of instinct? Fom the smallest non thing to the biggest form, all is intelligence manifested to our perspective as form. We label what we see in hopes of understanding it. If we just quit trying to fit the world into a pretty little package what you find is an endless sea of loving intelligence surrounding and supporting even you.

Glycine
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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Glycine » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:14 pm

You are right, Mushinsan!
I'm convinced that many animals have egos and are able to project themselves in the past and future (especially large apes and mammals). Of course, they do it to a lesser extent than humans, but now I see that this is pretty much irrelevant to our own awakening.

The past 4 months have been very confusing for me. Apparently, I was looking for something and I didn't know what it was.
I re-read some of my posts on the site and I remembered why I read Tolle's books and why I came to this site.
The only thing I knew about Buddhism was that it originated in Eastern Asia, and I had no idea what awakening was.
Even in the title of ANE, I thought "awakening" was just a buzz word for "understanding" (with the mind).

ET analyzes very thoroughly how the mind works, and I was mainly attracted to that part. For some reason, I found his writing very intriguing and different from psychology or philosophy books. I came to this site to feed my mind some more and to see if I can clarify some aspects of his writing. However, I discovered at some point that the books and the site are actually focusing on discovering our true nature. Of course, I had a lot of help from many wonderful members of the forum - THANK YOU all for your help and patience!
Over the last 3 weeks I somewhat stopped taking my mind so seriously and I had some "strange" experiences that I've never had before - like laughing at myself and smiling to everyone. "I'm going crazy" crossed my mind many times, and it still does!

Happy "experiencing", everyone!

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Re: Not all animals are continuously living in the present!

Post by Sighclone » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:12 am

ooooh, glycine....really neat 'progress.' Mushi - see me put quotes around 'progress' - don't want to wound any souls. :)

And I also don't want you to think I did not repect your excellent post!!

Mushi is so right - accept the inherent love in all creation is the subtle message from the universe. Sure, in some behavior it is hard to see the loving intelligence. But we can only understand from our level of consciousness. Perhaps if he were wiser, Eckhart would have understood the divine beauty in the people abusing the animal he mentions in Oprah webinar #7 or so. Nanci Danison's extraordinary near death experience revealed to her the fundamental non-judgementality of Source (all manifestation is of Source, some manifestations understand/experience that fact.) For me, it's easier if the manifestation is a daffodil, not a rape.

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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