Fear of Freedom

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
Post Reply
User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6270
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Fear of Freedom

Post by Sighclone » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:39 am

ET talks about the fears which are launched by the ego as Presence is awakening. He speaks of “surrender” and the ego’s rejection of that “weak” posture at the end of PON.

But there is another fear, and that is Fear of The Void. Some of our first experiences of pure Being have exactly none of “ourself” in them. I remember my first experience of “transcending” (that was Maharishi’s term) after about three months of twice daily meditation. It felt like I suddenly dropped through the last “safety net” and plopped onto Ritam (source of awareness), and the first thought which emerged after that moment was my name. That was in 1972. Of course, I’ve ‘visited’ that place since…(yes, never left it, etc…) But even that first glimpse was not really terrifying, it was actually kind of cool.

But I read posts by new members who worry about the Void, the Emptiness. Resistance to that is perfectly normal by an egoic identity. “You’ll disappear, you’ll be a nothing!!” is the message which is shouted. “Its very scary…you need to be centered in something solid and substantial, like ME!!”

Of course, what is actually speaking is the “false self,” or egoic identity which has formed over time, molded and experienced by the mind and memory.

And so long as that is the only “place of comfort” we accept, that is all we will ever have. It takes some courage, strength of character, perhaps ever a little faith to actually rest in the scary Void place and see what happens. In fact, after a bit of the Void, can you still find the old “you?” Of course you can…but now there is another perspective on what was formerly your “self.” That self is apparently only a comfortable, familiar voice with hands and feet and style which is identified as ___ (your name.) You can wear it like a costume, in fact a costume which is so familiar you forget that you built it over many years with a lot of help from advertisers and peers and family and society in general. But its claim to reality is based on the social structures and expectations of life in the “real world.”

Posters claim that “the void is empty and barren and horrible” (I paraphrase.) Well, what it certainly is is empty of a lot of hang-ups, neuroses, bad habits, false support systems and other “props” from the world of ego and form. The fact that one doesn’t “feel like myself” is a good sign. After a time, the emptiness begins to dance, and many delights emerge from “it.” Because it is the Source of all creation! And it’s not in a hurry. Give it a chance, and you’ll never look back.

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

runstrails
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2152
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:33 am

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by runstrails » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:30 pm

Lovely clear post, Andy! Many thanks.
I just want to add that as selfhood starts disappearing, other reactions can be of 'feeling something is missing', restlessness and a mild depression.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6270
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Sighclone » Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:51 am

Thanks, rt. Those feelings can certainly arise, I've heard others say the same. For me though, the authenticity of the experience of Being was so profound, particularly since it cast the many deconstructed pieces of egoic identity into rather comic relief, there was no depression, but rather enthusiasm. But I'm an unusual case, like kiki, with many years of "unrealized" benefit from daily TM. Eckhart actually added a final cognitive piece, in his elegant and simple prose which simply validated my shifting.

The fMRI work being done by Gary Weber and his colleagues worldwide, including the Institute of Noetic Sciences, MIT and Yale, will, in the next few years begin to identify and measure the neuromolecular markers of awakening. There are already techniques, some ancient, some new for wholistic clearing of the mental tail-chasing which gets unwound in the process of waking up. Might and should make the whole process easier...neo-Advaitists and ruthlesstruthers notwithstanding.

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

User avatar
Natalie
Posts: 559
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Natalie » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:55 am

Thanks for the clarity of this pointer Andy. You've helped me see that fear of losing 'control' is keeping me from diving in head first. Wow, how funny, as I typed the word 'control' I could totally see it for the illusion it really is and I felt it crumble. Ha....I am feeling no resistance right now, am even welcoming the fear. It feels so right.

Funny how I go through periods when I can see through the conditioning, and the concepts and the belief systems very easily and effortlessly, smiling all day long at this recognition as it happens. Other times my ego just runs rampant turning me into a defensive and territorial jerk. Just this morning I scolded my almost 90 year old father-in-law because he didn't knock at my front door before using the key we've given him for emergencies. I was totally aware of the feelings his actions provoked and of my reaction and words to him and my mother-in-law. It really all boils down to the same feeling that made me fear the big void. Fear of not having at my disposal the illusion to control my surroundings. Persistent illusion this is.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6270
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Sighclone » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:34 am

It is about control. In a recent "Eckhart-tv" reply to a questioner about free will, (which I would post here but it's a big audio file), Eckhart talks about incidental free will (ability to move his hand) and ultimate free will. He is not at his best and it is a wandering, wordy reply; he concludes that there is no ultimate free will. But there is the illusion of free will, and the ego struggles to control the stage, to grab the steering wheel. But there is only the illusion of control, anyway...never really getting past moving arms. He mentions that we do not seem to be able to control which thoughts enter our minds.

How many "control freaks" to you know? How successful are they at controlling their environment, their family members, etc. How happy are they? The opposite, complete surrender, places you in Presence which starts out empty. It's empty because there is suddenly no ego to be the boss. But after a time, the universe begins its gentle nudges, sometimes with a big "aha moment," often with synchronicity. Our only job is to keep the antennae working.

When you lectured your 90-year-old father-in-law, how much unconditional love was there? I am reminded of page 162 in my copy of PON: "If there isn't an emanation of love and joy, complete presence and openness toward all beings, then it is not enlightenment."

So how long does that take? I'm the wrong guy to ask, because I can backslide in a heartbeat. But as I feel myself doing that, the Witness arises. Sometimes I slip back into presence, and sometimes I finish my lecture or other childish behavior. There is a little bit less of the silliness, though, every week. And more joy.

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

User avatar
smiileyjen101
Posts: 3721
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:44 am

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:58 am

natalie said: Just this morning I scolded my almost 90 year old father-in-law because he didn't knock at my front door before using the key we've given him for emergencies. I was totally aware of the feelings his actions provoked and of my reaction and words to him and my mother-in-law. It really all boils down to the same feeling that made me fear the big void. Fear of not having at my disposal the illusion to control my surroundings. Persistent illusion this is.
Sighclone said: When you lectured your 90-year-old father-in-law, how much unconditional love was there? I am reminded of page 162 in my copy of PON: "If there isn't an emanation of love and joy, complete presence and openness toward all beings, then it is not enlightenment."
That's an interesting balance notion - awareness with Natalie that her response may have been less than unconditionally loving, and possibly that her ego over-reacted, but unconditional love is not being a door mat either (sorry for the pun). Rather than ET's (for me out of context in this sort of situation) quote I would look to one from Conversations with God - unconditional love does not mean allowing another to abuse (you) - it means love for self and the other is always the answer.

While the scolding may have lasted for longer than the 15 seconds of natural anger - long enough to notice the incursion and say 'No thank you', there are situations where to say and pretend nothing disrespectful happened, is somewhat dishonest, and again from CWG - honesty is the highest form of love. Respect is close on its heels, but again it must be respect for self and other.

So, one might say 'Hey Dad, I gave you that key for emergencies, and we would appreciate you still respecting our privacy enough to knock if we're here and healthy, ; ) who knows what we might have been up to when you walked in unannounced.'

In a respectful relationship the Dad would apologise (particularly as they hadn't been attacked - less need for ego to arise in response) and hopefully use the key for the purpose it was given and not abuse the trust given with it.

Maybe try to replace the notion of 'control' with 'aware management' balancing rather than any total abdication of your 'power' and rights in a situation.

Freedom is also a tricky balance - freedom to / freedom from and respecting the freedoms of self and others in harmony.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

18andlife
Posts: 392
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:40 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by 18andlife » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:01 am

Sighclone wrote: It felt like I suddenly dropped through the last “safety net” and plopped onto Ritam (source of awareness), and the first thought which emerged after that moment was my name.
Fascinating, that was the exact same thing that happened the first time I reached the stream; the very frist thought to arise afterward was my name.

hanss
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:14 pm
Location: Gothenburg - Sweden

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by hanss » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:33 am

Hmmm... why do I often feel that the most important threads in this forum has the least amount of replies? Oh, well, this is one of those times I feel that. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences.
"In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being."
(Eckhart Tolle)

snowheight
Posts: 1954
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:56 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by snowheight » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:09 pm

Sighclone wrote:I remember my first experience of “transcending” (that was Maharishi’s term) after about three months of twice daily meditation. It felt like I suddenly dropped through the last “safety net” and plopped onto Ritam (source of awareness), and the first thought which emerged after that moment was my name. That was in 1972.
Prior to reading TPON I had inherited a culturally-based tendency to judge based on immediate results rather than pedigree or resume that, insofar as judgment itself can be categorized as such, was, in a sense, a naturally enlightened perspective.

And then, after TPON experience, last year, intense curiosity did arise ... "what the heck just happened?" ... events that cause seismic shifts in one's perspective and life situation will tend to do that. :wink:

In answering anyone who would point out the inherent contradiction between re-casting the whole concept of history at it's root and the enhanced trust placed in someone because of their depth and specific path of spiritual experience I will resort to a dialogue on The Paradox ... and my guess is that anyone who reads my posts needs no more of that, ... at least not at the moment! :oops: :lol:

Andy, suffice it to say that I was and remain intensely grateful to have found you, kiki and scores of others here, just when I needed it. This is the human experience. We rely on one another, trust one another and depend on one another. Through one another we can experience, if only vicariously, what would take multiple lifetimes otherwise.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

User avatar
RCharles
Posts: 293
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:23 am
Location: Northern California -- Sierra Nevada Mountains

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by RCharles » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:50 am

Andy, thanks so much for this wonderful thread. It started out addressing fear of the void that many here seem to experience, but the excellent followup posts have brought out the many other ego states that hinder "progress." I remember feeling so many unexpected emotions during the early awakening process that I thought I was losing my mind. Occasionally others have described that experience also.

I sought out a spiritual teacher who confirmed that such a feeling was a normal worry of the ego's that it was losing control. So there's another way in which the ego expresses its fear of letting go. As the experience intensified, I continued to have that worry about my mental stability, and there may even have been cause for worry at the time, but I came through it just fine over the long run.

Another thing that happened was that I had an enlightenment experience, as you quoted Eckhart describing enlightenment. For weeks I went around loving everybody and everything and bordering on overstepping social boundaries in a sort of giddy ecstasy. Later, as that experience faded, I let two different "gurus" convince me I hadn't really had the full enchilada. Maybe so, maybe not, but something major shifted for me. Like you, Andy, after the experience faded, I kind of went back and forth and found that I could quickly backslide. Nevertheless, that does not invalidate the insights gained from that experience or the reality of the experience itself, and I am sorry I let those teachers talk me out of it "believing" in what had happened. I don't know why they did that, but I do know that I am the ONLY one who really knows what happened and can best understand it.

The bottom line for each of us is to trust yourself and your path. Your soul knows what it needs and where it is going. You can trust it and not be afraid, even when really unexpected things happen. If you have a spiritual tradition, the writings and members of that group may help provide some boundaries to keep you from going too far out, but ultimately, your soul will recenter itself over time. I can't say that with absolute certainty because I really only have my own experience to go by, but I firmly believe it to be true.

Thankfully, we also have this wonderful message board where we can help each other stay on track. I received considerable help when I went through the states mentioned above and came here for guidance, probably much better help than I actually received from my flesh and blood teachers. All that said, anyone who really feels they may be experiencing mental illness should seek professional counseling, but I think the vast majority of us come through the spiritual journey just fine and all the better for it.

Chuck
"They are all...perfect..." --Ken Watanabe, dying scene in the movie The Last Samurai

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6270
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Sighclone » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:03 am

Chuck -

I remember with great empathy and fondness your expressions of giddyness and coffeshop enthusiasm, etc. Yes, we are ultimately our own guru. Only you know the validity of your experience. I also had a three-month period of really busy excitement, sending books around to good friends, etc... What is most interesting is the kernel which has remained. And it is an empty kernel...not really a "centeredness" but really an "uncenteredness." But a familiar "non-place."

We try to keep earnest compassion as the general style, allowing sometimes great long academic threads, and respectful disagreements. Eckhart said somewhere our main job is to teach enlightenment...Buddha said that was not possible, but learning it is...

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

User avatar
Natalie
Posts: 559
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Florida, USA

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Natalie » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:13 am

Smiiley I agree that my father-in-law should have respected our wishes that the key be used for emergencies only, and yes, there was not much unconditional love involved in the situation. Seeing him and his wife come in without knocking made me feel incredibly agitated, as if they had committed the biggest crime ever. It was a totally egoic reaction which I observed from beginning to end. I felt furious, but was careful about my words thank god. I noticed the fury forming, growing, reaching a peak and dissipating, and that noticing is such a powerful powerful experience. It truly is awesome to know that the Witness that noticed the little egoic meltdown is ALWAYS there.

This was a big relapse for me and I am still a little perplexed. I mean, the reactivity of my ego was major, over what????.... the imagined threat caused by a hunched over poor old man without a mean bone in his body? I still feel ashamed of my reaction. I feel hung-over in a way, like the sudden rush of anger after several months of flat emotions has done some damage.

“complete surrender, places you in Presence which starts out empty. It's empty because there is suddenly no ego to be the boss. But after a time, the universe begins its gentle nudges, sometimes with a big "aha moment," often with synchronicity. Our only job is to keep the antennae working.”

I absolutely love this and feel it ring true to my Being. The Universe has blessed me in incredible ways every time I have completely surrender to a life situation. When I get off the driver seat the car drives itself beautifully. Suffering returns when I attempt to grab the steering wheel from the passenger seat.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6270
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by Sighclone » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:13 am

Thanks for your kind words, Natalie. I'm always pleased when my expression of my experience resonates with someone else. Of course "you and I" will have the same kind of experience of unity consciousness...because that's really all there is!!! It's depersonalized because there is no person needed for Self to experience itSelf. And it is not rocket science either.

Pleas don't feel "bad" about an ego eruption. Adya spent a couple of years watching those things come up. His four-hour interview with Bonnie Greenwell (#64 in the Dharma Cafe Audio library, $10) is splendid and very revealing about his path, hiccups and all. In fact, resisting it would be phony. So there are still a couple of hooks for the Velcro to hang on. And how old are you? And how much time did all that conditioning have to set in real hard? Gotta forgive all that stuff...even something which comes up tomorrow...just let it be and laugh.

Nisargadatta used to get huffy all the time...

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

milarepa
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:46 am

Re: Fear of Freedom

Post by milarepa » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:57 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:34 am
It is about control. In a recent "Eckhart-tv" reply to a questioner about free will, (which I would post here but it's a big audio file), Eckhart talks about incidental free will (ability to move his hand) and ultimate free will. He is not at his best and it is a wandering, wordy reply; he concludes that there is no ultimate free will. But there is the illusion of free will, and the ego struggles to control the stage, to grab the steering wheel. But there is only the illusion of control, anyway...never really getting past moving arms. He mentions that we do not seem to be able to control which thoughts enter our minds.

How many "control freaks" to you know? How successful are they at controlling their environment, their family members, etc. How happy are they? The opposite, complete surrender, places you in Presence which starts out empty. It's empty because there is suddenly no ego to be the boss. But after a time, the universe begins its gentle nudges, sometimes with a big "aha moment," often with synchronicity. Our only job is to keep the antennae working.

When you lectured your 90-year-old father-in-law, how much unconditional love was there? I am reminded of page 162 in my copy of PON: "If there isn't an emanation of love and joy, complete presence and openness toward all beings, then it is not enlightenment."

So how long does that take? I'm the wrong guy to ask, because I can backslide in a heartbeat. But as I feel myself doing that, the Witness arises. Sometimes I slip back into presence, and sometimes I finish my lecture or other childish behavior. There is a little bit less of the silliness, though, every week. And more joy.

Andy
Could you provide me with the link to this Eckhart-tv video/audio?

Post Reply