Chocolate Cake of the Soul

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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Vikings are Nice
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Chocolate Cake of the Soul

Post by Vikings are Nice » Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:00 am

I was having some sort of anxiety attack, I was in bed trying observe the chocolate cake anxiety impartially, following JDs advice below:
1) You can eat more cake. This will once more charge up the thought-form, which will be even stronger the next time it surfaces. That's how cycles of addiction are formed.

OR

2) You can fight against the temptation and refuse to eat any more cake. The energy produced by your struggle will also feed the thought-form and make it more powerful.

The third possibility is to react to the thought-form with complete indifference. Just allow it to be there but don't feed it by having an orgy of chocolate cake eating, or by struggling to do the opposite. Ignore it, welcome it, do anything but engage with it on its own level (thoughts of, chocolate cake - should I, shouldn't I?).

Of course, this strategy presupposes that you're sufficiently conscious to recognize the thought-form for what it is (rather than being totally identified with it, in which case your choices are restricted to the first two options, neither of which is helpful).

If you can succeed in maintaining an attitude of indifference, the thought-form will receive no energy and be considerably weaker and easier to resist with each subsequent appearance, until it eventually becomes de-energized and ceases to be a problem.
After a while a question arose 'who are you'

I said 'me, these thoughts'

and then 'but who is watching these thoughts'

And then I realised that there was a great stillness there, beyond the thoughts, at first almost like a vast wall. But then I entered it and after a while I was more the vast stillness and the thoughts were not me at all. I realised that this unchanging stillness has been observing my entire life.

A number of ETs teachings are a little clearer now. Though I can not often be quite as still as that night, I now know what it means to be the silent watcher of the thoughts and can do this a little more easilly now.

Since then I have had really interesting unravellings (it felt like unravelling) of body tensions, especially down the spine. They seem to come back somewhat, but maybe not as bad each time (early days yet I suppose, so I am not sure how permanent the unravelling is or how often I will have to repeat the exercise before it dissapates). Anxiety does return but I think has been easier to dissapate (time will tell). So I hope this is progress.

So I thank JD for his chocolate cake analogy. I thought it deserved a fresh topic since it was, for me, a clear explanation of how to dissolve negative thought forms.

Another thing that helped be understand better being the impartial observer was this quote from an Australian psychiatrist (Ainslie Meares) who used meditation. The below quote clarified the difference between meditation that requires effort, and the much more pleasant kind of meditation that does not require any effort. ET also alludes to this.
The key to our management of stress lies in those moments when our brain runs quietly in a way that restores harmony of function.... First, there are many different forms of meditation in which the brain functions in quite different ways. I have abundant evidence to show that the form of meditation which I am about to describe is much more effective than other forms in restoring the harmonious brain function that relieves stress.

In classical meditation as in yoga, in Zen Buddhist meditation, and in the meditation as practised by the early Christian mystics, the thought processes of the mind are helped by will power concentrating on some object or spiritual concept. The mind is active, striving to attain and maintain this ideal. In the meditation that I would advise you to practise there is no striving, no activity of brain function, just quietness, a stillness of effortless tranquility.

This is not the tranquility of drowsy somnolence. The mind is clear but still. At first, until the meditator has learned the art of letting his mind run in this way, there will be moments of stillness, but these are soon interrupted by the intrusion of thoughts. Do not try to dispel the thoughts by actively driving them from the mind. Just let them be and they will fizzle out, cease, and stillness will come again. Then thoughts will recur. And again, if they are let alone, the stillness that we want, will become longer and longer.

At the start this process will come and go, very much like the natural rhythms that are all about us, night and day, the tides, our very heartbeat. There may be a tendency for the beginner to get cross with himself with the recurring thoughts. This, of course, brings the meditative process to a halt.

Another error, which may befall the beginner, is a tendency to examine the situation. 'How am I going? Am I doing it properly?' Of course, any enquiry of this nature involves activity of the mind, which is exactly what we are trying to avoid. At the start it is best just to let ourselves experience a sense of being. Just being. Not even being in the room. Not even being alive. Just being. This state of mental activity, or rather inactivity, is a step towards the real stillness of mind experienced in full meditation.... We are seeking a form of relaxation which arises in the brain itself....

In classical meditation the meditator is taught to be constantly aware of his breathing. The breath goes in and out, in and out. The awareness of it means that there is continuing activity of the mind. which means that this process produces a type of meditation quite different from that which I advocate. There is another point. The awareness of our breathing gives the mind something to do, and so reduces the intrusion of thoughts. This makes meditation easier. So those learning to meditate easily fall into the habit of stilling their thoughts in this way. But if we are meditating with awareness of our breathing, our brain never achieves the quiet stillness which is so effective in restoring harmonious function and so relieving stress....

These same principles apply to the technique of visualization.... The main problem that leads people into visualizing is that the inexperienced see it as something practical as opposed to the rather mystical idea of stillness. Visualization is an easy technique as it gives the meditator something to do. This overcomes the initial difficulty of the meditator learning to let his mind run in stillness, but it leads to an inferior type of meditation.

It does not require long periods of meditation to obtain relief from stress. Ten minutes twice a day has produced dramatic relief in some hundreds of people who have consulted me professionally....

As we learn to meditate in this way, it soon becomes a pleasant experience. It is something to which we look forward. This comes with the ease that there is about it. There is no making ourselves relax, no making ourselves meditate. It is all very simple and natural. That is why we soon come to like doing it. Then we come to feel less stressed, and our motivation for our meditation is further increased.

Besides, there are many fringe benefits! The effects of successful meditation flow into our everyday life. Although we may initially have been meditating to control stress or some psychosomatic illness, there are many side-effects, and they are all positive, and all good. They include inner peace, better interpersonal relationships, clearer thinking, increased work capacity - even tycoons agree on this, better sexual relationships due to less tension, absence of disturbing dreams, and smoother physical reactions often shown in better performance in sport.
After reading this I realise that I was making a few mistakes. I was trying too hard to dissapate the thought forms or energy - focusing too harshly on them, holding them too tight or whatever. I don't think it was helping that much. Sometimes I do find it useful to hold my attention on negative thought forms, but as calmly as possible, preferably from a sense of stillness, and letting them shift and flow.

Another quote I have found useful is this one. It is long, so I will only give the link.

http://isaacshapiro.de/librarypages/lib ... eness.html

To paraphrase 'has holding on to negativity ever worked? has resisting
negativity ever worked?' try something different.

This is similar to the chocolate cake analogy.
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Post by kiki » Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:22 am

His meditation is similar to Adyashanti's "true meditation" - allow everything to be as it is:
Adyashanti wrote:True Meditation

True meditation has no direction, goals, or method. All methods aim at achieving a certain state of mind. All states are limited, impermanent and conditioned. Fascination with states leads only to bondage and dependency. True meditation is abidance as primordial consciousness. True meditation appears in consciousness spontaneously when awareness is not fixated on objects of perception.


When you first start to meditate you notice that awareness is always focused on some object: on thoughts, bodily sensations, emotions, memories, sounds, etc. This is because the mind is conditioned to focus and contract upon objects. Then the mind compulsively interprets what it is aware of (the object) in a mechanical and distorted way. It begins to draw conclusions and make assumptions according to past conditioning.


In true meditation all objects are left to their natural functioning. This means that no effort should be made to manipulate or suppress any object of awareness. In true meditation the emphasis is on being awareness; not on being aware of objects, but on resting as primordial awareness itself. Primordial awareness (consciousness) is the source in which all objects arise and subside.


As you gently relax into awareness, into listening, the minds compulsive contraction around objects will fade. Silence of being will come more clearly into consciousness as a welcoming to rest and abide. An attitude of open receptivity, free of any goal or anticipation, will facilitate the presence of silence and stillness to be revealed as your natural condition.


Silence and stillness are not states and therefore cannot be produced or created. Silence is the non-state in which all states arise and subside. Silence, stillness and awareness are not states and can never be perceived in their totality as objects. Silence is itself the eternal witness without form or attributes.


As you rest more profoundly as the witness, all objects take on their natural functionality, and awareness becomes free of the mind's compulsive contractions and identifications, and returns to its natural non-state of Presence. The simple yet profound question, "Who Am I?" can then reveal one's self not to be the endless tyranny of the ego-personality, but objectless Freedom of Being -- Primordial Consciousness in which all states and all objects come and go as manifestations of the Eternal Unborn Self that YOU ARE.

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Re: Chocolate Cake of the Soul

Post by JD » Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:36 pm

Vikings are Nice wrote: After a while a question arose 'who are you'

I said 'me, these thoughts'

and then 'but who is watching these thoughts'

And then I realised that there was a great stillness there, beyond the thoughts, at first almost like a vast wall. But then I entered it and after a while I was more the vast stillness and the thoughts were not me at all. I realised that this unchanging stillness has been observing my entire life.

A number of ETs teachings are a little clearer now. Though I can not often be quite as still as that night, I now know what it means to be the silent watcher of the thoughts and can do this a little more easilly now.
That was a massive step forward from theory to actual experience.

Like you, probably, I knew for many years that I was awareness and not my thoughts from my studies in Zen and other disciplines. But I only knew it intellectually.

The first real experience of this was an important turning point.

As you say, so much suddenly made sense.
Since then I have had really interesting unravellings (it felt like unravelling) of body tensions, especially down the spine. They seem to come back somewhat, but maybe not as bad each time (early days yet I suppose, so I am not sure how permanent the unravelling is or how often I will have to repeat the exercise before it dissapates). Anxiety does return but I think has been easier to dissapate (time will tell). So I hope this is progress.
It most certainly is.

Hoewever, there's no reason to think that the experience will have much permanent effect on your anxiety.

All that happened was that you successfully disidentified from your anxiety and tasted the clarity and peace that's aways underneath it.

That's great, but now the real work starts, which is trying to stay conscious enough to be aware of the thought-forms of anxiety when they arise, without getting sucked into anxiety-fantasies that will energise them.

The good news is that this should become easier now, if only because now you really know that:

1) You are not those thought-forms.

2) There really is something else behind and beyond them - a refuge from all anxiety and mental turbulence that nothing can ever take away from you - no matter how often you get lost in the dream of thought again (and you will, believe me).

At present, the anxiety is in the foreground of your consciousness and the vast stillness is the background.

As you progress and more and more space starts to surround the thought-forms of anxiety, they'll recede into the background with other obsessive thoughts and the "vast stillness" will become the foreground of your consciouness.

You will live in presence.
After reading this I realise that I was making a few mistakes. I was trying too hard to dissapate the thought forms or energy - focusing too harshly on them, holding them too tight or whatever. I don't think it was helping that much. Sometimes I do find it useful to hold my attention on negative thought forms, but as calmly as possible, preferably from a sense of stillness, and letting them shift and flow.
Yes, that's all you need do. In fact, that's all you can do.

You de-energise them not by any active process but simply by denying them energy by remaining conscious when they put in an appearance.

That's all that's necessary.

All the time they're buzzing about trying to hook you they're using up energy and getting none back in return.

That makes them weaker.

The longer you succeed in remaining conscious, the weaker they become.

They need energy to exist and you're the only one who can give it to them.

If you don't, they'll surely become de-energised and cease to be a problem.

No other outcome is possible.

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Re: Chocolate Cake of the Soul

Post by eseward » Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:14 pm

JD wrote:That was a massive step forward from theory to actual experience.

The good news is that this should become easier now, if only because now you really know that:

1) You are not those thought-forms.

2) There really is something else behind and beyond them - a refuge from all anxiety and mental turbulence that nothing can ever take away from you - no matter how often you get lost in the dream of thought again

As you progress and more and more space starts to surround the thought-forms of anxiety, they'll recede into the background with other obsessive thoughts and the "vast stillness" will become the foreground of your consciouness.

You will live in presence.

No other outcome is possible.
JD, excellent, as expected. :)

Vikings are Nice
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Post by Vikings are Nice » Wed Jun 06, 2007 2:31 am

Thanks for your encouragement. It is nice to hear that I am on track. The quote from Adyashanti was also helpful.

ta
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Re: Chocolate Cake of the Soul

Post by ob1 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:45 pm

Hi
I reply in relation to the mention of Ainslie Meares work above as I can speak about it better having a better knowledge and experience of it than Eckharts' work that I have read but am less familiar with. Ainslie Meares was an eminent psychiatrist who became involved in psychiatry towards the end of world war 2 as a medical hypnotist and over a period of a decade or so transitioned to teaching meditation. He invented his method of meditation. He taught meditation from before 1960 though to his passing in 1986. He wrote 34 books and hundreds of articles about his method. He believed that as the thoughts slow and the mind stills that in these gaps the stillness enables the mind to naturally rest.

In contracting a muscle there is effort. In relaxing a muscle there is the opposite: a letting go. The mind is similar and there is a knack to this effortlessness. The meditator must be in a slightly uncomfortable position as if they are not they will inevitably fall asleep.

Finally, the natural rest of stillness is not all that is involved - it is also necessary to let the effects of stillness meditation flow on though daily life so as to live calm and at ease. Living a calm and active life. In later years in a way analagous to the zen koan he also used poetry in his method writing 11 poetry books. I hope this information is of interest. cheers Owen Bruhn. www.mearesbook.com.au

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