My Journey

Here you may share how the words Eckhart Tolle have affected your life.
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WnC
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My Journey

Post by WnC » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:42 am

Greetings all.

My first time on here and I am very happy to discover this community and for those of you who will take their time to read my post, I thank you in advance. Short background - I'm male, 35, live in US, work in an IT field, single, no children, live alone.

I've had a degree of interest in Zen and spirituality for close to 8 years now. Prior to picking up the Power of Now, I had read a few books by Alan Watts and each time, seemed to get into it a little bit more - but nothing had ever had such an instantaneous effect in me as the Power of Now. One reason why I'm glad to join this forum is I can finally share a summary of the things that I have experienced and am experiencing today. I've attempted to relay some of that to my friends and my family but a lot of times I feel like they're being sceptical, plus I just feel like I'm not ready to tell them everything because they're not ready to receive it.

Anyway, I started reading Power of Now in May of 09 and unlike any of the previous texts, began to feel changes almost literally right away. Here are some of the "symptoms" that I had noticed:

- Relaxed mind
- Less restricted air flow, resulting in pleasurable deep breaths
- Little things , f.e. yawning became a lot more satisfactory
- General feeling of happiness and euphoria
- Great increase in attention from opposite sex (likely just has to do with being happy and confident)
- Forehead pressure (3rd eye). Generally, a lot of pressure/vibrations in the head area and energy inside the body in general.
- Occasionaly light-headedness/dizziness ( a bit scary)
- Unbelievable energy at times, only needing a few hours of sleep each night
- Increased focus and concentration at my job
- Drawn to flowing water (fountains, streams), vegetation, animals - especially birds. I would literally stop and smell the flowers on my way to and from work (I lived within walking distance to office)
- Spacious interiors (high ceilings, not a lot of clutter) brought about a feeling of stillness inside
- Everything had "rhythm", so to speak. Something trivial like an airline bag of peanuts being handed to me by a plane attendant almost seemed like it was a scripted song.. hard to describe
- Able to pefrom simple tasks without distractions. To explain - before, I found brushing teeth so tedious and boring, I'd constantly do other things simulteneously. The TV would always be on no matter what I was doing around my house, I'd have to surf the net while eating and I couldn't walk anywhere without my headphones. Now I could simply do each of those tasks by itself, lightly and joyously. BTW, I never went back to wearing headphones while walking around the city again.

One particular instance comes to mind that was pretty insane. I was in Chicago Art Museum in July of that year. Downstairs was an Hindi Art Exhibit ( I am 100% sure of the exact name of the exhibit but much of the art had to do with Hinduism or Buddhism). As soon as I found myself down there and started walking around the statues, I experienced an unbelievable head rush. This wasn't just the usual head pressure I'd been experiencing, this was a lot more, almost a wind blowing inside my entire head - so unbelievably powerful. I felt like I should be dizzy but I was fine. I knew it was something special because of the presence in the art that I was around; nevertheless I was not completely comfortable. I didn't mention anything to my friend that was with me, but I was partially amazed and a little freaked out.

Anyway, my period of joy didn't last.. I lost it, somewhere in August of that year and went back to my usual self, governed by my mind and bouncing between ups and downs, unconscious and always doubting myself. I have a few theories as to how/why it went away that time but I'm not going to speculate on that now.

Lately, I've been re-reading the book - for the fourth time, I believe, and the feeling I had back then has crept up again, a lot of the symptoms I mentioned before have returned - but it's been inconsistent. Last week I was really feeling the stilness again, this week - not so much. Part of the problem is - once I feel a flow of consiousness, my ego immediately jumps to claim the "achievement" for itself - "look at me, I'm so great, I am conscious and present, yadda yadda !" The vortex of thoughts follows with a very strong momentum, including, of course, delusions of grandeur in the future, with my future self imagined as a "zen master" of sorts. Of course, as we all know, the rest of the story is what goes up must come down and my dualistic mind eventually always reverts back to a "oh well, my presence is gone, crap" chain. I realize what is happening and try to stay present and observe the mind but it is very, very challenging.

Another challenge is other people in my life - some of them very unconscious. I have a good female friend who is very bitter because of her inability to find a partner. She also finds it necessary to complain constantly to me via text messages about her men problem as well as every other detail of her life, no matter how mundane. I try to give her the right advice about not seeking happiness outside herself, but I feel like it's falling on deaf ears. There are other negative people around me and I'll be honest - it's making me frustrated. Even when I think I'm non-reactionary in dealing with people, some tend to get offended. And I often feel like their negativity affects me. My ego resents them and is working overtime to play the "me vs. them" scenario in my mind. And I still feel envy at times for those who have outside circustamstances that I think I desire and haven't been able to achieve yet.

On the plus side, my meditation sessions have been great. I am definitely able to feel the presence and stillness at least 11-12 minutes each morning. And the inner body is definitely there. My energy is flowing pretty freely these days and I'm able to hit the gym quiet intensely (I've always been a gym rat and a fitness nut but these days, seems like I enjoy it more than ever).

Anyway, there are lots of other things I would like to add but I don't want this to turn into a Moby Dick novel.. my intent here is merely to introduce myself and perhaps, intrigue some of you into offering a response and a few words of wisdom :) Thank you for reading !

- W&C

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kiki
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Re: My Journey

Post by kiki » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:54 am

Welcome to the board, WnC, and thanks for the background information. It seems you've had lots of good experiences in what "this" is all about.
Part of the problem is - once I feel a flow of consiousness, my ego immediately jumps to claim the "achievement" for itself - "look at me, I'm so great, I am conscious and present, yadda yadda !" The vortex of thoughts follows with a very strong momentum, including, of course, delusions of grandeur in the future, with my future self imagined as a "zen master" of sorts.
This is pretty common, actually. Have you investigated ego yet to determine its reality? See if you can find it - outside of thoughts about "me" where is the ego? Isn't it really just a bunch of thoughts that get replayed in the head over and over? Can "You" be thought, something that comes and then goes again? Of course not. So, if ego is only made of thoughts then what are "You" in actuality? In the absence of thoughts what remains? Investigate the nature of that.

The thing is, ego isn't actually a real entity, only an imaginary one that is created out of thoughts. This has to be seen directly, it has to be realized deeply. Then, not being "real" why invest energy in the beliefs it entertains? Every idea and belief it has about "achieving" anything is part of the web of thoughts it uses to keep itself spinning away. Without those ideas/thoughts ego couldn't make an appearance, but by believing those thoughts ego maintains its appearance.

Let the thoughts come and let them go without clinging to them or resisting them in any way; this takes the energy of belief out of the picture, and they will just dissolve all on their own. And when thought dissolves so will ego. Notice what "sees" the coming and going of everything, including thoughts, especially thoughts of "me". Those thoughts of me take many forms; see if you can spot all of the variation of those thoughts, and when you "see" them for what they are stop following them as if they are true, stop investing them with the energy of belief. Let them drop away and just be, and you will once again return to what is being sought.

kiki
"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: My Journey

Post by Riken » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:59 am

Congrats on making it here mate! This forum has been a massive benefit to me as it has to many others. Oh and kiki is a great poster btw. Let those words sink in and reallly see the truth in them
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players"

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WnC
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Re: My Journey

Post by WnC » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:21 pm

Thank you, friends

kiki, I really like your advice.

From wikipedia - "Thought" generally refers to any mental or intellectual activity involving an individual's subjective consciousness.

While we all know that this activity is necessary for our survival and most normal functions, it is obvious that it does not constitute the essense of who we are. Observing on a consistent basis is still a challenge for me because of many years of conditioning of identifying with the mind. Once it gets really going, it is incredibly difficult to become the observer. I have to be alert at all times.

Today I can feel the flow. My energy is high, I am unusually talkative and I feel that when I speak out loud, my voice is coming from a deep place in my body. The higher ground is within me.

Cheers !

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Re: My Journey

Post by snowheight » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:42 am

Thanks for that list of symptoms ... I can tell you that you are definitely not alone. You expressed that really well.

I also shared the experience of perceiving it as having slipped away ... then I started to realize, in comparing my life to before and after this event, that to a large extent I have just developed a "new normal" which is indeed very different from before, even if it might not seem so because I've gotten used to it.

But beyond that, what I'm sure many here will tell you in many different ways, it is actually our mistake to believe that what we are referring to can be lost as it always was there and always will be. I think they will also report to you that if we fall back on the idiom of a path to discuss it, this is a one-way trip.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: My Journey

Post by kiki » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:22 am

Observing on a consistent basis is still a challenge for me because of many years of conditioning of identifying with the mind. Once it gets really going, it is incredibly difficult to become the observer. I have to be alert at all times.
Set aside some time each day (15 to 20 minutes, twice a day if possible) to sit down with eyes closed and just observe the flow of thoughts (if you can't find time during the day then try this as you are laying in bed at night waiting for sleep to come). Just watch them, paying close attention to their arising and dissolving. During that period give yourself permission to dismiss the truthfulness of every single thought - your sole purpose is to watch them and not to assign meaning or give them any kind of judgment. Just watch.

See if you can see the first impulse of their arising; when you do this regularly you'll become adept at seeing that impulse at subtler and subtler levels - you will know that there is a thought there, but it will be so faint that it hasn't become fully formed yet - I call these "proto-thoughts". Very often these proto-thoughts will simply dissolve again as soon as they are spotted, without any effort to make that happen. Notice the dissolving of one thought and the appearance of the next one. You'll begin to notice "gaps" between thoughts as you get more attuned to what's happening. In the gap between thoughts something remains.

At some point a realization will arise, "There is an alertness, a stillness, a peacefulness here that is seeing thoughts come and go, and that alertness is constant." This is a wordless realization, and this realization is the initial shift away from identification with ego/mind/thoughts when it's realized that "You" are the alertness itself, You are the stillness itself, You are the peacefulness itself.

Don't be surprised if you drift out of this recognition and get caught up in thought again, that's just the way it works, it's par for the course. When you notice this happening don't judge yourself in any way for what happened, just return to watching thoughts with dispassion. What you are doing here is laying the groundwork for being able to do this outside of these sit down sessions. You are using these sit down sessions to become more and more familiar with this witnessing consciousness that is seeing thoughts, and as you get more familiar with this, your true nature, you'll begin to notice the same thing outside of these sessions, even while engaged in activities.

Think of this as learning how to walk - you start by learning to crawl, and it may take some time before you can crawl with proficiency. Then you'll find yourself "standing and walking" as you get more comfortable and familiar this, but you likely will teeter and fall down again. Eventually, you find that you've gained better balance and remain standing, and can do most anything and still remain alert to what's happening. Finally, you'll find that your balance is so good that you'll be running and doing cartwheels while remaining anchored in true nature.
"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: My Journey

Post by Riken » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:39 am

WnC wrote:
Once it gets really going, it is incredibly difficult to become the observer. I have to be alert at all times.

Today I can feel the flow. My energy is high, I am unusually talkative and I feel that when I speak out loud, my voice is coming from a deep place in my body. The higher ground is within me.

Cheers !
The mere fact that you can speak objectively about these things reveals you are the observer always even if you are ignorant of it. The 'I' is awareness :D
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players"

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WnC
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Re: My Journey

Post by WnC » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:57 pm

snowheight wrote:Thanks for that list of symptoms ... I can tell you that you are definitely not alone. You expressed that really well.

I also shared the experience of perceiving it as having slipped away ... then I started to realize, in comparing my life to before and after this event, that to a large extent I have just developed a "new normal" which is indeed very different from before, even if it might not seem so because I've gotten used to it.

But beyond that, what I'm sure many here will tell you in many different ways, it is actually our mistake to believe that what we are referring to can be lost as it always was there and always will be. I think they will also report to you that if we fall back on the idiom of a path to discuss it, this is a one-way trip.
Trust me, in this case it wasn't the new normal - simply because I know that I reverted back to my insecure, dualistic world run by my mind.

You're absolutely right, though that it cannot be lost - it can only be obscured. I recently had a dream that someone had stolen my bed. A little weird, right - I walked into my bedroom and my bed was gone. I think there was a small crack in my bedroom window - obviously not big enough for someone to escape with a bed through ! :lol: Next thing I remember is waking up, in my bed, of course. It dawned on me that my dream had signified losing my presence, or simply dreaming that I had lost it - since it was a dream ! And awakening from my dream in this case would signify a realization that nothing real can ever be lost, can ever go away and my bed was always there all along to carry me. :)

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WnC
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Re: My Journey

Post by WnC » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:04 pm

kiki wrote:
Observing on a consistent basis is still a challenge for me because of many years of conditioning of identifying with the mind. Once it gets really going, it is incredibly difficult to become the observer. I have to be alert at all times.
Set aside some time each day (15 to 20 minutes, twice a day if possible) to sit down with eyes closed and just observe the flow of thoughts (if you can't find time during the day then try this as you are laying in bed at night waiting for sleep to come). Just watch them, paying close attention to their arising and dissolving. During that period give yourself permission to dismiss the truthfulness of every single thought - your sole purpose is to watch them and not to assign meaning or give them any kind of judgment. Just watch.

See if you can see the first impulse of their arising; when you do this regularly you'll become adept at seeing that impulse at subtler and subtler levels - you will know that there is a thought there, but it will be so faint that it hasn't become fully formed yet - I call these "proto-thoughts". Very often these proto-thoughts will simply dissolve again as soon as they are spotted, without any effort to make that happen. Notice the dissolving of one thought and the appearance of the next one. You'll begin to notice "gaps" between thoughts as you get more attuned to what's happening. In the gap between thoughts something remains.

At some point a realization will arise, "There is an alertness, a stillness, a peacefulness here that is seeing thoughts come and go, and that alertness is constant." This is a wordless realization, and this realization is the initial shift away from identification with ego/mind/thoughts when it's realized that "You" are the alertness itself, You are the stillness itself, You are the peacefulness itself.

Don't be surprised if you drift out of this recognition and get caught up in thought again, that's just the way it works, it's par for the course. When you notice this happening don't judge yourself in any way for what happened, just return to watching thoughts with dispassion. What you are doing here is laying the groundwork for being able to do this outside of these sit down sessions. You are using these sit down sessions to become more and more familiar with this witnessing consciousness that is seeing thoughts, and as you get more familiar with this, your true nature, you'll begin to notice the same thing outside of these sessions, even while engaged in activities.

Think of this as learning how to walk - you start by learning to crawl, and it may take some time before you can crawl with proficiency. Then you'll find yourself "standing and walking" as you get more comfortable and familiar this, but you likely will teeter and fall down again. Eventually, you find that you've gained better balance and remain standing, and can do most anything and still remain alert to what's happening. Finally, you'll find that your balance is so good that you'll be running and doing cartwheels while remaining anchored in true nature.
Thank you, again.

To an extent I already practice this during my morning meditation sessions. One of the things that I have trouble understanding is - what if an actual practical thought pops into my head - like a task that I have to complete that day ? That is the proper use of mind, I believe.. I suppose I should keep a strict list of things that need to be done in order and allow only the time for reflection and observation during my sessions. The way that you describe does help a lot. When I was doing it this morning, I felt like I was almost witnessing small clouds of smoke exit my brain (or a geyser or something, hard to put into words).

BTW, I don't know what it is about the quote in your signature but it makes me want to see that movie.. I had to google the character's name just to learn about the movie ! :D

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Re: My Journey

Post by kiki » Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:47 am

One of the things that I have trouble understanding is - what if an actual practical thought pops into my head - like a task that I have to complete that day ?
If such a thought arises during meditation or the exercise that I described just note its presence and let it go - give it no more degree of importance than any other thought. You have no control over what thoughts will come because they just come of their own accord. There will be plenty of time to attend to the practical things outside of these sit down sessions. This is why I said to dismiss the "truthfulness" of any thought that arises, and that includes the practical things. The purpose here is to watch thought with dispassion - this gives the opportunity to sort of "step back" from everything so that you might more easily recognize that what You are is the witnessing awareness.
The way that you describe does help a lot. When I was doing it this morning, I felt like I was almost witnessing small clouds of smoke exit my brain (or a geyser or something, hard to put into words).
That's good! Thoughts are just a kind of energy, a movement of consciousness as form. Whatever is in form is only temporary, but what is formless is eternal; true nature is formless pure consciousness.
BTW, I don't know what it is about the quote in your signature but it makes me want to see that movie.. I had to google the character's name just to learn about the movie ! :D
It's from one of my favorite movies, Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd - a very tuned in fellow. You can watch the entire movie on Youtube. Here's a link to part 1 of 10: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is7M9sut ... re=related
It's also on Netflix as a streaming video.
"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: My Journey

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:09 am

Lovely list of noticing the oneness there!!
I have a good female friend who is very bitter because of her inability to find a partner. She also finds it necessary to complain constantly to me via text messages about her men problem as well as every other detail of her life, no matter how mundane. I try to give her the right advice about not seeking happiness outside herself, but I feel like it's falling on deaf ears.
I did have a little smile at this ^^ It may just be a male/female thing - she may not want/need/desire you to 'fix' her, she may just want to be heard.
Whether you agree with her or not, are you listening, loving her with the same acceptance that you were in with all the other things you listed? Just a suggestion here but you don't have to a) fix her or b) agree with her, just in honesty of love let her know you heard her and (maybe) if it's true tell her that you don't worry about her, you believe in her. As you've said yourself, her happiness is not outside of herself.

Have you read A New Earth as well? It's a gem too.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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WnC
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Re: My Journey

Post by WnC » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:57 pm

If such a thought arises during meditation or the exercise that I described just note its presence and let it go - give it no more degree of importance than any other thought. You have no control over what thoughts will come because they just come of their own accord. There will be plenty of time to attend to the practical things outside of these sit down sessions. This is why I said to dismiss the "truthfulness" of any thought that arises, and that includes the practical things. The purpose here is to watch thought with dispassion - this gives the opportunity to sort of "step back" from everything so that you might more easily recognize that what You are is the witnessing awareness.
Gotcha. That's what I sort of suspected.

That's good! Thoughts are just a kind of energy, a movement of consciousness as form. Whatever is in form is only temporary, but what is formless is eternal; true nature is formless pure consciousness.
One other thing I noticed when I was doing it this morning - I was sort of able to observe which part of my brain the thoughts were originated in very clearly.. It was sort of "look at this one, just came right here from the left parietal lobe".. "or this one - originated on the right, more towards the front".. how interesting, and a little amusing ! I feel like sometimes when I'm really "witnessing", my lips involuntary form a slight smile.. :)
It's from one of my favorite movies, Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd - a very tuned in fellow. You can watch the entire movie on Youtube. Here's a link to part 1 of 10: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is7M9sut ... re=related
It's also on Netflix as a streaming video.
Already got it on my Netflix, may watch it tonight ;)

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Re: My Journey

Post by WnC » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:07 pm

smiileyjen101 wrote:Lovely list of noticing the oneness there!!

I did have a little smile at this ^^ It may just be a male/female thing - she may not want/need/desire you to 'fix' her, she may just want to be heard.
Whether you agree with her or not, are you listening, loving her with the same acceptance that you were in with all the other things you listed? Just a suggestion here but you don't have to a) fix her or b) agree with her, just in honesty of love let her know you heard her and (maybe) if it's true tell her that you don't worry about her, you believe in her. As you've said yourself, her happiness is not outside of herself.
It occured to me that I haven't "been there for her" the way you described consistently. There are times, sure - but she carries a very strong ego that is tuned very negatively these days. I tend to be quite busy most of the time - with work, gym, and other stuff and I'm not yet at the point where I can maintain a strong degree of presence throughout the day - so at times, it's a challenge to deal with a barrage of attention-seeking text messages from her. I offended her (her ego, I should say) last weekend when I asked her - in all sincerety, btw - why she had time to text me 1500 times a day but no time to do her taxes (her latest complaint). It was a serious question on my part, not trying to be a smart ass. She's on vacation out of the country now for a couple of weeks. I shall follow your advice, and thank you for your suggestion.
Have you read A New Earth as well? It's a gem too.
I've read bits and pieces online and at a book store. I will probably buy a copy soon. Thanks, again ! :D

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Re: My Journey

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:37 am

Welcome wnc, as ET explains close friendships and relationships are the perfect playground for egos and for awakening. Probably because we do tend to take them personally.

I'm sure that quote got a chuckle from more than a few guys :lol:

You'll find a lot of great stuff in ANE, it's one of those books (for me) that as soon as I was reading and turning a thing around, a situation would arise offering the experiential opportunity.

I love to journal ponderings and noticings and there were heaps while reading that book. Hope you enjoy it, I had a ball with it.

I often just flick to a page of either PON or ANE so I can 'notice' things all over again.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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