Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

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Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby wander » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:16 am

Eckhart Tolle has done an amazing thing. He has brought awakening into the mainstream. This is an incredibly huge step. For many of us his books were eye openers. However, they should only be used as an eye opener and not as something to follow. Why? He focuses too heavily on acceptance. This is a very important concept to grasp. But the problem is that you can easily get lost on accepting the things you dislike about your life without trying to change the things that you have power over. And this is key. You have more power to change things than you know.

As a Millennial the exciting thing about life is that you can do anything you want. You have your whole life ahead of you. But we just put too many limits on ourselves. The last thing we want to do is be too focused on accepting our life as it is and avoid creating lives that make us excited to face new days! However this is the message that many people get from Eckhart Tolle’s books. That life is perfect the way it is and that trying to make a change is just ego. This is a very dangerous position to get in. This leads to complacency.

The key here is not settle. Do not settle for OK. The purpose of your life is to create! To create as much beauty as you can. And you aren’t going to be creative if you are only focused on acceptance. Absolutely, accept the present moment. Accept where you are right now. But start figuring out how to make changes to create the life you prefer. You can accept the fact that you don’t like your job. Yes, stop fighting that. But do not become complacent in that job. You are better than that. You can do more than that. But it takes a different mindset.

Your ego is here to help guide you. Yet the teachings of Eckhart Tolle lead one to believe that we need to ignore the ego. That is evil. We need to understand that the ego plays an important role. Without the ego we would not be able to function as individuals All your ideas come from your mind, your ego. The trap of ego lies in believing that you are your thoughts and nothing else. The ego is contained in what you are and does not need to be eliminated.

You are not here to just accept your life situation. You are here to make a difference. You are here to push your limits. You are here to make the world a better place. What are you going to do? Accept those things that you cannot change and start creating the life you want!


http://millennialshift.com/2014/01/27/e ... cceptance/
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby Onceler » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:31 am

I think you're right, mostly. I have found, however, that what I want most, or think I want most is not always the best path for me. It is often the hard path, even though it looked so amazing before it actualized. In other words, I have gotten what I wanted many times, but haven't always liked what I thought best for me and the world.

I agree that we need to change things, of that there is no doubt. If this is done out of a fear stance, however, it can go awry. There is a flow to our lives. A bend, a gravitational orbit. There is a beauty to the way things are, a pristine rightness. Why would you want to change the way snow falls? It is more interesting to me to follow the flow, acceptance, and see how I can influence the outcome of what appears inevitable.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby SandyJoy » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:56 am

wander wrote:Your ego is here to help guide you. Yet the teachings of Eckhart Tolle lead one to believe that we need to ignore the ego. That is evil. We need to understand that the ego plays an important role. Without the ego we would not be able to function as individuals All your ideas come from your mind, your ego. The trap of ego lies in believing that you are your thoughts and nothing else. The ego is contained in what you are and does not need to be eliminated.


This is a wonderful post, good going!! Yay, someone with a mind of her/his own!! I love this. Bravo, I give you a standing ovation, dear Wander the Millennial! There is hope for the future after all! Freedom!
You are not finished, until you play in that meadow and live there. You can, you know. But only you can take yourself there.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby peas » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:50 am

wander wrote:However, they should only be used as an eye opener and not as something to follow. Why? He focuses too heavily on acceptance. This is a very important concept to grasp. But the problem is that you can easily get lost on accepting the things you dislike about your life without trying to change the things that you have power over. And this is key. You have more power to change things than you know.


Acceptance is often misunderstood. It's not the binary thing that you have described. Acceptance can and should coexist with experiencing the fullness of life.

Eckhart explains acceptance in a few ways. Try to pause after you read each one. Ask the question, "have I experienced what Eckhart has described?":

True acceptance ends all drama for you.
“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life. Nobody can even have an argument with you, no matter how hard he or she tries ... You can still make your point clearly and firmly, but there will be no reactive force behind it, no defense or attack. So it won't turn into drama.” (Excerpt From: Tolle, Eckhart. “The Power of Now.”)

Your own acceptance can turn situations and people around.
“The external conditions that were being resisted also tend to shift or dissolve quickly through surrender. It is a powerful transformer of situations and people. If conditions do not shift immediately, your acceptance of the Now enables you to rise above them. Either way, you are free.” (Excerpt From: Tolle, Eckhart. “The Power of Now.”)

Acceptance brings spaciousness and true balance into your life.
“Through acceptance, you become spacious inside. Aligned with space instead of form: That brings true perspective and balance into your life.” (Excerpt From: Tolle, Eckhart. “A New Earth.”)

Acceptance, rather than stopping you do things, helps you get done what needs to get done.
“Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly ... For example, you probably won't be able to enjoy changing the flat tire on your car at night in the middle of nowhere and in pouring rain ... Performing an action in the state of acceptance means you are at peace while you do it. That peace is a subtle energy vibration which then flows into what you do.” (Excerpt From: Tolle, Eckhart. “A New Earth.”)

If you truly do believe that your purpose is to create, and create aplenty, then inner acceptance as described by Eckhart would not create a conflict in you. Rather, it would be your greatest enabler.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby wander » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:26 am

Onceler-Yeah I think its about a balance between acceptance and listening to your heart and planning and using your mind.

SandyJoy- Thank You! This is the first blog post that was fully thought out. So I am very glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully ill have more good stuff up there soon!

Peas- Absolutely! It s often very misunderstood. After I found Eckhart Tolle I spent several years kinda trying to accept everything I disliked. It definitly did allow me to experience some peace. However I have since realized that many of the things I tried so long to just accept can actually be changed. It will just take much more work than I had wanted. But I am finding I am much happier when I change those things that can be changed!

So I wrote this because I assume there are many people like me who have spent way too much energy trying to accept things that are actually within their power to change. I just feel that his books and the audio books I sometimes listen to just put a bit too much emphasis on acceptance. I totally agree that acceptance is VERY important. But not really more important than your ability to change yourself and your surroundings to something that is preferable.

Probably the Serenity Prayer puts it the best.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

How perfect! Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom. I was living with too much Serenity and not enough Courage!
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby peas » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:11 am

wander wrote:After I found Eckhart Tolle I spent several years kinda trying to accept everything I disliked. It definitly did allow me to experience some peace. However I have since realized that many of the things I tried so long to just accept can actually be changed. It will just take much more work than I had wanted. But I am finding I am much happier when I change those things that can be changed!


Are you saying that you change instead of accepting?
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby smiileyjen101 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:07 am

Wander said: Probably the Serenity Prayer puts it the best.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

How perfect! Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom. I was living with too much Serenity and not enough Courage!


Sounds to me like you're growing wisdom there Wander :wink:

Some folks do a pendulum swing or a dishonest assessment of which is available in different circumstances and settings between courage to change, and acceptance of the things one can't change.

Wisdom--- is knowledge gained in experience, and implemented in love (traci harding)

Therefore whether the response is to accept or to change is known honestly, in love - gratitude and generosity, rather than in fear and suffering.

Whereas the pendulum swinging stuff is in fear - fear of not having the courage to change if one can, or fear of not having the serenity to accept if one cannot change it.

Maybe it depends on the level of wisdom that one has at the time that they read those things of ET's, for me the 'awakened / conscious doing' section gives us even brighter clues as to whether we are responding in awareness or fear - if one is treating a thing as an enemy, obstacle, means to an end ---- then they are neither changing or accepting - they are creating suffering for them self and/or others.

If one is in a state of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm --- these are aware in progress modes - accept what is that cannot be changed, pour joy into whatever it is one can do, and know where your acceptance and enjoyment is heading while still being present within the moments of them. In this way one may enjoy changing a tyre in the rain, even if one cannot stop the rain; and making an enemy, obstacle of a flat tyre is pretty pointless suffering.

You'd be amazed at how much fun one can have while being productive in these states. (mud fight anyone :wink: )
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby beginnersmind » Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:57 pm

In western Buddhism there is this idea of "detachment" and often times people seem to equate this with how acceptance in defined, and that being apathy.

John Peacock, who teaches Buddhist studies at the University of Bristol and is a meditation teacher spoke at lecture about the times of the Buddha with the social stratifications of these times. He also spoke of this word "detachment" often circulating in western Buddhist circles. Something that Peacock noted was that translating the Buddha's teachings from Pali and Sanskrit to the English language can sometimes end up in a sloppy translation.

He noted that a more accurate translation would not be the word "detachment", but the phrase "correct engagement." Personally, I really like this phrase and feel that it embodies spiritual practice in the real world much better than the connotations that detachment has.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby Onceler » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:25 pm

I say bend time, space, karma like Beckham.
Be present, be pleasant.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby KathleenBrugger » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:29 am

I think the concept of acceptance can easily be misunderstood as a prescription for doing nothing. But I think, paradoxically, acceptance forms the best foundation for change. When we are in a state of denial about a problem, we don't see clearly what's wrong with our thinking or situation,so how can we see clearly what or how to change? Or, how effective can we be in our response to events if we do not accurately perceive them? When we accept reality it means that we perceive reality more accurately, thus our ability to act is improved.

This is the philosophy behind martial arts, and particularly Aikido, a non-aggressive system of self-defense (not that I know this by any involvement in martial arts myself, this opinion is strictly from reading). Aikido training involves learning to perceive, accept, and exploit reality to your survival advantage. By objectively seeing the dynamics of an attack you have the ability to use the energy of your attacker to move him or her beyond you while expending as little of your own energy as possible. The more accurately you perceive and accept the exact configuration of an attack, the easier it is for you to deal with it.

To me this is what acceptance is about. It's not a trap that keeps you stuck, it's the recognition of the way it is. Starting from the way it is, rather than some daydream of the way we think it is arising from the confusion of our conditioned mind, is going to mean we are much more effective change-artists.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby smiileyjen101 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:18 am

Kathleen said: This is the philosophy behind martial arts, and particularly Aikido, a non-aggressive system of self-defense (not that I know this by any involvement in martial arts myself, this opinion is strictly from reading). Aikido training involves learning to perceive, accept, and exploit reality to your survival advantage. By objectively seeing the dynamics of an attack you have the ability to use the energy of your attacker to move him or her beyond you while expending as little of your own energy as possible. The more accurately you perceive and accept the exact configuration of an attack, the easier it is for you to deal with it.


There (for me) is another layer in the application of acceptance that can be learned in martial arts - and in Tai Chi as well, it's a mind stilling reverence in a way - an appreciation, a respect for the environment and others within that environment in a situation as it/they interact with us. It works well in day to day situations as well.

In the Tae Kwon Do teachings respect for self and others remains in all we do in response to a situation.

If possible, we bow and leave a situation rather than progress a negative experience. We are (all) more than the emotions present. In some ways it is the same as ET expresses in not making an enemy, obstacle, means to an end of a person, thing or situation.

Even in self defence where removing yourself from the situation is not possible, one remains, or becomes, mindfully accepting and respectful towards self and other.

As the first 'step' in a Tae Kwon Do response bowing to what is centres you in awareness and appreciation of the realities without ego; and I invite you to try it when you are confronted with anything that you would rather not experience/ or do.

(try it when you're faced with a pile of dirty dishes needing to be washed :wink:)... it's truly liberating -
- obviously slowed down immensely in the explaining of it, it happens in a 'flash' with muscle memory.

Bow mindfully, step your feet apart if they are not already, bring them together purposefully as you
- open your arms and heart wide at your waist (opening to and embracing 'what is') to mid chest region, so that the circular reach of your arms are encompassing all that 'is' in front of you - as if a circle was to be drawn from the tip of the outstretched fingers of one open hand to the tip of the fingers on the other open hand 'embracing' your circumstances within this circle.

physically this stops you from recoiling in fear or resistance to what is, it opens the airways/lungs and gives you a chance to breathe deeply and think clearly while also giving you a sense of your own physicality and your power to control it / direct it (feet/legs, hands/arms) and then in the movement below your head, neck and shoulders and torso as you bring your hands back to your sides and then in front of you with fingers of opposite hands lightly touching each other in front of you as you are

- honouring your opponent, or task - looking it fair in the face and evoking the power of expansive love to flow through you as you focus your attention and intention (doing the dishes, or stopping another from harming you, and therefore them self).

in the case of washing the dishes - one might evoke gratitude for holding the food that nourished us and our loved ones, in the case of someone rushing at you with a knife evoke compassion that they are only responding as they know best to do, and then nod your head purposely in acceptance and in your agreement with the sentiment and your response to embrace it.

Only then > Step into ....
blocking and responding in the case of physical attack, turning the water on and putting the plug in the sink in the case of doing the dishes :D :D :D

At the end, one should still feel calm, respectful and appreciative of self and other.

(Just read this through, I'm not saying one can always bow and leave washing the dishes, but if one does, :wink: We are (all) more than the emotions present would allow us to do so in peace and grace :wink:
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby karmarider » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:37 am

Good stuff, Wander.

As you say, perhaps ET demonizes the ego a bit too much, and acceptance is misunderstood (what isn't?), but as you also say, he gets through the intellectual ego in way which has reached more people than ever before. It seems to me awakening is about noticing and letting go and honesty--ET for many is the first push in that the direction.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby blissrunn14 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:43 am

I was in a relationship that ended and all I wanted (and still do) is to be back with him. However, the ugly and painful breakup is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I know it. The severe pain it caused me forced me to examine myself more then I ever have and has made me start seeking what's right and how to stop seeking happiness from the physical world and start seeking with in. If I had gotten what I wanted I'd still be using him to cover up all these things inside of me that need to be resolved instead of facing them so I can get better and find inner peace that no one or thing can take away from me. I'm finding that I can't control my life situations and the harder I resist and try to fix them the worse I make things for myself. I'm beginning to realize that I have no choice, but to stop resisting and learn to face the pain and accept life as it is (nothing else has worked). The couple of times (haha, yes I'm stubborn) that I've done this my energy is different and positive changes start happening without any effort on my part. I'm also calmer and make better decisions and choices that produce better outcomes. I just hope I can eventually live this way all of the time. Sometimes out of no where I wake up and deal with life better in short spurts then it goes away and it's very hard to just accept life as it is. I will keep practicing.
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby Phil2 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:21 pm

blissrunn14 wrote: I'm finding that I can't control my life situations and the harder I resist and try to fix them the worse I make things for myself. I'm beginning to realize that I have no choice, but to stop resisting and learn to face the pain and accept life as it is (nothing else has worked).


You just discovered that what you resist persists ...


it's very hard to just accept life as it is.


Why is it hard ? ... I would say that acceptance of things as they are is easier than resistance ... you need no effort to accept but a lot of efforts to resist ...

??

What you need to find is the root cause of all your resistance ... find it !
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
(Carl Jung)
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Re: Eckhart Tolle and the Trap of Acceptance

Postby beginnersmind » Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:46 pm

Just to revisit this. I recall in one of Tolle's DVD's I have talking about something on acceptance and its misunderstandings.

This is paraphrased of course, but Tolle spoke about a person who was at a job for 25 years and was miserable about it with the thinking of acceptance being:

"Well I've been at this miserable job for 25 years and I'll probably be at this miserable job for another 25 years." Tolle's response was, "No, that's not the acceptance I am speaking about. Accept the present moment just as it is and nothing more. Within this complete acceptance that this is as it is right now, then the mind becomes more clear and if one wants to make a change they can."

I think this can be seen very practically in one's life. We can complain about something, but not change it. We just stay stuck in our resistance to it, all the while staying stuck to what we are resisting.
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