The Now vs Striving

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The Now vs Striving

Postby barbarasher » Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:04 pm

I just got back from a kid's movie with Loriel. It is a DreamWorks animated film called "Madagascar".

It is about a bunch of friends: a zebra, lion, hippopotamus and a giraffe who like in the New York zoo. The lion, hippo and giraffe are very happy in the zoo, but the zebra wants more. He hears about the "The Wild". He says "I'm 10 years old and is this all the is?" So the zebra decided to go off on his own, but his friends come to save him. They all get arrested and kicked out of the zoo and shipped off. They end of crashing into Madagascar which is "The Wild" that the zebra has been looking for. The zebra is ecstatic and the other three are upset until they decide to join in the fun with the zebra. But then the lion's nature takes over and he wants meat and is going to ruin the little heaven that they have found. Anyway they all find a solution and get saved and are about to go back to New York. The zebra decides that the most important thing is to be with his friend the lion no matter where he is.

The thing is that the happiness of each was all a matter of perspective. The lion, hippopotamus and the giraffe liked the New York zoo. The zebra did not. The lion was not happy in the wild, but the zebra was. The zebra strived to get what the wanted ("the Wild"), but when he got it he appreciated that what he already had was more important (the lion's friendship). He decided that that was more important than his dream.

So, all this striving probably leaves us not enjoying the moment, because we are busy with the promise of a future moment that will be better than this one. It is a never ending cycle that I am living with this. I strive, get it, am happy for a while and then strive again. So while I definitely know that I must live more in the moment and appreciate more of that moment as it happens (meaning in the "Now"). What I am not sure about is whether this "striving" is an inherent part of my nature, and brings me pleasure or does it steal from the enjoyment of the now. My gut feeling is that it is both.

Help please.
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Postby heidi » Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:58 pm

I think our striving began as a survival technique, and has evolved into a perversion for some. Yes? The ego is the same way. We need it to exist and survive but it seems to have evolved in ways that can undermine ones happiness, satisfaction, and presence.
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Postby kiki » Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:15 pm

barbara,

"What I am not sure about is whether this "striving" is an inherent part of my nature, and brings me pleasure or does it steal from the enjoyment of the now."


To strive to complete yourself in some way is the nature of the ego. In your true nature, the natural state of awareness, there is no striving whatsoever - it is total openness and acceptance of what is. It is the spaciousness that allows all else to unfold within it.

One of the things that arises within your true nature is the ego sense, the sense of separation from everything else. It is this sense that is convinced that it needs more, and so it seeks outside itself for completion not knowing that there already is completion/wholeness/contentment underlying it. And so it goes on a journey of sorts, looking for that completion in various ways. One of the dynamics that plays out in its search is the secrect hope that finding pleasure will give it completion, and of course it discovers that this isn't so because pleasureable experiences come and go, and nothing that comes and goes can be real. So the striving for pleasure becomes an endless cycle of frustration.

Now, don't misunderstand; there is nothing wrong with pleasureable experiences in and of themselves. But try to remember - a 'pleasureable' experience is an egoic perspective - one person's pleasure is another's pain. To strive for pleasureable experiences in the belief that having them will bring satisfaction is also an egoic perspective.

On the other hand, to SEE the striving arise as an egoic play AS IT HAPPENS is to become free from getting trapped in the delusion that pleasure will bring lasting satisfaction/wholeness/completeness. This is the awakened 'non-perspective' - this is your true nature allowing to happen whatever happens in a conscious way. In other words, there is the knowing that the pleasure and the striving for it are temporary phenomena that come and go, that any pleasure is a momentary thing that will not bring fulfillment and contentment. When this is the case, there is the full enjoyment of whatever happens. As the pleasure terminates there is no sense of disappointment and no attempt to hang on to it - there is simply the endless flow of experience/events unfolding within it. And if one of those events is the arising of the ego, that is seen too and allowed to happen. To not see ego arise is to remain trapped in delusion, but even so, this is pure awareness/You allowing THAT to happen.

Short answer: enjoy whatever happens, and understand that any striving is ego driven. You could even say, enjoy your striving with the knowledge that all striving is illusory, for who is it that strives for anything except the illusory ego?

My best to you,
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Postby barbarasher » Sun Jun 26, 2005 8:32 pm

So are you saying that I am already home, and there is no need to run anywhere?

But I do seem to enjoy the chase, but then also suffer from it. It is all part of the mind made suffering that comes no matter what the circumstances. When does it all quiet down, and the pain stop (from nothing or everything or something that I make from nothing, or something that is something but can be seen differently)?

PS. I don't suffer as much as it sounds, but truely want to be free of this burden that has no reason.

Thank you so much
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Postby kiki » Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:12 pm

barbara,

You are always 'home', but prior to awakening you don't know know this. There is no need to run after anything at all in order to be whole and complete, because your very essence IS wholeness. Egos don't recognize this wholeness, however, and so they seek to find it through various circumstances, events, relationships and so on, and so a 'search' is put into motion.

How can something which is not 'whole' - ego/mind - recognize/know wholeness?. It can't, but it seeks it elsewhere. It seeks because it senses its own inherent incompleteness, and concludes that there must be something true and lasting, but it seeks for that true and lasting thing in the wrong direction - outside itself. It doesn't occur to ego/mind to seek anywhere else until something comes along to point it in a different direction. When this happens, it is revealed that the wholeness that was being sought is already the case, for that wholeness is what you are in reality.

Because what you really are, pure awareness, is the only thing which never changes it follows that it must be real, whole, and complete. It is real, whole, and complete because IT IS ALL THERE IS! In its natural state it hasn't been divided into 'this and that' by the mind and then believed in by the ego. Once it manifests in egoic form it seems to be separate from everything else, and therefore seems incomplete. This is the illusory world created by ego/minds, the world which ego/minds create suffering in, and the world from which ego/minds seek to escape that suffering. But because it seeks escape in other 'things' which are also not whole it will never find wholeness.

Enjoying the 'chase' is simply a function of the ego entity - there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever. But, to 'suffer' means that there is still some identification with the ego entity as being 'you'. There exists some belief, however subtle, that there is a separate you which for whatever reason the mind comes up with, there is some form of suffering.

When does it all quiet down? After ego identification is broken. Once it is clearly seen that you are not who you had thought yourself to be, one no longer puts much stock in the mind-made viewpoints that the ego attaches itself to. There may be a period of time where one goes into and out of egoic identification, and so periodic episodes of suffering may arise. But, the more one rests in the natural state the less frequently will suffering arise. At some point the ego will arise and it will simply hit you: "Oh, here's that ego thing again. I know all of its tricks and they no longer fool me. I'm no longer listening to it." Then ego shows up even less frequently, but when it does, it is easily spotted and not hooked into.

This awareness that you are, though, is always here; you cannot get away from it because you ARE it. It is the awareness that is taking in these words as you are reading them. Were it not for this awareness nothing could be known at all. Think about that - how could anything be known if not for awareness? All that has to be done is recognize it for what it is. It is simple, clear, but unobtrusive - it doesn't seem apparent because ego/minds are usually looking for and are attracted to that which is noisy and that which changes. If something has no qualities which make it stand out (like awareness) then it gets overlooked. But, when attention is directed inward to awareness itself, awareness becomes aware of itself. When this discovery is made of that which precedes egoic identity, there emerges the realization that this impersonal awareness is what you actually are. There is the realization that you have arrived at where you have always been, home.

My best to you,
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Postby Anois » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:44 am

Kiki, your real name is Keith and not Ullrich !

And here was I convinced that you were Eckhart himself wih the alias kiki, making contributions to this site in between writing the next book !

One part of me is disappointed but the other part is thrilled to bits that there are new Eckharts on the way.
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Postby erict » Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:46 am

The Now vs. Striving

That's a really big one for me. Especially as I feel that my whole life is in front of me. I just turned 21 a few weeks ago, and for some reason this period feels like the beginning of my life. Maybe because until now I was following a certain, predefined path, where I had little choice. But now I am to choose what to do with myself, what path to follow in life. And I don't know, I just don't know anymore. And this is strange, because I've always known. I've always had plans for the future, always had at least a general idea of how things are going to be. Ever since I was 15 years old, unlike most, I knew what I was going to do. But now I am so confused. Everything has been shaken so badly in me. I am so lost.

Without any depressiveness, everything just seems so meaningless. I see that none of the things I always deemed as the most important ones actually truly matter. I now see that nothing in this world will bring me what I truly desire - peace, freedom, true happiness... I am not at peace, I am not at one with myself, I am overfilled with pain and anger, even if it's deep inside of me and only comes to the surface not so often. I am not free. And yet, I can no longer delude myself that the future holds any true promise.

What's the point in all the striving, and effort and chasing, when I know that even if I had more money, better job, more/better friends, etc. NOTHING would truly change.
I do not truly appreciate what I have right now. If I did, I would not desire for more so badly, I would not feel that my life is so incomplete and that I am so incomplete. So no matter how much I have, I will not truly appreciate it and always want more.
I still worry (although A LOT less than before), I still fear this and that. If I had more, I'd still be a prisoner of fear.

Nothing will truly change, unless I change!

I feel the way I feel, because of the way I am, not because of what I have, not because of the circumstances of my life. So what is the point, what is the point of all this?! Why don't I just give it all up and go live in a monestary or something like that? The world cannot give me what I truly desire anyway.

I feel like a prisoner of my desires, my fears, my compulsion for the next moment and sense of not being enough, or having enough. So what is the point of striving? Money, career, friends, whatever - none of it truly matters.
"Be sincere; don't ask questions out of mere interest. Ask dangerous questions—the ones whose answers could change your life."
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Postby summer » Mon Jun 27, 2005 4:14 am

Dear Eric,
it sounds like the pain body is Captain of your ship for a while. As much as you can, just watch these thoughts that are running through your mind.

As all the panic dies down a little, you will be saying "what was I thinking? That is crazy"

In truth, the knowing that we have nothing to strive for to feel whole, is a great relief. We are already whole.

If we then choose to travel, meet new people, explore our different interests, etc. it is more for fun. We know that they will never "fulfill" us because we already feel full.

Life goes on. We continue to be active, but without the frenzy that always sits in the carriage when the mind thinks that it is the Captain.

Happy Birthday, Eric,
you have put together a great website here, and many of us enjoy the quality time that we all share here,

Thank you,
love,
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Postby barbarasher » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:43 am

What's the point in all the striving, and effort and chasing, when I know that even if I had more money, better job, more/better friends, etc.
.
.
.
Nothing will truly change, unless I change!


Since the outside circumstances will not bring you lasting happiness, you are free to start now, and not wait for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. How few in life start so young to awaken and realize. I'm 46 and just started.

All bad habits (thought attacks) are painful to break. As I break them (and other habits), I am in pain and can't see around the corner. A small glimmer of hope keeps me going until I get to the light. Once a habit is broken it gets easier and easier to do it again, and someday it starts to happen naturally when you least expect it.

Yes, nothing will change unless you change. People can only help so much. Outside circumstances only help so much.

And yes, striving achieving and having are fun and I love it, but it's not the solution.

You are full of heart, I look forward to you … (oops, a NOW no-no).

With love,

HAPPY Birthday to you
Last edited by barbarasher on Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby heidi » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:14 pm

There's a funny paradox that goes with all of this, and that's that there seems to be a sort of vilifying of striving or ego, when in fact, it exists, and acceptance of it is exactly what's needed :)

Tell someone who is starving and needing to eat that he needn't strive to find food, and I think we can all understand better the original dynamics of the striving. And then when he's hunted the beast and filled his belly and the bellies of his family, tell his satisfied ego to get lost? Accepting that the ego is there and knowing it for what it is rather than seeing it as a negative thing is far more enlightened than trying - striving - to kill it. In fact that duality creates a new kind of striving - the striving for a new kind of completion or fulfillment called enlightenment. :lol:

Happy Birthday, Eric, and happy birthday to me too, I just turned 53 on the 17th, and I'm still just a baby in this business. :)
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Postby kiki » Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:58 pm

Eric,

What you are experiencing is what happens when the mind gets hold of the concept that nothing really matters. Yes, there is no meaning other than consciousness expressing in nearly infinite ways - this is truth seen directly, but when mind takes this truth and conceptualizes it this truth becomes barren, rather than fullness of life.

Living one's life from awakening allows one to fully experience everything regardless of what it is, for your true nature is complete and utter spaciousness/emptiness. To be consiously spacious emptiness gives room for full experience - there is nothing impeding the expression of anything. With full experience comes satisfaction because nothing has been held back, nothing left unexposed in the face of experience. From this flows the contentment and peace that you are.

You may find priorities shifting in how your life is lived from the personal perspective. What mattered before awakening may no longer matter so much anymore since it is discovered that you already feel full and complete. This gives great lattitude in exploring whatever avenues strike an interest in the personal perspective. But whatever is explored is simply done for the experience of it rather than for any particular motive, for the one who would have motive (ego) has been seen through for what it is, a phantom. Life then takes on a quality of fun as the playfulness of awareness expresses itself.

Happy birthday to you Eric, and to you too, Heidi
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Postby summer » Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:34 am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIC AND HEIDI
Image

(I hope this picture comes through)

Another great post kiki. I can see why Anois thought that you were Eckhart answering some of our questions :)
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Postby Clare » Tue Jun 28, 2005 11:41 am

I like Kiki's reply to Eric too. Thank you, Kiki for putting that so well.

Eric, what you say is wonderful to me. I got excited for you when I read your post! My goodness, to think you are at this remarkable phase in your development, one I am still only muddling through myself, and you are becoming aware of it at such a young age, and with such spiritual eloquence. It makes me delighted to think that you are going to process this stuff so young, and therefore will have so many more years of bliss ahead of you than your predecessors.

Truly, honour and bless this moment, and how you are feeling now. You have everything you need, to be everything you need to be. I feel a lot of the striving we do is because we think that it should be difficult to attain our higher pupose. Then, we go through the phase it seems you are going through, where we understand striving and reaching outside for the illusion it is - so then what is the point? And then the next phase is understanding that it's right with you, right there. It's been with you all the time. Eric, it's effortless. I haven't yet reached that phase myself, but I can sense it. It's effortless.

Love, light, heart
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Postby Clare » Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:17 pm

heidi wrote:Tell someone who is starving and needing to eat that he needn't strive to find food, and I think we can all understand better the original dynamics of the striving.


Exactly Heidi!

This in fact very synchronisitic for me, because I was discussing something similar with a friend of mine a short while back. I had been watching a programme about apes, and how their behaviour so resembled human beings in so many ways. It got me onto thinking (it was a good useful think, oh yes) about the Darwin theory versus the theory that there is no missing link, and we were a species unto ourselves, not derived from anything worldly, and Divinely put here.

I had this mini revelation that we are both. Certainly if we look at, say, chimps, we can observe a microcosm of our entire social and political structures, both in the light and the shadow. They form strong bonds; love, protect and mourn family members; enjoy play and affection; are expressive and have complex emotions. They are also devisive and work together to work things out to their benefit. And they are also territorial, hierarchical, violent, and, in certain instances, up for waging war and murder. The people studying them of course did linger for quite a while over WHY they would all pre-plan and gang up to murder, say, an older helpless lone chimp, on the outside of the pack, or to hunt monkeys that they didnt need for food, or invade and kill other chimps from a territory that they didnt need for space. It was seen by human studiers to be about challenging their intelligence, working their brain, and also establishing heirarchy - who was the best hunter, who was the best at killing.

So ,here we have what, up to this point, has resembled the human race: a race of creatures that just advanced those basic ape-like instncts. How can we not feel we derived from this species?

So, I got to thinking where we were different. And I came to the conclusion is was simple - we were given a 'conscience'. Consciousness. I doubt chimps ( I could be wrong, but I doubt it) look up in the sky and say to themselves "what's the point?" They live purely - very purely- on their base survival instincts, the ego force, which DOES include good things - we need to make strong bonds and love eachother, protect our young, stuff like that.

But of course, we humans question. We also look for more than just our bellies being full, and being accepted into the pack -IF, and only if, we, as human beings, get to the stage of development to look beyond our base survival.

And for years this wasn't possible really. Most people lived by their belly and by their tribe - still do in many instances. These things give us comfort, regardless of how sophisticated we feel we are. So, it stands to reason, the minute we start to question beyond our survival and our tribe, things start to feel uncomfortable for us; hence the growing pains of spiritual development, which has been mapped, as I understand, through the chakras.

But I believe the implant we have that makes us have a conscience and be conscious - now that a lot of human beings are able to look, by various means, both in abundance and accepting lack of abundance, to look beyond their belly and their tribe - this implant is activating in new and incredible ways. The questioning isn't enough anymore. Because, as Heidi says, it puts us right back in a sense of striving, just for something different now. The more I sense this consciousness, the more I understand it is not human as we understand 'human' to be hitherto. This is more the way we would be if we didnt have earthly bodies and earthly needs - and somehow, we have to reconcile the two. That is now the new 'mission', for want of a better.

I have a feeling that is what Eric and all of us going through this process are processing right now. This didn't come from the earth, this consciousness, and somehow we have to 'earth' it.

And, I'll add as an edit, I feel there has to be some embracing of our humanness, our ego, using it as the base material for the alchemy that takes place and brings us into the Divine Presence that is also so deeply embedded within us. I can see spiralling strands going from down to up, like a DNA pattern when I say this.

All suggestions welcome!
Love, Clare
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Postby heidi » Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:48 pm

I've always felt the human race has a not-of-this-earth element, maybe alien ancestors. Why does this make sense to me? Well, there is no other creature on this planet that is so removed from nature. If we truly were 100% of this world, then we would be taking much better care of our environment.

Stepping from the soapbox.

I am thrilled to be among such as fine bunch as all of you great minds, ha ha, whether you want them or not. :)
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