Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

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Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by henrik » Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:12 pm

Hei, I am great fan of Eckhart Tolle, and his mindfulness approach. But, I have also seen great results with cognitive therapy (e.g Feeling Good handbook).
So, do you think cognitive therapy (which involves changing the way you think) and Tolles principles can be combined???

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by heidi » Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:36 pm

Hi Henrik, and welcome to the forum.

Yes I do think cognitive therapy and Tolle's work can work together, since in order to practice either, one must first become conscious - conscious of thoughts that happen in the mind, and then, in Tolle's case, choose not to identify with those thoughts, and in the case of therapy, very similarly, choosing to shift the thinking. :) One therapist might suggest, rather than consciously thinking the happy thought, to choose no thought which, for me, always puts a big smile on my face somehow!
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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by happns » Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:06 pm

Hi Henrik, welcome and interesting post
henrik wrote:But, I have also seen great results with cognitive therapy (e.g Feeling Good handbook).
Yes changing your thinking has many benefits and is very beneficial to many people...
henrik wrote:So, do you think cognitive therapy (which involves changing the way you think) and Tolles principles can be combined???
As some point in one's life, (I am speaking from my own experience here) even though everything is perfect and wonderful you start to wonder if 'that is all there is' ie you require deeper meaning to your life than to just be happy - Eckhart's teachings bring a deeper meaning to my life and a purpose... basically what I am saying is that Eckhart's teachings 'shortcut' the journey so you reach the destination alot quicker.

:D
Here is a new spiritual practice for you... don't take your thoughts too seriously - Eckhart from Stillness Speaks

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by dagobert » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:16 pm

eckhart and other teachers discussed here do not focus on being happy, even if eckhart sell it that way.

They allow us to find the truth, which is beyond happiness. The rest is just a mind game to focus on happy moments and control sad ones.

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by heidi » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:29 pm

I didn't think we were discussing being happy here, I think we're talking about being at peace, yes?
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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by happns » Fri Oct 03, 2008 10:06 pm

heidi wrote:I didn't think we were discussing being happy here, I think we're talking about being at peace, yes?
Yes Heidi... and the evolvement of the human species... thus Eckhart's teachings are way deeper and go further than any 'therapies' and serendiptiously are quicker... think of it like everything brought into the world by us is man made - we started off by controlling our environment, each other and now we are trying to control our thoughts LOL

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Here is a new spiritual practice for you... don't take your thoughts too seriously - Eckhart from Stillness Speaks

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by Sighclone » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:26 am

Welcome henrik!

Byron Katie has a technique, endorsed by Tolle, which uses a form of cognitive therapy to examine deeply conditioned thought habits. The irony here, which I believe is appealing to Tolle, is that what is left after some thoughts are excised is...yup...no thoughts. As Ramana and kiki remind us, this is using a thorn to remove a thorn. There is another thread in this forum (here; http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... elf+esteem), about self-esteem which suggests that even a healthy egoic self is different than Eckhart's fundamental message.

Namaste, Andy
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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by James » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:05 am

I was thinking along the same lines as Andy on this. Even the contemplation of truth/reality such as Eckhart often speaks of, involves reorienting/redirecting thought. Inquiry such as what Ramana espoused, directs thought against thought, (the thorn analogy). And what Byron Katie gives is a simple and effective way to change thinking patterns and return to the center, through acceptance. So it seems cognitive therapy has a role here in the evolution of consciousness, as an intermediate step or bridge to awakening; and it may make life more manageable and contented for some in the meantime.

Positive thinking certainly seems to be nearer to truth than negative thinking, granted it still may leave the person in the realm of duality, and prone to swinging back and forth between the two polarities. Yes changing thinking can also lead to mental manipulation or control, another pitfall. Some people that advocate positive thinking and manifesting, are at the same time fearful of negative thinking, their own and other peoples thoughts. As if other peoples negative thoughts could somehow harm them, or counteract their efforts to do good and project positive energy into the world. I am not opposed to the practice of intention or manifesting.

Cognitive therapy does have a role to play. There is a "positive psychology movement" within academia, (google the term) Many universities offer it as a curriculum or just as an elective to help students find more balance and meaning in their lives.

Today I happened to come across this relevant excerpt on another site, it is a portion of a transcript from one of Tolle's retreats, it is about self-esteem and thinking.

J.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eckhart Tolle, Touching the Eternal, Rishikesh, India, 2002, Tape 6, Side A.

Question: By dissolving the ego, won’t I be dissolving my self-esteem. Do I not need self-esteem to love myself and others?


ET: Yes, self-esteem. Many people seem to have a problem with that - lack of self-esteem.
I read a while ago, when the Dalai Lama was younger he was meeting with a group of Westerners and they were talking about lack of self-esteem, and he just couldn’t understand that, what that was. And they tried to explain it, and then he went around the group and asked everybody, “do you have that?” And most people said, “Yes.” [And the Dalai Lama said,] “Oh, very strange, self-esteem”.

Now the human species is the only species on the planet, of course, that has a relationship with itself. Where [when] you have a relationship with yourself - that’s normal. But the cat doesn’t have a relationship with itself. Or the bird doesn’t have a relationship with itself. Or the tree doesn’t. Birds, cats, trees, monkeys, flowers none of them have a problem with self-esteem. And even the most ugly looking cat wouldn’t have a problem with self-esteem. It hasn’t created a secondary, an “image self” - mind created. And once that’s created it walks with you, next to you, or behind you, or where[ever] it is. You always walk with a mental image of “me” and you have a relationship with that. And, often you don’t like what you see. That “image-self.”
That’s poor self-esteem. And then you may be in conflict with it. You may be talking to your self in the head. Telling your self something about yourself. Some people talk to themselves in the first person, buy many more people talk to themselves in the second person, as “you”. [For example:] “You see.” “You failed again.” “You see, you’re not as good as…” “You see, you” “Why can’t you?”

And then at times, the self feels suddenly great about itself. Some people predominately have low self-esteem, in other words, feel bad about the mind made image “me” [“little me”]. Feel bad about that. And then realize that, some realization comes in when they realize it is mind created. And they realize, and usually in the West, it’s connected with New Age teachings, and they realize they can do something about their bad self-esteem. Their image, you can actually change your thinking about yourself. [This he says later, is NOT the answer, but maybe an intermediate step along the way.]

First you discover that the thinking about yourself is predominately, or to a large extent, negative and then you see a little bit of Presence is arising. It must be, because you’re able to stand back a little bit and watch and see what you’re creating with your thoughts. And then the possibility comes with changing your thoughts and self-esteem through workshops, affirmations, visualization, and all those practices. And then after awhile that image looks a little bit more [enhanced], and you feel more comfortable with that thing walking along side you.
But since everything in form, all mind creations, thoughts are subject to polarities, you can’t walk with a high [sense of self] continuously, with high self-esteem and feel great about your self, there’s always a polarity to it, and its usually bound up with what happens or not-happens in your life, what feedback you’re getting from others. And it is usually comparative, the self-esteem is usually comparative.

[You ask yourself] How do I rate myself in relation to others? And that gives you an indication where you are from 1 to 10, or whatever it may be. So, self-esteem is mind, is connected with the mind made “me”, lack of it, or in good self-esteem [the enhancement of it]. But it exists in polarities: if you spend a whole year affirming continuously, “I love myself, I love myself”, and until now you hated yourself. Your house is full of little stickers, and wherever you look you see, “I love myself”, and you look in a mirror and look into your eyes and repeat that, “I love myself.”
To some extent it works, to some extent. You have a better relationship with your self. But there’s always a down side. It’s hard to sustain that because the other polarity will manifest also in your life. And you go through life, in order to know how you feel about yourself, you need to compare yourself with others. And then you say, “Oh, I’m actually better looking that this person, and so I feel quite good about myself.” “I’m actually much more educated that that person, and I feel good about that.” Or whatever you can get. “Well, this person is ill and I’m healthy and that’s good.”

[What] you need for self-esteem, if you look, you need relativity. So you need comparison. And ego is always comparing itself.
Is it possible to live without having a relationship with yourself, neither good nor bad. It is possible to be so completely your self that the mind made image of me, dissolves.
And yes, this is why we’re here [at the retreat in India, or reading his book, or reading this]. This is the essence of our gathering. The mind made image is connected to thought, to continuous thinking. It’s fueled by, perpetuated by, upheld by the continuous thought processes many of which are about “me”, and my “self.” And so through thought I have a relationship with a thought made entity, which sometimes feels quite comfortable and sometimes not pleasant, I don’t want to live with that person. And of course, it’s true, many people live with a self that is very unpleasant that creates a lot of problems, a lot of suffering, that continuously criticizes them, that continuously blames them, that tells them they’re not [good] enough. And they live with that entity, mind made, conditioned mind movements, conditioned in such a way that they attack you continuously. And that’s the self that they have a relationship with. They would never live with a person like that. You would run out of the room. You couldn’t live with the person for more than a day. If somebody you lived with did that to you, what your self-image is doing to you through thought, you would have filed for divorce long ago. But you can’t do that because it’s your own mind and it walks with you. And there you have this complaining, and whining and accusing. [And you say to yourself] “Ah, get away.”

And a large part of that is because you’re identified with thought. There isn’t the ability to step back from thought and watch thought, watch that. And here, the mind made entity, because that self that you have a relationship with is part of the story based self. The “me.”

That was the self that I had a very unpleasant relationship with for many years. I had an extremely unpleasant relationship with myself. I couldn’t live with myself anymore. So, I somehow said, “That’s it!”
I couldn’t live with myself any more. But that was so total, that I no longer sustained, fueled the self through thought. I didn’t know anything about it, it just happened. So the mind made image dissolved. The self that I couldn’t lived with, that was so heavy, dissolved. And what was left was simply, “I”. So the “I” shifted, whereas before when I said “I”, I was referring to my self, the unhappy “dense-I”, the “story-based-I”, that dissolved. Then the true “I” emerged. Presence, I am, nothing in particular anymore.
A simple sense of Presence or Beingness. And for the first time I could walk and Be without having a relationship with myself. And that, there is something so precious in that “I” or Presence, so – it’s beyond words, you could say, its like a diamond. It’s something that’s extremely, very-very precious.

That’s why perhaps Buddhists have the image of a diamond. But this is not comparative. It’s a sense of that deepest Self, not the mind made self. It’s so precious, it knows itself to be that in a non-dualistic way, without needing to compare itself to others. It has nothing to do with a form, or any mind form. As Presence arises, you don’t need self-esteem anymore, you don’t depend on that any more because what dissolves is the mind-made-entity with which you have a relationship.
And its so, self-esteem is an intermediate thing that for a little while makes your life more pleasant, and then after awhile you see the unsatisfactory nature even of that because you cannot uphold continuous self-esteem, its hard work, all these affirmations. And then things come into your life that tell you the opposite [about yourself], inevitably, sooner or later.
So, then suddenly [when you go beyond mind made self-esteem] you don’t love your self any more, or hate yourself, because there’s no self to love [or hate]. There’s simply the state of Bliss, which is love. It emanates. But you don’t create a fiction that now you have a good relationship, and love. So that is moving beyond self-esteem.

And now we see why the Dalai Lama couldn’t understand. He only learned about self-esteem from Westerners who have a highly developed mind, and ego. Others also have ego, but even more developed in the West, perhaps. But he was surrounded by perhaps by monks, and not quite as highly developed mental image. And perhaps he himself never had it. I don’t know. But anyway it was new to him. How strange.

And I write about it in the book. There’s a paragraph in there. The end of having a relationship with yourself. You don’t need to arrange certain thoughts in your head that you feel good about. So self-esteem is replaced by something that is deeper and more real.

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by HermitLoon » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:24 pm

Thanks James - great quote :D
"Thinking" is the mind translating the pure experience of "being" into the non-reality of language (wordthoughts, concepts).
There is great peace in the awareness that "I" am not "my" thoughts.
"I" am "that" which experiences - "that" which is aware of and yet beyond thinking.
Peace

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by Sighclone » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:52 pm

We have discussed "The Law of Attraction" elsewhere here, and James offers a keen view of one of its drawbacks:
{people} are at the same time fearful of negative thinking, their own and other peoples thoughts. As if other peoples' negative thoughts could somehow harm them, or counteract their efforts to do good and project positive energy into the world.
This is a clear reminder of the duality inherent in "The Secret". If really focused positive thoughts "help" us, then surely negative thinking "hurts" us. Ultimately, there is truth in this. Byron Katie helps us to escape the effect of unconscious thnking habits. But thought patterns, if energized by belief, do impact our lives. The physical or metaphysical mechanism for this has yet to be delineated and accepted by the scientific method. Brain-wave analysis has been done, but the "manifesting" part is still a 'mystery.'

henrik's opening post offers a meaningful question...we can learn from Tolle and our experience that there is great peace and joy in Presence and Stillness and "no thought." But how can we apply Eckhart's teaching to our thought-world?

Let us say for the moment that we know how to shut down the thinking mind, to be truly still. Let us say that after months or years of practice a certain stillness and presence remains in every moment of our waking consciousness. Does the "Law of Attraction" not apply to us? Or does it apply more, given that we are much less "unconscious?"

My belief is that it actually applies more. This is based on lots of reading, but mostly on personal experience. However, negative thinking still has energy and power, be it our own or others'. Hopefully we can "be the space" for that oppositional egoic thinking. There are people in the world, however, who are deeply steeped in very primitive "not OK" life-story positions. Eckhart ran into one as a client and mentions it in ANE, p. 164 ff. (this is the part where the restaurant customer blew up.) It took someone with the vast capacity for reflecting/owning Being like Tolle to draw out that 'demon' of a dark pain-body. That client is an example of someone whose cognitive egoic structure was so powerful that "good thinking" had no sway. Ironically, it was the space of "no thought," of simple unencumbered Presence that Eckhart triggered which was the key to release from the dualistic cognitive trap suffered by the client.

So, for ourselves, we can accept the "power of positive thinking," as being one contributing force in our lives. However, the "Power of Now" is a larger one.

Namaste, Andy
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There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by Aralan » Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:41 pm

Would you say more about the your experiences and the application of the law of attraction and "being the space" for what shows up.

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by Sighclone » Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:11 am

Aralan -

First, let me comment that the "Law of Attraction" actually started with Wallace Wattles' "The Science of Getting Rich" (1910):

This is from wikipedia:
The Science of Getting Rich was credited by Rhonda Byrne as one of the inspirations for her popular 2006 film and 2007 book The Secret. As Byrne explained it on the web site of Oprah Winfrey, "Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it. [...] It gave me a glimpse of The Secret. It was like a flame inside of my heart. And with every day since, it's just become a raging fire of wanting to share all of this with the world."
But the concept of thought itself manifesting more concrete realities in time and space is not new. Eckhart hints at it in suggesting that the "New Earth" will be much more efficient. Art Bell did a radio experiment in which he asked all his listeners to focus on rain in Athens, Georgia (I believe) where it was badly needed - it poured. He did this twice more and then said it was "kinda creepy" so he quit.

My experiences can be broken into two types. One, a stand-alone experience about 30 years ago: I had been meditating for about five years (TM) and had had some clarity, breakthroughs, peace, stability and transcendental experiences (for lack of a better term.) I was driving down a fairly busy icy road...I was traveling "too fast for conditions" and was approaching a car sideways in the road, wheels spinning. It was about two blocks away, but I knew I could not stop before hitting it. I decided to focus all the thought power I could muster do get that car to move - I didn't care where, it just needed to move. The next thing I knew (and it must have taken about one second), the car had bounced up over a curb and onto a nearby lawn. I kept going right past the location of the car, and looked at the driver - he was utterly dazed and confused. He had no idea how he got up on that lawn! Neither did I. I have not experimented since then with "really focussed intense thinking energy" or whatever. Nor do I think I have some special power there. But I believe the Law of Attraction is a real force, and cannot explain precisely why.

The second example from personal experience is during the last six months. There was a period where I did not want or need more work assignments (commercial real estate appraisal.) I was working on a novel and other important nondual reading. Then I decided to attract more work. I just thought about it. I didn't know exactly where it would come from, but I did dwell on it. Bingo, work has now come it - interesting jobs and they arrived quickly. As well, there have been a number of personal experiences of synchronicity (events in time which we know to be random, but which seem/are much more than that.) The "being the space" part has more to do with outraged pain-bodies who show up in our lives, and we just remain very still and yet intense, and bring that person back into control by their higher self or at least their adult ego state (an ego-world term from Transactional Analysis - Eric Berne.)

Being present is something we can do, regardless of the action of the "Law of Attraction" or the Second Law of Thermodynamics or the Law Against Jaywalking. Presence tends to transmute unconscious, conditioned, thought-based, localized energy into something larger...we use the "awareness of the inner body to create space." (ANE, p. 252) Creating space is not something limited to the influence of the Law of Attraction.

Hope that helps, Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by peleke4 » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:17 pm

"Feeling Good" was one of the first self-help books I checked out when I started my journey to find peace. With this book, I found out what my mental "distortions" were. It helped to some degree, but my identity as "self-help junkie" continued. I read one self-help book after another. I let go of some negativity and found some peace, but never was it complete. There was always something missing. I immersed myself in NLP and thought at one point that I found what I was looking for. But like a splinter that will eventually resurface, the negativity would always come back knocking on my door and whatever peace that arose would jump out the window. It was an endless, frustrating cycle that involved a lot of effort. I realize now that the cycle went on and on because I was totally identified with my thoughts and mind activity. Tolle points this out in PON: How do you expect to catch an arsonist on the loose when the arsonist is the head-hancho of the fire department? You'd be going around and around in circles like I did.

In my personal experience, if one makes the firm decision to let go of negativity and find peace (or rather, allow peace to arise), the self-help/personal growth section will help to some degree; but as long as what you're doing (visualization, affirmations, NLP, etc.) deals with thought/mind activity, you'll be going around and around in circles. You might become a self-help junkie. And the self-help section deals primarily with thought/mind-activity. This reminds me... I'm going on a quick tangent... It crossed my mind that perhaps some of the self-help gurus know very well that identification with thought/mind activity will keep their clients coming back for more and more and more.. thus, more and more cash in their pockets; paranoid android I know.

Seeing through the illusion, disidentifying with thoughts/mind-activity is the main way to go. But I'm not totally knocking self-help, NLP, etc. There's definitely some helpful stuff there. But there's also some stuff that's a big waste of time, energy, and money. For instance, I got into NLP TimeLine Therapy. If you're curious about that, you can google it and see what it's about. I discovered my personal timeline and spent countless hours travelling along my timeline to the past and future, with the intention of letting go and finding peace. The amount of "letting go" and whatever peace I did find was absolutely nothing in contrast to what happened as a result of simply seeing through the illusion/disidentifying from thought/mind-activity. Whereas there was effort and energy involved with TimeLine Therapy, there was no effort involved in simply "seeing." And yet, it was through the simple act of "seeing" that allowed for me to fully let go and allow for peace to arise.

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by dagobert » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:23 pm

Hi peleke4.
this is what it's all about.

but when you say you found peace, do you mean you accept everything and leave peacefully or that you truly awaken ?

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Re: Cognitive therapy vs Tolle

Post by peleke4 » Tue Oct 07, 2008 10:21 pm

When I say I found peace, I mean that I finally let go of all the negativity that's been lodged in me for years. And letting go of all that allowed for positive energy, peace to arise and take it's place. That was my aim. I never aimed to become "awakened" or to experience enlightenment. Perhaps the "I" aimed for it but the "me" was unaware that that was actually taking place? But as a result of being more present-oriented and "seeing" thought/mind-activity for what it really is, I've had wonderful enlightenment experiences. I refer to it as experiences because I still go through life experiencing negativity and what not. But there is an enormous difference: I no longer identify with the negativity and thus it's not the living hell it used to be.

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