For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Talk about anything Tolle-related here.
usernameless
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For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Fri May 27, 2011 2:50 am

I'm sure I'm not the first to bring this up here.
It occurred to me that for every Tolle, seriously depressed and wanting to end his life, who magically snaps out of it and into awakening no less,
there are over a million people each year in the world that aren't so lucky, and succumb to ending their lives.
Many millions more who never and will never snap out of it, much less awaken.
We celebrate the Tolles and Katies, mind you no one would have wanted to be stuck in an elevator with either before their awakenings,
but now they're this magic beacon of light and peace.
And that's fine.
But he could have easily not had, what we can all agree is an extremely rare act of Grace, and either continued on suffering miserably, or worse.
Many with similar illnesses are drawn to Tolle, Katie, and other teachers, who have been through the ringer with mental illness, because it offers hope that they too can snap out of it, shake it off, and why not, wake up in the blink of an eye one morning.
The thing is, and feel free to virtually kick me in the nuts (or worse), but his case is extremely rare - awakening for anyone is extremely rare - awakening for someone in the midst of mental crisis on the brink of imminent disaster, is that much more improbable, I would submit.
But what is very possible, what is happening as we speak, in this forum, and all over the world, is that unbalanced people are leaning (sometimes heavily) on his example and teachings as a justification to turn off, shut down, isolate from others, misinterpret and appropriate to suit one's situation, avoid their issues and day to day lives, and worse - fall deeper into the hole they are in - thinking that they are following the teachings and a good ol' righteous path after all.
For many, and not just those with substantial mental issues, the last thing they need is to adopt these advaitic perspectives - the last thing they need is to engage in these practices of self-enquiry - who am I? yeesh. See what I mean.
Advaita is a destructive path, not a constructive one. Meaning, it tears away at one's sense of identity, persona, being. It sounds great to many, but few would actually want to continue forward if they experienced what it can be like to pass through this shredding machine.
Now think about people who aren't stable, balanced, well. Does that sound like a good idea? Much more likely to be destructive in another way, the kind that puts people like this in even worse situations.
I don't know what Tolle would say about this. Perhaps you have a link or a quote or something.
I'm not saying he should not present these teachings, but the thing is, all he can do, any teacher can do, is speak from their own experience.
And his was that he was suffering one moment, and awake the next. Without doing any practices. Without reading any books. Without knowing anything previously. And that's fine, it happened, it's inspiring, it's his experience, and it should be shared.
But he must know, that even though it happened in his case, the numbers show that it was extremely unusual.
So I wonder, given that, what Tolle thinks about this? His teachings, for those with the same kinds of issues that he had back then? Is he as confident to take his old suffering self, and apply these teachings to that person?
I'm not trying to discriminate against seekers with mental illness, but it deserves a serious discussion I think.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by eckhart01 » Fri May 27, 2011 5:55 am

I'm not saying he should not present these teachings, but the thing is, all he can do, any teacher can do, is speak from their own experience.
His rapid awakening may be unique, or it may be widespread, but you are right in saying that all one can do is speak from experience. We cannot say for certainty that everyone who awakens goes on to become a spiritual teacher, even though it may seem that way sometimes, so the numbers could be much higher. However, while it's difficult to pinpoint how many people move through presence, we can assume that the number is low. May be higher than we initially think, but low given the number of humans on this planet.

Those who have read Tolle, and other books pointing to presence, may notice that Eckhart rarely alludes to how difficult presence can be, because for him it was not difficult at all; it happened spontaneously. And while he talks about pointers and accessing presence, he rarely gives it as much detail as say, Adyashanti. He points to the madness of living in time, more than the process required to invite presence; even in a New Earth, gateways are addressed in the second last chapter if I remember. The difference is that Adyashanti went through it over the course of a decade. He will tell you it's the easiest thing in the world - like Tolle - but also the hardest thing in the world. He concentrates on points specifically because his experience was a struggle.
But he must know, that even though it happened in his case, the numbers show that it was extremely unusual.
I believe he does know this, but he never speaks about it. He says that presence is beginning to take hold ubiquitously, not because he is misinformed or deluded, but because that it simply a tactic to inspire the mind listening that change is possible. Tolle's teachings may frustrate the mind more because they may abandon any hope if things do not move quickly. And of course this is created by the delusion that awakening is something that someone "reaches". Even if he points out that this is the opposite, his teachings are devoid of that point being hammered into the listener. What his teachings do best, I believe, is to set the ball rolling so to speak. If you connect with his teachings at some level, you will most likely explore other similar teachers, including those who do it the "hard way". Or you may have a spontaneous awakening too.

For my experience, Tolle was a starting point that continued into other teachings. When you go full circle, you realize that Tolle's teachings were just as profound, but you may have needed guidance from teachers that have invited presence over the course of many struggles. Rather, you did not really need them, but you did not realize it at the time because for many it is a long winding process that involves weeks/months/year of egoic struggle.

But Tolle is a good starting point I believe. If people listened to Adyashanti first, they may be totally dismayed when he says that presence is not something that you can pinpoint. You may have moments of spiritual clarity that leave a lasting impression on you, but presence is something that you might not even realize is happening, only one day to wake up and see that you had been living through it for some time. To someone new to spirituality, this is not the goal-orientated enlightenment they may have been expecting. And while this should be a relief to the mind, it may also scare people off.

Either way, for many there seems to be a need for an egoic drive towards "enlightment" to happen over time to realize true presence. There is a bit of a paradox I find: through mind you cannot invite presence, but without mind there is nothing pushing you toward presence. It takes an exhaustion of the latter to realize the former; fortunately, both Eckhart, Adyashanti, and other spiritual teachers cover all areas adequately; through experience, as you pointed out, they cater to all aspects of presence.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri May 27, 2011 12:41 pm

I agree this is an angle worth exploring. and sadly yes some don't reach the perspective that took Tolle out of his suffering.

Maybe I read it too simply, maybe I'm too simple myself, but all I 'took' of Tolle's waking up was simple. In one moment when he became present to it - to just the one moment that is real, the NOW, he realised that moment was all that IS, it cannot be held onto, makes little sense to judge it because it will be gone in a flash; and projecting forward or back to a moment been and gone or not been yet as if it is your 'life' is quite silly if not just needless and full of falsenesses.

If you then add value to that past or future moment to the degree that you miss 'this' moment... or many many moments, then you are not really living your life, you're thinking it.

He does say to step in to this psychological projecting of time to plan, or to reminisce, to learn from or to look towards, but not all the time and certainly with an understanding that it is not NOW, and often is not even real but imagined, or at the very least a perspective or possibility rather than a reality.

When fears (false emotions appearing real) or expectations - things that are NOT yet and are more than likely not within your control how they manifest - are all you can focus on, then you are not being present.

When you are being present, when you are awake to this moment, you can see the transitory nature of moments. Some you will notice as peaceful and beautiful, others you will notice as uncomfortable or even painful, but ...this too will pass.

With the understanding of the transitory nature of moments you can appreciate things more for what they really are, rather than what they might be, or might have been.... and so the swings of emotion are less wild (in fear or expectation), but with the awareness the moments do become more beautifully peaceful and appreciated.

Every moment is unique and fresh and real whether we are paying attention to it or not.

I could be wrong, but I don't think you can appreciate this.. each moment.... and be depressed. Which for me is why depression lifted so rapidly from his shoulders and had no place to stay once he realised this.

Why others don't realise this... they're too busy focussing on the past or the future to be present.

Right now.

What IS (real) right now?

Of course if there is a chemical imbalance or a physiological reason for a person's brain to be unable to do this, that's a different matter and one I have no business even commenting on.

What seemed (to me) to happen to Tolle was that he realised his suffering had little or nothing to do with this moment, and he chose instead to focus on this moment as it really is.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Fri May 27, 2011 7:19 pm

Maybe I read it too simply, maybe I'm too simple myself, but all I 'took' of Tolle's waking up was simple. In one moment when he became present to it - to just the one moment that is real, the NOW, he realised that moment was all that IS, it cannot be held onto, makes little sense to judge it because it will be gone in a flash; and projecting forward or back to a moment been and gone or not been yet as if it is your 'life' is quite silly if not just needless and full of falsenesses.
I think you are actually complicating it, rather than oversimplifying. Simply put, in a flash there was no longer an I, just Pure Awareness. No "he" to realise anything.
I could be wrong, but I don't think you can appreciate this.. each moment.... and be depressed. Which for me is why depression lifted so rapidly from his shoulders and had no place to stay once he realised this.
Again, there was no "Tolle" to realise something, the depression/anxiety dissolved, because the I had dissolved. Not because he did some special practise, or reasoning, simply because by Grace (or call it what you want) - the illusory I sense dissolved.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Fri May 27, 2011 7:22 pm

But Tolle is a good starting point I believe.
Interesting POV. Funny that your username is eckhart01, but you seem to be talking up Adyashanti over Tolle.
Is this accurate? I'm not invested in either, just curious.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by Sighclone » Fri May 27, 2011 11:28 pm

Welcome usernameless!

Thanks for the fine comments about Advaita being destructive and sending a warning about what John Welwood has termed "spiritual bypassing." (His essay on this is here: http://www.johnwelwood.com/articles/Embodying.pdf) This is a common topic here, and I have, over the years, compiled a list of "nondual psychotherapists" some of whom work over Skype and phone, which I provide on request via PM. I also agree that Eckhart's event was rare and cataclymic.

Could you share a bit about your spiritual experiences?

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: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sat May 28, 2011 9:14 am

Usernameless: Simply put, in a flash there was no longer an I, just Pure Awareness. No "he" to realise anything.
Usernameless: We celebrate the Tolles...
Usernameless: Again, there was no "Tolle" to realise something, the depression/anxiety dissolved, because the I had dissolved. Not because he did some special practise, or reasoning, simply because by Grace (or call it what you want) - the illusory I sense dissolved.
There was the Tolle that got up off the park bench and went about teaching others about the Power of Now.

If not, who then is celebrated as you suggest?

Tolle, and all of us are still interacting with and in a world of 'form' even with an understanding, peace and acceptance of 'formless' eternal life force.

His books are written in a manner that says "I...." or 'you....' accepting that we are in motion in form, but that is not 'all' that we are. Not to diminish the form, only to lessen the attachment to it and the skewing of it through the false notion of separateness and the fears of the ego.
But he could have easily not had, what we can all agree is an extremely rare act of Grace, and either continued on suffering miserably, or worse.
To my understanding, grace is simply letting go of false ideas, letting go and letting be, yielding to what is, rather than resisting. But that is still a far cry from what is thought and what is imagined and what is projected and what is feared if you are not present.

In ANE (p57 in my copy) Tolle is speaking about Presence of Being as being the Peace of God - the ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.

What he doesn't say is 'there is no you' 'you don't exist' etc etc

He goes on to speak of resistance or yielding to what is real - in the case of tragedy, suffering etc he discusses the difference that I think/feel is the difference in life perspective depending on whether you are in harmony with the reality of NOW or spending your life in psychological time as he calls it.

ET: 'Some people become bitter or deeply resentful; others become compassionate, wise and loving.

Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life.

Resistance is an inner contraction, a hardening of the shell of the ego. You are closed.
Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance (which we could also call negativity) will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side; life will not be helpful.

If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in.

When you yield internally, when you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens up.

If action is necessary or possible your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by creative intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with. Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. ...

If no action is possible you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender.
As far as I understand Tolle's teachings, they don't in any way encourage people to shut down. For me being conscious is being more aware and alive, not less.

The shutters are wide opn and the light streams in and dances all over my life, even if things are not as I would have hoped for them to be.

Acceptance, Enjoyment, Enthusiasm.... conscious being.

I still don't think you can be conscious ^ and these are the only three states of consciousness, and still be depressed. It just isn't possible. Therefore his 'acceptance' of reality (for me) was the awakening that once realised saw the disappearance of depression.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by hanss » Sat May 28, 2011 9:31 am

usernameless wrote:Advaita is a destructive path, not a constructive one. Meaning, it tears away at one's sense of identity, persona, being. It sounds great to many, but few would actually want to continue forward if they experienced what it can be like to pass through this shredding machine.
Maybe there should be a law that says that these books must have a warning-label on the back. "WARNING! After reading this book your whole life may fall apart and there is a risk that you will experience suffering beyond all understanding."
"In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being."
(Eckhart Tolle)

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by randomguy » Sat May 28, 2011 1:10 pm

usernamelesss wrote:So I wonder, given that, what Tolle thinks about this?
usernamelesss wrote:Again, there was no "Tolle" to realise something
Just curious what is with the wondering about what no-"Tolle" thinks regarding "seekers with mental illness"?
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by eckhart01 » Sat May 28, 2011 1:36 pm

usernameless wrote:
But Tolle is a good starting point I believe.
Interesting POV. Funny that your username is eckhart01, but you seem to be talking up Adyashanti over Tolle.
Is this accurate? I'm not invested in either, just curious.
Essentially I find them both to be very adept in conveying something that seems incredibly difficult to convey. Tolle is a good starting point in that he is succinctly basic in his teachings, using a lot of repetition. He concentrates on the madness of living in psychological time, partly because his transformation was so rapid. The reason I seemed to extol Adyashanti was because his transformation was reflective of what most others can expect: a slow grind that is more frustrating than progressive. Eckhart doesn't concentrate on the minutiae, again because he did not experience this type of transformation. In essence, he went from knowing only psychological time to knowing only presence. He cannot give any advice on breaking down psychological time while approaching it from an egoic standpoint. It is outside of his direct experience. From a state of presence, he can certainly try, but it is evident that he stays away from it.

I feel this may be the reason some people give up on the "search". It is too idealized in Eckhart's teachings. It's too simple. And when it doesn't work for you, you may abandon it altogether. Otherwise, his teachings are no different to Adyashanti's, or anyone else. At its core they are all the same. Tolle is as good a starting point as Adyashanti; at this point Eckhart has wider notoriety, and anyone interested in spirituality will probably come across him first. Moreover, certainly some people relate to one set of teachings better than the other, for whatever reason.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Sat May 28, 2011 3:44 pm

Tolle is as good a starting point as Adyashanti
If they are good "starting points", who if anyone in your opinion, is a good second step?

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Sat May 28, 2011 3:58 pm

There was the Tolle that got up off the park bench and went about teaching others about the Power of Now.
If not, who then is celebrated as you suggest?
Tolle, and all of us are still interacting with and in a world of 'form' even with an understanding, peace and acceptance of 'formless' eternal life force.
His books are written in a manner that says "I...." or 'you....' accepting that we are in motion in form, but that is not 'all' that we are. Not to diminish the form, only to lessen the attachment to it and the skewing of it through the false notion of separateness and the fears of the ego.


To this first point, advaita is quite clear, that for the true jnani, there continues to be the appearance of day to day living, but there is absolutely no longer an I in place to be the "doer". It warns that other people will mistakenly assume that there must be a doer, but there is not. It may be next to impossible for the mind to grasp, but this is nevertheless the teaching.

Some neo-advaitins seem to go with the watered down version, that of course there remains an ego and mind, how else can one funtion, nothing wrong with them, perhaps to validate their own state as legitimate to teach and be paid to teach non-dual truth.

But it appears to be, from what I have seen, that there is no real grey area on this. Mind/ego dies and never returns. Period. Body still functions, words are still spoken, actions appear to be taken, but the jnani knows there is no I, no mind, no body....
So paradoxical and mysterious. Words fail. Always do.

If this isn't the teaching regarding the state of the jnani, I gladly welcome others to step in and clarify.
And no, I haven't a clue from eprsonal experience.
You got me. Busted.

-------------------------------------------------------

To your second point, just because you have benefited from the teachings, and can't imagine how others could get into trouble using them (or misusing them) doesn't mean it isn't so. The writing is on the wall - literally - in this forum and many others. In speaking to people. In reading books. From teachers themselves. It is a real problem. I'm not saying it's the teacher or the teaching, it can be but not with Tolle I feel. It's just that it can easily be adopted for other purposes, misused, misinterpreted, and all the rest.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by eckhart01 » Sat May 28, 2011 5:04 pm

usernameless wrote:
Tolle is as good a starting point as Adyashanti
If they are good "starting points", who if anyone in your opinion, is a good second step?
It would depend on the individual. Some people resonate better with one teacher, even while the teaching is essentially the same. In my experience, Tolle was a good starting point because I was introduced to this type of no-self teaching through him. That was the only reason. That happened to be simply because a friend recommended the Power of Now. For a long time I conceptualized these teachings, (while combining them with Adyashanti, who's teachings were clear in explaining that "enlightenment" is quite often a struggle), until I began to understand it through experience. So Tolle and Adyashanti can both be a good starting point, and an end point at the same time.

Again, it depends on whether someone gets their teachings at its fundamental level, and not at a conceptual level. I moved from Tolle to Adyashanti (while reflecting back to Tolle constantly) because I could not experience what Tolle referred to firsthand, primarily because I understood his teachings at a conceptual level. Of course that doesn't work, so I sought it in other teachers. Ultimately, I never needed to seek further because all the teachings are inherent in what Tolle says; it's just that I didn't realize this at the time. There are an incredible amount of great teachers that I have come across; all point to the same thing.

If I can answer your question directly, I would say that a good second step is seeing that you don't need anymore steps.

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by Webwanderer » Sat May 28, 2011 5:50 pm

usernameless wrote:
Tolle is as good a starting point as Adyashanti
If they are good "starting points", who if anyone in your opinion, is a good second step?
Anyone who helps bring greater clarity to one's direct understanding. Some even seem to like this forum for that role... at least in part. Crazy huh? But whatever works. Results are more important than any particular resource or path to clarity. Resources in today's world, through the internet and books and workshops, are too numerous to count.

What matters is a genuine interest in getting to the Truth. It's right in front of us of course, but so long as we persist at looking at our shadows instead of the light, truth continues to be elusive. Be open, be curious and hold to a healthy skepticism. Locking on to a particular ideology, no matter how attractive, is a boat anchor that traps us where we are. We can't know the whole truth with the limited awareness we currently perceive through... but we can always know more than we do now. 'Now' however, is the key conscious state in which more truth, more clarity, more understanding can continuously be realized.

The moment we decide we have arrived at some ultimate understanding is the moment we stop growing.

WW

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Re: For every Tolle, Millions who Don't Make It

Post by usernameless » Sat May 28, 2011 6:21 pm

I do wonder however, if there is a tendency among seekers, particularly within the advaita fold, to take the teachings to mean there isn't a need to have a living physical accessible Guru. It is one of the many paradoxes, that while the masters speak of the absolute as being already what we are, they also insist (most anyway - certainly Ramana and the lineage that came from him - as well as many other masters here and long gone - and scriptures etc) that a physical Guru is essential for one to reach full realisation, with very very very few exceptions. Even in case like Ramana, where people like to say that he didn't need a Guru, he admitted himself that Arunachala was his Guru. Perhaps Tolle didn't have a living Guru. Perhaps he is one of those very few who don't need a physical guru in this life, due to work done in previous lives with a Guru. Or he isn't fully realised. Who really knows for sure? Only another jnani we are told.

But.....these rare examples aside, the vast majority, let's say %99 for the hell of it, will need a physical Guru, at least at some point in their spiritual unfolding. Remember the story of Lakshmany Swamy and Saradamma. She thought she was enlightened at one point, and it took her Guru to see that there was still a thread remaining. And by his Grace, the final thread was cut and she entered realisation. Now we're talking about 2 people who are considered to be among maybe 8 living jnanis in the world. If Saradamma, clearly a ripe soul, with her intense and sustained sadhana over the years, required this close monitoring and guidance from a Guru, how much more for the average Joe who picks up a book or goes to a satsang, and thinks they have it all figured out?

So, are there a truck load of seekers wandering the world (and these forums) who think they have it all figured out - that there is nothing to do and no teacher to seek out - that they are already That - that can and must go it alone - that are actually just seriously fooling themselves? I would suggest, without a doubt, absolutely yes. Just do the math. The vast majority of recognised authorities on the matter, tend to agree that there are only a handful of tru jnanis living in the world today - probably at any given point in history. Now consider how many people, from well-known teachers to forum users like this one, either directly or indirectly claim to be awakened. Clearly, both can't be right here. And the thing is, if someone isn't fully realised, no matter how far along they may be, there is a very real danger of falling back, growing a massive spiritual ego, stopping short of the goal and mistaking it for the end, misguiding others, and all the rest. In a simplified way, ideally, all of these so called awakened teachers and seekers, need to find one of these living jnanis and really spend some time, to see if they are actually finished or not. Just like Saradamma was convinced she was, but it took her Guru to push her the last stretch. Of course, this isn't going to happen. So we are left with a truckload of people who basically think they are enlightened - no real way to confirm or deny it - and a much bigger truckload of seekers looking to these teachers for guidance. No wonder this whole advaita/neo-advaita show has been called a circus of major proportions.

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