Tolle's night of awakening ?

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Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby painBody » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:15 pm

I'm not questioning his authenticity. I'm not questioning his intentions to help people. I'm certainly not questioning whether or not he has helped, and continues to help, millions, including myself. I'm simply expressing my skepticism about one claim that he has made, and that has been widely accepted as fact, for lack of proof to the contrary.

Is it even possible for a human ego, or identification with it, to dissolve overnight ? Is it possible for intense anxiety and suicidal depression, which ET readily admits to having had, to dissolve overnight ? If it is, it seems extremely unlikely to me, just given what I know of the human brain. I know it can't be instantaneously and completely reset like a computer's memory can, at least not just by lying in bed.

Humans operate distinctly differently from machines (computers). Computers love to switch between binary states - off and on, 0 and 1, true and false ... actually, that's all they can do. Humans operate within a spectrum of states.

I know, from my own lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression, that they aren't your "snap out of it" kinda deal. So, I find it really hard to believe that all his agony just evaporated overnight. Despite how much wisdom I see in the man, I just can't get myself to buy the whole overnight awakening story.

As far as spiritual awakening goes, I imagine that, for most people, like for me, awakening comes and goes, much like waves on the ocean. We drift in and out of our awakening states, depending on circumstances. You might say, "But, ET is not an ordinary spiritual seeker, he's a spiritual master." To that, I would say that every spiritual master was an ordinary person first, so I don't think he has any superior/special powers that would make his awakening instantaneous while most of us have to spend our whole lifetimes in the process.

What do you think ?

P.S. This is not a big deal to me. I love ET's teachings and this issue doesn't impact my view of him in any way. This is just an intellectual debate to satisfy my curiosity.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby eputkonen » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:33 pm

"Is it even possible for a human ego, or identification with it, to dissolve overnight ? Is it possible for intense anxiety and suicidal depression, which ET readily admits to having had, to dissolve overnight ?"

Yes and yes. All the intense anxiety and such you reference all hinges on the mentally created "I" that we mistakenly think we are...and if you see through the "I" and realize who/what you really are (profoundly, deeply)...then the ego/identification with ego could all suddenly disappear. As well as all the suffering that was grounded and founded on the fictitious "I".

Forgive me, but my understanding of Awakening is more along the lines of Zen. As they say, when the bottom of the bucket falls out...all the water goes with it. So there is a sudden and total awakening...it does not come and go. The bottom of the bucket falls out...and the water never stays in the bucket again. Otherwise, it is just another spiritual experience and not awakening at all.

Putting it another way (Indian story), it is like a rope in the grass at night. You may mistake it for a snake in the grass and then fear, worry, and other suffering arises. But once a light is brought, you see it is a rope after all and all the fear, worry, and suffering instantly disappears. And there is nothing someone else can do to convince you that it is a snake once again. Understanding by seeing through the illusion is like that..it makes all the suffering based on the illusion disappear.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby painBody » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:01 am

Thanks, Eric. That's interesting, for sure. Nice analogies/stories too.

I think the major obstacle to me believing in it is that if it's possible for ET, it has to be possible for everyone else, if, as you say, all that's really necessary is that deep and profound seeing. Why aren't (many) more people awakening in that fashion ? Maybe they are, but from what I see in the world, it just doesn't seem believable.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby eputkonen » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:46 am

Yes, it is just as possible for anyone and everyone else.

Why aren't there more...mainly I think that is because the dream which we call our waking life and our waking self just seem so real.
Few choose to question "reality" itself.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby dijmart » Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:04 am

Part of Interview with ET-

Unity Magazine: Your awakening was dramatic and permanent. Most of us are trying to get there one step at a time. We still have to catch ourselves being in judgment or operating from ego and remember to let that go. Do you ever have to remind yourself of such things, or do you consistently live in higher consciousness without having to course-correct?

Tolle: Well, for the transformation to be integrated fully into my life took quite a few years. At first, on the external level my life continued as if nothing much had happened, although there was one change. Things came into my life without any effort, sometimes on a very small scale, or on a larger scale. But I still continued with my old life, believing that the academic world was still my path. I got accepted for graduate work at Cambridge and, again, that came effortlessly, and for a while I enjoyed it. Then gradually I noticed a heaviness because everybody was in their minds and their egos. So, it took a few years before I readily realized, “This is not where I am meant to be.” I almost touched on unhappiness again at that point. I had to bring myself back to the present moment. It was like the mind tugging on my sleeve and saying, “Come this way towards unhappiness.” And I had to say, “No, I’m not going there.”


Full article- http://www.eckharttolle.com/article/Spi ... hart-Tolle

The integration he speaks of is what Vedanta calls the assimilation of Self knowledge.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby ajay0 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:17 am

painBody wrote:I'm not questioning his authenticity. I'm not questioning his intentions to help people. I'm certainly not questioning whether or not he has helped, and continues to help, millions, including myself. I'm simply expressing my skepticism about one claim that he has made, and that has been widely accepted as fact, for lack of proof to the contrary.

Is it even possible for a human ego, or identification with it, to dissolve overnight ? Is it possible for intense anxiety and suicidal depression, which ET readily admits to having had, to dissolve overnight ? If it is, it seems extremely unlikely to me, just given what I know of the human brain. I know it can't be instantaneously and completely reset like a computer's memory can, at least not just by lying in bed.

Humans operate distinctly differently from machines (computers). Computers love to switch between binary states - off and on, 0 and 1, true and false ... actually, that's all they can do. Humans operate within a spectrum of states.

I know, from my own lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression, that they aren't your "snap out of it" kinda deal. So, I find it really hard to believe that all his agony just evaporated overnight. Despite how much wisdom I see in the man, I just can't get myself to buy the whole overnight awakening story.

As far as spiritual awakening goes, I imagine that, for most people, like for me, awakening comes and goes, much like waves on the ocean. We drift in and out of our awakening states, depending on circumstances. You might say, "But, ET is not an ordinary spiritual seeker, he's a spiritual master." To that, I would say that every spiritual master was an ordinary person first, so I don't think he has any superior/special powers that would make his awakening instantaneous while most of us have to spend our whole lifetimes in the process.

What do you think ?

P.S. This is not a big deal to me. I love ET's teachings and this issue doesn't impact my view of him in any way. This is just an intellectual debate to satisfy my curiosity.


While discussing Eckhart Tolle and 'The Power of Now' with an enlightened master called Sunil Kumar, he mentioned that Tolle's intense depression punctured his mind, and this resulted in his enlightenment. This is a freak incident, and the reason why Tolle attained enlightenment without any prior preparation in the form of spiritual exercises like that of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Buddha or Mooji.

Sunil Kumar also certified the book as 'a good book'. :)
Self-awareness is yoga. -- Nisargadatta Maharaj

Evil is an extreme manifestation of human unconsciousness. -- Eckhart Tolle
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby painBody » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:04 am

dijmart wrote:Part of Interview with ET-

Unity Magazine: Your awakening was dramatic and permanent. Most of us are trying to get there one step at a time. We still have to catch ourselves being in judgment or operating from ego and remember to let that go. Do you ever have to remind yourself of such things, or do you consistently live in higher consciousness without having to course-correct?

Tolle: Well, for the transformation to be integrated fully into my life took quite a few years. At first, on the external level my life continued as if nothing much had happened, although there was one change. Things came into my life without any effort, sometimes on a very small scale, or on a larger scale. But I still continued with my old life, believing that the academic world was still my path. I got accepted for graduate work at Cambridge and, again, that came effortlessly, and for a while I enjoyed it. Then gradually I noticed a heaviness because everybody was in their minds and their egos. So, it took a few years before I readily realized, “This is not where I am meant to be.” I almost touched on unhappiness again at that point. I had to bring myself back to the present moment. It was like the mind tugging on my sleeve and saying, “Come this way towards unhappiness.” And I had to say, “No, I’m not going there.”


Full article- http://www.eckharttolle.com/article/Spi ... hart-Tolle

The integration he speaks of is what Vedanta calls the assimilation of Self knowledge.


Thanks, dij ! I must have missed this before.
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Re: Tolle's night of awakening ?

Postby Onceler » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:10 pm

I think instant transformation is a rare thing and, as dijmart said, it took awhile to integrate. There is another school in Zen, called Soto Zen, which believes in a much more gradual awakening. More accurately, I believe they say we are already awake and there is no need for a big moment. Sitting Zazen is enlightenment.

I believe that is a 'duality' within spiritual circles, gradual vs. sudden awakening. I remember when I studied Zen, it was a great relief to find Soto Zen, perhaps best embodied in Zen Mind Beginners Mind, Suzuki, because the sudden thing just wasn't happening and it wasn't going to happen.....

I think sudden awakening is so rare that it's more like a fairy tale and can cause great suffering. As I've said before, this is my biggest beef with many spiritual teachings, including Tolle, the notion of enlightenment as the only way to be free, to be sane.
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