Paradox

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)
piotr624
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Paradox

Post by piotr624 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:41 pm

I think I have discovered my final question:

The mind can not understand the truth, so I feel like I am following something based on faith, but I know I can never achieve this state of enlightenment by forcing myself to be aware of all my actions, because it just drains me of energy and I get tired. So, in order to come to a conclusion that will allow me to fully realize enlightenment naturally, I try to understand the words of Eckhart Tolle...but if the mind is not meant to understand, if it always questions but never solves, then I am left with a paradox.

I do have one answer for myself; I think Eckhart talked about how if one wanted to prove the dysfunctional nature of the ego to oneself, one could be conscious of the mind's thoughts and reactions. I have done this! And yes, I have noticed that the way I think about and mentally react to things has an egotistical bent, meant to protect my identity or seperate me in some way from those around me. But at this point, I can go no further:

I realize that my ego is dysfunctional, and that perhaps 80-90% of my thoughts are of this egoic quality, but where do I go from here? I don't know what lies beyond ego. Like...I have no basis to proceed, and I don't really know where to go exactly.

So the question is where do I go? At this point, I'm trying to be aware of my body by forcing my consciousness on it, hoping that I will reach a state of enlightenment where I can "know everything" and be different. But then there's also the idea that the only change is no change, that wanting is an error, egoic. But I know all these sayings! I have heard all of the "ego is bad", "questions never end", "stillness is the true you" statements, but I don't *know* them. I need to understand them for myself, and there must be some way to achieve this without my exasperating mind, and without enforcing these practises on myself.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Paradox

Post by Awareness » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:46 pm

Did you actually noticed that mr. Tolle most probably never practiced anything before spontaneously become realized ?

piotr624
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Re: Paradox

Post by piotr624 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:50 pm

Yes..he went "the way of the cross", and after experiencing great pain he disidentified with his mind and realized all these great things. I actually travelled the way of the cross too, and had my own blissfull experience, but I thought something was seriously wrong instead and tried to return to my old self :(

Hopefully I can find another way. Right now I'm thinking...maybe I'm not being conscious enough? Maybe I'm not trying hard enough. But trying feels so wrong, its not like I have to, with great effort and focus, try to will myself to be conscious of my every action and suddenly realize enlightenment. Or maybe that's the way it works...its just that I'm pretty much doing it based on pure faith. And I don't think the exercise alone can really bring me to any new point.

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Re: Paradox

Post by D'ray » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:08 pm

Wanting, going to some place, to know "it" all - they are nothing but the clever thoughts of the ego. They seem very real to you of course but the only thing I recommend you do to is just to be aware of them.

To understand "enlightenmen" is to label it somehow, to put it in a box, so that your mind can feel safe about the world. You are labeling yourself as something that you are not.

Isn't it a scary thought (to the ego) to not know what the h*ll is happening around us? :mrgreen: Still, everything goes just as it goes.
There's no "I" to become enlightened. The "I" can have spiritual experiences.

DON'T resist the RESISTANCE! The resistance is there. Walk into it. Feel it. Become one with it.

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Re: Paradox

Post by James » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:35 pm

piotr624
Initially for many it is shocking when they realize what the mind does, I read some comments on the Oprah message board from people that were finding A New Earth depressing. Some were saying they would prefer to go back to being unconscious. It sounds like you have a strong interest in awakening, but everyone needs to find the approach or teaching that appeals to them. The important thing to remember about the ego is that it is impersonal, it is not a personal problem for yourself or anyone. This E.T quote says it well:
_____________________________
~ A Collective Dysfunction ~

Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction,
the insanity of the human mind. When you recognize it for what it is, you no longer misperceive it as somebody's identity.

Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes much easier to
remain nonreactive toward it. You don't take it personally anymore.There is no complaining, blaming, accusing, or making wrong. Nobody is wrong. It is the ego in someone, that's all.

Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering
from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others. You do not fuel the drama anymore that is part of all egoic relationships.

What is its fuel? Reactivity. The ego thrives on it.

~ Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth
_________________________
So even if we are reacting to our own ego we are feeding it. Could you befriend it instead? It is not really a separate entity, it is merely a misperception. We are like children maturing. Children experience misperceptions. A child's lack of maturity is not wrong, it is a stage of development. Children learn best in an atmosphere of acceptance.

James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Shion
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Re: Paradox

Post by Shion » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:08 pm

Nan Yar Nan Yar Nan Yar Nan Yar Nan Yar......(who am I?)

Find out who you are not. :wink:

piotr624
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Re: Paradox

Post by piotr624 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:37 pm

Is it wrong to stop wanting to solve these problems? What if I were to stop thinking entirely. To go a whole day without thinking - to only think when I absolutely must. Lately my thoughts are going in circles, and I have never reached a conclusion that I was 100% satisfied with for my whole life. Out of frustration, I just want to stop and see what it would be like to stop thinking; perhaps then I could see everything from the "consciousness" angle, and then "attain" some form of "enlightenment"? (everything is in quotations because I know nothing of what they really mean, and apparently seeking enlightenment is wrong).

I know I kind of am creating a hell for myself, but I feel like I need to in order to solve my problem. So I'm just going to try to stop thinking, and see how that goes. If I can't think, I can't judge! But I'll probably feel that anger deep inside me when I want to fight against something. And repressing or fighting that obviously isn't what Eckhart teaches. So whenever that happens I would mechanically repeat in my mind "accept, accept, accept, don't think, accept". How can this be right?

I'm struggling to find answers, and at the same time I know no answers will ever satisfy me. Does anyone see the paradox here :(

By the way, thanks james and d'ray for the help. But I don't remember what it was like to be conscious of my mind anymore, and I tried to restart it but it ended in futility because I kept thinking of how I was thinking about my mind. I kind of go insane trying to follow the "method" perfectly in my mind. And I understand what you say d'ray, intellectually, but no matter what I understand or have an "aha" moment about, it only lasts for 5 minutes and I remain fairly aggravated and depressed for the rest of the day. So this is why I feel like everything does anything, so the conclusion is to do nothing, which apparently is the message. But I can't do nothing, because I will be ruled by my subconscious.

My mind is asking many questions, some of you may see. I am causing a hell for myself. I can not accept subconsiousness, something MUST be done. And I can't understand things intellectually. I can't force methods on myself. Its like I can't do anything, so I will choose to stop thinking and do nothing.

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Re: Paradox

Post by kiki » Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:54 am

piotr624 wrote:I have heard all of the "ego is bad", "questions never end", "stillness is the true you" statements, but I don't *know* them. I need to understand them for myself, and there must be some way to achieve this without my exasperating mind, and without enforcing these practises on myself.
This is where you are caught - there is a perceived need that it must be understood by the mind before it happens. But that is just a pipe dream of the mind and a desire of the ego that keeps you on a treadmill of mental grasping. The understanding reveals itself once there is the recognition/realization of what you are. Minds are great for understanding everything but "this" since this is prior to mind.

Do you "see" the consciousness that is always here? Just rest in/as that consciousness and understanding will be revealed through insight. If you don't recognize consciousness ask yourself, "What am I really?" and then look. When everything that you are not is seen through as temporary and illusory and then drops away what remains is just consciousness. Return again and again to what the word consciousness points to - there is no need to impose any need to understand it. At some point the understanding/insight emerges all on its own and infuses the mind. So you don't have to seek it out because it will find you all by itself.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Paradox

Post by James » Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:29 am

piotr624

You said:
I know I kind of am creating a hell for myself, but I feel like I need to in order to solve my problem. So I'm just going to try to stop thinking, and see how that goes. If I can't think, I can't judge! But I'll probably feel that anger deep inside me when I want to fight against something. And repressing or fighting that obviously isn't what Eckhart teaches. So whenever that happens I would mechanically repeat in my mind "accept, accept, accept, don't think, accept". How can this be right?
There is something you might like to listen to it is called Stillness by Adyashanti (another popular teacher, especially with this group). He says that if you are waiting for your mind to be quiet, you will be waiting the rest of your life (to paraphrase.) He also says stillness is what you are and that it is there even when the mind is not quiet. (Stillness is one way of describing what we are). That was a radical discovery for him, an epiphany. It is about a 10 minute clip and a free download at this link, look for Stillness about the middle of the page.

http://www.adyashanti.org/index.php?file=listenonline

Another approach would be to surrender. You know, the first step in the recovery programs is to admit you are powerless and surrender to a higher power. That is what makes those programs so successful. Any type of suffering is a good opportunity for surrender. Sometimes the problem is that we think we are here on our own, working things out. It is the sense of separation from our source the divine. It is only a sense of separation, based on a belief, not a reality. We are always one with our source, nothing can change that.

Peace be with you
James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Paradox

Post by Sighclone » Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:45 am

piotr -

I had a friend named piotr once - he was from Iceland. Piotr Gudjonssen. And you kind of remind me of him.

I have never heard a 'mid-process' testimony so well phrased as yours (the paradox post.) You know what I hear? It's a big, powerful, brainy unconscious ego which feels like it is on the ropes and is squawking and hollering and whimpering and grinding away with the only tool it has - that great big logical mind. Can you hear it? Can you see that desperate, isolated, selfish entity banging away on this conundrum.

But it is in a permanent helpless trap. Its tool are too limited to become Present. It's the blind men groping around an elephant. Piotr, the mind can understand thinking and logic. It can even sort of understand the pain-body. But it cannot awaken. Despite its formidable power in you, it is not you. Nothing has eclipsed it before, at least not for very long, because it would acquire more skill and knowledge and go back to battle with another mind and "win." But what would it win? Just another ego battle. Kiki is fond of saying how he enjoys 'looking back' at his ego. Eckhart has some humorous comments about his earlier 'form' also.

So yours is in the last throes, piotr. Your internal battle is understandable. And you are winning, and the mind will be your faithful servant. At least for me, the mind/ego has ended up being less powerful than an old pain-body which can be triggered occasionally.

ETs modest exercises of conscious breathing, inner-body awareness and acceptance of the thoughts/feelings of the present moment work. Just hang in there. And keep in touch...and let go of the rope - you will find yourself standing on the ground. I borrowed that from kiki, as usual.

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: Paradox

Post by Nebula » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:05 pm

piotr624 wrote: Hopefully I can find another way. Right now I'm thinking...maybe I'm not being conscious enough? Maybe I'm not trying hard enough. But trying feels so wrong, its not like I have to, with great effort and focus, try to will myself to be conscious of my every action and suddenly realize enlightenment. Or maybe that's the way it works...its just that I'm pretty much doing it based on pure faith. And I don't think the exercise alone can really bring me to any new point.
Hi piotr624
I can really relate to your posts, and like you, I wonder - should this take so much effort? I find myself trying to bring myself back to the present - focus on what i'm doing/how i feel, and try to have consciousness and awareness in everything i do - and it's not easy, and it doesn't feel effortless.
"If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence"

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Re: Paradox

Post by innerhike » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:55 am

I personally find it quite insulting and unhelpful when people who think themselves to be stabilized in the Now, say some non-duality buzzwords to people who are struggling to stay in the Now. Especially the advice from a person who calls themselves Awareness is a great example of this. The few posts I have seen from this person are typically of pseudo-advaita (nonduality) types/posers who have learnt to talk in unfeeling shorthand that provides absolutely no help to struggling people.

I have been in the place that Piotr is describing.

For many years. And even now at times.

I find that there are deeper levels of awakening and that new crap can show up that I never knew existed.

Years can go by and I wonder at times if I am ever going to be completely done with suffering.

The good news is that what used to bother me for most of my waking hours is now reduced to minutes.

And in the rare occasions when I am overcome by a renewed painbody I know that it will not last and that all I have to do is to retreat into stillness.

The ways to break out of suffering are many. There are many paths, many practices that have stood the test of time. We may think that Eckhart is some radical dude who is quite rare, but the reality is that for thousands of years there have been many Eckharts and because it is so hard to codify and reach the state they are describing, religions are created.

We have to be patient, honest and work hard if we wish to be free of suffering.

There is no such thing as a free lunch in this universe.

Your true nature is not all of a sudden going to shine forth 24x7 and elevate you to Buddhahood automatically.

If that is how it worked, then we would not have had the depravity and violence on this planet that we have had for millenia.

Some people wake up automatically. Then thousands or millions others try to follow them. Only a few in those followers succeed.

But let me assure you: there is no other game in town. This is the only game.

You cannot walk away from it. You are trapped. You are choiceless. Your suffering is here to stay. The minute you find a way to stop resisting your suffering, it will stop.

We cannot know what practice or idea will work for you. You have to be willing to submit to a teacher or higher consciousness or be brave and be willing to try different things and see what helps.

You cannot just say: there is nothing I can do about my suffering because Eckhart got to this place without doing anything.

If struggling is all you can do, then keep struggling. Don't judge it. Just be as inelegant and as imperfect as you can be, don't try to be Eckhart.

Walk, run, hide, laugh, cry, do whatever. There are so many ways. As many as there are people and moods on this planet. Do not throw away the training wheels before you have learnt to ride the bicycle properly. Don't believe the ones who are telling you that they are riding quite nicely and so can you. Do it first and then tell us. Go on a book tour and maybe go on Oprah. :-)

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Re: Paradox

Post by Sighclone » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:30 am

piotr -

From innerhike:
The minute you find a way to stop resisting your suffering, it will stop.

From Zen: To yield is to conquer.

From Eckhart ( on one of the Oprah shows ), and others: What you resist, persists.


innerhike: I am rewarded every time I hear your words. There is a ring of authenticity borne from a powerful struggle - thanks for being here for us.

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: Paradox

Post by Onceler » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:28 am

I agree with Andy, nice response Innerhike. I find what you say to be true in myself, but for a lesser duration of time. I have phased in and out of presence. When it is there it feels eternal, when it goes away (for me) it feels lost forever.

For example, last weekend I was a raving, maniac, painbody in full color. The following week was one of focus and presence despite some very stressful moments. I feel my awareness helped others feel more centered and problems resolved spontaneously. I know that soon I will be maniacal again. (I wish I could get it down to minutes).

I believe it was the famous spiritual teacher, Bruce Springsteen, that wrote about "one step forward, two steps back..."
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: Paradox

Post by Nebula » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:25 am

kiki wrote:
piotr624 wrote:I have heard all of the "ego is bad", "questions never end", "stillness is the true you" statements, but I don't *know* them. I need to understand them for myself, and there must be some way to achieve this without my exasperating mind, and without enforcing these practises on myself.
This is where you are caught - there is a perceived need that it must be understood by the mind before it happens. But that is just a pipe dream of the mind and a desire of the ego that keeps you on a treadmill of mental grasping. The understanding reveals itself once there is the recognition/realization of what you are. Minds are great for understanding everything but "this" since this is prior to mind.

Do you "see" the consciousness that is always here? Just rest in/as that consciousness and understanding will be revealed through insight. If you don't recognize consciousness ask yourself, "What am I really?" and then look. When everything that you are not is seen through as temporary and illusory and then drops away what remains is just consciousness. Return again and again to what the word consciousness points to - there is no need to impose any need to understand it. At some point the understanding/insight emerges all on its own and infuses the mind. So you don't have to seek it out because it will find you all by itself.
Wow, just re-read this, and found this quote from kiki to be particularly useful, hadn't really considered that the reality of this may be experienced before it is understood.
"If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence"

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