I am trying something difference, a break from poetry and an attempt at expressing some of my thoughts in a difference forum… this is the first part of my thoughts and notes on an evening with Eckhart Tolle, more to come…
Last evening, after a yoga class of silent gentleness under the guidance of a good friend, I prepared my dinner and sat down to watch the first two hours of a presentation by Eckhart Tolle. Filmed at a retreat he conducted in Findhorn Scotland.
As he walked onto the stage, I was struck once again by his unassuming presence, by his humble attitude, his grace
He started off so quietly I had to repeatedly turn up the volume on my tv. His words seemed hard to come at first, requiring silent stillness but as he progressed his passion and humor became clearer and his words increased in volume and fluidity.
Taking notes on his presentations is difficult for me. He will say something so profound that I have to get it down but while doing so I am afraid I will miss some other bit of his wisdom consequently my notes are half sentences, key words only, and it is left to my memory to fill in the blanks later. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not so much! So what follows is my take on what he presented, on what I took away from the two hours, taken from his words but mostly written in mine. The things he spoke of that resonated with me and made me rush to my desk to write them down are things I have thought on before, things I have noticed but not always had words to describe, things that perhaps needed no wordy or worldly descriptions.
I am attracted to scared places, they are places you can feel, places that call out to you, appeal to a part of you deep inside, sometimes for no reason you can put your finger on. Why this place and not the other? They are called “thin places”. Places where the veil separating this world from the next has been lifted momentarily or has become “thin”. It is in these thin places that the light of the Being, the one creator, the universal energy, the un-manifested, is able to shine through. Its presence draws us to it as a summer porch light draws moths. Even those who don’t know, who never stop thinking, feel this presence, albeit if only momentarily, before their thoughts and distracted ego influenced minds regain the upper hand and shut down the Being as if someone turned off the porch light.
I have two thin places, one I visit frequently. I call it the Land of Wind and Chi. It is a multi-acre field, a nature preserve of sorts supported by a bottling company and a town government. Probably not what one would traditional call a typical candidate for a thin place, if there is any such criteria to be met, but it is a land that speaks to me, to me and a dear friend I used to spend time with there, he felt it too. I can sit there for hours, deep into my meditation, and feel the vibrations coming from the earth and the sky. The grasses and milkweed plants interact together and sing to the melodies of the wind. The sun is warmer there, the air clearer, the storms more violent, the peace more powerful, the now more present. My other thin place is the cull between two mountains in New Hampshire, another place of vibrant air alive with the vibrations of the force that created the mountains, that separated them from the sea and sky. A place where wind howls and lichens grow low and close to the rocks. A place where I could sit for eternity and want for nothing else because what is inside me is all around the outside of me there. Keeping those thin places with me wherever I go is what Eckhart is showing me how to do.
Our lives are a struggle because we are trapped in our thoughts, our story, our minds and egos, instead of in the Now. Everything happens in the now, even death, when it comes, will happen Now. Our minds are accomplished tail tellers, they craft and create our story and lead us to believe that without our story we are nobody. Nobody is an odd choice of word here, taken on its face it would seem that “nobody” would be a wonderful thing, a being with no body or “form”. But we, in our egoism, don’t see it that way. Our minds fight and plan and deceive to keep our perception of ourselves and others perceptions of us in the spotlight. We need to feel that we are special and how do we do that? By making others seem less. By feeling superior to others, they lose so we can win, we are right so they have to be wrong. The mind is always shifting and changing its “mind” to fit our egos perception of the need for us to feel superior. Even when playing the victim our very victimness makes us special so as Eckhart says, even when you lose, according to the mind and ego you win because your loss makes you special. Your loss gives you a story and to our minds and egos, we are our story, therefore our story is our identity.
Our story gives our mind a life, a definition of who we are, albeit a false one but that is not the realm of the mind, it is not concerned with the truth of being. That would be too scary, to lose oneself to find oneself. It is not a concept our intelligence or thinking mind can rest on. Our minds project to us an image that we are not good enough, not enough in any way thereby creating our need for more, more money, more fame, more people who care about us, more of everything we think we need to be happy. My mind tells me that I am not happy because of something that happened in the past or something that has not happened. This way of thinking keeps me trapped in the realm of form, not in the essence of being. All form is impermanent, our physical form as well, something our egos and minds reject. And it is when we are distracted, when something happens to make us shut off those thoughts, whether voluntarily or not, that the true essence of who we are, the Being separate from thoughts and ego, is able to shine through. Most often these episodes of shine are fleeting, momentary, unplanned but they are enough to show the unsuspecting that there exists a different kind of being, one not based on form or thought. It may take many such episodes for the unsuspecting to become suspecting, but it is a start.
To be continued…