I am reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. I decided to record myself reading this chapter by chapter so that I could share it with my husband, who could then follow along as I read the book.
Chapter one has already had an impact on me. The title is ‘You Are Not Your Mind’ and it speaks to me very clearly that I am not living in the present as much as I thought (and this is a precursor to the problem and what the chapter is mostly about).
The chapter opens with a discussion of what is enlightenment and goes on to explain that our own minds are the greatest obstacle to attaining our own enlightenment.
Being, the state of Being, is only accessible when our minds are still and this is something we can all attain by looking within, and being in the Now. Tolle said, “Don’t try to understand it. You can know it only when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment.”
To free ourselves from our mind (liberation), we must listen to the voice in our head and pay attention to any and all repetitive thought patterns, what Tolle refers to as “watching the thinker.” The key is to not judge yourself, your thoughts, but to listen impartially as a witness of those thoughts. This helps us to eliminate involuntary and compulsive thinking because by doing so we stop energizing our minds. When we deny ourselves from identifying with the thought, we begin to experience stillness, the state of no-mind, or pure consciousness.
We are told this takes practice. The gaps (aka no-mind) start small and grow as we become more alert as we learn to disidentify from our minds. When we no longer take the thoughts in our head seriously, when we no longer allow our thoughts to define our sense of self. Maybe we are not what we think we think…
We must learn to rise above thought because it is always living in the past and the present instead of the Now and therefore it is always getting it all wrong. Tolle said, “No-mind is consciousness without thought.” And since that is the goal, the way to reach enlightenment, we must free ourselves from all this ‘involuntary internal dialogue’ to achieve inner stillness.
There is much more to this chapter, and I did not mean to write a summary of it. I guess I am trying to make sense of it. Pay attention to the end of the chapter discussion on emotion and how our body reacts to it. There is a deep explanation of the pain we create from our emotion and our need to stop doing this as emotion manifests itself as pain in our mind and our body. Chapter two, which I will read next, is going to help us understand the importance of stopping ourselves from creating pain in our present and dissolving pain from our past.
*I’ll post the chapter audio file here shortly. My first go was not very good as I recorded it with the fan on and using Windows Voice Recorder. I’m downloading Audacity right now and will give it another go… Let me know what you think about the chapter. Heidi