A New Earth August 24th – Chapter 2

Chapter 2 EGO: The Current State of Humanity.

This chapter talks about our need to name things, people and places.  Once we have named something we often think we know now all there is to know about that something then we overlook the true essence that is within.  We over look the fact that within all things there is a connectedness, we all come from source energy and we are all interconnected at a very deep level.  Eckhart says on pg 26 “When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life.  …Things regain their newness, their freshness.”    The goal of this chapter is to help us disentangle ourselves from our “identity” which we gain through labels, roles and accomplishments.  We need to learn to go quietly within to experience who we really are.  So often we get caught up in the “cleverness of words and lose our wisdom” (pg 27) He goes on to say that “Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much.”

He goes on to discuss that life as we know it is an illusion.  We focus on the named aspects of self and understand ourselves superficially only.  Once we “recognize the illusion, it is the ending of the illusion.” (pg 28)  We start to lose our false self and recognize our true self.

Many of us live life with constant inner chatter, which creates constant inner turmoil.  So much of our mind chatter is repetitive ( about 95%) and most of that is negative.  We are driving ourselves mad.  He goes on to tell of a lady who he observed in London and in his mind he had decided she was “mad”.  It was later that same morning, he caught himself doing the same things as this lady had done and he came to the realization that most of us are “mad”.  Our minds are busy all the time with things we should do, shouldn’t do, haven’t done yet, need to do, etc.  Our ego is in charge and we are along for the ride.

The Ego, Eckhart states “…consists of content and structure.” (pg 34)  Content is what we focus on, (car, house, job) and structure is when we add the word my to it, we make it a part of us.  “The unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object is built into the very structure of the egoic mind.” (pg 35)  “I try to find myself in things but never quite make it and end up losing myself in them.” (pg 35)  “We cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement” (pg 37) Many of us become preoccupied with things, particularly when you no longer feel the life that you are, you are likely to try to fill up your life with things.” (pg 39)

“Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the Being that it cannot feel.” (pg 40) Eckhart says don’t even try to let go of attachment to things.  It is impossible.  “Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.” (pg 45)  Once we can get out of our heads and go within, we can start to feel who we are, it has to be felt, it cannot be achieved through thinking or things.

Sometimes it takes a tragic loss, major illness or some life altering event for us to go beyond ego, to yield into the quietness where “Spirit is released from its imprisonment in matter.  You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all pervasive Presence…” (pg 57)  Other times when someone experiences a major life event they resist, and now the ego becomes “more contracted, more rigid and impenetrable than the old one.” (pg 57)  To yield is to accept what is. You are open to life.  To resist is to contract, you become closed to life. (pg 58)  To open internally is to become one with unconditioned consciousness, the all that is.  “Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative.  Coincidences happen.  If no action is possible, you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender.  You rest in God.” (pg 58)

This is a powerful chapter and we had lots of lively discussion today as we delved a bit deeper into all this.  Thank you to all who attended and to you who are following along online.

Next Saturday Book Club will meet at Indra’s Grace again from1-2:30.  The following week, September 7th there will be no Book Club as we will be having our  Third Intensive Yoga Training.

Have a wonderful week!

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A New Earth, Wakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Chapter 1, The Flowering of Human Consciousness

Eckhart Tolle starts this book discussing nature’s evolution, going back millions of years before the environment could sustain flowers.   He states that after many attempts by flowers to survive, a “critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of color and scent all over the planet”.  (pg1)These flowers would one day play an important role in the lives of people, “being most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them.” (pg2)”Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, true nature.” (pg2)

Eckhart makes an interesting analogy with plants, reptiles, animals and humans, saying that all nature in any form can undergo enlightenment, and that this “enlightenment” is extremely rare, as it is not just an “evolutionary progression” but “a leap to an entirely different level of Being and most important, a lessening of materiality.” (pg 3)  He discusses some rocks turning into crystals and some reptiles turning into birds.  “Flowers, crystals, precious stones and birds have special significance for the human spirit.” (4)  Once humans are present enough, focused and at peace they are able to sense the “divine life essence” within nature and then love it as they love themselves.  This takes practice and desire, as most of us are so busy getting on with our lives that we forget to take the time to see the beauty and essence that surrounds us in nature.  Many of us are unaware of our own inner essence and” instead focus on the physical and psychological aspects of life.” (pg 4)When you are “alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless.  …into the realm of spirit.” (pg 5)

The purpose of this book is to look at whether humans can rise above the pull of the physical, “…to bring about a shift in consciousness”. (pg 6)    He goes on to discuss that this awakening is becoming aware of how we have been conditioned to think, and to look more deeply at how our Ego controls our lives.  He states this book will help us to better identify when we are in Ego state, versus a state of being.  He also refers to the “collective consciousness”.  We have become a people “motivated by greed, fear and the desire of power.”  (pg 10)This he states was the cause of WWI, and this pattern has really gone on throughout the ages.  He touches on our negative impact not only on other human and animal life forms but on the very earth itself.  He refers to what we are doing as “perpetuating insanity”.  (pg 11)

On pg 12 I liked his quote, “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.”

Eckhart discusses the difference between Spirituality and Religion, stating that “…the more you make your thoughts (beliefs) into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension within yourself.”  (17)  “Those unable to look beyond form become even more deeply entrenched in their beliefs …in their minds.” (pg 19)  Our challenge then is to rise above thought, to observe our thoughts and know that they are not us; we no longer identify with thought form but become the one who observes the thought.  This makes it much easier to “not take things personally” as Don Miguel Ruiz writes in the Four Agreements.

He ends the chapter stating that “Earth …is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner.” (pg 23)  I find this very interesting when looking around at what we are doing to this earth and to each other.

Although I have heard from a couple of you that this book is a challenge to read, I think the messages within the covers are worth the effort!

Come join us next week when we delve into chapter 2 Ego: the Current State of Humanity.   We will meet in a different location for the next two weeks.  We will let you know where as soon as it is decided.  Thanks to all for coming, it was a fun group.  I really enjoy your input and the discussions we share.  Have a great week.