A New Earth, Chapter 8, The Discovery of Inner Space October 11

Ekhart starts the chapter with a story of a King i n ancient times, who spent his time torn between happiness and despondency.  He asked a wise man for help and was given the gift of an ornate box.  Within the box was a ring inscribed with the message “This too shall pass”.  The king asked what the meaning of this was and the wise man said, wear the ring always and whatever happens, before you call i t good or bad, read the inscription on the ring.  That way you will always be at peace.  (pg 224)

He then relates this to an earlier story of the Zen master whose response to all things was “is that so?”  He goes on to talk about the “wisdom” of nonjudgement and the importance of realizing the fact that everything in the physical world is impermanent.  He states that nonresistance, nonjudgement, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.   Once we become aware that all external situations are fleeting, you become less attached to them.  You can start to enjoy the moment for what it is, enjoy it while it lasts without fear of loss or anxiety about the future.  You become better able to view the events of your life rather than becoming trapped within them.

When you are no longer identified with form, you become freed of the imprisonment of form and realize an inner space, a stillness, a peace within you.  (pg 226)  You realize there is space around events, around the emotional highs and lows and space between your thoughts.  This space emanates peace, this is the “Peace of God”. (pg 226)

We as a civilization need to develop space consciousness as well as object consciousness.  This means being able to sense an alert inner stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground.  AWARENESS  This can give freedom form materialism and materiality and give us the spiritual dimension which is needed to give true meaning to the world.  (pg 228)

Ekhart talks about getting beyond thought, rising above it…like when you are tired, relaxed and thinking is subsiding.  Another way of getting beyond thought is through drugs and alcohol, at which time we fall below thought.  Using drugs and alcohol create an unconsciouness.  Another way to get beyond thought is through TV.  We become absorbed with the thoughts of others and become susceptible to being manipulated.  (pg 231)

It is a challenge for us to become aware of space, as we are all conditioned to object or form awareness.  The harder we look for it or try to understand it, the more difficult it becomes.  He describes being able to enjoy little things, notice the sound of the wind or the rain, feel the breeze on your face, hear the birds sing, find yourself being kind to a stranger without wanting anything in return.  This is being present, a space has opened up.  When this happens there is a sense of well being, of alive peace, even though it may be subtle.  (pg 234)

He differentiates Ego from Presence this way.  Ego asks How can I make this situation fulfill my needs.  Presence asks How do I respond to the needs of this situation?  (pg 238)  he goes on to say that all creativity comes out of inner space.  If you take credit for what you accomplished, the ego has returned, and the spaciousness has become obscured.  (pg 239)

When we get taken in by every thought or lose ourselves in the experience we also lose our consciousness.  (pg 243)  One way to avoid this is to tune into our breath.  The more we are aware of our breathing, the more we create space within.  Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment.  The goal is then to shift from the breath to the inner aliveness within us.  Take two or three breaths and then notice the inner aliveness you feel throughout your body.

To be still is to be consciously without thought.  When you are still you are who your are beyond your temporal existence:  consciousness-unconditioned, formless, eternal.  (pg 256)

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