A New Earth, Chapter 9 Your Inner Purpose

“As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.”  (pg 257)  Ekhart goes on to say that the true or primary purpose of your life cannot be lived on the outer level.  It does not concern what you do, but what you are, that is to say your state of consciousness.  (pg 258)  Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary.  Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary.  (pg 258)  Your inner purpose is to awaken.  …Your outer purpose can change overtime (but) finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundations for fulfilling your outer purpose.  (pg 258)

Awakening is a shift in consciousness , it is a process.  Awareness takes over from thinking.  Awareness is conscious connection with the Universal intelligence.  Another word for this is Presence:  Consciousness without thought.  (pg 259)

He goes on to say that for some awakening happens as they suddenly become aware of the kinds of thoughts they habitually think, especially persistent negative thoughts that they have identified with all their lives.  They suddenly become aware of the thought but they are not a part of the thought any longer.  With this awakening comes responsibility.  Opening yourself to this awareness means  bringing this light into the world then becomes the primary purpose of your life.  Some may choose instead to ignore it and continue life as before.  Many people in the early stages of awakening are no longer certain what their outer purpose is, they feel alienated from the culture around them, as they now recognize the insanity of our civilization.  (pg 262)  He says that whatever we are doing in the outer world, if it is connected to out inner primary purpose, will be done with more meaning.  Once your are connected to your inner purpose, time becomes meaningless.  Whatever you do, you will do very well because the doing becomes the focal point of you attention, and this is the channel through which consciousness enters this world.  (pg 265)  We start to realize that the foundation for greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing idea of greatness.  (pg 266)

It is only when you feel cut off from your inner purpose that stress and anxiety return.  This gives the illusion of separateness.  This happens when we forget to live in the present moment.  This small thing can create much pain and suffering.  (pg 267)

 

 

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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)

A New Earth, September 21st, Chapter 5

Pain-Body

We all experience suffering, some experience more than others.  Much of our suffering in based in our own thoughts, which tend to be repetitious and negative.  Many of our thoughts are just “static” or constant chatter within the mind.  Because these thoughts are so constant we become unaware of what we are really thinking, but may notice that our mood changes suddenly.  The negative energy from these thoughts creates negative emotions and together they form the pain body that we carry around all our lives.  Some people’s pain bodies are denser than others and carry much negative emotion.  The negative emotion we carry can be from our own experience or from experiences of those who have lived prior to us.  It is like the pain is carried in our DNA.

Pain bodies can lie dormant for years in some cases.  In other people the pain body seems to be continuously searching for one little thing to get it going again.  It often doesn’t take much and the drama is on.  “Emotion from the pain body quickly gains control of your thinking, and once your mind has been taken over by the pain-body, your thinking becomes negative.  … It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don’t want to.  This is because the pain-body at that time is living through you, pretending to be you.  And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure.”  (pg 147)

Pain-bodies become very apparent in intimate relationships, as that is where they get most of their food. (pg 148)  “It is tough to resist another person’s pain-body that is determined to draw you into a reaction.  …It is raw emotion looking for more emotion.. The other person’s pain-body wants to awaken yours so that both pain-bodies can mutually energize each other.  (pg 148)  In homes where much drama is acted out, young children are painfully affected.  Ekhart says this is one of the ways that the pain body is passed on from generation to generation.

The media and movies also play into the pain body.  People love to pay money to watch people kill others and inflict pain on others.  “Pain bodies write and produce these films, and pain-bodies pay to watch them.”  (pg 153)

On page 155, Ekhart discusses “the suppression of the feminine principle, especially over the past 2000 years, has enabled the ego (which is more dominant in males) to gain absolute supremacy in the collective human psyche.  He says that although women have egos, they are much less “mind-identified” than are men.  “they are more in touch with their inner body and the intelligence of the organism where the intuitive faculties originate.  The female form is less rigidly encapsulated than the male, has greater openness and sensitivity toward other life-forms, and is more attuned to the natural world.” (pg 155)  What was it about the female principle that made men feel threatened?  The evolving ego in men made them realize that the only way to gain full control of the planet by males was to render the female powerless.  (pg 156)  “The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain.”  (pg 157)

Ekhart then goes on to discuss the pain bodies of entire countries as well as various races and cultures.  These pain bodies have build over centuries and continue to create major problems for we humans.  He talks of various ways of dealing with this pain.  He suggests that some countries turn to alcohol, yet China turned to t’ai chi to release what no longer serves them.  (pg 158)  Increasingly more countries including western cultures are turning to t’ai chi, qigong, and yoga.  “These practices do not create a separation between body and spirit and are helpful in weakening the pain-body.” (pg 159)

He ends the chapter saying, “there is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.  That realization is true forgiveness.  With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves and your true power emerges—the power of Presence.  Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.”  (pg 160)

 

Next week there will be no Book Club, as Sandra is doing a Pranayama Workshop and many of us will be at that!  See you in 2 weeks, Oct 5th to discuss Chapter 6 and the first half of Chapter 7.

Have a great week.

 

A New Earth, Chapter 4

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

The roles we play are often a part of our “unconscious” life.  We are not aware we are playing a role, we mistake it for who we are.  Unfortunately we then lose our authentic self in the playing of the role.  Roles can come in many forms and in the early days of civilization roles where assigned based on the family you were born into.  When Jesus and Buddha came along, they challenged this idea that we are the role that we live.  They tried to get the message across that roles are based only on thought forms and physical form, but that our true authentic self comes from within and is eternal.  It is not temporal as are all thought and physical form with which we identify.

Roles can be the parent, the victim, the caregiver, the peacemaker, the doctor, the priest, the general, etc.  There is no end to the number of roles we play.  Roles are not bad; it is only when we lose ourselves within the role that we have problems.  When our whole focus stays on the outer world we do not get re-connected with our true selves.  We become our story, and often the story is fraught with problems.  We begin to take life and ourselves very seriously.  We lose joy and spontaneity in our lives.  True authentic interaction is lost and we feel disengaged.

Ekhart says don’t look for happiness, look at the feelings behind what is making you unhappy.  Start to see the link between your thoughts and your emotions, once you are aware that it is your thoughts about a situation that are making you unhappy, not the situation itself, you can do something about it.  You are now starting to be the awareness behind your thoughts and emotions.  You can now seek freedom from unhappiness.  Doing this will bring you back to an inner peace which is the true source of happiness.  (pg 96)

To give up playing a role “is an essential lesson in the art of living that each of us is here to learn.” (pg 106)  “You become most powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance or conform to your role identity.” (pg 107)

“A person in the grip of ego, however, does not recognize suffering as suffering, but will look upon it as the only appropriate response in any given situation.” (pg110)  The ego does not see the needless suffering it inflicts upon itself.  When we spend time being angry, resentful, envious, we are holding others responsible for our pain, we see it as “outside induced”, we do not see the ego as playing the role, we see it as others are doing this to me.  (pg 110)

“Anger and resentment strengthen the ego enormously by increasing the sense of separateness,… creating …a mental position of “rightness”. (111)

Listen to people’s stories and they could all be entitled “Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now”. (pg 115)

“To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment.” (pg 116)

“The stronger the ego in you, the more likely it is that in your perception other people are the main source of problems in your life.  It is also more than likely that you will make life difficult for others.  But, of course, you won’t be able to see that.” (pg119)

“Those who are exceptionally good at what they do may be completely or largely free of ego while performing their work.  They may not know it, but their work has become a spiritual practice”. (pg 121)

“In order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.” (pg 123)

“So, there is no such thing as “my life”…I am Life.  Life and I are one.  So how could I lose my life?  How can I lose something that I AM?  It is impossible.”  (pg 128)

This is a great chapter, so much in it, if you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so, as I just picked some of the topics to address.

Next week we will meet at Indra’s Grace at 1PM.  September 28 there will be no Book Club as many members will be attending the Pranayama workshop.  See you next week when we will be discussing Chapter 5, The Pain-Body

Have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Club Notes – A New Earth, Chapter 3

The Core of Ego

Most of us are conditioned to believe that we are our thoughts; we are possessed by our minds.  Many of us are unaware that we are not our thoughts that we are instead the observer of our thoughts.  First though we need to step back out of our story and observe where our thoughts take us.  Our thoughts lead us to take on different roles depending on our life experiences.  “The content of the ego changes from person to person, but in every ego the same structure operates.  …egos differ only on the surface.  Deep down they are the same.  …They live on identification and separation.”(pg 60)  It is easier to stay in this egoic state when we are fault finding or seeing others as our enemy.  This really helps us to find our separateness and at times our “rightness” in many situations.

“Complaining is one of the egos favorite strategies for strengthening itself.” (pg 61)  This is interesting to me that whether you complain aloud or to yourself it is the same.  It becomes your story; it becomes habitual, and unconscious.  We are totally unaware that we are complaining.  (pg 61)  Resentment goes along with complaining.  It helps energize the ego.  When resentful and complaining we apply negative labels to others.  One level below labeling and name calling is shouting and screaming and then down a bit further is physical violence.  In all these scenarios we are feeling totally separate and working to feel powerful and to feel “right”.  The easiest way for the ego to feel “right” is to find fault in others.
On page 62 he says that  “What you react to in another, you  strengthen in yourself.”

“Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.” (pg 62)  To do this we have to be able to recognize that whatever is happening is coming from the ego, is a part of “collective human dysfunction”.  (pg 62)  Once we realize it is not personal, there is nothing to react against.  Staying non reactive can bring calm to many upsetting situations.  Yet, this is difficult to do and when we are not aware we become reactive, always waiting for the next thing to react to.  (pg 65)  Reactivity and resentment can lead to a grievance.  “To carry a grievance is to be in a permanent state of “against”.” ( pg 65)  Grievances are a recollection often from the distant past of something very upsetting.  These memories are kept alive by compulsive thinking and retelling our story.  When we are caught up in the retelling or remembering of the grievance, we are not living in the present moment, we are missing out on life around us.  Our story becomes deeply entrenched and we believe we are our story. ( pg 65)

When talking with others and we state a fact and another challenges the fact, it is not ego to say the reason behind the fact and let it go at that.  But if we go on to say, “believe me, I know” or “why don’t you ever believe me” that is ego speaking.  (pg 67)  Going into I am right and you are wrong in any relationship is a “dangerous” thing. (pg 69)  He then discusses how this has been used in Religious and Political ideologies.   This has caused divisiveness and conflict between people.  ( pg 71)

Ekhart says “there is only one absolute Truth, and all other truths emanate from it.  When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it.  Human action can reflect the Truth, or it can reflect illusion.   Can the Truth be put into words?  Yes, but the words are, of course not it.  They only point to it.”  (pg 71)  He goes on to say that “You are the Truth.  If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time.”  (pg 71)  He then quotes Jesus “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (pg 71)  Here he explains that the words I Am, refers to the essence identity of every man and woman, every life form. ( pg 71)  This is what some call the “Christ Within”.   When you are in touch with that aspect of yourself, “all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within.” (72)

War is a mind set and as Ekhart says, when we are crusading in a War on Drugs, Cancer, Heart Disease, etc, we are doomed to failure.  He says when we treat the disease as an enemy we go on to create more diseases.  He quotes a study in the Journal of American Medical Association that state the medical treatment is the 3 leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer.  “War is a mind set and all action that comes out of such a mind-set will either strengthen the enemy,  the perceived evil, or, if the war is won, will create a new enemy, a new evil equal to or worse than the one defeated. “ (pg 76)  He suggests looking at alternative approaches.

When ego is in reactive state it is difficult to stay the observer or “witnessing Presence”.  We want recognition, power.  When we become aware of what the ego is doing and instead go within to silence we realize great peace.  “Once you have had a taste of it, you will grow in Presence power, and the ego will lose its grip on you.”  “All that is required to become free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. “ (pg 78)  The realization that I cannot find myself in thoughts and things that continuously pass away.  (pg 78) Then I realize that what remains is the deeper true I.  Life looses its absolute seriousness, its heaviness when we are continuously aware of our inner being, our presence our oneness with all.

Thanks to you ladies who came today.  It was a great discussion thanks to your participation.  Have a wonderful week.

Just a reminder that there will be no Book Club next week, as the Yoga Immersion course is on next Saturday.  See you in two weeks.  Enjoy your reading!

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!

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.

 

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