Notes from “The Secret of Life” (2017) by Eckhart Tolle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atCYBU7_YsIeckharttolle5.jpg

I am a fan of Eckhart Tolle and have read many of his books, including The Power of NOW, so here are a few notes from this video titled “The Secret of LIFE”. I found that he elaborates on Presence and the concept of being present better here than in other videos I’ve seen from him. The actual YouTube version is listed above if you are interested:

“…There are two dimensions to you—to who you are—one that you are very familiar with—the person—the personal entity with a past and a future, ….including the physical body—the entity of ME—its life situation. That is usually the limit to people’s perceptions of themselves, not realizing that there is a deeper dimension in them that is…the Light of Consciousness—so that any moment you are both a person and you are the Light of lightofconsciousness6.jpgConsciousness that has nothing to do with your person or personal history….when the Light of Consciousness predominates over the personal sense of self, I call that being Present. There is a presence which you cannot touch or see or make into an object of consciousness. ….Because the Presence is an eternal subject not an object to your consciousness. …

“So in any situation—in the NOW—when you can sense the Presence rather than the personal, ….who are you really? Are you the Light of Consciousness seeing others around you without judgment, …or can you only operate as the Person of YOU with your psychological makeup—your sense of limited perception?  How do you feel, ….how do you sense, …the deeper Consciousness itself (of which you are only a minute part)?… At preeentmomentallthis moment (when you are in Presence) your problems have NO reality… you have only Presence. Therefore, you have no problem. …(Only when you start thinking about things do you perceive ‘problems’.  Problems do not exist in Presence. There may be situations and interactions occurring, ..but that is only what they are…situations and interactions occurring around you, …you can observe them in Presence. When you judge them and designate them as deleterious to you, then you make them ‘problems.’)

“The transcendent dimension can be experienced at any time as the simple powerful fact of the Light of Consciousness that you are.  …before the Light of Consciousness turns into a thought.  ..So you transcend your life situation and see your life situation as a timeless self immersed in the Light of Consciousness.  ..So then you can either be present or you can be immersed in your own stuff (that you judge and perceive as problems).

“…You carry the world inside your head with you,…so you cannot escape it. So you must bring the Presence into your daily existence so you can see thru the gaps in your daily life and simply be the Light of Consciousness… simply BE the Presence (without judgment or emotion).   When you are lost in your thoughts, you are lost in an illusory state of existence …unaware of who you really are.  livein now ekWhen you are Present, you can sense the peace of who you are in essence …you are not totally trapped in the personal sense of self.  A simple sense perception can take you out of your (thinking) mind and into your sense of just being.  This is when you can occupy two dimensions simultaneously: the formed and the formless—the personal and the Light of Consciousness itself.

“The fact that you are conscious at this moment is beyond doubt, but anything else could be a dream. …When you can know yourself as that Light of Consciousness (recognizing the illusory matter you call LIFE for the illusion that it is), …it is called self-realizationdeath and die ek

“You are the LIGHT from the projector, ….NOT the projection on the screen,…you are just the light.

“Challenges may distract us from our Presence, ….but then we wake up again to who we really are, …the Light of Consciousness, ..(not the projected image on the screen, ….we are just the Light behind it).

evolution ofconsciousness.jpg“We may experience challenging situations, but we do NOT have to suffer because of them, …because suffering is a choice. Suffering is how we choose to view any situation. Things happen to us, yes, …but SUFFERING because of those situations, is optional.”

 

“It’s wonderful to see you liberated from your personality.  To simply be your Presence without your rigid thought patterns or beliefs, …that is to be liberated.  And as you awaken there is a freedom in that, even though you may have your own particular characteristics, ….there is a transcendent consciousness that persists through it. That is who you are.”

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Some Comments on Pat Ogden, PhD, from the “S & P Summit”

After reviewing some of my notes taken from that Psychotherapy patogdan.jpgand Spirituality Summit last month, I wanted to highlight Pat Ogden’s approach to treating clients as one that was holistically attractive for many reasons.

I’m not a psychologist, so much of the content and many of the references that these presenters were describing were new to me. Evidently one big influence on Pat Ogden’s professional life was Ron Kurtz who was the pioneer behind the Hakomi method of therapy.

This method sounded so similar to the spiritual approach that on some level of your being, your body/mind/spirit knows what it needs and is working hard to bring that need to your conscious attention—you simply have to listen and allow it to show you what would help to reorganize your health.

ronkurtz.jpgSo here is more information on Ron Kurtz and the Hakomi method:

( http://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/ron-kurtz-hakomi-therapy )

“Ron Kurtz:  Hakomi uses several particular, unique approaches to helping people study themselves.

We believe–or I believe, anyway–that self-study, as it’s practiced even in the East, is about reducing the unnecessary suffering that comes from not knowing who you really are. In fact, Hakomi means, “Who are you?” So, the way we do it is to establish a safe relationship–a “bubble,” we sometimes call it–within which the therapist helps the client feel comfortable, safe, and cared for.

Serge Prengel (the interviewer): So it’s really “Who are you?” in the sense of how you organize your experience.

RK: Yes, and how you do it unconsciously, automatically—things that go on, as John Lennon would say, while you’re doing something else. There are wonderful new books about the adaptive unconscious, and that’s an essential part of my thinking.

SP: That most of the processes happen unconsciously, and that there’s a reason behind that.

RK: Yes. There’s usually a habit that was learned as an adaptation to a situation, and these habits are not necessarily verbalized or even made aware; we have to bring them into consciousness.

SP: So that’s very much related to that notion that Hakomi is about, “Who are you?” And by creating the experiment, you give the person a chance to actually realize the belief that they carry inside.

RK: Sometimes they call it “self-discovery.” Assisted self-discovery–that’s how I like to think of it.

SP: That’s a very different approach from the more medical-oriented model of pathology.

RK: Yes, it’s totally not a pathological model. It’s a model of, “You want to study yourself? I’ll help you.”

Here’s a YouTube of Kurtz explaining it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=rcRda7-tsXU

***

I guess my comment on this Hakomi method is that it reminded me of the NLP approach coretransform.jpgchampioned by the Andreas (Connirae, Tamara and Steve) called “Core Transformation” where the NLPer takes a client deeper and deeper into what his body says would make him reach a Core State, such as to feel at peace, or to feel loved, or to feel okay, or to feel a sense of oneness with all.

It involves digging layer by layer into the question “What would make you feel closer to this desired state” as they explore the client’s present undesired feeling as opposed to unrealized but desired feeling that would improve the client’s life.  It’s a bit like peeling an onion down to its core point and then doing “soul-parts recovery and reintegration” for the client, which another technique frequently used in hypnosis, NLP, and shamanic healing.

And it’s also far too complicated a process to elaborate on further now, but basically it involves listening more fully and closely to your own body and mind telling you what it really needs and wants in your life to improve your health condition—mentally or physically, or both.makeyoufeel.jpg

So overall, the therapist’s focus is less about the standard clichéd line of: “How does that make you feel?” and more along the line of: “How do you WANT to feel, and what would you need to do or to receive, to feel that way?”

Anyway, my notes on Ogden extended beyond the Kurtz reference, but I’ll have to do it in parts or this will go way too long. But overall, I was impressed with Ogden’s presentation and hoped that others would study her approach to more holistic therapy.

Metacognition with Dr. Dispenza on Ted Talk

Joe tedtalk.jpgThis morning I saw Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Ted Talk presentation on neuroplasticity and rewiring our brains (cortical remapping) to change our behaviors. I think it was called “Thinking to Doing to Being.” (The location is: https://www.facebook.com/DrJoeDispenzaOfficialNewsFanPage/videos/2122965437728839/  )

Because I have previously commented on this aspect of “Whatever you think, IS—so change your thinking to reflect what you want” I’ll include the link if anyone wants to see it, and I’ll make a few more comments per Dr. Dispenza’s TT advice.

He began by explaining the functions of the 3 main parts of the brain: the neocortex3 parts of brain.jpg (the thinking brain), the limbic (mammalian/emotions/feeling) brain, and the cerebellum (the subconscious/reptilian) brain.  When all parts are functioning optimally and are in coordination with each other, we are in optimal mental health and can direct the course of our lives as we wish.

However, when what we think and what we feel are out of line with each other—like when a disturbing memory association and corresponding body reaction because of it counters our intentions to better control our present-day actions, then we feel we have no control over our lives—we automatically react to everything around us. We become stressed, we lose our temper, we act fearful for no visible reason, etc., and then we tend to blame others for our inability to control ourselves.

brain neuropla.jpgBut humans have an amazing ability to actually observe our thinking/acting processes. It is called metacognition—we can become consciously aware of ourselves and our reactions to life through observation—by pulling back to watch how our mind and our body are trying to take us in a direction we really don’t want to go, and then tracing the behavior back to the trigger point that created the reaction.  When we go into observation mode we can simply watch ourselves being WHO we are being—watch how we are reacting to the stimuli before us—even observe our thoughts at the moment to see what we are automatically thinking when a trigger subject arises. It is self-observation and reassessment before automatic reaction.

The importance of this is that in the ability to simply observe ourselves through metacognition, we then have the opportunity to change our previously-patterned behavior.

Dr. Dispenza went into depth on when you maintain the observer of how you are reacting stance rather than automatically react, you change the neuron-firing patterns of your brain’s neocortex enough so that you actually disrupt the limbic brain’s emotion-charged, chemical reactions to the same subject matter. By doing this you are diffusing the chemical effect that it would normally have on your endocrine system which controls the specific chemicals released into your blood stream like the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands that triggers our natural fight-or-flight response.create your future.jpg

Auto-reactions are carefully created neuropathways in the brain established by patterns of reaction and behavior. “Circuits that fire together, wire together,” he says. “So change your thinking, and you can change your body’s reaction to your environment.”

When you can shift to observer/non-reactive mode and choose how you wish to respond to a situation, you begin to biologically breakdown the old circuits earlier created in your brain that were connected to your old way of reacting to life stressors.  This makes your brain neurons start firing in new sequences and new patterns so that what once might have sparked a stress reactor in you, now is recognized as a trigger that you no longer will allow to affect you in the same way. You’ve taken control of how you think about the situation.

I’ll paraphrase him a bit here: “Nerve cells that fire together—wire together. Think new thoughts and you change your brain’s wiring patterns. This is how you change patterns of behavior—you start by thinking new thoughts and recognizing automatic stress triggers that previously might have adversely affected your body. By thinking about the situation in a less-reactive way—less emotional attachment to the situation, you can establish a new pattern of thought and a new pattern of behavior.”

“Knowledge is for the mind, but experience is for the body.  When you change a pattern of thought over time, you change the pattern of your body’s reaction to those thoughts.  The mind is primarily the neocortex of the brain, where as the emotions and body reactions are feelwhatyouthink.jpggoverned by the limbic (mammalian) brain which sends out the signals for the endocrine’s reaction and corresponding chemical release into the bloodstream to provide the body with additional reaction abilities. To change your body’s behavior, you neuro-chemically condition the body to accept the new behavior or new reaction.  With repetition, new circuits are created and the brain creates new pathways for more calmly dealing with a once-stressful situation.”

The third brain, the cerebellum or the reptilian brain, is the automatic reaction for protection and preservation of the body.  When you establish solid connections between the neocortex and the limbic brains, and develop new patterns of established behavior and reactability, then the cerebellum (the seat of your subconscious mind) can adopt it as the natural reactive pattern—it becomes the new habit, the new second-nature, the new go-to skill.  This becomes innate—it becomes your new way of being.”

“The way we transform the world, is to transform ourselves.”joe destiny

And there you have it.

I liked the last statement best, paraphrased as: “If you want a more compassionate world, then train yourself to react with compassion rather than anger to a situation not of your liking.”

He’s worth hearing.

Training Your Mind

“That’s all you need to do,” he said, staring into the camera lens midst a close up of his white-haired and bearded face. “You simply have to train your mind to create whatever you desire.”train mind.jpg

“You can manifest whatever you wish; it is a matter of commitment—it is a matter of focus.”

“Change your belief system to see the possibility, then the likelihood, of abundance and wealth whenever you desire it.”

Okay.  Most of this I do agree with—what you focus on, IS.

He continued, “Schreem brzee will give you wealth-consciousness—to change your schreem.jpgnegativity to positivity—from poverty to abundance and prosperity—the sounds have the ability to change your mindset.”

In essence, the sounds only set the stage for wealth consciousness to materialize rather than actually pull the magic slot-machine lever for you.

Again, he continued, “Skillsets will come because once the wealth-consciousness is there, you will begin to look around you for opportunity to create abundance and wealth in your life.” 

Ah …okay. So in other words, it doesn’t fall from the sky—you have to change yourself—your mind, to always think about creating wealth, and then find ways to bring that thought to manifestation. You actually have to do some work to make it happen.

“You cannot manifest that which you cannot conceive.” He taught this to Wayne Dyer, he said.pillai

The speaker is Dr. Pillai, and I’m beginning to wonder why I am still listening to him, but so far, I keep hanging in there waiting for those GREATER TRUTH nuggets.

“The sound will change the structure of your brain. (Schreem Brzee). It is a technique—a technology for changing the brain. Every thought changes the structure of the brain.”

Well, I don’t personally know if what he claims about the mantra sound is true, but the part about refocusing your attention and changing your mindset to allow those wealth-consciousness thoughts to change the structure/pattern of synopsis firing of the brain, I think is possible. To that I can agree.

Then I thought: What’s wrong with me?  Do I NOT want to be wealthy?  I mean, isn’t that what he is offering? Why am I so skeptical?

The problem is that my mind keeps replaying the same question I have about Dr. Pillai’s focus:  Why didn’t Yogananda or Muktananda or Ramana Harshi, those other great swamis whose words I’ve studied go into depth on this “wealth-consciousness” stuff?  If that is so important to TRUTH in general, why weren’t they discussing it openly and making that their focus?

pill2.jpgAnd he might be totally legitimate and well-intentioned, but something about this guru and his focus on making money just feels off to me. I mean I do understand that this approach is a good marketing gimmick, and he likely can pull a pretty good audience with promises of creating wealth using a mantra and your spending lots of time saying it.

I even understand how he talks about changing your mindset to focus on what you want to manifest in your life. I agree with that part.

What I dislike the most, I guess, is the energy I feel exuded by him when I watch and listen to him. He seems to give off a disgusted vibe—a vibe like ‘I do this because I have to do this’ not the vibe that it energizes him with joy and love for saying what he is saying.

You know, he might actually be helping folks to shift their thinking to more positive, creative thoughts—maybe using the wealth-creation subject as a-means-to-an-end sort of thing, but something about the manner that he is employing doesn’t feel genuine to me. But then, maybe that’s just me.benjamins

Anyway, just saying.

Schreem Brzee away, I guess.

Manifestation of LOVE

There were a few things I wanted to accomplish this morning, including some tiger kit.jpgcomputer-related stuff, so I plopped down in front of the screen and began to type. Max, the 4-month old tiger kitten from the jungles of Sumatra (or perhaps the neighbor’s barn)—the tiny, orange baby that adopted us 3 months ago, was tearing around my room trying to engage me in play and mutual rough-housing.

I was having none of it. I wanted to write. I wanted to check the news site, Facebook, etc.

He was having none of my “none-of-it,” and began climbing up on everything in sight, including me. When he’d jump up onto my chest for nap-time, I’d put him back down tiger 4again because it’s hard to type one-handed and he’s getting heavier by the day. He must already weigh what our last adult female cat weighed before she died. He’s going to be a monster—a genuine mini-tiger!

He’s at the “look-at-me-I can-jump-as-high-as-the-counter” stage now, so after repeatedly yelling at him for his numerous incursions onto everything I did not want him disrupting, damaging, or pilfering, I finally just gave in to his last jump-to-my-chest assault and held him to me. He immediately quieted and began purring, then nestled gently into my arms and promptly went to sleep.

That’s all he wanted.

He just wanted to be held and loved. All the acting out—the naughtiness—the terrorizing—it was all because he wanted to be held in my arms and I had refused to allow it. So he made me regret my decision in any way that he could.

tiger face.jpgAs I listened to his deep-throated purr that vibrated against my body with a soothing reassurance that this little creature truly loved me in return, I realized that this fuzzy bundle of condensed, kinetic energy was exactly what I wanted, wasn’t it? Spirit gave me the very thing that I needed to fill that void from our last feline housemates passing away. S/he gave me LOVE.

We cuddled for as long as my arm could hold him; and he was ready to move on anyway as evidenced by the little nip to my other arm when I disrupted him. (We’re still working on that no-biting thing.)  Then he was content to sit on his own and watch out the window.

LOVE is not to be ignored. LOVE is not to be taken for granted.4 month old max.jpg

LOVE is to be gratefully enjoyed whenever it manifests.

If you doubt it, …I have LOVE’s Sumatran enforcer I can loan you.

In Search of Answers

Long ago I felt that I was on the path to a great KNOWINGGandhi—a certainty—a TRUTH, and this truth would be so absolute and clarifying that all falsehoods would fall from the sky around me, shattering like dirty windowpanes on the ground below—enabling me to see that TRUTH unobstructed for the first time.

I thought that when this sudden clarity arose within me (some call it ENLIGHTENMENT) I would KNOW and understand the WHY of it ALL—and I mean the ALL—I would understand the WHY of everything that we could even conceive and of all things presently existing beyond our comprehension that it CAN exist.

My erroneous belief was that this sudden KNOWING would allow me a deeper sense of peace because I would suddenly be aware of the PLAN to all happinessexistence and being. I would SEE the Great Design behind the workings of the world and all creatures in it.

What I did not realize at the time was that I had also assumed that the path of KNOWING was also the path of happiness achieved through understanding all WHYs of the ALL.

At present I no longer believe that such sudden knowing gives one a lasting sense of inner peace. I think it does allow for greater understanding of our mutual, polar experiences of love and hate, of goodness and badness, of happiness and sorrow.

KNOWING the workings of the world and all beings in it does not instantly choose peacecreate peace of mind in anyone still a part of that same world because such peace is a conscious choice that we make every moment of the day or night.

I realized a few years back that I could indeed find the answer within me to any question I might raise by allowing myself to reach a deeper level of silence—that is the level where KNOWING exists. And yes, there is definitely inner peace to be found at that level of KNOWING.

HOWEVER……when I returned back to the world that we all share—where we interact daily and where we are intentionally good or bad to each other in that same shared world, then that illusive sense of peace seemed to dissipate within me like morning mist under a rising sun. It was hard to be peaceful around so much dissonance and anger in the others I was encountering. It was especially inner peace.jpgdifficult when the ones I cared most about were dissonant within themselves.

In other words—when I was in close association with others, I could not hold my energy as highly as the “peaceful-level frequency” required that it be held to sustain my own sense of inner peace while interacting with such dissonance. When my energy level dropped in frequency, my sense of peace seeped away with it.

It doesn’t surprise me that monks or holy people in general isolate themselves to attain and sustain those higher states of being with a deep sense of purposeful silence. That is the easiest way to reach and maintain profound inner peace.peace pull.jpg

The problem is that few of us live in isolation, which requires that we must daily state and live our intention to be at peace within ourselves and to share that same peacefulness with others.

Being at peace is a choice. It is an intention. We can’t expect world peace if we can’t tame ourselves prior to expecting it.

be still.jpgAnger and rage, hatred and fear, are all opposites of where we say that we want to be.

Love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance are the paths to peaceful coexistence with everyone. And those are choices that we make daily!

 

No matter the circumstances, choose LOVE. Choose PEACE.MLK.jpg

Those are the only answers that KNOWING will readily provide.