Eckhart Tolle on “The Dark Night of the Soul” Experience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mpybTfz6rU

tollemictalk.jpgIn this short video, the questioner asks about his personal experience with ‘the dark night of the soul’ (which I thought was the most powerful part of this video and the main reason that I listed it here) and his sudden spiritual awakening because of that complete reality break.

The questioner then asks Eckhart about that ‘merging into Allness’ experience that he was suddenly immersed in where he lost his sense of identity and watched himself and his thoughts as they arose, as though they were separate from him.  Eckhart briefly mentions his own DNOS experience and then comments on the aspect of mind expansion into Allness and total awareness.

Eckhart then comments with a well-used quote on the nature of awareness itself: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.”

Awareness is indescribable, incomprehensible.  We experience only minute portions of the pool of total awareness.  Our personal comprehension of awareness pertains mainly to sensing our own life experience—how we perceive the world around us and ourselves in relationship to that world and to all the aspects of it, living and non.mysssarknightquote653

The thoughts we have about our personal experience are only our ego trying to make sense of its existence within the matrix portion of awareness that our human sense-making organ (our individual mind) can comprehend.  When we surpass our personal boundaries and tap into the Greater Awareness, we no longer THINK—we simply observe and ride the flow wherever it goes.  We don’t compare experiences for goodness or badness. We simply observe them as they arise.

We input without judgment or expectation or anticipation or attempts to define anything.

It can be an amazing experience of peacefulness and lovingness.  And it can also make you feel like you are losing it completely.spiritawaken67

So I like to temper my descriptions of the spiritual awakening or the Kundalini awakening experience with bits of how disruptive it can also be to your normal daily affairs and relationships.  If you listen to Eckhart, it took him years to come back to our mutual-consensus reality, and even then it was never fully back to the life that he once knew.  He was forever changed—for the better maybe, but let me tell you from my own experience, getting to that BETTER may not be an easy slog.

So be careful with your own spiritual awakening practices. Make sure you have a support team around to help you back from your space launch so you don’t burn up in the atmosphere on reentry.  Yes, some ‘dark nights of the soul’ (if they don’t kill you) can lead to kundalini awakening and reunion with the Oneness and Allness from which we emerged. But they can also be grueling, gauntlet-running, sanity-testing, limits-of-your-endurance experiences that are handled best if not faced alone.  ramdassdark night.jpg

I think in today’s world the hazards of sudden spiritual awakening are more broadly understood than a few decades ago, but there are few who have not personally experienced it for themselves who will ever relate to how bad it can get before it gets better. So if you are going through your own ‘dark night of the soul,’ look for others who can best help you through it.

That’s why I’m writing about it now.

 

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On the Nature of Consciousness

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In this video Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD., were discussing “the Nature of Consciousness” in front of a large in-house audience. https://www.facebook.com/1975293189394717/videos/2006140909643278/

Kabat-Zinn was talking about his parents who, through their own careers and pursuits, kabatzinnport.jpgboth held very separate views of what reality meant to them, and how he, as a child and then a man, used his parents’ disparate reality views to steer his own late-adolescent life into the subjects that he pursued during his academic endeavors.

If you are into meditation or meditative philosophy, you are familiar with Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose first book that I read way-back-when was Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.

These two were talking about many of their early-academia influences such as quantum physicist David Bohm and religious scholar Huston Smith, and the Indian mystic/intellectual/philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti whose subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, and how the group psyche must evolve to meet the needs of this world now awakening. “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. … The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

So basically during this conversation between Chopra and Kabat-Zinn, I’m chopradialog.jpgcomprehending that all these previous influential thinkers mentioned by them provided the scaffolding from which each of them constructed their own personal views on life in general, and showed them how best to perceive and interpret this reality experience for themselves.  They each created their version of reality through the influence of others who had previously affected them in some way—a newly shared perspective perhaps—a new way of thinking or considering the world around us.

And while I’m writing this, I realize that I’m doing the very same thing in my blog posts—I’m charting the history of my early influences and how my personal philosophy now reflects those influences and the thoughts first expressed long ago by others. Perhaps most of us are mere synthesizers of other’s original thought.  Possible, I suppose.  Or there is NO original thought, just periods of time in which that thought surfaces for consideration from various humanpreceiverconscious.jpgreceptors of consciousness who interpret it in their own ways.

So back to the nature of reality and consciousness: Here you have two meditation masters discussing the process and benefits of meditation, but also how reality is a personal creationan intention of how you focus your consciousness.  Okay but…..

 So what is consciousness?  (I thought that’s what they were suppose to discuss but didn’t.)

What is consciousness?  Wow—that’s a tough one (which must be why they didn’t get into specifics), other than to say consciousness is awareness of self and the greater surroundings.

Awareness is simply sentience—the ability to feel, perceive, or experience.

But interpretation of that awareness is what shifts the perception to judgment or opinion, and makes for subjective reality, which is how each of us interprets the reality experience for ourselves.

the-nature-of-human-consciousness.jpgSo then does that mean that the nature of consciousness is simply the aware observer observing that whatever is, IS? 

Or is consciousness an infinite ocean of Allness from which our meager perceptive abilities can sample only droplets at a time without flooding our sensing mechanisms (blowing our minds)?

I think Eckhart Tolle referred to this previously somewhere, that consciousness is NOT a “thing”—it is EVERYTHING—ALLNESS—the Source of us individually and ALL other possibilities.

Consciousness is that infinite, ever-present ocean—ever churning, ever pulsing, ever being, wave after wave, in indescribable vastness and indeterminable immensity—substance, void, material and non, presence, imfiniteocean56.jpgessence, simply ALL possibilities both imaginable and inconceivable.  

For humans, consciousness refers to our material processes of being alive and aware of our surroundings, including the awareness of ourselves.

But consciousness in general is indefinable and indistinguishable from what we refer to as God or Source.

No wonder Chopra and Kabat-Zinn avoided the details on the nature of consciousness in that hour discussion.

 

The Pretender

Sure, I could SO go there!

The obvious reference to this title would be the brooding hulk occupying the oval-office desk chair; when he’s not on the golf course, that is.anatomymiraclebookcov.jpg

But I was actually referring to a Jonathan Miles book I had just completed called Anatomy of a Miracle: A Novel*—The True* Story of a Paralyzed Veteran, a Mississippi Convenience Store, a Vatican Investigation, and the Spectacular Perils of Grace (with TRUE being the questionable descriptor in this story because it is, after all, a novel—meaning a work of fiction).

So my biggest question at the end of the story was is the book actually based on verified facts or is it simply fabrication pretending to be based on actual accounts?  I still can’t determine that, but I’m guessing it is fiction that reads like fact because we want it to do so.

jonmilesauthor.jpgAs the NY Times review suggested:  “…the genre that Miles is aping applies fiction’s methods to real-life stories, “Anatomy of a Miracle” offers the Victor-Victoria frisson of watching a novel impersonate a work of journalism impersonating a novel. It’s a difficult balancing act that Miles for the most part pulls off, and his book is best appreciated as a highly entertaining literary performance.”

Personally, I thought it was an astounding character study exploring the ulterior motives of everyone involved in the telling of a paralyzed vet’s miracle of suddenly rising from parkinglotstorefronthis wheelchair after four years of confinement to it–and doing so in the parking lot of the Biz-E-Bee convenience store in Biloxi, Mississippi while he waited for his helicoptering sister, Tanya, to purchase their daily smokes, beer, and Cap’n Crunch.

I’m always in awe of a skilled writer, and Miles is so gifted: intellectually, philosophically, and linguistically. He makes me want to study his techniques for topic exposition and subject exploration—how he carefully weaves the plotline into the unraveling research directions of the phenomenon; not to mention what an amazing perceiver/recorder of human nature that he is.

Then I went to the Amazon reviews of his book and was astounded by the depth or more appropriately, lack thereof, in the reviewer’s comments on it, and thought can people really be that shallow that they missed the point entirely?

biloximisscar.jpgA novel is far more than plotline. This was social comment all the way. Anatomy of a Miracle was an astute observation on what makes an unexplainable, sudden change in the human condition considered a miracle—with the word “miracle” implying an intervention by a force greater than ourselves.  Even the Vatican gets involved in considering the incident as such primarily because of reasons far too shadow-dependent to call it a holy vindication of God’s possible hand in the healing process.

But what does this sudden life change mean to the protagonist who has supposedly received this amazing proof of God’s Divine grace now bestowed upon him? And how vetchairflag.jpgdoes it likewise affect all those closest to him? As the camera pans out from the now-standing vet with the twitching legs, to how everyone around him interprets what has happened to him, and most importantly—how each proximal character determines in their own way what this supposed miracle means to each of them—how others try to use this strange phenomenon for their own personal motivations—use it as their own vehicles to a personal lifestyle change for themselves also—use it to substantiate their own faith or belief in the possibility of miracles existing; and how this phenomenal  situation benefits/affects individuals, institutions, and cultural trends in general as it becomes simply the commercializing of miraculousness.

money god miracles.jpgOne of those key questions seems to be:  “What’s the quantity of dollars you can make from a miracle, directly or peripherally?

The other key question seems to be “How can I personally cash in on that guy’s ‘miracle’?”

I called this post “The Pretender” not because the protagonist faked the miraculous regrowth of his spinal cord that allowed him to stand up out of that wheelchair in the Biz-E-Bee parking lot, but because during the process of all those people so closely scrutinizing his life, he finally stood up for the person that he was pretending NOT to be all those years prior.

He simply stopped pretending to be something other than who and what he was. That was a miracle in itself.

 

Multiple Realities within Reality

Been listening to the one astrologer that I do listen to, Kaypacha, kaypachelescher4.jpgthis morning.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_cXUPpJr24&feature=share )  I rarely miss his weekly energy report to help me understand ‘what the heck’ is going on around me—especially when everything seems to be so chaotic, like it is now.

When things get crazy in the world I can often feel the energy instability vibrating within me—like I am a tuning fork that starts sympathetically vibrating to the tone of another one near.  It’s very hard to hold your own vibration when such powerful disruptions are toning all around you.  So I like to hear if he is picking up the same thing with an astrological reason for it, or if it is just my own sensors that are being triggered by my immediate environment.

This morning he confirmed that it’s a pretty disruptive energy time for all of us; and then maxresdefault.jpghe talked about a subject that I’ve mentioned prior about how each of us perceives, reacts to, and lives our own version of reality that is slightly skewed from the collective reality the group agrees to adopt.

To be specific, late in the video he talks about how individually we create our own subjective reality which is then at times in conflict with our group shared reality. Then he asked ‘Which reality is more real, and which is less real?’  Good questions.

If YOU are feeling a particular version of REALITY, how can that NOT be real for you, eh?  Exactly.

Well those simple but complex questions were fairly pertinent to what I personally had been experiencing lately, both in my own life and with my friends’ concept of reality veering slightly from my personal version.  percep-vs-reality

When you have friends who also are energy sensitive and are into various forms of energy work themselves, then gathering together with them and discussing THAT group’s shared reality can be quite a trip. It can be hard to even agree on the parameters of that group’s reality experience because each of us has slightly different sensing abilities (clairaudient, clairvoyant, clairsentient, natural medium, …etc.)

Our group discussions make for an interesting afternoon, for sure.

But the one question I had at our last gathering is still bothering me, because when “reality” becomes so fluid and malleable for someone that they begin to drastically differ from the group version—especially THAT group’s version, is it cause to be concerned for that person?

To this question I would say unequivocally, YES.  I had, and still have, a concern for one of our group members at our last gathering.psychotic-break-poster-300-dpi.jpg

It is possible to get so “out there” in one’s concept of reality that one can break completely from the collective reality.  And it can be extremely traumatic for the person experiencing that break—which is often called a “psychotic break.”  And that traumatic break is cause for concern, and often requires a medical professional’s help.

Here’s the definition of psychotic break from the online medical dictionary: “Psychosis is a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality.”

That “objective reality” is the group agreed-upon version.

To continue: “Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. It usually includes: Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is. Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.”

Well, when you are psychically gifted like many of my friends are, you often see things and hear things that many folks don’t.  So there is such a fine line between recognizing your innate psychic gifts and not veering too far out into the ‘realm of all possibilities,’ because that realm does exist.

Right now, in these energies and this astrological time, it is hard for all of us to maintain balloons_4a971c333935a_hires.jpgour bearings. It’s hard to stay tethered to solid land when your personal reality balloon starts lifting away into the ethers.

So if you, dear reader, are feeling untethered to land right now, or if you are feeling extremely depressed, or possibly even feeling suicidal, then recognize that it may be necessary to reach out to others who can help you get through this difficult time in your life.  You aren’t alone in what you are feeling—not at all.  It’s a tough time right now to stay tethered to this group reality when it’s so unpleasant to be here. But we all have to find a way to tough it out until the energies change for the better. And they will change.

To reach out for help from others doesn’t mean you are weak or unstable, it just means that sometimes we need a bit of help to make sure that we can reel ourselves back in and dock safely back on earth for the remainder of our stay here.

Hang in there. It will get better.

And if your reality is making you question your sanity or question whether or not you You-are-not-alone.jpgwish to stay in this mutually-agreed-upon reality, then don’t be shy, ask for help to make sense of what you may be experiencing.  You likely aren’t alone in the questions that you might be having.  Especially now.

 

The TAO (the Dao)

“Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.”
~Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching~thetaoqquote5.jpg

“Tao or Dao: 道 is a Chinese word meaning ‘way’, ‘path’, ‘route’… ‘Tao signifies the primordial essence or fundamental nature of the Universe. Tao is not a ‘name’ for a ‘thing’ but the underlying natural order of the Universe. It is thus ‘eternally nameless’ and to be distinguished from the countless ‘named’ things which are considered to be its manifestations.”    (posted on Ecological Consciousness)

I love Lao Tzu and Tao Te Ching quotes—they just feel good to me—like TRUTH feels when it resonates inside me.

Can’t say I am very learned in The Tao or Taoism, but I can say that what little I know, moontao5.jpgagain, feels more like a natural expression of myself in some way.

The Yin-Yang symbol (called the Taiji) is often used to represent the concept of the Tao—the in and out, the give and take, etc., often even representing the seeming polarity of the masculine or feminine principles.  But rather than as opposing forces, the pairings are meant to represent the complementary forces required to signify the wholeness or unity even in apparent duality—just as salt and pepper are simply condiments meant to enhance flavor, while still being distinct in their own attributes and coloring.taoquote67

I knew I could do an entire post with nothing but Lao Tzu or Tao Te Ching quotes because these abound everywhere and they still seem applicable to our present life.

The Tao Te Ching is a Chinese classic text traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC sage Laozi, or presently known as Lao Tzu. That’s a long time for catchy phrases to be hanging around and still be considered as ancient wisdom.

Even simple ones still have tremendous depth of meaning:

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Wow…that one hit me in numerous ways—the positive and negative space references—the substance and emptiness aspects. The “It’s all in how you fill the emptiness” aspect that can be so significant to the vessel’s importance—just ask any psychologist the truth of that statement.

There is so much potential in that one simple quote.

Then there is one quote more applicable to what I normally write about on self-transformation:taoquote63

 

So while I may not know much about Taoism other than I really like the quotes of Lao Tzu, in some ways I feel that I really do know the TAO—which is the essence of the universe that expresses itself through us in unique and powerful ways, because that’s the part of my life that I like the best.

“YOU Are the YOU-niverse”

With all the weekend precipitation received here I wish that I could say I had at least enjoyed the intense reading that this “quality inside time” allowed me.

diamondimage6.jpgInstead I can say I waded through two books that have long been sitting by my recliner. And the best thing I can say about both of them is that they can now be shelved away in my reference bookcase for future culling to Goodwill.

I love books, and I usually love good psychology/spirituality writers;  AND… I don’t like giving out bad reviews because any book critique is subjective and personally biased, BUT……..I think I want my money back from these two.

The first was A.H. Almaas book about the ‘Diamond Approach’ that he championed in psychology circles a few decades ago.

His book is called ESSENCE WITH THE ELIXIR OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Diamond Approach to Inner Realization, …which sounded like something almaasbookessenceI’d love to read doesn’t it?  Yeah, that’s what I thought when I bought it.  Here we are defining reality and the unpinnings of the human experience: What is reality? What is spirituality? How does a human actually experience both?  What does it MEAN to do so?

Well maybe the copyright date of 1986 had more to do with this book’s pioneering appeal to introducing spirituality into psychology’s mental health approach in the early 1990’s than what it meant to me in the now, but I had to speed-read through it forcing myself to complete it.  Perhaps long ago in the newly-birthed spiritual movement in clinical psychology this book was considered influential and enlightening, but it did little for me in 2018, and THAT is what my review of it means for the present.

The other book I read was by one of the better-known spirituality writers of the last century: Deepak Chopra.  I can honestly say that I’ve read most books by Deepak, with chopragreenback.jpegsome books being better than others.  I still follow him on Facebook to hear his latest thoughts on our present-day situations.  I even commented on one of his articles awhile back (Nov. 22, 2017 – “How to Reset the Mind”) where he titled his article “Does the Human Mind Need a Fresh Start?”  I stated then that I thought his article was lengthy and involved, and sounded a bit “Buckminster Fullerish” where he tried to be so all inclusive and over-encompassing that it lacked focus and clarity.

Well, imagine him writing an entire 263-page book that same way explaining modern psychics and the latest Grand Unified Theory of Everything—the QUANTUM of life-as-we-know -it experience from his learned medical/spiritual perspective along with an astrophysicist, Dr. Menas Kafatos.  They call their new theory the “Qualia” Paradigm. It basically explains that the universe that we perceive is purely subjective and dependent on human perception to exist. Ok. We create our own reality—I do buy that part.

However in this book, it is goodbye string theory, adios to the Planck’s Quantum theory era with your waves and particles.

Here is all you ever thought you might want to know about the developmental history and modern theories of the Science of Physics and how to view/understand the world around us. Wow! What an undertaking, you might think. And it read just like that: What an undertaking to read this book.

The book is called: YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE: DISCOVERING YOUR COSMIC SELF AND youareuniversebook.jpgWHY IT MATTERS, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.   The best I can say about it is that at least I actually have a few penciled underlines in this one, whereas the Almaas book is crystal clear.

And I hate to fault Deepak for simply being Deepak. He tries so hard to explain spirituality against the more difficult aspects of modern physics and how to relate the spiritual experience into all of that equation-/math-dependent, empirical research environment that we define as the “scientific approach.”

He really tries to explain the nearly unexplainable about our present world; and I’m sure that I’ve gained a greater understanding about historical attitudes and approaches to the “What is life?” question that the scientific community has considered for centuries, ever since the overpowering Church institution relinquished its death-grip on “enlightened secular thinking.”

kafatosshoprapic.jpgBut Deepak being Deepak, gets wordy and lengthy and anecdotal and then one simile follows another simile, followed by analogies, followed by more similes and analogies because this stuff is hard to fathom any other way for those of us who are NOT into “physics” explanations and equations.

I’m glad he tried to dumb-it-down for those of us who might never have comprehended the basics of the physics theories any other way, but…. he doesn’t really convince this reader on his somewhat extrapolated theories other than I already believe what he’s trying to write. He doesn’t have to convince me.

And I don’t think his qualia principles and accompanying explanations are quitetimespacematterchopra.jpg the end-product of his own subjective, deductive logic.  But, again, good try Deepak.

On to the dusty bookshelf they both go.

“Blowciferousnous”

There.  I’ve created the perfect descriptor for politicians who try to cash in on tragedies just to get their own mugs on the evening news and to hear themselves “blowfuscate” about flagrant injustices occurring near them while pushing their own tainted agendas that helped create the very situation they are now railing against.  Most politicians in today’s world are nothing more than “blowciferous.”3ofhtenotsamekind.jpg

Political blowhards like to hear themselves talk—a lot! And they really prefer a captive audience like they can garner at press briefings after the latest school shooting. Senators, governors, the president—they all line up to so sadly address the cameras with meaningless platitudes and empty promises for a better tomorrow than today had unfortunately turned out to be.

Vociferousness is what they offer—a vocal outcry for pseudo-reform that isn’t really reform at all—just meaningless noise from a propagator whose sole purpose was to appear at the news conference itself—not to help those in the aftermath who are genuinely scared or are grieving with deep loss—but to step in front of the gathered crowd and act like they are taking charge of the situation, when instead they are the very people who have helped to create it.

Blowhards obfuscate—they shout their indignation to obscure the situation’s genuine meaning and manipulate the truth of what has actually occurred.

Blowciferous politicians bewilder their listeners with coarse banality and unintelligible logic. They portray themselves as champions for social change, when of course, they are just the opposite.  Status quo serves them far too well to support meaningful change in our society and culture.

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Any tragedy deserves heartfelt sympathy, as do the people who are most affected by the loss of loved ones. To them there are no words that can ease the depth of their pain—no “our hearts and prayers go out to the families” bullshit spoken far too frequently and with less and less conviction each time repeated.

And absolutely NO ONE deserves self-serving politicians trying to cash in on the latest school shooting with no other remedy for protecting our kids than to “arm the teachers.”

In my humble opinion, NRA-loving politicians should be careful with those suggestions.

If you arm enough teachers as the primary solution to our most serious social problems, you might not be around long to witness the result of your actions because teachers are already pretty fed up putting their own lives on the line day after day—without receiving combat pay.  Even teachers have limited patience when their elected officials refuse to do their jobs.

The real solution:  Don’t add more guns to schools!

Make the change at the ballot box—change representatives.  Eliminate gun lobbies. Stop celebrating the gun culture.

It’s time for meaningful social change and time for a new breed of representatives of peace-loving people.

No more “blowciferous” politicians!  Tell them simply: “Do your job or be thrown out.”

And then actually DO IT.giffordsquote.jpg