This Month's Contents: The Power of Now and the End of Suffering by Eckhart Tolle | I know that Destiny is Real by Shane Robinson | The Valley Spirit and the Wind Master by Gary Harmon | A Poem by Rumi | Humor | Quotes
"What one man can do, another can do."
~from the movie, The Edge
us your thoughts, a written contribution,
or tell us what you think we should include in this Forum.
For two years, a small man sits quietly on a park bench. People walk by, lost in their thoughts. One day someone asks him a question. In the weeks that follow there are more people and more questions. Word spreads that the man is a "mystic," and has discovered something that brings peace and meaning into our lives. It sounds like fiction, but today that man, Eckhart Tolle, is known worldwide for his teachings on spiritual enlightenment through the power of the present moment. His first book, The Power of Now, is an international bestseller, and has been translated into 17 languages. More than 20 years have passed since Eckhart Tolle answered his first question on that park bench. While his audience has grown, his message remains the same: that it is possible to stop struggling in your life, and find joy and fulfillment in this moment, and no other.
Sounds True: Can you describe to us your own experience of spiritual awakening (and of course, can you define spiritual awakening as well)? Was there a singular event that occurred or has it been a gradual process?
Eckhart Tolle: Since ancient times the term awakening has been used as a kind of metaphor that points to the transformation of human consciousness. There are parables in the New Testament that speak of the importance of being awake, of not falling back to sleep. The word Buddha comes from the Sanskrit word Budh, meaning, "to be awake." So Buddha is not a name and ultimately not a person, but a state of consciousness. All this implies that humans are potentially capable of living in a state of consciousness compared to which normal wakefulness is like sleeping or dreaming. This is why some spiritual teachings use terms like "shared hallucination" or "universal hypnotism" to describe normal human existence. Pick up any history book, and I suggest you begin with studying the 20th century, and you will find that a large part of the history of our species has all the characteristics we would normally associate with a nightmare or an insane hallucination.
~Read more of Tolle's interview.
I know that Destiny is Real, that all this is like a stageplay on the world scene. We mistake our character here for ourselves, naturally. There is only one Self, Universal Mind ultimately, yes...but it bifurcates out into less and less awareness but retains its entire essence...through the dimensions of existence...until it manifests itself in human mind.
What I don't know, but suspect, is that the little droplets of mind that are participating in our character's life are fractally part of greater and greater awarenesses or beings, all the way back to the Source. However, all sentient life is ultimately of the same Essence. In other words, human minds can belong to and be on loan from greater collectives of Mind, which themselves form greater collectives....but all are manifestations of Unmanifested Pure Awareness, and ultimately beholden to that which created their manifestation.
Patch-robed monks practice thoroughly without carrying a single thread. Open-mindedly sparkling & pure, they are like a mirror reflecting a mirror, with nothing regarded as outside, without capacity for accumulating dust. They illuminate everything fully, perceiving nothing [as an object]. This is called taking up the burden from inside, & is how to shoulder responsibility. Wisdom illuminates the darkness without confusion. The Way integrates with the body & does not get stuck. From this unstuck place, engaging & transforming at the appropriate opportunity, the wisdom does not leak out. Clearly the Way does not get stained. The valley spirit echoes the sound. The wind master walks in the sky. Unobstructed and free, beyond restraints, they do not depend on even subtle indicators & their essential spirit cannot be eclipsed. Fulfilled, wander around & arrive at such a field. The entire place secure, the entire place at leisure, the open field of the white ox is plain and simple, of one color. If you chase the ox, still he will not go away. You must intimately experience & arrive here.
We all have the clear, wondrously bright field from the beginning. Many lifetimes of misunderstanding come from distrust, hindrance, & screens of confusion that we create in a scenario of isolation.
All the objects of the senses interact & yet do not. Interacting brings involvement. Otherwise, each keeps its place. Eye & sights, ear and sounds, nose & smells, tongue & tastes; thus with each & every thing, depending on these roots, the leaves spread forth.
Emptiness is without characteristics. Illumination has no emotional afflictions. With piercing, quietly profound radiance, it mysteriously eliminates all disgrace. Thus one can know oneself; thus the self is complete. We all have the clear, wondrously bright field from the beginning. Many lifetimes of misunderstanding come only from distrust, hindrance, & screens of confusion that we create in a scenario of isolation — with boundless wisdom journey beyond this, forgetting accomplishments. Straightforwardly abandon stratagems & take on responsibility. Having turned yourself around, accepting your situation, if you set foot on the path, spiritual energy will marvelously transport you. Contact phenomena with total sincerity, not a single atom of dust outside yourself
All dharmas are innately amazing beyond description. Perfect vision has no gap. In mountain groves, grasslands, & woods, the truth has always been exhibited. Discern & comprehend the long broad tongue [of Buddha’s teachings], which cannot be muted anywhere. The spoken is instantly heard, what is heard is instantly spoken. Senses & objects merge; principle & wisdom are united. When self & other are the same, mind & dharma are one. When you face what you have excluded & see how it appears you must quickly gather it together & integrate with it. Make it work within your house — then establish stable sitting.
Buddha flowers, leaves, roots, & dusts the way is not what the ancestors transmit. Before the ancestors come, it already pervades the whole environment. Emptiness is inherently without characteristics; spirituality cannot be imitated. On its own, illumination emerges from causes & conditions. Constantly living apart from surface appearances is called being the ancestor. Simply certify & unite with it; you cannot be handed it. All Buddha’s arrived here and regard this as the ultimate. They respond to transformations & disperse their bodies as flowers, leaves, roots, and dusts. . . .
Visit Gary's website, Spiritual Books Worth Reading.
I honor those who try
Speech-impaired, Bushwood Country Club greenskeeper Carl Spackler's (Bill Murray) recounting, to another incredulous caddy, of how he once caddied for the Dalai Lama in Tibet:
Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas.
Angie D'Annunzio: A looper?
Carl Spackler: A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell
them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama,
himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald...
So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.
I’m sorting garbage. You retreat backwards, you step backward, you don’t face, and postulate and attack face-on to a place where you have no knowledge of its point of existence. You have to retreat backwards. You step away by studying stuff and rejecting. I say it’s a business of tentatively accepting something that’s less ridiculous and discounting completely that which is more ridiculous. And this is the only process you can follow. You can’t say, “Well, I’m going to find God.” First of all even if you really believed that he existed beyond a shadow of a doubt, you wouldn’t know where to look. So you have to start with what you have. And in studying what you have, you have libraries, you have people who claim, you have theologies that are contemporary, or “isms” or philosophies that are contemporary. Take these all into consideration, and if your intuition says “grab that” you grab it. Until it starts to smell, and then you throw it away. And you grab something else. And this is the only thing you can do. But you can’t start off presuming you’re divine with an impeccable intuition and ability to choose the right path, or the conceit that some divine being’s going to reach down and pick you up by the back of the neck and say, “I want you.”
~ Richard Rose, answering a question after a lecture.
Thank you for this site.
I enjoyed reading Steven Norquist's article in the last issue, so I decided to purchase his book. I also read the comments in the current [February] issue with interest. In reading commentary of many reports of so-called enlightenment, I have noticed that there is always a certain amount of criticism of the author. Particularly in regards to what might be termed negative humanity or life-based responses by the author. It seems perfectly sensible that the physical/emotional or mental responses to truth realizations should be unique to each manifestation. After all they are being filtered through the personality which most often remains intact to some degree following such an event. It would seem a standardized response would be the more uncommon, given the wildly varying level of functionality in any given entity. After all we are not talking sci-fi here, but simply a recognition of what we are in relation to everything else; the truth as it were.
Here I am, thinking that I should have something to say. Not much comes to mind. Have been reading the Forum for years, greatly enjoy the content & style. Honest, focused, to the point. Lovely!
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