Thoughts on Eckhart Tolle, and an update on shortstuff

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I understand maybe no one cares but I thought I would put an update on where I am at lately to provide needed context for my main question here.


Basically I was going to Kundalini Yoga weekly, meditating daily, trying to summon/unlock/raise my Kundalini and generally struggling with all three.


I have come to the conclusion that maybe K is not going to happen to me in this life. I have given up.


Also when I meditate I still see/experience nothing so I stopped doing that daily also and just do metta every now and then, when it feels right. I no longer get synchronicities after metta like I used to. The universe has stopped giving back. So it feels.


Anyway I am without a PC for a week (typing this on an old, slow, laptop on ubuntu, makes a nice change really) which is kind of a synchronicity in itself in that it is just what I need. Late last year I spent almost £400 on, real, physical books and they just sat there. I deleted FB completely on Sunday (more on this shortly) and packed away the PC and I have been reading a good 4 hours a day instead. So far only one book... which I am having problems with.


I will keep my question simple and then if people reply with answers I will go into more theoretical detail...


1. In the Power of Now - Mr Tolle says that to further yourself, you need to not allow the mind to live in the past or the future.


The way I understand this, is that your mind uses the past to define the future, but you live in the present.


But this is problematic for me. Firstly every self help book or technique or even hypnotherapy session I have invested in states that visualisation of the future is key to success in both material and spiritual worlds.


But is this visualisation where you use the mind to visualise and don't let the mind do that itself or is it simple DON'T VISUALISE...period. It does not say. So should you think to the future or what? Also when I smell something my conscious mind goes straight back to the past, maybe a happy memory...I should not be doing this?


2. What is the difference between living in the now and mindfulness?


3. He explains repeatedly that when you live in the now you will feel Source/God/whatever. I practice mindfulness a lot and even when I meditate, deeply, I never feel or see anything. I have spoken about this in other topics, where people see stuff I see nothing. I don't feel anything either, not love or anything. I both saw and felt in the first time I meditated but nothing since, ever. Same in K Yoga...we do asana etc and she says to "feel the energy" and people are like "omg amazing" but I don't feel anything. Is it possible to be disconnected from Source, completely somehow?



I read this book because so many people say it completely changes their life game, but for me, it is just causing conflicts.

Thank You

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Douglas Todd, in the Vancouver Sun, writes about something that many people have been concerned about for a long time - the use of spiritual teachers and practices to bypass pain, wounding, and trauma, essentially stuffing it down, smoothing it over, and otherwise ignoring material that must be processed and healed in order to be a psychologically healthy person.


There is a name for this process - it's called Spiritual Bypassing - and by far the best book on the subject was published last year by integral psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters. [My review is here.]


In this article, Todd looks specifically at the impact of Eckhart Tolle on this phenomenon - with all his "live in the now" teachings (The Power of Now). There is value to these teachings, but most people lack discernment, so they end up engaging in spiritual bypass and thinking they are becoming spiritually enlightened. As a result, it seems they are dropping out of therapy and then eventually suffering a severe rebound in symptoms - in the words of the recovery movement: what we resist persists.


I have had concerns about this with other practices, as well, such as Big Mind, which promises enlightenment experiences in a couple of hours. Even Ken Wilber's 3-2-1 shadow work process can be a way to avoid the real, in-depth, painful shadow work most of us need and used to bypass the serious issues that must be dealt with in a meaningful way.

Therapists worry Eckhart Tolle causes people to deny their painful pasts

By Douglas Todd 18 Feb 2011


The Power of Now may be harmful to your psychological health, if you take it too literally.


Canadian psychotherapists say some troubled clients are crashing after reading Eckhart Tolle’s world-famous books, which teach that the secret to ending your suffering is “to live in the now.”


The head of Canada’s Institute of Family Living says her therapists are having clients who have suffered severe sexual abuse stop trying to face their past ordeals after taking the Vancouver spiritual teacher’s online courses, where they’re taught they must “stay in the present.”


Diane Marshall is one of many counsellors reporting that traumatized clients are dropping out of the therapeutic healing process after reading Tolle and concluding they must minimize their pasts, cease planning their futures and “honour and accept the Now.”


When patients treat such doctrines as the unembellished spiritual truth, therapists say they often try to ignore the fear associated with their dreadful upbringings.


As a result, many are thrown into a severe crisis.


Many clients are “using denial and avoidance in the name of ‘living in the now,’” Marshall told me in an interview. Their anxiety and depression then “sneaks up on them and they are slammed into a real setback.”


Instead of trying to ignore their considerable inner pain, Marshall says people who had difficult upbringings need to grieve their losses.


That way “they’re able to claim their life and go forward courageously into the new future.”

Marshall is one of many Canadian therapists who worry that desperate people suffering depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions are vulnerable to being told that spiritual techniques, like “living in the now,” will offer a magic solution.


While generally supporting the value of serious spirituality and membership in religious organizations, most therapists don’t think there are spiritual shortcuts around the hard work of psychological recovery.


In addition, some therapists worry that struggling people are being thrown into intense depression and further self-hatred after failing to live up to the spiritual solutions set forth by Tolle and other guides.


Tolle’s philosophy, influenced by Eastern spirituality, might be more sophisticated than it appears to his followers. And he’s not the only one who has won fame and fortune by offering self-help advice that seems as uncomplicated as child’s play.


Still, tens of millions of people are reading Tolle’s books, such as The Power of Now and A New Earth, and paying for his online courses, which are marketed by Oprah Winfrey. He’s a major global influence.


Many are wholeheartedly adopting Tolle’s teaching that the key to happiness is to get rid of one’s “egoic mind” and stop “creating time,” which the German-born teacher says dangerously places a person in the past or future.


“True salvation is freedom from negativity,” Tolle says, “and above all of past and future as a psychological need.”


Most therapists, however, say that everyone needs to confront their imperfect pasts, and to build a strong, healthy ego.


The latter gives people the self-confidence to deal with challenging situations, face their often-difficult upbringings, recognize their mistakes and make decent choices about their futures.


Rather than dodging the terrible things that may have happened to us by zeroing in exclusively on “the Now,” noted psychologists such as Mark Freeman say “hindsight” is pivotal to insight and healing.


It is not all wrong to try to be “in the now,” to experience what is happening to us as it’s happening, says Freeman, author of Hindsight: The Promises and Perils of Looking Backward.


But hindsight, the psychologist says, is also “a powerful tool for redressing the forgetfulness that so often characterizes the human condition. It’s a vehicle of recollection, where we are called back to ourselves, and it’s a key feature of living the examined life.”


University of B.C. psychologist Marvin Westwood (right) is another who takes seriously the value of understanding our pasts, including through the ancient wisdom of the Sufi poet, Rumi, who said, “The cure for pain is in the pain.”


We shouldn’t deny our pasts; we should grieve what went wrong, Westwood says. He encourages people who have learned to be “numb” about early hurts to face the fact their hearts were once broken.


“Their pain is a blessing,” Westwood says, “because ultimately it helps to bring back feeling, and can lead the way to the restoration of depth and soul.”

Edited by Bindi
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You are already living in the present. Thoughts about "I want to live in the now" are just thoughts.


If you don't want to meditate be conscious of all thoughts and notice how they can pull you into negative states of despair and anger etc.


Regarding seeing then it is really about what is seeing, not that something is seen. 


The problem is what Tolle says can interpreted by the mind as a future state to "get" as if it is something you are not already. So the mind wants to get and this is the seeker which is identification with thought.


See this identification.

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1- Tolle is talking about the truth and peace, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being successful in the world or being spiritually successful, in one sense he is talking about spiritual poverty. So the majority of spiritual and self help books aren't talking about the same subject or even same world as Tolle. So pursue which ever one you are interested in and resonates with you, don't expect them to align with one another.


2- Mindfulness creates a kind of internal split and separation into two things - the observer and the observed, whereas in the now there is no separation. Mindfulness can be a useful tool for some to loosen identification with mind and body, but to really be in the now means letting go of Mindfulness as well.


3 - it's not possible to be disconnected from the source, although if that is how it feels it is pretty close to being a reality. Probably the reason why you felt a lot in your first meditation sessions is because you had beginners mind, had no expectations and were open, after that the mind takes over, we close up and we struggle, which is pretty much inevitable and happens to everyone to some extent. But everyone has different sensitivity to energy, depending on a lot of factors.

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