Since there hasn’t been any drama in a while, I keep spouting internal formulas on what may really be going on in my life. Something big is sure to be brewing under the currents of everyday banality and free-flowingness.
The jaded, perhaps more accurately, faithless side of me that’s been doing the rounds for a while was definitely heading towards a dead-ended wall of impenetrable inevitability. It’s answer to the this perpetual question of “what’s next” that my life had become, was growing more angst-ridden. I was starting to feel like the walls were caving in, the more i burned through each day.
I’ve often tried to explain to a close friend about why I’m not a practicing muslim. I’ve told him that I know there is some greatness here, some truth in this book. Every time I try to gain some of that knowledge, that enlightenment, however, I felt like the words were a puzzle I couldn’t unlock. As an insult, whenever I would feel this way I would get stuck in the loop of a line that is often mentioned in the Quran. I daren’t even try to convey it accurately, but in the translation that I read, the general idea expressed is that :
Allah chooses to enlighten who he will, and will deny to enlighten some as well.
So I would tell my friend that I feel that I need some other means, some guidance, maybe another text to help me access this source of truth.
Last night, I thought of this recurring conversation, and for the first time, felt relief.
I don’t know much about Eckhart Tolle, but his book “A New Earth” has Oprah’s Book Club stamped conspicuously on it. Every time I’ve quoted something that’s from, inspired by, or similar to its contents, I do a self-deprecating cheating disclaimer, apologizing verbosely about how “oprahish” this is going to sound. It’s a habit I really need to stop. I suspect it may be really liberating, to let people think I’m just another consumerist schmuck who buys into Oprah and the empire of feel-good self-help.
Now this [is really going to sound Oprahish], but I believe things have been unfolding for me in terms of a guidance since I watched The Secret a few years ago at a very low-point. As it says in “A New Earth,” acute suffering or loss, in particular, sometimes jolts people out of their unconscious state. Now it’s not an uncommon tenet: the cliched wisdom that suffering somehow brings inner healing and depth to a person. In this book, however, Eckhart Tolle is referring to something very particular with the word “unconscious.” He starts his earlier book, “The Power of Now,” with the description of a moment in which his suffering got a to a point where it simply dislodged the shackles of his soul. He awoke one morning to experience the world simply, as is.
After reading this volume, the beauty of the world and its “as isness,” is something I’ve come to value. It’s almost like I can remember how it feels when I was younger.
It’s about grounding yourself in the present moment. One effective way in which he tries to illustrate this state, is by pointing out that most people are always waiting to get happy in the future, that the present moment is always just a means to get somewhere, irrelevant and imperfect in itself. OK. That again is a hackneyed rhetorical observation. But Tolle somehow comes towards this same truth, and many others, through an entirely different vantage point.
He introduces us to a life-altering notion: that we are separate from our mind, and the prison of thoughts that may seem rooted in the present, is actually stopping us from living it. .
What he tries to make us see, is that in the moment that we become aware of our thoughts as separate from ourselves (because we are then, after all, looking at this thoughts from afar), we can then start to answer the real question:
If this thinking machine is not who I am, then who, or what am I ?
From this tiny glimpse of a space just behind this junkyard of spiraling thought-patterns, Tolle fuels an entirely new interpretation of consciousness.
Breathing. Absorbing. Accepting the moment, the situation, the reaction as is. Giving yourself that space to not react.
It’s the difference between a happy life and a miserable one. Really.
Perhaps an off-shoot of non-resistance.
It’s such a powerful state, or notion, that he is describing here. The state of being so open to the present moment, so non-defensive towards what might happen or is happening, that numerous possibilites that weren’t there before can flow into your life.
This is when I realized that I may be finding a way through to other forms of truth, like the Quran.
Surrender to the will of God.
Words that previously shut me out like iron bars clamping down with their dogma, suddenly had see-through miles of fabric in between.