Dustin LindenSmith

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from an interview with Eckhart Tolle

From Issue #2971 of the Nondual Highlights, edited by Gloria Lee this time, these are excerpts abridged by me from a lengthy interview with Eckhart Tolle, a current sweetheart of the "New Age Nonduality" movement. Anyone who hasn't heard of Tolle will find ample resources online about him. I've only read his first book, The Power of Now (amazon.com | amazon.ca), and I found his writing to be quite lucid and insightful. His instructions for focusing your attention and actions on the present moment are very useful. Some radical nondualists might find that he waters down the most essential facts a bit, but you can't argue with the effectiveness of his teachings for a mainstream audience. And in truth, there's something to be had for all manner of advaitans in his work. What he says about there being no time to wait for enlightenment is great; he says that since time cannot get us to the timeless state of consciousness, there's no point in waiting for some time in the future to become enlightened. This is a very important point.
The question is, can you be in a state of openness towards what is right now, without imposing a mental interpretation on it, without denying or running away from it or making the present moment into a means to an end? The ego mind says, "I need to get to the next moment. This was just a stepping stone, but once I get there I'll be okay," because the mind is future-oriented.

The simple thing is becoming one with the present moment by no longer resisting it and by being open to what is. Any moment starts with this moment. There is no other. Not imposing an interpretation on what is, letting it be. Approaching it in a state of alert, open attention. Whatever it is that the present moment contains, you approach it in that state of alert openness.

Then the greater intelligence comes into your life immediately because you're no longer operating from the conditioned mind. When you open yourself up to the present moment, you also open yourself up to the unconditioned, the far deeper consciousness, the true intelligence. When that comes into your life, it deals with anything that needs to be done in this present moment. The response comes from that deeper level of intelligence, whatever you're doing.

Wisdom can only arise from the unconditioned dimension of consciousness and you don't have to make an enormous effort to bring that about. At some point in the future, in some remote state, as some Buddhists believe, "I need another 10 incarnations and then I'll be enlightened." Some teachers might even tell you, "You'll be enlightened in only a few more incarnations, just wait."

There's no time to wait. There's no need to wait. Time cannot get you to the timeless state of consciousness, so if you're looking to the future that sometime you'll be in that state, no you won't. You can simply be in that state now, by no longer living in antagonism with the present moment.

The only difference between you and the enlightened master is that the master lives in a state of oneness with the present moment, in complete inner "Yes." Nothing else. He might be much less knowledgeable than you; he probably is. Buddha and Jesus had much less information than a person has today because humans didn't know that much at the time, but it didn't matter. Information is not what it's about.

The realization is that the transformation of consciousness does not require time. Many people get angry when I say that because they've invested so much of themselves in a self-image as a spiritual seeker who is going to "get there" one day. They're so invested as seekers that, of course, they can't be finders. They're seekers and they're interested in the future more than the present, and that's the old pattern appearing in the new disguise – the old, egoic pattern.


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