Eckhart Tolle’s Vital Read for Recovering Men
As an active man in recovery you want to harvest the knowledge and wisdom deeply embedded in the world’s religious traditions, yet evenings of study that grow deep into the night can often lead you to miss the one key ingredient that unifies all major teachings and transmutes pain, depression, anxiety and trauma into presence, power and strong, noble peace.
That ingredient is what Eckhart Tolle articulated to the world in the book that made his name The Power of Now.
The embracing of the Now is the channel through which man can lose his chains and become deeply present, without fear, in contact with his most profound inner nature.
By blending the teachings of the world’s major religions and spiritual masters, Tolle unites strands in Christianity, Buddhism and Sufism to highlight the collective emphasis on the present moment.
“You are here to let the divine purpose of the universe unfold – that is how important you are,” Eckhart Tolle
For Tolle, the first and most important way in which any man seeking enlightenment can gain insight is via the acceptance that you are not your mind.
Our collective identification with the mind is that which produces craving within us – however, the mind can never be satisfied as it seeks to define its requirements on the external plain (sex, drugs, alcohol, etcetera).
This is why Tolle looks to the example of the Buddha.
“Enlightenment is the end of suffering,” The Buddha
Tolle uses the above quotation from the Buddha in order to show how he is careful not to attempt to explain what enlightenment is, as “to not create a false mind definition the ego will use and cling onto.”
This gets the essence of the present moment, our deep inner selves and the peace we seek: enlightenment is beyond the mind, therefore we must not try to reach it with thought, for we will only tie ourselves in knots that way and lose the elusive peace we’re looking for in attempting to define it.
The ramifications of such a claim are huge, and Tolle knows this.
Pointing to Descartes’ famous “I think therefore I am”, Tolle expresses how the epicentre of late Western philosophy has confused being with a mind-identified state.
Such a confusion is the route from which the disparity from people, things, and even within ourselves begins.
After all, as Tolle points out, all the things that truly matter, joy, beauty, love and so forth, come from beyond the mind.
Watching the Thinker
Two practical solutions Tolle highlights in doing this is harnessing your power in ‘watching the thinker’ and focussing on the mind.
Tolle offers sage guidance for both.
Watching the Thinker:
- Be impartial
- Do not judge the internal voice
- Watch the internal voice
- Be aware of yourself as witness to the thoughts
Focus on the Now:
- Draw consciousness away from thinking by focusing on immediate moment
- Wash hands and feel the water, explain the water
- Feel your body as you breathes
- Understand that this is the essence of meditation in which you are partaking
- Watch emotions just as thoughts