Thursday, January 8, 2009

Being Present is a Present to Yourself

From: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle
Why should we be addicted to thinking?
"Because you are identified with it, which means that you derive your sense of self from the content and activity of your mind. Because you believe that you would cease to be if you stopped thinking. As you grow up, you form a mental image of who you are, based on your personal and cultural conditioning. We may call this phantom self the ego. It consists of mind activity and can only be kept going through constant thinking. The term ego means different things to different people, but when I use it here it means a false self, created by unconscious identification with the mind.

To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it -- who are you? It constantly projects itself into the future to ensure its continued survival and to seek some kind of release or fulfillment there. It says: "One day, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be okay, happy, at peace." Even when the ego seems to be concerned with the present, it is not the present that it sees: It mispercieves it completely because it looks at it through the eyes of the past. Or it reduces the present to a means to an end, an end that always lies in the mind-projected future. Observe your mind and you'll see that this is how it works. The present moment holds the key to liberation."

How true, especially if you give that last part a try. Really step back and observe the mind as it oscillates between past and future but never settles on the now. It's amazing and disturbing at the same time. Reading Tolle is part of my voluntary simplicity movement where I am working towards not only decluttering my home, but also my mind! Another interesting this is my friend Amy is also posting on this very subject, as though we were thinking along these same lines recently. You should go give it a read.


Amy said...

hee hee! Thanks for mentioning me! I read another Eckhardt Tolle book a few month ago and it was what got me started on the "right now I"m..." thing! That one thing has done a lot to improve the quality of my life! What voluntary simplicity books would you recommend?!

Anonymous said...

Chimera -

Very well said. I also found Eckhart Tolle very helpful in learning aspects of being in the moment.

I have also writing a blog that covers many spiritual topics. I also make the connection between false self and ego.

here is a link if you are interested in what I have written about observation:

Keep up the writing - this is the most important subject that we can be discussing!


kim* said...

happy weekend...cute baby :)