Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Peace in our timelessness

I've been listening to Even the Sun Will Die, an interview with Eckhart Tolle that took place on September 11th. Eckhart Tolle is one of those people you have to hear as well as read, because you pick up a lot from him just in his voice.

The center of Tolle's teaching is that of timeless awareness; essentially, "Only the present moment has reality." Past and future are creations of the mind, and the only thing that is ever real is what is happening right now. All thinking (and therefore all the traps that thinking can create) is focused on past and future: we remember events from the past, try to make a story to make sense of it, and hope and fear about what's going to come. Focusing on the Now immediately removes a person from most of what they thought was real: a person has almost no identity in the present moment, since our memories of past and ambitions for the future are most of what we consider ourselves to be.

Tolle is not really breaking new ground here; "be here now" is one of the most hackneyed spiritual truisms of the last century. Which, I think, is why it is finally hitting me so directly. I had spent so much time being dismissive of such hippie-talk, which often served as a thin rationalization for evading responsibility, that I had missed the truth that it contained.

The phrase that Tolle repeats that haunts me is: "Many spiritual seekers think they need more time to become enlightened. But the one thing that is essential -- your true nature beyond form -- time cannot give you. You can only find it right now."

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