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discovering the inner riches, the true self
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biographical information from eckharttolle.com
Eckhart is a spiritual teacher and author who was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of 29, a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada. Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time.
consciousness, as Professor Goswami instructs, gives material form to the universe; it also provides essence of the 'true self'
Word Gems is my personal collection of best things, gold nuggets, from all fields of enquiry. However, if pressed to state what is most valuable to me, I would have to say that Eckhart's two books have opened doors to wisdom as nothing else.
In fact, in this world and the next, the subject matter of Eckhart's teachings, for those with eyes to see, will continue as top priority.
what is this 'true self' and 'false self'
- William James: "There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self."
Finding one's "true self" becomes part of the definition of enlightenment. Discovering authenticity within does not require endless reincarnational lifetimes, herculean effort, advanced degrees, or 30 days of fasting. None of that will help, except to reveal what doesn't work.
Are you aware of what you're thinking right now? which one are you? - the thinking? or the monitoring awareness that knows you're thinking?
This is not as difficult as it might seem; and, once we perceive the difference, and mentally mark the dichotomy, our lives will be set on a "magical mystical tour" of endless insights, understanding, and perception.
thinking about thinking
Try it right now. What was the last thought in your head before I interrupted you? It might have been a flitting memory-trace of an argument from this morning; or what's for dinner tonight; or that errand you need to run. In any case, at this moment - because I made an issue of it - you're (1) visualizing the object of your thought, but also (2) you're aware, as a kind of background presence, that you're thinking about that mental object.
Do you perceive the difference? If you do, you're ready to build upon this perception. Daily, you will grow more and more conscious of the "chatter in the head," the incessant commentary on everything you see in life - but this "voice in the head" is not the real you. The authentic you is the one who mentally steps back, in silent witnessing presence, and observes the antics of the babbling mind.
The chattering mind is not the real you. The observing consciousness that is aware of the mind's monologue is the authentic you.
The thinking mind requires consciousness to function, but consciousness does not need thought to sustain itself.
It's best that I not say more on this aspect of the "true self." Eckhart has done such a masterful job of explaining the process that you must get it straight from him.
here's a great little video, less than 2 minutes, on defusing the "chattering in the head," the "monkey mind"
See the video here
Eckhart Tolle was asked a question concerning his opinion on an array of self-help seminars. He said, to the effect,
"I don't know, they all look very good; but I will tell you this: if you spend the next year practicing a breathing exercise - for just a minute, or a few minutes a day - that will help you more than all of those seminars combined!"
deep breathing, more beneficial than 100 self-help seminars
This sounds to be an unlikely proposition. But I will say, from personal experience, that Eckhart is exactly right.
But why should this be true? Focusing on one's own breathing, for even a minute, or a few minutes a day, begins to stop the "monkey mind," the "chattering in the head," the domain of the "false self"; conscious breathing interrupts the incessant stream of what is often repetitive, unproductive, fear-based thought; and, when that happens, the "true self" naturally begins to rise to the fore, "bubbles up to the surface" (John 4), of consciousness.
Is there any scientific evidence that this is real? Try it, over the coming months and years, and you will become the evidence.
Allow me an additional moment to share an important related item concerning "conscious breathing" which has been very helpful to me and, I trust, will serve you, as well.
Let's say, you're watching a movie and, unexpectedly, an image of gross perversion is flashed on the screen. This happens too often, as we know, and these terrible images can linger in the mind for a long time.
How to get rid of them? Do this for relief: when the sordid vision comes calling, immediately meet it with "conscious breathing." You will find that the monkey-mind image cannot simultaneously exist with an accessing of the "true self" within. The process is simple: breathe deeply, slowly; follow it in, follow it out.
However, especially if the oppressive image has been reinforced for a while, it will not surrender so easily. It will be back, even in the next moments. Stay with the process; as with training a Shetland pony, as I did in my early youth, do not get "thrown." Meet the bad image, toe-to-toe, with conscious breathing. You will find, after a time, that the bad image will give up for a while; but, expect a return visit -- and when it calls again, immediately block it with conscious breathing.
What is happening in all this? Conscious breathing, an accessing of the "true self" within, begins to drain away the negative energy of the ego's thought-forms. You are starving it to death. The dysfunctional ego wants to feed on the negative energy of angry, petulant reaction, thereby strengthening itself. However, a calm frame of mind will deny it a meal. We cannot fight "the darknesss" directly, but must "light a candle" of increased awareness: the smallest candle-power instantly begins to defeat the darkness.
It may take some time and effort to completely "neuter and declaw" the bad image, but it cannot ultimately stand against the purifying power of the sacred "true self."
why should any of this be important
If this is a new subject for you, right now you are skeptical that any of this could be more than a parlor trick. I understand, and so I will spend a little time offering you reason to investigate.
There's a subsuming principle crucial to our evolvement, suggesting that personal growth must be founded upon and initiated from one's deepest person:
afterlife-entities and other teachers advise that we must go within to find the hidden "true self," which discovery is absolutely vital to one's development
Silver Birch: "The whole purpose of earthly life is to awaken the dormant slumbering souls to the reality of their existence. Your world is full of living sleepwalkers who go through the day’s activities in a dream."
Dr. Peebles, speaking via Mrs.Wickland: "Let us develop the truth within us - find ourselves. Do not let us look far away; do not let us look in the past, do not let us look into the future, but let us find ourselves in our present condition and let us be true to ourselves. Let us forget all theories and dogmas. Let us know and feel the nearness of God… Let us learn to find ourselves. While I am sorry to say many have not found themselves, let all of us here acquire knowledge so that when we go to the spirit side of life we shall go on to a higher life."
Cora Richmond: “We can only say, study your souls as you do your bodies, pursue the science as you do any other. Make the lamp of the human spirit the subject of your inquiries and investigations, and, like the happy astronomer who triumphed in the exercise of mathematical faith, you too shall triumph in the certainty of spiritual knowledge.”
White Feather: Coming to see the evidence for the afterlife is just the first step. "Once you have acquired proof that life is continuous and death is only a doorway through which all must pass, do not rest on your laurels. Expand your search beyond seeking evidence and discover for yourself the eternal truth and wisdom that awaits you. Be not content with mere snippets of fact, but find [within] also the joy of knowing your own unique purpose and place in the great scheme of life that is forever unfolding."
Frederic W. H. Myers, in the afterlife, transmitted to Juliet S. Goodenow: "You should cultivate your impressions, your intuitions - trust them as your guide where you travel and discover by sense. This faculty is easy of cultivation, when the student applies himself to the task. The cultivation of the spiritual will be slow as learning a foreign language; the material must be held in abeyance, or the dross of matter will obscure the transcendent realities awaiting discovery... Nations that overdevelop materialistic ideas lose the necessary spiritual balance to retain sufficient equilibrium. I deviate somewhat from my subject, to prove the essential things we should endeavor to obtain - knowledge throws upon experience a searchlight. We have learned that within is the universal way leading to this Wisdom... [Man] is himself the sovereign of his destiny, the master of his fate. Created in the Image of God, he is the Son of the Most High. Lighted by the lamp of conscience, he builds an empire within himself; his lordly possessions reach within to Infinitude... Why has man proceeded so far on his way without recognition of his destiny, his inheritance with the eternal nature of things? His vista of mind has encircled the globe; he reaches out and girdles the earth with the strength of his thought... You have the ability to think the thoughts of God, after Him, in conformance to this law - your mind is therefore the mind of a god, analytical - powerful."
Eliza Duffy, Heaven Revised: “I, who prided myself upon being a close and correct observer, a careful analyzer of all that came under my observation, and a deep and original thinker, have been overwhelmed with astonishment, not to say chagrin, in discovering how little I knew of even the surface life around me; how still less of that deeper and inner life which is the real and actuating power of humanity, but of whose existence there is so little realization until it comes to the surface here…Truly, yes, without disguises or concealments; and we shall learn to know ourselves as well. This self-knowledge is not acquired at once. I realize that it is only beginning with me; for when I have come to a thorough knowledge of self, I shall have acquired a knowledge of all things, even of God."
"You Have to Measure Your Successes and Your Failures Within, not by Anything That I or Anyone Else Might Think."
Channeled testimony via the mediumship of W. Aber, presented in the book The Guiding Star: “The first thing is to make resolute search within your heart and make the great discovery of the aim and usefulness of your individual life. He who succeeds in this discovery, and holds firmly to it all his earth life, has made a success, whether he wears purple and fine linen, or homespun. You scan the heavens with telescopes, but far wiser is the man who becomes the astronomer of his own soul, [the inner cosmos]. You make analysis of the soil of the field, but more difficult, more desirable it is to make analysis of the soil of your own heart, and find what flowers may grow there best, and what noxious weeds must be guarded against. It is not what a man does that makes him great, but what he is. Action is merely thought dressed in visible garb. Being must ever precede doing. Below the surface which the world sees, are springs [see John, chapter 4] which feed the life. To keep these springs fresh and sweet, is the best object of endeavor. Study yourself carefully; and also study the seeming simple things of Nature, and you will learn that the secret of life is eternal Progress; and that the Earth life, which is of the utmost importance, is only the primary grade of life. Learn your first lessons well, that you may have a solid basis for your future unfoldment.”
George W. Meek, The Certainty Of Living Forever: George Meek, engineer and inventor, spent his retirement years traveling the world, gathering scientific evidence for the afterlife. (See the video on his life's work.) Using electronic equipment, he successfully communicated with his departed wife, Jeanette, and others in Summerland. (See Mark Macy’s report on George’s accomplishments here.) Aided by the advice of Jeanette on the astral plane, George created a stair-step diagram summarizing things to know for a harmonious transition to the other side. On the first “step,” the most important item, George wrote: “Seek first the Consciousness of God.” Then, on the second “step,” “Learn to know and to love your real self.” Only farther along on the roster does “Service to Others” make an appearance. All this is exactly right. So many want to put charitable works at the head of the list, but this is wrong. Unless altruistic deed is founded upon one’s “true self” linked to God, no lasting good will come from service efforts. See further discussion in my three articles on “Spirituality: How To Become A Good Person.”
Lord Dowding, Lynchgate: “Have faith in your innermost convictions: accept the words of no man: let your heart be your guide in truth and sincerity. Seek to understand in humility: offer your [altruistic] services.”
Dr. Kurt Gödel: considered as great a thinker as Aristotle, Einstein, and Newton: “I don't believe in empirical science. I only believe in a priori truth.” “I am convinced of the afterlife, independent of theology. If the world is rationally constructed, there must be an afterlife.”
Know Thyself, from ancient temples in Luxor and Delphi: The ancient Greek aphorism "know thyself" or "gnothi seauton" is one of the Delphic maxims, inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, according to the Greek writer Pausanias. The phrase was later expounded upon by the philosopher Socrates who taught: "The unexamined life is not worth living." The aphorism may have [originally] come from … the ancient Luxor Temple [in Egypt], comprised of the External Temple, where the beginners would enter, and the Internal Temple, where a person was allowed to enter only after proven worthy and ready to acquire more knowledge and insights. One of the proverbs of the External Temple is "The body is the house of God." That is why it is said: "Man, know thyself". In the Internal Temple, one of the many proverbs is "Man, know thyself, and you are going to know the gods". (Wikipedia)
Editor's note: In I Cor. 6 the apostle Paul draws distinction between "sins that are without the body" (that is, relatively unharmful) versus those that are "against the body," the result of sexual liaison with a non-Twin Soul partner. Paul's phrase, "the body is the temple of the holy spirit," precisely reflects the sense offered in the Luxor-Temple teachings, "the body is the house of God."
(See an expanded discussion of Paul's I Cor. 6 Twin-Soul teaching in "The Wedding Song"; also note that ancient Spirit Guides, communicating to William Stainton Moses ["Spirit Teachings," 1883], refer to marriage as "the holiest and divinest law of life" but, nevertheless, condemn its current degradation as a "buying and selling," a "social slavery," a "deterioration and retrogression," because humankind has not learned that "the body is the avenue of the spirit.")
It is more than passing coincidence that Genesis metaphorically speaks of sexual coitus as a "knowing," a self-knowing, but such lofty perspective is available only to divinely-appointed Twins, not to John and Mary: to employ Luxor's words, they shall not "know the gods." Similarly, in this we find the heart of Paul's argument: a failure to "know thyself," the sacred deeper-self, makes it impossible to enter into authentic spirituality as one's link to God is facilitated only by way of the inner-person, the locus of consciousness.
David Hume, the great philosopher: He "puts man in the middle"; he analyzed himself, watched himself watching, which became for him a self-knowing. This introspection allowed him to overturn certain errant ideas, going all the way back to Aristotle.
Dr. Eben Alexander: The brain is a filter, a reducer, and dumbs down consciousness to a very slim trickle of information; the answers are within us all, but it's by going deeply within consciousness that we might know this
Judge John Edmonds: An afterlife-researcher, Edmonds offers advice given to him from the other side: "No one can begin to progress until he (or she) has correct ideas of the future existence, [along with] knowing our spiritual nature and destiny..."
Kahlil Gibran: “My soul is my friend who consoles me in misery and distress in life. He who does not befriend his soul is an enemy of humanity, and he who does not find human guidance within himself will perish desperately. Life emerges from within, and derives not from environs… If they place me in vacuum, I will live together with my soul, the child of Love and Beauty…”
Raymond Lodge: fallen soldier of WWI, son of knighted British scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge. He transmitted messages, over a period of years, to his parents via psychic-mediums. On the other side, a sensitive, Freda, helped Raymond to communicate with his parents on the Earth, relaying this:
“If only people would go within themselves more, just now and then, they could reach out and get a good deal of what he [Raymond] has learnt [in Summerland]. But when they want to do things on the Earth-plane, they don’t wish to go within themselves, because they are afraid of reaching a decision against what they [that is, their lower natures] wish to do. That is the reason people can’t choose between right and wrong.” Raymond asserted, regarding the efficacy of “going within,” that this process “made everything on the Earth-plane, about religion, about right and wrong, clear - made it all so clear! [Raymond] often thinks that if he could come back [as a mortal], he could fly through life!” [with the success offered by accessing one’s inner person]
Editor's note: compare Raymond's observation concerning people's fear of going within to the following comment by Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth: "You may not want to [deeply] know yourself because you are afraid of what you may find out. Many people have a secret fear that they are bad. But nothing you can find out about yourself is you. Nothing you can know about you is you." Why is this so? - we, the true self, is linked to the unfathomable God / Universal Consciousness; therefore, as God is essentially unknowable, so it is with the true self.
Cora Richmond, "the most famous woman in the world" of the latter 1800s: "The first sphere of spiritual existence [dark detention, not a pleasant place], like the first sphere of material existence, is thronged with human beings in pursuit of [egoic] self interests... a selfish [existence]... instead of seeking the innermost stages of being. The result is a corresponding spiritual poverty; for you find that, when you have pursued self only, you are defeated..."
Private Dowding, fallen soldier in WWI: "Make yourself a vessel that you may receive the gift of the Spirit [that is, Universal Consciousness]. You will then require no teaching from outside. Revelation will come to you from within. Retire into the Hall of Silence. Think on these things." Editor's note: compare this with the apostle John's statement below.
Robert Benson, Life In The World Unseen: "The members of these [religious] communities [on the other side] know that they have passed on, [but] they think that part of their heavenly reward is to continue with their man-made forms of worship [attending church as the did on Earth]. So they will continue until such time as a spiritual awakening takes place. Pressure is never brought to bear upon these souls; their mental resurrection must come from within themselves. When it does come, they will taste for the first time the real meaning of freedom."
Thomas Paine, from the afterlife: "In all things l believe that the mind and spirit of man is capable of adjudicating matters that pertain to human freedom, and human enlightenment, and to the knowledge of that which is divine. Beyond that reason, which is the external guide of human thought, there is the divine prompting coming from within; from a realm of which I had little knowledge when on Earth, but which now is the divine reality of being, viz., the realm of intuition, the realm of the spirit, the inner and diviner nature of every human being which determines for him [a sense of] the right, which declares to him the truth, which reveals to him the higher and nobler pathway."
Dr. Carl Wickland: "If you have not found the Joy within, then you might want to return [to the Earth]; those who have [found the Joy within], even if it were possible [to return], would never, ever do so."
Jesus of Nazerath: the gospel of John, chapter 4: "I will give you living waters of eternal life [from deep within], and you will never be thirsty again!"
Editor's note: The Greek words for "living water" refer to an artesian spring which produces endless water-flow, naturally bubbling up to the surface from the depths - a perfect illustration by the Master Teacher of the inner riches of the soul refreshing the surface personality. In this illustration, we also find his meaning for the statement, "The kingdom of God is within you." And when he said, "Call no man your father," the sense of his message was, "Call no man your infallible guru or final word on anything." Father, as the term was sometimes employed then, meant "great teaching authority." We find the same prohibition against following Dear Leaders in the next item from John the apostle: instead of surrendering autonomy to any external source, we are to quench our thirst for truth via the artesian well of our own sacred inner-person.
the apostle John: attempting to counteract arrogant teachers who claimed that truth could be known only by their authority, John asserts that all important things of life are taught by "the holy spirit, the anointing," that is, the purified consciousness, and in this process no human teaching agency is required:
"I am writing these things about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you... his anointing teaches you about all things." (I John 2:26-27)
J. Donald Walters: "Intuition is the innate ability in everyone to perceive truth directly - not by reason, logic, or analysis, but by a simple knowing from within. That is the very meaning of the word 'intuition': to know, or understand from within - from one's own self, and from the heart of whatever one is trying to understand. Intuition is the inner ability to see behind the outer forms of things to their inner essence."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus … Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, ‘I must,’ then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.”
Thea Euryphaessa: “Our destiny is aligned with our heart's innermost longing, a longing embedded within our soul before birth. This longing is a unique pattern or configuration reminiscent of the constellations in the night sky. When we express ("press out") our unique configuration, it shines through us with an otherworldly luminosity, manifesting abundance in our lives and the lives of others. Our sole task is to yoke our inner destiny, thread it through our lives, and weave it into the world. All else is just shadows and dust.”
Mary Bruce Wallace, The Thinning Of The Veil (1919), channeled information from the other side: “All power comes from within and is never generated from without. Great reforms will be accomplished when Inner Forces are brought into activity … We are illumined by our own Higher Self. It is to attain this [sense of independence, of relying on one's own inner life] that the Guides are given to us [that is, the very purpose of Spirit Guides having been assigned to us is to bring us to a state of heightened self-awareness, of helping us to 'wake up' to our own inner riches; compare this to the channeled teaching below via William Stainton Moses ]… The first intuition of the soul is usually the correct one…intuition guides one most unerringly… [the Guide] said: ‘Heed not the voices of the World, but at all times heed the inner voice of the Spirit.’ Within the soul of man shineth the Eternal One, invincible, all-conquering. The higher we rise, the more clearly we realize this… The coming age is to be a day of big things in the soul of man and then big changes in the external world. Prepare by enlarging your consciousness -- enlarge, I say, ENLARGE. Rule without from within. You can do more than you know by the power of thought which is the greatest force in the universe… As we rise in the scale of evolution, this becomes more and more clear to us. Realize your Divine Power. Use it with thankfulness and awe.”
The Essene Gospel Of Peace: "In the Garden of the Brotherhood, each shall follow his own path, and each shall commune with his own heart. For in the infinite Garden there are many and diverse flowers."
The Gospel and the Book of Thomas: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you” … "Whoever finds [the true] self is worth more than the world" … "Whoever does not know [the true] self does not know anything, but whoever knows self already has acquired knowledge about the depth of the universe" … “Beings that come from above derive their life from their own root."
Elizabeth Fry: speaking from the afterlife: "We all realize, automatically, within ourselves, what our part is, what work we have to do; and we realize that we are all interwoven, one with another. I think it is [that] we are all very conscious of this oneness of spirit... You cannot, surely, build a truly spiritual realization of God on something which is of a material conception. God is not found, in a sense, in buildings or places ... God is found within one’s soul, within one’s inner consciousness."
Dr. Daniel Robinson of Oxford on the work of Bishop Berkeley (paraphrased, from a lecture): “Without apperception, experience avails nothing; the Self is different from the idea; content different from the knower. Apperception is paramount to the process: to be experienced at all, the successive experiential data must be combined or held together in a unity of consciousness, which implies a unity of self, and this inner integration is as much an object of experience as anything is. Therefore experience, both of the self and its objects, rests on acts of synthesis that, because they are the [pre]conditions of any experience, are not themselves experienced.”
Editor's note: "Apperception" is not a common word. Consider these brief notes of definition: literally, "to-perception"; Descarte & Leibnitz coined the term; to apprehend as "not-self" and yet in relation to the self; a self-reflective activity, which cannot derive from experience, but is the necessary precondition to allow for experience; "conscious perception" the mental process by which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses. Dagobert Runes: In epistemology, "the introspective or reflective apprehension by the mind of its own inner states," one of which is the assimilation of data. Otto F. Kraushaar: for Kant, that which makes experience possible. It is where the self and the world come together; the uniting and building of coherent consciousness out of different elementary inner experiences (differing in both time and topic, but all belonging to self-consciousness). What is this "unity of self"? - a panscopic sense of self injected into all experiential data, lives apart from the data, therefore, this "unity of self" survives all experience with objects in the world. Kant distinguished transcendental apperception from empirical apperception. The first is the perception of an object as involving the consciousness of the pure self as subject -- "the pure, original, unchangeable consciousness that is the necessary condition of experience and the ultimate foundation of the unity of experience."
William Stainton Moses, "Spirit Teachings," (1883); Moses channeled extensive teachings from advanced Spirit Guides covering many subjects. The wisdom received is impressive and most valuable; but, for our purposes here, it should be noted that the Guides strictly cautioned against becoming too enamored with physical phenomena - i.e., rappings, table liftings, levitations, receipt of apports, and the like -- but, instead, one should focus on the inner journey of the soul, "the spark struck off from God." See the following excerpt from "Spirit Teachings":
"Beware of encouraging the promiscuous evolution of violent physical power [when you seek for a psychic-medium]. Such comes generally from the lower and more undeveloped; and its development is frequently attended by spirits for whose absence you should pray. In the encouragement, especially in newly-formed [psychic-medium] circles, of undue care for physical marvels is a great risk.
"Such are necessary to the work, and we do not in any degree undervalue their importance to certain minds. We desire to bring home evidence to all; but we do not desire that any should rest in that material form of belief, in an external something which is of little service to any soul. We labour for something higher… Nor do we rest content even with showing man that beings external to himself can interfere in the order of his world. If that were all, he might be so much the worse for knowing it.
Editor's note: These Guides are so adamant for us to experience the inner life, the true riches of the soul, that they fear we might be made “worse,” even by knowing of their existence; bedazzled and distracted by a messenger from heaven, diverting our attention from the real action within.
"We have before us one sole aim … to demonstrate to man that he is immortal, by virtue of the possession of that soul which is a spark struck off from Deity itself. We wish … to show him the life that leads to progress, to point him to the future of development and growth…
How can we know that we are beings with a divine heritage?
Editor’s note: Feel the flow of the Guides' argument. They say they have one “aim.” It is to inform us that we are “immortal,” that is, made in the image of God. By what demonstration? “by virtue” of the fact that we possess a divine “soul,” which is like a “spark," a particle of the divine essence, "struck off” from God. And how shall we assure ourselves of this divine possession? We will know that our essential life is divine and from God because it will reveal itself as a “life that leads to progress,” to a “future of development and growth.” In other words, we can know that we are immortal, fit to “live with the gods,” by our awesome potential to enlarge and by a commensurate innate desire to improve, to become, to achieve, to soar. Granted, the “false self” has dampened this success-mindedness with its fear, guilt, despair, and anger – but these merely cloak and overlay and do not represent our natural state. We are to “go within” and discover who we really are, the "made in the image" heritage from which we derive. Special note: compare this desire to achieve and improve with Jesus' teaching, "Embrace this god-life, really embrace it!"
"If we use such [phenomenal] power at all it is because we find it necessary, not because we think it desirable, save always as a means to an end… Regard [the phenomenal] only as means of conviction, as so many proofs to your minds of actual intervention from the world of spirit with the world of matter. Look upon them as such only, and use them as the material foundation on which the spiritual temple may be built. Rest assured that they of themselves can teach you no more than that ... you must go on to further steps.
"You must seek to know of the nature of the agency, of its source and intent. Surely you would desire to be assured that it is of God, beneficent and pure in origin and intent. Surely you would seek to know how much the visitors from beyond the grave can tell you of that universal dwelling-place of your race; how they can satisfy you of your own soul’s destiny, and of the means by which you may best fit yourself for the change which you call death. For if we be not as you, how is our experience fruitful to you? If we cannot tell you of your own immortality, what profits it that we prove to you never so conclusively that we ourselves exist? Such may be a curious fact; it can never be more…
"When you can reach out beyond the phenomenal to the actual investigation of Truth for its own sake—when, in short, you can believe our pretensions—then we can open out to you a realm of which you are yet ignorant, and which has been far more fully revealed to earnest seekers in other lands than yours. To few only in your land have higher revealings of spiritual truth been vouchsafed. Even this means of communing by writing, which seems to you such an advance on the clumsy rapping out messages and such material means of communication is as nothing compared with the inner communing of spirit with spirit without the intervention of material signs… [we] encourage you to rise above the material to the spiritual plane.
"Receptivity must precede higher development: but we yearn and pray for the time when you shall have shaken yourselves free from earthly trammels, and seek only after the higher revealings of Truth. To that end you must have singleness of purpose: you must have shaken yourselves free from human opinion, and have dissociated yourselves from the material plane, so far as an occupant of earth may do so."
Editor's note: This is wonderful advice from the Spirit Guides. Even the "scientific evidence for the afterlife" might become a snare if sought with materialistic view. It is mere stepping-stone and "nothing compared" to the far more valuable intuitive realm, an "inner communing of spirit with spirit." Regard the "scientific evidence" only as means to initial conviction, and then move on to the primary substantive issues of the soul's destiny and one's life in God.
Rainer Maria Rilke: “A billion stars go spinning through the night, glittering above your head, but in you is the presence that will be when all the stars are dead… Think... of the world you carry within you… your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”
Editor's note: What are we to make of this long list of admonition toward "know thyself" and "going within," a virtual command to "enlarge"? We must conclude that the "riches within" constitute an unfathomable inner-cosmos of raw capacity to be actualized. Apotheosis is our future. Father Benson appears to be correct: "no discoverable upper limit" to our potential.
Editor's note: Many years ago, when I began to investigate psychic-mediums, I received the same directive, purportedly from Spirit Guides, via several different psychics:
"You're not trusting yourself enough!" "You need to trust yourself a whole lot more!" "You need to go within and listen to yourself!"
This barrage of similar message began to irritate me...
See Dr. Viktor Frankl's comments on "being" versus "doing," from his book, Man's Search for Meaning.
Plato and Dr. Campbell, the soul and the ego
from the book, “The Power Of Myth,”
a discussion with Dr. Joseph Campbell
Moyers: I remember a lecture in which you drew a circle, and you said, "That's your soul."
Campbell: Well, that was simply a pedagogical stunt. Plato said somewhere that the soul is a circle. I took this idea to suggest on the blackboard the whole sphere of the psyche. Then I drew a horizontal line across the circle to represent the line of separation of the conscious and unconscious. The center from which all our energy comes I represented as a dot in the center of the circle, below the horizontal line… Now, above the horizontal line there is the ego, which I represent as a square: that aspect of our consciousness that we identify as our center. But, you see, it’s very much off center. We think that this is what’s running the show, but it isn’t.
Moyers: What’s running the show?
Campbell: What’s running the show is what’s coming up from way down below…
rationality, the scientific method, and other left-brain analytics -- if that's all we have -- might bar us from the higher levels of consciousness
Editor's note: Dr. David Hawkins in his important work regarding planes of consciousness asserts that intellectuals can get stuck on the level of Reason instead of advancing to higher, more advanced, intuitive expressions of intelligence:
"Intelligence and rationality rise to the forefront when the emotionalism of the lower levels is transcended. Reason is capable of handling large, complex amounts of data and making rapid, correct decisions. Knowledge and education are here sought as capital... [A danger here, however, is that] intellectualizing can become an end in itself; end up missing the essential point. Reason does not of itself provide a guide to truth; paradoxically, [it] is the major block to reaching higher levels of consciousness... Reason deals only with particulars, whereas Love deals with entireties. This ability, often ascribed to intuition, is the capacity for instantaneous understanding without resorting to sequential symbol processing."
If the "true self" is hidden within, how do we bring it to the surface of our lives?
A realization of the difference between thinking and awareness of thinking is a first step. We must build on this perception.
There are various practices that will encourage the process. It's best that you learn of these directly from Eckhart as his writings offer an expanded, detailed discussion. I am not able to do the subject justice here. You'll want to study his two primary books...
Why do we have a 'false self' - didn't God create us "in the image" with perfection?
Here's the best analogy I've heard to help us:
Think of the sun shining at noonday; it's blazing gloriously, a beautiful day. But now imagine a cloudy day, and it's rather grey and dull outside. Or, if you like, imagine noonday after Mount St. Helen's erupted - as I experienced first-hand - and now it's not just grey and dull but pitch-black at noonday.
our divine soul, one's link to Universal Consciousness, is like the sun blazing at noonday - this is our "true self"; but clouds that hide the Sun, blotting out its glory, represent the "false self"
Even when volcanic ash makes noonday as midnight, and darker, the Sun still reigns high above the chaos - is absolutely unaffected by the mayhem below.
No evil we might commit can touch the essential perfection of the "true self" -- the Sun was not harmed by Mount St. Helens.
What does this mean for us, in terms of our maturation process?
Some planets - Venus, as I recall - endure perpetual cloaking by cloud-cover. To extend my analogy, some of us live on Venus: we never see the Sun, never see the perfection within. All we see is the churning and roiling dark clouds of the "false self." And we are convinced that no Sun exists and that this endless darkness is what we are.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I look at you and see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I don't know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you…
why do we have a "false self"
This question introduces another subject which cannot properly be addressed right now. However, to offer a very short answer, we came to this world to become persons in our own right; individualized spirits with our own sense of autonomy and volition.
The "false self" is but a temporary stage in our development. It works toward a larger purpose. In the meantime, however, everything it thinks or does is infused with a sense of "me." Or as Eckhart says, "It turns everything into a me." It seeks for its own advantage and aggrandizement in all situations and cannot help itself to do otherwise - and even when it seems to be altruistic, it merely calculates the odds of winning back more in good will.
- the "false self's" mantra is "I don't have enough" because, it fears, "I am not enough."
The "false self" will not win the "Mother Theresa Award" for charitable intent, but it does bless another purpose very well. All of its distasteful "me-ism" makes for excellent spawning ground for individualization. It provides the building-blocks of personhood, a kind of scaffolding for the primary construction at hand, just an initial developmental stage - we'll worry about becoming "good persons" after we become persons.
- Gina Lake: "The ego isn't actually an entity. Rather, it is the sense of being a separate individual. We feel like individuals, although we are in actuality manifestations, or expressions, of One Being... Encased in this human body, we have lost awareness of our true nature and are meant to rediscover the truth."
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
I look at you and see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I don't know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you...
the ego is very unimaginative; everything it does devolves to one central pathology
All this talk about the Ego and the widespread calamity it produces may seem overdone to some. Therefore, allow me another attempt to explain the pervasive nature of the evil we’re up against.
Here’s a question for you: What do these six examples have in common?
(1) the elderly lady, visibly frightened of new information which might threaten her view of a particular god or goddess rescuing her upon transition to the next world; (2) screaming fans, shouting with hysteria, hoping to touch, or even glimpse, a favorite celebrity; (3) billionaire corporate heads employing new technology to increase surveillance on a populace, thereby diminishing rights to privacy; (4) national leaders, with big sloppy grins, posing as benefactors to the country’s interests, while undermining civil liberties, the rule of law, and taking to themselves more power; (5) supervisors or fellow co-workers seeking to deny you promotion or commendation, though you’ve earned it and are the best choice for the new position; (6) a friend, lover, or family member who insults you, slants a story, attacks you, cheats you, because they disagree with, and are threatened by, your new-found beliefs.
Do you see the common thread? In each case, a needy Ego, which has identified with some power-structure, or “father figure,” or surrogate life, seeks to enhance itself by some external authority. And if you even hint at disrupting this secondary “life-line,” the Ego in question will do what it can to diminish or marginalize what you represent. This attack upon your person will take the form of whatever the threatened Ego believes it can get away with – be it verbal insult, a lying report, character assassination, raging and shouting; and, if there’s no rule of law to intervene, you will be physically assaulted, even, put to death, if the Ego believes it can get away with this atrocity.
I submit to you, every – yes, every! – insult, abuse, affront, contempt, disrespect, misrepresentation, aggression, assailment, invasion, violation, trespass, usurpation, infringement, conflict, and war – in the history of the world, and your own personal history, have resulted from Egos, at your expense, attempting to feel better about themselves, pursuing to quash the sense of inner existential neediness, of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”
silence your ego and your power will rise
Doctor Strange (2016)
The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
The Ancient One: “You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current and use its power as your own… Silence your ego and your power will rise.”
there is so much to be said here
Enlightenment is realizing that you are the sun behind the clouds.
But it's not a one-time revelation. It comes to us drip-drip-drip, more completely, and overwhelmingly, over the months and years. There is so much wonder and marvel, the riches so unfathomable, of the divine soul "made in the image," that we will spend the next million years and beyond unpacking it all - indeed, eternity itself will not provide sufficient time to manifest.
I like what Father Benson in the afterlife said about our incredible potential:
- there is "no discernible upper limit" to what we might become
Growing in awareness, expanding our level of consciousness, unfolding the hidden wealth of the soul, will be part of our regular spiritual practice - on a permanent basis. All advanced beings, ones with eyes in their heads, are engaged in this process of searching out what God has given us.
I must leave this topic as the implications are vast and invite endless discussion. But consider this as a final thought for now:
We will not find the destined Twin-Soul until, first, the "true self" is discovered. Until then, the greatest joys and pleasures of heaven will be barred to us.
- I used the word "find," but I could have chosen "recognize." She might be around you now; she might have been around you earlier - but if "homework" had been left undone (one's spiritual practice to increase levels of consciousness), the vision of the soul suffered distortion - we weren't ready. The "false self" so "controlled you," as George Harrison warned, that she wasn't recognized... "nobody told you how to unfold your love."
Considering this ultimate tragedy, we must commit ourselves to the process. This is the proposition in Swedenborg's vision of the angel instructing the red-blooded young men in heaven.
“You walk down the street and you’re somebody; you dress like somebody; your face looks like somebody... We enter into these conspiracies. You say, I’ll make believe you are who you think you are if you make believe I am who I think I am.”
“Our whole spiritual transformation brings us to the point where we realize that in our own being, we are enough.”
“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own level of evolution.”
“We’re here to awaken from the illusion of separateness.”
Editor's last word:
There are many ways of approaching a study goal. I'll share with you what I've done to imbibe of Tolle's teachings; if it helps you, I'll be glad, but if it doesn't appeal, you'll find other ways.
Here's what I did for several years: there're about 2000 songs on my iPod plus scores of 5-minute segments of Tolle's teachings. I set the entire listening mode to "shuffle" and simply take what comes next. Most of it is music, but interspersed are the random 5-minute Tolle-segments. No matter if you've heard a segment before, very likely, it will speak to you, resonate with your deepest person, anew, each time you hear it.
The implications are utterly profound and far-reaching. No subject could be more important; because if we fail to come into our own, fall short of accessing who we really are, we'll be of little use to ourselves or others.
Everything - one's entire future, all that we hope to do, accomplish, and possess - hinges upon first coming alive.