I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s International Bestseller and guide to Spiritual Enlightenment called “The Power of Now” recently.
Openend the book again after a couple of years of not reading it.
Decided to give it a quick read again…
Yet, when I started reading it, I realized that the first method Eckhart Tolle gives us towards Spiritual Enlightenment is also immediately the crux of his whole message.
It is something he himself refers to as “Watching the Thinker”.
The first step in freeing ourselves from our minds, as he refers to it himself.
The Power of Now: Chapter 1, Page 14-16:
When someone goes to the doctor and says, “I hear a voice in my head,” he or she will most likely be sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that in a very similar way, virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don’t realize you have the power to stop. Continuous monologues or dialogues.
How many times do you talk to yourself when you’re inside your house?
Seriously, how many times?
It might not be out loud but believe me, you’re definitely talking to yourself all throughout the day.
We’re all literally communicating with our own mental voice throughout the day, answering and questioning different thought patterns and working out all sorts of mental scenarios that might or might not ever happen.
We’re mentally worried about things that can happen the next day (but most likely won’t).
However Eckhart Tolle tells us right here that we can stop thinking about things that do not serve us at all during any specific moment in time.
He calls our thought process involuntary meaning that we barely ever think on our own accord… rather, thinking happens to us.
You have probably come across “mad” people in the streets incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, that’s not much different from what you and all the other “normal” people do, except that you don’t do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn’t necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reviving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations. Here it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry.
We do this all day long or should I say, this happens to us all day long.
Every single situation, person, object or whatever mind stimulating thing we come across during our daily lives, our mind simply loves to talk all the time.
It never stops the mental judgement, everything you come across will be judged.
And in 95% of all cases, your mind gets carried away into the realm of useless thinking.
It starts to worry about some horrible future loss or event that might occur in your life and it will drag you mentally into that loophole.
And it will do this every single time that you’re not being conscious of it.
You might ask why it is useless to contemplate upon future events… doesn’t that prevent harmful things from occurring?
No, it doesn’t because in most cases, the mind simply exaggerates all situations.
The mind is attached to an animal body and therefore it wants to survive and thrive at all costs.
Anything that seems risky or dangerous will be demonized by your own mind.
That is why people that are scared of being broke, will always be broke.
Because your mind tells you that getting money and being successful is evil.
Or whatever other excuse it can produce.
The mind is a survival mechanism which keeps the body alive but in reality most of the minds useless thought patterns only prevent you from being able to thrive.
It blocks you from being able to try out new things in life and rather does everything for ITSELF to survive.
Sometimes this soundtrack is accompanied by visual images or “mental movies.” Even if the voice is relevant to the situation at hand, it will interpret it in terms of the past. This is because the voice belongs to your conditioned mind, which is the result of all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mind-set you inherited.
Creating worries about the past is a powerful mental weapon used against us by our own minds.
It literally re-creates past memories in a very visual way for us, often accompanied by the exact same emotions.
Once you energize these thoughts by contemplating upon them over and over again; then the damage is done and the floodgates of negative emotions open themselves throughout your entire body.
The message here is… stop worrying about the past.
Nothing is meant to last and all things shall come to pass.
What does it benefit you to re-create bad situations that aren’t taking place anymore right now?
The past doesn’t exist, this is something people have to start realizing.
Time is not a linear thing, everything that already happened is no longer relevant to the moment at hand.
Because if you give past memories that kind of importance, they refuse to be memories any longer and they’ll become part of your present moment experience.
You’ve re-energized the pain of reliving past-trauma even though it was already gone.
So you see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of it. It is not uncommon for the voice to be a person’s own worst enemy. Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease.
Your entire worldview is conditioned by your mental judgement.
Things are never what they are but what you think about them.
Everyone sees the world through their own mental lens.
Therefore most of us can’t objectively look at things but rather we always love to point fingers at the world and at others.
Nobody is free from this and most humans never will be.
However that doesn’t mean that we can’t be aware of the whole fact behind the matter.
The fact that our mind, might not be our best friend, all the time.
Sometimes when everyone seems to be against you, maybe you should change your mental view and while doing so; maybe you’ll realize that the problem wasn’t with others, rather it was you.
Things are never the way they are but rather what we think of them.
One of the most famous slogans of the 21st Century is: “Be Positive”.
This is not some empty statement trying to make you feel good…
That is a lower class human conception of it.
Being positive is a mindset that can change your entire life.
But only those who are already there, are capable of realizing it.
The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your heads perhaps for many years. This is what I mean by “Watching the thinker,” which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.
If you keep hearing the same old mental complaints, then perhaps it is time to change the game.
Always worried about politics? Shut off the negative thoughts about this party or that party.
Watch your own thoughts mentally.
See what’s coming in over and over again, see what thought patterns keep presenting themselves to you even though they are nothing but useless “truths”.
Ignore the thoughts or do something tangible about them, but quit religiously entertaining every thought that enters your mind all the time.
Separate yourself from your thought patterns and you’ll realize that inside of you resides an independent compulsive negative thinker.
This is called freedom of mind.
When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it. This I am realization, this sense of your own presence, it is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
Judging in this context means having an opinion on everything.
So when you’re exercising your body in the Gym and you see an attractive person there as well, then you’ll have two options.
Appreciate the beauty and return to your duty.
Or dwell on that person for the rest of your workout/day even though you didn’t had the courage to talk to him or her.
Creating all sorts of “what if” scenarios mentally.
Almost all people do this when they meet opportunities in life for which they lack the courage to actually partake in, so they mentally dwell on it for a long time afterwards.
Tormenting themselves and forgetting all about the fact, that it is the mind that produces all these fantastical scenarios that might or might not happen.
So, stop listening to the mental voice all the time.
When it arises inside of your mind, don’t judge its content but rather just witness it and move on with your life or act upon it.
But never mentally engage it while neglecting to partake in its physical counterpart.
That is not being present, but rather a form of mental absence.
So when you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence–your deeper self–behind or underneath the thought, as it were. The thought then loses its power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.
Your deeper self is pure awareness also referred to as your Higher Consciousness.
It is simply said, consciousness without thought.
Not a state of unconsciousness, but Super Consciousness or Ultra Instinct.
Once this becomes your primary mode of Being, you are as Jesus Christ said in religious terms: “Born-Again” and as the Buddha said: “You have found the end to all suffering”.
Spiritual Enlightenment is thus literally nothing but Mastery over Compulsive Thinking.
Once this has been accomplished, everything else in life will fall into its rightful place.