Book Reviews

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle -Book Notes, Summary, and Review

45. The Power Of Now - Eckhart Tolle

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Rating: 9/10

Date of reading: 25th of November – 2nd of December, 2017

Description: I’m not really into woo-woo kind of books but this is definitely not one of those. There is a reason The Power of Now is called the most spiritual book of the 20th century. If you hear about mindfulness and presence all around you but don’t know where it comes from or what the fundamentals are, I definitely recommend The Power of Now.

 

My notes:

 

FOREWORD

 

“MYTH #2 We are completely separate from each other, nature, and the Kosmos. This myth of “other-than-me” has been responsible for wars, the rape of the planet, and all forms and expressions of human injustice. After all, who in their right mind would harm another if they experienced that person as part of themselves? Stan Grof, in his research of non-ordinary states of consciousness, summarizes by saying “the psyche and consciousness of each of us is, in the last analysis, commensurate with “All-That-Is” because there are no absolute boundaries between the body/ego and the totality of existence.”” ( :4)

“This is no mere theory the i982 Aspect Experiment in France demonstrated, that two once-connected quantum particles separated by vast distances remained somehow connected. If one particle was changed, the other changed instantly. Scientists don’t know the mechanics of how this faster-than-the-speed-of-light travel can happen, though some theorists suggest that this connection takes place via doorways into higher dimensions.” ( :5)

“A time came when, for a while, I was left with nothing on the physical plane. I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy. But even the most beautiful experiences come and go. More fundamental, perhaps,” ( :11)

“”Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.” their challenging questions, and their readiness to listen.” ( :12)

“I do so not in order to compare, but to draw your attention to the fact that in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. Some of these forms, such as the ancient religions, have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual essence has become almost completely obscured by it.” ( :13)

 

The Power of Now
YOU ARE NOT YOUR MIND

 

“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form. The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflict within and without becomes the norm.” ( :17)

“When you are present, when your attention is fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment.” ( :17)

“The philosopher Descartes believed that he had found the most fundamental truth when he made his famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error, to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking. The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind.” ( :18)

“It is not a trancelike state. Not at all. There is no loss of consciousness here. The opposite is the case. If the price of peace were a lowering of your consciousness, and the price of stillness a lack of vitality and alertness, then they would not be worth having. In this state of inner connectedness, you are much more alert, more awake than in the mind-identified state. You are fully present. It also raises the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives life to the physical body.” ( :21)

“In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present. Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on. Or when you get into your car, after you close the door, pause for a few seconds and observe the flow of your breath. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.” ( :21)

“Thinking and consciousness are not synonymous. Thinking is only a small aspect of consciousness. Thought cannot exist without consciousness, but consciousness does not need thought.” ( :22)

“decisive phase of the creative act itself.” So I would say that the simple reason why the majority of scientists are not creative is not because they don’t know how to think but because they don’t know how to stop thinking!” ( :23)

“So you need to become fully conscious of your emotions and be able to feel them before you can feel that which lies beyond them. Emotion literally means “disturbance.” The word comes from the Latin emovere, meaning “to disturb.” Love, joy, and peace are deep states of Being or rather three aspects of the state of inner connectedness with Being. As such, they have no opposite. This is because they arise from beyond the” ( :25)

“mind.” ( :26)

“I am talking here primarily of emotional pain, which is also the main cause of physical pain and physical disease. Resentment, hatred, self-pity, guilt, anger, depression, jealousy, and so on, even the slightest irritation, are all forms of pain. And every pleasure or emotional high contains within itself the seed of pain: its inseparable opposite, which will manifest in time. Anybody who has ever taken drugs to get “high” will know that the high eventually turns into a low, that the pleasure turns into some form of pain.” ( :26)

 

The Power of Now
CONSCIOUSNESS: THE WAY OUT OF PAIN

 

“Some spiritual teachings state that all pain is ultimately an illusion, and this is true. The question is: Is it true for you? A mere belief doesn’t make it true. Do you want to experience pain for the rest of your life and keep saying that it is an illusion? Does that free you from the pain? What we are concerned with here is how you can realize this truth that is, make it real in your own experience.” ( :34)

“The reason why you don’t put your hand in the fire is not because of fear, ifs because you know that you’ll get burned. You don’t need fear to avoid unnecessary danger just a minimum of intelligence and common sense.” ( :37)

“This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap.” ( :37)

“Since the ego is a derived sense of self, it needs to identify with external things. It needs to be both defended and fed constantly. The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, personal and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you. Do you find this frightening? Or is it a relief to know this?” ( :39)

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” and find that there is no death.” ( :39)

 

The Power of Now
MOVING DEEPLY INTO THE NOW

 

“To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation.” ( :44)

“Aren’t past and future just as real, sometimes even more real, than the present? After all, the past determines who we are, as well as how we perceive and behave in the present. And our future goals determine which actions we take in the present. You haven’t yet grasped the essence of what I am saying because you are trying to understand it mentally. The mind cannot understand this. Only you can. Please just listen.” ( :45)

“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind:” ( :47)

“nationalism, or rigid religious belief systems, which operate under the implicit assumption that the highest good lies in the future and that therefore the end justifies the means. The end is an idea, a point in the mind-projected future, when salvation in whatever form happiness, fulfillment, equality, liberation, and so on will be attained. Not infrequently, the means of getting there are the enslavement, torture, and murder of people in the present.” ( :50)

“If it is the quality of your consciousness at this moment that determines the future, then what is it that determines the quality of your consciousness? Your degree of presence. So the only place where true change can occur and where the past can be dissolved is the Now.” ( :51)

 

The Power of Now
MIND STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING THE NOW

 

“Many people use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, television, or even shopping as anesthetics in an unconscious attempt to remove the basic unease.” ( :62)

“The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.” ( :62)

“As within, so without: If humans clear inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution.” ( :66)

“Do they act in this way because they are in touch with 87 their natural state, the joy of life within? Of course not. Only people who are in a deeply negative state, who feel very bad indeed, would create such a reality as a reflection of how they feel. Now they are engaged in destroying nature and the planet that sustains them. Unbelievable but true. Humans are a dangerously insane and very sick species. Thats not a judgment. Ifs a fact. It is also a fact that the sanity is there underneath the madness. Healing and redemption are available right now.” ( :67)

“If you don’t, your “acceptance” just becomes a mental label that allows your ego to continue to indulge in unhappiness and so strengthen its sense of separation from other people, your surroundings, youre here and now.” ( :67)

“It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” ( :68)

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally.” ( :68)

“If there is truly nothing that you can do to change your here and now, and you can’t remove yourself from the situation, then accept your here and now totally by dropping all inner resistance.” ( :68)

 

The Power of Now
THE STATE OF PRESENCE

 

“Yes. Zen masters use the word satori to describe a flash of insight, a moment of no-mind and total presence. Although satori is not a lasting transformation, be grateful when it comes, for it gives you a taste of enlightenment. You may, indeed, have experienced it many times without knowing what it is and realizing its importance.” ( :78)

“otherwise, you would not have experienced the beauty. Mind can neither recognize nor create beauty.” ( :78)

“Many misunderstandings and false beliefs about Christ will clear if you realize that there is no past or future in Christ. To say that Christ was or will be is a contradiction in terms. Jesus was. He was a man who lived two thousand years ago and realized divine presence, his true nature. And so he said: “Before Abraham was, I am.” He did not say. “I already existed before Abraham was born.”” ( :83)

 

The Power of Now
THE INNER BODY

 

“This is why no true master has ever advocated fighting or leaving the body, although their mindbased followers often have.” ( :92)

“there is infinitely more intelligence in Being than in your mind. As long as you are in conscious contact with your inner body, you are like a tree that is deeply rooted in the earth, or a building with a deep and solid foundation. The latter analogy is used by Jesus in the generally misunderstood parable of the two men who build a house. One man builds it on the sand, without a foundation, and when the storms and floods come, the house is swept away. The other man digs deep until he reaches the rock, then builds his house, which is not swept away by the floods.” ( :96)

“When listening to another person, don’t just listen with your mind, listen with your whole body. Feel the energy field of your inner body as you listen.” ( :103)

 

The Power of Now
PORTALS INTO THE UNMANIFESTED

 

“‘ All that is, is holy.” This is why Jesus, speaking entirely from his essence or Christ identity, says in the Gospel of Thomas: “Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up a stone, and you will find me there.”” ( :110)

“Just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without nothing, without the empty space that enables it to be. Every physical object or body has come out of nothing, is surrounded by nothing, and will eventually return to nothing.” ( :112)

 

The Power of Now
ENLIGHTENED RELATIONSHIPS

 

“Both are in fact different aspects of the same dysfunction. I am speaking here of what is commonly called romantic relationships not of true love, which has no opposite because it arises from beyond the mind. Love as a continuous state is as yet very rare as rare as conscious human beings.” ( :122)

“You cannot love your partner one moment and attack him or her the next. True love has no opposite. If your “love” has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego-need for a more complete and deeper sense of self, a need that the other person temporarily meets. It is the ego’s substitute for salvation, and for a short time it almost does feel like salvation.” ( :124)

“This is also the end of all codependency, of being drawn into somebody else’s unconscious pattern and thereby enabling it to continue. You will then either separate in love or move ever more deeply into the Now together into Being. Can it be that simple? Yes, it is that simple.” ( :126)

“The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.” ( :126)

“Millions are now living alone or as single parents, unable to establish an intimate relationship or unwilling to repeat the insane drama of past relationships. Others go from one relationship to another, from one pleasure-and-pain cycle to another, in search of the elusive goal of fulfillment through union with the opposite energy polarity. Still others compromise and continue to be together in a dysfunctional relationship in which negativity prevails, for the sake of the children or security, through force of habit, fear of being alone, or some other mutually “beneficial” arrangement, or even through the unconscious addiction to the excitement of emotional drama and pain.” ( :128)

“When your partner behaves unconsciously, relinquish all judgment. Judgment is either to confuse someone’s unconscious behavior with who they are or to project your own unconsciousness onto another person and mistake that for who they are. To relinquish judgment does not mean that you do not recognize dysfunction and unconsciousness when you see it. It means “being the knowing” rather than “being the reaction” and the judge. You will then either be totally free of reaction or you may react and still be the knowing, the space in which the reaction is watched and allowed to be. Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring in the light. Instead of reacting to delusion, you see the delusion yet at the same time look through it. Being the knowing creates a clear space of loving presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. No greater catalyst for transformation exists. If you practice this, your partner cannot stay with you and remain unconscious.” ( :129)

“Tao Te Ching, one of the most ancient and profound books ever written, the Tao, which could be translated as Being,” ( :132)

“What does remain true, however, is that the energy frequency of the mind appears to be essentially male. The mind resists, fights for control, uses, manipulates, attacks, tries to grasp and possess, and so on. This is why the traditional God is a patriarchal, controlling authority figure, an often angry man who you should live in fear of, as the Old Testament suggests. This God is a projection of the human mind” ( :132)

“There are different strands in the collective pain-body. For example, certain races or countries in which extreme forms of strife and violence occur have a heavier collective pain-body than others.” ( :133)

“Anyone with a strong pain-body and not enough consciousness to disidentify from it will not only continuously or periodically be forced to relive their emotional pain but may also easily become either the perpetrator or the victim of violence, depending on whether their pain-body is predominantly active or passive. On the other hand, they may also be potentially closer to enlightenment.” ( :133)

“Some women who are already conscious enough to have relinquished their victim identity on the personal level are still holding on to a collective victim identity: “what men did to women.”” ( :134)

“full access to her essence and true power. If women exclude themselves from men, that fosters a sense of separation and therefore a strengthening of the ego. And the stronger the ego, the more distant you are from your true nature.” ( :134)

“As you approach adulthood, uncertainty about your sexuality followed by the realization that you are “different” from others may force you to disidentify from socially conditioned patterns of thought and behavior. This will automatically raise your level of consciousness above that of the unconscious majority, whose members unquestioningly take on board all inherited patterns. In that respect, being gay can be a help. Being an outsider to some extent, someone who does not “fit in” with others or is rejected by them for whatever reason, makes life difficult, but it also places you at an advantage as far as enlightenment is concerned. It takes you out of unconsciousness almost by force.” ( :136)

“Is it not true that you need to have a good relationship with yourself and love yourself before you can have a fulfilling relationship with another person ?” ( :136)

 

The Power of Now
BEYOND HAPPINESS AND UNHAPPINESS THERE IS PEACE

 

“when they “ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” This sounds to me like denial and self-deception. When something dreadful happens to me or someone close to me accident, illness, pain of some kind or death I can pretend that it isn’t bad, but the fact remains that it is bad, so why deny it?” ( :140)

“”Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?” This was written 2,000 years ago by Marcus Aurelius, one of those exceedingly rare” ( :140)

“humans who possessed worldly power as well as wisdom.” ( :141)

“When egos come together, whether in personal relationships or in organizations or institutions, “bad” things happen sooner or later: drama of one kind or another, in the form of conflict, problems, power struggles, emotional or physical violence, and so on. This includes collective evils such as war, genocide, and exploitation all due to massed unconsciousness. Furthermore, many types of illness are caused by the ego’s continuous resistance, which creates restrictions and blockages in the flow of energy through the body.” ( :142)

“You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person. An argument implies identification with your mind and a mental position, as well as resistance and reaction to the other person’s position.” ( :142)

“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life. Nobody can even have an argument with you, no matter how hard he or she tries. You cannot have an argument with a fully conscious person. An argument implies identification with your mind and a mental position, as well as resistance and reaction to the other person’s position.” ( :142)

“It is not true that the up cycle is good and the down cycle bad, except in the mind’s judgment. Growth is usually considered positive, but nothing can grow forever. If growth, of whatever kind, were to go on and on, it would eventually become monstrous and destructive. Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen. One cannot exist without the other.” ( :144)

“Failure lies concealed in every success, and success in every failure. In this world, which is to say on the level of form, everybody “fails” sooner or later, of course, and every achievement eventually comes to naught. All forms are impermanent.” ( :144)

“The same condition that was good yesterday or last year has suddenly or gradually turned into bad. The same condition that made you happy, then makes you unhappy. The prosperity of today becomes the empty consumerism of tomorrow. The happy wedding and honeymoon become the unhappy divorce or the unhappy coexistence. Or” ( :145)

“If she had been able to connect with the formless and timeless life within, she could have watched and allowed the fading of her external form from a place of serenity and peace. Moreover, her external form would have become increasingly transparent to the light shining through from her ageless true nature, so her beauty would not really have faded but simply become transformed into spiritual beauty. However, nobody told her that this is possible. The most essential kind of knowledge is not yet widely accessible.” ( :145)

“Nothing can give you joy. Joy is uncaused and arises from within as the joy of Being.” ( :145)

“Nothing can give you joy. Joy is uncaused and arises from within as the joy of Being. It is an essential part of the inner state of peace, the state that has been called the peace of” ( :145)

“God. It is your natural state, not something that you need to work hard for or struggle to attain.” ( :146)

“Those who do realize it often become world-weary and depressed: if nothing can give you true fulfillment, what is there left to strive for, what is the point in anything? The Old Testament prophet must have arrived at such a realization when he wrote “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. ” When you reach this point, you are one step away from despair and one step away from enlightenment.” ( :146)

“Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part, and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them while they last.” ( :146)

“I suddenly realized that by flapping their wings they were releasing surplus energy, thus preventing it from becoming trapped in their body and turning into negativity. This is natural wisdom,” ( :147)

“and it is easy for them because they do not have a mind that keeps the past alive unnecessarily and then builds an identity around it.” ( :148)

“There is a novel by Aldous Huxley called Island, written in his later years when he became very interested in spiritual teachings. It tells the story of a man shipwrecked on a remote island cut off from the rest of the world. This island contains a unique civilization. The unusual thing about it is that its inhabitants, unlike those of the rest of the world, are actually sane. The first thing that the man notices are the colorful parrots perched in the trees, and they seem to be constantly croaking the words “Attention. Here and Now. Attention. Here and Now.” We later learn that the islanders taught them these words in order to be reminded continuously to stay present.” ( :148)

“To you I would say. Don’t look for peace. Dont look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your nonpeace, your nonpeace becomes transmuted into peace.” ( :149)

“Then one day, as he was walking in the marketplace, he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer. “Give me the best piece of meat you have,” said the customer. And the butcher replied, “Every piece of meat I have is the best. There is no piece of meat here that is not the best.” Upon hearing this, Banzan became enlightened. I can see you are waiting for some explanation. When you accept what is, every piece of meat every moment is the best. That is enlightenment.” ( :149)

“Yes. Compassion is the awareness of a deep bond between yourself and all creatures. But there are two sides to compassion, two sides to this bond. On the one hand, since you are still here as a physical body, you share the vulnerability and mortality of your physical form with every other human and with every living being. Next time you say “I have nothing in common with this person,” remember that you have a great deal in common: A few years from now two years or seventy years, it doesnt make much difference both of you will have become rotting corpses, then piles of dust, then nothing at all. This is a sobering and humbling realization that leaves little room for pride. Is this a negative thought? No, it is a fact. Why close your eyes to it? In that sense, there is total equality between you and every other creature.” ( :150)

“One of the greatest insights that has come out of modern physics is that of the unity between the observer and the observed: the person conducting the experiment the observing consciousness cannot be separated from the observed phenomena, and a different way of looking causes the observed phenomena to behave differently.” ( :152)

“But don’t confuse cause and effect. Your primary task is not to seek salvation through creating a better world, but to awaken out of identification with form.” ( :153)

“Although you can enjoy sensory pleasures, the craving for sensory experience is gone, as is the constant search for fulfillment through psychological gratification, through feeding the ego. You are in touch with something infinitely greater than any pleasure, greater than any manifested thing.” ( :153)

“But who you are is always a more vital teaching and a more powerful transformer of the world than what you say, and more essential even than what you do.” ( :154)

“You can alleviate the effects of unconsciousness, but you cannot eliminate them unless you eliminate their cause. True change happens within, not without.” ( :154)

“Without a profound change in human consciousness, the world’s suffering is a bottomless pit. So dont let your compassion become one-sided.” ( :154)

 

The Power of Now
THE MEANING OF SURRENDER

 

“You mentioned “surrender” a few times. I don’t like that idea. It sounds somewhat fatalistic. If we always accept the way things are, we are not going to make any effort to improve them. It seems to me what progress is all about, both in our personal lives and collectively, is not to accept the limitations of the present but to strive to go beyond them and create something better. If we hadn’t done this, we would still be living in caves. How do you reconcile surrender with changing things and getting things done?” ( :158)

“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life. The only place where you can experience the flow of life is the Now, so to surrender is to accept the present moment unconditionally and without reservation.” ( :158)

“For example, if you were stuck in the mud somewhere, you wouldn’t say. “Okay, I resign myself to being stuck in the mud.” Resignation is not surrender. You don’t need to accept an undesirable or unpleasant life situation. Nor do you need to deceive yourself and say that there is nothing wrong with being stuck in the mud. No. You recognize fully that you want to get out of it.” ( :158)

“Let me give you a visual analogy to illustrate the point I am making. You are walking along a path at night, surrounded by a thick fog. But you have a powerful flashlight that cuts through the fog and creates a narrow, dear space in front of you. The fog is your life situation, which includes past and future; the flashlight is your conscious presence; the dear space is the Now.” ( :158)

“”Is there anything I can do to change the situation, improve it, or remove myself from it?” If so,” ( :159)

“you take appropriate action.” ( :160)

“Through surrender, spiritual energy comes into this world. It creates no suffering for yourself, for other humans, or any other life form on the planet” ( :161)

“Jesus referred to this energy when he made his famous prophetic statement in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the gentle; they shall have the earth for their possession.” It is a silent but intense presence that dissolves the unconscious patterns of the mind.” ( :161)

“But surrender doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be used by unconscious people. Not at all. It is perfectly possible to say “no” firmly and clearly to a person or to walk away from a situation and be in a state of complete inner nonresistance at the same time.” ( :163)

“If you cannot surrender, take action immediately. Speak up or do something to bring about a change in the situation or remove yourself from it. Take responsibility for your life. Do not pollute your beautiful, radiant inner Being nor the Earth with negativity. Do not give unhappiness in any form whatsoever a dwelling place inside you.” ( :163)

“Observe the attachment to your views and opinions. Feel the mental-emotional energy behind your need to be right and make the other person wrong. Thats the energy of the egoic mind.” ( :163)

“Nonresistance doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing. All it means is that any “doing” becomes nonreactive. Remember the deep wisdom underlying the practice of Eastern martial arts: don’t resist the opponents force. Yield to overcome.” ( :164)

“So who can predict what you will do? The ego believes that in your resistance lies your strength, whereas in truth resistance cuts you off from Being, the only place of true power.” ( :164)

“If you looked in the mirror and did not like what you saw, you would have to be mad to attack the image in the mirror. That is precisely what you do when you are in a state of nonacceptance. And, of course, if you attack the image, it attacks you back. If you accept the image, no matter what it is, if you become friendly toward it, it cannot not become friendly toward you. This is how you change the world.” ( :165)

“As far as the still unconscious majority of the population is concerned, only a critical limitsituation has the potential to crack the hard shell of the ego and force them into surrender and so into the awakened state. A limit-situation arises when through some disaster, drastic upheaval, deep loss, or suffering your whole world is shattered and doesn’t make sense anymore. It is an encounter with death, be it physical or psychological. The egoic mind, the creator of this world, collapses. Out of the ashes of the old world, a new world can then come into being.” ( :166)

“Limit-situations have produced many miracles. There have been murderers in death row waiting for execution who, in the last few hours of their lives, experienced the egoless state and the deep joy and peace that come with it.” ( :166)

“I read about a stoic philosopher in ancient Greece who, when he was told that his son had died in an accident, replied, “I knew he was not immortal.” Is that surrender? If it is, I don’t want it. There are some situations in which surrender seems unnatural and inhuman.” ( :167)

“Now here is your second chance at surrender: If you cannot accept what is outside, then accept what is inside. If you cannot accept the external condition, accept the internal condition. This means: Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labeling it mentally. Embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transmutes deep suffering into deep peace. This is your crucifixion.” ( :167)

“When there is no way out, there is still always a way through. So don’t turn away from the pain. Face it. Feel it fully.” ( :167)

“They found God through surrender, through total acceptance of what is, into which they were forced by their intense suffering.” ( :169)

“God is Being itself, not a being. There can be no subject-object relationship here, no duality, no you and God.” ( :169)

“Enlightenment through suffering the way of the cross means to be forced into the kingdom of heaven kicking and screaming. You finally surrender because you can’t stand the pain anymore, but the pain could go on for a long time until this happens. Enlightenment consciously chosen means to” ( :169)

“relinquish your attachment to past and future and to make the Now the main focus of your life.” ( :170)

“Choice implies consciousness a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice.” ( :171)

“ce. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present.” ( :171)

“This is not related to intelligence in the conventional sense of the word. I have met many’ highly intelligent and educated people who were also completely unconscious, which is to say completely identified with their mind. In fact, if mental development and increased knowledge are not counterbalanced by a corresponding growth in consciousness, the potential for unhappiness and disaster is very great.” ( :171)

“The mind always adheres to the known. The unknown is dangerous because it has no control over it.” ( :171)

“Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity. They happen because there is not enough presence in you to dissolve the past, not enough light to dispel the darkness. You are not” ( :171)

“fully here. You have not quite woken up yet. In the meantime, the conditioned mind is running your life.” ( :172)

“if you are one of the many people who have an issue with their parents, if you still harbor resentment about something they did or did not do, then you still believe that they had a choice that they could have acted differently. It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone” ( :172)

“If you are run by your mind, although you have no choice you will still suffer the consequences of your unconsciousness, and you will create further suffering. You will bear the burden of fear, conflict, problems, and pain. The suffering thus created will eventually force you out of your unconscious state.” ( :172)


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