by Eckhart Tolle
How easy it is for people to become trapped in their conceptual prisons. The human mind, in its desire to know, understand and control, mistakes its opinions and viewpoints for the truth. It says: this is how it is.
VIEWPOINTS - You have to be larger than thought to realise that however you interpret your life or someone else's life or behaviour, however you judge any situation, it is no more than a viewpoint, one of many possible perspectives. It is no more than a bundle of thoughts. But reality is one unified whole, in which all things are interwoven, where nothing exists in and by itself.
INNER SPACE - The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are. The mind exists in a state of not enough and so is always greedy for more. When you are identified with mind, you get bored and restless very easily. When you feel bored, you can satisfy the mind's hunger by picking up a magazine, making a phone call, switching on the TV, surfing the web or going shopping. Or you can stay bored and restless and observe what it feels like to be bored and restless. As you bring awareness to the feeling, there is suddenly some space and stillness around it, as it were.
A little at first, but as the sense of inner space grows, the feeling of boredom will begin to diminish in intensity and significance. So even boredom can teach you who you are and who you are not. You discover that a bored person is not who you are. Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not yours, not personal. They are conditions of the human mind.
DYSFUNCTIONAL CONCEPTS - Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence. Thinking that is not rooted in awareness becomes self-serving and dysfunctional. Cleverness devoid of wisdom is extremely dangerous and destructive. That is the current state of most of humanity.
TRANSCENDING THOUGHT - The next step in human evolution is to transcend thought. It doesn't mean not to think anymore, but simply not to be completely identified with thought, possessed by thought.
Feel the energy of your inner body. Feel the life that you are, the life that animates the body. The body then becomes a doorway, so to speak, into a deeper sense of aliveness underneath the fluctuating emotions and underneath your thinking.
ALIVENESS - There is an aliveness in you that you can feel with your entire being, not just in the head. Every cell is alive in that presence in which you don't need to think. Yet, in that state, if thought is required for some practical purpose, it is there. The mind can still operate, and it operates beautifully when the greater intelligence that you are uses it and expresses itself through it.
AWARE PRESENCE - You may have overlooked that brief periods in which you are "conscious without thought" are already occurring naturally and spontaneously in your life. You may be engaged in some manual activity or walking across the room or waiting at the airline counter and be so completely present that the usual mental static of thought subsides and is replaced by an aware presence. Your perceptions become crystal clear, unclouded by thought.
STATE OF KNOWING - To the mind, all this is not significant because it has more important things to think about. It is also not memorable and that's why you may have overlooked that it is already happening. The truth is that it is the most significant thing that can happen to you. It is the beginning of a shift from thinking to aware presence. Become at ease with the state of not knowing.
BEYOND THE MIND - This takes you beyond mind because the mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It is afraid of not knowing. So, when you can be at ease with not knowing, you have already gone beyond the mind. A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state.
MASTERY - Artistic creation, sports, dance, teaching, counseling - mastery in any field of endeavour implies that the thinking mind is either no longer involved at all or at least is taking second place. A power and intelligence greater than you and yet one with you in essence takes over. There is no decision-making process anymore; spontaneous right action happens and you are not doing it. Mastery of life is the opposite of control. You become aligned with the greater consciousness. It acts, speaks, does the works.