March 23, 2013: Eckhart Tolle, Part 2

Tolle continues in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Penguin, 2005): "Giving yourself more time is precisely this: giving your 'self' more time. Time, that is to say, past and future, is what the false mind-made self, the ego, lives on, and time is in your mind. It isn't something that has an objective existence 'out there.' It is a mind-structure needed for sensory perception, indispensable for practical purposes, but the greatest hindrance to knowing yourself. Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible to you only through the portal of the present moment. 

"So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice" (pp. 206-207). 

I guess if we are in doubt about eliminating time from our consciousness, all we need to do is ask a cat.


March 23, 2013: "Time is what the ego lives on."

Those bare trees, this spring that won't quite arrive...sometimes time seems to interfere with what we want. 

I found myself in that frame of mind this past week during a work trip. Fighting a bad cold, what I really wanted was time to stand still so I could take a couple of sick days. Instead, to fuel myself for two days full of meetings I needed to co-conduct, I pulled out my copy of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Penguin, 2005).

Tolle's book propelled me about six years ago from reading about meditation to actually meditating. That's why I return to it from time to time -- there's just so much wisdom in it. 

Here's the passage that helped me make it through the meetings: "Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life....There are three ways in which the ego will treat the present moment: as a means to an end, as an obstacle, or as an enemy" (p. 202). 

The challenge, I recognized, was to be aware enough of time during the meetings to keep things moving, but not to treat each moment as a means to an end, an obstacle, or an enemy. I did my best to lift my resistance to the way I felt and to be as fully present as possible with the people attending each spite of my pounding head and dripping nose. As it turned out, those two days were infused with a surprisingly gentle grace.

This week, if you find yourself looking at time as a means to an end, an obstacle, or an enemy, try spending two minutes just focused on your breath, or on the beauty of the sky, or the feel of your cat's fur. Let go of that hostile relationship to time for just a bit and experience the renewal that the present moment offers...every single minute, if we let it.