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Techniques by eckhart tolle?

Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/4/12 5:59 AM
Hi there!

I just felt like asking you about what this guy is all about.
As to the man himself, it is certainly appropriate to call him a clever businessman.
His book(s) may be able to wake some people up to the idea of meditation. But then, his insistence on no technique, no practice and not mentioning things such as the progress of insight leads people right into total delusion.

On the other hand, he actually DOES mention a few techniques in his book.
When on the height of A&P >2 years ago, I felt like those were really effective, but I couldn't/can't quite grasp, what they are actually about.
I will quote a few, and hope that you can tell me, what they are about, or which one of those might be really useful.

I consider to not use them as standalone meditation techniques, but rather for short periods of time, when one has nothing else to do (breaks, waiting for the bus, the train, the class to begin, the food to be cooked...).
But before doing so, I'd like to know where this can lead to in the long run, and whether this is detrimental to insight practice.
Also, since the guy has (probably?) copied and recompilated all of the stuff he is selling as his own teaching, I hope that you can tell me where those practices actually originate from or point me to more similar material.

So, here goes: (taken from "A new earth, chapter 11")

The inner body:
Take two or three conscious breaths. Now see if you can detect a
subtle sense of aliveness that pervades your entire inner body. Can you feel
your body from within, so to speak? Sense briefly specific parts of your
body. Feel your hands, then your arms feet, and legs. Can you feel your
abdomen, chest, neck and head? What about your lips? Is there life in them?
Then become aware again of the inner body as a whole. You may want to
close your eyes initially for this practice, and once you can feel your body,
open your eyes, look around, and continue to feel your body at the same
time. Some readers may find there is no need to close their eyes; they can in
fact feel their inner body as they read this.


and from the power of now, chapter 7:

Silence

Are there any other portals apart from those you just mentioned?

Yes, there are. The Unmanifested is not separate from the manifested. It pervades this world, but it is so well disguised that almost everybody misses it completely. If you know where to look, you'll find it everywhere. A portal opens up every moment.
Do you hear that dog barking in the distance? Or that car passing by? Listen carefully. Can you feel the presence of the Unmanifested in that? You can' t? Look for it in the silence out of which the sounds come and into which they return. Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. A portal is opening up.
Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence. Silence enables the sound tobe. It is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every song, every word. The Unmanifested is present in this world as silence. This is why it has been said that nothing in this world is so like God as silence. All you have to do is pay attention to it. Even during a conversation, become conscious of the gaps between words, the brief silent intervals between sentences. As you do that, the dimension of stillness grows within you. You cannot pay attention to silence without simultaneously becoming still within. Silence without, stillness within. You have entered the Unmanifested.



Space:
just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without no-thing, 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. Not only that, but even inside every physical body there is far more "nothing" than "something." Physicists tell us that the solidity of matter is an illusion. Even seemingly solid matter, including your physical body, is nearly 100 percent empty space - so vast are the distances between the atoms compared to their size. What is more, even inside every atom there is mostly empty space. What is left is more like a vibrational frequency than particles of solid matter, more like a musical note. Buddhists have known that for over 2,500 years. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," states the Heart Sutra, one of the best known ancient Buddhist texts. The essence of all things is emptiness.
The Unmanifested is not only present in this world as silence; it also pervades the entire physical universe as space - from within and without. This is just as easy to
87
miss as silence. Everybody pays attention to the things in space, but who pays attention to space itself?


Whenever I'm doing the "connect with your inner body" thing, I feel that something is happening which is NOT at all equivalent to body scanning.
During my initial A&P-days, I felt that this exercise was enough to make me very present and more balanced and able to handle any current situation. Now it's not that strong.

The silence-exercise seems to have quite a different effect.
I feel like all experience of the sense doors is still arising, but doesn't have real importance. Is this what the AF thing is pointing to?
In some way, I thought that this was essentially a choiceless awareness exercise, but with focus on stillness as a crutch.
In any way, it seems to be more stable than choiceless awareness, that is, it's easier to not be carried away by thoughts here.

The space-exercise seems to be similar to the silence-exercise, but with weaker effect for me.

So, what do you think what those techniques aim at, whether they are helpful in the long run at all, or where exactly they originate from?

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/4/12 11:44 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Space:
just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without no-thing, 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. Not only that, but even inside every physical body there is far more "nothing" than "something." Physicists tell us that the solidity of matter is an illusion. Even seemingly solid matter, including your physical body, is nearly 100 percent empty space - so vast are the distances between the atoms compared to their size. What is more, even inside every atom there is mostly empty space. What is left is more like a vibrational frequency than particles of solid matter, more like a musical note. Buddhists have known that for over 2,500 years. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," states the Heart Sutra, one of the best known ancient Buddhist texts. The essence of all things is emptiness. The Unmanifested is not only present in this world as silence; it also pervades the entire physical universe as space - from within and without. This is just as easy to miss as silence. Everybody pays attention to the things in space, but who pays attention to space itself?

This is naive physics expressed through a paradigmatic blindness.

"Physicists tell us that the solidity of matter is an illusion."

No they don't. Unless trying to entertain teenagers. The relative solidity of matter is demonstrable fact. It's only an illusion from an interpretative paradigm that claims we live in a world of things, with such thinghood being prior to observed qualities (which leads to the solidity being seen as not to exist). Perhaps this is indeed how people thought 2500 years ago, with the buddha rejecting this common notion of essence. But physicists study the interaction of processes. In this world, not the imagined world of things, we find the sub atomic emptiness of things to show that solidity as substance is a conventional abstraction (of reality), rather than an ontological quality. But from this point of view it is nonsensical to say that the solidity of things is an illusion, as that solidity is a demonstrable interactive potential of different configurations of matter, and not a non scientific claim about the ontological nature of 'substance'. Solidity only operates as an illusion when ontologically attached to the paradigm of thinghood. But if we are to reject such essences in any non trivial (and non farcical) way, then such a doctrine of 'emptiness' cannot be naively equated with nothingness, or heaven help us, the scientific concept of empty space, without speaking from within the very paradigm that one is ostensibly rejecting.

But it is common. To put it very simply, seeing that 'things are an illusion' should release one from the paradigm of thinghood, but it doesn't. Instead we have people claiming that 'all is emptiness/nothingness' which demonstrates the paradigmatic contextual blindness I'm pointing to.

Was "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form" ever a statement about physics, or matter, rather than one about interpretation? There can be no emptiness without form. But Tolle's Unmanifest is dangerously close to rejecting nagarjuna's emptiness of emptiness. Maybe it's just his poor language, but I don't see him really pointing out the simultaneity, the identity, of the Unmanifest (with its holy capitalization) and the manifest (with the naive physical analogies deriding its 'lack of being a real thing').

Notice how that word, real, quietly infects that last sentence with the very confusion I'm pointing out.

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/4/12 12:24 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
Hi there!

I just felt like asking you about what this guy is all about.
As to the man himself, it is certainly appropriate to call him a clever businessman.
His book(s) may be able to wake some people up to the idea of meditation. But then, his insistence on no technique, no practice and not mentioning things such as the progress of insight leads people right into total delusion.

On the other hand, he actually DOES mention a few techniques in his book.
When on the height of A&P >2 years ago, I felt like those were really effective, but I couldn't/can't quite grasp, what they are actually about.
I will quote a few, and hope that you can tell me, what they are about, or which one of those might be really useful.

I consider to not use them as standalone meditation techniques, but rather for short periods of time, when one has nothing else to do (breaks, waiting for the bus, the train, the class to begin, the food to be cooked...).
But before doing so, I'd like to know where this can lead to in the long run, and whether this is detrimental to insight practice.
Also, since the guy has (probably?) copied and recompilated all of the stuff he is selling as his own teaching, I hope that you can tell me where those practices actually originate from or point me to more similar material.

So, here goes: (taken from "A new earth, chapter 11")

The inner body:
Take two or three conscious breaths. Now see if you can detect a
subtle sense of aliveness that pervades your entire inner body. Can you feel
your body from within, so to speak? Sense briefly specific parts of your
body. Feel your hands, then your arms feet, and legs. Can you feel your
abdomen, chest, neck and head? What about your lips? Is there life in them?
Then become aware again of the inner body as a whole. You may want to
close your eyes initially for this practice, and once you can feel your body,
open your eyes, look around, and continue to feel your body at the same
time. Some readers may find there is no need to close their eyes; they can in
fact feel their inner body as they read this.


and from the power of now, chapter 7:

Silence

Are there any other portals apart from those you just mentioned?

Yes, there are. The Unmanifested is not separate from the manifested. It pervades this world, but it is so well disguised that almost everybody misses it completely. If you know where to look, you'll find it everywhere. A portal opens up every moment.
Do you hear that dog barking in the distance? Or that car passing by? Listen carefully. Can you feel the presence of the Unmanifested in that? You can' t? Look for it in the silence out of which the sounds come and into which they return. Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. A portal is opening up.
Every sound is born out of silence, dies back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence. Silence enables the sound tobe. It is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every song, every word. The Unmanifested is present in this world as silence. This is why it has been said that nothing in this world is so like God as silence. All you have to do is pay attention to it. Even during a conversation, become conscious of the gaps between words, the brief silent intervals between sentences. As you do that, the dimension of stillness grows within you. You cannot pay attention to silence without simultaneously becoming still within. Silence without, stillness within. You have entered the Unmanifested.



Space:
just as no sound can exist without silence, nothing can exist without no-thing, 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. Not only that, but even inside every physical body there is far more "nothing" than "something." Physicists tell us that the solidity of matter is an illusion. Even seemingly solid matter, including your physical body, is nearly 100 percent empty space - so vast are the distances between the atoms compared to their size. What is more, even inside every atom there is mostly empty space. What is left is more like a vibrational frequency than particles of solid matter, more like a musical note. Buddhists have known that for over 2,500 years. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," states the Heart Sutra, one of the best known ancient Buddhist texts. The essence of all things is emptiness.
The Unmanifested is not only present in this world as silence; it also pervades the entire physical universe as space - from within and without. This is just as easy to
87
miss as silence. Everybody pays attention to the things in space, but who pays attention to space itself?


Whenever I'm doing the "connect with your inner body" thing, I feel that something is happening which is NOT at all equivalent to body scanning.
During my initial A&P-days, I felt that this exercise was enough to make me very present and more balanced and able to handle any current situation. Now it's not that strong.

The silence-exercise seems to have quite a different effect.
I feel like all experience of the sense doors is still arising, but doesn't have real importance. Is this what the AF thing is pointing to?
In some way, I thought that this was essentially a choiceless awareness exercise, but with focus on stillness as a crutch.
In any way, it seems to be more stable than choiceless awareness, that is, it's easier to not be carried away by thoughts here.

The space-exercise seems to be similar to the silence-exercise, but with weaker effect for me.

So, what do you think what those techniques aim at, whether they are helpful in the long run at all, or where exactly they originate from?
Eckhart Tolle is pointing to the background formless space consciousness that is seen as the source of manifestation.

AF followers (not that I am one) will tell you that it is 180 degrees opposite of an actual freedom.

In terms of this map by my teacher Thusness, Eckhart Tolle is about Stage 1 and 2: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/4/12 12:22 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
An Eternal Now:
In terms of this map by my teacher Thusness, Eckhart Tolle is about Stage 1 and 2: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

• Emptiness is not a substance
• Emptiness is not a substratum or background
• Emptiness is not light
• Emptiness is not consciousness or awareness
• Emptiness is not the Absolute
• Emptiness does not exist on its own
• Objects do not consist of emptiness
• Objects do not arise from emptiness
• Emptiness of the "I" does not negate the "I"
• Emptiness is not the feeling that results when no objects are appearing to the mind
• Meditating on emptiness does not consist of quieting the mind

Paging Tolle.

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/6/12 6:25 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
In terms of this map by my teacher Thusness, Eckhart Tolle is about Stage 1 and 2: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html


Thanks for the link, I just read this.
This probably means that doing the "listen to silence" exercise leads to identification with this "background" and is thus detrimental to insight practice?

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
10/18/12 6:34 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:
In terms of this map by my teacher Thusness, Eckhart Tolle is about Stage 1 and 2: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html


Thanks for the link, I just read this.
This probably means that doing the "listen to silence" exercise leads to identification with this "background" and is thus detrimental to insight practice?
Sorry for the late reply. I do not think it is detrimental to insight practice. But it leads to a sort of realization that vipassana practitioners usually don't come across in their path, it is the result of self inquiry. This is why Kenneth Folk distinguished 1st and 2nd gear.

As Thusness pointed out before:

(Posts by Thusness/PasserBy in 2009 DhO 1.0)

“Hi Gary,

It appears that there are two groups of practitioners in this forum, one adopting the gradual approach and the other, the direct path. I am quite new here so I may be wrong.

My take is that you are adopting a gradual approach yet you are experiencing something very significant in the direct path, that is, the ‘Watcher’. As what Kenneth said, “You're onto something very big here, Gary. This practice will set you free.” But what Kenneth said would require you to be awaken to this ‘I’. It requires you to have the ‘eureka!’ sort of realization. Awaken to this ‘I’, the path of spirituality becomes clear; it is simply the unfolding of this ‘I’.

On the other hand, what that is described by Yabaxoule is a gradual approach and therefore there is downplaying of the ‘I AM’. You have to gauge your own conditions, if you choose the direct path, you cannot downplay this ‘I’; contrary, you must fully and completely experience the whole of ‘YOU’ as ‘Existence’. Emptiness nature of our pristine nature will step in for the direct path practitioners when they come face to face to the ‘traceless’, ‘centerless’ and ‘effortless’ nature of non-dual awareness.

Perhaps a little on where the two approaches meet will be of help to you.

Awakening to the ‘Watcher’ will at the same time ‘open’ the ‘eye of immediacy’; that is, it is the capacity to immediately penetrate discursive thoughts and sense, feel, perceive without intermediary the perceived. It is a kind of direct knowing. You must be deeply aware of this “direct without intermediary” sort of perception -- too direct to have subject-object gap, too short to have time, too simple to have thoughts. It is the ‘eye’ that can see the whole of ‘sound’ by being ‘sound’. It is the same ‘eye’ that is required when doing vipassana, that is, being ‘bare’. Be it non-dual or vipassana, both require the opening of this 'eye of immediacy'”

and

“Hi Gozen,

I fully agree with what you said. It is just a casual sharing with Gary as he seems to be experiencing some aspects of the direct path.

To me both gradual and direct path will eventually lead us to the same destination. It is rather the degree of understanding we have on a particular teaching. If we practice wholeheartedly, whatever traditions will lead us to the same goal.

Frankly without re-looking at the basic teachings of Buddhism about the dharma seals and dependent origination, I will be leaving traces in the Absolute. In vipassana, there is the ‘bare attention’ and there is the mindful reminding of impermanence, no self and suffering of the transience. It is a very balanced and safe approach.

Like in Zen tradition, different koans were meant for different purposes. The experience derived from the koan “before birth who are you?” is not the same as the Hakuin’s koan of “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” The five categories of koan in Zen ranges from hosshin that give practitioner the first glimpse of ultimate reality to five-ranks that aims to awaken practitioner the spontaneous unity of relative and absolute are meant to prevent leaving traces. (You should be more familiar than me ) My point is when we simply see the Absolute and neglect the relative, that ‘Absolute’ becomes dead and very quickly another ‘dead Absolute construct’ is being created. In whatever case, we can only have a sincere mind, practice diligently and let the mind figure the rest out.

The mind does not know how to liberate itself.
By going beyond its own limits it experiences unwinding.
From deep confusion it drops knowing.
From intense suffering comes releasing.
From complete exhaustion comes resting.
All these go in cycle perpetually repeating,
Till one realizes everything is indeed already liberated,
As spontaneous happening from before beginning.”

RE: Techniques by eckhart tolle?
Answer
8/6/12 4:28 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Tolle is pretty standard in his advice.

1. Pay attention to something. This brings you into the present moment.
2. Be non-judgmental in your attending.

It's the same as many thousands of teachers out there. He does write well though; that's the main thing that sets him apart and has made him a best seller.