Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eckhart Tolle and the Art of Dying

Eckhart Tolle is a New Age teacher, who exhorts his listeners to stop the mentalizing and be in the Here and Now. He is quite popular with the sweetness and lighters of SNO who hear in Eckhart’s message a repetition of Vitvan, and this validates their doxology.

Many people can feel the authenticity of Eckhart, that he has achieved “stopping the mind,” or “conscious abstracting.” His cadence is slow, almost as if he has trouble forcing himself to compress his consciousness down into using words to point at an essentially non-verbal experience.

Eckhart says we need to practice dying before the life of the body actually ends. And HOW, we ask, does one do this?

We first might ask, how did this happen to Eckhart? He tells the story of how utterly depressed he was, until one day he took up a gun to end his miserable life. He heard himself say “I’m going to kill myself.” And something snapped. He wondered, “Is there some part of me that is NOT the self that 'it' is going to kill?”

Eckhart had discovered the Witness, the root of consciousness that Vitvan calls the I AM. That is, at our core, there is someone 'behind' the mask, that we are not the personality we believe ourselves to be. For the Greeks, a “per-sona” meant a mask actors wore which acted as a megaphone and amplified their voices in their outdoor amphitheaters. “Per-sona” means “sounding through” or amplifier. The I AM of us is that imperishable root of consciousness that we are, who talks and acts through the role it is playing as “me.”

Following that radical experience in which he permanently broke the software of the ego, Eckhart spent years in a non-mentalizing state, radiating out Here-Now-ness, a kind of bliss that magnetically attracted people, who then wanted to know how to get where Eckhart was.

Alas, most just want to buy a CD or attend a lecture to hear him talk about it. But do they really LISTEN to Eckhart and DO the Work? Sadly, most probably do not.

Eckhart's comments on television watching...
To practice dying while still alive requires heroic efforts. One must break on through past the constant survival scheming of ego, the endless internal dialogues about being “right or wrong,” of being attractive, sexually desirable, lovable, accepted, fitting in, being “on the winning team.”  How many are that desperate to experience being in the Now that they would take their own life? Or to even surrender ego-control for a few hours? You have to be willing to lose your mind in order to come to your senses.

Vitvan summarized the Work of the First Crossing (which is the CORE of the work he established) as “bringing up the entire content of the unconscious so it becomes fully exposed and conscious.” And he added, “In the average unregenerated person this amounts to a prodigious feat.”

That is, it can’t be accomplished by listening to tapes, reading books, tending a garden, chanting AUM in small multiples of three, seeing spirals in cabbages, sleep-meditating for 30 minutes, or any of the other nonsense that passes for “doing the Work” at today’s School of the Natural Order.

The ego, no matter what it might say, will NOT design a program to be its own undoing. It will scheme to make itself survive as a better version of itself, like people who attend the endless get rich or self-improvement seminars that keep retreading Napoleon Hill; nowadays we throw in some Bruce Lipton updated positive thinking so we can alter DNA functioning through epigenetics. Or watch The Secret with its quasi-quantum “you can get whatever you imagine” make-a-better-ego success package.

The ancients, in their wisdom, already knew this. The ego has to be unhorsed in order for the I AM to emerge from the background. This takes undergoing a powerful experience that shocks the chatterbox in the head and shuts it down. The classic methods of overstressing the running software of the manager ego run a spectrum from soft to hard.

HARD would be immediate threat of death. Being thrown off a cliff; facing wild animals, hanging from hooks in your chest. Wartime has often produced such moments of high awareness in soldiers who thereafter look back at wartime experiences as high points in their existence, even despite the horror and misery.

SOFT are more gradual methods, that simply wear out or hypnotize the mentalizing ego. Extended chanting, dancing, fasting, running, and so on, exhausting methods that must be pursued with intense effort until there is a sudden waking into the Here Now, which is accompanied with a sudden Light and Stillness of awareness.

But the most reliable and effective and quickest method that has always been used when available, was the use of psychoactive plants, which were looked upon as special gifts from God, manna from heaven, a Sacred Meal that really did open one’s eyes to the world of the Divine that surrounds us. “Eyes open” is a level in the Mysteries called Epoptae, which even those students of Vitvan who practice mentalizing-only may well have heard of. The ancients considered these plants to have more of the Divine Fire in them; Mani* called them the plants that had more of the essence of “Jesus” in them. These were the fruits that hung on the Trees of Life and Knowledge of Who-we-really-are.

These sacred medicines take away all control from the self-justifying ego manager, and one must surrender to being exposed to the Deep Self, even if it means confronting the “jackasses and peacocks” of our unconscious. The positive side is that we can then discover the Radiant Higher Self at our center.

Vitvan called the unconscious the Psyche. How ironic is it that that the very God-given fruits that are even called "psychoactive" (Activators of the Psyche), that will accomplish much of Vitvan’s Level II work in the First Crossing, namely, “bringing up the content of the unconscious” are feared and shunned by so many?

The “sweetness and lighters” that Vitvan said should move on down the road to Flower Newhouse’s ashram, now sit in the high places at Home Farm. These are not people who will do any practice with enough enthusiasm or push themselves hard enough that they are in any danger of stepping outside of their perverse and stubborn little personalities.

And so, when we look to see who is interested in FINDING WHAT WORKS, being extensional, open to new (or ancient) knowledge about achieving gnosis, we find it is not those Fundamentalists who have turned Vitvan into an objectified saint and his writings into their dogma, who run a limping bookstore, and offer sub-code rentals in violation of the law.

In consulting the I Ching for advice on this nadir of decline at SNO, the oracle gave 55 Feng, Abundance: “Be not sad. Be like the sun at midday,” but through the moving lines warned that the Sun was undergoing eclipse at the moment, and that “even the most insignificant persons can push themselves into the foreground,” and “one is overshadowed by a party that has usurped powers.”

Such is the situation at Home Farm. The spirit of Vitvan has been hijacked by a coterie of tired old people who give lip-service to the Work, but willingly undergo none of its holy terrors. If it were just themselves they derailed who would care? But for turning Vitvan’s instructions and invitation to Freedom into a perversion that is now an obstacle to true Seekers (not phonies who call themselves such on their license plates), they have to be called out to account.

* Mani was a prophet and the founder of Manichaeism, a gnostic religion that thrived between the third and seventh centuries, and at its height was one of the most widespread religions in the world. Manichaeism taught an elaborate cosmology describing the struggle between a good, spiritual world of light, and an evil, material world of darkness. Through an ongoing process which takes place in human history, light is gradually removed from the world of matter and returned to the world of light from which it came.

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