The Oak tree or the eagle would be bemused… “What ‘time‘? The time is now. What else is there?”
In case you missed this book from 1999, here is a little review to see if you may like to have a read or perhaps find it’s a keeper for your book shelf. I bought this book as a gift, and year later ended up married to the person I gave it to. I always feel a book finds you at the right time, and here it was, probably for a second time for me. I say this because its first owner’s review is ‘it’s a whole book telling you the same thing over again, to be present’. For me, I can see why it is on the reading list for counsellors; its a reference book rather than a cover to cover read (although I did read it this way as I couldn’t put it down). I found myself highlighting words that were particularly relevant and I know I will come back to it and then find other words standing out instead, and I can reflect and compare with what stood out before.
It is a book with the message to get present, to Be, get out of the past and the future and realise we only ever have the now. Our power is in the now. Everything comes from the now.
It is also a book which tries to explain and get you to apply this message. Not just a read, but a lifestyle change. It dips back to old biblical scriptures that have been misinterpreted and taken too literally. Although reading it for the first time, there was a sense of already knowing what is being read.
With many clients I often show them Eric Berne’s PAC model and when we get to the ‘Adult’ Ego State; when I say ‘you know you are in this state if you are present‘…well here is a reference book to help you get there.
The mind, which is quite dysfunctional in humans, creates an ego, which becomes a false self, one that has identified with the stories of the past. It also creates the pain body, which seeks out more pain to continue existing. If we can get into the present, we become our essence, our real self and the false self and pain body disappear, we are beyond our mind. The mind however, will attempt to bring you back into psychological time, the past or the future. Which can mean for some of us, the past linking to depression and the future linking to anxiety, our two most common mental health issues. The false self can not exist without time, it can not exist in the now.
You are invited to become present, to accept the now. Become an observer of the mind, note ‘past’ or ‘future’ when you realise you are not here and by acknowledging this, you come back to the now.
Sometimes we may have gone through something in life that is unacceptable. At least some part of us still believes it could or should not have happened. It is too painful. It is too unbelievable. Loss and grief generally bring us to this point where we can not fully accept the past; that it DID happen. Perhaps an unconscious belief that staying with the pain will change the outcome some how. If you are stuck here, and most of us will be, Tolle explains there there is a second way to release yourself. To go within the body and acknowledge the feeling. Sit with the feeling and be present with it, bringing it from unconscious to conscious releases us.
If you find yourself creating the story around the feeling and directing strong emotions to people and institutions, the mind has taken you to the past. Follow your breath into your body, and come back to the actual feeling itself.
Tolle connects our inner world to the state of our outer world, that we can change the outside if we all worked on being present. The outer world being a manifestation of the mind, the collective mind. The mind creates duality, good and evil, creation and destruction, life and death – An opposite for everything. Beyond the mind however, duality does not exist, there is a state of peace, beyond the realms of ‘happiness’ – which again is of the mind. Some of us will have the journey of working through the collective pain body of humanity, which is often connected to the feminine (not women per se) and the collective over-thinker, which is often connected to the masculine (not men per se), and some of us will have both to contend with.
As someone who has studied Animal Minds at university, and worked with animals in a therapeutic setting for humans, the only thing that did not resonate as truth was when Tolle talks about animals not having a mind. Without mind he explains, they are a step down from us, cognitive so to speak, and that rather than take a step down to cognition we need to step up to beyond the mind. I feel this is a disservice to animals, and that they are actually a step up from us. I resonate with the concept of the Earth being an entity, Mother Earth, and animals being our siblings. Our siblings do have a mind, its just not dysfunctional in the way humans seem to be now and they can therefore step into their power. Of course I am talking about animals that are allowed to have their own voice, kept in appropriate ways to their kind and/or able to live as wild as they can in today’s world. They are present and in Being, are connected to their collective wisdom. And as Tolle says himself, anyone in their power encourages others to step into theirs. I believe animals are in this role right now, to encourage us to get into the now, as that is all we have. To step into our real power, find our real connection and peace, and we may just stop the destruction of mother Earth and our siblings in the process. This is a very similar message to that which came from The Sidhe.
Ill leave you with my take on Tolle’s analogy that we are each like beams of sunshine that think we are isolated and have to fight for our very existence. If we could only let the false self die, with that death, we would realise we are all part of the sun, the divine source. Our unconscious (mind) becomes conscious (beyond the mind).