I am going to review this classic work of spiritual awakening in a moment. First my reasoning.
When my life challenges me at its core i focus more on daily meditation, qi gong and yoga.
This past week i was faced with a challenge that had me unable to even meditate. My mind was so agitated i found it impossible to sit and simply observe my mind. The chatter and noise was intense. Thankfully, my practice is strong enough that plan B worked and allowed me to regain the balance of my mind and my awareness could return to the depths of peace and harmony.
What was this plan B?
When all else fails i cling to my breath. Not just any breath, but my abdominal breath. A deep, calm and focussed breath that consciously expands my diaphragm, which shifts my nervous system from adrenal based fight/flight to choline based rest/repair, and also pumps my lymphatic system to help move along the toxins that stress has my body starting to accumulate.
The abdominal breathing returned me to a state of peace where i could relax with my body as my chattering mind continued to flail on the surface.
At the same time, since my chattering mind would not yet allow me to observe silence, i went into my audiobook/podcast collection of spiritual writings and played Eckhart Tolle’s ‘Living a Life of Inner Peace.’
I am going to summarize the beginning of this book, which, to my mind, encapsulates the rest of the book. If you find any of this summary engaging then i highly recommend it becomes one of your text books for deprogramming your conditioned/intellectual/egoic mind and reprogramming your unconditioned/experiential/collective mind.
The words in our intellect become less and more pointed as we evolve and awaken into this new consciousness of experiential mind. Eckhart Tolle is a master of these clear words of enlightenment. In 100 years, if the species allows its survival, his books will be seen as classics along the path of our enlightenment here on earth.
Summary: (when you see words in brackets they are my own understanding of the passage, not the words of Eckhart Tolle)
We are all trapped in conditioned mind structures that are future projections (the mind is projecting the self into the future and attaching some level of importance to it (usually of craving or aversion, want or fear)).
We are lost in past, future and time. These are thought forms/memories.
Humans live as if these thought forms were more important than the present moment.
The present moment is the only moment that exists. All other moments referred to by the mind as past, future, and time do not exist in reality. They are illusions. (They can only be given life in the present moment and are therefore redundant, abstract, unnecessary (once removed from reality).)
Therefore, we are lost in thought. Past and future are thought forms.
We don’t need any more knowledge or information on this.
What we now need is to access within ourselves a deeper level/dimension of consciousness that is available to every human in the present moment NO MATTER HOW LOST THEY ARE IN THOUGHT. (This is what i call experiential thinking (as taught in Vipassana meditation) where we are shifting collectively as a consciousness where we experience a level of consciousness deeper/other than/as well as intellectual thought.)
There is nothing wrong with thought (if and only if) that is not all one is identified with (that is not all one is experiencing).
98% of thought is repetitive.
One identifies with this repetitive thought and this is the historic/collective conditioning of the mind (this is Ego).
This conditioning is what one refers to as “me” or “I”.
This is why most people are not satisfied with their lives.
This sense of self is based on thought (the 98% of thought which is repetetive and what i call intellectual or egoic thought) and IS the illusion/delusion which causes all suffering in the world. (There is no suffering without this conditioned thought process! Not possible!)
Therefore, if this person is not satisfied with this thought process, then this person attempts to remedy the situation by looking outwards to ad more to his/her self/life. (This is Ego)
It leads one to a continuous sense of insufficiency/of lack/of not enough.
Therefore, the self needs the FUTURE, the next moment (not this present moment), which it desperately needs to complete itself/ad to itself. (This is the wheel of suffering referred to by all the Buddhas (enlightened ones).)
Humans are condemned to live this way but this is not the only way.
The egoic mind continuously compares itself to others (consciously and unconsciously).
The egoic mind: ‘He/She has more, therefore I need more.’ ‘Is this person more than me?’ (more important, more strong, more beautiful, more knowledgeable, more wealthy etc.)
This is the egoic minds need to be superior, the best. (This is the root of competition. This is to say that not all thought or competition is bad/destructive/leads to suffering, but 98% (or 99% or 97%) is not sustainable to the human race any longer (given the population of all these egos competing on the planet). If the mind is solely identified with this egoic thought process, then yes thought and competition is not sustainable any longer.
(You can still live this life of enjoyment, pleasure, and fun BUT there needs to be also (at the same time) a deeper sense of self to temper/control/discipline this need structure of the mind. This is true sustainability)