on 19 July 2010
Have you seen Jim Carrey on You Tube, exulting the virtues of mindfulness and the bliss of discovering the Now? What a selfish millionaire! To paraphrase Joseph Conrad, Jim Carry doesn't realise that his life, his very essence of his character, his capabilities and audacities, are only the expression of his belief in the safety of his surroundings.". Stick Jim Carry on a desert island, without his philonthropic support and starry eyed hangers-on, and his barbed wire fence, and lets see how mindfull and how In The Now Jim Carry can get. Having said that, i have read Tolle's version of Now ontology, and I can't help but be impressed. Though its still New Age, if you can ignore the infantile hype of blissful peace, then this book is worth a go. You see, I find the new age positive thinking claptrap tiresome to say the least. It's basically a gravy train for clever people who can't find honest work. However, I downloaded the audio version of The Power of Now, read by Tolle himself, and I was pleasantly surprised. I can usually spot morons miles away but this Tolle character seems to believe what he thinks. I don't know if its his wacky foreign accent, or the fact that he looks like a character from hobbit land, but he has his wrap rounded off to a smooth T. Iv constructed a little dialogue to give you a glimpse of this wacky Zen philosophy.
This dialogue is meant to display the two versions to happiness. I am not aware of a third way though.
Cicero: Oh how long, Oprah, will you abuse our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours? Oh, what times, oh, what manners!
Tolle: But these are wrong thoughts created by you ego which is not who you really are. Your ego, you see, is like a cancerous growth in your head, churning out toxic thoughts. If you can conquer your thoughts you will be happy.
Rebel: But experience cries loudly against this. My hurting is nothing to do with my personality. It's all out there, in the world. I'm poor, my environment is horrid and relationships don't make sense. Suffering is outside my mind; out there, people are bad so let us educate them. Institutions humiliate and abuse us, so let's change the institutions; we can put people before profit for a change. The work cycle, you see, is amoral, unfair and wrong. This sense of unfairness instils the wellspring of revolution in my belly as it does yours. So fight the system and get away from horrid people; this is the route to happiness for all. Together we can build utopia; us and always. So the road to my happiness is in smashing the system to build a brighter tomorrow. Happiness is in society, community and better people. I need a holiday now; I need to get away for a week.
Seneca: The trouble going on holiday is that you take yourself along!
Tolle: I agree with Seneca. Your ego is focused in the wrong direction and this is the wrong path to true happiness. Your thought patterns are bludgeoning your world view. It was the philosopher Wittgenstein who said that the world of the happy man is different from the world of the sad man. Your inner voice is trapped in a tape loop or revolutionary anguish and existential frustration; this is making you miserable. You are anguishing over a future that will never arrive and you worry over long dead events that continue to play in your head, over and over, like a record. This time-flailing of the ego spaces bare neither relation nor relevance to your present state of being. There is no alternative to your suffering as long as you carry on this, stuck in past, future ego cycling, from one frustration to another, like a rider in an eternal journey with nobody listening but you and your ego's echo chamber.
Rebel: Like a lonely prisoner in an echoing cell?
Tolle: Yes exactly, the echo chamber gives form to a droning introspection that mumbles indefinitely. From this introspection emerges your grasshopper mind; the grasshopper mind hops hither and thither, from one random thought to an unannounced emotion. Your mind is an unfocused, out of control time hopper; hopping to the past were you worry about incidents that for other people are lost in the overgrowth of time but for you, you still dwell where your mind takes you. Or you're always worrying about the future. Like I said, you can only dwell where your mind takes you. You always stay in the past or the future; where is the moment? You are not in control as your mind controls you, because you are not aware. What you think of as your mind is a bundle of electric shocks or sparks firing in your brain; firing off in your head incidental mutterings and random thoughts that, if you can only pay attention, you may be surprised at what is happening behind your eyelids.
Cicero: Oh, mister Eckhart, what intensity, oh, what inanities! How long will you grace us with your discusting verbiage, oh vanity? How long will you stupify, and haunt our hearts and our world? The intensity you show in your eternal mumbling, like an over hatched turd, only bemoans the sleeping multitudes with rolled eyelids. You represent the dark God who turns the mind to madness. Naught will come from your colossal piece of plagiarism, oh Meister Eckhart, tongue forged from the hardest silver!
Rebel: This is the most stupifying verbiage since man first put pen to paper! You may have fooled the masses with your wacky foreign accent and your hobbits grin, but all you are doing is stifling all revolutionary progress. I do mutter to myself thought but tis a soothing muttering. Who ever said a still mind is God?
Tolle: God is a loaded term indeed; your Being on the other hand, is your only ground, and the random, unexamind, muttering, we do all the time, is the fog that blinds your true Being. The good news then, is that you are not this random muttering. Your true self lurks underneath. Thus if you slay the egoic mind, the seeds of enlightenment will flower and your true ground of Being will start to blossom; and the suffering of existence will be cleansed, and the evil within will be broken on the pillars of your true being,
Rebel: But that is selfish and escapism! What about the IMF and the third world? You said somewhere that there is an awakening and the majority will indeed awaken soon, but it's the minority that rule the world. We should agitate for better working conditions to improve our lot.
Tolle: The moment is all you will ever know.
Cicero: Oh, the passion, oh, the vanity! Rebel:Agreed my man; Ititakes a leisure class with philanthropic support to pursue this kind of foolishness. Most people in the world have no material possessions but they are miserable. Tolle: The distance that makes objects looks small to the eye causes them to appear large in the mind. Only the here and now is actual.
Seneca: Our predicament is like a dog chained to a cart. It is wise to follow the cart!
Erm, me: I don't know which side you can take, but its well worth downloading the audio torrents of Tolle reading his own books. He's worth a listen I think!