Chapter 4 – Mind Strategies for Avoiding the Now
Loss of Now: The Core Delusion
- In some rare cases, this shift in consciousness happens dramatically and radically, once and for all. When it does, it usually come about through total surrender in the midst of intense suffering. Most people, however, have to work at it.
- See Trails, Snakes and Cabins
- Knowing you are not present is a great success because this knowing is a form of presence.
Ordinary Unconsciousness and Deep Unconsciousness
- [Ordinary unconsciousness] is most people’s normal state. In that state, you are run by the egoic mind, and you are unaware of Being. It is a state not acute pain or unhappiness but of an almost continuous low level of unease, discontent, boredom, or nervousness — a kind of background static.
- We use “idols” (wme’s word) to distract ourselves from this background noise.
- The pain of deep unconsciousness appears when things go wrong, and the ego cannot not manage the pain through it’s typical idolatries.
- In ordinary unconsciousness, habitual resistance to or denial of what is creates the unease and discontent that most people accept as normal living.
- The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come.
- Do you become more intensely conscious, or
- Do you ramp up your avoidance strategies?
- It is essentially that we bring more consciousness to everyday life so that we can be prepared to deal with the challenges (Eades: Its what we do when we feel good that determines how we handle life when we feel rotten.)
What are they Seeking?
- We are all caught up in a collective resistance to the Now.
- We do not know what we are seeking collectively or individually.
Dissolving Ordinary Unconsciousness
- The first step in dissolving ordinary unconsciousness is to make it conscious.
- Monitor the state of your Being.
Freedom from Unhappiness
- Consider why you do things that generate unhappiness.
- ACT theory suggests that we choose to do some “unhappy” things because they reflect our values, and this is positive because it adds meaning to life.
- However, if we are caught up in unhappy choices mindlessly, then we begin to experience ourselves as victims.
- Either stop doing what you are doing, speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel, or drop the negativity that your mind has created around the situation and that serves no purpose whatsoever except to strengthen a false sense of self.
- Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess?
- Are you defending your right to be unconscious, your right to suffer? Don’t worry: Nobody is going to take that away from you. Once you realize that a certain kind of food makes you sick, would you carry on eating that food and keep asserting that it is okay to be sick?
Wherever You Are, Be There Totally
- If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity. No psychic pollution. Keep your inner space clear.
- Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there,” or being present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside.
- Die to the past every moment. You don’t need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.
- A few mind strategies that disrupt the Now
- I’m worried about the future.
- One day I’ll make it.
- I need to wait for something to happen.
- I must work to improve my life.
- What I have is not good enough.
The Inner Purpose of Your Life’s Journey
- [The] inner purpose concerns a deepening of your Being in the vertical dimension of the timeless Now.
- Eades: The world’s great religious traditions say this is characterized by sacrificial love.
The Past Cannot Survive in Your Presence
- Tolle believes it is a mistake to pursue the unconscious past.
- The unconscious past is a bottomless pit.
- Attention to Now will reveal as much of the past as is helpful and relevant.
- It is not necessary to make sense of the past to live fully in the now.