Chapter 7 – Portals into the Unmanifested
In this chapter Tolle invites us to consider different ways of connecting to the “unmanifested” presence of the Now that we carry with us at all times. He notes that there are times with this energy can break through unexpectedly, but there are also ways for us to nurture these portals. After the last class I had conversations with a couple of people who’d discovered a portal of their own.
One person is a woman who’s children are grown, and who has suffered tremendous loss and heartache. However, one day she was asked to keep a two-year-old boy for a friend. She told me that being with this little boy… pulling out children’s books that had been packed a way… finding her kids old toys… had opened her up to a kind of simplicity and purity she had not felt for years.
The other person is a retired man who has taken up the art of crafting violins. He recently completed his first instrument, and listening to him describing the focus and joy that filled him in this work allowed me to experience a taste of this portal with him.
Tolle points us in the direction of these experiences, but if you have discovered a portal he doesn’t mention, please pass it on!
Here’s an outline of Chapter 7, Portals into the Unmanifested
- Going Deeply Into the Body
- Tolle recommends we practice being present to inner energy for 10-15 minutes at a time.
- He encourages us to move past the awareness of body to the an awareness of energy.
- The Source of Chi
- Tolle offers an explanation of Chi as the flow of energy from the Unmanifested to manifested form.
- He says that as we develop the discipline to take attention away from the external world and experience the inner energy, we open the flow of Chi.
- Dreamless Sleep
- Tolle asserts that we enter the Unmanifested during sleep, but that it is not liberating until we enter it consciously.
- Other Portals
- Conscious awareness of the Now is the main portal.
- Cessation of thinking is another portal.
- Surrender – letting go of resistance to what is – is a portal.
- Tolle identifies silence as a particularly important portal since all of our manifested experience is shaped by the interplay of sound and silence.
- He recommends that we pay particular attention to the silence between sound.
- Tolle also asserts that space is similar to silence since space is the emptiness among the atoms of form.
- We can “study” that which is manifested. We can only be present to space.
- You cannot think and be aware of space—or of silence, for that matter. By becoming aware of the empty space around you, you simultaneously become aware of the space of no-mind, of pure consciousness: the Unmanifested. This is how the contemplation of space can become a portal for you.
- The True Nature of Space and Time
- Tolle offers thoughts on the nature of space and time.
- Hence, the ultimate purpose of the world lies not within the world but in transcendence of the world. Just as you would not be conscious of space if there were no objects in space, the world is needed for the Unmanifested to be realized. You may have heard the Buddhist saying: “If there were no illusion, there would be no enlightenment.” It is through the world and ultimately through you that the Unmanifested knows itself. You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are.
- Conscious Death
- Apart from dreamless sleep, which I mentioned already, there is one other involuntary portal. It opens up briefly at the time of physical death. Even if you have missed all the other opportunities for spiritual realization during your lifetime, one last portal will open up for you immediately after the body has died.
- I’m reminded of Rohr’s contention that all people make peace with death. Unfortunately many only do so a few seconds before they die. The younger we are when we make peace with death, the more years of rich living we have.
Our study of Chapter 8, Enlightened Relationships, coming up on October 27, should be particular interesting. Tolle will be inviting us to consider how the power of Now can shape, or reshape, our relationships with the people to whom we are closest. You can register for the class here: Power of Now Study.