Ray: If awareness means recognizing being conscious as our inner purpose and living accordingly, does awareness encourage passivity by making specific life goals irrelevant at the most important level?
Eckhart: Some people say they can be conscious only when they sit quietly. One woman said to me, “I can be spiritual when I sit alone at home, but as soon as I go out into the world, I seem to lose it.”
I do not put much emphasis on periods of meditation — if you do meditation, it’s fine — but the important thing is to bring the awareness into everyday life, into every little action that you do, into the varied challenges of everyday life. So, you do not have one compartment in your life that’s spiritual here and then the rest of your life is over there.
One way to become aware many times during the day is to take a conscious breath. Doing so breaks the stream of thinking. A different level of consciousness comes in. Try a conscious breath, a conscious action, walking consciously across the room, opening the door consciously, putting something in your mouth consciously — but not as a means to an end — or taking a sip of water consciously.
For most people on the planet, consciousness can be equated with thought. They haven’t experienced what it means to be conscious without thought, or they have only for very brief instants.
You simply have to surrender to the present moment. Be alert. Watch something in a state of alertness. Always, continuously, bring that into everyday life, not spirituality here and getting on with your life there.
Ray: Eckhart, can we clarify by fleshing out a specific example? How do you write books and make the goal of a completed book come to pass? A New Earth was published in late 2005. How did you create that manifestation and take that action in the physical world?
Eckhart: Yes, that’s a good example of what I am saying. A New Earth did not come about because I wanted to write another book. Since The Power of Now first was published in 1999, I have given many, many talks and retreats. During the course of those years, the teaching took on a slightly different form.
In the world of form, everything changes and evolves. So, there was a certain evolution of the teaching. Different pointers came in, different stories, different approaches to the truth, which always is the same.
It was suggested to me that a new book could reflect the evolution of the teaching — the new form that the teaching had taken. So, people created transcripts of my talks. The original idea was to give me the already-edited transcripts of many talks, and I simply would edit them a bit more and choose what would be part of a new book that reflected the evolving teaching.
When I saw the transcripts, they were fine. But instead of saying, “OK, let’s use that,” I found myself writing again. So, instead of using the transcripts, it became a totally new book — without any prior intention of “I’m going to write another book.” The writing just suddenly started.
Mostly the transcripts were not used. The writing still reflects the evolving teaching, but it came out of the moment of sitting there.
Significant things often happen when you are present. Things come to you, and then you respond to what is required. The response very often comes without a premeditated idea of what you want. It is simply a response to the situation. And that’s beautiful.
*Learn about Eckhart Tolle and his teachings at www.eckharttolle.com, and read more of this interview at Hemachandra.com. I did the interview for New Age Retailer magazine.