Ray: In modern times, people often are given medications to calm and quiet their racing minds. The medications almost force people into the present moment, albeit a dulled present moment.
I wonder what the impact of such medicine is on the spiritual dimension of people’s lives. Is it positive or negative, do you think?
Eckhart: It is not positive on the whole. In certain extreme cases, medication may be necessary. But it is given far too often, too easily, and too readily. Millions of children already are on tranquilizers, for example, and that is absurd.
I wouldn’t recommend anyone go off medication immediately if they have been on it for a long time. But I would suggest seeking out a conscious doctor — not a doctor totally into prescribing drugs but rather one willing to help people become more conscious through their suffering.
Are you ready to put up with some suffering and use it in your life, rather than wanting to shut it away? Even if you shut it away, it does not go away. It is just behind a closed door.
You need to learn to be with the suffering that inevitably arises in your life. You need to be there as the conscious witness of the emotions that come and the thoughts that come.
The most decisive event in your life — as in everyone’s life — is when you discover you are not your thoughts or emotions. Instead, you can be present as the awareness behind the thoughts and emotions.
A self — a me — exists in every thought and every emotion. Suffering arises through complete identification with thinking and emotions.
Sometimes people need to experience acute suffering before the thinking and the awareness of the consciousness separate. People then realize there is another dimension in them that is not thinking but the ability to be aware of thinking. It is not emotion but the ability to be aware of emotion.
We can call that presence. We can call that awareness. We can call that pure, awakened consciousness. I sometimes call it being the space, rather than being what happens in the space.
So, you are not what happens in your life. You are the space in which it happens, which is consciousness itself. That is the essence of who you are.