Eckhart Tolle on Stress, Modern Life, and the Present Moment

Ray Hemachandra and Eckhart Tolle

Ray: Why is stress so common, and what are the consequences of people living stress-based lives?

Eckhart: The whole world accepts that being stressed is the normal way to live. In fact, people think you have to be stressed to be successful. They think if you are not stressed, something is wrong with you.

But any action that arises out of stress is of low quality, and it contributes to human suffering. You are making yourself and others suffer.

Stress is a form of suffering. Look at your body and see what stress does to the body and its functions — what it does to the heart, the circulation, the immune system, the digestive function, the liver.

Stress is extremely harmful to the body. Even mainstream medicine now is recognizing how many diseases stress causes.

Stress is a form of suffering, but it is accepted as normal. And it is normal in our world.

But it is not natural.

Ray: When you realize you are stressed, what should you do?

Eckhart: First, you can be very much aware that when you are stressed, it always is a sign you have lost the present moment. So, you can choose to re-enter the present moment.

Even in a moment of stress, you can say, “OK, can I enjoy the doing itself? Can I enjoy the flow of energy of this moment?” And of course you can!

Then the future recedes. It becomes peripheral.

You know it’s there. You need to get there, yes. But you can enjoy the present moment, and you can be aligned with the doing.

A different state of consciousness, then, is the foundation for what you do. Presence flows into what you do.

Even though what you do may be the same, there is a fundamental difference: The energy that flows into what you do, although it may be high energy, is very peaceful energy.

It is not out of alignment with life.

So, that is for people to learn: You can be effective in this world without stress. It is not necessary to do things in a state of anxiety or anguish. That is not the way to be aligned with life.

*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.

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