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An Evening with Eckhart Tolle
by Miriam Knight

“Enter a new dimension of consciousness not dominated by time… a state of consciousness that is not identified with your mind or thoughts.“

This seductive invitation delivered in an almost diffident manner by Eckhart Tolle opened an evening filled with profound insights. For a mesmerizing 2 hours Tolle spoke with quiet eloquence on human nature, its appetite for pain and drama, how we are able to choose our reality, being truly alive in the moment, knowing the presence of God and choosing joy. One is carried along from one image to another and gradually you shift out of your head into your whole being and you FEEL the now. It is no surprise that Tolle’s remarkable book The Power of Now has become a word-of-mouth bestseller.

With disarming simplicity Tolle points out that the future doesn’t exist. Nor does the past. “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now. What you think of as the past is a memory trace of a former Now…the future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind.”

To get out of all the conditioned mind patterns that have accumulated over thousands of years we need to relinquish resistance to what is. “Welcome the now. What is, is."

It would be impossible to do justice to the richness of the messages gleaned in this evening, so here is just one, in which I’m sure we all recognize ourselves:

Tolle introduced the interesting concept of the “pain body,” a kind of reservoir of accumulated pain from the past that lives in each human being and feeds the ego. We seem to have a need for conflict and drama because our ego needs an enemy to define itself. It thrives on the pain body. Everyone inherits a portion of that reservoir when they are born and then it gets added to.

Most relationships cannot be without drama - pain bodies feeding off each other. The pain body thrives on anger, emotion. When the level is low it decides “feeding time for the pain body – drama is needed!” When you have had enough, there will be peace for a while. When you are in love that indicates that your pain bodies are compatible.

If you have no partner, your pain body will go up into your head and feed on your story – your thoughts about you, your past. When your pain body is running your mind it will also project an unhappy future. The pain body now is controlling your mind, telling the ‘me’ how unhappy it is.

How do you step out of that? Simply observe, watch it. When you are the observer, you cannot be the thing observed. The pain then does not receive new energy and gradually it loses intensity. It can no longer turn into an unhappy me and you are not fighting life any longer.

Here are some thoughts that rounded out a memorable evening :

Acceptance of what is does not mean accepting a bleak future –only this moment. When you say ‘yes’ you are connecting to the One Intelligence that runs the universe. The purpose is to be the space in which the flowering of consciousness happens, allowing what is to be, without the compulsion to name, compare, wait… There isn’t the presence of God and you – there is only presence. Not external to you but as your very essence.

Eckhart Tolle returns to Portland on Sunday, October 8th from 1pm – 5pm to give a half-day intensive at Hoffman Hall, PSU. Admission is $50 advance purchase by 10/2 - $65 at the door. For more information, call: Reva Aver – 503-223-2451

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