The following is a continuation of a transcript of a free talk by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle on Conscious Manifestation, speaking about how to decrease fear, worry, and anxiety by gaining a new perspective using awareness. It is an excellent talk!
Now, what to do with awareness
The foundational step is to come into the present moment. As that awareness arises, you are aware of your immediate surroundings and the thinking mind and what thoughts your mind is producing. You can then look at these thoughts and see if they are truly a reflection of reality or a fiction that my mind is creating and projecting itself into the future saying that it is going to get worse.
And then you experience the emotions, the emotion usually reflects mind activity. If your mind is producing thoughts that say your situation is dangerous or critical – note that in the present moment that it is highly unlikely that your situation is dangerous or critical in this moment (and if it is you take action and seek help and do something to get out of this immediate challenge).
First step is coming into this moment and become aware of sense perceptions and then you become aware of thoughts. It may take time for people who are deeply identified with the stream of thought – or it may not be easy to become aware of sense perceptions because their entire consciousness is absorbed by the conditioned mind and their entire attention is in thought processes. There entire attention is consumed by unconscious thought processes. So if someone says “Become aware of your surroundings” — it may be difficult for someone deeply trapped in fearful thinking to even liberate some of their attention to move away from thinking and direct it to sensory perception.
Get out of the “pull of the future”
You may find, when you find yourself in a challenging situation and the mind has become very reactive (ie I need to do something and I don’t know what, what do I do now and is playing all kinds of scenarios etc) – your mind is completely taken up by unconscious thought processes and someone says “become aware of your senses” – and then your mind has a gravitational pull like a magnet that you can’t free a small part of your conscious attention and give it to sense perception. Sometimes your mind might create a thought that tells you why you can’t give it to sense perception. It might say “this is irrelevant, I have to think about my life, don’t tell me to become aware of my sense perceptions – It is pointless” – the gravitational pull of the conditioned mind is there and it might justify why you can’t take your attention away from unconscious thinking. But then you don’t have to believe every thought that arises in your mind.
Even that little realization, I don’t have to believe every thought, is already the beginning of a liberation from your mind. That implies there is a minimum of awareness – when you realize this it implies there is some awareness there. It is only from awareness that you can be aware of a thought.
This is a subtle thing. But it is fundamental to understand this because your consciousness has another dimension in you that we can call awareness or presence. Most people don’t know that. Millions on our planet are still so identified with the mind. Some awareness might arise, but they don’t recognize it. Occasional moments when the mind rests and they don’t recognize it and then immediately the mind starts up again.
You become aware of your thought processes and then you realize how much of your thinking is directed towards the future and how much is creating a scenario that is fearful and then you realize the connection between the mind in the head or it could be a visual image that arises to accompany the voice in the head (ie you see yourself living in your car – and think OMG and fear arises) but the thing is, if you were actually living in your car for a while and if you became present in that moment, it wouldn’t actually be that bad. After a period of homelessness, I was given a car and I spent nights in it and I actually enjoyed it tremendously, it was almost romantic to be in this little bubble…
This anecdote about the car is pointing to the fact that the present moment is never as quite bad as the mental projection of some future bad moment.
Present > future projection
And in the mental projection of some future bad moment there is nothing you can do about it. But in the present moment, you can meet whatever arises with the power of your conscious presence and this is what is. You become aware and realize in this moment, there is no problem as such.
It is not a denial; it takes you to a deeper level. A deeper consciousness, and that is presence or awareness. Coming into this moment you have taken some attention out of the thinking mind and some attention into sense perceptions. You look around and you listen to whatever noise may be there and you really give attention to what you are looking at or listening to.
Come to your senses. Look at the sky, the trees anything natural. Come to your senses so there is less mind activity and more presence. You become aware that the mind activity that you have been engaged in is not helpful. The mind activity itself, the narrative, the unconscious scenarios that the mind created is not helpful. Worrying is not helpful.
Worrying is thinking in circles, thinking the same thing in circles without any possibility of taking action. It is not only not helpful, it is destructive. When you are aware of it you can more and more let go of unhelpful mind activity and replace it with aware presence in the now.
This is part 2 of the conversation with Eckhart Tolle. Click here to read the first half of the talk! Click here to see the videos
This is a teaching by Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher in the US. Please see this page for a full video of this and other teachings on Conscious Manifestation
Photo of Eckhart Tolle by David Ellingsen, others by Jon Tyson and Bud Helissen on unsplash