Re: (Off Topic) - The Principle of Presence

2008-3-30 15:13:00

Good common sense comments Dan. I can see how Eckhart Tolle's teachings could help you shed an identity that may be getting in your way but do not see how they have much value in dealing with emergency situations. I think the opposite could easily happen because of his emphasis on not projecting into the future and living in the Now.

For instance you say:

"The acceptance of 'what is,' as Tolle teaches it, is NOT the acceptance of what will (or might) be - it is non-resistance to what IS (what has already manifested in form). To stand in the path of an oncoming truck, allow a rabid dog to bite your child or the uni- bomber to pull his trigger killing innocents is NOT what is - these are each in the future, to accept these outcomes would be acceptance of what MIGHT be (were no one to DO anything) NOT acceptance of what IS.

"What is is that a truck is coming toward you and you better get out of the way."


What is, is that the truck is coming. Getting out of the way is a planned future event that has not yet occurred. If you are living only in the Now the truck is no problem.

Tolle says:

"Always say 'yes' to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is."

Then he says:

"And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion. You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection - you cannot cope with the future."


The train actually hitting you is a mind projection that produces anxiety. The only way to avoid the train is to project yourself into the future (contrary to Tolle's advice) and then move out of the way to change the future.

Then Tolle says:

"The compulsion arises because the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions."


Illusion or not I will take the promise of the salvation of my life as a future event and move out of the way.

As examples of the wisdom of Tolle's teachings you point out what the wise student would do.

  1. If a truck is coming at you, you just don't freeze, but get out of the way.
  2. If a rabid dog is threatening your child then you stop it.
  3. If the Unibomber wants to blow you up you stop him.
  4. If a bank robber wants to blow you up you stop him.

I don't think you need to read Tolle's books to know what to do in situations like these nor do you have to have any out of the ordinary presence in the Now. You just have to have a minimal amount of common sense.

"But JJ, I am not just trying to show his wisdom but to show that being in the Now does not negate the use of common sense."

The problem with this is that a Now consciousness does not solve the above four problems. In each case there solution is in the future, but in the present you are not being harmed. The solution is not being in the Now, but projecting yourself in the future and then acting to change the projected future.

Tolle puts great emphasis on accepting the Now, but then backtracks and adds something to the effect that we still have to deal with the real (unreal) world. But the problem is that many students may not see the backtracks and get themselves so centered in the Now that they live a life of inaction or too much non resistance.


"To mis-characterize Tolle's teachings of the Power of Now, Presence or surrender to "what is" to mean that one must simply accept what MIGHT be (in the future) and allow the dog to bite your daughter, the truck to run down your son, the terrorist to kill innocents or that one should curl up and contemplate one's navel in order to enter the bliss of non-existence - is just a travesty."


In my opinion it is you that is mischaracterizing his teachings for you do not seem to be seeing what is actually be said in his writings. You seem to be seeing in them what you want to see rather than what IS.

Remember the story Tolle told of the guru who was falsely accused of impregnating the neighbor girl? Even though it ruined his reputation he did not defend himself. Now if he applied Tolle's teachings as you applied them in the above four examples he would have resisted the projected undesirable outcome and defended himself. But he did not.

By projection it appears that if this same guru (which Tolle cites as an example top follow) were standing before the oncoming truck that he would just say "we shall see" and then he would not see because he would be dead.


"COULD someone that lightly skims over the words get such a horribly mistaken impression? Of COURSE, just as any teaching of any depth at all can be mistaken!"


I have studied this guy carefully and see no evidence of a mistaken impression. If I have a mistaken impression then you should be able to illustrate this mistake so others here can see my mistake. Just telling me over and over and over that I am mistaken does not a mistake make. Where is my mistake?

Yes, there are several areas where I disagree with him and you probably think these are mistakes, but I disagree with him because I see what he has written and because I understand what he is saying.

One way I do agree with him is that we should get out of the way of a moving truck, but where I disagree is that to do this we must project into the future to see the danger.


"But could someone that truly reads all the words as written on the page in the light of the soul, with judgement and without pre-conception get that impression? I really don't see how, but that is only my opinion!"


And what mistaken impression is this? Your accusation is very vague here.


"All goods must therefore be measured by some one this unit is in truth, demand, which holds all things together...but money has become by convention a sort of representative of demand; and this is why it has the name nomisma - because it exists not by nature, but by law (nomos) and it is in our power to change it and make it useless. Now the same thing happens to money itself as to goods - it is not always worth the same; yet it tends to be then acting as a measure makes goods commensurate and equates them... There must then be a unit, and that fixed by agreement"
Aristotle (Ethics 1133).