Home Inspiring Interviews Positive Life Summer 2015 Feature: Interview with Eckhart Tolle

Positive Life Summer 2015 Feature: Interview with Eckhart Tolle

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This is taken from our Summer 2015 issue. To be the first to read our content, subscribe here to have the autumn issue and three more delivered direct to your door.

Eckhart Tolle will be in speaking in Ireland for the first time in five years this September 12th in Belfast as part of his European tour. Find out more >

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“To change the future and make it better, you have to change your consciousness in this moment, that’s where the only real change is possible.”

Interviewed by Paul Congdon.

Ekchart Tolle wrote ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’ in the late 90s. It had such a profound effect on people, that it reached and remained in the New York Times bestseller list for years.

The book came about after years of emotional turmoil in Tolle’s own life. He recalled to us how one night, he spontaneously felt better. Although he couldn’t explain it at the time, he realised later he had surrendered to the moment. He went on to write ‘A New Earth’, a book on awakening to your life’s purpose, published in 2005. Even today, he tells us, the books come back into the bestseller lists and he laughs about how they have a life of their own. Is there another book on the way? He says he has been doing some casual writing about the teachings of Jesus, something he came to identify with the truths of later in life, despite a Christian background, but he says the books evolve if they need to, the consciousness he’s working in and through uses him as a tool. If there needs to be another book there will be. We asked him our questions and hopefully some of yours too.

What would your definition of love be?

Love is the most vital ingredient in every human relationship, even a superficial relationship that only lasts for a minute. And perhaps we need to redefine what love is, because for many people it means, I want you. If that want is rejected, if it’s egoic love, it can very easily transform into anger. So what we are really talking about is a more transcendent love. The Dalai Lama uses the word kindness and we can add to that, ‘loving kindness’. Also goodwill or benevolence. Empathy is another word that is closely related to it. But no relationship can really thrive and be beneficial, whether between individuals or groups or nations, if that basic ingredient is missing. And how can we improve at that? Including the ingredient of love?

What blocks the potential manifestation of love, loving kindness, benevolence, whatever you want to call it, is excessive identification with the conceptualising, thinking mind, which brings up judgmental screens through which you then relate to others. Rather than relating to others through your presence, you’re then relating to them through the conceptualising, judgmental preconceptions and the conditioning of your mind. The greatest barrier then, to manifesting love and having satisfying relationships, personal or collective, is that excessive identification with the conceptual mind. Jesus recognised that too, he said, “Don’t judge”. If I can sense my essence, for a moment, being the space behind thought, there’s a moment of alert stillness. In that moment, I can sense my deeper being which is consciousness and that’s a beautiful, simple realisation. I’m not defined in form when I can sense myself as consciousness and then when I look at or listen to another human being, I can sense their essential reality as consciousness also. When I can sense their essential reality beyond their personality, I realise it’s one with mine. That recognition is the recognition of oneness and that is love.

How do you stay in that space of presence when you’re facing a deadline or are stressed about something else? Readers say they can do it meditating, but in the midst of the stresses of life, how do you do it?

You know your aim in any activity, even a simple thing like washing the dishes, you want to get them clean and back into the cupboards, that’s your aim. A very good practice would be to give your fullest attention to whatever you’re doing at this moment. Still knowing at the periphery of your consciousness what your aim is. When you’re on a journey, you know your destination and you know the path at least to some extent. You start walking towards it. If you’re too focussed on the destination you will not enjoy the journey, in fact you might get stressed because you haven’t arrived yet. You might think when you finally arrive at your destination, you will be fulfilled and happy but in the meantime, you’re ignoring the present moment, you’re only giving it so much attention that you don’t stumble. And your entire life really only consists of only this moment. In almost all cases you will find that your frustration is not caused by the circumstances but by the mental commentary that you impose on the circumstances.

When it comes to going through difficult times, or anxiety which you yourself struggled with, how can you give someone hope?

Well on the one hand there is despair, and on the other hand there is hope and hope is certainly better than despair, but hope is not the answer. I would even be reluctant to give a person hope because it is a kind of postponement of happiness or satisfaction. I would rather suggest that here and now, see if something else is possible. If you’re anxious, you’ll probably fi nd that anxiety is a pattern in your mind and no matter where you go or what you do you will fi nd new reasons for being anxious. Shift your consciousness even a little bit, stay with just this moment and you don’t need hope any more!

What is the pain body?

The pain body is negative emotion that lingers in you, that comes from the past, from childhood, or other periods in one’s life can add to it. When you identify with that pain, it becomes part of our illusory sense of identity, and you become an unhappy self. The moment the identification is broken, then all that’s left is an awareness. You can sense it without identifying with it. Sever the link between the mind and the emotion so that you realise that there is the emotion, but it does not infiltrate your mind and control your thoughts.

And our form identity?

The form identity is the physical body and psychological form or the personality, the other you is formless consciousness itself. It’s almost as if the form identity is the wave or ripple on top of the ocean. The ocean is consciousness. If you can sense that beyond all your thoughts, there is a conscious presence, that is the essence of who you are. Relinquish your thoughts and is there anything left? Yes. You will notice there is something. Even when you’re not thinking, you can sense that alive presence. That’s your deeper, formless identity. To have a fulfilled life, you need to be in both, you need to honour your limited form and realise who you are beyond the limited form.

What is something you would really like to mention or talk about?

Humanity, not all, but a certain percentage of humans on the planet are going through a rapid evolutionary change and I see that a lot because I’m one of those who are lucky enough or destined to be at the epicentre of that change. So a very frequent experience that I have, almost daily, no matter where I go, people come up to me, they recognise me, although often I try not to get recognised, I wear a big baseball cap, but people still recognise me and the most common thing I hear is, “I just want to thank you and shake your hand because you changed my life”. I don’t take that personally, I don’t think they’re absolutely right when they say I as a person changed their life, but I do know what they mean. They mean that it initiated a shift in consciousness in them and they became happier, more fulfilled, more creative human beings, more loving. So I don’t take credit for it, but I’m happy when I hear it because it’s confirmation that people are changing and awakening at a rate that’s unprecedented.

An exercise from Eckhart

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Eckhart Tolle will be in speaking in Ireland for the first time in five years this September 12th in Belfast as part of his European tour. Find out more >



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