I just watched the clip below of Oprah’s new online show about spirituality. I like her a lot because she is a genuine open-minded seeker. She regularly hosts famous and exceptionally talented New Age people and one of her favourites is Eckhart Tolle – the author of The Power of Now.
Eckhart is a great guy too and very sincere. His book is very helpful in learning about dis-identification and knowing yourself as consciousness. And while it has been a long time since I read his book, I do remember his advice to feel the body to become more present. This is good advice, but it won’t get you enlightened. Thinking and feeling are two sides of the same coin and neither will reveal your true nature.
I have met wonderful people who are extremely refined at thinking or feeling, but continue to suffer because they haven’t been able to go beyond it. Conversely, I have met people with highly objectionable personalities or blatantly ignorant minds but who still know themselves as consciousness and are thus absolutely free from the apparent defects of individuality.
Everyone has to start where they are and will apply themselves according to their temperament. A thinker will philosophise, a feeler will love, and in doing so they will learn what it means to be more aware and will find more enjoyable, deeper aspects of life. However! in the end thinking and feeling have to be seen for what they are: not you.
Another mistake is believing that the truth/heart of the matter is buried deep inside you. Whilst it is true in a conceptual way, the fact is that what you are looking for is yourself and you are right here, now, immediately, as you. How easy it is to overlook!
This is from the ancient Vedic text Ashtavakra Gita:
You are not the body, nor is the body yours, nor are you the doer of actions or the reaper of their consequences. You are eternally pure consciousness, the witness, in need of nothing – so live happily. 15.4
Desire and anger are objects of the mind, but the mind is not yours, nor ever has been. You are choiceless, awareness itself and unchanging – so live happily. 15.5
Recognising oneself in all beings, and all beings in oneself, be happy, free from the sense of responsibility and free from preoccupation with “me”. 15.6
Your nature is the consciousness, in which the whole world wells up, like waves in the sea. That is what you are, without any doubt, so be free of disturbance. 15.7
But there is more. You are your body, you are the actor and you are mortal – but the point of view is different. All this is happening in consciousness (in you) and nothing is separate from you.