If someone where to ask you – Tell me something about yourself, you would start off by telling your name, followed by some details about your profession, about your family, relationships, interests and probably your age. This identity that you carry around, comes from the accumulated knowledge of the mind, that has been storing the “life story” of the body that you take to be yourself.
A life story by itself is just the mind’s unique interpretation of reality, where it isolates certain events and makes it personal. When you know yourself only through the “information” of the mind, you become completely lost in a trance called “my life”, and forget your true nature as the “pure consciousness” that is the witness of the body. Eckhart tolle, in all his teachings, is always talking about going back to your true nature as pure consciousness and letting go of identification with a mind based sense of self.
How Can Staying “Present” Help You Realize Your True Nature?
If you have heard talks given by Eckhart Tolle, or read his book “The Power of Now”, you will notice that he’s talking about “Presence” or a state of “being in the Now”. He also provides some practices that help you become more “aware” of the unconscious patterns of the mind. The more aware you become of the dysfunctional nature of a human mind, that is lost in its conditioning, the higher your chances of stepping beyond the trance created by this mis-identification.
Staying “present” is simply a pointer to a state where you stop interpreting the reality and just stay as a field of awareness. All interpretations come from the conditioned mind, which is constantly labeling or judging the reality by fragmenting it into “events” and situations. Reality is always moving as a whole, and any fragmentation will lead to a misperception. So in truth, all the thoughts that your mind dishes out, are just “perceptions” and they have nothing to do with what’s really happening. As Adyashanti, another renowned spiritual teacher, says – “There is no such thing as a true thought”.
When you stay as pure awareness, without succumbing to the interpretations of the mind, you will start getting the taste of how the pure being or consciousness, that is the source of all creation, looks at reality. You are well aware of how the mind looks at reality, but the invitation is for you to realize how “awareness” looks at reality. Awareness is unconditioned intelligence itself, and it is the container of what is called physical reality. This pure awareness is who you are in essence, and not the story, or character that your mind creates as a “self”.
Dispelling the Illusion of a Mind Based Identity
Eckhart tolle is always talking about getting out of the addiction to a mind based identity. What he is essentially pointing to is the fact that as long as you are deriving your identity from the mind its not possible for you to experience the truth of who you are. It’s only when you are willing to stand in the “unknown” that you will start sensing who you really are beyond the story, beyond the name and form.
Who you are does not need a name or identity to exist. It does not need time to be known, it is always present, it’s eternal. Only when you become aware of your eternal nature can you truly start functioning from the natural potential that is within the body. Each body is an unique expression of this unconditioned consciousness, but because of the unconscious identification with a mind based identity, and story, it becomes difficult for the body to express itself in its full potential.
When you realize who you are, in completeness, you will naturally let go of the need to control your life. When you let go completely, you will automatically find yourself becoming aligned with the natural movement of life. The natural movement is effortless and always moves in a “wholeness” and bring forth manifestations that reflect the love, peace and joy, which is the true vibration of who you are.
Eckhart tolle is not talking about any techniques or practices for “self improvement”, but rather he is directly pointing you back to your true nature which does not need any improvement, which is already whole and complete. When you rest in your true nature, your physical nature automatically transforms to allow the light of your being to shine through. Eckhart is always talking about this transformation, he calls it the “flowering of human consciousness”. You are “pure consciousness”, you are not a “person”, you are not a character, but the universal presence.