23 Powerful Takeaways From Seeing Eckhart Tolle & Deepak Chopra Live
Having watched videos of both Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra for years — along with their last webcast, which also included a visit by Wayne Dyer — I was curious to see how attending a live event might be different; to see what could be learned and, perhaps more importantly, experienced in such a setting. Echoing the platitudes of some politicians, who were mentioned in passing but not dwelled upon, one thing is clear about consciousness: This event marked the 20th year anniversary of Chopra Foundation, with over 6000 attendees. As I entered the Shrine Auditorium, the energy was high, feeling more like a major rock concert or sports event. Sitting as part of a huge audience which rose to its feet for both participants, there was a palpable groundswell of unity in comprehending that there is a way to approach wisdom beyond the intellect. Eckhart simply sits in a chair without notes and speaks directly to the audience, holding their attention from the first word. He uses easy humor and never raises his voice for emphasis, allowing the depth of the message to sink in. He quietly quotes Rumi, paraphrasing here: Ego weeps for what it has lost — Spirit rejoices – and the meaning seeps through – it’s a powerful pointer – there is something within us (Essence) that clamors for the silence of the Ego and the loss of all identification, and when that is experienced, there is joy. Eckhart suggested that one adopt a sense of intensity toward noticing consciousness and commit to a practice to experience “thought-less awareness” so as to begin to sense presence in the space between thought.
There should be an intention to invite spaces into your life. Eckhart calmly asserts that one can’t prove reality or existence is not a dream. The only thing anyone can know for certain is the sense of “I am.” The things that burden you drop away and disappear with this deep recognition. You can choose to bring it into your life by questioning everything beyond this truth – “Neti Neti” – and discovering in each case that it appears as a thought in consciousness. Eckhart teaches that the Universe is conscious through you. Drama comes from nothing, reminiscent of Byron Katie’s question, who would you be without that thought? Both have their place in the proper proportion, but reserving a space for breath and recognition of the movement of thought allows for more “productive” doing than blind commitment to ideas. Reality is the Universe becoming conscious of itself.
The purpose of human existence unfolds within the evolution of consciousness. Realize experientially (not intellectually) through constant self-observation that the only thing you have ever known with deep certainty is that you are here now. Using a synergy between neuroscience and Vedanta, he describes 5 levels of consciousness: Deep sleep Awareness without experience Dream sleep Subject object split Waking state One activity Subject object split Transcendent consciousness “Now” state of awareness — an ever present witness is watching. Cosmic or Divine consciousness — a clear sense of something not “higher” but expansive. Oneness. According to Ananda or the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, with sufficient discernment one can sense everything in flower. This is sometimes also referred to as Brahman consciousness — or the “creative principle which lies realized in the whole world.” This leads to the deep recognition that reality is a verb.
There are no nouns but arising as thoughts within consciousness. When Deepak and Eckhart sat down to talk, Eckhart’s chair was wet. “Not a problem. Just another experience.” Eckhart: “Silence — the best answer.” Quoting Rumi: “Silence is God’s language. Everything else is poor translation.” All science is inferential. Description of experience is not it. Labels are not what they are labeling nor the experience of whatever is labeled. Both science and religion are systems of thought. As such, because thought arises within consciousness, they cannot ever “explain” reality. Eckhart: “I don’t think if I don’t need to think.” That way I am no longer trapped in an unhappy and illusory sense of myself. With a glimpse of the formless I was blessed. Deepak reminds the audience of the reality that the “quality of experience” of a red rose is never the actual ‘object’ of a red rose. We can find no “picture of a flower in the brain.” Sensations Images Feeling Thought — none of which are essentially “you.” The Brain is simply another process in consciousness. “Chemicals are labels.” The Scientific age is only 500 years old. (And by the way — software is about 50 years old.) In attendance was Leonard Mlodinow, a co-author with Deepak taking the scientific perspective in a book they shared: War of the Worldviews, A Briefer History of Time, and The Grand Design. He has a PhD in theoretical physics from UC/Berkeley and is now at Caltech. He says, “I believe in a kind of God. I think all scientists, in a way, believe in a certain God, in a certain order of nature.” One has to wonder — if the universe has order, does not that imply intelligence — and with that Consciousness? Michael Shermer, friends with Deepak and publisher of Skeptic Magazine . also attended. He is a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time magazine, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University and a strong proponent of strict scientific inquiry.
Therefore the event had a unique “spirit” in that all viewpoints came together for respectful inquiry for one magical night. I am grateful to have shared it. .
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