THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle
When you are fully present and people around you manifest unconscious behavior, you won’t feel the need to react to it, so you don’t give it any reality. Your peace is so vast and deep that anything that is not peace disappears into it as if it had never existed. This breaks the karmic cycle of action and reaction. Animals, trees and owers will feel your peace and respond to it.
You teach through being, through demonstrating the peace of God. You become the “light of the world,” an emanation of pure consciousness and so you eliminate suffering on the level of cause. You eliminate unconsciousness from the world.
This doesn’t mean that you may not also teach through doing – for example, by pointing out how to dis-identify from the mind, recognize unconscious patterns within oneself and so on. But who you are is always a more vital teaching and a more powerful transformer of the world than what you say and more essential even than what you do.
Furthermore, to recognize the primacy of Being and thus work on the level of cause does not exclude the possibility that your compassion may simultaneously manifest on the level of doing, and in effect, by alleviating suffering whenever you come across it. When a hungry person asks you for bread and you have some, you will give it. But as you give the bread, even though your interaction may only be very brief, what really matters is this moment of shared Being, of which the bread is only a symbol. A deep healing takes place within it. In that moment, there is no giver, no receiver.
But there shouldn’t be any hunger and starvation in the €rst place. How can we create a better world without tackling evils such as hunger and violence €rst?
All evils are the effect of unconsciousness. You can alleviate the effects of unconsciousness, but you cannot eliminate them unless you eliminate their cause. True change happens within, not without.
If you feel called upon to alleviate suffering in the world, that is a very noble thing to do, but remember not to focus exclusively on the outer. Otherwise, you will encounter frustration and despair. Without a profound change in human consciousness, the world’s suffering is a bottomless pit. So don’t let your compassion become one-sided.
Empathy with someone else’s pain or lack and a desire to help must be balanced with a deeper realization of the eternal nature of all life and the ultimate illusion of all pain. Then let your peace ow into whatever you do and you will be working on the levels of effect and cause simultaneously.
This also applies if you are supporting a movement designed to stop deeply unconscious humans from destroying themselves, each other and the planet, or from continuing to inict dreadful suffering on other sentient beings. Remember; just as you cannot €ght the darkness, so you cannot €ght unconsciousness. If you try to do so, the polar opposites will become strengthened and more deeply entrenched. You will become identi€ed with one of the polarities; you will create an “enemy” and so be drawn into unconsciousness yourself.
Raise awareness by disseminating information, or, at the very least, practise passive resistance. But make sure that you carry no resistance within, no hatred, no negativity. “Love your enemies,” Jesus said, which, of course, means have no enemies.
Once you get involved in working on the level of effect, it is all too easy to lose yourself in it. Stay alert and very, very present. The causal level must remain your primary focus, the teaching of enlightenment your main purpose and peace your most precious gift to the world.
Adapted from The Power of Now, copyright 1999 by Eckhart Tolle. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA, 800-972-6657 (ext. 52). Visit www.eckharttolle.com.