Have I written a slew of articles about Eckhart Tolle’s teachings? Yes. Guilty as charged.
But I make no apologies for it. Why? Because I love the guy. And, more important, because I find his teachings so wise, simple and accessible.
Which brings us to today’s gem from the joyous German. It deals with a fundamental misconception many people have about what their life is all about. Here it is:
“You are not a problem that needs solving.”
What does Eckhart mean by this?
Let’s start by stating what it means to live your life as if it were a problem to be solved. At the root, that means looking at your life through the eyes of your ego. What are some examples?
– “I need to solve the problem of my body by losing twenty pounds off my butt and thighs.”
– “I need to solve my problem of not being successful enough in the eyes of society by getting a more high-profile job with a fancy title.”
– “I need to solve the problem of my loneliness by doing everything possible to find a boyfriend/girlfriend.”
The ego is the one driving your car when those pronouncements are made. How do we know this? Because your conscious, true self, the real you, doesn’t care about any of those things. Not your butt, your thighs, your job, your relationship status, your car, your house…None of it.
The bottom line is that YOU are not a problem. You don’t need to be solved.
Unfortunately, this is how many people lead their lives. And it’s frustrating and deeply painful.
Worst of all, it’s a problem that can’t be solved. Sure, we can solve our “problems” in the short term. You get the promotion, the Porsche, the weight loss…whatever. But those good feelings never last.
What we need to do
Fine. So our lives, we, are not a problem to be solved. What the heck should we do?
Remember that true, conscious self I mentioned? It’s beautiful, compassionate and filled with love. In fact, it is love.
Well, it’s inside you. It’s inside all of us.
So what is the purpose of our lives? It is to realize that that consciousness inside us is who we are. At the deepest level. And to identify as that.
You are not male/female, tall/short, athletic/unathletic, dumb/brilliant, beautiful/homely, funny/unfunny…You are that consciousness inside you.
It’s at the heart of all spiritual traditions
Maybe this sounds familiar, maybe it doesn’t. But I can tell you that in all of my studying of the great spiritual traditions, this identifying as the consciousness, the soul, the spirit inside us is the central teaching of most of them.
Whether it’s Ramana Maharshi (whose work I’ve delved into recently), Ram Dass, Buddha or, yes, even Jesus Christ, who said that the kingdom of Heaven is within us, they all taught the same thing. Heck, the name of Yogananda’s extant organization is the Self-Realization Fellowship.
So that’s the name of the game, folks. Realizing that you are that beautiful consciousness within.
Realizing our true selves
How do we do that? We get quiet inside. And we let go of all the attachments our egos have accumulated over the years.
Get quiet. Let go.
Why do we have to do that? Because our egos create so much noise static that we can’t sense that consciousness within.
The jackhammer and Mozart
It’s like a jackhammer digging up concrete on the street right outside your window as you try to listen to the mellifluous notes of a Mozart piano concerto. It’s impossible. Getting quiet and letting go eliminates the jackhammer.
How to get quiet? Meditate regularly. Practice mindfulness. Pray. Walk in nature. Do the things that quiet your mind.
Gradually, you’ll get a stronger sense of that consciousness. It won’t come in words or concepts. It’s a force whose nature far transcends words.
So remember. You are not a problem. You don’t need to be solved.
There’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, there’s everything right with you.
You just need to get quiet, let go, and allow the beautiful force within you to emerge through you and into the world.
That’s why we’re here.