Originally Posted by ludlow
Here's a conundrum that has arisen for me in reading on these subjects. I'd be enormously grateful for anybody's thoughts.
1. Many Buddhist texts I've read, and also Eckhart Tolle's book The Power of Now, emphasize the point that you are not your thinking mind, and that by learning to quiet the thinking mind, you can access a far more spacious plane of consciousness or Being. This plane transcends the separateness of individual people and is, in some way, the primary "stuff" of reality.
2. Meanwhile, subjective reality as I have understood it so far (along with The Secret, and a lot of personal development stuff that doesn't use the term "subjective reality") seems to suggest that thoughts create reality. What you think about, you create more of. Thought is the primary "stuff" of reality.
I've come to hold belief 1. through some success with meditation. I *want* to believe 2. as well, though I'd say I'm not there yet.
But are they just inherently contradictory? Or can they be reconciled? If getting caught up with thinking is somehow a distraction from Being, does that mean you have to reject the idea that thought is the basis of reality? Can you believe in some kind of Zen-like "enlightenment" and also believe in The Secret?
Does this post even make sense?
I think I'll stop there before I confuse myself even more...
Although I think "The Power of Now" is a valuable book, I never have found it as great as some people say it is. The reason for me is that it leaves you with a LOT of questions. His second book is a lot better, but still incomplete. I've always felt this way but I've always heard people saying how great Power of Now is, until I read "The Dissapearance of the Universe" and the second book "Your Immortal Reality".
In the second book it is said that concepts like "The Power of Now" are great, but they are incomplete and can be virtually meaningless unless understood within a much larger context. That is exactly how I felt when I read the book.
Here's a simplified way of thinking about it. What if each person needs to learn a certain number of spiritual lessons before they move up to the next level of enlightenment. For example, lets say that you need to learn 20 lessons before you reach the next level. Well, maybe Tolle learned 19 lessons in his life and was stuck there for a LONG time and his life sucked and he wasn't happy until that one day when he learned lesson #20 which for him was "The Power of Now", or living in the present moment. Because that was the single lesson that brought him from a lower level to a higher level, he thought that THIS IS THE ULTIMATE LESSON! and he felt passionate about writing a book on nothing but "The Power of Now". For other people , however, they might read that book when they are on lesson #12 and even though living in the now takes them to #13, they don't experience the next level of enlightenment as someone else, because they still have 7 lessons to go.
For them, they might be at lesson #19, still confused, unhappy etc. and then they stumble onto something like "The Law of Attraction" or "The Golden Rule" or "Positive Thinking" which was the missing lesson for them, and that lesson along with the other 19 takes them to a new level.
Anyway, my point is that I believe "The Power of Now" to be just one lesson, incomplete without all the others. It is a good and powerful lesson to learn, but it's like learning a single technique in a martial art. You can't just go around doing an upper cut all the time, but learning to upper cut might be valuable.
From what I've found, it's best to study many different texts on a subject, especially something like Spirituality and to look for similarities, not the differences. Just because Eckhart Tolle says one thing, and another book says another, doesn't mean that one has to be totally discredited. Maybe 99% of what Eckhart writes is good, except that one sentence you found to be a contradiction. Or maybe he's correct but the other book is incorrect on that one point.
Ultimately, just keep looking at similarities and you'll find your way. Listen to your intuition.
I used to be stuck like this with nutrition. Every book I read seemed to contradict the previous one. I liked what one author was writing but then I didn't like what he had to say about one thing for example. Then I liked what another author was saying but he contradicted the first one in certain spots etc. Ultimately I just started looking at commonalities. Like for example, all the books I've read all say that drinking 6-8 glasses of water is better for you than drinking coffee, tea, pop, etc. so while I figure out the rest of the commonalities, I'll focus on drinking water because they all agree on that