MYTH #1Humanity has reached the pinnacle of its development. Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, drawing upon comparative religious studies, medical science, anthropology, and sports, has made a provocative case that there are ￼4 more advanced stages of human development. As a person reaches these advanced levels of spiritual maturity, extraordinary capacities begin to blossom – of love, vitality, personhood, bodily awareness, intuition, perception, communication, and volition. First step: to recognize they exist. Most people do not. Then, methods can be employed with conscious intention.
MYTH #2 We are completely separate from each other, nature, and the Kosmos. This myth of “other-than-me” has been responsible for wars, the rape of the planet, and all forms and expressions of human injustice. After all, who in their right mind would harm another if they experienced that person as part of themselves? Stan Grof, in his research of nonordinary states of consciousness, summarizes by saying “the psyche and consciousness of each of us is, in the last analysis, commensurate with “All-That-Is” because there are no absolute boundaries between the body/ego and the totality of existence.” Dr. Larry Dossey’s Era-3 medicine, where the thoughts, attitudes, and healing intentions of one individual can influence the physiology of another person (in contrast to Era-2, prevailing mind-body medicine) is very well supported by scientific studies into the healing power of prayer. Now this can’t happen according to the known principles of physics and world view of traditional science. Yet the preponderance of evidence suggests that indeed it does.
MYTH #3 The physical world is all there is. Materialistically bound, traditional science assumes that anything that cannot be measured, tested in a laboratory, or probed by the five senses or their technological extensions simply doesn’t exist. it’s “not real.” The consequence: all of reality has been collapsed into physical reality. Spiritual, or what I would call nonphysical, dimensions of reality have been run out of town. This clashes with the “perennial philosophy,” that philosophical consensus spanning ages, religions, traditions, and cultures, which describes different but continuous dimensions of reality. These run from the most dense and least conscious – what we’d call “matter” – to the least dense and most conscious, which we’d call spiritual. Interestingly enough, this extended, multidimensional model of reality is suggested by quantum theorists such as Jack Scarfetti who describes superluminal travel. Other dimensions of reality are used to explain travel that occurs faster than the speed of light – the ultimate of speed limits.
Or consider the work of the legendary physicist, David Bohm, with his explicate (physical) and implicate (non-physical) multidimensional model of reality. This is no mere theory – the 1982 Aspect Experiment in France demonstrated, that two once-connected quantum particles separated by vast distances remained somehow connected. If one particle was changed, the other changed – instantly. Scientists don’t know the mechanics of how this faster-than-the-speed-of-light travel can happen, though some theorists suggest that this connection takes place via doorways into higher dimensions.
So contrary to what those who pledge their allegiance to the traditional paradigm might think, the influential, pioneering individuals I spoke with felt that we have not reached the pinnacle of human development, we are connected, rather than separate, from all of life, and that the full spectrum of consciousness encompasses both physical and a multitude of non physical dimensions of reality. At core, this new world view involves seeing yourself, others, and all of life, not through the eyes of our small, earthly self that lives in time and is born in time. But rather through the eyes of the soul, our Being, the True Self. One by one, people are jumping to this higher orbit. With his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle rightfully takes his place among this special group of world-class teachers.
Eckhart’s message: the problem of humanity is deeply rooted in the mind itself. Or rather, our misidentification with mind. Our drifting awareness, our tendency to take the path of least resistance by being less than fully awake to the present moment, creates a void. And the time-bound mind, which has been designed to be a useful servant, compensates by proclaiming itself master. Like a butterfly flittering from one flower to another, the mind engages past experiences or, projecting its own made-for-television movie, anticipates what is to come. Seldom do we find ourselves resting in the oceanic depth of the here and now. For it is here – in the Now – where we find our True Self, which lies behind our physical body, shifting emotions, and chattering mind. The crowning glory of human development rests not in our ability to reason and think, though this is what distinguishes us from animals. Intellect, like instinct, is merely a point along the way.
Our ultimate destiny is to re-connect with our essential Being and express from our extraordinary, divine reality in the ordinary physical world, moment by moment. Easy to say, yet rare are those who have attained the further reaches of human development. Fortunately, there are guides and teachers to help us along the way. As a teacher and guide, Eckhart’s formidable power lies not in his adept ability to delight us with entertaining stories, make the abstract concrete, or provide useful technique. Rather, his magic is seated in his personal experience, as one who knows. As a result, there is a power behind his words found only in the most celebrated of spiritual teachers. By living from the depths of this Greater Reality, Eckhart clears an energetic pathway for others to join him. And what if others do? Surely the world as we know it would change for the better. Values would shift in the flotsam of vanishing fears that have been funneled away through the whirlpool of Being itself. A new civilization would be born. “Where’s the proof of this Greater Reality?” you ask. I offer only an analogy: A battery of scientists can get together and tell you about all the scientific proof for the fact that bananas are bitter. But all you have to do is taste one, once, to realize that there is this whole other aspect to bananas. Ultimately, proof lies not in intellectual arguments, but in being touched in some way by the sacred within and without. Eckhart Tolle masterfully opens us to that possibility.
Excerpt from Eckhart Tolle: Power of Now