Over the next month I am committing to a chapter by chapter "study" of A New Earth. I listened to The Power Of Now recently and it really lifted me out of my mind, or more specifically, my ego. I have written about therapy, and I do love therapy as it helps me recognize my psychological triggers and some of my many mental shortcomings, but, my mind and egoic identity are not my essential self and Eckhart Tolle helps me step back from my false created self and connect with something deeper. He helps me to step back and watch the thinker and observe my ego ticking along like the attention whore that it is. I feel more connected with me heart, my soul and my sense of self beyond the self I create to get validation from others and a concept that I can hold onto to. The ego is a very insecure monster.
In this first chapter I really respond to the ideas regarding religion and a collective mental illness. In my late teens and early 20's I was suffering from depression and mental illness and I was in search for something to hold onto. Through my early life I had a predilection for superstition and Christianity had been a big part of my life, even if it was just in the background. But, I like to give things a good go and so I really tried to give mainstream christianity a full nudge. I clapped my hands, I went to camps, I listened to christian rock and I told people they would go to hell (having a very self-righteous streak, this gave me a perverse kick). But it required a lot of personal brainwashing. It required a lot of ego and mind to convince myself it worked. Mainstream christianity did not stick as although I really did swing for the fences. I never felt completely relaxed. It did not feel completely true. I was very similar to Paul Ryan. Scary.
Eckhart talks of religion more like a sign-post. You have to take god out of a box, open your mind, or better yet lose your mind, kick doctrine to the curb and embrace feelings and ideas that really feel authentic. Religion can be a closed door or an open door. I have been a 'lazy athiest' for a while now which has been very liberating. I don't really believe in a god but at the same time I am open to the mystery so to speak. I get embarrassed by my hearty stance on christianity and on my opinions or theories, but now I feel more comfortable chalking those up to my mad egomania. On the lazy atheist front, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that I am still completely bamboozled by the universe and the mystery is so complex that I am open to spiritual experience, a feeling or sense of being connected to an energy that I don't understand. Eckhart helps me switch off my ego and turn on a sense of spirituality. There is a big case of collective mental illness and Eckhart is a gentle anti-psychotic. I love it.