A Window is Where the Wall is Absent

The life impulse to express and to connect arises in me and in all of us. This blog is a celebration of these life impulses. Please feel free to join in the conversation or to just visit. There is a Family Photo Album beneath the posts so you can "meet" my family and I. Welcome!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The man in the chair

    I sat in the audience with about 200 people last week during 12 hours of talks by Eckhart Tolle over a four day period.  I never once felt that Eckhart had the slightest intention to alter me or anyone in the audience in any way, and yet now, as each day goes by, I feel somehow altered in a deep, indefinable way.  What is going on?

    I feel reluctant to even call Eckhart Eckhart.  It seems more accurate to refer to him as the man sitting in the chair.  The man sitting in the chair on the stage was utterly at ease.  He had no desire to entertain the audience.  The person next to me drifted to sleep and began snoring softly.  Several times I felt my eyelids become heavy as I was on the verge of sleep.  To the mind, the man sitting on the stage was quite boring.  Why then, days later, are waves of transformation continuing to move through this space that I am?

    After a long space of silence Eckhart smiled and said, "Sitting on a stage and not knowing what to say could be a nightmare."  We laugh.  Eckhart smiles and sits in silence for a few moments.  "It's only a nightmare if you think you should know what to say."  There is another pause.  "If you enjoy not knowing, if you are comfortable with not knowing, it's actually quite pleasant to sit up here."  He smiles contentedly and there is more silence.  The man on the stage is clearly quite happy.  He is not at all worried about what he should say. The three television cameras pointed at him do not faze him at all.  He is in no hurry and he feels no need to entertain anyone.

    It's strange to be in the presence of this complete lack of anxiety.

    The man in the chair does not need to change anything.  He is comfortable with what is as it is.  That is all.

    A woman in the audience is called on to come to the microphone to ask her question.  She rushes up to the microphone and gushes out effusively, "I love you!"  The man on the stage looks directly at her and says with quiet firmness, "You love yourself."  The woman agrees, and then proceeds to ask her question.  When people admire Eckhart, when people are drawn to him, he realizes they are really attracted to their own reality.  What we crave is direct experience of our own truth or essence.

    The man in the chair on the stage oozes a sense of complete ease and fulfillment.

    Why is this?

    He is completely at one with his deeper being.  From this connection with source there is a perpetual overflow of peace.

    Even now, days later, after going through many of the usual small daily dramas at work and at home, I have this strange sense of being on the verge of remembering something long forgotten.  The man on the stage reminded me that I too am connected to source, it cannot be otherwise.



Alton said...

"The man sitting in the chair on the stage was utterly at ease."

The woman who composed this blog is surely also at ease relating her experience.

Mahalo for sharing your consciousness with us.

I love you and everyone, because I love my SELF. Eckhart is right on.


Colleen Loehr said...

Thanks Alton!

Perfect Awareness said...

How nice Colleen! I'm sure it was a very lovely time. I feel like I was there with you.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Sal,
Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment, I appreciate you being here.

Cindy said...

Yes, you make me feel like I was there too. Val and I heard Eckhart Tolle speak in New York and it was very nice too, like meditation. It was just one talk though and then back to normal. It must have been interesting to experience it without being "pushed" out on the sidewalk in an hour and a half. :)

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for your comment! Eckhart definitely embodies the peace that comes from within, not from without; and therefore the hunt for happiness where it cannot be found (in the outer world) is calmed. It's the addiction to looking-for-happiness-where-it-cannot-be-found that churns up so much unhappiness. In Eckhart's presence, which is the one presence of awareness that we all share, this age-old addiction to outer seeking disappeared briefly.
I'm always happy to see you here Cindy, thanks for visiting.

Triza said...

Thank you for sharing that.I feel as though i was sitting there with everyone else.It truly is a good reminder and presents so much clarity for me right now.Thanks for sharing.

DirectSpirit said...

Where do I start? First, it's amazing you're a psychiatrist. I've been in social work for 20 years, and public mental health in Hawaii for 10 years, and psychiatrists on the public side DON'T talk or think like you. How lucky your clients and co-workers are. Do they know this? I hope so! It seemed like a meaningful coincidence that someone who is a psychiatrist commented on my blog, especially in relation in Tolle.

Second, I've read a few of Tolle's books and they did change me profoundly; I have never read about Tolle's talks, and your description of peace and awe is exactly like the descriptions of talks given by Bapak, the founder of Subud. (It also it fits descriptions I've read of the Dalai Lama's talks.) How wonderful you got to experience that. I was struck profoundly by your description, especially because I had no idea his talks were like Bapak's talks. (That’s significant only personally to me, probably.)

Third, we NEVER drink beer, but for some reason I picked up a bottle of organic "chocolate" beer at Whole Foods about an hour ago, spontaneously, and we ate dinner and began to drink some, and I began to look at your blog, and suddenly my wife sees a TV program about the Hawaiian's trip to Belgium on the occasion of Fr. Damian becoming a saint. She almost never watches this kind of (cultural) material, and we never drink beer, but here we are drinking it while the Belgians are on TV (Belgium is known for its beer, and we lived there 1996-1999). I was struck because the coincidences and serendipitous situations seemed to be building up.

Fourth, while this is going on, I'm reading the comments on your blog, and a man named "Alton" says "Mahalo" ("thank-you" in Hawaiian) and so I go to his blog and see he's from Honolulu! (I live in Honolulu) Then I'm scrolling down his blog and I see one of his "foster grand kids" is a case manager who used to work for me (I'm co-owner of a psychiatric agency). At this point I turn to my wife and tell her I’m being overwhelmed by coincidences!

Love your blog. Aloha!

Alton said...

Aloha Direct Spirit, brother from Honolulu:

About a fortnight ago Colleen joins my blog, because she did a search and found that we are in alignment about spiritual teachers. Now you appear out of the internet akash and I learn that our wonderful house mate was under your employ.

I had to call my wife over to read your post. For sure we are all interconnected.

Talk to you again and thanks for joining Illuminations.


DirectSpirit said...

Alton, thanks for the entry on Surrender. I posted two Tolle vids on my blog, the most recent one is about surrendering. (accepting what is).

Yes, Che is a great guy. Say hi to him for me. We miss him.

Aloha, Aliman.

Colleen Loehr said...

Wow! I love synchronicity, and it's great that through all these interconnections Alton and Aliman have met! I am humbled by the dance of the Tao and grateful to be part of it. Thanks so much for your comments Triza, Aliman, and Alton. Earlier I left another comment on your blog Direct Spirit, Aliman, and I am looking forward to visiting Triza's and Alton's blogs later today. I look forward to our continuing dialogue and I am grateful for your comments! Colleen

roseduncan said...

Colleen, I'm so glad you got to hear him. And that it was so moving for you. I know how inspiring his work is for you. Sorry I missed this post, I've been awol for a while.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Naomi,
Yes, I am very lucky that I was able to attend the Eckhart talks, something got loosened up in me and I continue to experience an inner cascade of benefits from the experience. I'm always happy to see you here Naomi, thanks for your comment. Colleen

Alton said...

Hi Aliman and friends:
In a few weeks I plan on catching up on a lot of videos and the ones of Tolle on your blog. Doing a self retreat early June when my spouse travels to L.A. for the Ring series. Mahalo for posting them on your site.


Susannah said...

Reading this post I was struck by an example of something I already knew to be true. That one person who is at peace, at one and centered within themselves can hold a vibration that those around can attune to, much like a tuning fork being sounded. So that other people / things in the vicinity can 'tune in' and resonate more easily to that frequency too.

If we find that place within ourself and centre ourselves there, then it doesn't just affect us. . . it also affects all that come into contact with us.

Another lovely post Colleen.

Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Susannah,

I love the tuning fork analogy- that is so apt. Eckhart is attuned to a level of reality that is clarity itself, and being in his presence shifted my attention to this deeper level of being that we all share. As you point out we are all connected, so touching inner peace isn't a hedonistic, self-indulgent activity, but the only true blessing we have to offer others.

To be in the presence of someone who is truly at peace, which was my experience of being in Eckhart's presence, ignited the realization in me that peace is not just an idea, but a living reality accessible to us all.

Your insightful comments moved me deeply Susannah, thank you for being here. Colleen

You Are Awareness said...

The man in the chair - wow, that's a powerful post. For some reason, I have a slight resistance to Eckhart, the man in the chair, but having read this post, I feel energised to re-read some of his teachings, just for fun. I like what you said about not knowing - that's really important for me in my life, not knowing, and I really resonate with that. Thank you for your post Colleen!


Colleen Loehr said...

Hi Shamesh,

Reading just for fun I find is the richest approach.

Not knowing is a big blue sky that I've somehow overlooked and am just recently beginning to open to and appreciate. Most of my "knowing" was unrecognized blindness, and now not knowing is clear seeing. Funny all the flip flops in perception and understanding that are occurring...Eckhart was in a bliss of not knowing. Not knowing is silence, and silence is the womb of everything.
Pardon me for blathering on, I just can't seem to stop myself sometimes. I am so delighted to meet you and I love your blog!

Penelope said...

More "near synchronicity!" I was very close to attending this May event with the man in the chair! Ended up unable to go to Malibu until the end of May. I enjoyed reading about your experience. Thx for sharing it!

Colleen Loehr said...

I love synchronicity...maybe we'll end up at another Eckhart Tolle event. I'd love to spend more time in Eckhart's presence and to share the experience with you Penelope. Thanks for visiting.

Vicki Woodyard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki Woodyard said...

I deleted my comment because I misspelled synchronicities :) I forget what I said exactly so I'll paraphrase...those were some awesome synchronicities. Those are times when we get a nod from the universe and usually a wink as well.


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