“There is no such thing as “my life,” and I don’t have a life. I am life. I and life are one. It cannot be otherwise. So how could I Loe my life? How could I lose something that I don’t have in the first place? How could I lose something that I Am? It is impossible.” Eckhart Tolle (from The Power of Now)
Imagine a wheel with a hub or center and a rim. Our consciousness is self-reflective which means there are two centers of view points, the center and the periphery. We flip back and forth seamlessly like my Honda Hybrid. You can’t feel if it’s on battery charge or on engine. The view from the Center is I AM. This is First Person I. The view from the periphery is Third Person I-IT. I’m on the periphery aware OF something, which is now the center. When in the center I AM the center and I am not having anything.
Experiment with this. Relax your awareness of the whole room you are in, focusing on nothing particular. Then focus attention on the mouse pad. You can sense a tension of attention as you shift from relaxed Awareness AS to Awareness Of this IT.
From the view on the periphery this IT is my life. I am outside of life aware of something I call life, giving me the sense of being outside of something I am. Tolle points out that I can’t have something unless I’m outside of it, actually outside of myself, outside of what I already am.
Our Western rational objective consciousness is the view from the outside in exile, so to speak, and we are conditioned—because of its success in making stuff—to believe this is the only view. Our identity, our believed in self is on the periphery of our own life. Like Yahweh, we are outside of Creation, outside of ourselves and stuck there. We then create time so we can be outside of that too, and we imagine restoring our lost center in the future.
Our modern mind is stuck on the rim of the wheel looking on our our experience as IT. We are IT! When we realize that, our center of awareness shifts to the Center. BAM! This is a life turning revelation. I am THAT! I am life. I am Time. This damned sense of separation is gone. However, I still have the view from the rim so I can catch a bus and function. But now I no longer seek my true center in time, from outside of time. I am time.
All that I share here one the two centers of consciousness has been inspired by the works of Albert Low, Zen philosopher, I so don’t aspire to the be expert here but I do practice applying the teaching to my everyday life where it comes out as me.
But I want to point out how strong the current us of our conditioned view of reality from the periphery. In our material world everything is an IT, including our mental experiences. This view from the outside is always there as it contains our sense of individuality maintained through memory and habitual behavior. Our behaviors or games we play are the rituals that reenact out Story of Me, which is the narrative that holds in place this view from the rim.Buddha’s awakening and Tolle’s Awakening is the discover of the view as the center, which is empty. The center is not an IT.
When I look back at what motivated my spiritual path in the late 50s, it was this Dukkha or sense of being separated from myself, always on the outside of my experience. I didn’t know it at the time, of course, but now it all fits in one wheel. All spokes lead to your Center when your pain activates this shift from living on the periphery to living from your center.
Tolle sits in his center and speaks from that Center, which is the center of all of us. That’s why his teaching resonates; he speaks to us from our own center, of the Heart. While he has a personality with its quirks and mannerisms, he is empty, just as we are empty at the center.
But we keep wanting to have an “experience”of our center, to know it as an IT, which means we remain on the periphery, trying to be our center and experience it too. To Know AS the Center, we have to relax trying to know the Center as IT or object.
When I write here, I write from my center. It’s an interesting phenomena. I am on the periphery watching my fingers write from the center, so my person sitting on the rim of the wheel is informed by what my Center writes. It’s as if my mind (I-IT periphery) is passively watching what my body (fingers) are doing. This is whey it is so important on the spiritual path to practice some art, hobby, or activity, where you discover how to surrender to your center in that practice. Then at some point your practice begins to do you.
We fall into despair when we fall into our center one day, discover its joy, and then find ourselves back stuck on the periphery, unable to get back to our center, and so we being the seeking of our own center, which is the necessary path of thorns we need to realize we always are out center.