“Non-surrender hardens your psychological form, hardens the shell of your ego, and so creates a strong sense of separateness. Your relationships will be profoundly changed by surrender, for if you cannot accept what is, by implication you will never be able to accept anybody the way they are.” Eckhart Tolle (from A New Earth)
I used to have a hermit crab as a pet. While the crab is not the shell, he carries it with him wherever he goes, getting larger ones as he grows. Threatened, he pulls inside and closes the door. The crab is a hermit because he lives alone, afraid of the world. His shell is a buffer against a hostile world.
We are all hermit crabs who have noticed our shell, and we question whether life is possible without it. Why do I have to carry this burden? Why do I have to support this baggage of habits and regrets? We have identified with the shell and call it “I”. Our shell is individually shaped and we often put tattoos on it to distinguish it from other shells. We want out shell to stand out, to be special, to be admired. The shell is our Story of Me.
We are attracted to the teaching of Tolle because we sense, our crab hidden in the shell, senses that this teacher has no shell. He speaks to my little crab as the First Person and not my shell as a Third Person IT.
Tolle has a shell, of course, because I can see him. He has a history. But he speaks as if the shell were transparent to that which has no form, the crab hidden within the form.
Shells are many, but the Crab is I AM…the One that is the many. There is only One Crab in infinities shells. The One Crab has no name, because to name it makes it an IT…and the Crab is not the shell, the form it drags around to separate it from other shell.
To be a shell or not to be a shell, is not the question. Be a soft shelled crab. Make it transparent so you can see your Self through the shells of others. There is only One Crab but many shells.