“Enlightenment is not only the end of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an astonishing liberation this is!” Eckhart Tolle (from A New Earth)
The “peace that passes understanding” come to mind here, the peace that rises when the noise of thinking ceases. I’m also reminded of the mantra at the end of the Zen Heart Sutra: “Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate: Bodhi Svaha!”
It means (thinking) is: gone (gate) , gone, gone beyond, gone beyond beyond: Oh, what an awakening!
Tolle doesn’t mean the cessation of thinking nor does the Heart Sutra. The brain is a thinking generator. That’s what it does. But what ends is our investment in thinking as a Thinker, which is who I think I am. This Thinker creates and lives in a dual world of inside against the outside. The Thinker is like the words running along the bottom of the TV news. We read these words as if they are the real visual news on the screen. Notice that you can’t do both at the same time: read the news words crawling like ants at the bottom of the screen and be visually involved in the images on the screen. There is a shift on consciousness here that one can notice.
When you read crawling type, it’s like when you are lost in a movie and someone pokes you and asks you what time it is. Suddenly you are enslaved by the Thinker who is irritated with the guy for snatching you our of your momentary liberation from thinking, which is what movies do for us. Thought is the ticker tape of the mind.