Saturday, November 04, 2006

The beginning of freedom...

“When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice-the thinker- but the one who is aware of it.

Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom.”--Eckhart Tolle

At approximately five o’clock this morning my three and a half year-old daughter Jasmine was up and making a concerted effort to convince my wife to move my five month old son Dylan from his spot on our bed and let her sleep there. This was not a problem for Dylan, but my wife and I could not agree with Jasmine as to the merits of the plan. The voice in my head-the thinker-commented to me-the groggy awareness-that “she has no concern for the needs of others.” There was a time not so long ago when I would have experienced that comment as an astute observation that simply had to be shared ensuring that my daughter, my wife, and possibly Dylan had the sort of unpleasant experience that gives rise to egos in the first place. Steady effort in my yoga practice and the teachings of people like Eckhart Tolle have lead me to a different understanding of that comment.

Today I experience a comment like that as a classic egoic statement. The ego in its permanent state of poverty consciousness feels constantly threatened and justifies its desire to “defend” itself by projecting its own negativity onto those it would attack. In fact, if you really want to know what the ego is up to just listen very closely to what -the thinker-is accusing others of doing, saying, or being. We can therefore accurately assess who was “having no concern for the needs of others” at five this morning.

This awareness that we are not our thoughts is freedom. In that moment I was able to observe the compulsive reaction of the thinker and make a choice; a choice that was not driven by past conditioning, but rather a drawing in to my core values and beliefs, an evaluation of my wife’s needs, my daughters needs, and the decision to act accordingly. In this case I kept my mouth shut which at the very least did not make my wife’s job harder and provided my daughter and me with one less regrettable incident to resolve through arduous spiritual practice and therapy. Silence also provides the space for people to find there own way.

Growth in Yoga can be charted by our relationship to the thinker. Initially I thought I was the thinker. Then, once I became aware that there was thinker and a me who was observing it, I felt at the mercy of its untamed ways. Meditation was often an exhausting exposure to the thinker in all its glory. As I have deepened my relationship with myself as consciousness, energy, and form existing in a timeless now I have felt less and less threatened, controlled, and defined, by the content of my mind, and I have felt more and more free.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rolf, thank you, thank you, thank you. I suffered today (and most other days) from the judgmental, self-righteous, and self-centered voice-in-the-head too. Your words have helped me break the chains at this present moment. Namaste, MK

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...


I can't believe how much that simple post just opened my eyes. It makes so much sense! Thank you!!!


3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rolf, thank you for everything you stand for and having victory with your spirit. You remind me that, we return to our mats to remind ourselves that Yoga and meditation allow us to be strong and flexible, steady and calm while breathing in the world off our mat.

Thank you for your thought leadership! Brian R

10:07 PM  

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