‘If your mind carries a heavy burden of past,’ says Eckhart Tolle, ‘you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.’
When he says ‘lack of presence’, he means the mind stuck in time and motion, in the back and forth and side to side, the jumping here and there that is most people’s everyday natural mental state – the condition that we accept as ‘normal’, when there is no awareness of the inner self.
Eckhart and the Ecology of the Soul tend to agree on most things; the differences are mainly a matter of the language used to express the concepts, with one crucial exception – Soul. The unique, infinitesimal, indestructible, eternal pinpoint of spiritual light that is for ever You and only You.
For Eckhart, the ‘Now’ is the key – by which I understand (correct me if I’m wrong) him to mean mental silence, that state of consciousness where there is no past, present or future, just sheer pure being, in and of itself. For the Ecology of the Soul – and Raja Yoga, where the original idea comes from – this is ‘soul consciousness’. You the Soul are engulfed in the experience of your true Self, which is to say pure consciousness without the overlays of time, place, thought, memory or imagination. It describes the state of pure, peaceful, powerful, silent bliss that most people only experience in deep meditation.
But you can be ‘soul conscious’ while you’re walking and talking, going about your daily business, and though I don’t follow and practise Eckhart Tolle’s meditative techniques I imagine he proposes a state of mind which has ‘presence’, living in the ‘Now’, while engaged in the practicalities of everyday life. This, whether you follow Eckhart, Raja Yoga, the Ecology of the Soul or indeed any of the many spiritual paths of meditation and self awareness, is the tricky part; staying ‘high’, experiencing transcendence, while still carrying out the routines of work, play, family, home and away. You have to achieve a balance, keeping your base level of consciousness floating freely, constantly referring to the ‘still small voice of calm’ when a negative, fearful or discontented thought comes up. (I have a mental picture of the surface of a pool, completely tranquil, deep and silent, shining somehow with a sort of dark gold light, showing a single, expanding, circular ripple when a drop of thought touches the surface, is absorbed and disappears.) Apply that inner stillness and peace, and use it to drive your ‘real world’ state of mind, your actions and interactions, which will automatically be infused with that atmosphere. People will recognise and respond to it (or be upset and disturbed by it – this happens), and lo and behold you have spread a little soul consciousness, delivered it into the world. Or, as Eckhart would call it, ‘presence’.