There is little doubt that non-violence is and should be the preferred method in any resistance. But shutting out the possibility of violence entirely irrespective of the situation is impractical and in my opinion undesirable. If violence is the only way to stop more violence, it becomes the preferred alternative. Buddha, the apostle of non-violence, gave tacit approval to his friend Bimbisara's account of a just war. Gandhi, in his own writings in the Hind Swaraj in the mid 1940s, acknowledged the limitations and failure of his non-violent movement. Just like it is advocated to practive non-violence without anger or malice towards the oppressor, an approach of physical violence can be chosen in some circumstances to end persistent and ongoing violence or oppression, without anger and malice towards the oppressor.
I was very excited to read the title of this narrative: applying realization to relationships. Appears very apt for our times when problems/breakdowns in relationships are common. But I find this narrative to be too abstract for practical use. Many of the terms like ‘revelation of perfect unity’, ‘there is no other’, ‘dive deeply into the Unknown heart of a mystery’ are esoteric and lack inherently meaningful content.
Dysfunctional relationships with close ones or society at large stem from one or more of the following: cultural hypnosis, excessive focus on self-interest, lack of ability to view from the other’s perspective, lack of perception of true reality by excessively focusing on negative attributes or negative outcomes, inability to forgive or move beyond past events. The common thread between all is lack of or limited awareness and lack of or limited self-reflection. Increasing the awareness, monitoring one’s own responses, unabashed questions of one’s own motives to unearth agendas which are hidden even to us: these exercises sound more practical to me enable healthy relationships with everyone.
It is possible that my lack of understanding of concepts like ‘dissolution of the self’ and ‘there is no other’ stems from my own ignorance. Reaching the pinnacle of awareness may lead to the realization of these seemingly abstract concepts. I will be contented if I can achieve the seemingly simpler but tangible tasks in this lifetime. If Buddha was right, I’ll get more lifetimes to accomplish the more esoteric goals.
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Tolle hits upon an important cause of misery and unhappiness in the world in the latter half where he mentions a few examples to illustrate how people unconsciously try to emphasize their form-identity. He recommends detection and discontinuation of these unconscious patterns.
For most people, the transformation from materially oriented life to egoless state of mind is a slow deliberate process. The ideas expressed in the thought are very logical and appear simple, but are extremely difficult to put into practice. At my level, I find it more realistic to start with trying to dissolve the ego in less challenging situations of everyday life like anger, disappointments, material craving, jealousy etc. Once the grip of the ego has loosened enough to rein in these negative qualities, the more lofty and challenging goal of total ego dissolution suggested in this thought can become a more realistic goal. Even though I find the goal expressed in the thought as unrealistic for me and for most people around me, it provides tremendous inspiration for pursuing the goals that I find realistic.[Hide Full Comment]
One of the essential characteristics of a compassion-monger based on this write-up is not not to be self-centered or centered around family/friends, but open your heart 'equally' to everybody. Based on this, I have come across very few people who are compassion-mongers, and I certainly am not one. It find it easier to be a nice and compassionate person, but being a compassion-monger as defined in the write-up is difficult and demands a high level of self awareness.
Whether everyone has a core of kindness is impossible to answer reliably. Even if we assume that this is true, it will be an incomplete truth. The complete truth is that everyone has a potential for kindness and cruelty; the combination of innate and environmental factors determines what combination of these two qualities are reflected in actions for each individual.
Nevertheless the ideas expressed in the thought are worth striving for. It is these reminders which will eventually sway the pendulum away from self-centered outlook. Loved the Generous Photon poem.
Great illustration of the tenacity of life through a simple observation. In Jurassic Park, the dinos are genetically programmed to be deficient in lysine, an essential amino acid, so that they cannot reproduce. But towards the end of the movie, eggs are found under a tree: "life has found a way". None of these examples, however, show that life is not fragile. Individual life is fragile as well as impermanent. It is only if we consider life as a whole in terms of a species, or all living organisms, that it acquires a 'non-fragile' character.
On Mar 28, 2012 SK wrote on An Ego Strategy to Avoid Surrender, by Eckhart Tolle:
But I also think that Mr Tolle takes the analogy a bit over the top by suggesting that if a person is singled out as special, it is necessarily a manifestation of discontent or strategy to avoid surrender. The caveats of relationships with people (or things) that have been singled out as special are well delineated in this piece, but the same relationships can be also be very meaningful, rewarding and a source of content. It is difficult to view all relationships with people or things through this somewhat dark Eckhartian lens.
The definition of true love that is provided includes no wanting from your partner or any desire for the partner to change. Although seemingly lofty, this definition cannot stand the test of practical social interaction or any sense of progress. Desiring mutual respect and a positive change in your partner cannot be held antithetical to true love.