This is so precisely right-on that it's stunning. And the timing of reading this is perfect for me. Much gratitude to those who selected this week's reading!
Recently I've been musing a lot about how my outer world is a mirror of my inner state. In other words, so long as I'm not in touch with my essence, I project out my emptiness and look for it through external targets - people, things, projects - and compulsively try to fill my emptiness through futile attempts to engage or possess. The scope of this compulsion is sobering, and the consequences are inevitable suffering. With this reading, I'm seeing clearly that this dynamic necessarily includes my close relationships, as Tolle confirms so eloquently.
One more thought to share: When I go to, say, a Japanese art store, or visit a museum, or temple, a part of me wants to possess all of it, to hoard it, endlessly. Why? I discovered that what I'm really wanting is the feelings the art pieces or location evoke in me. Which can never be acquired through an external object, or even a "love" relationship. No matter where I go, who I'm with, what I'm doing...nothing can fill the authentic inner need. Searching externally is futile. Realizing this, I'm finding that by being present - by being in touch with my true essence - I can be fulfilled anywhere, with anyone, doing anything. This, I'm tasting, is freedom. It is love.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect.