Is Eckhart Tolle Teaching About Presence From Transcendence Or Trauma?

Hello My Love!

Earlier this week I was asked if I believe that teachers like Byron Katie and Ekhart Tolle - who teach the idea of making PEACE with what IS, that being' in the present moment and accepting it for what it is' -  is the key to happiness - may be on such a higher level of understanding reality that their seeming abiding peace is TRUE - rather than being based in reality denial/dissociation.

I've mentioned before that these teachings when taken to EXCESS - the idea that any painful reality is just a result of a story we are telling ourselves/resistance because REAL reality is NEVER painful and is always perfect - can be used as a way of AVOIDING the very real and sometimes harsh reality of life, of bypassing our need to reckon with harsh realities, as a way of denying the pain we don’t know how to process and as a way of giving ourselves permission to stay in/not look to remedy objectively harmful situations. I was asked if perhaps these teachers really are just on a whole other plane of understanding rather than coming from trauma/denial.    

Here is my answer.

Is It Transcendence Or Trauma?

First as always, this is just my perspective based on my experience and observation. I obviously don’t know either of these people and so can’t ever really KNOW what their experience is. I also know that many have found great help in their teachings and I would never seek to discount that.

There is a seed of truth in everything as far as I'm aware and truth is ALWAYS helpful.

Thus, I don’t look to write anyone off entirely. Ever.

These are my observations, I'm not the arbiter of ultimate truth. Take them, ponder them, see how they fit with you.

With B.K - there are seeds of truth in everything. Her getting herself and others to question their STORIES of what reality MEANS about them and their lives is pure gold. I fully believe that her four questions can be incredibly powerful tools for becoming aware of our programmed beliefs that we think are RELITY - that we can then move past in order to connect with TRUE reality. I know for a fact that when we believe things to be a certain way, when in reality they are another, we harm ourselves. We suffer. Most of us have no idea that we are even conditioned at all, let alone having the awareness to question this conditioning and our assumed ways of life. So again, amazing and so important. Both her and E.T are looking to help people come out of their projections and assumptions about life, which if they are painful/leading us to be trapped in painful situations, are usually trauma based (misunderstanding how reality works/fear of abandonment based)- this is VITAL WORK.

The path of re-connecting with REAL REALITY vs. our meanings and projections that aren’t true to fact is a massive step in inner peace. Not arguing with reality or (innocently) making up stories about what certain things mean, so you can observe reality more objectively and make life generating choices within it - that is powerful work.

From what I’ve seen and read about B.K as a person, she seems to take this to an extreme end point - insisting that painful things DON’T exist, that reality is inherently PERFECT and if we just ACCEPT it enough, we will always find pure bliss in 'what is' - is what speaks trauma to me.  I think there are SEEDS of truth to this, but I believe it is taking the concept of acceptance to a toxic end point of denying very real parts of the human experience - of the life experience.

Painful things exist. Reality is not ‘perfect’ in that it's orchestrated to unfold in a way that is ONLY EVER for the ‘best’. This is a cause and effect universe and we make choices and those choices either break us against reality or build us within it. It’s not ‘perfection,’ rather it is ORDERED. Thus I believe B.K’s teachings lead into territory of denial and trauma gas-lighting that isn’t really helpful in the sense of actual integration and reaching a state of inner peace.

In real reality, I believe that coming int the present moment and accepting reality is a DOORWAY to helping us find our true power - where we can change what isn't working/serving us and where we can learn to accept those things we can't change.

Getting stuck in wanting to change the past is a story. Being able to accept it so you can accept the outcomes, and the work WITH REALITY - that is liberation. Seeing that your stories about what your illness or lay off or break up MEAN abut your FUTURE aren't true will help you step out of fantasy and into your NOW - where you can take steps wt work WITH that illness, layoff or breakup in a truly constructive way based on what is truly happening. It's not so black and white. Coming int the moment doesn't mean that what's happening is 'perfect' and should feel good - it just means we can WORK WITH IT. Claiming that the secret to happiness is just learning to be ok with whatever is, to me, is a childlike view of the world rooted in the sense that we don't have autonomy or power over our own lives. That's where I see the misalignment.

I don’t believe that E.T denies reality like this. So with B.K it seems that there is still a lot of trauma in there guiding the show rather than actual transcendence as she claims.

Eckhart Tolle And Being In The Now:

With E.T I think thinks are quite different.

He teaches (mostly) that being in the present moment, connecting with reality for how it is, looking to lessen our hold on our stories of meaning so we can more deeply BE in the BEINGNESS of this life experience is the key to permanent bliss. There is SO much truth in this. I also feel a deep sense of inner peace within HIM, he doesn’t seem to be putting on a show or that he has a personality behind the scenes thats altogether different than his public persona. That said, I think that what he is TEACHING - be in the moment and find bliss/peace in stopping arguing with reality - and how he actually lives his life/how he arrived to this state that he is in are two slightly different things.

I also want to state before moving forward that I don't personally believe that E lives with 'no Ego self' that that's why he's transcended seeming. I personally think this idea is rather silly, and again will be making a longer video in the future around ego-death. I don't think he is transcended because he is perfectly accepting of reality either. Or that he is ALWAYS in the present moment. He has tools for being present and accepting reality AND many other tools he clearly uses to make this world a happy place for his specific ego. THAT is what we will look at below. But in short, NO I do not believe he is on such a different level that we can't understand him. He is actually quite understandable.

His life is more complex than his teachings, and his personal presence I believe, has more to do with his LIFE than the one thing he teaches.

Let's dive into the 3 things I think are providing that transcendence he clearly carries:

 1. He Broke Up With His Fear Of  Death

 If you listen to his story, he begins by sharing that he was once deep in the world of academia, which led him into a MASSIVE depression. He was so lonely, sad, without hope or meaning in the world he was trying to fit into, that he was on the verge of suicide. He believed he was going "crazy." He was so locked into the stories of who he was supposed to be, what he was supposed to be doing, what success was, what was and wasn’t important - and these ideas were clearly very out of tune with his TRUE self. Therefore, of COURSE he was completely miserable. This would follow if we understand that humans are specific, with a specific blue print and ways of being that do and do not work for us. We are life just like all other life - we have specific conditions that need to be met for our growth, and when those conditions AREN'T  met, we suffer greatly.

This is what I believe to be at the root of all anxiety and depression - living lives we have no connection to because that is what we were trained to do from birth. Being disconnected from our internal guidance that would help us figure out who we are and what we need - and never having been given the skills to figure out how to meet those needs in real reality.

Eventually this way of being got SO painful, that he had a ‘V for Vendetta’ experience. An Ego death. A full breaking with his stories. He got to a place where he could no longer keep grasping that the life that was making him miserable, and in that he faced his own death - as letting go of who and what you think YOU are and what you think LIFE is - means embracing that feeling that you are going to DIE. When we allow ourselves to fully let go of our stories, we first plummet into a feeling that we have no security - and this is actually what gives us liberation. We make peace with not living - and in that we can finally see the stories we have been telling ourselves that have actually ben killing us.

That is what that is. That is what Ego death is. An acceptance that you are going to die because you are letting go of everything you think has been the reason you've survived. Your conditioned programs of who and what you have to be ad have in order to survive. And in order to let THOSE things GO - you must make peace with dying itself.

He broke with the fear of DEATH. Of not having his material/physical needs met/not needing things to be a specific way or go his way of him to know peace.

He broke with all the ideas of who he was that were clearly not actually true about him, the person he had been forcing himself to be in order to be approved of, with the intention of this approval = survival.

He jail broke himself from the greatest human distraction/departure from reality which is that fear of lack/not enough and the end of self.

He broke through the need to be the person he had been indoctrinated to be.

He broke through seeing the values of society as being valuable. He lost that FAKE identity that was trapping him in the cage of societal rules that were killing him, and he did so by letting go of the fear of being disapproved of and of not having his needs met/surviving.

This is why I talk about having those transcended experiences being so important. When we finally allow ourselves to move BEYOND the FEAR of death - that NEEDING to have ‘security’ - and security meaning assuredness that we are going to be safe ad survive/not suffer - to feel ok - we truly do live in a new paradigm. We break out of the constant hamster wheel of running from anything that is painful, running to all the things that bring us instant gratification through acceptance, and in THIS we start t actually connect with our TRUE SELVES for the first time. Without the NEED to survive, we don’t wither into nothingness or give up on life - this is actually, paradoxically where life can really start.

When you stop fearing death/clinging to life - THIS is when you can start to actually understand life.  When you can get out of your conditioned stories that are actually fantasies about reality so as to connect with actual reality.

Coming out of this lack of fear of death, knowing yourself as something bigger than this life doesn’t DISCONNECT you from reality and the human experience - it actually tends to break our illusions of how we think things HAVE TO BE before we can feel good and safe. It breaks us out of consensus reality s we can connect with real reality through no longer living for approval but having a one to one relationship with life itself.  It actually deeply CONNECTS US to reality.

It also allows us to find comfort in temporary discomfort. It allows you to make peace with illness, having to wait for something, being out of your comfort zone - because you can be in the pain without making it mean that you are going to be in pain forever/seeng it as an existential threat. It's just pain. It's only discomfort. You can chose to do something about it or not. If you can't, you can find something larger to connect to beyond this existence. Pain no longer means DEATH and death no longer means threat. This is how we find that balance between accepting what we cannot change and changing what we can - by first making peace with what is, the moment, how it's unfolding and so on, without making up a scary story for what it means about our FUTURE. It creates a tolerance AND it actually REDUCES the pain most people are in - as so much of the pain we experience isn't due to what we are actually facing but rather due to the scary stories of what we are facing is going to MEAN about our future. In this we can wait and be uncomfortable and it's ok. We can be sick and know it will pass. There's a peace of knowing all is impermanent - including our lives.

It leads to a kind of emotional mastery where you can observe your reactions to life, your responses, your desires - and rather than living from instinct and impulse (due to being in that state of constantly fighting for/searching for life and security) you can live from a more conscious, aware, more frontal lobe perspective. You are freed from the bondage of your instinctual, base need, survival reactions to a literal higher plane of existence - one based in the capacity to truly observe objectively and make objective choices. Once you stop fearing death, you stop living from impulse and start living from presence - which is where all our power to understand, know and make truly effective choices lives.

Again - this is what a transcended person is really experiencing - reality for how it is, not arguing with it.

He went on to be homeless for a while - fully cementing that release of all human ideals of what it takes to survive and be ok. He fully let it all go for about 6 months. He had his wilderness experience. Learning to be an adult for the first time - where you figure out how to survive and get your needs met on your own, without the help of society and approval. He has this now - as his core way of living and being in this world.

2. He Found His Specific Blueprint: 

Through this, he’s found a path that works for his specific blueprint.

Meaning he didn’t have that awakening and then just wander off into the jungle to meditate or be with reality or simply exist in ‘what is.’ Nor did he return to the life he was living before.

He started teaching, sharing, writing books.

He used his experience and insights and decided he was going to try to make an impact.

He started spending time with those who were sick and dying, teaching these principals of deep reality connection and the power this lends us to understand, know and transform things. Through this he has found connection. Meaning. Purpose.

All things missing in his past experience of life.

He isn’t in a state of pure reality acceptance - he is using his awareness to try to influence things. To change how others see reality and to help them suffer less.

Again, he most likely does so without NEEDING a specific outcome of those he is working with to stop suffering - but he isn’t simply ‘accepting’ things as they are either. He is playing his specific role. He let go of his past identities which were most likely out of alignment with his blueprint, let go of his academic and materialist path - the one that was CAUSING him to be disassociated from himself and thus reality - and found a new path that is better suited to his unique way of being. You will notice - he is VERY specific as a person!

He teaches in a very specific way. He lives in a very specific way. He has made a full departure from the life that was killing him - living in a busy city, working hard to fit into academia, living a life of societal expectation to one where he lives in nature. Writes in solitude. Teaches in a calm and collected manner. These are no Tony Robbins raves. He enjoys a simple existence. Of COURSE he is feeling transcended and has a deep inner peace! He left his old life and created a WHOLE new one - through being present, following the opportunities that came to him that felt good, slowly building a life around what WORKED for HIM vs. what society told him he should want/do. He found connection and communion with like minded others. He found meaning in helping others find peace.

He is living his blueprint.

He didn’t have his awakening, his break with society - and then go BACK to the way he was living before and have peace in it. He RADICALLY changed his life. His new way clearly aligned more with his real true self. He dresses very specifically. Eats specifically. Lives specifically. He is not making anything or any way work. He is not a vagabond or going with the flow of life as much as he has created his ideal environment for himself where he gets to play to his strengths, focus on what he is interested in, have his routines and ways of being, make his impact, and then is accepting what comes of that.

3. He Has Security And Stability In His Specific Blueprint:

He has security in all of this. He makes enough to feed, clothe and shelter himself. He gets to travel and meet new people. He is living a very prosperous life. I know he is human and for sure faces challenges and what not, but generally, he is comfortable, provided for and reasonably secure.

Agin, is means of attaining these things have transformed. He let them go, went without them, found his peace in being homeless and without a plan - figured out how to just have enough ad be happy with that - and NOW he lives in the middle. He is not opulent. He is not a beggar on the street. He s in his ENOUGHNESS. Things not for the sake of things but for their utility. Reasonable comfort. He is not chasing more nor fearing less. HE HAS HIS EOUGH. And it shows.

He Has The Trifecta Of Transcendence:

He has the golden trifecta of ‘transcendence’ in my view - no longer clinging to life so much that you are trapped in SYSTEMS that are’t reality.

He has found his niche and created a life that supports that.

He is provided for.

He isn’t arguing with reality - his teachings of being in the present, accepting what is that we cannot change and changing what we can - that is what he LIVES. It’s not just acceptance. Because again he is not just ‘accepting’ everything. He is super, super specific and his specificity is providing well for him. He does what he can with where he has power and embraces and learns to enjoy what he can’t change. These conditions are rare in humanity - but he has them all.

As far as I can tell, he is doing exactly what I observe all transcended people are doing - being connected to real reality through transcending those visceral  fears of death that keep us clinging to stories and illusion and separating us from REALITY for how it IS. We then can acknowledge reality for how it is, and that empowers us to work WITH IT to create good lives for ourselves. We know ourselves deeply and figure out how to make that work in the structure. Then we embrace what comes of that. Dealing with discomfort when it comes. Being in what is, accepting what we cannot change and changing what can be changed. Being able to OBSERVE rather than REACT - and then RESPOND. No longer running from pain or chasing pleasure - so we can find TRUTH. When there is also security - you are most likely going to be in a kind of transcended state because that is the Hierarchy of needs all met! Acceptance is a piece of the puzzle, not the whole thing.

This is what I believe gives him the ability to be so transcended.

He is fully on another level - he has purpose, connection, meaning, is constantly able to evolve, to observe and to be in a life that works for HIM. He has security. He has impact. He has focus. He has playfulness. He has the ability to see where he can affect positive change and he is doing so, and is embracing the darkness of life just as much so as tot to suffer in things that can’t be changed - finding the joy in that which can’t be shifted. This is the hierarchy of needs being met in a human - which would obviously lead to a kind of transcendence most will never experience. 

It’s deep work he has done.

Changed his whole life.

Much more complex than simply being with what is - but that is a foundation that made all the rest possible. He figured out this aligned life through deeply connecting with what is, then working WITH it. THAT’S transcendence.

As far as I can tell - and I’m going to make a grand statement here - the thing that brings humans bliss/joy/transcendence/peace is self actualization.

Which is a continually unfolding process that requires that we are constantly in communion with reality. As reality reveals more and more to us about ourselves, how it works, our connection to it and so on. Self actualization INCLUDES self transcendence experiences. As those experiences all happen THROUGH the self.

The more connected to the present and true reality we are, the more empowered we are to recognize our needs, recognize how to get those needs met in reality, and then how to live a life of continual growth through embracing our niche self.   When we can also have security and enoughness in this, while embracing the ever changing, uncomfortable nature of life - we have inner peace.

Being in the present moment is not an end in and of itself, it's a MEANS to this self actualization end.

Questioning our stories means that we can sometimes find immediate relief from suffering if our stories were ‘life mares’ - for instance getting laid off leading you into a total depressive state. This could be because you are assuming that being laid off means that you will never find a job again, you are going to lose the respect and love of everyone you know, end up cold and alone on the streets with no food or connection or shelter and then die a miserable death. When you come into reality, you will see that none of that is HAPPENING right NOW. It’s all a story. This takes you out of fight or flight, where you again can then asses really for how it IS, and then you can make a game plan based on that actual reality. You can apply for another job. Reach out to contacts. Take steps. THIS is the power f connecting to reality. When you face a situation that you ca’t change - like a cancer diagnosis, coming into the moments means you aren’t projecting into the eventual demise of your human self and the existential fear of not knowing what will happen when you leave this body. It means you can live your life, you can even be in pain and experience that pain, knowing it is just a moment. It’s going to pass as all things do.

This is the profundity of his work. Being present means you get the wisdom of ‘accepting the things you cannot change’ by being willing to EXPERIENCE these things without judgment, thus deeply ADDING to the richness of our 'beingness', as you allow reality to be what it is and inform you deeper about it’s mysteries, AND it gives you the ‘power to change the things you can’ through helping you deeply understand reality, and how you can work WITHIN IT to effect the changes you want to make. It helps you connect with your true self outside of your conditioning. It helps you transcend the fear of death and thus the need for approval and to hold onto all your stories about how reality is and has to be. It is a TOOL - it is a means to an end.

For E.T this teaching is his life path. It is profound and necessary - something we all need - but it is not everything - not even to him. This path BROUGH HIM all the other aspects required for self actualization - a life path, an acceptance of a unique character that thrives under certain conditions, a capacity to create those conditions, to be HIMSELF and still SURVIVE - and survive WELL with lots of CONNECTION.  Let’s not lose the forest for the trees. These teachings are HIS NEICHE - but they are not why he is transcended.

He is transcended because he is continually in the dance of self actualization. THIS is the key.



Author perceptiontrainers

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Dee says:

    It’s a pity you must use the name of Eckhart and get extra views

    It’s insulting! live and let live and keep your nose and ego out of it

    • perceptiontrainers says:

      Hi Dee! Thank you for your comment and taking the time to share your feedback with me! I can totally see how it may look like I was using his name to get ‘clicks’ or that I was being critical in some way – and I am sorry that it came across like that! I was actually just asked specifically by a few people to share my perspectives so this was just my answer to their questions 🙂 I didn’t criticize him and actually talked only about what I see as the benefits of his teachings and how people can connect with him! Thank you again for your feedback <3

      And also P.S - I see you're from Calgary! I lived there for many years. I hope you're keeping safe and warm there during this season. <3

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