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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #4319, Sunday July 24, 2011
An excerpt from an article originally featured in New Age Retailer magazine:
~The Identity of Moment~
An Interview with Eckhart Tolle
by Ray Hemachandra,
Ray Hemachandra: You've written that human beings had to develop a state of insanity, or madness, as a collective to then be able to transform evolutionarily and awaken. That parallels what seems to happen on the individual level, doesn't it? As a child, a person builds up an egoic sense - the child has a name, has an "I," has a mind. But then, to awaken, a person needs to completely transcend that sense of ego.
Why was it necessary for humanity to go through insanity to get to the point now of potential awakening, and then, on an individual level, do all people really have to build up an ego just to tear it down upon awakening?
Eckhart Tolle: On an individual level, you can see how the ego develops even in a small child. For example, when one child says to another, "I can do this, I bet you can't"; "My dad has a bigger car than yours"; or, "My dad is stronger than yours." Children identify with this or that, trying to build up a sense of self - a mentally defined sense of self.
So far for humans it has been the case that ego develops and then humans are stuck with it for the rest of their lives. On the new Earth, as the awakened consciousness comes in, I would say the ego would develop in children and quickly become outgrown when they reach adulthood. So, the egoic stage will be much more short-lived, and it will be associated with growing up.
When humans reach their early 20s or mid 20s, they quickly will go beyond ego. Ego is an immature stage of development for humans, and that's what it will be recognized as when the consciousness changes on the planet. Children will develop an ego and quickly outgrow it. That's very different from developing an ego and being stuck with it for the rest of your life!
Hemachandra: And collectively?
Tolle: On the collective level, was what has happened necessary? Yes, because it happened. It happened, so it was part of the larger totality of what is.
Humanity, it seems, had to go through that developmental stage. You can say it is an immature stage. Like in an individual with a mentally defined sense of self that identifies with this or that, it is not knowing who you are.
Humanity had to go through it. It started with the arising of the ability to think, which I believe is described in the beginning of the Bible as the fall. It is the telling of good and evil. Suddenly, you can differentiate mentally, "This is good, and this is bad." Humans eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Suddenly, they start cutting reality up into bits and pieces, which is what the thinking mind does.
At first, it wasn't a problem. In fact, it was an enormous step forward in the evolution of humanity. Although they were not physically stronger than many animals, quickly through thinking - which became their most powerful weapon - humans were able to outwit animals.
Then, thinking grew and grew. For a long time humans probably were in touch on a deeper level with the depths of their being, unconsciously so, the same way an animal or a tree is. Gradually, though, more and more of their identity went into the movement of thought. They identified more and more with the movement of thinking.
So, they got cut off from the depths of their being. Their identity moved into the head. They were defined mentally, and then they became egoic entities - me - scoped more and more separate, because the thinking man cuts reality into, "This is me, this is the other, this is us, this is them." He cuts everything. So, the egoic entity arose.
Then, after thousands of years, they were trapped in the mind. So, their greatest weapon had become their greatest trap. It's an old mythological motif: The thing that gives you power also traps you.
Hemachandra: Why is now the time for humanity to escape the trap?
Tolle: We are in the final stages of egoic madness. Almost the whole world is fighting each other. We witnessed the final stages of egoic madness in the 20th century, and even now it still is playing itself out. It has not quite come to an end yet. Humanity had to go through egoic madness, it seems, and then outgrow it.
Although that still is the predominant energy on the planet, there are now many - more and more - humans who are outgrowing that stage of development. Humanity is reaching the end of the evolutionary stage of ego. The closer we get to the end, the more dysfunctional humanity becomes.
I sometimes give the example of a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly. For a while, the caterpillar's life works quite well. And then, suddenly, something goes wrong with the caterpillar. It cannot move very well anymore. It becomes more and more dysfunctional as a caterpillar just before the metamorphosis into a butterfly happens.
That is what is happening to humans now. We had to go through an evolutionary stage. We are getting very close to the end of that stage. In fact, for many humans the end already has come. And, so, the dysfunction becomes more apparent.
Hemachandra: Do you see the awakening happening equally around the globe, or does it vary globally?
Tolle: It varies enormously. Some groups and individuals still are immersed totally in the egoic consciousness. Others already are free or in the process of stepping out of ego. The arising of the new consciousness already has started for many people. They are not yet recognizable as groups, but they are here and there.
I come into contact with people like that all the time because of the work I do. So, I sometimes get a distorted view of how quickly humans are evolving, because I meet many people who are evolving beyond ego. Then I have to switch on the TV to realize, "Oh, no, it is not happening to everybody yet." But it is happening.
I cannot make predictions. There are many things that are still uncertain and that probably nobody knows, because so many factors determine what form the transformation of consciousness on our planet takes.
For example, there is the possibility of very major upheavals - geographic, climatic upheavals. There are some indications this is happening already. They are part of the upheaval that is happening inside human beings: the shift of one state of consciousness - the breakdown of one state of consciousness - and the arising of a new state of consciousness. It is an enormous evolutionary event.
It seems we are witnessing more and more catastrophic natural events on the planet: hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, and so on. To me, inner and outer are so strongly linked that any collective change that happens within human beings, within the human psyche, inevitably will be reflected externally in what happens on the whole planet.
So, the upheavals are reflecting the inner upheavals and the breaking down of the old egoic consciousness, which also manifests as increasing madness in what the egoically possessed humans do. There are governments and nations that still are egoically possessed. What they do becomes more and more mad.
Terrorism is an example of that extreme madness. People blow themselves up just to kill others. Unconscious reaction to terrorism is equal madness.
Hemachandra: In your book A New Earth, published in 2005, you write, "Evolve or die." What makes this time in human history so fertile and foreboding?
Tolle: With the egoic consciousness having become so dysfunctional, and now having at our disposal all these enormous technologies and scientific advances, if nothing changes the ego will use those things - as it already has been doing - and will amplify the technology that we now have. The scientific advances, to a large extent, will be used in the service of the ego, and they will become more and more destructive.
So, the egoic madness, or dysfunction, becomes enormously amplified by the science and technology we all have developed. We would destroy ourselves and the planet now if no change happens, because of the amplification of the egoic state through science and technology.
It first happened with the First World War of the 20th century. For the first time, humans had all these weapons that didn't exist before. They had submarines. They had machine guns. They had poison gas. They had flamethrowers. Now, we have developed infinitely more sophisticated weapons of destruction, but that was the first time it happened. The destructiveness of that war was unimaginable. Ten million killed.
No one could actually remember why it all started. One person got assassinated by some madman in Yugoslavia or somewhere, and then 10 million humans killed each other. I don't know whether to laugh or to weep. It's tragic.
Already, in that war, we can see the destructiveness of the egoic consciousness with advanced technology. Humans were totally horrified: "What have we done?" But, of course, it continued. Soon, the next world war came with mass exterminations and so on.
That is why it has to change now. If we don't change, if the egoic consciousness continues, I don't believe that humanity as a species can survive, or at least human civilization can survive, for another hundred years.
It is quite possible even that the planet would no longer be able to sustain human life. Probably, the planet eventually would regenerate and produce some other life form. Consciousness would flow into some other life form and express itself through that, whatever that would be.
So, in the end, it's all fine, no matter what happens. But I believe from what I can see there is a good chance the shift will happen in humanity before it is too late.
Shawn Gallaway - I Choose Love:
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