Eckhart Tolle

Many people I respect are in love with this guy, and trust me, I’m not here to bash him personally but I do find his writing rather simplistic and impractical.

I’m back and forth on Tolle. So correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s using thought to describe why thought is “bad”. It seems to me he demonizes all thinking, but at the same time says that thinking is essential for practical matters.

Anyone else find this a little black-and-white?

Thinking is “bad”… live in the “Now”. I didn’t know I was outside of the Now in the first place, also if he’s talking about external surroundings, then how do you interact with them without thinking? I’ve played basketball for many years and yes, there can be intense conscious presence while playing, but that doesn’t mean “thought” <(whatever that even is) isn’t actively involved.

God you could talk for hours about this guy and the mind and probably get nowhere.

here are parts of an email I got recently from a depersonalization expert, on mindfulness and authors like Eckhart Tolle:

“My personal belief is that human beings, especially in western society, are not geared to live in the moment. Dogs and cats live in the moment, but humans are a rich and complicated ongoing composite of memory, emotion, and thinking on several levels at once.”

“That said, it can still be a little frightening to people with DPD who already feel they are living in the moment and can’t get back to a natural, free-flowing stream of consciousness filled with memories and feelings. So I suggest that these techniques are not great for people who are already over-conscious, (too aware of the mind’s activities), or who feel too observant of their thoughts or actions. These are true characteristics of DPD and it does seem that mindfulness-type meditations might exacerbate them, if only temporarily.”


I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Thinking is not bad, it’s essential, it’s marvelous, it’s one of those things that we take for granted.

I agree is too black and white the approach, but I think it’s also a death drive impulse, like many others, that keeps us from trully appreciating our bodies and it’s wonders. It’s a self-opperating machine that questions the universe, it’s wonderful.

Of course with this teachings, we need to separate what it’s intent is. If the intent is to clear the mind, than thought is seen as a thing that is in the way. I think true meditation on self embraces the thought, and clears the mind at the same time. That is my experience.

Also I agree some forms of meditation can be prejudicial to our problems.

I need to constantly affirm this to myself to get rid of this belief that thought is evil.

I think you’re right … in centering prayer meditation they say to follow the Four R’s: Resist no thought, Retain no thought, React to no thought, Return to the sacred word.

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Yeah, although I like the idea of mixing eastern and western philosophies, our religious cultures interfere too much with the way we percieve things.

For example, I’m learning about the theory of Yin and Yang at school now, and it’s much more than I ever thought it would be possible. I took my knowledge for granted on a lot of subjects, because western thinking is so different. We are a lot more practical, the easterners are a lot more abstract and have older civilizations.

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That’s cool that you’re learning about yin and yang,… are you taking something on Taoism?

I’m getting this book. I want to get down to the bottom of this whole thing! :sunglasses:

Yeah, I’m taking tradicional chinese medicine, and taoism, buddhism and confucionism are the core of it’s basic theory. Then comes the yin yang and the five elements (wu xing)

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Meditation is about “Observing” the Thought, Emotions, Feelings and the Mind itself. It is like a third person looking at far from a distance. The way to do it is first to OBSERVE the breath because we all breathe, and that is the simplest available machine if you like to CALL it that. From there start moving towards the other tetrads as I mentioned.

Remember the thing to do is to OBSERVE that’s it - you do not control , manipulate or resist the breath and then thoughts, emotions etc.

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Thought per se is not evil. In fact nothing in this world is evil. But the problem with thought is that it clutters the mind and does not give it refinement. Only awareness gives refinement of the mind. Thought is like a trash in a dustbin — the more you think the more you fill the bin. But one cannot avoid the thoughts nor kill them. But what you can do is to slowly refine the thoughts by being more aware.

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I came across him and his work before. I thought that he and his work was probably very unhelpful for schizophrenia sufferers. I could see him making things worse. The whole thinking about thinking for example.

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I can definitely understand. It sucks though. Something inside me knows that hes onto something. Its like we MI ppl dont have a fair and given access to what is true. If that makes sense.

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@notmoses should give his two cents.

Dear Bluey, My meditation teacher says everyone has access. The path starts everywhere. Everyone travels it differently.

Some (most?) mediation systems are not set up for people with MI; some actively discourage us. But that just means those are not our access points.

Listening to teachers, reading, communicating ideas and information: all of these are part of learning, accessing. I have been reading many, many insightful, thoughtful, reflective comments from people with mental illness about these subjects on this forum. It’s already happening:)

Your initial post quotes something that is very important for me to understand because I also “can’t get back to a natural, free-flowing stream of consciousness filled with memories and feelings.” It doesn’t occur to many people (for example Eckhart Tolle) that their ways of being in the world are not universal.


Two cents worth, then: Tolle is the latest in a long line of seekers who have dug their way down into the Vedantic, Buddhist and Taoist practices. The “religions” of the East are often (though not always) collections of behavioral procedures for seeing past the culture-organizing, elitist stipulations of common sense that help to make life relatively functional and acceptable given that there’s always some other culture out that wants the (mostly material) stuff “our” culture has. Most Western religions (including Islam) do a fine job of getting everyone marching in the same general direction, but do so at a price. And the price gets real high when one suffers severe physical or mental anguish because he or she cannot possibly live up to the doctrines and dogma… but doesn’t have any tools to deal with that suffering they can cause if one fails to see that one has painted oneself into a corner (e.g.: an intolerable moral dilemma).

Tolle’s as good a place to start up the path to enlightenment and transcendence (getting out of the common cultural box) as anywhere else. (He’s deeper than Deepak, for example.) But one needs to understand than mere contemplation of one’s breath or the realized ability to step back and disengage from one’s inaccurate beliefs here and there is any sort of Final Solution. One has to become willing to keep trudging up the path as one discovers more and more about oneself and his or her place in the Grand Scheme… or understand that he or she is just going to roll all the way back down the path to where he or she started.

Some of the “sherpas” I’ve come to know over the last four decades have included Jon Kabat-Zinn, S. N. Goenka, Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Dan Seigel, Ron Seigel, Thomas Marra, Steve Hayes, Victoria Follette, Pavel Somov, Richard “Ram Dass” Alpert, Fritz & Laura Perls, Pema Chodron, Stephen Levine, Robert Ornstein, Arthur Deikman, Daniel Goleman, Charles Tart, P. D. Ouspensky, George Gurdjieff, Chogyam Trungpa, Alan Watts, Joel Kramer and Jiddu Krishnamurti… more or less in ascending order.

(I do not recommend starting with Krishnamurti nor anyone near that level. The stuff is usually just too deceptively simple and straightforward for our minds to comprehend until we have gotten some “prerequisites.”)


I think I’m just gonna skip all that and wait around because technicallly we’re already enlightened.

^ :joy:

No but seriously I wish I had to ability to comprehend simple truths, but mind is just too complex to grasp that anything can be as simple as it is. Also I spend too much time thinking about what teachers say instead of applying them. This is because I associate the words with the truth-recognition feelings. Maybe that’s why fundamentalists say “the Bible is the only truth”, is because they confuse the signposts with the truth…

But in the end all is well

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I like the Christian perspective on Tolle from Father Richard Rohr:

we often do this, maybe because of fundamentalist influence, but we szs have a habit of doing this over and over. “What does it mean?” “What is the truth?” etc.

The best meditative course of action is humility, doesn’t mean anything or if it does I don’t have the tools to understand it, I don’t know the truth, the truth can change its appearance from one person to the next.

What is your truth? Is it true? What does it mean to you? What does it mean in your daily life, how does it influence you? … I could go on, but I think you catch my drift.

in common, f… it, guys, how is all similar, and you in the West, and in the United States, and we in Russia … All the same …

And about Eckhart Tolle discussions are underway, and about the antipsychotics, and the negative symptoms … And this eternal debate: what from apathy, from disease, or antipsychotics … And even hallucinations are similar: you have here is the CIA for all of you watching, and we - the FSB, for paranoid schizophrenia …

And the “microchips in the tooth”, too, as you have, and we have …

I wish all members of this community - recovery, the full recovery, from schizophrenia damned. Let all be healthy, let everyone finally will recover.


in common, I can say that any psychotherapy is useful. Still, not every. CBT, for example - it’s gut. Good.
Remember when failed Bitopertin, promising a cure for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and what was it due?

Yes, that It was , in fact that in the tests even the placebo group, “moving their” patients, the investigators forced them to move. It was a great improvement even on placebo.

But psychoanalysis with Freud. There are very different methods. Psycho-therapeutic methods can improve, and may, for example, worsen. Such techniques, they can cause a deterioration only. Please consult with your P-dock.

That is, “negative symptoms”, they are not as incurable as previously thought. So, there is hope for us all.

ps. And I’m sorry to the members of this community. I really do not know much English very well, I find it hard to communicate. I can read well, with the help of Google-translate, )))) but I find it hard to write. l just say that, in my opinion, the negative symptoms of schizophrenia are more incurable than previously thought.