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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

25 June 2012

"The Power of Now" and Pain: Portals

Twenty fourth in a series.

In this series on Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now," I have been going through the book chapter by chapter, pulling out concepts and ideas and models that can be applied to lives with chronic pain.  With this post, I am at Chapter Seven: Portals into the Unmanifested.

The two concepts essential to working with "portals" are: (1) the Manifested; and (2) the Unmanifested.  Simply put, the Manifested is the world we live in, including our physical bodies and our thoughts; the Unmanifested is

"...[T]he invisible Source of all things, the Being within all Beings.  It is a realm of deep stillness and peace, but also of joy and intense aliveness."  (page 130)

But I don't want to state this too simply, so must add that these two are not separate, and Tolle is not trying to say that they are.  The definitions are simplistic, as language often must be, but the concepts are complex and thus better understood more in the realm of the spirit, beyond mind and body -- yet not separate from mind and body.  Indeed, the paradox is that awareness of the body takes us to the inner body, where we can merge into a trascendent state of non-duality.  We are using the body to take us beyond the body.

Tolle further says that the Unmanifested, to which he also refers as the "formless realm," is a place of liberation from "bondage to form and identification with form."  And this what the subtitle of the book --"A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" -- is referring to, I believe.  Of course, it is not a new concept.  All religions and spiritualities from Christianity to Judaism to Animism to Buddhism to Hinduism (etc.) contain a message of Oneness, a spirituality that lifts one beyond this world and into communion with the Sublime.  Furthermore, Tolle is not claiming to be the originator of this concept, but he is trying to state it in new and different ways: "...I have endeavored to use terminology as neutral as possible in order to reach a wide range of people." page 10

In Chapter Seven, Tolle teaches us about the various "portals" there are that we can use to take us to the Unmanifested, the spiritual enlightenment for which humans have been searching these many centuries.  He lists six of them, (pp 133-136):
* dreamless sleep
* the Now
* cessation of thinking
* surrender (letting go of mental-emotional resistance)
* silence
* space

In my next several posts, I will write about these portals and how they can work for those of us who live with chronic pain.


I would love to hear from you.  Please use the Comment link below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.  Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. The descriptions are simple, as terminology often must be, but the principles are complicated and thus better recognized more in the world of the soul, beyond persona -- yet not individual from persona. Indeed, the paradox is that attention of our bodies requires us to the inner system, where we can combine into a trascendent state of non-duality. We are using our bodies to take us beyond our bodies.

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