ECKHART TOLLE

RESENTMENT and EGO

- RESENTMENT means to feel bitter, indignant, aggravated or offended.  You resent what they said/failed to say… did/failed to do.  By focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it.

- The ego loves to complain and feel resentful about not only other people but about situations.  The constant implication is: This should not be happening. I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to be doing this; I’m being treated unfairly.

- Recognize the ego for what it is; a collective dysfunction of the human mind. Now, there is no more complaining, accusing, blaming, or making wrong. Nobody is wrong. It is someone’s ego, that’s all. Compassion arises when we all realize we’re all suffering from the same sickness of the mind. And reactivity is the fuel on which the ego thrives.

- The ego needs to feel superior- luxuriating in that brief moment you know something more than the other.

- In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.  That alert attention is PRESENCE.

- The ego thrives on others’ attention. The ego doesn’t know that the source of al energy is within you, so it seeks it instead from the outside. It is not the formless attention (Presence) the ego seeks, but attention in some form, like recognition, praise or attention.

- Some egos, if they can’t get praise or admiration, will settle for other forms of attention and play roles to elicit them.  “If no one will listen to my sad story, I can tell it to myself in my head, over and over, and feel sorry for myself so I can have an identity as someone who’s being mistreated by life.

- In the midst of negativity you are able to realize “at this moment I am creating suffering for myself;” that will be enough to raise you above it.  Negativity is not intelligent- it is of the ego. The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent.  Cleverness divides; intelligence includes.

- Thoughts that feed resentment: “There is something that needs to happen in my life before I can be at peace and be happy.. and I resent that it hasn’t happened/isn’t happening.  Maybe if I resent hard enough, that will make it happen.”  “You should do (whatever) so I can be at peace. And I resent you haven’t done it for me yet.” “Your behavior is preventing me from being at peace.”

- All the above refers to “Why I Can’t Be At Peace Now.” Maybe if this or that happens…

- The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens.  Period. So the secret of all success and happiness is simply—be one with life. With now. You don’t live life… life lives you. Life is the dancer…you are the dance.

- The ego is defined as a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. Do I want the present moment to be my friend or enemy? Friend? Up to you to make the first move then. Welcome that present moment no matter in which disguise it arrives. (p201-NE)

- Ego sabotages all your good work. Only part of the attention is on the work they perform; the other is on themselves. Their ego demands personal recognition and wastes energy in resentment if it doesn’t get enough.. and it’s never enough.(Worry: “Is someone else getting more recognition than me?”)

- The ego’s unconscious core feeling of “not enough” causes it to react to someone else’s success as if that success has been taken away from “me.” But in order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.

THE PAIN-BODY

-If you hear someone’s car has been stolen you will not feel any emotion about that.. but when told it’s YOUR car, different story! It is amazing how much emotion a little mental concept like “my” can generate.

- The voice in the head tells a story the body believes in and reacts to. Those reactions are the emotions.  The emotions, in turn, feed energy back to the thoughts that created the emotion in the first place. This is the vicious circle between unexamined thoughts and emotions, giving rise to emotional thinking and emotional story-making.

- More unconscious assumptions: “I am not respected and appreciated.” (How do you know?)

- Most threats come not externally but from your own mind. A stream of negative emotion accompanies polluted thinking. Negative emotions are those that are toxic and interfere with natural harmony; fear. Anxiety, anger, sadness, hatred, holding a grudge, jealousy.. essentially, unhappiness.

- What the ego calls love is possessiveness and addictive clinging that can turn to hate within a second. When the ego overevalutaes the payoff, letdown and disappointment follow.  Praise and recognition make you feel alive and happy one day; being criticized or ignored makes you dejected the next day.   The power is simply in letting it go. Let go of the story and return to the only place of real power- the present moment.  Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now.

- Addiction to unhappiness sets in as follows: Emotion from the pain-body quickly gains control of your thinking, and makes your thinking negative. The voice in your head will tell sad, anxious or angry stories about yourself or your life, about other people, about past, future or imaginary events. The voice will be blaming, accusing, complaining, imagining.  And you are totally identified with whatever the voice says, believing all its distorted thoughts.

- Thwarted wanting quickly triggers the pain body.

- Highly sensitive children are deeply affected by their parents’ pain bodies. Having to witness the parent’s struggles and drama causes unbearable emotional pain and these children will develop dense pain-bodies of their own.  - Whatever matters to you will have the power to upset and disturb you.

- Say no to drama. If peace mattered most to you, you would choose to remain nonreactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations.

- Many people complain that others don’t treat them well enough. “I don’t get respect/ attention/ acknowledgement. I’m being taken for granted.” What’s really being said here is: “My needs aren’t being met.” Rather than acknowledging the good already in your life, all you see is lack.

- The big problem with the above is that you can’t receive what you don’t give. Outflow determines inflow.

- Wisdom of the Indian philosopher: “I don’t mind what happens.” Better even; Zen Master Hakuin.. wrongly accused, simply says “is that so?”

STRATEGIES

- The Tao Te Ching teaches: “Instead of trying to be a mountain, be the valley of the universe. In this way, all things will come to you.”

- Non-resitence, non-judgement and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightenment.

- True happiness is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things. Most people in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant.. which is usually not so insignificant at all.  To be aware of the “quiet, little things” you need to be quiet inside. A high degree of alertness is required.  Be still. Look. Listen. Be present.

- The ego asks, “how can I make this situation fulfill MY needs or how can I get to some other situation that WILL fulfill my needs?”   To eradicate that nasty ego and the question it asks above, presence is required.. a state of inner space. When you are present you ask “how do I respond to the needs of this situation, of this moment?”

- To get where you’re going, remember: This step, right now is primary.. the destination secondary. What you encounter when you finally reach your destination depends on he quality of this one step. What your future holds for you depends on your current state of consciousness.

- Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment must remain the focal point of your attention… otherwise you fall out of line with universal purpose.  Make sure your goal is not an inflated image of yourself. Instead of trying to become Joe Buck, see yourself as already inspiring countless people and enriching their lives through what I’m currently doing.

- If indeed the meek shall inherit the earth, meek is defined as the “egoless.” Those who have shed the weight that the ego piles on.

STRATEGIES

- Fear comes from focusing on the future and being out of touch with the Now.

- If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change WHAT you are doing… just HOW you are doing it.

- Don’t demand that situations, conditions, places or people should make you happy then suffer when they fail to meet your expectations. 

- If you cannot be present even in normal circumstances, you certainly won’t be ready to deal with a true crisis or when there’s the threat of loss. You will be taken over by a reaction – some form of fear. These challenges are your tests. And only SURRENDER in the midst of intense suffering will get you through. Surrender. Breathe. Be present in the Now.

- More on surrender (p205-Power of Now): Surrender is the simple wisdom of yielding to rather than OPPOSING the flow of life.

- Surrender doesn’t mean “I don’t give a damn anymore.” It just means accepting what is.

- Your relationships will be changed profoundly by surrender. If you can never accept what IS, you will not be able to accept anybody the way they are. You will judge, criticize, label, attempt to change who they are to suit your needs. And if you are making the Now into a means to an end, the relationship you have with any person is of secondary importance at best. You have made WHAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF the relationship as the primary goal, which is not the appropriate action.

- Do you resent what you are doing? Are you resisting? Carrying unspoken resentment toward a person close to you?. Do you realize the energy you are thus emanating is so harmful you’re contaminating yourself as well as those around you?

- Maybe you ARE being taken advantage of.. but the fact is, you are resisting what IS. You have made the present moment into an enemy and are creating unhappiness.

- If the here and now is unacceptable there are three options: Remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. 

- Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there.” Or being in the present but wanting to be in the future.

- Does the past take up a great deal of your attention? Do you frequently think and talk about it? Are your thought processes creating guilt, resentment, pride, anger, regret, self-pity? Then you are not only reinforcing a false sense of self but you are accelerating your aging process needlessly.

- Most people pursue physical and psychological gratification because they believe those things will make them happy or free them from a feeling of lack. This is the search for salvation from a state of insufficiency. Invariably, any satisfaction obtained is short-lived. TRUE SALVATION is a state of freedom- from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping and clinging. It is freedom from compulsive thinking, negativity and from past and future as a psychological need.

- In the state of enlightenment, you ARE yourself; “you” and “yourself” merge into one. You don’t judge yourself, you’re not proud of yourself, you don’t love or hate yourself.. you just ARE.

- Offer no resistance to what IS – learn to allow the present moment to be and accept the impermanent nature of all things and conditions. Thus, you find peace.

- Tolle: “I have lived with several Zen masters.. all of them cats.”  Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what IS- surrender to the NOW. Let it teach you Being and integrity. Let it teach you how to live and die, and now not to make living and dying into a problem.

- Whenever you notice negativity creeping in, don’t see that as a failure, but as a helpful signal telling you, “wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present.”

- Eliminate your wall of resistance and let things pass through you as though you’re transparent. The car alarm, the dog barking, the child screaming, the traffic jam, all things that “should not be happening.” They are not happening TO YOU.. if you are transparent and let them go right through you.

- Feeling sorry for yourself and telling others your story will keep you stuck in suffering.

- THE LAKE visual: The outer situation of your life and whatever happens there is the surface of the lake, and sometimes it can be windy and choppy and rough.. but deep down in the depths of a lake, all is absolutely still. Live at the bottom of the lake, not the top.

- THE FLASHIGHT IN THE FOG visual. The fog is your life situation.. past and future. The flashlight is your conscious presence. That clear space there in front of you is the Now.