|Born||Ulrich Leonard TÃ¶lle
February 16, 1948
|Occupation||Writer, public speaker|
|Language||English, German, Spanish|
|Genre||Spirituality, psychology, metaphysics|
|Notable works||The Power of Now (1997)
A New Earth (2005)
Thoughts are fine when you don't confuse them with who you are, and then thoughts are not a problem. Thinking is a wonderful tool to create things in this world. It only becomes problematic and a source of suffering when you confuse thinking with who you are.
Jesus said, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.' I think if he lived nowadays, instead of 'kingdom,' he would have said, 'dimension.' And 'heaven' refers to a sense of vastness or spaciousness.
To me the ego is the habitual and compulsive thought processes that go through everybody's mind continuously. External things like possessions or memories or failures or successes or achievements. Your personal history.
You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future.
People look to time in expectation that it will eventually make them happy, but you cannot find true happiness by looking toward the future.
The more you live in the present moment, the more the fear of death disappears.
In the West, as well as some other parts of the world, the personal sense of ego tends to predominate, whereas in other areas, there is a more collective sense of ego. This collective ego emphasizes the 'we' rather than the 'I.'
To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.
When people get taken over by the ego to such an extent, there is nothing else in their mind except the ego. They can no longer feel or sense their humanity – what they share with other human beings, or even with other life forms on the planet. They are so identified with concepts in their minds that other human beings become concepts as well.
It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.
When you wash your hands, when you make a cup of coffee, when you're waiting for the elevator – instead of indulging in thinking, these are all opportunities for being there as a still, alert presence.
Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.
The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately… you usually don't use it at all. It uses you.
I'm grateful for always this moment, the now, no matter what form it takes.
The personal ego already has a strong element of dysfunction, but the collective ego is, frequently, even more dysfunctional, to the point of absolute insanity.
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.
Many people identify their sense of self with the problems they have, or think they have.
Always say 'yes' to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say 'yes' to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.
Many people in this world are still so identified with every thought that arises in their head. There is not the slightest space of awareness there.
When the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are. The dog is not judging you.
Memories are thoughts that arise. They're not realities. Only when you believe that they are real, then they have the power over you. But when you realize it's just another thought arising about the past, then you can have a spacious relationship with that thought. The thought no longer has you in its grip.
What a liberation to realize that the 'voice in my head' is not who I am. 'Who am I, then?' The one who sees that.
If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.
The soul is your innermost being. The presence that you are beyond form. The consciousness that you are beyond form, that is the soul. That is who you are in essence.
Narrow your life down to this moment. Your life situation may be full of problems – most life situations are – but find out if you have a problem at this moment. Do you have a problem now?
Often, little situations trigger enormous reactions. Be there, present for it. Your partner will find it easier to see it in you, and you will find it easier to see it in them.
Thinking fragments reality – it cuts it up into conceptual bits and pieces.
Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it's no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.
Your entire life only happens in this moment. The present moment is life itself. Yet, people live as if the opposite were true and treat the present moment as a stepping stone to the next moment – a means to an end.
I don't believe in an outside agent that creates the world, then walks away. But I feel very strongly there is an intelligence at work in every flower, in every blade of grass, in every cell of my body. And it is that intelligence that, I wouldn't say created the universe. It is creating the universe. It's an ongoing process.
People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.
Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.
When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what's around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.
So many people have this idea: I want to achieve something great or be somebody great. And they neglect the step that leads to greatness. They don't honor this step at this moment because they have this idea of some future moment where they are going to be great.
Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not 'yours,' not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.
There is such a thing as old emotional pain living inside you. It is an accumulation of painful life experience that was not fully faced and accepted in the moment it arose. It leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain.
Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.
Religion and ritual can be vehicles for entering stillness. It says in Psalm 46:10, 'Be still, and know that I am God.' But they are still just vehicles. The Buddha called his teaching a raft: You don't need to carry it around with you after you've crossed the river.
I sometimes ask people, 'Can you be aware of your own presence? Not the thoughts that you're having, not the emotions that you're having, but the very presence of your very being?' You become aware of your own presence by sensing the entire energy field in your body that is alive. And that is the totality of your presence.
In the egoic state, your sense of self, your identity, is derived from your thinking mind – in other words, what your mind tells you about yourself: the storyline of you, the memories, the expectations, all the thoughts that go through your head continuously and the emotions that reflect those thoughts. All those things make up your sense of self.
The real truths of life are never entirely new to you or to anybody because there is a level deep down within you where you already know all the things, all those spiritual truths that you read or hear, and then recognize them. I say 'recognize' because you're not… it's not new.
There's not some idea I'm going to create a work that's going to change everybody's consciousness.
In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.
There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.
Some people awaken spiritually without ever coming into contact with any meditation technique or any spiritual teaching. They may awaken simply because they can't stand the suffering anymore.
Was Jesus the son of God? Yes. But so are you. You just haven't realized it yet.
If danger arises in the present moment, there may be an emotion. There may even be pain. But that's a challenge, not a problem. For a problem to exist, you need time and repetitive mind activity.
If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small.
The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.
If there are people you haven't forgiven, you're not going to really awaken. You have to let go.
The answer is, who you are cannot be defined through thinking or mental labels or definitions, because it's beyond that. It is the very sense of being, or presence, that is there when you become conscious of the present moment. In essence, you and what we call the present moment are, at the deepest level, one.
To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.
Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form.
For many people who are so lost in their minds, so much involved in their thought processes, the only moments they have when they are not trapped in that is when they are relating to their animal, their pet.
Even the most seemingly unpleasant situations – if you become aligned with it, something good will emerge from that.
If you live only in one culture for the first 20 years of your life, you become conditioned without knowing it.
You can have religion with spirituality. You can also have religion without spirituality.
Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange thing is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of 'I know.' Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its dogmas.
We should purify our innate well of contentment – what a wonderful expression – and then external things will be in harmony with us.
Thought can be so seductive and hypnotic that it absorbs your attention totally, so you become your thoughts.
Don't wait to be successful at some future point. Have a successful relationship with the present moment and be fully present in whatever you are doing. That is success.
Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.
Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defense mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This, by the way, is the case even if the ego is outwardly very confident.
The 'soul' is one of the words you can use to talk about your innermost being, the essence of who you are.
People don't realize that now is all there ever is; there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind.
When you get into your car, shut the door and be there for just half a minute. Breathe, feel the energy inside your body, look around at the sky, the trees. The mind might tell you, 'I don't have time.' But that's the mind talking to you. Even the busiest person has time for 30 seconds of space.
Thinking is a wonderful tool if it's applied. Thinking, however, can not become the master. Thinking is a very bad master. If you're dominated by thinking then your life becomes very restricted.
To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually.
That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.
Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego's fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life.
Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.
I believe that Jesus realized his oneness with God and he showed, what he attempted to do was show the way to all of us, how to realize our own onenes with God also, so he's a precursor.
Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.
Is fear preventing you from taking action? Acknowledge the fear, watch it, take your attention into it, be fully present with it. Doing so cuts the link between the fear and your thinking. Don't let the fear rise up into your mind. Use the power of the Now. Fear cannot prevail against it.