Can Eckhart Tolle be reconciled with the Teachings of Christ?
Accept — then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.
Matt 6:25 (KJV) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Yes, I believe So!
What is going on now will often be difficult and unpleasant to varying degrees. It’s a waste of effort and emotion however, to fight against what is taking place in our lives now. By accepting and acting in the midst of it, I’m finding it “sucks” less and matters less. Plus often I find that I have choices in the midst. I can embrace it, I can change it, or I can walk away from it. I eliminate any of those choices that don’t exist in any given situation and I go with what remains.
Coming from my background as an evangelical christian, (I describe myself now as post-evangelical) I would be leery of Tolle earlier in my life. Tolle is across the board and interacts with Buddhist and other traditions outside of my comfort zone. That doesn’t make what he’s saying as invalid.
Accepting what is in the current moment doesn’t necessarily mean passivity. This isn’t retreating to the mountain top and cutting oneself off from the rest of the world to live a life of contemplation.
Acceptance is positive when it positions us to come out of denial and deal with reality and stop wasting emotional energy denying what will not change without acceptance and subsequent action. If we can’t change it, then that’s another matter.
If we can’t change something, then we’re left with the choices to embrace it or walk away until we can. Either way, we don’t get stuck giving emotional energy away and we move on to what we can manage.
So Does this Mean We Don’t Plan or act for the Future?
There is nothing wrong with looking to the future and planning for it. We can only “be” and “do” in the present however. When we trade that for attempting to “live” in the future by worry or anxiety, or by making our future state through our planning our present reality, we’re robbing ourselves of the peace and joy we have now.
That’s one of the problems I have with religion (used broadly) as opposed to spirituality.
Christianity, when it becomes focused on “pie in the sky by and by” loses, the power of being present in the moment. There may be a future state we look forward to with hope. We don’t allow it to rob us of the present moment and the communion we have with God now independent of our circumstances.
It’s not a question of one or the other. It’s a matter of being present and empowered in the present.
Other traditions and religious systems have some things to show us in these areas if we’re willing to see them. They’re not necessarily contrary to Christ. It’s possible that we’ve lost sight of some things Christ has to teach us that are buried in the religious systems we’ve built up around him.
That scares some people but that’s where I’m at. I want Christ in His fullness and I believe all I need is found in Him. It doesn’t bother me to question the religious systems man has built around Christ and ask if there’s more there than the systems offer.
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