Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Think, Therefore I Am: The Essence of Who You Are

In talking about God, “words are so useless,” says Eckhart Tolle.

They are because human beings have not evolved to a degree where they have achieved sufficient knowledge to develop adequate language necessary to explain consciousness or God.

Spiritual leader and author Eckhart Tolle, in a Speaking of Faith interview with Krista Tippett, said, “I use the word God rarely because it's been misused so much by the human mind. It has made the timeless, eternal, that which cannot be named, the vast mystery of life itself, when you say God you make it into a mental idol. It becomes a thought form. But of course that's the misuse of the word God. But what ultimately it points to is the essence of who you are and the essence of what everything else is. The underlying essence of all life.”

Every here-and-now is of human creation. Just as an artist, a musician or painter create, humans create their universe, and all that is in their life. Its profundity lies in our consciousness, and its extension our soul: the supreme attainment of human quintessence.

My insight into Eckhart Tolle’s teachings can be expressed within the language and genre of Jazz. In jazz, life’s essence is analogous to the musician who must be conscious of their performance as being confluent with each other musician’s performance. A jazz musician exploits every melody, harmony, tonality, harmonic, counterpoint, rhythmic cadence, and musical nuance in such a way that each musician collectively contribute to the texture, the color, and the flavor of the music. It is the distinct listening, assimilating, evolving and transforming through their instruments, not only the music in-and-of itself, but also the transcendence of the music. Their performance takes place in their here-and-now, the here-and-now of every other performer, creating and contributing to the here-and-now of everyone in the audience, and in turn the audience to each other.

Moreover, most jazz performances accommodate a diversity of personalities and instrumentation. More important than the instrument is the instrumentalist. He or she brings out the qualities of the instrument they play. Each has particular skills they bring to playing their instrument and their personalized interpretation, phrasing and articulation of the music.

I believe the heart and soul of jazz, that which occurs when jazz musicians are engrossed in an authentic and completely improvised performance, where what is observable by those listening also comes from transcendences of which they are not aware, but very much a part of the performance, has similitude with human life. It comes from the same place where God resides: from what is the vital center and source of one's being, emotions, and sensibilities: your consciousness.

Eckhart Tolle ends his interview by stating: “The ultimate thing is the realization of the formless essence of who you are because if God has any reality in this world, it cannot be separate from who you are in your essence. And finding that in yourself, really, I see as the purpose of human life. And then the external world, the temporary world, the world of forms, also changes as a result of that. But the essence is finding who you are beyond form, beyond time.”

That ongoing process of finding the “essence of who you are” is evolutionary; the purpose of life is our evolution.

Sources:

Eckhart Tolle, “The Power of Now,” an interview by Krista Tippett of American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith/onBeing

Peter Russell, Consciousness as God, The Spirit of Now

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