I first became interested in the idea of Awakened Entrepreneurship in 2011, when I began to realize I wanted to reinvent my life. Eckhart Tolle was a rather big influence on me. If you don’t know who he is, he wrote this book – “The Power of Now” that is now a bestseller of all kinds.
One of Eckhart’s talks was my introduction to the experience of Enlightenment. I was going through a very hard time in my life because I had just lost my mother and was dealing with some temporary defeat in my business (well, it was growing but too slowly and did not pay the bills yet).
All I could really think of at the time was my mom’s death, and it seemed impossible to accept that she was no longer here. I remember popping the Eckhart Tolle CD into my car’s player and listening while I drove.
Somehow, I noticed a sense of peace coming over me and soon permeating my whole being. It was literally becoming easier to deal with my loss.
Eckhart’s main (and really only) theme is Silence – the absence of thought. He had experienced a spontaneous Awakening – something he describes in his book and in some of his talks.
Not to think. Hmmmm.
I began practicing not thinking, because that was the only way to be in the present moment. And if you are in the present moment, then the past and the future – your real tormentors – lose their power over you.
Well, not thinking was impossible for prolonged periods of time. I would watch the gaps in my flow of thoughts, enjoying a glimpse of the sun shining through the clouds. But pretty soon another thought came in, and then another, and so on.
I want to make it absolutely clear that Eckhart really helped me cope with a difficult time in my life. But I was also learning that thoughts are creative forces, and I knew that I wanted to change my life (or my life situation, more precisely).
Thoughts would allow me to shape my reality. I knew it from all the gurus and mentors who teach the “thoughts are things” paradigm.
And it is true. Thoughts ARE things. At this point it is not just intellectual knowledge for me but experiential awareness. I simply know that it is true because my thoughts have created some amazing outcomes for me, including some that seemed impossible (those are my favorites).
But you see, while I wanted to change my life, I also wanted to be at peace. And thoughts create reality, but they also cause suffering.
Shit. What now?
How do I deal with this dichotomy, with this dilemma that seems insoluble.
As Napoleon Hill says, “Every disadvantage contains within itself an equal or greater benefit.” I’m paraphrasing.
Am I supposed to be thinking or practicing my presence/silence? Can I shape my reality and experience greater and greater peace at the same time?
Below is a graphic representation of something that occurred to me while I was pondering this mystery. And while this is not the complete answer, it will help you if you have been caught in this dilemma or a version of it.
Look at the spectrum below.
On the left you have Silence. Meaning, the space of no thought, or a total identification with the present moment. A space of No-Mind.
On the right you have Creation – meaning the act of creating reality using your thoughts. A complete immersion in thinking, using your mind to manifest reality.
So, why this spectrum? What does it mean?
As I realized in my search for the answer to the silence/creation dilemma, we human beings are neurologically located somewhere along this spectrum. What do I mean by that?
Some of us come from the factory as more silent and accepting of the present moment reality, while some are born more creative and striving to constantly change the world around us.
You may say, Philip, this is bullshit. We are all creative.
It’s true. We are. But there is a big neurological difference in how people go through the world. Let me give you an illustration. Eckhart Tolle calls someone who just wants to “go with the flow” and is less apt to desire to shape reality in profound ways “a frequency holder.” Eckhart himself is a great example of that. He would be on the extreme left side of the spectrum.
On the other hand, someone like Tony Robbins – a very powerful manifester of outcomes and shaper of reality – would be on the extreme right end of the spectrum.
We need to pay attention to a couple of things here. Because you may say, well, Eckhart wasn’t always like that. He was an academic scholar before his awakening. True.
But he was miserable in his academic career, and that was part of what drove him to “wake up.” And he spent years doing absolutely nothing after his awakening. Just sitting on a bench in bliss.
Could you imagine Tony Robbins sitting on a bench for a couple of years? I can’t. Why not? Because that is just not his neurological type. That is just not how he is wired.
Here’s another thing that is very interesting. As a result of his awakening and after spending a lot of time in total silence, Eckhart began to teach and then to lead groups and then he wrote a book that became a bestseller.
This is very impressive for someone who “does not do much.” And indeed, a couple of books does not seem a huge output. But he also does a lot of talks, and those are recorded for posterity and for his passive streams of income, making his teachings available to everyone at a low cost.
What happened to Eckhart was that when he totally got rid of things he did not want to do and began to gradually engage with the world again, he was slowly moving himself towards the right side of the spectrum – in the direction of creativity.
But even with a naked eye and no extensive knowledge of Eckhart’s and Tony’s bodies of work, the striking difference between Eckhart and Tony is immediately apparent. One is very low key and couldn’t care less. Yeah, Eckhart could never sell you anything because he just doesn’t care to.
Now Tony is a totally different story. He’s all about creating value and selling it. And he’s awesome – I love him, and I love his stuff. But he must make things happen. In fact, the word “must” is one of his favorites.
So, what do we take away from it all?
You, and I, and everyone else on this planet is naturally predisposed to be somewhere along the spectrum of Silence/Creativity.
If you are a creative, “must make things happen” type, you know it. If you are not, you know it, too.
If you are sick and tired of doing things you don’t want to do, you could be on either side of the spectrum.
If you feel stuck in your current life situation and feel that you’re “efforting;” if there is a nagging feeling that you don’t belong in your life situation; and you wonder if “not thinking” and being in the now OR just making a leap and changing your life situation is the way to go…
Here’s what I will tell you.
Throughout your life, and after some practice, even throughout your day, you will shift from the left to the right of the spectrum and back many, many times.
The answer is not one extreme of the spectrum, no matter what your natural position on it is.
Rather, it is using the spectrum to accept your current reality so as to diminish suffering; to discover who you are deep inside – to know yourself so you could find out what kind of a life would draw out the best in you; and to do whatever is necessary to swap one set of circumstances for another (this may take months or years) so that the natural vibration of your nervous system is at home in it.