Sunday, 5 October 2008

1000 Days Of Presence

(Originally posted on WordPress, September 30, 2008)

There comes a time when you’ve got to face the fact that the common denominator in all the fucked up situations you get into is you.

I could list the crazy shit I’d done, but there’s really no point. Suffice it to say that I could go toe to toe with anyone you’ve ever met for having a weird-ass past.

I’ve made some strange choices. I’ve done some dumb shit. I’ve been a pretty intense guy.

I’ve got a story I could tell you about me in the past, about the mental stuff I’ve done and been. It involves drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

Problem is, I always had an ambition. Deep down somewhere in me since I was a young kid I always wanted to be a philosopher. Not to ‘think deep thoughts’ as such, nor for the mystique of the thing, although to be honest I have gotten lost in both those sillinesses at various points.

No - it was because every now and then I’d get a glimpse of something. Or more specifically every now and then I’d see the world from a certain angle and everything would make sense.

I think it’s hard to describe what philosophy meant to me, but I’ll try.

For me, philosophy was the only possible answer. You see, once, when I was young, I looked around the world in which I lived and saw something unifying all the people in it, myself included. And that unifying force wasn’t good. There was some common darkness that united all humanity in a veil of delusion.

It was like a mesh of moral judgements that only existed in our minds. Like each person contained a whole constructed universe of division. Like everyone in the world, or at least everyone I could see, even (especially?) on the news or in positions of power.

That all humanity was subject to some kind of elementary flaw - a flaw that was completely universal and highly specific.

That was the kicker, for me. That the fucked-up-ness of the world was not random. I mean sure, the ways in which that fucked-up-ness expressed itself seemed infinite, and infinitely cruel.

But it seemed to me then that the basic mechanics of hatred were completely universal. It was the same mechanism, the same process.

And I resolved that if I could get to the bottom of that process, then maybe - just maybe - I could do something for the world in which I lived which would actually help it.

Now before you get all gung-ho, don’t get me wrong. I could talk for days on this subject - it has been the grand obsession of my life. The truth is though that it’s led me into some twisted places. Just as hate is hate is hate, no matter the context and no matter the scale, obsession is obsession is obsession.

I have been obsessed for a very long time.

A lot of my life I’ve been indolent. Wasting time for timewasting’s sake. You see one of the things about an obsession is that it gives you huge energy when you follow it, but everything else seems pointless beyond measure. I’ve spent a lot of time in trivial pursuits and I’ve not done many basic things that I really should have done. To give you an example I’ve beaten a vast number of computer games, but I’ve never learned to drive.

I don’t mind that much. I live in Edinburgh. It’s a lovely city for a walk.

The times in my life I haven’t been wasting time, I’ve moved with furious energy. All-consuming, burning energy levels. Like a kamikaze I’ve thrown myself at things and very often those things have broken me.

Don’t worry, I’m not bitching. All my really deep wounds are self-inflicted.

But recently, about a year ago now, I was introduced to the work of a man called Eckhart Tolle. He’s a German, a man who I would classify as a philosopher. A real one. The kind I’d always wanted to be. The kind I’d always thought of myself as.

I remember the first time I read something he wrote. I was in a hotel room in London, with a bunch of strangers I was trying to impress. The book was ‘Stillness Speaks.’ My friend Owen had been telling me to read Tolle for ages and, lacking anything else to do within reaching distance of my hand, I picked it up and opened it to a random page.

I don’t remember what the first line was, but I remember it stunned me. It was rare that I would be impressed even in the slightest by someone else’s philosophy. But in one line it was apparent that Tolle had been looking at exactly the areas I’d been looking at - the lies we tell ourselves, the divisions in us, the deep reasons behind all conflict.

And in the same line it was apparent that he’d gone further than me. There was a sense in my mind like “this is something new. Haven’t seen this before.”

There was a clarity to it. A deep clarity and truth that shone from his words. I’d never seen anything like it.

I buried myself in the book. On the way to the airport to fly back to Scotland I bought myself a copy of The Power Of Now, Tolle’s first book.

By the time I got home I realised that he’d written the book I’d been trying to write for ten years.

I started delving into his thought, delving into his ideas. This was deep, way deeper than anything I’d seen before. He was tapping something primal, something profound. It wasn’t like he was really clever and he’d ‘worked out the answer’. It was like he was living the answer, sending messages from the other side.

Every sentence in his book hummed with life and power. I read all four of his books.

Well, that’s not really true. I’ve never been able to make it through The Power Of Now. I always get halfway in then have to put it down with my mind blown.

But I made a simple error. I approached it like a philosophy. Like a system of thought. And it is a system of thought - Tolle constructs an incredibly coherent picture of the world around us that is as comprehensive as it is fascinating.

As a philosopher I’d always chased epiphany, chased that one insight that would make everything clear. Each time I’d hit it, get to that ‘eureka’ moment. Each time things would make sense. And each time the simplicity would once more descend into complexity and chaos. I’d lose it again.

This post is dragging out too long, but I wanted to give you some background on why I’m doing what I’m doing now.

You see, Tolle’s philosophy is worthless, as is my philosophy. What I’d always said was that beyond the world of moral division in which we lived there was another world, a deeper nature. A deeper morality that ebbed and flowed way below the level of what we normally understand by use of the word ‘justice’.

That state I called ‘compassion’. Eckhart Tolle refers to it as ‘presence’. My idea was that if I could find a way to destroy the fake it would expose the real. What I failed to take into account is that destruction itself is part of the veil of delusion. That destruction itself was the very core of the universe of morally charged fiction which was and is destroying humanity. For a decade I fought fire with fire, and all I burned was me.

To mangle the truth into something that makes sense in human terms, Eckhart Tolle has discovered the answer to philosophy. And it’s not something you need to understand with your head - or something I need to understand with my head.

It’s something I need to cultivate.

I’ve always been the kind of dude who tests stuff. If I’m going to believe in something, I’ll live it. It’s not because I’m brave. It’s because I’m genuinely interested in whether what I believe is true or not. And if it’s true, living it to the hilt will be a blast. If it’s not true, living it to the hilt will mess you up hard and fast.

At least that’s the theory.

So from today I’m going to be putting my money where my mouth is as far as Eckhart Tolle is concerned. I have an mp3 player. Ironically enough, it’s a Creative Zen player. It’s full of Eckhart’s audio stuff.

For 1000 days - that’s about three years - starting today, I will be listening to Eckhart Tolle at every available moment.

The rules are simple.

When I’m at work, at my desk, I don’t listen to Tolle. If I’m going out with my friends, I don’t listen to Tolle. If I’m in the shower I don’t listen to Tolle, until I get some waterproof headphones.

All other moments I have Tolle in my head. When I get up in the morning I listen to him on the way to work. On my lunch breaks at work I plug straight in. When I leave work I put on the headphones and listen. I continue to listen until I sleep.

When I sleep, I sleep with Eckhart Tolle playing all night. Then I get up in the morning.

I repeat this 1000 times.

This is the blog diary of 1000 days of presence, 1000 days of light. I’m pretty damaged goods, pretty dark.

We’ll see what happens.

Stay tuned…

2 comments:

1000DaysOfPresence said...

Discussion transferred from WordPress

19 Responses to “1000 Days Of Presence”



1. julien Says:
October 1, 2008 at 2:10 am
All the answers are already inside.
Love yourself.


2. bg Says:
October 1, 2008 at 3:20 am
This should be interesting. I’ll be checking in for the next 1000 days. Peace.


3. butch3r Says:
October 1, 2008 at 3:46 am
Hey Ciaran. Nice seeing your new blog. Tolle is very boring to listen to and isn’t as inspiring as a Tony Robbins. How are you going to be social if you are always listening to Tolle. That’s just something I noticed with me.


4. IvánPérez Says:
October 1, 2008 at 6:54 am
Hey Jekyill, something inside of me says that I’m going to love this blog. I’m doing the same, but for a month (not for 1000 days) and as I write this is the 9th day.
Presence, man.


5. rob Says:
October 1, 2008 at 12:11 pm
holy shit dude. Blitzkrieg X 36. I’m rooting for you.


6. Cornelius Says:
October 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm
Very nice one!
I read through your whole old blog in about 2 days..nearly nostop….and i saw this one book, you copied the first 5 chapters into you blog,
Mindfullness in plain english.
so i bought this book (in german, I’m a German) and its absolutely stunning!
i needed this book to understand eckhart tolle completely, because i think he is very advanced and he assumes a lot of understanding and practice…i think he’s very difficult to really really understand.
not only the “oh ,yeah, htis guy is so right” but to LIVE what he says.
mindfullness in plain english is kind of a Manual to the opwer of now.
thank you Ciaran!


7. Gabriel Says:
October 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm
Hi,
Since I have started self help, I am now looking for a kind of source to all religions and all philosophies, and when I see your ‘addiction’ to the vision of a particular guy I think you will miss some parts of the reality.
Each guy has its vision of the reality, of the truth, and they are all looking at the same truth, Eckart, Jesus, Bouddha, Lao Tseu, all are looking at the same thing, and if you put all their words together you realize they are talking about the same thing with different words. Kind of big metaphors.
So if you keep listening the same guy, as a lot of people I see in churchs, you could be tempted to think this guy owns the truth or is god, and secondly you will look for the truth in its words, not behind its words. It’s the idea behind “When the wise man points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger”.
Let me know your point of view about it, and good luck for your comittment.
PS: sorry for my bad english, I am from the “pays du fromage qui pue”
++


8. Inspiron Says:
October 1, 2008 at 6:01 pm
Why not listen/watch Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)?


9. Illuminatus Says:
October 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm
Very good, but Tolle also says somewhere that putting his work away for periods is at least as important as listening to it. I would alternate the Tolle immersion with periods of silent meditation.
“I’m pretty damaged goods” is a mental self-conceptualization, part of “me and my story”, that you keep repeating to yourself and others.


10. Mark Says:
October 1, 2008 at 7:04 pm
How is that 1000 days of presence? You’re not actually present if you’re listening to an mp3 player all the time.


11. Legacy Says:
October 1, 2008 at 7:47 pm
Iv got love man, Tolle is undeniably awesome, but real quick…
1 - Your the “common denominator” casuing problems in your situations.
2 - one of your problems is “obsession”, addiction.
3 - You going to adict yourself to something for 3 years.


12. Illuminatus Says:
October 1, 2008 at 8:42 pm
Another person you should read is Byron Katie, a very remarkable person. She and Tolle are dear friends and she also had an awakening experience. Start with her book “Loving What Is.” Check out her YouTube videos, her words are like a razon blade:
http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=TheWorkofBK
By the way, if you want a “scientific” version of Eckhart Tolle, read “Get Out of Your Mind, and Into Your Life”. Yeah, it is somewhat cheesy self-help, but it is based on psychological research (Relational Frame Theory) that explains exactly why Tolle’s words “work”.

13. carmen77 Says:
October 2, 2008 at 4:33 am
Weird.


14. Hayden Says:
October 2, 2008 at 4:33 am
You know, you could just use EFT and Tap away a lot of this stuff away. It’s much easier to simply tap every memory you have until you’re a puddle on the floor wondering how you ever could have stressed out about the stuff you just tapped for like YEARS and then walk around feeling the air on your skin for the first time or finally being able to pour yourself a bowl of cereal like you did when you were a kid (aka, “I’m getting cereal.”) than it is to meditate and listen to Tolle all day.
You’re a good guy man. As the first comment on your new blog, consider what I’m saying for real. You can get more done with 60 days of tapping than you can possibly imagine. You’re from England. Contact Magnus at magnus (at) innergametapping (dot) com. I think he sold BristolLair.com and essentially left the community for the same reasons you did. He’s one of the happiest people I know.
I wish you a lot of luck with you endeavor, but try the EFT and Tapping. Hell do both. It can’t possibly hurt and tapping away resistance to the Now will get you there (like you’re ever not there!, ha!) much faster.


15. Eckhart Tolle Says:
October 2, 2008 at 7:51 am
How about spending 1000 day living your life and being in the now instead of chasing it ?


16. Will Says:
October 2, 2008 at 10:22 am
Whoa, wonder what’ll happen. If it’s extreme (good or bad) I’ll give a go. But I’m not as hardcore so I’ll stick to 30 days. I’ve read PON and ANE, which of his audio/video/books would you recommend after these 2? Btw…I liked ANE better, thought it had more profound insights, but I never would have understood any of it if I hadn’t read PON, and those first epiphanies were the most intense….so in a way I liked PON better.
Speaking of Owen, something he said is that Tolle’s stuff can make you lazy. After all, if you can be happy doing nothing why bother doing anything? “for the sake of right action” bleh, didn’t care for that answer. anyway i bring this up because i resist the now since i don’t want to be some lazy piece of shit. would love to read your thoughts


17. M Says:
October 2, 2008 at 12:34 pm
Good idea … how is it going?
Imagine everybody would do this…


18. Illuminatus Says:
October 3, 2008 at 10:23 am
By the way, since September 1, 2008, I took a year off to do what CIaran is doing, except that (1) having listened to Tolle in the past enough to “get the point”, I am only doing meditation (during my commute in the train), not listening to his words much any more, (2) I am combining it with what Ciaran hates the most (socializing) and (3) I am only doing it for 365 days (but still every day) not a thousand. Whether I will make a public record of it depends on whether I feel other people deserve it (at the moment I am unfortunately feeling a bit paranoid and rather misanthropic). It’s my 365-Day Challenge of Doom. By the way, as a result, on September 12, I managed to kiss a girl and go home with her (oooooh, that’s eeeeevil, says Ciaran) for the first time in my life after more than two decades of nothing. If it weren’t for RSD, who knows what might have happened to me.


19. Monad Says:
October 3, 2008 at 5:54 pm
Hello Cirian,
I have been keeping up with your writings at your previous blog but am not from the PUA scene (though I have read with interest).
I find your views facinating. However one commonality I see from you is obsession to undersand deeply and entirely. Now this is great in many ways and separates you from the average person who is happy to live his life at a superficial level. Unfortunately, you may also be causing yourself great suffering by completely immersing yourself within, that when you finally remove yourself….you get psychological (and subsequent physical) withdrawal (as though it was not the norm to be there). It looks like you are going from one (RSD) to another (as above) after a brief period of pain and suffering to get away from the pain and suffering that your obsession has caused you (by not looking at the ordinary, which is actually extrodinary.
May I suggest that you have no need to listen to Toll anymore…it is there in your mind, however when you get back the world of “tick tock: (Stuart Wilde) you fnd it vexing to stay…Yet this ordinary world is the NOW. You are a part of it (even when neck deep trying to find eternal Nimbus ) …the beauty is in seeing it for what it is…I can’t explain it…but you know what it is man…you fucking know…..
Live the everyday ordinary, enjoy the roses, the pub, the perfectly imperfect woman, the walk in the rain, the drunk on the side of the street pissing himself etc…

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=rB8BdRNVnEI

Anonymous said...

Hey can't find a contact email.

So you're back in Edinburgh eh, and looks like you want to help people and make money from it.

Well.

I think you are now at liberty to change things a bit.

I watched Moriarity, your greatest fan, go out every day for a month with tolle coming out of his ears. He was overweight, but intelligent and more capable of applying your teachings than the uni students you generally see.

He got nowhere. Eckhart Tolle, as applies to PU is clearly completely useless.

So you couldn't compete with mega brains like Style, so you needed something different.
That's cool. So does Tyler, Mehow, Lance etc.

But as you are no longer affiliated with a major PU company there is no need to develop a new way, and then blame students when it doesn't work (I'm thinking about other PU companies here rather than you).

You can just teach what works for less.

I mean this IS what RSD does anyway. Tribasker took the RSd BC, inspired by you, and all the things he came back quoting from the BC were straight out of Lance's mouth from charismatic conversations. Lance has some origional thoughts, and RSD sells them.

Well I really wish I could email you personally.

Anyway, Lance, Mr Elise, much of their methodology is derived from things they learned in comedy.

I am taking a comedy class, and want a comedy buddy to bounce material off between classes.

You should sign up to.

This would be good for you in many ways.

You might be able to develop origional methodologies (which actually work) for PU.
You will be a more interesting guy.
I would probably like you more without all the forum AMOGGING shit, so be less predisposed to be hostile.
And if you were really good - well it is the perfect career for the validation crazed.

Anyway starts next week, Tuesday evening, Leith academy, 7pm, £46, phone on Monday and book it.

Or keep teaching Eckhart tolle, and keep repeating the Moriarity situation.

You can contact me on the forums, by PM. I'd like you to come.

Good picture, you look fun.