I had no relationships, no job, no home, no socially defined identity. I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy. – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
I really appreciate Eckhart’s books and his contributions to helping us all lead more enlightened lives. Unlike some gurus who travel the world with entourages and have allowed their egos to succumb to the riches of fame, it appears from interviews and Eckhart himself that he has remained pretty much a normal guy – except of course that he is enlightened.
While I embrace his teachings and those of other mystics, I can’t help but wonder how any of these spiritual masters would do if plunged into an average American lifestyle (Eckhart has no kids). Can you imagine Jesus, Buddha or Mother Teresa being part of a household with all the stressors of modern life? I would love to see how Jesus would craft a screen time contract for my son.
Although I know I would get bored sitting on a park bench for two years watching joggers pass by, in truth, having no job, home or relationships with other people when you are part of a family does not bode well for health and happiness. Kids raised under a bridge without medical care and friends tend to have a few problems.
So I struggle with the tension between being and doing. I struggle with fulfilling my responsibilities has a husband, father, brother, son, and friend, while at the same time knowing that the joy and bliss Eckhart speaks about only comes from giving up an ego that has worked so hard to make life possible.