Shift in consciousness

A friend asked whether I had read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. She’s currently reading it herself. I said yes. She asked whether I had experienced a shift in consciousness.

The question surprised me. My first response was that I read so much stuff like Tolle’s, and material far more powerful, that there wouldn’t be a shift in consciousness from reading anything.

The question is whether there is ever a shift in consciousness. There is. There are. They include

1. The shift from confusion and disillusionment to the intuition that there is Truth.

2. The shift from the intuition of Truth to the realization that you exist and that the world exists.

3. The shift from the realization of existence to a valuing of existence such that you study your existence — your thought patterns — through spiritual practices.

4. The shift from erratic success in your practice to stability.

5. A shift from stability in practice to effortlessness with practice.

6. A shift from effortlessness to oneness, no attachment, still with practice.

7. A shift from oneness to non-separateness. All arises as mind. No one to practice. The final shift. Sciousness.

8. The world recognized as “this.”

9. Selfless service; the natural playing out of “this.” Steps 8 and 9 describe the disposition of neo-advaita.

The steps are a very abridged version of the Ten Oxherding Pictures. You could awaken directly and apparently spontaneously to any of these steps.

Some would say you experienced the previous steps in former lifetimes. That may be your understanding, but with step 7 the idea is another arising within a mind that is no one’s and gives rise to the apparent truth that there are separate minds. The perception of separate minds gives rise to confusion and disillusionment, which might lead to the first step above: the intuition of something beyond, which is known as Truth, God, Reality… .

2 thoughts on “Shift in consciousness

  1. Eliezer Sobel

    You actually left us hanging with only 9 steps, yet said they were extrapolated from the 10 ox-herding pictures. What’s that last step?? My recollection is that it was akin to “back to the marketplace,” but that sounds like your #9.

    I think it’s all a matter of timing. Someone who has NOT been immersed in these matters for years, like your friend perhaps, may very well experience a shift from simply reading Tolle’s book–who knows who get it when and from where? I personally found it too tiresome to watch Oprah’s weekly talks with Eckhart, but I know that for many folks it was manna from heaven.

    Eliezer Sobel, author:
    The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist’s MIsadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Adventures.


  2. nonduality Post author

    Hi Eliezer,

    In my abridged version, I combined the second and third steps into step two, I believe. Number 9 is number 10. I should’ve stuck to the ten steps.

    I agree about Eckhart and timing. When “grace descends” who knows how it will happen? It might even be Mr. Peanut.



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