Eckhart and Carrots

Eckhart Tolle reckons all you need to do to be a guru is disconnect your thinking from your emotions. And voila, you are moorishly nowish. Simples. 

In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the hypothesis goes that thinking (your cognitions/schema) leads to feelings (emotions), which in turn lead to behaviour. And so on.

To evidence this, try suggesting the same thing to three different people, and likely you will find they will each “think” something different, have a different “emotion” in response, and then “behave” differently. 

If you still don’t get it, try telling your lover, your best friend, and your mum (assuming these are three different people) that you just stuck a carrot up your bottom and you will likely get three different reactions. 

According to Eckhart, no matter how you feel about the proverbial carrot, all you need do is witness that feeling. 

What you think and all the judgements you make are just your mind. Ego. Pain. Fears. The fact it happened and the fact you learned of the veggie event means nothing in the grand universe. Your role is to witness. 

I am not so sure. Mainly because if I kept my reaction to myself, and I was then bombarded with upside rooted veg stories, eventually I would stop witnessing my own reaction and (depending on the confessor) ask in them to stop fecking telling me, or ask if I could watch. 

The trick in CBT is not to disconnect your thinking from your emotions, but to find the underlying cognition and to witness that. 

That’s all you have to do actually. Find it and voice it (pay attention to it). Somehow that turns it from a wave to a particle. And often times if it’s a dodgy cognition it shifts from being hidden in the heuristics, to coexisting in the broadly (arguably) rational. At the very least it sits with your more apparent view of the world so your feelings are more in line with your opinions. 

Anyway that sounds a bit unguru like. And, maybe this is what Eckhart means in a way, or maybe he never had that many faulty cognitions (because likely once you’ve popped 80% of them the whole disconnection hypothesis works just as well). Or, maybe I am totally wrong and he is right and the cognitions change themselves over time anyway. His might be the less intuitive faster but route. 

Fundamentally, changing your own cognitions (however it’s done) has to be preferable to getting others to change around you. Whilst it’s tempting to ask others to stop pressing your soft spots, unless it’s temporary (while you bear witness and do some mental renovation) ultimately what you end up with is an edited world in which nothing is really real. 


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