Interviewing Evert van de Ven on Eckhart Tolle Wrage Hamburg Seminar
What made you write „secondary literature“ (so to speak) about Eckhart Tolle’s teaching?
Besides gratitude and enthusiasm, there are a couple of other reasons for me to write about ETT. Over the years I discovered in the talks and trainings I gave that a lot of people find the teachings of Eckhart incredibly inspiring and at the same time partly hard to understand and even more difficult to put into practice of their daily living. Experiencing the value of the ET teachings for myself -and regarding the importance for humanity- I felt this urge to share my experiences, thoughts, inspiration, admiration and perspective so other people might benefit from them in order to implement Eckhart Tolle’s teaching in daily living. For about 13 years you have been integrating what you’ve learned from Eckhart’s teaching.
What was/is the biggest change that you personally experienced?
Eckhart has shown me the beauty and power of silence and all the creativity that comes from this inner place of stillness, this sanctuary of stillness was and is very meaningful and dear to me. The very simple exercise Eckhart offered in ‘one conscious breath a day’ is a first stepping stone of getting out of the head into the body and of discovering the wisdom of the body. I regard evertvandeven as a verb, an ongoing process; I discovered that as long as I’m connected with the form of my physical body, there will always be the pull of the pain body and the ego, to both looking for shelter in the thinking mind. Being able to reconnect over and over again with the body and this inner place of stillness through conscious breathing is a sheer and deep fulfilling delight, from which the space and the awareness evolve that I have a pain body instead of being the pain body. This is a breakthrough of the new consciousness, which is really in reach for everybody and everyone can practice it, how comforting news is that!
Did you experience “awakening” yourself?
What does it mean for you? Not like in Eckhart’s case as an overnight experience, only gradually step by step; experiencing less suffering and increasingly more rest, space, creativity, silence, beauty of nature and patches of blissfulness, enjoying the lightness of being. Eckhart Tolle has got a very fine sense of humor and he uses it in order to mirror his listeners and readers.
Is it that a sense of humor is absolutely essential for the expansion of consciousness?
His delicate sense of humor is a beautiful way of putting certain aspects of our human behavior, which in many respects is close to utter madness, into a very mild perspective. His humor enables us to detach from our behavior and allows us to experience the difference and the space between who we essentially are and what we do. Humor is a gateway to bypass the mind and ego, directly touching our heart and inner body; in fact our aware presence. One chapter in your book is called “Tanz im Wind” (Dance with the Wind), you talk about being playful like a child. Not so easy if life shows its harsh face. Or is the “serious side of life” simply a misunderstanding? To a very large extend our suffering is caused by our thoughts and emotions and far less by what is actually happening. Through our identification with our pain bodies we are pretty much addicted to this mental/emotional kind of suffering; the news and social media are inexhaustible sources for this addiction, which leads to even more fear, anger, frustration, negative thoughts, tense and rigid bodies resulting in lack of creativity, spontaneity and enthusiasm. We’re caught up in a society full of pain bodies and we live, think, feel and act according to the rules of the pain body calling this the harsh face of life. We’ve created suffering ourselves! It has nothing to do with life as such, it’s how the evolutionary human project worked out so far…and yes that’s not a pretty sight.
The good news however is, that despite every human being develops a pain body and an ego to survive, the inner core of every human being remains unaffected; there is a way out. The new consciousness as Eckhart calls it, is the big leap of consciousness from a reactive, object related awareness towards a creative, space related awareness. Reconnecting with our inner core, our inner body, evolving this energetic evolutionary flame of consciousness enables us to overcome this cul du sac of the thinking, educated and labeling mind. The qualities of the inner body are expressive, enthusiastic, curious, open, lively, experiencing and fully aware. When we unburden ourselves of our addiction to suffering and reconnect with our inner body, we’ll become like children again and we’ll be able to live with the lightness of dancing.
What part does pain play on the way to awakening?
In this period of the ‘human project’ – which in itself could still fail and by the egoistic way we’re treating the earth at the moment, the earth would be better off when human beings became extinct- the way we deal with psychological pain is the keystone for our awakening. The impact of the pain body on our personal life and on humanity in general is still hardly recognized let alone understood. Instead of taking painkillers, indulging ourselves in pain avoiding addictions as drugs, alcohol, sweets, buying stuff and watching TV too many hours a day, we should develop an interest in ‘what is my body trying to tell me, what is life trying to tell me?’ Instead of moving away from pain, try to move towards it; make contact with it and try to understand what it’s telling you. No I don’t want to advocate for a league of masochists, I want us to start realizing that living and understanding life fully, means coming to terms with all flavors life has in store for us: sadness, playfulness, anger, pain, happiness, disappointment, success, winning, losing, bliss, love, regret, etc. etc. And how do we do this? By being present in the NOW, the only place where you’re really able to get in touch with the heartbeat of life. And to train yourself, really make a practice out of this, to get able to see whether your body or your mind is resisting or embracing the present moment. Whenever you’re avoiding the present moment, you get out of touch with yourself and out of touch with life.
What can participants expect and look forward to at your seminars?
Talking is nice, gathering insights is beautiful but experiencing is essential; so we’ll be practicing a great deal. Through the range of exercises of meditation, bodywork with and without music, walking meditation, inquiries and breathing exercises, we’ll have two main fields for inquiry: the origin and dynamics of and identification with the pain body, the inner body, the energy, the present moment, the here and now The more we are able to recognize the pain body the more we can let go of it and the more we get in touch with the inner body, the more we’ll be able to let go of the ego; step by step we’ll discover & develop new consciousness as a part of daily living.