Excerpt from the interview with Eckhart Tolle: Question: In your book "The Power of Now" you mentioned a very profound experience or a "shift" of consciousness that took place... Eckhart Tolle: "Yes, I was about twenty-nine, and had gone through years of depression and anxiety. I had even achieved some success, like graduating with the highest mark at London University. Then an offer came for a Cambridge scholarship to do research. But the whole motivating power behind my academic success was fear and unhappiness. It all changed one night when I woke up in the middle of the night. The fear, anxiety and heaviness of depression were becoming so intense, it was almost unbearable. And it is hard to describe that "state" where the world is felt to be so alien, just looking at a physical environment like a room. Everything was totally alien and almost hostile. I later saw a book by Jean-Paul Sartre called "Nausea. That was the state I was in, nausea of the world. (Chuckle). And the thought came into my head, 'I can't live with myself any longer.' That thought kept repeating itself again and again. And then suddenly there was a 'standing back' from the thought and looking at that thought, at the structure of that thought, 'If I cannot live with myself, who is that self that I cannot live with? Who am I? Am I one - or two? And I saw that I was 'two'. There was an 'I,' and there was a self. And the self was deeply unhappy, the miserable self. And the burden of that I could not live with. At that moment, a dis-identification happened. 'I' consciousness withdrew from its identification with the self, the mind-made fictitious entity, the unhappy 'little me' and its story. And the fictitious entity collapsed completely in that moment, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy."
John Parker has an MEd. degree and has been studying and practicing various forms of spirituality for four decades. He currently lives in Somerville MA.