This interview took place in front of 650 people at a retreat with Eckhart Tolle and Kim Eng in Norway in September 2015.
David Welch: Thank you Eckhart.
Eckhart Tolle: Yes.
David: How would you describe the process of Awakening and would you share a few personal stories about the ups and downs of your own Awakening?
Eckhart: In the case with me, the suffering became so intense I couldn’t stand it any more. I couldn’t stand myself any more. On some level it must have been a realization that I was generating the suffering. I didn’t really consciously know that but I could not live with myself any more.
People who have gone through a lot, who have a lot of internal suffering, are often the people who most desperately need to awaken. And, if you most desperately need to awaken that’s a wonderful motivation. You can’t stand the pain any more.
The Awakening itself was a thing that happened and unlike for most people it happened and then was never completely lost after that.
However, the integration, because there is a personality here, there is the Awakening and then for a while the personality continues almost as before, it has the same goals as before. There was no understanding, what so ever, about what Awakening meant. I didn’t even call it Awakening. I didn’t have a name on it. So it took years to understand what had happened and it took years for it to fully take hold of my life. So it was no longer engaged in activities that were not compatible with awakening for example.
I just started doing a PHD before when the Awakening happened. A few months later I started graduate work. Not knowing that was no longer my path. There was a momentum in my life that carried me onwards to the next thing. And the novelty of being at this university that everyone wants to get into and… it was nice. I enjoyed the experience of it. It was peaceful. After a year or two, I noticed a dissonance between the world I found myself in and my inner being. And that dissonance grew and grew. And another year past and suddenly I could no longer be there. The place that everybody says you should get there. And one day I had to walk out.
But that took three years for this to fully come into my life… So after that comes the period of being seemingly lost. The world… nothing to hang on to anymore, and then the period of sitting on park benches and being in a state of bliss and peace. But I was not very effective anymore as a person. Temporarily losing the ability to pursue goals. There was no goal. What for? There was no ambition or goal. And then the next step was the beginning of the teaching period.
First… The first time someone sat on a bench next to me and asked me a question about life. Problems. And I gave an answer and what I said I didn’t know I knew. It came out of presence. Then they asked me, ‘can I see you again’. And then I became a spiritual teacher. I didn’t know it at the time but that is how it happened. That is the story, a gradual integration, an understanding that took years. And the understanding of it is inseparable from being asked questions from people. Because only by asking questions did the answers get pulled out of me. If I hadn’t had questions asked I wouldn’t have known anything.
Eckhart Tolle: And what about you, David? Your Awakening?
David: First, I’m fundamentally committed to living in the present moment.
David: I live in the here and now. I am the individual conscious awareness that is present in this moment. I am the individual wave of consciousness on the ocean of Infinite Eternal pure consciousness. At the deepest level, I, as the individual wave and the ocean are one, I am Presence, I am the entire ocean, I am Oneness.
David: The breathing body is one of the keys to awakening. The body is the Temple that I temporarily live in. I spend an hour and half every morning doing Kundalini Yoga, meditation and Qigong which is a process that by focusing on my breathing body, by controlling the breath, stretching into and strengthening my body I deepen into the present moment.
David: The postures are designed to be difficult and the body, mind and ego all try and pull me out of the present moment and presence. The body hurts, the mind tries to drag me into the past or future, the ego whines about how difficult it is and why don’t I take a break. And I as pure desire, will and awareness arise in silence and stillness and because I am pure awareness I never give in and I have developed a certainty about who and what I am. I am the consciousness in this present moment. When I am awake I am no longer lost in the mind, lost in the remembered and imagined past and or the imagined future.
My breathing body is standing here. I am aware of you on the stage. I feel the vastness of this room, the stillness, the quite, and the collective consciousness and presence of us all.
Thank You Eckhart.
Eckhart: Thank you David.
David Welch is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award winning movie “Peaceful Warrior.” David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qigong practice.
It depends on your definition of God. I do not believe in a finite God. I do not believe in a male God. If you were going to give God human qualities it would have to be Mother/Father God. In my experience there is nothing but God. When I use the term God what I am referring to is an Infinite Eternal Presence which you and I and everyone and everything are all one with. Depending on our degree of being awake we are more and more aware of this Oneness. The more we are asleep the more we feel separate, isolated and alone.
are you the self of god , awakened?