Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Weekend Madness

Yesterday there was an attempted bombing in New York. The news was in CNN. During the weekend, I watched DVDs about the US invasion of Panama, the Clinton years and an autobiography of writer Norman Mailer. Mailer’s biography featured scenes of the sixties, the political protest and assassination of King and the Kennedy brothers. Then last night I listened to a compact disc of Eckhart Tolle. The CD was entitled ‘The Sun will also die.’ It was based on an interview done with Tolle at the exact day of the September 11 attack. So there were questions about the terrorist attack of that day.

It was a good lecture to listen to especially with the other DVDs I watched during the weekend plus the troubling event in New York. Tolle said that there’s a dysfunction in modern life and all these events are signs of a mental disease. He was not surprised with the attack considering all the terrible events of the century; for example, two world wars, Korea and Vietnam and so on. So he said the key is to transform human consciousness. He was not saying anything new as he was emphasizing transformation via meditation and reflection. The secret is to achieve mental stillness. According to the Wikipedia article, Tolle belongs to the teaching ‘stream’ of people like Krisnamurti.

I discovered Tolle when I read an article on him in the New York Times. The article was about his seminars in the Ohpra Winfrey show. I like the article so I searched for his works in the library and ended up with this CD. I hope to read more about his books and learn his ideas. There were some passages in the CD that was insightful specifically for my situation. He said that one cannot find oneself by going out and adding things like skills, attending seminars and so on. One should go within to find oneself. He says that going out and attending seminars, seeking new skills, etc. is fine as long as one does not seek to find himself in all this external activities. In fact, one should strive for more meditation to still the mind especially the thinking process.

It was a good reminder to me and a return somewhat to the ideas of Krisnamurthi and transcendental meditation – ideas I had explored in college. It was a welcome reminder after my mad dash to read books and attend seminars and so on in the past few weeks. He said that you will never be what you want to be by doing all these external activities. One should go inward and still the mind to discover oneself. One is not one’s thoughts. I guess I can say that my educational quest is more to gain skills: in writing, in investing and in public speaking. I know who I am and it is the challenge to have the courage to express myself in an authentic manner.

Applying his ideas in investing would point to being a passive investor. So Buddhist or TM practitioners are long term, buy and hold investors who avoid the churning of the mind brought about by day trading or active investment or watching CNBC. I guess these people are not ‘bobo’s or bourgeois bohemians as the new young, educated and wealthy elite are now called. But perhaps these people are exactly the same ones who buy Tolle’s books and make him famous. Strange that I started with investment guru Larry Swedroe who promotes passive investment and end up with Eckhart Tolle who seem to provide the spiritual basis for passive investors.

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