One of Eckhart Tolle’s many provocative ideas is that all,… ALL! complaining is of the ego. It isn’t that one doesn’t recognize unpleasant realities. A central and alarming unpleasant fact is that the wealthy class has disproportionate influence on our political process and so undermines democracy and creates serious obstacles to addressing an urgent crisis, several in fact: climate change, myriad other pollution issues, soil erosion and degradation, the continuing possibility of terminal nuclear war (it ain’t over until these weapons are gone) and overpopulation/extinction of species (including us). There are many other obstacles and issues but the point is that preoccupying oneself in thought – blaming, posing enemies, nurturing grudges, anticipating disaster, or glory – stands in the way of presence, and presence is where our power lies. Ram Dass said it in three words, be here now.

An attempt to describe presence: ONEness comes to mind, the felt interconnection described by many religious, spiritual, artistic, poetic, scientific writers and thinkers… characterized by incredible beauty, the deeper one goes. The first level? Take a breath, here you are, no thought… as you stay you go deeper, thoughts arise, let them pass, it becomes a well that you can dwell in, to various degrees, coming back to surface to do your taxes or cross the street but keeping a foot in… and it reveals the moment as not a passing one but ONE that encompasses past and future… and the impulse to creativity that occurs in presence transcends ego as it is aligned with primal intelligence. The doing that comes out of presence is authentic, celebratory, joyous, and what is needed for the next step in evolution. And these are thoughts about it, not it… it is felt experience, non-narrative, and it accompanies the transitory bias that leads us to engage discrete slivers of time in order to… dance.

Maybe Tolle’s definition will help: To feel, and thus to know, that you are; and to abide in that deeply rooted state is enlightenment.

Ok, so how does abiding in that deeply rooted state address climate change and rule of the rich? It is only in this abiding, presence, that we are connected to the intelligence that is self-evidently at the root of being, is in fact being, or consciousness. In that connection we experience peace and out of that peace comes creativity, what is needed to address, to overthrow as it were, the dysfunction currently running things here on planet earth. Awareness then is the most effective form of activism. Our power doesn’t lie in persuading others by argument but in standing in alignment with essential intelligence. We don’t decide to do good, we are good to the extent that we are present. In awareness, we may hit the streets, or write a poem, or start a business – we can’t predict from a state of unconsciousness. If this appealing idea is not just another wishful fantasy, then the most urgent task at hand is cultivating awareness. From that will come, what Tolle calls, A New Earth.


Image Credit: the illustration was created by the author, Tom Ferguson – see more Tom's paintings and illustrations at

Tom Ferguson

Tom Ferguson

Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

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