eckhart tolle teachings

Inner Messages of Unhappiness

Our minds are filled with negative messages, some conscious, some unconscious. Eckhart reveals what to do about them.


The ego creates separation, and separation creates suffering. The ego is therefore clearly pathological. Apart from the obvious ones such as anger, hatred, and so on, there are other more subtle forms of negativity that are so common they are usually not recognized as such, for example, impatience, irritation, nervousness, and being “fed up.” They constitute the background unhappiness that is many people's predominant inner state. You need to be extremely alert and absolutely present to be able to detect them. Whenever you do, it is a moment of awakening, of disidentification from the mind.

Here is one of the most common negative states that is easily overlooked, precisely because it is so common, so normal. You may be familiar with it. Do you often experience a feeling of discontent that could best be described as a kind of background resentment? It may be either specific or nonspecific. Many people spend a large part of their lives in that state. They are so identified with it that they cannot stand back and see it. Underlying that feeling are certain unconsciously held beliefs, that is to say, thoughts. You think these thoughts in the same way that you dream your dreams when you are asleep. In other words, you don't know you are thinking those thoughts, just as the dreamer doesn't know he is dreaming.



Here are other common unconscious thoughts that feed the feeling of discontent or background resentment. Whenever there is unhappiness in the background of your life (or even in the foreground), you can see which of these thoughts applies and fill in your own content according to your personal situation:

“There is something that needs to happen in my life before I can be at peace (happy, fulfilled, etc.). And I resent that it hasn't happened yet. Maybe my resentment will finally make it happen.”

“Something happened in the past that should not have happened, and I resent that. If that hadn't happened, I would be at peace now.”

“Something is happening now that should not be happening, and it is preventing me from being at peace now.”

Often the unconscious beliefs are directed toward a person and so “happening” becomes “doing”:

“You should do this or that so that I can be at peace. And I resent that you haven't done it yet. Maybe my resentment will make you do it.”

“Something you (or I) did, said, or failed to do in the past is preventing me from being at peace now.”

“What you are doing or failing to do now is preventing me from being at peace.”

Read A Secret to Happiness to understand how to dispel these subtle inner messages of negativity.

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