Excerpts from “The Power of Eckhart Tolle’s Now,” a conversation with Krista Tippett on Speaking of Faith (October 8, 2009):
[What we are talking about is] being fully alive and fully engaging with life in the present moment, which is where life happens. Fully responding to the needs of this moment, not rejecting this moment, not arguing with this moment, but being open to it.
The vastness of it all and the compulsion to continuously interpret whatever you are experiencing at any given moment, that is no longer there. And there's great freedom in not compulsively interpreting other people, situations, and so on. Not imposing all these judgments. That's another word for it. Imposing thinking, thinking continuously on the world, which is so alive and so fresh and new at every moment.
When we impose the continuously compulsive thinking on it, then we deaden it, and we become dead to the aliveness of the world. We become dead to the aliveness in others. And so we can no longer have empathy for others when we are behind a screen of conceptualization through which we judge others.
And so, yes, the mind is beautiful. The ability to think is a great thing...It doesn't mean you become semiconscious or it doesn't mean it's like the thing that happens to you when you have a few drinks.
What we are talking about here is a state of alert attention to what is where compulsive thinking no longer operates. This means you rise above thinking to a large extent in your life. The whole thing of Zen is really about that. Zen is a very practical way of taking you beyond compulsive thinking where you can face life without the interference of the mind. Still being able to use the mind when it's needed, but not being used by it.