OPRAH: You've said that we face a very stark and daunting choice-evolve or die.
ECKHART: This is the point where the evolution of consciousness, the awakening of humanity, is no longer a luxury. The effects of the dysfunctional ego are now being amplified by technology. What we are doing to ourselves, to our fellow human beings, and to the planet is becoming more and more destructive and devastating.
OPRAH: Yes. I was speaking with Elie Wiesel, and he was saying that this will be known as the Sick Century because of our ability to do the sickest, most evil things to one another. And you're right: Because of technology, there are even greater bombs, ammunition that can kill from farther distances.
ECKHART: Sometimes people ask me if things are getting better or worse, and my answer is, at the moment, both; things are getting better and worse. There are two streams in existence now: One stream is the old, unenlightened, egoic consciousness, which is still continuing. You see it when you watch the news. The other stream is us sitting here now, talking. I'm not saying we're special, but the fact that we're addressing this and that many, many people are reading it and it's meaningful to them means there is another stream here, which is the stream of humanity awakening. Both are present at this time.
OPRAH: How can we not allow ourselves to be dominated by the ego? I know it's a lifelong process, but what can we begin to do today?
ECKHART: The ego cannot survive in stillness, so invite stillness into your life. It doesn't mean that stillness is something you get from outside; it's realizing that underneath the stream of thinking, everybody already has the stillness.
OPRAH: So you don't have to go to Hawaii and sit on a mountaintop.
ECKHART: No, and you don't have to do anything to create it because it's already there. Look very deeply into yourself and see your sense of "I-ness"-your sense of self. This "I" is bound up with the stillness. You're never more essentially yourself than when you are still. You can invite stillness into your life by taking a few conscious breaths many times during the day. Just observe your breath flowing in and out. Another way is to feel the aliveness of your body from within. Ask, Is there life in my hands? And then you feel it. It's subtle, but it's there. Is there life in my feet, my legs, my arms? You can feel that your entire inner body is pervaded by a sense of aliveness, and that can serve as an anchor for stillness. It doesn't mean you turn completely away from the external world. It brings balance into your life between being still and being able to deal with things out here.
OPRAH: It's finding the space in between.
ECKHART: That's right. And you may also become aware of a short silent space between two thoughts. When you become conscious of that, then it becomes a little longer, so you have a longer gap of stillness.
OPRAH: But if you become aware for so long that you start thinking about it, then you lose it.
ECKHART: The moment you say, "Oh, look, I'm not thinking!" you're thinking again.
We Hear You!