Q: Do you remember the comment that Eckhart Tolle made to himself that triggered his awakening? "I can no longer live with myself", or words to that effect. Well I haven't hit bottom, but sometimes I feel as if I'm descending (in the past I've had a few mini awakenings, or "peak experiences"; but they were short lived, & recently I feel that I'm regressing, e.g . too much anger, irritability, judgement withdrawal, etc. Like Eckhart, I don't like living myself. I’m not suicidal—but I don't want to add any more negative karma.
A: You might want to reexamine that passage from Eckhart's book. When he said, "I can no longer live with myself," what triggered his awakening was the sudden, powerful insight into the false duality and absurdity of that very thought! (WHO could no longer tolerate WHOM?) He instantly saw that he was one and whole and NOT two incompatible "selves."
This brings to mind an exchange between Ramana Maharshi and a visitor:
Visitor: "How do I rise from my lower self and attain to my higher self?"
Ramana: "How many selves are there? Is not the Self only One?"
And it reminds me of another line, by Rumi: "Suffering is its own cure."
Make peace with samsara. Make friends with all your parts. In this life, only awareness avails. War doesn't work. Combating any aspect of the body-mind (getting angry about your anger; feeling irritable about your irritability, judging yourself for being judgmental, etc.) is not helpful. Trying to get free is entrapping.
Live with confidence in natural, spontaneous liberation. Simply allow experience (the body-mind) to be just as it is in the moment. Surrender and relax into the body-mind as it is presently appearing. Do not generate stress through opposition to experience, or the body-mind, or ego. Let the body-mind flow on as it will.
First, surrender all stressful intentions to control, manipulate, change, escape, diminish, maintain, expand, or otherwise confront the experiential states of the body-mind. Let physical states come and stay or go; let mental states come and stay or go; let emotional states come and stay or go. Just be aware of whatever is arising. Thus surrender, not by an effort to relax, but by allowing experience to be whatever it is. Surrender by being surrender—spacious and non-reactive like the sky. Then, via this equanimity, feel into Whole Life and be transformed from the heart by that Feeling-Remembrance.
It is harmful, not helpful, to punish yourself. Don’t un-love yourself with anger and disdain, and don’t depress yourself by clinging to “wrongdoings” (“rubbing your nose in it”). Allow the Radiant Life Power, rather than self-possessed effort and self-war, to be the Way whereby the body-mind is spontaneously changed.
Consider this: You already depend utterly on what is more vast than what you call "I". We may as well use religious terms here: You depend entirely upon Grace. Okay, then let Grace have its way with you! Abandon the struggle. Let the same power that grows your cells and beats your heart be itself in you, and through you, and as you. (As Krishna instructed Arjuna: "Abandon all dharmas and resort alone to Me.")
Oh, and by the way: It took me 22 years of active seeking/struggling to finally abandon my own self-effort and self-wrestling. So, it's not easy to be easy!