Light on Relationships

Be Here Now, Independent of Others

Without a love relationship with a complementary “other,” the right man or woman, how is it possible for us to be whole?

If you’re dependent on another person to make you whole, then you’ll be a suffering fragment when you’re alone. Even if you happen to find the “right” partner, your imaginary “wholeness” will disappear whenever he or she fails to satisfy you. And if he or she abandons you, you’ll be a basket case.

I believe a love relationship can fulfill us.

Then why are you seeking spiritual salvation? If you truly believe another flawed human being can be your savior, why bother with the discipline of Holy Communion?

What does salvation mean?

Eckhart Tolle describes true salvation in “negative” Buddhist terms when he says it is a “state of freedom—from fear, from suffering, from a perceived lack and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping, and clinging.” In Hindu and Christian yoga, it is described positively as union with God or Ultimate Reality.

Salvation is only in the Now. It is not a state that you can attain in the future by becoming, or changing your life circumstances. It is not about finding something or someone to fulfill you. It is about entering the Now, plugging into the divine Presence and allowing its down-pouring Power to liberate you from your fruitless search for fulfillment through an “other.”

In every waking moment—whether you are alone or with someone—be here now. In other words, simply be utterly and totally present and don’t seek for anything, including fulfillment or salvation. When the pressure of your presence is sufficient, the Holy Spirit will pour down through you, divinizing your presence and making you whole. Only this union of your individual soul with absolute Spirit can make you whole. A relationship with another human being cannot.

Dysfunctional Relationships

Eckhart Tolle views non-spiritual human relationships in a negative light. He says, “Unless and until you access the conscious frequency of presence, all relationships, and particularly intimate relationships, are deeply flawed and ultimately dysfunctional.” Is he right? Not in my opinion. My long-time experience as a counselor has taught me that spiritually oriented people have the same problems in relationships as everyone else.

Over the past forty years, I’ve been involved with multiple spiritual groups. I’ve (astrologically) counseled innumerable individuals and couples within these groups, and I’ve found that despite a commitment to live consciously in the moment, these people suffer from the same dysfunctional relationships as conventional people. It would be nice if a life devoted to living in the Now automatically translated into harmonious human relations, but from my experience that’s not the case. The mass failure of the hundreds of spiritual communities that sprouted up in America in the 1970s graphically illustrates that the practice of conscious life is no panacea when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

According to Eckhart Tolle, “Most ‘love relationships’ become love/hate relationships before long… Negative, destructive cycles occur with increasing frequency and intensity, [and] then it will not be long before the relationship finally collapses.” It is true that a high percentage of romantic relationships degenerate into a classic yo-yo pattern, in which the polarities of love and hate alternate until the negative cycles finally destroy the relationship. But the reason for this pattern eludes Tolle, who, mistakenly, attributes it to a lack of conscious presence.

The truth is this: No matter how idealistic or spiritually evolved a couple might be, if the karmic energy fields of the partners do not harmoniously mesh on multiple levels, their relationship will eventually fail. Romantic relationships are fueled by animal attraction, intense primal bioenergy. At the outset of a relationship, this primal bioenergy drowns out the more subtle mental-emotional energies exchanged between the two individuals. Once the animal attraction subsides, as it inevitably will, the partners’ mental-emotional energies begin to predominate. And if those energies are incompatible, then the relationship, regardless of the couple’s spiritual maturity, will inevitably reflect this inherent disharmony.

Addiction, Love, and Wholeness

Why do we become addicted to another person?

It’s biological. According to researchers, our glands secrete chemicals that fuel romantic infatuation for a period of a few years, just long enough to create a family. Once the chemical addiction to the partner weakens, the relationship depends mainly on compatible mental-emotional energies to make it work. Romantic infatuation is a chemical phenomenon, and the chemicals your body produces are like drugs that addict you to the other person. Physically and psychologically, you become dependent on the other person’s presence, and their absence from your life can trigger intense, painful withdrawal symptoms. This is why breaking up is such an ordeal.

Romantic love relationships reflect our powerful need for wholeness. Consequently, the urge for union with the opposite polarity is, as Tolle points out, “almost irresistible.” But when you depend on a sexual partner to make you feel meaningful and whole, any perceived breach in the relationship threatens your sense of spiritual security. And when the relationship begins to fail, a psychological crisis invariably ensues. If you’re honest with yourself at this point, you’ll realize that you’re an addict whose dependency on a significant “other” is a disease; and if you’re a serious truth-seeker, you’ll seek a cure. If your search is fruitful, you’ll realize that the only cure for your dependency is the Holy One, for only a relationship with the divine Being can make you truly (or spiritually) whole and set you truly (or unconditionally) free.

When your practice of plugged-in presence bears fruit—down-pouring Shakti—you have the means to override the bodily chemicals that addict you to your significant other. Down-pouring Shakti, the Holy Spirit, is Nectar, ambrosial energy from God. When you’re able to rest in the divine Spirit-current, your need for an other to make you whole vanishes. The Spirit-current is not a super opiate that replaces the “drug” of the significant other; it is the inherent bliss of your own Self-nature. At first, it is enjoyed as objective Light-energy; but finally it is recognized as the radiance of your own Being.

Because you are a physical being as well as a spiritual one, your urge for a complementary other, the right man or woman, is not going to suddenly disappear just because you begin to practice Holy Communion. But as your relationship with the Divine deepens, your need for a physical partner to make you feel whole will begin to dissipate. And because you’ll no longer depend on a human partner to make you feel complete, your relationship with a significant other is more likely to flower sans your neediness. Some advanced spiritual practitioners lose all interest in sex and intimate relations, while others still enjoy the play between the sexes. But what these practitioners have in common is freedom from addiction to an other. They realize that no one but the Holy One can make them complete.

Adyashanti is a prominent contemporary guru who teaches the nondual Advaita Vedanta path to enlightenment. (Google his name and you’ll find samples of his teachings.)  He is also a happily married man. He once remarked that when his wife said she no longer needed him, he knew that she had “gotten it” spiritually. The moral of this story is clear: Love your significant other, but transcend your addiction to him or her by deriving your sense of wholeness from the Spirit.

The Secret to Enlightened Relationships

How can we change an addictive relationship into an enlightened one?

According to Eckhart Tolle, “The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way. That immediately takes you beyond ego.”

What Tolle says is utter New Age nonsense. If you’re Adolf Hitler’s partner, do you accept him as a hateful racist and mass murderer? If your husband is a rapist or a pedophile, do you avoid judging him? If your wife is a drug addict, do you stand idly by while she kills herself?

It’s one thing to accept your partner’s idiosyncrasies; it’s another to accept their violent or destructive behavior. Failure to judge and act with regard to serious issues not only is irresponsible, it’s also stupid and potentially deadly.

Common sense is a very useful attribute, but when you replace intelligent judgment with mindless non-judgment, common sense is abandoned. When you ignore reality in the name of acceptance, you aren’t transcending the ego, you’re simply abdicating responsibility and discrimination.

Tolle believes that complete acceptance and non-judgment put an end to all codependency and enable you to either “separate [from your partner]—in love—or move ever more deeply into the Now together—into Being.” This raises the question: isn’t non-acceptance and judgment implicit in the decision to separate from your partner? And if, for argument’s sake, you were free of judgment and beyond ego, how could you ever determine if a prospective partner is right for you?

The secret to enlightened relationships is twofold: 1) right understanding, and 2) right action.

Right understanding means knowing yourself, knowing the other person, and knowing your interpersonal chemistry. Only a mind that is deeply and objectively judgmental is capable of such knowing. The greatest aid to such knowing is astrology—not pop astrology, but real astrology. Anybody seriously interested in understanding himself, others, and interpersonal relationships should study astrology. Astrology provides the blueprint or map of an individual’s psyche, and once you have that, it’s so much easier to assess your chemistry with another person.

Right action means acting appropriately once you deeply understand your relationship with your partner. And you can only act appropriately, or intelligently, if you are free of interpersonal addiction. As already emphasized, the way to transcend interpersonal addiction is by establishing a yogic relationship with the Deity; for only at-one-ment with God can make you whole and set you free.


Even though an intimate relationship cannot set you spiritually free, the bond that connects you and your partner can provide a portal to the Absolute. A soul mate, a partner with whom your life energies and psyche harmoniously align, represents a doorway to the “Other Side,” but it is up to you to step across the threshold and connect to the Spirit. The right partner can serve as a conduit to the Infinite, but only the infinite Being Itself can liberate you. And if you become dependent on your partner as an exclusive means to Being, to divine love, then you once again become an addict.

When you find someone who, in Tolle’s words, “reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others,” then you have made contact with a potential soul mate. And if a love relationship ensues, the challenge is to transmute the romantic connection into a spiritual one. This transmutation of eros into agape is the essence of tantra yoga, and unless you and your partner are able to transform romantic communion into Holy Communion, your relationship will degrade, rather than elevate, your spiritual life.

Tolle, rightly, says, “True communication is communion—the realization of oneness, which is love.” But what Tolle doesn’t say is: true (or spiritual) communion, oneness, and love are not possible without Shaktipat, the descent of the Holy Spirit. Human love is but a fragment, a stepped-down modification, of divine love. And human love cannot become divine love without the intervention, or descent, of divine Power, the Holy Spirit.

The Transformation of Relationships

Eckhart Tolle specializes in apocalyptic statements, and he even applies his bold socio-political predictions to the field of male-female relationships. Tolle asserts that “as the egoic mode of consciousness and all political, social, and economic structures that it created enter the final stage of collapse, the relationships between men and women reflect the deep state of crisis in which humanity now finds itself.”

Let’s analyze Tolle’s assertion. First, he claims that the egoic mode of consciousness is entering its final stage of collapse. This is a laughable statement. In fact, if anyone can introduce me to even one person whose ego is in its final stage of collapse, I’d be nothing short of amazed. Only a fogged-out utopian could take Tolle’s assertion seriously. Second, he claims that all egoically created political, social, and economic structures are also on the verge of collapse. This statement raises two questions: What political, social and economic structures is Tolle referring to? And what “non-egoic” political, social, and economic structures will supplant them after the collapse of the egoic mode of consciousness? It is ridiculous to make a statement like Tolle’s unless you specify the egoically created structures that you’re talking about and the non-egoic, New Age structures that will replace them.

Tolle is correct when he says that dysfunctional relationships are legion in modern society and that “most relationships [nowadays] are not rooted in Being and so turn into a source of pain and become dominated by problems and conflict.” Because denying or escaping from the reality of a difficult relationship (one you cannot easily end because of children or other reasons) is not a solution, Tolle advises a spiritual approach. He says, “All you can do is create space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”

Tolle’s advice, in my opinion, is right. The true spiritual approach to any problem, including a dysfunctional relationship, is to simply be present and allow Grace and Love to enter. Tolle, unfortunately, doesn’t elaborate on what, exactly, Grace is. He hardly mentions the term in his book, and he never tells us how Grace relates to the power of Now. What Tolle should have said is: Grace is the Holy Spirit, the power of Now, the descent of Love-bliss into the world of man.


In accordance with his apocalyptic mindset, Eckhart Tolle states that “Never before have relationships been as problematic and conflict ridden as they are now… [and] for those who hold on to the old patterns, there will be increasing pain, violence, confusion, and madness.”

But even though human relationships are, according to Tolle, in a terrible state of decline, the solution, he says, is to “accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy.”

Yes, relationships should serve as a vehicle to heighten your spiritual consciousness, but if they’re not also agents of joy, why not, if possible, just end them?

Tolle’s viewpoint on relationships raises the following two questions: 1) Are relationships really more problematic now than ever before? 2) Can anything other than the practice of conscious presence make them less problematic?

As I see it, relationships are indeed more problematic now than ever before, and this is so for one fundamental reason: the breakdown of traditional roles in society. When social roles, particularly male-female ones, are no longer clearly defined and religiously adhered to, confusion and conflict ensue. But even though relationships nowadays are more difficult, the breakdown of traditional social roles is by no means an entirely negative phenomenon. It has resulted in a freer, more open-ended society. Instead of the “old world’s” static and repressive social orders, the “new world’s” dynamic and liberating ones offer individuals independence from stifling socio-cultural imperatives.

Tolle, a joke as a sociologist, mistakenly views the breakdown of relationships as a sign of impending Armageddon, in which the new-world political, social, and economic structures will all collapse. Here’s my advice regarding the demise of modern civilization: don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen. And if you’re naïve enough to believe that the human race will self-destruct unless humanity, en masse, begins to live in the Now, then welcome to the Church of Tolle.

To make relationships less problematic, I have two suggestions: 1) cultivate friendships with responsible, high-integrity people, and 2) limit your intimate (non-family) relationships to people with whom you are astrologically compatible. The first suggestion will save you much grief by enabling you to eliminate flakes and low-integrity people from your life. Regarding the second, know that even two spiritually-minded souls cannot happily intermesh if their etheric energy fields are inherently incompatible. By following these two suggestions, you’re sure to reduce the problems in your relationships.

My partner is still acting out his old patterns of unconsciousness—jealousy, control, etc. I point this out to him, but he is unable to see it.

Tolle’s “remedy” for an unconscious partner is “no-remedy.” He repeatedly instructs you to remain present, relinquish judgment, and give your partner space. In other words, he simply tells you to extend your sadhana, your spiritual practice, into your relationship.

If you do what Tolle recommends, you become a mirror for your partner. By not reacting to his unconscious behavior, your clear consciousness acts as a mirror, reflecting his activity back to him. This will enable him to see and feel what he is doing. If he is spiritually oriented, he will drop, or at least attempt to drop, his negative behavior. But if he is defensive rather than open, your mirroring, or conscious non-reaction, can intensify his negative behavior, and he might, at some point, “explode.” Explaining the “mirror effect” to him can help him understand what is happening, but the ball is in his court when it comes to dropping his old patterns of unconsciousness.

Tolle says, “Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present.”

Tolle’s advice is fine—to a certain extent. But at some point—and your “spiritual intelligence” must be the judge—it is appropriate to blame people, to hold them accountable. To simply remain present and open and allow your partner or anyone else to egregiously “shit” on you or others is patently irresponsible. If you want to take a laissez-faire approach and “do nothing” in response to flagrantly destructive behavior, be my guest. But I certainly don’t recommend it.

Men and women are from different planets, and the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus became a bestseller because it details the psycho-physical differences between the two sexes. Although volumes have been written about these differences, they can be summarized in a single statement: Men live in their head and in their cock; women live in their heart and in their body.

The typical man strives to be rational and suppress his emotions. He is concerned with doing and achieving, and this extends to his love life, where he is preoccupied with copulating. The usual female, in contrast, focuses attention on her feelings, and rather than suppressing emotions, expresses them. She is preoccupied with establishing an emotional-physical connection, but not with coitus.

Women typically suffer in relationships when men are emotionally unavailable and lack empathy, while men usually suffer when women are irrational and overly emotional. The practice of spiritual presence helps men to be more sensitive and understanding, and it grounds women, enabling them to curb their fussing and nagging.

Tolle does not believe that a relationship between a conscious partner and an unconscious one can succeed. He states:

If you are consistently or at least predominantly present in your relationship, this will be the greatest challenge for your partner. They will not be able to tolerate your presence for very long and stay conscious. If they are ready, they will walk through the door you opened for them and join you in that state. If they are not, you will separate like oil and water. The light is too painful for someone who wants to remain in darkness.

I don’t fully agree with Tolle. Although it is true that your “mirroring” can provoke negative, or “dark,” energy from your partner, this is not always the case. If your partner is open and intelligent enough to appreciate a less problematic you, then regardless of their lack of interest in spiritual life, they will approve of and benefit from your life in the Spirit.

As I stated previously, even if both you and your partner embrace conscious life, the Light, this by no means ensures a successful relationship. Because astral chemistry is more powerful than conscious intent in interpersonal relationships, if you’re astrologically incompatible with your partner, no type or amount of sadhana will transform your union into a felicitous one. In fact, the Light itself will often intensify your conflicting tendencies, and you will both realize that it is in your mutual interest to dissolve the partnership.

Are Women Closer to Enlightenment than Men?

Is the path to enlightenment the same for a man as for a woman?

Not if we are to believe Eckhart Tolle. His position is that women are closer to enlightenment than men, so their path to Being is more direct. Tolle says, “Generally speaking, it is easier for a woman to feel and be in her body, so she is naturally closer to Being and potentially closer to enlightenment than a man.”

Compare Tolle’s view on women’s spiritual potential to the Buddha’s:

If, Ananda [the Buddha’s closest disciple], women had not retired from household life to the houseless one, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata [the Buddha himself], religion, Ananda, would long endure; a thousand years would the good doctrine abide. But since, Ananda, women have now retired from the household life to the houseless one, under the doctrine and discipline announced by the Tathagata, not long, Ananda, will religion endure; but five hundred years, Ananda, will the good doctrine abide.

Elsewhere, in response to a question from Ananda, the Buddha replies:

Women are soon angered, Ananda; women are full of passion, Ananda; women are envious, Ananda; women are stupid, Ananda. That is the reason, Ananda, that is the cause, why women have no place in public assemblies, do not carry on business, and do not earn their living by any profession.

The Buddha’s view on the spiritual potential of women is diametrically opposed to Tolle’s. These quotes of the Buddha were extracted from Ananda K. Coomeraswamy’s text Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism, originally published in 1916. Dr. Coomeraswamy, the foremost Buddhist scholar of his time, wrote before the advent of the modern feminist movement. Nowadays, in deference to feminism, writers on Buddhism conveniently ignore the Buddha’s disparaging commentaries on women.

Before I present my own view on the gender/enlightenment issue, I want to dispute Tolle’s claim that the Unmanifested, the Source, is fundamentally feminine in nature. It is important to refute Tolle’s claim because his argument for feminine spiritual superiority is based on the erroneous notion that the Divine, like a woman, is essentially yin in nature.

The Divine, the Source Itself, is neither male nor female. It is transgender Presence (or Consciousness) and Power (or Energy), but Its nature can be likened to an androgynous Matrix that is simultaneously both masculine and feminine. Because great religions emphasize reception of the Divine’s Power, the yin gesture of opening and receiving spiritual Energy can seem to imply that the Divine is feminine in nature. But, in fact, it implies just the opposite. If you allow yourself, like a vagina, to be penetrated by the divine Power, then the implication is that the Power itself is actually phallic, or penetrative, in nature.

The truth is, the enlightenment process equally involves the yang gesture of connecting and the yin gesture of receiving. The great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart summarizes the need for both gestures when he says, “I penetrate God, and God penetrates me.” True spiritual life demands both an intense penis-like thrust into the Divine (to connect) and an effortless vagina-like opening to the Divine’s Energy (to receive). In the Hindu tradition, a Self-realized sage is commonly (and reverently) addressed as Bhagavan. The term Bhagavan, etymologically, means “penis in the vagina.” Thus, a Self-realized, or truly holy (or whole), being is an individual who has integrated the yang function of penetration and the yin function of being penetrated into the single, nondual function of radiant, transcendental Be-ing. Contrary to what Tolle asserts, Being is not exclusively feminine. Rather, It is Siva-Shakti, meaning that It is equally male and female, both yang and yin.

Though it is clear from Meister Eckhart’s teachings and the Hindu representation of God as Siva-Shakti that the enlightenment process involves both male (or penetrative) and female (or receptive) elements, how is it that a religion such as Taoism could flourish by emphasizing only the yin ideal of emptying or letting go? The answer is: it couldn’t. Although the Tao Te Ching, the Taoist Bible, preaches the yin ideal of surrender, real-world Taoism recognizes the need for yang, or concentrative, exercises. If you examine Taoist yoga texts, you’ll find that the Taoism of the Tao Te Ching is hardly the Taoism practiced by Taoist yogis. But Tolle, fixated on the feminine, is adamant about asserting women’s spiritual superiority and yin energy, so he conveniently ignores the importance of male, or yang, energy in enlightenment. The following statement by him illustrates his prejudice against the role of male, yang, energy in enlightenment:

To go beyond the mind and reconnect with the deeper reality of Being, very different qualities are needed: surrender, non-judgment, an openness that allows life to be instead of resisting it, the capacity to hold things in the loving embrace of your knowing. All these qualities are much more closely related to the female principle.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu Bible, (Lord) Krishna says to (disciple) Arjuna: “Set your mind on me and fight.” In other words, the path to God, as represented by Krishna, is warfare. Therefore, the true disciple, or yogi, must be a warrior—and the path of the warrior is hardly a feminine one. But Tolle, conveniently, refers only to the yin-oriented Tao Te Ching, while neglectfully ignoring the yang-oriented Bhagavad Gita.

The essence of yoga practice is meditation—dhyan(a) in Sanskrit. And the term dhyan is derived from the Sanskrit root dhi, meaning “to bind” or “to hold on.” Spiritual life, therefore, involves not only the yin gesture of surrender or letting go, but also the yang act of attaching yourself to or holding on to an object (including the formless Divine as an abstract “Object”). And since the act of attaching yourself to, or connecting to, the Divine precedes the gesture of surrender to, or reception of, the Divine’s power, it should be obvious to objective thinkers that male energy is just as important as female energy in the enlightenment process.

The Collective Female Pain-Body

Is the pain-body more of an obstacle for women?

According to Eckhart Tolle it is—and this very fact, Tolle informs us, is why women are closer to enlightenment than men are. If Tolle’s belief that exposure to the “pure pain” of a collective pain-body serves as a great opportunity for enlightenment, it stands to reason that the most exploited, subjugated, and traumatized groups on the planet would be the ones that produce the most enlightened beings, the most Self-realized sages. But simple observation tells us that this is not the case. A case in point is African Americans, who have suffered untold pain from enslavement and denial of human rights. But despite their prominent collective pain-body, African Americans in no way represent the leading edge of the spiritual enlightenment movement. And the same thing can be said about women.

Tolle, an unabashed champion of feminine spiritual superiority, claims that “The number of women who are now approaching the fully conscious state already exceeds that of men and will be growing even faster in the years to come.” My rejoinder is: The number of women participating in the New Age movement certainly exceeds that of men, but this in no way means that women represent the vanguard of the spiritual consciousness movement. And the reason for this is simple: women are not testosterone-driven; they lack the glandular fuel that drives men to relentlessly strive for enlightenment, creatively originate great Dharmas, and iconoclastically engender new social orders and modes of being.

A man’s testosterone predisposes him to imbalanced brain function, and imbalanced brain function is a correlate of genius (and retardation). Women, on average, according to studies, are virtually as smart as men. But unlike men, women have balanced brain chemistry that rarely results in extreme cases of intelligence (or stupidity). In other words, although the average woman is almost as smart as the average man, the range of female intelligence is genetically limited compared to that of males. Consequently, according to some researchers, such as psychiatrist Glen D. Wilson, author of The Great Sex Divide, only men can be true geniuses (or total idiots).

It can be argued that it takes a genius of sorts to navigate the treacherous waters of the enlightenment process and to be able to articulate the technical aspects of this esoteric process. And in my forty years of study, I have yet to encounter a truly profound technical spiritual guide authored by a woman. And without the presence of such truly profound guides, no genuine spiritual New Age is possible.

In all my reading of philosophy, Eastern and Western, I have encountered only one woman whom I consider exceedingly brilliant, one woman who perhaps qualifies as a true genius: Ayn Rand. And she was a staunch atheist with little regard for the feminist movement. When questioned about her opinion of the feminist movement, Rand’s witty reply was: “I’m a male chauvinist.” Rand knew that her extreme talent as a philosopher was freakish for a female, and she held that male geniuses were the prime movers, the driving force, behind positive epochal change.

Because pioneering yang energy is at the root of positive (as well as negative) social and spiritual revolutions, it’s my contention that it is men, not women, who will champion any true, world-transforming “New Age” spiritual movement. Although my viewpoint is a controversial one sure to bring me much flak—don’t hold your breath waiting to see me on Oprah—it is my belief that unless political correctness is supplanted by naked truth, unpopular as it might be, no genuine awakening of humanity is possible.


Eckhart Tolle believes that women are inherently more spiritual than men. He says, “Women are regaining the function that is their birthright and, therefore, comes to them more naturally than it does men: to be a bridge between the manifested world and the Unmanifested.” It is Tolle’s belief that women, because of menses—which every month expose them to the collective female pain-body—possess an inherent biological spiritual advantage over men. “One of the best times [for enlightenment],” Tolle informs us, “is during menses.” Accordingly, Tolle believes that “Many women will enter the fully conscious state during that time.” Exposure to premenstrual tension, the awakening of the collective female pain-body, Tolle argues, can “then become not only a joyful and fulfilling expression of your womanhood but also a sacred time of transmutation, when you give birth to a new consciousness.” The end result, according to Tolle, is that “Your true nature then shines forth, both in its female aspect as the Goddess and in its transcendental aspect as the divine Being that you are beyond male and female duality.”

Given Tolle’s apotheosis of the menstrual cycle, you have to wonder how many men, after reading The Power of Now, have visited their family doctor and pleaded for a menses pill. In Tolle’s “Brave NOW World,” penis envy has been replaced by pussy envy.

Eckhart Tolle is correct when he says, “Through sustained attention and thus acceptance, there comes transmutation. The pain-body becomes transformed into radiant consciousness, just as a piece of wood, when placed in or near a fire, itself is transformed into fire.” But what Tolle doesn’t say is this: No particular biological phenomenon, such as menses, is necessary to intensify the experience of the pain-body and to help you transform it into radiant consciousness. The very act of Holy Communion will, by itself, automatically intensify your exposure to the pain-body, engendering your very own “dark night of the soul.” And when, in the context of your Holy Communion, you no longer recoil from your “dark night” of suffering, the Holy Spirit, the Baptist Fire, will spontaneously incinerate your pain-body and en-Light-en you with its radiant Energy.

Eckhart Tolle fails to address an important question: If women are closer to enlightenment than men, why didn’t the greatest avatars, Buddha and Jesus, also recognize this fact? If Jesus, for example, believed that women were inherently more spiritual than men and greater agents for the awakening process, wouldn’t he have chosen some—if not all—female apostles? And nowhere in their teachings do the Buddha or Jesus talk about the menstrual cycle as a spiritual advantage for women. It’s wonderful that Tolle refers to the words of Jesus and the Buddha throughout The Power of Now. But it’s lamentable that he fails to consider to them when the subject matter involves the enlightenment of women.

Eckhart Tolle, properly, preaches that the ultimate purpose of male-female relationships is mutual enlightenment. He, rightly, emphasizes the importance of “holding the space of intense presence” between you and your partner. By doing this, he says, “a permanent energy field of a pure and high frequency will arise between you,” and “no illusion, no pain, no conflict, nothing that is not you, can survive in it.”

Tolle’s description of the ideal male-female dynamic can be restated as follows: When your relationship to your partner is direct, immediate, and unobstructed, then, spontaneously, your interpersonal communion morphs into Holy Communion, as the Holy Spirit, the power of Now, blesses your union with its living Presence.

This living Presence, this “vortex of consciousness,” says Tolle, “represents the fulfillment of the divine, transpersonal purpose of your relationship.” In other words, all interpersonal relationships are but a doorway to transpersonal relationship with the Divine—Holy Communion. And when your communion, your enactment of oneness, is whole—not obstructed or fragmented—then the Divine can fully manifest itself in your life, enabling you to fulfill the real, or spiritual, purpose of your relationship(s).

Enlightenment and Relationship

When one is enlightened, does the need for a relationship with the opposite sex vanish?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no, depending on the individual’s karma. Some great sages, such as the Buddha and Ramana Maharshi, had no interest in sex or a male-female relationship. Others, such as the late Adi Da and the legendary Tibetan guru Marpa (1012–1097), continued to enjoy the company of the opposite sex after they awakened.

Tolle’s point of view is that enlightenment does not obviate the form identity, which is one-half of the whole. In other words, men and women are biologically incomplete, and in his words, “This incompleteness is felt as male-female attraction, the pull toward the opposite-energy polarity, no matter how conscious you are.”

But contrary to what Tolle says, many sages and saints throughout history have transcended the urge for a physical “other,” which renders his point of view less than accurate. The fact is that certain ascetically inclined beings simply, often spontaneously, lose all interest in sexual relationships.

Realistically speaking, however, for most of us still on the spiritual journey, the need for a significant other is not going to magically vanish any time soon, even if we meditate ten hours a day and live on tofu and veggies. Consequently, for us to feel complete on the outer level of our being, we require the company of our opposite-energy polarity.

But Being, as Tolle points out, has no needs. Therefore, as he puts it, “It is perfectly possible for an enlightened person, if the male or female polarity is not met, to feel a lack of completeness on the outer level of his or her being, yet at the same time be totally complete, fulfilled, and at peace within.” In other words, although desires, including sexual ones, may continue to arise in an enlightened being’s mind, the Light of Consciousness, the radiance of his Self, outshines them, and these surface “disturbances” do not affect his underlying wholeness and peace.

How does being gay impact one’s spiritual quest? Is it a positive or a negative?

If you read nothing but the Great Traditions—the classic Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, and hermetic Christian texts—you wouldn’t even know that homosexuality exists. The ancients had great insights into Ultimate Reality, but relative to mundane reality, they were terribly deficient, offering little wisdom relative to specific matters, such as homosexuality.

Consequently, present-day spiritual teachers are left to their own devices when it comes to discussing controversial matters such as homosexuality. And most New Age gurus, unlike most conventional religious preachers, have no problem with homosexuality and same-sex marriage, sanctioning them as acceptable alternatives to straight life and male-female conjugality.

But the incontrovertible fact remains: gay people are queers, people with a sexual proclivity that defies the biological order: reproduction of the species. And as such, they are abnormal—not members of an equal but merely alternative “lifestyle,” but members of a sexually “dysfunctional” group. Even though this is so, I want to make it clear that I have no problem whatsoever with gay people, and in my opinion, they are entitled to all the same rights as straight people.

Because gay people are social outsiders, they are forced, individually and as a group, to confront mainstream society from a position outside the norm. As outsiders, they are blessed in the sense that they must live and think outside the box, which frees their minds from the disinformation and propaganda foisted upon the public by the government and the mainstream media. Moreover, as necessarily creative outsiders, they are, as Tolle points out, more likely to be open to the spiritual dimension of existence than are straight people. Thus, homosexuality can serve as an inducement to enlightenment. But as Tolle also points out, if a gay individual gets egoically caught up in his uniqueness, in his lifestyle and subculture, then instead of serving as an advantage, homosexuality can turn into a hindrance.

Is it necessary to have a good relationship with yourself and love yourself before you can have a fulfilling relationship with another person?

No. Narcissists love themselves, but hardly lead the world in fulfilling relationships. The keys to a fulfilling relationship are good (astral-etheric) chemistry and common interests. If your energy field is compatible with your partner’s, you’ll both feel good when you’re together, and if you share common interests, the relationship will be mentally stimulating.

Eckhart Tolle doesn’t believe that it is necessary have a good relationship with yourself. In fact, he doesn’t believe that it is necessary to have a relationship with yourself at all. He opines: “But do you need to have a relationship with yourself at all? Why can’t you just be yourself? When you have a relationship with yourself, you have split yourself into two: ‘I’ and ‘myself,’ subject and object. That mind-created duality is the root cause of all unnecessary complexity, of all problems and conflict in your life.”

To my mind, Tolle’s dismissal of the need for a relationship with yourself is absurd. If you don’t have a relationship with yourself, you can’t know and understand yourself. And if you can’t know and understand yourself, you are less than human. What separates us humans from lower forms of life is our mental ability to introspect, to split ourselves into two, so we can gain insights into our respective physical, mental, and emotional natures.

Life is relationship, but if you cannot split yourself into two, you cannot understand relationships. All knowledge is gained through a subject-object split, through mind-created duality. But if you are a via negativa mystic like Tolle, you will choose to see the (necessarily) dualistic mind as the root cause of all problems and conflicts in your life rather than as a marvelous tool for understanding yourself, others, and relationships. What Tolle and his ilk fail to acknowledge is that conflicts in nature exist independent of the mind. For example, wild animals regularly fight over downed carcasses, territory, and the alpha role. Likewise, much of the conflict experienced by humans is biologically induced rather than just mentally created. In other words, the human mind recognizes conflict, but it doesn’t necessarily create it. Yes, it can create conflicts, but it can also resolve them—even when it isn’t the cause of them. In short, the evidence does not support Tolle’s indictment of the mind as the root cause of all conflicts in human beings’ lives.

Socrates insists that the unexamined life isn’t worth living. But Tolle considers the examined (or self-reflective) life a curse. He says that upon enlightenment, “The split caused by self-reflective consciousness is healed, its curse removed.” Who is right? Examine the historical social impact of religious and political dogmas that have, implicitly or explicitly, preached against an examined life. Then decide for yourself if self-reflective consciousness is a curse or an integral form of awareness that should be cultivated by members of an enlightened (or free-thinking and progressive) society.

Real spiritual life is all about relationship. As Adi Da says, “The [spiritual] discipline is relationship.” Relationship is simply another word for communion. Holy Communion is simply an ontological (or radical existential) relationship with Being Itself. But prior to establishing an ontological relationship with Being, you must establish an epistemic (or knowing) relationship with yourself, the manifest complex of becoming, or flux, that you are. In other words, before you can “know” (or recognize) your Self, you must know (or cognize) your self. And you cannot profoundly know your self without self-reflectively examining yourself via a dualistic relationship with yourself. Establishing a direct and immediate relationship with your self not only enables you to gain profound insight into your self-event, it also positions you to receive the Holy Spirit. And this “position to receive the Holy Spirit” will morph into empowered Holy Communion (or Divine Relationship) once the Spirit “touches” you.





{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

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Abe August 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

You begin by answering that spirituality is no cure for relationship difficulties in that spiritual people have the same problems as everyone else, but then go on to say that holy communion will (or can) resolve relationship problems, including the “need” for a relationship. Maybe the distinction is made clear in a different reading, but it seems unclear or contradictory. Are you saying most merely “spiritual” people (who have quotidian relationship problems) need to work on practicing plugged-in presence, and then their relationship issues will resolve?

I think you need to apply common sense to Tolle’s advice about unconditional acceptance – he is not saying one should abide rape or murder, obviously. Your arguments to declare his advice “utter New Age nonsense” are pure straw-man. I’m sure he’d clarify that he means accepting the parts of your partner you want to find fault with, not the things you like. I’d give him a pass (as you do later on) with viewing his advice as fine “up to a point”.

The idea that testosterone causes variance in male intelligence is not scientifically supported. It’s true that, for complex reasons, across many measures (including intelligence) men show more variance than women, but I also am skeptical of the notion that only men are capable of genius. Certainly women are capable of mental weakness of any measure. And Ayn Rand as the only true female genius? That welfare queen author of some of the most pedestrian “classic” novels of the 20th century? I know you refer to her philosophy, not her fiction, but still an odd choice for those who are not Randians or objectivists, which most people are not. I don’t consider Alan Greenspan or Paul Ryan luminaries of our age, though Nathaniel Branden had some interesting Rand-influenced ideas.

I agree that Tolle’s notions of divine femininity are silly – women don’t all have the same experience of menstruation to begin with.

If you really look at the work of a Maryam Mirzakhani or Marie Curie, I think it’s clear that they were extremely accomplished and able to reach conclusions that only a handful of men would even fully comprehend. If you want to limit the definition of “genius” to a very rarefied group that had a visionary and/or transformative effect on society and our understanding of the world (such as Newton, Einstein, Hawking) then you can certainly include Rosalind Franklin or perhaps Ada Lovelace. If you include exemplary musicians like Bach and Beethoven then you can likely include someone like Joni Mitchell. I don’t even particularly care for her music, but can recognize it as very accomplished and something that essentially no mind other than her own is capable of approaching creating.

This is just off the top of my head – an exhaustive analysis would produce many more names. Were there even female sages in ages past who wrote spiritual tomes? In researching this I found that a Thai woman is credited with writing an important dialogue previously attributed to a man, but that was only in the last century. The reason women’s names don’t get the same accolades – are often completely forgotten by history as opposed to (mostly white) men – is probably partially explainable by simple sexism – which you reveal the Buddha was clearly afflicted with. Women are angry, envious, passionate and stupid? And men (collectively) aren’t? I know they didn’t have newspapers back then, but it’s still odd to read that someone as smart as the Buddha could say such stupid things.


L. Ron Gardner August 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Spirituality will not make incompatible people compatible. At best, it can help them live together more copacetically. Plugged-in presence is no interpersonal relationship panacea, and I don’t push it as such.

Tolle should not have used the term “unconditional acceptance” if he did not mean it.

Rand was not a “welfare queen.” She took social security, which I will also take, because it is not an entitlement program, but one that people are forced to pay into.

IQ statistics inform us that the ratio of men to women with IQs over 145 is 8/1. Because there are so few high-IQ women, and the few high-IQ women are testosterone-lacking, seminally creative female geniuses are few and far between.


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