Eckhart Tolle on Group Work

Nov 25, 2009 by     No Comments    Posted under: Thousands of Stories

I’m currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, which he wrote as a sort of guide to spiritual enlightenment by means of transcending the analytical mind and the fearful ego.

Go ahead, giggle. Just don’t ask me what I was thinking when I bought it. I really don’t know. I love reading classic fiction (I have this weird soft spot for dystopian lit), so this was naturally a huge stretch for me. But hey, let’s broaden our horizons, right?

After struggling through the first thirty pages or so, I was quickly inclined to agree with the critics who argue that Tolle’s book is “mumbo jumbo.” My mind  was trying hard to grasp the principles, to put meaning to them. Naturally, I failed (Tolle claims we must abandon such attempts to explain things if we are to truly understand his concept).

As it stands now, I’m a little over halfway through the book. And even though 75% of the content is still lost on me in terms of application, there was one particular passage that resonated:

“A group of people coming together in a state of presence generates a collective energy field of great intensity. It not only raises the degree of presence in each member of the group but also helps to free the collective human consciousness from its current state of mind dominance. This will make the state of presence increasingly more accessible to individuals.” (pg. 106, The Power of Now)

Here, in a book that has nothing to do with the performing arts, we find a veritable golden nugget of wisdom that serves as a wonderful reminder to actors and improvisers alike! When you are performing in an ensemble, you are one being in a group of several with a common purpose. You must, and will, become one entity onstage if you wish to succeed in the truest sense. The best results come once you quiet the noise of your own mind and tune into the vibrational frequency that you all create together. It is this frequency that will guide you in performance.

Recall a group warm-up game you may have played before rehearsals or shows. The ensemble stands in a close-knit circle and everyone closes their eyes. Beginning at “One,” the performers take turns saying numbers consecutively all the way up to “Twenty.” If two performers say the same number at the same time, the entire process starts over from “One”.

The idea behind this game is one that Tolle preaches throughout his book: Don’t think ahead to what number you want to say next, and don’t dwell on a number that you said or any mistake that was made. Instead, simply clear your mind, remain in the present moment with your teammates, and be ready to speak when the impulse to do so hits. That impulse is the group mind you’ve created assuring you that the time is right! You are all following the same grand vibration.

Speaking from experience, I can guarantee that if you carry this principle of “presence” with you into a performance, you will be part of a truly incredible show and be one of the lucky few to truly “Be” onstage.

And that, my friends, is one hell of a high.

~JVB