I’m still reviewing notes from Ch. 1 of Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. The chapter, entitled The Flowering of Human Consciousness, starts with an “Evocation” in which Tolle makes the suggestion that the first flowering plant appearing on the face of the earth might be considered as a type of enlightenment of the earlier life form: “we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.” (Tolle, p.3)
With the same idea in mind he compares the first bird to its reptilian progenitors, writing: “They didn’t become better at crawling or walking, but transcended crawling or walking… It is more than an evolutionary progression: it also implies a discontinuity … a leap to an entirely different level of Being… a lessening of materiality.”
And I think we ought to be properly astonished at the biological fact that these two beautiful and ethereal classes – flowers and birds – arose from the hereditary soil of non-flowering and non-flying ancestries.
It’s usually a mistake to press an analogy too far, but I think Tolle would agree that the state of human enlightenment can be quite unexpected by those to whom it comes. And I am not referring to “suddenness” – what is sudden in enlightenment is the final collapse of all the disinformation we have received about what enlightenment should be. I think it must be the beauty and simplicity of enlightenment which takes people by surprise. It is Spirit, it is Love, and just so, as some will tell you, you’ve really “had it in you” all along the way (as in, “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you”). But Spirit and Love are not only expansive, creative, productive, they are utterly non-coercive; they simply don’t come forth, don’t “flower” in unfavorable climes, in the presence of selfish me, etc., and my narrative of righteousness. Or so I notice.