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  • >>Rich Fernandez: Hello everyone.

  • >>audience: Hi.

  • >>Rich Fernandez : Welcome. I'm Rich Fernandez from the Learning and Development Team here

  • at Google. So about six months ago we wrote a letter to Eckhart Tolle inviting him to

  • come here to Google. "Eckhart, dude, come to Google," we said.

  • [laughter]

  • Well, something along those lines. We make some of the world's most valued and most used

  • technology. We aspire to do epic stuff and to make a difference in the world. And yet

  • even as we create this dazzling technology, we wanna be sure to pay attention to our own

  • inner technology. We wanna ask ourselves the searching and far ranging questions about

  • how we're getting on in the world. As we optimize our technology how can we also optimize our

  • lives so that we can be our best selves?

  • All of this is a lot easier said than done. We operate in a hyper-connected world always

  • on and we go at it with great pace and intensity. The urgent question of the day is how we can

  • take an intelligent approach to our work and our lives with all of the demands of our time

  • and attention.

  • Amidst this flood of information how can we discern the signal from the noise in order

  • to access and act on what is most essential to each of us?

  • Eckhart Tolle takes a refreshingly contemporary approach to the question of what it means

  • to live a meaningful and inspired life and with great intelligence. And in so being,

  • how we can each experience a great sense of clarity, peace, and the joy of being alive.

  • So we're very lucky that Eckhart accepted our invitation and said yes to come here today.

  • He knows our ethos that we have a profound interest in being our best selves and doing

  • meaningful and inspired work. We seek to change the world for the better and he understands

  • that we understand that in order to transform the world we must first render the necessary

  • transformation within ourselves.

  • So Eckhart is here today to assist and suggest with some things for us to consider.

  • Eckhart Tolle has written bestselling books including The Power of Now and A New Earth

  • and they've sold millions of copies worldwide and have been translated into 33 languages.

  • He's widely regarded as one of the foremost teachers on the subject of wisdom and conscious

  • living.

  • Joining Eckhart in conversation today is our Vice President of Product, Bradley Horowitz.

  • Now when we proposed to Bradley that he might engage in a dialog with Eckhart as part of

  • this tech talk he was really excited which makes sense because Bradley's cool like that.

  • [laughter]

  • Bradley also helped create Google+, Google Apps, and Google+ which we all love.

  • So without further ado please join me in welcoming Eckhart Tolle and Bradley Horowitz as they

  • discuss what it means to live with meaning, purpose, and wisdom in the digital age.

  • [applause]

  • >>Eckhart Tolle: Thank you.

  • [applause]

  • >>Bradley Horowitz: So on behalf of Google and all the many Googlers here and those tuning

  • in from our overflow rooms, welcome it's great to have you here. And it's very special to

  • have you here. I understand that you don't often visit corporations and so this has been

  • a journey we've taken together over the course of the day.

  • Eckhart had a moment to meet with some of us earlier and we found that really valuable.

  • And one of the things we discussed this morning was wisdom and the difference between information

  • and wisdom. Google has a mission to organize the world's information and I think if you

  • think about the hierarchy there's signal and data and information and knowledge and at

  • the very top of the pyramid is wisdom. And I wondered if you could comment a little bit

  • on what you understand to be the difference between information and wisdom.

  • >>Eckhart Tolle: Good question. Let's kind of set that aside for just one moment

  • >>Bradley Horowitz: Let's do that.

  • >>Eckhart Tolle: to say how happy I am to be here, how impressed I am by what I have

  • seen, and by the people who work here, and the general energy field in the company. And

  • if you have come, the many young people here, if you've come straight from college then

  • I'm sure you don't know how lucky you are until --

  • [laughter]

  • you start working for another company.

  • [laughter]

  • >>Bradley Horowitz: [laughs]

  • >>Eckhart Tolle: Perhaps everybody who works here one would, as they would say in India

  • "You must have very good Karma to be working here."

  • openness of people that's reflected in the structure of the company, the way things are

  • arranged, the little rooms that you have for quietness, for meditation, the cafeterias

  • and all that is just beyond belief so --

  • I also experience an openness in the people who work here and far less ego because many

  • companies are still predominately run by very big egos. I'm not saying that everybody here's

  • entirely free of ego yet, but --

  • [laughter]

  • much less so than in many other places. So it's wonderful to be here and if my book sales

  • ever decline and I need a job --

  • [laughter]

  • I hope you will, you probably won't but --

  • [laughter]

  • because first of all I have no computer skills --

  • [laughter]

  • and secondly I'm too old --

  • [laughter]

  • since the average age here is probably about 30.

  • So your question was important?

  • [laughter]

  • I remember it, I remember it.

  • >>Bradley Horowitz: I don't. [laughs]

  • >>Eckhart Tolle: [laughs]

  • [laughter]

  • Knowledge, information, and wisdom, how do they relate?

  • Of course with the technological revolution, information revolution, digital revolution,

  • whatever you call it there's an enormous amount of knowledge available to everybody. Almost

  • the whole of the world's knowledge and there's the interconnectedness between people and

  • so on --

  • that's all very good of course to have all that accessible to you. There's a danger though

  • that you get drowned in too much information and too much knowledge. And by drowned I mean

  • that the mind gets bombarded with an excess of input and therefore you miss something

  • that is essential for a human life to be truly fulfilled and that is the place of peace,

  • inner peace, or stillness; the place that one could describe as the source of all intelligence

  • that many people don't actually don't even realize exists within them.

  • So I'd like to just talk briefly about that, that really we're talking about the core of

  • what spirituality means. Spirituality is not having a particular belief structure, is not

  • subscribing to a particular set of thoughts. Spirituality is discovering, a dimension within

  • yourself, that is we can either say deeper or higher than the continuous movement of

  • thinking.

  • And of course all this information and knowledge is experienced in you as thought. So the thinking

  • mind has always been active for many thousands of years in humans but now it's even more

  • active than before because it get energized by the incredible increase in input. Before

  • all you had was simple, the simple sensory input in your immediate surroundings then

  • later came books, so you have the added input of that. And then gradually came the mass

  • media, and now this incredible revolution of information technology, computers, and

  • so on.

  • So it energizes that movement of thought that's taking place in every human which in itself

  • is not necessarily a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing and self-destructive thing if

  • that is all you experience inside you in your consciousness. If all you ever experience

  • is that, I call it sometimes mental noise, then you --

  • begin to derive your identity from the thoughts in your head; what the thoughts tell you about

  • yourself, and you are trapped in that identity that is based on identification with thinking.

  • All spiritual teachings point to the possibility of finding something in you that is deeper

  • than thinking; a space, a stillness that's always there.

  • And the informational, excess of information you can only successfully deal with that if

  • you have a balance in your consciousness between using your mind to absorb information, to

  • put out new information, to work on the information that you have taken in, input, if you have

  • a balance between that and something that is deeper than thought in you.

  • And really instead of giving you new knowledge here I don't want to do that because I don't

  • want to add to the knowledge that you're taking in anyway, it's far more than you ever need.

  • So instead of giving you knowledge here I'd like to suggest that you experience at first

  • hand in yourself that place of, I call it sometimes a presence, where you are alert,

  • conscious, but not

  • thinking.

  • And every creative person has some access to that realm. If you have a truly creative

  • insight you have to go to that place that is deeper than analytical thinking. Analytic

  • thinking itself or processing information is not creative. So even to find a creative,

  • a new solution to a problem in your life requires some creative insight. So whether it's a problem

  • in your work situation or your personal life or something that you need to build or do

  • and you have come to a dead end or you want to create something, whatever it is a work

  • of art or a new system for the computer, I don't the expressions for that, you need to

  • go to the place where creativity arises. And every human who brings, who is creative has

  • some access to that even if they don't know it.

  • But it's not only the, it's not only the place where creativity arises, it's also the place

  • that gives sanity to your life to find a place of stillness, peace, aliveness, where you're

  • not burdened by most, a lot of the time, unnecessary mental noise. So when you do start thinking

  • again it actually can be more productive.

  • So where is that place? How do you find that place? If it's there in everyone how do I

  • realize that within myself? That's really the question.

  • I can just suggest to you three or four entry points into that state of consciousness and

  • after I've done that we can carry on the conversation. [laughs]

  • [laughter]

  • A very simple entry point, and this is why my first book is called The Power of Now,

  • is the realization that your entire life consists of the present moment and only the present

  • moment ever.

  • Now most people perhaps they in some abstract way they know that but they cannot sense or

  • feel the truth of that and I'd like to invite you to actually sense and feel the truth of

  • what I'm saying which not, even if there's a great philosopher here he cannot possibly

  • argue, he or she cannot argue with this statement that whatever you experience ever is present

  • moment. Your entire life unfolds in the present moment; that's all you ever have.

  • Most people don't live as if this were true they don't, they live as if the opposite almost

  • were true, as if the future moment were more important always than the next one. And that,

  • that happens because of excessive identification with thinking because usually the thoughts

  • are about the next thing, the next and the next or what could happen or might happen.

  • So if you can just come to this realization, "Well, this is all I ever have and ever experienced

  • is this moment this is undoubtedly true, there is nothing else ever," and at that moment

  • when you fully realize that you can only realize that an alertness arises in you. "Wow." You

  • become alert to one could almost call it the presence of the power of this moment, the

  • power of life itself in this present moment which consists of, yes it consists of sense

  • perceptions --

  • it also consists of, well, let's look what is this present moment? This present moment

  • is this room, what we perceive here visually, what we see, hear, , the lights, the totality

  • of the room. So let's become alert so that we can really perceive that and be on to that

  • to which we perceive in this room. Is there anything else about, that we could call the

  • present moment?

  • Well, if you look deeply enough, yes, there is also the inner energy field in your body

  • that you can actually feel, that you're alive in your legs, your arms, your feet. It's also

  • part of the present moment to sense the energy field that pervades the physical body that's

  • also something you can feel.

  • So there's external sense perceptions and there's the feeling the aliveness inside your

  • body. And if you're totally in thinking you can't feel that at all; you don't feel alive

  • you're only alive in the upper story of the house, your head. The entire house you don't

  • inhabit then. [chuckles] So you inhabit, you begin to inhabit the entire body. This becomes

  • part of your experience of the present moment so sense perceptions yes.

  • And there is an aliveness even to artificial light 'cause you might say, "I prefer sunlight

  • okay, me too, but there's a beauty and aliveness even to artificial light. And there's a beauty

  • and aliveness that is usually overlooked that's in the texture of this chair here or whatever

  • you're wearing and certainly the flowers.

  • And suddenly you become aware of that and that's not all yet we're just going into the

  • present moment. So you have that externals and you suddenly appreciate the aliveness

  • of all the things that surround you.

  • Other people have to take acids to get there.

  • [laughter]

  • So you don't need that.

  • [laughter]

  • You know with acid people sometimes they look at a teapot and they say, "Wow --

  • [laughter]

  • oh my God."

  • [laughter]

  • But you don't need to do that just be present and then you appreciate the beauty even of

  • a mass-produced teapot.

  • [laughter]

  • If it's handmade and hand painted even nicer, but even a mass-produced teapot has a presence

  • there, it's there and it's an alive energy field. Every physicist will tell you it's

  • not a dead teapot, its molecules and atoms in continuous movement.

  • Everything is vitally alive and you miss that if you're totally trapped in the mental noise

  • all the time, taking in information. Present moment, sense perceptions. So the inner energy

  • field of the body and then what else is there to the present moment?

  • Okay then you have to go become really alert and the next thing that you notice about the

  • present moment is really the deeper level of the present moment it's not something that

  • arises in your consciousness as does the table and this room and even the inner energy field

  • of the body. These are all things, objects that arise in your consciousness but if you

  • go deeper even into the present moment what you encounter is the most incredible secret

  • of human life which is you encounter the fact that --

  • at the bottom of it all you are conscious.

  • There is the presence that you are without which you couldn't perceive anything; you

  • couldn't perceive this room and you couldn't feel the body without that consciousness that

  • you essentially are which Jesus by the way called the light of the world. He said to

  • his Disciples, "You are the light of the world." And these Disciples were not special people

  • they were fishermen so certainly He wasn't telling them that they are VIPs.

  • [laughter]

  • They were the opposite of VIPs. And yet he said, "You are the light of the world." He

  • also said it about himself but he also said it about others.

  • And so you suddenly discover that essentially at the most essential level the essence of

  • who you are is consciousness but consciousness isn't something you can say, "Ah, there it

  • is," because consciousness cannot become an object to itself, it's the eternal subject,

  • the I am that I am of the Old Testament when God is asked for His or Her name God says,

  • "I am that I am." That is the essential identity of all beings.

  • So when we talk about the present moment we talk about different levels of the present

  • moment from sense perceptions to the feeling of aliveness in the inner body to the realization

  • that ultimately what we call the present moment and the light of consciousness are one and

  • the same because that's the thing that always remains.

  • That consciousness you can sense it as yourself right now the presence that you are even beyond

  • physical presence and that is the alertness, that is the realization that is sometimes

  • called awakening. And that is the place of also of stillness where you get out of the

  • mental noise and that is the source place of creativity, that is intelligence, that