on 30 October 2013
I will not go as far as to say 'I have read it all' but trust me when I tell you that as far as spiritual stuff is concerned I have spent many a hours doing my research and investigation. From Gurjieff, Suffism, Buddhism, you name it. Then I came across Ekhart Tolle. I read 'The power of now' with great interest and so far I read it 5 times learning something new every time. My intention is not to compare the two, to say 'A new earth' is better or anything like that. What struck me about this book is the way it is written. I would sit on the train, read one sentence then start thinking about it. What is difficult is to explain this feeling of 'resonates right' I would get every time. I cannot put my finger on it, I cannot put it into words but what I was reading just resonates right within me. As sure as I am that after tonight tomorrow morning will come I was equally sure that what is written in this book is just right. I have the feeling that Ekhart somehow found a way to sneak into my head and uncover secrets of my ego and pain body that were only known to myself. What this leads me to believe is that ego and pain body are universal concepts and not pertinent to one person only, we are all their victims. I would go through stages of consciously forcing myself to be intensely present in the now (until ego yet again takes over) and my life would be infinitely more calm, I would think more clearly, I would sleep better and so on. Unfortunately the enemy is still there and it would always manage to win as soon as I would drop my guard for even a second. I am only getting an occasional glimpse into blissfful state of my life lead when liberated from ego, even if for short periods of time. I don't even dare imagine how incredible human existence trully is when lived permanently liberated from ego. I cannot possibly put it into words how much I love this book.
on 19 October 2009
I am going to keep this short. For years I have been reading spiritual books, trying the exercises, doing the things to bring the learned theoretical information into my life. Time and time again, it didn't work, I was still depressed, annoyed, lost, etc, etc etc. This book is the first book I have ever read that actually enabled me to see and practice what it said, quite quickly, without lists to guardian angels, thinking about what I want, analyzing the past, changing beliefs and planning for a brighter and more vibrant future. The bottom line is, I didn't know what I wanted and I still don't know. Most books ask you to make these goals, to plan ahead, but that is not really possible if you don't know. This book asks you for the opposite: Wide awake now, here, alert, attentive and conscious and then let's see what life chooses to do through you.
I admit... I had my reservations about Tolle and his material. When I first saw the man, he talked way too slowly for my liking and I could have sworn he was half-mole. And after reading the book description and some of the reviews; I had an uneasy feeling that this was going to be a lot of spiritual hokum that tells me that my discomfort was due to my furniture in the wrong place or that I don't cuddle enough fluffy animals, and that the path to happiness is paved with daily 5-hour meditations where I admire my feet, so that one day I can shoot laser beams from my hands.
Anyhoo... I'm glad my close friend persisted in his recommendations.
I won't lie: This book can be abstract in places and is very spiritually-centred, so will not be for everyone... however, the spiritual element is incredibly practical. As much as my head imploded in some of the later chapters, his explanation of the ego and pain body are utterly brilliant. (In short: The ego is the "individualistic" element that seeks superiority/being unique, be it by showing off, playing the "hard-done-by-victim" or actions that purposefully make us 'different'. The pain body is a network of emotions that help to 'fuel' the ego. How lovely). What I really admire is how much Tolle talks you through the process of weakening their influences. With most self-help books, the tutor will generally explain their solution and just leave it at that... here, Tolle almost has a built-in FAQ, and explains a lot of the mistakes, potential problems and general things to expect when starting out. If I'm honest, I've found this a lot more practical than the majority of other self-help tactics out there... things like affirmations (the art of saying nice things about yourself) seem like short-term fixes that don't hold water when the going gets tough. Here, I'm seeing a lot more strength. (For anyone else who's read the book, I've found the phrase "The ego feels/thinks..." to be very useful. Of course I don't say this out loud...)
In terms of whether this book is for "you"... hmm...
Personally, if you're in a situation where you seem to be "losing sense of who you are", and fluctuate between highs and lows almost like a minor form of bi-polar depression (one minute you're a hero, next thing you know you're nothing), and can feel that you can handle a decent level of abstract psychological/spiritual ideas... then you're probably ready and should give this a spin!
on 10 February 2011
Eckhart Tolle says in his life-changing book "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" that all suffering is caused by our "ego." The ego is the identification with our thoughts, emotions, memories, interpretations and opinions. It is our involuntary stream of thinking, reactions, stories, resentments and comparisons. Our ego identity can also be our work, possessions, appearance and accomplishments.
Tolle says the ego is the identification with a role to protect and enhance ourselves. The ego cannot distinguish between the situation and our interpretation or reaction. The ego is never at peace with the present as satisfaction is always in the future. The ego's negativity and suffering are motivated by self interest and short sightedness.
Armed with Tolle's teachings I began observing my ego in action. To my dismay I saw how my ego always wanted the next thing to react against, to feel annoyed, disturbed or outraged. I realized I was addicted to anger and upset. I had no idea my constant reacting against everything strengthened my ego and sense of self importance. Each time I complained it made me right and the other person wrong.
As I became more aware I saw there was something in me that took pleasure in negativity. My ego was a master of selective perception and distorted interpretations. The moment I noticed this there was a shift from ego to awareness. I became more aware of the difference between the event and my reaction to the event. In time I discovered the best way to differentiate between fact and opinion was not through my thinking but my awareness.
Tolle says I'm not unique. The collective ego of countries keep grievances to fuel their endless cycle of violence. Throughout history many religions believed they were in sole possession of the Truth and killed those that did not believe their story. Their truth was considered more important than human life.
When I stopped feeding my ego's illusions I felt a profound joy and connectedness with all of creation. As my victim identity diminished I stopped seeking people's attention and sympathy. I became more accepting of what happens.
Instead of waiting for some change in the future I now enjoy the present. The joy does not come from what I do but flows into what I do. My new awareness allowed the world to become a mirror. The more I loved without conditions the more loving the world appeared. The spiritual realization I am not my thoughts, feelings, body or story but pure consciousness set me free.
The other Tolle teachings I found helpful include the awareness of how the ego patterns we react to in others are usually the same patterns in ourselves. How the ego constantly tries to protect and enlarge itself by looking at the world as "us" versus "them." How the ego needs enemies to feel right and superior. What we react to in others we strengthen in ourselves. How the ego sees each person as separate and views them as inferior or superior.
How all suffering is ego centered. Ego uses our mind to resist life as it is. The more we make our thoughts, beliefs, story and identity the Truth the more we cut ourselves off from the spiritual dimension within. Spirituality has nothing to do with what we believe and everything to do with our state of consciousness. Since consciousness transcends thought it is the dimension within ourselves that is infinitely more vast than thought.
The Holy Spirit is the Truth and it is within all of us. This is what Jesus really meant when he said, "I am the way and the truth and the life." Our essence, the Holy Spirit, is the TRUE identity of all humankind and all of creation. When we touch the Christ Within all our actions and relationships reflect the oneness of all life.
Our REAL identity is not the voice in our head but our awareness prior to the thoughts, the space in which our thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions happen.
Awakening is the realization that who we are is the oneness of life, we are the manifestation of all things, experiences and personalities. It requires a shift of perception from seeing ourselves as an isolated individual to being in everything, everyone and everywhere. It is the realization that we are universal spirit or consciousness. There is no separation anywhere in the the universe. It is a glimpse beyond the veil of duality. When we have no ego we become a conscious Presence, we are not concerned about how others see us, and become one with Life itself.
The way to break the ego's negative spell is is to become aware of the ego. Our identity will then shift from ego to awareness. Awareness grows as the ego shrinks. Alertness allows us to detect subtle negativity such as impatience, irritation and nervousness. True self esteem comes when we realize we create our own suffering and rise above the ego's conditioning. Not reacting to our ego is the best way to dissolve our ego. To not react we must see the other person's behavior as coming from their ego. It is not personal. When we look passed the ego to their spiritual essence they too have an opportunity to become more conscious.
Non-reaction is forgiveness. It is not a weakness but a strength. Non-reaction does not mean we accept hurtful behavior. There is no ego in informing someone of a mistake so it can be put right. The key is to make a neutral statement, stick to the facts and not complain. Complaining serves the ego not change.
Reading a "A New Earth" helped me stop waiting for some change in the future and enjoy the present. The joy does not come from what I do but flows into what I do. My awareness allows the world to become a mirror. The more I love without conditions the more loving the world appears. The spiritual realization I am not my thoughts, feelings, body or story but pure consciousness has set me free.
on 9 March 2006
"A New Earth: awakening to your life's purpose" is both deeply profound and wonderfully liberating. Tolle is particularly well known for "The Power of Now" and "Stillness Speaks", yet this new book takes his spiritual teaching to an altogether different level. In a simple and profound way he is able to illuminate several of the deepest truths revealed by teachers over the past 2,500 years. His characterisation of the ego mind, its obsession with form and content, the accumulation of the individual pain-body, and the way in which humans have become so identified with the incessant mental chatter - "lost in thought" - is brilliant. Tolle acknowledges that words can never be adequate to describe the liberation that arises from awakening into consciousness, and our connection to both the space within and the universe of space, yet his ability to convey our ever-present access to Source and the joy of just Being is wonderful. There is nothing to do in this book - no activities, no exercises, no checklists - just a shift in consciousness that lets you come alive. I'm not sure any of this would have made much sense to me ten, or even five years ago. Today it's absolutely mind-blowing at this stage of my spiritual journey.
on 25 March 2008
I love the Power of Now but I think A New Earth is even more profound and lucid. I find that this book - like all Eckhart's books, but this one has it even stronger - has an almost uncanny power. Somehow you can feel the wisdom it contains seeping into you as you read and taking you a little closer to realisation. This book gives you a profound understanding of how the ego works, and after reading it you are never quite the same person again. We are amazingly lucky that Eckhart possesses such an acute intellectual mind with an enlightened spiritual state. (The two don't often go together.) I would also recommend Steve Taylor's wonderful and inspiring book Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of our Minds, which Eckhart describes as 'one of the best books on spiritual awakening I have come across. An important contribution to the global shift in consciousness.' Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of Our Minds
My ego has real problems with this book! It doesn't want to really believe that the 'normal' way of living is, in fact, a hollow sham, based on illusion. But it has had to admit that there is a ring of truth about this book which raises it above the normal, self-help pap that lines bookstore shelves.
I doubt whether I shall ever be able to implement the way of being that Tolle exhorts. However, even to allow a small awareness of something beyond the usual rat-race, pushing and shoving, grabbing and consuming can only be a good and helpful thing. I loved reading this book - and I'm sure that it is one that I will read again and again. Thoroughly recommended.
on 27 November 2005
In short a brilliant book, I have read a lot of books on this type of subject, and a lot of them are heavy going or difficult to grasp.
For me that is the beauty of this book it is very easy to read and understand the point of what is being said.
The author shows us clearly how we create unhappiness in our lives, and even better, shows us how to change the habitual way we see the world, and ourselves within it, to bring the happiness back.
A highly recommended read.
For what it is worth, my advise to anyone reading this type of book is to read carefully, ensuring each word and sentence is absorbed and understood, if need be go back and read a sentence again and again until it 'sinks in'.
Because, if you are like me when you are reading, you can end up skating over entire pages, which you have read but not absorbed, ultimately missing the point, which would be a shame for this truely enlightening book.
on 23 August 2006
A manual for the 21st century. As the author says "we are a species that has lost its way" and are completely trapped in the rat race of our thoughts, judgements and constant analysis of events, rather than directly experiencing life. Every chapter guides and encourages you towards a return to an awareness of the miraculous life within you, and gives practical pointers on how to access and maintain this awareness. I wholeheartedly reccommend this book, it will lead you to joy.
on 25 April 2006
Although I love the philosophy behind Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" I have tried to complete it several times but not yet succeeded. In contrast, I have devoured every word of "A New Earth". It delivered many powerful insights for me and the fundamental messages of recognising and letting go of the Ego and either embracing acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm at all times have really struck a deep chord. I echo a fellow reviewer's comments that sentences are often best read and then reread to really let them land.
This will be one of my all time companions to be read over and over. The messages are simple, profound and ultimately life changing.