Book Review: A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Eckart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose was one of the first deeply insightful books I read on the plight of the individual and why suffering arises. It set me on a deep rabbit-hole of Mr. Tolle’s YouTube videos, helped me better understand thought, and played a role in me attending my first meditation retreat.
The individual and thus mankind is imperfect but perfectly so. It’s a fallacy to think that mankind over the individual needs to change. Human unconsciousness of the individual is our greatest challenge and our greatest purpose is to awaken. Unconsciousness, suffering, identification with form, and seeking expansion through form are a necessary phase of life. Herein begins the awakening process: the cultivation of present moment awareness, dis-identification with form and the shedding of the ego. The greatest disfunction of the individual (and thus the world) is that we look to the future for salvation. Nothing is going to make us free. That freedom lies only the present moment.
AWESOME QUOTES FROM THE BOOK
Ego is identification with form, primarily thought form. This results in total unawareness of my connectedness to the whole.
Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work. The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming. The only measure of progress becomes more. That is the fate of the ego.
Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.
The illusory self: The self or I is merely sounds produced by the vocal chords. But there’s so much deeper meaning that these vocal chords can’t explain.
Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. You know you need this experience because this is the experience you’re having this moment.
The ego is neither right or wrong, it’s just unconscious.
Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego.
Egos only differ on the surface, deep down they are all the same: they live on identification and separation.
When we live through the mind made self, comprised of thought and emotion, that is the ego. The basis for your identity is precarious because thought and emotion are by their very nature are ephemeral, fleeting. So every ego is continuously struggling for survival trying to protect and enlarge itself. To a uphold the “I-thought” it needs the opposite thought of “the other”. The “conceptual I” cannot survive without the “conceptual other”.
The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it.
These days you frequently hear the expression the war against this or that. Whenever I hear this, I know that it is condemned to failure (75).
Suffering had a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego. (102)
True self-esteem and humility arise out of the realization that you are neither superior or inferior to anyone. In the eyes of the ego, these two are contradictory. In truth, they are one in the same. (109)
An instinctive response is the body’s direct response to some external situation. An emotion on the other hand, is the body’s response to a thought. (133)
Although the body is very intelligent, it cannot tell the difference between an actual situation and a thought. It reacts to every thought is if it were reality. (134)
There is a tendency in the news media in general, including television, to thrive on negative news. The worse things get, the more excited the presenters become, and often the negative excitement is generated by the media itself. (154)
There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges – the power of presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light. (160)
Knowing yourself goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs. It has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind. (186)
What you react to in others is also in you. The ego in you is operating and strengthening itself if it can only see the ego in others. (188,9)
You are not the ego. It is through knowing what you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed (189).
There are no random events nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves and isolation. The cosmos is not chaotic – the very word cosmos means order. (197)
Krishnamurti said that his secret is “I don’t mind what happens.”What does that imply? It implies that internally, I am in alignment with what happens. (198)
The master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news in the exact same way: by asking, ”is that so?”
Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness. (200)
In each person’s life there comes a time when he or she pursues growth and expansion on the level of form. This may be a piece of music, a work of art, the book or service you provide etc. When you’re present, when you’re attention is fully in the now, that presence will flow into and transform what you do. There will be quality and power in it. (210)
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (says Jesus, 216).
The physical body we perceive as form, but 99.9% of which is actually empty space. This is how vast the space is between the atoms compared to their size, and there is as much space again within each atom. (250)
Your inner purpose is to awaken. Your outer purpose can change over time. Finding and living in alignment with your inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose (258).
Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose (266).
You cannot become successful. You can only be successful. Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment (270).
Your entire life journey ultimately consists of the step you are taking at this moment (271)
Make sure your goal is not focused on having (this is static). Instead, make sure your goals are dynamic, pointing towards an activity connected to other beings as a whole. Instead of being “a famous writer”, move to “inspire countless people with your work and enrich their lives”. (305)
You cannot manifest what you want; you can only manifest what you already have. (305)
At the core of all utopian visions lies one of the main structural dysfunctions of the old consciousness: looking to the future for salvation. Nothing is going to make us free because only the present moment can make is free. (306)
PURCHASE A NEW EARTH
I highly recommend you read this book and if you enjoyed this review, check out my review of The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell.
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