Eckhart Tolle, born Ulrich Leonard Tölle, February 16, 1948) is a spiritual teacher and best-selling author. He is a German-born resident of Canada, best known as the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. In 2008, The New York Times called Tolle, “the most popular spiritual author in the United States.” In 2011, he was listed by Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world. Tolle does not identify with any specific religion, but he has been influenced by a wide range of spiritual works.
Tolle said he was depressed for much of his life until age 29 when he experienced an “inner transformation.” He then spent several years wandering “in a state of deep bliss” before becoming a spiritual teacher. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1995 and currently divides his time between Canada and California. He began writing his first book, The Power of Now, in 1997 and it reached The New York Times Best Seller list in 2000.
The Power of Now and A New Earth sold an estimated three million and five million copies respectively in North America by 2009. In 2008, Tolle joined television talk show host Oprah Winfrey for 10 live webinars, and by October 2009 they had been accessed 35 million times. In 2016, Tolle was named in Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders.
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Studying Eckhart Tolle
Tolle is a contemporary spiritual teacher whose works we study regularly at EYMPC. Here are some extracts from his best-known work, The Power of Now (1997)
“The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment (and the ego likes to keep it that way), but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form. “
“ Being is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the myriad forms of life subject to birth and death. However Being is not only beyond, but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence. This means that it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature.
But don’t seek to grasp it with your mind. Don’t try to understand it. You can only know it when the mind is still. When you are present, when your attention fully and intensely in the Now, Being can be felt, but it can never be understood mentally.To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment.”
“Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of balance. For example, there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in the body, but when this
process continues in disregard of the total organism, cells proliferate and we have disease. Note that the mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly – you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are the mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.”
“The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain you create now is always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the pain depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment, and this in turn depends on how strongly you are identified with your mind. The mind always seeks to deny the Now and escape from it. In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: the more you are able to honour and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering – and free of the egoic mind.”
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