About Eckhart Tolle Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time.
The Spiritual Teacher and author was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.
Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time.
Eckhart’s profound yet simple teachings have already helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet.
Eckhart is a sought-after public speaker and teaches and travels extensively throughout the world. Many of his talks, intensives and retreats are published on CD and DVD. Most of the teachings are given in English, but occasionally Eckhart also gives talks in German and Spanish. In addition to The Power of Now and A New Earth, Eckhart has written a book designed for meditative reading entitled Stillness Speaks. A book consisting of selections from The Power of Now is also available, entitled Practicing the Power of Now.
Tolle's non-fiction bestseller The Power of Now emphasizes the importance of being aware of the present moment as a way of not being caught up in thoughts of the past and future. His later book A New Earth further explores the structure of the human ego and how this acts to distract people from their present experience of the world. It is the feeding of the human ego that is thought to be the source of inner and outer conflict. Only in examining one's ego may people begin to see beyond it and obtain a sense of spiritual enlightening or a new outlook on reality.
In his view, the present is the gateway to a heightened sense of peace. He states that "being in the now" brings about an awareness that is beyond the mind, an awareness which helps in transcending the ego. The ego means here the false identification with forms and labels: body, mind, thoughts, memories, social roles, life-story, opinions, emotions, material possessions, name, nationality, religion, likes and dislikes, desires, fears etc. If one is present, one recognizes oneself as the space of consciousness in which the thought or impulse arises. One doesn’t lose the self in thought, nor does one become the impulse. Being present is being the space, rather than what happens. He says that the mind is to be used as a tool, but not let the mind use the person.
In his view, the "pain-body" is the emotional component of ego; it is created by the cumulation of suppressed emotions, the suffering of non-acceptance of what is. The size of "the pain-body" differs from person to person; it originates in the person’s past conditioning, usually the early childhood.
He says that our true "identity" is the underlying sense of I Am, which is consciousness itself. Awareness of Being is self-realization and true happiness. He states that we people are very important, because we are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold.
In his view, all wanting implies that the future is more desirable than the present. As long as you want something, you are seeking to reach some point in the future that promises fulfillment. Thereby you are making the present moment as well as the other persons into a means to an end. You don't need future or future lives to find yourself, and you need to add nothing to you to find yourself.
He believes that the New Testament contains deep spiritual truth as well as distortions, which are due to a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching. He teaches that when you are present, you access your inner knowing and you will sense what is true and what was added on or distorted.
In his view, love comes into existence when you know who you are in your essence and then recognize the “other” as yourself. It is the end of the delusion of separation, which is created by excessive reliance on thinking.
In his view, this shift in consciousness for most people is not a single event but a process, a gradual disidentification from thoughts and emotions through the arising of awareness.
1. You are not your thoughts. You are the awareness behind the thoughts. Thoughts are often negative and painful, yearning for or fearing something in the future, complaining about something in the present or fearing a matter from the past. However, the thoughts are not you; they are a construct of the ego. Awareness of your thoughts without being caught up in them is the first step to freedom.
2. Only the present moment exists. That is where life is (indeed it is the only place life can truly be found). Becoming aware of the ‘now’ has the added benefit that it will draw your attention away from your (negative) thoughts. Use mindfulness techniques to fully appreciate your surroundings and everything you are experiencing. Look and listen intently. Give full attention to the smallest details.
3. Accept the present moment. It is resistance to the present moment that creates most of the difficulties in your life. However, acceptance does not mean that you cannot take action to rectify the situation you are in. What is important is to drop resistance so that you let the moment be, and that any action arises from deeper awareness rather than from resistance. The vast majority of pain in a person’s life comes from resistance to what is.
4. Observe the pain-body. Years of conditioned thought patterns, individually and collectively, have resulted in habitual emotional reactions with an apparent personality of their own. During ‘pain-body attacks’ we become completely identified with this ‘pain identity’ and respond from its agendawhich is to create more pain for ourselves and others. Observing the pain-body is awareness itself arisingas it allows humans to separate from this unconscious identification with pain.
Tolle is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. However, in the book Dialogues with Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W. Parker, he has acknowledged a strong connection to J Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi and stated that his teaching is a coming together of the teachings of both those teachers, and it is a continuation of that. In addition, he states that by listening to and speaking with the spiritual teacher Barry Long, he understood things more deeply.
At about the age of fifteen he received five books that were written by a German mystic, Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken, also known as Bô Yin Râ. Tolle responded "very deeply" to those books. He said the first texts with which he came in contact after the awakening and in which he found deep understanding were the New Testament, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching and teachings of The Buddha. In The Power of Now, he mentioned the writings of Meister Eckhart, Advaita Vedanta, A Course in Miracles, the Bible, mystical Islam, Sufism, and Rumi's poetry, as well as Zen Buddhism's Lin-chi (Linji in pinyin ) (Rinzai) school.