Oprah loves it, and she’s almost never wrong. In her book of short essays, One Thing I Know for Sure, she says it’s her favorite book of all time. I prefer The Power of Now, but A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle is . . . well, just read it and find out for yourself.
(Yes, you have to.)
Here’s what it says that’s so great:
In just a few words: Get rid of ego. It’s just not helping. All that anger, defensiveness, arguing, making wrong, being right . . . all of that can safely go away. The death of your ego is not the death of you. Instead, it’s the start of your real life.
Here, my outline and highlights:
Humanity is ready for a major transformation in consciousness (enlightenment). This book discusses how to accelerate this process, which starts inside yourself.
“Is humanity more ready now [for a new earth] than at the time of those early teachers? Why should this be so? What can you do, if anything, to bring about or accelerate this inner shift? What is it that characterizes the old egoic state of consciousness, and by what signs is the new emerging consciousness recognized? These and other essential questions will be addressed in this book.”
“A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and “a new earth” is its reflection in the physical realm.
When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness. And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images. For this to happen, you need to disentangle your sense of I, of Beingness, from all the things it has become mixed up with, that is to say, identified with. That disentanglement is what this book is about.
My favorite quote:
- “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.”
Quotes on our crazy-making egos:
- The author tells of how he once saw a crazy woman talking to herself on a bus, then realized he was like her. Her constant angry chatter was the same as his constant anxious mental chatter. “If she was mad, then everyone was mad, including myself. There were differences in degree only.”
- “There are people who have renounced all possessions but have a bigger ego than some millionaires.” Take away one ego identity, and it will find another.
- “An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks, and acts as well as the recognition of the collectively conditioned mental processes that perpetrate the unawakened state.
- “Give up defining yourself—to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you.”
- “An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks, and acts, as well as the recognition of the collectively conditioned mental processes that perpetuate the unawakened state.”
- “No doubt: The human mind is highly intelligent. Yet its very intelligence is tainted by madness.”
- “The collective manifestations of the insanity that lies at the heart of the human condition constitute the greater part of human history. It is to a large extent a history of madness. If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being, the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived ‘enemies’—his own unconsciousness projected outward. Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.”
- “You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”
- “Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms. If evil has any reality—and it has a relative, not an absolute, reality—this is also its definition: complete identification with form—physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms. This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole . . .”
- “What you usually refer to when you say ‘I’ is not who you are. By a monstrous act of reductionism, the infinite depth of who you are is confused with a sound produced by the vocal cords or the thought of ‘I’ in your mind and whatever the ‘I’ has identified with.”
- “What you identify with is all to do with content; whereas, the unconscious compulsion to identify is structural. It is one of the most basic ways in which the egoic mind operates.”
- “Most egos have conflicting wants. They want different things at different times or may not even know what they want except that they don’t want what is: the present moment.”
- “Although body-identification is one of the most basic forms of ego, the good news is that it is also the one that you can most easily go beyond. This is done not by trying to convince yourself that you are not your body, but by shifting your attention from the external form of your body and from thoughts about your body—beautiful, ugly, strong, weak, too fat, too thin—to the feeling of aliveness inside it. No matter what your body’s appearance is on the outer level, beyond the outer form it is an intensely alive energy field.”
- “Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.”
- “By not reacting to the ego, you will often be able to bring out the sanity in others . . .”
Other quotes I appreciated:
“Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much. Language consists of five basic sounds produced by the vocal cords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure: s, f, g, and so forth. Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in its depth?”
- “How do you let go of attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. In the meantime, just be aware of your attachment to things.”
- “If you are not familiar with ‘inner body’ awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don’t ask your mind. It will say, ‘I can’t feel anything.’ Probably it will also say, ‘Give me something more interesting to think about.’ So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them.”
- “What I call the ‘inner body’ isn’t really the body anymore but life energy, the bridge between form and formlessness. Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can. After a while, you won’t need to close your eyes anymore to feel it.”
- “Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body’s ability to heal itself.”
- “Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”
- “How do you bring Being into the life of a busy family, into the relationship with your child? The key is to give your child attention. There are two kinds of attention. One we might call form-based attention. The other is formless attention. Form-based attention is always connected in some way with doing or evaluating. “Have you done your homework? Eat your dinner. Tidy up your room. Brush your teeth. Do this. Stop doing that . . .”
- “How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else.”
- “Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you. The statement ‘I think’ implies volition. It implies that you have a say in the matter, that there is choice involved on your part. For most people, this is not yet the case. ‘I think’ is just as false a statement as ‘I digest’ or ‘I circulate my blood.’ Digestion happens, circulation happens, thinking happens.”
- “Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.”
- “When you meet with people, at work or wherever it may be, give them your fullest attention. You are no longer there primarily as a person, but as a field of awareness, of alert Presence.
- The outer purpose of the universe is to create form and experience the interaction of forms—the play, the dream, the drama, or whatever you choose to call it. Its inner purpose is to awaken to its formless essence.”
- “The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all—from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others . . .”
- “When you say, I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misperception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do, but that is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing.”
- “When you add a goal to the enjoyment of what you do, the energy-field or vibrational frequency changes. A certain degree of what we might call structural tension is now added to enjoyment, and so it turns into enthusiasm.”
- “Their purpose is to do everything in a sacred manner. As each human being is an integral part of the collective human consciousness, they affect the world much more deeply than is visible on the surface of their lives.”
And here’s where you can find out more:
- A New Earth on Amazon
- A New Earth on Goodreads
- Eckhart Tolle on Wikipedia
- Official Website of Eckhart Tolle
Get the entire recommended reading list at Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday.