Oprah loves Eckhart Tolle, and she’s almost never wrong. In her book of short essays, One Thing I Know for Sure, she says A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is her favorite book of all time. I prefer The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, but both are pretty great.
Read these books for inspiration to try the evidence-based strategy of mindfulness (present moment awareness) for mental health.
Key Takeaways from The Power of Now
- Realize that possessions, social status, relationships, beliefs, and other ego identifications are not truly who you are. The ego’s needs are endless and lead to a constant state of fear and want. Instead of exploring its manifestations, understand that the mind is not dysfunctional but becomes so when mistaken for self.
- To end this delusion, focus on the present moment and body awareness to stay rooted in the now.
- Experiment with closing your eyes and waiting for your next thought, realizing that intense presence frees you from thought. To deepen your connection with your inner body, focus your attention within and let all negativity flow through without reacting.
- Focus your attention on the feeling inside of you, even if it is painful. Don’t judge or analyze the feeling, simply acknowledge its presence.
- Be mindful of any defensiveness, as it is likely an attempt to protect an illusory identity or image in your mind.
- There are many portals to the source, including the now, dreamless sleep, cessation of thinking, surrender, being in touch with the inner body energy field, disidentifying with the mind, and silence. You only need one portal to reach your inner being.
- Love is not a portal, it is an inner feeling.
- Space and silence are portals, as you cannot think and be aware of them at the same time.
- The body is the way to reach your spirit or inner body.
- Adjust your vision and look closely at what you thought was a stone statue. You might find that there was never a stone statue, but instead it was an angel all along.
- Illness is not real in the present moment; rather, it is the belief, label, and past/future associations that give it continuity in time and make it seem real. Outside of time, it is nothing.
Key Takeaways from A New Earth
- Humanity is ready for a major transformation in consciousness (enlightenment). This book discusses how to accelerate this process.
- 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.
- When you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as a field of conscious Presence. (I have a couple of friends who consciously follow this advice, and it shows.)
A Few Good Quotes from A New Earth
- Shift “your attention from the external form of your body to the feeling of aliveness inside it.”
- “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 perpetrate the unawakened state.
- 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.”
- “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.”
- “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.
About the Author
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher, author and speaker. He was born in Germany in 1948 and later moved to England. Tolle’s teachings focus on helping individuals connect with their inner selves and find peace and happiness in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. His books have been translated into over 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Tolle continues to offer teachings and workshops on mindfulness and spirituality to this day.
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