Eckhart Tolle, the author of bestsellers The Power of Now and A New Earth was listed by the Watkins Review as the second most spiritually influential person in the world in 2012, right after Dalai Lama. This sought-after public speaker and teacher has been guiding thousands of people toward spiritual awakening, helping them find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives.
Eckhart Tolle was born as Ulrich Leonard Tolle on February 16, 1948 in Germany. He described his childhood in Germany as unhappy: he felt alienated from a hostile school environment, his parents fought a lot and eventually separated, and playing in buildings destroyed by Allied bombs during World War Two contributed even more to his feeling of depression, that he describes as feeling “the pain in the energy field of the country”.
When he was 19, he moved to England and for three years taught German and Spanish at a London school for language studies. That was the time when he was troubled by “depression, anxiety and fear”, so he began “searching for answers” in his life that lead him to pursue this search by studying philosophy, psychology, and literature, and enrolled in the University of London at the age of 22. He was offered a scholarship to do postgraduate research at Cambridge University, and he began it in 1977.
The same year, at the age of 29, Tolle experienced an “inner transformation” as he calls it. One night he awakened from his sleep, with the feeling of depression that was “almost unbearable,” but then suddenly he experienced a life-changing epiphany that virtually dissolved his old identity and radically changed the course of his life. After the long periods of suicidal depression, he was a new man who was feeling peace in every situation:
The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching. (Source: theage.com.au)
He stopped his doctorate; for the next two years he spent much of his time on a park bench in Russell Square, central London, watching the world go by in a state of deep bliss, or in the University of London Library, poring over esoteric books. Word spread among students that this man was a modern mystic, a man who was spiritually enlightened – so they began to ask him about his beliefs, and soon he began working as a counselor and spiritual teacher, which he did for the next five years.
In 1995 he moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he met his wife to be, Kim Eng.
His first book, “The Power of Now”, was published in 1997; with an original print run of 3000, it became No. 1 on Amazon.com and spent 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list after Oprah Winfrey recommended it in her magazine, O. Among many others, celebrities like Gillian Anderson (The X Files), Cher, Annie Lenox, Jim Carrey and Meg Ryan (who introduced Oprah to his first book) claim that Tolle and his work have changed their lives.
Teachings and Philosophy
Eckhart Tolle is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition, although his teachings are often described as a fusion of Eastern philosophies such as Zen Buddhism, New Age philosophy and established religion. He himself states that:
A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct. The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth …
And “the truth” is that the present moment is the most meaningful in life. By aligning with “the now”, he says, “you are also aligned with life itself. You experience coincidences.”
The fundamental human problem is the sense of self, the ego; people equate themselves with their thoughts, which are the product of their own minds, and therefore live in separation from Being: “Our true selves are the formless Consciousness, which is Being, which is God. We are all One, and thus we are all God.”
Since the mind operates on the basis of constructs rather than realities directly, it can’t connect with other people and with the Being. That’s why in direct conflict with reality, as far as the mind is concerned, things are supposed to be based on memories of past and aspirations for the future, and reality simply doesn’t work that way.
That’s why being in the Now is the solution: the Now is timeless and allows us to connect with the Being, and we should stop avoiding the present moment by living in the past or expecting the future.
Most critics agree that the ideas Tolle exposes in his books have been existing for thousands of years, but thanks to “clear writing and the obvious depth of his experience and insight”, he’s able to make them understandable to the wider audience.
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
- Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from The Power of Now
- Stillness Speaks: Whispers of Now
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
- Milton’s Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and The Power of Now
- Oneness With All Life: Inspirational Selections from A New Earth
- Guardians of Being
The past has no power over the present moment.
Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.
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 the moment.
Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.
Forget about your life situation and pay attention to your life. Your life situation exists in time. Your life is now. Your life situation is mind-stuff. Your life is real.
And here’s a video in which Tolle’s talking about the enlightenment (his official YouTube channel is at Eckhart’s Teachings):
- Eckhart Tolle’s official website is at www.eckharttolle.com.
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