A New Earth

book by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is a self-help book by Eckhart Tolle. First published in 2005, it sold 5 million copies in North America by 2009. In 2008 it was featured in a series of 10 weekly webinars with Tolle and Oprah Winfrey.

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness.
Newborn lifeforms... are fragile, delicate, not yet firmly established in materiality. An innocence, a sweetness and beauty that are not of this world still shine through them.
Since ancient times... the jewel in the lotus flower is a central symbol of Buddhism and a white bird, the dove, signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity. They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness...we are beginning to witness now.
The messengers – Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known – were humanity’s early flowers. They were precursors, rare and precious beings...their message became largely misunderstood and... did not transform human behavior, except in a small minority of people.
Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came.
When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you. This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, “for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.” What does “poor in spirit” mean? No inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them.
making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egoic mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness
The ego tends to equate having with Being: I have, therefore I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego lives through comparison.
Those who are identified with their good looks, physical strength, or abilities experience suffering when those attributes begin to fade and disappear, as of course they will.
If you don't' equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigor diminishes, or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect your sense of worth or identity in any way.
What is commonly called “falling in love” is in most cases and intensification of egoic wanting and needing. You become addicted to another person, or rather to your image of that person. It has nothing to do with true love, which contains no wanting whatsoever.
Unconscious people – and many remain unconscious, trapped in their egos throughout their lives – will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with.
A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment, and if they are not arising at this moment, they are no more than a thought in your head and therefore not arising at all.

QuotesEdit

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)Edit

Full text online

Chapter 1, The Flowering of Human ConsciousnessEdit

  • Earth, 114 million years ago, one morning just after sunrise: The first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun. Prior to this momentous event that heralds an evolutionary transformation in the life of plants, the planet had already been covered in vegetation for millions of years. The first flower probably did not survive for long...
  • One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of color and scent all over the planet – if a perceiving consciousness had been there to witness it.
  • Much later, those delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by them.
  • They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics.
  • Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness.
  • Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves.
  • Using the word “enlightenment” in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.
  • Once there is a certain degree of presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness or spirit in every creature, every life form, recognize it as one with their own essence and so love it as themselves. Until this happens, however, most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form.
  • All newborn lifeforms – babies, puppies, kittens, lambs, and so on... are fragile, delicate, not yet firmly established in materiality. An innocence, a sweetness and beauty that are not of this world still shine through them.
  • So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless. There is an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of spirit. This is why these three “enlightened” lifeforms have played such an important part in the evolution of human consciousness since ancient times; why, for example, the jewel in the lotus flower is a central symbol of Buddhism and a white bird, the dove, signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity. They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness... the spiritual awakening that we are beginning to witness now.
  • Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of consciousness?
  • The possibility of such a transformation has been the central message of the great wisdom teachings of humankind. The messengers – Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known – were humanity’s early flowers... their message became largely misunderstood and often greatly distorted.
  • This book itself is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness. The ideas and concepts presented here may be important, but they are secondary. They are no more than signposts pointing toward awakening. As you read, a shift takes place within you.
  • This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness...
  • This book...will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready. Not everyone is ready yet, but many are, and with each person who awakens, the momentum in the collective consciousness grows, and it becomes easier for others.
  • Only by awakening can you know the true meaning of that word. A glimpse is enough to initiate the awakening process, which is irreversible.
  • An essential part of the awakening is the recognition of the unawakened you.
  • The achievements of humanity are impressive and undeniable... science and technology have brought about radical changes in the way we live and have enabled us to do and create things that would have been considered miraculous even two hundred years ago.
  • The human mind is highly intelligent. Yet its very intelligence is tainted by madness.
  • Science and technology have magnified the destructive impact that the dysfunction of the human mind has upon the planet, other lifeforms, and upon humans themselves... the history of the twentieth century is where that dysfunction, that collective insanity, can be most clearly recognized.
  • By the year 1914... the highly intelligent human mind had invented not only the internal combustion engine, but also bombs, machine guns, submarines, flame throwers, and poison gas. Intelligence in the service of madness!
  • By the end of the century, the number of people who died a violent death at the hand of their fellow humans would rise to more than one hundred million.
  • We only need to watch the daily news on television to realize that the madness has not abated, that is continuing into the twentyfirst century.
  • Another aspect of the collective dysfunction of the human mind is the unprecedented violence that humans are inflicting on other lifeforms and the planet itself – the destruction of oxygen producing forests and other plant and animal life; ill treatment of animals in factory farms; and poisoning of rivers, oceans, and air.
  • Driven by greed, ignorant of their connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behavior that, if continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction.
  • 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.
  • Trying to become a good or better human being sounds like a commendable and highminded thing to do, yet it is an endeavor you cannot ultimately succeed in unless there is a shift in consciousness.
  • 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.
  • The inspiration for the title of this book came from a Bible prophecy that seems more applicable now than at any other time in human history. It occurs in both the Old and the New Testament and speaks of the collapse of the existing world order and the arising of “a new heaven and a new earth.”
  • Heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness. This is the esoteric meaning of the word, and this is also its meaning in the teachings of Jesus.
  • “A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and “a new earth” is its reflection in the physical realm. Since human life and human consciousness are intrinsically one with the life of the planet, as the old consciousness dissolves, there are bound to be synchronistic geographic and climatic natural upheavals in many parts of the planet, some of which we are already witnessing now.

Chapter 2, Ego: the Current State of HumanityEdit

  • Words, no matter whether they are vocalized and made into sounds or remain unspoken as thoughts, can cast an almost hypnotic spell upon you... The fact is: You don’t know what it is. You have only covered up the mystery with a label. Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable.
  • All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg.
  • Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came. Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came. Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a word or mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you. This is what great artists sense and succeed in conveying in their art. Van Gogh didn’t say: “That’s just an old chair.” He looked, and looked, and looked. He sensed the Beingness of the chair. Then he sat in front of the canvas and took up the brush.
  • 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.
  • The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you. In this way, cleverness may be gained, but wisdom is lost, and so are joy, love, creativity, and aliveness.
  • The word “I” embodies the greatest error and the deepest truth, depending on how it is used. In conventional usage, it is not only one of the most frequently used words in the language (together with the related words: “me,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself”) but also one of the most misleading... “I” embodies the primordial error, a misperception of who you are, an illusory sense of identity. This is the ego.
  • This illusory sense of self is what Albert Einstein, who had deep insights not only in to the reality of space and time but also into human nature, referred to as “an optical illusion of consciousness.”
  • If you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. In the seeing of who you are not, the reality of who you are emerges by itself. This is what happens as you slowly and carefully read this and the next chapter, which are about the mechanics of the false self we call the ego.
  • What you usually refer to when you say “I” is not who you are.
  • Most of the time it is not you who speaks when you say or think “I” but some aspect of that mental construct, the egoic self. Once you awaken, you still use the word “I,” but it will come from a much deeper place within yourself.
  • When told that there is a voice in their head that never stops speaking, they say, “What voice?” or angrily deny it, which of course is the voice, is the thinker, is the unobserved mind. It could almost be looked upon as an entity that has taken possession of them.
  • A mature first year student at twenty five, I saw myself as an intellectual in the making, and I was convinced that all the answers to the dilemmas of human existence could be found through the intellect, that is to say, by thinking. I didn’t realize yet that thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.
  • For a moment, I was able to stand back from my own mind and see it from a deeper perspective, as it were. There was a brief shift from thinking to awareness. I was still in the men’s room, but alone now, looking at my face in the mirror. At that moment of detachment from my mind, I laughed out loud. It may have sounded insane, but it was the laughter of sanity... “Life isn’t as serious as my mind makes it out to be.” That’s what the laughter seemed to be saying.
  • The egoic mind is completely conditioned by the past.
  • In the case of a child who cries in deep suffering because his toy has been taken away...Whether the child is rich or poor, whether the toy is a piece of wood shaped like an animal or a sophisticated electronic gadget makes no difference as far as the suffering caused by its loss is concerned. The reason why such acute suffering occurs is concealed in the word “my,”... unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object is built into the very structure of the egoic mind.
  • The people in the advertising industry know very well that in order to sell things that people don’t really need, they must convince them that those things will add something to how they see themselves or are seen by others; in other words, add something to their sense of self. They do this, for example, by telling you that you will stand out from the crowd by using this product and so by implication be more fully yourself.
  • Paradoxically, what keeps the so called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.
  • Of course, in this physical dimension that our surface selves inhabit, things are a necessary and inescapable part of our lives. We need housing, clothes, furniture, tools, transportation. There may also be things in our lives that we value because of their beauty or inherent quality.
  • We need to honor the world of things, not despise it. Each thing has Beingness, is a temporary form that has its origin within the formless one Life, the source of all things, all bodies, all forms.
  • In most ancient cultures, people believed that everything, even so called inanimate objects, had an indwelling spirit, and in this respect they were closer to the truth than we are today.
  • Ego identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more.
  • The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part.
  • Some economists are so attached to the notion of growth that they can’t let go of that word, so they refer to recession as a time of “negative growth.”
  • Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the Being that it cannot feel. You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it’s the ego.
  • Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.
  • That sense of pride, of needing to stand out, the apparent enhancement of one’s self through “more than” and diminishment through “less than” is neither right nor wrong – it is the ego.
  • The ego isn’t wrong; it’s just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile... It isn’t who you are.
  • To “own” something – what does it really mean? What does it mean to make something “mine”?
  • Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are. In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless.
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” Jesus said, “for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.” What does “poor in spirit” mean? No inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them.
  • This is why renouncing all possessions has been an ancient spiritual practice in both East and West. Renunciation of possessions, however, will not automatically free you of the ego. It will attempt to ensure its survival by finding something else to identify with, for example, a mental image of yourself as someone who has transcended all interest in material possessions and is therefore superior, is more spiritual than others.
  • As we shall see later, making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egoic mind patterns, one of the main forms of unconsciousness. In other words, the content of the ego may change; the mind structure that keeps it alive does not.
  • The ego tends to equate having with Being: I have, therefore I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego lives through comparison.
  • 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.
  • The ego identifies with having, but its satisfaction in having is a relatively shallow and shortlived one. Concealed within it remains a deepseated sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, of “not enough.” “I don't have enough yet,” by which the ego really means, “I am not enough yet.”
  • No ego can last for long without the need for more. Therefore, wanting keeps the ego alive much more than having. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have.
  • The sufferers of bulimia will often make themselves vomit so they can continue eating. Their mind is hungry, not their body. This eating disorder would become healed if the sufferers, instead of being identified with their mind, could get in touch with their body and so feel the true needs of the body rather than the pseudo needs of the egoic mind.
  • The physical needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, and basic comforts could be easily met for all humans on the planet, were it not for the imbalance of resources created by the insane and rapacious need for more, the greed of the ego. It finds collective expression in the economic structures of this world, such as the huge corporations, which are egoic entities that compete with each other for more. Their only blind aim is profit.
  • Apart from objects, another basic form of identification is with “my” body. Firstly, the body is male or female, and so the sense of being a man or woman takes up a significant part of most people's sense of self. Gender becomes identity. Identification with gender is encouraged at an early age, and it forces you into a role, into conditioned patterns of behavior that affect all aspects of your life, not just sexuality.
  • In the West, it is the physical appearance of the body that contributes greatly to the sense of who you think you are: its strength or weakness, its perceived beauty or ugliness relative to others. For many people, their sense of self worth is intimately bound up with their physical strength, good looks, fitness, and external appearance.
  • Those who are identified with their good looks, physical strength, or abilities experience suffering when those attributes begin to fade and disappear, as of course they will.
  • If you don't' equate the body with who you are, when beauty fades, vigor diminishes, or the body becomes incapacitated, this will not affect your sense of worth or identity in any way.
  • You may then think and speak of yourself as a “sufferer” of this or that chronic illness or disability. You receive a great deal of attention from doctors and others who constantly confirm to you your conceptual identity as a sufferer or a patient. You then unconsciously cling to the illness because it has become the most important part of who you perceive yourself to be.
  • 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.
  • Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of “I Am,” which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form. This is the meaning of identification. This is forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare.
  • There are many accounts of people who experienced that emerging new dimension of consciousness as a result of tragic loss at some point in their lives... Whatever they had identified with, whatever gave them their sense of self, had been taken away. Then suddenly and inexplicably, the anguish or intense fear they initially felt gave way to a sacred sense of Presence, a deep peace and serenity and complete freedom from fear.
  • This phenomenon must have been familiar to St. Paul, who used the expression “the peace of God which passeth all understanding.”
  • You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with. That's the peace of God.
  • Not everybody who experiences great loss also experiences this awakening, this dis-identification from form. Some immediately create a strong mental image or thought form in which they see themselves as a victim, whether it be of circumstances, other people, an unjust fate, or God. This thought form and the emotions it creates, such as anger, resentment, self pity, and so on, they strongly identify with, and it immediately takes the place of all the other identifications that have collapsed through the loss.
  • Whenever tragic loss occurs, you either resist or you yield. Some people become bitter or deeply resentful; others become compassionate, wise, and loving. Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life. Resistance is an inner contraction, a hardening of the shell of the ego.
  • Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance (which we could also call negativity) will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side; life will not be helpful. If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in.
  • When you yield internally, when you surrender, a new dimension of consciousness opens up. If action is possible or necessary, your action will be in alignment with the whole and supported by creative intelligence, the unconditioned consciousness which in a state of inner openness you become one with.
  • Circumstances and people then become helpful, cooperative. Coincidences happen. If no action is possible, you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender. You rest in God.

Chapter 3, The Core of EgoEdit

  • Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head – the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it – that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this you take the thinker to be who you are.
  • We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, of I (ego), in every thought – every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion. This is unconsciousness, spiritually speaking.
  • Your thinking, the content of your mind, is of course conditioned by the past: your upbringing, culture, family background, and so on. The central core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly. This entity is the ego itself.
  • It consists of thought and emotion, of a bundle of memories you identify with as “me and my story,” of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance. It also contains personal identifications, not only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, longstanding resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure.
  • Beyond the realm of simple and verifiable facts, the certainty that “I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous thing in personal relationships as well as in interactions between nations, tribes, religions, and so on. But if the belief “I am right; you are wrong” is one of the ways in which the ego strengthens itself, if making yourself right and others wrong is a mental dysfunction that perpetuates separation and conflict between human beings...
  • Complaining is one of the ego's favorite strategies for strengthening itself. Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in. Whether you complain aloud or only in thought makes no difference. Some egos that perhaps don't have much else to identify with easily survive on complaining alone. When you are in the grip of such and ego, complaining, especially about other people, is habitual and, of course, unconscious, which means you don't know what you are doing.
  • Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved, or offended. You resent other people... The ego loves it. Instead of overlooking unconsciousness in others, you make it in to their identity.
  • ...the fault may be theirs, but by focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it. And what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.
  • The history of Christianity is, of course, a prime example of how the belief that you are in sole possession of the truth, that is to say, right , can corrupt your actions and behavior to the point of insanity. For centuries, torturing and burning people alive if their opinion diverged even in the slightest from Church doctrine or narrow interpretations of scripture (the “Truth”) was considered right because the victims were “wrong.”
  • “I am the way and the truth and the life.” These words uttered by Jesus are one of the most powerful and direct pointers to the Truth, if understood correctly. If misinterpreted, however, they become a great obstacle. Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence identity of every man and woman, every life form, in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself – and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement – all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within.

Chapter 4, Role Playing: The Many Faces of the EgoEdit

  • An ego that wants something from another – and what ego doesn't – will usually play some kind of role to get its “needs” met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play.
  • The ego thrives on others' attention, which is after all a form of psychic energy. The ego doesn't know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks... attention in some form, such as recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged.
  • Behind the confident ego's feeling of and continuing need for superiority is the unconscious fear of inferiority.
  • Some egos... If they cannot get positive attention, they may seek negative attention instead, for example, by provoking a negative reaction in someone else.
  • The playing of negative roles becomes particularly pronounced whenever the ego is magnified by an active painbody, that is to say, emotional pain from the past that wants to renew itself through experiencing more pain.
  • A very common role is the one of victim, and the form of attention it seeks is sympathy or pity or others' interest in my problems, “me and my story.” Seeing oneself as a victim is an element in many egoic patterns, such as complaining, being offended, outraged, and so on.
  • In the early stages of many so called romantic relationships, roleplaying is quite common in order to attract and keep whoever is perceived by the ego as the one who is going to “make me happy, make me feel special, and fulfill all my needs.” ....those roles cannot be sustained indefinitely, especially once you start living together.
  • What is commonly called “falling in love” is in most cases and intensification of egoic wanting and needing. You become addicted to another person, or rather to your image of that person. It has nothing to do with true love, which contains no wanting whatsoever. p. 56
  • As tribal cultures developed into the ancient civilizations, certain functions began to be allotted to certain people: ruler, priest or priestess, warrior, farmer, merchant, craftsman, laborer, and so on... Your function became a role, but it wasn't recognized as a role: It was who you were, or thought you were.
  • Only rare beings at the time, such as the Buddha or Jesus, saw the ultimate irrelevance of caste or social class, recognized it as identification with form and saw that such identification with the conditioned and the temporal obscured the light of the unconditioned and eternal that shines in each human being.
  • In the modern world, more and more people are confused as to where they fit in, what their purpose is, and even who they are.
  • Is it possible to let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are? In other words, can you cease looking to conceptual definitions to give you a sense of self? Can you cease looking to thought for an identity? When you let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are...you actually enter a state of peace and clarity that is closer to who you truly are than thought could ever be. Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself. p. 56
  • Parents then cannot let go of being a parent even when the child grows into an adult. They can't let go of the need to be needed by their child. Even when the adult child is forty years old, parents can't let go of the notion I know what's best for you.” The role of parent is still being played compulsively, and so there is no authentic relationship. p.61
  • If you have young children, give them help, guidance, and protection to the best f your ability, but even more important, give them space – space to be. They come into this world through you, but they are not “yours.” The belief “I know what's best for you” may be true when they are very young, but the older they get, the less true it becomes.
  • Eventually, they (children) will make mistakes, and they will experience some form of suffering, as all humans do. In fact, they may be mistakes only from your perspective. What to you is a mistake may be exactly what your children need to do or experience.
  • At times, you may also have to allow them to suffer. Suffering may come to them out of the blue or it may come as the consequence of their own mistakes. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could spare them from all suffering? No... They would not evolve as human beings and would remain shallow, identified with the external form of things.
  • The ego says, “I shouldn't have to suffer,” and that thought makes you suffer so much more... The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.
  • Many children harbor hidden anger and resentment toward their parents and often the cause is inauthenticity in the relationship. The child has a deep longing for the parent to be there as a human being, not as a role, no matter how conscientiously that role is being played.
  • If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more you will eventually accumulate enough “doings” to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. You won't. You will only lose yourself in doing. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus becomes futile. p. 64
  • If I and life are two, if I am separate from life, then I am separate form all things, all beings, all people. But how could I be separate from life? What “I” could be there apart from life, apart from Being? It is utterly impossible. So there is no such thing as “my life,” and I don't have a life. I am life. I and life are one. It cannot be otherwise. So how could I lose my life? How can I lose something that I don't have in the first place? How can I lose something that I Am? It is impossible. p. 79

Chapter 5, The Pain BodyEdit

  • The greater part of most people's thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfills no real purpose. Strictly speaking, you don't think; Thinking happens to you. p. 80
  • The painbody awakens from its dormancy when it gets hungry, when it is time to replenish itself. Alternatively, it may get triggered by an event at any time. The painbody that is ready to feed can use the most insignificant event as a trigger, something somebody says or does, or even a thought.
  • You were most likely unaware that just prior to the influx of negative thinking a wave of emotion invaded your mind – as a dark and heavy mood, as anxiety or fiery anger. All thought is energy and the painbody is now feeding on the energy of your thoughts. But it cannot feed on any thought.
  • A happy, positive thought is indigestible to the painbody. It can only feed on negative thoughts
  • All things are vibrating energy fields in ceaseless motion. The chair you sit on, the book you are holding in your hands appear solid and motionless only because that is how your senses perceive their vibrational frequency, that is to say, the incessant movement of the molecules, atoms, electrons and subatomic particles that together create what you perceive as a chair, a book, a tree, or a body.
  • Thoughts have their own range of frequencies, which negative thoughts at the lower end of the scale and positive thoughts at the higher. The vibrational frequency of the painbody resonates with that of negative thoughts, which is why only those thoughts can feed the painbody.
  • It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don't want to. This is because the painbody at that time is living through you, pretending to be you.
  • That in you which recognizes madness as madness (even if it is your own) is sanity, is the arising awareness, is the end of insanity.
  • There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges – the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.
  • The suppression of the feminine principle especially over the past two thousand years has enabled the ego to gain absolute supremacy in the collective human psyche. Although women have egos, of course, the ego can take root and grow more easily in the male form than in the female. this is because women are less mind identified than men. They are more in touch with the inner body and the intelligence of the organism where the intuitive faculties originate. The female form is less rigidly encapsulated than the male, has greater openness and sensitivity toward other lifeforms, and is more attuned to the natural world.
  • If the balance between male and female energies had not been destroyed on our planet, the ego's growth would have been greatly curtailed. We would not have declared war on nature, and we would not be so completely alienated from our Being.
  • Nobody knows the exact figure because records were not kept, but it seems certain that during a three hundred year period between three and five million women were tortured and killed by the “Holy Inquisition,“ an institution founded by the Roman Catholic Church to suppress heresy. This sure ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history. It was enough for a woman to show a love for animals, walk alone in the fields or woods, or gather medicinal plants to be branded a witch, then tortured and burned at the stake. The sacred feminine was declared demonic, and an entire dimension largely disappeared from human experience. Other cultures and religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, also suppressed the female dimension, although in a less violent way. Women's status was reduced to being child bearers and men's property. Males who denied the feminine even within themselves were now running the world, a world that was totally out of balance. The rest is history or rather a case history of insanity... The female form is less rigidly encapsulated than the male, has greater openness and sensitivity toward other lifeforms, and is more attuned to the natural world...
  • If the balance between male and female energies had not been destroyed on our planet, the ego's growth would have been greatly curtailed. We would not have declared war on nature, and we would not be so completely alienated from our Being.
    • Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)
  • We now have a situation in which the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women. The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain. In fact, it has become part of their painbody, together with the accumulated pain suffered by women over millennia through childbirth, rape, slavery, torture and violent death.
    • Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)

Chapter 6, Breaking FreeEdit

  • The beginning of freedom from the painbody lies first of all in the realization that you have a painbody. Then, more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the painbody in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active. When it is \recognized, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and renew itself through you.
  • When you recognize your own painbody as it arises, you will also quickly learn what the most common triggers are that activate it, whether it be situations or certain things other people do or say. When those triggers occur, you will immediately see them for what they are and enter a heightened state of alertness. Within a second or two, you will also notice the emotional reaction that is the arising painbody, but in that state of alert Presence, you won't identify with it, which means the painbody cannot take you over and become the voice in your head.
  • The next step in human evolution is not inevitable, but for the first time in the history of our planet, it can be a conscious choice.
  • A question people frequently ask is, “How long does it take to become free of the painbody?” The answer is, of course, that it depends both on the density of an individual's painbody as well as the degree or intensity of that individual's arising Presence. But it is not the painbody, but identification with it that causes the suffering that you inflict on yourself and others. It is not the painbody but identification with the painbody that forces you to relive the past again and again and keeps you in a state of unconsciousness.
  • “How long does it take to become free of identification with the painbody?” And the answer to that question: It takes no time at all. When the painbody is activated, know that what you are feeling is the painbody in you. This knowing is all that is needed to break your identification with it. And when identification with it ceases, the transmutation begins. The knowing prevents the old emotion from rising up in your head and taking over not only the internal dialogue, but also your actions as well as interactions with other people. This mean the painbody cannot use you anymore and renew itself through you.
  • The emotion is not who you are.

Chapter 7, Finding out Who You Really AreEdit

  • Know Thyself. These words were inscribed above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle. In ancient Greece, people would visit the Oracle hoping to find out what destiny had in store for them or what course of action to take in a particular situation. It is likely that most visitors read those words as they entered the building without realizing that they pointed to a deeper truth than anything the Oracle could possibly tell them.
  • No matter how great a revelation or how accurate the information they received, it would ultimately prove to be of no avail, would not save them from further unhappiness and self created suffering, if they failed to find the truth that is concealed in that injunction – Know Thyself.
  • What those words imply is this: Before you ask any other question, first ask the most fundamental question of your life: Who am I?
  • Unconscious people – and many remain unconscious, trapped in their egos throughout their lives – will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with.
  • The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego. The ego can never be in alignment with the present moment, which is to say, aligned with life, since its very nature compels it to ignore, resist, or devalue the Now. Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and you sense of self depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfillment. Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the timebound state of consciousness.
  • At worst... the present moment is treated as if it were an enemy. When you hate what you are doing, complain about your surroundings, curse things that are happening or have happened, or when your internal dialogue consists of shoulds and shouldn'ts, of blaming and accusing, when you are arguing with what is, arguing with that which is always already the case. you are making Life into an enemy and Life says, “War is what you want, and war is what you get.”

Chapter 8, The Discovery of Inner SpaceEdit

  • According to an ancient Sufi story, there lived a king... who was continuously torn between happiness and despondency. The slightest thing would cause him great upset or provoke an intense reaction, and his happiness would quickly turn into disappointment and despair. A time came when the king finally got tired of himself and of life, and he began to seek a way out. He sent for a wise man... reputed to be enlightened. When the wise man came, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you give me something that will bring balance, serenity, and wisdom into my life?... He handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box and found a simple gold ring inside. Some letters were inscribed on the ring. The inscription read: This, too, will pass. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wise man said, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch this ring and read the inscription. that way, you will always be at peace.” This, too, will pass.
  • Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space. It is one way of generating consciousness. Although the fullness of consciousness is already there as the unmanifested, we are here to bring consciousness into this dimension.
  • Be aware of your breathing. Notice the sensation of the breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Notice how the chest and abdomen expand and contract slightly with the in and out breath. One conscious breath is enough to make some space where before there was the uninterrupted succession of one thought after another. One conscious breath (two or three would be even better), taken many times a day, is an excellent way of bringing space into your life.
  • Breathing isn't really something that you do but something that you witness as it happens. Breathing happens by itself. The intelligence within the body is doing it. All you have to do is watch it happening. There is no strain or effort involved. Also, notice the brief cessation of the breath, particularly the still point at the end of the outbreath, before you start breathing in again. Many people's breath is unnaturally shallow.
  • Some people feel more alive when they travel and visit unfamiliar places or foreign countries because at those times sense perception – experiencing – takes up more of their consciousness than thinking. They become more present. Others remain completely possessed by the voice in the head even then. Their perceptions and experiences are distorted by instant judgments. They haven't really gone anywhere. Only their body is traveling, while they remain where they have always been: in their head.

Chapter 9, Your Inner PurposeEdit

  • As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life... There is no substitute for finding true purpose.
  • While this book speaks mainly of your inner purpose, this chapter and the next will also address the question of how to align outer purpose and inner purpose in your life. Inner and outer, however, are so intertwined that is almost impossible to speak of one without referring to the other. Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that.
  • The whole is made up of existence and Being, the manifested and the unmanifested, the world and God.
  • When you become aligned with the whole, you become a conscious part of the interconnectedness of the whole and its purpose: the emergence of consciousness into this world. As a result, spontaneous helpful occurrences, chance encounters, coincidences, and synchronistic events happen much more frequently.

Chapter 10, A New EarthEdit

  • The new earth arises as more and more people discover that their main purpose in life is to bring the light of consciousness into this world and so use whatever they do as a vehicle for consciousness.
  • Awakened consciousness then takes over from ego and begins to run your life. You may then find that an activity that you have been engaged in for a long time naturally begins to expand into something much bigger when it becomes empowered by consciousness.
  • “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” writes the biblical prophet (Revelation 21:1). The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven – the awakened consciousness. The earth – external reality – is only its outer reflection. The arising of a new heaven and by implication a new earth are not future events that are going to make us free. Nothing is going to make us free because only the present moment can make us free. That realization is the awakening.
  • Awakening as a future event has no meaning because awakening is the realization of Presence. So the new heaven , the awakened consciousness, is not a future state to be achieved. A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment, and if they are not arising at this moment, they are no more than a thought in your head and therefore not arising at all.
  • In modern versions of the Bible, “meek” is translated as humble. Who are the meek or the humble, and what does it mean that they shall inherit the earth? The meek are the egoless. They are those who have awakened to their essential true nature as consciousness and recognize that essence in all “others,” all lifeforms. They live in the surrendered state and so feel their oneness with the whole and the Source. They embody the awakened consciousness that is changing all aspects of life on our planet, including nature, because life on earth is inseparable from the human consciousness that perceives and interacts with it. That is the sense in which the meek will inherit the earth. A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!

Quotes aboutEdit

  • For Tolle, "knowing self and knowing God become one and the same." The millions who've turned to Tolle might naturally conclude: I am the "I Am." Sound familiar? It should. According to the Bible, such "knowledge" springs from the oldest error of all: man's desire to be "as gods." The Bible teaches that humanly conceived "enlightenment" is actually idolatry, the worship of the human self, a creature, as the equivalent of – or in place of – God, the only Creator. Such idolatry is moral rebellion against "our Father."
  • Tolle is offering a very contemporary synthesis of Eastern spiritual teaching, which is normally so clothed in arcane language that it is incomprehensible... The thing that's really good about him, in the midst of all the psychobabble to do with happiness being based on getting what you want, Tolle sounds a clear note stating that happiness comes from a state of consciousness and a connection with being present to the wonder of life. Which is just what's needed.
  • I'd say he's got tremendous skill in clarifying perceptions and thoughts from our internal world... It's very hard to put those perceptions into words, and he makes it all seem so simple. The ideas he's talking about have been in existence for thousands of years in both Eastern texts and with the great Western mystics, but he's able to make them understandable... (quoting) Judith Kendra, publishing director of Rider books, which has been publishing on spirituality and human rights for 100 years.
  • A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose has been topping the New York Times best-seller charts for "paperback advice" books for months, and some claim it has actually changed lives--teaching people to cherish their own goodness, accept shortcomings and live in a completely awakened state.
    Tolle's book isn't for everyone. Some Christian readers have criticized it because they say Tolle asserts that man, rather than God, controls his own destiny. The book's premise also has drawn fire from some Christians who say people seeking to awaken to their life's purpose should turn to God and the Bible, rather than Tolle.
    Stripped down to its most basic form, A New Earth is a self-improvement book. Tolle urges people to live "in the present moment" and to enjoy personal happiness without material gain. In a sense, Tolle hopes to change human beings entirely, envisioning a world more humble, more aware and thus more pure.

See alsoEdit

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