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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's…
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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (2005)

by Eckhart Tolle

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A New Earth, by Eckhardt Tolle

"A New Earth" is a rather heady little book which purports to "show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to our personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world." I would call this claim ambitious (and therefore egotistical) coming from any other man. But, because Mr. Tolle operates from the premise that he has harnessed his ego in the service of a greater good, that characterization would run counter to the spirit of the book, may seem grossly unfair, and might even reveal me as one who has not transcended his ego.

I guess ultimately the question is: has Mr. Tolle correctly gauged the utility of the ego? I think it fair to say that he feels the ego has no utility, except that when we eradicate the ego at every turn, we come closer to our higher purpose, which is less ego, and more spirit, or, in his words, Consciousness, also known as Presence. Presence can be defined as "consciousness without thought." Indeed, Tolle seems to distrust thought almost as much as ego, which is odd for an author churning out 300-page treatises. How can this be accomplished except with a great deal of rigorous thought? Another oddity: his fixation on the banishment of the ego from all utility, except that of affirming its opposite (spirit) resembles a Catholic argument that Error has only one use — that it helps to define and develop Truth. But Tolle is no Catholic, although he does use many of Jesus' quotes to good effect.

The problem that I have with his premise is that his rejection of the collective ego necessarily rejects a great deal more, which we might call personal ego: the unique qualities that each of us brings into this world, and the special path that we follow because we were born in a particular place and time. I feel that all of these attributes should not be discounted as merely grains of sand on an infinite beach. Surely they must be part of a higher purpose, a personal destiny, which is also worthwhile. Or, if not that, then at least they may be celebrated as defining characteristics of who we are, and how we learn, and may lead therefore to the acquisition of habits that further refine who we are. We shape our habits, and then our habits shape us. And this process is not pernicious, but simply how we develop.

To turn at every opportunity and attempt to jettison this individuality (that's what Mr. Tolle seems to be advocating) seems ungrateful at best and wrong-headed at worst. The ego is not only something to react against. It is also something to understand, come to terms with, learn from, and be grateful for. One need not be a disciple of Ayn Rand to feel that a strong ego is a good thing, on balance.

Yet Mr. Tolle finds no place in the world for the ego. Perhaps this explains why the thrust of the book is toward the otherworldly. For example, he observes on pg. 162 that "...when you realize that pain-bodies unconsciously seek more pain, that is to say, that they want something bad to happen, you will understand that many traffic accidents are caused by drivers whose pain-bodies are active at the time." Tolle's conception is that unconsciousness (overt identification with the ego) creates a negative energy field and an accumulation of pain (the so-called pain-body). Okay, someone's off-kilter energy field or pain-body may be at work, but couldn't these accidents be simply caused by jackass drivers? Left unexplained in this discussion of road rage is how Mr. Tolle or the highway patrol or a judge could possibly know when a pain-body is or is not active and therefore responsible for the accident. This may be why the book is found in the "spiritual" and not the "science" section of the bookstore.

On the positive side, Tolle has a crackerjack team of editors. I never found a typo in this 300-page book. His prose style is effective, if a bit odd. Once he starts, his batteries never run down. He forges constantly ahead with hundreds upon hundreds of small words, scarcely stopping to summarize or collect the argument. This style reminds me of a friend who was equally adept at words and philosophical argument, though his words were longer. After indulging in a helping hand from the pharmaceutical industry he would hold forth on how a certain spinning wheel was within another spinning wheel, which was within yet another other spinning wheel. He never summarized, explained, or stopped talking. Tolle's treatise is somewhat like that, although to be fair he also unearths many fascinating examples of how we trip ourselves up when we pick the wrong objectives. There are also several stories about pithy lessons from enlightened Easterners.

Verdict: as a self-help book, this is not bad, and better than most. Judged as a profound spiritual manifesto, will it really help save the earth and build a better world? I find that unlikely. It was published in 2005, and its predecessor "The Power of Now" was published 15 years ago. The last time I checked, the world seemed to be revolving as it usually does, egos, pain-bodies and all.

His fact-checkers let him down in the sections about religious intolerance (pg. 155-7). He states that "it seems certain that during a three-hundred-year period between three and five million women were tortured and killed by the "Holy Inquisition"…Tolle goes on to equate the gravity of this persecution to the Jewish Holocaust during WWII. Without pause he next compares these twin tragedies to witch-burning, and explains why the phenomenon of burning witches at the stake caught on: “What is it that suddenly made men feel threatened by the female?" he asks. He then answers himself: "The evolving ego in them. It knew it could gain full control of our planet only through the male form, and to do so, it had to render the female powerless. In time, the ego also took over most women, although it could never become as deeply entrenched in them as in men."

Where do I start? Popular history books most often cite from 30,000 to 50,000 for all burned at the stake during the 300 years of the Spanish Inquisition, and specialists come up with even lower numbers. There were other inquisitions, but the sum totals could not have been as high as Tolle claims, and they were not all or even mostly women. See Telchin (2004); and Pasachoff and Littman (2005). The slapdash comparison of the results of the various Inquisitions of the Catholic Church to the horrific extermination of millions of Jews during the Second World War is distasteful, to say the least. As for witch-hunts, certainly they were a real and regrettable phenomenon. Yet, while there were many witches burned at the stake in Europe and America, these numbers, too, have become inflated due to sloppy research, latter-day hysteria, and self-help authors stretching a point. Most professional researchers figure around 50,000 victims, with some few supporting lower figures of around 30,000, and some few who believe there were as many as 100,000 or so.

As for women having less ego than men: Mr. Tolle does not know the women I know. ( )
1 vote rmkelly | Jul 20, 2014 |
The teachings in this book are helpful for having a sense of harmony in my life. However, it's necessary to re-visit the text to acquire a discipline. ( )
  UMAMH12 | Feb 16, 2014 |
An amazing book by an amazing teacher ( )
1 vote graziana47 | Feb 5, 2014 |
Good Book! ( )
  MaryAnn12 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Really couldn't get into this book and gave up halfway through. Too much waffle and religious quoting for a book supposed to be about spirituality, which ironically the author is at pains to say is *not* the same as religion. ( )
  floriferous | Apr 1, 2013 |
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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.
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Dé uitdaging van deze tijd
De wereld is op een belangrijk kruispunt aangekomen. Het ego-gerichte bewustzijn heeft aarde en mensheid aan de rand van de totale catastrofe gebracht. Het Js dan ook hoog tijd voor een collectieve bewustzijnstransfor-matie, waardoor we onze zwaarte en dichtheid verliezen en de kostbare edelstenen worden die we in wezen zijn, zodat we transparant worden voor het licht van bewustzijn. Sinds mensenheugenis was de mogelijkheid van zo'n transformatie de boodschap van lichtbrengers als Boeddha, Jezus en anderen. Staat de mensheid er nu meer voor open dan toen? En: wat kunnen we doen orn deze verschuiving in onszelf te versnellen? En hoe kunnen we het nieuwe, ontwakende bewustzijn herkennen? Op deze en andere wezenlijke vragen gaat dit boek in. Nog belangrijker echter is dat dit boek zelf een instrument voor transformatie is, ontstaan vanuit het nieuwe bewustzijn. Al lezende ervaren we de verschuiving die in ons plaatsvindt.
Alleen de transformatie naar een
nieuwe staat van bewustzijn zal een
nieuwe aarde van vrede teweegbrengen
E'-KHART TOLLE is een van de meest prominente spreken wereldwijd op het gebied van verlichting Zijn bestseller The Power of Now i; in 21 talen verschenen. De kracht van het Nu is m Nederland al jdren nummer 1 van de spirituele toptien. Van zijn boeken De kracht van het Nu, De kracht van het Nu Pn de praktijk en De stilte spreekt zijn in totaal al 150.000 exemplaren verkocht. Vlet dit langverwachte nieuwste boek geeft Eckhart Tolle ons opnieuw een kostbaar geschenk.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452289963, Paperback)

Amazon.com Exclusive Content
Download "The One Thing," an exclusive essay by Eckhart Tolle. [pdf]

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:15 -0400)

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Tolle presents readers with an honest look at the current state of humanity: he implores us to see and accept that this state, which is based on an erroneous identification with the egoic mind, is one of dangerous insanity. However, there is an alternative to this potentially dire situation. Humanity now, perhaps more than in any previous time, has an opportunity to create a new, saner, more loving world. This will involve a radical inner leap from the current egoic consciousness to an entirely new one. In illuminating the nature of this shift, Tolle describes in detail how our current ego-based state of consciousness operates. Then gently, and in very practical terms, he leads us into this new consciousness. We will come to experience who we truly are--which is something infinitely greater than anything we currently think we are.--From publisher description.… (more)

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Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0718148576, 0143143492, 0141042885

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