A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
"Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self. 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 a forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare." -- From A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose

I have several books, decks and audios by Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now, Through the Open Door to the Vastness of Your True Being, Stillness Speaks Inspiration Deck, Power of Now Inspiration Cards, and others), but A New Earth is by far the most illuminating, accessible and uplifting.

For those unfamiliar with Eckhart Tolle, this man experienced a profound instantaneous inner transformation at age 29. Born in Germany and schooled in England, he integrated and deepened his experience with an intense inward journey. Tolle then began teaching small groups as a spiritual counselor. In 1995, he moved to Canada and is now considered one of the most influential spiritual thinkers of our time, largely in part to his books The Power of Now and A New Earth.

In A New Earth: Awakening Your Life's Purpose, this gentle teacher traces human suffering to one simple, yet insidious, root: the ego. While many authors and philosophers throw around the word "ego", Tolle actually exposes what the ego IS--and why it causes us so much trouble.

While 17th century philospher Rene Descartes may be considered the "father of philosophy", his famous dictum "I think, therefore I am" mechanized humans into "thinking machines" that can reason their way through any problem--and to "ultimate truth". Cartesian philosophy (named for Descartes) has permeated our culture for centuries and can be best summed up with "I think--that is my identity--and therefore, my thinking is my Being". According to Tolle, Descartes discovered the root of EGO, not Beingness.

However, Tolle echoes another philosopher who came a few hundred years Descartes, Jean Paul Sartre saying: (my paraphrase) Wait a minute. If we become AWARE that we are thinking...then what is that part that is observing...that can make that assessment? If thinking equals Being, then we wouldn't realize we're "thinking' in the first place! We'd be like a dreamer "who doesn't know he is dreaming".

Tolle asserts that this awareness outside of thinking is our TRUE Being, the part that is "I Am"--a dimension of consciousness that, unfortunately, is often discovered at the point of tragic loss or hitting a "limit-situation". It's an inexplicable peace that descends, a sacred sense of Presence. Could this be the "peace that passes all understanding" that St. Paul talked about in the New Testament?

The reason it takes a "tragedy" for some to wake up is because a disidentification from form has occurred. In other words, let's say a person experiences a house fire and loses everything--but ends up experiencing a sense of peace...a feeling "It's OK, and it will be OK". Or what about those who experience illness, death of a loved one, disfigurement, or debilitation? When these ones experience an all-pervasive Presence, a "Being prior to all forms, all identifications", an individual, through direct experience (not thought), realizes 'Wait a minute...I am NOT my thoughts...(or possessions)'."

So what does this mean to you, dear reader? Well, if you are not your thoughts--then who ARE you? Why is it that some people become bitter or resentful after tragedy...but others become wise, compassionate and loving? How many unexamined thoughts do you have bouncing through your head--thoughts that have been handed down to you through parents, religion and the media that influence every move you make? What if THOUGHTS, and their resulting emotions, are the source of your suffering?

What if the true "you" is not your body? Not your bank account? Not your title? Not your actions, reputation or accomplishments? Then, who ARE you?

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose will introduce you to the "you" that's always been with you, the part connected to the peace of God, a higher Presence and joy unspeakable. In addition to Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie, the spiritual truths of Eckhart Tolle have changed my life (and continue to do so when I "remember" who I really am). Time and time again, when I "suffer", I can trace it to my "stinkin' thinkin'". (And just so you don't think I've lived a charmed life absent of difficulties, I've experienced widowhood at age 25, post traumatic stress syndrome, poverty, general anxiety disorder and a son diagnosed with Autism at age 3, among other trying circumstances.)

Do you hate your body? Get this book. Are you plagued with thoughts that you're not "enough"? Get this book. Do you fear that if you lose something precious (money, spouse, youth, vigor, job, etc.) that your life will be "over"? Get this book. Is your attachment to "stuff" and striving to live up to the expectations of others wearing you out? Get this book. Do you want to heal from painful emotions and negative states of being? Get this book.

Do you want to experience peace that passes all understanding? Get this book.

I'll leave you with a quote from A New Earth:

"'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth', writes the biblical prophet. 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. Thus realization is the awakening...So the new heaven, the awakened consciousness, is not a future state to be achieved...What did Jesus tell his disciples? 'Heaven is right here in the midst of you'."

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