I have been writing a lot about Eckhart Tolle’s books recently, Power of Now and New Earth, but that is because they have really had a profound effect on me, which I hope lasts and is not forgotten like other sound advice from other books that have passed through my hands – however I feel that Tolle’s books are truly transformational or at least they have been for me.
Having finished reading his New Earth this wonderful sunny afternoon, these are the messages that have stuck in my mind, although there are many more and one blog post cannot do justice to the book at all.
You cannot be more by having more
You might think ‘I need to get more so that I can be more. But you cannot be more than you are because underneath your physical and psychological form, you are one with Life itself, one with Being. In form you are and will always be inferior to some, superior to others. In essence you are neither superior or inferior to anyone.’
The pain body
Tolle says people have what he calls the pain body, which is a collection of people’s painful past memories and emotions, including a collective pain body of a nation or gender. This lies dormant in people, but occasionally needs to be replenished by feeding on your own negative emotions or those of others. That’s why sometimes even a small event can trigger people’s pain body, which feeds on drama and negativity. That is why sometimes we may not like someone just by looking at them, because we can sense this negativity in them. The way to get rid of your pain body is to become conscious of it and that way it gradually looses its power over you.
‘The snow falls, each snow flake in its appropriate place’ – Zen saying
Nothing is good or bad, what we think is bad might be good for us and vice versa. There is a higher order to everything that happens.
‘This, too, will pass’
Everything in this world on the level of form will pass eventually the things we perceive as good and those we see as bad. This can be a consolation to us if we don’t like something, but it can seem negative when we’re experiencing a happy moment. But that is the fact of life, by realising this you can enjoy even more what life has to offer without attaching yourself and identifying with form, because you know it will be gone one day.
‘The words this, too, will pass are pointers towards reality. In pointing to the impermanence of all forms, by implication, they are also pointing to the eternal. Only the eternal in you can recognise the impermanent as impermanent.’
‘Discover inner space by creating gaps in the stream of thinking. Without those gaps your thinking becomes repetitive, uninspired, devoid of any creative spark, which is how it is with most people on the planet.’
You can do this by focusing on your breathing as often as possible and whenever you remember. Even one conscious breath, but preferably more, will still your mind and create space, as it’s usually impossible to focus on breathing and think about something else at the same time.
Inner and outer purpose
Everyone has a inner and outer purpose. Your inner purpose is to awaken and is primary and your outer purpose is what you do and is secondary. Awareness happens when instead of being lost in your thinking, when you are awake, you recognise yourself as the awareness behind your thoughts. This usually happens gradually. Everything which is done in an awakened state, by focusing on it and being fully present givers purpose to your life. Your purpose is what you are doing right now, it’s not just the end result. If you are walking now to fetch a book than walking is your purpose and getting the book, that will be the purpose when you get it. By enjoying what we do right now, the results become positive, if we do things reluctantly and unwillingly the process is negative and the results also become contaminated.
‘If the means don’t contribute to human happiness (yours or others’), neither will the end.’
Give your full attention to people
‘When you meet people at work or wherever it may be, give them your fullest attention.’
This creates a field of awareness between you, and being aware and present in general brings you more opportunities, more chance meetings with people, etcetera as life helps you fulfil your purpose.
‘You cannot become successful, you can only be successful’
‘The waiting to start living syndrome is one of the most common delusions of the unconscious state..joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do’
Joy is not derived from something you enjoy doing, if you believe this ‘you then look to the world to bring you joy and happiness, but it cannot do that.’
Three modalities of doing
‘What you do will be dysfunctional and of the ego unless it arises out of one of these three modalities. The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm.’
Acceptance – accept and be at peace with anything you do. If you cannot accept doing something, stop doing it, otherwise you are not taking responsibility for the only thing you can really take responsibility for – for your state of consciousness and for life.
Enjoyment – ‘what is the relationship between something that you do and the state of joy? You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end.’
If you are absolutely present, even mundane or irritating tasks like washing the dishes or doing the laundry can become enjoyable.
Enthusiasm – if you are following your inner purpose, suddenly one day you know what your goal is – you have a vision of what you should be doing. Enthusiasm means that there is deep enjoyment in what you do, plus the added element of a goal or vision. But this does not mean being stressed, when there is stress that is a sign that the ego has returned.
‘Enthusiasm and ego cannot coexist.’
However be aware that your goal cannot be something which boosts the ego – like to be a movie star or a famous writer, nor having things like having your own company or owning a mansion by the sea. You can instead see yourself as inspiring people and enriching others’ lives.
I hope you get a chance to read this book, as well as Tolle’s other books, because they are really worth it.