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By Eckhart Tolle
Contemporary popular spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is a slightly built man, his hair a middling shade of brown, his goatee neatly trimmed. He wears pressed chinos and a pale patterned sweater vest over a business-casual shirt without a tie. He speaks softly.
Maybe his eyes hint at some source of spiritual authority. They are pale blue and clear, as if they were clean windows offering a good look outside and within.
Eckhart Tolle is emerging as one of the most original and inspiring spiritual teachers of our time. Eckhart, who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition, but excludes none, travels and teaches throughout the world. His profound yet simple and practical teachings have helped thousands of people find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. Eckhart Tolle is the author of "The Power of Now," which has been widely recognized as one of the most influential spiritual books of our time. First published in 1998, it grew quickly through word of mouth and reached the New York Times bestseller list in December 2002. At the core of Eckhart’s teachings lies the transformation of individual and collective human consciousness – a global spiritual awakening. Eckhart Tolle graduated from the University of London and was a research scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. At age 29, a spiritual transformation changed the course of his life. For the past 10 years, he has been a counselor and spiritual teacher working with individuals and groups in Europe and North America. His first book, The Power of Now, has been translated into 17 languages.
Some 25 years ago, the German-born Tolle, 55, looked inside himself during a middle-of-the-night spiritual crisis. An intense bout of self-questioning led him to experience a mysterious surge of energy, drawing him into sleep. "The next morning I woke up, everything seemed fresh and new and had an aliveness to it," he recalls. This resulting "shift," as he calls it, gradually transformed a Cambridge University researcher into a contemporary spiritual teacher whose ideas have spoken to many, including one influential follower named Oprah Winfrey. The TV host and book arbiter helped bring to prominence Tolle's first book, "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" (New World, 1999), which has sold more than 1 million copies in North America and England and has been translated into 30 languages. Tolle's recently published second book, "Stillness Speaks" (New World), with 200,000 copies in print, elaborates on key ideas from "The Power of Now," yet the two works are different. Where the first book explained at length, the second is aphoristic, in the style of ancient Asian religious sayings known as "sutras." "Sutras are powerful pointers to the truth in the form of aphorisms or short sayings, with little conceptual elaboration," writes Tolle in the new book's introduction. As befits the author of a book on stillness, Tolle sits with composure during conversation, often keeping his hands folded in his lap, at rest. No, he isn't enlightened, at least not exceptionally so, says Tolle, who speaks English with a German-tinged British accent. "Every human being is enlightened," he says. "The only difference is most humans don't know that yet. I can sense that in the background of my life."
The essence of Tolle's teaching is the recognition and use of "the power of now." Human thinking, he says, is a process that cuts us off from direct experience of the present, because thinking obscures whatever is occurring. The mind is a human tool that has become too dominant. The power of now is the liberation from ceaseless thinking and the realization that each moment, each now, is also an opportunity
to experience fundamental peace. "Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have," he writes in "The Power of Now." "This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace." Seeking for, and teaching about, a peace that passes understanding and that cannot be found through conscious thinking has a long history, says Robert Fuller, who teaches religious studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. What Fuller calls "the gospel of the hidden self" appeals with its promise that an individual can do something that's simple and effective. "Right within ourselves is higher power, and that's better than thinking that there's a lot of social and economic things that need to be reworked," Fuller says. "This is a lot simpler." Tolle's teaching draws on perennial wisdom within religions, yet he is not aligned with any one and will as readily cite Jesus as he will the Buddha. "Jesus speaks of salvation or the kingdom of heaven, Hindu teachings speak of liberation or enlightenment, the Buddha's favorite expression was that it is possible for humans to be free of suffering," he says. "There's only one essential spiritual teaching in humanity." But religions over time have acquired what he calls cultural baggage, and infighting and ideology have obscured religion's truths. "I believe it would limit the power of what I teach if it became identified with one particular set of concepts, when there is such an enormous amount of intercommunication between cultures," he says. "Perhaps the power of now teaching is more accessible because it is fairly neutral in its language." If Tolle is working with what he and others see as a unifying essence in the world's religions, he is also at their esoteric mystical edges. His new work centers on stillness as the door to a larger realm that humans can see themselves as part of. "Underneath thinking there lies `Be still and know that I am God,"' he says, citing the words of Psalm 46. "A deeper intelligence underlies the manifestation of all forms." From this realization naturally flows an ethic for living with others. "Love cannot be generated by trying to be loving," Tolle says. "When you enter that dimension of the kingdom of heaven that is here and now, as a natural consequence you will love your neighbor as yourself." About the Book : The essence of the book is ‘Present Moment Awareness’. This is the core of ‘Power of Now’.The author shows us the way on the present instead of living in the past or worrying about the future, free of the burden of time . According to the author ‘Nothing ever happened in the past, it happened in the Now .Nothing will ever happen in the future it will happen in the Now’. The author takes the reader step by step towards leading a life free of suffering and angst . It explains how we create our own pain and constantly make the mistake of identifying wth our minds thinking that is ‘who’ we are . The magical quality of this book is that the author uses words to take us to a place beyond words where silence resides, and in this silence, this inner stillness we access the Now . In this Now, the present moment, problems do not exist, for the Now is all there is . The whole point is that the potency of the silence lies in the very interval between thoughts , which is precisely what is being sought , the reality of of the whole mind This book is meant for people on the spiritual path who seek to improve the quality of their lives and who are striving to make the world a better place to live in . In the author’s words, “Remember, you’re not going anywhere . All things come and go . But you are not what happens . You are silent space in which all things happen.”And this is what the Power Of Now is all about . It is the truth spelt out, the truth of life as it is , ‘Now’ .
"Every human being is enlightened," he says. "The only difference is most humans don't know that yet. I can sense that in the background of my life."
The essence of Tolle's teaching is the recognition and use of "The Power Of Now." Human thinking, he says, is a process that cuts us off from direct experience of the present, because thinking obscures whatever is occurring. The mind is a human tool that has become too dominant.
The power of now is the liberation from ceaseless thinking and the realization that each moment, each now, is also an opportunity to experience fundamental peace. "Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have," he writes in "The Power Of Now." This will give you a taste of the state of inner freedom from external conditions, the state of true inner peace
Tolle's teaching draws on perennial wisdom within religions, yet he is not aligned with any one and will as readily cite Jesus as he will the Buddha. "Jesus speaks of salvation or the kingdom of heaven, Hindu teachings speak of liberation or enlightenment, the Buddha's favorite expression was that it is possible for humans to be free of suffering," he says. There's only one essential spiritual teaching in humanity
NOW OR NEVER "You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - yet I am speaking of it now. I am speaking of it now not to give you something to believe in but to show you how you can know it for yourself." And that is just what Eckhart Tolle does in his book The Power of Now. This is not just another candy-ass elementary level celestine prophetic conversation supposedly-with-God clone. It is fresh, revealing, current, new inspiration. This book is written from a depth of a person who has considered suicide, gone through his dark night of the soul and has come out the other side into his very personal and ecstatic enlightenment. " I don't call it finding God, because how can you find that which was never lost, the very life that you are? Godrealization is the most natural thing there is. The amazing and incomprehensible fact is not that you can become conscious of God but that you are not conscious of God." Out of the many spiritual books that cross my desk this one stands out from the flock. Eckhart Tolle has discovered an inner vein and explored its magnificence through his own personal experience. This is a sincere seeker's self-realization explained in clear, unfolding words. "To be conscious of Being, you need to reclaim consciousness from the mind. This is one of the most essential tasks on your spiritual journey." You don't have to be superman nor superwoman to become aware. " When you become conscious of Being, what is really happening is that Being becomes conscious of itself -- that's presence." Tolle tells it like it is, "For most people, presence is experienced either never at all or only accidentally and briefly on rare occasions without being recognized for what it is. Most humans alternate not between consciousness and unconsciousness but between different levels of unconsciousness."
This book identifies the human situation precisely and then goes on to clarify how we can realize to a more loving, illuminated truer self. His chapter Mind Strategies for Avoiding the Now documents the spectrum from our core delusions, to freedom and inner purpose. His insightful writing holds no punches. "If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity to inhabit this planet. What do you think will happen on this planet if human consciousness remains unchanged?" If you are considering getting back in touch with your soul this book is a great companion.This book emanates a spirit of love, not only through its words, but in the spaces between the words. No book has touched me, nor embraced me as this one has. Perhaps it was its rhythm - the moving back and forth from simple to complex, from question to answer, from form to spirit, from dysfunction to divinity which I found so comforting. Perhaps it was the author's authenticity as he spoke the unspeakable - of homosexuality, menses, patriarchy, and rape - which opened my consciousness. This book is for all of us sleepwalking travelers in time - philosophers or kings, young women or terminally ill, gays or feminists, religiously inclined or scientifically motivated - who are willing to take the pilgrimage to wakefulness, from worry to peace, from unhappiness to joy. Tolle provokes us through an uneasy questioning that rocks us back and forth, between discomfort and solace, as he pokes at our handed-down unexamined beliefs then soothes with an offering of truth.
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