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The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward
When the best option is to let go of the life you planned for yourself and find a new path, a world of possibilities can surprisingly open up.
Spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating, and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.
Eckhart Tolle is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time. In 2008, A New Earth became the first spiritual book to be selected for Oprah's Book Club as well as the subject of a ten-week online workshop co-taught by Eckhart and Oprah.
Eckhart's profound yet simple teachings have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfillment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet.
Back in 2000 I read Tolle's "The Power of Now" (TPON), and thought so highly of it that I included it in the "Must Read" list at the end of my own book. As such, I figured "A New Earth" just might be as valuable to me as TPON was at that time.
I read this book over a weekend and my first impression was that it was a solid effort, and that it was essentially a hybrid of TPON, with the primary difference being that it's written in a prose as opposed to a Q&A format. The fact that it's similar to TPON isn't necessarily a negative, for that book had some very valuable content in it that's clearly worth hearing again.
Is it a life changing work? Well, the truth is it all depends on YOU. If you're considering buying it because Oprah recommends it, but you haven't read a single book in the spiritual growth/personal growth category in the past, then my sense is that you might become a bit frustrated with its esoteric nature. A better choice as a first book might be "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz, as he likewise addresses the power of the mind to overtake us if we don't learn to cultivate the ability to step back from its ramblings. A book I read recently that would also be a wonderful first title to read in the category is called "The Belief Formula" by Pete Koerner, as it talks in detail about thoughts and provides practical ways to get more in control of them. This book would be of particular benefit to anyone who would like a bridge from traditional religious training to the more mystical teachings of authors like Eckhart Tolle.
If, on the other hand, you are a person who has read a few to several books in this category, then "A New Earth" is another quality title to read as you continue to walk your path of self-discovery.Read more ›
I love this book. Tolle describes ancient truths and applies them to life in the 21st century in a way that is inspiring and comforting. I took away from this book three simple, yet profound ideas. First and foremost, Tolle believes that we are all connected to each other and that everything we do matters and has an impact on our world. His second idea lies in the power of listening: he suggests that if we can quiet our egos long enough to truly listen, it is possible to feel a sacredness and inner harmony where everything has its perfect place. And lastly, the author speaks of the power of awareness. The moment you notice a pattern of behavior that is no longer working for you, you are a success.
Reading this book reminded me of the writings of two of my favorite authors: Ariel and Shya Kane. In their books Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment, Working on Yourself Doesn't Work: A Book About Instantaneous Transformation and How To Create a Magical Relationship[, the Kanes teach a fun and easy way to live fully and joyously in the moment. Their approach is practical and magical at the same time. If you like Tolle's work you're bound to love the Kane's. All of these books are treasures to be enjoyed.
I have read Eckhart Tolle's previous works and believe him to be one of the most important spiritual teachers of the 20th and 21st centuries. I had waited very patiently however for this book which he took most of last year to write because when someone of his caliber takes so much time to write a book about enlightenment and the ego you know it's got to be good. The title didn't grab me so much though as the content. This book in one fell swoop has given me more food for thought concerning who I am and who and what this personality is up to than any other spiritual book I've ever read. It's a sobering look at who I am and how devious the ego can be. It has helped me see many of my problems are due to my ego instead of it being all those others in my life. If you're ready to face yourself and who you are up to now you've come to the right place. This book will show you all your games and guises and help you get back to the real you underneath it all. It may be the best step on the most ultimate path we all must eventually take towards a New Earth and our true purpose in life.
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If you got the concepts in the Power of Now, and love the simple, easy-to-understand message of that book, you will find a "going deeper" happening with this one.
I've always been one to disagree with spiritual teachers about the ego - that it's basically all bad. If it's bad, why did God create it? My feeling is if it is here on Earth, it belongs, even though we may not understand why.
That said, Eckhart clearly defines, with excellent examples, how our identification with the ego (and not the ego itself, mind you) keeps us from simply being in the present and instead tied to thoughts, concepts, mind-stuff, endless identification with people, places, and things. He shows us the many forms and faces that the ego takes up, and shows us the fallacy of identifying with forms in the first place.
To identify so completely with form is to identify with that which is doomed to extinction, causing us loss and sadness. Wouldn't it be better if we simply observed things from an aware state, and not get so caught up in them? This is Eckhart's goal, to get us to a place where we can see the benefits of raising our awareness, and actually wanting to do so.
Ah, easier said than done, I hear you say. Within the pages of A New Earth, Eckhart gives us precisely the tools we need to recognize and become aware of own folly. From that higher state of awareness, the flowers of enlightenment can bloom. And voila, a New Earth is born.