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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Oprah's Book Club, Selection 61) Paperback – January 30, 2008
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“A wake-up call for the entire planet . . . [A New Earth] helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future might be, and to put ourselves in the now.” —Oprah Winfrey
With his bestselling spiritual guide The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle inspired millions of readers to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.” In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.
Illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting, A New Earth is a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life—and for building a better world.
From the Publisher
"[Oprah] Winfrey calls the book 'a wake-up call for the entire planet, one reader at a time. It helps us to distance ourselves from our egos . . . and to open ourselves to a higher self. . . . It helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future might be, and to put ourselves in the now.'"
"I would do anything to be anywhere in the vicinity of Eckhart Tolle."
"A gentle journey, one that could take you to a spectacular and very special place of new awareness and deeper understanding."
—Neale Donald Walsh, author of Conversations with God
"One of the best books to come along in years. Every sentence rings with truth and power—the power to bring you into the gap, the space between our thoughts, where we find, as Eckhart so beautifully puts it, deep serenity, stillness, and a sacred Presence."
—Deepak Chopra, author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
About the Author
Eckhart Tolle is widely recognized as one of the most inspiring and visionary spiritual teachers in the world today. With his international bestsellers, The Power of Now and A New Earth—translated into 52 languages—he has introduced millions to the joy and freedom of living life in the present moment. His teachings focus on the significance and power of Presence, the awakened state of consciousness, which transcends ego and discursive thinking. Eckhart sees this awakening as the essential next step in human evolution. The New York Times has described him as “the most popular spiritual author in the United States”, and in 2011, Watkins Review named him “the most spiritually influential person in the world”.
- ASIN : 0452289963
- Publisher : Penguin; Reprint edition (January 30, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780452289963
- ISBN-13 : 978-0452289963
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.94 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2022
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I have chosen to write this book review from the perspective a Catholic peace and social activist. Regardless, none of these reviews can substitute reading "A New Earth" because one needs to personally taste the absolute eloquence and powerful spiritual insights found in Eckhart Tolle's writing. Reading Eckhart Tolle is transformational. His writing is therapeutic. Chapter three, "The Core of Ego", is definitely a prime instructional source for good mental health. "A New Earth" is one of the most important books of our time. It needs to be read by all inquiring spiritual minds and those struggling to understand the increasing violence and insanity in the world.
Eckhart Tolle's book presents a clear understanding of human consciousness, profound spirituality and the beginnings of a radical and evolutionary awakening of a higher consciousness. To arrive at this higher consciousness, Eckhart Tolle delves deeply into the dysfunction of the human ego, both in the individual and in the institutions of power and wealth. To Eckhart Tolle, "The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness".
Eckhart Tolle states how the love of things can contribute to the domination of the human ego and how a consumer society honors material things as a means to self-enhancement.....it distorts our perception of reality and the true nature of our humanity.
To quote Eckhart Tolle: "Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which is a part".
With "A New Earth" chosen by the Oprah Book Club, and the numerous appearances of Eckhart Tolle on the Oprah Winfrey show, Oprah has played a big role in elevating the spiritual consciousness of hundreds of thousands of American readers. Oprah must be commended for this. As I understand it, more than any other book in recent history, this book was read and reviewed by the vast majority of book clubs in the U.S. I hope "A New Earth" will be the beginning of much needed maturity in American thinking and in American Christianity as well.
Yes, to me, Christianity in America needs to mature in a spiritual way if ever there is to be greater maturity in American culture. A higher spiritual consciousness is the essential element for radical social transformation. As Fr. Richard Rohr, of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM, would say, Christianity in America has become a belonging system, "us" against "them", rather than a system for personal transformation. The tragedy is that Christianity has become in some ways just another institution seeking its own perpetuation and power, dominated by the human ego.
The dysfunction of the human ego is what Christ tried so hard to get through to the minds of his disciples, particularly when he told Peter, the "first pope", to "get behind me you devil" (Mathiew 24,15) or "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye" (Mathew 7). Christ had the perfect non-dualistic mind.
In fact, addressing the human ego goes to the heart of all of the world's major religions, but Christianity seems to have walked away from it. Christianity chose to do so when it became part of the Roman Empire in 325 AD. Since then, Christianity has had a hard time critiquing the system and the unjust status quo that stems from the dysfunction of the human ego. Christianity has found it difficult to critique the system because it has become a part of the system. The culturally imprisoned mindset of many American Christians is totally contrary to the mind of Christ.
As mentioned, addressing the problem of the human ego goes to the heart of all of the world's major religions. But not often enough do religious or spiritual writers critique the institutions of corporate capitalism. Eckhart Tolle's book is most timely to stimulate a new national conversation, particularly when considering America's "never ending war" against terrorism and the near dictatorial powers of the U.S. Military Industrial Complex.
It is time U.S. citizens recognize that government propaganda in support of war and the interests of corporate capitalism is a force that strategically preys on the weaknesses of the human ego. Actually corporate capitalism can be said to be diabolical as it seeks to enrich itself by altering human consciousness. This then exaggerates the human ego that has led to a dysfunctional society. Eckhart Tolle never used the word "capitalism". Yet the underlying message of his writing is a severe critique of capitalism. I guess you could say the word "capitalism" has been "sanctified" in America, the unspoken word or the unseen elephant in the living room.
Eckhart Tolle avoids saying in a direct manner, "corporate capitalism is intrinsically evil and unsustainable" or "corporate consumer capitalism alters human consciousness and is the destroyer of the human spirit". You have to come to that conclusion yourself.
In March 2009, there was a conference at the Center of Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM called "The Emerging Church: Christians Creating a New World Together". This conference was attended by a thousand people, about half of whom were Catholic, the rest were mainline and evangelical Protestants and other Christians. Many of those at the conference believed that the future of the church will be the coming together of like minded people from all denominations who seek a more prophetic and contemplative faith. A higher global consciousness that is seeking a more just, sustainable and compassionate world is already a powerful emerging force in the world. The "emerging church" seeks to be part of this higher social consciousness. It seeks to serve as praxis and as co-creator for the evolutionary destiny of humankind to consciously provide for the survival of it's own species. An increasing number of Christians view this higher consciousness as the universal consciousness of the risen Christ. To these Christians, the salvation and survival of humankind is what the death and resurrection of Christ is all about.
A more contemplative faith is about centering oneself in Presence, through meditation and contemplation, seeking wisdom through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is done by embracing opposing thoughts and coming to spiritual discernment. Particularly for a Catholic activist, this centering of the human spirit is the critical means of overcoming personal anger when so involved in non-violent civic activism. Spiritual discernment goes to the heart of a healthy democracy as well. A healthy democracy is truly an act of the human spirit. Democracy is meant to work for the common good and to question the unjust status quo. This is why corporate capitalism hates democracy and seeks to destroy it with the total corruption of the U.S. Congress.
I see the teachings of scholars like Eckhart Tolle and the emerging church movement as bringing maturity to Christianity in the 21st Century. It is the coming together of like minded people of all faiths that see the human ego, enticed by the institutions of corporate capitalism, as being the prime cause of social unrest, the scapegoating of others and the waging of war. It cannot be denied, the oppression of global capitalism is the cause of the "blow-back" of terrorism. This blow-back from war and economic domination is in reality the powerful forces of spirituality at work, the liberation of the human spirit.
In meditation and contemplation, where we seek to separate ourselves from the dominance of the human ego, we can come to see what the Divine Spirit wants us to see, the holiness of all people, to understand our own brokenness and thus becoming able to forgive others with compassion.
Father Richard Rohr stated so well in a September 4, 2009 article in the National Catholic Reporter that another word for contemplation is non-dualistic thinking. "That's what makes people able to be merciful and forgiving. You can't love your enemies with a low level dualistic mind. It's impossible. You don't have the software to know how to do it. So we tell people to love your enemies. A normal Catholic can't do that with the software that he or she has been given. Catholics were never taught they need a different consciousness to understand the Gospel".
You have to start out by separating the message from the messenger. Yes, Eckhart can be a bit pompous at times. Yes, he can blatantly state things like "this book is for spiritually awakened people - like those who read my previous book!" :) He talks about the pain-body as if it's an alien living in your stomach, ready to poke its head out. He talks about all corporations everywhere being evil, being all about profit. I know many corporations which do have very great aims. A corporation is just a legal structure. It depends on who runs it, as to what they are about. Heck, some of my friends have incorporated their small businesses to protect their homes. They're not about profit at all, they are very charity minded.
Eckhart has many factual errors. He perpetuates the extreme notion of 5 million women slain in a period of 300 years. Yes, I'm female and I abhor some things the church has done to women, but this 5 million slain number is just not reality. It makes people doubt the actual problems which did happen. He claims that the average 60 year old has watched 15 years of TV. This means the average person watches 6 hours of TV a day - EVERY single day - for their entire life from birth. It's scary enough that kids under age 18 average 3 1/2 hrs a day, and adults a bit more, but NOBODY (male or female adults included) averages 6 hours a day. When you know the first 18 years are 3.5 hrs, Eckhart's number is simply not true. Related to this, he seems convinced that men are responsible for all negative history events and that if women ran things we would be a land of peace and joy and plenty. I find both views to be a bit extreme.
Eckhart talks about few animals being killed in the Tsunami, but again, he's perpetuating a rumor. As the deputy managing editor of Science scoffs, "I have heard rumors that none of the animals were killed, but how do they know that? Did they take a census?" It's just that we KNOW when people are missing - but we rarely know (or worry about) wild animals missing after something like this. Yes, animals might hear the subsonic noises and be nervous - but to say animals weren't killed makes no sense. I'm sure even if a lot of animals "sensed something wrong" that they would be incapable of moving far enough inland to escape the torrential flooding. Or maybe Eckhart only worries about large, identifiable animals like elephants ...
My biggest issue with both of these books is that Eckhart is trumpeting a message of despair. He talks about how our whole world is mad, how we are surrounded by crazies, and that we better rise up against them and claim our minds or we're all going to go insane. It gets a bit much. He talks about the madness accelerating, when really if you look at history things are MUCH calmer now than pretty much any time. People actually try to talk out issues now. Yes we have a few wars - but look back to when EVERYTHING was settled by war. We are making huge progress. But that wouldn't sell books.
So that all being said, I do want to say this book has MANY good points, if you take it all with a critical, open eye. He talks about how Buddhism seeks to make us aware of the troubles in daily life and how we must learn to accept the way life is. He says that sin in the original language of the Bible was not "evil", it was about "missing the mark". People were being advised to learn from their mistakes and correct their path as they went.
He warns that all possessions fade over time, just as beauty and strength does. Taking pride in these things is setting yourself up to feel sadness when they are no longer there. It is better to be content inwardly, rather than based on external objects. He includes branded name objects in this category, and groups.
He points out that your internal frame of mind shapes how you view the world. "Complaining is one of the ego's favorite strategies for strengthening itself," he warns. It's about making you feel better by putting down someone else. He elaborates later - "Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right. And to refrain from complaining doesn't necessarily mean putting up with bad quality or behavior." So it is about standing up for yourself, certainly, but not by abusing others.
He talks about how some people feel they can't be happy until something in their current life changes (I get a new house, I get a new job). He says other people feel they can never be happy because of something in their past (maybe the DISTANT past). He says both sets of people are mistaken. You can choose to be happy NOW. Not that you resign yourself to your situation necessarily - you can strive to better your life. But you can accept that you are where you are, that you will find serenity where you are while you work to improve things.
He says that every moment we're in we should either be thinking of acceptance, enjoyment or enthusiasm. If we really don't want to be changing a flat tire in the rain, simply accept it, do it as best you can, and move on. Being stressed and angry isn't going to make the tire change more quickly, and will add stress hormones and bad health to your list of problems.
I definitely think the key messages of this book are important. If Eckhart is phrasing them in a way which most people "get" - even though there are numerous other books on this same topic with this same message - then more power to him. It goes to show that people react differently to phrasing and that a writing style that makes sense to one person does not to another. Sure, a lot of this book is Buddhism - but I'm sure many of these readers have never been in a Buddhist temple and would not have gone to talk with a Buddhist monk. A lot of these concepts are basic psychology, but a person who doesn't read psychology tomes would never know that. Eckhart has made the information palatable to a large group of people. That's a well done task. My complaints are just that he didn't need some of this "incorrect junk" in here - and that his book would have been that much better if it left those things out.
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My recommendations are,
TNT: The Power Within (0722524935)
Grow Rich While You Sleep (0722513097)
The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind (0854540881)
The Power Of Awareness (9780399162664)
The essence of achieving success in life is to form the habit of thinking in a successful way rather than letting events happening around you and other people's opinions direct your life.
Discipline yourself to think only good about you and your life. Don't let envy and jelousy of other people creep into your mind. Let other folk do what they want to do and focus your mind on what you want to do.
If you fancy reading about spiritualty, read the Conversations With God series by Neale Donald Walsch.
The books are basically what Walsch imagines his god would say in response to his questions.
An overview of the series -
You can do what ever you like with your life.
The YOU you are is the YOU you create with your own thoughts.
God does not care what you do and does not judge or punish you.
Love yourself as God's highest form of creation and make the best of yout life.
Everyone, without exception, goes to heaven.
Also, have a look at Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill.
Do I honestly feel Tolles 'New Earth' is something likely to come to widespread fruition in the near future. The short answer would be no. Nonetheless this does not take away from the many lessons of practicality which can be utilised by the average individual reader to improve their lives both on a physical and spiritual level.
At the price it is sold for I consider it an extremely wise investment for those seeking further fundamental answers regarding our purpose for being, across all age groups.
This book was recommended on a site I’m part of and it just seemed the right time to try it.
I’m here… I’m more than here, I’m enjoying now and will try to consciously enjoy now for all of now!
I look forward to the end of any physical bonds but not so much that I want to rush it anymore. I think this book may well have changed me fantastically… right now I feel it has. Please try to read both books, if it doesn’t work for you, no harm done… if it does then the world is getting better and better for you and all of life.