Friday, March 21, 2008

Book Review # 8 - A New Earth by Eckart Tolle

Needless to say, its been a busy week. Having St. Patricks day and Easter, not to mention the start of March Madness, falling in the same week . . enough of the excuses. As a preacher once said, no guff or twaddle today.

Eckart Tolle's book A New Earth, Awakening To Your Life's Purpose is the latest in a string of self help books with a spiritual bend. To be honest, Tolle sounds alot like L.Ron Hubbard in his attempt to synchronize religions and various sciences (especially psychology), using their common themes and then aligning them under the banner of his own vocabulary. What Hubbard would call our collective negative feelings as Thetan, Tolle calls it our pain-body, feeding on negative experiences both in the present and past. Tolle is quick to use words such as evolve and use it as as spiritual term, or reference the arrival of a new kind of kingdom and equate that to a higher level of consciousness.

In short, Tolle says that we must evolve or die. If we do not evolve to a higher state of consciousness, then we as a race will die. Tolle points to religious prophets and some scientist who have risen to this state of evolved consciousness (enlightenment . .. very creative), in which of course, Tolle counts him self among.

Tolle agrees that all humanity has an inherited dysfunction, some call it sin, others call it suffering, but what ever you call it, it is the result of not being "self aware". Tolle is sounding like a broken record at this point, and I keep waiting for the new thing he has to say . . .

Tolle does use more scripture than other self proclaimed spiritual leaders, but he takes the passages out of context and changes the meaning of words to fit his paradigm. He correctly defines sin, and then suggests that sin is to live unskillfully or blindly. Not that I disagree, but he equates it with the Buddhist way of avoiding pain. He also references living with the peace that surpasses all understanding, but says that you can only achieve that peace if you understand the ego.. Summarily, the Sermon on the Mount is a teaching or vehicle to diminish the pain-body.

So what is the new earth? Hold onto your hats . . . .Its an earth that is changed by people who have evolved and achieved enlightenment, or awakened to your purpose. Your life's purpose is to live in the now, and not for tomorrow. If you are awake to your present purpose, you can change the world now. If you look for your purpose in the future, you will miss the present. Don't you feel better?

Tolle is a man who is seeking. For that I give him props, but like most self proclaimed spiritual guides, he's inward focused. His teaching don't come anywhere close to the authority and weight of Christ.

As a book, I think he could have said what he needed to say in 1/2 the time. I'm shocked that Oprah chose such a book. My sense is that a staffer read it and brought it as an idea. Have we seen Tolle on Oprah? If this was such big stuff, then I would have thought every Tuesday would be Eckart day, but maybe she learned her lesson with Dr. Phil.

Final thought . .nothing new under the sun. Tolle's book is a "best of" remix of world religions and science, with a synchronized drum beat behind it.

" But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves . . . . having a form of godliness but denying its power. . . For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

The Apostle Paul - 2 Timothy


Anonymous said...

Good job with this review. I just wish that you had some readers . . . ok, maybe you do. I'm reading! Anyone else reading???? Chime in!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you reviewed this book because it saves me from having to read it. I made it through Tolle's The Power of Now back in the day, but I don't think I could handle another book of Oprah spirituality. You are more kind than I, sir.

And I'm reading the blog, and I'm sure others are too. But sometimes it's just cathartic enough to write it, readers be darned (ahem).

But if you do want some readers, you need to start commenting on other blogs that you like. Show off your brilliance on a similar site. People gotta find you somehow.

Amy said...

Okay, I missed this when you wrote it...just now catching up. My friend sent me a link to a video on YouTube about the "Church of Oprah". I guess Tolle has been on her web book discussion. I only saw the small clips contained in the video, but they talked about how there is more than one way to "God", etc. Pretty disturbing. My mother-in-law read another Oprah book, The Secret, and I'm currently dragging myself through it so that when I do talk to her about it, I'll have at least read it and can argue based on what I read.

Amy said...

Okay, here's the link to the video if you're interested: