Book Review: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

I decided to take a break from all the heavy reading I do normally and picked up this book on one of my trips.
Being a big fan of Wayne Dyer books, I was not particularly impressed with the first few chapters.Many of Dyer's books have covered the part about silencing the ego, cultivating the observer and focusing on breath.However, as I dug deeper, I was impressed by the author's preachings that I was hooked.

It is amazing how the author takes a complex subject like suffering and even everyday maladies and stresses that most of us experience and simplifies our understandings of them.He also offers a way out of them.

He builds on the Ego's need to identify with things, to want more(very reminiscent of Dyer's profound statement,'Where is the peace in more is better?'), to complain, resent reactivity and to hold on to grievances. It need to prove itself right and make others wrong. The Ego constantly needs fame and can play roles(or as Eric Burns put it, plays games) of victim, abuser and so on.

Many of us hold on to our baggages for most of our lives. Tolle calls these baggages 'pain-bodies' and explains how those with pain bodies suffer and pass on their suffering to those 'willing' to accept them. He also offers us a way out of our pain bodies.

Unfortunately this book defied the very motive of my picking it up in the first place, to take a break from heavy reading. It made me think but offered me hope- Yes, for me this book was a paradox.

As Oscar Wilde put it, a classic is a book that everyone praises but few read. This is a book that fits that description. Many will buy it. Honestly, I cannot see too many who will complete it.

Unlike the touchy-feely style of Dyer's books, this book is indeed heavy reading.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book but it was an eyeopener in many ways.

Here are my favorite quotes from the book.

  • Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment.' said Rumi. Echart Tolle, the author or 'A New Earth.' puts it differently:

    The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent. Cleverness pursues its own little aims. Intelligence seeks the larger whole in which all things are connected. Cleverness is motivated by self-interest and it is extremely short sighted. Most politicians and business people are clever. Very few are intelligent. Whatever is attained through cleverness is short-lived and always turns out to be eventually self-defeating. Cleverness divides, intelligence includes.

  • Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.
  • Unconscious people- and many remain unconscious are trapped in their egos throughout their lives- will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with. Others may appear to be more evolved because they think of themselves as an immortal soul or divine spirit. But do they really know themselves, or have they just added some spiritual sounding concepts to the content of their minds? Knowing yourself goes far deeper than a set of ideas and beliefs.....Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating in your mind.Knowing yourself is rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind.

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