Many people now know who Eckhart is. He is a motivational teacher of German origin who has lived most of his adult life in Canada. Today, at the age of 61, Tolle is one of the Western world’s most sought after spiritual teachers, and his association with Oprah Winfrey – thanks to the 10-week course that Oprah held with him – has boosted his popularity among the general population immensely.
Eckhart Tolle has had 4 books published so far, of which The Power of Now became a New York Times bestseller and was translated into 33 languages. Similarly, his latest book, A New Earth: Awakening to Life’s Purpose, has also topped the NYT bestsellers list. What’s more, Oprah has chosen A New Earth to be part of Oprah’s Book Club, calling it one of her best reads.
Both of his most popular books have a basic similarity. The Power of Now points to not become caught up in the past and the future that we lose touch with the present moment. In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle further explores the makings of the human ego and how it causes the loss of the present experience of the world. According to Eckhart Tolle, the increasing influence of the human ego is what lies at the root of all our inner and outer conflicts. And so, it is only by watching and being aware of the ego that men and women will begin to see beyond it and gain the peace that passes all understanding.
A reason for the enormous popularity for The Power of Now maybe be that it gives, not just advice but solutions. One very popular basis in the book is that of ‘being the watcher of your mind’. This is a concept through which Tolle encourages a reader to watch his or her own thoughts in order to analyze how negative thoughts from the past and fear of the future often take over the present. But, according to Eckhart Tolle, judging yourself is all part of ego identity and the only escape from that is to identify with the present moment. That includes eradicating pain that has more or less been ‘implanted’ in you by your family or social surroundings, but which is not born out of your own experiences.
Books and beyond
Eckhart Tolle has been influenced by books all his life and read the bible at a very early, he says, “First I picked up a copy of the New Testament almost by accident… and reading the words of Jesus and feeling the essence and power behind those words… So that was an incredible realization, just reading and understanding ‘beyond mind’ the deeper meaning of those words… Then came the Bhagavad Gita, I also had an immediate, deep understanding of and an incredible love for such a divine work. The Tao Te Ching: also an immediate understanding… I knew the translator had misunderstood, and knew what the real meaning was although I do not know any Chinese… Then I also started reading on Buddhism and immediately understood the essence of Buddhism… I have a great love for the teaching of the Buddha, a teaching of such power and sublime simplicity.” Given such influences, is it any wonder that Tolle can influence your life with his books?