Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth

A New Earth summary

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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is a self-help book by Eckhart Tolle. First published in 2005, it sold 5 million copies in North America by 2009.

Who is this book for?

  • Readers who are interested in persuasive and leadership oriented books.
  • People who need to use persuasion to generate sales or inspire change.
  • Anyone interested to learn how to use why to get desired results.

Meet the author

Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher. He is a German-born resident of Canada best known as the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

A New Earth Summary

The world has become faster, louder and riskier than ever. Your own self-awareness is the best thing to help you through it.

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the purpose of your life is?
It is a question that most people ask themselves at some point during their life and it is not one that is easy to answer. You can find an answer to this question in many places, but the tendency for a lot of people is to search for meaning in Religion of some kind. Indeed, the purpose of most Religious teaching has been to try to answer this question.

There is another answer though, and this is what  Eckhart Tolle’s book explores, it is called A New Earth.

Most of our direct meaning in life is taken from material things. How much money do we have? How much property do we own? Etc. But what if it didn’t have to be?

All Religions teach that human beings are fundamentally dysfunctional and that some form of transformation must take place if we are to reach a new level of consciousness. Some call this salvation or enlightenment, but in the end, it is about this change in consciousness that needs to take place.

Tolle argues that this transformation does not require Religious teaching, which in many ways has become divisive. If you instead can recognize your dysfunction, you can change it away from conscious thought and instead reach a higher level of consciousness.

This transformation has become more urgent than ever. The fast-paced nature of the modern world means that we are faced with more crises more regularly, and we need to be able to respond to those crises effectively. This change in the world says that potential risks to humanity are now higher than ever, so consciousness and self-awareness have become more critical as well.

If you can get away from the thought that you are an isolated individual and realize that you are part of something greater, you are off to a good start.

So you are now aware that you need to aim for a transformation of your consciousness, but what is the current state of human consciousness?

Currently, we see the problem that most people are driven by the “self” or the Ego. Effectively what this means is that everyone is thinking about themselves. It comes from our use of the word “I,” which is merely an expression of that ego. It is the first way we learn to refer to ourselves, and it forms the basis of our identity from our days as children.

As we grow up, however, we start identifying ourselves with other names.

We become “son” or “daughter.” We learn to refer to ourselves in the third person as “Kevin” or “Mary” and so on. This awareness that we are not just “I” but that we have several roles in the world, is the beginning of our shift in consciousness.

This awareness of our different roles in the world is the first step in moving away from the Ego. The problem is that the world forces us back toward the Ego in many ways.

Imagine you buy a new car. The very first instinct you have caused you to refer to it along the lines of “This is my car.” The same thing applies to every possession we have and even extends to our jobs, friends, and spouses. How many times have you introduced someone as “This is My girlfriend” or “This is My brother”? This subconscious label reinforces that self-importance that pushes us back to the Ego and back into a lower level of consciousness.

While this is not easy to avoid, it is the first step to reaching a higher level of consciousness and as such becomes an essential step for every human to take.

You always think about yourself because it makes you feel good. Learn to understand your Ego so you can control it.

If you want to overcome your Ego, it is essential to understand it first. What is the fundamental nature of this Ego?

The Ego is fundamentally about emotion rather than logic. It is why it’s so easy for the Ego to take over. Because of Ego based on emotion, it tends to present us with what “feels good” rather than presenting us with what “is good” for us. It is the real power of the Ego and what is the most challenging thing to overcome. It creates a sense of emotional attachment to a situation.

While this in itself is not a problem, it does create a situation where it is straightforward for us to take things personally and as a result, it becomes effortless for us to feel aggrieved.

When we feel aggrieved, it is straightforward for us to complain and get angry. When this happens, we start reacting to a situation, rather than being proactive in our responses. It puts you into a cycle of self-pity where it is easy to convince yourself that “the world is against you.” Once this happens, you fall into a self-destructive cycle where eventually nothing gets done, or you end up making horrible decisions out of emotion rather than logic.

What this manifests in you is likely to find faults in other people, effectively blaming other people for your problems rather than taking responsibility.

What is interesting here, that most people don’t think about, is the implication that saying someone else is wrong, automatically says that You are right. It is a very subtle way of reinforcing the Ego, which makes it even more difficult to get out of the cycle you are in.

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“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” 

― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

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