- Many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment, and imagine living your whole live like that. Always, this moment is not quite good enough because you need to get to the next one.
- ABC News Interview
A New Earth came from a Bible prophecy that seems more applicable now than at any other time in human history. It occurs in both the Old and the New Testament and speaks of the collapse of the existing world order and the arising of 'a new heaven and a new earth'. We need to understand here that heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness. This is the esoteric meaning of the word, and this is also its meaning in the teachings of Jesus. Earth, on the other hand, is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner. Collective human consciousness and life on our planet are intrinsically connected. 'A new heaven' is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and 'a new earth' is its reflection in the physical realm.
(The Core of the Ego) - Chapter Three
Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head--the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it--that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this, you take the thinker to be who you are. This is the egoic mind. We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, of I (ego), in every thought--every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion. This is unconsciousness, spiritually speaking. Your thinking, the content of your mind, is of course conditioned by the past: your upbringing, culture, family background, and so on. The central core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly. This entity is the ego itself.
In most cases, when you say "I," it is the ego speaking, not you, as we have seen. It consists of thought and emotion, of a bundle of memories you identify with as "me and my story," of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance. It also contains personal identifications, not only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure.
The content of the ego varies from person to person, but in every ego the same structure operates. In other words: Egos only differ on the surface. Deep down they are all the same. In what way are they the same? They live on identification and separation. When you live through the mind-made self comprised of thought and emotion that is the ego, the basis for your identity is precarious because thought and emotion are by their very nature ephemeral, fleeting. So every ego is continuously struggling for survival, trying to protect and enlarge itself. To uphold the I-thought, it needs the opposite thought of "the other." The conceptual "I" cannot survive without the conceptual "other." The others are most other when I see them as my enemies. At one end of the scale of this unconscious egoic patter lies the egoic compulsive habit of faultfinding and complaining about others. Jesus referred to it when he said, "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?" At the other end of the scale, there is physical violence between individuals and warfare between nations. In the Bible, Jesus' question remains unanswered, but the answer is, of course: Because when I criticize or condemn another, it makes me feel bigger, superior.
Complaining & Resentment
Complaining is one of the ego's favorite strategies for strengthening itself. Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in. Whether you complain aloud or only in thought makes no difference. Some egos that perhaps don't have much else to identify with easily survive on complaining alone. When you are in the grip of such an ego, complaining, especially about other people, is habitual and, of course, unconscious, which means you don't know what you are doing. Applying negative mental labels to people, either to their face or more commonly when you speak about them to others or even just think about them, is often part of this pattern. Name-calling is the crudest form of such labeling and of the ego's need to be right and triumph over others: “jerk, bastard, bitch"--all definitive pronouncements that you can't argue with. On the next level down on the scale of unconsciousness, you have shouting and screaming, and not much below that, physical violence.
Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved, or offended. You resent other people's greed, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they are doing, what they did in the past, what they said, what they failed to do, what they should or shouldn't have done. The ego loves it. Instead of overlooking unconsciousness in others, you make it into their identity. Who is doing that? The unconsciousness in you, the ego. Sometimes the "fault" that you perceive in another isn't even there. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection by a mind conditioned to see enemies and to make itself right or superior. At other times, the fault may be there, but by focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it. And what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.
Non-reaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of non-reaction if you can recognize someone's behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it's not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were. By not reacting to the ego, you will often be able to bring out the sanity in others, which is the unconditioned consciousness as opposed to the conditioned. At times you may have to take practical steps to protect yourself from deeply unconscious people. This you can do without making them into enemies. Your greatest protection, however, is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Non-reaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.
The ego loves to complain and feel resentful not only about other people but also about situations. What you can do to a person, you can also do to a situation: make it into an enemy. The implication is always: This should not be happening; I don't want to be here; I don't want to be doing this; I'm being treated unfairly. And the ego's greatest enemy of all is, of course, the present moment, which is to say, life itself.
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. There is no ego in telling the waiter that your soup is cold and needs to be heated up--if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral. "How dare you serve me cold soup..." That's complaining. There is a "me" here that loves to feel personally offended by the cold soup and is going to make the most of it, a "me" that enjoys making someone wrong. The complaining we are talking about is in the service of the ego, not of change. Sometimes it becomes obvious that the ego doesn't really want to change so that it can go on complaining.
See if you can catch, that is to say, notice, the voice in the head, perhaps in the very moment it complains about something, and recognize it for what it is: the voice of the ego, no more than a conditioned mind-pattern, a thought. Whenever you notice that voice, you will also realize that you are not the voice, but the one who is aware of it. In fact, you are the awareness that is aware of the voice. In the background, there is the awareness. In the foreground, there is the voice, the thinker. In this way you are becoming free of the ego, free of the unobserved mind. The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist. The old mind-pattern or mental habit may still survive and reoccur for a while because it has the momentum of thousands of years of collective human unconsciousness behind it, but every time it is recognized, it is weakened.
A new age is dawning, a neo-human is emergent within each one of us ... fully conscious, authentically empowered one with the cosmic spirit !
The Power of Now (1997)
- “I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”
- When you listen to a thought, you are aware not only of the thought but also of yourself as the witness of the thought. A new dimension of consciousness has come in.
- You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!
- You can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself.
- The ego ... reduces the present to a means to an end.
- Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.
- The past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation. ... Both are illusions.
- The future is usually imagined as either better or worse than the present. If the imagined future is better, it gives you hope or pleasurable anticipation. If it is worse, it creates anxiety. Both are illusory.
- Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future.
- If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it does not necessarily mean that you need to change what you are doing. It may be sufficient to change the how. “How” is always more important than “what.” See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it.
- To be free of time is to be free of the psychological need of past for your identity and future for your fulfillment.
- Ask yourself what “problem” you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment?
- The reason why you don't put your hand in the fire is not because of fear, it's because you know you'll get burned. You don't need fear to avoid an unnecessary danger, just a minimum of intelligence and common sense.
- If your destination, or the steps you are going to take in the future, take up so much of your attention that they become more important to you than the step you are taking now, then you completely miss the journey’s inner purpose, which has nothing to do with where you are going or what you are doing, but everything to do with how. It has nothing to do with future but everything to do with the quality of your consciousness at this moment.
- Every outer purpose is doomed to “fail” sooner or later, simply because it is subject to the law of impermanence of all things.
Stillness Speaks (2003)
- “I am bored.” Who knows this?
“I am angry, sad, afraid.” Who knows this?
You are the knowing, not the condition that is known.
- Be there as the witnessing presence of your inner state. You don’t have to do anything. With the awareness comes transformation and freedom.
- On the surface it seems that the present moment is only one of many, many moments. Each day of your life appears to consist of thousands of moments where different things happen. Yet if you look more deeply, is there not only one moment, ever? Is life ever not this moment? This one moment, now, is the only thing you can never escape from. The one constant factor in your life. No matter what happens. No matter how much your life changes. One thing is certain. Its always now. Since there is no escape from the now, why not welcome it, become friendly with it.
- Do you treat this moment as if it were an obstacle to be overcome? Do you feel you have a future moment to get to that is more important?
Almost everyone lives like this most of the time. Since the future never arrives, except as the present, it is a dysfunctional way to live. It generates a constant undercurrent of unease, tension, and discontent. It does not honor life, which is Now and never not Now.
- I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness.
- When you look at a tree, you are aware of the tree. When you have a thought or feeling, you are aware of that thought or feeling. When you have a pleasurable or painful experience, you are aware of that experience. These seem to be true and obvious statements. Yet if you look at them very closely, you will find that in a subtle way their very structure contains a fundamental illusion, an illusion which is unavoidable when you use language. Thought and language create an apparent duality and a separate person where there is none.
The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the tree, the thought, feeling or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear. As you go about your life, can you be aware of yourself as the awareness in which the entire content of your life unfolds?
- You say, “I want to know myself.” You are the I. You are the knowing. You are the consciousness through which everything is known and that cannot know itself. It is itself. There is nothing to know beyond that. And yet all knowing arises out of it. The “I” cannot make itself into an object of knowledge, of consciousness.
So you cannot become an object to yourself. That is the very reason the illusion of egoic identity arose because mentally you made yourself into an object. “That's me,” you say, and then you begin to have a relationship with yourself and tell others and yourself your story.
- By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn't happen is not that important anymore. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form.
- Surrender is surrender to this moment, not to a story through which you interpret this moment and then try to resign yourself to it. ... Can you accept the isness of this moment and not confuse it with a story the mind has created around it?
- To let go of judgment does not mean that you don’t see what they do. It means that you recognize their behavior as a form of conditioning, and you see it and accept it as that. You don’t construct an identity out of it for that person.
That liberates you as well as the other person from identification with conditioning, with form, with mind.
- If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion, peace.
- ... the ego's need to be periodically in conflict with something or someone in order to strengthen its sense of separation between me and the other, without which it cannot survive.
- Whenever you meet anyone, no matter how briefly, do you acknowledge their being by giving them your full attention, or are you reducing them to a means to an end, a mere function or role. What is the quality of your relationship with the cashier at the supermarket, the parking attendant, the repair man, the customer?
A New Earth (2005)
- What a liberation to realize that the "voice in my head" is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.
- Only by awakening can you know the true meaning of that word.
- When you don't cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life.
- How do you let go of attachment to things? Don't even try. It's impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.
- Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment...you can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.
- The more unconscious individuals, groups, or nations are, the more likely it is that egoic pathology will assume the form of physical violence. Violence is a primitive but still very widespread way in which the ego attempts to assert itself, to prove itself right or another wrong. With very unconscious people, arguments can easily lead to physical violence.
- Awareness is the greatest agent for change.
- You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.
- Teachings that pointed the way beyond the dysfunction of the human mind, the way out of the collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of the insanity.
And so religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion.
- Instead of asking "what do I want from life?", a more powerful question is, "what does life want from me?".
- You cannot be both unhappy and fully present in the Now.
- Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?
- All the things that truly matter - beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace - arise from beyond the mind.
- You cannot find yourself in the past or future. The only place where you can find yourself is in the Now.
- When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.
- Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of the consciousness and the burning up of the ego.
- A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it!
- Being must be felt. It can't be thought.
- Listen to people's stories and they all could be entitled "Why I Cannot Be At Peace Now" The ego doesn't know that your only opportunity for being at peace is now.
- Presence is a state of inner spaciousness.
- Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.
- Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.
- When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.
- The human condition: lost in thought.
- Life is the dancer and you are the dance.
- What you react to in others, you strengthen in yourself.
- We could say that the totality, life wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling doesn't see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what life wants. That's why it isn't worried or stressed. And, if it has to die prematurely, it dies with ease.....
- When you accept everything for what it is without labels you are outside of your ego.
- Right now we are being given the experience we need to raise our consciousness.
- Eckhart Tolle's official website
- Interview from Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers (2000) by John W. Parker
- "Oprah brings Tolle's 'Earth' to the classroom" in USA Today (2 March 2008)
- Download the Oprah and Eckhart A New Earth audio, video and transcript of classes and workbooks from oprah.com