Eckhart Tolle

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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.
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.

Eckhart Tolle (born Ulrich Tolle on 16 February 1948) is a German / Canadian spiritual teacher, motivational speaker, and writer.

See also: The Power of Now

Quotes[edit]

  • 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 life like that. Always, this moment is not quite good enough because you need to get to the next one.
    • ABC News Interview

The Power of Now (1997)[edit]

Main article: The Power of Now
  • “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)[edit]

  • “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)[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]

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