I read Ekhart Tolle’s A New Earth over the winter break. It gave me a new perspective to look at everything in life.
What did I learn?
Tolle focuses on consciousness in the book. It’s the universal energy that different people, cultures acknowledge and recognize in a number of different ways – Atma, Higher Self, Our Spirit, Truth, Om, God Inside of Us, Pure Awareness, etc.
It connected me with Albert Einstein’s quote (I read it the first time in Joan Borisenko’s book):
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is kind of a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection to a few people nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is in itself a part of liberation and a foundation for inner security.”
The words have stayed with me. A New Earth showed that consciousness is that connection with the universe.
What stops us from being part of that consciousness? Two things –
- We all have persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that control us unless we are aware of it. It is conditioned by our upbringing, culture, family background, etc. Tolle calls it our ego.
- Our thoughts, our actions, our emotions (expressed or not) create an energy field – positive and negative. And this energy field is connected with that of all others in the universe wielding tremendous influence on our thoughts, relationships, and direction. Eckhart Tolle calls it the Pain Body. It’s also called Maya or Karma. I have read about the being part of the universal energy field in a number of sources – Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization, Jon Kabatzinn’s Wherever you go there you are, Swami Chinmayananda’s Self Unfoldment, Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response, as well as Dr Andrew Weil’s Spontaneous Healing.
The book showed me how to be aware of the ego and the Pain Body, and how to create consciousness that my ego and my Pain Body aren’t me. I am part of the same universal energy that brings life to everything on the earth. Being aware of it, and tapping into the positive energy by consciously guiding my thoughts and action in a positive direction, helps me bring the joy from inside.
The book introduced three ways in which to think of everything we do.
- Accept – I am stuck in pouring rain with a flat tire in the car. There is no help to call on, and I need to replace the tire in middle of the rain. Simply accept the situation, be at peace with it, and do what is required. Getting frustrated, angry, upset, worried, or tense doesn’t help. It creates negative energy that adds to the ego, and the Pain Body. Simply avoid that.
- Enjoy – Think of routine tasks that I do – brush my teeth, take shower, make coffee, drive, chores that I do at home or work, or routine tasks at work that are part of everyday life. Be in complete awareness while doing these tasks. Simply remain mindful, pay attention to them without thinking about other ideas, memories from the past, or worries about the future. While practicing this, the natural joy from inside comes out, bringing out new inspiration, ideas, dimension, or meaning to routine life. I have read a few things about mindfulness, and how it can heal and enrich us. I know there is a lot of medical research now in Psychineuroimmunology (Psycho-Neuro-Immunology – PNI) that emphasizes mindfulness, explaining how it unblocks inner powers of healing and growth. The book showed me how to implement mindfulness in a simple way.
- Enthusiasm – when there is goal or vision from inside that is propelling action, there is an additional energy and positive tension. That’s enthusiasm. When that happens you are in a zone, or a flow. Things become effortless, and a lot of energy and drive take our effectiveness to a completely different level. We can accomplish goals that we never knew or thought we were capable of. Stephen Covey taught me about having a vision and a mission that infuses life to everything in life; that is when I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The point had driven home then, and this reinforced it for me.
A New Earth – You realize that you are that higher self. Your mind, your thoughts, and your emotions aren’t you. When you develop that inner awareness and you start being part of the collective consciousness you see the world in a new light – it becomes A New Earth.
Tolle drove the point home so well in the book that developing this consciousness is the next in human evolution. The problems we create as individuals, societies, and nations are from the ego and the Pain Body. Whether we cultivate awareness about it, and whether we become part of the universal consciousness will define whether we – the human species – will go to the next higher plane of existence or become extinct. That is because worries, fear, ego, wars, conflicts, and destructive mindset can last only for so long. The book has a nice analogy – some of the reptiles were forced to evolve or become extinct – and they learned how to fly becoming birds. Some others didn’t, and the species became extinct.
Where do I start? Be in the moment – the present moment – completely. It will recreate that connection with the Higher Self, and bring out the flow of energy again.
Stay in the flow. The book has a nice quote that has stayed with me… The fourteenth-century Persian poet and Sufi master Hafiz, “I am a hole in the flute that the God’s breath moves through. I enjoy the music.”