This is the first of three posts in a book summary series on Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. You can jump to the other two posts here:
- Your Purpose on “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #2)
- Humanity’s Evolution to “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #3)
Whew, where to begin? A New Earth is by far one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read. But, it’s not the easiest read. In fact, I started it and stopped at least three times before ever making it the entire way through. Maybe I just wasn’t ready the last few years. So, how did I finally make it to the end?
Most importantly, I think the timing was finally right. But tactically, I also changed how I read the book this time. I listened to the audiobook and followed along in the ebook at the same time. I believe this “see/say” experience allowed me to digest and absorb the book at a deeper level. I’d highly recommend that approach if you decide to read it as well (and I hope you do!).
All in all, I saved more notes from this book than any other book I’ve ever read—over 16,000 words of notes. Editing my notes is like reading the book a second and third time through, and I still feel like I’m learning new things each time. I believe I’ve started the irreversible awakening process.
Before we dive in, some quick housekeeping: All quotes are from the author, Eckhart Tolle, unless otherwise stated. I have organized my notes into my own categories, and I’ve added bold to some quotes for emphasis. If you want to skim this post, read only the text in bold. If you want a one-minute summary, read only the text in boxes!
To skip to a specific section within this post, use the links below:
- Religion & Spirituality
- Physical Body
- Identification with Form
- Happiness & Unhappiness
- The Present Moment (Now)
- Awareness (Presence)
- Inner Body & Spaciousness
- Interconnectedness & Oneness
- God & Love
- The Outgoing & Return Home
- Impermanence & Death
- Deep Questions
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
- “Eckhart Tolle is a contemporary spiritual teacher who is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. In his writing and seminars, he conveys a simple yet profound message with the timeless and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual masters: There is a way out of suffering and into peace.“
- “A mature first-year student at twenty-five, I saw myself as an intellectual in the making, and I was convinced that all the answers to the dilemmas of human existence could be found through the intellect, that is to say, by thinking. I didn’t realize yet that thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.”
A New Earth: Religion & Spirituality
- “Many people are already aware of the difference between spirituality and religion. They realize that having a belief system – a set of thoughts that you regard as the absolute truth – does not make you spiritual no matter what the nature of those beliefs is. In fact, the more you make your thoughts (beliefs) into your identity, the more cut off you are from the spiritual dimension within yourself. Many ‘religious’ people are stuck at that level. They equate truth with thought, and as they are completely identified with thought (their mind), they claim to be in sole possession of the truth in an unconscious attempt to protect their identity.”
- “The new spirituality, the transformation of consciousness, is arising to a large extent outside of the structures of the existing institutionalized religions.“
- “A large-scale opening of spirituality outside of the religious structures is an entirely new development. In the past, this would have been inconceivable, especially in the West, the most mind-dominated of all cultures, where the Christian church had a virtual franchise on spirituality.”
- “In the service of the Truth, religious teachings represent signposts or maps left behind by awakened humans to assist you in spiritual awakening, that is to say, in becoming free of identification with form.”
- “Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence.”
- “If we look more deeply into humanity’s ancient religions and spiritual traditions, we will find that underneath the many surface differences there are two core insights that most of them agree on. The words they use to describe those insights differ, yet they all point to a twofold fundamental truth. The first part of this truth is the realization that the ‘normal’ state of mind of most human beings contains a strong element of what we might call dysfunction or even madness.”
- “Most ancient religions and spiritual traditions share the common insight – that our ‘normal’ state of mind is marred by a fundamental defect. However, out of this insight into the nature of the human condition – we may call it the bad news – arises a second insight: the good news of the possibility of a radical transformation of human consciousness. In Hindu teachings (and sometimes in Buddhism also), this transformation is called enlightenment. In the teachings of Jesus, it is salvation, and in Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are other terms used to describe this transformation.”
A New Earth: Physical Body
- “The physical body is no more than a misperception of who you are. In many ways, it is a microcosmic version of outer space.”
- “So your physical body, which is form, reveals itself as essentially formless when you go deeper into it. It becomes a doorway into inner space.”
- “Breathing isn’t really something that you do but something that you witness as it happens. Breathing happens by itself. The intelligence within the body is doing it. All you have to do is watch it happening.”
A New Earth: Ego
- “The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment.“
- “The density of the ego depends on the degree to which you – the consciousness – are identified with your mind, with thinking. Thinking is no more than a tiny aspect of the totality of consciousness, the totality of who you are.“
- “Until now, human intelligence, which is no more than a minute aspect of universal intelligence, has been distorted and misused by the ego. I call that ‘intelligence in the service of madness.’“
- “On our planet, the human ego represents the final stage of universal sleep, the identification of consciousness with form. It was a necessary stage in the evolution of consciousness.”
- “If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up recreating fundamentally the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.”
- “Don’t take the ego too seriously. When you detect egoic behavior in yourself, smile. At times you may even laugh. How could humanity have been taken in by this for so long?“
- “The ego tends to equate having with Being: I have, therefore I am. And the more I have, the more I am. The ego lives through comparison. How you are seen by others turns into how you see yourself.”
- “The ego identifies with having, but its satisfaction in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one. Concealed within it remains a deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, of ‘not enough.’ ‘I don’t have enough yet,’ by which the ego really means, ‘I am not enough yet.’“
- “The physical needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, and basic comforts could be easily met for all humans on the planet, were it not for the imbalance of resources created by the insane and rapacious need for more, the greed of the ego.”
- “Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of ‘I Am,’ which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form. This is the meaning of identification. This is forgetfulness of Being, the primary error, the illusion of absolute separateness that turns reality into a nightmare.”
- “The ego may be clever, but it is not intelligent. Cleverness pursues its own little aims. Intelligence sees the larger whole in which all things are connected. Cleverness is motivated by self interest, and it is extremely shortsighted. Most politicians and businesspeople are clever. Very few are intelligent. Whatever is attained through cleverness is short-lived and always turns out to be eventually self defeating. Cleverness divides; intelligence includes.“
- “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 Earth: Identification with Form
- “Most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form.”
- “What you identify with is all to do with content; whereas, the unconscious compulsion to identify is structural. It is one of the most basic ways in which the egoic mind operates.”
- “Paradoxically, what keeps the so-called consumer society going is the fact that trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming.”
- “Ego identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. It is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part.”
- “Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.“
- “Each person is so identified with the thoughts that make up their opinion, that those thoughts harden into mental positions which are invested with a sense of self. In other words: Identity and thought merge. Once this has happened, when I defend my opinions (thoughts), I feel and act as if I were defending my very self. Unconsciously, I feel and act as if I were fighting for survival and so my emotions will reflect this unconscious belief. They become turbulent. I am upset, angry, defensive, or aggressive. I need to win at all costs lest I become annihilated. That’s the illusion.”
- “You live with a mental image of yourself, a conceptual self that you have a relationship with. Life itself becomes conceptualized and separated from who you are when you speak of ‘my life.’ The moment you say or think ‘my life’ and believe in what you are saying (rather than it just being a linguistic convention), you have entered the realm of delusion. If there is such a thing as ‘my life,’ it follows that I and life are two separate things, and so I can also lose my life, my imaginary treasured possession. Death becomes a seeming reality and a threat. Words and concepts split life into separate segments that have no reality in themselves. We could even say that the notion ‘my life’ is the original delusion of separateness, the source of ego. If I and life are two, if I am separate from life, then I am separate form all things, all beings, all people. But how could I be separate from life? What ‘I’ could be there apart from life, apart from Being? It is utterly impossible. So there is no such thing as ‘my life,’ and I don’t have a life. I am life. I and life are one. It cannot be otherwise. So how could I lose my life? How can I lose something that I don’t have in the first place? How can I lose something that I Am? It is impossible.”
- “In Zen they say: ‘Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherish opinions.’ What does that mean? Let go of identification with your mind. Who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself.”
- “Whenever you let go of one of these patterns, you deemphasize who you are on the level of form and who you are beyond form emerges more fully. You become less, so you can be more.“
- “Discover the enormous power that flows through you into the world when you stop emphasizing your form-identity.“
A New Earth: Roles
- “And then there’s the universal role of adult. When you play that role, you take yourself and life very seriously. Spontaneity, lightheartedness, and joy are not part of that role.”
- “To do whatever is required of you in any situation without it becoming a role that you identify with is an essential lesson in the art of living that each one of us is here to learn.“
- “Why does the ego play roles? Because of one unexamined assumption, one fundamental error, one unconscious thought. That thought is: I am not enough. Other unconscious thoughts follow: I need to play a role in order to get what I need to be fully myself; I need to get more so that I can be more. But you cannot be more than you are because underneath your physical and psychological form, you are one with Life itself, one with Being. In form, you are and will always be inferior to some, superior to others. In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone.“
- “In a world of role playing personalities, those few people who don’t project a mind made image – and others are some even on TV, in the media, and the business world – but function from the deeper core of their Being, those who do not attempt to appear more than they are but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world. They are the bringers of the new consciousness. Whatever they do becomes empowered because it is in alignment with the purpose of the whole. Their influence, however, goes far beyond what they do, far beyond their function. Their mere presence – simple, natural, unassuming – has a transformational effect on whoever they come into contact with.”
- “Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life.“
A New Earth: Stress
- “Stress always diminishes both the quality and effectiveness of what you do under its influence. There is also a strong link between stress and negative emotions, such as anxiety and anger. It is toxic to the body and is now becoming recognized as one of the main causes of the so-called degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”
- “Unlike stress, enthusiasm has a high energy frequency and so resonates with the creative power of the universe.“
A New Earth: Happiness & Unhappiness
- “Don’t seek happiness. If you seek it, you won’t find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness. Happiness is ever elusive, but freedom from unhappiness is attainable now, by facing what is rather than making up stories about it. Unhappiness covers up your natural state of wellbeing and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”
- “Unhappiness is an ego-created mental emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet.“
- “Unhappiness or negativity is a disease on our planet. What pollution is on the outer level is negativity on the inner. It is everywhere, not just in places where people don’t have enough, but even more so where they have more than enough. Is that surprising? No. The affluent world is even more deeply identified with form, more lost in content, more trapped in ego.“
- “There are other more subtle forms of negativity that are so common they are usually not recognized as such, for example, impatience, irritation, nervousness, and being ‘fed up.’ They constitute the background unhappiness that is many people’s predominant inner state.”
- “Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.“
- “She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, ‘This is weird. I’m still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.’ This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.”
- “Not all unhappiness is of the pain-body. Some of it is new unhappiness, created whenever you are out of alignment with the present moment, when the Now is denied in one way or another. When you recognize that the present moment is always already the case and therefore inevitable, you can bring an uncompromising inner ‘yes’ to it and so not only create no further unhappiness, but, with inner resistance gone, find yourself empowered by Life itself.”
- “But nothing can satisfy the ego for long. As long as it runs your life, there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other.“
- “People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say dependent on form. They don’t realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn’t have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always already there, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form. Accept the present moment and find the perfection that is deeper than any form and untouched by time.“
- “The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, can not come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates form the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.”
- “‘That is the joy of Being,’ I said. “You can only feel it when you get out of your head. Being must be felt. It can’t be thought. The ego doesn’t know about it because thought is what it consists of.”
- “‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ Jesus said, ‘for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.’ What does ‘poor in spirit’ mean? No inner baggage, no identifications. Not with things, nor with any mental concepts that have a sense of self in them. And what is the ‘kingdom of heaven?’ The simple but profound joy of Being that is there when you let go of identifications and so become ‘poor in spirit.’
- “Ancient sages of India called ananda – the bliss of Being.”
- “Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness – I call it the joy of Being – is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things. Most people, in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all. The philosopher Nietzsche, in a rare moment of deep stillness, wrote, ‘For happiness, how little suffices for happiness!…. the least thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a wisk, an eye glance – little maketh up the best happiness. Be still.'”
- “Why is it the ‘least thing’ that makes up ‘the best happiness’? Because true happiness is not caused by the thing or event, although this is how it first appears. The thing or event is so subtle, so unobtrusive, that it takes up only a small part of your consciousness – and the rest is inner space, consciousness itself unobstructed by form. Inner space consciousness and who you are in your essence are one and the same. In other words, the form of little things leaves room for inner space. And it is from inner space, the unconditioned consciousness itself, that true happiness, the joy of Being, emanates.”
A New Earth: Suffering
- “Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.“
- “The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.“
- “The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.”
- “If the egoic earth drama has any purpose at all, it is an indirect one: It creates more and more suffering on the planet, and suffering, although largely ego-created, is in the end also ego-destructive. It is the fire in which the ego burns itself up.”
- “To create suffering without recognizing it – this is the essence of unconscious living; this is being totally in the grip of the ego.“
- “The energy that was trapped in the pain-body then changes into vibrational frequency and is transmuted into Presence. In this way, the pain-body becomes fuel for consciousness. This is why many of the wisest, most enlightened men and women on our planet once had a heavy pain-body.”
- “However, due to the unprecedented influx of consciousness we are witnessing on the planet now, many people no longer need to go through the depth of acute suffering to be able to dis-identify from the pain-body.”
- “When you can’t stand the endless cycle of suffering anymore, you begin to awaken.“
A New Earth: Surrender
- “Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life. Resistance is an inner contraction, a hardening of the shell of the ego. You are closed. Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance (which we could also call negativity) will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side; life will not be helpful. If the shutters are closed, the sunlight cannot come in.“
- “It is only through surrender that you can align yourself with the return movement – the journey home.”
A New Earth: The Present Moment (Now)
- “The most important, the primordial relationship in your life is your relationship with the Now, or rather with whatever form the Now takes, that is to say, what is or what happens.”
- “What is reality? Whatever is. Buddha called it tatata – the suchness of life, which is no more than the suchness of this moment.”
- “The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego. The ego can never be in alignment with the present moment, which is to say, aligned with life, since its very nature compels it to ignore, resist, or devalue the Now. Time is what the ego lives on. The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and you sense of self depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfillment. Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the time-bound state of consciousness.”
- “In other words, you aren’t ever fully here because you are always busy trying to get elsewhere.“
- “The seeing is the arising Presence. The moment you see the dysfunction, it begins to dissolve. Some people laugh out loud when they see this. With the seeing comes the power of choice – the choice of saying yes to the Now, of making it into your friend.”
- “Everything seems to be subject to time, yet it all happens in the Now. That is the paradox.“
- “What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now.“
- “Time, that is to say, past and future, is what the false mind-made self, the ego, lives on, and time is in your mind. It isn’t something that has an objective existence ‘out there.’ It is a mind structure needed for sensory perception, indispensable for practical purposes, but the greatest hindrance to knowing yourself. Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible to you only through the portal of the present moment.“
- “So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice.“
- “Being present is always infinitely more powerful than anything one could say or do, although sometimes being present can give rise to words or actions.”
A New Earth: Awareness (Presence)
- “The moment you become aware of the ego in yourself, that emerging awareness is who you are beyond ego, the deeper ‘I.’“
- “Awareness is the space in which thoughts exist when that space has become conscious of itself.“
- “Awareness is conscious connection with universal intelligence. Another word for it is Presence: consciousness without thought.”
- “Without the impairment of egoic dysfunction, our intelligence comes into full alignment with the outgoing cycle of universal intelligence and its impulse to create. We become conscious participants in the creation of form. It is not we who create, but universal intelligence that creates through us.“
- “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.“
- “That in you which recognizes madness as madness (even if it is your own) is sanity, is the arising awareness, is the end of insanity.”
- “With awareness comes dis-identification from thoughts, emotions, and reactions.“
- “Before you were the thoughts, emotions and reactions; now you are the awareness, the conscious Presence that witnesses those states.“
- “All you need to do is be aware of your thoughts and emotions – as they happen. This is not really a ‘doing,’ but an alert ‘seeing.’ In that sense, it is true that there is nothing you can do to become free of the ego. When that shift happens, which is the shift from thinking to awareness, an intelligence far greater than the ego’s cleverness begins to operate in your life.”
- “When you recognize the unconsciousness in you, that which makes the recognition possible is the arising consciousness, is awakening. You cannot fight against the ego and win, just as you cannot fight against darkness. The light of consciousness is all that is necessary. You are that light.“
- “What remains is the light of consciousness in which perceptions, experiences, thoughts, and feelings come and go. That is Being, that is the deeper, true I.”
- “Some people never forget the first time they dis-identified from their thoughts and thus briefly experienced the shift in identity from being the content of their mind to being the awareness in the background.”
- “And the egos greatest enemy of all is, of course, the present moment, which is to say, life itself.“
- “The only thing that ultimately matters is this: Can I sense my essential Beingness, the I Am, in the background of my life at all times? To be more accurate, can I sense the I Am that I Am at this moment? Can I sense my essential identity as consciousness itself? Or am I losing myself in what happens, losing myself in the mind, in the world?”
- “Emotions and even thoughts become depersonalized through awareness. Their impersonal nature is recognized. there is no longer a self in them. They are just human emotions, human thoughts. Your entire personal history, which is ultimately no more than a story, a bundle of thoughts and emotions, becomes of secondary importance and no longer occupies the forefront of your consciousness. It no longer forms the basis for your sense of identity. You are the light of Presence, the awareness that is prior to and deeper than any thoughts and emotions.”
A New Earth: Inner Body & Spaciousness
- “What I call the ‘inner body’ isn’t really the body anymore but life energy, the bridge between form and formlessness. Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can.”
- “In Zen, such a glimpse is called satori. Satori is a moment of Presence, a brief stepping out of the voice in your head, the thought processes, and their reflection in the body as emotion. It is the arising of inner spaciousness where before there was the clutter of thought and the turmoil of emotion.”
- “When you are aware of space, you are not really aware of anything, except awareness itself – the inner space of consciousness. Through you, the universe is becoming aware of itself!“
- “Space consciousness represents not only freedom from ego, but also from dependency on the things of this world, from materialism and materiality. It is the spiritual dimension which alone can give transcendent and true meaning to this world.”
- “Here is another way of finding inner space: Become conscious of being conscious. Say or think ‘I Am’ and add nothing to it. Be aware of the stillness that follows the I Am. Sense your presence, the naked, unveiled, unclothed beingness. It is untouched by young or old, rich or poor, good or bad, or any other attributes. It is the spacious womb of all creation, all form.“
- “All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness. Once the creation has happened and something has come into form, you have to be vigilant so that the notion of ‘me’ or ‘mine’ does not arise. If you take credit for what you accomplished, the ego has returned, and the spaciousness has become obscured.”
- “Through complete acceptance of the form of Now, you become internally aligned with space, which is the essence of Now. Through acceptance, you become spacious inside. Aligned with space instead of form: That brings true perspective and balance into your life.“
- “You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself, than when you are still.“
A New Earth: Interconnectedness & Oneness
- “The whole is made up of existence and Being, the manifested and the unmanifested, the world and God. So when you become aligned with the whole, you become a conscious part of the interconnectedness of the whole and its purpose: the emergence of consciousness into this world.“
- “There is ultimately no such thing as ‘your’ life, since you and life are not two, but one.“
- “Through excessive reliance on thinking, reality becomes fragmented. This fragmentation is an illusion, but it seems very real while you are trapped in it. And yet the universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected, in which nothing exists in isolation.“
- “One Life, one Consciousness.”
- “The deeper interconnectedness of all things and events implies that the mental labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are ultimately illusory. They always imply a limited perspective and so are true only relatively and temporarily.”
- “Often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves, in isolation.”
- “All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg. Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came.“
- “Only then can you be aware of he sacredness of the forest. As soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it, and when you realize that, you become a conscious participant in it. In this way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life.”
- “There is a deep interrelatedness between your state of consciousness and external reality.“
- “It is the same intelligence that manifests as Gaia, the complex living being that is planet earth.”
- “While nature is a beautiful expression of the evolutionary impulse of the universe, when humans become aligned with the intelligence that underlies it, they will express that same impulse on a higher, more wondrous level.”
- “All things are vibrating energy fields in ceaseless motion.“
- “What we perceive as physical matter is energy vibrating (moving) at a particular range of frequencies. Thoughts consist of the same energy vibrating at a higher frequency than matter, which is why they cannot be seen or touched.”
- “In the stillness of Presence, you can sense the formless essence in yourself and in the other as one. Knowing the oneness of yourself and the other is true love, true care, true compassion.“
- “When you contemplate the unfathomable depth of space or listen to the silence in the early hours just before sunrise, something within you resonates with it as if in recognition. You then sense the vast depth of space as your own depth, and you know that precious stillness that has no form to be more deeply who you are than any of the things that make up the content of your life.”
A New Earth: God & Love
- “Jesus speaks of the innermost I Am, the essence identity of every man and woman, every life form, in fact. He speaks of the life that you are. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within; Buddhists call it your Buddha nature; for Hindus, it is Atman, the indwelling God. When you are in touch with that dimension within yourself – and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement – all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love.“
- “Although inner space has no form, it is intensely alive. That ’empty space’ is life in its fullness, the unmanifested Source out of which all manifestation flows. The traditional word for that Source is God.”
- “‘I want to know the mind of God,’ Einstein said. ‘The rest are details.’ What is the mind of God? Consciousness. What does it mean to know the mind of God? To be aware. What are the details? Your outer purpose, and whatever happens outwardly.”
- “Through the present moment you have access to the power of life itself, that which has traditionally been called ‘God.’“
A New Earth: Enlightenment
- “Any life-form in any realm – mineral, vegetable, animal, or human – can be said to undergo ‘enlightenment.’ It is, however, an extremely rare occurrence since it is more than an evolutionary progression: It also implies a discontinuity in its development, a leap to an entirely different level of Being and, most important, a lessening of materiality.“
A New Earth: Non-Attachment
A New Earth: Non-Resistance
- “What is dreadful is your reaction, your inner resistance to it, and the emotion that is created by that resistance. In Shakespeare’s words, ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’“
- “Whatever is or happens is the form that the Now takes. As long as you resist it internally, form, that is to say, the world, is an impenetrable barrier that separates you from who you are beyond form, separates you from the formless one Life that you are. When you bring an inner yes to the form the Now takes, that very form becomes a doorway into the formless. The separation between the world and God dissolves.”
- “He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.“
A New Earth: Peace
- “Being at peace and being who you are, that is, being yourself, are one.“
- “Peace, after all, is the end of the ego.”
- “If peace is really what you want, then you will choose peace.“
A New Earth: Abundance
- “Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation for all abundance. The fact is: Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
- “The fullness of life is there at every step. The acknowledgment of that abundance that is all around you awakens the dormant abundance within. Then let it flow out.”
- “The source of all abundance is not outside you. It is part of who you are.”
A New Earth: The Outgoing & Return Home
- “Those two movements, the outgoing and the return are also reflected in each person’s life cycles. Out of nowhere, so to speak, ‘you’ suddenly appear in this world. Birth is followed by expansion. There is not only physical growth, but also growth of knowledge, activities, possessions, experiences. Your sphere of influence expands and life becomes increasingly complex. This is a time when you are mainly concerned with finding or pursuing your outer purpose. Usually there is also a corresponding growth of the ego, which is identification with all the above things, and so your form identity becomes more and more defined. This is also the time when outer purpose – growth – tends to become usurped by the ego, which unlike nature does not know when to stop in its pursuit of expansion and has a voracious appetite for more.”
A New Earth: Impermanence & Death
- “Many people don’t realize until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are. In the proximity of death, the whole concept of ownership stands revealed as ultimately meaningless. In the last moments of their life, they then also realize that while they were looking throughout their lives for a more complete sense of self, what they were really looking for, their Being, had actually always already been there, but had been largely obscured by their identification with things, which ultimately means identification with their mind.”
A New Earth: Deep Questions
- “Is humanity ready for a transformation of consciousness, an inner flowering so radical and profound that compared to it the flowering of plants, no matter how beautiful, is only a pale reflection?”
- “Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of consciousness?”
- “Can they defy the gravitational pull of materialism and materiality and rise above identification with form that keeps the ego in place and condemns them to imprisonment within their own personality?”
- “Is humanity more ready now than at the time of those early teachers? Why should this be so?”
- “What can you do, if anything, to bring about or accelerate this inner shift?”
- “What is it that characterizes the old egoic state of consciousness, and by what signs is the new emerging consciousness recognized?”
Continue to the next posts in the series:
- Your Purpose on “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #2)
- Humanity’s Evolution to “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #3)
Nice one! I have read 10 years ago the other Eckart book “The Power of Now” and this is the compliment and the “call to action” sort of speak. Glad you posted this article!
Keep it up Kyle!
Thank you for the kind words, Ricardo! I feel like this is a book summary I’ll need to re-read at least once a year. And, “The Power of Now” is on my 2019 reading list!
Thank you, Dawn!
the sheer volume of stuff he’s talking about is overwhelming. one third of the way thru I am screaming “enough”! shut up! let me take just one of these thoughts and digest it. I realize he had to sell a book so he filled up hundreds of pages. And this is a summary! I applaud your sticking through the book to pull this stuff out. I sometimes think these guys do more harm than good – many will read this and think – it’s too much. where do I start?
The other thing that struck me, is that it’s all well and good to sit in a neutral space and tell someone to live in the now, forget your ego, and transcend all the shit in the real world, but what if you’re faced with a crisis? or a horrible situation? what then? How do we find peace and joy when the hell that is sometimes life rears its ugly head, and throws your entire world into a tailspin?
I can understand these initial feelings, Carol. It took me multiple attempts to read the book before finally making it all the way through. It can certainly be overwhelming at first, especially for those of us in the Western world with a massive spiritual void in our lives. It can seem like he’s almost speaking a different language. The one thing to remember about Eckhart Tolle is that he’s not really saying anything new. The same core concepts of spirituality have been preached by spiritual leaders throughout history. Personally, I’ve seen much more good in my life since reading, digesting, and implementing Tolle’s work. Although it seems like a lot, paradoxically, it’s also the simplest thing: simply be present. For most of us, learning and practicing this can take a lifetime.
In terms of a crisis (I’ve experienced an existential crisis), Tolle would say:
“One thing we do know: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” — Eckhart Tolle
Most, if not all, suffering is in our heads. We have the power to end the suffering. One thing spirituality can offer you is a way out of suffering.
Carol, I found this site now , in June of 2020. So maybe you will never see this comment, because it is not relevant any more or because of technical reasons. YOur comment touched me deeply, because that’s how I felt too.I am reading this book now , it is homework from my youga teacher. And I completely agree, it is overwhelming. And I am an avid reader and I have degree in sciences. It is hard reading. So what I am doing: I ended up reading like Kyle did. Writing my own summary. Take your time, highlight and underline passages which talk to you, and just let out what does not. Some paragraphs don’t make sense to me either. But out of respect to Tolle I beleive he writes so much not to make money on volume, lkie some modern authours surely do. I just believe that all people have different perspective. What talks to you, might me mystery to me and vise versa. Also it might make sense later. I believe this book, should be red slowly and few times. I also downloaded it on audible and listen during commute. As for practical side of it, being ready for disaster, he gives a lot of practical advice on body awareness techniqhues, breathing practice, addictions, etc. Just mind won’t get us strong and stable. My answer is binding mind, spirit and body by strong DAILY practice like yoga or martial arts. And I mean not just yoga asanas, but practicing 8 limbs of yoga together.
Great thoughts, Luba! Thanks so much for sharing.
He says “The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth, is a dysfunction and a disease. ”
Go to his website – the one that sells his books, videos, wife’s yoga stuff. Sign up for the newsletter ( so I can fill up your email with shit I wanna sell you) The prophet is profiting off his religion. Monetize! He dumps on the ego as being victim to the consumer society and low and behold his old ego is right up there with the best of em! Even has a great marketing coup – a picture of Oprah hugging him! Ha! What a hypocrite! Tony Robbins, move over!
Hello again, Carol! A few things to consider:
– Oprah helped put Eckhart Tolle on the map many years ago. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an image of him with her.
– Spirituality isn’t a religion. That’s an important distinction that he covers in the book. Also, my previous comment covers the fact that what he’s preaching isn’t really anything new.
– Someone’s net worth doesn’t dictate the size of their ego. I’ve learned that your relationship with money/stuff is more important than the money/stuff itself.
– You don’t have to sign up for his newsletter or become a member to the site (I haven’t done any of that). The paperback book is currently $9.82 on Amazon. To me, that’s a very small investment in what I believe has been some of my largest personal growth.
– At the end of the day, try to remove the person (Eckhart Tolle) from the message. Tolle even starts the book saying that it’s intended to simply be a guide/sign post to point you in the right direction. Ultimately, it’s up to you. I do believe everyone can benefit from a spiritual life. All the best!
I love listening to Oprah’s podcast with Eckhart so I bought his books which I found a little overwhelming. Your summary is perfect, its the crux of what we need to know. Thank you so much!
So happy to hear that, Rose!
WOW THIS ONE OF THE AMAZING AND GREAT ARTICLE I HAVE READ FROM THE WHOLE OF AFRICA INCLUDING SOME DRY PARTS OF SAHARA DESERT …..I LOVE ECKHART TOLLES BOOK
Thanks, Jackson! Big Tolle fan here as well.
I have just started reading this book. I am on my way to experience the beauty inside this book.
Enjoy, Kiran! Definitely one to absorb slowly.
Brilliant! Thanks so very much for these wonderful notes. They have put the book on my “Must Read” list, but in the meantime, I am now able to simply Be inspired. Thank you.
Perfect, thanks Jenny! I highly recommend reading the book in full. It’s still one of the top books I’ve read where I’ve taken the most notes. I enjoyed reading the book and listening to the audiobook at the same time.
You are advocating disconnect from others and the surrounding world. Jesus did not disconnect. He connected with the poor, the downtrodden, the evildoers, to show them a better and more pleasing way of life — not a disconnect with others!!! Being still does nothing. In a vacuum of mindlessness. It certainly does not put bread on the table nor does it instruct anybody, even one’s own being, of being diligent to provide for one’s self, family, or the needs of others. It’s not planning for any contribution to those loved ones around us — it plans no future. One must plan, have thoughts, for anything to be accomplished. Do you advocate a life of no accomplishments? Of living in one’s self with no regard for others?
Thanks for your thoughts, Frances. Would you please share some quotes from the book that advocate disconnect from others and the world?
The message of the book is quite the opposite—it’s one of transcending the perceived separateness that many people have between others and the world.
In regards to “being still does nothing,” have you tried meditation, solitude, or deep contemplation? Many of the world’s great wisdom traditions are rooted in spiritual practices such as these.
In regards to “put bread on the table,” I believe you are referring to taking action in life. Tolle acknowledges that life requires action, and he advocates for “awakened doing.” You can read more about this in the next part of the book summary: Your Purpose on “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #2)
In regards to “the future,” I’d recommend the final part of the book summary: Humanity’s Evolution to “A New Earth” (Eckhart Tolle Book Summary #3)
In regards to “accomplishments,” there are a couple ways to think about this. In spirituality, one may say that there’s nothing more successful than a successful present moment. If you want to think about accomplishment from humanity’s historical perspective, I’d recommend checking out “The Lessons of History” by Will & Ariel Durant.
All in all, the more I’ve learned about spirituality, the more I realize that Tolle doesn’t say anything new. These ideas have been around for thousands of years. If you want to explore further, I’d recommend the following posts:
– A Tough Love Approach to Spirituality: “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello (Book Summary)
– 10 Life-Transforming Themes from “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu (Book Summary)
– The Ultimate Question: “Who am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi” (Book Summary)
– 20 Conscious Themes from “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer (Book Summary)
– The Spiritual Hero’s Journey of a Lifetime: “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse (Book Summary)
Excellent summary! I read the book while assisting my beloved sister transition. She did not want to die so she did not want to sleep. I went from a size 10 to a size 3 in 3 months. I sewed jingle bells on her clothes and tried to get her to sleep instead I fell asleep to be awoken to her trying to stand – which she couldn’t. This book helped me have end of life conversations with her. It was perfect at the time. I gifted it because it meant so much to me. I will buy another hard copy and reread it. I will also add this summary for easy quenching of my soul.
Amazing, thank you for sharing Angelina. It’s an incredible thing that feelings like that can develop for a book.