Eckhart Tolle vs. God

The spiritual leader that evangelicals rail against has a new book—on the divinity of pets

Eckhart Tolle vs. GodEckhart Tolle—one of the greatest spiritual teachers of our age, or perhaps the anti-Christ in a beige sweater vest—has left the door ajar. He greets you in the foyer of his Vancouver condominium with a quick smile and a soft handshake, and leads you inside. He is trim and compact, and—thanks, he says, to near total absence of stress—he looks younger than his 61 years. With his sandy fringe of beard, and aura of inviting calm, he seems, let’s be frank, as threatening as a garden gnome.

But his spiritual teachings are another matter: they are seismic. He has a global audience numbering in the tens of millions. They read his books, absorb his musings via DVDs and the Internet. They flock by the thousands to his lectures. He sits at the right hand of Oprah. He is a heretic. He is God, if only in his sense that the divine rests in all things. “I don’t believe in an outside agent that creates the world, then walks away,” he will later explain. “But I feel very strongly there is an intelligence at work in every flower, in every blade of grass, in every cell of my body. And it is that intelligence that,” he says, “I wouldn’t say created the universe. It is creating the universe. It’s an ongoing process.” As for the world’s established religions, he feels they have all lost their way—the purity of their message long since twisted into rigid ideology and buried under edifice, ritual and ego. All he has really done, he says, is rediscover their essence. “I have great respect for the truth that is, one could almost say, hiding, concealed, in the great religions.”

A refreshing liberation from doctrine, or dangerous stuff? “He gives a certain segment of the population exactly what they want: a sort of supreme religion that purports to draw from all sorts of lesser, that is, established, religions,” says John Stackhouse, a professor of theology and culture at Vancouver’s evangelical Regent College. “In fact [he] so chops, strains and rearranges the bits that it borrows that it ends up as a nicely vague spirituality that one can tailor to one’s own preferences.” James Beverley, a professor of Christian thought and ethics at the evangelical Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, has read Tolle’s books “in gory detail,” and finds Tolle denies “the core” of Christianity by claiming there is no ultimate distinction between humans and God and Jesus. “From a Christian perspective, Tolle misquotes the Bible to assert his strange mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age pop,” he says. “He misrepresents the teaching of Jesus about the self and ignores the clear claims of Jesus as Saviour, Lord and Son of God.”

Evangelicals, Tolle concedes, are among his harshest critics. “Yes, there is a certain interpretation of the Bible that people have where every word is literally true and anybody who doesn’t share that particular interpretation actually becomes an opponent,” he says. He calls it a throwback to the bloody Crusades of medieval times. “Five per cent of his beliefs are different so he’s evil, you must burn him,” Tolle says with a chuckle. “It’s completely insane and so we still have remnants of that, unfortunately.”

Author and Vancouver Sun writer Douglas Todd is one of the few mainstream religion and ethics journalists to seriously look at Tolle’s work. “I think Eckhart is a very smart guy, but whether he deserves the attention he gets is a whole other matter,” he says. “I don’t think he’s the devil incarnate or anything. I just want people, if they’re going to read him, to read 10 more books in the same vein by people who don’t get nearly as much attention and are probably more mature and deep.” That asks a lot in an era of growing spiritual illiteracy and plunging church attendance. (The Anglican Church in Canada, for example, has lost half its membership in the past 50 years.) Tolle and his ilk fill a hunger for a kind of replacement secular spirituality, a subject explored in Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia, a recent book of essays edited by Todd on the unchurched spirituality of the Pacific Northwest. Civil religion, Todd calls it.

But enough with the theological heavy lifting. Let’s look at the impact of the man himself. Eckhart Tolle is hotter than Hades (the existence of which can be debated another day). The two foundational books of his teachings, The Power of Now, initially published in Vancouver in 1997 with a press run of 3,000, and its follow-up, A New Earth, have North American sales alone of three million and five million copies respectively, and are sold globally in 33 languages. The latter, an Oprah Winfrey book club choice, warranted both coveted appearances on her daytime talk show, and an unprecedented 10-week “webinar” last year in which Tolle and Winfrey explored its teachings, chapter by chapter. Total number of times the series has been accessed from her website: more than 35 million.

“It’s been the most rewarding experience of my career to teach this book online,” Winfrey would later write, prompting American Internet evangelist Bill Keller to dub her “the most dangerous woman on the planet” and Tolle a purveyor of “spiritual crack.” The webinar also inspired Chuck Norris, the bare-knuckle movie action hero and Christian columnist, to lay a verbal beating on the two. “To me, it is more evidence of the paradigm shift in our culture from its moral absolute and Judeo-Christian basis to a relativistic world view in which anything goes and everything is tolerated,” Norris wrote, using more big words in one sentence than he’s uttered in his entire movie canon.

Time magazine has kissed off Tolle’s books as “awash in spiritual mumbo jumbo,” but his influence is not so easily dismissed. Consider the company Tolle kept at the recent Vancouver Peace Summit—an event top-heavy with five Nobel laureates among a stellar cast. Tolle was on stage Sept. 27 for the summit kickoff with the Dalai Lama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, for a discussion on personal peace. Two days later, he was on a panel, Educating the Heart, again with the Dalai Lama, and Murray Gell-Mann, winner of the Nobel in physics, among others—an A-list event that can only enhance his spiritual credentials.

This month, California-based New World Library released Tolle’s thinnest, but perhaps most accessible work: Guardians of Being. It is an unusual collaboration featuring the Zenlike thoughts of Tolle, illustrated by the colour cartoons of Patrick McDonnell, the New Jersey-based creator of the syndicated Mutts cartoon strip. It is a meditation on the divinity of pets and the natural world, and of their ability to draw humans into the “Now,” a central tenet of Tolle’s teaching. “Millions of people who otherwise would be completely lost in their minds and in endless past and future concerns are taken back by their dog or cat into the present moment, again and again, and reminded of the joy of Being,” Tolle writes. Guardians distills Tolle’s teachings into fewer than 1,000 words. “It’s such great thoughts but he’s able to tell it in a way that is simple and direct,” says McDonnell, a long-time devotee. “I guess as a cartoonist I admire that—not to compare what we do.”

But that’s the thing about Tolle: what to make of a sentence like, “We don’t fall below thinking. We rise above it.” Even the thinnest of his insights carries gravitas. But beneath the surface is one diving into the deep end, or the shallows? “Profundity,” replies Tolle, “doesn’t have to be complex.”

People used to regularly sit like this in his living room discussing the big questions of life, but that was before the Power of Now went stratospheric, and definitely pre-Oprah. Meeting with a reporter now, apart from those from a handful of sympathetic New Age journals, is a rarity. “I’m always a little reluctant to agree to an interview, especially with big mainstream publications,” he concedes. He doesn’t like his life’s work reduced to a few clichés: “like self-help guru, promoted by Oprah, such and such number of books sold,” he says. He was burned by Time and has turned down the New York Times, and now he faces a Maclean’s reporter of unknown sympathies. Tolle’s Vancouver office staff has ensured that any recording of the interview “is solely for the purpose of writing your article and no other usage is granted.” The photographer’s undertaking required that further use of the photos “either foreign or domestic, must be agreed to in writing by Eckhart Teachings.” Clearly this is one businesslike guru.

And yet he has invited the reporter to his home. He is warm and unguarded and alone, save for the uplifting presence of Maya, his King Charles spaniel. He is dressed in beige pants and a beige sweater vest. But for a crisp blue shirt, he is at risk of vanishing into his beige couch. His walls are a pale taupe. Later, for a walk in the forest behind his condominium tower, he dons a windbreaker. It is beige. Maybe in such neutral colours is a quest for anonymity, a treasured friend he lost to fame. “I always loved watching people sitting in cafés and just watching the flow of life,” he says. “Now often when I sit in a café, they watch me instead of my watching them.”

On a shelf above the couch is a small framed picture of a beaming Tolle and Kim Eng, his wife and an “associate” in Eckhart Teachings Inc. The Vancouver-born Eng is slim, dark-haired and attractive. They were drawn together after “a transformational spiritual experience” at one of his retreats in 1998. Later, hearing her speak on his website, there is a striking similarity in their speech patterns: soft and soothing and slow. With pauses . . . long pauses, as though drawing someone under hypnosis.

Tolle’s voice carries the soft remnants of his German birth. He was born into the unhappy marriage of a strong-willed mother and an eccentric journalist father. By age 13, after his parents’ divorce, Tolle refused to attend school, and she sent him to live in Spain with his father, who was content to let his son school himself. Formal education did follow. By 1979, he was a Ph.D. student living in London, and a neurotic, near-suicidal mess. And then one morning—shazam!—he wasn’t. Like Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, or Paul on the road to Damascus, he was born anew. “I went through this inner transformation when I was 29 from being depressed and basically insane—normal insane, I mean—to suddenly feeling a sense of underlying peace in any situation,” he says.

Insane is a much-used word in Tolle’s lexicon; it is the natural state of the human condition, he believes. “If the history of humanity were the clinical case history of a single human being,” he writes in A New Earth, “the diagnosis would have to be: chronic paranoid delusions, a pathological propensity to commit murder and acts of extreme violence and cruelty against his perceived enemies . . . Criminally insane, with a few brief lucid intervals.” He looked to Buddhism for an explanation for his new bliss. “I could suddenly see the truth in what the Buddha had said. Suffering and the end of suffering, that’s the Buddhist teaching,” he says. “Wow. And then a little later I read the New Testament again and I saw there is a very deep truth there also expressed, of the kingdom of heaven.” In Tolle’s interpretation, though, heaven isn’t God’s milk-and-honey paradise, it is an inner awakening.

That awakening is largely where his teaching leaves off. Don’t look to him for any grand strategy for social change. That will come through the transformation of individual consciousness—one person at a time, he says. In that quest, religion is more of an impediment than a guide, Tolle says. “The important thing, I think, is to differentiate between religion and spirituality.” While the two can coexist, “religion without spirituality, unfortunately, is very common.”

But spirituality’s solitary quest only takes one so far, says Michael Ingham, bishop of the Anglican diocese of New Westminster, encompassing all of the B.C. Lower Mainland. He first read Tolle a decade ago. “I don’t have any criticism of his message,” he says. As far as it goes. “I think the proper attitude to take with new spiritual movements is one of wait and see,” he says. “Christianity at one time was a new spiritual movement. All of the world’s religions began somewhere and were all a fresh expression of something new. There is an inevitability about spiritual movements that endure,” he says. They organize and ritualize into a community of common purpose—a religion. “I think, in the long run, if it is to go anywhere,” Ingham says of Tolle’s spiritual community, “it has to go in the same direction.”

To Tolle, religion presents more danger than opportunity. The Buddha, he says, had similar concerns 2,600 years ago. “The essence of his teaching is emptiness, so the Buddha probably thought, ‘Okay, I’ll give them something that they cannot possibly make into conceptual belief.’ ” For a few hundred years it worked, and then the first Buddha statues appeared. “He did his utmost to prevent people from making him into a god, or his teaching into an ideology,” says Tolle. “And yet, it happened.” He says he keeps his organization as small as possible, and yet his product lines and plans for global reach grow ever more ambitious. He still talks occasionally to Oprah and there is a possibility of another joint project, he says. “It’s necessary for it to get out into the world, but one needs to be careful that the organization doesn’t become self-serving.”

Tolle did not immediately sort out the puzzle of his awakening 30 years ago. He drifted for years: poor, happy, but aimless, sharing with fellow seekers his evolving thoughts, rather like an itinerant monk. In 1995 he washed up in Vancouver—one of the least formally religious and most spiritually restless places in North America, as poll after poll has revealed. He was home. “There is an openness here on the West Coast, anything is possible,” he says. “It could be that the lightness here has something to do with the relatively little past. Obviously there were people here before the Europeans came but they didn’t accumulate past the way Europeans do. They didn’t keep records of the past. They probably lived naturally in the present moment.” Professor Mark Shibley, a specialist in the sociology of religion at Southern Oregon University, puts the attraction in more base terms. “Spiritual entrepreneurs” like Tolle, he says in The Elusive Utopia, “relocated to this region because they perceive an open religious marketplace.”

In fact, eckharttolle.com reaches everywhere. The site sells an impressive product line of Tolle’s books, with the message recycled into music, cards, calendars, CDs and DVDs, as well as meditations from Eng and her instructional Qi Flow Yoga video. Tolle lives well, though not ostentatiously, on what must be substantial royalities. There is this high-end condo in one of Canada’s most expensive neighbourhoods, and a property on Salt Spring Island. He drives an Infinity, because he loves the name. Now comes Eckhart Tolle TV, an Internet site with streaming video of monthly group meditations, video responses to life’s tough questions (“To Think Or Not To Think?”, “What is Self?”) and perhaps most important, unlimited access to an “online community to chat with members worldwide.” The cost: $14.95 a month; six months, $74.75. “We think we have a winner here,” says Anthony McLaughlin, its executive producer and founder.

ET-TV had a soft launch in the summer and will be more heavily promoted this fall. “You can travel the world and teach 2,000 to 3,000 people at a time, but that’s got limitations,” says McLaughlin. “The idea of the online model is to make it really affordable and be able to go worldwide on demand.” The message board is already abuzz, with a discussion string on “sexual energy in the process of awakening” drawing particularly enthusiastic attention.

The site is at once technically advanced and decidedly unslick. A case in point is Tolle’s meditation, broadcast Sunday, Sept. 20, “a live transmission of stillness,” as he describes it. The camera fixes on a black backdrop, a table with a vase of flowers and an empty chair. Tolle enters the frame. He sits silent, staring into the camera—a concept that would be death on Oprah, or 100 Huntley Street or the emotive theme-park excess of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s old Praise The Lord Club. Finally, he speaks. “I trust that everybody is comfortable with stillness,” he begins, with an uncharacteristic hint of steel. “If you’re not, then get comfortable.”

The camera draws close and for the next 46 minutes he expands on achieving the virtues of stillness and emptiness through “a cessation in the stream of thinking.” He stops speaking at the 41-minute mark. “And that’s it,” he says with a slight smile and a bob of his head. There follows five minutes of unblinking silence, broken just three times as Tolle delicately strikes two Tibetan meditation bells. Then he walks off camera.

No communion. No choir. No saints. No sinners. No benediction. And yet, in the bells, chiming into infinity that Sunday afternoon, in the silent meditation, in the online congregation, there is something akin to liturgy. One is reminded of Bishop Ingham’s musing on the well-travelled arc from spirituality to religion. Tolle may be farther down the path than he cares to admit. “How does one get closer to God?” an admirer would later post on the site. “Listen to Eckhart Tolle.”




Browse

Eckhart Tolle vs. God

  1. I can see the appeal of faith without sacrifice or responsibility, in this age. A perfect complement to self examination via Dr. Phil.

  2. Since Truth can easily be calibrated, lets test the first 3 posts

    Truthtime …LOC 100
    TedTyler ….LOC 125
    SeanStok…LOC 175

    There seems to be an increase in a positive direction

    Lets see if it does…in the mean time lets remember this much "All opinion is vanity" ( which tests at LOC 1000)

  3. So, to sum up, a couple of seminary professors point out that his teachings are incompatible with orthodox Christianity (of whatever variant – Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) and for that we get the subhead about Evangelicals 'railing' against him?

    On the other hand, he sweetly implies that his critics are potentially violent, semi-literate throwbacks to the twelfth century. Seems like a nice, thoughtful guy.

  4. Truthtime
    You are truly a demented person. You know Eckhart Tolle? Yeah right. You obviously tell a lot of untrue "stories". You are probably one of the Christian Evangelicals who are basically insane and cannot pass up a chance to attack someone who is really trying to help people to make sense of this insane existence we call humanity.. I pity you and the dark world you inhabit. To not recognize the Truth when its right in front of you is truly sad. Every word that Eckhart speaks is recognized as already existing in our hearts unless you refuse to recognize it as so many so-called christian's do. Perhaps you need to read more of "The Power of Now" or "A new Earth" but I doubt that would help anyone as screwed up as you are.

  5. Sorry to disappoint you. I know you admire this man greatly. I like his works. I have nothing against what he aims to teach. He does it well. Unfortunately, it is his character that is the problem. Like I said in the beginning of my statement, some may be offended and become defensive.

    He was a good friend of mine at one time. But he has a most unfortunate and really ugly blight on his character that I know most people would not want to believe exists. I understand your frustration and anger towards me. But it is the truth. And no, I promise, I am not in any Religious Christian Rightest group or the like of any kind.
    Peace be with you. Seriously.

  6. Cant help but see an amusing similarity between the Evangelical Christian's comments here in this article and a news headline of this morning………

    ““Distracted” pilots over shot runway by 150 miles”

  7. I'm confused. Have I won something?

  8. I can't have too much fun with this “news” event.

    Apologies all around in advance to all sane pilots but it must be the past Catholic Catechisms in me wanting to come out and play.

    “the Pilots/ (Evangelicals) overshot the destination landing strip by about 150 miles Wednesday” Now that True!!!

    "The crew/(Evangelicals) stated they were in a heated discussion over airline policy and they lost situational awareness,"
    “The Airbus A320's (ANE/TPON) brightly lit cockpit flight displays should have shown the pilots that it was time to start descending to land.”

    “One of the things most pilots (and any researchers of truth for that matter) are attuned to when flying, even above 30,000 feet, are city lights. The bright lights of (truth in this case) should have alerted the pilots/(Evangelicals) that they were over their destination,

    “Ultimately, controllers contacted two other Northwest (read "awake Truth Seekers") planes, asking them to try to reach Flight (Evangel's Wednesday) through its last known frequency.”

    “air traffic controllers in the area had communicated with the pilot / (Evangelicals), but the pilots were "nonresponsive" (well actually they were just too busy responding to a repetitive mind loop)”

    “Feds are looking into whether the pilots were distracted, as claimed, or asleep ( ET accurately calls this “Lack of Awareness” but “Situational awareness” works too)

    “The pilots have been relieved from active flying pending the completion of these investigations."

    Now here is a thought. Why isn't there tests done, Independent tests done of “Religious Authorities”??? Considering the damage they can inflict (past Centuries of damage) there aught to be mandatory Truth testing done on them. It is very inexpensive and can be done by anyone calibrated at over LOC 200.

  9. Sacrifice, responsibility and love arise from the observation of how one's conditioned responses, biases, unresolved needs for approval, etc. keep one from achieving these deeds. Less analysis and more introspection is, paradoxically, they way we change the world.

  10. Wow… just wow.

  11. As to denying “the core of Christianity”, it depends on what core is meant. Early Christ followers were not a monolithic movement – vast numbers did not espouse substitutionary atonement with its gory details of horrific slaughter of a human being for the cause of satisfying a divine righteous cosmic transaction. If Tolle inspires people to be less egoistic and instead be courageously compassionate – more power to him.

  12. Truthtime, it sounds like at one point you had an unhealthy dependency on Tolle and you got burned. I've seen enough that there is not a human being alive that doesn't have a shadow side, including Tolle. Surprise! Be well.

  13. Indeed, and the True "core"…..

    is what Eckhart's being entered into on that particular night, and as have others of experience have done …they left their presence to remind us of the potential within the "word pointer" 'Kristos' as a state of highly evolved consciousness.

    Neither the media scribes or the Evangelical commentators have offered their direct experience with this core……. one could just as easy conclude……..(as they did question or ET) …………that this whole article was all for profit. In this case they (including Todd) are riding on Tolle's popularity to sell their positionally, their particular spiritual culture and friends.

    This is but one example from those "Early Christ (Kristos) followers" and it too like Tolle's words, immediately activate like light in the reader, if the reader has it. After all "Like can only apprehend Like" , "Light attracts the same Light".

    "Mary Magdalen, in the book the Pistis Sophia, when she says: "The man of light in me," “my being of light," has understood these things, has brought the meaning of these words (supra II, l)."

    As it was with Mary M. This is the essence of the context within what Tolle says (for example when he is commenting on. quotes attributed to Jesus) ………."I wasn't there but I know what he said" …..meaning his being, his presence too has… "understood these things".

    No amount of scholarly study / graduate certificates can deliver it ……BUT the presence within that Light can and does.

  14. I could care less if Tolle has a dark side. Don't we all? I never heard him claim perfection, only inner peace. Even that I'm sure is not 100%, but the fact that his books have helped me inch forward towards a happier and healthier personal and family life is "where the rubber hits the road" as old Vernon McGee put it.(Old school radio evangelist). Props to Eckhart, warts and all!

  15. Ezy Al and Charles whatever:

    I'm with Truth-time!

    Here this person goes to great lengths in portraying the TRUE character of this man, Eckhart Tolle, and you fools don't seem to get it. In my book–especially, if you are one to preach this "in the now" garbage and being WITHOUT EGO– and lovey-dovey, etc. then it might be a good idea to "walk the talk'.

    Don't you think?

    I know that's where I am coming from. I need someone to be true to what they preach. And Truth-Time is talking more than about this guy's so called-"dark side". It's who the man seems to truly be, you brain surgeons!

    It truly amazes me to read what your new agers (especially the men) have to say about this guy's so-called dark side.

    OK. Let me put it to you this way: That Adolf Hitler–really knew his invigorating message for the Germans and preached it, well, too. Doesn't matter the actions he took.
    And against his fellow humans. Nah.

    I got a lot out of the man's speeches, darn it. What a pep talker that Adolf was!
    Who cares about what he did to scores of humans.
    I liked what his talks and his book did for me, darn it!

  16. Two problems I think with Eckhart Tolle …
    1) reducing the egoic entity to anything that is either of the mind or past and future … the self centred ego can operate perfectly well in the 'NOW' … the egoic resides not in the mind but in the heart and the 'NOW' experience is as much a camouflage for the egoic as religion or any other hypocritical setup. Hence ET's apparent 'dark side'. Hence the labelling 'evangelicals' in the name of that which does not label. It is just gross unaware santised spiritualised sensual indulgence – a more acceptable form of the sort of stuff i would trip out on many years ago on LSD…(or spiritual masturbation as someone upthread put it) and hey if you can make a few bucks on it by calling it a 'great awakening' as well …
    2) Making spiritual and transcendant out of something which is as perfectly natural and common to all of us as breathing – viz the 'present moment'. Selling books on the 'Now' is like selling air in a bottle.
    One's experience of the present moment is not the measure of true spirituality. It has to have something to do with what we do with what we have, how we relate to those who are less fortunate than ourselves …

    • There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

      "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

      "We'll see," the farmer replied.

      The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

      "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

      "We'll see," replied the old man.

      The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

      "We'll see," answered the farmer.

      The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

      "We'll see" said the farmer.

      ——-

    • To elaborate….

      "the self-centered ego can operate perfectly well in the NOW" – Yes, it can. And it does. It loves to indulge. Anyone who couldn't turn down a cookie knows this. But I think that what Tolle attemps to communicate is that the ego enjoys the NOW only when it satisfies one of it's needs (eg. getting a horse)
      The now is perfect because it's happening right now! Hello..?? Duh! The ego wants you to think that the future will be get "better". It doesn't. (And there's plenty of research out there showing this, just type in "money and happiness" into google.) . The mind cannot grasp the future of it's own subjective experience. It can drive, do physics and predict the movement of the planets, that's it. That's why so many philosophers think thems selves into despair, because if you use the logical mind to find happiness, you will lose it.

      To use the mind to understand existence is like using a butcher knife instead of a scalpel. It doesn't work and just makes a mess of things.
      *********"If you want to make God laugh, make a plan."**********

  17. If only the presence of the Light imparted to you the ability to not write incomprehensible gibberish..

  18. He steals the classic works of Eastern cultures and repackages them in a poorly-written tripe. The bandwagon following reminds me of the following Forrest Gump garnered during his run across the Country. He has found a gold mine and is exploiting it rather well. "There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase often credited to P.T. Barnum (1810 – 1891), an American showman. It is generally taken to mean that there are (and always will be) a lot of gullible people in the world. Some things never change

  19. Wow, guess Eckart suggesting people think for themselves and get quiet and tune into their intuition is really scaring the fundamentalists that are afraid of inner silence, self reflection & thinking for themselves. That's a sign that he's on the right path.

    Eckart could easily create his own religion & followers build up a formal structure & have even more power & money, yet he choses not to. Yes you can buy his products & go to his talks, but you don't have to. He's not creating any priesthood. Pretty rare.

    Also he's ruffling a lot of big religious egos including douglas todd, by not following their ideas, dogma & formulas. Thinking for yourself, how refreshingly radical.

    And he's got great ideas can communicate them effectively and has a powerful presence because he's not trapped in the egoic mind like some commentators here.

    • Thinking for yourself and following your gut is easy, especially if you don't have an objective standard to measure falsity of your assertions.

      Communicating with others, learning from others, and submitting your ideas for examination from your peers… that's hard.

    • Very well put:)

  20. TedTyler writes "Communicating with others, learning from others, and submitting your ideas for examination from your peers… that's hard."

    Say WHAT??? so TRUTH is hard to communicate??? nice when. If it is "hard" then it is not Truth. The only requirement is an LOC 200 + then one can discern the truth when heard.

    Pete is very accurate when he said Tolle's simple words are upsetting "Religious Egos". And that is a good thing sit is much needed. So long as they don't do like their past like minded Egos have done, that is start building a cross to nail those they want shut up, all is fine.

    The one Truth here that must be considered and made ware s that this news" article isn't about Tolle at all it is about one writer helping another writer to sell his (Todd's) book. Now if he would have just come out and said "Look here you buy Todd's book because he's my buddy and Christmas is coming and well … we writers need the $$$" then that would be fine.

    But when they do this by using Tolle's bright and clear light ..well ….Then is best to blow the whistle and call it what t is . Another case of …."Beware the Scribes and Pharisees" …….trying to promote themselves off of the works of others.

    TedTyler's call for "objective standard" is useless BECAUSE all Truth is, and can ONLY ever be Subjective. Subjective Standards are examples such as Buddha, Jesus (a) Christ, John Yepes, Plotinus, Jung, Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gysatso) Gandi, Mother Tersesa, to name only a few. If these sources were to be measured on "Objective Standards" ( IOW judged ) they too would be (and of course some were0 classified as "gory" by the "Evangelicals" of their time period.

  21. Although I don't know much about Tolle himself I was involved heavily in meditation before thankfully I got out of it.

    So let me make a few points about this:

    1. It's absolutely foolish to believe that killing the ego (pride) can be accomplished by sitting alone for hours in meditation. The ego can only be killed going out into society and rubbing up against other people and embracing humility, service and love for those who wrong you. Withdrawing like that is a form of unhealthy self-absorbtion.

    2. Although meditation doesn't destroy the ego (pride) it does destroy one's individual personality. I don't believe Nirvana, which absorbs all who attain it, exists but definitely I could see how the annihilation of one's person comes to happen. People become zombie-like.

    Happily, I came out of this, but unfortunately I suffered a couple months of depression and anger until I returned to a normal state. I would warn anyone from engaging in meditation.

    • Don't forget, if you meditate the devil might get you. It's risky business.

    • Allowing the present moment to be… is something you can do whether you are by yourself or with others.

  22. Many proclaim they know the 'real' truth. But listen carefully. There is a cosmic battle going on – the battle of good vs evil. Evil and untruths are carefully masked by sounding and looking 'real'. But beware as the father of lies (the devil) disguises himself, coming on as he is preaching the truth. He plants the seeds of unrealities between the pages of truth to deceive us toswallow the whole package. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down . . . and we are surprised when this sweet concoction passes our lips. Like a fish we are hooked, duped, and swindled of the truth. We could have a temporary peaceful trip on chemicals or flimflam if we like. However, the only way to permanent peace is to come to God through Jesus, where we are forgiven of our sins (no one exists who is not a sinner, except Jesus who led a sinless life), and assured of eternal salvation. This we can find by reading the Bible and attending a Bible teaching church. Want to be really loved and find truthful peace that will last through the eons of time? Jesus has been around for over 2000 years, and HIS book is STILL the #1 best seller EVERY year.
    Where will Tolle go when he dies?

    • Hell, because he's the devil!

    • Who created the devil,Andrea? If evil exists as something separate from god,it means god is not infinite,which is a contradiction in terms-the very idea of god is that of an infinite,all knowing being. Nothing can be outside of god. So,god must include evil. Hence,god created suffering as well as pleasure,evil as well as good. Mysterious,isn't it?

    • His atoms will rejoin the atoms in the soil, His heart that supplied his mind, his brain iself will feed the worms. It is undeniable that parts of you are derived from those who have died and returned back to earth. Consciousness is born, fades, comes back.

  23. I'm not a christian but i remember the time in Jesus life when the religious authorities where condaming Jesus as an heretic because they couldn't understand or see for themself what he ment when he says that he was son of God. If you don't like or don't understand Tolle's teachings , well just keep your beleives and is great. Discusting about different beleives and different words is excatly what Tolle is talking about when he sayus that the mind stays only on surface. I really beleive Tolle and jesus and Boudha are talking about the same spiritual reality or truth, but you can't touch it on surface or with the mind or understand it , you have to experience it deeply. Tolle's teaching are not new, he is using other words to says the same things that was said thousand years ago. Truth cannot change, only forms and thoughts can. Truth is and you can talk about it using many ways and words, if you saty a the level of words you will only see differences but iuf you go deeper, you will see what unify us istead of what separates us. I wich you all peace and joy. Pascal

  24. I'm not a christian but i remember the time in Jesus life when the religious authorities where condaming Jesus as an heretic because they couldn't understand or see for themself what he ment when he said that he was son of God. If you don't like or don't understand Tolle's teachings , well just keep your beleives and this is great. Discussing about different beleives and different words is excatly what Tolle is talking about when he says that the mind stays only on surface. I really beleive Tolle and jesus and Boudha are talking about the same spiritual reality or truth, but you can't touch it on surface or with the mind or understand it , you have to experience it deeply. Tolle's teaching are not new, he is using other words to says the same things that was said thousand years ago by many others. Truth cannot change, only forms and thoughts can. Truth is what is and you can talk about it using many ways and different words, if you stay at the level of words you will only see differences but if you go deeper, you will see what unify us instead of what separates us. I'm soory for my poor english, my mother language is French. I wich you all peace and joy. Pascal

  25. Pete wrote “Eckhart could easily create his own religion & followers build up a formal structure & have even more power & money, yet he chooses not to.”

    And that is a truth. Unlike his critics in the MacLean’s article here, he does not say one thing and do another.

    Chapter Three of ‘A New Earth’ clearly states “All Structures are Unstable”, IOW all “lower mind created” structures. Structures such a Christianity are lower mind created, this is confirmed by such comments as, “James Beverley, a professor of Christian thought and ethics at the evangelical Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, ……has read Tolle’s books …….. finds Tolle denies “the core” of Christianity by claiming there is no ultimate distinction between humans and God and Jesus. “From a Christian perspective, Tolle misquotes “…………………….excuse professor!!!!!!! but you and no one else can speak for all Christians! and your comments are COMPLETELY incorrect wrt who/ which branches accept or do not accept that …….BOTH God and therefore Human is Divine.

    It was you that “misquoted” here, you really sould get the right wrt the “core” of what Jesus was pointing to professor. Christianity is a large subject with No ultimate Expert of the Higher Consciousness. None but the individual Human heart that is.

    This was stated by a group of young musicians ‘Naturally Seven’ …”What this is can’t be told, can’t be bought and can’t be sold”.

    Eckhart is a living example to that TRUTH which this group of young hearts sing out with great enthusiasm.

    • Ed,

      I did not read the follow-up Internet discussion to the article on Tolle until today. I do not claim to speak for everyone who claims to be Christian. What I think can be done, however, is find out what the Bible clearly says about God etc and relate that to Tolle. He wants to make no distinction between God and humans. He denies the reality of the self. These are not the views of the Bible. Tolle got his basic ideas from Hindu advaitism and Buddhism. Tolle has many, many good points but he misses the core of the Gospel…about Jesus as Son of God, Saviour, Lord.

      Let me add one apology. I regret that I made reference to the fact that I have read Tolle's books "in gory detail." That was an off-hand comment that I realize is unfair. I find much of The Power of Now confusing but I should not have used the word gory.

      Jim Beverley

  26. The Condensed History of Organized Religion, by Gary.

    Substitute any religion for 'He' and Eastern cultures with any previous religious organization, stir well, and you have a new cult. If successful, it will later be called a region.

  27. Learn from others. Seek your own truths. Speak with conviction. Believe in yourself. Simple to say, but most difficult to practice, namely because humans like to judge. He's right, he's wrong, this one is nuts, this one is a god.

    All judgements, all emotional, very little clear thinking. Stillness cures all illnesses. The best way to get close to God is by spending 30 minutes in a quiet room. I think that Tolle has amazing things to say, just like many other people who I come across. But there's nothing like stillness.

    • Amen to that my friend

  28. How many anti-christs are there? Besides poor Mr. Tolle, the evangelicals also claim Obama, Pope Benedict, and others over the years are or were the Anti-Christ.
    Mr. Tolles’s teaching success points to the incredible failings of the major religious traditions, and Christian denominations in
    particular, to provide relevant spiritual tools to their flock in our complex time.

  29. There's an old saying that I'd like to share. And it applies to everyone, both high and low, whether you're Eckhart Tolle or no one in particular, at the end of the day:

    "You're as sick as your secrets".

    Ulrich, if you're reading this, just know:

    I am so ashamed I once called you "friend".

    • Why did he change his 'label' from Ulrich to Eckhart when it seems to go against the grain of his teachings:

      'When you don't cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of
      the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when
      humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought.And the
      greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any
      words, thoughts, mental labels, and images. For this to happen, you need to
      disentangle your sense of I, of Beingness, from all the things it has become
      mixed up with, that is to say, identified with. That disentanglement is what
      this book is about.'
      'The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things,
      people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and
      the more deadened you become to reality …' taken from 'A New Earth'

  30. Everyone who is interested in living a fullfilled life should read Josh McDowell´s book: MORE THAN A CARPENTER.

    God bless you all!

    1. God Loves You!
    The Bible says, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"

    The problem is that

    2. All of us have done, said or thought things that are wrong. This is called sin, and our sins have separated us from God.
    The Bible says "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God is perfect and holy, and our sins separate us from God forever. The Bible says "The wages of sin is death."

    The good news is that, about 2,000 years ago,

    3. God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins.
    Jesus is the Son of God. He lived a sinless life and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. "God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

    Jesus rose from the dead and now He lives in heaven with God His Father. He offers us the gift of eternal life — of living forever with Him in heaven if we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me."

    God reaches out in love to you and wants you to be His child. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name." You can choose to ask Jesus Christ to forgive your sins and come in to your life as your Lord and Savior.

    4. If you want to accept Christ as Savior and turn from your sins, you can ask Him to be your Savior and Lord by praying a prayer like this:

    "Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior. I want to serve you always."

    If you prayed this prayer go to http://joshmcdowell.blogspot.com/ for resources to help you live this new life you have!

  31. Ted thanks for giving us an insight into your state of consciousness. Obviously you have not experience the transformation that Eckhart is pointing to in his writings.

  32. Need to say, where do you know him from?

  33. "To Eckhart Tolle, spiritual enlightenment is synonymous with pleasurable feelings."

    No it isn't, in fact it's the opposite: pleasurable or not his message is to face everything that is happening right now; to over think things causes unnecessary mental anguish. I think the "tollites" have completely missed Tolles message themselves and i'm not going to suggest you read everything he's written nor am I going to argue whether he is right or not but you obviously haven't really read or heard anything of his. If you have then you are in your head when you do because everything you've critiqued he goes over in his works. Whether it is really doable or not is something else all together.

  34. This is interesting especially in the wake of "tolletv" and the fact that he charges about 200 a pop for a seat at one of his talks. I've justified this by thinking that Tolles business is responsible for most of these things and since he's already said all he needs to say in the power of now he's just clarifying for those that want to buy into it. Really though if things where really that negative I think we'd be hearing more concrete things from people out there as it seems many have a beef with him and I can imagine the wolves would be salivating if they had eyewitnesses that can verify that Tolle is nothing but a greedy gold digger.

    I don't know I've never personally paid a dime for Tolles works, I get them from the library and find them very helpful even if it's just plagiarized eastern and western ideas repackaged for the layman. Would love to hear real facts to back up your statements on Tolles "dark side" but that's just my ego wanting to hear gossip…

  35. I don't want to say anything more beyond this posting except to say that everything I have stated is the truth and nothing but. Again, he is excellent at what he does. He speaks well the language of these universal, spiritual truths. He is skilled in this and I believe there is a partial sincerity in what he does. However, who he is behind the mask is pretty disturbing.

    Sad to say, but like many before him, this man does not walk the talk.

    Not by a long shot.

    His EGO is ENORMOUS. (you can cull evidence of this just by the entire enterprise that has been built up around him.) Now compare him to someone like the Dalai Lama. Every book and appearance the Dalai Lama makes is for the cause of saving Tibet and anything pertaining to it. All proceeds are donated. Listen to HIS talks. Read his books. The Dalai Lama's message is not about being in the NOW, or being present or being out of ego. It's about being compassionate, being a good person, giving to others. Doing the DEED work.

    The Dalai Lama definitely has no issue with his Ego . Nor does he tell others that he has overcome his Ego (Tolle is lying, by the way) and that you might want to do the same. In fact, I bet you anything the Dalai Lama has a good sense of humor about his own ego. And he might add something like the old Buddhist axiom: "chop wood, carry water" or, doing for others (humility–something you never hear Tolle say) is truly the way to forget or diminish your ego.

    Actually, he would probably say– it's the Abuses of Ego that gets one into trouble, and Eckhart (incidentally, he ditched his real name for a bigger Ego-identifier with Meister Eckhart–how's that for ego-identification with one who is considered a Spiritual Master?) does not make that distinction. Unfortunately, Tolle has exhibited ego abuse in his underhanded dealings with others. 98% of the people out there only know his staged persona. Not the man behind the mask. And unfortunately, I am one of those people.

    Sorry, that is all I am going to say. And you don't have to believe me. Just trust your good common sense. The man is very human. I want to say, dangerously human.

    • I'm starting to think you are a tibetan buddhist with an axe to grind with Tolle as despite The Dali Lamas visit with Tolle many of them do as they value staunch tradition and practice. Tolle dosen't head a religion nor does he pretend to so I don't see the point of saying he needs to do/preach good deeds as that has never been the point of his teachings. Without any examples to back up your assertions it's really hard to believe you, anyone could come up with these insinuations since his background is very murky. I haven't made up my mind about Tolle but these little vague games just strengthen him.

      • "Guest"–

        Why don't you re-read the post that "Need to say" entered? This person is clearly saying that he/she is not giving any examples. That this person wishes to not go into it. Yet you are pushing for this person to do so.

        Giving an example from Buddhism (Tibetan or not, so what?) is just that. Furthermore–the point is made clear that what one does might be a little more resonant than what one says. That is all the person is pointing out. Or do you not get this one?

        I find Tolle very egotistical. I have heard him in person–and it's totally clear the man is self-absorbed from his talks. Pay attention! It is there to be perceived if you listen and look close enough.

        I also want to note that "Need to say" clearly says: "you don't have to believe me". And encourages you to use your own perceptions. That is fair.
        Stop pushing for "proof". Obviously, this person wishes to not go into it. It seems you still wouldn't be satisfied if the person were to flesh out the details. You'd probably still argue with it.

        • If need to say gave clear details instead of vague accusations I would keenly hear him out, as I said i'm still on the fence about Tolle. I just don't see the things you do when i've seen/heard him speak, his philosophy and teachings answer all the questions to why he is the way he is I don't see it as ego. What does worry me is the prices he charges for his spiritual teachings and his murky backround, but until someone comes out and gives us some concrete proof then you just don't like him and his teachings and that's fine, but why make stuff up?

  36. hmmmmm, wonder why the Dalai Lama would hang out with such a guy?

  37. David–

    I would think that having Tolle (whose hometown is Vancouver) attend a conference featuring the Dalai Lama as its main presenter and speaker is hardly a "hang out with" scenario.

    Tolle's people got him on the roll call along with these other guests at that 3-day event that was held in Vancouver a month or so ago. This is not the same as "hanging out" with–actually, I rather think it's the other way 'round.

  38. You want to get over to the forum on Eckhart Tolle's site. It is a world of pain and spiritual bullying. It is unmoderated and therefore a free for all. It has become the home for many false prophets and imposters mirroring the world which Tolle would like to rejuvinate. His own site has is now a focus for unconsciousness, intolerance and unbridled ego.

    • On the other hand there is a lot of love and wisdom shared :-)

  39. You guys are blinded by your dogmatic beliefs. To be 'wrong' (and the teachings of Eckhart and others are the biggest threat to Christians, as their teaching actually makes SENSE) is tantamount to death…death of your rigid little egos. And so you fight. The crusades are very much still alive. I leave to dream your little dreams. I am awake.

  40. Why was my comment deleted?

  41. Religion is another medium for the ego to feed off of. Look at how many divisions there are in the christian religion by itself. 38,000 different versions of the religion just because of petty differences in interpretation. These differences occurred because one persons ego thought they were better than the next.

  42. I get the same kind of feedback only it’s in Alcoholics Anonymous instead of a Christian Church. So yes I think Meister Eckhart’s teachings is “dangerous stuff” because if this current trend of consciousness keeps happening the need for meetings will become obsolete as well as the KJB

  43. The amount of ego here implies a bias.

  44. I am certainly no fan of Tolle, but for “Christianity” to insinuate that Tolle is a new-age cult is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

    The Christian bible exists in a large number of English translations which are markedly different in many key places, and which have been raped by many centuries worth of broken telephone story telling, fly-editing, manipulations, mistranslations and misrepresentation. Many of modern Christianity’s doctrines (such as the notoriously EVIL doctrine that “God” is going to torture the vast majority of humanity in real fire for all of eternity) are actually from pagan sources.

    Come to think of it, out of all of the professing Christians that I have met in my life, with the exception of a few that I can count on a single hand, just about every single one of them are bible-thumping, mean-spirited, two-faced hypocrites. You can tell a great deal about a religion (or a “spiritual” movement for that matter) by the kinds of people that it produces.

Sign in to comment.