Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eckhart Tolle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eckhart Tolle, born Germany, 1948 as Ulrich Tolle is a contemporary spiritual teacher and writer on spirituality.


His non-fiction bestseller, The Power of Now, describes his experience of enlightenment at the age of 29 after suffering long periods of depression, dissolving his old identity and radically changing the course of his life. This book emphasizes the importance of focusing on the present moment and the futility of dwelling on the bygone past or fearing the imagined future. In Tolles view, the present moment is all that one really has, and being consciously present in the now is the best way to realize the immense potential of the future. “Being in the now” also brings about an awareness that is beyond the mind. This awareness helps in transcending “the painbody” that is created by the identification of the mind and ego with the body.

The aim of Tolles teachings is the transformation of individual and collective human consciousness – a global spiritual awakening.

Core teachings that appear to arise from his works are:

1. You are not your thoughts. You are the awareness behind the thoughts. Thoughts are often negative and painful, yearning for or fearing something in the future, complaining about something in the present or fearing a matter from the past. However, the thoughts are not you; they are a construct of the ego. Awareness of your thoughts without being caught up in them is the first step to freedom.

2. Only the present moment exists. That is where life is indeed it is the only place life can truly be found. Becoming aware of the now has the added benefit that it will draw your attention away from your negative thoughts. Use mindfulness techniques to fully appreciate your surroundings and everything you are experiencing. Look and listen intently. Give full attention to the smallest details.

3. Accept the present moment. It is resistance to the present moment that creates most of the difficulties in your life. However, acceptance does not mean that you cannot take action to rectify the situation you are in. What is important is to drop resistance so that you let the moment be, and that any action arises from deeper awareness rather than from resistance. The vast majority of pain in a persons life comes from resistance to what is.

4. Observe The Painbody. Years of conditioned thought patterns, individually and collectively, have resulted in habitual emotional reactions with an apparent personality of their own. During painbody attacks we become completely identified with this pain identity and respond from its agenda – which is to create more pain for ourselves and others. Observing the painbody is awareness itself arising – as it allows humans to separate from this unconscious identification with pain.

Eckhart Tolle is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition.

Influences which are alluded to in The Power of Now are the writings of Meister Eckhart, Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhisms Lin-chi Rinzai school.

Some disciples of the Australian teacher Barry Long see Longs influence in Tolles writings as well. Tolle attended Longs seminars in London in the mid-1980s, some years after his own self-described awakening. Tolle himself said in an interview with John Parker [1] that by listening to and having some conversation with Barry Long, he understood things more deeply.

Responsibility for thinking

“Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not remain so if you only perceive an ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without.”

James Allen – As A Man Thinketh

Life will give us what we expect of it. Our attitudes toward the world and people will be reflected back to us in every aspect of our lives.

Life is not a zero sum game. In reality there is abundance available in the world and in our lives. It is our painful and fearful thoughts that lead us to believe in scarcity.

Our thoughts create the story of our life. We live out the story, the life script created in our minds. Unconscious thought creates a life program which is often painful and chaotic. Conscious thought creates choice of plan and purpose.

To begin to understand the nature of unconscious thought try this experiment, as you go about your daily tasks notice your thoughts. Consciously observe your thoughts as they occur.

As you notice the thoughts which seem to appear unbidden in your mind be aware of the content and what stories they create about you and your relationships with yourself, other people and the world.

Think conscious thoughts. Change your thoughts and change your life.

© 2006 Gene Wilson