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