I have just finished reading this book. Eckhart Tolle’s latest publication, A New Earth. He is well-known for his previous book, The Power of Now.
This is a thought-provoking book. He talks about the power of the ego and how it is responsible for the suffering we see in the world today. The trouble with being so caught up in the ego is that we forget that the life we live on the earth is only half of who we are. We are so taken up with Form and Doing that we forget about Spirit and Being.
Think of the things that make us miserable – comparing what we have to what others have, complaining when things don’t go just right, having to be right all the time (and making others wrong), creating drama where there could be peace, needing to feel superior to others. All Ego.
He helps you to see what your ego is doing, and when you can see that, when you can see even a little tiny part of what he’s talking about, you can start to become more aware, and even laugh at yourself when you catch yourself stuck in your ego again.
This moment is really all there is. So many of us are stuck in the past, rehashing situations (oh boy, I was doing that again last night instead of just relaxing into sleep!) and getting all stressed about it. Or living in the future, saying that we’ll be happy “when…”. So much of our life is passing us by as our heads are stuck in the “past” or the “future” instead of enjoying the present moment.
My impression is that we should be more child-like. A child observes with wonder but doesn’t judge. A toddler points with a fat little finger at a dog, just looking and absorbing the image. A child plays with a toy, not worrying about something that happened yesterday or what will happen in five minutes time. So much of MY time is spent telling my kids to pick up after themselves, or brush their teeth, or whatever, that I sometimes forget to just spend time being around them without nagging at them – this is not conducive to a peaceful atmosphere or open communication.
Tolle says we need to find our inner space. Just watching our breath can help us do that. Noticing the gaps between the breaths. Stopping our “monkey mind” from running away with thoughts all the time.
And finally his three “modalities” for living a purposeful life – acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Think of something you’d rather not do. Maybe washing the dinner dishes. Maybe enjoying the job is a stretch, but if you can do it with acceptance then it will be more pleasant than banging and stomping about the kitchen, muttering to yourself about the unhelpfulness of your family and how you’re taken for granted, etc etc! Without at least one of these modalities, you are creating suffering. Stuck in a traffic jam? Yes, I could enjoy that – if the traffic was stopped, I could pick up the knitting that I always have with me and knit a bit, and the waiting would immediately be enjoyable. Better than sitting there fuming with anger and worrying about how I’ll be late for something.
I recommend this book.