I just finished listening to Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose. Once again, going in I felt skeptical - it seemed uber new-agey, espousing seemingly intangible concepts like enlightenment, awareness, awakening, egoic consciousness, pain bodies, and inner aliveness. (Not to mention the book is read by the author and it reminded me of this funny video my friend shared with me of Werner Herzog reading Where's Waldo?) The premise of the book is to show us how the world today is problematic due to our unhealthy collective consciousness based on the ego and how we can effect a shift in that very same consciousness, an awakening or enlightenment.
"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."
Tolle puts his own spin on ancient Buddhist and Taoist principles, like mediation, living in the now, becoming aware of but detaching ourselves from our thoughts, mind-processes, the ego and things.
"Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much. Language consists of five basic sounds produced by the vocal cords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure: s, f, g, and so forth. Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in its depth?"While nothing really revolutionary was uncovered in this book, I think his point is still valid: that our society would benefit from a profound awakening to a more "enlightened" state. For me this book reiterated the concept of living in the now that I mentioned in the previous post on mediation.
This is an intriguing, multi-faceted topic to explore, and I can't even really do it justice by trying to explain it. It is more a starting block for my own personal inner exploration and how I can simplify my thoughts, mind, life. Sometimes the things we think are important, just aren't. A simple quote sums up things up quite nicely:
Apparently Oprah is a big fan. They have an entire web series together.