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Eckhart Tolle

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Has anyone read the books by Eckhart Tolle? My wife is really into him at the moment. He's sold something like 3 million books, and has become a celebrity of sorts. I haven't read the books, so I'm sure I don't know the whole story. But I listened to a CD where he's talking about his ideas, and also watched a video by him. From what I can tell, it seems like his basic message is to act based on feelings rather than rational thought. Os that right? Am I missing something?

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Has anyone read the books by Eckhart Tolle? My wife is really into him at the moment. He's sold something like 3 million books, and has become a celebrity of sorts. I haven't read the books, so I'm sure I don't know the whole story. But I listened to a CD where he's talking about his ideas, and also watched a video by him. From what I can tell, it seems like his basic message is to act based on feelings rather than rational thought. Os that right? Am I missing something?

I read "The Power of Now" when it first came out. The book never made a real impression on me as I was never able to fully understand how to implement the vague information presented in my own life, and achieve practical results with it.

The book has the lure of all New Age books, and is basically a variation of "thoughts are not real" and "the material universe is pure illusion."

Tolle claims to be "enlightened" in the manner of enlightened gurus of the East.

He has a hoard of followers and numerous study-groups all over the world are trying to make sense of what he says but unable to make it work into their lives.

"Thoughts are not real", says Tolle. Live in the present moment. Do not dwell in the present or the future.

Although it is not explained clearly, the philosophy Tolle presents is anti-logic and anti-reason, as he exhort people to "go back inside of your own bodies and bodily feelings" and avoid getting absorbed in the world of thoughts.

If someone seeks a lifeboat or something, or are involved in abusive or emotionally unstable patterns of relationship, they might find some good words of advice in that regard in Tolle's books, but probably would benefit more from proper counseling rather than falling for a possibly dangerous New Age philosophy.

'Possibly Dangerous" because it leads nowhere except perhaps to the renunciation of the pleasures of the modern world and a life of austerity and/or public service.

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  • 8 months later...

I am so glad to see this discussion of Tolle here ! I have been interested in objectivism, psychology, and eastern religions - Buddhism, yoga, zen etc . . . I have intellectual & emotional appreciations of how these benefit me.

I have been meditating & working at being objectively present since around 1980. I especially used what I learned from objectivism during my visits to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s ranch in Oregon during their world celebrations. (Very dear friends of mine at the time had gone thru a terrible car accident in which two of their friends with them died. My friends have been especially brilliant, courageous adventurous people before this accident, but to watch the miraculous transformation of them after they became sanyasins was very inspiring. They encouraged me to attend these celebrations at the ranch. So I watched and learned and grew in profound ways).

One of my motivations to learn was so that I could be a more sensitive, artistic architect with a greater understanding of human life.

I feel my strong grounding in objectivist philosophy helped me to explore my inner self. I did meet my fear body then and had the strength to accept this and discover life beyond. This opening helped me to understand the emotional repressions that so many of us carry around. This understanding helped me to appreciate how external repressions — politics work and gave me a greater appreciation of freedom, free will, and capitalism.

I was now able to capitalize on the vast energy available to me now that I wasn’t having to divert it into maintaining my own repressions. I felt lots of peace and love as a constant state of being now.

After these experiences I helped with an anarchist, objectivist, libertarian magazine called Nomos for a few years where I learned from many new friends. I became a reporter for Nomos, going to all the radical, fringe meetings I could with my friends. I also wrote articles and created some cartoons.

Going to these political meetings during the Clinton years and seeing so much fear and the political power struggles was deeply upsetting to me.

I had to distance myself from politics for my own health.

I then helped produce a series of programs on our community cable TV on alternative healing which introduced me to many new age healers. I again relied on my intuitions and objectivist background to help me sort out the hype from more genuine work — very difficult to do when dealing with these subtle doings.

So I learned more of yoga, qigong, ayurveda, and sound yoga. My understanding of being a human being has deepened with appreciations.

I have just read “The Power of Now” and “The New Earth” and find them both to be very wonderful.

They do threaten the egos & pain bodies but objectively we are much greater than these troublesome egos we carry around, so I find Tolle’s writing very helpful for my own growth.

I still have to think and make choices — use my volitional consciousness — he doesn’t deny this either. We do have brains that think, we have languages to think with — just not to let the thinking run on auto-pilot ego to keep us in a self defeating stressed out emotional - thought loop cycle that saps life energies.

Enjoying life thru the meditative conscious space that is beyond thought — that contains thought — also makes creativities more available. We then have access to more of what life can offer us.

I have a blog that develops more of my thoughts and political experiences on ipeace that may interest you also:

http://ipeace.ning.com/profile/NicholasTruske

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 4 months later...

I was about to start a thread on other Objectivists' take on Tolle, when I found it already started. :P

I forced myself thru ' The Power of Now', just to see what the fuss was about, about a year ago. Not one thing sticks in my mind, except that his take on thought is that buzz in our brains when we are not focused on anything. This of course he condemns - without once advocating true rational thinking! I wanted to say, Speak for yourself,buster.

Everything else is a grab bag of East/West mysticism, with some simple feel-good observations. I have listened to enough crap from his gushy admirers, and would appreciate some rational critique from O'ists who managed to read his books without throwing up!

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  • 1 year later...

I had the unfortunate experience of having read one of Tolle's books back in highschool, "The Power of Now".

Like ReasonAlone had stated, Tolle is against the ego of man.

If you are curious to see how anti-reason "The Power of Now" reads then I suggest checking out this previous

threadPain Body Energy Field? in which DavidOdden analyzes a passage from the book and shows just why you should dismiss Tolle's nonsense.

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I have read some Tolle. The pecuilar thing about him is that he sometimes says (paraphrasing):

"Of course we should not revert back to the conciousness and lifestyle of animals and plants, reacting to whatever is in front of us, that´s not the destiny for humans, humans should try to achieve a higher state of conciousness."

He´s not using Ayn Rand´s words here, but this could be taken to mean something like what Objectivism regards as "full focus", which is the precondition of the primary virtue of rationality. (If I remember correctly).

And he sometimes esteems rationality and logic.

But then again so did other irrational philosophers.

Eckhart is so full of crap that I cannot be a total supporter of him. I think he just speaks to depressed neurotics looking for solutions who, often times, will swallow whatever they hear if it makes them feel good. That is, in fact, the preamble to most of his works; they are supposed to make people feel good and not have any intellectual value, he says so. With that said I still think some aspects of his works are interesting and might have some psychological value, theurapeutic or whatever. Might have. And that would be his talk about the importance of what you focus on, not spending braincalories on things that get you nowwhere, and not being stressed, etc.

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Here is an enlightening video of Mr. Tolle:

Looks to me like an extreme example of "whatever thought I have it is a truth about reality and even more so now that I have said it". He is almost convincing himself of the story as he is saying it.

I am amazed that people are buying into this.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tolle is great, he cannot lead you to enlightenment though. (Liberation is a better word, enlightenment has so many useless images and religions attached to it)

Tolle is a master of deepening the state of liberation. Reading Tolles work pre liberation is the equivalent of buying a stethoscope and hoping to transform into a doctor

I find the work don over at "Ruthless Truth" much more interesting if you are just starting out. Worked for me

You will come to tolle eventually and from a liberated perspective he makes perfect sense.

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Tolle is great, he cannot lead you to enlightenment though. (Liberation is a better word, enlightenment has so many useless images and religions attached to it)

Tolle is a master of deepening the state of liberation. ...

You will come to tolle eventually and from a liberated perspective he makes perfect sense.

Would you care to define what one needs to be liberated from? Reason and logic, perhaps?

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