Theme and Purpose:
This is a book about awakening to your life’s purpose.
“To see one’s predicament clearly is the first step toward going beyond it. … Your purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that,” Tolle says, and, “If you are not taking responsibility for your state of consciousness, you are not taking responsibility for life.”
What You Will Hear About:
You will hear about how you strengthen your ego through reactivity, addiction, and attachment to complaining, to being right, to belief, to resentment, to drama, to your body, to happiness, to fame, superiority, inferiority, to your job, to illness, to being important, to TV, to entertainment, religions, tribes, groups, nations. Basically, to emotion.
Tolle quotes a well known spiritual teacher: “If you think you are so enlightened,” Ram Dass said, “go and spend a week with your parents.”
But What You Have To Face Isn’t You:
“You may not want to know yourself because you are afraid of what you might find out. … But nothing you can find out about yourself is you,” writes Tolle.
This book clearly packs your problems into huge tablets, makes you see them, and gives you a glass of water so they dissolve like Alka Seltzer.
There are many glasses of water. Here’s a sip:
“Before you ask any other question, first ask the most fundamental question of your life: Who am I?” … Who you are requires no belief. In fact, every belief is an obstacle. It does not even require your realization, since you are already who you are. But without realization, who you are does not shine forth into this world.”
The spiritual foundation and references consist primarily of the teachings of Jesus and Buddhism, especially Zen. Hindu, Sufi, and western thinkers and philosophers are significant components, as well.
Practices on perception and breathing, which you can do in the midst of reading the book, are important ways of imparting the teachings about ego and awareness. So are a number of very human stories.
Eckhart Tolle isn’t the only one talking about ego and how to be free of its control so that you would awaken to your true nature. There is a substantial literature on the topic and many books that few know about. See the sponsor links in the column to the left for excellent books.