A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose – Eckhart Tolle
“The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.”
“Your inner purpose is to awaken.”
The central message in A New Earth is that our primary purpose is simply to Be. Live in each moment because that is what’s happening now.
Our ego is that inner voice in our heads that’s always looking for more and is never satisfied. Our ego is the voice that judges something as good or bad. But nothing is good or bad. Everything just is.
Our pain body is that inexplicable feeling of negativity that can overwhelm us. It causes us to behave differently. When we’re in this mood, we seek out more negativity: we drink, we complain, we sit, we stew. We do nothing. And then complain some more. I definitely do this. But that’s the solution: awareness. As soon as you realise it what you’re doing, you neutalise the pain body and it looses it’s power.
Reading this book has given me a new perspective on life. It has taught me not to be as obsessed with me (the ego). I have started recognising my own ego and pain body. It’s amazing how consumed I was without even realising it! I have noticed how much I judge things and how much I coax judgement out of others. I have noticed how my pain body interferes with my life.
This book found it’s way into my life when I needed it. It’s not the kind of thing I usually read so I found it challenging. There is a religious angle to the book which I was uncomfortable with at first. As I kept reading and actually took in what was being said, I realised that whatever discomfort I felt was created by me – it was my ego and painbody.
In writing this book, Tolle is hoping that the readers will awaken. That is, to acknowledge the ego, the pain body and the obsession with more. And for us to let it go. To live each moment. To Be for the sake of Being. I really think this book has the power to change people.
Since reading this book, I have adopted a mindfulness practice – 10 mins a day first thing in the morning.
NOTES (Highlighted notes from the book)
Chapter One: The Flowering of Human Consciousness
The “normal” state of mind of most human beings contains a strong element of what we might call dysfunction or even madness.
To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.
Ego is no more than this: identification with form, which primarily means thought forms. If evil has any reality, it would be defined as complete identification with form—physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms. This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole, my intrinsic oneness with every “other” as well as with the Source. This forgetfulness is original sin, suffering, delusion. When this delusion of utter separateness underlies and governs whatever I think, say, and do, what kind of world do I create? To find the answer to this, observe how humans relate to each other, read a history book, or watch the news on television tonight. If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating fundamentally the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction.
Chapter Two: Ego: The Current State of Humanity
The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.
Chapter Three: The Core of Ego
Complaining is one of the ego’s favorite strategies for strengthening itself. Every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in. Whether you complain aloud or only in thought makes no difference.
Applying negative mental labels to people, either to their face or more commonly when you speak about them to others or even just think about them, is often part of this pattern. Name-calling is the crudest form of such labeling and of the ego’s need to be right and triumph over others: “jerk, bastard, bitch”—all definitive pronouncements that you can’t argue with.
What you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.
Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment.
The underlying emotion that governs all the activity of the ego is fear. The fear of being nobody, the fear of nonexistence, the fear of death. All its activities are ultimately designed to eliminate this fear, but the most the ego can ever do is to cover it up temporarily with an intimate relationship, a new possession, or winning at this or that. Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.
The three predominant states of egoic relationships are: wanting, thwarted wanting (anger, resentment, blaming, complaining), and indifference.
Chapter Four: Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego
The ego thrives on others’ attention
Who you think you are is relating to who you think the other person is and vice versa. Every egoic interaction between two people is in reality the interaction between four conceptual mind-made identities that are ultimately fictions. It is therefore not surprising there is so much conflict in relationships. There is no true relationship.
Facing facts is always empowering.
In Shakespeare’s words, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now.
Chapter Five: The Pain~Body
Excessive consumption of alcohol will often activate the pain-body.
You can only go beyond it by taking responsibility for your inner state now. Even if blame seems more than justified, as long as you blame others, you keep feeding the pain-body with your thoughts and remain trapped in your ego.
Chapter Six: Breaking Free
Being present is always infinitely more powerful than anything one could say or do, although sometimes being present can give rise to words or actions.
When the pain-body is activated, know that what you are feeling is the pain-body in you. This knowing is all that is needed to break your identification with it. And when identification with it ceases, the transmutation begins.
The knowing needs to be followed by accepting. Anything else will obscure it again. Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment.
Chapter Seven: Finding Who You Truly Are
Whatever you think people are withholding from you—praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on—give it to them. You don’t have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving. You cannot receive what you don’t give.
When we go into a forest that has not been interfered with by man, our thinking mind will see only disorder and chaos all around us. It won’t even be able to differentiate between life (good) and death (bad) anymore since everywhere new life grows out of rotting and decaying matter. Only if we are still enough inside and the noise of thinking subsides can we become aware that there is a hidden harmony here, a sacredness, a higher order in which everything has its perfect place and could not be other than what it is and the way it is.
Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.
You are never fully here because you are always busy trying to get elsewhere.
nothing can satisfy the ego for long.
Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.
A powerful spiritual practice is consciously to allow the diminishment of ego when it happens without attempting to restore it.
For example, when someone criticizes you, blames you, or calls you names, instead of immediately retaliating or defending yourself—do nothing.
When you are seemingly diminished in some way and remain in absolute nonreaction, not just externally but also internally, you realize that nothing real has been diminished, that through becoming “less,” you become more.
Chapter Eight: The Discovery of Inner Space
Nonresistance, non-judgment, and non-attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.
Become conscious of being conscious. Say or think “I Am” and add nothing to it. Be aware of the stillness that follows the I Am. Sense your presence, the naked, unveiled, unclothed beingness.
Breathing isn’t really something that you do but something that you witness as it happens.
Being aware of stillness means to be still. To be still is to be conscious without thought. You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still.
Chapter Nine: Your Inner Purpose
The most important thing to realize is this: Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary.
Your inner purpose is to awaken.
You cannot become successful. You can only be successful. Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.
Chapter Ten: A New Earth
THE THREE MODALITIES OF AWAKENED DOING
The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm.
Be absolutely present in what you do and sense the alert, alive stillness within you in the background of the activity. You will soon find that what you do in such a state of heightened awareness, instead of being stressful, tedious, or irritating, is actually becoming enjoyable.
Enjoyment of what you are doing, combined with a goal or vision that you work toward, becomes enthusiasm. Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention;
An enlarged image of yourself or a vision of yourself having this or that are all static goals and therefore don’t empower you. Instead, make sure your goals are dynamic, that is to say, point toward an activity that you are engaged in and through which you are connected to other human beings as well as to the whole.
Nothing is going to make us free because only the present moment can make us free.