Who is Eckhart Tolle and what are the views of Eckhart Tolle on meditation?
Who is Eckart Tolle – Background and the early years
Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany in 1948. He is a self-help, motivational and spiritual author as well as a spiritual teacher and influential person who has written several books on consciousness, such as ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’ and ‘The Power Of Now’ which has achieved him the title of a best-selling author.
From a young age, Tolle was interested in studying literature, astronomy, and languages.
At age 19, he began studying philosophy and later psychology as well as teaching languages in England.
Tolle describes himself as a man who had been depressed for some time but there was a distinct moment in his life in his late twenties when he experienced an “inner transformation” or “spiritual awakening” one evening.
He said he could not continue living with himself anymore. In his despair, he started to ask himself: “Who am I?”, “What is my identity?” and “What is the Self?”.
He found out that the self that lived between the past and the future was nothing more than an illusion – all the heavy and negative thoughts that formed part of his mind were a man-made self that could be dissipated.
When he woke up the next day, he realized that the self had disappeared. He was free from the burden of suffering. He was content, calm, and present as he felt he was not living trapped by his mind but rather experiencing his mind as simply just being… seeing things from the perspective of an observer.
From this single night of reflection his life and the way he viewed it drastically changed.
He felt a sense of calmness wash over him in any situation. He went on to stop his studies and spent the next few years sitting in this deep state of bliss. He took on the role of simply just sitting and watching the world go by.
This way of ‘being’ translated and manifested into him starting his career as a counselor and spiritual teacher through scholars that he came into contact with. His spiritual teaching started to take shape as he taught on the transformation of consciousness through meditation.
He continued on this path of teaching for a couple of years before moving to Vancouver in 1995 and then wrote his first book ‘The Power of Now’ in 1997. By 2011 it became a bestseller and has been translated into 33 languages which put him at number 1 of “The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People”. The New York Times crowned him as one of the most popular spiritual authors within the American market.
His work focuses on living life with awareness, rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future. In other words, completely tapping into the present moment and practicing how to be comfortable with simply just being rather than doing. He focuses on the present moment, by using mindfulness meditation techniques.
Eckhart Tolles’s teachings help people achieve a state of deeply relaxed awareness. His teachings state that we must transcend our thoughts and feelings if we want to be happy.
Eckhart’s profound, yet simple teachings have helped countless people around the globe experience a state of vibrantly alive inner peace in their daily lives. His teachings focus on the significance and power of Presence, the awakened state of consciousness, which transcends ego and discursive thinking. Eckhart sees this awakening as the essential next step in human evolution. (eckharttolle.com)
Tolle’s Essential Teachings – awakening of consciousness and the human mind:
The book, ‘The Power of Now’ explains how you control the thinking mind and your emotions by focusing on what is happening right now, in this present moment.
Tolle teaches us that our mental state is the result of our thoughts, so we can change ourselves by changing our thinking. We can choose whether we want to be happy, angry, sad, or afraid, and when we do experience these emotions they’re temporary. It’s important to learn to accept all feelings and let them go. We have the ultimate control over our thought patterns and stream of thinking.
We let go of these thoughts, preconceptions, and judgments by releasing and letting our egos go. He says that we need to stop trying to control everything and through this, we can live a less stressful life.
His teachings also involve becoming aware of our emotions and thoughts. If we become aware of our thoughts and emotions, then they can eventually transform into different emotions and thoughts that are more in alignment with our true selves and what we want or need from moment to moment.
This ties in with Eckart Tolle Manifestation and Abraham Hicks’ Law of Attraction practices. By creating this space of consciously being aware of what is happening in our minds we notice which thoughts we might need to change. Which thoughts are intrusive and which are in alignment for us.
By changing these perceived negative thoughts into more positive ones we start to attract and manifest more of this type of positive energy into our daily lives. This then relates to the actions we take and how we show up in our lives. Our entire approach changes which further attracts more experiences that are in alignment with our deepest desires. Introspection is a powerful tool towards manifestation and this all happens while “living in the present.”
Through this idea of fully living in the present, his teachings and philosophies try to dissolve the ideas towards the past and the future – to truly find this blissful state we have to let go of all notions involving the past and the future because life is truly just made up of living from moment to moment and dealing with things as they come up rather than anticipating or expecting anything. The best way to do this and practice being mindfully present is through meditation.
Eckahart Tolle Pain Body:
The pain-body is a new concept developed by Tolle to help people understand why they experience certain kinds of physical pain. It’s not just about what we do; it’s about what we think. We all experience different emotions, thinking patterns, mental states, etc., at any given moment. When we experience emotional turmoil or stress it can manifest or get stored in the body and it comes out as physical pain. Physical pain is therefore a clear indicator that there is a metaphysical explanation for acting as the cause.
We know that through the mind-body connection everything we experience is interconnected. Our mental and physical worlds are in constant communication and therefore everything we experience – including pain – is experienced on all levels; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
We wrote an entire article on this concept below – so give it a read if this interests you!
Emotional pain can be experienced in many forms but usually, once it has shown up as physical pain it means it has festered for a while. This includes old emotional pain from traumatic events or past experiences. It is also caused by a build-up of emotions that were never given the time or space to be processed and instead bottled up or ignored.
“As long as you are unable to access the power of the Now, every emotional pain that you experience leaves behind a residue of pain that lives on in you. It merges with the pain from the past, which was already there, and becomes lodged in your mind and body. This, of course, includes the pain you suffered as a child, caused by the unconsciousness of the world into which you were born.”
Anxiety and depression are closely linked to the pain body as both these emotional states are experienced by your mind either living in the past or living in the future. Our emotional pain body can be dormant and many people go through life without realizing that it is there but often certain triggers can make it show up.
A big trigger is the ego. The ego makes our internal dialogue warped and dysfunctional as it is fuelled by reactivity and motivated by power. The ego is fuelled by outcomes. To dissolve this and transcend the ego, we need to practice being present. When we shine a light of awareness towards our internal landscape the ego starts to get smaller as we become more conscious of what lies underneath the ego – our ultimate truth and higher selves. The facade – the ego that we hide behind – gets lifted.
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
The pain body will also gradually decrease once you become the observer of your mind rather than involving yourself in your mind. Taking a voyeuristic approach towards all your thoughts and feelings teaches you to simply witness your thoughts and feelings rather than participate with them. You are not your thoughts and your feelings you simply just experience them. This is important to remember.
This however does not mean you suppress or gaslight your feelings but rather you learn to detach from them to process.
If we look at our life through the lens of fear, we’re driven by ego, which often leads us into conflict with others and ourselves. This drives us to seek happiness outside of ourselves through possessions, relationships, activities, etc. This desire to escape from suffering creates disharmony within our being. It doesn’t allow us to accept what is; it makes us believe that something else will give us what we want. But this something else never does, because it isn’t real.
How to become the observer of the mind – Eckhart Tolle
1) First, avoid giving too much input to your mind by overthinking. You can test this by being in a conversation with others – how often are you overthinking what to say next? or are you taking over the conversation?
2) When in conversation take the role of the listener rather than speaking all the time. Non-verbal communication is powerful and listening makes us more observant.
3) While listening, feel how your internal mind is reacting to what they saying and approach this with curiosity.
4) Become aware of the type of energy that your physical body is experiencing especially the sensation in the hands and feet.
5) Feel how this energy is bringing a sense of aliveness to the body.
6) This simple practice allows you to be more conscious of your body and how it reacts to the messages you’re receiving. It is a practice of taking us out of our heads and into our bodies and therefore we gain perspective to our thoughts as we simply observe them flowing in and out of our minds. This is ultimately what being present feels like. Easy and free-flowing.
Presence is also practiced through meditation – as we all know by now.
Mindful Observation Meditation with Eckart Tolle
As a spiritual teacher, Tolle became involved with Zen Buddhism and the ideas of Transcendental Meditation. Finding presence and being in the present moment is the main aim of meditation. Meditation is a fundamental part of reaching the state of being “in the now”. The Power of Now – through the power of meditation.
Tapping into the present state of being starts with awareness and shifting the consciousness – meditating is the practice and vessel that gets us there. (Emphasis on practice as it is always a transformative learning curve).
Eckhart Tolle on youtube
Here are a few guided meditations with Eckart Tolle that you can find on youtube and better understand his teachings.