Monday, March 3, 2008

Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth

I'm reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. The book isn't that new, but it's Oprah's book of the month, and today a free online course starts through her website to share about the experience of reading the book.
Well, the book is very powerful.

It has a lot of words that, just by reading them, transform your consciousness. How? By pointing to some deep and powerful truths about how the human mind, ego, and emotional body works. Just in seeing someone explain why we have negative thoughts and emotions and how they form and function allows the reader to go POOF to their own negativity. It's really cool and I've been feeling amazing as a result of reading it so far, and I'm not even done!

Today is the first day of the course, and there is a workbook online for each participant of the course (over 1 million people are signed up!). That's one million people helping to change the planet for the better..... One million people who are working on freeing themselves of their own negativity (which we all have deny it or not).... pretty powerful stuff!

So, I wanted to share the first set of workbook questions for you to consider. Also, at the end, I included my answers to the first set of workbook questions.

Chapter 1: The Flowering of Human Consciousness

As you read this chapter, work with the questions below and use your personal space to record important notes. Then, print a copy to keep by your side during class because you will not be able to access your workbook during the live webcast. You can always come back to change or add to your answers or write down anything from class that confused, moved or surprised you.

1. Why did you decide to read this book?

2. Are there specific areas of your life that you think will benefit from the lessons of A New Earth? How can you incorporate the book's teachings in your life today?

3. Think about Eckhart's question on page 5: "Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones... transparent to the light of consciousness?" What makes you feel more alive and open, less dense, less bogged down by heavy thoughts and feelings? Could this be the beginnings of what A New Earth is pointing toward?

4. Spend some time in the presence of something you consider beautiful—a flower, a gem, a piece of artwork, etc. As you look at the object, try to see it without naming it mentally. When we appreciate beauty in this manner, a window opens into the formless, and into a state of gratitude. See if you can experience that. Write your experiences here.

5. Do you consider yourself a religious person? What about a spiritual person? Is there a difference between the two?

6. "Humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die. … If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always end up re-creating the same world, the same evils, the same dysfunction" (p. 21–22). Are you aware of this dysfunction? Where is it most apparent in your own life and in the world? Do you think humanity is ready for a transformation of consciousness?

Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
Leila's answers to the workbook questions:

1. Ah, the eternal question, why?
It's two fold:
1. Oprah recommended it, and I highly value her suggestions and
2. I seek to always improve myself, to grow, to learn more about being, the way we as humans function and how to overcome our flaws and become the best selves that we can.
What is my purpose in life is a question that inspires me, it moves me to observe how I am and to aspire to change that which I can about myself so that I can actualize my potential.
This book's title, both A NEW EARTHand AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE are like a loud ringing bell inviting me to wake up and be who I really am for the good of the whole.
I love the idea of awakening to my life's purpose, instead of simply finding it!
And I love the idea of helping to be a part of creating a New Earth that is characterized by more awake, aware, conscious people who do not engage in dysfunctional patterns of behavior and are conscious!

2. There are specific areas of my life that I think will benefit from the lessons of A New Earth.
Having suffered sexual assault and abuse multiple times, and although I've seen several therapists to help deal with the aftermath of such an experience, I still feel that I continue to feel reactionary pain, anger, and grief about those experiences. The story of my past, told in thoughts and words, rekindles the emotional feelings, and puts me in a state that is often as if I was just assaulted, even though it's been years. It's as if a broken record is playing inside of me and the song it's playing is not good.

I feel that there are teachings in A New Earth that can help me learn to be present, and let go of the painful story telling about what happened and stop feeding my pain body with emotions about the painful experience.
I have already found solace and peace, a sense of ease and relief and happiness, in just reading A New Earth, in just grasping a hint of being able to let go of thoughts and emotions that cause me and those around me pain, through the retelling and re-feeling of traumatic events in my life.

In a nutshell, A New Earth gives me the hope that I can evolve, grow, and transform by understanding how my ego, thoughts, and emotions function.

3. I feel more alive and open and less bogged down by heavy thoughts and emotions when I focus on my breathing and stop myself in my tracks when I'm thinking negative thoughts or feeling icky emotions.
Just being in the moment, being present, really helps me to not get caught up in my drama, my stories, my personal history of pain and suffering.

I think about the people who are starving to death, being tortured, living with war and famine in their homes and communities. That is not my life. I am thankful for that. Knowing that so many others suffer so much also helps me to realize that I don't have the time and energy to wallow in my own personal story of pain. Knowing that others are in need calls me to wake up out of my unconscious suffering and find ways to help make the world a better place and free others from their suffering.
I think that when people become aware of themselves and of how they suffer and why, something happens within them that makes them want to help others become free of their suffering, and this chain reaction can be the beginning of A New Earth.

4. I look at the ocean. Deep calming shades of blue. The moving water ebbing and flowing, caressing the earth.
I feel my eyes widen, my breath deepening.
I feel expansiveness, freedom, space... the possibility of realizing my dreams and goals.
I feel rejuvenation, inspiration, hope.
I feel relaxed.
I notice that I breathe with the waves' movements. Crashing water corresponds with forceful and long exhales that feel cleansing.
The cool air on my eyes makes them feel clear, keen, lucid...
Everything is okay.
Everything is perfect.

5. I believe that I am spiritual in the sense that I consider human life to be a magical gift in which we have the opportunity to explore and experience the miracle of being.
I believe that we are not merely biologic process that has become aware of itself and anthropomorphized creation/existence/the universe...
There is something greater, larger, more than our little minds can explain and know, but it ties us together and instills our lives with something always above and beyond any single thought or emotion.
There is definitely a difference between religion and spirituality, as religion is usually a system of thoughts and ideas based on a person or persons and the sacred texts based on their lives, written by, or dedicated to them. Religions tend to be institutionalized and come with rules and sects and deontologic instructions for how to live, how to be spiritual.
Spirituality does not require a book, a church, rules, or leaders. It is a sense, an awareness, that comes from within each person, in the light of their own consciousness.

6. I have thought, since I was a teenager, that the human species is doomed to perish unless it transforms its current way of being.

I perceive a dysfunction in the way individuals, communities, associations, and nations interact that is poised to jeopardize the existence of human beings on planet Earth.

Where is this most apparent in my own life is with my interpersonal relationships in which I tend to be defensive and angry (based on past pain that I haven't let go of or evolved past), and this anger and defensiveness drives people away and destroys my personal and professional relationships. Luckily, I have a loving and wise husband who sees past my story to the deeper, truer, authentic me, so I haven't driven everyone away, nor do I want to!

The dysfunction is apparent in the world around me in which I see ego and emotional pain driving most interactions. Individuals and groups often tend to make decisions that are ego driven, and they react to situations based on the assumption that they're being attacked on some level, so they operate out of their pain bodies, out of fear, the most basic survival mechanism (fight or flight).

Not only do I think humanity is ready for a huge transformation of consciousness, I think it has to change NOW.
With global warming, climate changing, the degradation of our life support (Earth's environment), non-stop wars worldwide, the tyranny of governments killing and imprisoning their people, torture, unaddressed and needless famine (there IS enough food to feed everyone in the world), unchecked disease (the spread of aids and the endemic of cancer), physical, mental, and emotional abuse in our homes, and all the countless other threats to human survival we must change or we will go extinct.
It's as if the human species is suicidal...
We need a reason to not kill ourselves, as a species, we need to feel that we can move past our dysfunctional modes of being, wake up, and transcend this mess.
Will we?
Can we?

That's that folks.
I hope you read the book, participate in the free online course at


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