If you haven’t yet heard of Eckhart Tolle where have you been and what have you been doing for the last decade? He is currently one of the most popular spiritualist authors in America and has been listed as the the most spiritually influential person in the world by the Watkins review in 2011. So why is he so popular and why should you listen whole-heartedly to what he has to say? Does he really have the answer to the ultimate blissful existence? And if so, how do you follow in his footsteps to ensure a stress free and blissful existence?
German-born Tolle was depressed right up until he was 29 when he went through an inner transformation. “I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching”.
Following this epiphany, in 1995 he moved to Vancouver and has since spent his time between there and California. In 1997 he began to write his first book ‘The Power of Now’ which has since gone on to sell over 3 million copies and reached the New York Times Best Seller list in 2000. Even more incredibly, approximately 35 million people participated in Oprah’s series of 10 live web webinars with Tolle!
Oprah has since been quoted as saying “I keep Eckhart’s book at my bedside. I think it’s essential spiritual teaching. It’s one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read.” So how does this all transcribe into the real world and every day existence and why have so many people have found his writings to be so profound and helpful?
Following the teachings of Tolle have helped so many people on a world-wide basis and given them a much greater fulfillment in their lives. It mainly revolves around ridding ourselves of that nasty entity called ‘ego’. Without it, he believes we can all embrace personal happiness and at the same time, rid the world of violence on the planet. If it’s true, it’s probably the most amazing thing ever to happen to the human civilization.
To be rid of the horrors of excess and the selfishness of all those with egos bigger than most countries is an amazing thought and according to many, all it would take to be able to live a fulfilling and peaceful life. Self help and achieving a healthy state of mind are the kind of articles you can find in Iconic Man but if you want to explore Tolle further, you’ll need to probe a little more deeply to understand his modus.
All those that have read his books or have met him and have an understanding of his practises (including Deepak Chopra, author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and even the Dalai Lama) acknowledge his amazing insight into spirituality and how it can help us to become at one with our inner self. His writings focus on the best type of self help possible which is to believe in your inner strengths and open your mind to seek fulfillment beyond material success. You too need to focus on these strengths and ensure you do not fall into the trap of many successful people that focus solely on wealth as being the measure of success.
How many times have you heard the phrase ‘Money doesn’t buy you happiness’? It really is true for the majority of people and many of those that do find happiness in their enormous bank account only do so because they are able to use their wealth to help others. Tolle teaches us how to break addiction, how to combat negative thinking and to overcome challenges, all of which release positivity in our lives. A lot of his writings revolve around the here and now, in other words embracing the moment instead of hankering after the past or looking to the future, waiting for that one amazing thing to happen. In many cases you’ll still be waiting in years to come and most likely have wasted all of that time ‘waiting’.
His meditation techniques do not revolve around firstly spending time finding that tranquil time and place to meditate. He focuses on the benefits of being able to meditate and uses the relatively simple notion that it should revolve around breath. He points out that breath is not an object, nor something we can see but it does of course exist in all living beings and is the ideal formula for meditation.
“Being aware of your breath forces you into the present moment – the key to all inner transformation” – Eckhart Tolle
His meditation techniques comprise of relatively easy steps. First and most importantly you need to focus your mind, remove random and unwanted thoughts and simply observe the things around you. Next you find a path towards your inner self which can be done by concentration on your breathing and listening to your heart beat. The analyze comes next which we do with our 5 senses, using them to see, touch, smell, hear and taste those things around us. By now you should have discarded all the negative thoughts and just be focusing on all the positive things around you. The calmness you experience will exude good feeling and allow your mind and body to rid itself of any negative thoughts or feelings.
He believes that life is all about living in the moment and the focus should be about utilising everything possible that comes from that moment. If you don’t find anything at that moment, feel free to move on with your life without the feeling of loss. Until you can come to terms with these aspects of your life, you will not find fulfillment and most importantly get the absolute best out of life.
Photo via Eckhart Tolle on Facebook