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Book Review: A New Earth

What would a new earth look like? There is a problem with this question because it supposes that we can create one in the future. But in his book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle tells us that it can only exist in the present moment. This week we explore what it is like to find peace as we #WatchLifeUnfold.

As humans we tend to spend a lot of time in the past and the future. We want things. And that’s okay because that’s how we create a beautiful life for ourselves and innovate. We first imagine that something different is possible. But we cannot stay in the future if we want to be fulfilled. We also cannot stay in the past. We can re-experience sweetness or trauma from our past and we can learn from our mistakes, but we cannot stay in the past if we want to know peace.


Tolle says “the purpose of this book is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken.” The book seems unassuming; an easy read. But don’t be deceived by its Oprah-book-club cover. It takes several passes to absorb the content because awakening is not something the ego wants us to tackle.


The ego is our “illusory sense of identity.” It is how we try to label, categorize, and name ourselves in relation to the world. The more we attach to it, the farther we move away from our true selves. The ego creates an illusion of separateness from the rest of the world; and when we feel separate we feel pain. The ego lives in the past and the future; our true self can only live in the present moment.


Tolle gives us an exercise to find the space that allows for us to know our true selves and our interconnectedness with everything. He asks us to perceive an object such as a pen, a cup, or a chair, without thinking about it. Try not to compare the object, classify it, describe it with words. Simply perceive. One of the key ingredients in this exercise, from my perspective, is non-attachment. In simple perception, you are not trying to change the object. You don’t need to wash the coffee cup or fill it back up. You don’t need to move it away from the edge of the table to avoid a spill. You don’t feel compelled to move it to your lips and take another sip. You simply let it be what it is.


Non-attachment is at the core of watching life unfold.


Although watching your life unfold will take you necessarily into the past or the future momentarily, it’s like a baby step into awakening. When you move into the past or future with non-attachment, without trying to plan or change what has already happened, you can then inch your way back into the present moment. You can see that you have everything you need right now because you exist.


One of the things we begin to notice as we #WatchLifeUnfold is that there are many many cycles of birth and death throughout our lives. Tolle calls this “coming into manifestation” and “returning to the unmanifested” or “expansion and contraction.” From our fingernails to our homes, our pets, our jobs, and our loved ones we expand and contract. We grow and shrink. We gain and we lose. It is impossible only to gain. When we reflect on the more mundane cycles of our life, we begin to see that losing people is one of those cycles. It must happen and fighting to change the laws of the universe will only serve to intensify our pain.


A New Earth is a wonderful handbook for diving into enlightenment head first. Check it out. Savor it little by little. Try not to think too hard.


Please share, ask questions, leave comments, suggest topics, and tell stories! I want to hear about your moments of magic, miracles, and synchronicity.


Dare to be immortal.

Jamie


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