Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle - The Spiritual Awakening Trap

Excerpt from Chapter 14 - Evaluating Spiritual Disciplines

** Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

Tolle's book, The Power of Now, has been widely popular with New Age folks. He personally experienced an enlightenment that transformed his ideas, emotions and spirituality in major ways. His most important concept for me is the one he is most famous for: "The Power of Now." He wisely points out how so many of us, to our detriment, are living too much in the past or in the future. Seth also presented this concept in the book The Nature of Personal Reality where he stated, "The Point of Power Is in the Present" (Roberts, 1974, p. 387).

While I think Tolle has many sound ideas about spiritual development, I question their applicability to many. I believe many of those following his words closely are stuck in a number of previously discussed traps: one-size-fits-all trap, mild infatuation with Tolle trap, dumbing oneself down trap and person-with-special-knowledge trap. While I do accept that Tolle himself experienced a significant enlightenment experience, I question whether his suggestions for the rest of us will ever give us such an experience or help us to align better with our souls.

In his newer book, A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, Tolle claims (2005, p. 36) that the "ego is destined to dissolve," implying that a new order is coming in the immediate future. Later, he states (2005, p. 309), "A new species is arising on the planet. It is arising now, and you are it." I doubt it. Both predictions sound like wish fulfillment to me, and they imply that the dominance of neurotic ego over the past millennia has not been exactly what has been needed. Psychological Earth School lessons require the neurotic ego. Bypassing such lessons because of some hypothetical new world order (or some widespread spiritual awakening) seems most unlikely to me.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Spiritual Awakening
Spiritual Enlightenment
Flawed Spiritual Enlightenment
Essence Contact Is Not Enlightenment
Non-Attachment Does Not Lead to Enlightenment
Awakening Is Not in Our Future
Unhealthy Gurus Lead Us Away from Awakening

Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "Many of us as toddlers learned to threaten a tantrum or tears in the supermarket when denied a favorite food item; this often resulted in our gaining the item. Thus, we learned that we sometimes could get what we wanted by being unhappy."