A New Earth – Part 4

(This is a long and tedious chapter – it’s going to take me a couple of days to critique this. Thankfully, I have now completed it.)

P85:     Tolle refers to the ego as psychic energy – that will please some New Agers.

            The ego does not seek the formless attention which is presence – Buddhism.


P86      Tolle writes about the fear of not being good enough. Paul would talk about this as falling short of God’s glory.


He also writes about the ego’s constant need of feeling superior – so why does this book attack and dismiss religion, especially the church?


P87      Eckhart writes about children wanting attention – he’s writing to his readership. Very clever. He’s identifying with their identity – which goes against what he is supposed to be proclaiming.


Talks about victimization which leads to complaining, being offended, and outraged. Somehow I get the feeling he is going to strap this one onto the Church.


P88 – Complainers feel they are being treated unfairly by life, fate, or God – this is interesting. Perhaps Tolle should have quoted some psalms of complaint, or verses from the Book of Job.


Talks about role play in relationships and how partnerships fail – this makes me wonder about Tolle’s failed relationships – is he making general observations, or is this coming from his own egoic experiences?


P89      Finishes with absurd argument about the Spanish form of “te quiero”, as opposed to “te amo”. True love is rare according to Tolle…in his life?


He suggests that Jesus saw the ultimate irrelevance of caste or social class – so how does this explain Jesus saying that soldiers should not complain about their pay, or how people should pay their taxes to Caesar, etc.


People are confused about who they are and how they fit in today’s world – this is true…but it always has been.


P90      Tolle rambles on about confusion and comes up with the idea that if we accept that we don’t know who we are, we will find peace – this is sophistry – it sounds mysterious and enlightened, but it’s really just a delusion. It kind of reminds me about a James Thurber story…


Tolle says our roles are unimportant and we should resist becoming identified with this – what about doctors, surgeons, paramedics, etc…what about Oprah? Talk show host?


P91      Don’t take ourselves seriously, if we want to be free of our roles. Which begs the question: if you are seriously ill, do you want a surgeon who is serious about his skills, or one that couldn’t care less?


Tolle insists that authentic human relationships can exist when we adopt role identities. Yes they can…doctor – patient, teacher – student; shopkeeper – customer…


Social archetypes…Tolle uses these to connect with his readers…which is another relationship…writer – readers!


P92      Playing roles leads to less spontaneity, light-heartedness, and joy – (Tolle is hitting upon the main heartfelt wishes of housewives…)


Talks about hippies as refusing to play stereotypical roles…but they became rebels…Talks about collective insanity of 1950s society…but wasn’t the hippie movement based upon insane collectives??? (Charles Manson…) Hippie movement degenerates because they had to feed their drug ridden habits…Eastern wisdom introduced by hippy culture…but it was mainly the Beatles who did that.


P93      We speak to people in different ways – Tolle suggests this is inauthentic….but most of the situations are perfectly natural. He suggests that we are playing roles, but he misses the point: we are communicating and sometimes deference to someone in authority is the only way to accomplish this.


P94      Tolle suggests that we are not relating to people when we play roles; here’ a key question: how is Tolle writing/relating to his readers???? Is it inauthentic?


A lot of what Tolle is teaching in the part of the chapter is borrowed from Martin Buber’s I-Thou theories.


He tells the tale of Kasan’s sweaty palms, in deference to his superiors. In the end though, Kasan still becomes master to his students…


P95      “Just Fine” – a lot of people live in denial with their unhappiness…true.


Tolle writes that unhappiness has nothing to do with who you are. This is absurd. Unhappiness has everything to do with how you feel, therefore it has everything to do with who you are at any given time.


P96      Separate yourself from unhappy thoughts – this is a bit like Tinkerbelle in Peter Pan.


Don’t seek happiness – if you do, you wont’ find it. This is Tolle’s opinion…What does he think about the Declaration of Independence…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…


P97      Tolle writes about parents and their roles. He’s reaching out to mothers stuck in their role…this is very clever targeting.


Tolle cautions parents about being overbearing and controlling…this obstructs kids from exploring and finding out for themselves. But parenting is about setting safe boundaries, as well as ethical ones for our children.


P98      Role of parent can become compulsive and ruins relationship with child. This section makes me wonder if Tolle has ever been a parent. Is he speaking from theory or practice?


The ego motivates itself to enhance itself and look after its self interest. This used to be called ambition. Is Oprah not one of the most ambitious women in the world?


P99      Tolle writes about manipulative parents using guilt trips to get what they want. Did Tolle have a bad childhood?

Awareness is the greatest agent for change – but change for what?


He also suggests that egoic patterns miraculously dissolve when you don’t oppose them. What does he mean by miraculous?


P100    Tolle describes the generational conflict between parent & child. He writes about old thoughts and old ways…is he subtly using this as a continuing argument of breaking from the past?


P101 – Tolle talks about parenting children by giving them a “space to be” as opposed to setting safe boundaries for them. He does comment that our children will eventually make mistakes, which is a positive aspect about suffering. However, how can mistakes exist if Tolle has previously suggested that nobody is wrong?


Mistakes may only be from our perspective and not from that of the person/child who makes a mistake – moral relativism again.


P102    Suffering drives you deeper – Paul might agree with this when he writes about suffering leading to endurance, leading to patience, leading to faith, etc…


Suffering has a noble purpose to evolve consciousness and eradicate the ego. This is Buddhist teaching. He also writes that ‘the man on the cross is an archetypal image – in other words, Christ suffers like us, but not for us!


P 103   Tolle emphasizes that doing is never enough if you neglect being. You will only lose yourself in doing. This is very close to the reformed theology of justified by faith and not deeds.


P104    Tolle writes that being becomes completely obscured by doing and ‘by the cares of the world, as Jesus puts it. Once again, Tolle is making Christ say something that He did not mean. The context for the ‘cares of the world’ belongs to the parable of the sower which is about growing faith through the Word of God. It has nothing to do with being.


P105    Tolle’s argument about being human is never enough and of becoming the Consciousness that you are is a little bit similar to Paul’s argument about flesh and spirit. Tolle, however, uses his argument to proclaim ourselves as the Presence, the timeless I Am, which once again are sacred names for God.


To love is to recognize yourself in another. – Martin Buber?


P106    Tolle comments that true love between others redeems the world – instead of God’s love redeeming the world.


He also states that “God is love” is not absolutely true – this is just his opinion, as opposed to the scriptures.


Finally, he says that love is the birth of God into the world of form. This goes against Incarnational Theology where God is born into the world to show it love. This is one of those statements from Tolle that makes his book heretical.


P107    Suffering is the fire in which the ego burns up. This is as near to hell as Tolle would venture.


P108    Talks about TV personalities as being the bringers of the new consciousness. This would appeal to Oprah – it’s making her out to be a Transformational Messiah. Their mere presence has a transformational effect – does this puff up Oprah’s ego, making her believe that she is the  High Priestess of a New Religion?


Tolle goes off on a sophistic tangent discussing the term “Just be yourself.” – this makes me wonder if he ever suffered from depression and was constantly told to “just be yourself.”


If you are content with not knowing who you are, then what’s left is who you are  – but if you know that, you don’t know that you don’t know who you are…(Gosh, this stuff is getting to me) Wizard of Oz – pay not attention to the man behind the green curtain!


P109    When others define you, they are limiting you which is their problem. –Tolle is disregarding his opposition.


I need to get more, so that I can be more – this is true.


Self-esteem and humility are the same…according to Tolle – what????


P110    Tolle refers to Buddha and pathos. This makes me feel as though Tolle is really a Buddhist at heart.


Ego: I am holding you responsible for my pain….in other words, I am not to blame…but isn’t this what Tolle is advocating throughout the book????


P111    Anger and resentment strengthen the ego and give it a position of rightness. Tolle is really clever…slowly but surely, he is diminishing any absolutes and making those who hold to righteousness as being egotistic.


P112    Most politicians and businesspeople are clever. Very few are intelligent – too general…is this Tolle being opinionated? Is he an intellectual snob???


P113 – the moment of awakening is accomplished by a disidentification from the mind – this is at the heart of Buddhist teachings. Tolle is really a closet Buddhist…or a religious wolf in sheep’s clothing.


Do you often feel discontent and harbor resentment in the background….is Tolle writing to frustrated housewives…Oprah’s audience.


You don’t know you are thinking these thoughts…..this is nonsense.


P114    Tolle writes out a litany of things that make people feel incomplete and unfulfilled. I agree.


P115    Peace is now. Buddhist concept of Nirvana. Three words contain the Secret of living: One With Life…instead of Christian concept of God with Us.


Tolle writes about tatata – the suchness of life. He is increasingly referring to Buddhist teaching.


P116    Ego uses anger ,denial, clever arguments to justify itself…but isn’t this what Tolle is doing with his philosophy?


P 117   With awareness comes disidentification from thoughts, emotions, and reactions. This is impossible and also takes away from personal accountability.

Freedom and awareness liberates from thoughts and self. …we become the conscious presence…in other words, we become our own all knowing, all seeing God.


P118    You are the light of presence…displacing God and Christ again.


P119    Ego exaggerates fear, paranoia – they are out to get me, kill me…but Tolle has used this as an argument for diminishing the church…is he suffering from ecclesio-phobia?


P120    Ego – self centered…focal point of attention…Tolle then writes about the Spanish Inquisition….focusing on the past to bolster his views. Castigating the Church for what was done centuries ago, rather than the good work being done today?


P121    Don’t seek the truth. Just cease to cherished opinions.” – as opposed to seeking Christ as the Truth in our lives.


P122    People who work without ego are extraordinarily successful….this si the typical ‘prosperity gospel’ pitch in Tolle form.


P123    Talks about ‘anti-energy’…this is Star trek stuff. The more you include others, the more things go smoothly…business dynamics or cultural karma?


Resentment curtail success…in order to attract success, you need to welcome it in others…This sounds like that new book, The Secret.


P124    Illness – when health returns, so does the ego…anecdotal.

Those who experience a strengthening of the ego take longer to recover…this is generally true.


P125    People in ‘collectives” (Star trek phraseology) believe that they have become freed of their ego – Tolle asks if they have just shifted their personal ego to a collective one. Is this what is happening with Oprah’s 2 million online devotees????


P126    Tolle writes that it is painful to realize that your “collective” is actually insane…I think he’s trying to convince others that the Church is an ‘insane’ (in Tolle’s terms) collective. But the same might be said for his believers, too.


P127    Tolle suggests that humanity may evolve past the old collectives and form new, better ones…he lists enlightened business, charities, and schools, but he intentionally does not include religious groups.


There is no such thing as “my life” – it is a delusion – this is Buddhism, but also is a creed of irresponsibility.


P128    Seek the separation from life – separate from all beings, all people, all things. Paul, however, would say that nothing can separate us from God through Jesus. (Romans 8)


How can I lose something that I AM? Writes Tolle…in other words, we are all immortal….eternal life is not a gift bestowed upon us as a gracious gift from God.

A New Earth – Part 3

A New Earth – Part 5

About Stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over thirty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
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3 Responses to A New Earth – Part 4

  1. Pingback: A New Earth - part 3 « Stushie’s Stuff

  2. Pingback: A New Earth: Chapter Five « Stushie’s Stuff

  3. I love your website. I found the article on new Earth extremely fascinating. I found your website because my daughter is doing a graphic art design for a fine art competition and was looking for a picture of the Earth. While helping her search I starting reading your site. Definitely gives me a lot to think about. Thank you.

    Also, could my daughter have permission to use your image of the Earth? Thank you again for all your help.

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