Eckhart Tolle

Get to know Eckhart Tolle

Who is Eckhart Tolle?

Born in 1948, Eckhart Tolle lived in Germany, Spain and England before settling as a Canadian resident. He says that his early life alienated him and he was generally unhappy growing up in the war-ravaged town of Lünen, near Dortmund. In his teens and young adulthood, he suffered from bouts of depression. However, also at this time, Tolle moved to Spain and began to read works by the German mystical teacher, Bo Yin Ra, otherwise known as Joseph Schneiderfranken. His words had a profound and long-lasting impact on him. Later still, while working in the UK, Tolle started to study spirituality and philosophy more deeply, enrolling - but not completing - a postgraduate course on it at the University of Cambridge. In 1977, Tolle would experience something of an epiphany, or realisation, that helped him to overcome his negative thoughts. He has since devoted much of his life to explaining this 'inner transformation' to others in the form of books, DVDs and lectures.

 Is Eckhart Tolle a Buddhist?

Many people think that Eckhart Tolle has views that are akin to Buddhism. Specifically, his ideas chime with many of the principles involved with Zen Buddhism. Nevertheless, Tolle does not describe himself as a Buddhist. Some of his ideas can also be found represented in the Sufi traditions of Islam as well as certain aspects of Hinduism and Bible teachings.

What is an 'inner transformation' according to Eckhart Tolle?

According to an interview Eckhart Tolle gave to the British press in 2003, his inner transformation came about as a result of not being able to bear himself due to his depressive thoughts. When he considered what this meant, he began to think that his concept of 'self' was at the heart of the issue since this was a mind-made concept. According to Tolle, the heaviness and problems associated with his self-constructed self evaporated when he abandoned the entire idea. “The peace [I felt following the transformation]... was there because there was no self,” he said.

What does Eckhart Tolle say about spiritual teaching?

Eckhart Tolle has said that his view of a true spiritual teacher is someone who doesn't have anything to teach, at least not in the conventional sense of the word. He says that spiritual teaching does not have to give anything to you, such as new sets of beliefs or rules about how to behave. According to Tolle, the only function of a spiritual teacher that counts is to assist people with removing that which separates them from the truth.

Which books by Eckhart Tolle give a deeper insight into his philosophy?

Eckhart Tolle wrote many of his ideas in 'The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment' which was first published in 1997. He followed this up with 'A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose' in 2005. Both books sold in their millions.

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