Mar 12, 2009

New Earth

I finished reading an interesting and thoughtful book "New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. This book was suggested by my Professor Dr.DVR Seshadri sometime in Dec '08. Luckily, this book was available in my library but I was waitlisted for a few weeks. I got hold of the book a month ago and I have been reading it slowly, trying to assimilate the contents. This book touches upon serious topics related to consciousness, awakening, importance of being than doing, inner purpose and many such insightful ideas. Although some of these topics are interesting, this book demands a lot of attention while reading.

The book starts off with the dysfunction that has led to collective human unconsciousness and how the direction has shifted towards a form focus. In order to become more conscious, one needs to increase the level of awareness and be immersed in the present. The author calls it "the power of NOW". There are many barriers that have made humans to constantly think about past or future. One such important barrier is the ego which has made humans get associated and identified with materialistic things and different roles being played on a daily basis. Because of the nature of ego, our mind is cluttered with incessant thoughts, anxieties and worries. Our thoughts are filled with complaints and grievances, pointing fingers at other people and constant defending of our opinions.

One interesting quote mentioned is "Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?". How true that is! The author then goes onto explain the concept of "pain-body" which is considered as part of every human being and that thrives on thoughts that trigger pain in oneself and others. This is the energy that does not let go of the past and renews itself through negative thinking. Being aware of moments where the pain body tends to get active and triggered will help in reducing the effects that it can cause.

The book then talks about identifying who you truly are, the state of being and becoming space conscious. These are the few pages that tend to get repetitive and boring. Towards the end, the chapters turn alive by talking about one's inner space, using conscious breathing techniques and feeling of your inner body to increase one's sense of awareness and synchronizing your inner and outer purpose. I especially liked the concepts of awakened doing - when you are one with the present moment, your quality of work is improved. In order to improve awakened doing, the author suggests three modalities - acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. Enjoyment is not something what you achieve in the end by doing an activity but rather doing the activity itself.

Key take-aways from this book for me are
- Nonresistance, nonjudgement and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living
- To be at peace in any moment, the key to remember is "This too, will pass". This implies being at one with what happens
- Life isn't as serious as my mind makes it out to be
- Inner purpose concerns with being and conscious awareness. Outer purpose concerns with doing and can change over time

After reading this book, I'm trying to become more aware of my thoughts and trying to be more aligned with the present moment. I am hoping to reduce the never ending stream of thoughts that strains my being.

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