Eckhart Tolle on Life, Death and his Awakening

Today’s post will be about a video I recently viewed and took notes about Eckhart Tolle, one of my spiritual mentors and teachers. talking about his life and Life in general, Death and his awakening experiences. I hope you enjoy it and please take a moment to write a small comment. Thanks so much in advance. You can view the entire video at the bottom of this post.

Eckhart speaks briefly about his difficult childhood in Germany, his parents’ separation (sounds familiar), and his move to Spain, all by the age of 12! This also hits a sensitive chord as I lived there for 3 months as a young adult.

Sep-15-2016 rock-bottom-the-solid-foundation

Awakening day

When he finally experienced his awakening, he was in his late 20s, and on the following morning, he saw everything with fresh, new eyes. It was like a rebirth, as he had been suffering from depression and lots of anxiety, trying to find his path in life. He began to realize that 80% of his thinking just stopped and also noticed that they were mostly the negative thoughts. I can attest that once you change this one thing, your life takes an about turn whether you are awakening or just monitoring your thoughts better!

About Attitude:


Again, Eckhart had the realization that when you eliminate your thoughts you automatically find your hidden treasure and start feeling a deep inner peace.

“The peace that passes all understanding”


Zen, Buddhism, also come to this conclusion as awakening is coming to the end of thinking, not thinking. That realization took him years to understand… He explains; “people are always anticipating the next moment, and thus remain oblivious of the present moment, which is really the only moment that ever is.”

Stage of evolution of humanity

He explains that during the past millennium or so, humanity has been living in a paradigm of the mind, or thoughts, we always have to be thinking. He sees the urgent need for us to transcend this stage, and stop being possessed by the mind, and to arrive at a deeper level of meaning, of understanding. We basically need to go beyond this paradigm to survive as a species and to help Earth return to a steady-state, a balanced state, where her natural capital is not being depleted faster that it can restore or replenish herself.

I write more about this here:

Mar-11-17 4 Via MDT

For a number of years, he remained in a state of being, before he started teaching, writing, and getting back into life, etc.

After his awakening, he quit most of his intellectual pursuits and was so immersed in the peace, the bliss, the experience of being, the feeling of the goodness of life, that he lost all of his concerns about the future, and all of his ambitions. He was so immersed in the being, that he lost the will of doing, and was unbalanced, so it took a few years for him to start acting again, teaching, writing about his experiences, etc.

Today, it seems like most humans are lost in doing, the busyness of life has engulfed them in activity, which feeds the rage, the stress and the pace of modern life.

He lives in a surrender to the present moment. He realizes that it is futile to argue with what is happening at this present moment. He still experiences emotion sometimes, but he now always remains at peace with these emotions, even when he sees the suffering we humans bring upon each other and other life. He realizes that life is timeless and immortal. Death is not the opposite of life, but of birth.

 The Power of Now 

Jan-15 2 Power of Now 2

After he wrote the book, he started getting an exponential increase in his following and demands for him as a teacher or speaker, which now averages 2000 per event in the US…He was surprised that not only long time spiritual seekers enjoyed it but also the average citizen.

Asked how he handles the fame and money, he admits he has trouble dealing with it, and it hasn’t changed much in his life… Many years he had lived below the poverty line but did not feel poor and now he doesn’t feel any different even though he is in all respects a millionaire, yet aside from a larger home, he does not pursue material gains and accumulation.

He teaches to all religious followers and atheists alike, as most religions have many deep truths, he shares Buddhist, Hinduism, Taoists, Zen and other teachings in his books. People can reread the book over and over as it brings about presence to the reader, and aligns him or her to that present moment, that is all there ever truly is, they become alert and feel the peace inside.

Ancient eastern scripture: “the teacher and the taught together produce the teaching”.

His teachings depend on the conversations and the energy of the group he is teaching at the time, so it changes with every conference or retreat.

About surrendering to the present

Surrendering to presence is beyond will and wanting. Surrendering means to accept this moment as it is, but you need to have had enough with suffering. Once you realize that suffering is created by your resistance to what is, or your interpretation to what is, not what really is, only then can you truly awaken. Suffering is a wonderful teacher and to most people their only spiritual teacher.

The main message of most religions, Buddhism, Jesus, …

Finding the Kingdom of Heaven that is in you, here and now, and thus end the state of suffering. The paradox is that often you need intense suffering to get to that awakening moment and to go beyond suffering. Often times, the seeker will find the particular teacher, mentor, teaching to overcome this state of suffering, at the right time for him or her. No more resistance to what is, suffering stops and thus the suffering he or she causes to their surroundings also dissipates.

Only if you are ready internally, when you have suffered enough, and realize that your thoughts and interpretation of the situation is what causes the suffering in the first place. Only then can you awaken. He is pleased to conclude that more and more people are awakening, shifting to this realization.

What would happen if we were all living in presence?

The world would be very different than it is today. It would be very hard to predict, but people would not be so busy at pointless activities like in western society, where busyness is actually often applauded. It definitely wouldn’t be as noisy, restless, unhappy, polluted. Once we have attained inner peace, outer peace would be realized. The world would be more simplified, beautiful, peaceful, blissful. We would truly be creating Heaven on Earth!

What is the essence of his teaching?

The essence of his teachings is to make this present moment your friend, not your enemy. That would be enough to bring about a change, a shift. If you treat the present moment as an obstacle, it will always remain an obstacle, as the present moment, is all there is. It does not mean you must remain passive, but the foundation of all actions you take is in a realization of what is, in a state of inner peace, and thus brings about right action, without resistance, without hesitation or doubt, but confidently in pursuit of your purpose.

The Spiritual teaching is not to add to your knowledge, but remembering who and what you really are.

You can view the entire video here:

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4 thoughts on “Eckhart Tolle on Life, Death and his Awakening

  1. Eric

    I can see some value in what he says to a degree, but he takes things to a place that seems more like disassociation, which is not good either.
    It probably comes from having to find a way out of the deep pain of deep depression and a horrible anxiety disorder he was going through.
    There is some value in his philosophy, but some things are definitely to be disregarded.
    It shows again when he talks about his life suddenly being public and he’s out there in the world and he would prefer it not to be that way and he prefers to be withdrawn and unknown.
    This is not the ideology of someone truly spiritually awakened I’m afraid.
    All the other spiritually awakened great teachers that have come and gone have not displayed his demeanor or mental state.
    They were out there, doing publicly, with absolute confidence what they knew they were supposed to be doing in the world.
    This man is using the concept of staying in the now and accepting things as they are and shaping it to justify and disguise his detachment from and withdrawal from the reality around him and switching off emotionally.
    It’s about seeing it all for what it really is, accepting it, and responding in an honest and appropriate way.
    I hope he looks at that and resolves it for himself.


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