Saturday, September 19, 2009

My thoughts on Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth"

I 've been reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle and taking notes as I read -- I do this a lot with books I think have important messages that I want to remember.  I usually put my notes in a journal and refer back to them when I find myself asking, "What did that book say about [whatever topic]?" 

Anyway, so far I've found a lot of useful information.  The one thing that has stood out the most for me is this: Not only must I be aware of when the ego is at work in me I must also be aware of when the ego is at work in others and not react with resentment, by taking it personally, or by becoming defensive.  These reactions are also from the ego -- it does no good to respond to ego with ego. 

This is something I need to work on.  I don't often take things personally but I'll admit that from time to time I catch myself thinking, "I can't believe she would say such a thing about me!" or "How could he do such a thing to me?"  The "to me" in each of these are evidence of the ego at work.  They are evidence that I am responding to the other person's ego with my own ego.


  1. I love that you talk so much about ego and how it affects us. Too many go through life allowing their ego to dominate situations, then wonder why they continue to repeat behaviors and reactions to others' behaviors.

    Ego is extremely complicated, yet simple at the same time. I doubt we'll ever truly "get it," but TRYING is the fun part, yeah?

    Good post!

  2. I like Wayne Dyer's definition of ego as Edge God Out. Simple yet profound. Once we become aware of it, we know the source of our every discomfort.

  3. Taking things personally is a pervasive issue for most all of us. The longer I have practiced zen, I have noticed how subtle this process is. I may not even think any thoughts about someone else's behavior being directed at me, but I notice my own behavior changes in response to what they said or did in a self-centered way. Maybe someone says something I don't like, for example, and in my mind there's no "how dare they say that" kind of talk. But maybe I then avoid this person for awhile, make no eye contact, or decide not to offer help when they need it.

    It's easy to not see these little shifts in behavior because they aren't as "charged" as feeling outraged, or thinking strong thoughts about someone. But these shifts are just as important to work with, as they are also methods of staying out of the present, keeping us stuck instead of being liberated.


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