A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth summary

The ego thinks happiness comes from expanding our sense of self through thinking, accomplishing, and accumulating. But constant thinking and doing disconnect us from the true source of happiness: the simple joy of Being. Happiness is the practice of awareness of Being, the inner space within.

A New Earth notes & quotes

Here are my notes and quotes on A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. My notes are casual and include what I believe are the essential concepts, ideas, and insights from the book, along with direct quotes from the author.

  • Most humans see only their outer form and are unaware of their inner essence.
  • New-born life-forms—babies, puppies, kittens, lambs—have a sweetness and beauty that delights even the relatively insensitive humans.
  • This brings about an inner opening to the realm of spirit.
  • This book aims to bring about a shift in consciousness or awaken the reader.
  • Once you awaken, the process is irreversible.
  • All world religions agree that humans’ “normal” state is to be ignorant and deluded, and humans can awaken to their true nature. 
  • How “spiritual” you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness.
  • There is a dimension within each of us that is infinitely more vast than thought.
  • Our challenge is the ego and total identification with form: physical, thought, and emotional.
  • You are not the content of your life but the space where content arises and passes.
  • Mental labels deaden things, people, and situations. Without mental labels, things regain their newness, their freshness.
  • The ego is forever attaching itself to form because form is about feeling better about ourselves by enlarging our self-sense.
  • The biggest dilemma of being human: is thinking without awareness.
  • Most people live in a conceptualized reality, not reality itself.
  • Whatever you experience is there to help you grow.
  • The ego always wants more leaving us forever restless, bored, anxious, and dissatisfied.
  • Body awareness anchors you in the present moment and relieves you of the burden of ego.
  • When you are conscious, coincidences happen, and people become helpful and cooperative.
  • Complaining and negativity are one of the most common forms of the ego.
  • “Awareness and ego cannot coexist.”
  • Nothing strengthens the ego more than being right.
  • “Ego takes everything personally.”
  • Awareness lets you see the totality of any situation.
  • “Whatever you fight, you strengthen.”
  • The ego forces are always the same: to stand out, be memorable, be in control, have power, get attention, and always want more.
  • Fear is the underlying emotion of the ego.
  • The ego relies on form to feel better, yet all structures are subject to change and decay. So depending on ego means putting our sense of well-being in the hands of unreliable things. 
  • The more you identify with the things of the world and mental constructs, the more you become alienated from yourself, the more unhappy, and the more difficult it is to have relationships.
  • “Behind every positive self-concept is the hidden fear of not being good enough.”
  • Feeling superior or inferior is the ego talking.
  • What you think primarily generates the emotions you feel.
  • “Unhappiness covers up your natural state of well-being and inner peace, the source of true happiness.”
  • “Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”
  • Only awareness, or presence, can dissolve your unconscious past.
  • Paradoxically, identification with form both causes and erodes suffering.
  • Suffering is the catalyst for waking up.
  • We are perpetually doing because we believe we will complete our sense of self with enough doing.
  • Life mastery is finding the balance between doing and Being.
  • Self-esteem and humility are the same.
  • Anger strengthens the ego.
  • “The ego creates separation, and separation creates suffering.”
  • Unconscious living is creating suffering without awareness.
  • Beware of thinking that explains unhappiness but, in reality, causes it.
  • The stronger your ego, the more likely you are to blame others.
  • The ego consumes enormous energy. 
  • Most thinking is involuntary and repetitive. 
  • The more you identify with your mind, the greater the density of your ego.
  • To see our suffering is the first step in going beyond it.
  • Emotion is the body’s response to thinking.
  • The body reacts to thinking as if it were reality.
  • Compulsive thinking generates a stream of negative emotions. And negative emotions create unhappiness.
  • The present moment is the true source of power.
  • The “pain-body” is the energy field of accumulated emotional pain. 
  • Unfelt emotions remain in our bodies.
  • “The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness.”
  • “For what you do to others, you do to yourself.”
  • “Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”
  • Ego is the accumulation of everything you identify with.
  • “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”
  • “You cannot receive what you don’t give.”
  • “Nothing you can know about you is you.”
  • Make peace with the present moment. 
  • The ego treats the present moment in three ways: a means to an end, an obstacle, or an enemy.
  • Life is not a series of moments; there is only this moment. 
  • Time is the greatest obstacle to knowing yourself. 
  • The more you identify with form, the stronger the ego.
  • But form is limited, so your life will be limited if you identify with form.
  • Some external limitations can be overcome; others can only be overcome internally. 
  • Those who overcome severe limitations often become spiritual healers.
  • Your happiness is not dependent on what happens to you, that is, external form.
  • Being is the only true happiness; things or events do not cause happiness.
  • Most people are so absorbed in the day-to-day content of their lives that they’ve lost touch with the inner space — the primordial stillness that is their true essence. 
  • When we get lost in the world of content, the things of the world become of absolute importance and weigh us down, even though they are only relatively important.
  • People like activities like traveling or climbing mountains because experiencing takes up more of their consciousness than thinking.
  • “Every experience has three possible ingredients: sense perceptions, thoughts or mental images, and emotions.
  • Discovering your inner space requires creating gaps in your thinking—the more frequent these gaps, the better. 
  • Awareness of breathing creates space by taking attention away from thinking.
  • Formal meditation is not a substitute for practicing mindfulness in everyday life.
  • Losing touch with the life that animates the physical body is the most significant deprivation. 
  • Without contact with that natural state of well-being, we look for substitutes in the outer world.
  • Ego is the opposite of inner space.
  • You have two life purposes: outer and inner. Outer is doing, and secondary, and internal is being and primary.
  • Your inner purpose is to live wakefully.
  • Once you begin to awaken, the process cannot be reversed.
  • “Awareness is the space in which thoughts exist.”
  • When you are unaware of being, you seek fulfillment through doing, which is dependent on time. But whatever you attain by doing will invariably be destroyed by time.
  • We disconnect from the present moment and lose ourselves because we think doing is more important than being. 
  • “…you cannot become successful. You can only be successful.”
  • Your entire life journey is only ever this moment.
  • Fearing and wanting are the primary motivating forces of the ego.
  • “Thinking cuts reality up into lifeless fragments.”
  • “The stronger the ego, the stronger the sense of separateness between people.”
  • You can lose what you have, but you cannot lose what you are.
  • Don’t look to the future for salvation.
  • Nothing can make you free; only the present moment can make you free. 

Related Resources

Here is a list of resources, including authors, books, websites, podcasts, and concepts mentioned in A New Earth, which might be helpful for further learning.

People

  • Y. Halevi, writer
  • Ramana Maharshi
  • Kasan, Zen teacher
  • Frank Kafka
  • Albert Camus
  • T. S. Eliot
  • James Joyce
  • J. Krishnamurti
  • Hakuin, Zen Master
  • Shakespeare

Books and Publications

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle
  • Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
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