What to read in isolation: ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle

‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle (2005)

TheCity’s Ayumi Miyano offers her book recommendation for the duration of the quarantine period, with Oprah’s stamp of approval.

A New Earth” is a spiritual guidance book written by German author Eckhart Tolle, which has been translated into 33 languages and has sold more than five million copies worldwide.

Among those the book has inspired is legendary talk show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, who selected the book for Oprah’s Book Club and described it as a key novel on her “super soulful reading list”. 

‘A New Earth’ author Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey (Photo: Oprah.com)

In this stressful society — in which we are currently under the threat of coronavirus — people are understandably struggling to find their peace of mind. When we feel worn out, it is common to practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness, among others, which broke onto the mainstream from religious practices and cultures.

There are many seminars, tutorials and articles which give us guidance towards improving our well-being; people utilise this research to search for “the answer” to their spiritual turbulence.

“Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head — the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it — that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind. As long as you are completely unaware of this, you take the thinker to be who you are. This is the egoic mind. We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, or I (ego), in every thought, every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion”

Eckhart Tolle

“A New Earth” would not necessarily offer us “the answer” but can encourage us to distance ourselves from our “egoic” mind. According to Tolle, people are trapped by their ego-defined story every day. Many people envision a voice inside their heads — “I want to be famous”, “I am a shy person”, “I am angry”— but he explains in the work that all of these stories are created by ego, and ego creates emotional drama in our lives.

Tolle illustrates how ego arises, creates negative stories, and how much it controls our perceptions of reality. Since this is not a scientific, or evidence-based book, many readers might ask what the rationale is behind his words.

If we let go of all evidence-based, efficient, and well-structured concepts for a while, we could realise exactly what our ego forces you to believe about yourself in day-to-day life with Tolle’s simple but inspirational words. 

In the midst of the coronavirus lockdown, why not try “ego-distancing” with Eckhart Tolle’s book while social-distancing? If Oprah has offered her stamp of approval, we essentially don’t have any other option!

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