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What an AWESOME reading experience! I have been wanting to revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle since 2021. Thankfully, I not only read it again (for the third time), but I also buddy read it with my sister Rachel over the course of four months. She set up Zoom meetings for the duration of the book, and we met online on Wednesday evenings. I also listened to Eckhart Tolle’s podcast episodes with Oprah for each chapter and took notes to incorporate in our discussions.

For me, A New Earth is the perfect book to read when feeling overwhelmed, wanting to make a change, or struggling in an area (in my case areas) of life. Unfortunately, I have been on the struggle bus for some time. I seem to end one season of sacrifice, just to enter another one shortly afterwards. Since 2022 has been all about CHANGE (my one-word theme for the year), my life desperately needed to undergo another transformation, an awakening boost, a reminder to be present. By having my sister join me on this reading adventure, her ideas and knowledge from her own spiritual journey helped me tremendously. This was Rachel’s first time reading A New Earth; however, she read his book, The Power of Now, so she was already familiar with Tolle’s spiritual teachings and the practice of being in the present moment.

A New Earth has 10 chapters with the first chapter setting the stage by explaining human consciousness, the purpose of the book, and the need for transformation, not only within ourselves, but also within the world around us. From there, the next three chapters explore the ego, its core, and its many faces. When most people think ego, they associate it with arrogance or being braggadocious, and that is one way ego presents itself. However, complaining, resentment, faultfinding, playing the victim, and negative self-talk are other examples of the ego. The “illusory sense of self” is the ego.

Chapters 5 and 6 tackle the pain-body and breaking free from it. Eckhart Tolle states, “Because of the human tendency to perpetuate old emotion, almost everyone carries in his or her energy field an accumulation of old emotional pain, which I call “the pain-body” (140). The pain-body is your story, your emotional baggage from the past, and it can wreak havoc on your thinking. As Tolle explains, “Whenever you get taken over by the pain-body, whenever you don’t recognize it for what it is, it becomes part of your ego. Whatever you identify with turns into ego” (181).

Thankfully, we can break free from our painbodies, but it takes work, especially if you have a huge one. Personally, I am still working on breaking free from my own pain-body. My meetings with Rachel helped significantly when reading and discussing these chapters because we share a childhood and similar events that have contributed to our pain-bodies. I think it is also important to pay close attention to when your pain-body resurfaces. Mine tends to become more prevalent when I am exhausted or feeling overwhelmed. My ego tells me to throw in the towel and quit because I am wasting my time. Sadly, I am listening more and more to my ego. Part of it is because the year is winding down, and I am extremely disappointed with myself for not reaching goals or not being more ahead of the game. I had plenty of expectations, and I do not feel like I have met them. Therefore, with the last two weeks left of 2022, I need to sit with myself in the present moment and reflect on my year. I know as I write about my feelings of failure that my ego is loving me being hard on myself. However, I recognize the feelings I am having right now stems from the ego, so I thank the ego and kick it to the curb. I have to finish this post, and I really do not have the time or energy to deal with my ego’s game. HA!

Chapter 7 is an important chapter. It is about finding out who you truly are, knowing yourself, knowing about yourself, and developing a relationship with the NOW (the present moment). Eckhart says, “The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego…Time is what the ego lives on” (201). He further explains, “Fear, anxiety, expectation, regret, guilt, anger are the dysfunctions of the time-bound state of consciousness” (202). And, I can take this idea a step further with examining what influences some of those emotions which my sister shared with me. Sadness is influenced by the lack of something; anger is influenced by the identification or attachment to something or someone; and anxiety is influenced by the feeling of not having control. Once she shared this nugget of wisdom with me, which makes so much sense, I can now acknowledge what is influencing my emotion, thank the ego for pointing it out, and give myself grace. Rachel also shared that last part with me as well. Dear reader, this has been immensely helpful to me. I am practicing it right now by writing this blog post.

Chapters 8-10 is all about discovering inner space and learning to enjoy the present moment, realizing that your inner purpose is to awaken, and putting the three modalities of awakened doing into your daily life. Eckhart emphasizes the importance of those modalities when he states, “If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others” (295). Let us be clear that when we use the term acceptance we do not mean that we are in total agreement with a situation, but rather that we accept a situation as “what is” in the present moment and willingly take action to deal with it. For example, if I get a flat tire, I accept that I have a flat tire and it is inconvenient instead of getting angry, or ranting and raving while kicking the flat tire. All of those negative shenanigans (fueled by the ego) do not make me feel better about the situation (the flat tire) or actually fix the tire. I do not have to like that I have a flat tire, but I can accept it in order to willingly (calmly) take action to get my tire fixed and continue with my day.

I have awakened, dear reader, and have been since I first read A New Earth 12 years ago; however, I am a work in progress. I needed a kick in the pants so to speak. I can recognize my ego in myself and in others. One of my biggest stumbling blocks I have with ego is dealing with other people’s egos, especially family members. I must be better at evaluating their egos and why they are acting a fool. Then, accept their behavior in the present moment and not react with my ego. It does not mean I have to like their behavior or them for that matter. I strive to be present, smile, acknowledge the interaction is temporary, and enjoy the moment. Harder said than done, but necessary if I want a joyful life. Happiness!

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle,  A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

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