Eckhart Tolle: Why I Changed My Mind About Him

“Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher. He is a German-born resident of Canada best known as the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. In 2008, The New York Times called Tolle ‘the most popular spiritual author in the United States’ “


Trivia: Amazingly, Tolle is 71 years old… but looks much younger! Perhaps he’s a walking advertisement for his belief system.

The Power of Now holds the dubious honour of being the only book of which I’ve accidentally owned two copies… and also hated.

To be clear: I didn’t buy either copy; well-meaning friends gave them to me as gifts.

At the time, I considered myself a solidly scientific thinker. Richard Dawkins, the militant atheist, was one of my heroes. If science couldn’t explain something, I dismissed it as nonsense.

Blimey – how often I used to throw the baby out with the bath water!

So, many years ago, when I tried to read The Power of Now, but in the first few chapters Tolle started babbling pseudo-science such as ‘energy levels’, ‘frequencies’ and ‘vibrations’… I had to fight the urge to set fire to the book, hunt down the author and bludgeon him to death with the smouldering remains of his own manuscript.

In the end both copies of the paperback went to a charity shop, almost entirely unread.

I loved the main premise of his book… we spend far too much time worrying about the future (creating anxiety) or obsessing about the past (creating depression). And actually we’d all be a heck of a lot happier and more content if we spent more time being focussed on the present moment.

Beautiful and powerful idea, thoroughly padded-out book (my pet hate).

Or so I thought.

Since my Spiritual Awakening a couple of months ago, I’ve become far more open-minded about religious and spiritual matters.

I’m aware that different types of people use different words and semantics for explaining the same concept. That’s why we have Metacognitive Therapy (for the scientific thinkers) as well as Mindfulness (for more spiritual people), even though both are basically the same thing.

I’ve recently watched a few YouTube videos featuring Tolle. Here are my observations:

  • He looks like a garden gnome.
  • He speaks with calmness and peace, like a true master of mindfulness.
  • The percentage of his speech composed of woo-woo nonsense is far lower than I remembered.
  • For the most part, he talks an awful lot of sense.

I’m tempted to say that The Universe has been yelling at me for years to take mindfulness more seriously. That’s why I was given two copies of Tolle’s book!

It’s only recently that I’ve realised mindfulness isn’t some fluffy nice-to-have. It has the potential to radically reshape many aspects my lived experience. It’s not just a little happiness tweak, it’s an entire paradigm shift.

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