Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Review: A New Earth

Whenever one sets out for something at least resembling truth, I've always found it best to take the bulk-gathering approach;  sifting through reams of alleged facts, and then separating the muddled chaff of opinion from the sweet-tasting wheat of similarity. While similarity itself my not be the truth, placing it under review is  apt to point you in a more favorable direction in service of your pursuit.
    Having just finished my reading of, author, Eckhart Tolle's book  A New Earth, I've got to say that the aforementioned practice of separation has served me well. Borrowing from one of the more prominent biblical verses, the book's title offers a somewhat misleading, yet no less profound glimpse into it's depth of content, and shouldn't be written off at a glance as yet another heap of pseudo-spiritual self-help.
The work deals primarily with our species and it's wonderfully detailed and strikingly imaginative self-concept or ego - imaginative in that it's just that - not at all real.  Exploring ideas and philosophies ranging from Zen Buddhism, Gnostic Christianity, Taoism, as well as Hindu teachings from the Bhagavad Gita, the author seeks to illustrate that we are not the preconceived notions of ourselves, but instead a vast and interpenetrating consciousness that is the formless space wherein the very thoughts of who we are reside.  The author proposes that if we were to focus our awareness onto that space within ourselves - to become present inside of it - then we could all as one people progress and become transcendent.
    It cannot be over-stated that Tolle's A New Earth deserves a crowbar separation from the new-age jargon that seems to have infected the news-stands and bookstore shelves over the past ten years, and should be recognized as the product of an individual who spent ample time studying and reflecting. A graduate of the University of London, Tolle is a speaker of three languages, and has studied both literature and psychology, as well as astronomy. In my opinion, the man who wrote this book  has clearly done his own seeking, his own bulk-gathering of scientific theories and so called 'fundamental truths' from around the globe, then spent an even lengthier time sorting the similarities and constructing a road-map, or what the writer himself refers to as 'Signs That Point To The Truth'. This was something new to me, as I'd never read any other work that appeared so ethical, so unbiased.
    Having myself come from a background of Qabalistic study and practice, it may seem as if my opinion of the book is one of heavy bias;  that it only  reiterates the concepts with which I've become familiar. I tell you now that it's more than a reiteration to me. There are times, in study or practice, that it's all I can do to hang on to one thread of comprehension. A New Earth reflected many ideas that I've examined over the years, but it did so in a way and with such clarity that I had never known before.
    It can be an extraordinarily complex world at times, and there's almost an equally frustrating amount of tomes, texts, and self-made guru's out there just waiting to prove to you the effects of Sturgeon's Law. If you'd like to put Dr. Phil or Madonna on hold for just one minute - just one - you could do no worse than read this book. I was moved, and you can ask anyone - I'm hard to humble.

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