Search - List of Books by Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle (, born Ulrich Tolle, 1948) is a German-born writer, public speaker, and spiritual teacher. He is the author of the bestsellers, The Power of Now and A New Earth. In 2008, an article in the New York Times referred to him as "the most popular spiritual author in the nation". He lives in Vancouver, Canada.
Tolle had an unhappy childhood in Germany and Spain, and was depressed as an adult in England until he underwent what he calls an "inner transformation". He then spent several years as a vagrant, "in a state of deep bliss", before becoming a spiritual teacher. Later, he moved to North America where he began writing his first book, The Power of Now, which was published in 1997, and reached the New York Times Best Seller lists in 2000.
The Power of Now and A New Earth sold an estimated three million and five million copies respectively in North America by 2009. In 2008, Tolle appeared in a series of 10 webinars along with television talk-show personality Oprah Winfrey to discuss his book, A New Earth, and the live appearances attracted a total of approximately 35 million viewers. Tolle's books and teachings have stimulated much commentary from theologians and journalists. Tolle says he is not identified with any particular religion, but that his work has been influenced by a wide range of spiritual teachings.
Early Life and Education more less
Born Ulrich Tolle in Lünen, Germany in 1948, Tolle describes his childhood as unhappy, particularly his early childhood in Germany. His parents fought and eventually separated, and he felt alienated from a hostile school environment. Tolle sometimes played in buildings that had been destroyed by bombs and he says he felt depressed by what he perceived as "pain in the energy field of the country". At the age of 13, he moved to Spain to live with his father. Tolle's father did not insist that his son attend high school, and so Tolle elected to study literature, astronomy and language at home.
At the age of 19, he moved to England and for three years taught German and Spanish at a London school for language studies. Troubled by "depression, anxiety and fear", he began "searching for answers" in his life. At age twenty-two or so he began "seeking some kind of answer through the intellect, through philosophy, psychology, and literature" and he enrolled in the University of London. After graduating with the highest marks in his class, he was offered a scholarship to do research at Cambridge University as a postgraduate student, and he matriculated in 1977.
Tolle changed his name from Ulrich to Eckhart, reportedly in reference to the German philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart.
Inner Transformation more less
In 1977, at the age of 29, after having suffered from long periods of suicidal depression, Tolle says he experienced an "inner transformation". He woke up in the middle of the night, suffering from feelings of depression that were "almost unbearable". Tolle says of the experience, Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that “everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic". He says he began to feel a strong underlying sense of peace in any situation. For a period of about two years after this, he spent a great deal of time sitting “in a state of deep bliss" on park benches in Russell Square, Central London, "watching the world go by.” He stayed with friends, in a Buddhist monastery, or otherwise slept rough on Hampstead Heath. His family thought him “irresponsible, even insane".
After this period, various people, including former Cambridge students and people met by chance, began to ask Tolle about his beliefs. He began working as a counselor and spiritual teacher, and students continued to come to him over the next five years. He relocated to Glastonbury, three hours west of London, a major centre of alternative living. In 1995, after having visited the West Coast of North America several times, he settled in Vancouver, British Columbia where he met his wife to be, Kim Eng.
Tolle's first book, The Power of Now, was first published in 1997 by Namaste Publishing. Only 3000 copies were published of the first edition, and Tolle has said "I would personally deliver a few copies every week to some small books stores in Vancouver ... Friends helped by placing copies of the book in spiritual bookstores farther afield". The book was first published under copyright by the New World Library in 1999, and in 2000, Oprah Winfrey recommended it in her magazine, O. In August 2000, it reached the New York Times Best Seller list for "Hardcover Advice". After two more years, it was number one on that list. In October 2010, The Power of Now appeared on the list for the 10 best selling "Paperback Advice" books for the 99th time. By 2008 the book had been translated into 33 languages, and has since also been translated into Arabic. Tolle published his second book, Stillness Speaks, in 2003.
In 2005, Tolle published his third book, A New Earth, A New Earth assumed the number one position on the New York Times Best Seller list several times between March and September 2008. In December 2008, it reached the list for the 46th time. The high sales of A New Earth in that year followed its selection by Oprah Winfrey for her book club in January. In the four weeks following the announcement, 3.5 million copies of the book were shipped. Tolle partnered with her to produce a series of webinar sessions beginning in May 2008. The weekly webinar sessions included discussions between Tolle and Winfrey, silent meditations, and questions from viewers via Skype. Each webinar focused on a specific chapter of A New Earth. The third webinar attracted more than 11 million viewers.
Tolle formed a company called Eckhart Teachings, to sell products related to his teachings. Tolle gives speeches and workshops in English and occasionally in German or Spanish. He also travels for various speaking engagements including seminars and retreats. In a 2003 interview with the Telegraph Magazine, Tolle indicated that he had no intention of creating "a heavy commercial structure", nor of setting up an ashram or centre, but believes that one "could develop organically" and said "one needs to be careful that the organization doesn’t become self-serving".
In 2009, he created a video website, called Eckhart Tolle TV. In June 2009, Tolle and Jim Carrey headlined the first conference of the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment. In September, he appeared with the Dalai Lama and other speakers at the Vancouver Peace Summit. His most recent book, Guardians of Being, is a picture book illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the comic strip Mutts.
Tolle says that his book, The Power of Now, is "a restatement for our time of that one timeless spiritual teaching, the essence of all religions" and that religions "have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual substance has become almost completely obscured", that they have become "to a large extent ... divisive rather than unifying forces" and become "themselves part of the insanity".
Tolle writes that "the most significant thing that can happen to a human being [is] the separation process of thinking and awareness" and that awareness is "the space in which thoughts exist". Tolle says that "the primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it".
According to Tolle's official website, "at the core of Tolle's teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. This is a prerequisite not only for personal happiness but also for the ending of violent conflict endemic on our planet".
In his book A New Earth, Tolle defines the term "ego" as an "illusory sense of self" based on one's memories and thoughts. He also uses the term "pain-body", which he defines in A New Earth as "an accumulation of old emotional pain".
Tolle writes in the introduction to his second book, Stillness Speaks, that "A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct. The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth ... The words are no more than signposts."
At the age of fifteen Tolle read several books written by the German mystic Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken, also known as Bô Yin Râ. Tolle has said he responded "very deeply" to those books.
According to a 2009 article in the New York Times, Tolle is "not identified with any religion, but uses teachings from Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and the Bible". Tolle has said "I feel actually that the work I do is a coming together of the teaching 'stream', if you want to call it that, of (Jiddu) Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi". Tolle himself has mentioned texts such as the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and A Course in Miracles; he has mentioned various individuals such as Zoroaster, Heraclitus, Lao Tzu, The Buddha, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, Meister Eckhart, Rumi, Hafiz, Rinzai Gigen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, and Barry Long; and he has emphasised the mystical schools within religions such as Gnosticism in Christianity, Sufism in Islam, Hasidism and Kabbala in Judaism, Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism, and Zen and Dzogchen in Buddhism. In A New Earth, he discusses quotes from figures in western philosophy, such as Descartes, Sartre, Nietzsche, and Albert Einstein and figures in western literature and popular culture such as Shakespeare and The Rolling Stones. He has mentioned movies such as Groundhog Day, American Beauty, The Horse Whisperer, Titanic, Avatar and Forrest Gump.
By 2009, total sales of The Power of Now and A New Earth in North America had been estimated at three million and five million copies respectively, and have received a wide range of praise and criticism. Celebrity admirers of the book include Annie Lennox, Gillian Anderson, Jeff Goldblum, Oprah, Meg Ryan and Jim Carrey A Time magazine book reviewer characterized "The Power of Now" as "awash in spiritual mumbo-jumbo". However, another reviewer writes that "at first glance it might seem like just one more in a growing genre of books full of tips on how to be more mindful and awake in our daily life, but Tolle's clear writing and the obvious depth of his experience and insight set it apart".
Tolle himself wrote in the preface to the 2004 edition of The Power of Now
Some critics characterize Tolle's books as unoriginal, or even derivative. A 2009 New York Times article said he is "hardly the first writer to tap into the American longing for meaning and success". Sara Nelson, the editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly said Tolle's writings have been successful due to surging public interest in books that tell you "how to be happier, how to live the life you want, how to be at peace, how to be a more successful human". An article in The Independent quoted an unnamed book reviewer calling Tolle's writings "a mix of pseudo-science, New Age philosophy, and teaching borrowed from established religions".
Others praise his re-working and synthesis of traditions: Professor and author William Bloom wrote that "Tolle is offering a very contemporary synthesis of Eastern spiritual teaching, which is normally so clothed in arcane language that it is incomprehensible" thereby providing "a valuable perspective on Western culture". Publisher Judith Kendra says, "The ideas he's [Tolle's] talking about have been in existence for thousands of years in both Eastern texts and with the great Western mystics, but he's able to make them understandable". Musician Annie Lennox said "there are many people claiming to be teachers, coaches, guides and gurus, but [Tolle] has some kind of special quality that I've never encountered before".
Reception by theologians
Some Christian scholars have spoken against Tolle's teachings. James Beverley, Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, says that Tolle's worldview "is at odds with central Christian convictions" and that "Tolle denies the core of Christianity by claiming there is no ultimate distinction between humans and God and Jesus". John Stackhouse, a professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College in Vancouver, says that Tolle "gives a certain segment of the population exactly what they want: a sort of supreme religion that purports to draw from all sorts of lesser, that is, established, religions".
On the other hand, a June 2008 article in The Independent opined that "Tolle does have fans in academic, even Christian, circles". Theologian Andrew Ryder wrote that "Tolle's writing is based on his own experience and personal reflection. This makes his approach to the challenge of living in the present moment both practical and fresh" even though "he may not use the language of traditional Christian spirituality". Stafford Betty finds common ground between Tolle's worldview and that of Christian mystics. He notes that "one of the key elements in Tolle's teaching is that deep within the mind is absolute stillness in which one can experience "the joy of Being". Betty says that such a view is comparable to the view of contemporary Catholic monk, Thomas Keating who wrote, "We rarely think of the air we breathe, yet it is in us and around us all the time. In similar fashion, the presence of God penetrates us, is all around us, is always embracing us, and it is delightful". Betty also points out that for "Mr. Tolle, God is in the world in a more radical way than for the Christian" and that Tolle's theology "is only a footnote to the therapy he holds out to his audience".
Anglican bishop Michael Ingham has said, "I don't have any criticism of his message. I think the proper attitude to take with new spiritual movements is one of wait and see".
Total Books: 194
Selected Publications more less
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, New World Library, October, 1999 ISBN 1-57731-152-3 (HC) ISBN 1-57731-480-8 (PB)
- Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises from The Power of Now, New World Library, October 10, 2001 ISBN 1-57731-195-7 (HC)
- Stillness Speaks: Whispers of Now, New World Library, August 2003 ISBN 1-57731-400-X
- Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, Dutton, October 11, 2005 ISBN 0-525-94802-3
- Milton's Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When, and The Power of Now, Hampton Roads, 2008 ISBN 978-1-57174-577-4
- Oneness With All Life: Inspirational Selections from A New Earth, Penguin Group, November 2008
- Guardians of Being, New World Library, October 2009 978-1-57731-671-8
- The Flowering of Human Consciousness: Everyone's Life Purpose, Namaste Publishing, Inc., 2001 ISBN 1-59179-154-5
- Eckhart Tolle's Findhorn Retreat - Stillness Amidst The World, New World Library, 2006 ISBN 1-57731-509-x
- Finding Your Life's Purpose, Eckhart Teachings, 2008 ISBN 1-894884-52-3
- The Doorway into Now, Eckhart Teachings, 2009 ISBN 1-894884-37-X