Tolle presents a view that sounds mostly like Zen Buddhism with an emphasis on the present. I saw him refer to himself as “Mr. Now”. He claims to be enlightened. I do not judge whether this is so, or not. There are many difficulties with his “philosophy”, mainly due to the seeming contradictions between the statements that past and future are illusions coming from the mind. However, he still refers to the event he had in the past where he suddenly saw the light. He says that was when he was enlightened. He advises you that you still need to be concerned with “practical” things, like paying your bills that are due. You may still need to schedule things. He refers to “clock” time and “psychological” time as distinct from real time which is always now. The eternal now.
Besides these seeming contradictions I still appreciated his book with its emphasis on being present.
we are bubbles that appear for a while, …,
have a story stored in our memory in our mind
the past is an illusion
the future is an illusion
we (our egos) are illusions
there is only one reality
(sounds like pantheism)
one ground of being
(sounds like Buddhism)
The concepts here are not new. It is a basic fact of our existence.
Ram Dass (ex Richard Alpert) reminded us of this in his book with a great title: “Be Here Now”.
The title pretty much is a summary of the philosophy. What else is there to say. Now is the only time you exist. The past is a bye bye illusion. It’s a fog of memory. The future is an imaginary world.
Eckhart Tolle explores the psychological, philosophical, and theological aspects of the concept of now as the only reality. He is a psychologist exploring the psychological aspects of how the mind provides excuses for not living in the now. He is a therapist showing how to move into the current moment as you read this or hear this. It is now. It is now. No words. No thoughts. The Ground of Being. Consciousness.
Wittgentstein says that people who live in the present are already living in eternity. No time. Timeless.
This is really very hard to understand because “I” am immersed in time. I’m not sure if Eckhart is painting a view through rose colored glasses. Hocus Pocus.
We live in what appears to be a “flow” of linear time. The time line. Is it Real? It appears as a sequence of “the before and the after”, as Kant puts it.
Sean Carrol says it has a lot to do with “entropy”, going from order to disorder. Once you put milk in the coffee, you cannot extract it by reversing time.
“All time is unredeemable”, says T. S. Eliot.
The future is an imaginary world.
“Time past and time future are both, perhaps, contained in time present.” — T. S. Eliot
Eckhart hits it from a psychological view. “I think therefore I am” (Descartes) is a falsehood according to Eckhart. The ego is the problem. He wants to eliminate the illusion of an ego. The ego thinks it is a story with past and future, but the past and future are illusions.
The person you think of as “I” is not who you really are. It is an illusion based on the past story you have in your mind.
The “Babbler” is the thought producer. It is constantly babbling about past events, a past that does not exist. Is this a denial or repression of reality?
“The Prince and Princess Discuss what’s real, and what is not. It doesn’t matter inside the Gates of Eden.” –Dylan
“Nothing is Real and nothing to get hung about.” —Strawberry Fields Forever — the Beatles
BUT there is something real. There is a ground of silence beneath all noises. Listen to it in the forest. There is a ground of space.