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Eckhart Tolle
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Eckhart Tolle

Ulrich Leonard Tlle
February 16, 1948 (age68)
Lnen, Germany
Writer, public speaker
English, German, Spanish
Spirituality, psychology, metaphysics
Notable works
The Power of Now (1997)
A New Earth (2005)

Eckhart Tolle (/krt tl/ ek-art tol-; German pronunciation: [kat tl],
born Ulrich Leonard Tlle, February 16, 1948) is a German-born resident of

Canada,[1][2] best known as the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth:
Awakening to your Life's Purpose. In 2011, he was listed by Watkins Review
as the most spiritually influential person in the world.[3] In 2008, a New York
Times writer called Tolle "the most popular spiritual author in the United
Tolle has said that he was depressed for much of his life until he underwent,
at age 29, an "inner transformation". He then spent several years wandering
"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[5] and reached the New York Times Best Seller
lists in 2000.[6]
The Power of Now and A New Earth sold an estimated three million and five
million copies respectively in North America by 2009.[7] In 2008, approximately
35 million people participated in a series of 10 live webinars with Tolle and
television talk show host Oprah Winfrey.[7] Tolle is not identified with any
particular religion, but he has been influenced by a wide range of spiritual
works.[8] He has lived in Vancouver, British Columbia since 1995.[9]
Contents [hide]
Early life and education
Inner transformation
Reception by Christian theologians
Selected publications
External links

Early life and education[edit]

Born Ulrich Leonard Tlle in Lnen, a small town located north of Dortmund
in the Ruhr Valley, Germany in 1948,[4][10][11] 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.
[12] Tolle also experienced considerable fear and anxiety growing up in postwar Germany, where he would play in bombed-out buildings. He later stated
that pain "was in the energy field of the country".[13] At the age of 13, he
moved to Spain to live with his father.[12] Tolle's father did not insist that his
son attend high school, so Tolle elected to study literature, astronomy and
various languages at home.[10][12]
At the age of 15, Tolle read several books written by the German mystic
Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken, also known as B Yin R. Tolle has said he
responded "very deeply" to those books.[12]
At the age of 19, about 10 years before his "inner transformation", Tolle
moved to England and for three years taught German and Spanish at a
London school for language studies.[14] Troubled by "depression, anxiety and
fear", he began "searching for answers" in his life.[12]
In his early twenties, Tolle decided to pursue his search by studying
philosophy, psychology, and literature, and enrolled in the University of
London.[12] After graduating,[12] he was offered a scholarship to do
postgraduate research at Cambridge University, which he began in 1977, and
from which he dropped out soon after.[8][10]

Inner transformation[edit]

One night in 1977, at the age of 29, after having suffered from long periods of
depression, Tolle says he experienced an "inner transformation".[8] That night
he awakened from his sleep, suffering from feelings of depression that were
"almost unbearable," but then experienced a life-changing epiphany.[12]
Recounting the experience, Tolle says,
I couldnt live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an
answer: who is the I that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt
drawn into a void! I didnt know at the time that what really happened was the
mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the
unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next
morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there
because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or beingness, just
observing and watching.[14]
Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that
everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic."[12] The feeling
continued, and he began to feel a strong underlying sense of peace in any
situation.[7] Tolle stopped studying for his doctorate, and for a period of about
two years after this he spent much of his 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."[14] Tolle changed his first name from Ulrich to Eckhart; by some
reports this was in homage to the German philosopher and mystic, Meister
Eckhart.[10][15] A 2012 interview article states that he saw the name Eckhart on
one of a pile of books in a dream, and knew he had written the book; soon
after in real life he ran into a psychic friend who called him Eckhart out of
nowhere, so Tolle changed his name.[16]


After this period, former Cambridge students and people he had met by
chance began to ask Tolle about his beliefs. He began working as a
counselor and spiritual teacher.[8] Students continued to come to him over the
next five years. He relocated to Glastonbury, a major centre of alternative
living.[14] 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.[8][12][17][18]
Tolle's first book, The Power of Now, was first published in 1997 by Namaste
Publishing.[5][7] Only 3000 copies were published of the first edition. Tolle has
stated, "I would personally deliver a few copies every week to some small
bookstores in Vancouver ... Friends helped by placing copies of the book in
spiritual bookstores farther afield".[5] The book was republished on a large
scale by New World Library in 1999.[5][8] In 2000, Oprah Winfrey
recommended it in her magazine, O.[15] In August 2000 it reached the New
York Times Best Seller list for Hardcover Advice.[6] After two more years, it
was number one on that list.[19] By 2008, the book had been translated from
English into 33 languages;[5][7][8] since then, it has been translated into Arabic.
[20] Tolle published his second book, Stillness Speaks, in 2003.[21] In July 2011,
The Power of Now appeared on the list for the 10 best selling Paperback
Advice books for the 102nd time.[22]
In 2005, Tolle published his third book, A New Earth,[4][23] which assumed the
number one position on the New York Times Best Seller list several times
between March and September 2008.[24][25] By the end of 2008, it reached the
list for the 46th time.[26] The high sales of A New Earth in that year followed its
selection by Oprah Winfrey for her book club in January.[8] In the four weeks
following the announcement, 3.5 million copies of the book were shipped.[27]
Tolle partnered with her to produce a series of webinar sessions beginning in
May 2008.[27] The weekly webinar sessions included discussions between
Tolle and Winfrey, silent meditations, and questions from viewers via Skype.[10]
Each webinar focused on a specific chapter of A New Earth.[10] The third
webinar attracted more than 11 million viewers.[10]

Tolle formed a company to sell products related to his teachings called

Eckhart Teachings.[28] He created a website called Eckhart Tolle TV, with
streaming video of monthly group meditations and other videos.[7] He gives
speeches and workshops in English and occasionally in German or Spanish.
[17] He also travels for various speaking engagements, such as seminars and
retreats.[17][29] 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. He believes one "could develop organically"[14]
and said "one needs to be careful that the organization doesnt become selfserving".[7]
In September, he appeared with the Dalai Lama and other speakers at the
Vancouver Peace Summit.[30][31] His most recent book, Guardians of Being, is a
picture book illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the comic strip


See also: The Power of Now and A New Earth

Tolle writes in the introduction to his second book, Stillness Speaks:
"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."[21]
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".[33] He writes
that religions "have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their
spiritual substance has become almost completely obscured",[33] that they
have become "to a large extent ... divisive rather than unifying forces" and
become "themselves part of the insanity".[34]
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".[35] Tolle says that "the primary cause of
unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it".[36]
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".[17]
In his book A New Earth, Tolle describes a major aspect of the human
dysfunction as "ego" or an "illusory sense of self"[37] based on unconscious
identification with one's memories and thoughts,[38] and another major aspect
he calls "pain-body"[8] or "an accumulation of old emotional pain".[39]

Tolle often talks about the relevance of figures in intellectual or popular

culture. In A New Earth, he quotes Descartes, Sartre, Nietzsche,
Shakespeare and Albert Einstein.[4][15][23] He has spoken of movies such as
Groundhog Day, American Beauty, The Horse Whisperer, Gran Torino,
Titanic, Avatar, Being There, and Forrest Gump,[15][40][41] and musicians such as
Mozart, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He arranged an album of music
in 2008 entitled Music to Quiet the Mind including work composed by Erik
Satie, Claude Debussy and The Beatles, and music by contemporary artists
such as Deva Premal, Jeff Johnson, and Steve Roach.[42][43]

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".[8] 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."[12] 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, Lao Tzu,
Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Jesus, Epictetus,
Marcus Aurelius, Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Hafiz, Rinzai Gigen, Ralph Waldo
Emerson, Carl Gustav Jung; and he has emphasized 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. He has met and spoken with Barry Long and Don
Miguel Ruiz, and he wrote a foreword for The Diamond in Your Pocket by

In 2008, an article in the New York Times referred to Tolle as "the most
popular spiritual author in the [United States]".[4] In 2011, the Watkins Review
put him at number 1 in a list of "The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living
People".[3][45] 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
The books have received a wide range of praise and criticism. One book
reviewer characterized The Power of Now as "awash in spiritual mumbojumbo",[46] while another reviewer wrote, "Tolle's clear writing and the obvious
depth of his experience and insight set it apart".[47]
Some critics characterize Tolle's books as unoriginal or derivative. A 2009
New York Times article said he is "hardly the first writer to tap into the
American longing for meaning and success".[4] 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, more peaceful

and more successful.[4] James Robinson in The Observer called Tolle's

writings "a mix of pseudo-science, New Age philosophy, and teaching
borrowed from established religions".[48]
However, others praise his re-working and synthesis of traditions. New Age
writer 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".[10] Publisher Judith Kendra says, "The ideas
[that Tolle is] 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".[10] Musician Annie Lennox said "[Tolle] has some kind
of special quality that I've never encountered before".[10]
Reception by Christian theologians[edit]
Some Christian scholars criticize Tolle's teachings, while others praise them.
James Beverley, Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at evangelical
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".[7] John Stackhouse, a professor of theology and culture at evangelical
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".[7] Stackhouse has
described Tolle as one of several spiritual teachers who "purport to have
investigated the worlds religions (quite a claim) and found them wanting, who
routinely subject those religions to withering criticism, and who then champion
their own views as superior to all these alternatives".[49]
In 2008 The Independent noted that "Tolle does have fans in academic, even
Christian, circles".[10] 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
Stafford Betty, teacher for Religious Studies at CSUB 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'".[50] Betty says that
such a view is comparable to the view of contemporary Catholic monk
Thomas Keating who wrote that "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 says 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".[50]
Roman Catholic priest and theologian Richard Rohr credits Tolle for helping
to reintroduce ancient Christian mysticism to modern Christians: "Tolle is, in
fact, rather brilliantly bringing to our awareness the older tradition ... [which is]
both the ground and the process for breaking through to the theological
contemplation of God, and acquired contemplation of Jesus, the Gospels,
and all spiritual things. He is teaching process, not doctrine or dogma. He is
teaching how to see and be present, not what you should see when you are
present. Tolle is our friend, and not an enemy of the Gospel. There should be
no conflict for a mature Christian."[51][52]
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."[7]

Selected publications[edit]

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
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
A New Earth: 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 ISBN


The Flowering of Human Consciousness: Everyone's Life Purpose,

Namaste Publishing, Inc., 2001 ISBN 1-59179-154-5
Practicing Presence: A Guide for the Spiritual Teacher and Health
Practitioner, Eckhart Teachings, 2003 ISBN 1-894884-45-0
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
The Doorway into Now, Eckhart Teachings, 2009 ISBN 1-894884-37-X








Jump up
^ "About Eckhart Tolle". Eckhart Teachings.
Jump up
^ "Eckhart Tolle - The Energies Around You".
^ Jump up to:
a b "The Watkins Review Announces Its Spiritual 100 List".
2011-03-29. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g McKinley, Jesse (2008-03-23). "The Wisdom of the Ages, for Now
Anyway". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f Tolle, Eckhart (2005). The Power of Now (2005 edition). Hodder and
Stoughton Ltd. ISBN978-0-340-73350-9.
^ Jump up to:
a b Best Sellers. New York Times (2000-08-12). Hardcover advice. Retrieved
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g h i j k l Ken MacQueen (2009-10-22). "Eckhart Tolle vs. God". Retrieved 2009-10-24.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g h i j Eckhart Tolle Biography. New York Times (2008-03-05). Times
Jump up
^ About Eckhart Tolle. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g h i j k l Ether Walker (2008-06-21). "Eckhart Tolle: This man could
change your life". The Independent.
Jump up
^ Ruhr Nachrichten (2008-05-27). Amerikas Guru stammt aus Lnen
('Americas guru comes from Lnen'). Retrieved 2010-06-03.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g h i j k l Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers, by John W.
Parker Sagewood Press, 2000.
Jump up
^ Douglas Todd (2002-10-05). Profile: Eckhart Tolle of the present, future
and mother. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved on 2016-04-21.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e Claire Scobie (2003-08-31). Why now is bliss. Telegraph Magazine.
Retrieved on 2010-02-02.
^ Jump up to:
a b c d e Cathy Lynn Grossman (2010-15-04). 'Life's Purpose' author Eckhart
Tolle is serene, critics less so. USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-24.

16 Jump up
^ "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Eckhart Tolle | | Positive Life
Magazine". Retrieved 2012-09-08.
17 ^ Jump up to:
a b c d Eckhart Tolle Biography. Eckhart Tolle's official website. Retrieved
18 Jump up
^ Douglas Todd's backstage report from the Vancouver Peace Summit. The
Vancouver Sun (2009-09-27). Retrieved on 2010-03-12.
19 Jump up
^ Best Sellers. New York Times (2003-01-12). Hardcover advice. Retrieved
20 Jump up
^ "KALIMA publishes Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth and the Power of Now' in
Arabic as well.". WAM: Emirates News Agency. 2010-04-01. Retrieved
21 ^ Jump up to:
a b Tolle, Eckhart (2003). Stillness Speaks. New World Library.
22 Jump up
^ Best Sellers. New York Times (2011-07-17). Paperback advice. Retrieved
23 ^ Jump up to:
a b c Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A New Earth. Penguin Books.
24 Jump up
^ Best Sellers. New York Times (2008-03-02). Paperback Advice. Retrieved
25 Jump up
^ Best Sellers, New York Times (2008-03-02). Paperback Advice. Retrieved
26 Jump up
^ Best Sellers. New York Times (2008-12-19). Paperback Advice. Retrieved
27 ^ Jump up to:
a b Oprah Winfrey Book Pick 'A New Earth' Shatters Records. Associated
Press via Fox News (2008-02-28). Retrieved 2010-05-24.
28 Jump up
^ About Eckhart Teachings. Eckhart Tolle's official website. Retrieved
29 ^ Jump up to:
a b "Eckhart Tolle Australian TV Interview". Today Tonight, Seven Network

30 Jump up
^ Douglas Todd (2009-09-28). Dalai Lama in Vancouver: Pursuit of peace
and compassion a complex path. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
31 Jump up
^ The history of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. Official
website. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
32 Jump up
^ "Eckhart Tolle Books: Guardians of Being". Eckhart Tolle's official website.
Retrieved 2009-10-15.
33 ^ Jump up to:
a b Tolle, The Power of Now (2005 edition), p. 6
34 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 15
35 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 261262
36 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 96
37 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 27
38 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 29
39 Jump up
^ Tolle, A New Earth, p. 140
40 Jump up
^ James Rainey (2009-06-05). Jim Carrey and friends opt for consciousnessraising over Lakers. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
41 Jump up
^ Eckhart Tolle (2006). Findhorn Retreat: Stillness Amidst The World. New
World Library. ISBN1-57731-509-X.
42 Jump up
^ "Music to Quiet the Mind". Retrieved 21 July 2015.
43 Jump up
^ "Music to Quiet the Mind - track listing". Retrieved 21 July
44 Jump up
^ Eckhart Tolle Free TV. Eckhart Tolle's official website. Retrieved
45 Jump up
^ "100 Spiritual Power List by Watkins, 2011 | Esoteric News". Retrieved 2012-09-08.
46 Jump up
^ Andrea Sachs (2003-04-21). Channeling Ram Dass. Time magazine.
Retrieved 2010-05-24.

47 Jump up
^ Phipps, Carter (2000). Time is the Enemy. Enlightenment Next magazine.
Retrieved 2010-06-04.
48 Jump up
^ James Robinson (2008-03-09). Penguin borne aloft by the power of
Oprah's persuasion. The Observer. Retrieved on 2010-11-27.
49 Jump up
^ "Eckhart Tolle: Does the Mask of "Stresslessness" Hide a Deep, Bitter
Anger?". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
50 ^ Jump up to:
a b Stafford Betty (2008-04-18), "Eckhart Tolle's message is positive, but is it
Christian?". National Catholic Reporter, 44.17, p. 22(2)
51 Jump up
eckharttolleandthechristiantradition_richardrohr_2009-05-09.pdf[dead link]
52 Jump up

External links[edit]

Quotations related to Eckhart Tolle at Wikiquote

Official website
Eckhart Tolle's channel on YouTube
Milton's Secret: The Movie
Authority control
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 87035036 LCCN: n99054690 ISNI: 0000 0001 1030 5172
GND: 124905250 SELIBR: 321852 SUDOC: 121789667 BNF: cb13762310n (data)
MusicBrainz: 365b0988-a99f-49c3-a6c1-dfb442ac19e5 NDL: 00884698 NKC:
jn20020726057 BNE: XX1269038

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and timestamp 20161029080147 and revision id 744873264 <img src="//" alt="" title=""
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Categories: German expatriates in CanadaGerman self-help
writersGerman spiritual teachersGerman spiritual writersNew Age
writersNew Thought writersNew Age spiritual leaders1948 birthsLiving
peopleAlumni of the University of LondonPeople from LnenNautilus
Book Award winnersGerman male writersNondualism

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