Let go of ego

A New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle
Penguin. Pages 309. £ 11

A New EarthA New Earth and a new Awakening to your life’s purpose is a presentation from the bestselling author of The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle. A New Earth will prove to be a cornerstone for self improvement for years to come is very probable.

Tolle does not preach or mystify. There is this simplicity about his writing that breaks the myths associated with us and our environment. A New Earth is all about our personal selves and the ego that plays a role in every cause and effect. The magnitude of the ego has been brought into harsh, unrelenting light. Whether the reader responds with: "Omigosh! That’s me! Let me do something to change the way I’ve been" or simply reads on unconcerned, is his prerogative. The author has made his point—it’s the ego at work either way.

The "normal", he says, is not normal at all. It’s a state of dysfunction that’s been engendered by the mind. "To recognise one’s own insanity is the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence." To sin is to "miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskilfully, blindly and thus to suffer and cause suffering".

He shows how the ego is power-hungry and employs machinations to survive.

The book explains the power and the role of this ego with references to current phenomena with which the reader can indentify. For example, one buys into the collective identities called designer labels. "These are expensive and, therefore, ‘exclusive’. If everybody could buy these, these would lose their psychological value."

The ego’s sense of self-worth is, in most cases, bound up with the worth you have in the eyes of others and thus the ego identifies with possessing and when a person says "I don’t have enough", he is questioning his very being.

He explains how the ego strengthens itself through complaining, resentment and criticism. He challenges Descartes’ dictum: "I think therefore I am", which he says was not the ultimate truth that the philosopher thought it was, but the root of the ego. He prefers instead, Jean-Paul Sartre’s realisation that: "The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks."

Our true identity is consciousness itself rather than whatever with which the consciousness identifies. "All that is required is to be free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. This awareness is valid only to the present moment—not the past or the future. To be at peace now, one has to make peace with the present moment because that is when life has actually been happening."

Delving into the spiritual sources of the Bible, the Buddha, Zen and Hinduism, the author gives the reader a gist of his discovery.

Tolle says that every living being is a microcosmic reflection of the universe with purposes inseparable from the macrocosm. Acceptance of what happens and what you must do is a way to peace and when you make the "present moment, instead of the past or future, the focal point of your life", you will experience joy.

Surrender is the answer and the ego-free are the winners. If you want to know how to get there, this book is for you.