This book is incredibly profound and life-changing. I started it months ago and have been reading it slowly ever since, and I see how it has changed tThis book is incredibly profound and life-changing. I started it months ago and have been reading it slowly ever since, and I see how it has changed the way I see and respond to people and situations. I learned so much about true success, relationships to others and to the self, and presence from this book—but it is still one thing to know, and another to put it into practice (which is a life-long undertaking). The ideas may not be the most original, but it draws upon different spiritual and philosophical practices to create something accessible and well-organized. The concepts are simple, but they can be hard to grasp at first.
The ego is at the root of human suffering, which is why suffering will never cease regardless of how much society progresses. Tolle illuminates why the most outwardly successful people have the most internal struggle, how language and thoughts impede being, and how to live in a world with less ego through inner awareness. The only way to improve the human condition is if we all awaken to the lessons presented in this book—the ego is with us always and will always remain. Thus, awareness is the only way through.
Some favorite quotes/takeaways: - Experience: “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” - Self-worth: “The ego’s sense of self-worth is in most cases bound up with the worth you have in the eyes of others. You need others to give you a sense of self, and if you live in a culture that to a large extent equates self-worth with how much and what you have, if you cannot look through the collective delusion, you will be condemned to chasing after things for the rest of your life in the vain hope of finding your worth and completion of your sense of self there.” - Having vs being: “The ego identifies with having, but its satisfaction in having is a relatively shallow and short-lived one. Concealed within it remains a deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, of ‘not enough.’ ‘I don’t have enough yet,’ by which the ego really means, ‘I _am_ not enough yet.’” - Response to tragedy: “Whenever tragic loss occurs, you either resist or you yield. Some people become bitter or deeply resentful; others become compassionate, wise, loving. Yielding means inner acceptance of what is. You are open to life. Resistance is an inner contraction, a hardening of the shell of the ego. You are closed.” - Superiority/inferiority: “Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you” - The pain-body and collective trauma: “The pain-body, however, is not individual in nature. It also partakes of the pain suffered by countless humans throughout the history of humanity, which is a history of continuous tribal warfare, of enslavement, pillage, rape, torture, and other forms of violence This pain still lives in the collective psyche of humanity and is being added to on a daily basis, as you can verify when you watch the news tonight or look at the drama in people’s relationships. The collective pain-body is probably encoded within every human’s DNA, although we haven’t discovered it there yet.” - Feminine power and pain-body: “…the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women. The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain. In fact, it has become part of their pain-body, together with the accumulated pain suffered by women over millennia through childbirth, rape, slavery, torture, and violent death.” - Purpose: “When you look upon what you do or where you are as the main purpose of your life, you negate time.” - Quality as the key to success: “There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which come with awareness. Quality requires your Presence.” - Being and success: “When doing becomes infused with the timeless quality of Being, _that_ is success.” - Perception and interconnectedness: “when we perceive without interpreting or mental labeling, which means without adding thought to our perceptions, we can actually still sense the deeper connectedness underneath our perception of seemingly separate things.”...more