GURU RATING: 4 / 5 (GREAT)
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual guru who unexpectedly discovered his true nature after years of crippling depression.
It got so bad that he wondered whether he could continue living with himself. This created a psychological distance between ‘he’ and his ‘self’, leading to an epiphany which triggered an inner transformation.
Tolle is undoubtedly one of the most popular spiritual teachers of this age. Oprah, owner of a vast media network empire, propelled him to stardom when she featured his book in her reading club.
A simple yet powerful method
The core of his teachings is: living in the moment, the ever-present now, rather than being lost in your thought-process. Very appropriate for one who was nearly driven to suicide because of his thoughts.
Becoming a witness to your thoughts and experiences is not a new teaching. Nearly every type of meditation practice calls for it. Critics have attacked him for being derivative.
This is unfair. There are truths about the human experience that will always endure, such as the “problem” of the ego, the mind.
Tolle offers an accessible technique which can help people on an every day basis and, one hopes, lead to an expansion of consciousness. He refreshed an ancient teaching for the benefit of a modern audience.
Serving a world in need
Many spiritual teachers care very little for the suffering of the world. It is all “maya”, they say — all an illusion. Why bother?
This is a mistake. It points to the failure of expressing the gifts they have reclaimed — a failure in giving that they will have to account for.
Eckhart outlines his vision for changing the world from the inside-out in his book A New Earth: Awakening to your life’s purpose. By transforming oneself you literally change the world, one person — one thought — at a time.
If everyone followed his teachings successfully, we’d be living in a far more sane world. That’s the vision. We heartily agree and commend him for it.
The reincarnation of Meister Eckhart?
Eckhart Tolle was born Ulrich Leonard Tölle. He changed his name after his inner transformation.
Born in Germany, it’s easy to assume that he is the reincarnation of the German Christian mystic Meister Eckhart. He has never confirmed it, nor has he denied it.
Tolle explains that he had a dream where numerous books he had written were displayed but with a different name: Eckhart. He somehow knew these books were his in spite of the unusual name.
He was later shocked when a psychic whom he knew greeted him as “Eckhart” soon after he had the dream! The name felt right and he decided to change it.
One imagines that publicly acknowledging his previous incarnation would only distract his followers from his teachings.
Charging a fortune for retreats; is Eckhart a hypocrite?
Tolle reportedly charges up to $1,300 for 5 day retreats, and this does not even include the cost of food and accommodations. They can include up to 500 people. That’s a lot of money for a few days of work.
He already has a net worth of 15 million dollars. This begs the question: why does he charge so much for his time?
If Eckhart’s goal is to help elevate humanity’s consciousness, one person at a time, you’d think he’d be more generous in this regard. Or, at the very least, make all retreats freely available online. Or perhaps donate the proceeds to charity. You get the idea.
How much money is enough when you have no attachments? What’s the point of accumulating more at the expense of reaching a wider audience? Imagine someone like Buddha or Jesus charging these prices!
There’s nothing wrong with making money, even a lot of money. Money is a tool. What is he using it for? No one knows.
We give Eckhart Tolle a rating of great. He does a fantastic job of bringing an effective spiritual training technique to a wide audience. He also draws from all of humanity’s rich spiritual and religious traditions–a true world teacher.
It’s unfortunate that Tolle charges so much for his retreats, however. How much of his time is spent catering to the world’s elite, those with extra cash to burn? You’d think that he’d be interested in reaching as many people as possible. He’s got plenty of money to do so without worrying about paying rent. This keeps him from our excellent rating category.
- Official website
- Eckhart Tolle is on the rich man’s list. Is this the price of enlightenment?
- Cost of various spiritual retreats: Eckhart, Adyashanti, Mooji, Robins
“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” — Eckhart Tolle