Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle

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.

Eckhart with the Dalai Lama

Eckhart with the Dalai Lama

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?

Meister Eckhart - he kind of looks like Tolle!

Meister Eckhart – he kind of looks like Tolle!

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.

Our rating

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.



“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” — Eckhart Tolle


9 Comments

  1. Thank you. Most of all I think I like how he is not overloading the world with more spiritual products, trainings, organizational structures, etc…. I bet he is very rich, but he still seems so humble. I genuinely think he wants to help the world rather than enrich his own ego or pocket book!

  2. He has written some good books for beginners, but his platitudes are fairly inaccurate or meaningless. He is the epitome of a best selling guru, but you must be a beginner to get anything from him.

  3. Doubting what Eckhart Tolle is doing with his money is doubting the CONSCIOUSNESS that he IS. All the books and even the planning and execution of the retreats are the creation of that consciousness.

    There is no use trusting a Master 80%. Trust is either 100% or nothing at all. Please make a self introspection as to whether you people are conscious enough to rate gurus or not.

  4. Eckhart is my teacher. I am learning to have a day-to-day, moment-to-moment increase in consciousness by listening to his talks in my headphones as I go about my day. He is the Light, to me.

  5. Sameer, Let’s assume you know how rife with paradox form emanating from nonform is. Let’s not be so black and white about human Advaita teachers. Eckhart and/or foundation has amassed 15 million or more. What’s the purpose? I adore Eckhart message but is he now somebody’s cash cow? Looks like it. Let’s look at J. Krisnmurti as comparison. World teacher, Spoke to crowds of 2 to thousands all over the world. Operated mostly on grants and donations. Possibly the greatest nondual spiritual teacher in the 20th century. Certainly out popularized Ramana by millions. Screwed his mentors wife for 20 or so years behind everyone’s back and was derisive of close friends outside of ear shot. This is not rumor but reported by multiple sources close to him while alive. Krishnamurti was given to fancy clothes and flashy cars. Observed given to incredibly petty arguments. Yet take away his personality and personal history and his many books reveal insights that could be sequels to the Dhamapada. So please, be careful to critique the enlightened master. After all they are human as you and I.

  6. Looking at the guru ratings there are a lot more gurus to add to the list living and dead looking to scientology, transcendental meditation and the Hari Krishnas
    How do the human gurus score points where is the criterion
    How to psychoanalyse and guru ?
    Guru means teacher spiritual teacher but what if that includes other beings such as angels it is known that evil angels use humans as puppets who come as false prophets.
    The question is who is a false guru how to spot one
    Check out the one who calls himself sat guru isha foundation

  7. Sorry but the dead guru can do nothing and the living one might confuse you even more especially if your new age junkie
    Addicted to guru junkie consumer books sold for profit by large corporations ?

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