A New Earth

By: Eckhart Tolle

Easily one of my all-time favourite books. Firstly I must say that Eckhart Tolle is a legend, the way he can break down such complex concepts into simple words is truly remarkable. In this book, he talks about an emerging consciousness-shift that all of us are inevitably part of and how we must all get rid of the Ego/Pain Bodies. Eckhart takes us through a series of actionable steps to separate ourselves from our ego and illuminates situations that most of us are probably unconscious of where the ego takes over. 


Overall, I feel every human being should read this book at least once

Summary PDF >

6 Key Takeaways

  1. To recognize one's own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.

  2. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have. And so the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting.

  3. Spiritual realization is to see clearly that what I perceive, experience, think, or feel is ultimately not who I am, that I cannot find myself in all those things that continuously pass away.

  4. Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet because it is the purpose of humanity.

  5. Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.

  6. The frequency and duration of those spaces (Focusing attention on breathing) determine your ability to enjoy life, to feel an inner connectedness with other human beings as well as nature. It also determines the degree to which you are free of ego because ego implies complete unawareness of the dimension of space.




-The greater part of human suffering is not due to natural disasters but is inflicted by humans on one another.

-the ego needs an “enemy” for its continued survival.

- Acute crises and dysfunction always precede or coincide with any evolutionary advancement or gain in consciousness.

-Make sure the present moment is your friend, not your enemy.


Chapter 1: The flowering of human consciousness


-Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence, the one indwelling consciousness

-So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless.

-When you recognize the unconsciousness in you, that which makes the recognition possible is the arising consciousness, is awakening.

-Driven by greed, ignorant of their connectedness to the whole, humans persist in behaviour that, if continued unchecked, can only result in their own destruction.

-You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness

-To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.

-Teachings that pointed the way beyond the dysfunction of the human mind, the way out of the collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of the insanity. And so religions, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people

-They realize that how “spiritual” you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness.

-A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.

-“A new heaven” is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and “a new earth” is its reflection in the physical realm.



Chapter 2: Ego, the current state of humanity 


-When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought.

-The quicker you are in attaching verbal or mental labels to things, people, or situations, the more shallow and lifeless your reality becomes, and the more deadened you become to reality, the miracle of life that continuously unfolds within and around you.

-Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much. Language consists of five basic sounds produced by the vocal cords. They are the vowels a, e, i, o, u. The other sounds are consonants produced by air pressure: s, f, g, and so forth. Do you believe some combination of such basic sounds could ever explain who you are, or the ultimate purpose of the universe, or even what a tree or stone is in its depth?

-Most of the time it is not you who speaks when you say or think “I” but some aspect of that mental construct, the egoic self. Once you awaken, you still use the word “I,” but it will come from a much deeper place within yourself.

-The unspoken assumption is that by buying this product, through some magical act of appropriation, you become like them, or rather the surface image of them. And so in many cases, you are not buying a product but an “identity enhancer.”

-Most people don’t inhabit a living reality, but a conceptualized one.

-When you can no longer feel the life that you are, you are likely to try to fill up your life with things.

-You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it’s the ego.

-Making yourself right and others wrong is one of the principal egoic mind patterns,

-How you are seen by others becomes the mirror that tells you what you are like and who you are.

-If you are aware that you are identified with a thing, the identification is no longer total. “I am the awareness that is aware that there is an attachment.” That’s the beginning of the transformation of consciousness.

-The ego wants to want more than it wants to have. And so the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting.

-Identification with gender is encouraged at an early age, and it forces you into a role, into conditioned patterns of behaviour that affect all aspects of your life, not just sexuality.

-The “inner body” isn’t really the body anymore but life energy, the bridge between form and formlessness. Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can.

-Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego.

- Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self.

- Whatever action you take in a state of inner resistance (which we could also call negativity) will create more outer resistance, and the universe will not be on your side; life will not be helpful.



Chapter 3: The core of the Ego

-Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego.

-Nonreaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.

- Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist.

- Being right places you in a position of imagined moral superiority in relation to the person or situation that is being judged and found wanting. It is that sense of superiority the ego craves and through which it enhances itself.

- “I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous thing in personal relationships as well as in interactions between nations, tribes, religions, and so on.

-The particular egoic patterns that you react to most strongly in others and misperceive as their identity tend to be the same patterns that are also in you,

- Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.

- These days you frequently hear the expression “the war against” this or that, and whenever I hear it, I know that it is condemned to failure.

-Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can only be present Now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Only Presence can undo the past in you and thus transform your state of consciousness.

-Spiritual realization is to see clearly that what I perceive, experience, think, or feel is ultimately not who I am, that I cannot find myself in all those things that continuously pass away.

-Some famous people fall into the same error and identify with the collective fiction, the image people and the media have created of them, and they begin to actually see themselves as superior to ordinary mortals. As a result, they become more and more alienated from themselves and others, more and more unhappy, more and more dependent on their continuing popularity.

-In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.


Chapter 4: Role-Playing, the many faces of ego

-The ego doesn’t know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside.

-Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in You

-Some egos, if they cannot get praise or admiration, will settle for other forms of attention and play roles to elicit them. If they cannot get positive attention, they may seek negative attention instead, for example, by provoking a negative reaction in someone else.

-When you catch yourself playing a role, that recognition creates a space between you and the role. It is the beginning of freedom from the role.

-Instead of human beings, conceptual mental images are interacting with each other. The more identified people are with their respective roles, the more inauthentic the relationships become.

-If there is unhappiness in you, first you need to acknowledge that it is there. But don’t say, “I’m unhappy.” Unhappiness has nothing to do with who you are. Say: “There is unhappiness in me.” Then investigate it.

-The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral, which always is as it is.

- See the link between your thinking and your emotions. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.

- If there is awareness in you, you no longer need to believe in every thought you think. It’s an old thought, no more.

-Suffering has a noble purpose: the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.

-The truth is that you need to say yes to suffering before you can transcend it.

-When you don’t play roles, it means there is no self (ego) in what you do. There is no secondary agenda: protection or strengthening of your self. As a result, your actions have far greater power.

-In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization.

- The ego in its blindness is incapable of seeing the suffering it inflicts on itself and on others.

-Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions.

- So, whenever there is negativity in you, if you can be aware at that moment that there is something in you that takes pleasure in it or believes it has a useful purpose, you are becoming aware of the ego directly.

- Do you often experience a feeling of discontent that could best be described as a kind of background resentment? It may be either specific or nonspecific. Many people spend a large part of their lives in that state. They are so identified with it that they cannot stand back and see

-To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for your inner state at any given moment. That means now. Ask yourself, “Is there negativity in me at this moment?” Then, become alert, attentive to your thoughts as well as your emotions. 

-Watch out for the low-level unhappiness in whatever form that I mentioned earlier, such as discontent, nervousness, being “fed up,” and so on. Watch out for thoughts that appear to justify or explain this unhappiness but in reality cause it. 

- The moment you become aware of a negative state within yourself, it does not mean you have failed. It means that you have succeeded.

- Those who are exceptionally good at what they do may be completely or largely free of ego while performing their work. They may not know it, but their work has become a spiritual practice.

-resentment of another person’s success curtails your own chances of success. In order to attract success, you need to welcome it wherever you see it.

-As the new consciousness emerges, some people will feel called upon to form groups that reflect the enlightened consciousness.Even if the members that make up those groups are not totally free of ego yet, there will be enough awareness in them to recognize the ego in themselves or in others as soon as it appears.

-the enlightened collective can be a vortex for consciousness that will accelerate the planetary shift.



Chapter 5: The Pain Body

- The greater part of most people’s thinking is involuntary, automatic, and repetitive. It is no more than a kind of mental static and fulfils no real purpose.

-Strictly speaking, you don’t think: Thinking happens to you.

-The body has an ego attached to it, and it cannot but respond to all the dysfunctional thought patterns that make up the ego. Thus, a stream of negative emotion accompanies the stream of incessant and compulsive thinking.

-We can learn not to keep situations or events alive in our minds, but to return our attention continuously to the pristine, timeless present moment rather than be caught up in mental movie-making.

-This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body.

- A vicious circle becomes established between the pain-body and your thinking. Every thought feeds the pain-body and in turn, the pain-body generates more thoughts.

- It would be hard to find a partner who does not carry a pain-body, but it would perhaps be wise to choose someone whose pain-body is not excessively dense.

- If you were not familiar with our contemporary civilization, if you had come here from another age or another planet, one of the things that would amaze you is that millions of people love and pay money to watch humans kill and inflict pain on each other and call it “entertainment.”

- If films show violence in its wider context, if they show its origin and its consequences, show what it does to the victim as well as the perpetrator, show the collective unconsciousness that lies behind it and is passed on from generation to generation (the anger and hatred that lives in humans as the pain-body), then those films can fulfill a vital function in the awakening of humanity.

-Because the ego was never as deeply rooted in a woman, it is losing its hold on women more quickly than on men.

-Spiritual practices that involve the physical body, such as t’ai chi, qigong, and yoga, are also increasingly being embraced in the Western world. These practices do not create a separation between body and spirit and are helpful in weakening the pain-body. They will play an important role in the global awakening.

- There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.

- That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges—the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.


Chapter 6: Breaking Free 

-The beginning of freedom from the pain-body lies first of all in the realization that you have a pain-body.

-Then, more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the pain-body in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotion when it becomes active.

-When it is recognized, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and renew itself through you.

- You are trapped in your own movie or dream, trapped in your own hell. To you it is reality and no other reality is possible.

- It is not the pain-body, but identification with it that causes the suffering that you inflict on yourself and others.

- It is not the pain-body but identification with the pain-body that forces you to relive the past again and again and keeps you in a state of unconsciousness.


Chapter 7: Finding who you truly are

-If peace mattered to you more than anything else and if you truly know yourself to be spirit rather than a little me, you would remain nonreactive and absolutely alert when confronted with challenging people or situations. You would immediately accept the situation and thus become one with it rather than separate yourself from it.

- How you react to people and situations, especially when challenges arise, is the best indicator of how deeply you know yourself.

- Very unconscious people experience their own ego through its reflection in others. When you realize that what you react to in others is also in you

-Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.

-Whatever you think people are withholding from you—praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on—give it to them. Don't you have it? Just act as if you had it, and it will come. Then, soon after you start giving, you will start receiving

-Ask yourself often: “What can I give here; how can I be of service to this person, this situation?”

- Often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole.

- The ego could be defined simply in this way: a dysfunctional relationship with the present moment. Welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results.

- The decision to make the present moment into your friend is the end of the ego.

- The stronger the ego, the more time takes over your life. Almost every thought you think is then concerned with past or future, and your sense of self-depends on the past for your identity and on the future for its fulfilment.

-There are three ways in which the ego will treat the present moment: as a means to an end, as an obstacle, or as an enemy.

-As long as the present moment is seen as an obstacle, there can be no end to problems.

-A vital question to ask yourself frequently is: What is my relationship with the present moment? Then become alert to find out the answer.

- Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible to you only through the portal of the present moment.

-When you bring an inner yes to the form the Now takes, that very form becomes a doorway into the formless.

-The ego is always on guard against any kind of perceived diminishment. Automatic ego-repair mechanisms come into effect to restore the mental form of “me.”

- it will immediately attempt to repair its diminished sense of self through self-justification, defence, or blaming.

-If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe.

-Refrain from attempting to strengthen the self by showing off, wanting to stand out, be special, make an impression, or demand attention.

-Humans are so consumed by the time that they have forgotten eternity, which is their origin, their home, their destiny. Eternity is the living reality of who you are.


Chapter 8 : The discovery of inner space


-Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.

-When the world is not viewed from the perspective of the formless, it becomes a threatening place, and ultimately a place of despair.

- When you are no longer totally identified with forms, consciousness—who you are—becomes freed from its imprisonment in form.

- The arising of space consciousness is the next stage in the evolution of humanity. Space consciousness means that in addition to being conscious of things—which always comes down to sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotions—there is an undercurrent of awareness.

- Another pointer to the truth in you is contained in the following statement: “I am never upset for the reason I think.”2

-Many poets and sages throughout the ages have observed that true happiness—I call it the joy of Being—is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.

- When instead of reacting against a situation, you merge with it, the solution arises out of the situation itself.

-If you take credit for what you accomplished, the ego has returned, and the spaciousness has become obscured.

-You do not awaken spiritually until the compulsive and unconscious naming ceases, or at least you become aware of it and thus are able to observe it as it happens.

- When you are present, you ask: How do I respond to the needs of this situation, of this moment?

- When instead of reacting against a situation, you merge with it, the solution arises out of the situation itself.

-All creativity comes out of inner spaciousness. Once the creation has happened and something has come into form, you have to be vigilant so that the notion of “me” or “mine” does not arise. If you take credit for what you accomplished, the ego has returned, and the spaciousness has become obscured.

- You do not awaken spiritually until the compulsive and unconscious naming ceases, or at least you become aware of it and thus are able to observe it as it happens.

-Although you cannot know consciousness, you can become conscious of it as yourself.

- Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space.

-The fact that breath has no form is one of the reasons why breath awareness is an extremely effective way of bringing space into your life, of generating consciousness.

-If you have a compulsive behaviour pattern such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths. This generates awareness. Then for a few minutes be aware of the compulsive urge itself as an energy field inside you. Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behaviour. Then take a few more conscious breaths.

-The frequency and duration of those spaces determine your ability to enjoy life, to feel an inner connectedness with other human beings as well as nature. It also determines the degree to which you are free of ego because ego implies complete unawareness of the dimension of space.


Chapter 9 : Your inner purpose


-Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet—because it is the purpose of humanity.

-Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose. It is the basis for true success.

-Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate. For most people, it is not an event but a process they undergo.

-Awareness takes over from thinking. Instead of being in charge of your life, thinking becomes the servant of awareness

- Awareness is a conscious connection with universal intelligence.

-For some, the awakening happens as they suddenly become aware of the kinds of thoughts they habitually think, especially persistent negative thoughts that they may have been identified with all of their lives.

-outer purpose alone is always relative, unstable, and impermanent. This does not mean that you should not be engaged in those activities. It means you should connect them to your inner, primary purpose so that a deeper meaning flows into what you do.

-For example, if caring for your children gives meaning to your life, what happens to that meaning when they don’t need you and perhaps don’t even listen to you anymore? If helping others gives meaning to your life, you depend on others being worse off than yourself so that your life can continue to be meaningful and you can feel good about yourself. If the desire to excel, win or succeed at this or that activity provides you with meaning, what if you never win or your winning streak comes to an end one day, as it will? You would then have to look to your imagination or memories—a very unsatisfactory place to bring some meagre meaning into your life.

-Fulfilling your primary purpose is laying the foundation for a new reality, a new earth.Once that foundation is there, your external purpose becomes charged with spiritual power because your aims and intentions will be one with the evolutionary impulse of the universe.

-Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.

-When you meet with people, at work or wherever it may be, give them your fullest attention. You are no longer there primarily as a person, but as a field of awareness, of alert Presence.

- What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now.



Chapter 10 : A New Earth


- The opportunity that the dissolution of form, and in particular, old age, represents is only just beginning to be recognized in our contemporary culture.

-Stupidity is relatively harmless, but intelligent stupidity is highly dangerous. This intelligent stupidity, for which one could find countless obvious examples, is threatening our survival as a species.

-It is not we who create, but universal intelligence that creates through us. We don’t identify with what we create and so don’t lose ourselves in what we do.

-Struggle or stress is a sign that the ego has returned, as are negative reactions when we encounter obstacles.

-The only actions that do not cause opposing reactions are those that are aimed at the good of all. They are inclusive, not exclusive. They join; they don’t separate. They are not for “my” country but for all of the humanity, not for “my” religion but the emergence of consciousness in all human beings, not for “my” species but for all sentient beings and all of nature.

-On our planet, the human ego represents the final stage of universal sleep, the identification of consciousness with form. It was a necessary stage in the evolution of consciousness.

- Awakened doing is the alignment of your outer purpose—what you do—with your inner purpose—awakening and staying awake.

-Through awakened doing, you become one with the outgoing purpose of the universe. Consciousness flows through you into this world.

-Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny. And how you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness

-The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness.

- Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly.

-Performing an action in the state of acceptance means you are at peace while you do it. That peace is a subtle energy vibration which then flows into what you do.

-if you are not taking responsibility for your state of consciousness, you are not taking responsibility for life.

-Expansion and positive change on the outer level are much more likely to come into your life if you can enjoy what you are doing already, instead of waiting for some change so that you can start enjoying what you do.

- Exercise: Activites that you do every day such as brushing, eating, showering should be used as a time to be fully present 

-Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or a vision that you work toward.

-When there is stress, it is usually a sign that the ego has returned, and you are cutting yourself off from the creative power of the universe.

-Even though you have a goal, what you are doing in the present moment needs to remain the focal point of your attention; otherwise, you will fall out of alignment with universal purpose.

-Feel how that activity enriches or deepens not only your life but that of countless others. Feel yourself being an opening through which energy flows from the unmanifested Source of all life through you for the benefit of all.

-Awakening as a future event has no meaning because awakening is the realization of Presence.