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Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Eckhart Tolle Show - a Critique

Who is Eckhart Tolle? Wikipedia says:

Eckhart Tolle, born Ulrich Leonard Tölle, is a spiritual teacher. He is a German-born resident of Canada best known as the author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. In 2008, The New York Times called Tolle "the most popular spiritual author in the United States". In 2011, he was listed by Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world. Tolle is not identified with any particular religion, but he has been influenced by a wide range of spiritual works. 

Tolle said he was depressed for much of his life until age 29, when he underwent an "inner transformation". He then spent several years wandering "in a state of deep bliss" before becoming a spiritual teacher. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1995 and currently divides his time between Canada and California. He began writing his first book, The Power of Now, in 1997 and it reached The New York Times Best Seller list in 2000.

The Power of Now and A New Earth sold an estimated three million and five million copies respectively in North America by 2009. In 2008, approximately 35 million people participated in a series of 10 live webinars with Tolle and television talk show host Oprah Winfrey. In 2016, Tolle was named in Oprah's SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders.

And, on his inner transformation:

One night in 1977, at the age of 29, after having suffered from long periods of depression, Tolle says he experienced an "inner transformation". That night he awakened from his sleep, suffering from feelings of depression that were "almost unbearable," but then experienced a life-changing epiphany. Recounting the experience, he says,

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or "beingness," just observing and watching.

Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that "everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic." The feeling continued, and he began to feel a strong underlying sense of peace in any situation.  He stopped studying for his doctorate, and for a period of about two years after this he spent much of his time sitting, "in a state of deep bliss," on park benches in Russell Square, Central London, "watching the world go by." He stayed with friends, in a Buddhist monastery, or otherwise slept rough on Hampstead Heath. His family thought him "irresponsible, even insane."  He changed his first name from Ulrich to Eckhart; by some reports this was in homage to the German philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart. A 2012 interview article states that he saw the name Eckhart on one of a pile of books in a dream, and knew he had written the book; soon after in real life he ran into a psychic friend who called him Eckhart out of nowhere, so he changed his name.

In my first book Meditation as an Art of Life – a basic reader, I referred to Eckhart Tolle as an inspiration. In my next book Dream Yoga, I had an article called Philosophical Practice where I referred to Tolle as one of those great masters using philosophical counseling. In another article in Dream Yoga I compared his awakening with that of Ramana Maharshi. Today I realize that all this was a mistake. In those two books I wasn´t aware of the Matrix Conspiracy. To my luck Tolle has never meant anything special to me, and I have afterwards forgotten about his books. But I have gradually become puzzled over the level of his contradictions, and how he gradually more and more came to look like those New Thought thinkers who create a spiritual myth about themselves as enlightened masters.

One of my readers, with insider experience of Tolle´s shows, has made me aware of his “half-truths”, and I needed to find the books and read them again. And with my knowledge of the Matrix Conspiracy it was now easier to spot these half-truths. There are namely a lot of valid stuff in his teachings, but these seems to be minor in relation to an overall ruling problem with his teaching.

What especially fascinated me about Tolle, was his story of transformation. The two years he spend without possessions, without money. This appealed to me in the same way as idleness appeals to me. Tolle could have been a male counterpart to Peace Pilgrim, if he had continued in that way. But in opposition to Peace Pilgrim, there isn´t really any information about this period. We only have the words of Tolle, and the question is, whether the story simply is fiction. Because his way of life today is so contradictory to this period as it can be (if you have information about this period I would really appreciate you to tell about it in the below comments area). As we shall see below, Tolle is a very clever scholar, and probably much into postmodernism. And in those circles the goal justifies the means; that is: it is alright to tell lies. And the goal is political and not spiritual. We shall see that Tolle more and more is preaching some kind of political activism, all in the disguise of spirituality. The weirdness, even surrealism, of postmodernism, can be seen more clearly in Tolle´s scholar friend, Peter Kingsley, whom I will present in the end of this article.

It has taken me quite a while accepting that we in fact see New Agers who in this way completely are constructing themselves by making a story up, and believes it is all right to do this, indeed, that it is in complete harmony with spirituality. Within the tradition of New Thought, which Tolle belongs to, there is an expression: "Fake It Till You Make It." It is a tendency with direct roots in the Sophists in ancient Greece (whom Peter Kingsley is defending).

In the Law of attraction movement (a part of New Thought), "act as if you already have it", or simply "act as if", is a central concept. In her book, The Secret, Rhonda Burne writes:

“How do you get yourself to a point of believing? Start make-believing. Be like a child, and make-believe. Act as if you have it already. As you make-believe, you will begin to believe you have received.”

We should be aware, that for example Donald Trump, is an active New Thought practitioner. Trump's stated inspiration is from Norman Vincent Peale,  one of the progenitors of the prosperity gospel of New Thought.

After the second Republican debate, when it appeared Donald Trump’s lead was finally starting to slip, and Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio were gaining traction, Trump himself, in typical fashion, appeared to only see positive signs. He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that only the polls (Time, Drudge Report, Newsmax) that showed him having picked up support mattered because they represented “the people who vote.” The happy talk was relentless: After speakers at the Emmy Awards on Sept. 20 ridiculed him, Trump told Politico that the evening had been “amazing.” More recently, Trump berated a news photographer who dared to take pictures of empty seats at one of his rallies, insisting his events were as packed as ever.

In her article, How Norman Vincent Peale Taught Donald Trump to Worship Himself, Gwenda Blair  asks: Is this guy for real? She writes:

Or more to the point, could anyone really possess that much self-confidence? There has been no shortage of explanations—a huge inferiority complex, infantile narcissism, delusional thinking—for Trump’s undying self-assurance. But as I discovered when writing a book about Donald, his father, and his grandfather, if you want to understand what goes on underneath the blond comb-over, you’d do well to look back to two crucial events in the early 1950s.

Event No. 1 occurred in October 1952, when a book appeared called The Power Of Positive Thinking. Written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and translated into 15 languages, it remained on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 weeks and sold 5 million copies. Donald was only 6 years old at the time and didn’t read the book until much later, but it quickly became important in the large Queens household in which he grew up, and it would play a critical role in his future.


Event No. 2 in the early 1950s—and in the development of Donald’s personality and style—was the emergence of modern branding. At the dawn of the 20th century, most makers of consumer products focused only on selling as much as possible. But by mid-century, manufacturers of everything from laundry soap and baked beans to automobiles and airlines were taking their focus a few steps further: concentrating not just on how much rolled off the assembly line but on polishing and enhancing the aura and attractiveness of the product.

From now on, marketers would not simply tout how well a product performed. Instead, they would study how consumers felt about the maker of the product—and they would bend every effort toward making everything associated with that name as positive and compelling as possible.

As the management theorists say: “It is not facts, but the best story that wins.” Management theory is a central part of The Matrix Conspiracy.

It is no surprise that this is something that comes from psychology. In the 1920s, Alfred Adler developed a therapeutic technique that he called "acting as if". This strategy gave his clients an opportunity to practice alternatives to dysfunctional behaviors. Adler's method is still used today and is often described as "role play". This has now, as so often with psychological methods, been extrapolated to a whole philosophy of life.

Another thing that points towards that Tolle has constructed his whole story, is his lack of understanding meditation. He doesn´t tell a word about the consequences of meditation, for example that it aims at awakening the kundalini power and the following long process of purification; a procees that can involve years of suffering and pain, especially when you like Tolle, doesn´t tell about that this is a part of the enlightenment proces. He talks as if you can go directly to enlightenment, and skip all preparatory steps. You can´t. You could think that if you can get rich, like Tolle, by making up a story, what´s the harm? Besides the obvious unethical in not telling the truth, there is  a lot of harm in not telling people what it is they are activating when they are meditating. But perhaps Tolle doesn´t even know it. As we shall see below, what Tolle is telling about meditation, is nothing more than a common known guided mindfulness technique.

I have myself been inspired by Eckhart Tolle´s concept of the pain-body, but as I began to investigate him anew, I quickly found out that this concept, which made him so attractive to so many wounded seekers, was stolen from a teacher of Tolle's named Barry Long, without giving Long any credit. The pain-body is quite an important concept in my whole teaching, and now I´m somehow glad, that I don´t need to give Tolle the credit. Moreover, my concept of the pain-body has developed away from Tolle´s purely psychological concept, into a more metaphysical concept. I have also avoided the connection with positive thinking. While Tolle is talking about that the pain-body is due to negative thinking alone, I widen this by claiming that the pain-body is a result of thought distortions, as well as deep metaphysical roots in, not only personal history, but also a collective history outside the psychological realm, for example in what the religions very precisely have called original sin and negative karma. In other words: I claim that the pain-body has its roots in a dark ancient inertia, which is beyond personal psychology and will. I therefore claim that the pain-body only can be healed through, partly preparatory spiritual practice (of which critical thinking is central), as well an intervention from an external divine source. Therefore I also advice people to find a religion that suits them (see my articles The Emotional Painbody and Why Psychotherapy Can´t Heal It, and The Value of Having a Religion in a Spiritual Practice).

As mentioned: a part of Eckhart Tolle´s half-truths is mindfulness itself. His depictions of the valuable of being in the Now, to practice neutral observation, or witness-awareness, and avoid thinking in the past and future, is of course a fully valid description of mindfulness. The half-lies begin when he is mixing this with his private ideology. What that is, we shall investigate below.

Other central aspects of his half-truths are his spiritual revisionism of the original wisdom traditions, which seems like a kind of NewSpeak. These traditions, which ought to be understood in their own context, and which he constantly is referring to, are systematically being revised into his own meditative psychologism, or guided mindfulness psychology.

All this is part of a larger show building on the New Thought movement. The success is dependent on the co-work with Oprah Winfrey, herself a New Thought promotor. The reason why I call this blog post The Eckhart Tolle Show, is because it is a kind of hypnosis show, where the New Thought ideology are being planted in your mind. If you try to pay attention to it, you will rather quickly discover that his teachings are nothing more than guided mindfulness psychology, where all thinking are cut away, based on the presumption that while you meditate you should avoid thinking. This is of course the standard terminology in any guided meditation session. You should lay away logic, critical thinking, evaluation, judgment, etc., and just relax. This is alright when this is practiced in a certain context, and as a supporting exercise. But when it is made into a philosophy as such, it becomes an ideological persuasion technique. And that´s what Tolle´s “teaching” in a nutshell is about.

Besides the spiritual revisionism, Tolle also differs radical from the traditions with what Arthur Versluis calls immediatism. In American Gurus: From Transcendentalism to New Age Religion, Versluis describes the emergence of immediatist gurus: gurus who claim they are not connected to any of the traditional religions, and promise instant enlightenment and liberation. These include Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Adi Da, and Andrew Cohen. "Immediatism" refers to "a religious assertion of spontaneous, direct, unmediated spiritual insight into reality (typically with little or no prior training), which some term "enlightenment"." According to Versluis, immediatism is typical for Americans, who want "the fruit of religion, but not its obligations."

Tolle belong to the fragment of New Thought, which is called Neo-advaita. Neo-Advaita, also called the Satsang-movement and Nondualism, is a New Religious Movement, emphasizing the direct recognition of the non-existence of the "I" or "ego," without the need of preparatory practice. Its teachings are derived from, but not authorised by, the teachings of the 20th century sage Ramana Maharshi, as interpreted and popularized by H. W. L. Poonja and several of his western students. Neo-Advaita makes little use of the "traditional language or cultural frames of Advaita Vedanta", and is in my view highly questionable due it´s its lack of preparatory training. You are not getting enlightened by attending a Tolle show, or listening to his online teachings.

So, Tolle fall into the category of New Thought and Neo-advaita teachers, which I already have examined in my Ebook: The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment and Western Idealism. In this Ebook I showed how New Age is building on Western Idealism, a monistic metaphysical doctrine which claims that only minds and mental contents exist. Complete subjectivity. From this doctrine New Age has created the idea that you can create your own reality from your thoughts or mind alone. New Age often seek to justify this by using the Eastern concept of Maya, which means illusion. Illusion is the reality others have created and which you are a slave of. Instead you should create your own reality. This is referred to as enlightenment.

In this Ebook I explained that this is a misunderstanding of Maya, which hasn´t anything to do with a thought created subjective reality, but with the lack of understanding that everything is impermanent. The Eastern concept of enlightenment is about getting free from attachment, and entering a complete objectivity, the direct opposite of idealism.

Finally, I also explained how this confusion has led New Age into a world of fantasy, relativism and even nihilism.

According to Tolle what is most urgently needed to address the thought addicted insane world is the cultivation of presence [in reality nothing more than mindfulness without philosophy]. Global transformation hinges upon awakening to our deepest, most essential being. How might one begin to discover this? As we’ve mentioned through stilling the mind or other embodiment practices. Also, “For some,” Tolle claims in A New Earth, a glimpse of awakening “will come while reading this book,” as it is “Designed to draw you into this new consciousness as you read.” He continues, “Again and again, I endeavor to take you with me into that timeless state of intense enlightenment.” If you were worried about the authenticity or truth of his teachings, he clears up the matter by stating his book “is not derived from external sources, but from the one true Source within, so it contains no theory or speculation.”

Well, with the comments to the links in the end of this blog post, I will demonstrable show, just how much theory and speculation there are in Tolle´s enlightened mind.

In his article Neo-Advaita or Pseudo-Advaita and Real Advaita-Nonduality, Timothy Conway writes on the necessity of critical thinking in a spiritual practice:

Some spiritual teachers and their disciples have become boxed into a viewpoint which constrains them to only see whatever happens as "good" or "perfect" or even as "nothing really happening," and have abandoned all capacity for evaluating phenomena and distinguishing what we can identify as the 3 levels of nondual Reality: 

--level 3: the conventional level of the "appropriate & inappropriate," "helpful and harmful," "right and wrong," "justice & injustice," "up and down," "female and male," etc.; 

--level 2: the "psychic heavenly truth" that whatever happens for all immortal souls is "perfect," the "exquisite manifestation of Divine Will," the "flawless play of Awareness" bringing these souls Home to God-Realization; and 

--level 1: Absolute Reality, wherein it is realized that whatever happens is a dream, so nothing is really happening, there are no distinct worlds, no distinct beings, no multiplicity, only GOD, only Divine Awareness.

It is a grand paradox that nondual Reality should have these different truth-levels, but such is borne out by nondually-oriented texts and teachings from sages across cultures about the nature of Reality on the conventional level, the psychic soul level, and the Absolute "level" (which is, strictly speaking, not a "level" but the sole Reality, absolutely True, while the levels 2 and 3 are "relatively true," dependent on the Absolute Reality or Parabrahman).

The relevant point here is that if people don't simultaneously honor all three of these "levels" of Reality, especially the conventional level (level 3 in the above model), they will mistakenly think that being discerning or critical—i.e., critiquing any form of thinking or behavior—is "being negative" or "deluded" or "coming from the head, not the heart." (Actually, a true sage is free to utilize both head and heart as instruments of consciousness, sensitivity, and response-ability.)

Yet critical thinking is the ancient art, expressed on the conventional level of daily reality, of assessing or evaluating beliefs and consequent behavior for the sake of the individual and common good, that which fully serves us, not weakens or imbalances us. Critical thinking can 1) identify any faulty thinking, self-deception, blind spots, distortion, misinformation, propaganda, and prejudice on the cognitive level of our views, and 2) identify external attitudes and behaviors that don't serve our private and public welfare—the commonweal; i.e., attitudes and behaviors that don’t truly free us and empower us and/or fail to accord with an ethics and value-system promoting authentic liberation, justice and fairness.

An informative Wikipedia article on the topic says that critical thinking values “clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance and fairness.” No wonder that experts in the field of psychology and education believe that our society and our schools need far more emphasis, not less emphasis, on critical thinking skills, so that we can better function from facts and sound premises, not from delusions, lies, half-truths and biases. For instance, in the realm of politics, healthcare, corporations and mass media, and certainly in the field of religion and spirituality, much more critical thinking, not less, is needed for distinguishing fact from fiction, truth from untruth, the proper from the improper, good from evil.

Ancient India hosted a healthy tradition of critical thinking and debate—debating the merits and demerits of certain philosophical and/or metaphysical positions and behavioral lifestyles. The sages of the Upanishads, the Buddha, Nāgārjuna, Śaṅkara, and other famous spiritual luminaries all strongly display this healthy tendency of constructive criticism and debate. Likewise with our ancient Greek wisdom tradition in the West. The Wikipedia article on “critical thinking” explains how any Greek-English lexicon will clarify that the verb krino- means to choose, decide or judge, and to separate or winnow the wheat from the chaff, or that which has worth from that which does not. Hence a krites or critic is one who can usefully discern, judge or arbitrate.

Jesus is alleged to have said, “Judge not, lest you be judged,” but the Gospel accounts indicate that Jesus himself frequently judged and evaluated the good from the not-good. His “judge not” message was addressed to the hypocrites, it was not meant as a general instruction to never engage in serious critical thinking. And consider how Jesus confronted the money-men and animal murderers in the temple at Jerusalem—and then he threw them outof that place.

Again, therefore, we can say that those who are kritikos, critical, have the ability to discern truth from delusion and the appropriate from the inappropriate.

An overall point to remember about critical thinking and critiquing flawed views/behaviors is that we always strive to maintain empathy and humility and a spirit of “constructive criticism.” We can steer clear of destructive criticism, and all manner of arrogance, hypocrisy and malice as we endeavor to criticize untruth and assert a greater truth.

The Eckhart Tolle Show is a hypnosis show. Just try to notice this the next time you watch one live or online. It is guided mindfulness like so many others are doing it. There is nothing more extraordinary in it than the confabulation Tolle has created about himself as an enlightened master. The danger is the New Thought ideology he, by the means of guided mindfulness and imagery, is trying to plant in your mind.

My main conclusion with this blog post is: If this is enlightenment, it is not worth striving for! Or said in another way: it seems like Tolle is half and not full. He is a brilliant advocate for the passive side of the mind (lots of valuable insights here, which I still fully support), but lacks the insight that comes from the active side (he even condems it as a "psychic illness"). He is Yin without Yang. 

I will in coming texts begin to question the concept of enlightenment itself. What is it? Does it mean that the enlightened master is an absolute source of truth and perfection, just like God? Are there degrees of enlightenment? Can an enlightened master have the same flaws as anybody else? And if so, is there any point about talking about enlightenment at all? Is the concept of enlightenment only a social construction used by con artists in order to gain power? What is a fact is that we see a rise of people claiming enlightenment, but who at the same are contradictory, and even unethical in their behavior.

I have had several people in counseling, who is suffering from spiritual crises, after being in the grip of Tolle, and other "mindfulness" teachers. Spiritual crises is apparently something these "humans of light" have no clue about what is. Is that enlightenment?

Books by Eckhart Tolle (free pdf versions): 

The Power of Now 

A New Earth

Other texts with Tolle-related comments:

My own books (free download):

Evolutionism – The Read Thread in the Matrix Conspiracy (In New Earth, Tolle defends the concept of “the evolution of consciousness” which is a contradiction of his concept of that consciousness is a state of being in the now).

The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (in this booklet I show a model of the chakra system, which includes both female and male aspects, and hereby bring about a balance between them. In The Power of Now, page 104: Why Women are Closer to Enlightenment, Tolle comes with direct sexistic claims, and shows an aversion towards male qualities (the active side of the mind, such as thinking, philosophy, logic). It shows a paradox, because he at the same time shows an aversion towards the dark aspects of life (negativity is according to Tolle a thought-created illness), which actually belongs to the Earth chakra, a feminine quality connected to the concept of Mother Earth. His fear of darkness also shows a contradiction in relation to other parts of his work, where he emphasizes the importance in embodiment. See the next link).

Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (Despite that Tolle is focusing the value of being embodied, he also claims, in The Power of Now, chapter 9, Toward a Different Order of Reality, page 124, that the body is a mind-created illusion. Nevertheless, if focusing on the body alone, without head and rational thinking, you will face severe problems. In chapter 5 of my book Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien, part 5, Hara – Rediscovering the Child Within, I warn against taking body focus alone (Hara) as the only source of truth. Because this won´t eliminate the thinker (the head), just feed the ground for subjectivism, or sophism. Promoters of Hara alone, led Zen Buddhists to support Nazism. In the denial of thinking rationally, thinking was cheating them).

My own articles:

A Course in Miracles (ACIM)) (Like Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle´s teaching is a branch on a New Thought tree coming from A Course in Miracles (ACIM), which is a New Thought history revisionist version of the teachings of Jesus Christ. For example, it denies the crucifixion, based on an idea that the body is a mind-created illusion. Take a look on this video where Tolle claims his support for ACIM. He is taken it at face value that Schucman´s teaching is the words of Jesus, and that ACIM might be the original teaching. Also note how he here again are using his spiritual revisionism in support of feminism. It is NewSpeak, old thinking versus new thinking. He don´t like the “masculine” tone in ACIM. He also claims that Schucman hadn´t any spiritual background for what she claims. This is not true. Schucman's mother Rose dabbled in Theosophy and various expressions of Christianity such as Christian Science and the Unity School of Christianity, both of which forms the Christian roots of the New Thought movement).

The Priory of Sion Hoax (an anti-Christian pseudohistorical and history revisionist conspiracy theory, which in the same way as ACIM, claims that the crucifixion of Jesus never happened, and that he had children with Mary Magdalene. Hereby it can promote the power of women in Jesus´s life).

Feminism as Fascism (feminism as fascism supports a purely subjectivist view of life. Women are described as “subjective knowers,” and that objectivity and rational thinking (the male gender) is the root of all evil. This is perfectly in harmony with Tolle´s passive mindfulness hypnosis, and his aversion towards masculinity. Also see the above links)

Oprah Winfrey (radical feminist and teacher of A Course in Miracles).

The New Thought movement and the Law of Attraction (note that chapter which examines the ethical problems of a purely subjectivist view point)

Nonviolent Communication is an Instrument of Psychic Terror (nonviolent communication is in the same way as Tolle defending a way of being where thinking is seen as something invented by the devil himself. It is again a strong “feminist” point of view. In this article I focus on the absurd consequences of such a state of no-thinking).

New Age Magazine: “Donald Trump – a Gift” (in this article I show how the concept of “The evolution of consciousness” can be used to justify anything, for example Donald Trump and ego-worship)

Quantum mysticism and its Web of Lies (on page 125 in The power of Now Tolle defends the New Age myth about that quantum physics proofs the validity of subjectivism. So much for his enlightened mind which is truth “without theory and speculation”).

Mindfulness and the Loss of Philosophy (article on the modern buzzword, mindfulness. Here I show how important philosophy (thinking) is in meditation, and how this also is seen in the original wisdom traditions. Read more about mindfulness in the next two links).

Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy and the Art of Self-deception (mindfulness is the perfect means of hypnosis, where the active side of the mind (thinking, logic) is removed). 

The Devastating New Age Turn in Psychotherapy (in this article I describe different persuasion techniques used in psychotherapy cults, both physiological and psychological persuasion techniques. Today psychotherapy cults can, if you look a bit carefully, easily be recognized in the popular mindfulness environment. In fact, the management and coaching environment are psychotherapy cults put into a social accepted system.

Hypnosis is classed as a psychological rather than a physiological method because it is essentially a form of highly focused mental concentration in which one person allows another to structure the object of the concentration and simultaneously suspends critical judgment and peripheral awareness. When this method is used in cultic environment, it becomes a form of psychological manipulation and coercion because the cult leader implants suggestions aimed at his own agenda while the person is in a vulnerable state. Mindfulness induced relaxation is of course ideal for this goal.

Trancelike states can occur during hypnosis, during complete absorption in reading or hearing stories, and during marked concentration. They are sometimes referred to as altered states of consciousness. A number of cults use techniques that put people into an altered state of consciousness, making them more compliant. They engage members in a fair amount of behavior that induces trances, as evidenced by the types and quality of the lectures and sermons and the required activities, such as prolonged chanting or meditation, and repetitive rote behavior. Trance induction is the model for some of the maneuvres used by cult leaders to change the attitudes and behaviors of their followers.

Guided Imagery is an indirect trance induction which grows out of storytelling and other verbal experiences. Cult leaders often speak repetitively, rhythmically, in hard-to-follow ways, and combine with these features the telling of tales and parables that are highly visualizable. They use words to create mental imagery, commonly called guided imagery. In these guided-imagery exercises, the listener is urged to picture the story being told. The speaker may say, “Stop reflecting. Just go with the picture.” Those who do stop reflecting on their nearby circumstances and go with the picture suddenly feel absorbed, relaxed, and very focused. And guided-imagery stories lead many people to experience altered states of consciousness. For many persons, entering a trance state is pleasurable. It provides a respite from thought about the woes of everyday life

A considerable number of different guided-imagery techniques (for example reading poetry or being in regression psychotherapy) are used by cult leaders and trainers to remove followers from their normal frames of reference.

You don´t need much awareness in order to discover how all of the above are present in Tolle´s teachings, especially in his talks and online programs, but actually also in his books. Note how he begins his books with that now you should let all critical thinking go, and just flow with the text, and allow the message to enter your mind. This is substantiated by his story about himself as an enlightened master, and therefore the source of truth itself. He even tell you this).

Plastic Shamanism versus the Traditional Shamanic Awakening (in this article I warn about the New Age colonialism and imperialism, which is coming in the wake of the emphasis on Nietzsche´s “re-evaluation of all values.” Tolle is again and again talking about that it is necessary to redefine the original wisdom traditions, without any respect for people who lives within these).

Spiritual Placebo (here I show how easy it is to become a worshipped Guru, just by supporting the politically correct spirituality, namely New Age)..

Peter Kingsley - Another Story Waiting to Pierce You (Tolle has written positive reviews of Kingsley´s books, and in this article you can see how they both share the same ideas. They might very well have met as scholars in England, and been interested in the same intellectual topics. In contrast to Kingsley, Tolle doesn´t talk much about how much a scholar he in fact is, and how much intellectual speculation there is lying behind his guru practice. If you have information about the relation between Tolle and Kingsley, please tell about it in the comments area).

Relevant critical articles by others:

Eckhart Tolle is on the Rich Man’s List. Is this the price of enlightenment?, by Christopher Titmuss (the contradiction between Tolle´s teaching of simple living, and his own aggressive money-making business, is just over the top).

An Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle - A Christian Response to Eckhart Tolle’s: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Lifes’ Purpose, by Dr. Ron Woodworth (in this article Woodworth refers to the concept of the anti-Christ, a concept I have investigated with my own concept of the  666 conspiracy – see for example my article The Conspiracy of the Third Eye).

Why Eckhart Tolle´s Evolutionary Activism Won´t Save Us, by Be Scofield. Brilliant examination of the absurdity of Tolle´s evolutionary activism, which is based on a subjectivism characterized by a complete lack of social consciousness. We have already suggested that activism in connection with Tolle is a contradiction. How can you be an activist without any sense of historical, social, and cultural problems, as well as political issues? And even worse: in condemning thinking? Tolle avoids discussing it by referring to such problems as illusions created through thinking. “Stop thinking and all problems in the world will disappear”, is the message of Eckhart Tolle in all its hypnotic narrow-mindedness. Tolle falsely believes that developing a still mind supports his social and political positions. Tolle is suggesting that what, for example, communists needed and what environmental polluters need is internal spiritual transformation – not education, training, relationship building, diversity training, political understanding, environmental awareness or anything else. But a still mind doesn´t change people´s ideologies. We have seen that with the Zen masters who supported Nazi Germany. As Scofield says: "What happens when you still a busy mind in Nazi, Germany? You have a still minded person living in and supporting an oppressive state. Same goes for Imperialistic countries like the United States". Maybe the real problems of the world are due to precisely this: that people don´t think).


  1. Please check The Power of Now, Chapter 5, pag 64 - Everything that exists has Being….and “Highlights of Adi Shankaracharya teachings” in
    You are not your thoughts/Only the present moment exists/Accept the present moment/Observe the pain-body/Everything that exists has Being….(please continue reading this paragraph and compare)

  2. In this talk with Tolle and the Dalai Lama:
    Eckhart Tolle refers to Gladwells 10.000 hour rule, that he had read in Gladwells book. Obviously Tolle does not know, that the 10000 hour rule that he refers to is total bogus, fake news, a lie, that Gladwell invented. Read more about it here:
    funny enough it is on - the news channel which is "my (Tolles) and his holiness (Dalai lama) favourite news channel" (quote from the video).
    It is a fact, that Tolle just reproduces BS that he takes from other sources. For someone who in his own words is immersed in the absolute truth, this is quite a surprise. Or in other words: It is proof, that he knows little to nothing about this truth.
    In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says: "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
    It is my, and Jesuses, strong believe, that this is enough to be in the presence of the absolute, the devine or whatever you want to call it: Two humans gathering in the name of the brahman - is enough.
    No need for these clowns on the stage like Tolle, Byron Katie, Gurumayi, the dalai lama and so on.
    The insights and breakthroughs on satsangs with these clowns happen, because people take the effort and commitment to meet with others in the name of the absolute truth.
    The clowns are just taking the credit for it, and the money.

  3. I love the wisdom Eckhart is sharing with the world. Always full of love light and wisdom. We have so much to learn from him. Jalai

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  5. well. I actually don't agree with you and your academic approach, eve since he is not claiming to be anything other that 'preaching' his truth... Also, I don't believe there's one RIGHT way to meditate or so. he speaks about being in the present moment.m

  6. this is so typical danish .. lol


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