STILLNESS SPEAKS

Eckhart Tolle, Author . New World Library $17 (160p) ISBN 978-1-57731-400-4

Some readers of this slim follow-up to the bestselling The Power of Now may be alarmed that the seemingly wise and gentle Tolle writes in the introduction that his new work "can be seen as a revival for the present age of the oldest form of recorded spiritual teachings: the sutras of ancient India." Tolle explains that the Vedas and Upanishads, as well as the words of the Buddha, the parables of Jesus and the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching can be thought of as sutras in the sense that they share a brevity that "does not engage the thinking mind more than is necessary." Like those great sacred works, Tolle continues, his writings come from inner stillness. "Unlike those ancient sutras, however, they don't belong to any one religion or spiritual tradition, but are immediately accessible to the whole of humanity." Repeating what has become a familiar if no less ominous note in contemporary spiritual life, he adds that this unprecedented accessibility is due to the urgent need for humanity to wake up if we are not to destroy ourselves. It is the stillness that is our common Being—which is the formless container for what is happening in the now—"that will save and transform the world." In the brief chapters that follow, Tolle describes stillness with eloquent economy. Beautiful stand-alone paragraphs offer insight into the defensive nature of the ego versus what he sees as our true being, the attentive, receptive mind behind thought, the spaciousness and peace that blossoms inside when we accept what is, including death. "Your unhappiness ultimately arises not from the circumstances of your life but from the conditioning of your mind." No one will doubt that Tolle has freed himself from nagging thoughts and fears. But the rest of us? (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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