Eckhart Tolle’s Advice For Waking Up and Living Your Best Life

An excerpt from ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose’

114 million years ago, conditions on Earth were most likely not yet favorable for flowers. Yet the first flower ever to appear on the planet opened up to receive the rays of the sun. A critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there was an explosion of color and scent all over the planet.

As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked in some way to survival. Humans feel such fascination for and affinity with flowers’ ethereal qualities. They have provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics.

That first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. They would become for us an expression of what is most high, most sacred within ourselves.

Similarly, some rocks — impenetrable, the densest of all forms — undergo a change in their molecular structure and turn into crystals or diamonds; and some crawling reptilians, the most earthbound of all creatures, have grown feathers and wings and turned into birds, defying the force of gravity and transcending crawling and walking entirely.

Can human beings transform into diamonds?

Once there is a certain degree of still and alert attention in human beings’ perceptions, they can sense the divine life essence or spirit in every life-form, recognize it as one with their own essence, and so love it as themselves.

Until this happens, most humans see only the outer forms, unaware of the inner essence, just as they are unaware of their own essence and identify only with their own physical and psychological form. But when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal, or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you — an inner opening, however slight, into the realm of spirit.

This is why these three “en-lightened” life-forms have played such an important part in the evolution of human consciousness and the great wisdom teachings of humankind since ancient times. The jewel in the lotus flower is a central symbol of Buddhism; and a white bird, the dove, signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity. They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness that is destined to take place in the human species.

Those early messengers—Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known—were humanity’s early flowers. They were precursors, rare and precious beings. Their message became largely misunderstood and often greatly distorted. It certainly did not transform human behavior, except in a small minority of people.

Is humanity more ready now than at the time of those early teachers? And what can you do, if anything, to bring about or accelerate this inner shift?

Begin now by seeing yourself clearly

For many who may not even have realized it, the process of awakening has already begun. For some, it may have begun through loss or suffering; for others, through coming into contact with a spiritual teacher or teaching, through reading The Power of Now or some other spiritually alive and therefore transformational book—or any combination of the above.

An essential part of awakening is recognizing the unawakened you, the ego as it thinks, speaks, and acts—as well as the conditioned mental processes that perpetuate that state. You cannot fight against the ego and win; it will trick you into identifying with it again and again. It will take you over, an imposter pretending to be you.

But when you recognize the unconsciousness in you, that is your consciousness awakening. It is the act of recognition itself that is one of the ways in which awakening happens.


Start taking more of the steps Eckhart Tolle recommends by participating in Oprah’s online classes. The above is an excerpt from Chapter One of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Copyright © Eckhart Tolle, 2005 Republished with permission of Penguin Books Ltd.

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