Staff Picks: A New Earth

Available through Interlibrary Loan

Earlier in the year, I decided to read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, author of #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now. I hadn’t read any of his work before, but it had always come highly recommended. I am glad I finally did pick up A New Earth, as it’s one of the most thought-provoking and useful books I’ve read in a long time.

Tolle’s basic premise is that the reason people feel unhappy in life is because they are trapped in a cycle of repetitive thought and emotion, and, therefore, aren’t really experiencing life. According to him, you are not your thoughts, emotions, sensory perceptions, or even your life experiences. You are the awareness behind all of this, the space in which all of this occurs. Your true essence is consciousness, awareness, Presence. If you can awaken to and realize this and recognize yourself as awareness, everything which “happens” in your life becomes much more easy to deal with. This may all sound a bit conceptual, perhaps not practical, but it really does become applicable in one’s life. If you’re new to Tolle’s books, I would especially recommend reading through to at least the end of chapter 2 and then deciding whether to read on or not.

To more fully illustrate his ideas, Tolle uses quite a few quotes and examples from both the Bible and Buddhist sources. With that said, it seemed to me to be a book that people from many backgrounds could enjoy, as it is not an innately religious book. To me, reading A New Earth felt like a form of meditation which had an instant effect on my ability to remain calm in tense or annoying situations. More importantly, I think it is a great tool which can aid people in dealing with their own and others’ suffering with compassion and wisdom. ——Kalyca Schultz, Library Assistant

Check out the free webcast discussions about A New Earth between the author, Eckhart Tolle, and Oprah

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