Oprah Webcast (Chapter 1) Transcription Excerpt


OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): A World Wide Web event.

ANNOUNCER: Brought to you by Chevy; technologies that go from gas friendly to gas free. Sponsored in part by Post-it Flags; find out what matters fast. Sponsored in part by Skype; bringing people closer with video calling.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Welcome to our very first live world wide interactive event. We are here tonight breaking new ground. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before. Right now you all are online with me from every corner on our planet.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Places like Albania, Bolivia, Cambodia, Ecuador, Finland, Hong Kong, China, India, Zimbabwe, Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the rest of Europe. Along with, of course, all 50 states here in our United States of America. Over 139 countries are represented in our class tonight. Welcome to you all.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So I want to get started. This is the most exciting thing I've ever done. I've done a lot of things in my life, but I am most proud of the fact that all of you have joined us in this global community to talk about what I believe is one of the most important subjects and -- presented by one of the most books of our time; “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I don't think there's anything more important than awakening and also knowing what your purpose is. And for the next ten weeks, author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and I will be here in our virtual classroom here on Oprah.com every Monday; 8:00 p.m. Be on time for class. 8:00 p.m. Central.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): We're gonna be answering your e-mails. We're gonna be having a conversation about each chapter and taking your calls from around the world and your emails from around the world, and seeing some of you around the world through our Skype phones. I'm sure you’ve already noticed that you can type in your questions on the right side of your screen and send that to us instantly.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And we will, you know, we have a whole team of people here who are ready, waiting, standing by to take your calls and e-mails. And of course I'm honored to introduce the author of this great book, "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose;" Eckhart Tolle.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Thank you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Good to be here.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): How exciting this is.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yeah.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): It’s very good. Okay. So let's get class started. The way we're going to work the class is that we will have a conversation and take your calls and your questions whenever we feel appropriate. First of all, I wanted to just talk to you about how this book came to you. I was introduced to this book several months ago when I was interviewing Eckhart Tolle on XM Radio. I have a show on XM Radio.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Not many people know about it, but it's called, “The Soul Series.” And on that show I get to talk to anybody I choose, and I choose to speak to people who represent this kind of thinking, this genre of spirituality. And we talk about the soul. So I was interviewing Eckhart Tolle several months ago about his book, “The Power of Now,” because that's really all I knew about Eckhart Tolle, was “The Power of Now.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I call you “the father of now;” “The Power of Now,” which that book was a life-changing book for me. Given to me many years ago, about eight years ago by Meg Ryan who was on the show. And the producer, Corny came in and said, well, as I was preparing, she said there's this other book he's written called “A New Earth.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And I just had time to thumb through “A New Earth,” and not really give it its due, because I was focused on reading “The Power of Now” and talking to you about that. And after our interview, started to read this book, and it was absolutely, I felt the shift that you talk about that you say on page seven that this will be meaningless to you or you will feel the shift. I started to feel the shift.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And one of the things that really occurred to me as I was going through various chapters and having ah-hah, ah-hah, ah-hah moment after another, is what a clear – how clear this message is. What a clear channel it seemed to come through for you. It was like I’d never, you know, didn't know you or hadn't met you in person, even through the radio, we weren't sitting in the same studio.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): How did this come to be? How did this come through you – to you?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Well, it comes out of the space of stillness and that's where all creative endeavor is born. So it's getting in touch with the stillness within, where there's no mental noise, and out of that stillness, when the time is right, sometimes an impulse comes. Something – a feeling, a strong sense that something wants to be born into this world.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): I had the same strong sense before writing “The Power of Now.” That was 13 years ago when I started writing it. I had left England. I was living in England, and I had this strong impulse one morning, and I was in England still, knowing I had to move to the west coast of North America without knowing why.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): This was just a feeling you had.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, a strong knowing. So it's not through a decision-making process, just the realization, I have to move there. I don't know why, but I have to go. It was such a total – no, absolutely no doubt about it. So I moved to Vancouver and then I took a Greyhound bus to California, knew only one or two people, and I said, “Why am I here?”

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Three weeks passed, somebody put me up in a room near San Francisco, and suddenly this came. I bought a notepad and suddenly the strong stream came through and I wrote, “What is Enlightenment?” The beginning of “The Power of Now.” The moment I wrote that, I knew this is the book that wants to be born. So rather than me wanting to write a book, there was a book that wanted to be written. And I…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): It’s like Michelangelo says the angel’s in the marble and he just cuts away the marble.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. So and I find, I’ll come back to that in a second, for most people that is the approach to what is my purpose, to look at what the greater purpose is, what does the greater purpose want from me? What does life or god want from me? Rather than, what do I want from life?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So that's the starting point. I know that sometimes in New Age you have the question, well what do you want? It's fine to ask that question, but a more powerful question is, what does life want from me? How do I fit into the – what is the totality? What is my place within the whole?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So this is how it started, as knowing that this is what life wants from me. The book wants to be born and the same thing happened later with the new earth, again, a similar sense of oh, there’s another book that wants to come. I didn't know why because everybody told me, well, you’ve said it all in “The Power of Now,” why write another book?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And I, intellectually I couldn't have answered, why am I writing another book? And it happened.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And it happened. Were you asking life, universal energy? I don't know. What do you call that? As a word do you – I call it “God.” What do you, what word do you use for that?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Consciousness…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Were you asking consciousness, were you saying, what do you want from me?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. There was a time for quite a few years, I lived in England and I just did some spiritual teaching on a very small scale, sometimes little workshops and so on.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I read in the paper today, in the USA Today where you said you started out with 10 or 12 people in people's homes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, for quite a while I would teach in people's living rooms, invited a group of friends, and this was the beginning of informal spiritual teaching. And as I said to the person who interviewed me, this is coming full circle now because now I'm back in people's living rooms; just more of them.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Just more of them. I think we have more than 10 or 12 joining us this evening. And so the book, would you sit and, you know, passages would come to you? Would you, you know, actively get up at a certain time and say I'm going to write today? Or know what you were going to write before it was written?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): No, not knowing it beforehand, but every day there was a space for writing. Every morning and until 2:00 in the afternoon or so, the space was set aside for writing. That was the writing space. And there were days when the flow was not very strong so maybe only a few lines got written or even none at all.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Nevertheless, I always honored that space of, I'm ready for the writing to happen. I'm not saying that the writing happened automatically. My mind was involved. It wasn't a channeled book as such. It was inspired, but not channeled, so it involved my thinking processes too.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): But the thinking process had to be inspired from something deeper. You can't rely on your thinking processes only to – and produce something that is powerful and original.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So already you've shared with us that in order to awaken to your life's purpose, one of the key things we must do is not try to tell life what our purpose is, not go around even, I don't know, trying to define for ourselves. Because a lot of people say many times, I've done, you know, seminars across the country, and they'll say, I don't know what my purpose is. You're saying you must ask life what purpose does it have for you.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. And the answer may not immediately come, very important part of asking life so that you can be ready to receive the answer, is to practice inviting moments of stillness into your life so that you're not continuously absorbed in the incessant mental noise that we call thinking; most of which is unnecessary and repetitive.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So to find spaces of stillness is vital if you want to get to the place where the answers are potentially. So for quite a few years when I lived in England and did spiritual teaching on a small scale, sometimes I would say okay, they could do much more. There's much more that I could do, I said, to life, I'm ready.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And but life just waited and waited and the answer didn't come for several years until that morning when he said, “Move.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Move. Move. Move to Vancouver.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, and why did I have to move to write it there? I didn't realize that, that every place, Vancouver and California, that's where “The Power of Now” was written, I was moving back and forth. I didn't have a home as such. I stayed with friends moving back and forth.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And so only later I realized I had to move because the energy field on the west coast, this is what I needed for the book to be born. The energy field in England, although I love England, I have a deep inner connection with England. The energy I felt there was not right for – in my personal case, for this book to have come out.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Wow.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So I only realized that after I had to go back to England and then I stayed in a community because I didn't have a home of my own anymore, and I wanted to continue writing but I couldn't do very much there because why can't I continue to – the stream stopped. I could only do editing and correction that was necessary too.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): But only when I went back to the west coast, my visa had expired, I had to go to England. When I went back, immediately the flow came back. And I said, oh, now I know why I had to move. So it's often trusting life when a very strong impulse comes. But you may have to wait. It doesn't mean that you necessarily immediately obey every impulse. Because impulses can also come from more superficial levels within yourself, and…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): But you were wise enough to know the difference; you had discernment.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes, to know the difference.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, it's so interesting because you, in the beginning of “A New Earth,” start out talking about a flower. And I've heard many people who’ve, because I go on the message boards every day. I'm loving you on the message boards, everybody. And many people are saying that they look at flowers differently now.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I can certainly say that I do. And one of the things that you said that struck me when you said that they are representatives of the spiritual realm, and that when you are still, allow yourself to be still with a flower, or a crystal, or a bird, or really anything of nature.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): But you used a flower specifically because…

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. Because a flower is – nature on the whole is a beautiful access point into inner stillness, if you can be there fully present. But a flower is even, everything…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): You say “messengers from another realm.”

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, like messengers. A flower is very much more fragile than a plant. It is more fleeting; ethereal, I think is the word; more ethereal. So it has less density to it than most other things. And because of the lack of density, it's almost as if spirit could flow through it more freely.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So when you contemplate a flower without too much interference of the thinking mind; to actually truly look. This is what Jesus said, by the way. I mean in churches you’ll hear; will hear Jesus saying, “Look at the lilies of the field.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And so when he said that, he wasn't just saying, “Look at the lilies of the field.” He said, “look.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Aren’t they pretty? Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): He said, look, you really have to look because there is something that they embody something that you also have. But because of all your anxiety about tomorrow and you’re thinking, I'm translating very freely now, what Jesus said.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Why are you – these flowers are not anxious, they have no – they are not concerned about tomorrow and see how beautiful they are. How god clothes them in such beauty. And you can live like that also. So he used this natural realm and flowers to get people in touch with the dimension of depth within men.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well what's very interesting to me about all of this is that when I read that the first time, I thought it was, you know, a beautiful passage. And then I read it a second time, and awakened a little bit more, and started to look at nature differently. You know, I have, you know, live in a lovely space where I'm surrounded by flowers, not in a Chicago.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): But in California, and you know, always just appreciated the garden. Aren't they lovely in all the different colors, and the roses, and all that? And then I decided to move into the garden without naming it. What if I were like a babe?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): What if I were a babe, you know, learning what a flower was for the first time? What if I went out under the oaks that I love so much but I didn't know it was an oak, I didn't know what to call it. And I shared this at one of our after shows. That for the first time, and I’ve loved trees all of my life, and the sense of power and stillness they represent. But by not naming those things in nature, that I felt a magical presence. I felt a sense of majesty, and power, and strength, and connection that I’d never felt before.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Because I didn't give it a name.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, that's the key.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes. I didn't give a name or have a reference for everything that a tree has meant in my life.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): That's right.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Isn’t it?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): That’s right. So being present with the perception. And this theme runs, it's perhaps the main theme running through the whole book, is that state where the compulsive naming of things…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And you start with nature because that’s easier to let go of the naming. Later, we'll be talking about that in some…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah. Stop labeling people and situations.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, that’s more difficult because people invite the labels because there's so much mind in everybody. And they label you and you label them. So, but with nature, this is the starting point to find a different relationship to nature. It doesn't mean that you need to forget what you have learned about trees or about flowers. When it's necessary, you can get that knowledge and you’d use it.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): But not to be totally in the grip of what you have learned of mental labels, of interpreting mentally, but being able to perceive. One could call it, “perceive the flower.” See it through a background of just stillness.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Just stillness.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Which is really consciousness.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well I will tell you, it's an amazing, for all of – those you’ve who tried this and I know some of you have because you’ve e-mailed us and said so. But when you start to walk through a park and, or walk in your backyard, or begin to – and you're right, it's easier with nature than with people.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And pretend that you don't know or just let yourself be in the space without labeling the things, it's just, everything's vibrating and it's like, you know, scintillating, and…

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Everything's exciting.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. And that’s…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Everything’s exciting.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, and then you…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): A walk through the park…

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): That’s right.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): …becomes exciting and it's the same path you've always taken.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. And before when you were involved in your mind…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Perhaps you didn't even see it.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Never saw it, yeah.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And so many people are so trapped in this continuous mental noise that absorbs their whole attention all the time. Every thought absorbs the stream of thinking, absorbs their attention, they don't see that the world around them is vitally alive.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So you become gradually, as you – people then grow older, the world around them becomes more and more lifeless and dead.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Right. Right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And that happens to them also.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And why is that? Because?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): That’s just because you are run by mental abstraction. All the concepts and the thoughts on that are abstractions, it's not alive.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So you can't take in the information that's there to be received all around you because you're so – you're in your head.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): You're in your head. You're not present.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): All right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So you're lost in thought. One could say that’s the human condition, is being lost in thought. And people don't – because it's the famous, what we call, the voice in the head.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): A voice in that head.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): That some people have been asking about.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Which we'll be talking a lot about the voice in the head.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So some people say what voice in the head? It’s that one.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): It's that one. All right, so Kelly from Alton, Illinois joins us via Skype. Kelly? Hi. KELLY (ILLINOIS): Hi Oprah. Hi Eckhart.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Hello.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Hi, what’s your question? KELLY (ILLINOIS): Thank you for having me.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, good. Where are you? Home? KELLY (ILLINOIS): I’m at home.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Okay, good. This is the coolest thing. Isn’t this cool? KELLY (ILLINOIS): It is crazy.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Oh it’s crazy. That's what I think. It’s crazy that we're like out here wherever this is talking to each other. Okay, what's your question? KELLY (ILLINOIS): Well, my question is regarding religion and spirituality.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Big one. KELLY (ILLINOIS): I had a Catholic upbringing, I married a Catholic, and we’re raising our children this way. In reading books such as Tolle's, I’ve really, it’s really opened my eyes up to a new way of thinking; a new form of spirituality that doesn't always align with the teachings of Christianity. So my question is to you, Oprah, how have you reconciled these spiritual teachings with your Christian beliefs?

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Oh, the question's to me. I was resting knowing it was going to about – I’ve reconciled it because I was able to open my mind about the absolute indescribable hugeness of that which we call “God.” I took God out of the box because I grew up in the Baptist church and there were, you know, rules and, you know, belief systems indoctrined.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And I happened to be sitting in church in my late 20's and I was going to this church where you had to get there at 8:00 in the morning or you couldn't get a seat. And a very charismatic minister, and everybody was just, you know, into the sermon. And this great minister was preaching about how great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent, and God is everything.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And then he said, and the lord thy god is a jealous god. And I was, you know, caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said “jealous.” And something struck me. And I was like, I think about 27 or 28. I was thinking God is all, God is omnipresent, God is – and God’s also jealous? God is jealous of me?

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And something about that didn't feel right in my spirit because I believe that god is love and that god is in all things. And so that's when the search for something more than doctrine started to stir within me. And I love this quote that Eckhart has, this is one of my favorite quotes in chapter one where he says, “Man made god in his own image, the eternal, the infinite, and unnamable was reduced to a mental idol that you had to believe in and worship as my god or our god.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Now I think that's very eloquently put by Eckhart Tolle in chapter one. But that is exactly what I was feeling when I was, you know, sitting in church that Sunday listening to the preacher. And you know, it's been a journey to get to the place where I understand, as I said on the pre-show here, that what I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): That Jesus came to show us the way of the heart and that what Jesus was saying that to show us the higher consciousness that we're all talking about here. Jesus came to say, “Look I'm going to live in the body, in the human body and I'm going to show you how it's done.” These are some principles and some laws that you can use to live by to know that way. And when I started to recognize that, that Jesus didn't come in my belief, even as a Christian, I don't believe that Jesus came to start Christianity.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So that was also very helpful to me. And as I said earlier in the preshow here, there is a wonderful book called, “Discover the Power Within You” by Eric Butterworth, which helped me reconcile the two. So that might be really good for those of you who are Christian and trying to balance the two. What would you say?

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Because one of the things that Eckhart says in the beginning of this book on page six is this book’s main purpose is not to add information or beliefs to your mind, or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness. That is to say, to awaken. He says that on page six. And one of the reasons why I appreciate him so much is because he truly isn't out to become your next guru. He doesn't want, you know, all of you who are online with us tonight and those millions who will now hear about this book, he's not interested in being your guru, correct?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, correct.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah. How would you respond to that? That's one of the biggest questions that we have coming into our message boards about the same thing that Kelly is addressing here from Alton about spirituality and religion. This is not trying to tell you how to believe. And how do you advise people to reconcile this with their religious beliefs?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Well, religion can be an open doorway into spirituality and religion can be a closed door. It prevents you from going deeper. So that I love reading the New Testament and I also read the old Testament. Sometimes there’s some incredible jewels in there. And when I went through this inner transformation and for the first time accidentally I picked up a copy of the New Testament at my mother's place.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): And I started reading and I immediately recognized the deep truths that is there and I realized the truth that is deeper, that is expressed in what Jesus said is much deeper than what you, how the church interprets it. There’s a depth to it. And it reflects your own depth when you read it. So there’s no conflict between this teaching, which is purely spiritual, and any religion.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Because if you go deep enough in your religion, then you all get to the same place. It's a question of going deeper so there's no conflict here. The important thing is that religion doesn't become an ideology, so I believe this. And the moment you say “only my belief” or “our belief” is true, and you deny other people's beliefs, then you've adopted an ideology. And then religion becomes a closed door. But potentially religion can also be an open door.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, let me share this with you too, Kelly. There's another book by a woman named Elizabeth Lesser, it's called, “The Seeker's Guide,” where she talks about the new spirituality versus the old. So I just wanted to -- this is on page 51 and 52 of Elizabeth Lesser's book called “The Seeker’s Guide.”

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And she talks about old spirituality versus the new spirituality and she says the old was – the old way is the hierarchy has the authority. Church authorities tell you how to worship in church and how to behave outside of church. The new spirituality is that you are your own best authority as you work to know and love yourself, you discover how to live a more spiritual life.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): The old is God and the path to worship him have already been defined and all you need to do is follow the directions. The new is being able to listen within for your own definition of spirituality, your deeper longings are under search. And the old says exact here what Eckhart was saying. That there's only one path it's the right way and all other ways are wrong. And the spirituality says that many paths lead to spiritual freedom and peace.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): You have a rich array of gems from which to draw illumination. The world's religious traditional, mythology, psychology, healing methods, scientific wisdom, your own experience and that you can begin to string a necklace all your own. Then she lists, you know, other old and new. And so it's really a question of what you were saying to us earlier that this material strikes a chord within you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Something in you opens up and wants, you know, feels alive and is awakened to that. And yet there is the ideology that says what to you? What is the conflict for you? KELLY (ILLINOIS): Just thoughts on the afterlife, things like that. You know, you – in a lot of books such as Tolle's, we get teachings from Buddhism or Hinduism, and those thoughts don't go along with, you know, what I was raised to believe as a Christian. So that's been the biggest thing that I've struggled with, I think, so...

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity. KELLY (ILLINOIS): All right.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I'm a free-thinking Christian who believes that, who believes in my way, but I don't believe that it's the only way, with six billion people here on the planet. KELLY (ILLINOIS): Right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Another also who uses, who might appeal to you, who uses Christian terminology but goes very very deep, using Christian language and Christian teachings; Joel Goldsmith.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So any…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Joel Goldstein?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Goldsmith.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Oh, Goldsmith.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Joel Goldsmith. Any book by Joel Goldsmith that you would try that, and you can see how deep the Christian teaching can be.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Okay? KELLY (ILLINOIS): Well, thank you very much.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Thanks, Kelly. You're our first Skyper. KELLY (ILLINOIS): Great. I’m honored.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I didn’t even know what Skype was until this. Now we’re Skyping all over. We have a Chicago study group watching our webcast together at Border's, hello. Border’s flagship store right there on Michigan Avenue. Hi, everybody.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Hello. CROWD: Hi.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): I know. Listen, we just, listen, I know it's my ego but I can't stop saying how cool this is. I hear that's Ryan, you're Ryan? RYAN: Yes, I'm Ryan.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Okay, Ryan. RYAN: Hello Oprah.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Hi. Got a question? RYAN: Hello, Mr. Tolle.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Hi. RYAN: I do, I have a question for, actually, either of you, and it relates to the spiritual awakening that you speak of in chapter one. It seems to me that if you look at human history in the past 100 years and very poignantly in the past ten years, that there has been this intensity and speed at which people are becoming more aware of the Christ consciousness. Why do you think that's happening now? Why is this happening now?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): It's happening now because we're reaching a crises point. Very essential things don't happen until there's an absolute need for them to happen. So you can say in the past this awakening has been a luxury and only a few individuals here and there through all the ages were able to be awakened. And they tried to each others, but to a large extent their teachings became misinterpreted. So we are awakening now.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): That Jesus was a revolutionary who got misinterpreted a lot.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. Yes. Yes. We are awakening now because we have to awaken of you humanity is to make it to the evolutionary level, we need to awaken because the egoiic consciousness will become so, it’s already been, it already become very distractive. It’s become and become destructive. We will destroy ourselves and the planet if we do not step out of the egoiic consciousness; the collective ego.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”) If you look at the history of the 20th century that gives you a taste of what it will be if there is no major shift. I wrote in the “Power of Now” that 100 million human beings were killed by other humans during the 20th century through warfare and so on. And I recently read in the history book by a Harvard professor that my figure was much too low. It’s as much as 160 to 180 million human beings were murdered through warfare and concentration camps and prison camps, and starvation, manufactured starvation because -- China, Russia, and so on. It's unbelievable insanity when you look at that history. And so if there's no shift in consciousness, we will go downhill very quickly because we’re already in the process of destroying the planet. But there will also be continuous conflict, collective conflict, and eventually then humanity would collapse.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): So you think we're at a crisis point now.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Crises point, yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well Ryan, don't you think so too? I mean when you're with your friends, you know, obviously you’re gathered here at Border's tonight because you are interested in this kind of, this way of thinking. But we all talk about it in some form or another of how bad things are. How, you know, the media, everybody complains about the media and the movies. I mean if you just look at the Academy Awards this year and the kinds of movies that were made this year, and it's all the reflection of who we are. And you say in the book how we're the species that will go and watch other people on film be maimed and killed and murdered for our entertainment.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes, yes, yes, it's amazing. RYAN: And it's noise, it’s the mind, it’s all of that. And my friends and I talk about it and it’s things where we want to push that out and say well, we choose not to look at those things. We choose not to surround ourselves with that type of energy.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): But I just got it. I just had an epiphany, an ah-hah, as Eckhart was talking here. I mean, and I’d read this several times in the book too; the number of people murdered, maimed, destroyed by other human beings during the 20th century, but the ahhah for me was yes, look at what we did in the 20th century. Look at the surge that we've had in our technological abilities. Look at you right now. We're Skyping each other. The advancement in our abilities to create new bombs, no ways of killing each other so that in the 21st century, if there isn't a shift, if you had 100, over 100 million people killed in the 20th century, God only knows. And I do mean god only knows what will happen to us unless we start to change this.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. Yes, because technology amplifies the egoiic dysfunction in human beings. So before the dysfunction was the same 2000 years ago but we couldn't do much harm because the technology wasn’t there. The very same dysfunction still operates and becomes magnified through science and technology.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Does that answer your question, Ryan? RYAN: It does and I just, it just makes me think of what could we do if we just focused that same energy on the positive and helping other people. And I feel that that's where we're going.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): It's also not just the positive, one of the things I think we all learn from reading “A New Earth,” that it's not just about being positive, it's about putting our own egos in check because as we begin to move forward in our studies the next ten weeks, you'll see that first you have to see, you know, see the voice in your head, see how you're contributing to it because I think, you know, for years we've all heard that we’re all, if you're not a part of the problem, you're a part of the solution. I think most of us don't understand, and I did understand to an extent, but got it even more clearly ever reading “A New Earth,” understand how we're contributing to the problem. And the way we're all contributing to the problem is…Eckhart?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Well, you need to look at your own mind. So it’s everybody's responsibility to become aware of their conditioned mental processes. How you react in every day situations. What kind of thoughts go through your head. It's good to not amplify the negativity that you see around you in the world by reacting to it. You have to be very much aware, of course, of what your mind is doing. So observe your own mind. Be there as the witness of your mind so that the witnessing dimension, which is awareness or presence grows. You are not your thought processes. The thought processes are conditioned through thousands and thousands of years of conditioning. And there is dysfunction built into the very structure of our thought processes. This is how the ego arises. We'll talk about that in more detail.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): That's right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): But to recognize in one self, there is, you may not contribute to the murder and so on out there in the world. But it’s everybody's responsibility to discover their dysfunction within them.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah, so you get that right, Ryan? What he's saying is is that there is a collective consciousness that he talks about, pages 11 and 12. “The dysfunction of the egoiic human mind has created the situation in the world today,” he says in “A New Earth.” And what I hear you saying, Eckhart, is that our individual fears, doubts, angers, jealousies, resentments all contribute to the collective.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And so in order to begin to change the collective, each one of us has a responsibility to sort of mind that within ourselves.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): ‘Cause that's how we're contributing to the collective.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah, and it's not just the road ragers, it’s however you're holding resentment and anger and jealousy and fear in your own life. That's what you're saying.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes. Yes. What is it that you’re putting out into the world? Is there negativity mental, emotional.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): In you.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): In you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): ‘Cause that contributes to the collective energy fields. So you can only go – so it's up to the individual to go, to step out of the egoiic consciousness.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah. You got that, right, Ryan? RYAN: That makes a lot of sense.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah, it does make a lot of sense. Thank you. RYAN: Thank you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Well, thank you. Thank you Border’s.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Thank you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): We’ve got Erica who lives on Landsthule, Germany.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Oh, you are in the middle of the night.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): In the middle of the night. ERICA: Yes. Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Hi. ERICA: Morning.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Morning.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Morning, yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Hi Erica. ERICA: Hi Oprah. Thank you so much. This has been crazy as you said.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Crazy fun. ERICA: Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Landstuhl, Germany. Never heard of it, but glad to have you from there. Hello. ERICA: Thank you. Glad, thank god for Skype.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Thank god for Skype. Okay, what is your question or comment to us? ERICA: Well my question is for Mr. Tolle. I too grew up in the Baptist church just like Oprah and so many others. And you talk about the voice in my head and I had a situation where I no longer attend that church because the behavior didn't line up with the teaching. But on Sundays when I'm at home with my family and we're enjoying a nice day and we decided not to go to church, that voice in my head says things like you didn't go to church today, that's not how you were raised. When your mom calls, what are you going to say? Can you help me with that on explaining why we have the voice in the head that says things like that?

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yes, he can help you, Erica.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Now the voice of course is the conditioned thinking. The voice, what the voice says is conditioned by your past, by your childhood, by your upbringing, by the surrounding culture. All those things condition your thought processes. And when you – sometimes it happens when you awaken, maybe not completely, but when the awakening process begins, a lot of the old voices in the head, the old thoughts still come up. They still come up and the essential thing is to recognize them as conditioned thought processes. And to see, because the fact that you're asking the question means there's already an awareness there that these are the voices in your head so you're not totally identified. Because if you were total identified with the voice, you would say, I feel so terrible, I really think I should be doing this. But you realize it's the voice in the head that's doing it. And then you can’t allow it and say okay, there's an old thought and allow it to be there and be the awareness behind the thought. And anybody, this is not just in this particular, your particular case. There are many other instances where people have the movement of thought, telling them this or that, interpreting events or people according to the old conditioning. When you meet people, telling you immediately judging somebody according to your old conditioning, with prejudices, with all the old conditioning. So it's -- the only way you can gradually go beyond the conditioned thought processes is simply to be there as the witness. You don't need to act on it or say, go away, I don't want to be thinking this. That doesn't work.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): It would many give it more energy.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): That's right.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): So again, a vital thing, and this will be going throughout the book and the teaching is as much as possible, be aware of what your mind is saying and realize that only a small part of the consciousness, the totality of consciousness that you are, many people don't know that yet. They're totally one with the voice. They are the voice. They are so identified with every thought that comes, there's no space between them and the thought. So the essential thing is there’s – realize there’s thought processes, and here I am at this space for the thought. It’s the awareness or the space for the thought.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And that the thought is only a part of…

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): …a small part, it’s the conditioned part of who you are. A more time bound, it’s conditioned by the past. There's a more essential part of who you are and that is the awareness that knows that there’s a…

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): The awareness of the thought.

ECKHART TOLLE (AUTHOR “A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE”): Yes.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Which we're going to get into in further detail. But also, Erica, let me share this with you. Part of what you and I, our first caller from Alton, Illinois was also talking about, is trying to reconcile the two. The reason why the voice keeps repeating is because of course of what Eckhart is saying; it's conditioned thinking. But also the guilt is you haven't made a decision for yourself about what is real or true for you. So you're still being led by the conditioned thinking, and haven't made a decision. And for me that came when I was able to do exactly what Eckhart said earlier. I didn't phrase it the way he did. I asked god to use me. That has been my prayer for many years, you know. Eckhart says ask life what is its purpose for you. But I would pray on my knees to god and ask to be used and to be a servant and to allow his spirit to work through me and to not to just be on television but to be able to use television for a purpose that was greater than my own personality and to collect shoes in my closet. It didn't mean I wanted to give up the shoes, but I would if I had to. So when I started to ask that question of god, how can I be used? God, how do you want me to live? How would you have me be? I left go of the guilt of did I make it to church or didn't I make it to church. Because the majesty and power and omniscience of this force that we call “God” cannot be contained in a church. ERICA: You’re right.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): cannot be contained in a church. And does not just in a church. But if church allows you to feel like you are being of service, then use it that way. But the bigness is what Eckhart was saying in that quote in the book, “Man made God in his image; the eternal, the infinite and unnamable force that is god, that is all consciousness, that is universal energy. I don’t believe wishes to be served on Sunday 11:00 service. That's what you're trying to reconcile with yourself. The voice in your head versus what you really should be doing. ERICA: That's it.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Yeah. ERICA: Thank you, that's it.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): You need to make that decision for yourself. ERICA: Thank you.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): And start asking that question of god. ERICA: Okay.

OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): All right? ERICA: I will do that. Thank you.

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