Monday, 19 May 2008

A New Earth, Part 1

I am half finished reading Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth'. Now, I don't watch Oprah and I don't live in America, so I'm not really privy to all the hooplah surrounding this book. I'm reading it because my online pal, Anna, recommended it and from her descriptions, it sounded really good.

I started reading this book several weeks ago, but took a break from it to read 'A Thousand Splendid Suns', then became further distracted by my flower essence reading. I picked it and started reading in earnest yesterday, and amazingly I am half way through it. This includes taking time out to copy striking quotations into the back of my new flower remedy journal. So far I would have to say I agree with most of what he says about the ego. His writing is like 'Buddhism lite', with a bit New Age stuff thrown in for spice.

The only thing so far that I've not really agreed with (or possibly haven't grasped) is this whole 'pain-body' theory of his. Maybe it's because I find the very term 'pain-body' quite distasteful. And his description of the pain-body is eerie and disturbing. This alien, almost demon-like force indwelling you and feeding off negativity, like that blobby monster in 'Ghostbusters II'! Tolle says, 'The pain-body is a semiautonomous energy-form that lives within most human beings, an entity made up entirely of emotion. It has its own primitive intelligence, not unlike a cunning animal, and its intelligence is directed primarily at survival.' Its food is negative emotion, according to Tolle. It wants to gorge on bad feelings. I don't accept this concept at all. I also don't accept the notion of a collective pain-body amongst females, nations and races. I believe there is only one source of suffering in the world-- not realising that we are all part of everything else, that we are all made of the same stuff, and any separation we see or feel is illusion. Tolle expresses this rather well in his initial chapters on the ego, but he loses me with the pain-body.

I still have 5 chapters to go, so we'll see what I think of him when I've finished!


Laura said...

Carla, I'm following your comments on this book with interest. I'm in America, hence subject to the hype, but I've gotten the impression the book is "Buddhism-lite" just as you say, so I'm wondering whether it would add anything for me. I'm not as versed in Buddhism as you are, but I've done some reading.

I have a similar reaction as you do to the "pain-body" concept. It sounds like something from an episode of Star Trek. So far, you haven't talked me into reading this!

Morandia said...

I agree with Laura. I'm not sold on it either. The "pain-body" sounds like an alien waiting to burst through - and unless they tell me Sigourney Weaver is in there also ready to battle it... well, you get the idea.

If it's a "semiautonomous energy-form" shouldn't it show up on x-rays, cat-scans, or something? Even thermal readings? I'm pretty open minded, but that's a bit far afield for me. Now if it wants to gorge on excess fat, I'm all in!

I'll stick to Bach's and tarot cards.