Book Review: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

I bought A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle when it first came out and then just sat on it for several years, late last year it called out to me and on this reading it made perfect sense.  I consumed in it several days energised by the wisdom within it and then savoured it again over 10 weeks as I listened to his podcast conversations with Oprah.  Every week I would read a chapter and then every Saturday I would clean the house while listening to Oprah and Eckhart discuss key points and answer questions.  Reading this book has been a mind shifting experience, so many of its concepts about the ego, being present and fully embracing our lives resonated deeply with me.  Living the book on the other hand is much harder – but I am coming to realise that a few seconds of presence, leads to a few minutes of quiet and onto a greater awareness of the body and finally of our whole lives.

The great thing about the book is that you don’t have to do anything but pay attention to exactly where you are and what you are doing in this moment – and just that awareness brings clarity and change into our lives.   Below are the key lessons that I have taken from the book about building awareness and awakening from the unconscious;

– To become fully present at any given moment go to your breath – there is no future planning for breath it can not be delayed or stored to savour later, it can not be remembered or regretted from the past. It is happening right here and right now

– Too often we look to label ourselves – to define and categorise who we are, what we want, our goals, accomplishments and mistakes.  Leave yourself behind and just repeat ‘I Am’ with nothing attached

– Experience the world with your senses rather than your thoughts. What do you see, feel, smell and hear.  Life is a banquet of textures, sounds, fragrances and vista’s which are made bare by the banality of our thoughts

– Gratitude embraces the present, being thankful for what is stops us ruminating on what could be

– Continually ask yourself ‘what is my relationship to the present moment?’ If you are using it as a means to the end of another moment, adjust your direction and take on this moment just as it is.  Wash the dishes with total focus, drink your coffee savouring each sip, and drive to work taking in everything around you

–  Feel your emotions in your body and sit with them.  Instead of converting your emotions into words and thoughts, experience them as raw sensations within your body

– Take the phrase ‘I don’t mind it‘ into your life – stop resisting and accept everything – most of the time it is already in your life – roll out the welcome mat and greet situations just as they are

– Realise that you are not anything external to you, your job, relationships, money, clothes, body, roles or education.  All of these things are transient and don’t represent your true essence

– Take could, should, ought and would out of your vocabulary and thoughts

– Allow your ego to be diminished instead of defending yourself accept criticism and see how it feels – tap into the sensations

Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept
that this is what you have to do.  Acceptance means: For
now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, 
and so I do it willingly.  We already spoke at length about the
importance of inner acceptance of what happens, and
acceptance of what you do is just another aspect of it. Eckhart Tolle

The book ends with a blanket formula for living your life with grace, humility and presence – embrace every moment with either acceptance – enjoyment – or enthusiasm.   Often from our acceptance will come joy and from joy – enthusiasm will stem.

The big question for me with everything that I read is – how can I apply this to pre-fertility.  Pre-fertility often leaves you in a frazzled state of living in imaginary places either the past of miscarriages, failed cycles, wasted time and deep anguish.  Or in the future hopeful and populated with children or barren with none.   It is also a constant waiting game – waiting to ovulate, waiting for the 2WW to be over, waiting for your period and on again.

Learning to accept all of the moments that make up this insanity is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, and definitely not something I will be mastering any time soon.  But I consider writing this blog a way of accepting, I consider focusing on my health mental or otherwise a way of accepting and I consider working on healing the relationship with my husband a way of accepting.  So maybe I am doing better than I thought.  I take joy in the fact that I spend more of the month happy rather unhappy these days with no baby in sight.  And I have found enthusiasm for life again – I am making plans, working on projects, kicking some goals and generally the twinkle is back.

Tolle tells us that it is accepting and being grateful for our lives exactly as they are that opens the door to the divine that ultimately transforms our lives.  Can I say ‘I don’t mind’ about not having a baby – no not really – but it’s already here and kicking and screaming against it isn’t going to make it any better.  So I go with on with  another gem from the book ‘This too shall pass’.  It’s not forever one day I will have a baby – or one day I will see that my life has taken shape and is still beautiful without one.

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