A New Earth

by Eckhart Tolle

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: February 23, 2024
A New Earth
A New Earth

What are the big ideas? 1. The power of Presence and accepting the present moment as your friend: This book emphasizes the importance of being aligned with the pres

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What are the big ideas?

  1. The power of Presence and accepting the present moment as your friend: This book emphasizes the importance of being aligned with the present moment and accepting it without judgment or resistance. It suggests that anxiety, stress, and suffering arise when we turn away from the Now, and that true happiness and deeper perfection come from embracing the present moment fully.
  2. The interconnectedness of all things and the essential identity as consciousness: This book highlights the idea that everything is connected to everything else and to the Source of all life. It encourages readers to recognize their essential identity as consciousness itself, beyond perceptions, experiences, thoughts, or feelings, leading to inner peace and greater fulfillment.
  3. The role of suffering in the evolution of consciousness: The book suggests that suffering serves a noble purpose in the evolution of consciousness by burning up the ego. It emphasizes the importance of being aware of thoughts and emotions without resistance to allow for awakening and transformation.
  4. Balancing object consciousness with inner space: This book encourages readers to balance their focus on objects and outer reality with an awareness of inner space, which leads to a more balanced life and fulfillment of humanity's destiny. It suggests that seeking inner space as an object or experience hinders its discovery, and true realization comes from being aware of the formless I Am and the stillness within.
  5. The importance of forgiveness and recognizing the divine life essence in all beings: This book emphasizes the role of authentic relationships in spiritual growth and encourages readers to practice forgiveness by recognizing the purposelessness of grievances in keeping the ego in place. It also highlights the importance of seeing the divine life essence in all beings and treating them with love and compassion.

Chapter Summaries



  • Read one chapter at a time from this book, stopping to reflect on eliciting passages.
  • The goal is not to learn new information but to deepen inner transformation and presence.
  • Beneficial for those who have deeply responded to "A New Earth" before.
  • Inner recognition of the truth pointed to by words indicates emerging consciousness.
  • Powerful passages reveal your own spiritual power, as only Spirit can recognize Spirit.


“You have so much to learn from your enemies.”

“Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that other people have of you is inauthentic living.”

Going Beyond Thought


  • Realize that thought is only a small aspect of consciousness and transcend it to access a vast dimension within yourself.
  • Understand that unhappiness comes from thoughts about situations, not the situations themselves.
  • Observe your thoughts without identifying with them and stay with facts instead of making up stories.
  • Recognize that labels of good and bad are relative and temporary perspectives.
  • Perceive objects and sounds without interpreting or labeling for a deeper connection to reality.
  • Become aware of the voice in your head as just a conditioned mind-pattern, not who you truly are.
  • Let go of defining yourself through thought to enter a state of peace and clarity closer to your true self.
  • Stop seeking happiness and instead find freedom from unhappiness by facing reality.


“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but you thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.”

“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

“It is when we are trapped in incessant streams of compulsive thinking that the universe really disintegrates for us, and we lose the ability to sense the interconnectedness of all that exists.”

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”

“Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?”

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.”

“When you don't cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought.”

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

“Man made God in his own image...”

“Defining yourself through thought is limiting yourself.”

“Don't Seek Happiness. If you seek it, you won't find it, because seeking is the antithesis of happiness”

The Power of the Present Moment


  • The present moment is the only moment there is, and everything unfolds in it.
  • Resisting what happens in the present moment keeps you from aligning with life and being at peace.
  • To be aligned with the present moment, accept it without labeling it as good or bad.
  • Anxiety and stress arise when you turn away from the present moment.
  • The ego's reactivity comes from treating the present moment as a means, obstacle, or enemy.
  • Accepting the present moment leads to finding deeper perfection beyond form and time.
  • Your relationship with the Now is the most important one in your life.
  • Deciding to make the present moment your friend changes your entire reality.
  • Eliminating psychological time through present-moment awareness eliminates ego.
  • The ultimate purpose of human existence is to bring consciousness into this world through the present moment.
  • Your secondary purpose lies within the dimension of time, while your main purpose is inseparable from the Now and requires its negation.
  • Accessing the power of life itself (God) comes through being present in each moment.


“Let me say it again: the present moment is all you ever have.”

“Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.”

“You become most powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance, or conform to your role identity.”

“There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right is identification with a mental position - a perspective, an opinion, a judgement, a story. For you to be right, of course, you need someone else to be wrong, as so the ego loves to make wrong in order to be right.”

“Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.”

“And then there is the universal role of adult. When you play that role, you take yourself and life very seriously. Spontaneity, lightheartedness, and joy are not part of that role.”

“What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now.”

Who Am I?


  • Identifying with the physical body as "I" leads to suffering and forgetfulness of Being.
  • Human dimension (roles, functions) is not enough for a fulfilling life; Being is formless consciousness that gives meaning and joy.
  • Detachment from forms allows enjoyment without fear or anxiety, giving a higher perspective on life events.
  • "Poor in spirit" means no inner baggage or identifications, leading to the simple joy of Being.
  • Attachment to things drops away when not seeking self in them; awareness of attachment is the beginning of transformation.
  • Recognizing the vast depth of space and stillness within resonates with the formless dimension that is our true nature.
  • Balance between human dimension (form) and formless Being is essential for a sane, fruitful life.
  • Being prior to existence; existence is form, content, and foreground of life; Being is background and essence of who we are.
  • Humanity's collective forgetfulness of the formless dimension keeps us trapped in ego.
  • Flowers can be a reminder of our innermost being and help bridge the gap between physical forms and the formless.
  • Non-reaction to form allows Being to emerge as an all-encompassing Presence, giving power and effectiveness.
  • Complete acceptance of the present moment brings alignment with space (essence of Now) and perspective into life.
  • What happens is unstable and constantly changing; true happiness comes from the formless dimension within us.


“Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

“A powerful spiritual practice is consciously to allow the diminishment of ego when it happens without attempting to restore it. I recommend that you experiment with this from time to time. For example, when someone criticizes you, blames you, or calls you names, instead of immediately retaliating or defending yourself – do nothing. Allow the self-image to remain diminished and become alert to what that feels like deep inside you. For a few seconds, it may feel uncomfortable, as if you had shrunk in size. Then you may sense an inner speciousness that feels intensely alive. You haven't been diminished at all. In fact, you have expanded. You may then come to an amazing realization: When you are seemingly diminished in some way and remain in absolute non-reaction, not just externally but also internally, you realize that nothing real has been diminished, that through becoming “less,” you become more. When you no longer defend or attempt to strengthen the form of yourself, you step out of identification with form, with mental self-image. Through becoming less (in the ego’s perception), you in fact undergo an expansion and make room for Being to come forward. True power, who you are beyond form, can then shine through the apparently weakened form. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Deny yourself” or “Turn the other cheek.”

“Words reduce reality to something the human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much.”



  • Awareness is the space where thoughts exist and is the foundation for fulfilling your purpose.
  • Awakening is recognizing yourself as the awareness behind thinking, making thoughts the servant of awareness.
  • Suffering serves a noble purpose in the evolution of consciousness and the burning up of the ego.
  • To become free of the ego, be aware of thoughts and emotions without resistance.
  • The ego seeks attachment to things but true fulfillment comes from identifying with consciousness itself.
  • In Zen, let go of identification with the mind for consciousness to emerge.
  • Recognize the unconsciousness within you for awareness and awakening to occur.
  • Old age can be a time for spiritual awakening through dis-identification of consciousness from form.
  • To love is to recognize yourself in another, drawing the dimension of Being more fully into the world.


“Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.”

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness.”

“With stillness comes the benediction of Peace.”

“When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work anymore, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual life-form -- or a species -- will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of its condition through an evolutionary leap.”

“Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.”

Inner Space


  • Inner space refers to consciousness that exists beyond thinking and cluttered objects in our lives.
  • Balancing object consciousness with inner space leads to a more balanced life and fulfillment of humanity's destiny.
  • Space consciousness allows awareness of being conscious, freedom from ego and materialism, and the spiritual dimension.
  • Inner space can be accessed by creating gaps in thinking through mindfulness practices like breathing exercises.
  • Loss of perspective due to focusing on objects instead of inner space leads to negative emotions and a threatening worldview.
  • Seeking inner space as an object or experience hinders its discovery, and true realization comes from being aware of the formless I Am and the stillness within.
  • Simple pleasures, kindness towards others, and beauty in nature reveal the presence of inner space within oneself.


“Each person's life – each lifeform, in fact – represents a world, a unique way in which the universe experiences itself.”

“... there are two ways of being unhappy. Not getting what you want is one. Getting what you want is the other.”

“Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you.”

“When you realize it’s not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were.”

“Become conscious of being conscious.”

Your Life Purpose: Inner and Outer


  • Your life has an inner purpose (being) and outer purpose (doing).
  • Inner purpose is primary and concerns consciousness, while outer purpose is secondary and concerns actions.
  • Consciousness creates your reality; action only manifests modified versions of the same world if there's no change on the inner level.
  • When you have a glimpse of awareness or Presence, choose to be present and accept responsibility for its emergence.
  • Align your outer purpose with your inner purpose through awakened doing, acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm.
  • Enjoy what you do in the present moment to increase joy and improve the quality of your life.
  • Enthusiasm, a combination of deep enjoyment and a goal, adds structural tension and intense energy to your actions.
  • Stress diminishes the quality and effectiveness of your actions, while enthusiasm resonates with the creative power of the universe.
  • Awakening consciousness allows creating form without losing yourself in it and marks the evolution of human consciousness.
  • You are part of a new species arising on the planet that embodies awakened doing.


“If you are content with being nobody in particular, content not to stand out, you align yourself with the power of the universe. What looks like weakness to the ego is in fact the only true strength.”

“You don’t have to wait for something “meaningful” to come into your life so that you can finally enjoy what you do. There is more meaning in joy than you will ever need. The “waiting to start living” syndrome is one of the most common delusions of the unconscious state.”

“Life isn't as serious as my mind makes it out to be.”

“Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role.”

Becoming Present


  • Learn to return your attention to the present moment instead of getting caught up in mental movie-making.
  • Presence is the key to freeing yourself from the ego and undoing the past.
  • Recognize negative thoughts and emotions as old conditioned responses, not as part of your identity.
  • Satori is a moment of inner spaciousness where you step out of thought processes and emotions.
  • Take responsibility for your inner state and become aware of negative emotions to shift from ego to awareness.
  • Emotions and thoughts become depersonalized through awareness, recognizing their impersonal nature.
  • Negativity comes from the ego, which perceives it as pleasurable or useful.
  • Realize when you are creating suffering for yourself in a negative state to shift your identity from ego to awareness.
  • Presence is necessary for authentic relationships, allowing for open and alert attention towards others.
  • Doing is never enough without Being present.
  • Recognize the divine life essence in all beings and love them as yourself.
  • Give full attention to people in interactions to create a unifying field of awareness between you.
  • Forgiveness happens naturally when you see the purposelessness of grievances in keeping the ego in place.
  • Human unconsciousness is the only perpetrator of evil on the planet, and true forgiveness comes from recognizing this truth.
  • Be present to respond effectively to situations with quality and power.
  • Presence transforms what you do, making it fulfilling and joyful.


“The pas has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that.”

“To recognize one's own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.”

“The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be...”

“There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness. That realization is true forgiveness. With forgiveness, your victim identity dissolves, and your true power emerges--the power of Presence. Instead of blaming the darkness, you bring in the light.”

Chapter 8: Consciousness


  • Consciousness is timeless and unmanifested, yet it becomes manifest as the universe and appears to evolve.
  • Consciousness is the intelligence behind the formation of forms and interpenetrates with formless realms.
  • Human consciousness identifies with forms, creating a dreamlike state, but the next step in human evolution is conscious choice.
  • The human brain is a complex form through which consciousness enters this dimension.
  • Consciousness can be sensed directly as Presence or inner space.
  • Spiritual realization involves recognizing that one's essential identity is not limited to perceptions, experiences, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Collapsing ego-identification with forms leads to realizing one's essential identity as consciousness itself.
  • Stillness connects us to the formless and timeless dimension within ourselves.
  • To be truly aware is to know consciousness—the mind of God.


“The brain does not create consciousness, but conciousness created the brain, the most complex physical form on earth, for its expression.

“This is my secret," he said. "I don't mind what happens.”

“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness”

The Inner Body


  • Identifying with the physical body can lead to suffering, but enjoying and appreciating its attributes does not equate to identification.
  • Shift attention from external form of the body to the feeling of aliveness inside it to go beyond body-identification.
  • Inner body is an intensely alive energy field, not a solid form, and awareness of it is consciousness becoming aware of itself.
  • Practice feeling the inner body by focusing on the subtle sense of aliveness within specific parts of the body.
  • Inner body awareness helps anchor you in the present moment and strengthens the immune system and ability to heal.
  • Physical body reveals itself as essentially formless when going deeper into it, serving as a doorway into inner space, which is intensely alive.


“A significant portion of the earth's population will soon recognize, if they haven't already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die.”

“every complaint is a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in.”

“Nothing has ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?”

Oneness with All Life


  • Everything is connected to everything else and to the Source of all life.
  • The ego plays roles due to feelings of inadequacy and a desire to be more.
  • You cannot lose something that you don't have, as you are one with Life itself.
  • Acknowledgement of abundance around you awakens dormant abundance within.
  • Be a giver and ask yourself "What can I give here; how can I be of service?"
  • The totality (Life) wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling doesn't see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself.
  • Resistance to loss leads to bitterness or resentment, while yielding leads to compassion, wisdom, and love.
  • Inner acceptance of what is opens up a new dimension of consciousness.
  • Be at one with the present moment and take action from a deeper level.
  • Life will give you experiences that help your consciousness evolve.
  • Make peace with the present moment and see what happens.
  • Be one with life, be one with Now.
  • Love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality.
  • Transcending the ego-based state of consciousness leads to inner peace and greater fulfillment.


“Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.”

“In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same.”

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

“One thing we do know: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.”

“A woman in her thirties came to see me. As she greeted me, I could sense the pain behind her polite and superficial smile. She started telling me her story, and within one second her smile changed into a grimace of pain. Then, she began to sob uncontrollably. She said she felt lonely and unfulfilled.

There was much anger and sadness. As a child she had been abused by a physically violent father. I saw quickly that her pain was not caused by her present life circumstances but by an extraordinarily heavy pain-body. Her pain-body had become the filter through which she viewed her life situation.

She was not yet able to see the link between the emotional pain and her thoughts, being completely identified with both. She could not yet see that she was feeding the pain-body with her thoughts. In other words, she lived with the burden of a deeply unhappy self. At some level, however, she must have realized that her pain originated within herself, that she was a burden to herself. She was ready to awaken, and this is why she had come.

I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. She said she had come expecting me to show her the way out of her unhappiness, not into it.

Reluctantly, however, she did what I asked her to do. Tears were rolling down her face, her whole body was shaking. “At this moment, this is what you feel.” I said. “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?”

She was quiet for a moment. Suddenly she looked impatient, as if she was about to get up, and said angrily, “No, I don't want to accept this.” “Who is speaking?” I asked her. “You or the unhappiness in you? Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” She became quiet again. “I am not asking you to do anything. All I'm asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. In other words, and this may sound strange, if you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don't you want to find out?”

She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, “This is weird. I 'm still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.”

This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.

I didn't say much else, allowing her to be with the experience. Later she came to understand that the moment she stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called “The Unhappy Me.” Another dimension had come into her life that transcended her personal past – the dimension of Presence. Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.

When our session came to an end, it was fulfilling to know that I had just witnessed the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world. I had also witnessed a diminishment of the pain-body, not through fighting it but through bringing the light of consciousness to it.”

“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.”


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