It was after careful consideration, and several readings of the article from News With Views (http://www.newswithviews.com/Rae/debra39.htm) that is the subject of this commentary, that I decided to write this long reply. The ideas involved are hot button issues these days, often involving much fear and deeply ingrained belief systems that are difficult to examine impartially. With many of them this has been true for hundreds, even thousands of years, and it’s now even more true in this time of social ferment, widespread stress, and personal and institutional transitions. I don’t wish to attack any person or system of faith, but to question the unconscious assumptions underlying beliefs that seem to drive judgments against other people, in the hope that we can, with tolerance and good will, see beyond these apparent divisions. – Bruce (Rae article also posted at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/a_new_earth/message/75)
Dear News with Views,
I was interested to see that you posted an editorial by Debra Rae that I’ve seen posted elsewhere by people who have a focus on alternative information about current events, called, confusingly, “ONLY IMAGINE TOLLE’S NEW EARTH,” subtitled on your front page link as “Beware of New Age false prophets sweeping the planet.” This article is a very negative, subjective, and often totally wrong presentation of Eckhart Tolle’s work, and specifically of his webinars with Oprah Winfrey on his recent book, “A New Earth.”
It presents a very few of the ideas covered in those webcasts, and those in distorted ways, either through a lack of attentiveness to what Eckhart actually said, or with deliberateness due to the apparent extreme disagreements with his information (understandable if she agrees with the assessment of him as a “false prophet”). Additionally, Ms. Rae, without linking references, associates Tolle with: what she call the ‘esoterically “awakened” Beatles’ (a code phrase, I assume, and an apparent reference to the word awakening as used by Eckhart); various unidentified “Humanist Manifestos;” the causes of the Cambodian genocide; advocates of something called “homonoeticus;” “New Age” solar occultism; and a “harmonized” utopian globalism she calls “common-ism,” another term – and concept – that Tolle never, from my close readings of his work, begins to approach.
Repeatedly, without providing examples, Ms. Rae puts words into Tolle’s mouth: he wants to end property; he doesn’t think there’s anything worth fighting for (implying, it seems that killing, though proscribed by the Ten Commandments she advocates, is appropriate for the godly), he teaches “grandiose interdependence” and “self-deification;” he perceives “global unity … as imperative to proper flow of the god-force;” that Eckhart judges between “the perfect” and the “not-so-perfect” and (I guess) espouses perfection (of the ego?), making him an Aquarian “the sign of the perfected man” teacher (again, a code word for the instruction of apostate Christians under Tolle’s sway); and he asserts that Jesus was “an ascended master” (one more term Tolle doesn’t use). Little that she ascribes to him is really part of his very simple, clear, effective and non-confrontational expressions, which at points she actually compliments with the implication that his “ease and clarity” are diabolical.
She mistakenly identifies John Lennon’s “Imagine” as having been a Beatles/Lennon/McCartney composition, and somehow, Eckhart Tolle’s theme song, every word part of Eckhart’s “gospel,” a term she uses sarcastically. She says that Marianne Williamson channeled “A Course in Miracles” (actually created by Helen Shucman and William Thetford), and that the Course’s use by Oprah is somehow suspect and “advances Tolle’s wholly redefined spiritual mindset,” a phrase that, again, attacks without clearly expressing supposed errors on his, or Oprah’s parts. The above are, perhaps, trivial errors, but they speak to what seems a powerful emotional drive to use rhetoric to invalidate Tolle’s work at whatever cost.
In particular, Ms. Rae seems to focus on her interpretation of what Eckhart seems to her to be talking about when he points out that the present moment is all that ever is, as if this viewpoint is a magic escape invented by him which eliminates responsibility for our actions “thus disallowing commensurate consequences (for choices made here-and-now) in the hereafter.” She states that Tolle’s “avowing” living in the Now is a denial of heaven and hell through which
“purportedly enlightened folks, as he, presume to wriggle free from accountability to a righteous God. In effect, these become self-proclaimed laws unto themselves.”
Actually, what Eckhart, and other non-dual wisdom teachers in the unprecedented human awakening taking place now, are saying is more like – that the wholeness we are, which has been erroneously limited under the mental label “God,” is innately, integrally, at the core of what we (and all things) truly, as opposed to any false ego-identity, are. This implies that when we are “at war” with anyone else, we are not experiencing life or our apparent “enemy” as they are, but through the interpretation of our ego – the imaginary “me” we tend to fall into assuming we are.
Moreover, and crucially, what Tolle is suggesting is that we are each always totally responsible for our state of awareness right now, very different from what Rae calls “assum(ing) some imagined state of transcendent Christhood while basking in the perpetual `Now.'” When we are out of alignment with our true natures, in a trance state based on living in the past or projecting into an imagined future, or on constantly retelling ourselves the story of our life of separation, we then start to create our own subjective hell, that is, an experience of suffering.
A Story Based on Fear
Early in her piece, Ms. Rae says “Today’s changing world is increasingly threatening and all the more challenging to navigate.” This is a kind of understatement in these days of increasing international warfare that threatens to go nuclear, financial and career instabilities, natural disasters and ecological degradation. I think perhaps she’s offering this as a gesture of understanding to those who seem to be a key part of the audience for her article, Christians whose unquestioning faith is wavering in the face of “a Tolle-propelled “Cult of Oprah” embraced even by Christians unschooled in apologetics.” Presumably, Debra Rae is offering these straying lambs a crash-course in “contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes them to do,” based clearly on instilling fear in the loss of their places in the heavenly hereafter (the consequences of their “choices made here-and-now”). Falling back into such a belief colors the story of the imaginary separate self with a deeply hypnotic sense of reality, in which clarity is unlikely.
So while making a showing of countering Tolle’s arguments (albeit inaccurately presented) rationally, Rae falls back heavily on basing her persuasion on belief in the infallibility of Biblical scripture: her interpretation of the meaning of Moses’ burning bush; “the impending Millennial Rule of Christ on earth;” the labeling of (something?) she ascribes to Eckhart as “an outright lie” by the apostle Paul; the “reality” that “the “perfect” (mature) man of Ephesians (4) achieves “the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ;” “the one whose name is above all names.”
She mystically invokes “the sacred name of god,” writing that Tolle attributes it to “a company of highly evolved masters… each of whom claims transcendent consciousness and common divinity with all life.” While Eckhart clearly sees that the truth of our divine inner nature is at the heart of the teaching of many great masters, he has never, to my knowledge, spoken of a sacred name. Rae says that the claims of “transcendent consciousness and common divinity” are somehow also claims of “total power.” However, any true spiritual master makes no such claims for his or her small self, and is intimately aware that total power rests only with the all-that-is, that which is sometimes labeled “god,” paradoxically at the heart of each of us, yet never an ego-identity. Eckhart says that that heart IS what we truly are, but rather than some kind of mantle of power, is only realized through continual surrender to it without imposing the demands of ego in the least.
Ms. Rae says that the success of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey’s online class series, and particularly that Christians who give it credence without “contending for the faith,” are “sure signs of the times.” Another sign of the times is certainly the ongoing fascist globalist agenda. Nearly half of “ONLY IMAGINE TOLLE’S NEW EARTH” is devoted to associating Eckhart Tolle’s work on self-awareness with the creation of this dictatorial one-world government. If “New Age” teachers are working hand-in-hand with the Rothschild’s, Bilderbergers, Trilateralists, Round Table, Council of 300, Tavistock Institute, CFR, Club of Rome, etc., to bring this about, then certainly they need to be called on it. But Eckhart speaks repeatedly of the insanity of the human ego, as clearly exemplified by the efforts of hierarchical leaders to dominate the world situation to satisfy the inevitable demands of the ego-structures they’re identified with.
One of Eckhart’s principal teachings is about how projection is fundamental to the structure of the ego, and how, therefore, in order to strengthen its domination of our awareness it needs to have enemies. Anyone or anything that threatens the always-questionable stability of an ego is a prime candidate for enemy status – as is evident in Bush’s infamous “you’re either with us or against us,” the prosecution of whistle-blowers, the demonization of figures like Martin Luther King or Wilhelm Reich. Eckhart Tolle has said that rigid religious structures are going to lose their hold over the minds of humanity as humans awaken to their direct connection to their living source. If one looks at the history of religions, going back to Babylon at the least, it’s clear that they are human artifacts used by the power elite to manipulate and dominate the masses.
Ms. Rae speaks very emphatically of “the Lord Jesus” being in another class of being from the rest of humankind – “God incarnate, Lord of lords, Author and Finisher of our faith.” But is she aware that Jesus’ deification was the product of a one-vote majority at the Council of Nicaea (where the accepted version of the Bible was also formalized as a political expedient), convened by then Roman Emperor Constantine, who was a follower of the same god Mithra whom she seems to abhor? It has been speculated by scholars that Constantine, in making Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, was bringing forward Mithraism by another name – for one thing, he moved the Sabbath to Sunday, the day of the Sun. One of the highlights of Mithraism is apocalyptic millennialism.
Institutional religions, or traditional theism as Ms. Rae calls it, have controlled world populations by moving peoples’ connection to the divine from within them (Jesus said that the Kingdom of God was within), to the priestcraft or to the pontiff (a title going back to the Babylonian mystery religion – Constantine was, like his preceding Emporers, Pontifex Maximus of the Babylonian religion before being the first Christian Pontifex). The collapse of this usurpation of our divine connection is what Eckhart Tolle is talking about, with the surrender of each of us at an egoic level to the formless one life within. If we cling to our slavery to this elite-ruled mystery-religion system that has kept us chained to the vampire-like structures of power throughout history, anything that threatens this will be seen as The Enemy.
Another aspect of the phenomenon of projection is our rejection of those parts of ourselves that we need to deny, which are then split off to become parts of our “Shadow,” which are then projected off onto “The Others,” by definition, our enemies, against whom any violence is justified. While Ms. Rae seems to scoff at Tolle’s observations of the horrific violence that has been perpetrated in the name of the Christian religion, the cataloguing of only the easily found examples would take up bloody pages. And now it seems, Rae is arguing to add Eckhart Tolle and anyone unfortunate enough to be taken in by his “sweetly reasonable” snake oil to the list of Infidels who threaten the eternal well-being of the faithful. The only way out of this ongoing process of splinterization, through which the power elite divide and rule, is the path of wholeness, of reunification involving the recognition of how all of us are ultimately the same. We need to see that we each share the qualities of “otherness” that we see outside ourselves, and to reclaim them.
As Jesus himself is recorded as saying (Matthew 22: 36-40): “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
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