A New Earth
Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

By Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth
Ten Years Later

Ten years ago, A New Earth was first published.  Since that time, the book has been read in forty-four languages by countless people all over the world.  The in-depth webinar I did with Oprah Winfrey, during which we explored the main themes of the book, has been watched thirty-five million time.  So the question naturally arises:  Ten years later —where are we?  Is a “new earth” arising, a world where the egoic state of consciousness in its insanely dysfunctional manifestations, both individual and collective, has dissolved or at least subsided, and where humans no longer create unnecessary suffering for themselves, one another, as well as other life-forms on the planet?  Or does a fundamental change in human consciousness remain an unrealistic utopian vision, as one reviewer of the book suggested?

If we go exclusively by the information we receive on a daily basis through the news reports and the mainstream media, then our assessment of the state of human affairs in this new millennium will necessarily be overwhelmingly negative, and we will most likely come to the depressing conclusion that nothing has changed.  After all, it continues to be true for millions of people that the greater part of human suffering is not due to natural disasters, but is inflicted by humans on one another.  What we consume as the daily “news,” as well as the commentaries on the news, however, is not the whole picture.  Not infrequently, the way in which the news is reported and commented upon, even by the so-called respectable news outlets, already contains bias and distortion, and so, without realizing it, our worldview becomes conditioned.  More important, the news tends to focus mostly on incidents and areas of our planet that represent the most extreme forms of human unconsciousness, which more often than not means violence and warfare, or at least severe dysfunction.  Of course, there is no denying that dreadful things happen on a daily basis, and also that we are facing an increasing number of crises, but that is not the whole story.

There are so many positive things occurring that are not considered newsworthy, but are in fact of much greater significance than any of those daily acts of unconsciousness.  Those changes in fact started to arise long before A New Earth and The Power of Now were written.  Those books were written to speed up the process of spiritual awakening that had already begun, as well as to enable greater numbers of people to become part of that process and thus find a deeper meaning in their lives that transcends the merely personal dimension of existence.

In many parts of the world, there is an emerging sense of social justice that our ancestors couldn’t even have dreamed of.  The subjugation of one race by another, the domination of women throughout thousands of years and patriarchy, and the devaluing of people based on social class are for growing numbers of us nightmares of the past.  People of different gender orientations find themselves increasingly accepted simply as people.  The races marry and intermingle with less and less judgment.  There is growing awareness of the intrinsic oneness of everything that exists, so that more and more we are seeing an awareness of and deep concern for our fellow humans, the countless animals that are our traveling companions, and the planet itself.  Such awareness implies that there is indeed a lessening of the ego in a growing number of people, and in some parts of the planet more than in others.  This diminishment of the ego gives rise to empathy and compassion beyond tribal, racial, national, or religious affiliations.  It is those qualities that make us truly human.  As we no longer identify with our mental positions, we are able to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and perspectives.  We can temporarily shift our own perspective and see things through their eyes.  With this comes the ability to compromise in our interactions with others, which is a prerequisite for any peaceful coexistence.  In fact, it is precisely in those parts of the world where most people are as yet unable or unwilling to compromise that most of the dysfunction or violence occurs.  The ego, and particularly the collective ego, strengthens itself through emphasizing the “otherness” of others.  In other words, the ego needs an “enemy” for its continued survival.  Hence its refusal to compromise.

Until the new consciousness, which is awareness-based, grows and becomes more firmly established in the human psyche, temporary regression to the egoic state of consciousness (or rather unconsciousness) can easily occur.  I have noticed with concern, for example, that not only certain politicians, but also some commentators in respectable publications are increasingly portraying Russia and/or China as the “enemy.”  Thoughts can spread like a virus, and if thoughts proliferate in the collective psyche, they distort our perceptions and cause us to act as if they were true, and so subsequently they manifest as our reality.

Just as the caterpillar becomes dysfunctional shortly before it undergoes its metamorphosis into a butterfly, the egoic state of consciousness, which is still more prevalent than the awakened consciousness in most countries or organizations, will likely become increasingly dysfunctional and cause a growing number of acute crises affecting many parts of the planet, as well as turmoil and breakdown.  To some extent, this is already happening.  This is nothing to be afraid of.  If you stay present and do not succumb to fear, if you do not believe the media when they tell you that you should be afraid, these things will not affect you deeply.  Acute crises and dysfunction always precede or coincide with any evolutionary advancement or gain in consciousness.  All life-forms need obstacles and challenges in order to evolve.  In the case of the ego, most of the challenges it encounters are self-created through its unconscious patterns.  Eventually, the ego brings about its own demise.  In that sense, it can be considered a necessary precursor for the next stage in human evolution, which is the awakening of consciousness.  We are at present in the early stages of this awakening process, but it is accelerating.  If you are reading this, you are already an essential part of this process.

The primary factor in all of this is your state of consciousness in the only time there is:  the Now!  Make sure the present moment is your friend, not your enemy.  Honor it by giving it your fullest attention.  Appreciate it by being thankful for it.  Become internally aligned with it by allowing it to be as it is.  That is the arising of the new earth.

—Eckhart Tolle