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Four friends and I “attended” Oprah’s free-to-the-public 10-chapter discussions of Tolle’s A New Earth. None of us lives in the same community, so our shared thoughts following each class were via Email. These are some of our reactions to the classes:
- It was a unique privilege to simultaneously gather with millions of people from around the planet….meditating together at the beginning of each class, then hearing Oprah and ET discuss each chapter in detail, enlarging on what we had individually read each week. It was also instructive to see/hear other “attendees” (via Skype) present their personal life situations and well-thought-out questions.
- We were curious about how Oprah, with her TV image and strong ego, would “play off” of ET and his remarkably consistent ego-less presence. Over the 10 weeks, she appeared to listen more and interrupt less. She seemed increasingly calm and restful. She and ET appeared to develop an affectionate, genuine, comfortable relationship, which ultimately enhanced learning, all around.
- ET, as others have noted, has nothing new to share in his teaching; but, he weaves wisdom from a variety of traditions, uses new nomenclature, and provides an essential teaching that could change how we view ourselves and others, and how we view — and function in — the world. Through his sometimes-unique interpretation of Christian scripture, from his knowledge of A Course in Miracles, from his understanding of Buddhism, acquaintance with Hinduism, as well as the Tao, he creates a new garment that, cloaking even a 1000 people, could change the future of this planet.
When the SOF Email arrived in my in-box last week, I was thrilled. Krista Tippett had interviewed Eckhart Tolle! She is one of the best interviewers in the U.S. I have listened to countless podcasts and my life is so much richer and expanded because of Speaking of Faith.
My first thought? I’ll bet Krista was reluctant to do this interview. I appreciated reading her blog and learning that, indeed, she had had misgivings. I am so glad that she overcame them. She prepares exceedingly well for her interviews and asks pertinent, deep, important questions. She carefully listens to the interviewee’s responses. The interview, therefore, becomes more of a conversation…not just an exercise in asking prepared questions. During the interview, there was an initial sense that Eckhart Tolle was simply repeating what I had heard him state previously; but with Krista’s thoughtful interviewing, I heard new things emerge and was helped to understand more fully those things that might be called his essential teachings.
I have listened to the condensed interview, the expanded interview, and have read the transcript, the blogs, and listened to the music (thank you, SOF staff, for all the work you put into each week’s program). My respect for Eckhart Tolle remains strong and I am grateful he was granted this added sense of legitimacy through a Speaking of Faith appearance.

Several bloggers have been critical of Tolle’s seeming lack of concern for social justice. I don’t see that. What I do see is his insistence that if action is required it will be the most effective if it comes from a place of genuine essence (God/Being) and an understanding of universal connectedness/unified wholeness. In contrast, when we function completely from our problem-solving, busy minds, we end up imposing our ego-generated solutions and thus impeding the flow of Love. Anger and righteousness put up barriers between people. They lead to increased labeling (e.g. poor, victim, ‘other,’ helper, advocate) and often get in the way of the genuine healing compassion that surfaces from a deep recognition of oneness.