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Re: Eckhart Tolle, LSD, Silent Group Meetings, cult WARNING
Posted by: csp ()
Date: July 19, 2008 09:22AM

Because breathing techniques work and they work fast, very uncomfortable on the ego, but they work. She is one of my happiest moments and she thought it was me. She bowed to me and I told her to stop, and just told her to continue doing the breathing.

Response: Again, breathing exercises are dangerous because one is using will power. It temporarily "short circuits" the nervous system forcing an altered state of consciousness. It is both non-permanent and harmful.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle, LSD, Silent Group Meetings, cult WARNING
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 19, 2008 10:22AM

csp and Sweetface:

this thread is not about "breathing techniques," it is about Eckhart Tolle.

Please stay on topic.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 19, 2008 11:35PM

Yes, and its a thread dedicated to recovery. Last thing needed here is for folks to show up playing therapist or guru and doing it behind a mask.

The people who arrive here to use this thread for its proper purpose have already been thorugh that sort of thing and dont need a replay.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 31, 2009 02:01AM


Neo-Advaita or Pseudo-Advaita and Real Advaita-Nonduality

—Traps and Pitfalls in the “Neo-Advaita” or “Pseudo-Advaita” form of Advaita (Nondual) Spirituality

—and discussions of Indian sage Papaji (HWL Poonja), German neo-advaita teacher Karl Renz, and others

—and a discussion of money-charging and Advaita spirituality

—and a conversation on Advaita instruction in the West

Copyright © 2000/2006 by Timothy Conway.
Last revision/additions: March 1, 2008.

Conway notes:


[Dear Reader: internet traffic statistics indicate this is one of the most heavily viewed pages at our Enlightened Spirituality website, no doubt because some other websites have strong recommendations to visit here.

It is one of a few very "critical" pages at this Enlightened Spirituality website.

I invite anyone visiting to read also the many, many other essays (more than 75 essays) at this website—much more positive in tone— pertaining to authentic spirituality.

You might wish to read the basic essay, "Our Real Nature" as well as the much longer "Questions & Answers on Nondual Spiritual Awakening" and many other essays to be found at the Nondual Spirituality section of this website.

You can also read the useful essay on "Nondual Relationships" at the Relational Spirituality section; the "Criteria for Authentic Spiritual Realization" page at the Healthy Spirituality section, and profiles of illustrious sages and saints like the Buddha, Milarepa, Bankei, Jñâneshvar, Ramana Mahârshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Lao-tzu & Chuang-tzu, Jesus, Bâyazîd Bistâmî, Hakîm Sanâ'î, Jalâluddîn Rumî, Meister Eckhart, the Ba'al Shem Tov, and so many other luminaries at the Nondual Spirituality section and, especially, the Religion & Spirituality section.]

--Love to all beings, the One Divine.

(The article in this URL converts to a 50 plus page Word document. In addition to Mr Conways list given below, it also mentions t also mentions problems in social behavior, flight from normal emotion and intellectual short-cuts that are often met with among practitioners and teachers who are involved with distorted versions of nondual spirituality. Mr Conway notes that this was actually a highly advanced practice and a student was supposed to be highly qualified before being taught advaita material--it was not something meant for mass marketing, and was supposed to be combined with intellectual study and devotional practices that simultaneously aided and supported compassion and prevented the advaita practice from becoming a mere method of one up manship or a cheap and easy way to sidestep painful emotions or relationships. C)

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: Wanderer77 ()
Date: February 20, 2009 02:29PM

I don't know where to begin to comment here. I am not exactly versed on this site and rarely do I participate in chat rooms. I just want to add some information about Eckhart Tolle here. I have read over some of the discussions with much interest. I am delighted to see so much good common sense at work! For much of these suspicions are right on target.

I have known Eckhart since the fall of 1993. I met him through mutual friends back in England. At the time, Eckhart was a nobody. But a nice man and extremely intelligent. He lived very modestly after moving from London to Glastonbury (where I met him) and he was just the nicest person. He went by this name way back then. As far as his real name goes, it is Ulrich and he changed it after that life-altering experience he had--during the many years that went by where he started to study spiritual thinkers like Meister Eckhart. I think he changed his name because he was drawn to that teacher. And he also wanted to break from the former, unhappy person he was.

As far as speculation about his past, he did attend Cambridge as a PhD candidate in Comparative Lit. His emphasis was in Latin American Literature. (we later reconnected when he came to Northern California where I got to know him much better). His father lived (now deceased) in Mallorca. His mother lived (also now deceased) in the Black Forest--in Baden Baden. He went to see them every year at Christmas. His dad was a real character--a free-thinker, a former journalist,leaving Germany after he divorced Eckhart's mother when Eckhart was about 12 or so.

Eckhart is a very emotional and complicated person. Believe me, I knew a whole different side to him. Kind, thoughtful, and very sincere in his rich interest and devotion to spirituality. I recall, at a mutual friend's, he and I ended up having about a five hour conversation on everything from Latin American fiction writers to various mystics and eclectic thinkers. That conversation flew by. He is a very engaging, humorous and social person and it came as a surprise because normally, he seems so reticent and shy. Anyway--I remember when he was writing his first book. We were talking on the phone and he told me that he started writing this book--all in long-hand, mind you. We continued to have a very pleasant friendship and a year or so later, he ended up moving to Vancouver, BC because it was difficult for him to emigrate to the U.S. He had no relatives here, and no real external purpose for coming here. He just wanted to try out the "new world". Again, he was such a pleasure to be around in those days. We also kept in touch when he moved north to Canada. He was funny, he was a joy to talk to-- even on the phone.

To make a long story short--Tolle started out very modestly. Truly. This woman he met in a small class he was giving to business people in downtown Vancouver ended up speaking with him here and there after class and one day, Tolle asked if she would read his book--which was still in manuscript form. She did and later he asked her if she ever thought about the publishing business before. She considered what he said, and they pooled money together ( he owned a piece of property in London and I remember him going back to London at some point, so he could have some $ to live!!) (He never really lived on park benches, by the way. But he did drop out of that graduate program and meandered--with not a lot in the till so to speak.)

Once this woman brought out his first book, things slowly picked up. Tolle made as many appearances at every Canadian bookstore he could. He very gradually achieved his success. We kept in touch and always, he was happy to get together with me when he was in this area in the early days of his success.

Things changed. Without saying too much about myself, I too, am a writer, but I am not in his field. I am a fiction writer. Though Eckhart and I shared interest in things spiritual and he being a former student of literature, we had these things in common. But I would disagree (and still do) with my old friend on many things. Not that I outright told him this, but I never thought highly of the New Age/ Feel Good genre. I am not a fan of these books, although, I do think there are some exceptions and I absolutely loved his first book, the Power of Now. And I still think it's his best. I also think Eckhart is gifted in his talks. Some of them are amazingly brilliant. But I have to say the last time I heard my friend was several years ago before things got to where they are today!

Here it is: My old friend has become obsessed with his own success and I need to say, monstrously so. He has shown a side to me that scares me. He is determined to get as far up the mountain (exceeding his competitors like Deepak Chopra, Gary Zukov, all those other souls out there that crank out these books!) as he can go. I am afraid for him and a little afraid of him. He is no longer recognizable to me. Some say this is not unusual for these "guru" types. That sooner or later, things come tumbling down, thanks to a lot of hubris and just ego-overkill. That's right. Ego-overkill. Tolle--and I noticed this many years ago--we were out one day and ended up walking into a bookstore where Tolle knew the guy behind the counter--I busied myself browsing the books, but Tolle came off with an arrogance and know-it-all-ness that surprised me. I had never seen this side of him before--but I blew it off and didn't give it a lot of thought as he rarely acted this way with me. ( I am a woman, by the way.). Now it seems Tolle is all ego. And yes, it is horrendously ironic how he has made the ego anathema, when he has become an ego-maniac himself. I am sad to see it all unfold the way it has.

Sadly, being a true friend, a real friend, was not as important to Tolle as his voracious ambition. Let me tell you something , if I could, in my own modest experience at being human myself, Tolle is very unhealed. Some have speculated about his past relationships. I know of a woman in London; I believe he lived with her, but this was when he was in his 20's. I do believe he had that spiritual experience. That is true, but the weird thing is, it didn't really change the core person. It seems that Eckhart was one of those "know it all" students. He is extremely smart, and that is the problem. Smart and arrogant, if given the ground on which to become so. Know what I mean? When he was outside that academic milieu of a school like Cambridge, he was a nobody--and it was probably better for him. Let me put it to you this way: Hitler could have a spiritual experience, but would his nature really change?

I realize that sounds like a strange question. And normally, people will assume that the person having these beautiful spiritual experiences is a good person, but you know what? It's not necessarily so. And I know this from so many years of knowing Eckhart. But I also know this about other spiritual teachers and their dark sides and I am sure many of you out there know a bit about this, too. For example, Krishnamurti could be very curt with people, especially young people. But also, there's a book that was written by the daughter of a woman who was Krishnamurti's secret mistress for many years and whom he treated abusively, punitively. And there are people who will refuse to believe this and I am sure there are those who will not want to see the truth about my old friend, Eckhart.

But if I could continue--about this aspect of him being unhealed. In all my years being alive I have come to see that there is a huge discrepancy between this "spirituality" so many seem to be seeking and unhealed inner emotional issues. It's strange. But the two shall never meet or mix. This seems to be very true about people no matter their spiritual path. And it's true about Tolle. He had a very complex relationship with his mother. His father was a much better parent to him. But his mother was another story. There were times when he spilled his emotions out to me, and it saddens me because he's really a very lonely person. An extremely, and I want to say, dangerously isolated individual, who has become worse, far worse since his fame.

Eckhart tells the public that this woman Kim Eng is his "partner". She's not. She is a more like a pupil/disciple. There is no relationship there except this "arrangement". She has been with him for many years, as an assistant and contact person for his trips and talks and in exchange, he has shown her the ropes and now she goes out and does these talks and seminars. It's odd, but Eckhart doesn't like women, men, anyone, really. Not enough to shack up with! He is afraid, though, of woman coming after him. And I really know about this. I am not just making it up. He has made some kind of arrangement with Eng, an agreement of sorts so he could feel comfortable on a pubic level.

He did seem to have an interest in me back in the early days...but nothing ever came of it. But it was very sweet and nice. Until fame got the better of him and he showed me that he was not going to do anything for anyone unless it benefits himself. This is all I can say.

I think, though, the unhealed issues in him are at the root of what motivates him in what has become a monstrously unfathomable ambition. ("Napoleon Complex", anyone?) Frankly, he's a homely fellow. He looks like "Despereaux the Mouse". He's a little guy, in a little body, with stooped shoulders that no woman would bat an eyelash at back in the old days. Yes, he was nice friend, but I had no interest in him otherwise and I think he had a lifetime of that. He was forty-five when I met him.

The heart is a lonely hunter, "spiritual teachers" notwithstanding. Ya know?

Anyone remember the "man behind the green curtain"?

As in: "I am Oz. And I am the all -powerful, Oz! No one dare go against the all-powerful Oz! Now don't pay attention to that little man behind the green curtain!""

Of course, we all know what happened next.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: pegasus ()
Date: February 23, 2009 05:09AM

Hi Wanderer
What a fascinating post! I found it really interesting and intend to direct others I know to read it too. It has given me a whole other perspective on Tolle. I remember being quite taken by his story that he would sit on parkbenches in ecstasy and people would gradually approach him. It implied he had no interest in becoming a teacher, but that others were so drawn to him that he felt he had to help them and answer their spiritual questions. This is quite different to the ambitious man who pushed to get his book published that you describe.

I wonder if after his experience, Tolle genuinely believes he is in a constant state of enlightenment. Has he repressed his old life enough that he believes his own new image? Or is he very clever and aware of what he is doing? Is he a con-man or is he also conning himself? Did you have any conversations with him Wanderer that could shed more light on this?

To me his teachings are clearly Buddhist teachings, but he hasn't referenced to any sources. As if it is all his own discovery not that he is a good writer.

Also, I always wondered, Tolle was so depressed prior to his experience, had he had his own book to hand at the time, would he have followed it himself? I doubt it.

I have realised from these posts that just because someone is teaching spiritual practices and ideals, it doesnt mean they are completely honest and moral themselves. At times, we are too trusting, thinking that we can believe everything we hear and forgetting to check with ourselves if it all adds up.
Thanks for such a useful post.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 23, 2009 07:57AM

The ambitious guru eager for audience attention and the audience eager for the guru turn out to all be wearing shackles in the same chain gang.

In the guru's case, the chains are just long enough so that he can sit in a chair on stage, a few feet above the heads of the audience.

Meanwhile, the audience sits below looking upward, thinking the guru can set them free.

But they are all in the same chain gang.

(click to see visual)

If 'the power of now' actually leaves ambition and competitiveness intact, then it apparently does little or nothing to change ego-driven craving.

You have to crave in order to have ambition and market yourself.

And if you envy others who are already famous and you want to be as famous as they or more famous than they are...

You dont even have ambition....ambition has you.

You're as much on the treadmill of the rat race as the people paying for your next book, your next set of DVDs, your next appearance on stage.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2009 08:02AM by corboy.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: konsta ()
Date: March 02, 2009 12:33PM

Hi Wanderer,

Thanks for the post. It set things straighter in my head again (phew). Though with all these words flying around and no reality behind them I have to say that I don't know that I trust your words either. Or my own, for that matter.

But assuming that things are pretty much as you say I have to say that this ET phenomenom is supremely comical/ironic/sad at the same time. :D/:S/:(

My personal first reaction to Tolle's books was: good stuff. Second reaction: this guy seems pretty dogmatic for an enlightened guru and on closer inspection there's very little concrete advice on the path to the enlightened state ("be in the moment" is pretty much it). I figured that probably he had had the revelation he speaks of but he hasn't really done any work for it and his words are pretty empty. I took last year off from work because I was badly depressed and did lots of work on myself in learning to confront my feelings (this work continues to this day)(maybe this is just my ego trying to convince myself and others of how much work I'm doing)(possible and that's a part of it but no, not the real reason). Third reaction: anger at the fact that ET hasn't done any real work and is faking it and just picking the praise and money of other people for free. Argh. Worse, he's leading on millions of people with a lie. Concretely, my girlfriend (who in my opinion has a big problem confronting her own emotions and ego) reads ET's books and can throw out a knee-jerk-ununderstood comment like "you should be in the moment and let go of your ego" when I'm angry/depressed and what I'm crying out for is some human compassion and understanding and it has had a real effect on my life. (you realize as well as I do that I have a problem here and this is why I have such a strong reaction and that's also the reason that I'm writing this message but I'm working on it, a piece at a time)(and incidentally, being in the moment and just looking at that anger IS probably a big part of the solution)

Fourth reaction (upon reading Wanderer's post): relief that I may still have some grasp on how things are (and yes, there's part ego at being right but again, I think it's more that I'm able to trust my own judgement). And millions of people can easily be wrong. Fifth (and current) reaction: this whole thing is extremely comical and superironic and not all that serious. And I might simply be wrong. But if not, it doesn't really inspire lots of confidence in the human race's collective ability to live an enlightened life with high internal moral standards and a clear gaze. Actually tied to this reaction was the realization that ET's life is probably (like Wanderer said) sad and difficult. He probably has big internal conflicts and his ability to externalize them and convert people with it probably tells us something relevant about the human condition. I hope he enjoys all the money and fame and admiration he's getting and the people who read his books live a happier and more enlightened life.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 03, 2009 10:51AM

Go take a peek at some books by Barry Magid, a Zen teacher who also works as a psychoanalyst.

He states that one can very sincerely practice meditation and (my guess) be quite sincere about 'being in the moment' but in some cases, a person can use this skill to do what Dr. Magid terms a 'spiritual bypass' around areas of one's life or one finds painful and doenst want to face. One can even sidestep entire areas of arrested development.

It takes a lot of pain tolerance to use certain kinds of spiritual practices to hold and contain painful personal material, rather than using the spiritual practice to sidestep that whole area.

This may account for how it is that some persons can attain some remarkable states, even write lovely things about them, yet remain unable to cope with basic difficulties in life.

So Google Barry Magid's books, check em at the store and see if any of it speaks to your condition.

Ezra Bayda is another interesting author. He was in an esoteric studies group before he began working with Buddhism. In the esoteric group Bayda wanted to work on his own timidity. He was told to do something that terrified him, and to keep doing it until he was no longer terrified.

So he forced himself to be a street performer at a tourist destination.

He did get over his fear. But one day, he realized something--he had not actually addressed the root causes of his anxiety. Those were still there.

What he he done was construct a new and fictitious confident self that didnt feel frightened, then painted it over his fear.

So he didnt actually go deep and address his anxieties at all, never learned to hold and contain his fear in a conscious way.

Instead, he did the equivalent of covering up wood rot with a new layer of wall paper.

He looked good, even felt better in a superficial way, but his inner malaise was still not addressed.

One can sort of lock onto an arbitrarily designated 'now', leaving deeper issues in ones life unaddressed.

Even the teacher/guru role can be a distraction from one's issues, as can the role eager seeker.

There's a book worth a peek by Colin Wilson called Rogue Messiahs. (The title may be different in the original UK edition).

What jumped out at me was an observation made by Mr Colin--most gurus lose access to thier private lives. They become their roles, get lost in them.

And he observed that most gurus die 'in harness'. They can never get free from the role. Its like a mask that gets stuck to one's own face after awhile, that cant be removed.

Some gurus do manage to go into hiding, but its rare. And if they do it suddenly and abruptly, followers can remain dependent on having someone to look up to, and unless they work on themselves, have a 'guru sized hole.'

They cant bear to face they were abandoned, because by definition of the role, a guru is perfect and is not capable of betrayal, making it impossible to question the person's actions or see the person as a human being under severe stress with few if any of the limits and reality checks that human beings need in order to stay balanced and sane.

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Re: Eckhart Tolle "advaita"
Posted by: THE_DEAN_001 ()
Date: March 04, 2009 01:11AM

Very insightful posts about the phenomena of this Eckhart Tolle and his true personality. I really enjoy the Advaita philosophy but, on the other hand, also find that many of it's teachers get caught up in their guru personalities. As a general rule...I do not put much weight in the words of people who have used their teachings to become wealthy or have changed the name their parents gave them after their "enlightenment".

Eckhart Tolle is a very intelligent person but he seems to have trouble getting to the heart of what it is he teaches. It makes me highly questions whether he really understands it at all.

Thanks Again

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