Interview: Maranda Pleasant
Maranda Pleasant: The planet is a little crazy right now. What do you think is happening?
Eckhart Tolle: This is a time of transition for humanity, and it’s also a time of crisis. The problems that we are facing are multiplying on the planet— economic, environmental, social, political upheaval, the list goes on. It’s a time of change and transition and, as I see it, we are entering a new state of consciousness. It’s a transition between one state of consciousness and another. It’s an evolutionary leap that is happening. I’m not sure about the time period that this will take place, but I know it’s taking place already. That’s why it’s so important. I feel quite hopeful, because I never expected that so many millions of people would be open to a change in consciousness. I was already surprised when my first book came out, The Power of Now, because as I was writing it, I thought that only a small number of people would be open to a spiritual truth. When the book came out, even before Oprah discovered it, and the book was only known through word of mouth, it was surprising to see how many people seemed to be almost waiting for this message. There was something inside of them that was ready for the change, and the book just triggered that. There’s something in human beings, not all human beings, that is ready for the change in consciousness. So, what we are doing is really triggering that so that it speeds things up so the change in consciousness happens more quickly. It needs to happen now if humanity is not to destroy itself and the planet.
"I am a temporary expression in physical form of the one consciousness that expresses itself throughout the universe."
MP: What truth do you know for sure?
ET: On the deepest level, what I know for sure is that who I am, essentially, is consciousness, and consciousness is timeless and it transcends the body; it transcends the psychological “me,” the egoic self. Everybody can know themselves as consciousness. Consciousness is not personal. Human consciousness is just an expression of universal consciousness, which pervades the entire universe. So, what I know for sure is that I am a temporary expression in physical form of the one consciousness, that expresses itself throughout the universe. I am not separate from that. Ultimately, there is no such thing as “my consciousness,” but just the one consciousness, and to sense your connectedness with the one (I can sense that continuously, which is why I can say that I know this for sure), to sense that connectedness with the one consciousness that pervades the universe, which in some traditions is called God, to sense that frees you of fear, from anxiety, and takes you to a very deep place of peace, but also of heightened aliveness. So, that’s the long answer, but really, this is the essence for every human being to realize that who they are, essentially, is far more than the physical body and is far more than the mental body, the psychological makeup, the psychological “me” body. Who they are is far deeper than that. I often say to people, “There is more to you than meets the eyes.” So, when you meet another human being, what meets the eye, to use that expression, what meets the eye first of all is the physical body and, in some relationships, that is all they ever relate as: physical bodies (and those relationships are short-lived). The next thing that meets the eye is the personality. The personality manifests through the physical body, but is not visible itself, but it manifests itself in behavior and speech and so on. That’s also what meets the eye. So, when you meet another human being, you meet the physical self, then you meet the psychological self that’s behind it, which is their mental conditioning, their patterns of behavior and so on. And then, there is a deeper level to every human being that transcends all of that. I can only sense that in another human being and relate to another human being on that deeper level if I have gone deep enough within myself. So, I can sense my own presence that is deeper than my physical body, my thinking and my emotions, and that is what the work is all about. The spirit of teaching is really to enable people to get to that inner depth within, to realize their own depth and then the way in which they relate to other human beings changes fundamentally. And it is only then that you can actually emanate goodwill or loving-kindness or, as the Dalai Lama calls it, just kindness. If you emanate that into the world, it changes every relationship, and when human relationships change, the world changes. The essence of this is knowing yourself on this very deep level, and that is what the spiritual teaching is about. So, your simple question about what do you know for sure led to quite a long answer.