I’ve always found great solace in reading books like this, books that provide a paradigm shift without being stuffy or overly preaching in nature. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle was by far one of my favorites. I just find them hard to review for whatever reason. Perhaps because there is no ‘storyline’ or characters to discuss, and perhaps because the style of writing is so different from fiction writers. Either way, I hope I do this book the justice it deserves.
The best part about the concepts discussed in this book is how easy they are to understand, and how quickly my mind latched on to them, as if I had always known these principles to be true, but had never accepted that knowledge. The discussions focus on the Eightfold Path of Buddhist teachings, though from what I read, these teachings would fit in with just about every major religion.
To summarize, life is impermanent. Birth is not our beginning, death is not our end. For our birth to have been made possible, our parents must have existed. If they didn’t, then we wouldn’t be. So our existence began before our manifestation. And it began before our parents manifestation, too. For them to have existed, their parents must have existed, and so on back to the beginning of all existence.
We are not made, or created, or born, but manifested at the time we were simply because the conditions were right for our manifestation. We are part of the process of creation, not a result of being created.
the same holds true at the other end. We cannot die. Physically our bodies will break down and end, but the impact of our being spreads outward in all directions. Had we not been, the world would be a different place. Our existence doesn’t just touch the world, it changes the world, and since those changes do not end when our bodies end, we cannot cease from being. Each encounter we have, and each action we take makes us permanent, even though we have manifested into impermanent bodies.
I absolutely love thinking this way.
The only part of the book that didn’t resonate with me was the number of times Thich Nhat Hanh repeated the same concept again and again. There is a lot of references to the impermanence of clouds, for example. I found myself thinking, “Okay, I get it. Move on.” I even considered setting the book aside and not completing it, though the last few chapters we so good I’m glad I did keep reading.
Overall I’m giving the book 4 stars.