critiques of Tolle?

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joe
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critiques of Tolle?

Post by joe » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:20 am

Is anyone aware of any critiques of Tolle? I'm thinking that the fact that he doesn't stress the effort required to become enlightened is something that some spiritual practitioners would have a problem with. Essentially I see him as just recasting ancient tradition in a contemporary language and format, and his strength being that he's a good communicator. How would he figure in to the spiritual teachers pantheon? Interesting that I haven't really run into any negative reviews of his work.

enigma
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by enigma » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:29 am


Quinn
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by Quinn » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:12 pm

Funny article, enigma. The Power Of Spin. Haha. Business ninjas. Hahaha!

Joe, there's also a "Church of Oprah" video on youtube that's pretty entertaining. People seem to be quite upset that Tolle's making money on his books and appearances. But basically I agree with you that he's taken ancient wisdom and re-cast it in modern language. For which I am grateful.

There's a very good panel interview on conscious tv with Richard Sylvester, Tim Freke and David Bingham. It's in two parts and very long, but worth watching. In one part (and I don't remember where), they are asked about Tolle's teachings and are vaguely dismissive. http://www.conscious.tv/nonduality.html

Personally, I see his work as opening a door. Incomplete on its own, but capable of opening our minds.

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Midnight
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by Midnight » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:26 pm

He definately opened me to many other teachers, without Tolle to start me off I don't think I would have kept going, however he has also closed the door for me.
He keeps things simple, he doesn't talk philosophically, its to the point and direct which is what I like.

It got to a point where I was reading teachers just because I was interested in spirituality and loved listening to them or reading from them instead of actually practicing what they were telling me, whereas with Tolle I just got stuck right in.
I've found properly observing my mind, alongside self enquiry to be the most potent tools.

Tolle deserves alot of credit.

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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by heidi » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:14 pm

Someqhere on this forum we talked about a book somebody wrote, that was hyper critical and used the exact same cover art as A New Earth. It was clear the author was just trying to capitalize the the big promotion that Oprah had just furnished for Tolle. I'll try to find the topic.
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randomguy
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by randomguy » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:44 pm

Heidi, I think this is it, http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... f=8&t=4863
The Book is called "A New Earth, An Old Deception"
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho

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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by James » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:20 pm

I've read numerous criticisms of Tolle on the internet. My sense is that most of the criticism comes from the mind and its need to compare, categorize and label. Some of it may just come from fear or defensiveness that the teaching does not appear to fit with another teaching or belief system. But Reality is paradoxical and can't really be nailed down with words or thoughts about it. There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism, I've heard some of that too, and that might be helpful in refining pointers, or avoiding certain delusional traps. The difference is that constructive criticism comes from love and wisdom rather than the judgement of the separate sense of self. As runstrails stated in another thread, "mind likes to wrap everything up in a neat package and put a bow on it"; and say this is how it is; or this is the right teaching or the best teaching, or here is the hierarchy of enlightened beings.

I think that along with awakening comes a lack of concern about which is the best teaching or right teaching, because there is a subtle fluidness that moves in out of all perspectives and approaches, and it sees that they all come from the same source or essence. There's an intuitive capacity to take what ever resonates for us in any teaching, and leave the rest. The mind will come to the conclusion that if something does not resonate it must be wrong or inferior, but that's just the nature of dualistic thinking. It we are busy comparing the teachings we may actually miss what they are pointing to.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

joe
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by joe » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:28 pm

Thanks everyone. I wasn't aware this had allready been thoroughly discussed. Glancing over the criticisms from those boards however, I find them not addressing my question. All of the criticisms I looked over were made from the mind with ego heavily invested. In addition to this, they weren't even intellectually sound arguments. I guess what I'm looking for is Tolle's relation to teachers from the past, the nature of contemporary spiritual teaching and it's relationship to our Capitalist society (the marketplace of spiritualism) and how other teachers would criticize Tolle's approach. One possinle criticism might be that unlike other teachers and most traditions, Tolle doesnt speak about how spiritual progress takes time and effort. Yes, theoretically there's no such thing as "progress" and "time" in the power of the present moment, but the reality is that we don't suddenly switch on to become enlightened beings. Even in Zen, where sudden enlightenment is said to occur, practitioners work for years within that tradition.

Overall, as I stated before, I think Tolle doesn't have anything new to say. It's how he communicates that matters, and as an earlier poster wrote, he provides an accessible gateway to spiritual practice. As far as all the Oprah stuff goes, Oprah is just another superficial celebrity grabbing at the next trendy thing. She has no credibility, but I suppose from Tolle's view, her program is a convenient tool to get his message out. In today's world we could indeed ask how a teacher could get his or her message to a large community without using the media.

By the way, that (I think Australian) video referred to didn't even seem to make any real point in its criticism of Tolle, but rather seemed merely suspicious about the fact that Tolle makes money, which as others have stated, is irrelevant to his validity.

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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by James » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:04 am

Hi Joe,
I understand where you are coming from, I have wrestled with these very issues in the past, as I think most spiritual seekers do, they are universal questions.

You wrote:
Overall, as I stated before, I think Tolle doesn't have anything new to say.
In the absolute sense there is nothing new to be stated, Tolle is just a messenger as many before him were, he speaks from Presence, that is the real source of the pointers, not a human being. The idea is to listen to what he says from Presence, in a relaxed way, not trying to grasp or assimilate new information, but to instead let the ideas penetrate your being until you see what it is that is being pointed to; until there is a shift of perception. That's all awakening is, a shift in perception.
Tolle doesnt speak about how spiritual progress takes time and effort. Yes, theoretically there's no such thing as "progress" and "time" in the power of the present moment, but the reality is that we don't suddenly switch on to become enlightened beings.
I have heard him say and write numerous times that there is growth in Presence, or movement towards greater realization or depth. What we pick up from the teaching depends on what we focus on in the message. At first glance it seems he is talking all about Now. On one hand he does say to give up seeking enlightenment in the future, and that is a wise strategy because the seeking a future state or experience keeps the separate sense of self in the driver seat, waiting for something to happen, or hoping for better or enlightened separate self or me; which is missing the point. There appears to be enlightenment, but really no one is getting enlightened. Yes awakening is only ever Now, not in the future. On the other hand however, there is a relative sense, and there appears to be a greater degree of realization occurring, a greater openness or responsiveness happening in time, but it still is only ever now.

It might be helpful to think of it as the dream of relative sense, because from the absolute perspective the experience of time and space is dreamlike. But the dream is really nothing other then the Absolute or Presence taking the form of temporal conditions. But don't take what was just said literally, that's the paradox that can't be grasped intellectually, it can only be realized beyond mind, in the stillness within.

If you haven't already done so I would encourage you to check out Adyashanti's material. He is constantly talking about the paradox of "always already is, and becoming at the same time". His approach helped me have greater clarity on this, then I could see that Tolle was doing the same thing but using different words or strategies. If there is a process, it is coming to see that there is no process, it takes time to realize no time. Do you see the paradox? Relative/Absolute intertwined as one. Or we could say the process is remembering what we already know, or already are, none of this will make sense to the mind.

Another thing Adya likes to say is spiritual teachings are all just "strategies", "pointers" or "useful fiction", being aware of that helps keep us from getting lost in the concepts. Adyashanti has a lot of free material to listen to or download from his website.

Hope this helps. I'll be away from my computer for awhile, if you have more questions, maybe someone else here can explain in a way that makes more sense to you.
Take Care
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

joe
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Re: critiques of Tolle?

Post by joe » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:41 am

Thank you so much for the effort to explain your point of view. I will definitely be checking out Adyashanti! I'll get back to you about how that goes!

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