Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

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Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:11 am

I found an interesting read online ... someone claiming to be a close friend of Eckhart's gave a personal account of what it's like to know him.

Assuming that the person does actually know Eckhart ... personally, I think these words reek of jealousy and resentment, and allude to some sort of perceived betrayal (as/by an imagined lover, perhaps) ... a desperate attempt to invalidate Eckhart.

It reads to me like a character assassination, but do decide for yourself.

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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: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby dijmart » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:19 am

I've read this before..can't remember where, but I think the same today about it, as I did then...so what! Everyone has an opinion and it's just her slanted opinion of someone she may or may not have known. To be awakened, to know your true nature, to know you are awareness, does "not" stop the human experience. Pain and pleasure persists, challenges arise and have to be dealt with...this pertains to everyone, including ET. It's a shame people feel the need to point fingers and put him under a microscope, but that's human nature I suppose, but I highly doubt he's losing sleep about it. He'd probably say it's their problem, not his and I would agree.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:42 am

^ Yes, exactly !

I find that most anti-Eckhart comments stem from jealousy. People can't stand the fact that this slightly built, shy, and socially awkward man earns millions for his work, which they label "new age/feel good crap".

Like you said, it only highlights in glaring clarity, the human ego, in people who make such remarks.

Another aspect of this I find very interesting is the inability of people to accept the idea of a person having both "good" and "bad" qualities simultaneously. For instance, if a celebrity cheats on his/her partner, he/she is no longer a good actor ? Or, if Eckhart charges $1000 for his retreats, that means his talks are no longer helpful ?

Such thinking is similar to the black/white thinking that people labeled "Borderline" engage in. It's really a more widespread problem, however.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Onceler » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:26 am

We project our own stuff on these characters, both good and bad. I don't envy them this path. I suspect many truly aware, sane people are invisible.....many avoid the guru route. This is only conjecture, of course, but there seems to be a price to pay.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:00 am

Onceler wrote:We project our own stuff on these characters, both good and bad. I don't envy them this path. I suspect many truly aware, sane people are invisible.....many avoid the guru route. This is only conjecture, of course, but there seems to be a price to pay.


What is the price to pay ? And, do you mean price to pay for being invisible ? Sorry, I didn't get it.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Onceler » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:56 pm

I meant the gurus pay a price. I wouldn't want all those people projecting their hopes, dreams, fears, distortions onto me. I would think that would mess anyone up, no matter how self aware.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Sighclone » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:51 am

This is an old post - I think it's in another thread here - maybe 6-8 years ago. It reminds me about how little we really know about the private lives of major teachers. I do not doubt the truth of her history with him - most of her facts are about his past. I do not know her sources on the nature of his current relationship with Kim Eng...she was not clear on this, and by the way, relationships between men and women change.

I have been disappointed in some things Eckhart has done, like not giving credit to other current teachers...at the same time, he has done joint satsangs with several teachers...

I do think ET has found a way to express universal truths very uniquely and simply. I do not expect his personal life to be flawless by every measure.

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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:16 am

Sighclone wrote:This is an old post - I think it's in another thread here - maybe 6-8 years ago. It reminds me about how little we really know about the private lives of major teachers. I do not doubt the truth of her history with him - most of her facts are about his past. I do not know her sources on the nature of his current relationship with Kim Eng...she was not clear on this, and by the way, relationships between men and women change.

I have been disappointed in some things Eckhart has done, like not giving credit to other current teachers...at the same time, he has done joint satsangs with several teachers...

I do think ET has found a way to express universal truths very uniquely and simply. I do not expect his personal life to be flawless by every measure.

Andy


Thanks for your input, Andy. While I'm unsure of how truthful the woman's account is, you make some great points.

What I find so amazing is ... if Eckhart has all these flaws that people find in him, that makes him all the more credible, in my opinion !!! I'd be very skeptical and suspicious of a so called "spiritual teacher" who spends his whole existence trying to live up to some sort of mental image that people make up ... a reason why I can't seem to find any respect for "celebrities" who let the paparazzi (spelling ?) dictate their entire lives.

If he drinks 5 Venti Lattes a day, charges $1000 for his retreats, and then uses that money on strippers or to augment his cologne collection, that would, in my eyes, make him all the more credible, because it would prove that he is a genuine human, after all.

I've brought up this point a few times, but I find it incredible that people are unable to accept both the "good" and "bad" in someone they look up to or admire, like a celebrity or a spiritual teacher. Why can't someone have flaws and yet be inspiring ? If anything, it demonstrates the humanness in people, which is beautiful, in my opinion.

And yes, the reason ET's teachings appeal to so many is that he presents the material in a way that is easy to grasp. I've read books by other teachers and it took considerable effort and yielded no understanding or realizations. People like to complain that ET is just rehashing stuff that has been known for centuries, but they fail to see that it's not just the material but its presentation that determines whether or not it is beneficial to students.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Rubber Soul » Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:13 pm

Don't know why people call him small. He's 5'10". And that obviously doesn't matter, lol, but I read an account by a woman who happened to see Eckhart sitting in a secondhand bookstore (I think she knew who he was before this, but didn't think much of him). She said something like "I felt such divine peace flowing out of him that I almost felt the need to prostrate before him, it was incredible".
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby djh64acw » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:18 pm

I was interested to read this account. I find it very credible. I am troubled by the millions Eckhart Tolle is making. No, this is not envy. I have enough for my needs. But it seems to go against the grain that a spiritual teacher should accumulate such immense wealth. Perhaps this is the result of the 'machine' that seems to be running the business for him. Even though Eckhart claims to be rather 'unworldly' and obviously allows others to control his financial empire, this is not an excuse in my view. Nobody would expect a spiritual master to be starving but the Tolle institute charges a huge amount in fees for his retreats, including residential fees. I think Eckhart is the real thing but I wonder if he is going a little off the rails.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:10 pm

djh64acw wrote:I was interested to read this account. I find it very credible. I am troubled by the millions Eckhart Tolle is making. No, this is not envy. I have enough for my needs. But it seems to go against the grain that a spiritual teacher should accumulate such immense wealth. Perhaps this is the result of the 'machine' that seems to be running the business for him. Even though Eckhart claims to be rather 'unworldly' and obviously allows others to control his financial empire, this is not an excuse in my view. Nobody would expect a spiritual master to be starving but the Tolle institute charges a huge amount in fees for his retreats, including residential fees. I think Eckhart is the real thing but I wonder if he is going a little off the rails.


Thanks for sharing your opinion. I see your point.

While I don't have a problem with Eckhart (or any other spiritual teacher) earning millions, it does give his teachings a bit more of a Walmart or McDonald's feel. In other words, it makes me wonder if his business suffers from the same problem as any other large business - too much emphasis on money-making, and not enough emphasis on serving the "customer" ... just a long assembly line pumping out products. My concern is that his teachings (i.e. the material itself) have been influenced by the goal of money-making.

Far more importantly, I, personally, would find Eckhart (or anyone else) more credible as an example to follow, if he happened to have more modest means. This is not out of envy, but because I honestly feel that life circumstances are the real test of how enlightened a person is. It's easy to be a spiritual guru with millions in the bank. Eckhart lives a fairly sheltered and isolated existence (and has always done so, from what I've read/heard). How would he fare if he had no choice but to interact with and depend on people all the time ? For his basic needs ? I don't mean interacting with the disciples who attend his retreats and revere him so much that they would wipe his ass for him ... I'm talking about more genuine daily interactions. Try being present when you're homeless and dependent on people for the very food on your plate (and BTW, Eckhart was never homeless ... he sat on park benches, he didn't live on them, from what I know).

I have realized, through pure life experience, that not everything Eckhart teaches is really true. So, I wonder, sometimes, if he knowingly spouts lies, because he knows that there are gullible people out there who will listen and blindly believe him, and in doing so, fill his pockets. I wonder - how much of the stuff he teaches is genuine vs marketing (targeted for gullible people).

You have a good point about others running his business. I wonder how much say Eckhart has in the bottom line and in how things are run.
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Mystic » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:40 am

I recall reading somewhere that Eckhart Tolle said that he had a fairly big ego before his ego-crash and consequent night-sweats awakening experience. Suffering precedes awakening in many cases. I recall being homeless myself off and on for three years 1989-1992, living in Oklahoma City. I made some money by donating blood plasma, working construction and by professional boxing.

Everyone has flaws on the level of form, which is an inescapable aspect of this physical existence.

If Eckhart Tolle was an extreme ascetic would that make his teachings better? Even though he has become a financial master and tycoon of the enlightenment industry, I still see him as a humble and unassuming person with a friendly nature.

Here is an interesting clip from the movie "Little Buddha" about the middle way between the extremes of asceticism and indulgence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s1WhlJh8ro

I respect Eckhart Tolle's teachings but now find myself diverging from the philosophy of Eckhart Tolle and like the Buddha I seek to transcend suffering. If you have any helpful suggestions on how to transcend suffering and become a super-being I will consider them :D
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Onceler » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:12 am

Regarding money and gurus, I go back to value per dollar spent. Is the product they’re selling, in ETs case enlightenment, based on the sub title of the Power of Now, delivered if you spend the money? Shouldn’t there be a consumer report of gurus, based on delivery of desired change per dollar spent? We do it in psychology when analyzing therapeutic methods (CBT is the clear winner) we read consumer reports when buying a fridge, car, or home......
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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:00 pm

Onceler wrote:Regarding money and gurus, I go back to value per dollar spent. Is the product they’re selling, in ETs case enlightenment, based on the sub title of the Power of Now, delivered if you spend the money? Shouldn’t there be a consumer report of gurus, based on delivery of desired change per dollar spent? We do it in psychology when analyzing therapeutic methods (CBT is the clear winner) we read consumer reports when buying a fridge, car, or home......

Interesting idea. But who has the authority to do the report. If I buy a car, violate its operating instructions, either because I didn't comprehend them, or didn't follow them, and then run into a tree, does that make the car maker a fraud?

I don't see wealth as a problem. Rather, I see that it can be a demonstration of fundamental principles. There is no limit to wealth and abundance. It's not a finite pie that must be fairly divided. Wealth can, and mostly is, created - just like any other experience. What can be a bit concerning is the path some take to attaining wealth. Is it done honestly? Or is it the exploitation of the unwitting. It would seem to be a case by case consideration.

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Re: Personal account from a "friend" of Eckhart

Postby painBody » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:53 pm

Onceler wrote:Regarding money and gurus, I go back to value per dollar spent. Is the product they’re selling, in ETs case enlightenment, based on the sub title of the Power of Now, delivered if you spend the money? Shouldn’t there be a consumer report of gurus, based on delivery of desired change per dollar spent? We do it in psychology when analyzing therapeutic methods (CBT is the clear winner) we read consumer reports when buying a fridge, car, or home......


Yes, interesting idea. I'm not sure how it works wrt spiritual teachings, but I'll tell you what.

I got a TON out of just audiobooks I got for free from the local library. i.e. that was the format that worked best for me. I would listen to them in my car while on drives at night. I've also seen him live, and boy was that a waste of time/money - too many other people, too much noise/chaos while he spoke. It wasn't a retreat, it was a quick 1 hour-ish talk alongside Deepak Chopra. I'm sure the retreat would be a better experience. But, then again, I don't know how much I would personally get out of it, because I'm sharing my space with a whole bunch of strangers. Any normal person would be out of his/her comfort zone spending a room with some total stranger, or sitting alongside 100 strangers. And, plus, I think most people would be self-conscious sitting in front of the man himself, trying to put up an image of themselves as being present and "a good disciple". Not to mention, a week is a LONG time to have to be out of your comfort zone. It can be quite exhausting for anyone.

Eckhart himself says, "Pick up the (my) book often. But, more importantly, put it down often." You couldn't do this at a retreat. It's 7 days straight of ...

So, I got the most out of his work without spending a penny. I personally think that the comfort of my home/car, is the most conducive environment to benefit from his teachings.

But, in theory, if a person who spent $1000 on a retreat got a lot out of it, yes, no question ... it is worthwhile. You can't put a price on sanity.
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