Only Imagine Tolle’s New Earth, Part 1
©2008 Debra Rae
One otherwise ordinary Sunday in February of 1964, I was numbered among 73 million onlookers also glued to small black-and-white television sets. That evening, when the Beatles débuted on The Ed Sullivan Show, mesmerized viewers witnessed what promised to be the most momentous event in the history of rock music. The upbeat performance of four fabulous Liverpool lads resonated with America’s youth, many of whom were prematurely hardened by tiresome traditions, pandering politics, rabid racism and the nightmare of potential nuclear obliteration.
Today’s changing world is increasingly threatening and all the more challenging to navigate. With that in view, Newsweek’s “Special Report: Spirituality 2005” has rightly noted that skeptical Americans, especially those younger than sixty, tend to embrace “no religious affiliation.” Still, they unhesitatingly describe themselves as “spiritual.”
So it was with the Beatles. Once esoterically “awakened,” the Fab Four became catalysts for sparking waves of Eastern spirituality across the nation and around the world. Even so, Harvard-trained Dr. Timothy Leary’s tired mantra, “turn on, tune in, drop out,” no longer distinguishes 21st century mysticism. Under guidance of spiritual guru Eckhart Tolle, today’s “conscious” crowd aspires to “awaken, connect and transcend.”
The ease and clarity with which Tolle addresses liberating imaginings in A New Earth befit this New York Times bestselling author. Couple Tolle’s spiritual manifesto for building a better world with Oprah’s unbeatable transparency and relational prowess, and the mix is dynamite.
This transfixing power-couple hosts worldwide web classes to release transformative power in realizing life’s universal purpose. If the joint message of Tolle and Winfrey were set to music, I suppose that Beatles’ lyrics to Only Imagine would fit the bill quite handily.
Imagine No Heaven; No Hell
Eager participation in one-of-a-kind web classes has roused countless men and women to “prepare to be awakened” and to live their lives “in the present,” thus disallowing commensurate consequences (for choices made here-and-now) in the hereafter. Accordingly, the Liverpool Four crooned: “Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us; above us, only sky.”
In A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle contends that “no situation or event is ever really finished,” and the “only place of power” is the present moment. By avowing “no heaven, no hell, just now,” purportedly enlightened folks, as he, presume to wriggle free from accountability to a righteous God. In effect, these become self-proclaimed laws unto themselves.
This mindset is not new. Humanist Manifestos assert that false hope of “heaven hereafter” is unreasonable and, therefore, harmful. In answer to “How’s that working for them?” the so-called Cambodian experience exemplified “deadly logical consequence of an atheistic, man-centered system of values enforced by fallible humans with total power” (Motulsky, Brave New World 1974).
Notwithstanding, secular and cosmic humanists alike actively reject and attempt to eradicate traditional theism. To Tolle, the sacred Name of God is attributed to a company of highly evolved masters (Jesus among them), each of whom claims transcendent consciousness and common divinity with all life—in Motulsky’s words, “fallible humans with total power.”
To dispute this fallacy, one need only recall the burning bush, through which YHWH revealed to Moses His Name, I AM that I AM. When Jesus ascribed to himself equal I-AM status, his captors fell backward under its power. It stands to reason that Jesus was either God Incarnate—the way, truth and life, as he claimed to be—or he was an unsurpassed liar. In either case, Jesus was not merely “a good man” or, as the case may be, “an ascended master” (Tolle’s assertion).
Not only does he demote the one whose name is above all names, Tolle promotes Self to “Godhood”—namely, the Source, Divine Life Essence, “formlessness” (or spirit). Unbeknownst to many New-Earth enthusiasts, his creed rehashes a spirit-channeled revelation of Theosophist-medium Alice Bailey, probably the most notable founder of contemporary New Age mysticism.
In Tolle’s misguided view, Christ is every man and woman. True, he references “universal law,” but Tolle ascribes the Ten Commandments as necessary only for those cut off from their own “I AM”-ness. Note that it was not Tolle, but rather co-Masonic Hierarch Alice Bailey who conceptualized and coined the term for this—namely, “Christhood.” This, my friend, exceeds folly. It is blasphemy. For such arrogance, even the angel Lucifer was cast in shame from heaven!
Understandably so, Oprah fans will hear none of this. Clearly, there exists today a Tolle-propelled “Cult of Oprah” embraced even by Christians unschooled in apologetics. Indeed, Winfrey’s indisputable generosity, keen insight and ability to communicate skillfully validate her rising star; and the sweetly reasonable exegesis of Tolle further compels and convinces devoted admirers.
As evidenced in A New Earth, this burgeoning sect of evolutionary cosmic consciousness is allowed rigidity of expression that by no means is afforded traditionalists. For espousing absolutism analogous to those advanced by Tolle, Bible-believing Christians are to be feared. Their dogma allegedly represents a “mental dysfunction” perpetuating separation and conflict; therefore, Christians are (in Tolle’s word) “dangerous.” After all, he explains, the history of Christianity provides a “prime example” of how biblical dogma “corrupts to the point of insanity.”
In Tolle’s view, narrow interpretation of church dogma destines outsiders to torture, even death by burning. Apparently, if a Bible-toting Christian—say, Billy Graham—heads your way, you best run for your life!
The Gospel according to Tolle further asserts that belief in Christianity as ultimate Truth serves ego by creating “an illusory sense of superiority.” Never mind that self-proclaimed “spiritual leader” Eckhart Tolle boasts his own pantheistic Self-deification! Although both opposing worldviews presuppose “union with the divine,” Christians alone bow the knee, acknowledge their sin and accept unmerited favor from a merciful, personal God to whom they remain accountable. In contrast, Tolle and followers grasp for themselves Godhood itself.
One of these two mindsets most certainly creates the “illusory sense of superiority,” but it’s plainly not the way of the Cross.
Imagine the Now
In imagining no future heaven or hell, it stands to reason that the Beatles likewise “imagine all the people living for today.” Not surprisingly, Eckhart Tolle expounds upon ultimate “power in the Now.” After all, growing in Presence power allegedly eases the grip of ego, and it is Presence alone that unravels the past. Living in Tolle’s “Now” ostensibly enables transformation of consciousness from illusive thought (yielding “wanting,” “thwarted wanting,” and “indifference”) to Self-God awareness.
In Tolle’s world, when advanced, highly evolved humans seize “Presence power,” their consciousness shifts from the illusory “sweet by and by” to power-packed Presence. No longer are they hindered by the “mental idolatry” of blissful eternity with “our God.” They have instead come to accept their common divinity with all of Life. Having triumphed over matter by self-mastery, the fully “conscious” trade their tradition-bound “phantom selves” for their purported “I AM”-ness.
To the New Age occultist, a master is considered to be enlightened, or “to have fire in the eyes”—this being a throwback to sun-worship. The term, “master,” is synonymous with ascended master, adept/initiated adept, spirit guide/guide, the Hierarchy of Initiates/Spiritual Hierarchy of the Earth/Planetary Hierarchy/the Hierarchy and Uburmenschen (in German). To some mystics, adepts are spirit beings (actually demons) with whom they interact once having entered altered states of consciousness.
Achieving mastery qualifies awakened adepts to act as “Custodians of the Plan” and to watch over and even guide all of humanity’s spiritual progress. In so doing, these work hard to extinguish forces of darkness/evil—i.e., Jews and Christians. The desired outcome is for the old “Piscean Age” with its obsolete traditionalism to give way to an anticipated “Age of Aquarius,” marked by promises of peace, harmony and brotherhood.
Said adepts comprise a superior species (homonoeticus) whose quantum leap to “consciousness” has fitted them for presumably higher levels of existence in the esoteric Now. In contrast, and in reality, the “perfect” (mature) man of Ephesians achieves “the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ”—not by “paradigm shift,” awakened consciousness, or by attaining Christhood—but rather by embracing and following Jesus as Savior and Lord.
In conclusion, the Lord Jesus is no “archetypal image,” nor is He “every man and every woman,” as Tolle would have us believe. Rather He is God incarnate, Lord of lords, Author and Finisher of our faith. Speaking truth in love, the mature believer grows and—over the course of time—is fashioned into the spiritual likeness of Christ; he does not assume some imagined state of transcendent Christhood while basking in the perpetual “Now.”
Debra Rae is an author and educator who has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad. Having authored two books—the ABCs of Globalism and ABCs of Cultural-Isms (the latter highlighted at the 55th Annual CBA International Convention, 2004)—Debra contributing columnist for News With Views. Debra has been a speaker on numerous radio shows aired across the nation, the Western Hemisphere, Russia, and the Middle East. This past year, she co-launched and now co-hosts WOMANTalk, a special edition of Changing Worldviews TALK Radio, for which she writes weekly commentaries. www.debraraebooks.com, www.womantalk.us, www.newswithviews.com/Rae/Debra.htm