Idol Chatter

Here we are at the final chapter and the final class, Gang! On Monday night, the Oprah and Eckhart “A New Earth” web event concluded with a special 2-hour finale. That class, based on Chapter 10 “A New Earth,” is now available for viewing at or here at Beliefnet.
Oprah started off the class by thanking everyone from around the world for being a part of her historic “global conversation on consciousness” and for contributing and sharing with her and her staff week after week. It reminded me of what a phenomenal, safe, borderless place she had created for those who were interested in joining her on her consciousness-raising journey.
Just as she thanked her viewers, I’d like to take this quick opportunity to thank Beliefnet and the readers who’ve stumbled across these commentaries or sought them out week after week. I’d like to personally thank you for your time spent here.
Now onto the exciting conclusion!

I don’t know how others feel, but I think the conclusion of this web class is perfectly timed. Ten chapters and ten classes are appropriate in their scope and it seems to me that Eckhart and Oprah have come to a point where the same central points are starting to come up over and over again. To be sure, they could venture on in following weeks to answer an endless variation of questions submitted from viewers who are trying to wrap their minds around certain concepts, but I think the breadth and scope of these web classes have been perfectly comprehensive. Any remaining issues a reader or viewer might have can surely be addressed through a rereading of the book, watching the classes over again or from reading the class transcripts available after registering at
In reading Chapter 10, the basis for Monday night’s class, I admit that for part of it my eyes bugged out of their sockets as if I were a cartoon character. Ah-ROO-gah! Not that I disagreed with what Echkart Tolle writes about consciousness being all there is in the universe and how it expresses itself in form through the manifested, etc., but all I could think while reading that particularly heady section was, “Now how is Oprah going to deal with this?”
As it turns out, she didn’t! She stuck to the more tenable and practical concepts in the chapter while leaving the more philosophical and ethereal ones up to the individual. Whew! Otherwise, we might have seen a lot of people asleep on Skype all over the world if they dug into the heavier content, especially since it seems like the majority of people stayed up through the middle of the night to catch the web classes live.
Monday night started out with the standard silent meditation whose goal it was for us to become aware…that we’re aware. And if I had to sum up the book and the 10 web classes,that is what I’d say it all boils down to. Heck, I’m even going to quote myself here for once because I’d like to highlight it:

The whole point of “A New Earth” is for each of us to become aware that we’re aware. Everything else flows out of that process of simple observation so that we quickly come to realize that are not our thoughts, our reactive emotions or our pattern-based behaviors. We are, in fact, that joyful awareness itself.

Most of Eckhart answers to the various questions lobbed his way come back to simple observation of the present moment. As you probably know how much this truism resonates with me by now, life is only ever found in the present moment. Life only knows this moment—it has no awareness of the past or the future. Therefore, when our thinking replays what was or fears what will be, we are quite simply cut off from the joy of living.
Oprah read one of her favorite lines from this chapter:

Each person’s life— each life-form, in fact—represents a world, a unique way in which the universe experiences itself. (p.283)

I’ve heard this metaphysical concept before. If memory serves it shares everything in common with Eastern philosophies where consciousness is viewed as part of a wonderful play or game that God is playing which is his (or the universe’s) way of experiencing itself.
There’s great life-affirming personal value in this view, that every moment of our lives is perfect (due to its very existence) because we are each a completely unique vehicle for the universe to express and experience itself. You could also line this up with the Sunday school concept of our Western monotheistic God who so loves each and every one of His creations.
Oprah and Eckhart then talked about the parallels between astronomy’s evidence that the universe is expanding and that it will one millennium start contracting back to its original point just as we arrive on planet Earth and grow and expand (our ego and sphere of influence) until we one day retract into old age and ultimately return to our own origin.
There are much quicker examples of this dualistic expansion and contraction that can be seen with every breath that we inhale and exhale or each expansion and contraction of our own beating heart. This pendulum swing is represented everywhere throughout the conscious universe.
Oprah said, “We are the universe.” That reminds me of Michael Jackson singing decades ago with all of his pop pals, “We are the world.” Different goals, but ultimately the same message, right?
But yes, we are the universe. And the gift of the evolution of consciousness as our own self-consciousness has been dropped at our feet.
Eckhart made a good point that nowadays people are apparently only interested in the building-up (or expansion) phase of things. We want more money, more power and more youth to the odd and unfortunate denial of the retraction phase. As we stash our elders away in old folks homes out of sight from our youth-obsessed culture, our civilization now knows very little about the return phase.
The inherent conflict there underlines the whole point of the book “A New Earth” and the web classes which is to realize (or remember deep within) that Being is more important than Doing.
Eckhart said that in Native American culture a grandmother (with an emphasis on the “grand”) was a title of respect, which is a wonderful concept. In our culture, however, we have “grannies” who are cute, but there is no wisdom implied in the word. All we see is the declining Doing of our elders (meaning they’ve outlasted their “usefulness”) as opposed to seeing them as the wisest and most valuable examples of Being.
He went on to explain that those of old age embody the opening of the body into the realm of Spirit and, through them, everybody can contact that realm. Thus, one of our modern age’s biggest problems is that by denying old age, the return or retraction phase, we are denying Spirit and denying Being.
So what is a new Earth?
According to Tolle-Meister, it is not another utopia or utopian vision because the core problem they all share is that salvation is a future ideal. That is, utopias exist in the future and as we have learned over and over again, the future has nothing to do with Life, with Now. Salvation can’t happen in the future–it can only happen in this moment.
What this new Earth will contain is a lot of awakened doing, an astute difference of which is pointed out here:

Until now, human intelligence, which is no more than a minute aspect of universal intelligence, has been distorted and misused by the ego. I call that “intelligence in the service of madness.” Splitting the atom requires great intelligence. Using that intelligence for building and stockpiling atom bombs is insane or at best extremely unintelligent. Stupidity is relatively harmless, but intelligent stupidity is highly dangerous. (p.289)

So a new Earth happens now. In this very moment. And it happens in you and in me. It flows out of your consciousness and mine when we use the power of the present moment and become examples of awakened doing.
In the book there is an explanation of the three modalities of awakened doing that they didn’t cover in the web class as extensively as I’d have hoped. I’ll take a stab at a quick summary here:

The modalities of awakened doing are acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. … You need to be vigilant to make sure that one of them operates whenever you are engaged in doing anything at all—from the most simple task to the most complex. If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. (p.295)

Remember that acceptance, the most basic of modalities, does not necessarily carry with it any positive emotion. For example, changing your car’s flat tire in the pouring rain is an activity that you can find acceptance of because it has to be done in the moment, but that doesn’t mean you will necessarily enjoy it. That’s why enjoyment is a modality in its own right.
We will know when we are operating from a higher level of consciousness because, as Eckhart says, “The only actions that do not cause opposing reaction are those that are aimed at the good of all.”
Our actions will not come from the shallow ego with its idea of separateness, they will come through us as do all enlightened, inspired and Godly activities. Remember that what we are doing is not important…it’s the how that changes when we bring awareness to the present moment in our lives.
So a new Earth and the new Earth is right here. It’s right now. And we all share in it together because, ultimately, there is no difference between the awareness in me and the awareness in you. Fundamentally, we are all the same timeless consciousness.
To give an idea of what this might look like in our own lives, I’ll end with something that Oprah asked of her 60-year old (can you believe it?), gracious co-host. She asked him near the end of the class, “Do you have problems, Eckhart?”
He replied that he does not have problems because he doesn’t create problems. Challenges he does have, but his mind doesn’t turn the unending challenges of living in the world of form into problems.
With that, I thank you again for taking the time out of your lives to read these commentaries and I wish you a world of joyful, enthusiastic challenges…but no problems.
A new Earth is here now. And it’s us!

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