For whom the Eckhart Tolles?

In my various adventures in reading about the brain and mind, I’ve come across a few mentions of Eckhart Tolle. He’s a spiritual guru who claims to have achieved a kind of inner peace overnight. He’s described the experience as follows…

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void. I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.[11]

Essentially, he argues that his ego was destroyed. The boundaries of time and space that separated him from the world were broken.

I can’t help but notice that this sounds a lot like the experience neuroscientist and author Jill Bolte Taylor had when she had a left brain stroke which she reported about in her book “My Stroke of Insight.”

I wonder if Tolle had a similar, but less damaging brain trauma that simply wiped out the sections of his brain that construct the human ego?

I’m sure you’re wondering the same thing. You’re smart, like me.

5 Responses to “For whom the Eckhart Tolles?”


  1. Ahole

    about your brain, yes, I was wondering that. (severe trauma)

  2. John Saleeby

    Well, I’ve had that experience and more than quite a few times. The problem is that all of the mundane details and problems of Life as a Human Being in The World Of Human Beings immediately come rushing back into my Mind and I’m dragged back into the usual condition I’m always stuck in. I guess if I went off to live in the Woods where I could meditate and fast and study I could learn to hold on to that State Of Mind permamently. But then I’d really be a fuckin’ asshole, wouldn’t I?

  3. Wil

    Yeah, I think in a certain sense all of us have “zoned out” and lost our sense of ourselves. And it’s likely that during those moments we’re using our right brain far more than our left. But unfortunately we always come back to reality which blows. But at least its got alcohol.

  4. Ahole

    “But at least its got alcohol…”
    ha
    but why the left/right brain?

  5. Wil

    Well, to really explore this that book “My Stroke of Insight” is a good place to start. Basically there seems to be some truth top the idea that different lobes of the brain do different things. The left is thye more logical oredered part of the brain, the right the more free form “artistic.” They did a study where the MRI’d monks and nuns while they were in religious trances and the right was much more active.

    I just happened to read this article today which gets into some of this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/science/telling-the-story-of-the-brains-cacophony-of-competing-voices.html?_r=1&src=recg&pagewanted=all