Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
Some of my favorite excerpts, follow, because I like to re-read excerpts from every book on my Top 10 book list. Seriously, go buy a copy... Or come borrow mine. There were a dozen used copies at The Boulder Bookstore. It's a cheap, Oprah Bookclub paperback for those who aren't yet 100% paperless ;)
Since you cannot find yourself through having, however, there is another more powerful drive underneath it that pertains to the structure of the ego: the need for more, which we could also call "wanting." No ego can last for long without the need for more. Therefore, wanting keeps the ego alive much more than having. The ego wants to want more than it wants to have. And so the shallow satisfaction of having is always replaced by more wanting. This is the psychological need for more, that is to say, more things to identify with. It is an addictive need, not an authentic one.
Unease, restlessness, boredom, anxiety, dissatisfaction, are the result of unfulfilled wanting. Wanting is structural, so no amount of content can provide lasting fulfillment as long as that mental structure remains in place. Intense wanting that has no specifc object can often be found in the still-developing ego of teenagers, some of whom are in a permanent state of negativity and dissatisfaction.
A very common role is the one of victim, and the form of attention it seks is empathy or pity or others' interest in my problems, "me and my story." Seeing oneself as a victim is an element in many egoic patters, such as complaining, being offended, outraged, and so on. Of course, once I am identified with a story in which I assigned to myself the role of victim, I don't want it to end, and so, as every therapist knows, the ego does not want an end to its "problems" because they are part of its identity. If no one will listen to my sad story, I can tell it to myself in my head, over and over, and feel sorry for myself, and so have an identity as someone who is being treated unfairly by life or other people, fate or God. It gives definition to my self-image, makes me into someone, and that is all that matters to the ego.
You have a mental image not only of who the other person is, but also of who you are, especially in relation to the person you are interacting with. So you are not relating with that person at all, but who you think you are is relating to who you think the other person is ad vice versa... so every egoic interaction between two people is in reality the interaction between four conceptual mind-made identities that are ultimately fictitious.
The next day he called his disciples together and confessed he was not yet ready to be a true teacher. He explained to them that he still lacked the sameness of bearing before all human beings, whether beggar or king. He was still unable to look through social roles and conceptual identities and see the samess of being in every human.
...That's the illusion. The ego doesn't know that mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself.
pickup at 218
The outer purpose varies greatly from person to person, and no outer purpose lasts forever. It is subject to time and then replaced by some other purpose.The extent to which dedication to the inner purpose of awakening changes the external circumstances of your life also varies greatly. For some people, there is a sudden or gradual break with their past: their work, living situation, relationships -- everything undergoes profound change. Some of the change may be initiated by themselves, not through an agonizing decision-making process but by a sudden realization or recognition: This is what I have to do. The decision arrives ready-made, so to speak. It comes through awareness, not through thinking. You wake up one morning and you know what to do. Some people find themselves walking out of an insane work environment or living situation. So before you discover what is right for you on the external level, before you discover what works, what is compatible with the awakening consciousness, you may have to find out what is not right, what no longer works, what is incompatible with your inner purpose.
Other kinds of change may suddenly come to you from without. A chance meeting brings new opportunity and expansion into your life. A long-standing obstacle or conflict dissolves. Your friends either go through this inner transformation with you or drift out of your life. Some relationships dissolve, others deepen. You may get laid off from your job, or you may become an agent for positive change at your workplace. Your spouse leaves you, or you reach a new level of intimacy. Some changes may look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge
There may be a period of insecurity and uncertainty. What should I do? As the ego is no longer running your life, the phychological need for external security, which is illusory, anyways, lessens.You are able to live with uncertainty, even enjoy it. When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change. The Roman philosophy Tacitus rightly observed that 'the desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.' If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.
The world will tell you that success is achieving what you set out to do. It will tell you that success is winning, that finding recognition and / or prosperity are essential ingredients in any success. All or some of the above are unusually by-products of success, but they are not success. The conventional notion of success is concerned with the outcome of what you do. Some say that success is the result of a combination of hard work and luck, or determination and and talent, or being in the right place at the right time. While any of these may be determinants of success, they are not its essence. What the world doesn't tell you -- because it doesn't know -- is that you cannot become successful. You can only be successful. Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment. And what is that? There is a sense of quality in what you do, even the most simple action. Quality implies care and attention, which come with awareness. Quality requires your presence.