The review of this book could start off with a game of “never have I ever”… Never have I ever taken along so much valuable knowledge after finishing a book. Never have I ever highlighted as many passages within a book. Never have I ever come across a book that would feel so life-changing. Never have I ever taken so many notes while reading, finding tons of parallels to my life and imagining my own personal illustrations to the theories! You get it, this one was quite a special one! I have been hearing tons about the work of Eckhart Tolle and it’s somehow only now that I finally reached towards “A New Earth”. And you know what? I’m glad that it came along at this exact moment in my life. There was a phrase within the book that summed it up perfectly:
If you find this book incomprehensible or meaningless, it has not yet happened to you. If something within you responds to it, however, if you somehow recognize the truth in it, it means the process of awakening has begun.p. 260
If you, just like I did, have stumbled across this title quite a bit, just give it a try! You’ll notice pretty quickly whether it’s a read that fits for you at this moment in time or not. For my part, I was already highlighting passage after passage just 40 pages in! Concerning the amount of information you can potentially soak up, I felt like a slow speed of reading was absolutely essential. It permitted me to take the time to process everything and boy, was there a lot of it! One huge suggestion from my side would be to keep a little notebook handy (or just type away in a note on your phone) in order to capture your thoughts while reading and to try and find personal examples of what is being explained.
The ego cannot distinguish between a situation and its interpretation of and reaction to that situation. You might say, “What a dreadful day,” without realizing that the cold, the wind, and the rain or whatever condition you react to are not dreadful. They are as they are. What is dreadful is your reaction, your inner resistance to it, and the emotion that is created by that resistance.p. 110
I initially reached out for this book having heard that it deals with the subject of the human ego. Why we get offended by certain things, why it’s difficult to assume one’s mistakes in some situations and simply apologize because one’s ego is not permitting this type of “defeat”. What I got out of it was a bit of that and just a crazy amount of mind-blowing information more! One review is simply not enough to summarize all the important topics that are mentioned! Some that really spoke to me a lot were on: how and with what we identify ourselves on this planet Earth, on relationships with people (especially with parents and how childhood shapes you for life), helping you find ways to enjoy the present moment more, of living your life in a more peaceful way, the importance of mindful breathing, meditation, dealing with and managing stress and so much more! This has become a book that I would like to keep on my bedside table and flick through it every now and then at the end of a day, reminding me of all the lessons I have taken along.
Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that this is what you have to do. Acceptance means: For now, this is what this situation, this moment, requires me to do, and so I do it willingly. […] For example, you probably won’t be able to enjoy changing the flat tire on your car at night in the middle of nowhere and in pouring rain, let alone be enthusiastic about it, but you can bring acceptance to it. Performing an action in the state of acceptance means you are at peace while you do it.p. 296
Why not the full 5/5 ★ rating then after all this praise, you might wonder? To me, there was just one point that bothered me A LOT and which was ongoingly present. Present enough to lower the rating by 1 ★: all the religious mentions of God & Jesus… When I’m reaching out for a “spiritual” book, this is exactly what I’m fleeing from. So for me personally, I just had to skip over the parts when for example, quotes from the Bible kept on popping up. If that was something I wouldn’t have minded, it would have been a solid 5/5 ★ book for me! But even with the rating of 4/5 ★ “A New Earth” has definitely made it onto the list of my all-time favourite books I have ever read. I’ll just include the two quotes below, so that you know what I meant with the parts I wasn’t a fan of:
Coincidences happen. If no action is possible, you rest in the peace and inner stillness that come with surrender. You rest in God.p. 58
It has been said “God is love” but that is not absolutely correct. God is the One Life in and beyond the countless forms of life. […] This is the birth of God into the world of form.p. 106
If you have given this book an attempt before and it felt overwhelming in the beginning, do try and create a bit of patience (to get until page 50 for example), as it would be well worth your effort in my opinion! If you’re not getting into it at all though, it might not yet be the moment for you and this book yet. Just put it aside and you might have more luck in a couple of weeks, months or even years. The most important thing is that your reading experience stays positive! If you have ever thought in the direction of wanting to understand what this world is made of, what we as human beings actually are, what the essence of humanity is or if you generally enjoy deep alternative thinking, this might be the right thing for you. It has been eye-opening to me, it has changed my view on so many things in life and not a day has gone by since I finished it, that I didn’t think of some part within it. I now understand why there is a whole separate edition of the book, taking together all the important learnings and theories from it, “Oneness With All Life: Inspirational Selections from A New Earth“. I’ll end this on a definite suggestion from my side – if you were to only read one book this year, this would be my choice!
Edition: ISBN 978-0-141-03941-1
Penguin Random House, first published in 2005