Ten Practical Thoughts on the Ego (from Eckhart Tolle’s new book, A New Earth)

by bryan maynard

a new earth

Excellent read from a well-traveled scholar and seeker of wisdom. Read this book if you’d like to take personal growth beyond the levels of popular self-help insights.

10. The Ego keeps us from “inhabiting a living reality” (p. 39). It only knows a conceptual reality that is thought-dominated around “the unconscious compulsion to enhance one’s identity through association with an object or an idea” (p. 35).

9. The ego is built into the structure of the mind, and one of the ways it comes into existence is through the process of identification. The ego always identifies with something because the ego wants to “enhance one’s identity through association with an object…So when I identify with something-things, people, religion, status-I endow it with a sense of self, and so it becomes a part of my identity” (p. 35)

8. Advertising and marketing are built on ego. To sell products that people don’t need, advertisers must convince folks that “those things will add something to how they see themselves or are seen by others; in other words, add something to their sense of self” (p. 35).

7. “But we cannot really honor things (or people) if we use them as a means to self-enhancement” (p. 37).

6. “The ego identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more” (p. 37).

5. “The unchecked striving for more…is the same dysfunction the cancerous cell manifests, whose only goal is to multiply itself, unaware that it is bringing about its own destruction by destroying the organism of which it is a part” (p. 37).

4. To get out of ego and this striving for more, we must get out of a thought-dominated consciousness into a being-dominated awareness or consciousness. The ego only knows thoughts that identify with some thing or status; ego can never access the “being” aspect of consciousness, which must felt, lived, and experienced rather than thought (pp. 39-40).

3. “If you say, ‘That building is mine. I own it…’ you are telling a story in which the thought form around ‘I’ and the thought form around ‘building’ merge into one…This story and the thought forms that make up the story…have absolutely nothing to do with who you are. Many people don’t realize this until they are on their deathbed and everything external falls away that no thing ever had anything to do with who they are” (pp. 42-43).

2. “Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them. In the meantime, just be aware of your attachment to things” (p. 45). This is a good starting place.

“Unconscious people will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with…Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being…You can use this criterion to find out how deeply you know yourself-Ask yourself the question:

What are the things that upset and disturb me?

“If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small. That will be your unconscious belief” (pp. 186-187)

Eckhart Tolle, 2005, The New Earth, Penguin Books: New York, NY.