During the Chapter 3 class of Oprah and Eckhart's Web class, Kidada Jones, daughter of legendary music producer Quincy Jones, asked a question that resonated with many people. "This book hits me really, really deep in my heart, and I know it to be the truth, but I have such resistance. And I feel like if everything in form is an illusion, it feels really disenchanting," she said. "I'm at a point in my life where I have goals, I'm excited about my career, I want to have kids, I want to meet a great partner. If it's all illusion, where is the fun?"
Oprah says she was afraid she and Eckhart did not fully answer that question, but Kidada says the answer became clear during the class on Chapter 4. "I would have to say that his very specific instructions of feeling the subtle body breathing, paying attention to nature...those very specific instructions brought a space into my life that I haven't experienced," Kidada says. "Within the space came all of these gifts—compassion, patience, newfound oneness. All of my time kind of slowed down. Everything just kind of had brakes. When I pay attention to those very specific directions, it's a whole new reality for me."
Kidada says her mind used to be like a moving freeway, but slowing down has been like lifting a veil. "I feel a greater sense of confidence," she says. "I feel a greater sense of togetherness. I feel like we're all on the same path. We're all headed to the same thing, and there's no need to be judgmental."
Penny from Ontario, Canada, says she has been practicing Eckhart's advice even though she's in the midst of facing her greatest challenge. In 2004, Penny was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, and doctors estimated she had five years left to live. The cancer spread to her lymph nodes, and Penny went through 18 rounds of chemotherapy.
"Recently, my depression has been getting worse because I'm now approaching the five-year mark," she says. "I'm coming to terms with my mortality, thinking about how I'm going to die, when I'll die and if it will be painful."
Penny says she used to obsess about her fear of dying, but after reading Eckhart's explanation of eternal life, she says she has a completely new outlook on her life.
During the Chapter 4 class, Eckhart explained why he does not fear death. "The ego has dissolved, and so only the ego fears death," he said. "I know there is no death. Usually when people talk about immortality, they use certain arguments, perhaps from physics. They say the energy never gets destroyed. Energy can only become transformed. So the vital energy that is your life, because energy cannot be destroyed, must survive in some form. That is often the argument for the survival of that life—there is no death. Only the form dissolves."
Penny says she now no longer struggles with depression and anxiety. She's just excited to live! "I planned a trip to Vegas. Even when I bake a pie now I smell it, I feel the dough. I know my body's crumbling. I'm out of energy a lot, and it's probably happening. But at the same time, it doesn't scare me."
U.S. Army Captain Mason Weiss is stationed in Iraq and constantly needs to be prepared. "I'm in a base that's close to Sadr City, and we had rockets and mortars getting shot over us and at us," he says. "We had a number of occasions where we had to run into duck-and-cover shelters and drop what we were doing and walk around in body armor."
Mason says reading A New Earth has helped him cope with the stresses of war. "My mom gave it to me to read before I came here and, like I said, with the recent fighting that's going on, I've realized at any moment—not to sound melodramatic—but I could be casualty number 4,003 or 4,004. And that can drive you crazy," he says. "I've tried to just calm myself down and stay in the present moment and realize that I'm probably going to live through this. When I get back home, I don't get a gift certificate or anything with all that wasted energy worrying about it."
To remind himself to stay in the present, Mason says he carries a card in his pocket at all times with 10 principles from A New Earth written on it. "It says, 'Getting through Iraq and beyond—some practical steps,'" Mason says. "I wrote, 'Be aware that what I think to a large extent creates the emotions that I feel. See the link between my thinking and my emotions. Rather than being my thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.'"
Jenny says her home in Sydney, Australia, hasn't been a happy one because she is struggling with a troubled marriage. "I first became separated early this year," she says. "I'd only been married just over a year, and I felt my husband changed quite a lot and we wanted different things. At first, my reaction was an egoic one, and I was angry and I reacted with self-pity."
Jenny says a passage on page 8 of A New Earth helped her let go of her negative emotions. On this page, Eckhart writes, "When you can recognize the unconsciousness in you, that which makes the recognition possible is the arising consciousness, is awakening. You cannot fight against the ego and win, just as you cannot fight against darkness. The light of consciousness is all that is necessary. You are the light."
Although she and her husband are still separated, Jenny says she now reacts to her husband without anger. "Reading Tolle and accepting what he is and realizing that advice about pain-bodies, we're just trying to be built up, and our egos were trying to be inflated, that really helped me," she says. "When I read Eckhart say that's what was happening, to not do that, and to let go, that was quite a relief."
For anyone looking to live their best life, Oprah says A New Earth can be an important part of the spiritual journey.
"It's not too late for you to be a part of it," she says. "I promise you this, if you're ready, it can help transform your life...in little ways and big ways."
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