"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 10 guest Kippy Sinclair from Tokyo, Japan

Kippy from Tokyo, Japan
Kippy was teaching gifted students in elementary school at a U.S. Air Force base near Tokyo when she and her reading group joined the broadcast. She had a question about a specific passage from the book.

She read from page 301 of A New Earth: "Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or a vision that you work toward."

Kippy wanted to know how we could have goals or visions if we are meant to stay in the present.

"A goal that is powerful, when you are in touch with your own power, is not a goal that you project yourself mentally to and say, 'I would like to achieve this or that,'" Eckhart said. "'At some future point, I will need that. I want that to complete myself.' You're reaching out towards that goal; you're losing yourself. You're not present."

However, Eckhart said that a powerful goal is not about the future but actually a matter of realizing the vision that is already a reality inside oneself. The power will manifest itself externally in time.

"What you are visualizing is not yourself in some future state," Eckhart said. "Get in touch with the power. What would it feel like if you were an actress already successful? What does that feel like inside you?"

Oprah summarized his thoughts by saying it's important to examine and envision how you can use your talent in the world. It's not what a person does that is important but how he or she does it.

"It comes from fullness rather than neediness," Eckhart said. "The mistake is not finding the place of power that is in the present moment and believing that something else that is not in the present moment is going to bring you to the place of power. It won't."
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 10 guest Kippy Sinclair from Tokyo, Japan

Kippy Provided This Update:
My question was how to stay in the present when pursuing another career.

I have noticed since the webcast that I can maintain in my current field and seek outward what I might want to do. I stay in the present and fulfill my obligations, but I also know that a change may occur in the future and that I cannot dwell on that.

If I dwell on my future career, it will stagnate me into a position of wishing or wanting something, and I cannot do that. I must continue with what I am doing and at the same time try to keep my options open for the future, that being with constantly keeping on top of what is going on to further my career.

I have been staying in the present because if I go any further, it doesn't make any sense. I don't want to pretend or try to imagine what my life would be like with a different career because that will take place when it happens. Just being in the present moment and doing the best I can now is what I want to do.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 9 guest Ivy Huo from Richmond, Virginia

Ivy from Richmond, Virginia
At 26, Ivy had questions about finding a career path that could merge her inner purpose with her external one.

"My question, really, is twofold. The first is: How should I approach finding a career that is fulfilling but doesn't strengthen my ego?" Ivy said. "Secondly, and perhaps the more pressing question for me is, How do I do this while also becoming comfortable and embracing the uncertainty that's defining my life right now?"

Eckhart responded by telling Ivy that we are constantly faced with uncertainty, but enjoyment can come when we accept it. If everything had been mapped out or clear for her at the time, she'd have never evolved or grown. An important part of Ivy's life at this point was to make mistakes, which gradually would have taught her what was right for her.

"Life is an adventure," Eckhart said. "It's not a packaged tour. When you travel, you can take a package tour, and everything is already planned; there's no uncertainty. ... You know beforehand where you're going to be in 10 days' time exactly. That's not an adventure, and it's unlikely that you're going to evolve internally through a trip like that."

Eckhart added that by making mistakes, Ivy could take small steps toward recognizing her true purpose. Oprah sympathized, remembering how she had felt stuck in her 20s as a television anchor. Although she had hated the job, she had realized that deciding what she didn't want to do had informed her of what she did want. Eckhart had had a similar experience when, after years in academia, he had realized becoming a professor would be the wrong path for him. He had gone through many years of uncertainty before realizing his purpose was being a spiritual teacher. For Ivy, he said, becoming more at ease with being uncomfortable could lead to infinite possibilities opening up in her life.
Ivy Huo

Ivy Provided This Update:
Shortly after the webcast, I decided to enroll in law school. That decision has given me the chance to explore new and fulfilling opportunities.

I often come back to Eckhart's words "Keep you inner space clear, aligned with now, so that no negatively arises." These words have helped me tremendously to stay awake in the present moment. I've observed that if there are negative thoughts or emotions in me, I am usually focusing on the past or the future instead of the present moment. If I am alert and there are still negative thoughts floating in my mind, I've noticed that it is largely because there is an inner narrative being created of what is happening around me instead of me just accepting life for how it already is.

Through paying attention to my thoughts and emotions, I've begun to notice when my attention shifts away from the present moment and to gently remind myself to come back to the now. I feel less worried, anxious and fearful when I remember to bring my awareness back to the present moment. It also helps to remind myself of Eckhart's words that "what you do is not of primary importance, but how you do it is what matters." When I remember this, I feel light, free.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 9 guest Gwen Gamble from Munich, Germany

Gwen from Munich, Germany
When husband and wife Bob and Gwen joined the broadcast via Skype™, the pair had two very different questions. He was curious about the larger meaning of Eckhart's teachings, but she wanted to know more about the ego and apologizing.

"I have found that apologizing when it's the right time helps me get back in alignment," Gwen said. "However, when I've been wronged by someone, I expect to hear that apology to help build the relationship and get it back to a positive way. ... When there's not closure and apologies don't come, I feel very uncomfortable. I'm beginning to wonder if this is my ego at play."

According to Eckhart, the ego keeps accounts and tracks what people owe us. In Gwen's case, it was telling her she was owed an apology. However, Eckhart saw this as an opportunity for her to observe the ego in action. Gwen needed to recognize her emotional/mental pattern and analyze her thoughts and how they affected her emotions. By being in a place to recognize the ego, she could begin diminishing its power.

"It's your ego's way of feeling superior," Oprah said. "And you're the one that goes and says, 'Well, I apologized, and you didn't.'"

Eckhart said Gwen also ran the risk of hanging on to resentment, which could develop into grievances over time.
Gwen Gamble, Bob Gamble and son

Gwen Provided This Update:
I would say that the experience of participating in the webcast resonates in me with the idea of being present. At the time all this happened, we had school-age children. I think reading and relating the lessons learned helped me be a better parent and raise healthier people. I never cease to be impressed with the thinking and conversation my children can have with my husband and me. This is because we learned the importance of being present. I believe that because we were open to the lessons presented by Eckhart, we became better parents.

I also know that reading his book made me more interested in further reading and experiences that promote living a contented life. I am much more comfortable in being alone, I enjoy meditation and yoga, and I live a healthier life. I try not to let other people upset me, and truly want to bring happiness to everyone. Also, I must say that I no longer procrastinate as much, and I am so much better at identifying the trouble and releasing what we cannot control, so healing can focus on those things that we can change in ourselves. I choose to be happy!
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 9 guest Bob Gamble from Munich, Germany

Bob from Munich, Germany
While his wife, Gwen's question was about the ego, Bob wanted to ask about a specific passage from A New Earth: "Fulfilling your primary purpose is laying the foundation for a new reality, a new earth. Once that foundation is there, your external purpose becomes charged with spiritual power because your aims and intentions will be one with the evolutionary impulse of the universe."

"What is the 'evolutionary impulse of the universe'?" Bob said.

Eckhart said that it means the growth of consciousness, which can also be called the spirit. This can be seen in the rising of awareness. Eckhart cited the expression "as above, so below" to explain how we interact with the universe.

"Whatever happens here on this planet and in the human form will be reflected throughout the universe," Eckhart said. "These are universal movements."

We all stem from a universal source or power of energy, which some consider to be God or a higher consciousness, Oprah added, summarizing Eckhart's thoughts.

"When you tap into the part of you that we're calling consciousness or presence or inner purpose, when you tap into that—that is connected to the source of all universal power and energy," Oprah said.

She added that when you connect to that part of you, your "aims and intentions" will be one with what all universal power and energy is striving for. This objective would be for the consciousness to come through you as a human being.

"The impulse of the universe is to support you, and you bringing about your higher consciousness," Oprah said. "That's why you're here."
Gwen and Bob Gamble

Bob Provided This Update:
Eckhart's story about voices in his head made sense to me. Often, I find stories and scripts going on in my head that usually are anticipating future events. The admonition to stay in the present moment and be aware on purpose has helped me shorten and sometimes stop these mental stories that are not real, not true and not useful.

Since speaking with Eckhart and Oprah, I have done more study in the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, Gerald Jampolsky, the Dalai Lama, Pema Chödrön and Joel Osteen. It reassures me that they all seem to be referring to the same truths, in their own words.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 8 guest Peter Wearing from Phoenix, Arizona

Peter from Phoenix, Arizona
Peter was a smoker for more than 30 years when he read A New Earth. Using the lessons in Chapter 8, he had already been smoke-free for 11 weeks when he spoke with Eckhart and Oprah.

"I had run out of cigarettes," Peter said. "I thought I had to go to the store, but when the craving came, I said, 'Okay, let's be with the craving. Let's feel it. What does it actually feel like?' Usually we just react, and I actually sat there, closed my eyes and felt it, and it started to dissolve."

Peter continued to use Eckhart's teachings to dissolve his cravings completely. However, when Peter tried to use the same technique on other desires, such as food, television or alcohol, he was not able to have the same success. He wanted to know why.

Eckhart explained that while some addictions and cravings dissolve quickly, other old patterns take longer.

"It does not mean that every time awareness meets the pattern that awareness is going to win," Eckhart said. "'Win' may not be the right word because awareness, of course, is never fighting anything. Awareness just is there as a conscious presence."

Peter admitted that while he was able to bring awareness to combat his desire or urges for a period of time, he would always break down eventually. Eckhart responded by saying that that didn't mean that Peter had lost; it was just that his desire was very strong. Sometimes, he said, if it got too strong, he would have a drink, and the next time, he could just bring his awareness to it again.

"Don't expect perfection. Don't expect you to be the perfect human being who never touches a drink again," Eckhart said.

Find out how Peter is doing today...
Peter Wearing

Peter Provided This Update:
My experience with the A New Earth webcast came right on the heels of my surrender to follow a spiritual path. When you take a step toward God, God rushes to meet you. I had given up on religion a decade before, and after 10 years I was more unhappy and miserable than ever. I remember feeling that I was just waiting out my life until it was time to die. If this was what the next 30 to 40 years was going to look like, I was terrified.

Eckhart Tolle, and A New Earth, was the first teacher that the Divine sent to me. I had the instant miracle of stopping smoking, and asked for guidance on two other addictions that I truly wanted to release: alcohol and overeating. Eckhart told me to have patience, to continue the work and that eventually I would have success. I have now been alcohol-free for four years and have a much healthier relationship with food.

I am now supporting the spiritual and personal development of others through counseling, prayer and teaching. I have found purpose in my life again, and I love life. I have never been happier, healthier and more loving.

Eckhart inspired me to believe again. A New Earth spoke to me of the importance of raising human consciousness as the way to a better world. I feel that I am now one with Eckhart's vision. I see how my previous careers and experiences groomed me for this purpose. I am eternally grateful for Eckhart and Oprah's contribution not only to my personal development but also to the world. It is an exciting time to be alive.

Peter has been smoke-free since February 2008 and alcohol-free since January 2010.
Email from "Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 6 guest Lorraine Arams

Lorraine from Vancouver, British Columbia
Lorraine wanted to ask Eckhart about a persistent problem in her life. In an email, she wrote: "I attract negativity. It seems that my whole world is one big fight. I just want people to stop instigating fights with me. I don't deliberately go out and begin conflict, but it comes to me. I hate it. I just want peace. What's the problem?"

Eckhart responded by saying that the things we frequently experience externally are just a reflection of our inner state.

"You attract certain things into your life that reflect your state of consciousness," Eckhart said. "So for Lorraine, it's very important to become much more aware of whatever state she is in at any given moment."

Eckhart added that there are two sides to our inner state: the emotional aspect and the mental aspect. Individuals can observe the mental aspect by noticing what kind of thoughts their mind is producing and whether they're negative ones.

"What is my state at this moment?" Eckhart said. "That is a good question to ask yourself."

However, he advised that Lorraine do this not when she was in a fight or being challenged but rather in average moments. Her normal state of consciousness was creating these negative events in her life, and it was more important for her to look at her consciousness instead of whatever was happening outside of her. Eckhart exhorted her to be vigilant and leave little notes and reminders to remain conscious of her internal state.

Find out how Lorraine is doing today...
Oprah Winfrey

Lorraine Provided This Update:
Oprah's series with Eckhart Tolle was a revelation, a rebirth of sorts, although I only got as far as the "birthing channel" during the series. The rebirth held yet many twists and turns.

Having been basically adrift since I was 15 years old, I wasn't too wise to the ways of the world, much less the world of Eckhart Tolle. My tenderness and naïvety were used and abused over the years. I just didn't have enough life skills and defenses. All I knew was very hard work, school, loyalty and doing my best. ... Like a fish out of water, I flipped and flopped through life.

Oprah did such a fantastic job of bringing the best out in Eckhart Tolle; I doubt I could have understood his books in any other way. She has tremendous talent for asking the right questions.

I came to realize that there were millions of people in the world who were lost! They needed guidance. I finally had a tribe of "defective people" who wanted to do and be better.

However, the lessons could not be learned overnight. To this day, I am practicing:

(1) NOW. Living in the now, today, in the moment and appreciating all there is about the now.

(2) Energy. Everything on earth is energy. It's up to me to control my "brand" of energy in order to attract the people and things I want. The way the world is is the way my world is on the inside. The world on the inside affects what I see, whom I meet, what I do and how I respond. (I was fortunate enough to have had my question answered on the show, though I didn't quite get the answer at the time.)

(3) Letting go of negativity. What a slow process this is because the mind has learned to "gnaw" on the negativity, creating "grooves" in our psyche. In order to change energy, that negativity must be eliminated.

(4) The key lesson: Acceptance that I am a worthy and valuable part of the human race, not a defective one, is a full-on experience, not an intellectual exercise, as Eckhart had said over and over again. To this day, that journey remains ongoing.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 6 guest Danielle McCormick

Danielle from Dublin, Ireland
Danielle had been practicing to stay in the present for more than three years when she spoke with Eckhart over Skype.

"My ego keeps on telling me, 'If you get rid of your ego, you will lose the world as you know it,'" Danielle said. "'You will lose your relationships with the friends you've built up for years ... and you'll be isolated from the rest of society because they are all living in the ego.' How can I overcome this?"

Eckhart told Danielle that even though the thoughts were crossing her mind, it didn't necessarily mean they were telling her the truth. Eckhart said she needed to ask herself if this was her ego trying to stop her from being present by telling her that life wouldn't be fun anymore.

"If you've been practicing being present, then you realize it's actually quite joyful to be fully open to the present moment," Eckhart said. "It doesn't take away from the fun of being alive. It actually makes you more intensely alive when you are fully present in the now rather than always looking to some next moment that's going to be better than this one."

However, Danielle was still worried that some of her friendships were bound up with ego, and she felt she was expected to act the same way she always had. Oprah responded by saying that becoming more aware and letting go of the ego also might mean letting go of some of the things that bring a false sense of happiness.

Eckhart added another thought: "Usually it happens that some of your friends will actually join you and also grow in presence and awaken, and others may drop away who are not ready yet."

Find out how Danielle is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 6 guest Danielle McCormick holding Irish flag on snowy mountaintop

Danielle Provided This Update:
I love the way Joseph Campbell describes the path to enlightenment as the hero's journey. Our purpose here is to learn to overcome the world of form and to live connected to the divine, or the now as Eckhart calls it, which is a way of living that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of the current state of consciousness that predominates our world today.

While we all think the hero is someone else outside our group, the hero's journey is actually one we must all take. Once the hero has defeated the big dragon, which Campbell says is just symbolism for the mighty feat that is required to overcome the world of ego, they return to the village a changed person, and this inspires other people to start on their own spiritual paths.

When I spoke with Eckhart, I knew what he was saying was profound, but I was scared to take the plunge and fully hand over the reins of my life and move fully away from the world of form. I felt attached to my friends but felt like no matter how sparkly and exciting my world was on the outside, it didn't make me feel content on the inside. I wanted to walk away, but it felt lonely going on this journey alone, and I really wished that someone would come with me—but this is a journey we must all take alone.

We get scared because we can't see into the future and fear that our situation will be worse, but Oprah assured me that new people and situations would manifest, and that's exactly what happened.

At the time, I was living in Ireland, but today I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it feels like home, and I am surrounded by people who are all on the spiritual path. I am still on my spiritual journey, and I still do get sucked into the world of ego and form, but I know that when I do hand things over to the divine, things unfold in magical ways I couldn't have even imagined.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 5 guest Ros Gardner

Ros Gardner from Sydney, Australia
After losing her father six years ago, Ros wanted to ask Eckhart about honoring the memories of a loved one without adding to the pain-body. At times, she found herself crying over his death for no particular reason, even though she knew she couldn't change the past or bring him back.

"The tears just come," Ros said over the phone. "So am I adding to my pain-body by doing that? I feel I'm honoring my father's memory, but I'm sad at the time. So is that a negative emotion, or is that something deeper down inside that is a natural thing, and it's a part of my being?"

While Eckhart said there is a natural mourning that happens when a loved one passes away, for some people that might turn into the pain-body.

"For example, that would be the case if there's an excessive or exaggerated amount of sadness or depression," Eckhart said. "Some people, after a loved one dies, go through years of debilitating depression, or they develop even extreme anger. That is also quite frequent."

Eckhart thought that Ros' situation didn't seem to be a case of the pain-body being activated through the death of a loved one. He advised her to observe what her mind was doing—what kind of thoughts it was generating—when she went through these grieving periods in the future. Eckhart said it might be that her mind wasn't saying much and that she was only experiencing emotional sadness, which can be beautiful and natural.

Oprah added that after the loss of her dog Sophie, whom she considered a member of her family, she would find herself missing Sophie's physical presence. However, in many ways, Oprah said, she felt she had developed a stronger spiritual connection to her beloved dog only after her death.

"I always say, 'When somebody you love dies, you now have an angel you know,'" Oprah said. "You can call the angel formless or consciousness or being or whatever, but what happens is so many people are just caught up in the grief of it and the loss of it, and resisting and wanting it to be the way it was, trying to hold on to the way it was, instead of accepting what is, and they don't allow the grace of the formless to come through."

Find out how Ros is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 5 guest Ros Gardner

Ros Provided This Update:
We discussed how to honor the memory of a loved one who had died and we miss, without adding to our pain-body. Eckhart recommended that I be aware of an excessive amount of pain and anger that could arise, and that I should allow mourning to happen but watch what the mind was doing. He said that underneath the sadness was still some peace that came with the acceptance of the emotion. ... Oprah added that when somebody you love dies, you have an extra angel to guide you—this was something that really resonated with me because it's something that I truly believe in too. The peace that comes with acceptance has helped me in many more situations since speaking with Eckhart and reading the book, as I find that if my mind turns to negative thoughts, I tend to immediately become aware of it and try and deal with it more positively. After all, worry is simply repetitive negative thought.

How has my life changed?

Eckhart has given me tools to help deal with everyday occurrences (e.g., being stuck in traffic). Instead of finding myself frustrated, as I used to be, I now try to become more present by turning up whatever music I may be listening to or focusing on any trees or plants that are nearby and appreciating them. As corny as it sounds, it dissipates any negatives that might feed the pain-body, and I'm just a happier soul. So if I'm happier, hopefully I spread that around to the people I meet. Mind you, there are times when I get too "busy" to remember to be more in the present moment, and that's when I find I'll not notice or forget something, but I'm still a work in progress as I age, although I'm definitely more chilled.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 5 guest Judy Ison

Judy from Columbia, South Carolina
The email Judy sent Oprah and Eckhart concerned the pain-body.

"Could you talk a bit about alcohol and drug abuse and the pain-body? Is this an attempt at escape from the pain-body?"

According to Eckhart, this kind of abuse often stems from not wanting to feel the pain anymore, because in some people, the pain-body is active nearly all the time. It can be so dreadful to live with that these people tend to look for an escape.

"The pain-body loves it, but it makes your life more and more miserable," Eckhart said.

Eckhart added that people with a heavy pain-body also have a great chance of awakening. When life becomes unbearable because you are creating so much pain, the desire to break out of the misery is much greater than a normal person's. Eckhart compared it to dreaming: If you're having a pleasant dream, you don't mind continuing to dream. However, if it's a nightmare, you want to awaken from that.

Find out how Judy is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 5 guest Judy Ison

Judy Provided This Update:
Where to begin? At the time in my life when I discovered Eckhart Tolle, I was desperately trying to find the ground with my feet. I was seriously disoriented after being suddenly ejected from a 30-year marriage in favor of someone our daughter's age. ... My world was upside down and inside out, and I was in need of a compass and someone or something I could trust. My self-worth and self-image were demolished.

Eckhart helped me to see that even though the big picture was grim, the moment, the tiny unit of time in which I actually lived, was fine. Worry, dread, memories—all products of the mind: thought forms.

I listened to his CDs in my car. I read The Power of Now. I meditated and learned how little value there actually is in "things." They have only the value that we give them. Their importance lies in the memories that we attach to them. ... Our happiness lies in our acceptance of what is. There is nothing that is either all good or all bad, and even that is a value judgment based upon what we think should happen or should not happen.

Today, 10 years later, I still listen to my CDs and practice stepping out of time and looking at things from a Tolle perspective. If I find that I can't sleep because I am worrying about something that may or may not happen, I make myself aware of now. Now I am fine; now I am healthy; now I am comfortable; now is good. It's always now.

Now, I have a smart, beautiful, artistic, loving granddaughter who lives 2 miles away with my amazing daughter and her husband. I would not be here if things had not gone as they did. ... There is now another man in my life, who is exactly right, trustworthy, honest, warm and caring. Life is good.

Eckhart taught me to accept and move on. Imagination/thought forms/pain-bodies are all very powerful, but they only have the power that we give them. Fear fuels all manner of destructive forces. Acceptance of the present moment and awareness of that opening as the only portal through which it is possible to change our story make all the difference.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 4 guest Dionne Gray

Dionne from Port of Spain, Trinidad
When Dionne called from Trinidad, she was having a problem using her new awareness to prevent herself from slipping into a role.

"Although I'm now aware of some of the roles that I play, it's really easy to flip back into them sometimes," she said. "I'm at the stage where I recognize that I'm playing a role after the moment has passed, but, I'd like to know, how do I recognize it in the moment before it happens, especially in those unexpected moments?"

As it turned out, her question was a common one.

"This applies to many, many people," Eckhart said. "I've heard this so many times. The awareness begins to grow, this dimension that we call presence or awareness. At first, the awareness does not necessarily flow into all parts of their lives."

In the heat of the moment, people play their conditioned role, but later on they realize they had fallen into their old pattern again. This is often how awareness first comes about, according to Eckhart. He told Dionne that she would begin to see the time gap between the event and the awareness eventually getting shorter.

"The next thing that happens is, in the middle of playing a role, you suddenly realize, 'Oh, I'm playing that role again,'" he said. "So the awareness has come in. You’re still doing it, but then you know that you’re doing it."

According to Eckhart, the next step after that for Dionne is noticing just before she is about to enter into a conditioned pattern and realizing she doesn't need to play that role.

Find out how Dionne is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 4 guest Dionne Gray

Dionne Provided This Update:
I decided to become involved with the webcast because I felt like I had a story to share. I really believe our stories connect us as humans because you find that we have a lot of things in common. So I felt like what the book had done for me was something that I wanted to share with a wider audience, just to help other people who are probably going through the same things that I was.

When the webcast was being done, I was actually en route back to my home country in Trinidad. I had just gotten off a flight, and I was scheduled to go on at about 9 p.m. that night. So I rushed from the airport right to my home in Trinidad, where there was a phone call waiting for me, and I did the webcast from there. It was really exciting.

The question that I had for Eckhart Tolle was about my ability to recognize when I was stepping into a role that I didn't want to play in any particular situation. ... What Eckhart said to me is just as simple as all his teachings. He just said that I needed practice and that I needed to be patient. And that's what I did. Over time, I continued to be aware of situations, and I began to pay more attention to my inner voice and understand really early on what was happening in a given situation.

Since that experience, I would say my life has really changed in a whole lot of different ways, mainly because I've learned to be more present in my daily encounters with people, whether I'm at the job or at home or interacting with family or friends. I've learned to just be present and understand exactly what's happening around me. And I've learned to tune in more to my emotions and to pay attention to them—to recognize whether they are emotions that are valid or whether they're emotions that I may not need to necessarily need to pay attention to. I try to figure out what's true for me in any given moment.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 4 guest Shali Sirkay

Shali from Stockholm, Sweden
Although listening to the class was already helping Shali better understand Eckhart's teachings, she had one particular question for him about raising her daughter.

"How do you stay present when you're trying to discipline your child and she starts screaming and shouting?" Shali said. "She's only 3, so I can't really explain to her that it's really your ego that's coming out."

"I guess my question is, you know, I want to raise her as a more conscious human being," Shali added. "I don't want her to be awakened at the age of 35 like me."

First, Eckhart said Shali needed to pay more attention to her inner state, not her daughter's.

"When you're daughter refuses to eat, she's not making you anxious, only you can do that," Eckhart said. "It is vital what state of consciousness you are in, what emotional state you are in, when you are relating to your daughter. Because if you're often in a state of anxiety, you get into a vicious circle."

He continued to say that the anxiety that she thought was caused by her daughter's behavior was ultimately caused by Shali’s reaction to her daughter's behavior. Even Shali's own nervous energy field could have provoked more negative actions out of her daughter.

"A 3-year-old is absorbing that and picking up that energy more than even your language," Oprah added.

For any conflict with her daughter, Eckhart advised Shali to focus on her own inner state and to see raising her daughter as her own spiritual practice.

Find out how Shali is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 4 guest Shali Sirkay

Shali Provided This Update:
When A New Earth was about to tape, my family and I had just moved to Stockholm, Sweden, in January 2008. ... Being in a totally different country was really exciting, but at the same time I felt very disengaged and isolated. I had a 3-year-old daughter, and I had just left my friends, my family and my entire support network back home in the United States.

My question to Eckhart Tolle was how could I practice my spirituality in the midst of everything that was going on in my life: adjusting to living in a new country and setting up normal routines for our family with a husband who traveled quite a bit as well.

What I learned from that experience is that Eckhart had given me the greatest piece of advice that anyone had ever given me. He said that I didn't have to go away to an ashram and meditate for eight hours a day to practice my spirituality. He told me that I could be present and make dealing with my child and anything else that was going on in my life my spiritual practice.

Since the experience of participating in the A New Earth webcast, I have become much more mindful. I practice my full meditation and write in a gratitude journal, which I encourage my daughter to do as well. But more than that, I feel more in control of my life and all the surroundings around me, all the situations around me. I feel more confident and more peaceful.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 3 guest Doris Johnson

Doris from London, England
When Doris Johnson first read A New Earth, a specific part jumped out at her: "Resentment is often the emotion that goes with complaining."

"It started a question within me," Doris told Eckhart and Oprah over Skype™. "I thought, like, but where do hurt feelings belong to? Is this something that my ego tells me to feel?"

From sadness to grief, she wanted to know more about the different kinds of pain people feel. Although Eckhart confirmed that these feelings do, in fact, originate in the ego, he added that it's important to stop and accept those feelings in the moment.

"You can't say, 'Oh, I shouldn't be feeling hurt, and I shouldn't have an ego,'" Eckhart said. "It doesn't work."

Instead, Eckhart said, Doris needed to recognize those feelings and what was creating them. Often, individuals can develop a specific image of themselves. Yet, if someone else says something critical, it can call that image into question. The person reacts negatively, and the ego wants to defend itself.

Eckhart used an incident of road rage as an example: If another driver were to call you an idiot, that may hurt on some level. For many people, that pain could turn into anger.

"Immediately, the ego goes into self-repair mode, as I call it, and will shout something back in order to repair itself," Eckhart said.

Find out how Doris is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 3 guest Doris Johnson

Doris Provided This Update:
It's been six years since the webcast. It took me three years to get where I am now. Such a short time for so much change.

The webcast with Oprah and Eckhart was in March 2008, in the middle of the night as I Skyped in from London. Before I start my story, here is the situation I was in at that time, in a nutshell:
  • I'm originally from Germany, and I live by myself in London, U.K.
  • I was in between jobs.
  • For decades, I was on not so good terms with my ailing mother.
  • My two elder sisters and I were not talking.
  • My eldest daughter and granddaughter lived in Germany.
  • My two younger daughters lived in the United States.
I wasn't happy with the situation I was in, and I knew NOW was the time to change and straighten things out.

A week after the webcast I got a job offer. I received an email from the VP of the company I left behind in Germany in 2006. ... I felt the angels are taking over. I knew I had to talk to my family, so I went back home. The job wasn't certain until May, but I knew it would happen because the time was NOW. ... A week after my arrival in Germany, I got the job, and started a week later.

Also, immediately after my arrival, I reached out to my mother. She was already in a wheelchair, and her health was declining. We forgave each other and apologized. She couldn't talk much, so our eyes and hearts did most of the talking. We held hands and made up. ... In 2010, our mother crossed over knowing that all her children were united and talking and that we accepted each other with our differences. My sisters, my daughters, nieces and nephews and I were united in peace, love and harmony at her funeral.

Just after my mother's passing, I met an Indian doctor and meditation yogi. She taught me how to meditate, and she taught me to be a meditation yogi myself.

Now that all was in order, we decided it was time for me to relocate to the United States to be reunited with my daughters. It was in July 2011 when I arrived here. We moved together to beautiful Flowery Branch, Georgia, and we've been living together ever since. I found a great job that I love, and I love life here in the United States. ... I feel peace inside of me. I have faith that everything is perfect—I whole-heartedly believe in the power of now and have no worries whatsoever. Life is good.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 3 guest Kidada

Kidada from Los Angeles, California
At age 33, Kidada was struggling to reconcile her career and life goals with the teachings of A New Earth. Although the book resonated deeply with her, she resisted letting go of the form entirely.

"If everything in form is an illusion, it feels really disenchanting," she said over Skype. "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. And if it's all illusion, where's the fun?"

According to Eckhart, her age might have been responsible for some of the disconnect. He explained that many concepts would take on a different meaning at a later time when she found the forms in her life were no longer satisfying. Eckhart himself admitted that if he had read A New Earth when he was 20 years old, he wouldn't have understood the truth in it.

For the time being, though, he advised her not to focus on things that could mean greater fulfillment or to identify too much with the forms in her life.

"This is not to take the joy out of life," Eckhart said. "It's to really deepen the way in which you live rather than living on the surface of things and expecting fulfillment through relatively superficial things."

Find out how Kidada is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 3 guest Kidada

Kidada Provided This Update:
I have really come into the understanding of the gift I have within myself. When I can become quiet and still inside and connect with spirit, I feel an abundance of overwhelming peace and love. Everything benefits from that connection. Eckhart pointed out that being present is not meant to zap the fun and planning out of our lives; it's meant to enhance our lives and deepen all the experiences we are having. My body, mind and spirit have all benefited from my meditation and breathing. I feel rooted, alive and nonreactionary, which has brought many blessings my way. I'm very grateful for the experience.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 2 guest Joyce

Joyce from Austin, Minnesota
Joyce, a self-identified shopaholic, Skyped in to ask Eckhart and Oprah how to prevent her bad shopping habits from affecting her 5-year-old son.

Oprah asked Joyce whether she had come across the following quote from Chapter 2 of A New Earth: "When you can no longer feel the life that you are, you are likely to try to fill up your life with things."

Joyce said she had been that person, but then had she stopped trying to find her identity in things, which awoke her artistic side and interest in sculpting. She worried, though, that she wouldn't be able to reverse the shopping addiction in her son.

"Oh, well, the most important change has already happened in you," Eckhart said. "So, you've become aware of the old pattern. You've gone beyond it, and it's inevitable that even if you don't say anything, it will transmit itself to your son also."

Eckhart also advised Joyce to show her son things of intrinsic value. Nature, for example, can't be bought, and encouraging her son to simply enjoy being in the presence of such beauty would help stifle his impulse for acquisition.

Find out how Joyce is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 2 guest Joyce

Joyce Provided This Update:
Since the webcast classes, my life has seen a lot of personal growth. I realized during the webcast that I had a void to fill, and not with shopping. That led me on a soul search, which led me to Jesus Christ. I became a Christian and was baptized that same year.

Previous to that, my ego was momentarily satisfied with shopping. I would purchase an item that I felt made me look prettier or made my house look nicer, but it was short-lived, and so once again, I would be on the search for that item that would make me feel better about myself. During the webcast, Eckhart told me to admire the things I would usually buy—admire them for their beauty and put them back. Because of the webcast, I also realized that my ego was causing the void in my life. Once I was able to ignore my ego, I found satisfaction in myself without material items. The freedom that came from this allowed me to explore my life, which led me ultimately to Christ, and for that, I am truly grateful.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 2 guest Victoria

Victoria from Maui, Hawaii
Victoria was diagnosed with systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis 10 years before the original 2008 A New Earth webcast. Up to the point of her diagnosis, she had been a very active person, she said. But as her health began deteriorating, she had an aha! moment. She realized she had unconsciously held on to her illness as the most important part of her self-identity.

She asked Eckhart and Oprah how she could shed this identity and find peace.

"The most important thing has already happened," Eckhart said. "You have become aware that up to now, you had been identified with the idea of 'I am a sufferer of such and such an illness.' So, the illness had become thought forms in your head, and you identified with the thought forms, and you took them to be who you are."

Eckhart also advised Victoria to talk about her illness no more than she had to. By not focusing on her illness in conversation, she would, Eckhart said, gradually refrain from thinking of herself as a sick person and focus her attention on well-being.

That doesn't mean the pain goes away. Eckhart said she should still seek treatment and do what she could to take care of herself. Pretending the pain isn't happening, he said, would add psychological pain on top of the physical pain.

Find out how Victoria is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 2 guest Victoria

Victoria Provided This Update:
Prior to the webcast, my aha! moment, I never realized that I had unconsciously been "clinging" to my illness because it had become the most important part of who I perceived myself to be. In Chapter 3 of Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, he writes about the core of ego. It goes into the ego's favorite strategies, which strengthens the ego, such as complaining, resentment and all the negative acts and emotions. I realized that in order to change from negative thinking, I had to be totally honest with myself. Tolle states in "Beyond Ego: Your True Identity," pages 77 to 78, "Only Presence can free you of the ego, and you can only be present Now, not yesterday or tomorrow." This was a powerful awakening for me, and I try to be present Now. When you accept that you actually enter a state of peace and clarity, that is closer to who you truly are than thoughts ever could be.

I live in chronic pain because I refuse to take the drugs recommended, so I make use of alternative medicine and maintain a natural and proper diet, but the pain has its good days and bad days. What I had to do when I felt a negative emotion coming on (pain in my body) was to refuse to think something was wrong—the ego LOVES that, but in turn, I accepted the pain. By accepting the pain-body, you allow yourself to feel whatever you want to feel in that moment.

In the last five years, I have written poetry and painted. This is a form of release for me, helping me let go of inner emotions. It helps me to see the beauty of what is around me now. It has become the main focus of the Now. I have also shared this with others, but most of the time, people just look at me and say I look at peace, or they chuckle, and a lot want to hug me. Your positive energy can radiate from your being...and I could be having a day from hell with my pain.
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 1 guest Casey

Casey from Asheville, North Carolina
Casey asked Eckhart and Oprah whether her attachment to material things was in conflict with her spirituality.

"When I put out into the universe—when I ask God—for things like hopes and dreams and material things, a lot of times I get them. Those material things, I think they may be coming from the ego, and I just wonder, Mr. Tolle, is that wrong?" Casey said.

Casey's desires weren't wrong, Eckhart said, but if fulfilling those desires hadn't brought her joy, it would have been a sign of the ego at work.

"That's a good learning process," he said. "You can manifest things, and if you see, 'Oh, that's not satisfying,' it must have been the ego."

It would be an illusion, though, to expect material things to bring ultimate joy. Things don't bring happiness, Eckhart said. Happiness comes from a deeper place.

"If you expect some kind of satisfaction, then you will always be frustrated," he said.

This dissatisfaction, Eckhart said, is not a good starting point for changing your life.

"The ego may tell you that, but it isn't. You need to find a place of acceptance. No matter where you are, come to terms, become friendly with the present moment," he said, "because if you do not become friendly with the present moment, you are not friendly with life."

Find out how Casey is doing today...
"Oprah & Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth" Chapter 1 guest Casey hugging daughter

Casey Provided This Update:
I was ready for A New Earth, and I am thankful and will always be thankful that I read it and was ready for it. There are many things that I learned from the book and the webcast, but there are three main life-changing points that I take with me each day.

First, I am every day a student of being conscious. It is hard; life is crazy busy, but I get it. Thousands of moments have passed since I read this book that I have asked myself, "Are you present? Are you conscious as to what is going on?" I can honestly say that I really do not think that I would know to do this had I not experienced A New Earth. I am so thankful for this gift because, as a mother of three small children, I try to breathe the moments in and be conscious of the blessings that they are to me and the life experiences that we have together.

The second lesson: EGO!! Wow! What a check-yourself-at-the-door type of lesson that has brought on. I now know to stop myself and ask, "Where is this coming from, and why? Oh, yes—that is ego!" Then, I can remind myself about getting real and getting past ego to experience authenticity.

The third lesson that is with me every day is that of roles. I remember reading this and thinking, "Gosh, I am so glad that I am now aware of that." I try very hard to treat everybody as an authentic person and not as an individual based on the role he or she is performing. If you know better, you do better (thank you, Oprah, for that lesson). This book for me is one of the biggest life lessons I have ever received, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the A New Earth webcast.