A New Earth
Comments on Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, awakening to your life's purpose
For positive or negative reviews of this book on the Amazon site see: Amazon reviews
We consider Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth, awakening to your life's purpose" as a valuable new contribution to our understanding of the human condition and a worthy sequel to his first book "The Power of Now". In our view it is one of the contemporary books that no doubt help to prepare the way to the Point Omega transition. That is why we also discuss it here.
Tolle argues that almost all of us are caught in sub-optimal neurotic states all the time. These abominable states pass however for "normal" and he explains in great detail the alternatives that are possible and available to us instead of those perpetual common neuroses. He also presents a number of practical methods to enhance the development in oneself of those more agreeable alternative states of being. As such, it is another guide to enlightenment, and a rather effective guide at that.
Tolle's message is also in line with the well known theory of Self-Actualization from Abraham Maslow, also the inventor of the "hierarchy of needs".
In order to further increase the beneficial effectiveness of Eckhart Tolle's book, we will give below a number of additional facts and notions that can give the story of "A New Earth" a more complete scientific basis, make it easier to understand fully, and thus in fact make it more effective.
We will also discuss some issues that we do interpret in a somewhat different way than Tolle does, in order to make the total picture still more comprehensive and in particular easier to understand from an evolutionary point of view.
- 1 Neurotic Normalcy and Reversal Theory
- 2 "Seeking happiness" versus understanding
- 3 "Trying" to be in the Here and Now, a behavioural paradox
- 4 More effective recipe to boost the time spent in the Here and Now
- 5 "Pain Bodies" and "Negative COEX Systems"
- 6 Necessary conditions for recovery
- 7 Asking the right questions
- 8 Self-blindness, the price we paid for higher intelligence
- 9 Another evolutionary novelty: the Reign of the Meme Power Structures
- 10 Explaining the "how" and "why" of Point Omega
- 11 Why are our chances to be in the Here and Now improving these days?
- 12 Contagiousness of positive learning spirals and psychological health
- 13 Point Omega
- 14 Enlightenment dependent on grace or on action ?
Neurotic Normalcy and Reversal Theory
Tolle argues that it is of the utmost importance that people (re)gain the capacity to be in the "here and now" more often and that being more often in the "now" brings about better feelings and better development and growth. He says that being in the "now" produces more awareness and a better understanding of oneself and of one's situation. Being in the "now" stills the ever blabbering radio in one's head and reduces the needs of the ego.
In terms of "Reversal Theory" and of our CEL model (Cognition Energy Learning model) what Tolle describes with "being in the now" is basically the Paratelic State, one of the always alternating antagonist emotional - motivational states, whether we are aware of it or not (mostly not). The "Telic" and the "Paratelic" state continuously reverse into one another, but in most people the Telic state (goal directed and re-active) is the most dominant of these two emotional - motivational states.
Tolle advertises a shift from living in egoïc states in which the brain is continuously pre-occupied with thoughts about the past or about the future, to living in the "here and now" in which awareness grows and feelings can expand to eventually merge with the whole. From Reversal Theory we can however derive that being in the "here and now" is just one of the two basic meta-motivational states and that both of these two states, the "Telic" state and the "Paratelic" state do need, and always will need, to alternate in order to function properly and to develop properly. One cannot be continuously in just one of these two meta-motivational states and keep growing and developing properly. That just doesn't work. Dynamic alternations between these states are indispensable for a healthy development.
Tolle's description of the usual, ordinary state of human beings (neurotic, egoic, full of fears) basically is a description of the usual, ordinary human state of mind, in which the "Telic" state is highly dominant over the "Paratelic" state and in fact to such an extent, that most people have hardly any awareness at all of the characteristics of the paratelic state. Taking into account the dynamics and the mechanisms of the meta-motivational reversal system in human beings and in fact in any animal with a distinct learning capacity, Tolle's message becomes easier to grasp from a scientific point of view and in particular it becomes clear how it exactly operates and why his observations about our sorry condition and his predictions about our unheard of potentials are, surprisingly enough, correct indeed.
"Seeking happiness" versus understanding
Tolle argues that it is best to stop "Seeking Happiness", which is a habit of many people. "Seeking" is the antithesis of happiness. It is a goal directed activity. In seeking a person is therefore automatically busy making up all sorts of stories, which in fact is the cognitive part of the seeking process. It keeps the internal radio going, in most people, alas, almost incessantly.
Better, says Tolle, is it to "face what is" instead of to resist and to fight the status quo. "Facing what is" can be done by focussing more on the "here and now". He argues to not give the ever flowing stream of thoughts and ideas too much credit because much of it is based on, or creating, illusions and delusions for the sake of maintaining the ego structures and other fears that rule our lives.
By creating distance from the neurotic fear reflexes, awareness may grow, also about the stressy aversive over-reactions to these fears. This may then create space for awareness of what is real about the situation(s) in question and what is not. Identification with the ego structures and pain bodies and the overreactions involved, may then stop.
The CEL and Reversal Theory support Tolle's point of view. What in general is dearly missing is enough paratelic states, enough "here and now" and sufficient periods of rest in between the acquired experiences. In that respect the advice from Tolle and the contents of this Wiki are quite well in line. However, there is a practical paradox in this advice of Tolle. What Tolle basically says, boils down to the admonition "Be Paratelic !". It is the equivalent of screaming angrily to a depressed, crying person in distress: "be happy for god's sake !". We all know that it just doesn't work that way.
Whereas it seems quite usefull or at least harmless to spend more time in the here and now than is customary in our culture, Reversal Theory and the CEL (Cognition Energy Learning model) predict that it is almost impossible to follow that advice of Tolle directly and consciously.
"Trying" to be in the Here and Now, a behavioural paradox
In terms of the Reversal Theory, Tolle's advice boils down to "trying to be and stay in the Paratelic State". That however, cannot be done by will and on purpose, because reversing into and out of the Telic and Paratelic metamotivational states is to a high degree involuntary and automatic. If one wishes to spend more time in the Paratelic State one therefore needs to approach the issue in a more indirect and "sneaky" way. The only chance one has to gain results in that direction is to manipulate the emotional and motivational circumstances in such a way that the reversal system of emotions and motivations by itself predictably reverses more often into the paratelic state and if so, more lastingly than is customary. However, that cannot be achieved by any form of "trying" directly, because that in itself will only boost the Telic state with the opposite effect of what one tries to achieve. This is like the commonly known wisdom that the more one tries to be happy, the more certain one can be not to succeed. It is sort of behavioural paradox.
As the CEL explains, if we want to change anything in the usual appalling state of the human mind, we better start understanding how it all works. Only in that case we can hope to change something structurally and design really effective measures on a large enough scale to have any long term effect at all. In general these methods will be indirect in nature. This is not to say that Tolle's advice is totally useless. On the contrary, for some - rare - people, who are at a particular point in their life, where they have a choice to change directions, it may be the crucial eye opener that they needed at that very point, and then it does have its beneficial effects. Only, for most people in most situations, Tolle's message will not have any practical effect, simply because the people addressed have no way to implement it effectively. Most of the time they are not at some brink, where that little extra push would make all the difference and besides, they basically do not know, or rather, do not feel, what Tolle is talking about.
As explained in the article on "point omega" on this Wiki, the readiness to understand and implement Tolle's message will arise gradually but automatically on a larger scale because of the gradually changing circumstances we live in. Once that point has been reached for most people, our intelligence will have extended its reach into the very basics of our emotional and motivational make up. Then intelligence will start to understand itself, its own source and functioning, including the seeming paradoxes included in its evolutionary development. Awareness will become aware of itself and that will happen on an impersonal, general scale. One of the effects of that development will be a general readiness of ever more people to understand and follow Tolle's advice. That's how it will work and not the other way around. Trying to approach these mechanisms on just the personal level will not do the trick. Communal awareness of how it works however, will. Understanding will make us free, together and only together. Nothing else will.
More effective recipe to boost the time spent in the Here and Now
Once we understand the mechanisms of emotions and motivations and the dynamic processes involved, what can be done to end up in healthier conditions?
According to the CEL the underlying cause of being too much of the time in the Telic State (not being able to enjoy being in the here and now often enough), is simply a lack of useful skills. Lack of skills causes too many and too strong fears to rule the emotional and motivational states. So, "not dwelling in the here and now" is not itself the source of the problems, but it is just a symptom of another, more basic, underlying cause, which is "too many and too strong fears, triggered and kept alive by lack of relevant skills". The CEL says that a person only can escape from these undesirable states of neuroses and from the "thinking disease" if he or she manages to let the process of gaining ánd digesting useful experiences work properly enough to produce more and better integrated skills, relevant for the living circumstances in question. (Just as mother nature designed it to work, but which, in us, seems to be systematically frustrated, one way or the other.) Therefore it is not necessary that one dwells just in the Paratelic State, as Tolle seems to argue, but rather that the Telic and the Paratelic state alternate in an optimal rhythm. In most of us, the Telic State is over-dominant, causing the process of development to run into the direction of an ever further cumulation of avoidance and fear reflexes, without a proper digestion and integration of the experiences gathered. According to the CEL this produces what Tolle calls neuroses and fear-bodies and what the CEL labels as Negative COEX systems, following the terminology of Stanislav Grof (systems of COndensed EXperience; see below).
A proper alternation of Telic and Paratelic states, with sufficient breaks and pauses in the stress producing situations, would, on the contrary, produce well digested experiences, resulting in a high over-all level of integrated skills. Whereas one cannot wilfully change into the Paratelic State, one can increase the likelihood that reversals into the Paratelic States occur more often. That is, very simply, by applying more breaks and pauses and by re-arranging the circumstances in such a way that less stress is likely to be experienced and if so, less continuously. This means that Tolle's recipe does not work very effectively for most people in most circumstances. Rather, by understanding how these mechanisms work exactly, one could manipulate one's meta-motivational states in a more clever way in order to maximize the occurrences of the Paratelic State, and so enable the system to cure itself automatically, as it has evolved to do.
"Pain Bodies" and "Negative COEX Systems"
Tolle describes the existence and the working of "pain bodies" in the human mind. His advice is to become aware of our pain bodies and, where possible, to not yield to them. That way they would lose their grip on our existence and diminish gradually in strength and effect. Also, Tolle explains that some types of pain bodies are so common, that they can be labelled as "collective pain bodies". Collective pain bodies do have extra strength and power, because they are continuously reinforced from the outside. (Local) cultures in fact consist for a large part of collective pain bodies that are specific for that local culture in question. Digression from the local culture is discouraged of course, and thus taking on the local collective pain bodies and yielding to them is encouraged. Becoming aware of collective pain bodies and overcoming their deleterious influence is therefore of course a strongly communal affair.
More detailed explanations of these mechanisms we can find in Reversal Theory and in the CEL. They do strongly support the value of Tolle's descriptions and admonitions. Only, the CEL predicts that for individual people it is not easy to follow Tolle's advice without further technical and social help. Tolle's advice how to tackle pain bodies boils down to approaching one's pain bodies with increased awareness and with a change of habits regarding the pain bodies in question. The latter is obviously a creative move towards the pain body. According to the CEL however, there is, as pointed out above, a practical paradox in that advice of Tolle.
Pain bodies, or "negative COEX systems" as Grof calls them (see the paragraphs on systems of COndensed EXperience in the article on Reversal Theory and the learning system), are characterized by eliciting fear and avoidance behaviour in the person(s) in question, once they enter the situation to which that particular pain body pertains. In other words, a pain body triggers a reversal from the paratelic state to the telic state, if .... the person not already was in the telic state. This is an involuntary reflex. In the telic state the individual is not able to avoid feelings of fear and concern and cannot approach the situation with creative exploration, which would help to find out about the deeper causes of those fears and concerns.
According to the CEL the only way to diminish the influence of negative COEX systems (pain bodies) and stop the disturbing influence they exert on one's life, is to approach them carefully and very gradually from explorations in the paratelic state. But that requires to be often enough in the paratelic state to start with. And to be often enough in the paratelic state, one should first have regained a better balance between the telic and the paratelic state with a sufficient frequency of reversals between them. That can only be (re)gained by introducing sufficient periods of rest and recovery in between the periods of action. That implies short breaks in between the action bouts, pauses, holidays, vacations, etc. In a majority of cases it would ideally imply long periods of pause or vacation in order to regain some minimal measure of balance again where there (re)emerges emotional space for a reversal to the paratelic states. Unless there is some sort of basic equilibrium in which paratelic states can emerge frequently enough, there can be no hope on recovery from the influence of the pain bodies (negative COEX systems).
The CEL shows that to tackle pain bodies effectively there are better approaches possible than Tolle's recipe of noticing, becoming aware and then trying to not yield to them. By understanding the mechanisms involved more clearly and in more detail, we can design better and more effective approaches by including a clever management of the balance in the emotional - motivational reversal system. Whereas more indirect, it is a more effective approach, since it is based on a deeper understanding of how it works / we work.
Necessary conditions for recovery
As explained in the paragraphs above, Tolle says that the method to tackle any type of ego-neurosis or some pain body is to become aware of the stressy aversive over-reactions to it and in that way to make space for awareness of what is real about the situation in question and what is not real but just personal fantasy. Identification with the pain body in question and the concomitant over-reactions then may diminish and eventually stop altogether.
As we have seen, the CEL says that on top of what Tolle advertizes, it is of crucial importance that the balance between the occurrence of the Telic and the Paratelic state is restored. Only in that way there can be a structural and lasting change through a lastingly restored process of digestion and integration of experiences. As soon as there are sufficient paratelic states again, brought about by sufficient pauses, periods of rest and medium term and long term breaks, the energy balance can be restored, triggering the automatic and more frequent emergence of paratelic states. The paratelic states in turn, will produce more and deeper awareness of what is going on. A side effect of these more frequent paratelic states is that a person dwells in the Here and Now more of the time.
It is important to note that the CEL predicts that without the restoration of a proper telic / paratelic balance, Tolle's recipe will certainly not work. In other words, producing sufficient pauses and periods of rest and repair in order to make more paratelic states emerge, is a necessary condition, a prerequisite to make recovery towards sanity happen at all.
The reverse does nót hold. Tolle's recipe of becoming aware of the pain body (negative COEX system) is nót a necessary condition for recovery. In case the telic / paratelic balance is restored, repair is fully automatic, whether one is aware of the cognitive contents of the pain body or not. The CEL predicts furthermore that, once the telic / paratelic balance is restored, the first target(s) to be approached for further exploration and reconnaissance, are chosen automatically and involuntarily. It may not be the same, perceived, pain body in question. However, the reversal system of emotions and motivations guides the acquirement of new additional experiences and the proper digestion and integration thereof automatically into the direction of those realms of experience that are most relevant emotionally, but that also, at the same time, are of a level of seriousness that can still be handled. Otherwise, such experiences are not yet experienced as intriguing in the paratelic state, but still as frightening.
Eventually, the pain body in question may be approached in subsequent paratelic reconnaissance actions, after the reconnaissance and digestion of neighbouring areas of experience, followed by better processes of digestion and integration, due to a better telic-paratelic balance and sufficient periods of rest and emotional repair. In such a case the pain body in question will be repaired indirectly, later in time, but in a structurally more stable and permanent way.
What is more, in case Tolle's recipe is applied, and it seems to work in spite of a still improper talic / paratelic balance, then the CEL predicts that the dissolution of the pain body in question, for instance by cognitive conviction and rationalization, is very likely to be replaced by one or more other, new pain bodies instead.
On the other hand, becoming aware of the unreal and exaggerated reactions to a specific pain body, may break the chain of over-reactions and stress that are the cause that minor external affairs are the source of emotional turmoil and chronic energy drains. That, in turn, may help restore the telic / paratelic balance, making space for the dissolution of more negative COEX systems (pain bodies and ego-structures).
All in all, adding knowledge about our reversal system of emotions and motivations and the cognition-energy-learning model (CEL) to Tolle's work, makes the message stronger and more effective, being based on a still deeper level of understanding the underlying mechanisms.
Asking the right questions
Having arrived at the point of understanding Tolle's message better and on a deeper level of understanding, with help of Reversal Theory, we still should answer the question of why on earth we humans usually find ourselves in a condition in which the Paratelic Meta-motivational State seems to be relatively suppressed and malfunctioning (being very little in the here and now and if so, not being aware of it). According to Reversal Theory and to the CEL, continuously alternating between the paratelic state (the here and now) and the telic state (goal directed and re-active) is needed for a proper development which is in fact our birthright. According to our basic design, we humans should be in the Here and Now quite regularly and in fact during an important part of the time. How then can it be that a whole species functions sub-optimally? Not just a few failures and defective specimens but virtually the whole human race. This assertion sounds outragious and highly improbable at the very least. How can it be evolutionarily stable to function far below one's innate capacities? Translated in terms of Tolle's message: why is it that human beings mostly have lost their capacity to be in the "now" regularly and to enjoy broad and sharp awareness of everything ? If Tolle is right, then it is very strange that such an attractive and in many many respects superior state of mind has not always been the standard rather than the exception. Evolutionarily, this seems impossible, or at least unheard of.
Self-blindness, the price we paid for higher intelligence
The why of this unpleasant state of the human species is explained on this Wiki in the article "Point Omega".
Since the emergence of a superior level of intelligence in early hominids, an awareness block regarding our own behaviour was built into our (hardware) system making it utterly difficult to apply our newly gained intelligence to steer and modify our own (social) behaviour. Without such an intelligence block against the application of intelligence on our own behaviour, intelligence could never have evolved to its present level in humans. (See the article on "Self Blindness" on this Wiki.)
Another evolutionary novelty: the Reign of the Meme Power Structures
Apart from and on top of the emergence of Self-Blindness, more recently another handicap for the human species emerged. The agricultural revolution released the development of ever stronger power structures, which are basically information (software) packages, competing evolutionarily with one another. Therefore, since some 10.000 years, humans have been subjected to a very strong selection pressure to be able to function as agents of such impersonal power structures, rather than as individuals in their own right (in the classical evolutionary sense). These demands were quite different from the demands stemming from living in the social context of families and hunting bands. From then on we were selected as Meme-carriers, rather than as members of a species in its own right, as was still the case with our hominid ancestors. It can be shown that the neurotic, egoïc, unaware state of mind, battered continuously by an incessant flow of compulsive thought processes, is an unavoidable result of the selective pressure on human beings during the last 10.000 years, which selection to a high degree makes use of the typically human propensity for blindness regarding its own behaviour (see Point Omega and The significance of the Point Omega transition). For these power structures the predictability and malleability of neurotic people is far more important than whether her carriers do produce a high, creative output each. Successful power structures therefore always have to consist of mentally sick people, ......... us. We are not only blind, since some odd million years or so, but also, since the agricultural revolution of some 10.000 years ago, neurotically sick.
Explaining the "how" and "why" of Point Omega
The combined contributions on this Point Omega Research Wiki render an integrated picture that explains the how and the why of the present human condition of truncated behaviour patterns, mass neuroticism and concomitant misery. Also, after explaining the precise workings of the mechanisms involved, it also allows us to predict that, as Tolle says, by now humanity is in a position to escape from the clusters of the meme-power-structures that rule our existence since thousands of years. The reason why these novel possibilities are just now emerging, is also explained in detail on this Wiki (see Main Page). This Wiki is therefore in strong support of Tolle's ideas that mankind is capable by now to launch itself out of misery and into a new world of unprecedented possibilities. What this Wiki adds to Tolle's story is a more detailed and thorough understanding of the how and why of this novel and promising situation in human evolution. It also explains why this new possibility never was available before and on the other hand also why it unavoidably had to come some time in the future, which moment in time is most likely "now", the days we are living in, or pretty soon at the very least. The various technical developments that are undermining and dissolving the foundation of the power structures are discussed and explained in detail in the last chapter of the article on "Impersonal Power Structures ruling our world" on this Wiki. It is also explained there why these foundations of the miserable mass neurotization of mankind could never be challenged successfully before on a lasting basis.
Why are our chances to be in the Here and Now improving these days?
From the CEL we have learned that what is crucial for a proper pattern of development, is regular reversals between Telic and Paratelic states. This is only possible in case sufficient periods of relaxation and rest occur in between the periods of struggle and strife. In such favourable circumstances the Paratelic state more frequently emerges, implying that one finds oneself more frequently in the here and now, which is a secondary result of it. Also, it produces more relevant skills and subsequently less continuous states of fear and anxiety. Ego structures and "fear bodies" (Tolle) are less prominent in that case and are not being reconfirmed and enhanced regularly. On the contrary, those negative COEX systems will gradually be subject to explorative reconnaissance of its aversive elements, then experienced as "intriguing", and a more proper digestion of the underlying experiences. As a consequence they will then gradually dwindle in size and influence.
Tolle states that in his view times are changing and that these days the ease with which people can successfully try to live more in the here and now, is on the increase. He says that it is easier and easier to escape from the ordinary neurotic cramps and states of perpetual fear.
However, Tolle does not indicate why this should be so, apart from noting that in his own experience there seem to be more and more people, although still a minute minority, who apparently do reach enlightened states, having escaped from the ordinary fear-ridden states of being. We think that Tolle is right in this assessment of the situation. However, this is in our view still not very convincing as an explanation why the human situation is on the improve.
The present Wiki tries to answer that question of the "why" more clearly. The contributions on this Wiki aim at providing a more complete and thorough picture of the Why and the How of our present situation and at allowing us to predict more precisely what we could expect to develop next. It is explained why in recent human evolution, somewhere in the last one million years or so, there emerged a specific blindness for our own behaviour. That is, our intelligence may be applied to all sorts of problems at hand, but not on anything pertaining to our own social and motivational reactions. Otherwise, intelligence would interfere with the evolutionary ultimate goals of our behavioural organization. And that would be self-defeating in evolutionary terms and therefore not an ESS (Evolutionarily Stable Strategy). The latter can be seen as the very reason why in other phyla in the animal kingdom intelligence never rose above a certain level, although in many very different phyla (e.g., primates, whales, parrots, molluscs) intelligence rose to a certain, just not dangerous, level (dangerous for evolutionary purposes and methods of behavioural organisation). (For details see the article on Self-Blindness).
Neuroticizing Power Structures
Besides, it is pointed out on this Wiki that since the agricultural revolution, ever larger power structures emerged, based on cultural packages of knowledge and instruction (Meme-sets). These started an evolution of their own and at a much higher speed than the ordinary evolution of the flesh and blood and the underlying Gene Pools. In other words: a novel software evolution (of Memes) took the lead over the classic hardware evolution (of Genes). Since that time, some 10.000 years ago, we humans are evolutionarily torn between two evolutionary strands, our physical (slow) evolution and our cultural (fast) evolution, each with its own rules and demands. It can be shown that it is in the interest of the impersonal power structures in charge (the meme structures at the brink of the evolutionary frontier) that we humans are artificially kept in a state of permanent fear. That is why the human race seems to be ruled by massive neuroses and why so called Self-Actualization (Maslow) is the great exception rather than the rule. This situation is in fact quite the reverse of what one finds in any other animal species, and can therefore be seen as a strikingly strange evolutionary paradox of the human race. (For details see the article on the Power Structures ruling our human world.)
Having shown that the human race is saddled with 1) a specific Blindness for the own behaviour, and 2) with Power Structures in charge who keep us in permanent fear and neuroses, it can also be shown that this unpleasant state of affairs at present is losing its foundations. In fact, after analysing the various variables in the human psyche and its social life, the prediction follows that we can expect a collapse of the influence of the power structures over human behaviour, leading to a massive release of psychological and also physical energy and a transition which could be labeled as point Omega (after Teilhard de Chardin). Presenting the scientific argumentation for these mechanisms, this Wiki provides a better "explanation" for this notion of a new type of human world being near, than Tolle does. However, this Wiki does indeed strongly support and advocate the correctness of Tolle's very message.
Contagiousness of positive learning spirals and psychological health
In the above it is argued that Tolle's recipe to be more often in the here and now is easily said, but not so easily done, unless one understands the underlying dynamics of emotions and motivations (according to the CEL) and thus can apply some more tactical and strategical strategems. An important factor that keeps human beings tightly bound in collective neuroses and cramps is in the contagiousness of mental states and conditions. Psychological health is very contagious, but on the other hand, so is neuroticism and fear. The technical reason for this contagiousness is further explained in the paragraphs 9 and 10 of the article on Energy and Strokes.
Tolle describes collective pain bodies and collective ego's and the strong delusive binding power these structures do have on our behaviour. On the other hand, also the enlightened collectives do have the same - in this case positive - contagiousness for personal development. This will create, at some point in time, a vortex for collective consciousness that will accelerate a planetary shift.
The CEL explains the how and why of this contagiousness in both directions. For an individual it is very difficult to escape from the customary unpleasant psychological condition, prevalent in one's social surroundings. The CEL describes in detail how the social mechanisms suck every escapee back into the swamps of mass neuroses. Only very energetic and powerful individuals do have any chance at all to escape. And moreover, they should also have been very lucky from the start to begin with, having enjoyed a relatively low level of stressful and neuroticizing influence during their upbringing and development. No wonder that just a very low percentage of human beings manages to escape from the prison of ordinary cramps and fears and manages to enter the world of Self Actualization. On top of all these prerequisites they must have become aware, one way or the other, that there is more in terms of possibilities than the eye meets according to common knowledge. If that doesn't coincidently happen, a person is not likely to escape, even in case he or she has enough energy, intelligence and a favourable history.
About a necessary condition to make Tolle's recipe work for any individual
For this reason Tolle's advice is not likely to harvest very much results for any specific individual, if not already for some other reasons there is in the person a heightened likelihood to end up in positive learning spirals as described in the CEL. And this holds for the advice and the admonitions of most guru's and teachers as well.
As argued in the article on Point Omega on this Wiki, our culture has ended up these days in a situation in which the structures, that have kept us humans bound in misery for so long, are wavering, and in fact are collapsing faster and faster. This novel situation is likely to create so much extra space in terms of human development potential, that for each individual the chances to escape are significantly improving. In terms of the CEL: the likelihood of managing to establish more optimal rhythms of Telic / Paratelic alternations is heightened. This will raise the percentage of self actualizers in the population and therefore we are gradually getting closer to a point where the contagiousness of positive learning spirals through social support is becoming stronger than the contagiousness of fears and neuroses.
That very point we may call Point Omega, following Teilhard de Chardin. Our conclusion can be that by these changing circumstances the likelihood of Tolle's New Earth is gradually becoming higher because of the contagiousness of the positive learning spirals and psychological health. Changing technical circumstances in our modern world gradually increase the chances for any individual to escape from the neuroticizing fetters and enter a process of self-actualization. Once the percentage of enlightened people has reached a critical point, the contagiousness of mental health and sanity will gain the upper hand over the contagiousness of fears and neuroses. From that point on a chain reaction will make Tolle's prediction come true and a New Earth will materialize, involuntarily and inescapably.
Enlightenment dependent on grace or on action ?
Tolle says that the process of awakening to your inner purpose, the process in which thinking and awareness separate, the establishment of consciousness without thought, is basically an act of grace, not of will. One cannot "make" it happen, nor can one prepare oneself for it.
The CEL on the other hand, describes and explains why it is that, ordinarily speaking, striving, in whichever way, indeed does not bring one closer to the restoration of a healthy telic / paratelic balance, and thus to restoration of healthy growth and development, end thus to the dissolution of the overwhelming control of negative COEX systems (pain bodies and ego structures) and thus to the eventual emergence of enlightenment. The point is that the act of striving corroborates, rather than weakens a sick telic / paratelic balance.
On the other hand, the CEL renders such improved insight and understanding of the processes involved, that one can, through a necessarily indirect approach, very well repair the telic / paratelic balance, reboot the natural process of repair and recovery, boost the process of growth and development and create a state in which, sooner or later, the grace, Tolle speaks about, must strike and will strike. Bottom line of what the CEL predicts is that, once understanding of all these basic mechanisms of emotions and motivations has become sufficiently widespread and known, the structures that keep us bound in misery, in ignorance and in telic over-dominance, will lose their stability, collapse and give way to mass enlightenment. Once a critical mass has been reached, the striking of that grace will become the rule, rather than the exception. The good news from the CEL therefore, is that we ourselves can very well take action to help bring that point, point Omega, closer. Just (re)organize your life in such a way that paratelic states are likely to arise more frequently and do the same for other people. All the rest will follow automatically. That's all there is to it. It seems too simple to be true, but this is what the CEL predicts.