- The nature of humanity has always come across as an interesting topic. Perhaps this is because of how complex yet simple people can become. In effect, instead of being able to understand who the person is, people tend to get more and more confused with their very own nature. Eckhart Tolle suggests that this is because humans have a great tendency to think a lot and that too much thinking can cause a generous amount of confusion. Humans are busy being humans as they are, so that oftentimes they forget who they are at the very core.
- In his book A New Earth, Tolle talks about human beings in the context of the ego. He once mentioned that “to love is to recognize yourself in another” (105). He elaborates that the ego is the primary source of separation between individuals and describes how people should recognize humanity in each other and not merely depend on roles.
- On the other hand, Kahlil Gibran complements this concept with his poetic verses about parenthood. Entitled Your Children, Gibran’s poem emphasizes that, although parents have a role to fulfill for their children, these roles do not define who they are as a person. Parenthood is more than the role; it is the ability to recognize the humanity of their own child. Kahlil Gibran artfully expressed that “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself” (Gibran, 1-2). These lines depict how parents can be so consumed with their roles that they seem to think they own their children and owning their children therefore gives them their identity.
- Tolle’s book brought forth to my knowledge a rapid stream of realizations regarding the ego and my own sense of awareness. Before reading the book, my mind was more focused only on what I knew, such as the significance of my past and the vagueness of my future. For instance, every time I get into a conflict with someone close to me, I would immediately reason out that I can’t change myself because that is who my past made me. But after reading A New Earth, I realized that I am in the present and that I am the present.
- The ego is not personal; it is not who we are. At times we identify ourselves with what our ego tells us because it always thrives for “more” and aims for superiority. But then, these thoughts on superiority and power never bring out the best in human beings; they feed on negative ideas, survive on broken, superficial relationships and, hence, bring about more negative reactions and emotions that will never put humans at peace. To be at peace, therefore, is to be aware of these egoistic behaviors, to realize that we are more than our identities, more than our reactions and more than the situation. We are and we still are who we are despite these. We must learn to wake up out of these delusionary states.
- The ego has “many faces” and changes itself dynamically to support its all-knowing nature. These different “faces” are also roles that we perceive ourselves to be. There have been several times in my life where I became too consumed with the role I was in so that not being able to satisfy my role would mean not knowing who I am. As a student, I felt like it was my greatest goal to make good in my academics. At one point in my studies, I received a failing grade. It was quite a devastating experience for me because I rarely get a failing mark. I thought I had become someone else, someone so irresponsible and unintelligent. It became a constant source of internal conflict for me. I was too involved in fulfilling goals in relation to my role that it would bring me so much pain and suffering to actually fail at it.
- Finding peace, thus, is a process of awareness. Once we are aware of ourselves and the situation, we are able to detach from thoughts and emotions that would only lead to more pain and confusion. We then start to acknowledge and cherish the present. Reading A New Earth has been an enlightening experience for me in the typical way that any spiritual book could impart to its readers. But more than this, Tolle’s concept of awareness of the self has marked quite a change in my life. It has enabled me to detach myself from the purely superficial things. Instead of being angry when somebody comments about the way I look, I have learned to let go of such negative feelings/ reactions and simply realize that I already am who I am without their opinion. We cannot just control emotions in order to feel at peace. We must learn and be able to let go of everything that keeps us from awareness in order to live in the “now,” in order to appreciate the very nature of human being and being human.