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    Current rating: 4.8 (12 ratings)

    Father Barron on Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose" Part 1

    Although there are some aspects of Eckhart Tolle’s philosophy Catholics can accept, they cannot accept his subordination of Christ to the level of another spiritual master.
Hi Father Barron,

I wanted to make a few comments on your video post. I am a Catholic and also a big fan of Eckhart's books and teachings. Eckhart has said over and over again, that you don’t have to adopt his teachings as a set of beliefs. In fact, Eckhart’s teachings have allowed me to grow deeper in my faith and understand God better. There are some interesting points that you make in your video, and I would like to comment on those.

First of all, you begin the video comparing Catholic mystics vs. Elkhart. examples of mystics. “A lot of ‘our mystics’ talk about the true self” “Our mystics” is one example of the separation that the church has from others who aren’t members. This is exactly one of Eckarts points, that we identify, and “own” something and that makes us separate from others.

I don’t know if you missed that chapter, but Eckart describes the painbody as being called Sin at one point in civilization. So what that he is using another way of describing it called the Painbody. Isn’t it great that he is bringing about awareness to modern culture? I can see the painbody in myself and in others. I can also see it in some of your writings and videos. So, we all have it within us.

Anything we feel threatened by or fearful of means we are questioning our truths.

Why “should” Catholic react? So you are telling people they “should” react? Why should they “react” to something? If their faith in God is strong enough, they shouldn’t feel threatened by any good teaching. Eckhart doesn’t promote people to turn away from their faith, in fact, so many people have written in and called into the Oprah web casts (Catholics and Christians) talking about how they can understand their faith better, even priests and nuns have written him) so why should they react to anything.

As for your point on Jesus being God, Eckhart doesn’t tell his readers to move away from their religious beliefs. In fact, the book will allow you to go deeper into your own religious traditions and not just adopt a set of beliefs, but connect to your higher source, Jesus.

Echkart also discusses the cross as a symbol of the divine. Chapter 8 How he went into a church and he looked at the cross- the vertical dimension and the horizontal dimension. How the very same torture instrument became a symbol of the divine. He was fully present, in the moment when he observed this cross. This was a profound statement that he made.

He quotes Jesus more than any other spiritual teacher “forgive them Lord for they know not what they do…” I can finally understand exactly what Jesus meant when he said this. “Forgive them Lord, for they are unconscious…” Meaning, they aren’t present, their egos have taken over and they are not aware of the wrong they are doing.

He doesn’t have an impersonal view of God. In fact, his teachings point to the fact that you and God are one, you are not separate from God. So how is that impersonal?

God is not a man in the sky, there is a place within you that God and you merge. God is not SOMEONE, God is our creator. In a sense, you could use the word FORCE to describe him, but I would better define God as source of all things.

“if God is just a force than I can tap into it whenever I want and then get on with my life” no, not exactly, Eckhart’s book points to the fact that you should always remain connected to God and that when we are not connected to our higher power, we are identifying with form, ego takes over….leads to painbody etc….or SIN as the church calls it.

Thank you for acknowledging some positive points about Echkart. But Catholics should not have to FEAR Eckhart’s teachings. In fact, I am disappointed that you decided to be so critical of such a wonderful deep teaching such as Elkhart’s. Have you really read and understood his books? Have you listened to all of the web casts before passing judgment? Jesus also taught us how it’s important not to judge.

Father Barron, please remember, faith is not threatened by anything.

Oh and by the way, just so you know, Eckhart Tolle is Catholic.
2/5/2010 12:57:58 PM
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This online class is not for or against any religion. It is intended to help all human beings, all over the world, bring about a shift in consciousness. "How spiritual you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness," Eckhart says. Some people wonder how spiritual awakening and engagement in a religious tradition can work together.

In The Power of Now , Eckhart writes, "When I occasionally quote the words of Jesus or the Buddha…or from other teachings, I do so not in order to compare, but to draw your attention to the fact that in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching, although it comes in many forms. Some of these forms, such as the ancient religions, have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual essence has become almost completely obscured by it. To a large extent, therefore, their deeper meaning is no longer recognized and their transformative power lost. When I quote from the ancient religions or other teachings, it is to reveal their deeper meaning and thereby restore their transformative power—particularly for those readers who are followers of these religions or teachings. I say to them: there is no need to go elsewhere for the truth. Let me show you how to go more deeply into what you already have."
2/21/2010 5:51:05 PM
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John Tuturice
Anon and Anon2 miss the point here. Father did understand what is wrong with Eckhart Tolle's approach. It is that Mr. Tolle does not believe that Jesus is truth. Our belief's absolutely have an impact on how we communicate on a given topic. If Mr. Tolle believed that Jesus is truth, rather than Jesus was speaking truth, then his approach to communicating what Jesus taught would have a different flavor.

The error, and yes it is an error, in Eckhart Tolle's writing is that he believe's all religions are different path's to the same truth. Quite frankly, that flies in the face of common sense. For example, the Buddist seeks to empty self in order that they may be nothing whereas the Christian seeks to empty self that it may be filled by Christ. The two religions have two completely different ends and, therefore, can not be legitimately said to be the same paths to the same destination.

I'll make an absolutist statement here and say that anyone who claims to be Catholic, but professes to believe in contrary truths is walking on dangerous ground. Did not God say how he longed for people to be for or against him and that he spits out of His mouth the lukewarm?
3/9/2010 1:15:18 PM
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Fr Mannes Tellis
God and I are not one. This statement, if in fact Tolle is alluding to it, is not Christian teaching. If God and I are one then we would hold to some kind of pantheist viewpoint, which is inimical to Christianity. Yes we are one a metaphoric sense in that God and human beings are both immortal beings, but we are not a part of God. The reason for this is God does not have parts, but also if we were a "part" of God we would not be truly individuals. Each person is created with an individual soul by God, and our flesh individuates that soul from other souls. So we are not a part of God, nor are we part of each other. As human beings we are one metaphorically in that we share a common human nature etc, but we are not all one, nor will we end up in eternity as one massive whole. This is why the Church believes in the resurrection of the body, it is as individuals gathered in holy society that heaven will be enjoyed.
5/31/2011 10:34:06 PM
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Carl Dyer
What's with copyright issue on video? Tolle doesn't like being challenged?!?!?
Just into 'Spiritual' Capitalism!!!?
1/21/2012 6:06:08 PM
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