by Richard Rohr, OFM

“Although Eckhart Tolle is arousing great interest today, many think he is a novelty, New Age, or even non-religious. The process — and that is what it is — that he is teaching, can be traced through the Greek and Latin traditions of contemplation, the apophatic tradition in particular, and the long history of what was sometimes called “The Sacrament of the Present Moment” (Brother Lawrence, OCD, Francisco de Osuna, OFM, Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J.).

Eckhart Tolle is teaching a form of natural mysticism or contemplative practice. He is NOT asking you to believe anythin. He is asking you to TRY something! You will know if it is true, if you try it, and you will not know if it is true or false, if you don’t try it. No point in arguing it theoretically or in the abstract.

For Tolle, Being, Consciousness, God, Reality are all the same thing, which is not all bad, when you come to think of it. Of course, his very point is that you cannot think of it at all, you can only realize it. I would not call him pantheistic (all things are God) as much as panentheistic (God is IN all things).

I must join with Paul who in preaching to the secular Athenians, said “God is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live, and move, and have our very being.” (Acts 17:28). That is an excellent foundation for trusting Tolle’s natural mysticism. We are also preaching to a largely secular world, and must find a language that they can understand and draw from, as Paul did, and not insist that they learn our vocabulary before we can even talk to them or hear them. “How else can we ever be ?all things to all people.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) or dare to think that we can “preach the Gospel to all creation.” (Mark 16:16):”

You can also hear Eckhart Tolle in a rare, recent interview on Namaste Radio. Some of the topics Eckhart discusses include: the current state of the world, living in the Now, how to raise present-minded children, sex and the pain body, what it takes to be a great leader and more. To listen, just >>>Click Here.

Eckhart Tolle and the Christian Tradition

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