Eckhart Tolle live in London. (A Disappointed Fan’s Review.) ~ Carli Susu

Via Carli Susu
on Nov 8, 2013
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(A humorous, sacrilegious and cynical review of my personal experience of the 2013 Eckhart Tolle Tour).

I have been a fan of Eckhart Tolle for many years, ever since reading The Power of Now, his 1999 best seller. I was excited to be sitting at the feet of such a sage and influential man, hearing what words of wisdom he had to impart.

I learned two things at the Eckhart Tolle seminar at the Troxy Theatre in London: one, Mr Tolle has terrible posture, apparently because he is an academic and spends a lot of time slouching in a chair; two, I seem to have transcended the message that Eckhart was telling us.

I swiftly became bored at having to sit for two hours listening to a rehash of ideas taken from his two admittedly wonderful books; most of which, by the way, I agree with. These two tomes seem to be the sum total of his literary output for the past 14 years, bar a picture book and several ‘workbooks’, all just extracts of his two main works. Eckhart would have told me, if he knew of my squirming disquiet, that it was my ‘mind making me unhappy and that I was not present and in the now.’

Maybe I have spent far too much of my adolescent years experimenting with, nay, devouring psychedelics like a truffling pig, so perhaps had fast-forwarded my spiritual development and long ago come to the conclusion that all of what we perceive as ‘reality’ was an illusion, temporary—and I had witnessed with my own acid-riddled eyes the cosmic web that connects us to all matter and the vibrating particles in the vast, infinite space that is my reality.

The audience were, on the whole: greying, middle-aged, middle class (well you’d have to have some disposable income to be able to afford the tickets), polite and whispering.

Many were there on their own, more than is normal for an event in a Rococo theatre, sitting solo and serious under the gaze of gilded cherubs. They queued quietly, and after eavesdropping on subdued conversations, many about ‘How long have you been into Eckhart?’ and ‘I just want to sit in his presence,’ I felt that they needed to hear this information, needed to know that their dull existences were an illusion, although, judging by my eavesdropping, most already seemed to be veteran ‘Tolle-philes’ and had been following him around disciple-like since he had first been ‘Oprah‘d.’

They laughed politely at every gentle joke our hero made, but there was very little joy in the laughter. I wanted to grab them by their flannel fair-trade lapels and bitch-slap them into awareness.

Now, I generally don’t do gurus, as those of you who know me already understand, but I too was intrigued and drawn to sit in the presence of the man whose books, The Power of Now and (my favourite) A New Earth, are beautifully expressed volumes of what the New Age is all about: how we must be present and live in the moment, how suffering and our perception of reality comes from our own minds, how we must realise we are all connected and that all this is temporary, an illusion, concepts that have been expressed throughout the centuries from avatars as varied as Jesus and the Buddha, both of whom Eckhart quoted liberally.

Yes, I did feel relaxed in his gentle presence, so relaxed that I fell asleep several times, not from fatigue, but from the boredom of having his books quoted at me. I couldn’t see the point of why I was there. I don’t know what I wanted or expected; perhaps I was needing a more street-fighting revolutionary talk. Alright, we know this is all an illusion, a set-up: now let’s hit the streets and take our power back. Eckhart’s revolution was just too wet and inconclusive for me.

Maybe I’m lucky, as I have never struggled with the essence of spirituality—I’ve always seen life as a temporary ride.

What I do struggle with is how to re-balance all the material injustices I witness, how to make a more fair ride for all the inhabitants on the Mother Ship and why the larger proportion of our connected planet wonder where their next bowl of rice is going to come from whilst we navel gaze. That’s my ‘spirituality.’

His jokes were funny, but wouldn’t you be cracking jokes too if you managed to shoehorn 5,000 plus people at £ 50 a throw into an old London East-End theatre as part of a multi-stop sell-out world tour? I would morph into all three of the Marx Brothers for that kind of dosh.

I left the theatre in a herd of quietly shuffling, whispering grey ‘sheeple,’ frustrated that nothing had changed. Children would still go hungry, bankers would still stash away abstract sums of wealth in off-shore accounts and politicians would still lie and manipulate. Eckhart says change comes from within, true, but my ‘within’ is bursting to get out. Deeds not words.

I know I will probably be lynched for speaking like this about a perfectly nice, soft-spoken, well-intentioned man like Eckhart Tolle, but isn’t that the same attitude a fundamentalist Christian, any fundamentalist in fact, would have if you dissed Jesus or their messiah of choice?

For a revolution, give me Russell Brand any day! Now that’s my kind of messiah!


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About Carli Susu

Carli Susu is a pagan globe-trotting Anglo-American tattooed, dread-locked, pescatarian Aquarian Faery Queen, currently residing between Brighton in the UK and the Balearic Isles in Spain. Her alter-ego, Princess Susu, runs fair-trade faery businesses, SuSu’s Faery Realm  and SuSuMaMa, as tailor to the Faery Realm. In order not to go completely round the bend whilst undergoing brutal treatment for hepatitis C, caught in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali Bombings (but that’s a whole story in itself), Carli began babbling about Bali, blenders, the Balearics, Brighton, boyfriends, body issues, beliefs, Bikram and bubbles. Her often humorous ramblings have led her friends to beg her to write a book. This is just the beginning……Blessed ‘B’

Carli LOVES receiving feedback and pats. You can write to her here.


16 Responses to “Eckhart Tolle live in London. (A Disappointed Fan’s Review.) ~ Carli Susu”

  1. mark golding says:

    brilliant! scary! truthful…

  2. Enjoyed this, Carli. Tolle can be very powerful for those who haven't been steeped in similar philosophy already. But he definitely has a gap on the action front, as you point out, which is why I prefer going to the source, The Bhagavad Gita, which has a nice balance between selfless action and ecstatic wonder, and which doesn't dwell on illusion but rather on amazement and love (leading to selfless action).

    Bob W.
    Yoga Demystified

  3. christopherjamesstone says:

    Very good Carli. That's what gets me about the new age too: it's too stuck up it's own ultra serious arse, too concerned with its own enlightenment, to worry about the wars, the hunger and the injustice that stalk our tortured planet. And for all those who say that suffering comes from within – I challenge you to trade places with a victim of war or torture for a while, and then see if you can apply such platitudes. "It was meant to be" is always the refrain of the well off and comfortable, never of those who are suffering.

  4. tomerun says:

    Never went to his events, but assumed it would have been exactly as you described, Thank you for confirming 🙂

  5. Jon says:

    There are 1000s of videos of his seminars on yoututube to show you what to expect. I am surprised you were surprised…

  6. six says:

    When I watch his videos- his voice and presence-it gets me closer to getting it….stillness and silence bring a whole new auspiciousness – it's like the door to true power, joy and blissed out peace. If we can't be taught to dissolve our the egos this way – there is no real hope for the external world.

  7. Kerrie says:

    May your life always flow just as you perceive, project and expect.

  8. Elena says:

    Completely agree! That's exactly how I felt at one of his London gigs: wondering what I was doing there and when the Rock n Roll was going to start. Thanks for putting it into words. Relieved I'm not alone…

  9. Charlie says:

    Haha! "Whens the Rock n Roll going to start"
    A means to an end comes to "mind" 😉

  10. Cy says:

    I think your perception of Eckhart Tolle of rehashing his previous work is exactly what splits people who get the message and those who don't really. Because the methods of being free from intellectualizing the world and yourself is rather simple. He'd only over complicate it with more words. But if you haven't gone deep enough, you'll still be hungry for more words, more explanation, etc. You have stopped somewhere in your mind. You have to go further and dissolve that need. That's why Russell Brand "stimulates" you, I imagine. That guy likes to talk a lot. Yet, I haven't seen anything that he has really done that has improved the world (or his own).

  11. Jaden says:

    Cy is right on target here. I have never paid a single penny for Eckhart Tolle's teachings. His books are at my library and there are many of his talks on youtube. And yet he has transformed my life in many ways. I am continually working to become a more conscious being. Let go of your expectations. Just take what you need to help you become more aware, but don't expect anything from the Echkart himself, as a man, as he is only a form that is transmitting the universal truth.

  12. Barbar says:

    Best and funniest thing I ever read! Thankyou! I no longer feel badly about not wanting to spend that much money to sit by his feet.

  13. Sirius says:

    Slay the Buddha as "they" say is a necessary thing for you to find you're own path. No one will do the "revolution" for you tho they might represent the genital whisper that bumps you into finding you're own way home. The way for every one is unique,
    so to find it you need to stand on you're own two feet. After all you are stepping in to the unknown and here there are no guides. So flap your wings little bird, eventually you will fl!y 😉

  14. yingyang says:

    i enjoyed his books too. I too feel like I "got it", I don't need to be told about spirituality or our existence, but I want to somehow do something about it – tell others, live differently and I'm not sure what to do. I had a feeling going to a Tolle talk would be nothing other than what you described but was just googling where he was along with some others when I stumbled upon this site. I KNOW I would have felt exactly as you are describing, so I'm thanking you for stopping me from signing up for his retreat in NY next June. I now know I'd leave disappointed. I like his message, and it gets the masses thinking, but I'm at a point where I need something more. Namaste!

  15. Vladimir says:

    It seems to me that Carli Susu has entirely missed the essence of the teachings.
    Cy and Jaden are spot on.
    Nobody can make or force you to become enlightened. All eckhart can do is point you in the direction.
    You are dissapointed because you were expecting to gain some magnificent secret or technique that would at last set you free, and you didnt get it. You are forgetting that salvation is now, and always now, and is a choice you must make.
    I have a lot of history and experience with psychedelics as well, but after finding eckharts teachings, I no longer see the need for alter my consciousness through outside means.
    Do not make your goal to become enlightened, for that projects it into some future superhuman accomplishment.
    Just become and remain present.

  16. Malcolm says:

    I found Eckhart recently after a breakup,and he help me,and I'm very thankful.
    I would go to a Bob Dylan concert because I,ve been around him since 1963..