Rapt: Eckhart Tolle on Lecturing in New York

In October 2007, the small, unprepossessing man whom his fans simply call Eckhart does a two-day presentation at NYC’s Beacon Theatre. The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Al Green, Emmylou Harris, and many other musicians have performed here, and like their events, this one has drawn a sold-out crowd of mostly hip-looking youngish and middle-aged adults.

Practicing what he preaches, Tolle appears on stage, takes a chair, and just focuses quietly for a few moments. Everyone else settles down, too. Then, with a twinkle, he says, “If you live in New York, this beginning is too slow for you,” and illustrates with a typical tourist’s anecdote. When he ventured onto Park Avenue that morning, the hard-charging citizens behind him turned what he had intended to be a leisurely stroll into a kind of speed-walk. He was able to go with the flow and enjoy the experience but noticed that his fellow pedestrians didn’t seem to. “They were trying to get to the next moment,” he says, “which they believed would be better than this one. It’s a form of collective madness.”

Tolle, 2011’s most spiritually influential person in the world and author of the renowned volume The Power of Now, certainly can offer us a bit of reflective insight to our day-to-day composition (New Yorkers are especially prone to such behaviors).

We’re so damn busy.  Why?

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