Is Oprah And Tolle’s Awakening A Cult?

by Paul on April 23, 2008

in Main

There are people saying that Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle author of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61) are leaders of the largest religious cult in the world.

Others go so far as to call Oprah and Eckhart Tolle the anti Christ.

Come on…. Are they serious?

It’s true that Oprah does have a large following of fans and she is very influential and powerful.

I find Oprah at times to be loud and arrogant.

I often disagree with what she is saying.

But Oprah is not a cult leader.

Eckhart Tolle is simply a popular author who touched on a niche topic that the world was ready to hear with his best selling book “The Power of Now”.

Eckhart Tolle states that he does not want to be a guru or change anyones faith or religion.

Tolle is merely offering his philosophy on how we can live more full and successful lives by cherishing the present moment.

There is an old saying heard at Alcohol Anonymous meetings… The saying is “take what you need and leave the rest.”

While listening to the Oprah Tolle webinar you may want to take what you need and leave the rest.

Or if the [tag-tec]Oprah and Tolle New Earth Awakening[/tag-tec] seminar really bothers you just don’t listen.

On the other hand if the Free Oprah and Tolle New World Awakening webinar is helping you to find success in life you can get caught up and download free MP3’s or PDF’s of Oprah and Tolles Free World Wide webinar by going to the following link:
Oprah Tolle Webinar

The following video has been viewed over 5 million times on You Tube and is from a group that says that Oprah and Tolle are cult leaders of the largest religion in the world.

What do you think?

Are Oprah and Tolle religious cult leaders?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Damien April 26, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Nice post and great blog. If what he was saying wasn’t so valuable I might agree with the cult idea.

Andre Schwartz April 28, 2008 at 1:30 pm

All religions started as a cult, including Christianity, and look how dogmatic and selfrighteous they are and the conflicts they create.
There is no dogma in what Eckhart Tolle is teaching that you must follow to awaken, it’s up to you to find out for yourself the validity of the experience. A choice is only a choice if you have tried the options and know the difference. Once we know the difference between freedom and slavery, who would choose slavery?

Long live the freedom to choose.

redconfetti May 16, 2008 at 2:19 am

I like what you said about take what you want and leave the rest. Thats exactly what everyone should do. I studied Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, and tried to apply its principles or whatever insights I drew from it, to my own life. Only the stuff that made sense has stuck and continues to be integrated into anything else I’ve allowed myself to be open to.

I’ve recently begun to explore less dogmatic and less ‘new agey’ spiritual teachings…for all I know it could all be a bunch of bullshit put out so we could buy more books and audio CD’s. But from what I’ve seen so far, Tolle isn’t the only one trying to point to something for us…others such as Byron Katie or Adyashanti are also trying to point us in the same direction (but with their own unique style).

Bonzo Dog September 30, 2010 at 8:23 am

Having read The Power of Now it seems that Tolle is a charlatan. His nostrums as laid out in The Power of Now are worthless. If people understood the contradictory nature of Tolle’s work, and its reliance on discredited metaphysics and theories of mind, they might not be so eager to play along.

Let’s start with Tolle’s credentials, or rather lack thereof:
He had no formal education between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two, refusing to go to school because of its “hostile environment”; but he pursued his own “particular interests.” Tolle graduated from the University of London and entered, but did not complete, a doctoral program at Cambridge University, having studied literature, languages and philosophy. At the age of twenty-nine, Tolle experienced what he calls an “inner transformation,” after suffering long periods of suicidal depression.

So here we have a “spiritual teacher” who skipped high school (presumably he was teased or had trouble fitting in socially–what else would “hostile environment” refer to?), never studied a lick of psychology, avoided any notable science courses and lived in a state of suicidal depression for several years of his adult life. Yeah, that’s really the kind of damaged person I want to hold forth about how to find joy, and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

On the first page of the introduction, Tolle describes his literally overnight “awakening.” From out of what sounds like a night sweat, he comes to some kind of awareness of his sub-personalities: the self that is experiencing terror and dread, and the self that is the observer. Rather than getting these two parts of himself to have a conversation so that he can find out where the fear is coming from, he immediately decides one of them is not real. He splits off the “lesser self” and determines to vanquish it. He then describes himself as having lived the next five months in utter bliss and joy, having “found what everyone else is looking for.” He describes his deeply fearful self as a “fiction of the mind.”

This is the gross error and singular point of departure after which every concept which follows becomes meaningless. It’s a regurgitation of religious duality, good and evil within the self, God and the Devil. For millennia, religions have tried to improve human morality by splitting off from “evil” and declaring war on it. You tell me: has this approach worked?

This is not how the human psyche functions. You can repress parts of your personality, but you can never eliminate them. What Tolle has done is to repress what Carl Jung would have called the shadow self. Without even knowing the man, I can be certain of one thing: If he hasn’t had a complete change of attitude or undergone a deep course of Jungian therapy, that suicidal and terrified self he repressed 30 years ago is still lurking deep within him, waiting for some opportunity to emerge and wreak havoc.

The same can be said for every Power of Now disciple who thinks they’ve conquered the “lesser self” or the “ego.” You don’t get something for nothing, and you don’t get rid of your shadow by reading a book. You must fully face and acknowledge it, and come to terms with it through therapy. Having done so, you’ve only dealt with that small part of the shadow of which you’ve become aware. There’s always more lurking beneath the surface, and it can sometimes be glimpsed in dreams. It goes extremely deep. All the way back to our primal origins and down through the ages where we survived through mortal combat with the forces of nature, animals, and each other. Civilization is such a recent development that only the thinnest of psychological veneers separates us from our evolutionary legacy of primal fear and rage.

On page 5, Tolle actually steals the word “I am” from New Thought and masters organizations. He uses “I am” to describe his “true nature” as consciousness divorced from form. So we haven’t even gotten to Chapter 1, and already he’s taking us into mind-body and spirit-matter dualism (not to be confused with the good-evil duality mentioned earlier). These are archaic beliefs. Not a single reputable scientist today would accept that there is any identity absent the neural correlates of consciousness.

Tolle describes how after his awakening he spent nearly two years of his life sitting on a park bench destitute but in a state of “bliss.” (Some people would call that vagrancy). After his two-year stint in the park, he decided he would become a spiritual teacher.

Tolle uses several devices in the introduction to rhetorically inoculate his readers against questioning. The first is a little curly-cue symbol which is sprinkled throughout the book. He says “after certain passages, you may want to stop reading for a moment, become still, and feel and experience the truth of what has just been said.” Well maybe I might want to decide whether what I read made sense to me or not before I meditate on the “truth” of it. But he’s preaching to the converted. People who’ve bought his book have already decided he’s a “wise man” who knows more than they do, so they’re uncritically lapping up his every word. The curly cue-symbol basically says, “pause here to be sure you thoroughly hypnotically induct yourself with this particular piece of spiritual propaganda before moving on.”

Tolle is not used to being questioned. He’s so convinced of his rightness that he simply “deals with” people’s objections with that sickly-sweet patronizing haughtiness we’ve come to expect from guru types:

“questions or objections may occasionally come into your mind as you read. They will probably be answered later in the book, or they may turn out to be irrelevant as you go more deeply into the teaching–and into yourself.”

In other words, “if my hypnotic suggestion’s not working on you right away, give it some time and it will eventually.” Then comes the flattery. Every good con man butters up his mark as he enlists their cooperation. Tolle is no exception as he pretends to the role of humble facilitator:

“I can not tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten. Living knowledge, ancient and yet ever new, is then activated and released from within every cell of your body.”

Then a defense of the inevitable vagueness:
“I use words such as “mind,” “happiness,” and “consciousness” in ways that do not necessarily correlate with other teachings. Don’t get attached to any words. They are only stepping stones, to be left behind as quickly as possible.”

This guy is practically self-refuting. Don’t get attached to words? That’s right, if you actually read the words, (you know, those groups of letters we use to convey meaning) and process them with your mind, you might figure out that what he’s saying doesn’t make sense. It’s the oldest rhetorical trick in the book. “Oh, don’t listen to my words, they mean something different when I say them than when other people say them.” It’s equivocation, trying to make oneself a priori immune to argument.

Finally, Tolle attaches himself to the coattails of the “timeless wisdom of all religions.” If it’s wisdom, and it’s so timeless, how come theologians can’t manage to keep from eternally bickering with each other? He might as well have said “the timeless nonsense of all religions.” As the Marquis de Sade once remarked, “the religion proves its prophet, the prophet his religion.”

I’m not sure if Tolle himself is setting out to be a cult leader. He might just be a strange, but harmless German guy. But, with the might of Oprah and corporate backing, that’s what he’s becoming…

Genera| March 23, 2011 at 4:18 am

Not only they have started an extremely dangerous cult, but I also have valid *inside* info that they serve REVERSE CHEESECAKE.

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