After I was caught up in a downsizing at Motorola, I had the distinct fortune of meeting many interesting people, at various networking groups. In the Chicago area, there are great networking groups run by the Latter Day Saints, Roman Catholic Church, Protestant Churches, and Jewish services. There are also secular organizations, usually with the title of “community career center”, that aid job seekers. My direction to start my own business was aided by the small business institutes at the College of Dupage, Waubonsee Community College, the Jewish Vocational Services, as well as the local S.C.O.R.E. offices.
There was one gentleman that spent a great deal of time in Africa, and almost became a Catholic priest. When we were talking, he brought up the subject of Eckhart Tolle, who is the author of “The Power of Now”, and “A New Earth”. You can find reviews of these books by users at www.amazon.com. Normally, I read the user reviews, before purchasing any books (or borrowing them from a library, for that matter). So this chap Eckhart has this experience of oneness, or living in the eternal now, and writes a couple of books. Oprah then magically picks him up, and now he is a celebrity, giving his own seminar. While he is not as popular as other authors, like Deepak Chopra, or Wayne Dryer, he seems to be recognized in some circles.
One thing I give credit to the Catholic theologians and scholars, is that they do study these oneness experiences – but they do so in their historical context. In the Catholic autobiography “Mystical Journey” by William Johnson, he mentions three classifications of Asian experiences being studied by Catholic scholars and theologians: Advaita, Zen, and Kundalini. In fact, the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi had an experience of oneness at age seventeen, which lasted all his life. It was in regards to reflecting on the question, “Who am I?” And this experience lasted for the next several decades. And flocks of people came to consult with him, on a remote mountain in South India. And I will bet anything, that if he were alive today, and had the chance to appear on Oprah, he would politely decline.
Another interesting Catholic theologian was named Meister Eckhart, who lived in the Middle Ages in Germany. His sermons were very profound – yet simple. A saying of his that comes to mind is “the eye at which I see God is the same eye as which God sees me.” This is almost as profound as the words of Christ: “If thy eye be single, thy who body be filled with light.” And to this day, I haven’t found a good explanation of this passage by any Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant theologian. Eckhart was also deeply admired by Suzuki, the great Zen master.
Now I have nothing against Tolle – or other popular writers – for that matter. I just feel that once a person gets a taste of a topic – then rather then take the seminar for XXX amount of dollars, it is best to go into the original sources, who often delve much deeper into the topic.