This book was recommended by a good friend of mine. I liked it but I have to be the first to admit that I probably didn't fully understand the content. Either I've read it at the wrong point in my life or it's too deep for me.
The book is all about enjoying the here and now and focusing less on the past or the future.
Apparently, once you can fully surrender yourself to enjoying now, you become enlightened. Enlightenment is defined as the end of suffering in Buddhism. Tolle likes this definition because it doesn't go on to define what happens when all suffering ends.
By not going into life-post-suffering, people have nothing to fixate on. People like to create an image or a moving of how they want life their life or a future event; they then fantasise about it and obsess over it. This is not the way to enlightenment according Tolle. Enlightenment is not elsewhere, it's here, now and lies inside all of us. You need to tap into it.
I agree that thinking can be a disease when it's compulsive and involuntary. Tolle says the only difference between a mentally retarded person and you is that the mentally retarded person is constantly vocalising his thoughts and fantasies.
Tolle differentiates between one's life and one's life situation. He then goes on to say life is formless and timeless. The formlessness and timelessness of life is a concept that I am still struggling to grasp.
Whatever your present circumstance is, accept it as though you had chosen it and you will be happier. This doesn't mean you won't work your way out of an unpleasant situation but that you won't spend any time thinking about how hard done by you are. Or worse, complaining.
Tolle says some people live their lives through a "pain-body". Everyone has one but only some people live through it. The pain-body shows itself in the form of impatience, irritation, hurt, anger, grief, illness and other negative feelings. The sooner one is conscious that they are being excessively driven by these emotions, the sooner one can gain control. A negative inner state is more contagious than a disease.
Pain feeds on pain and the more negativity you allow into your life, the larger the pain-body grows. Pain can't feed on joy, it finds it indigestible.
"Ego"according to Tolle is the self-defined self. The ego (and everyone has one) is apparently very vulnerable and insecure; it sees itself as constantly under threat even if outwardly confident.
Overall, I took one real lesson from this book: now is all you have so enjoy it! Is there joy, ease and lightness in what you do, in how you live your life? If not: leave it, accept it or change it - anything else is madness. Complaining makes you a victim.
A final question for you: are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? Think about it.
Time allowing, I love to read. If I read anything interesting, I will blog about it here.