Debra Rae: Believer Raps Eckhart Tolle Bigtime

It was after careful consideration, and several readings of the article from News With Views ( that is the subject of this commentary, that I decided to write this long reply. The ideas involved are hot button issues these days, often involving much fear and deeply ingrained belief systems that are difficult to examine impartially. With many of them this has been true for hundreds, even thousands of years, and it’s now even more true in this time of social ferment, widespread stress, and personal and institutional transitions. I don’t wish to attack any person or system of faith, but to question the unconscious assumptions underlying beliefs that seem to drive judgments against other people, in the hope that we can, with tolerance and good will, see beyond these apparent divisions. – Bruce (Rae article also posted at:

Dear News with Views,

I was interested to see that you posted an editorial by Debra Rae that I’ve seen posted elsewhere by people who have a focus on alternative information about current events, called, confusingly, “ONLY IMAGINE TOLLE’S NEW EARTH,” subtitled on your front page link as “Beware of New Age false prophets sweeping the planet.” This article is a very negative, subjective, and often totally wrong presentation of Eckhart Tolle’s work, and specifically of his webinars with Oprah Winfrey on his recent book, “A New Earth.”

It presents a very few of the ideas covered in those webcasts, and those in distorted ways, either through a lack of attentiveness to what Eckhart actually said, or with deliberateness due to the apparent extreme disagreements with his information (understandable if she agrees with the assessment of him as a “false prophet”). Additionally, Ms. Rae, without linking references, associates Tolle with: what she call the ‘esoterically “awakened” Beatles’ (a code phrase, I assume, and an apparent reference to the word awakening as used by Eckhart); various unidentified “Humanist Manifestos;” the causes of the Cambodian genocide; advocates of something called “homonoeticus;” “New Age” solar occultism; and a “harmonized” utopian globalism she calls “common-ism,” another term – and concept – that Tolle never, from my close readings of his work, begins to approach.

Repeatedly, without providing examples, Ms. Rae puts words into Tolle’s mouth: he wants to end property; he doesn’t think there’s anything worth fighting for (implying, it seems that killing, though proscribed by the Ten Commandments she advocates, is appropriate for the godly), he teaches “grandiose interdependence” and “self-deification;” he perceives “global unity … as imperative to proper flow of the god-force;” that Eckhart judges between “the perfect” and the “not-so-perfect” and (I guess) espouses perfection (of the ego?), making him an Aquarian “the sign of the perfected man” teacher (again, a code word for the instruction of apostate Christians under Tolle’s sway); and he asserts that Jesus was “an ascended master” (one more term Tolle doesn’t use). Little that she ascribes to him is really part of his very simple, clear, effective and non-confrontational expressions, which at points she actually compliments with the implication that his “ease and clarity” are diabolical.

She mistakenly identifies John Lennon’s “Imagine” as having been a Beatles/Lennon/McCartney composition, and somehow, Eckhart Tolle’s theme song, every word part of Eckhart’s “gospel,” a term she uses sarcastically. She says that Marianne Williamson channeled “A Course in Miracles” (actually created by Helen Shucman and William Thetford), and that the Course’s use by Oprah is somehow suspect and “advances Tolle’s wholly redefined spiritual mindset,” a phrase that, again, attacks without clearly expressing supposed errors on his, or Oprah’s parts. The above are, perhaps, trivial errors, but they speak to what seems a powerful emotional drive to use rhetoric to invalidate Tolle’s work at whatever cost.

In particular, Ms. Rae seems to focus on her interpretation of what Eckhart seems to her to be talking about when he points out that the present moment is all that ever is, as if this viewpoint is a magic escape invented by him which eliminates responsibility for our actions “thus disallowing commensurate consequences (for choices made here-and-now) in the hereafter.” She states that Tolle’s “avowing” living in the Now is a denial of heaven and hell through which

“purportedly enlightened folks, as he, presume to wriggle free from accountability to a righteous God. In effect, these become self-proclaimed laws unto themselves.”

Actually, what Eckhart, and other non-dual wisdom teachers in the unprecedented human awakening taking place now, are saying is more like – that the wholeness we are, which has been erroneously limited under the mental label “God,” is innately, integrally, at the core of what we (and all things) truly, as opposed to any false ego-identity, are. This implies that when we are “at war” with anyone else, we are not experiencing life or our apparent “enemy” as they are, but through the interpretation of our ego – the imaginary “me” we tend to fall into assuming we are.

Moreover, and crucially, what Tolle is suggesting is that we are each always totally responsible for our state of awareness right now, very different from what Rae calls “assum(ing) some imagined state of transcendent Christhood while basking in the perpetual `Now.'” When we are out of alignment with our true natures, in a trance state based on living in the past or projecting into an imagined future, or on constantly retelling ourselves the story of our life of separation, we then start to create our own subjective hell, that is, an experience of suffering.

A Story Based on Fear

Early in her piece, Ms. Rae says “Today’s changing world is increasingly threatening and all the more challenging to navigate.” This is a kind of understatement in these days of increasing international warfare that threatens to go nuclear, financial and career instabilities, natural disasters and ecological degradation. I think perhaps she’s offering this as a gesture of understanding to those who seem to be a key part of the audience for her article, Christians whose unquestioning faith is wavering in the face of “a Tolle-propelled “Cult of Oprah” embraced even by Christians unschooled in apologetics.” Presumably, Debra Rae is offering these straying lambs a crash-course in “contending for the faith as the Bible admonishes them to do,” based clearly on instilling fear in the loss of their places in the heavenly hereafter (the consequences of their “choices made here-and-now”). Falling back into such a belief colors the story of the imaginary separate self with a deeply hypnotic sense of reality, in which clarity is unlikely.

So while making a showing of countering Tolle’s arguments (albeit inaccurately presented) rationally, Rae falls back heavily on basing her persuasion on belief in the infallibility of Biblical scripture: her interpretation of the meaning of Moses’ burning bush; “the impending Millennial Rule of Christ on earth;” the labeling of (something?) she ascribes to Eckhart as “an outright lie” by the apostle Paul; the “reality” that “the “perfect” (mature) man of Ephesians (4) achieves “the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ;” “the one whose name is above all names.”

She mystically invokes “the sacred name of god,” writing that Tolle attributes it to “a company of highly evolved masters… each of whom claims transcendent consciousness and common divinity with all life.” While Eckhart clearly sees that the truth of our divine inner nature is at the heart of the teaching of many great masters, he has never, to my knowledge, spoken of a sacred name. Rae says that the claims of “transcendent consciousness and common divinity” are somehow also claims of “total power.” However, any true spiritual master makes no such claims for his or her small self, and is intimately aware that total power rests only with the all-that-is, that which is sometimes labeled “god,” paradoxically at the heart of each of us, yet never an ego-identity. Eckhart says that that heart IS what we truly are, but rather than some kind of mantle of power, is only realized through continual surrender to it without imposing the demands of ego in the least.

Ms. Rae says that the success of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey’s online class series, and particularly that Christians who give it credence without “contending for the faith,” are “sure signs of the times.” Another sign of the times is certainly the ongoing fascist globalist agenda. Nearly half of “ONLY IMAGINE TOLLE’S NEW EARTH” is devoted to associating Eckhart Tolle’s work on self-awareness with the creation of this dictatorial one-world government. If “New Age” teachers are working hand-in-hand with the Rothschild’s, Bilderbergers, Trilateralists, Round Table, Council of 300, Tavistock Institute, CFR, Club of Rome, etc., to bring this about, then certainly they need to be called on it. But Eckhart speaks repeatedly of the insanity of the human ego, as clearly exemplified by the efforts of hierarchical leaders to dominate the world situation to satisfy the inevitable demands of the ego-structures they’re identified with.

One of Eckhart’s principal teachings is about how projection is fundamental to the structure of the ego, and how, therefore, in order to strengthen its domination of our awareness it needs to have enemies. Anyone or anything that threatens the always-questionable stability of an ego is a prime candidate for enemy status – as is evident in Bush’s infamous “you’re either with us or against us,” the prosecution of whistle-blowers, the demonization of figures like Martin Luther King or Wilhelm Reich. Eckhart Tolle has said that rigid religious structures are going to lose their hold over the minds of humanity as humans awaken to their direct connection to their living source. If one looks at the history of religions, going back to Babylon at the least, it’s clear that they are human artifacts used by the power elite to manipulate and dominate the masses.

Ms. Rae speaks very emphatically of “the Lord Jesus” being in another class of being from the rest of humankind – “God incarnate, Lord of lords, Author and Finisher of our faith.” But is she aware that Jesus’ deification was the product of a one-vote majority at the Council of Nicaea (where the accepted version of the Bible was also formalized as a political expedient), convened by then Roman Emperor Constantine, who was a follower of the same god Mithra whom she seems to abhor? It has been speculated by scholars that Constantine, in making Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire, was bringing forward Mithraism by another name – for one thing, he moved the Sabbath to Sunday, the day of the Sun. One of the highlights of Mithraism is apocalyptic millennialism.

Institutional religions, or traditional theism as Ms. Rae calls it, have controlled world populations by moving peoples’ connection to the divine from within them (Jesus said that the Kingdom of God was within), to the priestcraft or to the pontiff (a title going back to the Babylonian mystery religion – Constantine was, like his preceding Emporers, Pontifex Maximus of the Babylonian religion before being the first Christian Pontifex). The collapse of this usurpation of our divine connection is what Eckhart Tolle is talking about, with the surrender of each of us at an egoic level to the formless one life within. If we cling to our slavery to this elite-ruled mystery-religion system that has kept us chained to the vampire-like structures of power throughout history, anything that threatens this will be seen as The Enemy.

Another aspect of the phenomenon of projection is our rejection of those parts of ourselves that we need to deny, which are then split off to become parts of our “Shadow,” which are then projected off onto “The Others,” by definition, our enemies, against whom any violence is justified. While Ms. Rae seems to scoff at Tolle’s observations of the horrific violence that has been perpetrated in the name of the Christian religion, the cataloguing of only the easily found examples would take up bloody pages. And now it seems, Rae is arguing to add Eckhart Tolle and anyone unfortunate enough to be taken in by his “sweetly reasonable” snake oil to the list of Infidels who threaten the eternal well-being of the faithful. The only way out of this ongoing process of splinterization, through which the power elite divide and rule, is the path of wholeness, of reunification involving the recognition of how all of us are ultimately the same. We need to see that we each share the qualities of “otherness” that we see outside ourselves, and to reclaim them.

As Jesus himself is recorded as saying (Matthew 22: 36-40): “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Bruce Tanner



  1. Posted July 19, 2008 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    You have to realize that where Rae and other Christians come from is from the Word as it is recorded in the Bible. That is their measuring stick – completely and utterly. What’s more, when someone comes along like Tolle who puts forth his own interpretation of certain passages in the Bible (without years and years of Biblical study; without having accepted Christ as his Saviour) then his teaching, at its very core, is bound to be heretical in the truest sense of the word, and blasphemy. The Bible tells you how to interpret the words therein. When Jesus said something, it was in the tradition of the prophets; and unless the reader was extremely versed in what Jeremiah, Isaiah, or Daniel wrote, for instance, then it will be way over their head as to the entirety of the true meaning.

    Unless you have totally immersed yourself in the Bible, you have no idea of the sophistication with which each verse is cross-referenced to other verses in previous books in the Bible. Jesus doesn’t just pull his stuff out of a hat – Jesus is speaking a certain way, in a certain manner, only those who are completely immersed in the Bible understand. The Torah was still the Torah in Jesus’ time; the prophet’s words that Jesus was familiar with are the same as are being read by Biblical students today. The oldest copy of Isaiah, for instance, is nearly identical to what we read in our Bibles today.

    I hope I’ve made my point. Alice Bailey, Blavatsky, Tolle and Oprah et al, cannot just come along and offer a pulp version of what they THINK is meant by certain passages in the Bible. They simply are not qualified enough to do so. In the same manner, perhaps, critics of new age/new thought may in turn not be familiar enough with the genre to be able to offer a thorough critique.

    Yours and Rae’s criticism are entirely too generalized and stereotypical to be helpful. Both amount to little more than proselytism.

  2. stushie
    Posted July 19, 2008 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Bruce, in your conclusion you also do what Tolle often does throughout his book…he omits the rest of the story. Jesus goes on to ask the Phariseees & lawyers what they think about the Christ, challenging them to accept Him as God’s Son. Tolle avoids this, just as the Pharisees did way back then.

    His teachings are misleading and I would call them heretical because he often implies things that Jesus never said. I’m doing a page by page analysis of the book, pointing out his errors.

    The purpose of Christian apologetics is to love your neighbor, as you quite rightly point out, but it is also to point out to the faithful where false teachings lie. Every Christian generation has had to deal with the Tolles in the world. We speak out plainly, whereas others like Tolle use sophistry to cajole his way into other people’s hearts and minds.

    Finally, you quoted Christ as saying ‘using all your mind.’ This is something that Tolle advocates throughout the book that people should not do. Thinking is a holy part of our worship of God. Tolle would have us do away with thinking…as he himself states from the very beginning of his badly written and tedious book.

  3. brtanner
    Posted July 19, 2008 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Responding to Terry: I don’t think that any amount of study of a particular scripture can take you into the depths of that-which-is, one pointer to which is the word “silence.” As you call spiritual wisdom that is not strictly from the current form of the Bible a “pulp version,” I might suggest that the interpretation of someone who is not aware of the filters of their ego is a “dead version.” I responded to Eckhart’s work because when I first encountered him everything he was saying about what I already understood, fit what I had worked out for myself, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt in areas I didn’t yet know about. It’s come to pass that as I understand better from direct experience, everything he’s talking about is cross-referencing in ways similar to what you suggest Bible students experience. He is talking about an experience of life that is new with reference to the consensus reality I was hypnotized into growing up, and a way that is deeply sacred, self-authenticating, and honoring of all peoples, creatures and living systems.

    Calling what anyone says heretical and blasphemous is, I think, quite reckless. Demanding that someone jump though your particular hoops to make them worthy to talk about the meaning of passages, or either you won’t listen and will disparage anything said, or, in extremis, will prosecute them with ecclesiastical authority, guarantees that we can’t learn from each other. There are multitudinous examples of people who are lifelong Bible scholars, who have no problem with murdering those who don’t conform to doctrine. Heresy and Blasphemy are key components from the toolbox of priestcraft. “Don’t dare to speak within the areas we’ve set off as sacred to g*d!”
    Responding to stushie: I don’t find it legitimate to try to prove points through the authority of scripture. If religion is to any extent, and in my opinion it is, a system for controlling the perception of the masses, then each piece of wisdom must be born out in the direct experience of the spiritual aspirant. I have a BIG problem with phrases like “the Tolles of the world.” Placing labels on others is where the most ghastly violence starts. I don’t find anything that Eckhart says is “sophistry.” He is providing pointers to that which is beyond the purview of mind, which must be followed if they’re to have any significance. Follow them or not (which requires rigorous attention to thought-forms), as you choose. But, this is not even close to “do(ing) away with thinking.” It is using our minds in the best sense, by learning to align them with that-which-is, which animates the reflection of the world of form. Then the innate perfection that is already here arises. As Eckhart says, if his books don’t make sense to you, they are not your path. This does not mean that they aren’t legitimately someone else’s.

  4. Posted July 19, 2008 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Re: “Demanding that someone jump though your particular hoops to make them worthy to talk about the meaning of passages”

    No one’s demanding anything. I’m simply telling you the way it is, and why it is. You do not have to like it – and indeed you don’t.

    The Bible interprets itself. The reader is informed that the Word is self-referential; that, no, sorry, you do not have the luxury of your own private interpretation.

    Practice your doctrine of gnostic apotheosis in any way in which you see fit, just as long as you do not deceive people as to what Jesus taught. There’s no need to mention the Saviour at all.

  5. brtanner
    Posted July 19, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Terry, IMO, and obviously if one has a basic understanding of how one’s own mind works, the Bible can’t “interpret itself.” Perhaps there are patterns of meaning that emerge “self-referentially” to the reader, but any interpretation is peculiar to the individual, as the words and symbols all point, ultimately, to some “thing” of which mind itself is but a tiny fragment, incapable of comprehending the entirety. No two students of the Bible have exactly the same understanding of its meaning, or even of a given word or symbol. And if you think you do have the “true” understanding, the burden is on you to share the way that it can bring others to “the peace that passeth all understanding,” perhaps enabling them to share that peace with the world, rather than asking them to wait in some kind of mystical and angry befuddlement until a militant Jesus comes back to wreak revenge on those who didn’t get the message right and to set the world in order. Which, apparently, was something he refused to do when he was here before, seeming to want some other kind of understanding to arise.

    — As to the demanding thing, yes, you are demanding that people keep their hands off your private bailiwick of perfected understanding. We are not to “deceive people as to what Jesus taught,” but apparently unless we’re “completely immersed in the Bible,” we’ll never be able understand his teaching – even the people he taught while here didn’t have the luxury of such immersion. You say “there’s no need to mention the Saviour at all,” yet if someone not of your vetted expertise feels the inclination to talk of how they understand Jesus, then there is such a need, and that’s not for you to decide, unless you use coercive force to stop them. When you assert that he IS “the Saviour,” then you are insisting on an interpretation of scripture that clearly puts our divine source outside of us, rather than within, which is what I think Jesus was teaching. This is absolutely not any kind of “apotheosis,” something Debra Rae was insisting on, and which you are, sarcastically it seems, claiming. No ego raises itself to the level of god. When we awaken, it’s not the ego that “becomes enlightened.” Rather, the fictional nature of the imaginary me is seen through. In all the universe, there is no separation (which, I’m sorry, was what I believe Jesus meant by “I and the father are one,” knowing he was not the apparent egoic character created in mind), and every “thing” in it is supported in every moment by the blessing of that which cannot be named.

  6. Bryant
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Esoteric – . understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.
    2. belonging to the select few.
    3. private; secret; confidential.
    4. (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras.

    The Lord said, “I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not to the seed of Jacob, Seek you me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    Paul said, “I have become its (the church’s)servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in all its fullness -the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, But IS NOW DISCLOSED to the saints. To them God has chosen to MAKE KNOWN among the Gentiles (all the people of the world)the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

    There is no “secret” doctrine. It has been revealed by the apostles of Jesus Christ. Accept their witness. They knew him and said,”That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
    [2] (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
    [3] That which we have seen and heard DECLARE WE UNTO YOU, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Blavatsky, Tolle, Bailey, etc. can they say this?

    Paul also said, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    Blavatsky says, So little have the first Christians (who despoiled the Jews of their Bible) understood the first four chapters of Genesis in their esoteric meaning, that they never perceived that not only was no sin intended in this disobedience, but that actually the “Serpent” was “the Lord God” himself, who, as the Ophis, the Logos, or the bearer of divine creative wisdom, taught mankind to become creators in their turn.‡ They never realised that the Cross was an evolution from the “tree and the serpent,” and thus became the salvation of mankind.
    VOL. 2, PAGE 215 The Secret Doctrine

    Compare that with the above witness of a man who saw Jesus and had fellowship with the apostles.

    Blavatsky continues, “And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the “Lord of Phosphorus” (brimstone was a theological improvement), and Lucifer, or “Light-Bearer,” is in us: it is our Mind — our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. VOL. 2, PAGE 513 The Secret Doctrine

    So, Lucifer is Satan and Satan is Lucifer. Stop believing them when they say Satan is a myth.

    Jesus, the real Christ, and all the apostles affirm the reality that Satan is our ADVERSARY, not our liberator and savior. He is an intelligent entity, not a state of mind.

    Bailey says, “Lucifer as one of the solar Angels, those advanced Beings Who Theosophy says descended (thus “the fall”) from Venus to our planet eons ago to bring the principle of mind to what was then animal-man. In the theosophical perspective, the descent of these solar Angels was not a fall into sin or disgrace but rather an act of great sacrifice, as is suggested in the name “Lucifer” which means light-bearer.” From the Lucis Trust website (aka Lucifer Publishing Company).

    Paul again says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

    So, the woman was DECEIVED, meaning the SERPENT (from nachash – the shining enchanter)DECEIVED her – caused her to SIN. No esoteric meaning here, just straight forward TRUTH.

    The New Age is DECEPTION from the Shining Enchanter (Lucifer, the serpent, Satan, the devil – the adversary) tempting you with the same old lie – ” And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, AND YOU SHALL BE AS GODS …”

    One final witness from the true LIGHT of the world – the Lord of Truth: Jesus said, making refernece to the serpent from the garden “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer FROM THE BEGINNING (in the garden), and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks he speakes a LIE, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

    This is the god of the New Age.

    And He loses:

    “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more.” (Revelation 20:2).

    “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for SATAN HIMSELF IS TRANSFORMED INTO AN ANGEL OF LIGHT. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

    Resist then in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and they will flee from you and you will know true peace. May God, the Father, bless you with all wisdom concerning this matter through Jesus Christ, his ONLY Begotten Son (his one of a kind, unique above all others, SON).

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