This Challenge of mine has been an interesting journey in more ways than one. I have collected or been given books over the past years for a variety of reasons. Depending on my life circumstances, I would read the book in short order or, more times than I care to admit, I put the book on my bookshelf and tell myself that I would read it when things calmed down. But, as it happens with four children and taking university courses while in ministry training and then working the first years at SVUC that brought it's own series of challenges, reading extra books on theology or spirituality above and beyond what was required for congregational ministry was just too tiring.
So, this year I pushed myself to pull together 52 books that have been hanging around on my work and home book shelves - just sitting there and mocking me, reminding me that I've been lazy, that I've lacked motivation, that there was a huge amount of new and exciting information to be had if only I would just sit down and read now and then. It sucks how the voices inside our heads can be such jerks to us.
Once all the books I've purchased at conferences and speaking events and all the books given to me were lined up nice and neat on one of my bookshelves in early January, the reading began. As I've been deciding which book to read each week, I've been recalling the circumstances in which the book came into my possession. That process alone has been a fun, unintended consequence of this Challenge.
I started this book and, much to my surprise, I couldn't put it down. I've already starting planning the book study for SVUC that will run sometime in the fall or New Year. This is not a book to read alone. It NEEDS to be read with a group of friends or trusted folks so that each section can be thoroughly discussed and explored.
The long and short of A New Earth is that our ego controls so much of our lives--our emotions, our experiences and our responses to life--without us even being aware of what is happening. And until we are aware of how the ego operates within our being, we cannot be at peace or become the whole human beings that God intends for us to be. I know. Sounds a little hokey. But, I believe that Mr. Tolle has hit the nail on the head in several places throughout the book and for those of us who have recently read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, I see this as an excellent follow up to that book study.
Here's a small taste of what Mr. Tolle has to say,
An ego that wants something from another--and what ego doesn't--will usually play some kind of role to get its 'need's' met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play. They are those roles.I am looking forward to this book study next year - I hope you'll be able to join in with the study!