A New Earth author Eckhart Tolle & Oprah talk about the peace that passes understanding.
In closing chapter 2 of the online discussion, Oprah asked Eckhart, “Let’s close with the peace that passes all understanding that you talk about on page 56. What is that peace?”
What neither Tolle, nor Oprah recognized on their worldwide class by way of skype was that in Eckhart’s book on pages 56 through 58, God is a vital part of the peace process. Eckhart on page 56 begins the whole concept by mentioning Saint Paul, who coined the phrase in its totality saying “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Eckhart on page 57 mentions “Spirit” and its involvement in releasing us from imprisonment. Tolle than goes on to mention the matter of being, I Am, and the peace of God. This is where Eckhart I believe leaves the reader hanging a bit. Undoubtedly Mr. Tolle is en route to some fascinating breakthroughs, which most likely he himself has already experienced, but struggles to fully articulate in Biblical terminology.
Undoubtedly many of Tolle’s discoveries are coming from the Bible. Eckhart’s use of the phrase “I Am” is again something taken from the words of Jesus Himself. Christ Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 9:58). God when calling Moses to divine service to be a deliverer, when asked by Moses how he should refer to and make mention Him [speaking of God], God said: “I AM THAT I AM” and God said to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).
Eckhart talking to Oprah near the conclusion of chapter 2 concerning the “peace that passes understanding” says, “That peace comes when you live in internal alignment with the present moment, which means what is, whatever is. When you no longer argue with what is, when you don’t fight it internally.”
Calling things by the pronoun “it” always opens the door wide for confusion to enter in. I believe and feel Eckhart is talking about accepting your present circumstances, particularly that which is beyond your power to change it. Paul’s imprisonment in Philippi was undoubtedly something he himself in his own power could by no means change, nor alter.
Hence Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Thankfulness opens the door to the peace of God, because in relinquishing control and giving thanks to God you honor His sovereignty in the matter.
Concerning the “internal alignment” of which Eckhart speaks, there can be no greater internal alignment than humbly aligning with your Creator and His will for your life. The will of God is made known by the Word of God. Our Creator gave us 66 books, His love letter to us, whereby we can know His heart and will for our lives.
Knowing God and His thoughts toward any matter gives you great peace and personal power. “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do great things” (Daniel 11:32). Oprah is a perfect example as she herself has said many times that she always prayed for God to use her.
Of course on our spiritual journey we are always growing, evolving, learning, adapting, and continually being transformed. That is why we like God should be loving and patient with one another embracing life’s process, realizing we ourselves can change no one. Change occurs in an atmosphere of unconditional love where people feel safe in God’s Presence and your presence.
This is why religious dogmas and fighting over divisive doctrines can be so damaging, because in doing so we alienate people from God putting a bitter taste in their mouth and leaving their hearts wounded from pursuing spirituality with childlike faith.
Concerning Eckhart who I esteem and speak of respectfully, had he not begun the whole thought and concept with a Biblical reference, I would simply leave it be. Considering however the whole genesis of the concept came from “the peace of God” and concludes Tolle’s chapter 2 on page 58 with the words “rest in God”, it is only appropriate for us to talk more about God.
Much of Tolle’s dialogue throughout his book and with Oprah is about the egoic mind and presence. On page 57 he writes, “You realize your essential identity as formless, as an all-pervasive Presence, of Being prior to all forms, all identifications.”
To capitalize “Presence” and “Being” would be to reference the divine God who transcends form and is omnipresent. Tolle is most correct in linking humanity’s identity with deity, for in God we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The more we connect with our Creator and realize we were made “in His image” the more our own “essential identity” will be established and freely emerge.
Keep in mind the apostle Paul was writing to the church and believers in Christ at Philippi when he referenced the blessing of the peace of God. Those without a relationship with God who are not connected to the Father in heaven, through Christ the Son, certainly cannot experience the blessing of such profound “peace that passes understanding”, nor retain it in their hearts and minds (which Paul said in verse 4:8 Christ would do).
The believers life is hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 3:3), wherein we are made complete and our identity is fully established (Colossians 2:10). The peace that passes understanding is a spiritual experience, which does not come from the mind, neither the soul. When I say the soul I speak of the components therein: the mind, will, and emotions.
The apostle Paul experienced numerous hardships throughout his life in which there was ample opportunity to freak out, be perplexed within his mind, and experience anguish within his soul. Perhaps Paul suffered more than any other of Christ’s disciples.
Paul knew supernatural peace because he often experienced divine visitations from God and had a keen ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to him providing specific direction. Undoubtedly hearing the voice of the Creator of heaven and earth concerning your present problem and situation is far more assuring and comforting than merely quieting one’s soul and dwelling in your own presence.
“The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty” (Psalm 29:4). Elijah the prophet knew the still small voice of God and co-labored with the Lord to awaken Israel from their spiritual slumber. Jesus said, His people would know His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). Christ promised the Holy Spirit would “speak” and “show us things to come” (John 16:13). I myself have heard the voice of the Spirit on numerous occasions, greatly enhancing and blessing my life.
Pertaining to the peace of God, when you hear the voice of the spirit within your “belly” as Jesus mentioned (see John 7:38, KJV), along with it shall come great assurance and peace. Although you may not fully comprehend it with your mind, within your heart there will come a divine peace to accompany such a voice.
“There are many voices in the world, none of which are without signification” (1 Corinthians 14:10). Therefore when you hear the voice of God’s Holy Spirit speaking to you, the power and majestic glory that accompany it will enrapture and awaken your inner being. So much so, it will literally enable you to divide and discern between God’s voice and the mind’s egoic voice.
In describing the voice of God, David said the Lord’s voice “breaks”, “divides”, “shakes”, “makes to skip”, “discovers”, and gives birth “making the hinds to calve” (Psalm 29). That being said when God’s Holy Spirit speaks to you it will give you a breakthrough in your life. The voice of God will divide and enable you to discern between all of the voices in your head. The voice of the Lord will cause a shaking, awaking, and freeing you from entanglements of the soul.
The voice of the Lord imparts joy unspeakable and full of glory, causing you to skip and dance like a child. The voice of God above fills you to overflowing with His divine love, providing new discoveries concerning your gifts, talents, and abilities – some you didn’t even know you had, or which might have been dormant, or perhaps even awakened upon you connecting with your Creator.
As your identity in God is more fully discovered, established, and emerges you will give birth to new things in your life. Creativity will replace anxiety; life will replace depression where you felt as if you were dead within; and troublesome places of cursing in your life and relationships will suddenly be transformed and blessed by the Spirit of God who supernaturally transcends and reconciles all, resurrecting the dead.
When Paul was out at sea and it was said that the ship upon which he was traveling was destined to sink, a great stir and uproar ensued among the soldiers. Nevertheless Paul had peace the surpassed his natural circumstance because he had been visited by an angel of God telling him, “Fear not, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar: and, lo; God has given you all them that are with you” (Acts 27:23-24).
Having faith in the God to whom he belonged and wholeheartedly served, Paul was kept by the peace of God. By faith we have access into God’s grace whereby we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (see Romans 5:2). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1).
That is to say it is faith in God that produces the divine peace within surpassing the futility and limitations of our mind. The inner knowings that come from within speak to our spirit. God by His Holy Spirit quickened and spoke to Paul’s spirit, producing unfathomable peace that profoundly surpassed the mental arena.
We too can experience such perfect peace that passes understanding when we like Paul, “trust in the Lord with all of our heart; and lean not unto our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
Therefore believing the angel of the Lord, Paul arose and spoke boldly saying to the soldiers on the ship: “”Be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but the ship. Sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” (see Acts 27:22,25).
Paul acknowledged the ship would be lost, but as for the lives of those aboard all would be preserved as promised by God. Truly, Jesus is the “Prince of peace” who keeps us through every storm of life (see Isaiah 9:6-7).
Jesus hushed and quieted numerous storms throughout his earthly ministry.
When the disciples, many of whom were fishermen and masters of the sea, were exceedingly fearful thinking they were going to perish because of an approaching storm; Jesus “rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (see Matthew 8:23-26)
Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the seas, which obeyed Him. Jesus our Lord made many men to marvel and say, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matthew 8:27)
The marveling minds of many were astounded by the miracles Jesus performed and continues to perform from heaven through we His disciples on earth. In fact Jesus said, “He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).
What Jesus said, He fully and truly meant. Christ’s shadow never healed the sick, but His disciple Peter’s did (Acts 5:15-16). Christ never used handkerchiefs to heal the sick, but His disciple and apostle Paul did (Acts 19:11-12). Christ never preached to thousands and see them repentantly turn to God in a day, but Peter did (Acts 2:37-41).
Most in this earthly world are enamored and snared by their own minds, being bound in their ego and not able to transcend the mental arena to joyfully enter the spiritual dimension. Those however who with childlike faith move beyond their mental reasoning to experience life-giving spirituality, they shall flourish in life and experience the joy of flow.
God’s Spirit flows like rivers of living waters (see John 7:37-39). Most however on earth prefer to think, even to the extent of exalting their thoughts and opinions, while arguing vehemently to support them. Men like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity have built entire careers over argumentation and disputation to support their views and ideology.
Far more fun than thinking and arguing however is entering and enjoying the divine flow of life. In the garden of Eden when human life began, there were two trees of prominence: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 1-3). The tree of life was exactly and precisely that, a life imparting tree. On the other hand the tree of knowledge, which the devil seduced Adam and Eve to eat of by appealing to their pride, ultimately thereafter produced death in them. It is no different today for us.
Even Solomon in all his wisdom called the endless learning and acquiring of knowledge “vanity and vexation of spirit” (see Ecclesiastes 1:16-17,). Yet simultaneously Solomon knew the wisdom of God and excellency of knowledge gives life to them that have it (7:12).
The key determining factor and distinction is differentiating between useless and meaningless knowledge versus life imparting, affirming, uplifting, and useful knowledge.
The other widely known “book of wisdom” in the Bible besides Proverbs is that of James, the brother of Jesus. James recognized and differentiated between the two types of knowledge saying, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).
This is one of the reasons I respect Eckhart Tolle is he is childlike, sincere, and meek. He doesn’t appear to be excessively emotionally attached to his teaching. There seems to be a bit of intuitive and intellectual curiosity in him as teacher, which is refreshing and invigorating. Rather than proudly trying to make a point and uphold his ego when a caller asks him a question, he often affirms the person, praising them for their own level of awakening and insight.
Such was true when a 13-year-old caller named Madilynn from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania phoned in to ask Eckhart about something he wrote concerning teenagers on page 47 of his book. Concerning the “still developing ego of teenagers”, Madilynn asked Eckhart: “By stating this are you implying that teenagers cannot be awakened, that although I’m reading this book, I may have no chance of reaching consciousness merely because I’m 13 and my ego is not fully developed?”
Oprah playfully replied, “Go Madilynn! I just think the fact that she could ask the question is pretty darn good.” (smiling and leaning back)
Eckhart smiled approvingly and said, “Yes, now the first thing, you are more advanced than I was at 13.” Oprah agreed, “Than most of us I’d say.” Tolle continued, “I would not have been able to read and understand that book when I was 13.”
Tolle acknowledged in fact that Madilynn and other youngsters in the new generation are amazingly be awakened at an increasingly younger age then ever before. The very fact that Madilynn was reading the book was evidence to her already awakening, otherwise the book would have been completely meaningless to her.
I had a similar experience when I was beginning to awaken to my spiritual need, but still spiritually dead within. I was 20-years-of-age when I decided I wanted to on my own initiative read the Bible. Upon trying to do so, I soon thereafter found myself asleep on my bed with the Bible next to me. Of course reading from the old King James Version of the sacred text was not helpful in that regard. Nevertheless such was my first heartfelt attempt.
Later on, months later, an old friend from high school named Derek appeared at my door, inviting me to attend church with him. He being a Marine and athletic as myself, we often jogged together during that time. Derek had experienced a spiritual awakening when at his mother’s church he experienced a divine healing from anemia, which for many years depleted his energy and hindered his athletic performance.
Upon experiencing God and awaking himself, Derek immediately felt in his spirit he was to talk to me. Initially in his own heart he thought I would be a tough nut to crack and withdrew from the idea of pursuing or engaging me spiritually. Yet to his surprise when he arrived at my door, I indeed was ready. Together we went to church and I myself entered the realm of the supernatural and was transformed and my life incredibly revolutionized.
Jesus like Madilynn was quite young, He being 12-years-old, when He like she confounded the theologians and teachers of His day with deep, insightful questions (see Luke 2:41-48). Christ as a young boy amazed many, having incredible insight and understanding. This is what Oprah meant when she commented on 13-year-old Madilynn’s ability to ask such a question of Eckhart.
Therefore concerning the young and the aged, we must remember that spiritual awakening and growth has nothing to do with our natural age. On the contrary, spiritual growth occurs in pace and according to your level of inner hunger and pursuit. That being sadly it can happen rapidly or slowly according to the intensity with which you pursue it.
Some smugly sit in the same old church all of their life and never put feet to their faith, but think themselves to be greatly enlightened. On the contrary, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). The spiritual truths we as human beings learn, we must put to practice and apply in our everyday lives to reap the full reward. Otherwise we are just top heavy and no earthly good.
We must master the art of being naturally supernaturally, humanly relatable, and spiritually sensitive. As we do, we will transcend religious barriers that divide, experience transformation as we ourselves individually go deeper inside, and collectively connect with our Creator, and commit ourselves to good works for His glory.
Solomon who was said to be one of the wisest men to ever live said, “In much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow” (1:18). Hence the expression “ignorance is bliss.”
The greater works are now occurring throughout the earth. Men like Billy Graham, Reinhard Bonnke, and Benny Hinn are seeing hundreds of thousands of human beings gather in a single service to seek the risen Christ and turn to Him to experience newness of life.
Truly there is “a new earth awakening” by reason of the new birth when a soul turns to God in repentance, is cleansed from the sin by the holy blood of Jesus, and is regenerated within by the deposit of the Holy Spirit forever connecting man to God.
Paul was such a man who “hazarded” his life for the cause of Jesus Christ (Acts 15:26-27). Being imprisoned in Philippi for preaching the Gospel, Paul wrote numerous epistles. Even in chains, Paul defended, confirmed, and continued in the Gospel of Christ full force never wavering. Though his outward circumstances were seemingly bleak, inwardly Paul was daily being strengthened by the power of the resurrection and life of the Holy Spirit within.
Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter who would remain with His people on earth in His absence when Christ ascended to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand (John 14:26; Mark 16:19).
There is no greater power of Presence on earth or in heaven than the power of the blessed Holy Spirit that rose Christ from the dead and quickens our mortal bodies who believe in Him (see Romans 8:11). Truly in the Presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at God’s right hand where Christ is seated pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).
The Holy Spirit to humanity is the umpire that regulates, governs, and facilitates the peace of God within our own heart and mind. Enabling us to fully behold the risen Christ in all of His glory, the Holy Spirit liberates and transforms us within, while imparting a peace that passes understanding.
“Now the Spirit of the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
Most Christians are far removed from the revelation of the great necessity and role the Holy Spirit plays in connecting us to our Creator, exalting the risen Christ, and bringing forth the power of the resurrection in our life.
It is through the blessed Holy Spirit that we are able to access God the Father and Christ the Son, they both being Spirit (see Ephesians 2:18). Jesus correctly said, “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
Many however in diverse religious circles and sects adhere first to forms, rather than flowing with and moving in the formless Spirit to access and joyfully experience God. Hence their services are boring, dull, dead, and put you to sleep.
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17). How can we be joined unto the Lord who Himself is spirit, unless we transcend our minds and bodies to enter the realm of the spirit?
Most know Jesus merely by the flesh, but after His resurrection we should know Him by the Spirit. Yes, undoubtedly and truthfully, Jesus came in the form of flesh, to fulfill and accomplish the will of God; dying for humanity on a bloody cross to enable us to crossover from our own sins into sinless and liberating spirituality.
However to fully receive and enjoy the spiritual blessings Jesus purchased for us with the crucifixion of His own body, we must first “live in the Spirit”. Living in the Spirit is most foreign to a western culture, even Christian culture, that tends toward being cerebral rather than spiritual.
When the emphasis is Christianity rather than Christ, is it any wonder we lack newness of life and expression? Ironically many Christians identify moreso with Christianity than Christ. What we must remember however is Christianity without Christ is dead and merely a meaningless movement.
Christ is the author of life and head of the church, without which we are merely denominationally fixated on our affiliation and doctrine. Such a mindset makes Christians no better than a political party or supporters of a professional sports team. There may be enthusiasm, but no life, nor fulfillment.
Where the perfect peace is found is again in God. As we with childlike faith believe and harness our minds to agree with the Word of God concerning our identity, circumstances, purpose, and potential; we shall experience “perfect peace” as we manifest a tender hearted trust in God.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3-4).
Connect therefore afresh with your Creator. Embrace His peace. Internalize and meditate on His life-giving, life-imparting, and life-sustaining Word. Thereby you shall transcend your problems, cultivate inner peace, discover the power of presence, and experience divine release.