The Chapter Three webcast was interesting. Tolle gave an analysis of the how the ego functions in actual life situations. Those situations include complaining, blaming and the need to be right or correct. Since Tolle sees the ego as an unconsciousness mechanism within us, the task is to be aware of the how the ego works so that we may move beyond it. One of the Skype callers was profoundly affected after reading the entire book in one sitting. Tolle said that he was ready to hear the message. Another caller said that what the book covered was very important but she did not know what to do about it. She was young (only 34 as it turns out) and saw so many opportunities for success in her life. Tolle said she was not yet ready for the message in the book and he had no further advice for her other than at some later point it will make sense to her. He counseled her to be more present in her life.
If Tolle’s book is only preaching to the choir (if you understand what I am saying then you are already starting to awake. If you don’t connect to what I have written, then you are not yet ready), then its utility is severely limited. The young lady who recognized the importance of the book but could not emotionally connect to its content, is someone who would benefit from further guidance. While some need to have an emotional connection to establish or maintain directionality in their spiritual path, others may need a more intellectual approach (see Jnana yoga).
So far, Tolle’s approach is very rudimentary and only outlines the ego and its impediments to awakening. Tolle only once touched upon what I consider to be a crucial aspect of awakening – who is to help guide the aspirant to awakening? Tolle’s answer: “Suffering is your teacher.” I hope he will go into more detail on what the millions of viewers are to do once the classes are over. The manner in which the book is developing is not something that I would call a guide. The ego can easily delude one into thinking that you are on the right path and that everything is perfect. Without an experienced guide to point out one’s wrong direction, one should have something better than this book. However, the class is still young, so I will be updating this thread on a regular basis.