Eckhart Tolle was originally born Ulrich Leonard Tolle on February 16, 1948 in a small area near Dortland, Germany. He lived with his father in Spain from the age 13-19. During those years Tolle refused to go to school, complaining that the environment there was too “hostile”. Instead he studied literature, astronomy, and languages at home, on his own. When he was about fifteen, he studied seriously five books given him by a German mystic, Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken. He credits those with touching him deeply. Eventually, Tolle moved to the United Kingdom. He received a graduation diploma from the University of London and studied but did not complete his doctorate at the University of Cambridge. His studies focused on literature, languages, and this time, philosophy.
Long periods of suicidal depression plagued Eckhart Tolle until, at about age 29, he experienced an inner transformation. He would spend the next ten years trying to formulate a philosophy around his experience. Tolle has credited the New Testament, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and the Teachings of Buddha with helping him become enlightened. His conclusion is that most religions have become so complicated they are more divisive than unifying.
In 1995, Eckhart Tolle moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he has remained. He travels extensively, giving retreats and seminars as well as lectures. He has conducted at least one retreat at Findhorn in Scotland. In 2005, he wrote and published The Power of Now. Unsure of its potential popularity, he had only 3000 copies printed which he hand-distributed to stores in Vancouver. By 2009 his book had been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 62 weeks. Since then he has written further books explaining his philosophy. He has also founded Eckhart Teachings, a company that handles his products, including CD’s, DVD’s and picture books for children as well as adults. He has more recently started an Internet site with monthly meditation groups.
Eckhart Tolle believes he has the solution to curb the violent tendencies that plague our world. He teaches that if we can move away from the tyranny of the ego and mind’s control of our consciousness, we can be free to live in the present and enjoy our lives and each other to the fullest extent. He has a growing following, included the very influential Oprah Winfrey. It remains to be seen if his eclectic world philosophy will have a lasting influence on the planet about which he cares.