Prepare to chill out D.C.: Spiritual mega-teacher Eckhart Tolle makes first appearance

Just in time. Spiritual celeb-guru Eckhart Tolle is appearing in Washington next week for the first time – one night … Continued

Just in time.

Spiritual celeb-guru Eckhart Tolle is appearing in Washington next week for the first time – one night after the first presidential debate, and hopefully not too late to help campaign- and conflict-weary Washingtonians achieve “freedom from excessive thinking.”

Literally millions of people studied with Tolle in 2008 via a Web series run by a little ol’ TV personality named Oprah. His book, “The Power of Now,” sold more than 3 million copies and he is as big a name as there is in what’s called the “consciousness movement” that touches people of all religious denominations (the more open wings of them, anyway).

Tolle hasn’t come to Washington before because – you’ll be SHOCKED to hear this — a spokesman says, “We don’t really think about D.C. as being about spirituality.” The Vancouver-based teacher’s typical spots include New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami.

For purposes of full disclosure, Tolle is also coming to Washington to speak at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, of which I am an organizer. But Tolle’s statement on his Oct. 4 Warner Theatre event says that now is a time when he felt called to Washington.

“Tolle will teach listening and meditation in the nation’s capital to share what he believes is the essential strategy to change America and the world for the better: the elevation of human consciousness. ‘Instead of being locked in habitual thought patterns, we become aware of our shared essential nature. Peace arises and so does intelligent thinking that is inclusive instead of divisive,’ ” he said, according to the statement.

Tolle has a crowded list of celeb followers: Susan Sarandon, Sting, Meg Ryan, Eileen Fisher, Jim Carrey — but hey, we all know being a celeb in D.C. involves some title with the word “commission” in it (zzz). His fans in our area include uber-popular Insight Meditation teacher Tara Brach and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).

Anyone know any other D.C. names going? And have some interesting observations on how Tolle’s teachings relate particularly to D.C. life?

  • Alison DC

    Why is it that “millions” took his web-based course, 3 million bought his books, and yet Tolle is a “celeb guru” more because seven named celebrities admire him too? Why isn’t he instead named a very popular spiritual or consciousness leader, and leave it at that, rather than a celeb guru?

    I wished this article didn’t have the touch of snarkiness or attitude it does.

  • tony55398

    Lot’s a luck.


    I bet guru-boy owns 27.5 Rolls-Royces. They all do.

    “As long as spirituality comes with caviar…”

  • persiflage

    The USA has long been the land of milk and honey for con artists and self-help shysters.


    That is absolute rubbish. As if anyone should trust anything from the Maharishi nut-jobs.

  • DJWinMassachusetts

    “Give peace a chance.”If he can convince just one hyper-partisan to start acting reasonably, he will have done some good.

  • DJWinMassachusetts

    On the other hand, the cynical side of me says maybe he’s out of his league here. Maybe D.C. will just chew him up and spit him out as it does to nearly everybody who arrives with good intentions.

  • cs9243

    Tolle’s first book, “The Power of Now” was first published in 1997 by Namaste Publishing. I read this book and I was very much impressed.
    Tolle says that his book, The Power of Now, is “a restatement for our time of that one timeless spiritual teaching, the essence of all religions”. He writes that “religions have become so overlaid with extraneous matter that their spiritual substance has become almost completely obscured”, that they have become “to a large extent … divisive rather than unifying forces” and become “themselves part of the insanity”
    What a profound message! Something to ponder when you consider the recent events in the Middle East.

  • itsthedax

    “freedom from excessive thinking.”

    He’s found his target audience…

  • Towards__Light

    He is not a shyster. Read his stuff, then comment.

  • Kenny Craig

    I hope you didn’t bet too much money on it…

  • Kenny Craig

    Someone encouraging morality and critical thought… well, it’s something to rejoice about.

  • concernedaboutdc

    “Thinking without awareness is the main dilemma of human existence.” Eckhart Tolle


    “There’s a sucker born every minute.” P.T. Barnum

  • persiflage

    I’ve sampled all the self-help hipster shysters out there – and finally gave up in total boredom. And all the ringing cash registers in my mind was giving me imaginary tinnitis.

    If you’re into metaphysics, read Buddhism…….although Zen says dump it all – and that would be about right. Common sense sometimes prevails.

  • FrankDB

    In 2010, Eckhart gave a talk in NYC at the Riverside Church. After attending that talk I realized that his man is truly gifted. First to get 2000 people, pay big money to hear a talk about spirituality, in NYC is a miracle in itself. I don’t think the Pope would get people to pay that much to hear him. I strongly encourage anyone who can attend to do so, Eckhart was not named the most influential spiritual teacher on the planet in 2010, and 2nd to the Dali Lama in 2011 by Watkins Magazine for nothing. He truly is the real deal. Be in his presence, listen to him, and you will know what I mean.
    In fact, his talk, in my humble opinion is more important that the debate the night before.

  • ameliapoest

    He should fit right in with the Washington crowd since everything he says is contradicted by himself somewhere else.

  • persiflage

    Seriously – you needed Eckhart Tolle to tell you that religion is a divisive? The pearls roll off his tongue, and yet anyone that views religious behavior and beliefs with some objectivity would reach the same conclusion all on their own.

    Maybe Tolle is the antidote to the widespread religious brainwashing that afflicts the entire country, or maybe he just believes that he is…… either case, his bank account is in nowise suffering.

    What, by the way, was that ‘ one timeless spiritual teaching that is the essence of all religions’?? Doesn’t that sound just a wee bit glib to you? It does to me……….

    The one thing religions all have in common is that they were invented by humans – every last one of them.

  • persiflage

    ‘ I realized that his man is truly gifted.’

    Most successful grifters are – they have an uncanny knack for knowing their audience.

  • jdpetric

    “For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories. 2Timothy 4:3-4

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.