Eckhart Tolle is the author of the bestselling The Power of Now. He explains that readers can look upon the ten short chapters in this new text as "a revival for the present age of the oldest form of recorded spiritual teachings: the sutras of ancient India. Sutras are powerful pointers to the truth in the form of aphorisms or short sayings, with little conceptual elaboration." Brevity is the format here, and that is on purpose. Tolle doesn't want us to spend all our time thinking about these propositions or probes. Indirection is the tried and true method of Eastern teachers and that is his approach as well.
And speaking of spiritual teachers, the author in the introduction offers this take: "A true spiritual teacher does not have anything to teach in the conventional sense of the word, does not have anything to give or add to you, such as new information, beliefs, or rules of conduct. The only function of such a teacher is to help you remove that which separates you from the truth of who you already are and what you already know in the depth of your being. The spiritual teacher is there to uncover and reveal to you that dimension of inner depth that is also peace."
Tolle says the first chapter covers the essence of the book -- it is on Silence & Stillness. The nine other chapters are: Beyond the Thinking Mind, The Egoic Self, The Now, Who You Truly Are, Acceptance & Surrender, Nature, Relationships, Death & the Eternal, and Suffering & The End of Suffering.
"Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form." This points to the importance of stillness and silence as creating the space for living in the present moment, paying attention, and feeling a oneness with all things. Tolle is convinced that we spend far too much time and energy on labeling our thoughts and telling adversarial stories about people, places, and things. The problem here is what he calls "the egoic self" that is always looking out for number one and inventing enemies to oppose, resist and exclude. "No self. No problem," said the Buddhist Master when asked to explain the deeper meaning of Buddhism. As an independent teacher not affiliated or aligned with any one tradition, Tolle is free to mine the best that is in all of them. The spiritual practice of surrender means being able to live with not knowing and to stop asking "Why is this happening to me?"
Here is a final sample of wisdom from the book: "This is the miracle: behind every condition, person, or situation that appears 'bad' or 'evil' lies concealed a deeper good. That deeper good reveals itself to you both within and without through inner acceptance of what is. 'Resist not evil' is one of the highest truths of humanity."