Once in a generation, an individual comes around who is able to help millions of people improve their lives through insight, wisdom, compassion and just plain common sense. For many people around the world, that individual is Eckhart Tolle.

Eckhart Tolle a teacher of spirituality who has connected with a large number of people around the world. Why? His message is simple and speaks directly to many of the problems we currently face as human beings in an ever-changing, highly stressful world.

At the age of 29, after suffering from years of depression and suicidal thoughts, Mr. Tolle experienced a significant breakthrough in his life. It is what he learned during this “inner transformation” that forms the basis for much of his work. A born teacher, Tolle saw immediately after his breakthrough that his path was to share what he had discovered with others as a means of helping them improve their lives – be it coping with depression, healing emotional wounds or building stronger families.

Tolle draws from a variety of influences, including: Zen Buddhism, The Bible, Meister Eckhart and others. But it is the accessible, compassionate way that he delivers that message which has made him such an important figure to so many people.

For those who may not have heard Mr. Tolle speak, or had an opportunity to read his work, here are six of his important teachings about enlightenment and how they affect the inner workings of daily life.

#1: Live in the present moment.

Mr. Tolle urges individuals to live their lives in the present day, and not worry excessively about the things have come before, or might be waiting in the future. He believes that it is the human ego which acts as a distraction and causes people to fret about things have already occurred or that we cannot control in the future. Enlightenment is achieved by those who experience the present to the fullest.

#2: Believe in self-realization

One of the cornerstones of Tolle’s philosophy is that only when we understand ourselves will we enjoy true happiness. It is this understanding that helps us realize that we all have an important place in the world. We must all understand that as human beings we are extremely important, since it is our destiny to see that the universe continues to unfold.

#3: Take the Bible for what it is worth

Eckhart Tolle has become a controversial figure among Christians for his beliefs about the Bible. But Tolle is not dismissing the New Testament. Instead, he states that there are spiritual truths within its pages as well as things that have become distorted or misinterpreted over time. And when an individual is truly self aware, he or she will easily be able to separate the two – and therefore gain more true meaning and spirituality from the Book.

#4: Those who desire things are not yet enlightened

Tolle states clearly that wanting for things means that you are believing in the future more than in the present. In his opinion, the present holds everything we need to achieve happiness and enlightenment. He believes that individuals should never see the present as merely a “means to an end” – for in the moment is where to self-realization and fulfillment is going to occur.

#5: Be aware of the “pain-body”

Another of Tolle’s most significant teachings is that of the “pain-body”. Tolle believes that over the years we, as humans, have become conditioned to think and act a certain way. He sees these behaviors as “pain-body attacks” and illustrates how they cause us, and those around us, harm. By observing and understanding these attacks, we become more self-aware and therefore gain the power to stop them.

#6: Do not fight what is

Perhaps the most easily-relatable of all of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings is the idea that we causes ourselves pain when we fight against the things that are happening to us in our lives. This resistance against “what is” causes endless sadness, stress and other negative issues. Accepting “what is” takes every individual to a higher level, and gives us the strength to achieve great things.
Currently, Eckhart Tolle is one of the world’s best-selling authors and most sought-after speakers. HIs book The Power of Now has already been translated into over 30 different languages and sat for many weeks atop the famed New York Times best seller list. Tolle has also received a tremendous boost from Oprah Winfrey, who has had the man on her show and lists The Power of Now as one of her favorite books. Winfrey recently named Tolle’s latest book, A New Earth as a selection in her famed Oprah’s Book Club.