Good and Bad

At some point in their lives, most people become aware that there is not only birth, growth, success, good health, pleasure, and winning, but also loss, failure, sickness, old age, decay, pain, and death. Conventionally these are labeled “good” and “bad,” order and disorder. The “meaning” of people’s lives is usually associated with what they term the “good,” but the good is continually threatened by collapse, breakdown, disorder; threatened by meaninglessness and the “bad,” when explanations fail and life ceases to make sense. Sooner or later, disorder will irrupt into everyone’s life no matter how many insurance policies he or she has. It may come in the form of loss or accident, sickness, disability, old age, death. However, the irruption of disorder into a person’s life, and the resultant collapse of a mentally defined meaning, can become the opening into a higher order.

“The wisdom of this world is folly with God,” says the Bible. What is the wisdom of this world? The movement of thought, and meaning that is defined exclusively by thought. Thinking isolates a situation or event and calls it good or bad, as if it had a separate existence. Through excessive reliance on thinking, reality becomes fragmented. This fragmentation is an illusion, but it seems very real while you are trapped in it. And yet the universe is an indivisible whole in which all things are interconnected, in which nothing exists in isolation.

The deeper interconnectedness of all things and events implies that the mental labels of “good” and “bad” are ultimately illusory. They always imply a limited perspective and so are true only relatively and temporarily. This is illustrated in the story of a wise man who won an expensive car in a lottery. His family and friends were very happy for him and came to celebrate. “Isn’t it great!” they said. “You are so lucky.” The man smiled and said, “Maybe.” For a few weeks he enjoyed driving the car. Then one day a drunken driver crashed into his new car at an intersection and he ended up in the hospital, with multiple injuries. His family and friends came to see him and said, “That was really unfortunate.” Again the man smiled and said, “Maybe.” While he was still in the hospital, one night there was a landslide and his house fell into the sea. Again his friends came the next day and said, “Weren’t you lucky to have been here in hospital.” Again he said, “Maybe.”

The wise man’s “maybe” signifies a refusal to judge anything that happens. Instead of judging what is, he accepts it and so enters into conscious alignment with the higher order. He knows that often it is impossible for the mind to understand what place or purpose a seemingly random event has in the tapestry of the whole. But there are no random events, nor are there events or things that exist by and for themselves, in isolation. The atoms that make up your body were once forged inside stars, and the causes of even the smallest event are virtually infinite and connected with the whole in incomprehensible ways. If you wanted to trace back the cause of any event, you would have to go back all the way to the beginning of creation. The cosmos is not chaotic.

The very word cosmos means order. But this is not an order the human mind can ever comprehend, although it can sometimes glimpse it.

Excerpted from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, pages 195-197


Atrest 13th March 2015 11:40 am

Good for you, Eckhart, I am so glad this works for you but I am sick of all this #@$%#$%, that is thrown at me. I am tired of the limits that you try to impose on me. One minute I am limitless then the next minute I have tons of limits, which is it. I get to be joyful when I am pampered and loved, and not just say Maybe, and I get to dislike, yes I am writing it, when things are not comfortable or safe for me, BAD.

Peter fox 13th March 2015 12:04 pm

Thank you Eckhart- I find this helps a lot as I'm aware that detachment
and trust are vital ingredients of this transition.

hiemstra 14th March 2015 6:31 am

Atrest..or should I say at Unrest. I sometimes wonder with all due respect why you continue to read this material if #@$%#$# is all you seem to gather from it.Wait,I do know.The divine in you with the universe's nudging directs you to do so.I too have gone through many struggles in my life but I have done the work,the hard work,that my soul was directing me to do.I am now truly "Atrest".Your task on earth is to free yourself from fear and negativity to gain more compassion and love. Your mind is fighting you constantly. I can hear it in your words. You are giving in and giving up. Your soul on the other hand is waiting patiently for you,to comfort and support you always. "Only positive thinking that acknowledges the value and meaning of negative experiences is aligned with the divine force that creates the universe." Now get on with it, find the value in your struggles. Learn from then and I promise you will truly be "Atrest".
With love and compassion. A very peaceful Hiemstra.

debs go lightly 14th March 2015 10:46 pm

Hi Eckhart, thank you for the reminder which helped me to find peace, I really appreciate your words.

Hi Nikos, your 'stairway' link means a great deal to myself and my husband.
The stairway image is like the one our friend and spiritual mentor experienced when she passed
and it felt like her love coming back to warm us as we go through a bumpy patch. Thank you for your lovely timing.

Much love and light to you both,



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Author Information

Eckhart Tolle

Spiritual Teacher and author was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of twenty-nine a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.

Books from Eckhart Tolle

Oneness With All Life Cover image
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A New Earth Cover image
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The Power of Now Cover image
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