Perhaps one of the most famous spiritual figures at the current time, Tolle spent time with a teacher by the name of Barry Long following his own spontaneous awakening experience, attending meetings in London in the 1980s. And Barry is of course the teacher whose teaching I followed.
Tolle describes his own awakening experience in his books and elsewhere as the point at which the depression he'd suffered with for so many years suddenly came to an end.
Following this, Tolle sought to understand what had happened to him and sought out a spiritual teacher. This was prior to Barry becoming well known and he was holding meetings for small groups of
In those days, Barry used to refer to the emotion as the Unhappy body and/or the Emotion body, later dropping the word 'body' referring to it simply as emotion from then on. (And this was the teaching I came to know and live.) Barry would describe the process as requiring that one hold onto the emotion consciously so as to dissolve it, 'Returning through the hell of oneself' as he'd say.
I found Barry in the late 80s early 90s, by which time Tolle might have left Barry's teaching, though some of the old timers in the teaching still remember Tolle from those early days as a quiet little man sitting in the corner, apparently.
And some years later, Tolle published the book 'The Power of Now' (1997) for which he was to became famous and in which he adapted the term for the latent emotion to his now familiar 'Pain body'. Though of course he was still describing moving consciously into it so as to become free of it, and as such it is still the same teaching (which is good actually, since it works!).
What is perhaps even less widely known is the following:
In an audio cassette around that time Barry described a German man from his teaching who had recently written a book which included a lot of the content from his own books. Though went on to say that at least it was getting the message out to the people, he supposed, so it was still serving.
And more recently, someone who translated several of Barry's books into other languages for the foundation and who said they know Barry's books 'almost by heart', shared their experience that "'The Power Of Now' is composed almost entirely from Barry's books 'Only Fear Dies' [published 1994] and 'Meditation - A Foundation Course' [published 1982]".
Of course, if anyone feels inclined they are welcome to check this out for themselves, since I am just relaying it as it's been given to me and have not made the comparison for myself.
Either way, the point for me is that Barry clearly made a major impression on Tolle and on his subsequent spiritual understanding, which is great of course. After all, Tolle had had a massive life changing experience and needed to understand it for himself, and also so as to be able to explain it to others and then write about it...
Here is an Australian newsclip in which: Tolle confirms his regard for Barry
And a clip from a meeting in which Tolle is asked about Barry, and he perhaps went a bit around the houses actually, almost reluctantly and eventually admitting that Barry, as well as other teachers had helped him:
The only issue for me is perhaps with the obvious lack of public acknowledgement for the teacher who clearly helped him, evidenced by the fact that the information on this page tends to come as a surprise to people following Tolle's teaching.