Eckhart Tolle was born in 1948 in Germany as Ulrich Tolle. He also spent time living in Spain and went on to study at Cambridge university and the University of London in the United Kingdom.
It has been reported that the German born author changed his name from Ulrich to Eckhart because of the German philosopher Meister Eckhart.
Eckhart Tolle's life changed when he was 29 years of age. The author had a spiritual awakening after a long struggle with unhappiness. Tolle dedicated his life to a more spiritual path and set about learning from and experiencing different philosophies and beliefs from around the world.
Eckhart Tolle describes his spiritual awakening in the following paragraph; "For most people, spiritual awakening is a gradual process. Rarely does it happen all at once. When it does, though, it is usually brought about by intense suffering. That was certainly true in my case. For years my life alternated between depression and acute anxiety. One night I woke up in a state of dread and intense fear, more intense than I had ever experienced before. Life seemed meaningless, barren, hostile. It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought came into my mind, "I cannot live with myself any longer." The thought kept repeating itself several times. Suddenly, I stepped back from the thought, and looked at it, as it were, and I became aware of the strangeness of that thought: "If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me – the I and the self that I cannot live with." And the question arose, "Who is the ‘I’ and who is the self that I cannot live with?" There was no answer to that question, and all thinking stopped. For a moment, there was complete inner silence. Suddenly I felt myself drawn into a whirlpool or a vortex of energy. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words, "Resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. Suddenly, all fear disappeared, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that."
The spiritual author and teacher currently lives in Canada and continues to spread his message of spirituality through seminars, books, audio material, and his official website.