I disagree. Do not dismiss Tolle so quickly. At least read him before denigrating what he has to say. He's teaching what's called "mindfulness meditation" or "insight meditation" in Buddhism. It's the same thing as SELF REMEMBERING, which is a vital method for improving awareness. If I am incorrect, please show me where I'm wrong.
Below I have copied Tolle and then how Ouspensky defines "Self Remembering" and Mouravieff defines "Doubled Attention"--essential--primary practices for increasing awareness and self-knowledge, i.e., doing "the work." OSIT. I've also included a summarized definition of "Mindfulness" (for comparison read Thich Nhat Hanh, almost anything he has written, or "The Miracle of Mindfulness" for the Buddhist perspective, and Tolle also, "The Power of Now" or "New Earth").
Tolle says, "The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the possessing entity--the thinker. Knowing this enables you to observe the entity. The moment you start WATCHING THE THINKER (emphasis his), a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all things that truly matter--beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace--arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken. (Power of Now, 17) Start listening to the voice in your head as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thinking patterns, those old gramophone records that have been playing in your head for perhaps many years. This is what I mean by 'watching the thinker,' which is another way of saying: listen to the voice in your head, BE there as the witnessing presence. . . When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize, THERE is the voice and here I AM listening to it, watching it. This I AM realization, this sense of your own presence, is not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind. (Power of Now, 18)
Self remembering as defined by Ouspensky in ISOTM:
"I am speaking of the division of attention which is the characteristic feature of selfremembering. I represented it to myself in the following way: When I observe something, my attention is directed towards what I observe—a line with one arrowhead:
I ————————————————> the observed phenomenon.
When at the same time, I try to remember myself, my attention is directed both towards the object observed and towards myself. A second arrowhead appears on the line:
I <———————————————> the observed phenomenon.
Having defined this I saw that the problem consisted in directing attention on oneself without weakening or obliterating the attention directed on something else. Moreover this "something else" could as well be within me as outside me.
The very first attempts at such a division of attention showed me its possibility. At the same time I saw two things clearly.
In the first place I saw that self-remembering resulting from this method had nothing in common with "self-feeling," or "self-analysis." It was a new and very interesting state with a strangely familiar flavor.
And secondly I realized that moments of self-remembering do occur in life, although rarely. Only the deliberate production of these moments created the sensation of novelty. Actually I had been familiar with them from early childhood. They came either in new and unexpected surroundings, in a new place, among new people while traveling, for instance, when suddenly one looks about one and says: How strange! I and in this place; or in very emotional moments, in moments of danger, in moments when it is necessary to keep one's head, when one hears one's own voice and sees and observes oneself from the outside.
I saw quite clearly that my first recollections of life, in my own case very early ones, were moments of self-remembering. This last realization revealed much else to me. That is, I saw that I really only remember those moments of the past in which I remembered myself. Of the others I know only that they took place. I am not able wholly to revive them, to experience them again. But the moments when I had remembered myself were alive and were in no way different from the present. I was still afraid to come to conclusions. But I already saw that I stood upon the threshold of a very great discovery. I had always been astonished at the weakness and the insufficiency of our memory. So many things disappear. For some reason or other the chief absurdity of life for me consisted in this. Why experience so much in order to forget it after-'wards? Besides there was something degrading in this. A man feels something which seems to him very big, he thinks he will never forget it; one or two years pass by—and nothing remains of it. It now became clear to me why this was so and why it could not be otherwise. If our memory really keeps alive only moments of self-remembering, it is clear why our memory is so poor."
Mouravieff in Gnosis I, describes the same thing as Doubled Attention, or Self Remembering
Mouravieff starting at p. 230 of 297 (pdf numbering) or p. 207 (text numbering), as “doubled attention.”)
“This is the 4th Way practice of dividing attention. Normally, one is in a state of constantly shifting identification. Self-remembering can be used to break this automation.
In its basic form, the practice involves being aware of one's inner state, including body, emotions and thinking, while also paying attention to an external object or activity. Self-remembering can bring presence of consciousness into human activity which usually is mechanical and simply happens.
Self-remembering is a prerequisite of self-knowledge and work on the self. Self-remembering is not simply analysis of self based on past data. It is by definition an activity that takes place in the present and concerns the present. It is not for example 'recapitulation,' which concerns the past.
A simple exercise of self-remembering is becoming conscious of one's body, emotion and thought and then alternatingly look at objects, while holding all these present to one's attention. One notices that one very easily falls into identification, where attention is drawn to a single object from its divided state.
Self-remembering in the middle of emotional shocks is specially difficult but also very valuable to the Work. Repeated practice of this goes in the direction of forming a constant I which is less and less subject to being captured into identification with passing circumstance. This is essential for forming cohesive being, intent and eventually capacity to 'do' in the 4th Way meaning of the term.
Another aspect of the concept relates to man's physical and psychic metabolism. Man takes in three kinds of 'food:' physical food, air and impressions. These three 'substances,' also known in the Work as 'hydrogens' undergo change and refinement in the human being. This goes in the direction of more refined, less coarse, more vivifying substances, ones more infused with information and intelligence, if one can say so. This process usually happens only very partially and the human 'hydrogen factory' is leaky and inefficient. Self-remembering, specially when done in context of shocks, assists and energizes these processes, so that finer hydrogens can be produced in greater quantity. This may have the effect of connecting one to one's higher centers. In this sense, self-remembering goes beyond a means of intellectually knowing about the self and becomes a tool for transformation and unlocking qualitatively new possibilities.
Intense self-remembering can happen spontaneously in situations of great emotional shock or danger. One observes then an entirely different quality of perception and presence. At such moments, the organism is prompted to work in a different mode, producing a momentary flow of 'higher hydrogens,' which enable a different type of functioning. The Work seeks to make these states available in a predictable and systematic fashion.”
Here's a definition of "Mindfulness" from a Buddhist master:
“At this level, attention is confined to the workings of the mind, discriminating between various phenomena present on a moment-by-moment basis. It is at this point that ‘mind-ful-ness’ has fulfilled its duty most completely” (Payutto, 260). “It focuses the mind’s eye of attention on each passing impression that comes into consciousness, and it turns our gaze on the flow of thought . . . it can be compared to a gatekeeper because it guards over the various sense-doors through which impressions pass, checking everything that happens . . . Mindfulness is the overseer and inspector of the stream of consciousness and all thought and action . . . Mindfulness can be used as a tool for grasping or embracing any thoughts and bringing them before the mind for consideration and further action” (Payutto, 261). Mindfulness is the state of consciousness observing consciousness (itself), both internally and externally, simultaneously. “All you can do is observe it [mind], observe it observing itself” (Hanh, 44). The effort of utilizing and increasing awareness has the effect of energizing and strengthening the mental faculties, “At the moment of awareness we feel we are in control, even though the river is still there, still flowing. We feel ourselves at peace” (Hanh, 8). However, in the beginning of the practice, one often forgets to pay attention, and upon remembering, must resume the practice. As Hanh states, “When you think, ‘The sun of awareness has gone out in me,’ at that moment it re-lights itself, faster than the speed of light” (Hanh, 11-12). Is it any wonder that the Sanskrit word for mindfulness means, “remembering (recollection)?”