Then, one night, while he was lying awake being tortured by his endless stream of anxious and sad thoughts, he said, “I can’t stand myself anymore!” This led him to reason that there must be two selves—one that can’t stand the other. It was such a weird contradiction, it “blew his mind.” Who is this self that he can’t take anymore?
This question cleared his mind and he was able to go back to sleep, peacefully. The next morning, the world appeared bright and clean to him—sparkling like a diamond. The birdsong outside his window took on the dimensions of a brilliant diamond as well. All of the world was new and fresh and he felt deep gratitude for these first-time revelations. For he saw there was a Big Me (the source energy of the universe localized within his body) and the Little Me (a frightened animal, trying to ensure its survival in an uncaring world).
This began his period of life when he acknowledged his immortal, spiritual Self for the first time. It was an act of grace and was also because he was brought to his knees by despair. This is how it happens to some. Some are initiated by a guru, others get it through holy visions, some through divine communication, some through shamanic or psychedelic rituals. Enlightenment was bestowed on Eckart Tolle through grace. Grace can be likened to heavenly intervention but the ground needs to be prepared for us to let it in (usually our back is against the wall).
He was ready to receive the inspiration that brought on enlightenment. He was directly experiencing the eternal present moment. He dropped out of his academic career to sit on a park bench and contemplate his discovery about the unseen world. He was deeply happy for the first time. His family thought he was crazy. But he knew within his Soul that he had found a path. The path is always being in the Now and that is where he lives to this day.