While reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, I encountered his explanation of alienation. He discusses a feeling described by some of the great twentieth-century writers such as Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce.
"Alienation means you don't feel at ease in any situation, any place, or with any person, not even with yourself. You are always trying to get "home" but never feel at home."
Tolle calls this the "universal dilemma of human existence. This is a condition described by Christians as "homesickness for heaven." The idea is that since we are heavenly creatures, we don't and shouldn't ever feel completely comfortable here on a fallen earth. The book of Hebrews mentions this condition in the famous "faith" chapter:
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a acountry. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Tolle claims to have an answer to this dilemma of human existence. His book details how a seeker can awaken to the inner soul and disassociate from the mind, or the ego. I appreciated many things about Tolle's rather new age thinking, and I wonder if it can be accomodated within Christian thought. Have you ever felt this "longing for home," this feeling of being a stranger upon the earth? Do you think scriptural teaching supports Tolle's proposition that humans can overcome their natural man and become integrated beings by getting in touch with the true self? Is this something we can accomplish while here on the earth, or will we always be a little homesick for our heavenly abode?