Book Review – The Power of Now – Best Books for Happiness.
Eckhart Tolle teaches you how to live in the Now, become aware of your chattering mind, and how to deal with painful emotions.
He also gets you to look and discover the person you really are and not the person who you think you are based on beliefs, ideas and pre-conditioning.
ECKHART ON FINDING HIMSELF:
Eckhart describes how until he was thirty years old how he lived in a state of almost continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression.
One night not long after his twenty-ninth birthday he awoke up in the early hours with a feeling of dread.
This wasn’t a new feeling to him as it had happened many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been.
Everything was dark, quiet and he could just make out the outlines of the furniture in his room.
Everything felt so utterly meaningless, alien, so hostile that it created in him a great loathing of the world. But for him the most loathsome thing was his own existence.
The feelings for a longing of death and the nonexistence was strong in him, more so than the desire to live.
He thought to himself “I cannot live with myself any longer.” This thought kept repeating itself in his mind.
Then suddenly he became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or am I two”? If I cannot live with myself there must be two of me: the “I” and the “self” that “I cannot live with.” “Maybe”, he thought, “only one of them is real”?
He was so stunned by this strange realization that his mind stopped. He was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts.
Then he felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated.
He was gripped by fear and his body began to shake. He then heard the words “resist nothing.” As if spoken inside his chest. He could feel himself being sucked into a void, but if felt as if this void was inside himself rather than outside.
Suddenly he felt no more fear, and let himself fall into this void.
He had no recollection what happened after that.
Everything around him seemed fresh and pristine, as if it had only just come into existence.
That day he walked around the city in utter amazement at the miracle of life on earth.
For the next five months, he lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became his natural state.
He could still function in the world, although he realized that nothing he ever did could possibly add anything to what he already had.
THE PRISON OF OUR THOUGHTS!
In the Now he acknowledges that at a certain point we all realize the prison we found ourselves trapped in because of our past full, of regrets and bad choices.
We start thinking of the situation, which shifts into an anxious moment when we are thinking about a future we would like to control.
All we want is an improved life, a happier self, enlightenment but not knowing where to start.
In general we all live in the past and future.
Sometimes we are reminiscing or regretting, but then our mood shifts to a plan or the worries we have to face.
Meanwhile, something else happens: we completely neglect the one perfect moment to live which is the present, which is;
The Awareness of Now.
Feeling is experienced Now, in the present.
You may think that of something that happened in the past, but you have never stopped to think that you’re actually reliving it in a single present moment now.
He gets you to look at it in this way: the past is a precious collection of moments that were lived in a long gone present: the future is a valuable collection of present moments yet to arrive.
Get it? Are you realizing that everything circles around a single state of mind that is the present? That’s the power to nurture.
FEEL THE PAIN AND LEARN FROM IT!
Eckhart Tolle say’s people’s main concern about living in the present is the idea that if you don’t think about the past or future what happens if some crisis arises and you have all these emotions to handle?
Surely if you are expecting such an event and you set yourself up to expect them are you not better prepared?
The real pain is nothing more than a self created inner resistance to external things that you are not in charge of.
It is something that needs to be accepted and acted upon accordingly.
What the present brings to you in life you need to experience it, in all its glory.
None of us are powerful enough to change the course of all painful future events in our lives.
Work with the pain, become its ally, not against it. It is not a weakness to feel the pain: it is an awareness of yourself.
Experience the feeling and keep on living in the present as it is.
Many people let the pain take over them, to the point where it becomes their identity.
Many of us know someone who talks of nothing but their woes, illnesses, aches and pains, and of how awful their lives are because of it.
You might think the whole world is causing you pain in some way, but in fact, the only pain inflicted upon you is caused by yourself.
Eckhart Tolle describes how people seem to sabotage themselves, because if nobody wants to be miserable, why are so many people unhappy?
Who or what is to blame?
He talks of the real culprit being the ego, that part of your mind that takes over your thoughts and behavior without you noticing.
The ego leads you into disputes and conflicts and therefore suffering taking away all your control.
The only way to overcome your ego is separating yourself from your mind and focus on your body.
Your mind is responsible for your pain, continuously taking you to your future, or memories of your past. This is where your mind is over powered by your ego.
A non-present person, ruled by their ego, is identified through how they react to every problem that comes their way by insulting others, starting disputes on trivial issues, disrupting the peace and continually referring to past incidents.
He says it’s your mind, that inner voice that is your tormentor.
He suggests not to ignore that voice, but listen to the repetitive patterns playing and become the witness by listening not judging or trying to change those those thoughts without buying into them.
The answer – is to become the Witness of these thoughts without attaching any emotion or feeling to them as if they belong to someone else.
The book is centered around a philosophy that puts an emphasis on living in the present moment as a way to avoid most of the experienced pain so far.
Because with pain, we have all at some points in our lives developed self destructive ways and trapped ourselves in cycles of suffering, stopping ourselves from achieving happiness.
The reality is – your life is already complete whole and perfect, a sum of all your circumstances and your experiences.
There is nothing to loose and everything to gain.
The Power of Now has helped millions of people improve their lives and their relationships with others, and crucially, by increasing a sense of self-esteem that goes beyond anything you have experienced so far.
Eckhart is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition, but excludes none. At the core of his teachings lies the transformation of individual and collective human consciousness – a global awakening.
PROS AND CONS.
This book gives you the tools to control your mind rather than being controlled by it.
If you are seeking enlightenment and a feeling of wholeness this book gives you a way to approach it and the steps to achieve it.
Don’t be put off by the word ‘God’. It’s used in the context of the universe and love.
Well-written and easy to follow. A simple guide to living a spiritually enriched life.
A great book to refer to if having a bad day.
When you ‘get’ this book, you really ‘get’ it.
A book recommended by Oprah Winfrey.
The concept of your thinking at the route cause of your suffering, is not about trying to control your thinking but instead of how to be the witness and observer of your thoughts without effort and control.
Can come across as tedious and repetitive in parts.
Can be seen as repackaged Eastern/Buddhist psychology.
If you see yourself as rational and more of a logical thinker, you may find this a concept hard to get your head around.
Not for those scientifically minded.
To “get” this book, some passages may need to be re-read!
Some people might not like the idea of separating themselves from they’re thinking – and is there really a need, because they quite enjoy thinking?
Eckhart Tolles statement earlier in the book that “the mind always wants to categorize and compare, this book will work better for you if you do not attempt to compare it’s terminology to other teachings; otherwise you will become confused” – could be seen as egocentric and arrogant.