One of the most fascinating books that I have read and recommend to everyone around me is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This is one of those books that you will read again and again, while each time discovering something new within it. My original copy has been highlighted and marked in multiple pages because it had just that much of an impact on me. Once you read Eckhart and truly understand the message it is only the beginning of your own personal journey.
This book was first brought to my attention while watching Oprah (I am a huge fan of hers) she had Eckhart Tolle on her ‘Soul Series’ program discussing his book and while listening to them talk I became more intrigued, so I went out and bought the book and literally read it within two days. I was completely fascinated by this new concept of staying in the present moment. A concept that shouldn’t be so foreign to us as humans but somehow became increasingly impossible for me to do. Eckhart brilliantly separates the thinking mind (past and future) from ones consciousness (present moment). I always presumed that my mind and I are one but came to the realization that this is really not the case.
Have you ever gone through past memories (for no apparent reason) and obsessively thought of what you should have done, instead of what you did, or what you could have said, if only you could go back in time? Have you ever just stayed stuck in what you would prefer to do in the future, instead of what you are doing now? Well… I think it’s safe to say that we all do this! To what degree is really dependent on the person but I never thought that this was all because of the thought pattern of the mind that is constantly either in the past or thinking in the future.
When philosopher René Descartes made his most famous statement “I think therefore I am”, he believed that he had found the most fundamental truth about ones self but what he had done was to point out the most famous error in human existence today; to completely equate thinking with being. The dangers of identifying ones self completely with ones thinking and the running mind are the roots of many of our fears and anxieties.
All of us are compulsive thinkers to some degree and in the midst of the social media era we have become even further separated by the running mind that likes to: judge, compare and point out flaws. At last the mind does love its problems, doesn’t it?
This is one of the new ideas that I learned from The Power of Now from Eckhart. The book is in a ‘question and answer’ format and is really enlightening to read through. It is important for me to note that although this is categorized as a spiritual book, I believe it to be more of a self-discovery book. This is because Eckhart does not impose a message or an ideology upon his readers it is more of a way to self-actualize and I really like that about it. He also is cautious when it comes to using the word ‘god’ because he believes that the word has been misused so many times throughout history and religion that it has lost its meaning and power for many people and instead he uses the term: being. Being is consciousness of staying in the present moment and quieting the noisy mind and in this way we can become more connected to each other and achieve a higher presence. Eckhart suggests that god is not a separate entity so to speak, that is an external part of or an exclusive presence but rather one that we are all a part of. Although he does reference Buddha and Jesus, Eckhart stays cautiously away from citing religious text and purely focuses on understanding the mind. This isn’t a book about religion but rather a book about your own personal relationship with life and being.
One of the most difficult practices is to quiet the mind, when I first read about this I thought to myself, is that even possible? And then I realized yes it is… there are those moments, those precious moments, when you are with your loved ones or you have just woken up from a deep sleep, when there is not a single thought in your head and you just are… present and feeling without thinking. Eckhart starts from consciousness (the quiet stillness of your present self) to encourage you to tap into the Power of now!
I hope you all find your own understanding of this book to be valuable to your personal journey and life! Please feel free to share your thoughts with me once you read it.