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The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment Paperback – August 19, 2004
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Tolle packs a lot of information and inspirational ideas into The Power of Now. (Topics include the source of Chi, enlightened relationships, creative use of the mind, impermanence, and the cycle of life.) Thankfully, he's added markers that symbolize "break time." This is when readers should close the book and mull over what they just read. As a result, The Power of Now reads like the highly acclaimed A Course in Miracles--a spiritual guidebook that has the potential to inspire just as many study groups and change just as many lives for the better. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Don't read this book in order to feed your mind, stroke your ego or validate your beliefs. Read it in order to learn to free yourself from pain and delusion. It is obvious when reading certain reviews that some people are looking to add mind stuff to their inventory and then to demonstrate what a fine mind they have with an erudite and academic rebuff. They will have to remain content with a mind dominated life, always looking for something outside themselves to give validation and meaning. At some point, however, if they are lucky they may tire of that and take the opportunity to practice living in the now. It takes courage to jump into the unknown and discover the freedom and joy in living life moment to moment.
Perhaps you are ripe for this book like I was. Even so it was not always easy to let go of cherished beliefs and practices, but ultimately it is the only thing you can do if you really want freedom. Tolle shows how conditioned we have become in a gentle and easy manner, leading you by the hand all the way to the door of freedom. But it is up to each one of us to open that door. At first you may spend only moments of clock time in the sweetness of the now. If you keep at it you will become more skillful in accessing the now, and you will find yourself dwelling there for extended periods of clock time. And then upon reflection you will realize the peace that is always available - that we ARE peace.
So, are you willing to see what life will be like without a mind and ego to steer your every move, as you have been so conditioned to do all your life? (and if you are, don't worry, you will always have access to the mind and ego). Are you willing to let go of everything and to simply BE and let life unfold naturally? (it will anyway, but not resisting it reveals the peace that underlies all phenomena). If you are you will not find a better guide than Eckhart Tolle.
My problems with the book do not stem from the lessons so much as with how they are presented. First of all, Tolle presents the material as if he has pulled out all of these amazing tools for enlightenment out of a hat, like some kind of magician's rabbit. In my opinion, that is just a little dishonest. Instead of just suggesting "watching the watcher" so offhandedly as if he had just made it up on the spot, it would have been nice for him to acknowledge the use of such a method existing in India for thousands of years. Or when he teaches the method of bringing attention to the "inner body," as he calls it, he could have at least brought up the mozhao and shikantaza methods of meditation in China and Japan respectively which do just exactly that.
Also, Tolle has this really terrible habit of making simple mindfulness much more mystical than it actually is. It's a little misleading. And he makes the mind sound Evil with a capital "E." He should have emphasized more strongly that it is not our thoughts and emotions, but our relationship to them that is the problem. There is no "pain body," only bad habits learned over a lifetime. Why the need to make is so mysterious and magical? Why the need to disassociate our learned behavior and neuroses and make them into some parasite inside you with an agenda of its own? Much better to teach that thoughts are simply thoughts. You can choose to let them go, or you can think of them as some nasty monster inside you. What sounds the most healthy to you?
Tolle clearly wrote this for an audience that has never studied Hinduism and Buddhism, and that's fine. Everyone needs an introduction. I just wish that he had come clean that that was what he had learned, what he decided to teach, and not mislead his readers into believing that he came out of some vacuum in space, fully formed and fully enlightened.
Read the book if you like. It will probably give you some clarity. But consider supplementing it with Buddhist and Hindu books that aren't watered down.
I would recommend:
A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield,
The Method of No-Method by Sheng Yen,
Mindfulness In Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana,
Wake Up Now by Stephen Bodian,
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn,
and Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner.
In my opinion, these books are the real deal. Happy searching, brothers and sisters.
Steven A Martin-Nunez
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did a good job of making a complex idea easier to understand.