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on August 25, 2003
Before you see my rating of two stars and vote that my review was unhelpful; let me explain. I enjoy spiritual teachings; I really do. I feel that it allows me to enrich my life and see things in a different light. Naturally, then, learning to enjoy the present moment would be something that I really have a desire to do. The implications of being able to put all your worries and fears away (or, should I say, bring them to the surface and then deal with them) would be tremendous. I guess I should also say that I am someone who has trouble accepting the present moment for what it is; I tend to worry too much about what the future is going to hold. That said, I honestly hoped that this book would provide me with a way of achieving that.
I realize that in any spiritual teaching, certain concepts are going to be repeated. This is necessary, especially since the concepts presented are probably going to seem new to most readers. However, I felt that the whole book was nothing but a repetition of this general idea: the mind is the root of all problems, because it has taken us over (meaning that we can't control it, but rather, it controls us). However, we can free ourselves from this by becoming totally present.
The author then elaborates on this statement using many different phrases, such as, "Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence" (pg. 70). He also uses the typically vague promises that tend to accompany books like this, such as, "...You can be at peace. There may be sadness and tears, but provided you have relinquished resistance, underneath the sadness you will feel a deep serenity, a stillness, a sacred presence" (pg. 148). To me, it seemed as if the author was simply repeating the same basic idea over and over again; which, again, is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it begins to become annoying when the book has as many pages as this does; and after reading all of them you feel as though you could have just read the title and received all the information from that.
As I said previously, the idea of this book was very promising. Even the techniques contained within the book, though inspiring, were never very well explained. After reading this book a couple times, I still don't really know how to get to that spot of inner peace. I don't know, either, how to feel the "...still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher" (pg. 46). I don't even think there was a technique telling you how to achieve that, actually. Sure, the author has included some meditations, but they're nothing new. The same old "Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within" (pg. 93) type meditations, which can be found almost anywhere else, even on web pages (for free, no less) are included in this book.
Overall, this book did not live up to it's hype. I found it to be long and rambling; the author took the title of the book and expanded it into 191 pages full of the same idea phrased with different words. He attempts to tackle some other subjects too, of course, such as relationships. However, he basically uses the same "power of NOW" approach to these as well; meaning that he suggested a relationship would evolve into true love when both partners had eliminated their respective egos and become completely immersed in the now. That's the solution for EVERY problem, it seems. So he's just using the same message for different problems, which seems to be more of a "pie in the sky" promise to me.
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on April 13, 2005
In all of my 62 years, I have read numerous works on the topic of spirituality. Mr. Tolle's book follows many classics of which I so enjoyed-works by Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Harvey, Matthew Fox, Marianne Williamson, Alan Watts, Krishnamurti, Cayce ..ad infinitum. And though I enjoyed much of Tolle's book when it first appeared five years ago, when I look at it now(couldn't help but comment here on the author's vain and frighteningly egotistical preface to the new paperback edition), I am really wondering just who this teacher is.

I had the misfortune of hearing him speak when I was traveling in England last year, and the pomposity of which he came off -really appalled me. I never saw such an egotist in all my life. (in a so-called spiritual teacher-this is a bit off-putting) Tolle resonated with such vanity-that the spiritual "truths" he was attempting to make rang hollow. To me, those who remain modest and sincere and generous toward others are the real teachers. (Deepak Chopra, to me, is always so gracious and humble when he speaks; I also like Carolyn Myss and Andrew Weil-actually-- many spiritual communicators who come from a medical background-seem to walk their talk).

I can only say to those readers out there: "yes this is a good book-but pay attention to what may lie beneath the surface ". To me, the real spiritual teachers are always humble and helpful toward others. Tolle -in person- is very different from what he appears in his DVDs and books-I have heard he is cut-throat and very competitive when it comes to others' works (unfortunately, a good source of mine knows he has hurt others.) Bottom line? Everything must serve him. And that always says it all. Just be aware and go within and listen to your own inner communication to the divine. Forget this guy.

As one luminous Galilean soul once said: "By their deeds you shall know them".
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on January 26, 2006
My subversive suggestion is this: Eckhart Tolle did not have an enlightenment experience at all, save for the kind of enlightenment that comes from a thorough reading of spiritual literature. I have this doubt because true enlightenment to me seems mutually exclusive of the kind of condescending tone Tolle uses through-out his book. I think we all expect a more compassionate voice from spiritual leaders, a caring style of communication which empathizes with the frailty of the human condition. But I could be wrong! Perhaps haughtiness is in vogue for today's gurus.

Along that same line, Tolle continually comes across as a big know-it-all. He loves to be Tolle the Physicist, with his multiple references to the "high energy frequency of presence." Then there's Tolle the Geologist: "Even a stone has rudimentary consciousness; otherwise it would not be, and its atoms & molecules would disperse." And we have Tolle the Biologist: "The accumulation of time as the psychological burden of past and future greatly impairs the cell's capacity for self-renewal." If an appendix were included with associated references to scientific research, his statements might have some credibility. But as it is, they don't, and for any reader with a modicum of critical thinking skills, these statements, along with many others, are met with puzzlement or just immediate dismissal.

A third observation from reading this book is that the author likes to make these grand, sweeping, unrealistically pessimistic statements about society which again are met with puzzlement. For example, "Because we live in such a mind-dominated culture, most modern art, architecture, music, and literature are devoid of beauty, of inner essence, with very few exceptions. ...No civilization has ever produced so much ugliness." (p.81) Is that really so? And: "...we live in a culture that is almost totally ignorant of death, as it is almost totally ignorant of anything that truly matters." (p.118) I doubt this is the case for the 12 million health-care workers in the U.S. who give their hearts out to the sick & dying every day, not to mention the countless citizens who are caring for their ageing & dying parents.

I think it's with remarks like these where Tolle's lack of compassion (due in part to his haughtiness and distorted world views) comes across as hurtful or offensive to everyday people who by their actions exhibit deep thoughtfulness about things which truly matter.
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on April 26, 2013
Written for the naive young dimwits that can't wait for the fruits of their labor to produce a nest egg don't regret what you did in the past and don't worry about the future Live NOW it is the only time that really exists. That pretty well sums up what this book is about and it will appeal to a lot of (Stupid) people who think they are intellectuals.
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on October 22, 2001
This book is about packaging a poorly abridged version of a truly great spiritual guide. I am not a reader of "spiritual" guides but found the original "Power of Now" to be a deep, rich, and incredibly clear book of a Truth about life that nothing in me can refute. It has become a truly important experience for me - life changing. I have purchased many copies for friends and they in turn have done the same.
This book "Practicing the Power of Now" is a watered down version of the original and in my reading of it, much less powerful. I have read the original twice and it remains strong for me, but this book is very, very abridged, strangely formatted, and does not feel to contain the essence of the original. The words that are in it are EXACTLY the same as those in the original and although I am sure there are exceptions, I confirmed this by choosing four pages at random and then found the text in the original. Much is left out and the formatting is distracting.
Tolle and the publishers can be very, very proud of the original, but frankly, they should be deeply ashamed of this book. Although there is a need for a book that is to be used as a tool for practice by readers of the first, this book is most certainly not it.
I will be seeking a refund and I hope that others do as well.
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on January 24, 2002
I picked up "The Power of Now" in the "New Age" section of the bookstore. I was determined to make the reading about "spirituality" a short episode in my life... and I was probably right, as far as the reading goes, that is.
I got the book and continued reading at home, and, as I often do with study guides and textbooks, started underlining what seemed most important. Soon it became harder to separate the important from the unimportant, because it all seemed important! Then, I stopped, put down the pencil and said: "Wow!"
Where did this book come from? Why aren't we hearing about it on CNN? Reading it felt strange at first, as it demanded my total attention: either I was drawn deep into it, or not at all. Do you like to eat while reading? Well, this book will make you feel ridiculous if you try to eat and read at the same time!
The book showed me that I have a pretty thick mold of the mind to break through, and it took me very far on the first day, even farther after that. The message went beyond what I would probably recognize on my own. After all, I was (and still am but to a lesser degree) one of those constant thinkers who mistakenly believe that it's good to think all the time but almost never stop to see, hear and feel the essence of being. Although the message in the book seems familiar and simple, in the end it provided exhaustive answers to the few questions that I had and also those that I wouldn't have thought of before. Amazingly, it also managed not to raise new ones. What it did was grab me by lapels and put me into the present moment. Over and over again, it told me what it means, how to enter it, offered a few different methods, and suggested that with practice many opportunities exist to enter it.
Another point is that once I finished the book, its message lingered (may I say "in my mind" here?). The author's obvious and at the same time subtly effective, repetitive approach somehow kept reassuring me that I was absorbing and remembering the material. The text never strayed far from the core of the message, which seemed to stick with vivid clarity.
I soon began to practice shifting myself into this state of intense concentration, and it feels strange and alluring at the same time, this detachment from the mind. At first, I could only do it while being completely relaxed, just before falling asleep. Later, it became easier to do along with other daily activities. Don't worry; you will not get hit by a truck while crossing the street and trying to focus into the Now! Also, the people at work will not laugh at you because you look weird trying to focus, but they may notice a difference in you: that you are relaxed, focused and less confrontational (because you are surrendered to the present moment). The most immediate effect for me was that focusing into the present moment helped me communicate better. I began to listen more intensely, meaningfully and less judgmentally than before.
However, I feel that this is only the tip of an iceberg. Trying to be in the Now has inspired me more than any miracle. At the same time, it's clear that learning to live in the Now is a skill, and like any skill it can be enhanced with practice. The more you work at it, the better and more natural you get doing it.
In short, I don't need to search for the truth anymore. I got lucky on the first try, by becoming a little curious with the book that seemed unassuming and light in physical weight. Thank you, Eckhart. NOW, I can be at peace, knowing how much I can look forward to in this life, and beyond.
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on January 15, 2011
This book takes the art of navel-gazing to incredible heights. But I have to admit that Tolle's nonsense is coherent and consistent, a rarity among writers of drivel. Even the Bible lacks coherency and consistency, so Tolle's achievement is notable. I don't want to demean those who find Tolle's ideas helpful. You have to go with what works for you, I guess. But shouldn't we actually try to live in the real world?

I wonder what it would be like to hold a conversation with Tolle. I'm not sure there's even a basis for discussion. I saw a Star Trek episode that visited the planet Tolle is from, or one just like it. Everyone on that planet was "connected" to a "higher reality", each with their own "God-essence". And they constantly shared platitudes with each other. Here's a wonderful Tolle gem: "Basically all emotions are modifications of one primordial, undifferentiated emotion that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form." WOW!! That's great! There's no meaning in it, but it sounds wonderful!

I suppose I should be more specific in my criticism, just to prove I actually read the book. Okay. Tolle says "Be present as the watcher of your mind - blah, blah, blah.." This is a major theme with Tolle. Again and again, he refers to this "animating presence within you" as being something distinct from the thinking you. It's the real you. This internal observer of consciousness, this idea of the reality underneath consciousness, is commonly referred to as a homunculus. A little "me" in my mind that is the real me. Unfortunately, the "Homunculus argument" has been completely debunked as logically fallacious. It leads to an infinite regression: for Tolle to be right, someone or something has to be watching the watcher, otherwise how would you know you were in contact with the real you?

This is just one of many problems I have with the book. Read it and enjoy if you're of a mind. But please, never forget that you live in the real world.
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on December 29, 2013
Well, there are some things in this book that I can certainly agree with such as the idea that nothing in the world can make you happy. But ultimately, this book is more geared towards becoming more aware in your everyday life rather than awakening from what you think of as your life. In other words, the purpose is to be able to better function and have a better experience within the illusion of time and space rather than awakening from the illusion altogether, and returning to the Home that you never really left which many refer to as God, Heaven, and/or Oneness.

This book is great at describing the problems of having negative emotions and how they can rule our minds. But the one big problem with The Power of Now is that it doesn't really address the root cause of why we have negative emotions in the first place. Furthermore, the author doesn't necessarily encourage the reader to really look at those negative emotions and examine why you have them. As the spiritual text, A Course In Miracles, that the author references several times, teaches, "No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected." On top of that, this book doesn't give you a real solution that'll free you from those negative emotions in a permanent way. There's only a temporary solution offered here because the real problem is not addressed.

What is that root cause and real problem I speak of? I'll tell you: it's an unconscious guilt for (seemingly) leaving Home aka God/Heaven. Deep down we believe we sinned against God and Heaven and we are secretly afraid of God as of a result; we wouldn't appear to be here in bodies otherwise. In fact, we "hide out" from God in these bodies and individual identities we appear to occupy here in time and space. As A Course in Miracles puts it, "Of all the many causes you perceived as bringing pain and suffering to you, your guilt was not among them."

Also, I would add that The Power of Now has some of the same flaws that I mentioned in my review that I did earlier this year of Marianne Williamson's book, Return to Love. You can find that review here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2D68S7UW1DPXP/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B000VYX944&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=#wasThisHelpful

One of those flaws I speak of is that although forgiveness is mentioned, it doesn't really go into detail as to HOW true forgiveness is applied and accomplished. Like Williamson's book, the teaching presented is just too limited, and doesn't go deep enough. In addition, there's nothing really to discourage the vanity of your seeming individual existence. If there was, I assure you that the Eckhart Tolles and Marianne Williamsons of the world wouldn't be as popular as they are. In fact, if they were teaching what A Course in Miracles is REALLY talking about, their respective fan bases would dwindle quite considerably because the truth of the matter is that the Truth of what we really are and where we really, and how we go about returning to that awareness, is just too threatening to the ego. And as a percentage of the world's population, very few are ready for that type of teaching.

Of course it's theoretically possible to attain enlightenment by following any teaching; it's just a matter of how it's interpreted and thus applied. But by taking these New Age type of teachings at face value, your mind will remain conflicted because the teaching, just like Christianity, is conflicted, even if you're not consciously aware of it.

One example of what I am talking about, the author states, "You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are." Well, A Course in Miracles teaches that that you are NOT here and that the universe is meaningless and thus has no purpose and has nothing to do with divinity; the Course teaches that it's nothing but an hallucination. Not to mention the aforementioned statement implies an individual existence as your reality. Of course, it's possible the statement could just be a metaphor for something greater than what is being stated, but the author does not explain that if that is indeed the case.

Earlier on, the author states, "What you perceive eternally as space and time are ultimately illusory but they contain a core of truth. They are the two essential attributes of God infinity and eternity, perceived as if they had an external existence outside you." Well space and time can't be both "ultimately illusory" and "contain a core of truth." That's the equivalent of Christianity suggesting that God is both perfect Love and vengeful - you can't have it both ways. A Course in Miracles states, "The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as himself." And, "It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time."

Another thing about this book that doesn't work for me personally is the lack of humor. Contrary to popular belief, spirituality doesn't have to be all heavy and serious. You won't really find much in here to laugh about, and I consider myself to be quite easily amused. Thinking back to my days of studying New Age/Self-help material, I can still to this day appreciate the humor Dr Wayne Dyer inserted into his writing and audio recordings even if his spiritual message doesn't work for me anymore.

Now, I certainly don't say any of this to pass judgment on the author or on the lovers of this book. The Power of Now has obviously been helpful to many, many people along their respective spiritual journeys. The message in the book certainly has value, I'm not here to knock that. If this type of New Age teaching is working for you than you should probably stick to that; it's not everyone's time to know the truth. I'm just putting this out there for those looking to go deeper, for those feeling restless in their spirituality despite all their readings in the "spiritual buffet line" and still feeling like you have unanswered questions and that something is missing, as I once did back in the day.

The reason I read this book and am doing this review is because that many people seem to think that Tolle is teaching the same thing as Jesus in A Course in Miracles, but I'm here to say that the two shouldn't be confused as the same teaching. What Tolle is teaching here is not a "be all and end all" sort of thing whereas the thought system of A Course in Miracles, when correctly interpreted and more importantly correctly applied, is. And I know from my own personal experience that one eventually outgrows this sort of popular New Age type of teaching such as being presented in The Power of Now. This sort of teaching was certainly a necessary stepping stone on my spiritual path that's for sure, but I came to a point where it no longer served me.

I would suggest to anyone looking to go beyond the confines of New Age/Self-help thought to check out the books of Gary Renard. And then if you feel inspired to after that, explore the aforementioned spiritual text A Course in Miracles, which is the Voice of Jesus speaking as an artist correcting the Bible. Like Gary says in his first book, The Disappearance of the Universe: Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness, A Course in Miracles isn't "fast food spirituality." It's not a quick fix, but at the same time the Course says that by utilizing the means, the "means" being true forgiveness which takes care of the negative emotions at the level of cause instead of the level of effect, it'll save you "thousands of years." Gary's books will save you time in understanding the Course, but you still got to do the work, which takes the illusion of time to be permanently free of your negative emotions.

With the aid of Gary's books, you`ll get a correct interpretation of A Course in Miracles, a real answer and practical solution to life, rather than a watered down, limited, semi-dualistic interpretation of it which you'll find in many New Age/Self-help books, The Power of Now being one of them, that reference the Course. As it's put in Gary Reanrd's latest book, Love Has Forgotten No One: The Answer to Life, "Any attempt to remain in the present moment will fail unless certain work is done by the student. That's because there is something in the mind that prevents you from STAYING in the present moment. Most spiritualities don't even know about it, much less teach you how to have it healed. Also, the most popular teachers of A Course in Miracles don't know about it or teach you how to have it healed, because they haven't really learned the Course." And as A Course in Miracles puts it about being in the present moment, "Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time."

The present moment that the author speaks of in The Power of Now is still within the confines of the illusion of time and space. And as A Course in Miracles teaches, "You do not belong in time. Your place is only in eternity, where God Himself placed you forever." And, "The world has never been at all. Eternity remains a constant state." Gary's books and A Course in Miracles will show you the way out of time and awaken to eternity. Those are the books I recommend for anyone looking to attain true enlightenment.

Giddy up!

~ Mike Lemieux, author of Dude, Where's My Jesus Fish?: A Compilation Highlighting the Blunt and Uncompromising Teachings of Arten and Pursah on A Course in Miracles
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on April 14, 2004
Since the content of Tolle's books has been covered well elsewhere, I'd like to address the person new to Tolle and wondering where to begin.
In my personal experience, if I could only afford to purchase one book, I'd start with PRACTICING THE POWER OF NOW. I feel that it essentially restates the material found in the original POWER OF NOW but in a format I found easier to digest. I don't see much point in owning both books (which I currently do.)
If you connect with PRACTICING and want more, then I'd recommend the audio book/retreat Realizing the Power of Now: An In-Depth Retreat With Eckhart Tolle. (It's less than $10 if you purchase the audio file from Audible.) I'm only half way through listening yet I constantly find myself thinking "Ah...now I understand what he meant." It truly is an excellent supplement.
There is one more Tolle book here, STILLNESS SPEAKS. I borrowed this from the library. It's basically just out-takes from the other books, sort of a quotable quotes book that restates things in a nutshell. It would make a nice gift to a Tolle fan, but again, doesn't offer anything more than the other books. I suppose my message is: everything you need to know is in the original POWER OF NOW, stated perhaps more clearly in PRACTICING and excerpted in STILLNESS but supported well in audio format by the retreat CD.
I find Tolle's basic message very powerful, enlightening and simple. As he himself constantly repeats, he's not saying anything new...be here now. But he explains it in a way which finally connects the dots for me. Unfortunately, this simple message seems to be getting constantly repackaged and I hope it doesn't turn into a "Chicken Soup for the Enlightened Soul" series. (I should probably go make sure that's not the title of an actual book! <g>)
Curator, AfroAmericanHeritage dot com
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on April 23, 2009
This is probably the most disappointing read I have had in years. I read a lot of books and usually research them before hand. Amazon books reader reviews are usually a good source. But this book is an exception.

The Power of Now offers nothing new. Anyone who has done even a minor amount of research on spirtuality and wellness knows the values of living in the moment, not dwelling on the past or the future. Focusing and being totally aware of what is going on all around you, enjoying nature, etc, etc, its all been written about before. What people are really looking for is how to get there, how do you do it? This book instead focuses almost exclusively on what it is like. The author repeatedly states the importance of letting go of your ego and yet also repeatedly mentions how very few are enlightened (LIKE HIM!).

Usually when reading books I get into a zone where I am focusing only on what I am doing, namely reading. Ironically, this book was written so poorly, that my mind was continually wandering while reading it. His writing style is just plain awful. He is boring, repetitive and suprisingly shallow. I am totally baffled at the user ratings for this book.
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