In our book review this month we look at The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This is an incredible book, simple, practical but could be life-changing if the concepts are applied. This book can help everyone to develop a healthy relationship with oneself and through that, with others.
The Power of Now was first published in 1997 and is still in print. This book shares how everyone and anyone can access the Now, the present moment. Tolle is seen by many people as a spiritual teacher. Although sometimes he uses words from different religions, his focus is not religion. This book is written in language that is understandable by most people. It can be challenging at times but ultimately, well worth the read.
Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany and, at the time of writing this article, lives in Canada. He has written a number of other books including “A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life´s Purpose”. The Power Of Now is available from all major book sellers, in English and other languages. You can also find it as spoken word and in electronic format.
Core messages from The Power Of Now
Tolle starts the book describing how, by the age of 29 years, he was extremely depressed and almost suicidal. Then, one night he experienced a major transformation. As a result of his experience, he started to see clearly how to live in the now.
The format of the book is almost like an interview or a conversation between Tolle and another person, whereby someone asks a question and Tolle explains his answer. Throughout the book there is a symbol reminding us to pause and reflect on what has just been shared.
The chapters include topics like: “You are not your mind”, “Beyond happiness and unhappiness there is peace” and “Moving deeply into the now”. Three chapters that I think are worth highlighting are:
1. You are not your mind
In this opening chapter Tolle looks at what is meant by a state of “Being”. He asserts that almost everyone today lives in an almost compulsive state of thinking. Tolle believes that this mental noise, endless thinking, is what stops us from finding our inner stillness and that place of Being.
Tolle explains that we think we are our mind. By “watching the thinker” we can start to free ourselves from the mind, carving out gaps, spaces, when the mind is quiet and we can be present. He goes on to explain that the ego (from the mind) believes in past and future. The present, the state of Being, can be experienced at any time when we stop the mind. This is the state we can experience love, joy and peace. Tolle notes that emotions are our body´s reaction to the mind. The deep states of Being (love, joy and peace) are beyond emotions.
2. Moving deeply into the Now
In this practical chapter Tolle discussed our focus on problems (problems come from the mind) and how to let it go. There is a simple exercise to focus on the Now. As you focus on the Now, truly present in the Now, look to see if there is a problem. Usually the answer is No – problems come from our mind thinking about something that might happen in the future or reviewing what has happened in the past. Try it!
3. Enlightened relationships
This is a fascinating chapter to read. Tolle looks at intimate relationships and suggests that the majority are flawed – how we start off “in love” with someone and how that relationship changes over time, to include elements of love and hate. To be truly present in a relationship you need to be truly present in yourself. He encourages us to stop judging – self or others. He explains how love, and joy, comes from the inside. Love cannot be lost and it cannot leave us. Powerful stuff!
The Power Of Now had an impact on my life when John was given this book to read 20 years ago. At that point I had never come across some of the content before, so it was pretty earth shifting! Over the years I have dipped into it and the book has followed me around ever since. Picking it up again to review it for this article was a great reminder of the power of Being present. Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the everyday problems and pressures, and to lose sight of the present moment. This was a fantastic reminder.
The Power of Now
This book is well worth picking up. You can dip into it or read it from cover to cover. Take the time to pause, reflect and try each exercise.
This is one of the books on our bookshelf here at the retreat. You can read it as part of our relax and rejuvenate retreats or maybe life makeover retreat! We offer daily silent meditation sessions, plus encourage you to attend yoga classes to feel into and inhabit your body, in the Now. Allow yourself to find the present moment and that joyful state of Being.