The Power Of Now – A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment
Author –Eckhart Tolle
Genre – Philosophy, Spirituality
I confess. I kept moving from one activity to another to ‘fill’ time. When it was not high intensity work, it would be adventure sports to give an adrenalin rush. Or reading or driving or something else to keep the mind busy. The stillness of doing nothing (or trying to relish the moment) was just not me.
Our Mind is a greatest tool if properly used. But most of use don’t consciously use it. we are so identified with illusions and identities conceived y the mind that we have lost touch with our true inner being.
As I grew older, I started craving for a little more peace, a bit more of ‘no-mind’ time. Call it spirituality or whatever, but this is when we can hopefully “be one with our true self, which lies behind our physical body, shifting emotions and chattering minds.” The Power Of Now has been a great companion in this journey. Eckhart should know. Suffering from depression in childhood, he had a spiritual transformation when he was 29. And has been teaching spirituality since then. New York Times has dubbed Eckhart Tolle as “the most popular spiritual author in the United States”, and the Watkins Review also listed him as “the most spiritually influential person in the world”.
In this book, Tolle shows us how to free ourselves from enslavement to the mind (“finding our off button”) and enter into an enlightened state of consciousness and sustain it in everyday life. We also realize that “all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind.” The challenge is that in today’s materialistic world, we are always “looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, for security or for love”. But we tend to ignore the great treasure that lies within us and can give an experience way beyond the confines of the mundane and ordinary. Outer riches and inner poverty or “gain the world and lose your soul” as Jesus said. Enlightenment, as Buddha said, is the end of all suffering, where you are one with Being. [Eckhart cautions against misuse of the word God because it “invariably creates a mental image of someone outside us”. But “underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, we are one with all that is”. You can see the clear influence of Hindu Upanishads and Eastern philosophy on Tolle.]
We reach this state by concentrating on the Now, giving fullest attention to even routine activities. Converting them – commutation, for example – from a means to an end in itself. Getting thoroughly immersed in them, instead of thinking about the future or past. [Tolle says we almost have a compulsion to live by either memories of past events or by anticipating future events, instead of allowing the present moment to just be].
And when distracting thoughts still do come up, be alert and Listen to the Thinker. Be the observer of what is happening inside you, even if it is pain. Accept that it is there. Become aware of not just your frustration but also “of the one who observes”, the silent watcher. The whole philosophy is that we are distinct from our minds or our intellect, and we need to reach this real us.
Tolle hypothesizes that the reason some people love to engage in dangerous activities is that it forces them into the Now – that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking… Slipping away from the present moment even for a second may mean death. But you don’t need to get into adventure to reach that state, you can enter it anytime through practice and meditation.
What if our life really has problems? Tolle argues there are no problems, only situations in time, that need to be dealt with now, or accepted as part of the ‘isness’ of the moment. Even if you are unhappy, you could still be at peace. Underneath the sadness, you may still find a deep serenity, a stillness, a sacred presence.
Why should you read the book: It is not for everyone and certainly not for every age. Let it come to you, perhaps around 40 or so. When you start having thoughts beyond the mundane, when you start craving for peace and stillness, when the external no longer titillates you… let the master appear when the student is ready!