-- Frederick Buechner
The Power of NOW
A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
By Eckhart Tolle
A book about awakening, about living in the now instead of being lost in our thoughts about past and future. Perhaps more important, it is a practical guide, presented in a way that turns lights on all around us, enabling us to see a simple path to living an awakened life. A life empowered by our own Presence.
Enlightenment and Presence are often little more than words, as far as our daily lives are concerned. They’re like any other words until we’ve had experiences that give them personal meaning. Stories we hear in our lives about puberty, romance, heartbreak, childbirth or chocolate may lead us to think that we know about those things, but we know nothing real until we experience the realities to which those words point. Eckhart Tolle offers us clarity of vision that can open the heart to begin experiencing the reality of the Now. That clarity and opening can raise our consciousness and change our lives.
I remember reading Robert S. DeRopp's statements about how common it is for us to awaken each morning from dreams of the night and become lost right away in day dreams and the blur of planning or other wandering before we've even been able to feel our own bodies and know a moment of real consciousness. It made me desire to understand it, but I didn't have a simple practice I could begin to apply so that I could know the truth of those words in my life.
Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings on mindfulness have touched and inspired me, and made me want to understand being present. I felt recognition of my own life when I read his examples of how I am no more than a ghost to my daughter if while she sits with me and tells me about her day I am thinking about a problem I had at work that afternoon. I've appreciated his dishwashing meditation and the insight into being present and real, by 'washing the dishes to wash the dishes' -- feeling the water and soap, enjoying the moment and the sensations -- instead of washing them to 'get them done' and being dead to the real and living moment while lost in an unreal planned future moment I expect to have when the chore of dishes is finally 'done'.
His words made a little more impression on my real life, due in part to the clear examples he gives.
Pema Chodron is an incredible teacher who offers insights into loving-kindness and the opportunity presented in each and every moment to awaken our spirits. She helps us learn to soften to our own lives and heal our hearts by practicing feeling those lives in every moment and accepting ourselves and our lives with love. Her book, When Things Fall Apart, is one of the most appreciated books in my life.
There many others, of course. Teachers of every faith and nationality have shared the power of presence, mindfulness or the Now with others, and in recent years, the frequency and clarity of that message is increasing.
It reaches a new and helpful clarity in the words shared with us by Eckhart Tolle.
In reading this simple book you will likely find, as others have, that you have to pause frequently to consider what you've read, because it is full of thoughts so simple you can barely hold them in your mind long enough to recognize how familiar they are. The practical truth embodied here opens the heart to an opportunity to finally 'get' the things we've been reading and discussing and wondering about much of our lives.
At one point, he says it this way:
"Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in - or don't, as the case may be. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life. When you do, the energy that you emanate and which then runs your life is of a much higher vibrational frequency than the mind energy that still runs our world..."I've been reading and re-reading this book for almost a year, and have shared it with nearly everyone I know. Several times, I've thought I'd write about it as a way to share the news of its arrival in the world, and found each time that the best words seem to be found in the book itself, either written by Tolle or by one of those who introduce the book:
Perhaps once in a decade, or even once in a generation, a book like The Power of Now comes along. It is more than a book; there is a living energy in it, one you can probably feel as you hold it. It has the power to create an experience in readers, and change their lives for the better.The essence of this book is this: Living in the now is the path to happiness and enlightenment.
Some would say this message is hardly original, but then most great truths are familiar in appearance and easily passed over as obvious -- we've heard about living in the now before. How many of us, though, can speak clearly about what it means? We can read books about mindfulness, go on retreats, practice meditation and talk about our efforts to quiet the mind, but for the most part, our lives lack any enduring personal experience of those words.
For any who have wondered how to begin a practice of mindful presence in their lives, Tolle's clear writing, supportive voice, and enthusiasm make this an excellent guide.
Within a chapter of this book, readers find themselves viewing the world and their lives very differently. They speak of wonder and gratitude and of becoming more conscious of how addiction to thinking and avoidance of the present gets in the way of their ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.
I am not inclined to make blanket statements or generalizations about much.
But I have to say this about The Power of NOW:
I believe this book can change your life. Maybe more accurately: This book can awaken you to your real life - the life too often hidden by your life situation.
That line probably offers the best review I can give to this book, so I'll stop now and just express my thanks to Eckhart Tolle and those who helped love this book into existence. And I'll provide a little more information outside of this review:
The first 20 or so pages of the book were made available online by the publisher as a preview, and I have posted a copy, for any who would like to read it. (Click Here)
"To meet everything and everyone through stillness instead of mental noise is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe."
RBW - August 2000