on July 13, 2004
The review titled "Be wary of the Master..." reveals more about its writer than about Tolle. It is ultimately unimportant to me what kind of person Eckhart Tolle is. His work speaks for itself.
"The Power of Now" is the most brilliant explanation of consciousness and existence I have read to date. It is stated so simply and eloquently, and effectively, that, if you settle down in a quiet space before you open the book, resist the temptation to use your intellect (to rationalize, compare and contrast), and just take in what is underlying his words, you may partake of the richest experience and deepest insightful 'aha's' you've ever gotten from a piece of writing.
And do get the book: put off getting the CD or tape until you've experienced the entire book in a quiet space. You shouldn't be multi-tasking when you read or hear his words, otherwise you will shortchange your experience. Lastly, do observe his pauses. They're placed where they are for good reason. This is the moment where you let the sense of what you've read sink in more deeply.
Then you may finally 'get' how to be present, to experience the vast and powerful "being" that underlies all our busy thoughts, awaiting our conscious awareness. And then, just maybe, we can heal this world.
on April 11, 2012
Simply a masterpiece. If you are lucky enough to be fully opened while reading these words, glimpses of the truth the words carry are often experienced. Basically tells you the importance of living in the present moment, and why it is so hard to be present in every moment. A true gift.
on July 15, 2004
Tolle's book is an important one... a much needed reminder that is too easy to forget. All too often people can pass entire lifetimes 'missing the moment.' One can, like the worst type of junkie, become so comfortable with-and so used to-anxiety, worry, and procrastination that to simply experience tranquility in the present becomes an impossibility. For such people, the simple and inspirational teachings that The Power of Now details can incite a revolution in one's experience of being alive. That being said, though, this book possesses flaws and confusions that must be sifted through using a keen sense of criticism (yes, this too, is an important faculty of the healthy human being).
First of all, becoming present is a practice-not a realization. I'm not sure Tolle makes this clear. Like any 'new thing' the appreciation of the present moment can seem novel and exciting but if one doesn't make it a practice and use discipline to habitualize the practice, then one will have merely another gimmick, a spiritual toy to play with for a while and then put aside. The reason why all the schools of enlightenment require masters and students and instills its practitioners with discipline and a set of methods is because nothing in life comes all at once but must be cultivated with care over a period of time. Because of this truth, I genuinely doubt Tolle's claim that after his midnight awakening he was-all-at-once-transformed, never to require further training or practice. The experience he describes at the beginning of the book might just as well be labeled a psychotic break as a religious experience. Either way, the genuine appreciation of the moment can neither be totally 'on' nor totally 'off.' It is a variable experience that can be developed but will always remain part of the organic experience of being alive. Be wary of those who seem to show no anger, no sadness, no flaw... such people are usually very good actors and nothing more. Spend time with such people, in different types of contexts, to reveal the true human being. No unidimensional personality can exist in reality. We are always part of our context and environment and no matter our training or character can be expected to occasionally fall short of others' expectations.
A guide to enlightenment, then, should teach us that enlightenment is neither a great distance away nor too near. It is thoughtful experience revealed through action and word. I have seen car mechanics who are enlightened beings when they work on cars but atrocious when with their families. I have met novelists who convey all the wisdom in the world through a pen but seem haughty and fractured in normal human conversation. And I have met spiritual 'masters' who secretly creep away to have sex for the sixth time in a day or to check their stocks on the internet. Enlightenment is a myth, and some people treat it like a commodity to purchase or sell. To live well requires the experience of the present-often-but not all the time and in all situations.
Joseph Campbell once expressed the opinion that the type of enlightenment we have become familiar with is unique to a conception of self that was once fairly common in Asia. The type of self most moderns live by, especially we very 'special' Westerners with our love for 'Individuality' and 'Self-Expression,' excludes the possibility of such an experience. Perhaps it is time, then, we drop this idea and redefine what enlightenment should mean now-and to people like us.
Use this book as a pointer and compass, not as a map. The Buddha said it best, Be Lamps Unto Yourselves. I would add-and don't hide from the dark when it comes.
on May 20, 2004
In practical terms life is like a passing parade and we are all children fascinated by the pomp and ceremony of the unfolding drama. Some of us get caught up in what has already passed us by and cannot see what should be plainly visible before our eyes. Others anticipate the coming events and miss the actual parade entirely. Mr Tolle says simply enjoy the parade as it proceeds, not as it was or as it will be. (...) A few critics claim he does not reference great books of the past or that his ideas are old stuff being rehashed. What they do not seem to understand is that they are not the only parade watchers. The part of the parade they have seen might be old to them but it is new to others and has not even begun for some. The entire parade is always unfolding "Now" even though each spectator sees it from his or her own particular viewpoint. Truth, wisdom, realizations and revelations, no matter where or when they first appeared are never old in themselves. They only seem old when the time bound mind looks back, and they are of no value whatsoever unless and until they are brought up to the Now and experienced in the Now. The ancient truths explained in "The Power of Now" are as new today as they have ever been or will ever be. Mr. Tolle presents them in plain and simple terms, easily understood by those with eyes to see and/or ears to hear. Events in the parade of life pass by us continuously. Some disappear into yesterday and seem to be lost in time. Others, frolicking in the playground of the wandering mind, called imagination, may appear to be coming tomorrow. But the actual parade, your own Parade of Life, mine, and Mr. Tolle's is unfolding now. Once we realize that time does not exist in the past or future we can experience the joy of our passing parade as it unfolds infinitely and eternally. Life is the only real event that is happening, and it is happening now. Mr. Tolle explains this in a most excellent way. The Power of Now cannot change your life. Nothing can alter perfection. But it can change your life situations if you let it. The book is excellent.
on February 7, 2003
I read a review that said a lot of readers hate this book. Hate seems a little strong. Who hates it? Minds hate the idea of being called a tool. If you read Power of Now with your mind, you probably won't finish it. If you do as Eckert says and not get hung up on the words, they will pass right through your mind and kindle your spirit.
The downside of the book is that it removes all excuses - now that we know, we must act. I believe that this book may usher in the "New Age" - it could be the catalyst that gives humanity the strength to raise it's consciousness. Groups may form, energy will concentrate, others will be attracted. Many spiritual teachers speak of a planetary transformation during the generation beginning in the eighties. It would indeed be a transformation if we all lived in the Now. No more madness.
This is the 261st review. I seriously doubt that many people read all the reviews. But if you get this far and still haven't decided, put another vote on the "read it" side. Savor it. Languish over it. Let it wash over you like a warm bath. Now that I think of it, get the tapes and listen to his voice. The sounds make the words vibrate, and are more likely to pass through your brain. I was going to say "read it, you won't be disappointed", but I can't since apparently many have been. It's one of those "love" "hate" things - not much neutral.
Give it a shot - what have you got to lose. Just some of your mind, that's all.
on December 5, 2002
Eckhart Tolle's book is an insightful resource for living in the moment. I especially found the chapter "You are not your mind,"
inspiring. Just by reading the possibility that I am separate from the constant positive or negative thoughts I have about myself, others or situations, I felt a sense of freedom. I am able to distingish myself from my thoughts and live my life in a sincere and authentic way. Not as a result of my mind's concept but as a direct expression of whom I am. The idea that Tolle presents of how living in the present moment I am able to discover that I am complete and perfect is also truly remarkable.
Another inspiring book about living a meaningful life is called "Working on Yourself Doesn't Work," written by Ariel & Shya Kane. Enlightenment is no longer an elusive state for a chosen few, but has become a realty for many people through insightful and practical guide books such as "The Power of Now" and "Working on Yourself Doesn't Work." I highly recommend both of these books.
on July 29, 2002
I have listened to each of the five cassettes atleast 40 times. This is timeless and to say that I highly recommend this teaching to the entire human race is an understatement. I listen to the tapes while doing yard work -I've got a lot done and enjoyed every bit of it. The world will simply be a better place if human beings stopped trying to "make a better future by creating a present hell." As Eckhardt puts it: "Have you ever done anything outside of the now? Do you think you ever will?" He also states the "you are not your mind." How much of your day do you spend dwelling on the past and anticipating the future and totally neglect the here and now? This is a wake up call for the human race. He sites many of the greatest spiritual teachings to make his point, The Bible, The Bhagivad Ghita, The Koran, Hinduism, Karma Yoga and more. This stuff is not new and all the spiritual texts cited point to the same spiritual teaching, the one that underlies all religions, the one that we are all a part of.
on June 1, 2002
Just got through reading "The Power of Now". I've read all the spiritual classics: "I Am That", Vivekananda, Yogananda, Adi Da Samraj, Ramana Maharshi, Ram Dass's "Be Here Now", Shankara and Vedanta, Buddha, all the major religions, Rajneesh/Osho, "The Impersonal Life", and they are all very good to great but this book is by far one of the most clear and practical. Maybe I was just ready, but the book gives direct and specific instruction for entering "THE NOW" in plain, modern day, unpretentious language. Some of the other spiitual books, though not all, used either too much indecipherable parable, ancient language, excessive moralizing, or had a non-western view point that made application unclear. I sometimes only got fuzzy, ephemeral glimpses of the here and now.
In contrast, this book just hammers you into the here and now like a sledge hammer busting up the deluded mind, the dysfunctional mind, the neurotic mind, the desperate mind, the lost mind, the angry and confused mind, like a boulder dropped into a pond we drop to the bottom of the here and now.
At first the plain western looking cover with a white guy on the inside back flap didn't look impressive. It looked like some sort of self help, psychotherapy pap. The author was not from India so what credibility does he have? Every one knows that the East has the metaphysics thing down to a science. Western psychology is just superficial rearranging of neurosis. They have no idea what enlightenment is. Only yogis, swamis or spiritual masters can open the doors to enlightenment. Plus the author said his enlightenment or realization was sudden. He did not appear to have prepared through meditation, but in the midst of a personal crisis this white guy suddenly figures it all out! Come on! But looks are deceiving. This guy knows what he's talking about. Now that I think about it, Ramana Maharshi had a similar unexpected realization of the truth.
The author makes no claims to any religious tradition or spiritual, path yet in light of the understanding uncovered in this book, many previously cryptic spiritual parables become clear. There are few examples of this given by the author.
BE WISE. Don't wait for a disaster to strike to be forced into accepting the here and now. Do it NOW. Read this book again and again until it sinks in. I'm glad there are so many good reviews. The more people who utilize these teaching the saner our world will be. I'm going to buy the CD to listen to while in the car.
on September 13, 2012
I have read many books on spirituality, Buddhism and meditation. The Power of Now has given me the most in the least amount of words. Eckart Tolle cuts through the fluff and gives you the barebone practical way of living your life awakened. He has, in a very short amount of time, stricken out years of anxiety, self-doubt and stress from my life.
A must buy.
on August 18, 2008
After reading this book, only one clean idea emerges: The idea of the power of now is great. Living in the now and not worrying so much about the past and future is very uplifting and has helped me. When you live in the now, your life is more joyful.
However, I frequently found that Tolle talks over my head, using language such as "pain body" He does explain these words, but the explanations can be hard to follow at times.
Furthermore, the question and answer format Tolle uses is distracting. Sometimes the questions he poses are good and follow what he has been saying, but others the questions seem to come from inside his head and the answers make even less sense then the questions.
I would recommend borrowing this book from the library before you decide to purchase it.