#1: Let’s Begin…The Power of Now

I was very impressed by Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now.”  The message is that most people are asleep in that they spend most of their time thinking about the past and/or the future, and that this both causes great suffering, and robs the present moment of it’s power.  This then results in failed relationships, things not getting done or getting done wrong, and perpetuation of the “drama” and “problems” of our lives.  Further, our Egoic mind needs these dramas and problems because our egoic mind has forged a “self” that is built around these problems, and we think those problems are our true self, so letting all the drama and problems go in the Now is something the egoic mind does NOT want to do.  If that were to happen, our “Self” would be lost.  But in order to be psychologically healthy (even enlightened), that’s exactly what we have to do…let go Now.

This book is amazingly powerful in it’s simplicity!

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle (1999) is an amazingly simple book with a simple message, yet it is also a profound message, and one that is difficult to live.  The simple message is: “Live in the Now.”  The past and future intruding on the present moment, and all the problems that our thinking mind brings into the present moment, hold us back and hold us down and cause most of our suffering and difficulties.  That’s basically it!

It’s so simple that Time Magazine called it “Mumbo Jumbo.”  But that was probably before the book sold over 2 million copies worldwide and was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.  Somebody at Time must have lost a job.

One of the first points to be made here is that we’re analyzing the book’s contents–a set of ideas–while the genesis of the book was a profound personal and spiritual experience which Eckhart spontaneously had:

“I was fully conscious. … drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy… my body started to shake… I heard the words “resist nothing” as if spoken from inside by chest… [I was being] sucked into a void… Suddeny, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void.  I have no recollection of what happened after that.”  (pp. 4-5)

For the next five months he lived in an uninterrupted state of pure bliss.  After that, he was separated from everything.  No relationships, job, or home:

“I spent almost two years sitting on park benches in a state of the most intense joy.” 

So it’s almost oxymoronic to analyze a book about spiritual experience.  Eckhart himself travles around giving talks about it, of course, so it’s not nonsensical to analyze the book.  However, he does caution that God or being:

“…can be known in the silent space of stillness, which is in everyone, under the mental noise [of the mind.]…In everyone is the stillness of pure consciousness, your essential nature.”

He says these are just words that point to God or Being.  They can’t explain it.  They are just “pointers.”  And then the big one:  “The analyis of pointers is pointless!”

But, there is a point (no pun intended) to talking about it:

“So what I’m saying the mind cannot get.  [But you may] allow the [words] to work in you as pointers.  Not as an explanation of the universe.”

It’s the “working in you” we’re after here.  By looking at these pointers they may have an effect on us.

2 comments on “#1: Let’s Begin…The Power of Now

  1. I read 30 pages and am wondering where the magic is. It only took about as many pages of Dale Carnegie or Napoleon Hill for me to see why their books were worshiped. If your summary spanned the entire book then it seems like not much was gained upon beyond the ideas that I covered in that first section. Yet it really is recommended often- maybe the magic comes when I start reaching no-mind? Have you tried any of his ‘exercises’, like ‘watching the thinker’?

  2. Rashad, are you in Subud?

    The message of P.O.N. is so simple, so profound, that it seems to go right over some people’s heads! It went over mine initially. Then I came back to it a few years later (which was recently), and BAM!!! it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know what to say about your experience. Maybe it’ll hit you at some point? Maybe not.

    I’ll probably NOT be able to convey this, but let me give a few examples:

    A) Every time we get upset with someone or something, we’re buying into a false sense of self that needs to get emotionally upset. If we were aware, we could just say, “Oh, that sux…” and NOT get upset, and just move on to correct the situation or the person in a balanced, unfettered way, or simply forget about the whole thing and move on because there is nothing to do about it anyway. But we don’t, we get upset and wallow in it….. (I know…sometimes we get upset, not all the time…)

    B) Every time we let the past or the future into the present moment (which is most of the time!), our “egoic mind” is taking control and we’re, 1) necessarily (in the strong sense, the logical sense) missing out on the present, and 2) building a false sense of self—we’re strengthening our “egoic mind.” And it’s the clutter of the egoic mind on a minute-to-minute basis that clouds our awareness and our judgment. Once you see it’s true, and once you see yourself doing it, it’s amazing! We all do it to a certain extent!! Then, simply by SEEING it or BEING AWARE of it, it begins to slowly disappear from your behavior—although never entirely, of course. We are humans…….

    C) Every time we talk to a CEO then turn around a few minutes later and talk to a sales clerk and feel different (or comport ourselves differently), our egoic mind is playing a false role. Of course, the CONTENT of what we say will be very different with those two people, but we should be treating all people more or less the same when we compare two casual conversations. Also, we tend to think WE’RE important because we’re talking to a Big Shot, and the Big Shot is important, and when we’re talking to the lowly sales clerk we think they’re less of a person and compare ourselves to them and we feel more important. But all this is subtle…. In fact, I was just this past week observing how differently people act when they talk to Sharif Horthy (Big Time translator of M. Subuh’s talks)–they’re on their “Best Behavior.” But the two discussions I had with him this week were normal for me… I could have been talking to a friend or co-worker…I was just “Me” and didn’t treat him like royalty and I didn’t feel a sense of a “puffed up” or self-important either — and I’m convinced reading P.O.N. made a difference in my interactions.

    Gotta Go! Thanks so much for commenting…. Aloha

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