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.