Steve Woods's Reviews > The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
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Jun 12, 2010

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bookshelves: psychology-psychotherapy
Read from May 06 to June 12, 2010


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Steve Woods This guy has clearly had an experience that is often described by people who have subsequently transformed their lives. Bill Wilson describes a similar experience that was critical to his direction in forming AA. The experience of a power greater than self that seems to arrive in a kind of "flash" at a time of great stress when the sense of self and "can do" is at a very low ebb. This has led in Tolle's case, to what is sometimes called the ego split. His interpretation of the experience and what it means in terms of his life centres on the proposal that "mindfulness" is the key to living a much less troubled life, in the present rather than in the machinations of the ego in past and future. Essentially he puts a case for the Buddhist concept of impermanence. In that way he has focused only on one slice of the Buddhist way of thought. This doesn't take away from the validity of what he says and the universality of his truth is evidenced by the huge following he has.

The issue is probably just how many can absorb the essence of what he puts in a way other than through the ego itself. This way of experiencing things, of course brings no change in one reading. That deep change doesn't often happen in the flash that Tolle describes as his experience, in most cases it is of a gradual educational variety. This requires a reorientation of thinking and living over time, in other words discipline and practice. He doesn't offer he structure for that as Buddhist practice does. What he presents is then only an intellectual idea if it is not carried into daily life and without the practical means to do that the wider impact of an important philosophical principle for living is negligible over the population, though a few might get it!

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