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

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
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's review
Jul 11, 11

Read in July, 2011

The Power of Now is an appealingly written mix of powerful spiritual truths, meaningless babble, and falsehoods. Tolle has taken some good wisdom from the world's religions, dressed it in New Age language, personalized it with his own less impressive wisdom, and then used a powerful personal story* to sell the book.

I gave it the second star because it really does emphasize some good aspects of spirituality (especially the freedom of living in the moment). If you already have a good grounding in spritual wisdom, you can probably pick out the good stuff from the nonsense. But if you already know the good stuff, why waste your time on this? And I can see how some uninformed people could be misled. So I really can't recommend the book to anyone. But there are some good things. Here are some examples:

The Good:

Direct all thoughts towards the present moment. Don't dwell on mistakes of the past or anxiety about the future.

Meditation is good.

Tap your subconscious for creativity.

Self-awareness (being able to observe and reflect on your thinking and emotions as they occur) can be a powerful tool.

Our ego gets in our way a lot.

The Bad:

All spiritual truth can be found inside yourself (he writes quite a long book and does a lot of lectures and workshops for him to really believe that)

A number of misleading scientific "examples", especially concerning animals and spacetime (pages 24, 34, 99, 137-140)

False interpretation of religious texts, especially the gospels (such as pages 95, 101, 105)

Promotes belief in reincarnation

The Ugly:

"The pain-body consists of trapped life-energy that has split off from your total energy field and has temporarily become autonomous through the unnatural process of mind identification."

"You haven't yet grasped the essence of what I am saying because you are trying to understand it mentally. The mind cannot understand this. Only you can. Please just listen."

"In this way, you grow in presence power. It generates an energy field in you and around you of a high vibrational frequency. No unconsciousness, no negativity, no discord or violence can enter the field and survive,"

"Even a stone has rudimentary consciousness; otherwise, it would not be, and its atoms and molecules would disperse. Everything is alive."

"Consciousness is evolving throughout the universe in billions of forms. So even if we didn't make it, this wouldn't matter on a cosmic scale. No gain in consciousness is ever lost, so it would simply express itself through some other form. But the very fact that I am speaking here and you are listening or reading this is a clear sign that the new consciousness is gaining a foothold on the planet."

* Something I don't understand. In his story, he was utterly despondent and suicidal, then was fixed by a brilliant moment of enlightenment, and woke up in the morning happy and joyful. What does this book have to do with his own spiritual awakening? He seems to say that some people were "lucky" and fixed in a moment like him, while others have to work for it. But what makes him the authority on working towards enlightenment, when he's one of the people who didn't have to do it?

Also, he is quite egotistical for a spiritual authority. He has a very outsized view of how "enlightened" he is compared to everyone else and how greatly the world will benefit from his personal work.
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