Rich Uncle Pennybags's Reviews > The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
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did not like it

This is a little outside what I'd normally read but it was the book for group discussion, so I read it.

After opening with a bizarre personal anecdote involving sitting in rhapsody on park benches for days on end, Tolle presents this volume as a catechism. At a basic level, Tolle’s thesis is that a lot of our distress and unhappiness stems from our failure to be present in the current moment, instead pining for or worrying about the past or the future, or else being inundated by an endless stream of unbidden thought. He provides the particularly trenchant example of taking some time neglecting some work to relax, but being unable to do so because of guilt about the work. He also provides some exercises to focus on the current time.

This is all well and good, but it is buried in silly jargon (“pain-body,” “egoic mind”) and surrounded by claims that are hard to justify. Claims like: Menstrual pain? You aren’t living in the Now. Failure to live in the Now is responsible for Kristallnacht and the Great Leap Forward. If you live in the Now the molecules of your body will actually spread out and you will become less dense.

Tolle also claims there is “no need to change your religion” to follow along with him but then spends a long time providing risible Biblical exegesis and claiming that he alone has understood what Christ was saying. Surprisingly, it turns out He wasn’t saying anything about the coming kingdom or living a virtuous life, or anything else – he was saying exactly what Tolle is, about living the Now. What a coincidence. (He also claims that Christ is not a person at all but some sort of life-essence, which seems hard to square with the other claims, but never mind).

In short: you might like this if you can read a sentence like "Menstruation will then become not only a joyful and fulfilling expression of your womanhood but also a sacred time of transmutation, when you give birth to a new consciousness" without rolling your eyes.
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Reading Progress

April 18, 2016 – Started Reading
April 22, 2016 – Finished Reading
April 25, 2016 – Shelved

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