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

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
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it was amazing

Dear friends,

Do not turn your noses up at me for reading this book. You complain when people do not take to good ideas and then you complain when good ideas become popular and people take to them.

Now that I have defended my position, let me begin by admitting that this book is a little... OK, very, gimmicky. First of all, I don't believe that Eckhart Tolle, who was suicidal and suffered from clinical depression for years, woke up one morning and was cured when he came to the realisation that there was a separation between who he called "I" and the "self". That's not how it works I'm afraid. Maybe (just maybe) if he gave us a little more context (did you read Descartes' meditations the night before, Eckhart?) I might have believed that he thought his way out of depression but he is not convincing in the least. Of course, this does not change the fact that he is a good storyteller and being the very good storyteller that he is, he has managed to communicate the basic idea and principle behind mindfulness to the masses and that, I believe, redeems him greatly!

When we are depressed, our minds go on autopilot and we replay negative thoughts over and over again; this gives fuel to negative emotions and it strengthens depression, considerably. When this becomes a cycle, people go through their lives completely identified with their thoughts and can even become completely estranged from any objective reality. When you are in your head, sometimes you cannot remember how you got from one room to another or the process of doing something. For example, you might remember taking a shower and getting out of the shower but you can't remember the time in between and how it went by. That's because you were busy worrying about getting fired, becoming homeless, that argument you had last year with your best friend and whether they still secretly hate you, and so on. Mindfulness is about overcoming your negative thoughts and becoming aware of your surroundings so that you do not get lost in your head and allow your thoughts to take the driver's seat. Once you learn this skill and improve the quality of your awareness, you will never suffer from stress or anxiety in the same way or intensity as you once did. But most importantly, you will improve the quality of your life.

OK, my bias for mindfulness is taking over this review... back to the book.

What this book does so well is that it gives a very logical and simple philosophy as to why one should practise mindfulness. Eckhart argues that you never lived in the past and you will never live in the future; every single thing you do, have done, or will do, will happen in the here and now. Everything you experience takes place in the present moment, and all else is just a former 'now' or a 'now' to come. The argument is that, if you want to improve the quality of your future and lay down a better past, you have to be present and fully engaged in your life; not within the illusions and projections of your mind and time.

Personally, I do not agree with leading a life that is primarily based on being mindful as I don't think it is natural and seems somewhat cultish but during times of distress, mindfulness works, and it works like magic. I'm not a spiritual person so the whole idea of becoming "enlightened" is just.... no, but I like to think of mindfulness meditation as a useful skill and for anyone who wants to hone this skill, I would really recommend Mark Williams' Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
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Quotes Asli Liked

Eckhart Tolle
“Being an outsider to some extent, someone who does not "fit in" with others or is rejected by them for whatever reason, makes life difficult, but it also places you at an advantage as far as enlightenment is concerned. It takes you out of unconsciousness almost by force.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 21, 2014 – Shelved

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