The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle Book Review
Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, is a self help book that is a shortened route to spiritual enlightenment. One needs to become aware of the present moment in order to experience joy in life. It’s important to live in the present in life because the current moment is all we have.
This can be done by controlling the mind in order to become untangled from it. The unconscious mind, the egoic mind, and the “pain bodies” all need to be addressed and dealt with for enjoyment of life to it’s fullest potential.
Our mind is our worst enemy, according to Tolle. This is because it loves to get itself into problems. The unconscious mind is always thinking. It is constantly looking back on the past, or ahead into the future, and ignore’s the focus on enjoying the current moment. “When thought isn’t connected with consciousness, it becomes insane and destructive” (24). Your unconscious mind will always be reflected in the body as an emotion, which has a strong physical component that is felt in the body. This emotion should be felt in the body, without it controlling you.
Emotional pain is the main cause of physical pain. “The more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer”(33). By accepting the “now”, you are more free from pain and suffering. This enables you to experience joy in life by being satisfied with the current state in which you are in. This means you are free from the emotions that arise from the unconscious mind thinking compulsively. The egoic mind that focuses on the past and future does not exist because nothing ever happened in the past or the future. Everything happened in the “now”. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own” (50). There has never been a time in your life that there was not the now, nor will there ever be. Many of us are ruled by our thoughts, emotions, reactions and desires. Often we feel a lack of completeness, a wanting, needing, or craving for something more. This could be money, success, power, recognition, or even a special relationship. Our normal state becomes focused through thought on these things, which need to be out of our focus in order to get full pleasure out of life. “Don’t let your egoic mind take over your whole life” (49).
Awareness of the present moment and allowing ourselves to enjoy living in it will contribute to our enjoyment of life. There are negative emotions, or “pain bodies” that our mind brings up which can interfere with our enjoyment of living in the present moment. Some forms of this pain include resentment, hatred, self-pity, guilt, anger, depression, and jealousy. Negativity can be stopped from arising by being fully present. This negativity is resistance that triggers the emotional pain-body. This is when minor situations result in intense negativity.
The ego thinks that it can manipulate reality to get what it wants through negativity. Once we have got our hands on something negative, we don’t want to let go. “Negativity is totally unnatural. It is a psychic pollutant, and there is a deep link between the poisoning and destruction of nature and the vast negativity that has accumulated in the collective human psyche” (189). When we notice negativity has risen within us, we need to use it as a signal to “be present” and get out of our minds. By doing so, we can increase our enjoyment of life because we are living in the “now” and dealing with whatever it may bring before us.
In the current world, some of us are chasing after temporary pleasures, such as success, fortune, and things we desire. All this stress and worry over these things are not worth it at all. What’s more important is to live in the current moment. It’s important to realize that Tolle’s teachings can apply to anyone who seeks to increase their enjoyment of life. Focusing on the present moment allows us to enjoy the life we are living, instead of being trapped in a non-existent world of reoccurring thoughts of the past and future.