The Power of Now is about mindfulness as far as self-help goes because this book is what the title says. All of our problems come from living in the future or living in the past. Eckhart Tolle says that we all have primitive brains, but we no longer need to rely on those primitive brains. There’s only one thing that can destroy us because modern living is pretty easy.
We need many things, and the only thing that can defeat us is our minds if we let them. There are so many people in society that are addicted to drugs. This is because they’re too busy worrying about the future or past. Things aren’t the way they’re going. You think about what you could have done better, and you can spiral out of control that way. You need to focus on the now by any time you do that.
The Power Of Now Book Summary
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a guide to spiritual enlightenment and a perfect book for this fast-paced world. The mind is a powerful weapon. It’s a powerful tool, but you give it too much power, and it takes over the show. So the author starts with the parable, the kind that frames the book. We have the tools, power, and resources inside ourselves to combat all the externalities that we think control life. But they don’t control our life. We’re letting them control our lives. We don’t have to. So that’s the idea to start here.
The power of now is about forgiving yourself for decisions that you’ve made in the past and understanding that now you have the opportunity to make different decisions. No matter what is going on, no matter what types of challenges you have, life is always eating you in the direction of your evolution. It means that no matter what is going on in one, the time lineage between the past, present, and then the future, it’s all moving in the good direction for you.
So you never have to worry about what has already happened and how that’s affecting this moment. You never have to worry about what will happen and how that’s affecting this moment. The present now is happening for you and growth. The author also talks about identifying the enemy at the moment. He talks about understanding in each moment where you can make a better choice and respond in a way that is with your heart.
Everything happens for a reason. But you also have to take ownership of your actions. A part of that means understanding that you have the power. You make the decision. Things will work for you because you stand up and trust yourself. So identifying the enemy means understanding in each moment.
There are like two things in our lives that cause pain, and it’s a pain body and the thinking body. In the pain body, you experience pain in your life. It can be emotional pain, physical pain. But experiencing pain doesn’t mean you need to identify with it and let it become who you are. The same thing with thinking body to think your mind is it?
You don’t need to identify with your mind if it keeps spiraling out of control. You can separate from those and focus on the now, and then he gets more into not thinking about the future, not living in the past. But it’s tough to do in today’s society because our whole lives are built up that way. When you’re young, you’re worried about getting to college, getting a good job, what family you’ll live in.
Next chapter Tolle talks about how we’re not human becoming. We’re human beings. You don’t have to worry about the fruits of your actions. You have to worry about the action. If you put your effort and attention into the action, everything that comes after it will be what you want it to be and how the source of wealth is intention. The source of abundance is intention. What you put out is what you will receive.
So instead of worrying about what it is to calm down and not be fully present now, give your attention to what you can do. The power of now is about doing what you can, where you are with what you had, and understanding that you are stronger.
The underlying principle to teach here is the value of disconnecting from the mind. By freeing yourself from the mind and its tendency to relive the painful past and worry about the future. Tulley suggests practicing present listening, observing, and listening to the mind, as you would a third party. The more you listen to your mind become a witnessing presence, the easier it shall be to recognize your conditioned mind.
The past has no power over the present moment. Most human pain is self-created and therefore unnecessary. The author notes two levels of pain we create now and pain created by our past. He points out that as long as we remain unable to experience the power of now living in the present moment, we continuously relieve emotional pain and start moving deeply into the now. The problems of the mind cannot be solved on the level of the mind. Studying your mind in the present will give you an immense sense of awareness.
Once you understand how the unconscious state works, start becoming aware of the mind as it creates the ego, the false self it uses to replace your true being. You become free. Being free from the ego is essential to experiencing the now and being happy. The ego has a ceaseless string of needs out of fear. It lives in a constant state of need.
Further, to end the delusion of time, we must stop being identified with our mind and the compulsion to experience our lives through memory. The now is the only point that can take you beyond the limited confines of the mind. Your only point of access to the timeless and formless realm of being is the key to spirituality.
This book is about 236 pages, and you can probably finish this book in a day. But understanding this book will take a long time. You need to pause, and you need to reflect on what you’ve read.
Author: Eckhart Tolle
Average Customer Review: (4.7/5, on Amazon)
Category: Meditation, Spiritual Self-Help, Personal Transformation Self-Help
Total page: 236
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
The Power Of Now Book Review
The Power of Now is a guide to spiritual enlightenment. The book divides into ten main chapters, with each chapter reinforcing the need to be present in the now. It is primarily about being present in the now rather than living life in the past, reliving the pain. Let’s review the book chapter by chapter.
Chapter 1: You are not your mind
Many of us spend too much time regretting the past or worrying about the future. Instead, we should be focused on the now because that’s the only moment. If you think about it, nothing ever happened in the past or the future. It only happened in a certain present moment. So when you’re thinking about the past or the future, you’re using your mind. But we tend to overuse it, and we identify with it.
So the key here, as the chapter says, is you are not your mind. You need to identify from the thinking mind. You are the observer of your thoughts. If it’s not making much sense yet, it will make a little bit more sense later because this stuff is hard to wrap your head around, especially the first time we hear it.
So how can we decide to benefit from the thinking mind? There’s a chapter later in the book dedicated to that. But for now, the most obvious one is meditation. You can become present by focusing on all the minor details of the mundane things around you.
You can be your breathing, sensation body, and sounds you hear, things you normally wouldn’t pick up on. If you give those your full attention, you stop using your mind because it’s impossible to be thinking about something when you’re focused on something else.
Chapter 2: Consciousness (The way out of pain)
The author explains in this chapter something called the anxiety gap. When your body is here in the present moment, which is always, and your mind is not in the present moment. Instead, your mind is projected in some future moment that doesn’t truly exist in this gap between your body being here and now and your mind being elsewhere creates anxiety.
Another key point in this chapter is something called the pain body. It’s something that we all have. It’s the accumulation of the pain and mental suffering that we’ve built up over our lives. The problem comes when you identify with it in this pain becomes a part of identity because then subconsciously, you don’t want to let go of that pain. It is because it would mean ruining your entire identity, letting go of who you are.
Along those same lines, the author also warns not to identify with a mental position in an argument. If you do this, your mind-based sense of self will be destroyed if you lose the argument and you’re wrong. As long as you don’t tie your self-worth into opinion at all, you can be OK with being wrong.
Chapter 3: Moving deeply into the now
The author begins with a quote that summarizes the first two chapters in this chapter. He says you have already understood the basic mechanics of the unconscious state identification with the mind. It creates a false self, the ego as a substitute for your true self, rooted in being or presence. Then he gives a nice little metaphor. He says the past and future are like the moon. They have no true light but only reflect the light of the sun.
He’s saying that the now is all we have. It is the source of everything. Then the past and the future are simply a reflection, as the moon is only a reflection of the sun’s light. Now its next point is super useful. He says if you’re experiencing unease, anxiety, tension, stress, or worry, you’re thinking too much about the future.
If you’re experiencing guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, or non-forgiveness, you’re overthinking in the past. Now here’s another good quote about finding happiness here in the now.
You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction. You don’t look to it for salvation.
Therefore, you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success can change your inner state of being. You have found the life underneath your life situation. That’s also an important distinction to make the difference between life and life situations. He says that your life situation is all the stuff you have around the house.
You live in the family and have the car, whereas your life is your true being. Whenever you’re tapped into presence, whenever you are here and now feeling the aliveness in your body, that is your life. Another similar quote here, he says.
“When your deeper sense of self is derived from being when you are free of becoming as a psychological need, neither your happiness nor your sense of self depends on the outcome.” There is freedom from fear.
Chapter 4: Main strategies for avoiding the now
Here he differentiates between something called ordinary unconsciousness and deep unconsciousness. It’s like the sound of an air conditioner, and you never notice it until it stops. Then deep unconsciousness is when there is more acute pain when things go wrong. So learning to be more present will help you eliminate the background static of perpetual discontent that characterizes ordinary unconsciousness.
He also tells you not to complain, and he says to leave the situation or accept it. Finally, he differentiates between your inner and outer purpose. So he says, to first realize your inner purpose, and then the outer purpose becomes a game you play because you enjoy it. You realize that every outer purpose is bound to fail somehow due to the law of impermanence. Don’t try to find fulfillment from your outer purpose. Our purpose is anything material out in the real world, like your job position or something like that.
Chapter 5: The state of presence
Presence isn’t something that you can mentally understand. It’s something you have to feel and experience. So don’t worry if all this sounds crazy. The opposite of being present would be to be identified with your ego-mind. Here the author says the collective ego-mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet.
So here he’s reemphasizing the fact that being present is very important. It is because if you’re not, you’re going to be unconscious, and you’re going to act in terrible ways. He explains how not being present has been the start of all major world problems like wars, genocide, famine, and all that stuff.
If we were truly present and truly rooted in the now and loving each other the way we should be, none of that stuff would happen. Here, he gives a little more insight into tapping into presence. He says that presents are this stillness. To find that stillness, a good way is to listen to the silence underneath and in between the sounds. When meditating, many people listen to the sounds, not only the sounds but also the stillness between the sounds. That’ll be very important in a minute.
Another key thing to note here is that he often refers to religious texts throughout the book to connect them to the Bible. He says the second coming of Christ is a transformation of human consciousness, a shift from time to presence, from thinking to pure consciousness, not the arrival of some man or woman. So the way he talks about these things in the book puts religion into perspective for you and makes you question a lot of the traditional things you’ve heard.
Chapter 6: The Interbody
The author starts off this chapter regarding a different religion, this time quoting Buddha, who explains the illusion of the self or core error, which is the illusion that you are nothing more than your physical body and mind. So by becoming more present and more enlightened, you become free of this brief and vulnerable sense of self. Don’t deny the physical body either.
Transformation happens through the body by focusing on breathing and feeling the life inside you by becoming more present. You can improve your psychic immune system or operate at a higher vibrational frequency. If you’re familiar with Hawkin’s scale of consciousness, there’s this whole chart of all the vibrations we operate, starting with fear, shame, and guilt. Then we start all this stuff like peace, joy, love, and enlightenment up at the top.
So, what he means when he says you improve your psychic immune system, he’s saying you operate at a higher vibrational frequency. So lower vibrations like fear and anger don’t affect you as much.
He gives one little tip to feel more connected with your inner body. He says to flood your body with consciousness as a form of meditation, meaning you focus on feeling the life inside your body part by body part. If you stick your hand out, think about the feeling in your hand, like, how do you know that your hand is there if you’re not touching anything?
Chapter 7: Portals into the unmanifested
This provides a major clarification. As sound cannot exist without silence, objects cannot exist without empty space. So pay attention to the nothingness around you and the silence between the sounds. It is important because the inner version of silence or empty space is the consciousness that enables your mind, objects to be as space allows all things to be. So, in other words, he’s saying we at our essence are this blank canvas. We are the space, if you will, through which thoughts can go.
Thinking about it this way makes it easier to identify from those thoughts because normally, you think that was you if you have a thought. You are that thought. But if instead, you see yourself as this blank canvas through which that thought came, you can observe it without judging it and let it go. That will make your life so much easier.
He also says that too many people identify themselves solely on their physical and psychological images, which are unstable. Temporary, causing them to live in fear. Anything real is unaffected by any external event. He’s calling us out for being fake and getting it. What he’s saying is we have this false sense of self-based on what job we have. Those things are all form and one way or another, which means they’re impermanent. Something could happen to them.
We could lose that job or crash that car or whatever. If it makes you feel any better. The author says there would be no enlightenment if there were no illusions. So, in other words, the world of form and material things is all a distraction out there that is there so that you can transcend it.
Chapter 8: Enlightened relationships
In this chapter, the author dives into the meaning of love and says true love has no opposite, which would be paid in the form of a tax and emotional violence and other things like that. These are pretty common in many romantic relationships. He also says that deriving your sense of self from others is dangerous. That should go without saying. He also says that it can be hard for a normal person to live with a fully present person because the ego feeds on problems, meaning that the peaceful person is a threat.
The ego-driven person will debate trivial issues to disrupt the peace or continually refer to past incidents to pull them out of the present. As darkness cannot survive the light, the ego cannot survive the present. However, it’s OK even if one person becomes more enlightened than the other or in a relationship. At least that enlightened person learns to stop judging, criticizing, and trying to change the other person. They also end up disrupting otherwise endless cycles like debates that never conclude.
The author also says that the greatest obstacles to enlightenment for men tend to be their thinking mind, and for women, it tends to be the pain body in general. Lastly, he says, to give up the relationship with yourself to become enlightened. You don’t love or hate yourself or whatever you are yourself.
Chapter 9: Beyond happiness and unhappiness, there is peace
It’s neither good nor bad. It’s like the story of the Taoist farmer. He distinguishes between peace and happiness. You have to remember that they’re different because he says you can’t be happy when a loved one dies, but you can be at peace by not resisting it and accepting it.
Again, he explains how everything on Earth is impermanent and comes in cycles, which is another reason not to attach your self-worth or happiness to external forms. Here’s another great analogy. He says that you should be like a deep lake. The lake’s surface is your life situation, sometimes calm, sometimes rough, and affected by the environment. However, the lake is always undisturbed.
Lastly, being enlightened changes the world because any unenlightened behaviors around you aren’t reacting to breaking the cosmic cycle of action and reaction. You become the light of the world and give off good vibes. If it’s a bunch of us all being unenlightened, we’re all going to argue with each other. But then if there’s one more enlightened person out of the group and they try to fight with them. The fight isn’t going to go anywhere because the enlightened person will diffuse that situation.
Chapter 10: The meaning of surrender
What is the meaning of surrender? It’s going with the flow of life and not resisting it. So when some people hear about going with the flow and everything, they think. But what about planning? Planning is super important. Eckhart says it may well be that planning is the one thing you can do now. So that’s a loophole to this whole presence thing. If you think about it, if you’re planning the future deliberately at this moment, you’re trying to make sure that your future goes pretty well.
The problem comes when we overthink and make these mental movies about what could happen in this scenario. Once you start overthinking that, that’s when it’s a problem. So unconscious resistance is the enemy. By simply becoming aware of it, you bring it into consciousness. That is the beginning of the end of it.
Again, he says here, when you don’t like your life situation, change what you can control and accept that you can’t. One last little quote here, he says.
“You attract and manifest whatever corresponds to your inner state. This pretty much goes straight into the law of attraction type of thinking. If you can keep yourself at a higher vibration, you will then attract more of that good abundance type of energy into your life.”
This last point I’m going to make here is huge from an empathy perspective. You must see mind identification as an illness that most people have with varying degrees. That way, you’ll never resent them. The only appropriate response is compassion. So the lesson here is pretty much that we are all unenlightened to some extent. We all make our mistakes, and we need to be aware of that and treat each other with compassion and not judge each other.
I used to be the type to be always overthinking, always feeling like maybe something was wrong, not being able to enjoy things fully. But after reading this book, this was like the first stepping stone in a long journey, a long spiritual journey, if you will. Now I’m so grateful for things that I can find satisfaction and enjoyment in about everything.
Personal rating: 4.8/5
Why you should read this book is because of the act of reading it. It makes you feel excellent. You can read a little bit, learn and see how it applies in your life and the real world. You should read this book because the whole thing is written in a question-and-answer format of a theoretical person.
This is so useful because you’ve probably had so many questions pop up in your head throughout this summer. After all, this stuff is hard to wrap your head around. Whatever question you had is probably here, and so is the answer. Once you start reading this book, you feel like every word, every sentence has some truth, has some gold, and is valuable. So from beginning to end, you’re absorbing it all, and you’re receiving it, and you’re learning.
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