The Power of Now: A Guide To Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle
This week I’m starting a new category. It’s called “Brian’s Book Bag”. Every once in a while I’ll post about a book that I have read (or more than likely listened to). I love audio books. I find that it is an excellent way to make my daily work commute more productive. I’m also an auditory learner so this works out well.
About The Author
Eckhart Tolle was born Ulrich Tolle in 1948 to a German Catholic family. In 1977, after many years of depression, Eckhart experienced a spiritual transformation. He was 29 years old. This transformation changed the course of his life forever. In 1997 Eckhart published “The Power of Now” which had sold 3 million copies by 2009. In 2011 the Watkins Report named him as the world’s most spiritually influential living person. In 2016 he was number four behind Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, and Desmond Tutu. Eckhart doesn’t lead a church; he doesn’t promote one religion over another. Instead, to spread his message, he uses examples from many different religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Judaism.
The core theme of The Power of Now is that the current moment is the only thing that we have. Eckhart explains it as “Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” He discusses our internal voice and explains that we are not the voice that we hear, but the being that hears the voice. He writes about what enlightenment is and how we break the cycle of negative mind patterns. These mind patterns are what keep us focused on the past and future which in turn, cause us to not be in the present moment. He discusses how the ego causes us pain.
Eckhart explains how time is an illusion and how an understanding of that can help us be in the present moment. He writes about a couple levels of unconsciousness and how we can become more conscious. He writes about a few techniques, or “portals into the unmanifested”, which help us become more present in the current moment. He discusses enlightened relationships. He also explains that how we see ourselves impacts our relationship with the outside world. Finally, he talks about how we can surrender to the now and just let it be.
Some of Eckhart’s terms are a bit esoteric. Yet, as he explains, words are only signposts to truth and not truth itself. They point us in the right direction. If you can look past the signposts towards the truth that they point to the concepts make a lot of sense.
I have listened to The Power of Now a few times. His message is changing the way that I look at the past and future. I believe the current moment is the most important thing we have. Yet, I still struggle as much as anyone with being present in the current moment. My mind is often rehashing moments of the past that I can’t change or re-live. I also spend a lot of time dreaming of moments that may be.
Regardless of religious beliefs, Eckhart’s core message about the importance of the present moment rings with truth. He maintains that the current moment is important because the past and future don’t exist. Time is an illusion. Eckhart is not the only person nor is he the first person to teach this idea. Meister Eckhart, a German philosopher who died in 1328 wrote “There exists only the present instant… a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence.”
Additionally, most mainstream physicists also believe that our concept of the passing of time is an illusion of the mind. Even Albert Einstein wrote “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Physicists that don’t believe this are actually in the minority and considered controversial.
What do you think about time being an illusion?
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