The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is a book written by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. The book convinces the reader the importance of living in the present rather than in the past or future for better living the day-to-day life. The book was published in 1997 and has been translated into 33 languages including Arabic.
The book brings in various spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Christianity and Zen. The author stresses that an individual should be aware of his or her present moment instead of losing themselves in worry and anxiety of the past and future. The book describes that methods of relaxation and meditation help readers living in the present. The author suggests that people should avoid multi-tasking, spending time in nature and letting go of worries about the future.
According to the author, human ego and its negative effects affect an individual’s happiness. It doesn’t allow us to live in the present as it has links to the past and impending future. Ego causes pain. According to the author, “Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy. It finds it quite indigestible.” Conquering ego will help people a lot to live in the present.
The author explains the philosophy of becoming conscious and present in a theological context. These include awareness of the “inner body,” being present in the Now, the cessation of thinking and surrender. The author writes that, “Nothing can exist without no-thing, without the empty space that enables it to be.” According to the book, space and time “are the two essential attributes of God, infinity and eternity, perceived as if they had an external existence outside you.” Within, “space is the still, infinitely deep realm of no-mind” while “the inner equivalent of time is presence, awareness of the eternal Now.”
Honestly, for me the book was not of much use. What I feel is that the book only explains and analyzes things in life but doesn’t provide answers to the problems in practical life. We have enough explanations to life in religions, philosophies, sciences, etc. What we lack is easy and shorter answers to the problems. What the author gives are very vague answers. He asks us to change the thinking patterns and forget past and future. I don’t think this will help much. But many think this works.
Even the questions asked by the two people in the book are not directly answered by the author. He kind of avoids the questions and explains something else. Maybe I do not have the capacity to understand the author’s explanations as my experiences with the subject are insufficient.
Besides, we cannot simply forget the past. We learn lessons from the past and use them to live in the present. The decisions we take in the present are mostly based on past experiences. This is why we learn about the past in history. We use them for the present.
The same can be said about future. We live the present day with the hope that future will be better. Without that hope it will be difficult to live in the present. Everyone has dreams. Everyone works to achieve their dreams. This is why we strive in the present. Without hopes or dreams about future, the present would be just boring. But the author says that the past and the future are just illusions.
You can download the PDF version of “The Power of Now” for free here. http://www.rehanu.com/now/