THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle

Power of Now


THE POWER OF NOW by Eckhart Tolle, 1999. NY: New World Library. ISBN 1-57731-152-3


Reviewed by John I. Mosher, Ph.D.

Biology Professor Emeritus, State University of New York 

After years of mental anguish, suffering much as most of us have, Eckhart Tolle has written The Power of Now. His book is a presentation of age-old truths with a transformative insight, delivered in a manner to which those of us from the western industrial, materialistic culture can easily relate.  As with a sword, Mr. Tolle cuts through the confusion of our personal, and national, suffering and offers insights into the basis of that suffering. The domination of the ego-mind consciousness seems to be the culprit. On pages 130-131, Mr. Tolle comments on interpersonal relationships as an example:

"As the egoic mode of consciousness and all the social, political, and economic structures that it created enter the final stage of collapse, the relationships between men and women reflect the deep state of crisis in which humanity now finds itself.  As humans have become increasingly identified with their mind, most relationships are not rooted in BEING and so turn into a source of pain and become dominated by problems and conflict.

“Millions are now living alone or as single parents, unable to establish an intimate relationship or unwilling to repeat the insane drama of past relationships. Others go from one relationship to another, from one pleasure-and-pain cycle to another, in search of the elusive goal of fulfillment through union with the opposite energy polarity. Still others compromise and continue to be together in a dysfunctional relationship in which negativity prevails, for the sake of the children or security, through force of habit, fear of being alone, or some other mutually 'beneficial' arrangement, or even through the unconscious addiction to the excitement of emotional drama and pain. 

“However, every crisis represents not only danger but also opportunity. If relationships energize and magnify egoic mind patterns and activate the pain-body, as they do at this time, why not accept this fact rather than try to escape from it? Why not cooperate with it instead of avoiding relationships or continuing to pursue the phantom of an ideal partner as an answer to your problems or a means of feeling fulfilled? The opportunity that is concealed within every crisis does not manifest until all the facts of any given situation are acknowledged and fully accepted. As long as you deny them, as long as you try to escape from them or wish that things were different, the window of opportunity does not open up, and you remain trapped inside that situation, which will remain the same or deteriorate further."

But wait: things are not hopeless. According to Mr. Tolle, you can create a place in your consciousness for transformation. You can begin to heal yourself from the inside out. Again quoting the author:

"With the acknowledgment and acceptance of the facts also comes a degree of freedom from them. For example, when you know there is disharmony and you hold that ‘knowing,' through your knowing a new factor has come in, and the disharmony cannot remain unchanged. When you know you are not at peace, your knowing creates a still space that surrounds your nonpeace in a loving and tender embrace and then transmutes your nonpeace into peace. As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter."

How do you "create a space for transformation to happen"? By mindfulness, prayer, meditation, and practicing positive states of mind. By practicing positive states of mind such as compassion, tolerance, selflessness and love. By following practices which calm and stabilize the mind, practicing positive states of mind, observing when you are thinking (i.e. strengthening your ability to witness your own thoughts and actions) so that you can choose not to give power to a troubling situation. Feeling your internal energy fields the mind a rest and brings more power to your essential Self, which is the reality of who you REALLY are. As your true essence becomes more dominant and the thinking mind is used only as a tool or servant to you, then peace, unconditional love, happiness, and transformation begin to take place. The secret is to go within. This is what spiritual practice, stress-reducing practices, and practices that calm and stabilize the mind, are ideally intended to do. From my understanding of Mr. Tolle's message, this is a way for practicing The Power of Now.

I highly recommend The Power of Now, and Mr. Tolle's other book, Practicing the Power of Now, as guides for your journey to enjoying good health, long life, and happiness.

Review copyright C 2001 John I. Mosher. Reprinted with permission.


Andrew W. Saul


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