The Power of Now is hands down the most empowering, life changing book I have ever read. This is in part because of its simplicity, and partly because of the sheer profundity of it. I didn’t really know anything about spirituality, presence, or enlightenment before this book, so I’m incredibly glad I found it.
The author of the book, Eckhart Tolle, describes himself as living a life of anxiety and intermittent suicidal depression until an experience he had one night. He woke up feeling nothing but complete dread. Suddenly his mind became very silent and he was drawn into a vortex from inside, as he describes it. From the moment he awoke the next morning he marveled at the alive beauty of everything around him.
His intense suffering had finally lead, as it does with many others, to the collapse of ego. Fortunately for us, he shows us tools to get to the same state of no-mind and complete presence that he arrived at accidently.
After reading only a small part of the book I knew something was different. I would stop and just look around at my room. Everything looked the same, but felt more alive, as though I had discovered some hidden essence in the objects around me. Just reading the book has a profound effect on calming the mind.
It’s the same thing I’ve experienced when first waking up, or after listening with all my attention to peaceful music. The common denominator in all of this is the state of no-mind, where the mind is absolutely silent. When the continual chattering of the mind stops we are free to truly experience the majesty of what is around us.
Since then I’ve had many more of these experiences, and although they only last a short time they are among some of my fondest memories.
Enlightenment on Aisle 9?
One day I was walking through a department store. What could be more boring than that? So I thought maybe a transcendental experience might spice things up. I began focusing on being intensely aware of what was going on around me. As I became more aware I was able to stop thoughts as soon as they were generated.
Soon after trying this I looked at the ceiling where there was a window and light was shining through. Except I was in awe of this light. It was SO beautiful my mind was completely silent. I couldn’t do anything but appreciate the sheer vivid aliveness of everything around me. If any book can make that last sentence apply to Wal-Mart I would say it’s pretty significant, wouldn’t you?
Walking Through the Park
I’ll share one more experience, this one much more vivid. I brought my copy of the book to the park and began to read it. After finishing I walked around a familiar path for about 30 minutes, listening to my thoughts but not reacting.
Suddenly I became acutely aware of what was around me. Although I had traveled this walkway many times before I lost my familiar conception of it. No longer were there “trees” around me and “cement” beneath my feet. All mind-made concepts disappeared, and everything just was.
The pathway looked somehow different. I realized it felt as if I were walking around in a movie, and everything was perfect. Sensory perception was intensified and everything else was quieted. I was in complete acceptance, inner nonresistance, and a state of no-mind. In that moment I wasn’t “me,” I had no sense of identity. There just wasn’t room for it in the beauty of it all. I had undergone a temporary shift in consciousness. In the book Tolle calls these experiences “tastes of enlightenment.”
What I’ve Learned
Some of what I’m saying probably sounds crazy. Good. It is crazy. I still don’t really understand it. But I’ve come to a couple realizations from it.
First of all, the elevation of human consciousness is probably the most important thing there is. That’s why I made this site. As it turns out, getting everything in the world won’t make you any happier than you already are. It’s happened again and again. People who win the lottery play out all of their old basic Problems, just with fancier stuff. A low level of consciousness will eventually transform anything in the external world into negativity and pure unadulterated suckage.
On the other hand, with a high level of consciousness it is absolutely possible to be completely enthralled, satisfied, blissful, and otherwise happy with anything from tying your shoes to taking out the trash. It’s analogous to being on a slight psychedelic trip all the time. “The shoes, they are so vivid!” “I love you Trash, thank you for the opportunity of using you.” Well, sort of. You get the point.
I’ve also undergone a transformation of perspective. Life is always as beautiful as it was in the park that day, it’s just that our minds are so often cluttered up with junk that we can’t see it. At this point normal drama seems almost comical. Even relatively traumatic experiences lose their edge. Why worry when the divinity of life is all around you?
To Say I Recommend This Book is an Understatement
If you’re stuck in the drama of your life, want to glorify yourself through achievements, or get queasy when someone mentions an idea you haven’t heard before, you probably shouldn’t get this book. It is attractive, and would probably make a decent paperweight for you but otherwise the value is lost.
For those that would choose peace and bliss over their own identity as a victim of the woes of life, I can guarantee you’ll get tremendous value from page 1. It will realign your inner self with the reality of the external world. You will find that a shift of perspective is unavoidable after finishing this book. And you’ll find inner peace and joy amidst the chaos. Not a bad investment for under 20 bucks.
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