Over the last 7-8 years I have either read or listened to the book three times from start to finish. During that time I have also flipped through its pages for small bits of help and inspiration more than 20 times. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if I revisit more in the future)
Why? Because it’s really good… And really helpful for someone like me, with an overactive mind that never shuts off.
If you feel like a mental patient from time to time, it could help you too.
The Power of Now Review
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment was written by Eckhart Tolle, a German-born author.
In 2008, a New York Times writer called him “the most popular spiritual author in the United States.
Side note: He also resembles a Hobbit, from the Lord of The Rings books and movies.
The book is a self-help guide and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts of the past or future.
A humble summary:
This book is so full of ideas, thoughts and lessons that I hesitate to try to summarize it. My summary won’t do it justice but it may help you understand what the book is about, so here is my take (so far).
- There is no such thing as time (we made it up)
- The Past and Future don’t happen, It is always Now
- If you can stop thinking about the past and the future and be present in the Now you will feel better
If this summary brings up questions for you I have good news. The book is written in a Q&A format, based on the most common questions he gets about this idea. There is a very good chance your questions will be covered while reading the book.
A quote from The Power of Now:
“The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”
My Experiences with The Power of Now
Here is a quick summary of each of my encounters with The Power of Now and how it helped me each time.
First Encounter with The Power of Now
I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was particularly out of my mind. I was depressed and drinking heavily, trouble was looming all around me. For lack of a better word – I was completely fucked lost.
I approached a friend of mine one night in a bar. He was a guy that seemed to have his life together. He never seemed to worry and always had a smile on his face. I told him “I’m completely lost and feel like I’ve lost my center… What can I do?”
He simply said “Read The Power of Now.”
I bought the book and was amazed from the first word to the last. It seemed to be written specifically for me and my type of crazy. I was so intensely focused on the regrets of my past and scared to death of my future that I never experienced a single moment of peace. I was never in the present moment.
The book brought me to the present moment briefly, a few times. Even these short dances with the Now provided some much needed relief from the babbling voice in my head.
Second Time with The Power of Now
Almost immediately after moving to Los Angeles in 2008 I came across an article about The Power of Now online. I remembered how helpful it was several years before and decided to get it again.
At the time, I was working on affiliate marketing non-stop, was barely sleeping and my relationship had just ended badly.
This time I bought the audio version and listened to it during walks in the Hollywood Hills. Again, listening to the book and it’s message of being present, not worrying about the future or the past and quieting the mind was extremely helpful.
Third (Current) Time with the Power of Now
Before a recent trip to Oklahoma I was downloading audio books to listen to on the plane. I searched the Self-Help category for recommendations and ‘The Power of Now’ popped up as number one. I laughed to myself and decided to get it again.
I spent the flight talking to the fascinating passengers next to me and never got a chance to listen to it. So, one morning while in the hotel I put it in my headphones and sat back to listen.
Enough time had passed (6 years) that it was like I’d never read or heard the book before. I forgot that Eckhart Tolle, a man who is now regarded as a centered, peaceful and ultra-spiritual human being – was once a very depressed, manic, bi-polar and suicidal lost soul.
I was immediately sucked back in. Then, when I heard this quote my head exploded.
“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ”die before you die“ — and find that there is no death”
I was so blown away by that chapter and that quote specifically, that I decided to listen to it several times that day. This is my new method for the audio book that I am using right now – one chapter a day, on repeat, letting it sink in deeply.
Again, I’m finding it so helpful in escaping my crazy mind and feeling some peace that I had to write this post. I think it’s an important read for anyone with a brain in their heads.
So unless you’ve been through a complete lobotomy, this book is for you.
The Power of Now Chapters
- “You are not your mind”
- “Consciousness: the way out of pain”
- “Moving deeply into the Now”
- “Mind Strategies for avoiding the Now”
- “The State of Presence”
- “The Inner Body”
- “Portals into the Unmanifested”
- “Enlightened Relationships”
- “Beyond happiness and unhappiness there is peace”
- “The meaning of Surrender”
The Power of Now Quotes
The Power of Now is full of aha-moment worthy quotes. I find myself repeatedly putting the book down or pausing the audio and saying “Oh.. My… God…” more than just about any other book I’ve ever read.
Here are a few of my favorites quotes from The Power of Now:
- “You may win $10 million, but that kind of change is no more than skin deep. You would simply continue to act out the same conditioned patterns in more luxurious surroundings.”
- “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ”die before you die“ — and find that there is no death”
- “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.”
- “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”
- “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness”
- “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now”
- “Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place”
- “You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You can find yourself by coming into the present”
The Power of Now Criticism
While The Power of Now has been a tremendous help to myself and many others, not everyone is happy with the book, the author or it’s message.
Several critical reviews have been written concerning whether or not The Power of Now is actually a sneaky way of spreading Christianity or if it’s just a bastardized version of Buddhism. I don’t really care.
All I can say is that The Power of Now has helped me feel better on several occasions during multiple stages of my life. And for that reason, it’s highly recommended.