Reviewed by Maya del Mar
TThe Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. New World Library, Novato, CA. 1999. $21.95.
Eckhart Tolle has become a popular writer and teacherwith good reasonhe emanates the peace that his wisdom has brought to him, and that his teaching can bring to others.
Eckhart Tolle was born and raised in Germany, and spent many years in England. He lives now in Vancouver, Canada. When he was 29 years old, his consciousness changed dramatically. This is Saturn return time, when we "grow up" and find our niche in the world of adults.
He had been despairing and afraid, and suddenly found himself sucked into a void. A voice said, "Resist nothing." He let himself fall into the void, and when he awakened the world was bright and new and beautiful. It took him some years of reading spiritual texts and listening to spiritual teachers before he could understand his experience.
Eckhart came to realize that his intense suffering that night had forced his consciousness to withdraw from its identification with his unhappy self. He realized that that unhappy self is ultimately a fiction of the mind.
This is his teaching: to show us how we can free ourselves from enslavement to the mind, enter into this state of enlightened consciousness, and live with it on a daily level. The result is a deep inner peace.
The book is in the form of questions and answers, and is easy to read. Tolle says that it is a restatement for our times of that one timeless spiritual teachingthe essence of all religions. According to Tolle, it is not derived from external sources, but from the one true Source within, so it contains no theory or speculation. It comes from inner experience.
Here is an example:
I dont agree that the body needs to die. I am convinced that we can achieve physical mortality. We believe in death and thats why the body dies.
The body does not die because you believe in death. The body exists, or seems to, because you believe in death. Body and death are part of the same illusion, created by the egoic mode of consciousness, which has no awareness of the Source of life and sees itself as separate and constantly under threat. So it creates the illusion that you are a body, a dense, physical vehicle that is constantly under threat.
To perceive yourself as a vulnerable body that was born and a little later diesthats the illusion. Body and death: one illusion.You cannot have one without the other. You want to keep one side of the illusion and get rid of the other, but that is impossible. Either you keep all of it or you relinquish all of it.
However, you cannot escape from the body, nor do you have to. The body is an incredible misperception of your true nature. But your true nature is concealed somewhere within that illusion, not outside it, so the body is still the only point of access to it.
If you saw an angel but mistook it for a stone statue, all you would have to do is adjust your vision and look more closely, not start looking somewhere else. You would then find out that there never was a stone statue.
This book is meant to be read with intuition and heart, as much as with mind. It is good, solid spiritual teaching.