Customer Reviews for

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

24 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Here and Now

After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psyc...
After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psychology has made some great contributions to my happiness levels, it's books like "The Power of Now" that come along and let you know there's STILL more you can learn.

A key concept of the book (if I'm explaining it right) is that you will start to experience a certain kind of enlightenment when you learn to leave your analytical mind behind. In other words, instead of "thinking" try just "observing your thinking." And when you do this, you also need to realize that all this "thinking noise" that goes on in your head all day long is not really who you are- an enlightening concept indeed!

To that end, the book is set up in a question and answer format to help you get to understand these kinds of concepts. While it might seem ridiculous to some, it really isn't. Case in point, we all talk to ourselves or have witnessed others talking to themselves at times (maybe during a sporting event perhaps). If you ask someone who they are talking to, they will usually say "I'm talking to myself." And this, by definition, means that there have to be two "selves", an "I" talking to "myself"- and so justifies the idea of two selves (a "you" and a "thinking you" in the book).

Well, if these seem to be the kind of concepts you're ready to explore, this is your book. It raises some good questions and certainly brings up one that you can't argue with: all we have is the here and now. As the book so astutely points out, "Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing ever happened in the future, it will happen in the Now." And learning to live in the now IS the point of the whole book.

posted by 532104 on December 5, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Zen with blather

My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destru...
My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destructive and only compounds the pain. This is one of the fundamental teachings of Zen and is very well expounded by Thich Nhat Hanh in "The Miracle of Mindfulness", and by Dennis Genpo Merzel in his writings and talks. My therapist put it something like this: Most of the time, our thoughts and constant ruminations are junk. Our mind is occupied with reliving painful events, fantasizing about how we should have reacted, fantasizing about how we are going to handle some anticipated event, even being angry about things that haven't happened yet. If we can learn to let go of all that, dwell in the moment, and focus our mind on what we are doing now we are much more productive, happier, and we can appreciate our lives.

By reinforcing this, the CD set was helpful. However, I found Mr. Tolle's diversion into completely unproven theory and psychology to be distracting and sometimes laughable. As a person making who makes his living with technology, I found his explanations of human behavior and instinct as the result of interaction between positive and negative energy fields absurd. He offers no evidence for such tripe. Indeed, when a questioner asked whether he had any scientific evidence for the statement that one's molecular density decreases when practicing mindfulness, his reply was "Try it and you will become the evidence." This answer indicates that there is no evidence and caused me to doubt that Mr. Tolle even knows what scientific evidence is.

I also found his re-interpretations of cherry-picked phrases from various religious texts to reinforce his points tiresome. I doubt that many Islamic or Biblical scholars would agree with his interpretations, and he again gives no other evidence for his view. He pontificates without giving logical justification for his statements.

A colleague suggested that these "energy fields" and "pain bodies" might serve as intellectual aids to the audience. I have to dismiss this idea. People are smart enough to grasp the ideas in the book without such absurd inventions.

What the CD set did for me was give me motivation to begin practicing meditation again. I thank Mr. Tolle for that.

posted by stephen57 on September 26, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Here and Now

    After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psychology has made some great contributions to my happiness levels, it's books like "The Power of Now" that come along and let you know there's STILL more you can learn. <BR/><BR/>A key concept of the book (if I'm explaining it right) is that you will start to experience a certain kind of enlightenment when you learn to leave your analytical mind behind. In other words, instead of "thinking" try just "observing your thinking." And when you do this, you also need to realize that all this "thinking noise" that goes on in your head all day long is not really who you are- an enlightening concept indeed! <BR/><BR/>To that end, the book is set up in a question and answer format to help you get to understand these kinds of concepts. While it might seem ridiculous to some, it really isn't. Case in point, we all talk to ourselves or have witnessed others talking to themselves at times (maybe during a sporting event perhaps). If you ask someone who they are talking to, they will usually say "I'm talking to myself." And this, by definition, means that there have to be two "selves", an "I" talking to "myself"- and so justifies the idea of two selves (a "you" and a "thinking you" in the book). <BR/><BR/>Well, if these seem to be the kind of concepts you're ready to explore, this is your book. It raises some good questions and certainly brings up one that you can't argue with: all we have is the here and now. As the book so astutely points out, "Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing ever happened in the future, it will happen in the Now." And learning to live in the now IS the point of the whole book.

    24 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Is Everything Okay This Fifteen Seconds?

    I wrote "Love From Both Sides," and I thank Tolle and his "The Power of Now" in it because he helped me through an extremely challenging time. My husband died, leaving me $180,000 in debt, no insurance, no retirement, no savings. Nothing. I didn't have a job, and I was 55. But because I read Tolle's book, and kept asking myself the kind of questions he suggests, I made it through a dark time and lived to write a book about it. I'm now a working hypnotherapist, and to help my clients stay centered and calm, I use Tolle's suggestions and always recommend his books. Whatever you can read to calm yourself down these days, and create happiness in your heart not only helps you, but all whom you love. That's what the new scientific research proves.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2008

    Inspirational

    This book is amazing.It is truly moving and thought-provoking.What is absolutely fabulous about it though, is that it talks about every religion and their beliefs and values. So for those skeptics out there,or bashers of Christianity,calm down! It's not all about that.This book just seeks to help relieve stress, find what is truly important,silence the voice in your head that is constantly nagging you and just help you live a better life.It has certainly helped me be able to get over disappointments and stress much faster and easier.Now every little thing in life is truly amazing for what it is.It helped me let go of the ego and just be.'Ego' is also Latin for 'I,' funnily enough.But it is a false I,and we must not concern ourselves with this imposter.My life has vastly improved and there is much need for that,especially in the times during which we are living. The world is in bad need of a reality check.I highly recommend this book, but when reading it please keep an open mind and let Tolle take you on an amazing journey,and really do the meditations, just sit, think,calm down and let revelation wash over you.It is a truly amazing feeling, this liberation.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    Zen with blather

    My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destructive and only compounds the pain. This is one of the fundamental teachings of Zen and is very well expounded by Thich Nhat Hanh in "The Miracle of Mindfulness", and by Dennis Genpo Merzel in his writings and talks. My therapist put it something like this: Most of the time, our thoughts and constant ruminations are junk. Our mind is occupied with reliving painful events, fantasizing about how we should have reacted, fantasizing about how we are going to handle some anticipated event, even being angry about things that haven't happened yet. If we can learn to let go of all that, dwell in the moment, and focus our mind on what we are doing now we are much more productive, happier, and we can appreciate our lives.

    By reinforcing this, the CD set was helpful. However, I found Mr. Tolle's diversion into completely unproven theory and psychology to be distracting and sometimes laughable. As a person making who makes his living with technology, I found his explanations of human behavior and instinct as the result of interaction between positive and negative energy fields absurd. He offers no evidence for such tripe. Indeed, when a questioner asked whether he had any scientific evidence for the statement that one's molecular density decreases when practicing mindfulness, his reply was "Try it and you will become the evidence." This answer indicates that there is no evidence and caused me to doubt that Mr. Tolle even knows what scientific evidence is.

    I also found his re-interpretations of cherry-picked phrases from various religious texts to reinforce his points tiresome. I doubt that many Islamic or Biblical scholars would agree with his interpretations, and he again gives no other evidence for his view. He pontificates without giving logical justification for his statements.

    A colleague suggested that these "energy fields" and "pain bodies" might serve as intellectual aids to the audience. I have to dismiss this idea. People are smart enough to grasp the ideas in the book without such absurd inventions.

    What the CD set did for me was give me motivation to begin practicing meditation again. I thank Mr. Tolle for that.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Effectively life changing and motivating for beginners

    When we read religious or spritual books they are generally loaded with jargon of difficult to understand words that only an advanced student of the subject can follow. What does an ordinary beginner understand by the words or phrases like say 'consciousness', ' I am that' etc. She/He finds that such reading material is a good sleeping pill. In "The Power of Now" Echhart Tolle has simplified all this jargon. He speaks in a modern and simple language that can be understood by all. One can easily practise what he has lucidly explained in the book. While all ancient scriptures are, indeed, the source of all the spirituality, to make it understandable is a momentous task which Echhart Tolle has very effectively done.
    The book is in Question & Answer form. This will help a beginner to take maximum benifit from the book. I salute Echhart Tolle for giving such a classic book.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Muddy and Condescending

    This book was recommended by an acquaintance as being very enlightening. What I awakened to about a third of the way in was the lack of organization, clarity of thought, and utter annoyance at being talked down to. I count this among the poorest pieces on the subject of awareness that I have read in many years and can't really recommend it on any grounds. Better to read D. T. Suzuki or even a book like "Illusions" by Bach.

    8 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This audiobook is the best resource for spirituality -aside from spending a month in an ashram

    I became aquainted with Eckhart Tolle when I participated in Oprah's series on A New Earth. I purchased the paperback book and studied it along with 100,000 others around the world. A year later I borrowed the audiobook - A New Earth- from the public library and devoured the content again. I was impressed with Tolle's humility and he seemed to have the peace that I was seeking. I remember Oprah saying that she chose to read A New Earth because she had spend hours reading and re-reading The Power of Now - Tolle's earlier book. I have now borrowed The Power of Now - audiobook version-read by the author - so many times from the public library and renewed it each time - that I thought it was time to purchase my own copy. This book opens the NOW to me every time I listen and makes me feel that I have stepped into a peaceful ashram with Eckhart Tolle as the presiding spiritual leasder.
    The question and answer format is very helpful even with repeated listening. The questions are exactly those I would pose. And the no-nonsense answers quiet my ambitious mind which is constantly trying to "figure it all out". Then I am able to slip into "the now" whenever I choose. I can see that making "the NOW" my home base is essential and Eckhart Tolle effectively teaches us how and why to "hang out" in the present.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2010

    Excellent and life altering

    Words cannot begin to describe the life altering change that this book causes in one's life. Spectacular!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    NOW I get it!

    It's the simplest thing in the world, and that's why it seems so difficult. How ironic! Eckhart Tolle's The Power of NOW is the best book I've ever read. It's the only book that made a positive difference in my"self" and my life situation. After so many years of suffering, I found peace and joy. My pain-body is practically gone - in fact, all pain is practically gone from my body and my life. The chapter on surrender contains the most powerful words I've ever read. Thank goodness I practiced Tolle's advice when I was on the edge of disaster. The positive result felt like a true miracle. This book is miraculous - a life changing, even life saving, book!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2004

    THIS BOOK TRANSCENDS THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON!

    I don't care who you are or who you think you are . . . you need to read this book! Everyone I know who has read this book is now BEAMING with energy for life as well as myself. It is infectious and you start to realize that negativity in every aspect of your life and those around you simply fades away. Incredibly powerful, life changing book. There are way too freeking many 5 star ratings on this page to sit on what you've just read! -Andrew

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    Epiphanies

    Although this was a very hard read for me I intend to read it several more times hopefully grasping concepts I missed the first time through. I've had one epiphany after another reading this book. This is not a book you can read at one sitting. I found I had to put it down often because my brain was sore, but always picked it up when I wanted to feel peaceful. I recommend this book to anyone willing to put in the time and effort required.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2008

    He's right

    I already knew everything in this book, but because of that it is an awesome reminder. As a practitioner of Zen I have read many Zen books, and I can say that this book is closer to Zen than any Zen book I have yet read. Tolle provides information in which I had to discover on my own such as the energy body felt through the physical body -which is not mysticism BTW. On top of that there are so much more he gives mention to that I stumble upon on my own - facts I failed to find anywhere else.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2008

    A LIfe Changing Read

    As someone who has read many self-help books and taken a very long journey down the road of self-discovery / inner peace....I have to say that this book resonated immensely with me. I had so many moments of complete understanding and realization. It just spoke to everything I have experienced and struggled to understand about myself, my background, my behavior, reactions etc. I was blown away.....there was a powerful perspective I had never been able to fully grasp before. Those moments of clarity in my life that I rarely had? Those moments of peace were a higher consciousness breaking through....an awareness connected but separate from the idea of self (the mind) Perhaps this book will not resonated with everyone. As someone who has struggled and fallen victim to his own negative thoughts and suffered immensely as a result....it brought it all together for me. Made sense out of the madness. How the mind can feed on itself and create misery and suffering. For people like me this understanding of self as NOT SELF....as OTHER.....is life changing. Western approaches of Therapy such as Congnitive Therapy are life changing and can be VERY effective at getting one to question one's mind....one's thoughts....to reason through them. Which in essence is like becoming the watcher. But they do not question the overall concept of identity....of self. The ego. The mind as separate from self. Then reasons don't matter....it is the same solution to all thoughts, all phobias etc. The mind is the disease...not any specific thought. So the solution is always the same.....stay present. Stay NOW. I am so grateful the Mr. Tolle had the calling to write and publish this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    Reading it for the 2nd time

    This book is phenominal for those looking for true change and personal liberty. Using non-biased, non-denominatinal footings for the foundation of this book, Tolle clarifies what we already know deep within. This book is enlightening and liberatng. I myself struggle with pain of the past and anxieties of future unknowns. "The Power of Now" has shown me how to heal from the past, embrace the future while enjoying and loving every moment that I experience right now. Tolle has taught me the true powers of resistance and acceptance. Life is what it is and I must decide what I will make of my life.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2010

    Interesting

    This is a great book for quieting the mind of unnecessary past or future thoughts. Some points are extreme and outrageous but for the most part it is a great book. Can be used to get rid of anxiety, worry, paranoia, depression, anger, and more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    AWESOME

    This book is life changing. I literally stopped reading every few pages and found myself saying aloud, "WOW!"

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    fantastic!

    life changing!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Everybody should read this book!!

    This book is an eye opener into yourself. Mainly your enter self. My eyes are open to why I may behave a certain in any given situation, and that's a wonderful feeling. It's a feeling of being alive, knowing why you do what you do. I own the 3DVD set and I listen to it just about everyday at work. I feel more and more alive everyday.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2005

    Review of The Power of Now

    Review of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. 1999. ISBN: 1- 57731-480-8. Paperback, 235 pages. The Power of Now has been a #1 New York Times bestseller. An endorsement by Oprah Winfrey helped to increase sales, and over two million copies have been sold. The author, Eckhart Tolle, was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. He does not claim to be a member of any specific religion. He uses principles from Christianity and Buddhism, A Coarse in Miracles and The Bible. Tolle¿s message of the entire book appears in the title. The book is divided into ten chapters, plus the introduction. Tolle uses a question/answer format to anticipate reader reactions. From the beginning, Ekhart Tolle assures the readers that ¿You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!¿ In chapter 1, Tolle states that ¿you are not your mind¿ and that the greatest obstacle to enlightenment is the mind. He claims that identifying with what¿s on our mind creates a barrier due to labels, images, and judgments that cross our consciousness. Tolle tells the reader to remember that ¿you are one with all this is.¿ In reference to this oneness, Tolle says that the mental movies complete with inner-voice soundtrack is a ¿result of all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mind-set you inherited.¿ Tolle encourages the reader to be in the here and now, to be alert and aware but not thinking, just like in meditation. He states that success with this practice can be measured by the degree of ¿peace that you feel within.¿ In order to achieve enlightenment, Tolle tells the reader to ¿rise above thought.¿ Simply ¿say yes to life, and see how life suddenly starts working.¿ In chapter 2, Tolle tells the reader how to recognize the ego, which feeds on external things, such as possessions and social status. Tolle ends the chapter by giving the reader a riddle: ¿Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret to life is to die before you die, and find that there is no death.¿ The book cover states, ¿Tolle uses simple language.¿ The language may be simple, but the concept about the secret to life is complex. In other chapters, the principles are obvious: ¿The more you are focused on time, past and future, the more you miss the now.¿ Tolle gives the reader a powerful lesson on time: ¿Any lesson from the past becomes relevant and is applied now. Any planning as well as working toward achieving a particular goal is done now.¿ His book is a dichotomy of his beliefs: He tells readers to pause between chapters to mull over the concepts while telling us that our troubles arise because we think too much. He says we analyze too much, then tells us in chapter 4: ¿Make it a habit to monitor your mental-emotional state through self-observation.¿ Isn¿t that analyzing? Chapter 8 could cause controversy. Tolle says that ¿women are closer to enlightenment¿ than men because ¿it is easier for a woman to feel and be in her body.¿ Tolle dares to explore the menstrual cycles as painful due to the collective consciouness of being subjugated and exploited by men. Furthermore, Tolle states:¿The number of women who are now approaching the fully conscious state already exceeds that of men.¿ How is that measured? Many books are written about the power of the present (versus reflecting on the past and/or planning for the future) about embracing the journey (versus focusing on the destination) and about enjoying the process (versus focusing on the product.) O: The Oprah Magazine endorses that this book can ¿transform your thinking¿ bringing the reader ¿more joy, right now.¿ The point is made in the title: The Power of Now.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    It's OK

    Bless his heart but Mr. Toile has never been in a hectic household with a spouse, kids, stepkids, animals, STRESSFUL JOB etc. His books are great if you live on a mountain top or you're by yourself. There needs to be a book called THE POWER OF NOW FOR REAL LIFE.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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