Book Review: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Most of the tenets of this book I agreed with. The main reason I gave it two stars (out of five) is because of the question and answer format, which had a condescending and pedantic tone. Who is the questioner supposed to represent, the reader? Nuh-uh. The advice, though, is sound, but there are far better resources, even some free ones online, that can give you the same experience without the faux-Socratic bleating.

Tolle gets it wrong when he uses nature and animal analogies. Animals and insects, plants and trees actually have a very fine-tuned sense of time and some of them are better timekeepers than humans. In fact, nature is a constant reminder of what Tolle calls clock time. And while I'm debunking I have to say that, sadly yes, I have known a cat that could not relax. 

Whenever I read a book like this I try to find some aspect or lesson that I can take from it. And for this book I think it is that we do become quite infatuated with the dramas we create for ourselves, and even when those stories no longer exist yet are actively destroying our lives, we cling to them, because we believe they are our identity. Recognizing this can go a long way to releasing the burden of a bad past informing a bleak future. 

As an added note, in all fairness. This book was published in 1997, before mindfulness became mainstream. If this was the first, or only, book on the subject I had ever read, I would probably have given it a higher rating.