This book has a variety of concepts, from love-joy TO death-surrender and forgiveness, but perhaps its main idea is that the present is such a little gap of time. Hence, it should be easy to live and enjoy it. Tolle in an interview in June 2019, made a comparison between the heartbeats and the thinking; “They both happen automatically, you are not in control of your thoughts.” The Power of Now seems to have a content that is the opposite to the Secret of Rhonda Byrne.
The statements that grabbed my attention while reading the Power of Now were:
On page 17, the author mentions the fact that “virtually everyone hears a voice” and yes, I have experienced so. I never asked anyone whether they also heard voices, because usually hearing voices has a negative connotation (being mentally sick). I am so glad that Tolle brought it up. He says that the voice belongs to one’s conditioned mind, which is the result of one’s history and the inherited collective cultural mindset (environment influence).
On page 22, Tolle brought up the “addiction to thinking” I declare myself guilty of this. Not having something to think about actually gives me anxiety. I mean having my mind in blank gives me anxiety. It is because while the mind is blank time is still ticking off and there is a million of things to do. So, rather than putting my mind in blank, I start addressing those “million things to do” list. However, I do put my mind in blank when I turn the music up =). In page 49, Tolle makes reference to the fact that everything functions directly proportional to time. He gave the example that without time; long and short terms goals wouldn’t even make sense. He recommends using time wisely. I fully agree.
Another concept very intriguing was on page 23, the ego. Allegedly our ego is eager to talk first and that he only focus on either the past or the future. Moreover, the ego is “vulnerable and insecure. Hence it sees itself under constant threat.” page 44. I believe that the ego makes a person reactive. Once I learnt in psychology that when someone is told something and he/she reacts by laughing (mockery), it is because her/his brain is intentionally avoiding the processing of information giving chance to the ego to react by laughing.
It was good to learn the meaning and root of the word emotion, that comes from the lati emovere, which means “to disturb” this certainly makes sense because emotions do distract us. Page 29.
I do agree that emotional cravings like being needy/clingy are born of the need to fulfill certain emotional holes in ourselves. And yes, that any emotion or feeling can turn from one side of the spectrum to the other (“negative and positive polarities are faces of the same coin”) E.g., passing from pleasure to pain in a relationship as indicate on page 32. Then on page 148, Tolle complement the definition of polarity, by saying that it is not possible to have only one side of the coin. I personally think that it is easier to recognize the bad side than the good side, that’s probably why people pick faster on something bad that one does and easily ignore all the good deed one did.
On page 46, Tolle indicates that “the secret to life is to “die before you die”.” This is like a conundrum, and I thought it meant that we should live everyday as if it were the last therefore, we will be ready when death do come to us. But Tolle explained on page 196 that meditating deeply about the mortality of our physical forms is what is called “die before you die.”
On page 64, I concur with Tolle “all problems are illusion of the mind” Most people drown themselves in a glass of water. On page 74, Toller points out that in dealing with life challenges; a conscious person is likely to become more conscious and successfully resolve the challenge. Sadly, a lot of people do not get to this level, they are stuck fighting their own self (drowning in the glass of water).
Each of us have a “purpose/mission”, pages 88 and 202 “Everybody we cross paths with will be affected either negatively or positively by our presence.”
On page 152, Tolle brings up an opinion that I will call controversial, Nevertheless, I fully support it “you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain.” I find this statement to be true I always thought about it, but I didn’t dare to say because it sounds mean (you never know how someone is going to take it regardless that you carefully chose your words).
Furthermore, in the topic of pain, Tolle says: “we are trying to escape from the present, because we are actually trying to escape our pain.” We try to escape our present because we hope that there is some sort of salvation in the future. By thinking about the future, we may not be fully enjoying the little gap of time called “the present” Page 153.
I fully disagree with what the author says on page 172, “ we as individuals are not complete, we are one-half of the whole.” I find this statement objectionable. It almost made me stop reading the book. I agree that some people are perhaps not even the half of what a decent human is supposed to be. But at the highest of our abilities. I believe we each are a whole. And when it comes to man and woman being in a relationship, I prefer to say that each of them is a whole, because saying that we are a half put us in a mindset that we can never be fully happy by ourselves, because allegedly we individually are incomplete (a half).
On page 174, Tolle wrote “if you cannot be at ease with yourself when you are alone, then such unease will reappear some way or another when you are in a relationship, and you will likely hold your partner responsible for it.” This is so true. Indeed, many of the reasons why couples fight is because they each as individuals have issues of their own and just because they are in a relationship, they sort of automatically blame on one another for it.
Failure, loss, pain illness, had been greatest teachers for some people. Page 177. This works on people who already have kindness/empathy/humbleness in their heart, because for people who do not have kindness/empathy/humbleness in their hearts, failure, loss, pain illness, will trigger their worst selves (revenge/violence/apathy). These 2 different outcomes are an example of the 2 sides of the same coin. You can not separate them and unfortunately every and absolutely everything has at least 2 sides (DUAL NATURE) and consequently at least 2 different outcomes. Moreover, as said on page 186, even happiness comes with unhappiness. Everything has an inseparable opposite [Tolle quoted this from the Buddha].
On page 194, he quoted something that Jesus said: “turn the other cheek.” Tolle called this phrase an “enlightenment teacher”. I agree because this phrase is meant to teach humbleness. Of course, most people living nowadays do not think this way (they did not get the memo). Because they do all the opposite when being provoked/attacked, these people are are so quick to reply (anger issues) without realizing that replying makes the aggressor more furious, and the situations worsens ending many times in fatalities. I know that certain situations call for self-defense but most of the time is just anger issues that make people react so quick and poorly. It would be better for these people to practice what Tolle calls, the “actionless activity” (page 215). Doing nothing will likely bring better outcomes than reacting angrily . Indeed, many people ruin their lives because they reacted so quickly without thinking and caused harm to others. Purportedly “actionless activity “ was regarded as the highest achievements or virtues at some point of history in China (page 215).
“Only those who have transcended the world can bring about a better world.” (page 201).“True change happens within not without” (page 203). I believe he is referring that changing our mindset comes first and that we should not blame our downfalls to external factors. On page 218. Tolle wrote that “we are the problem” this seems to complement the above referenced quotation “true changes happen within.”
Chapter 10, the power of surrender was intriguing, because I think it is hard to find a middle point to “conform” I mean there are things that one must accept no matter what, and others we must actually push ourselves to change them. According to Tolle “surrender is the simple wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.” Page 205, by flow of life I think Tolle means the now, and to enjoy the present, it requires some degree of conformism] (to be happy with what you have now). Letting go of resistance, page 210, goes hand on hand with the motto : “sometimes holding onto something harms more than letting it go.”
The example of the stoic Greek philosopher, on page 220, who replied: “I knew he was not immortal.” when told that his son died is perplexing . He offered no resistance, he accepted something that cannot be changed. I find this example interesting because I always thought that occasionally crying is a positive way of releasing the anguish. Resisting the pain is mentally toxic, one must let it out by crying.
The power to choose on page 226, explains that for a choice to happen there has to be a high degree of consciousness. And on page 228 Tolle talks about forgiveness, that true forgiveness requires compassion for you and the others and that forgiveness only happens when you really leave the past behind.