Professor Belli | Spring 2022 | City Tech | ENG 3402: Topics in Literature

the power of now by Eckhart Tolle

  • In the text, THE POWER OF NOW, A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT, Eckhart Tolle claims to have made a discovery, one night, after he had recently turned 29, when he fell into a void within himself while he was suicidal depressed, thinking about not wanting to live anymore and being disgusted with his existence. He had discovered his “Being” – a new identity, inner peace, his own essence, and true self, after he had drawn back from that void. “For the next five months, I lived in a state of uninterrupted deep peace and bliss. After that, it diminished somewhat in intensity, or perhaps it just seemed to because it became my natural state.” (page 5). But he didn’t realize that until years later after spending time with spiritual teachers. “I knew, of course, that something profoundly significant had happened to me, but I didn’t understand it at all. It wasn’t until several years later, after I had read spiritual texts and spent time with spiritual teachers, that I realized that what everybody was looking for had already happened to me.” (page 5). He believes that that “Being” is inside each and everyone and that one needs to hear it to be reminded and realize and confirms that it is true (page 10). On the front matter, he establishes credibility, and credentials and shows his confidence on the effectiveness of the book. For instance, the cover page contains statements such as: “#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER” -New York Times newspaper is known to be credible, one of the top, long-standing and most popular newspapers in the US; “THE POWER OF NOW,” the title – as it insinuates the worth/value of right now, about what can be done today/now even; “A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT” tells us about where it’s going, its focus; “ OVER 2 MILLION COPIES” brags about how interesting or effective the book may be; last but not least, two pages of acclaimed statements about the book from authors, managers, magazines, etc. He also uses an epigraph saying: “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” Eckhart Tolle. He then went ahead and stated a comment about his book, from the successful, one of the wealthiest celebrity/person in the US, “ Its growth accelerated and finally became explosive when Oprah Winfrey, who had been deeply affected by the book, proceeded to tell the world about it” (Tolle, xiv). He talks about psychotherapists who have written to say that “they recommend the book to their patients or incorporate the teachings in their practice.” (Tolle, xiv). In the back of the book, he acknowledges many people for their input into the realization of the book and editing(page 233), and extends his gratitude to a certain Corea Ladner for giving him “space to write and space to be” which he calls the most precious of gifts (page 233); to his parents, spiritual teachers and life. There are many publications/advertisements, such as sites (page 236), many of his talks published on CD and DVD, and that he also gives talks in German and Spanish (Page 236), about five books and audio programs available at New World library as one of the publishing places. Also from the back cover of the book: “It can transform your thinking…. The result? More joy, right now!”— O: The Oprah Magazine. 

    In the introduction of the book the author focuses on what is false in a person, and that one needs to know to make the difference in order to truly be transformed and that is another level of focus on what he calls the profound transformation of human consciousness to free oneself from “enslavement to the mind.” “You are shown how to free yourself from enslavement to the mind, enter into this enlightened state of consciousness and sustain it in everyday life.”  (page 8). He doesn’t describe Being as God as people specifically asked because he felt that the word ‘God” has been misused by religious people and that Being is a more opened concept that can describe his discovery. He won’t call it God but has attributions of God.  The author’s point of view is sounding similar to other religious thinking he criticizes. For example: In Christianity, there is a belief that we seek God through prayers, and when God gives us His Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit ends our continuous conflict within and without by providing us peace within and guiding us to do the right things without, in our surroundings. The author considers enlightenment as our deliverance from enslavement to thinking, whereas Christianity considers the acceptance of Jesus as our deliverance from the bondage of sins. The author tries to break down others’ concept of God in order to bring her own concept of God, stating that God is ‘your own presence’. This is another theory and speculation as he had criticized in the beginning, but this time it is his own theory and speculation. And as mentioned, that Being inside of you and not outside of you, your own essence, as the true you. He explains that enlightenment is not “some superhuman accomplishment” but feeling one with the natural state of being; connect with oneself as a whole and when you don’t feel that connection, you have the illusion that you were separated from yourself in the world which gives rise to fear and conflict with oneself (Page 12). “The work enlightenment… is simply your natural state of felt oneness with me Being.” (Page 12).  To me , he is saying we are own God. His claim: “It is not derived from external sources, but from the one true Source within, so it contains no theory or speculation. I speak from inner experience, and if at times I speak forcefully, it is to cut through heavy layers of mental resistance and to reach that place within you where you already know, just as I know, and where the truth is recognized when it is heard. There is then a feeling of exaltation and heightened aliveness, as something within you says: ‘Yes. I know this is true.’” (page 10).

    He states that the greatest obstacle to experiencing this book’s reality is when one identifies himself with his mind (page 12).




1 Comment

  1. Jill Belli

    Daphney, this is an interesting post that covers a lot of ground — the front matter of the book (and how central this is to setting up the text as an established best seller and advice from an “expert”), the origin story of Tolle that showcases his own personal connection to the teachings (and struggles) he presents, and the discussions around enlightenment / being / spirituality / religion. I’ve chosen this post as this week’s Professor’s Pick … congrats 🙂

    Some tips for revision:

    -I would encourage you to break up some of the long paragraphs even further, each with its own main idea, and a topic sentences that clearly reflects that focus

    – Make sure to cite in MLA style:

    *Please remove the “sticky category” from this post (just go in and “edit” the post, and remove that) — thanks!

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