Saturday, 5 July 2014

[Book] The Power of Now

I would like to recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a journey of seeking greater joy and calmness in peace of mind. Please do not be repelled by the words "spiritual enlightenment"; there is no promotion of any one religion. It holistically encompasses the basic message from all spiritual (for lack of a better word) teachings. The key message, as indicated by the title, is to embrace the "here and now", as there is no past or future that can ever be within your control. All we have power over, is the single current moment. Once you fully accept this fact, you can then embark on a journey toward full surrender to life, and see how small the single human ego is compared to the rest of the world. 
This book has given me so many insights that I have written about in this blog over the past two weeks, so if you like what I have been writing so far, do give this a try =)

Note though, that although Eckhart Tolle's words are simple, the messages behind every line is deep. Please do not just take his words at face value; do ponder over what he says. This is not some textbook that you can memorize and then put aside. Everything covered here takes much practice and understanding. It may be hard to understand or grasp the messages at first (it takes most people several years), but please do not lose heart. Enlightenment does not come easy, and is almost always sudden, spurred by some random event or deep trauma. But once you are enlightened, you will understand what his words truly mean. You will feel such a sense of wonder and amazement, you won't see the world the same way again.
If you would like to discuss some of the concepts, you know where to find me! In the meantime, I will continue to paraphrase his (and others') teachings with my own words and examples. I hope my efforts will be able to help. Don't hurry the process though, it's all about the journey, not the end goal. I myself discover something new every single day! Indeed, there is something to learn in every event in life, if you open your heart to it.

Just to quote a passage from Chapter 9 of the book:
"Do you know the story of Banzan? Before he became a great Zen master, he spent many years in the pursuit of enlightenment, but it eluded him. Then one day, as he was walking in the marketplace, he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer. “Give me the best piece of meat you have,” said the customer. And the butcher replied, “Every piece of meat I have is the best. There is no piece of meat here that is not the best.” Upon hearing this, Banzan became enlightened. 

I can see you are waiting for some explanation. When you accept what is, every piece of meat — every moment — is the best. That is enlightenment."


  1. Is accepting every moment to be the best a wise thing? Perhaps the more we know pain, in all it’s varying flavors, the more we can appreciate the sensations and the feelings that we like. It’s the nature of contrast. If we never felt bitterness or anger, then we wouldn’t deeply appreciate our happiness. And if we never knew fear, then we couldn’t admire courage. So, maybe to fully enjoy the beauty in our lives, we must fully acknowledge and embrace the painful moments

  2. I can see your point about how contrasting feelings can let us appreciate the 'good' feelings better, but the question is, do you truly need to experience pain to understand pleasure? For example, do you only laugh at a good joke because you had heard a bad one before? Or do you laugh at a joke anyway because it is funny? Likewise, does a baby laugh when tickled because it has been spanked before, or does it laugh because it is happy?
    While pain lets us appreciate happiness more, it is not the reason why we may feel happy. It is true though that as humans, we do take good things for granted, things that make us happy, and only when we lose them (and feel pain), do we fully appreciate and enjoy them when they return. However, if you practice gratefulness and treat each moment in life as a miracle that is a gift and full of wonder, why do you need pain to remind you of the joys in life?
    Eckhart Tolle and I are not advocating the total elimination of pain. That is not possible, and unrealistic, because to feel is only human.
    But to be controlled by your emotions is not wise, don't you agree? When you react according to your emotions (and that's usually an unconscious, instinctive reaction), don't you often regret it afterward? Pain can allow you to be aware of what's 'wrong' or sub-optimal in your life, so that you can take the necessary action (with a calm mind). But if you let your pain occupy your mind such that you remain living in the past without seeing the present (ie. what is TRULY going on?), it hinders progress, does it not? Why not accept that you feel pain and acknowledge the source of the pain, and do something about it? This is surrendering to the moment -- not letting the past define you, and accepting that the present moment is all you have to live your life in the way you consciously choose. This is what I mean by accepting every moment to be the best. Because the past is just an illusion that you can hold on to, but no longer exists.
    Have you read my other posts, especially the one about letting go? There is more explanation there.

  3. Also, why is there a need for comparison? By thinking that not every moment is the best (I'm not saying that it is), and always thinking there might be something better, isn't the dissatisfaction another form of pain? Even if the current moment brings you suffering, you have the choice to rise above it, and accept that this is the best you have now (because that's the reality), but you can do something about it yet not be tied down by the suffering. Note that the will to improve your life situation and dissatisfaction can be two different things, but often mixed together as one. Even if life wasn't giving you suffering, you can still strive to improve your life situation, because you have the ability to, but accept that this moment is what you have now, instead of being limited by your expectations and desires for something better in the future, which stops you from enjoying the moment. And I say 'limited' because you really cannot control the future, it is unpredictable, so just accept what is, and what happens. When you do that, you will be better equipped to tune your actions according to what's real, instead of what's happening (or supposed to happen) in your head. Please also read the previous post on expectations.