Showing posts with label Eckhart Tolle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eckhart Tolle. Show all posts

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Power of Now!

"The Power of Now" written by Eckhart Tolle

I would imagine many of you have read this book. It's not new (1997) and it's quite famous and rightly so. A friend lent it to me quite some time ago and as I have large stack of reading-in-process I didn't get to it until our annual trip to Frankfurt, Germany. (I go each year with Padma to display sample reading copies of books published (mostly) by Crystal Clarity Publishers to publishers from other countries.) Fact is I was reading a fascinating book, "Parting the Waters," by Taylor Branch (about Martin Luther King, Jr.) but I left my Kindle in the hotel in Frankfurt. So on the flight home I switched to the POWER OF NOW in actual paper copy which I had brought as a backup!

With minor exceptions I found nothing in Tolle's inspired and wisdom-filled book that didn't resonate with my own understanding and experience of meditation and introspection, and with the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple Swami Kriyananda (which are my life's work to share). I recommend it therefore without reservation. While nothing in it can't also be found in what we practice and share at Ananda, its language and approach may in fact be helpful to anyone.

The Power of Now expresses what is called, in the teachings of yoga, the "path of gyana yoga." Gyana Yoga is frequently associated with philosophy, theology, and cosmology and consequent hair-splitting intellectual analysis and debates. That association is understandable as gyana yoga represents the refraction of our powers of perception onto the goal of ultimate wisdom.

The drawback with traditional scriptural or philosophical studies, comparisons, and debate lies with the inherent limits of the intellect itself. For true gyana yoga has for its focus the dissolution of the ego itself. The intellect, by itself, cannot accomplish this herculean task (though it is proud to try and proudly imagines that by thinking about it, it has succeeded!).

And this is what makes Tolle's book both useful and wise: while necessarily using words as symbols and employing intellectual (philosophical and psychological) concepts, he makes it clear that the fulfillment and happiness we seek as humans lies in a realm beyond and above mere thought. It is the identification of ourselves with our mind (and our emotional reactions to thoughts and sense inputs) that creates a veil between us and "reality."

His suggested meditation exercises are simple and are all but identical to similar meditation exercises taught by Paramhansa Yogananda. He uses terms that are generally not used in the yoga teachings but are clearly recognizable. For example he speaks of the "inner body" or "energy body" when, in yoga, we speak of the astral body or prana. He does reference the term "chi" from the Chinese tradition but he doesn't rely upon it in his explanations. 

Tolle speaks of two basic stages of withdrawal from the domination of the ego-mind: awareness and identity with the inner (astral) body and, then, going beyond that, into perfect stillness or the state which he calls, alternatingly, the Unmanifest or Being. In yoga we would speak of the astral (energy) body and the causal (consciousness or idea) body.

I don't want this article to be a book report so I won't continue further lest I be tempted to cover its key points (which are many and which are excellent). For my purpose is to acknowledge this wonderful spiritual handbook and its practical wisdom.

I would like to share a few statements I found inspiring and helpful, however: 
  1. Time and mind are inseparable. 
  2. The present moment is all you have. 
  3. Unconsciousness is the absence of the observer. 
  4. Time is not precious because it is an illusion. 
  5. The past cannot survive in Your Presence. 
  6. The second coming (of Christ) is the transformation of human consciousness from time to eternity, not the arrival of a person on earth.
  7. Egos are drawn to bigger egos (explaining why enlightened persons are often ignored or unseen)
  8. If only the avatar is an incarnation of God, then who are you?
  9. The (astral) body is an access point into Being.
  10. Would a fish ask, "What is water?"
  11. To be conscious of Being you need to reclaim the consciousness from the mind.
  12. Portals into Being, in addition to the (astral) body include space, silence, cessation of thought, and surrender to what is.
Blessings to you!

Nayaswami Hriman