Sunday, March 16, 2008

Read "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle

I highly recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He is the author of the book Oprah is discussing Monday nights on her special webcast (mentioned in an earlier blog), A NEW EARTH.

The Power of Now is subtitled "A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment," and I'm afraid that will freak out some Christians and numerous others (including atheists). I don't really see that much in the book about spiritual enlightenment. What I see is a discussion about how our egos (with their fear-filled, self-made "life stories") always live in the past or the future in an attempt to keep control of our mind so that it can keep dictating to us what to see, how to feel, and how to interpret and react to whatever happens during the eternal "now" that is our life.

If you have read other self-help books, The Power of Now won't be as difficult to understand as many of the concepts in A NEW EARTH may seem to those who haven't taken a look within and decided that things aren't as tidy or peaceful in there as we would wish. It's eye-opening to read of the many ways in which our ego is out to win at any cost, even at the cost of our internal peace and our external security.

Tolle quotes Jesus numerous times in each of the books, stating what he believes he really meant when he said such-and-such. I don't always agree with Tolle's interpretation of Jesus's words, but I do find his interpretations worthy of consideration and contemplation. I think the church has made some interpretation errors along the way, too, and I'm always reading to see if an alternate interpretation makes better sense than what is usually considered "canon interpretation." My mind is open -- not so open that my brains will fall out and splatter on the floor -- but open enough that I want to explore varying degrees of interpretation and see how it resonates against the Holy Spirit. I trust the Holy Spirit's interpretations, so any AHA moments I have do not violate what He knows to be true.

Anyway, even if you're not in the least spiritual, I think THE POWER OF NOW and A NEW EARTH can take you inside yourself to discover the why and how about all the static and seeming unhappiness or frustration that exists inside, and how to observe your mind and create spaces between thoughts so that your Source (Being, Internal Witness, God, Holy Spirit, intuition, whatever else you choose to call it) can calm you and administer sanity to whatever it is that your mind tells you, almost non-stop, every moment you are awake.

The books say that we are, to all intents and purposes, "unconscious" as long as we let our minds and egos legislate how to see the world and how to behave in it . It's when we relinquish our personal past "stories" and future personal "prophecies"that we can offer enough space to our Internal Witness , so that we can learn to live in the only time truly available to us in which to make things happen: the eternal "now."

How true! It is an on-going combination of "nows" which lead to what we conceptualize as our future. As long as our wounded, self-possessed egos are reaching out to an unmanifested future or reaching back to a now-dead past, we are squandering the only time we have to make a difference, to make a change, to heal our life and the accompanying planetary dysfunction that abounds because of our own egoic "insanity."

Sounds logical enough, eh wot? The books are pretty amazing. They take us along as Tolle breaks down the components inherent in creating our ego's "life story," all of which is based on illusion and internal dialogue created while we are still terribly vulnerable to those around us (our parents, siblings, media, school chums, etc.). Since most of the world's population is "unconscious," we learn unconsciousness from all those around us who are in a position of influence.

But we can also learn consciousness (presence, awareness, clarity) from great spiritual masters from many different regions of the world -- Jesus, Lao Tzu, Buddha, and others. These "enlightened ones," divorced from their egos, lived their "nows" in complete obedience to the law of Love, which is the only power in the universe that is unadulterated and purposefully pure. Not the "love" we see manifested on earth by unconscious, ego-driven folks, but the love displayed by God in creating the universe and everything in it -- including us!

Try the books. Start at the library and see for yourself if these are books you will want to own and share. They would make wonderful "book club" discussions, I think! Psychiatrists and pastors might benefit, too. (It helps to get outside one's own "club and paradigm" and read other perspectives at times... it helps direct additional light and insight to one's own vocation.)

I love reading and learning. I'll never stop!

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