The book, “The Power of Now” and I have much more of a history than simply my reading of it from October through December. The book was at the height of its popularity between 2008 and 2011. It seemed everyone who knew me told me I “had to read it” from that point on. Those that really know me (which now includes all of you I guess) knows that’s the best way to get me not to do something. (If I can just spend a minute on this, most told me I needed to read it because I was talking to them about being in the moment, being Zen, or mindfulness. Since this is what the book is about, and I’m already discussing those topics with you, what makes you think I know need more knowledge on the subject? That alone makes me less likely to read it).
I’ll admit it was my own arrogance (feeling I already understood the topics covered in the book) that kept me from reading it (along with a healthy dose of rebellion against what everyone else was doing, seeing it as a pop culture way of covering the topics which was beneath me, because I’ve already read so much about it). And I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve made this mistake previously (see “Buddha’s Brain”), and I’ll likely make it again.
Because of the overwhelming amount of recommendations, several times I perused the book in the bookstore. Each time I found a reason not to buy it: he begins with a Zen story I’ve heard / read many a time; it is written in question answer format, and I hate that; what I am reading I’ve read before, I already know this stuff. It wasn’t until a generous former client donated a bunch of self-help books with an Eastern slant, which included his copy of “The Power of Now” that I finally began it and committed to at least reading the first few chapters.
Then, like with Buddha’s Brain, I instantly fell in love with the book. I highly recommend it as a follow up to Buddha’s Brain, and believe it also furthers one along the path of awakening. I actually felt like I was more centered and conscious and peaceful while reading it, as if my consciousness shifted. I asked a colleague who had read it years ago, and she said she had felt similar. My daughter, however, did not experience this shift. That brings me to some of the drawbacks.
I bought the book for my daughter, because she is an avid reader, and she also seems to be seeking enlightenment. She was not fond of it at all. In fact, we had nearly opposite reactions, though the central point was the same. We both found the author, Eckhart Tolle, a bit arrogant or condescending, or something that irritated us. I shared with my daughter that I have this weird desire to want to try to piss Eckhart off. She shared with me the author of “10% Happier” felt similarly. She seemed to really dislike the first half of the book, and I felt the first half was the best half. In fact, I was a born again “Power of Now” evangelist for the first month of reading it (I read it slow, reading a few pages a day, most days).
My daughter read it faster, and upon finishing it, felt it was a decent book (she didn’t rate it on Goodreads, and I rated it 5 of 5). As I drew to finishing it I found it a bit repetitive, and found some of his Jesus analogies reaching (and cemented in his belief he seems to have the correct interpretation of The New Testament). But his reinterpretation of biblical quotes wasn’t overwhelming, even to this atheist.
To conclude, I believe “The Power of Now” to be an excellent book for those seeking serenity and awakening. There are a few drawbacks, but the exercises and insight much more than compensates. I would still rank “Buddha’s Brain” higher, but it is definitely worth a slow read.