Today I finished up Eckhart Tolle’s audiobook The Power of Now finally. Hmmm. What can I say about it? Out of 5 stars I’d probably only give it 3 or 3.5. The reason being that, while it had some interesting information therein such as choosing to consciously take the observer role inside of our own minds to witness our reactive tendencies and emotions without acting on them, its ultimate message about doing away with the ego and any sense of separation or individual identity strikes me not only as unrealistic for most of us but also leaves me wondering if that’s even the healthiest thing for most folks to attempt. To a point, yes, but life seems to call for balance, not simply for us to lose our sense of self so as to avoid pain and conflict.
I get what he was saying about how so much comes down to being a matter of perspective and how our stories of duality have created much of what we consider “good” and “evil” despite these being arbitrary designations. HOWEVER, I continue to believe that there are certain extremes that certainly indeed are evil and can corrupt people to nearly irreparable extents, even if this doesn’t prove universally true to all people who endure such traumas. That’s not an excuse, just an observation. I grasp his idea of trying to separate oneself from what he refers to as the “pain body,” and I see the benefit and need in doing so… Yet still, I’m left disturbed by the idea of letting nothing external affect oneself. That seems like a detachment from life and living in the most human sense.
There is much more to life than simply pleasure, this we know. Surely we will benefit from a change in perception but what he’s encouraging in that book seems like it would numb people off to the enjoyment of pleasure as much as it might reduce the sensation of emotional pain. And this is where Eastern philosophies of old tend to lose me.
It was an interesting book to listen to and I replayed a few parts in it over again to make sure his message could soak in. It’s just not a book I’d likely share with others since I doubt they’d appreciate it much or even know really what to do with his teachings. I’ll take from it what I can and try to carry that forward, but perhaps I like being an individuated person who isn’t interested in avoiding all drama, and perhaps that’s okay too. Maybe that’s a sign that I prefer to remain “unconscious,” as he put it, and so be it if that’s the case. I’m not convinced that all human problems would cease to be if we simply returned (or transcended) ourselves to a state of letting everything roll off our backs. Though I do believe he’s absolutely correct that there does need to be more focus on the here and now and the actions we take today, nevermind the past or whatever plans we might dream about for the future.
The next audiobook I began listening to today is Carl Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul.