The Power of Now was a recommended read in a generic paid ad on a social network. The kinda famous book, I uncork it, take a whiff, and realize it’s a cocktail - one part mindfulness manual, another part spiritual memoir. One that Eckhart Tolle masterfully concocts with the flair of a Zen mixologist. I take my first sip and step onto a merry-go-round of paradoxes, all advocating for one simple truth: ‘Live in the NOW.’
Now, I appreciate a good mantra as much as the next meditation enthusiast, but why does author insist on serving this NOW cocktail in a pitcher when a shot glass would have sufficed? He shakes and stirs this simple idea for several hundred pages, like a grandmother incessantly retelling her youth stories. Note to self: Patience might be a hidden virtue here.
Red Pill of Reality
As a self-professed lab rat who values empirical evidence, I find the book’s concoction, well… less than palatable. His recipe? Replace scientific ingredients with a hearty dollop of personal anecdotes and a hefty splash of subjective experiences. Intimate and flavorful? Absolutely. But as a scientific mainstay, it crumbles quicker than a cookie in milk.
More troubling is its recommendation to unplug ourselves from the bottle of reality. Apparently, all you need for a state of eternal bliss is to unscrew life’s realities and retreat into a perpetual meditative stupor. But isn’t that akin to becoming a mindfulness hermit? His offering tastes more like a mandatory life sentence in Siberia.
Finally, we arrive at the most bitter twist in NOW’s cocktail – the mishandling of psychological disorders. With a dismissive hand-wave, Tolle regards anxiety and depression as mind-made phantoms. I cringe more than a cat confronted with a cucumber. As a staunch believer in mental health, I can’t swallow this.
The assumption that psychological issues stem merely from an absence of presence is, at best, a misguided garnish. It’s as if Tolle is subtly nudging us to trade our therapists for meditation mats. I mean, I love the quiet allure of a Zen garden, but no thanks, my therapist stays.
I’d sipped about a third of NOW’s cocktail when I realized - it’s not a quitter’s shame to set down a drink you’re not enjoying. If the cocktail’s not to your taste, why force down the rest? Ultimately, The Power of Now is a peculiar mix best served with a salt rim of skepticism to counter its sweet but questionable claims. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to hunt for a more scientifically grounded (like level 1) read. Cheers!