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Book Review: A soul search for modern spirituality

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Jakarta  /  Fri, October 7, 2016  /  02:13 pm
Book Review: A soul search for modern spirituality

With high-profile celebrity endorsements from the likes of Meg Ryan, Paris Hilton, Annie Lennox and Katy Perry, it’s easy to see why The Power of Now (and Tolle’s subsequent work) has enjoyed such phenomenal success. (Shutterstock/*)

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

It’s easy to dismiss self-help books as flash-in-the-pan, New Age claptrap; but sometimes books of this ilk just make sense. And when they make sense to a lot of different people, one has to consider that, just perhaps, they might be onto something.

German-Canadian writer Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now is no overnight success. It’s been around for the best part of 20 years. It’s come a long way since Tolle first came to prominence, and both the book and his personal popularity have continued to surge ever since (thanks Oprah!). In 2011, the Watkins Review even put him at number 1 in a list of "The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People".

Described as the “right book” for many people at this point in time, The Power of Now seems to have a profound effect on those looking for meaning and inspiration in an increasingly connected, confused, and consumerist world. But what is it that makes the book so compelling?

Although an innately spiritual book, it’s not an overtly religious text. Having said that, its source material draws heavily from Eastern (Buddhist) philosophies and teachings. But it is that fact that it is firmly grounded in the reality of everyday Western experience that makes it so accessible. While other New Age writers have been quick to criticize Tolle’s alleged cultural appropriation, for his North American and European readers, it appears to be a blessing.

(Read also: Books to read whether you’re young or not)

The book begins by setting out Tolle’s personal account of his own existential struggles and personal “lightbulb” moment, while subsequent chapters explore the importance of living in the moment, exercising awareness of emotional baggage and addressing anxieties about the future. While the chapter titles themselves can verge on the incongruous (Chapter 2 — Consciousness: The Way Out of Pain), many readers applaud The Power of Now’s overall style. Despite being a soul-search for modern spirituality, the way it’s written is clear and easy to understand. Tolle’s question and answer format is simple to follow.

With high-profile celebrity endorsements from the likes of Meg Ryan, Paris Hilton, Annie Lennox and Katy Perry, it’s easy to see why The Power of Now (and Tolle’s subsequent work) has enjoyed such phenomenal success. But hype aside, the book’s essential message of achieving personal fulfillment and seizing the day is something that, quite honestly, we could all sometimes use some advice on. (kes)

Click here to read this book.

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Title: The Power of Now

Author: Eckhart Tolle

Published: 2004

Publisher: New World Library

Reviewed by: Dave Barton

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.