Friday, March 14, 2008

The Power of Now

A friend of mine suggested I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I picked it up a while ago and had it there on my bedside stack and finally picked it up recently to read. I am glad I did. It has come at time when I am feeling a number of pressures and this book helps.

The one idea of the book, a very compelling idea, is that the past is not real - it is past and the future isn't real - it hasn't happened yet. The only reality is the present moment and yet we spend almost all our time thinking about either the past or the future and in so doing we never really ARE, never really live. The NOW, the author tells us, does not require thinking and in order to truly live we should control our thinking, our mind, instead of letting it control us. We should become a watcher, separating ourselves from our thoughts, recognising them as part of an unreal creation different from the real being we are. Our being in the now detaches us from suffering, pain, anger and brings peace and joy in life.

I have a little trouble with that subordination of the mind to feeling. I am not a feely sort of person and have a great deal of respect for a keen mind. And yet, and yet, I see the value in this idea. Easier to think about than to practice, though. That's the irony. I think about it but I am not supposed to, I am supposed to feel the present and not think so much.

Eckhart Tolle has other books which I will want to read as well but I want to reread this one first. I have to pay more attention to his practical advice, how to learn that stillness between the past and the future - the presence that removes time and "without time no suffering, no negativity can survive."
I still want to read "Winters Tale" which I read about and posted about a week or so ago. I may get to the bookstore tomorrow.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I must read this

My next book should be this one, based on this review.

A deeply consequential, wonder-filled, grand quest for truth, the book revels in beauty, honor and the silent grace of winter. It has a flying white horse; overpoweringly tender love; breathtaking vistas; swoon-inducing language worthy of Blake, Whitman and, yes, Shakespeare; hard-souled villains; bridges that span time as well as rivers; the most profound and passionate city-as-character construct ever put to paper; hilarity and courage and illumination and memory conjoined; great tragedy and messianic fire and impassible storms and a white cloud wall prophesied to turn pure gold.

Sounds wonderful and I am ready for such a book. I feel I need such a book.

So Winter’s Tale is Harry Potter for grown-ups, C.S. Lewis for agnostics, Tolkien for the fully matriculated, García Márquez for everyone. Equally a man’s book and a woman’s book, a towering achievement most writers would cut off an arm to write, easily the age’s most optimistic serious work, it has the gravitas and the heft of a hydroelectric turbine, rumbling deep in your fundament and shooting magnetized electrons into your ether.

If our civilization survives, we will venerate this beautiful, ringing masterpiece of a novel hundreds of years from now. I dare you, whoever and whatever you are, to read it and not be moved.

I can hardly wait.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)