Life Coach Magazine

The Power of Now

By Xrematon @EleanorCooksey
The Power of Now

The above photo is from today. It’s been endlessly wet; a day which encourages staying inside, both physically and emotionally. A time for introspection.

And I took the hint – I have been reading the below glowing volume – on personal recommendation of course. I thought, as someone who is now probably officially middle-aged (assuming the marker is having all your children at secondary school), I should know what are my guiding principles for living life are – my wisdom from having been through a number of important milestones etc etc.

The Power of Now

So I had high expectations of what this little blue book might offer to aid me in this quest. But I also had a high benchmark as I have already got a mish mash of ‘helpful pointers’ for keeping me on the straight and narrow and positive. Unlike The Power of Now, which draws upon Christianity and Buddhism extensively (but interestingly nothing from Islam….), my pointers are derived from the Classical world.

There are the ‘sayings from the Delphic oracle: ‘Nothing in excess’ (enjoy things but don’t let the enjoyment take over from the fun); ‘Know thyself’ (work out what makes you tick and how to go with that). Then there’s the handy little phrase from one of Horace’s Odes ‘Carpe diem’ (make the most of what’ve you got and don’t let what’s present here and now escape you’. To that collection, I would a learning from coaching – the valuable exercise of ‘reframing’ (being able to put a thing or situation in perspective and thus not get overly bothered by it).

So how does The Power of Now compare? I must confess not well. For a start, I have some basic quibbles and frustrations with the peddling of pseudo-scientific concepts which, at times, are faintly ridiculous: a rock has consciousness; thinking yourself into stopping the aging process and other such gems.

But I have more ‘problems’ with the introduction of various terms which I struggle to understand: there is the mind, thoughts, the ego, nonreactive non-doing, being, surrender, acceptance and yielding. It’s all very intoxicating language; the sort that you want to write down to keep on an inspirational post-it note and keep by your desk, but I struggled as I wanted to rationally understand what this all meant and that would mean thinking about tangible examples, of which there are very few – The Power of Now is all quite abstract.

The author talks about someone who seems to repeatedly end up in abusive relationships and describes this in terms of the individual being trapped by the patterns and habits of their pain-body built up from past experiences. But what if they were accepting these relationships and living in the Now of them and not identifying with any pain – as we are told to do through out the book – how does that work? To be fair, the author does not propose that we should dwell/accept the negative but the only support given is to take responsibility for your life. Okay but what exactly does that mean?

And there are some ideas about which I would go further and say that I disagree. For example, we are encouraged to be free from the pain of craving but I would challenge and reframe this. To me, craving is the positive anticipation of an experience which I know will be bring me pleasure – I believe I am right to look forward to it as it increases the positive halo of the experience and then I must intentionally savour the experience when it happens. To be clear, I am talking about quite basic things, such as going for a swim, eating some cake, watching a good film with my family. These things make me happy – it’s that simple.

In other parts of the book, the author talks about how humans today need to take action as we are building up so much ‘bad stuff’ (I paraphrase crudely) including creating ugly spaces such as industrial wastelands. Again, what if we looked again, and saw that there is actually bright and resourceful nature to be found in such a spot – and thus beauty to admire and ingenuity to marvel at. And sometimes there even can be a kind of bleak aesthetic to appreciate in these spaces – the shapes that are created, the potential they can offer– of what they make possible. Dungeness power station is pretty cool.

But there are some perspectives I can agree with. I like the idea of not being too attached to the things that aren’t actually that important, and that this kind of surrender is not passive; it’s yielding, not giving up. This might sound a bit heavy but “the secret of life is ‘to die before you die’”. Wowzers.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog