Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart  Tolle  was born in Germany in 1948.He graduated from University of London in Philosophy,Psychology and literature in his early twenties, and then  decided to do post graduation research  in Cambridge University. in 1977.But he dropped out soon after  , because he  experienced"inner transformation" on one night.Then he started working as a spiritual teacher and Counsellor.The Power of Now was first published in 1997.Oprah Winfrey recommended this book in her magazine.It was on New York Times Best seller list for over two years.It was translated into 33 languages.It has sold over 3 million copies by now.He lives in Vancouver since 1995.
                           The book says that our past and our future are created by our thoughts and our mind.
The book has ten chapters:
1.You are not your mind.
2.Consciousness:The way out of pain.
3.Moving deeply into the Now.
4Mind strategies for avoiding the Now.
5.The state of presence.
6.The inner body.
7.Portals into the Unmanifested.
8.Enlightened Relationships.
9.Beyond happiness and unhappiness,there is Peace.
10.The meaning of Surrender.
The book has 190 pages and  I read it very slowly  so that I could understand it.It says that we should free ourselves from  enslavement to the mind.Our being is blocked   by our thoughts .Thoughts also block beauty , love , creativity, joy , inner peace  and our relationships.Be alert and aware but  do not  focus on thoughts.Pay attention to what you do .When you walk,pay attention to every step, and  your breathing .Pain is inevitable as long as you identify yourself with your mind.
               Mind controls us through time , through past and future.Live in the Now .Pay very brief visits to  past and future when required.It is habitual tendency of mind to  want to escape  from the Now.Setting a goal for future is fine but do not do it excessively , because it will take you away from Now.Present moment is all you have .Live in the present.
               Mind can not forgive.Only you can..Most human relationships consist mainly of minds interacting  with each other ,not being in communication.We can  enter the Unmanifested by being in the Now, by cessation of thought and by Surrender.Surrender means acceptance , non-resistance and being  without ego.Most of relationships  become hollow because they are through mind and not through conscious self.Be present in your relationships.
            Be yourself.Do not have a relationship with your self.All   non-physical  suffering is created due to resistance , non acceptance,non surrender.Surrender gives you peace.Surrender does not mean  not taking action . It means taking action  but  refusing to  resist in the Now.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

This  novel by James Joyce  is the story of his adolescence and youth.      When Stephen  suddenly understands "the essential nature of a thing"- whether it is the understanding of a person, an idea, a word ,or a situation- he calls these moments epiphanies. Some of his earliest epiphanies come from  his acute sensory awareness Repeatedly , we find the remembrances of tastes ,touches and smells.
                     As he grows up,Stephen Dedalus (the protagonist) grapples with his nationality, religion, family and morality , and finally  decides to reject  all socially imposed bonds and instead  live freely as  an  artist.
           Stephen has an obsession with language.His dedication to forging an aesthetic of his own describe many  tensions in his life during his formative years. 
               When he faces the decision to join the priesthood,Stephen decides that he is not cut out for monastic life.At this moment ,he turns away from religion in general and hopes to go to a university.The end of chapter four is one of the most famous  moments in the book when Stephen goes to the river and sees a beautiful  young  girl.She reminds him of a wild  seabird.He is astounded by the beauty of the moment and chooses to devote his life to creating art.He comes to realise that before he can become a true artist, he must rid himself of the stultifying effects of the religion,politics and bigotry of his background in Ireland.I shall express myself as I am.
        Joyce quotes  the poem "The Moon" by Shelley, twice in the book:
" Art thou pale for weariness,
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the  earth,
Wandering companion less,
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy."
In the last chapter , we find him working hard and doing considerable sacrifice.He struggles daily to puzzle out his aesthetic philosophy.
         The novel describes vividly Joyce's own  discovery  of his true calling as an artist , at a very young age  , after passing through many stages of struggle.Many of us  reach this stage very late in life.This book can help the  reader to understand the process by which he/she can reach his/her true calling.I recommend you to read this book. 




Friday, 1 January 2016

Refire! Don't Retire by Ken Blanchard & Morton Shaevitz

Published in India in  2015 by HarperCollins Publishers India Ltd., this slim volume  by Ken blanchard and Morton Shaevitz  caught my attention at a book shop in T3 terminal of Delhi airport.It was  written with such a lightheartedness ,  that I decided to buy it .I finished nearly half the book in one hour journey from Delhi to Lucknow, and the remaining half in one hour at home in Lucknow.So , it is an investment of 350 rupees and two hours.
            Ken Blanchard is 75 and Morton Shaevitz is 79.They discussed on a journey   attitude to getting older, and finally wrote this book Refire!Don't Retire:Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life.The book tells the story of an older couple who refire themselves emotionally ,intellectually , physically and spiritually.The focus is on healthy living, rewarding relationships, continuous learning,involvement in service and other meaningful activities.
     As we grow older , we tend to fall into ruts and become  more risk- averse.We become less spontaneous.In the process , we become withdrawn ,isolated, often unhealthy and wait for the inevitable.This book  makes a wake up call  not only to older people but also to middle aged persons to develop an attitude of recharging towards growing older.Though nothing strikingly original , this book is worth a read to give us ideas.I recommend you to read this book.